Mark Wilson

Apple customers can now pay online using PayPal

Apple customers can now pay online using PayPal

If you're looking for a new way to hand your money over to Apple, you're in luck. It's been a long time coming, but Apple now accepts PayPal payment in both the US and the UK online stores. Accepting this method of online payment is something that customers have wanted for some time, but Apple has previously been reluctant to embrace PayPal.

In fact, PayPal was only recently given the cold shoulder by Apple. The company was ignored when Apple Pay was introduced earlier in the year. It seems that relations between the two companies have improved -- there is money to be made, after all.

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YouTube embraces animated GIFs with new beta sharing feature

YouTube embraces animated GIFs with new beta sharing feature

YouTube is a great source of entertainment, but don't you wish that sometimes people would just cut to the chase? There are plenty of videos of epic length, often comprising a massive build up to a short punchline. Why not cut the crap and get to the point?

One way to do this when re-sharing YouTube videos is to convert the interesting portion into an animated GIF, saving viewers time and bandwidth. YouTube itself is getting in on the web's rekindled interest in animated GIFs. A new beta program has been opened up that lets YouTube users transform lengthy videos into snapper clips of up to six seconds in length.

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File sharing in Google Drive and Docs just got easier

File sharing in Google Drive and Docs just got easier

The gradual but relentless move to the cloud is about more than just making it easier to access files from multiple devices. For many people, particularly business and enterprise users, sharing and collaboration is more important. Today Google has made two small but important updates to Drive and Docs that makes file sharing easier than ever.

Now when you start to type the name of someone you would like to share a file with, you will see their profile picture alongside their name. This mimics the way things work in Gmail, and helps you to check you are selecting the right people.

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Surface Pro 3 is one of the most breakable tablets you can give this Christmas

Surface Pro 3 is one of the most breakable tablets you can give this Christmas

We're entering the season of giving and receiving, and it's safe to assume that one of the most popular electronic gifts this year will be tablets. With three key platforms to choose from, various price-points, different sizes, and a bewildering array of manufacturers, which one should you opt for? One factor that's well worth considering is durability.

SquareTrade, a company offering extended warranties on electronic devices, has drop-tested ten of the most popular tablets to see which can handle the abuse. The results might surprise you. Perhaps most startling is how poorly some of the big names fared.

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Microsoft now accepts Bitcoin payments in Windows, Windows Phone and Xbox stores

Microsoft now accepts Bitcoin payments in Windows, Windows Phone and Xbox stores

We've heard that 2015 could be the year of cryptocurrencies, and now it seems that Microsoft is getting in on the action ahead of the New Year. There is yet to be a formal announcement, but Microsoft now accepts Bitcoin as a form of payment for apps, games and other digital content.

The virtual currency can be used to make purchases in the Windows Stores, Windows Phone Store and the various stores that exist for Xbox. While Microsoft is yet to issue a statement about the acceptance of Bitcoin, a page has been added to its customer support site that gives some details.

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Google News to close in Spain, Spanish publishers to be dropped globally

Google News to close in Spain, Spanish publishers to be dropped globally

Stories about companies going to all manner of lengths to minimize or completely avoid tax payments are nothing new. Google is no stranger to this, and following new legislation in Spain, the company is shutting down the Spanish version of Google News. This is a bid to avoid paying what has been dubbed the "Google Tax".

The Spanish government is about to bring in legislation that would require Google News to make payments to publishers whose content it uses. The news service will close on 16 December, but the consequences go beyond Spanish web users missing out on Google News.

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Android Wear users can now download watch faces from Google Play

Android Wear users can now download watch faces from Google Play

Google Play is home to apps for every occasion, books to suit every mood, and movies and music for everyone. Today Google announces that Android Wear users can also download a makeover for their wrist wear from the digital store. Watch faces can now be downloaded from Google Play direct to your chosen wearable.

From the serious to the silly, the cheap-and-cheerful to the utterly stylish, you can transform the look of your smartwatch with just a few clicks. And now that the Watch Face API is available to developers, you can expect to see more and more faces popping up over the coming weeks and months.

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Bing-powered Insights for Office brings context-sensitive search to Word Online

Bing-powered Insights for Office brings context-sensitive search to Word Online

Microsoft's current vision is mobile first, cloud first (if two things can be simultaneously first), and this is perfectly demonstrated by what is being done with Office. Office has been pushed to not only mobile devices, but also the cloud and now Word Online gains the power of Bing in the form of Insights for Office.

The new feature makes it possible to perform searches from within Word Online so you can conduct research with fewer clicks. It could be as simple as looking up a definition, or you might be inspired to look up images related to the document you are working on.

