Mark Wilson

Apple releases a public beta of iOS 8.3 -- here's how to get it

Apple releases a public beta of iOS 8.3 -- here's how to get it

With Microsoft we've become used to the idea of publicly available preview builds of Windows 10 for desktop and phone. Now Apple is following suit and making iOS 8.3 available as a public beta. This is the first time a public beta of iOS has been released, although Apple has tried the same tactic with betas of OS X.

The beta is in the process of rolling out at the moment, so you may not be able to grab yourself the bits just yet, but you can get yourself in line. What is there to look forward to? Not much at the moment, apart from wireless CarPlay and new emoji. Here's how to grab the beta.

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Windows 10 builds will be released faster to Windows Insiders

Windows 10 builds will be released faster to Windows Insiders

The chances of getting a new Windows 10 build this week are starting to look a little thin, but releases are going to be made available more frequently. Writing on Twitter, Gabe Aul said that "we've decided to try to increase pace of Fast", promising that more details would be forthcoming.

Earlier in the week, Aul responded to complaints that new builds were not appearing fast enough, joking that a new release ring called Ludicrous Speed was being considered. Now we've learned that "a good build candidate with some new features" is very close to release.

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Time to migrate to GitHub as Google Code closes

Time to migrate to GitHub as Google Code closes

After nine years, Google Code is closing down. Starting today, it is no longer possible to create new projects, and over the course of the coming ten months, the service will be mothballed. Google Code was Google's attempt to help the open source community by offering somewhere to host projects, but the growth of the likes of GitHub and Bitbucket has taken its toll and Google Code has filled up with spam and abuse.

Competition in the world of project hosting has become fierce, and Google feels it's time to pass on the baton rather than fighting for attention. Google has itself moved many of its own open source projects to GitHub. Don't panic if you’re not quite ready to jump ship -- there's still a little time to play with.

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GCHQ does not engage in indiscriminate blanket surveillance

GCHQ does not engage in indiscriminate blanket surveillance

When Edward Snowden blew the whistle on the activities of the NSA, it sparked a global interest in how internet traffic is monitored. The UK's Intelligence and Security Committee of Parliament today published a report into online surveillance carried out by GCHQ, MI5 and MI6 after an 18-month inquiry.

Among the findings is the conclusion that surveillance is legal, but an overhaul is needed to increase transparency. The suggestion that GCHQ's interception of emails "does not equate to blanket surveillance, nor does it equate to indiscriminate surveillance" is likely to be met with skepticism. But what's likely to raise more eyebrows is the revelation that the agency has apparently managed to crack encryption.

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Reporters Without Borders unblocks access to censored websites

Reporters Without Borders unblocks access to censored websites

Online censorship is rife. In many countries, notably China, citizens are prevented from accessing certain websites at the behest of their government. To help provide access to information and unbiased news, freedom of information organization Reporters Without Borders has set up mirrors to nine censored websites so they can be accessed from 11 countries that blocked them.

As part of Operation Collateral Freedom, Reporters Without Borders is mirroring the likes of The Tibet Post International which is blocked in China, and Gooya News which is blocked in Iran. Mirrored sites are hosted on Amazon, Microsoft and Google servers which are unlikely to be blocked by a censoring country.

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Zuckerberg is a spineless gimp

Zuckerberg is a spineless gimp

Facebook is often a breeding ground for controversy. When it's not being used as platform for mindless idiots to air their dirty laundry, the social network is busy upsetting people for one reason or another. We've had censorship of one sort or another. We've had the debacle surrounding the requirement to use a real name and opening up of custom gender options.

If you're the sort of person who likes to express the way you're feeling through the medium of emoji rather than words, you may well have used Facebook's built in 'I am feeling...' feature. Feeling excited? Don’t type it, just select a starry-eyed smiley. But following a Change.org petition, you can no longer select a predefined option to indicate that you feel fat. Why? Because Mark Zuckerberg is completely spineless.

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Google Cloud Storage Nearline offers cloud backup for just $0.01 per gigabyte

Google Cloud Storage Nearline offers cloud backup for just $0.01 per gigabyte

Cloud storage just got a whole lot cheaper. Starting today, Google is offering Google Cloud Storage Nearline for the insanely low price of $0.01 per gigabyte. You read that correctly; one single, solitary cent for a gigabyte of cloud storage.

This is a service aimed at enterprise customers looking to archive large amounts of data without paying the Earth or compromising on performance too much. Nearline is a service designed for data which does not need to be accessed all that often, but when the need arises, there's a response time of under 3 seconds.

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Google opens its first store

Google opens its first store

Not to be outdone by Microsoft and Apple, Google has opened its first ever store. Located within Currys PC World on Tottenham Court Road in London, this is not a standalone store but a "shop in shop". Going under the predictable moniker of the Google shop, shoppers can expect to find a range of hardware from the search giant.

