Alan Buckingham

The 80's called and they have a smartwatch for you


For those who grew up in the 80's there are many things that stand out, and some we wish we could forget. There were Polo shirts worn with the collars up, Members Only jackets and the dreaded parachute pants -- leg warmers as well if you are female. But one thing from that era has endured -- Swatch. The company never went away, it just lost favor among the "in" crowd. But that piece of hardware on your wrist back then meant everything.

Call it retro or nostalgia, but the company is enjoying a bit of a resurgence. So much so that, apparently, the watch maker feels emboldened to jump into the smartwatch market. Swatch has a unique take on things -- a mechanical version of this latest craze.

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Microsoft update KB3033929 possibly causing problems for Windows 7 users


Over the years Microsoft has managed to break computers with updates, though not intentionally of course. However, it's generally wise to wait just a bit after Patch Tuesday and keep an eye out for reports of any problems that other customers are experiencing. It's generally safe, but you can never be too cautious.

Now those who have stayed behind, clinging to Windows 7, seem to be on the receiving end of just such an incident. If users of the TechNet forums are to be believed, and there's no reason to suspect otherwise, then KB3033929 could wreak a bit of havoc with Windows 7 systems.

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According to Nielsen SVOD is the choice of couch potatoes everywhere


Nielsen has been tracking the TV viewing habits of Americans practically since the invention of the tube. In recent years the polling company has had to adapt its operations to fit with newer technology that is increasingly being used by customers to satisfy their video needs.

That now seems to be leaning dramatically towards subscription-video-on-demand (SVOD). A new report states that this form of entertainment is winning across the board, and the numbers aren't even particularly close in this poll.

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Panda Security identified itself as malware, quarantined its own files

Angry PC user

Security software can be inherently dangerous. That appears to be a statement that doesn't seem to make sense, but it does none-the-less. We've seen it time and again, as well-meaning tools cause chaos with computers. The problems over the years have run the gamut from endless reboots to dead systems to files "accidentally" removed. The software has the best interest of the user in mind, but sometimes it goes too far, treading beyond the line of safety.

Such is the case in this latest incident which affected customers of the popular anti-virus program, Panda Security. It is not the first, nor likely the last, to cause these issues. By it's very nature, the programs search for files identified as malicious. The problem arises from the definitions it installs with each update. These are designed to search for malware, but can also appear as the culprit for which they are looking for.

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Samsung Animal Edition battery charger alerts to endangered species, but does it help protect them?


Species have been going extinct for millennia, with larger events occurring periodically. We find ourselves living in one such epoch, though it mostly goes unnoticed because these events don't happen overnight. However research quickly points out the trend, and it's one we'd rather avoid.

To do so there are endangered species acts and restrictions of other sorts to help preserve the wildlife we have left. Individuals can get involved, both physically and financially, and Samsung is releasing a new line of battery chargers to get a few specific creatures to the public attention.

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Microsoft expands its partnership with Cisco offering new cloud opportunities

Does a deleted Microsoft blog post show it's about to buy mobile email firm Acompli?

Microsoft and Cisco believe the next generation of tools is on the way and that the cloud will be a key feature. There's little surprise in that statement, as things have been trending in that general direction for a while now. Microsoft and Cisco aren't strangers either, as the two have been partnered before, so the latest news simply expands on that relationship.

This time around a tool is being unveiled. According to Microsoft's Aziz Benmalek "next-generation services require close compatibility between hardware, software, network, storage and compute", and the firms have teamed up for a new product called Cisco Cloud Architecture for the Microsoft Cloud Platform. Benmalek claims that engineers from both companies have worked closely the ensure the integration between products from each. The result is combining Windows Azure Pack and Cisco Application Centric Infrastructure (ACI).

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Microsoft reports the progress of its Superfish hunt


The hubbub surrounding Superfish has died down in the news now, but that doesn't mean the problem has been eradicated. Not only has the fiasco hurt consumers it has eroded the reputation of computer maker Lenovo. To its credit the company acted quickly, working with Microsoft and Superfish to alleviate the problem and attempt to regain consumer trust.

Microsoft aided on the Superfishing trip by adding the Win32/CompromisedCert to its Malicious Software Removal Tool, which is included in all modern versions of Windows. Many customers likely don't even know this tool is there, as there is no icon for it. It will run on its own in the background, but a manual launch can be accomplished by accessing "Run" and typing "MRT".