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Intel IoT Platform aims to drive adoption of secure Internet of Things

Intel IoT Platform aims to drive adoption of secure Internet of Things

The Internet of Things will see an acceleration in adoption if Intel's plans work out. The chipmaker has just unveiled its own Internet of Things platform called, inevitably, Intel IoT Platform. The aim is to create a unified system that makes it easy for manufacturers to securely connect their devices to others.

The platform is essentially a set of protocols that helps to ensure compatibility between devices. Intel has already forged a number of partnerships with a view to accelerating uptake of and interest in the Internet of Things in general, and Intel IoT specifically.

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Forget male and female, Google+ now supports infinite gender identities

Forget male and female, Google+ now supports infinite gender identities

What's your gender? For some people it's a simple question -- nothing more than checking one of two boxes. But it can get more complicated than simply indicating that you're male or female. Many people feel that gender is not important and would prefer to keep this information to themselves. This is now a wish that Google respects on Google+.

In fact Google is going far beyond this. Starting today Google+ includes support for an infinite number of gender identifies. So whether you would rather not disclose where you fit onto the gender spectrum, or want to proclaim it outside of the confines of the usual binary options, now you can.

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The Pirate Bay is offline following Swedish police raid

The Pirate Bay is offline following Swedish police raid

The Pirate Bay has hit turbulent seas once again. Earlier today torrent users noticed that the site appeared to be offline. This in itself was nothing particularly unusual -- all sites have occasional downtime -- but it soon transpired that the site was down around the world. The Pirate Bay has already been blocked by many ISPs around the world, but it was clear that this was something different.

Now it seems that the reason for the disappearance of the Pirate Bay is a raid by Swedish Police. And it is not just the main site that's gone -- the same fate became the site's forum (Suprbay.org) and associated sites Bayimg.com and Pastebay.net.

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2015 to be the year of biometrics, wearables, cryptocurrency and streaming

2015 to be the year of biometrics, wearables, cryptocurrency and budget devices

Coming to the end of 2014, it's time to start looking to what the year ahead may have to offer. After gazing into its crystal ball, Juniper Research has compiled a list of what it expects to be the biggest technology trends of 2015. Topping the list is a focus on security. Juniper Research predicts that there will be greater interest in encryption and tokenization, as cloud storage providers battle to regain customer trust.

The launch of Apple Pay will help to drive an increased interest in biometrics to help with security, but 2015 is also predicted to be the year that wearables really take off. Now that Apple has entered the arena, there should be a greater focus on aesthetics and smaller players will increase in popularity. Tied in with both security and wearables is a predicted jump in the use of NFC -- for payments, authentication, health and more.

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Google Cloud Platform updated to run Windows applications in the cloud

Google Cloud Platform updated to run Windows applications in the cloud

Google has opened up its arms to Microsoft License Mobility for Google Cloud Platform. Product manager Martin Buhr said that customers had been asking for improved support for Windows-based workloads, and now these wishes are being met. There are several key improvements to Google Compute Engine that help to make Windows on Google a reality.

Microsoft License Mobility is the big news, meaning that Google now supports SQL Server, SharePoint and Exchange Server without the need for extra licenses. The second announcement is the availability of a beta version of Windows Server 2008 R2 Datacenter Edition on Google Compute Engine which opens up the opportunity to run Windows applications in the cloud.

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Barack Obama -- becoming a computer scientist just takes 'a little math and science'

Barack Obama -- becoming a computer scientist just takes "a little math and science"

Today marks the start of the 2014 Computer Science Education Week. As part of this, the second annual Hour of Code is being used to introduce school children to the basics of programming. Students around the world are encouraged to take part in the event which is organized by non-profit Code.org.

The venture has the backing of Barack Obama who is keen to nurture the next generation of coders and computer scientists. And there's no reason to be put off. To quote the president, "becoming a computer scientist isn't as scary as it sounds. With hard work and a little math and science, anyone can do it".

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Windows 10 Technical Preview testers should be able to update to the RTM release

Windows 10 Technical Preview testers should be able to update to the RTM release

There are positives and negatives to being a tester of early versions of Windows. On one hand it means being able to try out new features before they are officially released, but on the other it means putting up with a variety of problems. Preview builds of Windows used to be all but unheard of, but now anyone can get their hands on early bits to get a taste of things to come.

The preview program for Windows 10 has been slightly different to the way things worked in previous early versions of Windows. This time around it is even possible to upgrade to new builds without the need to reinstall from scratch, and it's looking as though it will also be possible to upgrade to the RTM version when it is released next year.

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