Mihaita Bamburic

Windows' WiFi Sense is a useful feature misunderstood by the media

confusedpw

Earlier this week The Register published a story about WiFi Sense, saying the feature "smells like a security risk". The publication is making a huge deal out of it, even though the way it works has been known ever since Microsoft introduced it in the Windows Phone 8.1 preview builds more than a year ago. So it is not news today, and acting like there is something noteworthy to say about it at this point seems disingenuous to me and, quite frankly, clickbait.

For those who are not familiar with it, WiFi Sense is a feature that allows Windows Phone 8.1 -- and Windows 10 -- users to easily share access to Wi-Fi passwords with their contacts and friends. In this day and age, if Apple or Google introduced such a feature the media would go crazy. But, no. Microsoft is criticized for trying to make things easy for its users. How silly is that? Some of the things The Register says about Wi-Fi Sense reveal no proper knowledge of the feature.

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Microsoft details 4G LTE Surface 3 availability

Surface 3

While the Wi-Fi version of Surface 3 has been available to consumers and businesses for nearly two months now, the same cannot be said about the 4G LTE counterpart. It only went on sale two weeks ago, and only in Japan, and is not yet available in any other markets where the slate is offered.

This is about to change as Microsoft today announces that this week the 4G LTE version of Surface 3 will also be available to prospective business customers in Germany and UK. Consumers will have to wait a bit longer, however.

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How to jailbreak iOS 8.4

Jail cell keys jailbreak

With previous versions of iOS we have had to wait a while for a jailbreak to finally come out, but for iOS 8.4 one is already available. The TaiG team has moved extremely quickly to update its tool, releasing an updated version that supports iOS 8.4 shortly after Apple made it available to the public yesterday.

Apple has packed dozens of security fixes in the new version of the mobile operating system, but the TaiG team announced on Twitter that the exploit it uses to jailbreak iOS has not been patched.

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Apple releases iOS 8.4, OS X 10.10.4 Yosemite -- here's what's new

Apple pushes iOS 8.1.1 update to speed up older iPhones and iPads

Just as expected, Apple today released iOS 8.4, officially launching its Apple Music streaming service and the Beats 1 radio station. Also new for today is an update for OS X 10.10 Yosemite, which comes with a significant number of bug fixes and improvements in tow.

Apple Music and Beats 1 are introduced through the redesigned Music app. Upon launch, it promotes the company's new streaming service, inviting users to a free, three-month trial. There is a new icon as well as a new user interface -- if you want to keep listening to your existing music collection, you can do so as easily as before. The new Music app is not all that is new in iOS 8.4, as the new release also features a number of bug fixes and improvements targeting iBooks and other parts of the operating system.

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Head up displays 'are a threat to safety' -- but aren't we better off with them?

BMW Head up display

Car makers offer some interesting equipment options that are said to increase driving safety. One of those features is a head up display, which shows the driver essential information, such as the speed and turn-by-turn directions, without having to take the eyes off the road. This is a benefit that is commonly pitched by car companies, as, in theory, it would allow the driver to be more focused on what's ahead rather than be distracted by a smartphone or navigation system.

However, a University of Toronto report contradicts this assertion, claiming that, in practice, HUDs are distracting and "a threat to safety" because they force drivers to focus on two different things at once: the road ahead and the windshield.

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Apple Music, Beats 1, iOS 8.4 to launch June 30

apple_music

After months of testing, Apple revealed earlier this month, at WWDC 2015, that iOS 8.4 will be officially available in late-June, bringing us the new Apple Music streaming service and Beats 1 radio station. While those are the biggest changes, the new version of the popular mobile operating system will also feature a number of under-the-hood tweaks to improve the user experience, as we have come to expect from the most-recent iOS releases.

Quite a few of us expected Apple to launch iOS 8.4 way before the end of the month, but it looks like the company has other plans in mind, as iOS 8.4 is officially set to launch on the very last day of June.

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Lenovo, if you make this retro ThinkPad, I'll give up my MacBook Air

Retro ThinkPad 1

It would take quite a laptop to bring me back to the Windows fold after using and enjoying a 13-inch Apple MacBook Air for nearly two years. I love the versatility Apple's device provides: it is light and portable, offers amazing battery life, has an awesome keyboard and trackpad, performs well, can run Windows and Linux alongside OS X and, on top of it all, looks quite nice as well. To be perfectly honest, there is nothing that I miss that could push me towards another laptop.

However, I am not exactly a normal person. I'll be the first to admit it. When I saw Lenovo's retro-inspired ThinkPad the first thing that crossed my mind was: "This ThinkPad is awesome. I have to have this". It just so happens that old-school-looking ThinkPads are like kryptonite to me. Imagine how I feel about this modern interpretation. There is only one problem -- this is a concept. But, Lenovo, if you make it and I can buy it, I will give up my MacBook Air to have it!

