Mark Wilson

Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen pledges $100 million to tackle Ebola

tackle_ebola

Saying "the Ebola virus is unlike any health crisis we have ever experienced and needs a response unlike anything we have ever seen," Paul Allen, co-founder of Microsoft, pledged millions of dollars to help tackle the virus. The billionaire philanthropist increased his commitment to "at least $100 million" and called on others to contribute as well.

Ebola has now claimed the lives of more than 5,000 people, and Allen is keen to help fund not only heathcare professionals and treatments, but also the evacuation of international aid workers. Allen's #TackleEbola website is being used as a hub to raise money for a number of individual projects and causes such as household protection kits and hand-washing stations.

Continue reading

Android Wear update adds GPS support as Sony SmartWatch 3 orders open

Android Wear update adds GPS support as Sony SmartWatch 3 orders open

There are now a lot of smartwatches to choose from, and many of them need to be tethered to a phone to function properly. Google today rolls out an update to Android Wear that adds support for watches with a GPS sensor, meaning that it will be possible to leave your phone at home when you go for a run.

The GPS update is making its way to the LG G Watch, the Samsung Gear Live, and the Moto 360 over the coming days. It coincides with pre-orders opening for Sony's SmartWatch 3, the first Android Wear device to include a GPS sensor. The smartwatch is available on Verizon right now (yours for $249.99) for shipping on 30 October, and will be making its way to Google Play very soon.

Continue reading

42 percent of American PC users suffer daily or weekly attacks on personal data

42 percent of American PC users suffer daily or weekly attacks on personal data

A new survey conducted by Microsoft shows that more than one in four PC owners in the US is suffering weekly, or even daily, attempts by criminals to gain access to their private data. Microsoft found that 22 percent of tablet users suffered similar data access attempts, and that general levels of concern about scams has increased. While "traditional" scams -- such as those asking for upfront payments or relating to fake lottery winnings -- have actually decreased, there are now more social media-based scams than a couple of years ago.

It's not all bad news. While scams might be on the increase, web users are seemingly more aware of the risks involved in using the internet and take proactive steps to protect themselves and their data. As more people use mobile devices to get online, more phone and tablet users are taking precautions.

Continue reading

Ello pockets $5.5 million, legally pledges to never feature ads

Ello pockets $5.5 million, legally pledges to never feature ads

Out of nowhere, Ello exploded, ninja-style, into the public eye. The social network shot to fame after Facebook's real name policy sent many users scuttling off in search of a new home, and the spartan, "beautiful" (Ello's word, not mine) social network welcomed an influx of new users. In addition to the "use whatever name you want" philosophy, users were happy to find that Ello offered a completely ad-free experience.

Now the lack of ads has been enshrined in law. While pocketing $5.5 million in a new round of venture funding, Ello has converted to a State of Delaware Public Benefit Corporation (PBC). The social network vows to never show nor sell ads, and requires this commitment to transfer to any future owner, should the company be acquired.

Continue reading

Windows 10 to include built-in two-factor authentication

Windows 10 to include built-in two-factor authentication

We've looked at the two public builds of the Windows 10 Technical Preview -- the initial, disappointing, embryonic build 9841, and the very slightly less disappointing build 9860 -- but of course the best is still to come. There are many features we expect to find their way into the final build, such as Cortana, and there are sure to be many surprises. One interesting inclusion is built-in two-factor authentication.

The presence of this valuable security feature is revealed by Jim Alkove in a post on the Windows blog in which he talks about the importance of identity protection and general security. He explains that Windows 10 will start to move users away from single factor authentication -- the humble password -- in favor of more secure options.

Continue reading

Microsoft is killing Xbox Music free streaming

Microsoft ending Xbox Music free streaming from 1 December

Microsoft is pushing music fans towards Music Pass by cutting off one supply of free streaming music. On December 1st, the free streaming feature of Xbox Music will be no more, leaving Windows 8, Windows 8.1, and web users looking for new ways to satisfy their music streaming cravings.

In an announcement posted on the Xbox website, Microsoft explains that it wants to encourage music fans into signing up for a paid Xbox Music Pass. The posts explains that there is a free 30 day trial available, but once this is up, the charge is $9.99 per month. Is this likely to fly with users who have been enjoying music for free? That remains to be seen...

Continue reading

Kinect apps come to the Windows Store, Kinect SDK 2.0 and adaptor kit launch

Kinect apps come to the Windows Store, Kinect SDK 2.0 and adaptor kit launch

Kinect has moved on. Once a peripheral that encouraged gamers to dance manically in front of their consoles, it has now evolved into something rather more sophisticated. As part of Kinect's on-going development Microsoft today released Kinect SDK 2.0 following the developer preview program from last November. Developers not only have scores of improvements to enjoy, but they now have the ability to deploy Kinect apps to the Windows Store.

This news goes hand in hand with the release of a new Kinect adaptor. The adaptor makes it possible to take an Xbox One Kinect and connect it to a PC or tablet. There's no need to choose between a Kinect for Windows v2 and Kinect for Xbox One as they both now perform identically.

Continue reading

Google launches Inbox, the smart inbox that 'works for you'

Google launches Inbox, the smart inbox that 'works for you'

Hands up if your inbox is out of control? From that quick show of hands, it's clear that the idea of inbox zero has not caught on globally. We all have more email to deal with than ever before, even if most of it is junk. Google has a new solution to email overload. Inbox. This is, Google is quick to point out, not Gmail, although it is from the same people.