The stores will give people the opportunity to browse and try out numerous Android smartphones and tablets. Other hardware such as Chromecasts and Chromebooks will also be available. But the Google shop is about more than just hardware, it also gives people the chance to get hands-on with Google software, and attend events and classes -- forget Google Glass, this is Google Class.

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Developing apps for Apple Watch was like 'walking in the dark'

Developing apps for Apple Watch was like 'walking in the dark'

The Apple Watch was announced just a couple of days ago, and the focus has been very much on the hardware so far. But battery life and the amount of storage aside, this is an Apple product, and that means apps are central to its success. Just like the iPhone and iPad, the Apple Watch is a platform on which developers can work their magic.

One such developer is Christoph Burgdorfer, the man behind -- amongst other things -- WhereAreYou App (Locate a friend), a free app that does very much what it says on the tin. It started life as an iPhone and Android app, but the emergence of Apple Watch opens up another possibility. I caught up with Christoph to chat about what it was like to develop for an unreleased product, and whether Apple got it right with the Apple Watch.

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Apple Watch storage is rubbish just like the battery

Apple Watch storage is rubbish just like the battery

We've had a little time to digest the announcement about the Apple Watch. Many people will be disappointed to learn about the battery life of Apple's first smartwatch, but there's still room for a little more dissatisfaction. Turn your attention, if you will, to storage.

At the Apple Watch launch event, Apple said nothing about the device's storage. Perhaps with good reason. iPhone owners have already complained that their devices do not have enough storage space, and this is a complaint that could be levelled at the Apple Watch as well. There's just 8GB of storage. If this sounds like it makes the device somewhat inflexible, there's worse news. Apple also places restrictions on how you can use this space.

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New Windows 10 build could come this week -- as could a 'Ludicrous Speed' ring!

New Windows 10 build could come this week -- as could a Ludicrous Speed ring!

When it was announced that Microsoft was making Windows 10 available as a public preview, there were promises of frequent build updates. There have now been a number of builds of Windows 10 Technical Preview, but as it has now been more than a month since the last update, the natives are starting to get restless. We've had to keep our interest piqued with screenshot leaks.

Gabe Aul has taken to the official Windows blog to explain why builds seem to be taking longer to be released. He goes on to reveal that we could see a new build this week or next week. So what's been going on?

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Apple Watch battery life sucks

Apple Watch battery life sucks

At the Apple Watch event in San Francisco yesterday, Apple took the wraps off one of the most eagerly awaited wearables ever. In recent weeks, lots of rumors had crept out about the Apple Watch -- pricing, what it would be able to do, and so on -- but one thing was hotly debated: what would the battery life be like?

Yesterday we were promised that the battery would last 'all day'... but what does this actually mean? Apple has published usage scenario details that reveal owners of the device can expect to see anything from 3 to 48 hours of usage -- quite a range.

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Google unwraps a new Lollipop -- Android 5.1

Google unwraps a new Lollipop -- Android 5.1

Many people may still be waiting for Android 5.0 Lollipop to make its way to their smartphone, but today Google released Android 5.1. This may have been a day dominated by the Apple Watch and new MacBook, but by launching an updated version of Lollipop on the same day, Google managed to avoid too much attention.

Was this done on purpose because of the small number of handsets that will be in line to receive Android 5.1? Or could it be because there are few stand out features to get excited about? There may be little new, but the performance and stability improvements will be welcomed by those eligible for the upgrade.

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Apple refreshes MacBook Air and MacBook Pro range with speed boosts

Apple refreshes MacBook Air and MacBook Pro range with speed boosts

If the Apple Watch and new MacBook were not enough, Apple had more hardware to reveal at today's launch event. In addition to the 'regular' MacBook (if such a word is really applicable), there was also the updated 13-inch MacBook Pro with Retina Display.

Key changes include the addition of a fifth generation Intel Core processor, improved battery life, and double-speed flash storage as well as the Force Touch trackpad. Updated 11-inch and 13-inch MacBook Airs were also unveiled, with the larger model gaining a fifth generation Intel Core processor, Intel HD Graphics 6000, Thunderbolt 2, and faster storage.

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Apple announces all-new MacBook in gold, silver and space gray

Apple announces all-new MacBook in gold, silver and space gray

The highlight of today's Apple event was undoubtedly the Apple Watch, but there was also time to announce the all-new MacBook. The first and most obvious change is that this time around, Apple's laptop will be available in three different colors -- gold, silver and space gray.

Portability is very much the name of the game with this new release. The MacBook weighs in at a mere two pounds, and is just 13.1 mm thick -- including the wafer-thin display which measures less than 1 mm. This is the lightest MacBook ever and, like the Apple Watch, Apple is promising that you will get all day usage from a full battery charge.

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