Mark Wilson

Twitter launches Moments to help bring tweets to the masses


If you're a Twitter user, you undoubtedly love it. If you're not, you probably either hate it, or find it confusing. Today Twitter launches Moments in a bid to make itself more appealing to beginners by helping to provide a gentle step up into the crazy world of tweets, and by bringing context to timelines.

Times they are a-changing at Twitter with Jack Dorsey now the fulltime CEO, and the prospect of curated content from reputable sources could be what is needed to take things to the next level. Part of the problem with Twitter is the sheer volume of content that is out there -- and it is generated very quickly; for newbies, it can be completely overwhelming. Moments is an attempt to cut through the crap and present news and stories in a meaningful and accessible way.

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The new Microsoft Band is (much) better-looking and has two-day battery life


Microsoft appears to have learned from its mistakes. Its first wearable, the Microsoft Band was a cheap and cheerful affair -- although there wasn’t really all that much to be cheerful about in all honesty. Today the company unveiled the second edition of the Band, and the look is in line with the leaked images from a couple of weeks ago.

With the latest version of the Band, Microsoft has gone back to the drawing board and come up with a design that is sleek and stylish, and features a curved screen. The health and fitness tracker is nicely rounded, and the curved display is strengthened with Gorilla Glass 3. There are now no fewer than 11 built in sensors, including a new barometer for measuring altitude.

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Top court rules European-US Safe Harbor data sharing agreement invalid


The European Court of Justice has ruled that the Safe Harbor agreement that is in place between technology companies is invalid. The agreement covers the sharing of data between the EU and the US but the court said there are insufficient privacy and data protection checks in place.

European law dictates that data should only be shared with and transferred to countries that offer a comparable level of data protection to the EU. The Safe Harbor agreement has been in operation for around 15 years, but after concerns that European data could be shared with the likes of the NSA it means that companies such as Facebook, Google, and Apple could be sharing data illegally.

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EFF joins Nameless Coalition and demands that Facebook kills its real names policy


Facebook has come under heavy criticism for its real names (or 'authentic identities' as they are known to the social network) policy. Over the last year, all manner of rights groups and advocates have tried to convince Facebook to allow users to drop their real name in favor of a pseudonym if they want.

Now the Electronic Frontier Foundation is part of the 74-member strong Nameless Coalition and has written to Facebook demanding a rethink on the ground of safety, privacy, and equality. This is far from being the first time Facebook has been called on to allow the use of 'fake names', and the latest letter is signed by LGBT groups, freedom advocates, privacy supporters, and feminist organizations.

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Snowden says GCHQ's Smurf programs can tap, hack, and control any smartphone


In an interview with BBC Panorama, Edward Snowden made further revelations about the capabilities of government agencies. Having blown the whistle on the NSA, Snowden has also shed light on the activities of the UK equivalent, GCHQ.

In tonight's interview, the former NSA contractor spoke of the agency's "Smurf Suite" -- a collection of tools that can be used to intercept and control smartphones, even if they're turned off. Named after the blue cartoon characters, the Smurf tools can be deployed via encrypted text message without alerting the handset owner.

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Edward Snowden would be willing to go to jail... if the US government would speak to him


Currently in exile in Russia, Edward Snowden recently joined Twitter to give him a public platform to communication with the world. With global interest in surveillance and privacy, the NSA whistleblower still conducts TV and newspaper interviews, and in a BBC interview he reveals that he would be willing to serve prison time.

He has even offered his freedom to the US government... but no one has responded to him. Praised and vilified in just about equal measure, Snowden faces prosecution under the Espionage Act for leaking documents about the activities of the NSA.

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As fulltime CEO, Jack Dorsey wants to make Twitter 'great' and impact the world


He has been interim CEO for some time now, but today Jack Dorsey has been officially appointed as CEO of Twitter. Three months after Dick Costolo stepped down from the role, Dorsey is now the head of not only Square, but also Twitter, bringing to an end months of rumor and speculation.

As one of the founders of the company, Dorsey has an unrivalled knowledge of where Twitter comes from, what is at its heart, and where it should be heading. The board of Twitter is due for an overhaul, and one of the first announcements is the appointment of Adam Bain as COO, but there are almost certainly more exciting announcements on the horizon.

