Mark Wilson

Google brings Cardboard Camera to iOS for virtual reality fun

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Google's dream of bringing virtual reality to the masses just took another big leap forward. The popular Cardboard Camera app is now available for iOS, giving iPhone users the chance to capture and share VR photos.

For many people Google Cardboard has been all about finding a cheap way to enjoy virtual reality experiences that other people have created. Cardboard Camera gives you the chance to create your own.

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YouTube does not pay musicians enough, says report

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YouTube was criticized recently for preventing content-makers from monetizing videos that covered certain topics. But this is far from being the only complaint levelled at the video site. British music industry body UK Music says that artists are not receiving enough in the way of royalty payment from YouTube.

UK Music's 2016 report, Measuring Music shows that YouTube remains the most popular way for people to consume music in the UK. Despite this, the report says that the effective 'per-stream' payment rate fell from $0.0020 to $0.0010.

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Samsung's exploding Galaxy Note7 batteries wipe billions off its market value

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When batteries in the Samsung Note 7 started catching fire or exploding, everyone knew that the company was in for something of a rocky ride. The initial recall was deemed ineffective, leading Samsung to up its game in the US, UK and around the world.

But while the replacement program for one of 2016's biggest flagship handsets is already under way, investors are starting to feel a little wobbly. In to the estimated five billion dollars the recall and replacement program is going to cost, the value of Samsung shares has plummeted, wiping $14.3 billion off Samsung's market capitalization.

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With its new Surface Pro 4 vs MacBook Air ad, Microsoft just looks pathetic

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For a little while now Microsoft's ad campaigns have been less about highlighting its own products, but a vehicle for knocking others'. It's something we've seen numerous times with the company's Surface ads, and now there's another one.

This time around we see the Surface Pro 4 compared to a MacBook Air. Microsoft says the former is better than the latter because it has a pen. Oh, and a detachable keyboard. But the tone of the ad is just so ridiculous, it serves only to make Microsoft look pathetic.

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Samsung is handling the Galaxy Note7 recall differently in the US and UK

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The launch of the Galaxy Note7 has been nothing short of an unmitigated disaster for Samsung. Following reports of exploding batteries, the company announced a recall of the flagship handset which was criticized by many as not being urgent enough, and is expected to cost millions of dollars.

Sales and shipments of Galaxy Note7s have been stopped around the world, and Samsung has said that once safe handsets are ready, they will be identifiable because of a blue S sticker. The immediate advice is to "power down your device", but the recall is being handled differently around the world. In the UK, customers have been told to return them at the "earliest opportunity", while in the US Samsung says "we strongly advise that you replace it" -- and throws in a $25 gift card to sweeten the deal.

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New features for Twitter Direct Messages transform it into a chat platform

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The market for chat and messaging tools is a busy one, with the likes of WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger and countless others all vying for attention. Keen as ever to appeal to as many users as possible, Twitter is constantly trying to reinvent itself, and it's currently doing this by revamping its Direct Messages feature.

Having already dropped the 140-character limit some time ago, Twitter has now introduced even more features that make it more chat-friendly. Among the changes is a typing indicator which lets chat participants know when others are responding to messages.

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Critics lambast Mark Zuckerberg after Facebook censors iconic image of Vietnam war for nudity [Update -- Facebook backs down]

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The photograph taken by Nick Ut showing Kim Phúc (sometimes referred to a 'napalm girl') fleeing a napalm attack is one of the most iconic images of the Vietnam war. It's a picture that's seared into the memory of anyone who has seen it, and the Pulitzer prize-winning photograph is often held up as an anti-war image.

But Facebook sees things differently. The company saw fit to censor the image by deleting a post by a Norwegian writer who used the photo. The writer, Tom Egeland, was also suspended from the site. Facebook stands accused of abusing its position as "the world's most powerful editor" in a scathing attack by the editor-in-chief and CEO of Norway's largest newspaper, Aftenposten. Today Espen Egil Hansen uses a front page editorial to launch a blistering diatribe against Mark Zuckerberg.

