Mark Wilson

Google's Accelerated Mobile Pages will speed up the web in 2016


It's now a few weeks since Google announced Accelerated Mobile Pages. When the project was unveiled, there were just 30 or so partners on board and no indication of when AMP would be made available to everyone. Today Google reveals that the acceleration program will start to roll out early next year.

There are now, according to Google, thousands of publishers who have expressed interest in AMP. With many of these representing a large number of newspapers, TV and radio stations, the range of content is looking promising. As this is Google, a focus on ads should be expected, and now Outbrain, AOL, OpenX, DoubleClick, and AdSense are adopting the AMP spec.

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Critical Zen Cart vulnerability could spell Black Friday disaster for online shoppers


It's around this time of year, with Black Friday looming and Christmas just around the corner, that online sales boom. Today security firm High-Tech Bridge has issued a warning to retailers and shoppers about a critical vulnerability in the popular Zen Cart shopping management system.

High-Tech Bridge has provided Zen Cart with full details of the security flaw which could allow remote attackers to infiltrate web servers and gain access to customer data. Servers running Zen Cart are also at risk of malware, meaning that hundreds of thousands of ecommerce sites pose a potential danger.

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Mozilla launches new JavaScript-based Add-ons Validator for developers


Like apps hitting a store, browser add-ons have to go through validation to ensure that they work properly and are secure. This is the case with Firefox, and developers will be only too aware that the validation tool provided by Mozilla is unreliable and difficult to use.

Today the company announces that the old Python-based validator could soon be a thing of the past and unveiles a new version of the tool based on pure JavaScript. Although described as "not production-ready", Mozilla is looking for feedback, and is making the tool available for testing.

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Microsoft messes up its gender diversity by ditching female employees


Every technology company is keen to develop as diverse a workforce as possible -- even if only for appearances. Microsoft, like Google and Apple, has taken to publishing its diversity figures, and the latest report is rather mixed.

While Microsoft says that racial diversity has increased slightly, the same cannot be said of the gender balance. The overall percentage of woman at the company has dropped by 2.2 percentage points, and Microsoft has an excuse straight from the 'my dog ate my homework' school of thought: restructuring its phone hardware business meant dumping a lot of women.

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UK's Trident nuclear weapons could be hit by cyberattacks


The UK's former defense secretary Des Browne has issued a stark warning that the country's nuclear weapons could be vulnerable to cyberattacks. The Trident program is already a highly-divisive subject, and Browne is seeking assurance from the Prime Minister that it is secured against attacks from hostile states such as China and Russia.

He has called upon the government to perform an end-to-end assessment of the system. The US had previously warned that it could not be confident that its own defenses and those of its allies would be capable of withstanding a cyberattack from a "sophisticated and well-resourced opponent".

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ProtonMail: banning encryption won't stop terrorism


In the panic that followed the attacks on Paris by ISIS there have been calls for various measures to be put in place to stop similar atrocities happening in the future. As well as calls for an increase in online surveillance, politicians have also suggested that encryption should be weakened or banned entirely.

Secure email service ProtonMail found itself the subject of unwanted attention when it transpired that ISIS recommended using it to evade detection. The company has remained silent about the post-Paris backlash; until now.

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WordPress site undergoes a major redesign, desktop app launches, code goes open source


A huge proportion of the web is powered by WordPress -- more than a quarter, in fact. As a CMS it's incredibly flexible, and today the company unveiled not only a new look for, but also a desktop app for easier site maintenance.

It has taken a long time for a desktop app to appear, and this is something that's all the more surprising when you consider that mobile apps are already available. To start with, it's Mac users who are treated to WordPress goodness, but Linux and Windows versions are on the way as well.

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Awaken the Force! Choose the light side or dark to give Google a Star Wars makeover


Even if you're not a fan, it can't have escaped your attention that there's a new Star Wars movie coming out soon. Google is as excited as millions of fans are, and to celebrate Star Wars: Episode VII The Force Awakens it is giving you the chance to give Google apps and services a Star Wars makeover.

Choose to join the light side or the dark side, and Gmail, Google search, and more will be customized in a Star Wars style. Like the idea of being shown how to get to your destination by an X-Wing flying down the streets in Google Maps? Consider it done! But there's a lot more to look out for...

