Alan Buckingham

SmartThings brings new Belkin WeMo devices to the UK family, certifies Harmony


There's no shortage of connected devices on the market these days and more seem to come along almost daily. The problem, to an extent, is interoperability. That's improving somewhat as devices are starting to play nice with other systems.

Now SmartThings, one of the more popular offerings on the market, is introducing new products to its UK line. Both are from Belkin, which makes the WeMo line.

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Mozilla brings better security to Firefox for iOS


Security has been in the news since Edward Snowden; before actually, just not as prominently. Now, in recent weeks, the headlines have focused on Apple over its iPhone dispute with the FBI, a saga that seems to have come to an end recently.

That is not, however, the only security that needs to be part of our daily lives. Web browsers represent yet another problem and most are working to add layers of protection for customers.

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TCL announces 4K Roku TV models


With the release of the Roku 4, 4K arrived on the tiny set-top boxes. The company has also announced partnerships with set makers to create smart TVs using the Roku platform to power them. The new standard isn't prevalent, but it's coming around as more and more content becomes available.

This partnership was announced back in January at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. Now it is coming to fruition, six new models are set to begin shipping.

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Microsoft releases more details on its Edge Translator extension

Windows-10 key

Last week Microsoft finally revealed extensions for its Edge web browser for Windows 10. It began with just a handful of add-ons, but more are on the way. We previously told you how to install them, including the translator, but now Microsoft is adding a bit more information.

The new Edge extensions are currently considered previews and are only available to Windows 10 Insiders, and you'll need Build 14291 to use them.

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Your older Amazon Kindle may lose connectivity today, but there's an update


The Amazon Kindle has been around since 2007, and plenty of updates have been made to both hardware software during the years since it was released. If you have an older model then it still works just fine and, while Amazon would almost certainly like to sell you a new one, the company is still content to sell you books for older models.

All models released prior to 2013 are now at risk of losing internet connectivity and the company is notifying customers still utilizing those devices.

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Braven BVR-XXL hopes to bring rugged design coupled with big sound


I know what you're thinking, "another Bluetooth speaker". Yes, there is a flood of them on the market. We've had our fair share pass through the BetaNews office and most are comparable and a few even stood out for one reason or another.

Now Braven is announcing its latest offering. It's a name that's no stranger to us, we've reviewed previous models. This one is a bit different though.

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Clinton's email continues to make news, this time with Google


It's hard to turn on the news these days without seeing something about Syria and its leader Bashar Assad. The nation has been in disarray for sometime now as rebels try to overthrow the dictator, while ISIS controls some of the country.

While Russia has tried to fight back the rebels with air strikes in an effort to prop up Assad, the US has been more interested in striking Islamic Nation targets, and the one thing seemingly forgotten are the citizens of this war torn nation, who are attempting to flee in boatloads -- literally, making a treacherous journey across the sea to Turkey and Greece.

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Amazon Echo meets Automatic, attempts to make your car smarter

Amazon Echo

It seems every product hitting the market these days is touted to be smart, with the catch-phrase Internet of Things being thrown around everywhere. While there have been security issues in this new product line, there are also some really cool things available, and it captures the imagination.

Alexa, the persona behind Amazon Echo, is one way to enter the market, though you need to add devices to pair with it. Lights, door locks, thermostats, there's no shortage of items to choose from and it's growing all the time.

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Fitbit comes to Amazon Echo, Alexa can now track your activity

Amazon Echo

It seems as though there is a constant flow of new features and capabilities arriving on Amazon's voice-enabled platform Echo. You can play Jeopardy, listen to music and podcasts, even control your lights and thermostat.

Now the system is partnering up with Fitbit to allow Alexa to tell you about your activity. There is a new series of questions that you simply ask the device and get your answers.

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Nest beefs up its Android Wear app with new features


We've talked plenty about Nest around here. The company makes a smart thermostat and other devices that hope to improve your home and your life. Whether they succeed or not is individual opinion. However, a thermostat that can detect your location and adjust the temperature accordingly can certainly be a money saver.

You can control things right from the app on your smartphone, and do so from anywhere in the world. But what about your wrist? Well, Nest has an app for that and now it's gaining some new features.

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Microsoft is farming your data, but it isn't what you think


If you reside in the US state of Maryland then you can find plenty to be proud of -- the Chesapeake Bay is home to great seafood, including the famous Maryland Blue Crab. Francis Scott Key wrote the Star Spangled Banner from a ship during a battle in Baltimore Harbor. Of course, there's the sports teams like the Ravens and Orioles.

But one thing the state tries not to neglect is its history of farming. A vast majority of the state is rural and is home to agriculture, horses and cattle. The state has instituted a Farm Preservation policy to preserve these lands for future generations and even car license plates have been dedicated to the cause.

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Google Maps tries to make it easier to get around with new feature


Remember the days when we went everywhere with either a printed map or none at all? That's not the case these days as we almost universally have maps at our fingertips. Leading the way in this market is Google, which powers many mobile devices, though it's far from the only option.

Now the search giant is rolling out an update that it hopes will improve getting around town. This comes in the form of a dedicated tab aimed at commuting in the fastest way possible.

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Did Amazon have a security breach? Probably not


We've grown accustomed to security breaches, from Target to Home Depot and pretty much everywhere in between. It seems like daily news lately, but sometimes it seems companies are so hush-mouth that we just don't know. It's obviously in their best interest to not let word get out – bad for business, and all.

Today a story surfaced about Amazon sending some customers emails requesting that they reset their passwords. The message itself is a bit cryptic, so it's hard to say what really happened. There is also the (slim) possibility it was a scam. We say slim because there are no links to click on, the message seems legit and a carbon copy of one sent by the company before.

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Nest introduces family accounts and a new way to track your activity


Nest, a company now owned by Google's parent Alphabet, makes products that home automation enthusiasts sometimes salivate over. What began with a thermostat has expanded somewhat to include such things as smoke detectors.

One drawback with the system was the way Nest's app works. If you have a family then controlling things could be a problem, and that's something Nest has set out to solve by introducing Family Accounts.

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Samsung announces progress with SmartThings for Windows Phone

home automation

Windows Phone has its fans, but they sometimes, perhaps most times, feel left out of things. That includes the latest fad, the Internet of Things. Controlling devices in your home can be easily done without moving off the couch, but, for the most part, you better have an Android or iOS device at hand.

Samsung is hoping to open this world up to more people. The company makes a line of devices it calls SmartThings and the platform is compatible with some devices made by other manufacturers. It hopes to soon update its app on the Microsoft platform (yes, it has one) in an effort to please everyone and, perhaps, get a few more customers.

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