Mark Wilson

LG V20 boasts Android 7.0 Nougat, removable battery, and two screens


LG is something of a quiet player in the mobile market, but that could be set to change with the launch of the LG V20 -- the first smartphone to ship with Android 7.0 Nougat pre-installed. Announced just hours ahead of Apple's iPhone 7 event, LG's new flagship handset boasts more than just the very latest version of Android.

There's a 5.7-inch, 513ppi screen which is supplemented by a secondary 160 x 1040, 513ppi ticker display. On top of this there is a 3,200 mAh removable battery, dual rear cameras, all powered by a Snapdragon 820 processor and 4GB of RAM.

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Android 7.0 Nougat comes to the OnePlus 3 -- but it's a bit of a dog at the moment


Android 7.0 Nougat may be making its way out to Nexus devices, but this accounts for only a tiny proportion of Android users out there. Owners of other handsets are starting to wonder when they will get their hands on Nougat, but rather than waiting for an official rollout, OnePlus 3 users can run Nougat right now thanks to an unofficial Cyanogenmod 14 build.

As this is an unofficial build there are -- as you will no doubt have gathered from the headline -- a few issues to bear in mind. The bad news is that battery life is described as 'horrendous', but the good news is that developers are beavering away trying to improve things. So if you decide to slap this build on your OnePlus 3, what can you expect?

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Adobe Flash Player will live on in Linux


The much loathed Flash Player -- seen these days as little more than a resource hog and security risk -- had been cut loose on Linux. Four years ago Adobe said that the NPAPI version of the Linux version of Flash Player would only receive security patches and no further updates. Now this is changing.

Despite an overwhelming drive to move away from Flash towards HTML5, Adobe has decided to resurrect it on Linux. A beta version of Linux NPAPI Flash Player is now available and will be kept in sync with the modern release branch.

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HSBC uses facial recognition so customers can open new bank accounts with a selfie


Banks around the world are embracing biometrics as a way of securing customers' accounts. HSBC is taking things in a slightly different direction, however, giving business customers the ability to open a new account using a selfie.

While the selfie alone is not enough to open a bank account, it is used as part of the identity verification process. It uses facial recognition software to analyse a selfie taken on a smartphone.

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Microsoft Office rival OpenOffice could be squeezed out of the market due to lack of volunteers


Not everyone is in a position to pay for their office software and this led to a market for free Microsoft Office competitors. One of the best known and most popular is OpenOffice, but the open source project is in trouble.

Volunteer vice president Dennis E. Hamilton has warned that retirement of the project "is a serious possibility". The problem is a combination of a lack of volunteers willingness to work on the project, and the increasing popularity of LibreOffice. The lack of developers means that important security updates are at risk.

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Ireland to appeal against Apple's $14.5 billion EU tax bill


When the European Commission said it believed Apple should pay €13 billion (around $14.5 billion) after enjoying "illegal tax benefits", it wasn't just Tim Cook who was unhappy. The Commission said that the Irish Government had "artificially lowered" Apple's tax bill, and ministers are not happy with the accusation.

After meeting to discuss the matter, ministers are now ready to appeal against the ruling. After Apple said it planned to appeal against the decision, Finance minister Michael Noonan said Ireland planned to do the same.

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43 million account details leaked after 2012 hack


It seems that serious data breaches are all but an everyday occurrence at the moment. At the same time, there have also been instances of historical hacks suddenly coming to light such as the 2012 breach of Dropbox.

But Dropbox was not the only company to suffer an attack in 2012 -- so did music site Now, four years after the hack, details of 43 million accounts have been leaked.

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YouTube tells Philip DeFranco it hasn't changed its policy on demonetizing videos


There has been much wailing and gnashing of teeth from YouTubers in recent days as rumors started to circulate that YouTube was demonetizing videos deemed not "advertiser friendly". Seasoned 'Tuber Philip DeFranco was one of the more high-profile to speak out, likening YouTube's actions to "censoring" people by hitting them in the wallet.

