Mihaita Bamburic

Tether unlocks your Mac when your iPhone's nearby

Tether

Having to type in a password every time to unlock your Mac is recommended practice, but it is also a nuisance. Since ditching the password is a bad idea, from a security standpoint, you are not left with many options to make life easier. But, there is a way you can have your cake and eat it too.

You can set up your Mac to automatically unlock when it detects your iPhone nearby. You still get to enjoy the benefits that come from having a password, but without having to put any effort into it. And you can do that using Tether, touted to be "the wireless leash to your Mac".

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Apple's new MacBook is much better than Microsoft's Surface Pro 3 -- here are 9 reasons why

Apple wins

Apple has finally announced the new lighter-than-Air MacBook we were all waiting for. And, as expected, it's spectacular. It's so attractive that I can't possibly imagine why my colleague Brian Fagioli would claim that Microsoft's Surface Pro 3 is better. We are living on the same planet, aren't we?

Brian is terribly wrong, of course. But I'm not surprised, because he is, after all, a Surface Pro 3 user, and has been from the get-go. So it's easy for him to miss all the things that make the new MacBook so much better. He could only come up with six reasons to make his case. I offer nine reasons -- tangible benefits -- that prove otherwise!

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Google releases Android 5.1 Lollipop factory images -- here's how you can install it

fearlolli

The latest Lollipop incarnation may been have around for more than a month now, first arriving on Android One smartphones slated for Indonesia, but Google only yesterday made the official announcement, and revealed the much-awaited changelog. The good news doesn't end there, as the search giant also released a number of Android 5.1 factory images.

Android 5.1 Lollipop packs some pretty major changes. Among them are support for multiple SIMs, a feature that lots of Android vendors have offered for years now, and Device Protection, a feature designed to deter smartphone theft.

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Apple releases iOS 8.2 -- here's what's new

Apple Watch app iOS 8.2

As expected, at its Spring Forward press event, Apple today revealed more details about Apple Watch (be warned, it goes all the way up to $10k), and announced a new, lighter MacBook. But Apple also introduced iOS 8.2, which is needed to make use of the new wearable. Here is what the latest version brings to the table, starting with the Apple Watch connectivity.

After installing iOS 8.2, iPhone users will be able to pair, sync and configure Apple Watch from their smartphone, using the new Apple Watch app that is on the homescreen. Also, there's a new Activity app which shows up after pairing an Apple Watch, showing achievements and fitness data on iPhones. It should be said that Apple Watch only works with iPhone 5 and later models.

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HTC One M9 listing reveals US price and availability

HTC One M9_Silver_Left

It is hard not to like HTC's latest flagship, One M9. The smartphone retains the features that we like from its predecessor, such as the stereo front-facing speakers, metal body and expandable storage, while fixing the bigger issues surrounding the rear-facing camera. There is now a 20.7 MP sensor on the back, which should lead to more detailed photos, while the front of the flagship gets a 4 MP UltraPixel shooter -- it's similar to the camera on the back of One (M8).

Yet while we know what One M9 brings to the table, in regards to specifications and design, HTC hasn't told us much about availability and pricing. Luckily for us, US retailer B&H's listing of the flagship sheds some light on the matter.

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Wiper Messenger now lets you send Bitcoin to your friends

Bitcoin

Wiper is a messaging service which offers an interesting privacy and security-centric option. It lets users delete their conversations, on-demand, from the other users' smartphones as well as Wiper's servers. I took a look at what it can do in a previous article, which you can check out here.

In the meantime, Wiper has received a couple of major updates which improve the user experience and add new features to the mix. Among the highlights is the ability to send and receive Bitcoins straight from the app.

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Oracle: How about some adware to go with that new Java for Mac?

Fail

One of the things I -- and I assume a lot of fellow users -- like about using a Mac is that most OS X programs do not try to trick the user into installing adware. In fact, a lot of the programs I use do not even feature a typical setup, as they can be installed simply by copying them to the Applications folder. For someone coming from Windows, it may feel impossible to grasp at first -- yes, you can actually enjoy the install process. Wow!

Of course, there are developers who do not care about the experience their users have during and after the setup, so they bundle adware with their programs. Thankfully, on Macs it's easier to spot, but it's still something to look out for at times, especially if you wish to install Oracle's latest Java release.

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All Windows versions are vulnerable to FREAK

OS X, iOS and Linux have more vulnerabilities than Windows

When the FREAK vulnerability was brought to our attention earlier this week, Windows was not originally believed to be affected by it. Apple and Google took the heat, as the cryptographers who made the discovery named OpenSSL (which is used by Android, among others) and Apple TLS/SSL clients (like Safari) as being vulnerable to FREAK attacks (short for Factoring Attack on RSA-EXPORT Keys).

