Mark Wilson

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).

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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?

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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.

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Apple solders RAM into new Mac mini to block memory upgrades

Apple solders RAM into new Mac mini to block RAM upgrades

This week, Apple unveiled a number of new and updated products. The latest additions to the iPad range were the crowd pleasers, while the iMac with Retina 5K Display was something of a headline-grabber. Yosemite was expected, but the Mac mini refresh came slightly out of the blue.

For anyone looking for a cheap way to get their hands on a Mac, it's a great starting point -- prices start at just $499. But you'd better make sure you select a model with enough RAM when you place your order -- Apple has taken steps that mean it is impossible for buyers to install more memory.

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5 essential tips for staying safe online

5 essential tips for staying safe online

The security of the internet is an on-going concern. Whether you're online for fun, or you're conducting business, there are all manner of pitfalls you may encounter. Issues such as viruses and malware are now widely known about, but these are far from being the only security issues to concern yourself with. Security has been thrown into the limelight once again by high-profile stories like the Fappening, problems with SnapChat, concerns about the Whisper app, and the POODLE SSL 3.0 vulnerability.

A large proportion of companies and individuals are aware of the importance of anti-virus and anti-malware tools, firewalls and the like. Security tools are all well and good, but there's also a lot to be said in favor of changing online behaviors; it's something that the online community and businesses are increasingly coming to understand. Much of what this entails -- taking care about the personal information you share and educating yourself about services before you use them -- is common sense, but it bears repeating.

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iMac with Retina 5K display has the world's highest resolution display -- and a hefty price tag

iMac with Retina 5K display has the world's highest resolution display -- and a hefty price tag

In addition to the expected iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 3, Apple today announced the latest update to the iMac range. The iMac with Retina 5K display's killer feature is the screen which packs a breath-taking 14.7 million pixels into its 27 inches. With a resolution of 5120 x 2880, the new iMac has two thirds more pixels than a 4K display, and four times the number of pixels found on a regular 27 inch iMac. Despite the colossal number of pixels involved, Apple has switch to ultra-efficient LEDs to keep power consumption, and heat production, down.

The system comes with AMD Radeon R9 M290X graphics as standard, but this can be upgraded to AMD Radeon R9 M295X graphics. This is backed up by 8GB of RAM and a 1TB Fusion Drive, and there is the option of upgrading various components if you're happy to part with a little extra cash.

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Twitpic really IS closing, and the deadline is tight to back up your data

Twitpic really IS closing, and the deadline is tight to back up your data

Twitpic was closing, then it wasn't. But now the champagne corks have been well and truly push back into the bottle after news of an acquisition turned out to be a false alarm. Users now have just one week to export their photos and data before Twitpic closes for good on 25 October. Company founder Noah Everett used the Twitpic blog to break the news, explaining that the photos and video sharing service will shut up shop in a week's time.

The last month and a half has been something of a rollercoaster ride for Twitpic and its users. After a trademark application dispute, the original closure announcement came on 4 September with the closure planned for 25 September. A lifeline appeared just two weeks later when it was announced that a buyer had been found.

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Investigation finds 'anonymous' Whisper app secretly tracks user location

Investigation finds Whisper app secretly tracks the location of users

Following all of the NSA revelations, mass surveillance has increased the general level of paranoia to be found online -- although it could be argued that not all surveillance is bad. With everyone on such high alert it's little wonder that an app that described itself as "an anonymous social network that allows people to express themselves" should be so popular. Whisper encourages users to embrace the supposed anonymity it offers and reveal secrets they would not otherwise feel comfortable sharing.

An investigation by the Guardian found that the app is tracking the location of its users -- even those who have opted out of such tracking. As a result of the Guardian's report, Whisper amended its terms of service and introduced a new privacy policy. But the revelations will cause concern to users of the service, who sent more than 2.5 million messages per day.

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When disaster strikes, Safety Check lets people know you're OK... via Facebook

When disaster strikes, Safety Check lets people know you're OK... via Facebook

In times of natural disaster and chaos, people are increasingly turning to social media for news and updates. But while Facebook is a handy way to keep up to date with the latest news about Ebola, earthquakes, and other problems, it's also a valuable means of checking up on loved ones to make sure they're OK. Now the social network has a new tool that makes it easier than ever to let your friends and family know that you’re safe if you happen to be in or near a problem area.

It’s a simple idea. Facebook uses your statuses and check in details to determine where you are. If you happen to be in a disaster area, a message will pop up in your account or mobile app asking if you're OK. You can then indicate that all is well and your friends and family will be able to see that there is no cause for concern.