But YouTube has responded to these claims by saying that its policy on video monetization has not changed at all. While YouTubers have just started to complain that video about depression, videos with swearing, videos with controversial subject matter, and so on are being denied the opportunity to make money from ads, YouTube says the only thing that has changed is the way users are notified. DeFranco says this is "very concerning" and reveals that YouTube has clearly been secretly demonetizing videos for a while.

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Apple is cleaning up the App Store by clearing out abandoned apps and limiting name length


Starting next week -- September 7 specifically -- Apple is starting to clear the crap out of the App Store. What does this mean? It means removing what Apple describes as "problematic and abandoned apps", as well as changing the way apps can be named to prevent developers using SEO'd titles for their creations.

Moving forward, app titles will be limited to just 50 characters, reducing the chance of naming them in a deceptive way. Apple appears to have quite a task ahead of it as it plans to review every app currently featured in the App Store, before contacting developers about those with problems.

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Google ditches modular Project Ara smartphone

Project Ara

Google's Project Ara -- a modular smartphone that let users customize their handsets with a range of plugin modules -- has been killed before it even got off the ground. Having started life as a Motorola venture, the first Project Ara smartphone was expected to launch later this year.

As recently as May, Google was talking about shipping a developer version of the phone this autumn, but now it seems that this is not going to happen.

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Three's mobile ad blocking plan blocked by Europe


Mobile operator Three had hoped to roll out a network-wide ad blocking system that would prevent the appearance of up to 95 percent of adverts has been shot down by a European regulator.

Citing net neutrality, the Body of European Regulators for Electronic Communications (Berec) says that Three's plans were incompatible with providing an internet access service. The decision comes despite the fact that Three's ad blocker would have been optional for customers.

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Microsoft gains support from Mozilla, EFF, Google and Apple in fight against US gagging orders


Microsoft is fighting the US Justice Department in an attempt to quash a law that prevents companies informing customers that the government is requesting their data. The technology giant has the backing of other tech companies as well as media outlets.

Amazon, Apple, Google, Fox News, Electronic Frontier Foundation and Mozilla are among those offering their support to Microsoft. The lawsuit says that blocking companies from keeping their customers informed is unconstitutional, and it comes at a time when tech companies in particular are keen to be as open and transparent as possible about government requests for data.

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Facebook Messenger gains Instant Video live broadcasting


Facebook, like Twitter, is going all in on video. The social network's latest move is to bring video to its second greatest love -- Facebook Messenger. You'd be forgiven for thinking that this is not exactly new, and you'd be right.

Facebook Messenger has included a video calling option, but Facebook is concerned that this is being reserved for 'special occasions'. Instant Video is an extra new feature that is designed to make it easier to show things that can't be properly described in words, or even static pictures.

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Three quarters of SMEs feel the UK tax system unfairly benefits big business


The tax paying habits of big businesses are back in the headlines now that Apple is facing a $14.5 billion bill in Ireland -- although Tim Cook vehemently disagrees. In the wake of the Irish Apple tax ruling, 71 percent of SMEs say that the UK tax system benefits big businesses and makes thing harder for the little guy.

The figures apply to the UK's micro-businesses (those with under 10 employees) and self-employed individuals, only 1 percent of whom feel the system is working for their benefit.

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Now you need to buy a TV licence to watch BBC iPlayer, and privacy advocates are concerned


As of today, Thursday 1 September, if you stream any content from BBC iPlayer without owning a TV licence, you are breaking the law. But as with licences for televisions, it's not clear how -- or, indeed, if -- the BBC will be checking to see whether watchers have paid up or not.

If you fire up BBC iPlayer now, you'll be greeted by a nag screen that asks: "Got a TV licence? You need one to watch any BBC programme on iPlayer -- live, catch-up or on-demand. It's the law". Viewers need to click to indicate whether or not they have a licence, and of course there is nothing to stop people from lying. What is not known, though, is whether privacy-invading snooping will be used to perform licence checks.

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