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Latest Qi standard promises fast charging times

Wireless Charging Smartphone Wall Cable Charger Plate Pad

While wireless charging is extremely convenient, as it allows you to charge your devices just by resting them on top of a charger, it is also very slow by modern standards, because of the low amount of power that can be transmitted. However, for the Qi standard, this issue is expected to go away soon.

Wireless Power Consortium, the group behind the standard, boasts that Qi will work more like Quick Charge, a Qualcomm technology, in the sense that it will transmit much more power to supporting devices to greatly decrease charging times.

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You can now sign up for Facebook Messenger without a Facebook account

Messenger Sign Up iOS

Thanks in no small part to Facebook, Messenger is rapidly growing in popularity. On Google Play, the app reached one billion downloads earlier this month, while on Apple's App Store it leads the free apps chart for iPhones. But while it certainly benefits from being tightly linked to Facebook, the company wants to make it possible to sign up for its messaging service without a Facebook account.

When it announced this change, Facebook did not detail why it is introducing this sign up option. However, it looks like the company wants its messaging service to become more attractive for those who are not willing to join the social network but want to connect with their Facebook friends.

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How to jailbreak iOS 8.3

Jail cell keys jailbreak

While iOS has become more permissive and powerful in recent years, there are still users who find the mobile operating system to be too limiting. There are few customizations one can make without running into Apple's barriers, but that can be easily fixed through jailbreaking.

Jailbreaks are usually available awhile after Apple releases a new iOS version, and in the case of iOS 8.3 the first jailbreaking tool, made by the TaiG team of modders, just arrived. Here is what you need to know about it.

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WhatsApp Calling now available on Windows Phone

WhatsApp Windows Phone logo

WhatsApp officially introduced voice calling in mid-March, after a couple of months of private testing. The feature, which was announced a year before, arrived on Android first, making its way to iOS less than a month after. Windows Phone users, however, were left waiting.

But, thanks to the latest update to the Windows Phone app, WhatsApp Calling is now also available for those using the tiled smartphone operating system.

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Microsoft releases June 2015 firmware updates for Surface Pro 3, Surface 3

Surface 3 + Surface Pro 3

It is that time of the month again when Microsoft releases new firmware updates for its Surface tablets. And this time around the devices for which updated firmware is offered are Surface Pro 3 and Surface 3.

Surface Pro 3, being the oldest slate of the two, has received regular firmware upgrades since June 2014, with one offered just last month, but for Surface 3, June 2015 marks the release of its first firmware update. Here is everything that is new.

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Windows 10 Mobile is a second-class citizen for Microsoft -- but it will change soon

wp10051_lumia925

Even though Windows 10 and Windows 10 Mobile are part of the same "One" product strategy, the two feel like two separate projects at Microsoft. There are many commonalities and a similar core, but while Windows 10 has evolved tremendously since the technical preview build that arrived in January, the development of its mobile counterpart has progressed at a glacial pace. Windows 10 almost looks ready for its July 29 launch, but Windows 10 Mobile is far, far from being ready for prime time.

That is because the teams working on the upcoming operating system have devoted more of their attention to the PC version, leaving Windows 10 Mobile in the background. Microsoft is wise to play the PC card, as that is a market which it singlehandedly dominates, but not treating smartphones equally could be another mistake it is making on the mobile front. This is about to change.

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Microsoft clears up confusion surrounding Windows 10 Insider licensing

woman texting secretly

Right before the weekend my colleague Brian Fagioli explained how basically everyone can get a valid Windows 10 license for free. The best part about it is that you do not even need a valid Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 license, even though that is what Microsoft had previously told us, to upgrade from. Or do you?

Shortly after, however, Microsoft apparently had a change of heart, deciding to alter the blog post which announced this so that it reads like users still need a Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 license to take advantage of its free upgrade deal. And this has generated plenty of confusion, with Microsoft's own Gabriel Aul seemingly writing one thing in the latest version of the said blog post and saying something else after on Twitter. It is amateur hour at Microsoft, people.

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Microsoft discounts Surface Pro 3 by up to $150

Surface Pro 3 with red Type Cover keyboard

Microsoft Surface Pro 3 may be a year old at this stage, but it remains one of the best Windows 8.1 devices on the market. Touted as "the tablet that can replace your laptop", it works well in the office and on the go, thanks to a large touchscreen, powerful processors and long battery life.

And if you are interested in getting a Surface Pro 3 -- perhaps in time for Father's Day, as it would make an awesome gift -- then you should know that, for a limited time, Microsoft has discounts of up to $150 on the Intel Core i5 and Core i7 models.

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