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How to stop Windows 10 messing up your drivers


The update process in Windows 10 has proved controversial. There was upset at the fact that updates are not optional, and this in turn led to driver updates breaking people's computers.

We have already looked at the steps you can take to stop Windows 10 installing automatic updates, but what about if you want to keep Windows 10 up to date while retaining manual control of when drivers are updated? Read on to find out how to stop Windows 10 messing up your drivers.

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Apple is the best brand in the world


Interbrand has published its Best Global Brands 2015 list. As in previous years, technology companies are well-represented in the list, and this time around it is Apple that takes the top slot. The company, which just launched the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus is valued at $170 billion -- an increase of 43 percent.

Google finds itself in second place with a $120 billion valuation (up 12 percent from last year), and Microsoft is not far behind in fourth position with a valuation of $67 billion. IBM and Samsung are in fifth and seventh place, and an increase in value of 29 percent to $37 billion sees Amazon just creeping into the top ten. Further down the list there are some new arrivals to note.

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Leaked Windows 10 Build 10558 has new features that you might actually be interested in


It seems like it has been a while since there was a new build of Windows 10 -- official or leaked -- but Wzor has come up with the goods once again. This time around we are treated to a leak of Windows 10 Build 10558 and Microsoft has added new goodies and changed a few things, making this one of the most interesting Windows 10 builds in ages.

There are some cosmetic changes here and there, but the addition of new apps -- such as Microsoft Phone -- shows that progress is being made as we move towards Threshold 2. As well as updates to the operating system itself, there are also important changes to Microsoft Edge.

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Teardowns show iPhone 6s is more waterproof -- and get iFixit app pulled from the App Store


For the curious-minded, iFixit is an essential resource. The hardware teardowns on the site have become legendary, revealing the innards of the latest and greatest phones and tablets better than anyone else. Two recent iFixit teardowns have had interesting results.

Following the release of the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus, analysis of the internals suggested that the handsets would be more waterproof than previous models -- not something Apple has shouted about. But the outcome of the Apple TV and Siri Remote teardowns were rather less pleasing for the site: they resulted in the iFixit app being pulled from the App Store. By Apple.

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Microsoft buys game physics company Havok from Intel


Microsoft seems to be placing increased importance on gaming. The latest in its list of acquisitions is game physics company Havoc which has been bought from Intel for an undisclosed fee. Used in titles such as Assassins Creed, Call of Duty, and Halo, Havoc's physics and AI solutions will be an important weapon in Microsoft's gaming arsenal alongside DirectX 12.

Announcing the acquisition, Microsoft says it will "work with developers to create great gaming experiences, and continue to license Havok's development tools to partners".

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Future laptops could optimize battery life by learning your usage patterns


There's one thing that everybody looks for in a mobile device -- long battery life. There are constant promises of technological breakthroughs that are just around the corner, but rather than waiting for these to come to fruition, Microsoft researchers have decided to come up with a different solution.

Instead of using a new battery type, Microsoft Research workers have devised a system that using currently available battery technology in conjunction with smarter software. Known as Software Defined Batteries, the system uses multiple batteries, and management software is used to pick the most suitable power source depending on the task that is being performed.

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Developers can now respond to reviews in the Chrome Web Store


Reviews can be an important factor in deciding which app or extension to install. The idea of user reviews is something that has been adopted by Apple in its App Store, and is also used by Microsoft and in Google Play. The Chrome Web Store also features reviews, and a new feature has just been added that could make them more useful than ever -- the ability for developers to respond.

This is an important change as it gives developers the right of reply. When reading a review written by someone you almost certainly don't know, it can be hard to tell if their opinion should be trusted. Did they rate the app or extension poorly because there is a problem with it, or did they not understand how to do something. Giving developers the chance to reply to reviews allows for greater transparency and allows others to see that the developer in question is reading feedback -- but it may not all be good news.

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Amazon to cease sale of Apple TV and Chromecast


As of 29 October, shoppers will no longer be able to buy Apple TV or Chromecast devices from Amazon. Citing compatibility issues with Prime Video, Amazon emailed marketplace sellers to inform them it is not accepting new listings for the two media devices, and any existing listings will be removed at the end of October.

The move indicates not only the importance Amazon places on its streaming Prime Video service, but also that it views Apple and Google as serious rivals. The two companies have yet to respond to the news, but it is unlikely to be well-received.

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