However, a new security advisory released by Microsoft yesterday paints a different picture. In reality, all supported versions of Windows, including Server products, are vulnerable to FREAK attacks. Microsoft isn't discussing non-supported versions of Windows -- like Windows XP -- for obvious reasons, but it is safe to say that they are also impacted.

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Most consumers don't even know VR devices exist

Oculus-Rift

It's easy to believe that consumers are paying attention to VR technology when the media loves to write so much about it. We read quite frequently about new headsets, new cool things they make possible, new players that join this space and the potential VR has to change the way we do certain things. It's virtually impossible to not stumble upon one of these stories these days.

Yet, according to a Kantar Worldpanel ComTech report, if you were to ask consumers on the street what they think about VR headsets most will tell you they don't even know such devices exist.

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Google finally gets around to revamping Contacts, but not without complicating things in the process

Google Contacts preivew 4.5

Compared to other Google products, Contacts feels like an afterthought. Since its introduction, it has received little attention, as the search giant focused on its more prominent and more promising services. Do you remember the last time an update was announced? I sure don't. It's still as ugly, awkward to use and slow as you've always remembered it to be.

But not for long. Google has announced that Contacts will finally get its much-needed revamp, showcasing the improvements via a preview that's available now. The new Contacts features some pretty big changes, starting with a look that feels modern enough for a Google product unveiled in 2015.

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Save big with this Motorola Moto X deal

2014 Moto X deal Tracks Air by Sol Republic x

The second generation Moto X is among the best Android smartphones on the market today. It is also one of the more affordable flagships, costing $499.99 off-contract. However, it can be had for less by taking advantage of this deal that Motorola has running in its online store.

Here's the gist: if you want to buy an off-contract second-generation Moto X also throw in an expensive pair of Tracks Air by Sol Republic x headphones in the cart, priced just shy of $200. The total cost? Well, it's merely $449.94.

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BlackBerry will keep making smartphones -- unveils Leap mid-ranger, new slider

BlackBerry The Slider

BlackBerry shipped an insignificant number of smartphones last year, but the Canadian maker is not giving up the fight yet. Today, at MWC 2015, it announced a new mid-range handset, called Leap, and revealed an upcoming slider phone, which CEO John Chen referred to as "The Slider".

Leap is clearly not designed for the typical BlackBerry aficionado, as the smartphone is an all-touchscreen affair, with no physical QWERTY keyboard in sight. Such designs have not helped BlackBerry woo consumers nor business clients so far. The Slider though is the more conservative of the two, looking at it from the perspective of BlackBerry fans.

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Sony unveils Xperia Z4 Tablet

Sony Xperia Z4 Tablet 1

Two flagship smartphones a year is one too many. Consumers who buy those top-of-the-line handsets do not like seeing their new purchase being outclassed in the same year it launches. Thankfully, Sony has learned its lesson, as there is no Xperia Z4 at MWC 2015. However, it's a bit strange that we're seeing Xperia Z4 Tablet. It's like the tablet division didn't get the memo, naming it after a device that's not here yet.

For those of you not keeping track of Sony's flagship tablets, Xperia Z4 Tablet is the successor to Xperia Z2 Tablet, announced at last year's MWC. The more-recent Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact that made its debut at IFA 2014 features a much smaller display, targeting iPad mini -- instead of full-blown iPad -- buyers. Let's take a look at Xperia Z4 Tablet.

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Xiaomi goes after GoPro with Mi Pro Action Camera

Xiaomi Mi Pro Action Camera

Xiaomi may be best known for its smartphones, but the company is exploring other markets as well. On top of its Android phones, its lineup also includes a tablet, activity tracker, TV, router, external batteries, headphones and much more. One might say that Xiaomi is looking to sell a lifestyle, not just gadgets.

Today, Xiaomi is entering another market with the announcement of Mi Pro Action Camera. The company's first action camera offers exactly what you might expect out of a Xiaomi device: decent hardware and great value. It's not up there with the best that GoPro has to offer, but it's also not as expensive.

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LG announces 4G LTE-enabled Watch Urbane smartwatch

LG Watch Urbane LTE

The average smartwatch relies on a smartphone to show relevant information. Those notifications, emails, messages, directions and the like are not pulled from thin air, after all. Making such devices pretty much useless when, for instance, the smartphone runs out of juice or is not within pairing distance. This is where having a cellular radio inside can make a huge difference.

LG is among the few vendors that sees just how useful cellular radios can be for smartwatches, as today it announces a 4G LTE version of its recently-unveiled Watch Urbane Android Wear smartwatch. Unlike the original, the new Watch Urbane LTE -- which rivals Samsung's Gear S -- runs LG's own Wearable Platform. The South Korean company is touting it as "the world’s first LTE-enabled smartwatch".

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