Alan Buckingham

Pebble Time hits stores


People have been waiting for Pebble Time, the latest device in the Pebble line of smartwatches. The company once again utilized Kickstarter for this project, and did so with great results. Pebble Time shipped early to its backers, but now it hits stores for everyone to buy.

Unlike the previous Pebble, this one has a color screen and looks much more vibrant -- keeping up with Android Wear. It also has more features for users to enjoy.

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Living with Amazon Echo

Amazon Echo

There's no reason to give you a full review of Amazon's Echo, my colleagues have already said plenty on that score. Instead I wanted to explain what living with Echo is like after one day. Yes, that's how long I've had the device, so this is a "first impressions" in the truest sense, and they run all over the place.

First, Echo has very solid build quality; it's a hefty device and it's very easy to set up -- plug it in, download the Android app and you're on your way. The app walks you through the process and there isn't a whole lot to it.

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Amazon Prime Day deals gets previewed, TVs and other devices included


Last week Amazon announced "Prime Day", an invented holiday for loyal customers of the Prime service. The retailer also revealed that there would be more deals than even Black Friday manages. Now the company is showcasing some of those bargains in an effort to entice customers.

There's quite a list, but some are worth mentioning. The Fire TV Stick will be $15 off, while other Amazon products will also see significant discounts. For instance, The Kindle will drop in price by $30, the Fire HD 7 is seeing a $30 reduction and the kids' edition of the HD 7 will get slashed by a whopping $60.

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Second zero-day flaw found in Adobe Flash thanks to Hacking Team

Security attack

Earlier this week an exploit for Adobe Flash was revealed -- a shock, I know. Now a second is in the wild and already being used. Known by the catchy name CVE-2015-5122, security firm FireEye discovered the flaw buried in the Hacking Team leak and alerted Adobe to it.

Adobe has released a security bulletin stating "Critical vulnerabilities (CVE-2015-5122, CVE-2015-5123) have been identified in Adobe Flash Player and earlier versions for Windows, Macintosh and Linux. Successful exploitation could cause a crash and potentially allow an attacker to take control of the affected system".

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HP announces new PCs made for Windows 10

HP corporate

We're only weeks away from the official launch of Windows 10, or, as some people may think of it, Microsoft's correction to the problems of its last operating system. That means OEMs are busy readying products to push to market for the big day, and HP is among them.

The company is announcing an entire portfolio of computers that are designed to run this new operating system, though not all will ship with it.

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Wi-Fi Sense in Windows 10 could result in privacy and security problems

Hacker detection

Windows 10 is about to arrive and with it comes a host of new features, like Cortana. There's also Wi-Fi Sense which is designed to allow a Windows Phone to connect automatically to any open network it knows about, and even accept the terms of use automatically. It's a nod towards convenience, and that's something Microsoft needs in its Windows 8x replacement.

Security firm AVG, makers of very good anti-virus software, both free and paid, see the inherent problems with this, and there are several.

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NSA's XKeyscore may be collecting your Skype, webcam and router data


The NSA's covert data collection has become the worst kept secret in the world. Edward Snowden blew the lid off the program and has released many documents providing validity to what he has said. While he continues to harbor in Russia, the US is split over whether he is a traitor or hero. Whistle blowers certainly aren't new -- they date back many years and include the famous Deepthroat who revealed Watergate.

Now more information has come to light in the form of XKeyscore, a program designed to glean data from user's router, webcam and Skype calls. It's just as scary as it sounds.

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Amazon announces Prime Day, claims more sales than Black Friday


Think you got some good deals and a lot to choose from on Black Friday or Cyber Monday? Amazon now wishes to top that with an even better event -- Prime Day. The retailer is looking to roll out deals to its most valued customers, those who subscribe to Prime for the good deals, free shipping, and more.

The deal is in celebration of Amazon's 20th birthday, which occurs next week. The sales will be available to customers in the US, UK, Spain, Japan, Italy, Germany, France, Canada and Austria.

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Time to reset your password as Plex forums get hacked


The internet can be a scary place, as sites and services get breached on a regular basis. However, it's also become an integral part of life for many people. That's why constant vigilance is in order to try and maintain a level of safety.

The latest victim is Plex, the media server and client, that many home theater enthusiasts use. If you just have a standard account then you should be safe, But, if you signed up for the forums, then you'll need to pay attention. Plex is notifying users to change their passwords.

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Rdio shoots to thrill as AC/DC rocks onto the service


Many may argue that they don't make bands like AC/DC anymore, and perhaps they'd be right. The Australian group shaped the youths of many of us with their hard sound and clever lyrics. Nobody will forget original singer Bon Scott or replacement Brian Johnson who raised the band from its ashes after the tragedy of Scott's death.

But now you can hop onto the Highway to Hell and take a ride using Rdio, the music streaming service that aims to compete in this market with many formidable rivals. The music site has announced the whole epic catalog is available to its users.

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It's not just you, Sling TV is down

businessman thumbs down angry suit cell phone iPhone

I plopped onto my sofa tonight to watch a show using Sling TV. I love the service, despite it being a bit pricey. The one time I've called I got quick and courteous customer service. Tonight was different -- the service told me there was a problem with the login. I called and received endless messages that there were "higher than normal call volumes".

The sense that something was up popped into my head. Indeed it was, as the eventual customer service rep informed me that there was a big problem.

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Microsoft brings the Quran to a wider audience

2465.Islam 360.jpg-150x0

The Quran, sometimes written Koran, is the holy text of the Islamic religion. It literally translates to "the recitation". Most religions have such books to guide their beliefs and provide some foundation for how to proceed in life.

You can read many such works online, and Microsoft is aiding in this with Islam 360, a searchable Quran app. The software giant has talked it up, though it isn't particularly new. Instead Microsoft wants to alert those who aren't aware of its existence and tout the features it brings along.

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Will you or won't you? The state of cord-cutting in 2015

watching tv

We last looked at the cord-cutting revolution in early 2014 and asked who planned to do so in the coming year. A surprising number of you said you'd already done it. What has happened since then that will make those who haven't switched do so now? A couple of interesting developments have happened in this time.

Before we get to those, we'll pose the question one more time. Will you, or for that matter have you, cut the cord? If you have no plans to, then why? There are obviously many possible answers to these questions and many good reasons both for and against the change in your entertainment options.

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OneDrive adds Chromecast support to its Android app


Since debuting Chromecast has continued to gain wider support, with new services being added regularly. Now Microsoft, which has a history of supporting Android with apps and updates, is getting in a bit deeper.

The company has added support for Chromecast in it's latest update. Version 3.2 of the app allows customers to "cast" photos and videos right from their phone or tablet and display them on the big screen.

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Java installer is making changes, but don't get excited just yet


Security problems aside, Java has been a thorn in people's sides for other reasons. When installed or updated, the app breezes you right past the part where it installs the Ask Toolbar. Sure it does put it on the screen, but it's set to opt in and many people are too busy clicking OK to notice. So when Ask's inclusion was canceled it seemed like good news.

Not really. Instead, Oracle has opted to move on and will now start changing the default search for its customers. If you aren't careful, then you can expect to find Yahoo as your new default. Are you excited yet?

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