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Pricing and HBO NOW may finally have sold me an Apple TV

Apple TV

As a cord-cutter for almost a year now I've learned to live with certain limitations. My TV viewing is sparse, so this wasn't difficult and Hulu Plus and Amazon Prime have done an admirable job of filling the void. Both work great on my Roku 3 and Amazon Fire TV. There's a Google TV here as well, though it's long been disconnected and I haven't got around to purchasing an Android TV, much as the Nexus Player intrigues me.

One set-top box that has failed to get my attention is Apple TV. That's largely because I don't live in the Apple ecosystem. I'm not an iTunes customer and it seems fairly limited compared to what I have. That may soon change.

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Motorola brings personalization to Android Wear watches with Moto Maker


Motorola introduced Moto Maker as a way to let customers personalize phones with all sorts of adventurous designs from wood to pigskin and all manner of other things. However, the company was also among the first to jump into the Android Wear space, bringing the new smartwatch platform to everyone. Now the two are combining.

Today the company announces that the same sort of customization is arriving for your smartwatch -- providing, of course, that it's Motorola branded. You'll get three cases and nine bands to choose from as you walk through the process. Motorola also points out that you can "complete your design by choosing one of 11 watch faces. Once you get your watch, it’s easy to swap watch faces from our collection or through Google Play".

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Kickstarter now accepts Apple Pay for that project you want to back


A number of popular projects have come from crowd-funding via Kickstarter. It's a great place to find new and innovative ideas. Many things there fail to reach their goal (although it could be argued that the market for those items made the decision), while others blast past the funding goal and enter the market. Pebble watch is a great example of that success.

There is some peace of mind when donating money -- for one you will get the product. But, if it fails to hit the goal you aren't out anything. Now you'll have one more option for funding that next great product. Kickstarter is announcing it will start to accept Apple Pay.

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Xbox One update brings party chat enhancements, screenshots and more


Microsoft continues to update its latest gaming console on a regular basis, though the company also keeps the Xbox 360 alive as well. Now a new update rolls out to the Xbox One, bringing all sorts of features that fans have been waiting for since the box debuted in late 2013. In fact, Xbox Live's Larry Hryb, AKA Major Nelson, states "This month’s system update on Xbox One brings you some of the most-requested features by our fans".

First up is screenshots, which should make many gamers happy. Simply double-click the Xbox button on the controller to snap a shot, then press Y to save it. Or, even better, you can say "Xbox take a screenshot" and handle both tasks at once.

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Evernote announces support for Apple Watch coming soon


You would have been hard pressed to miss today's news, as the Apple hype machine was running at full speed. The announcements kept on coming -- Apple TV with a reduced price and an HBO Now exclusive, new MacBooks and of course the much anticipated watch. However, the devil is in the details -- a new product like the Apple Watch can live or die based on support from developers.

That likely won't be a problem, and note-taking giant Evernote is among the first to throw its support behind this new platform. The service works on just about every platform, so this should come as little surprise.

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Samsung shows off the cameras in the Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge with new video

Samsung Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 Edge unboxing and hands-on videos

Just recently Samsung held a big event at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain. A whole lot of hoopla surrounded the launch of the two new Galaxy S6 phones, with plenty of news coverage both online and on TV.

Now Samsung is getting into the details about what you'll get with its latest handsets. The company has released a video meant to showcase the cameras built into these devices. There are a number of interesting features in this department.

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Is Windows Server 2003 destined to be the next Windows XP?

windows server

We aren't too far removed from the death of Windows XP -- sure you can still use it, but you do so at your own peril as the operating system is no longer supported by Microsoft (businesses can pay for extended support -- protection money, if you will). That hasn't stopped many individuals, and indeed even businesses, from continuing to run the OS despite potential for disaster. Granted, that may not be huge, but it is still a very real concern.

Now Windows Server 2003 faces a similar fate, with an impending date of July 14th, 2015 slated to bring an end to another staple of the enterprise. Like Windows XP, customers will not be happy -- enterprises move slowly and upgrades can be costly, not to mention proprietary software that may not work once the move is complete.

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Amazon releases new games at PAX East conference


Gaming has become a major function of today's mobile devices, allowing for hours of wasted productivity time. In fact, it's so popular that today's set-top box makers are building the feature right into their hardware, Amazon going as far as offering an Xbox One-like controller for customers to purchase separately.

Now the retail giant is in attendance at PAX East, a gaming conference being held in Boston. The show kicked off March 6th and runs through the 8th. Amazon is there to show off several new titles it has. These are more than just for Fire devices, as the company is making them available for iPhone and iPad as well.

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