Alan Buckingham

Spotify rolls out an improved mobile app

Girl listening to music

For many folks, music gets them through the day, or even life. There's also no shortage of services out there looking to get users to choose them. While some are lesser known, Spotify certainly isn't, as it's an industry leader that boasts 25 billion listening hours since it launched.

Now the streaming company is making some improvements that should satisfy customers even more. Users of the mobile app can expect what Spotify terms a "richer experience" for the Now app.

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Logitech Harmony gains support for Nest and Rheem EcoNet


Harmony remotes, purchased by Logitech, have long been a standard for universal control of your home theater. However, the world is moving on and headed towards fully connected homes -- dwellings where we can control everything with the touch of a button, automate it and let it serve us. The Internet of Things can be scary, as my colleague Derrick Wlodarz pointed out, but it can also be fascinating in that shiny new gadget sort of way.

Slowly but surely you can do all of this, not only from your phone or tablet, but from that remote control sitting on the coffee table in front of you. Harmony has just picked up support for Nest Protect, a smoke detector, and Rheem EcoNet, a water heater system.

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Twitch gaming video arrives on Roku set-top boxes and TVs


Video games and set-top boxes. They don't seem to go together, but these days they do. You can play games on many of them, though they won't be confused with an Xbox One or PS4. But today video games aren't just about playing, it's become a spectator sport as well. Much of that is due to the Twitch service which allows people to post videos and watch others.

Now the Twitch channel has arrived on Roku, one of the most popular set-top boxes on the market. The manufacturer is adding the channel now, allowing customers to begin streaming the videos that seem so popular in today's culture.

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Microsoft Research releases Hyperlapse Pro for time-lapse videos

Microsoft Hyperlapse

Video and photos are universal these days. Most of us walk around with a camera in our pocket. Everyone benefits. Consider the meteor over Russia or almost instant access to breaking news of all sorts.

However, sometimes photos aren't good enough for the events in your life. Video is better -- like for a kid's birthday party or graduation, or family vacation. There's better, and there's better. Microsoft just released Hyperlapse to help you turn these videos into neat little time-lapses to make them a bit cool and easier to share.

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Rdio brings new music options at an affordable price


Music options abound these days, some more affordable than others. It's become genuinely hard to choose a streaming service that fits your needs and budget. While there aren't any new options on the market, one may have just become much more appealing, as Rdio makes a major annoucement about services and pricing.

This latest move adds a combination of both radio and streaming music of the user's choice and does so with one reasonably priced plan.

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Dropbox arrives in your Gmail with improved features

new dropbox logo

Dropbox is one of the most popular services for storing and sharing files online. Combine that with Google's Gmail, a widely used email service, and you serve up a recipe for success. Or at least the storage service thinks and hopes so.

Dropbox is now arriving with improvements for that Gmail account you have, bringing easy storage sharing right to your desktop. This isn't entirely new -- an extension for Chrome has been available for a while now, but this update improves on things.

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Roku and Nielsen team to get ratings for streaming


Nielsen, the leader in TV ratings, has to move into the new era, which means TV streaming. Now the company is moving in that direction, partnering with Roku, the top set-top box maker on the market, in order to gather this data.

But how do you rate this new dimension in TV? Well Nielsen thinks it can and it's partnered with Roku to give it a try. The two are announcing a new deal beginning now and it aims to make the world of internet-based TV a ratable one.

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Hackers plunder $5 million from the account of Irish airline Ryanair


It's one thing to have your personal bank account hacked, you may lose a few dollars or worse a small fortune. However you would expect corporate accounts to have added security, preventing such a devastating event. That's clearly not the case. While we've seen point-of-sale systems hacked and customer data stolen, this time it was actually a company bank account that was robbed.

Irish airline Ryanair had its corporate account plundered by hackers to the tune of $5 million, or €4.6 million. The money apparently disappeared from accounts used to fund the fueling of the company's planes, not a cheap task and perfect for not immediately ringing alarm bells.