Available for your Android phone and the web, Inbox by Google helps to cut through the crap to ensure that you're free to focus on what actually matters. It expands on some of the ideas already found in Gmail, but is a completely separate tool. This is Google recognizing that people use email not only to communicate with others, but also to organize their lives and keep on top of a schedule.

Continue reading

Here's what's new in Windows 10 Technical Preview build 9860

Windows 10 Technical Preview build 9860

Development of Windows has been criticized in the past for being slow. With the Technical Preview of Windows 10, it's just not possible to level the same complaint at Microsoft. It's only a couple of weeks since we got our grubby little hands on the embryonic build 9841 and tens of thousands of users have provided feedback. Now it's upgrade time. Build 9860 has been pushed out -- through Windows Update, no less... none of this messy ISO malarkey this time around -- so it's time to take a look at the work Microsoft has done.

When build 9841 was released, there was disappointment from many quarters -- including here -- at just how little had changed since Windows 8.1. Jumping up 19 build numbers might not seem like much, but there are now a couple of features that were talked about at the launch of the Technical Preview that were not available in the first release -- but still no Cortana.

Continue reading

Google takes Firebase under its wing in latest cloud acquisition

Google takes Firebase under its wing in last cloud acquisition

Firebase, a company helping developers to produce apps and services that store and sync data in realtime, is the latest Google acquisition. With a user base of 110,000 developers three-year-old Firebase announced that it is joining Google and plans to continue the work it already does, but pointing out it will be possible to "do much more, much faster" with Google's resources and backing.

With Firebase's focus on the cloud and mobile, it is little surprise that Google's own announcement about the acquisition came on the Google Cloud Platform Blog. The two companies appear to be a good match, with Firebase's aim to "continue to be platform agnostic and provide clients for iOS, Android, the web, and more" being very much in keeping with Google's own ethos.

Continue reading

Download Windows 10 Technical Preview build 9860 now!

Download Windows 10 Technical Preview build 9860 now!

Windows 10 Technical Preview has just been updated. We've been working with build 9841 for a little while, and now it's time for an upgrade.

Today, Microsoft releases build 9860 to people signed up to the Windows Insider Program, and there are a number of key additions. There's the Action Center to handle notifications, new animations, and improved multi-monitor handling.

Continue reading

Log into Gmail with a USB drive -- Google adds support for Security Key

Log into Gmail with a USB drive -- Google adds support for Security Key

Two factor authentication (or two step verification, if you prefer) is very a la mode at the moment. Actually, it has been pushed by companies for some time, but a number of high profile security problems recently has brought it back to public attention again.

Enabling the security feature usually means entering a password as normal, in addition to a passcode sent to a mobile device. Today, Google makes things a little easier for, in its own words, "particularly security-sensitive individuals" by introducing support for Security Key.

Continue reading

Apple CEO Tim Cook writes to employees after Q4 2014 earnings call

Apple CEO Tim Cook writes to employees after Q4 2014 earnings call

Still in buoyant mood after the launch of the iPhone 6, Apple Watch, and iPad Air 2 -- even the Mac mini -- Apple gave its Q4 2014 earnings call yesterday. CEO Tim Cook announced that the company generated $42.1 billion in revenue in the quarter and a net profit of $8.5 billion, up from $37.5 billion and $7.5 billion for the same period last year. Referring to the "biggest iPhone launch ever", Cook explained that Apple is due to enter the holiday season with its "strongest product lineup ever".

He explained that 60 percent of the quarter's revenue came from international sales, and sales have gone up in just about every area of the company with the exception of iPad and iPod sales. The iPhone remains the biggest seller (some 39.272 million units, up 16.2 percent), and Mac sales are also strong (5.52 million units, up 20.7 percent).

Continue reading

The faces behind the biggest apps in the world [infographic]

The faces behind the biggest apps in the world

Whatever your mobile platform of choice, there are some apps which are all but impossible to avoid. Some -- like Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube -- have reasonably dull histories; we all know the corporations behind their creation. But there are plenty of other big names with less well known histories. A new infographic from IrishApps.org reveals the stories behind some famous titles, and reveal the fortunes they have generated.

For example, did you know that Flappy Bird was originally going to be called Flap Flap, and was put together in just two days? Or that the founder of Summly was just 17 years old when he sold his app to Yahoo? How about the fact that the Ukrainian developer of WhatsApp is estimated to be worth $7 billion?

Continue reading

Forget Mighty Mouse... forget Mickey Mouse... meet Music Mouse! [Review]

Forget Mighty Mouse... forget Mickey Mouse... meet Music Mouse! [Review]

Sometimes a device that does a single job just doesn’t cut the mustard. See those speakers cluttering up valued space on your desk? Be gone foul cones; your services are required no more! Are we foregoing music? Not a bit of it! We are switching to a wireless mouse with an integrated Bluetooth speaker! At least we are if it turns out to be any good...

Things don’t get off to a great start. The Seenda IBT-C04 Music Mouse looks reasonable enough, if slightly retro; but in the hand it's big and angular. There is a slight nod to ergonomics and even a slightly rubberized grip area where your thumb falls, but from the offset it's not comfortable. Perhaps the minor discomfort is made up for by the extra features.

Continue reading

Mark's Latest Tweets

© 1998-2014 BetaNews, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Privacy Policy.