Alan Buckingham

Forget Facebook, Microsoft now has a 'share with Yammer' button

Yammer-Share

Okay, that may be a bit over the top. I doubt most users will be forgetting Facebook anytime soon, but it isn't the only social network. Don't forget Microsoft owns Yammer, which is geared more towards business than personal use. That doesn't mean it should be left out of the equation though.

In an effort to cash in on the social sharing craze, Microsoft is bringing Yammer to web sites. Yes, the business network will be included with Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and the rest of the set, allowing users to share stories.

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Microsoft's Satya Nadella: 'We've always had freemium. Sometimes our freemium was called piracy'

Satya Nadella, Microsoft. 2014-01

Microsoft is committed to the cloud. CEO Satya Nadella is starting to hit his stride and his vision is coming into focus. The new leader seems to see the future in OneDrive and he isn't shy about explaining his reasoning.

In a lengthy interview with CNBC's Jon Fortt, Nadella tackled the concepts and ideas he has for the company. In discussing OneDrive, the CEO made it clear that the product would remain free to everyone. The model involves monetizing for those who need more than what is offered for the price of zero.

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XCom takes advantage of Marriott's Wi-Fi debacle, issues security alert

Hotel wi-fi business

If you happened to miss it, then some background information is in order. The Marriott hotel chain, or actually one branch of it, was caught red-handed blocking Wi-Fi hotspots that its guests brought along on their trip. The hotel giant claimed security reasons, but people didn't buy the excuse. More importantly, the FCC didn't bite on it either.

It seems the Gaylord Opryland Hotel would have preferred customers to pay the exorbitant rates it charges for internet access. The Federal Communications Commission saw things differently and slapped the hotel with a $600,000 fine.

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Spotify provides music for the whole family with one plan

Spotify_Icon

The music streaming business continues to grow and actually buying tracks seems to be heading for the distant memory pile. Spotify is one of the top competitors in this growing industry. The competition forces each business to differentiate itself and today Spotify does that.

The streaming service is announcing a new Family Plan. This option brings tunes to up to four people, all under one monthly bill. Each of the people on the account will be able to keep their playlists, history and recommendations completely separate.

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Cable providers should now panic -- cutting the cord is getting easier all the time

family-watching-tv

Cord cutters are not new, they've been around for years now. Various reasons lead to this decision -- ranging from a simple lack of interest in programming to a desire to get TV shows and movies through other means. Over-the-air (OTA) has always been possible, and some go that route, but a growing number of services have sprung up to fill the gap left behind when cable and satellite service is cancelled.

Netflix, Hulu and Amazon all provided options for movies and TV shows, and now each has spread its wings and moved into the realm of producing original content. That is likely the time when cable providers should have moved into panic mode.

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Snapchat talks API, warns about a hacked third-party app

Breakup Smartphones

Snapchat has enjoyed a meteoric rise in popularity. But for software and apps popularity also means becoming a bigger target. There's been no shortage of news recently regarding systems being breached, with Kmart being the most recent victim.

In this case the victim isn't Snapchat, at least not directly, but a third-party app that uses the chat service's API. While the company is happy that so many want to use its API, it felt forced to issue a warning to the folks who decide to use these apps.

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TVMC simplifies XBMC for Android users, brings media to your mobile

TVMC

XBMC, which is now transferring to a new name of Kodi, to leave its old life being Xbox Media Center, has morphed into a top-notch option for HTPC and media buffs. But setting the service up has never been the simplest process, and it's been relegated to the more advanced users out there.

Now TV Addons has released TVMC for Android to simplify the setup process. Yes, XBMC runs on mobile devices as well as every computer platform.

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Things heat up as IFTTT teams with Honeywell for new evohome thermostat technology

ifttt-honeywell-evohome-iphone

If This Then That, better know as IFTTT, is a system for customizing what happens with various devices. Pretty much anything you can dream up can be programmed in, and the service has moved now into the home automation field.

The company is announcing integration with Honeywell's new thermostat. The evohome systems now have a custom channel, bringing even more to the growing Internet of Things offerings from IFTTT. This brings the total products up by one more.

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Cut the cord -- HBO will offer standalone streaming service in 2015

Satisfied Happy Businessman Relaxing Office

Cable providers see the writing on the wall. They will eventually become internet services and nothing more, but for now each is fighting this future. The battle took a turn against those TV services recently. HBO has dealt the latest blow.

For the moment, the HBO app requires the user to verify a subscription by adding information for a cable or satellite provider. That's bad for cord-cutters -- it means they simply can't get the HBO service. However, that requirement will be changing in 2015.

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Popcorn Time fights back -- moves domain after takedown

popcorn

There's no accounting for what will happen if you run a website, especially a questionable one. We've all witnessed the trials and tribulations suffered by the folks behind the Pirate Bay. Others have been more fortunate, though the outcome for the site has been the same -- a takedown. Some give up, while others move on and fight to survive.

Popcorn Time falls into that latter category. The company has so far thwarted efforts to remove it from the internet, but recently faced yet another hurdle. The site's domain name was taken down -- a common problem to the folks at the Pirate Bay. No problem, just get a new one. Move along, nothing to see here.

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Verizon Fios soars to the top of Netflix monthly ISP report

TV cat Netflix

Each and every month video provider Netflix issues a report on ISPs and makes no bones about who's good and who isn't. Honestly, the company has no choice -- its business rides on these speeds and it is not shy about reporting them.

September has been released, and there are some surprises and some not shocking disappointments. First, Verizon Fios flew to the top, averaging 3.17 MB per download. Not bad at all for the customers out there.

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Microsoft releases a new keyboard for Android Wear watches

MS keyboard

Google's Android Wear is still getting started, having a smattering of devices such as the LG G Watch and Motorola's Moto 360. The wrist wear brings the mobile platform to a small screen, and it's received a lot of attention since the launch.

Microsoft has a history of supporting Android, releasing all of its apps to the rival devices, despite Google's failure to reciprocate. Last month the the company released OneNote for watches and now the software giant is working on Android Wear again, offering a new analog keyboard app for the tiny items.

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Brave the sands and visit the Arabian desert with Google Street View

liwa-desert

There seems to be no place the intrepid Google Street View team will not go. From oceans to canyons, the team has tackled everything. The latest location is the sands of the United Arab Emirates, a rather desolate place for any person.

You won't need to ride a camel to make your trip to the Liwa Desert, as you can see it all from the comfort of your seat. Google has already braved sand storms and unbearable heat to bring you the images.

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Kaspersky and INTERPOL issue global alert: ATMs spitting out millions without cards

ATM

ATMs (automated teller machines) are everywhere and we all use them regularly. That has always made them a target for bad guys -- a card reader can steal all sorts of information. But in the wake of events like the Target and Home Depot breaches things have risen to a new level. So high, in fact, that security company Kaspersky and law enforcement organization INTERPOL have issued a warning.

It seems that ATMs are pouring out money to criminals who are not even using any sort of credit or debit card. While this isn't a problem for any particular individual, it is a major one for the banks, which makes it everyone's worry.

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Plex arrives on Xbox One and 360, brings your media with it

new plex app

Retrieving media from a computer or home server and reproducing it in your home theater has become a growing need among people. Plex offers what is, perhaps, the simplest solution for accomplishing this task. It does so by simply working across almost every known platform, including mobile devices and set-top boxes.

One place where the end-user app has been surprisingly missing is Microsoft's gaming consoles. You'd think Plex would have arrived there long ago -- certainly before places like Roku and Fire TV. Well, that problem is now solved, or at least half of it is.

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