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Earn yourself spendable Bitwalking dollars with your daily perambulations


Ordinarily, if you want to receive money just for walking you'd need to do a sponsored walk -- and that money's supposed to go to charity -- or get yourself a job as a dog walker. But how does the idea of getting paid just for the walking you do each and every day sound? That's exactly what Bitwalking promises.

With a name clearly inspired by the Bitcoin cryptocurrency, Bitwalking works in a couple of ways. Walkers can earn 1 Bitwalking dollar (BW$) for every 10,000 steps they take, and these can be spent in an online store, or converted into cash. The system uses a smartphone to count steps, but there are also plans to produce a wristband.

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Apple video explains how to use Apple Pay to pay for things... like apples


There's quite a lot of competition in the digital payment arena at the moment. Apple Pay is one of the latest to join the likes of Samsung Pay and Android Pay, and Apple is keen to demonstrate just how easy it is to use its payment system.

For many people, using a smartphone to pay for coffee is an intuitive process, but Apple wants to sell its service to more people. The company needs to break down any barriers that might be standing in the way of new users adopting Apple Pay, and this is the reason for the appearance of a video that serves as a 'how to' guide.

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Microsoft shoots itself in the foot using AppComparison to lure Android users to Windows 10 Mobile


After the slightly disappointing launch of Windows 10 -- at least in terms of reception, if not in terms of numbers (well, it was free) -- Microsoft is now switching its focus to Windows 10 Mobile. The aim now is to try to capture Android and iPhone users, convincing them that a Windows-based smartphone is a smart move.

But there's the problem of apps. It's something that crops up time and time again. Microsoft simply doesn't have the support of mobile developers in the same way that other platforms do. Not that Microsoft would admit this of course. To try to convince people that the 'app gap' no longer exists, the company has released AppComparison for Android to show off how many of the apps you use are available for Windows 10 Mobile. The problem is, there are still lots that simply don't exist.

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Is Yahoo locking you out of your email account for using an ad blocker?


Yahoo has sparked controversy by preventing some users from accessing their email accounts if they have an ad blocker installed. It's something that seems to be restricted to the US at the moment, and Yahoo says it is testing out the block on a "small number of Yahoo Mail users".

Edward Snowden recently said that people have a duty to use an ad blocker, and it seems that nearly 20 percent of web users have followed his advice. Just like Google, Yahoo makes a large proportion of its income through advertising, but affected Yahoo Mail users feel that the company is holding their email accounts to ransom.

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Windows 10's privacy invading features aren't gone in Threshold 2


Since the launch of Windows 10, there have been various concerns relating to privacy. Some would dismiss this as little more than paranoia, but a lack of transparency about what was happening in the background broke a lot of people's trust. Many hoped that the release of the Threshold 2 update this month would address this, but in lots of cases it was actually a backward step.

In the RTM release of Windows 10, there was a service running in the background called Diagnostics Tracking Service (also known as DiagTrack), and people concerned about privacy -- who were in the know -- disabled it. In Threshold 2, this service is gone. A cause for celebration you might think; but think again. The service is still there, just under a different guise.

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iPad Pro adoption is in the toilet


With the level of excitement that surrounded the launch of the iPad Pro, it would be reasonable to expect sales to be high. They're not. Adoption of this particular model are the slowest for any iPad version yet.

It may only be a week since launch, but Apple would almost certainly be hoping that the new Pro version of its tablet would have captured more than 0.3 percent of the iPad market. Not even the tablet market, just iPads. Experts suggest that part of the reason for this is confusion about who the iPad Pro is aimed at.

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LG Watch Urbane 2nd Edition launch cancelled


The hotly anticipated LG Watch Urbane 2nd Edition -- the first Android Wear device with cellular support -- may never be released. LG has cancelled plans for a global rollout of the smartwatch after the discovery of a 'complicated' hardware issue.

At the moment it is not clear whether the wearable will ever see the light of day as LG is investigating quality standards. The company has not provided any details about the nature of the problem, but the decision to cancel such a huge launch is not one that will have been taken lightly.

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