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Will.i.am launches Puls -- the smartwatch that's not a watch

Will.i.am launches Puls -- the smartwatch that's not a watch

It's not a watch. It's not a watch. It's not a watch. Despite appearances to contrary (it tells the time and is worn on the wrist for starters...), Black Eyed Peas' singer and tech fiend will.i.am is keen to assure us that his new wristband is most definitely not a watch. Unveiling the wearable, the smart cuff, the wristband -- call it what you will, as long as it's not a watch -- at Dreamforce in San Francisco, he showed off the fact that the Puls (pronounced Pulse, not Pulls) can be used to make calls without the need to be paired with a mobile phone.

It's a device that has been teased for quite some time now. Will.i.am has been seen on many occasions with the band on his wrist, but had resisted giving away too many details. Now we know it is a curved screen device complete with its own SIM card, 16GB of memory and 1GB of RAM, and a Siri/Cortana-bating voice recognition system called Aneeda (I need a...).

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Parlez-vous l'internet? Google Translate gains new Chrome extension

Parlez-vous l'internet? Google Translate gains new Chrome extension

The web is truly worldwide, the epitome of globalization and the ever-shrinking world. As much as the McDonaldization of the world means that cultures are on an homogenizing course, there are still plenty of differences to embrace -- language is one of them. Spend just a little time surfing the web and there's a reasonable chance that you'll encounter a foreign language site, or at least a few words and phrases that are beyond your high school French and Latin.

Enter stage right Google Translate. This service of course n'est pas nouveau. In fact Google Translate has been around for ages. Mais maintenant il y a un Chrome extension that makes the translation process easier than ever. Oubliez visiting a dedicated website, now your translation is a mere click away.

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Google and Asus launch Nexus Player for video, music and game-playing

Google and Asus launch Nexus Player for video, music and game-playing

Well... Android Lollipop (née Android 5.0), the Nexus 6 and Nexus 9 were expected, but Google managed to sneak a little 'one more thing' addition to today's batch of announcements. Nexus Player, as you'd probably guess from the name (and certainly from the headline), is a streaming media device. But in addition to catering for all your video and music streaming needs, the device also doubles up as a games console.

In many ways the Nexus Player is an extension of Chromecast -- there is even casting support. Google has teamed up with Asus to bring us a device that not only streams media, but also streams games from phones and tablets. And this aims to be more than a console for casual gamers; there's even a gamepad that's very reminiscent of the Xbox One controller.

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Ireland in tax clampdown targeting Microsoft, Apple, Google, and more

Ireland in tax clampdown targeting Microsoft, Apple, Google, and more

The Irish government is phasing out the so-called 'Double Irish' finance scheme that currently enables companies such as Google and Apple to slash millions (or even billions) of dollars from their tax bills. The scheme works by companies, regardless of where they may be operating in the world, collecting their profits through an Irish office (where tax is already low), and then funneling the money through a subsidiary company located in another tax haven by means of royalty payments.

Companies, like individuals, are understandably keen to keep their tax bills down as much as possible, and will jump through lots of hoops to reduce the amount of tax they have to pay. Offshore bank accounts, subsidiary companies and the like might sound like the makings of something illegal -- which it can be -- but it's a legitimate way to reduce costs. But the fact that something is legitimate doesn't mean that it's popular. At least it's not something that is popular with governments.

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Tracking and tackling Ebola using mobile phone surveillance

Tracking and tackling Ebola using mobile phone surveillance

Mention web or mobile surveillance, and you're sure to raise a few hackles. But the current Ebola outbreak is showing that the data collected from handsets can be extremely useful. The idea of tackling a disease with 'big data' gathered from mobile phones might seem a little odd, but it's actually an incredibly valuable source of information. Telecom firms such as Orange have been working with data scientists, using anonymized data gathered from phones to track population movement in regions affected by Ebola.

The BBC points out that even in relatively poor countries in Africa, mobile phone ownership is still high. Experts have been able to use this data to determine the best places to set up treatment centers, and it's an idea that has been pounced upon by the CDC.

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Security alert: Google drops SSL 3.0 after POODLE attack discovery

Security alert: Google drops SSL 3.0 after POODLE attack discovery

Google's security team has discovered a vulnerability in SSL 3.0 which can be exploited to steal secure cookies and other data. The 15 year old technology is still used as a fallback when connection problems occur as it helps maintain backward compatibility, but the security problems mean that Google will start to phase out support. Details of the exploit have been published and Chrome has today been tweaked to disable SSL 3.0 fallback.

Bodo Möller from Google's security team points out that this move will "break some sites" and that they will need to be updated. This does present some compatibility issues, and the advice is to support TLS_FALLBACK_SCSV instead, at least for the time being.

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