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NBC Sports Live Extra arrives on Roku, just in time for hockey and horse racing


It's a great time of the year for sports fans, with hockey in the playoffs, the upcoming NFL draft, the Triple crown and baseball season well underway. Now Roku is bringing all of this to your TV via both its set-top boxes and Roku TVs. It arrives just in time for all of the action.

The NBC Live Extra Service promises over 3,000 events per year, including some exclusive coverage. That traverses an awful lot of ground.

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Philips lets you control your Hue lights from Apple Watch


Yesterday was the big day for Apple Watch, and also a big day for companies looking to capitalize on the hype and sales. We've seen Amazon jump on board, along with many others. Now the top lighting manufacturer in the world is getting into the game also, as Philips announces that it will be offering customers the chance to control their Hue lights right from their wrists.

Hue, if you aren't familiar, is a line of lightbulbs that are internet connected and can be controlled from multiple devices -- Apple Watch is the latest.

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Kickass Torrents is on the run to a new domain

Music pirate

We've grown used to sites like The Pirate Bay making pretty regular moves. It's kind of unavoidable in this business where organizations such as the MPAA exist. While we don't condone piracy, we also don't condone censorship, and there's plenty of studies that show that illegally downloaded content doesn't put much, if any, dent in the copyright holder's bank account.

Today the latest news surfaces -- Kickass Torrents, the top source on the web, is on the move after a brief visit to the Isle of Man. The place proved unfriendly to the organization, shutting it down rather quickly. Next stop? Costa Rica sounds like a nice tropical local, doesn't it?

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AVG introduces Crumble for Chrome, claims you can surf without surveillance


In today's world privacy has become a premium and companies and governments are the ones in the hotseat thanks to Edward Snowden, WikiLeaks and others. People are searching out ways to avoid being tracked, a difficult task in this current society. AVG is the latest to offer a solution.

The security firm is announcing Crumble, a new extension for Chrome that promises you can "surf without surveillance". The app comes from the Innovation Labs and is still in beta at the moment, but users can start testing it out now.

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Apple Watch gets Amazon shopping capability

pandora Apple Watch

Today the Apple Watch begins its highly anticipated rollout. The tech world is watching, while fans are eagerly expecting the device. Of course any product today requires a healthy ecosystem of apps to survive, and Apple is doing its best to make that happen. Others are trying to do the same, also from an economical standpoint.

Amazon plans to allow customers to shop from their wrist -- why you'd want to is anyone's guess. The retailer is announcing a shopping app for the new accoutrement. The company claims it will be useful in certain situations, such as heading out somewhere and suddenly remembering something you need. Granted that's a good scenario, as you may forget by the time you return home. However, isn't that what the smartphone in your purse or pocket is for?

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Office 365 Video begins its worldwide rollout

Busy office

Back in November we told you about Office 365 Video, although at the time it was only available for First Release customers. The service, if you recall, brings video sharing to the enterprise, allowing customers to manage and post, as well as making it available across all devices -- PC, tablet and phone. Microsoft also claims that it will be automatically optimized for each device.

Now the service is rolling out worldwide, so everyone can begin putting it to use for training videos, company messages and the like. Microsoft's Claire Tutill states that "Video is fast becoming one of the most powerful forms of communication, so this is a very exciting development for Office 365 users".

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You won't see Nessie, but you can now visit Loch Ness via Google Maps


The Loch Ness Monster is right up there with Bigfoot and the Abominable Snowman, and many lesser known legends as well. We're not here to tell you what to believe, that's entirely up to you. Either way, Loch Ness is one of the most famous locations in Scotland and you can now visit it from the comfort of your home or office.

Google Maps has gone to the trouble of putting the famous lake into Street View -- no monsters involved. It conjures up images of the famous Surgeon's Photo, the most enduring, iconic and fraudulent image of Nessie. Still, the location is beautiful, and for those not able to make the trip this is the next best thing.

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