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Google updates its transparency report for removal of copyright material

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Google's regular Transparency Reports make for interesting reading for those with an interest in how the company operates. As well as revealing how Google responds to government requests for data, they also show how it deals with copyright removal requests.

Now the company has updated its reports to make the data easier to read and easier to interpret. It also shows more information about the sites and companies associated with removals.

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Amazon announces Fire HD 8 with quad-core processor and 12-hour battery life

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Today, Amazon reveals details of the latest addition to its Fire range of tablets, the Fire HD 8. As the name would suggest, this is an 8-inch tablet and the key selling point is the fact that it is absolutely dirt cheap.

Of course, this is not its only selling point: there's also 12 hours of battery life -- something which is important for an entertainment-focused device. Much of the hardware has been upgraded from previous models, but it is by no means a powerhouse.

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Chrome to warn users of insecure HTTP sites that transmit passwords or credit card info

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With Chrome, Google is on a mission. A mission to make the internet a safer place. Its ultimate goal is to display a warning that HTTP sites (rather than HTTPS) are insecure, but this is a long-term plan and there are many stages to go.

Starting at the beginning of next year in Chrome 56, the plan moves to its next stage. As of January 2017, any HTTP sites that transmit passwords or credit card details will be flagged up as being insecure.

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Industry analysts question whether Apple has made mistakes with the iPhone 7

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The event is over. The dust has settled. We now know everything there is to know about the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus. Despite all of the new features and cosmetic changes that Apple implemented in its latest smartphone, the focus after the announcement has been very much on the 'courageous' decision to ditch the headphone socket.

Some view this -- as Apple does -- as a move that took courage; others see it as a cynical marketing move that simply opens up yet another line of revenue. But this is not the only change to the iPhone 7 that has raised eyebrows. Many industry experts are questioning other decisions made by Apple. One such person is Richard Stiennon, Chief Strategy Officer at Blancco Technology Group.

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Apple gives and Apple takes away with the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus

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Today Apple unveiled, at long last, the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus complete with a new quad-core A10 Fusion chip and iOS 10. Rumors have been circulating for some time about just what we could expect to see from the company's latest additions to the iPhone family, and many of them have turned out to be true. While much has been added, this years' model is also about taking away.

When it comes to storage, the 16GB is now a thing of the past -- 32GB, 128GB and 256GB models are your new options. As expected, also consigned to history is the traditional headphone socket, although there is a bundled 3.5mm to Lightning headphone adaptor for those who want to stick with their own earpieces rather than the bundled Lightning EarPods (which use Apple's proprietary Lightning technology). Destined to the technology trashcan as well is the clickable Home button, replaced by a touch-sensitive button with haptic feedback.

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How to crack Windows and OS X passwords

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A security researcher has revealed a way to determine the password needed to access a protected Windows or OS X account. Using Rob Fuller's technique, it doesn't matter if the computer in question is locked, and it uses a USB SoC-based device to crack user credentials.

By modifying the firmware of a USB dongle, Fuller was able to make the device appear as an Ethernet adaptor. By spoofing a network connection, it is then possible to trick a target computer into giving up an account password.

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Microsoft opens UK datacenters for Office 365 and Azure

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Microsoft has announced that local datacenters are now available in the UK to Office 365 and Azure customers. This enables companies dealing with UK-only customers to ensure that data remains within the country and fully complies with data protection and privacy laws.

Describing itself as the "first global cloud productivity provider" to offer UK residency for data, Microsoft says Azure and Office 365 are now generally available from multiple data center locations in the UK. It has already attracted the custom of the Ministry of Defence.

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Google shows off improved battery life with Chrome 53

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Chrome has long been held up as an example of software being battery hungry. It's something that Google has been working to address with the Android version of the browser; now the company has turned its attention to the desktop build.

In a new video that highlights the improvements that have been made in recent months, Google compares a Vimeo video running in Chrome 46 to the same video running in Chrome 53 on identical hardware -- a Microsoft Surface Book, since you ask. The results are impressive.

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