Mark Wilson

Opera falls into Chinese hands


Key components of Opera Software are to be taken over by a Chinese business consortium. A planned $1.24 billion takeover of the entire operation fell through after failing to gain regulatory approval, but a new deal has been struck in its place.

Instead, the consortium -- comprising Qihoo 360 Technology Co, Beijing Kunlun Tech Co and others -- will take over just a portion of Opera Software's consumer business for $600 million. With the desktop and mobile version of the Opera web browser now falling into Chinese hands, there will no doubt be concerns about potential privacy issues based on China's history.

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In the wake of UK Brexit vote, ARM Holdings is to be bought by Softbank for $32 billion


The technology industry in the UK was rocked by the historic Brexit vote in the referendum about membership of the EU just a few weeks ago. Concerns were voiced that tech companies would scramble to leave the UK, and with Japan's Softbank Group due to buy UK chip-maker ARM Holdings for $32 billion (£24 billion), this could just be the start of things.

ARM chips are found in mobile devices produced by Apple and Samsung, and more recently it has branched out into the Internet of Things. But while some will be unhappy with the change of ownership, Softbank says that it will not only remain headquartered in Cambridge, UK, but will look to at least double its UK workforce.

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Pokémon Go taken offline by PoodleCorp DDoS attack -- and the hackers have more in store


Pokémon Go has proved itself to be a rare phenomenon, and it has taken the world by storm. Attracting casual gamers of all ages the augmented reality title, Pokémon Go has seen people hitting the streets in search of elusive Pokémon -- until the servers overloaded.

There have been a few glitches with Pokémon Go, largely due to its staggering popularity. But today many people found that they were unable to get online for a different reason -- the game servers were hit by hackers. A group called PoodleCorp claims responsibility for the takedown and says worse is to come.

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Privacy alert: Maxthon web browser sends private data about users to China

Photo credit: Blablo101 / Shutterstock

In the world of web browsers, there are four or five big names to choose from but no end of smaller alternatives. One such browser is Maxthon, and security researchers have just discovered that this Chinese-produced browser is transmitting a wealth of data about users back to China.

Researchers at Fidelis Cybersecurity and Exatel found that Maxthon frequently sends zip files to Beijing over HTTP and this contains a terrifying amount of data about users' browsing habits. The file incudes, among other things, details of the sites visited by users, the applications they have installed, and what searches have been performed.

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Apple wants to simplify music royalty pay outs and this could harm Spotify


Many artists loathe music streaming services that have proved so popular with music fans. While they offer a platform to showcase music, the returns can be low and the way in which payments are calculated is endlessly complex.

Apple has put forward a proposal to simplify the royalty payment system which would not only see artists getting more money, but would make life more difficult for the likes of Spotify. Keep artists happy, harm the competition -- two birds with one stone. A government filing in conjunction with the Copyright Royalty Board suggests a royalty rate of $0.091 per one hundred streams.

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After truck attack in Nice, Google offers free calls to France and Facebook activates Safety Check


The world woke this morning to news that a trunk had been driven through a crowd of people celebrating Bastille Day in Nice, France. With 84 people killed and many seriously injured, people around the world are not only shocked and appalled, but also concerned about friends and family in the area.

As has become worryingly common, Facebook today activated its Safety Check feature to allow people in Nice to let those they know that they are safe. In addition to this, Google and a number of phone providers are offering free calls and texts between the US and France.

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Google's gender equality emoji are formally adopted


Concerned as ever with diversity and equality, Google recently proposed a new set of emoji including a wider range of images of women in different professions. Today the company makes good on its promise and delivers the goods... with a little help from the powers-that-be.

Launched because "there aren't a lot [of emoji] that highlight the diversity of women's careers", the new emoji portray women in roles that have previously been the domain of man -- at least in pixel form. In all, the Unicode Emoji Subcommittee is adopting more than 100 new emoji after Google's suggestions.

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Today's the day Microsoft reduces your free OneDrive cloud storage

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If you weren't on the ball a few months ago, your OneDrive storage space is about to be slashed. Having previously announced its plans to reduce cloud storage for all OneDrive users, Microsoft relented and said those that already had this amount of storage could keep it... but only if they asked for it.

Anyone who failed to do so will be ruing the day. Today is the day that Microsoft cuts free OneDrive storage from 15GB to just 5GB -- even less than when the cloud service first launched. In addition to this, the 15GB camera roll bonus has been discontinued. So what can you do?

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Microsoft Edge is the best browser for Netflix -- the only that offers 1080p on the desktop


Internet Explorer has been much-maligned over the years, and Microsoft Edge sees the Redmond company trying to shake off the shackles of the past. Its latest marketing push finds Microsoft claiming that Edge is the best desktop web browser for Netflix viewing.

The reason? In addition to claims about greater battery efficiency, Microsoft's killer blow is that Edge is the only of the main desktop browsers to support 1080p viewing. It might seem like a surprising and audacious claim, but the test bears it out. Microsoft Edge has a serious unique selling point.

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Google Hangouts 11 update drops merged conversations, gains video messaging

Google Hangouts Samsung smartphone Android

Google has its fingers in lots of messaging pies, and having added SMS support to Hangouts on Android, it wasn’t long before the merging of text and chat conversations was introduced. With the release of Hangouts 11, this changes.

With the new release, merged conversations are now gone -- SMS and chats are kept separate, but you won't lose anything -- perhaps in a bid to push people to its Messenger app to take care of texts. The same release also sees the addition of a long-awaited feature: the ability to send videos in a message.

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Privacy warning: Pokémon Go has full access to your Google account data


Pokémon Go may be proving jaw-droppingly popular, but in the rush to catch 'em all, it seems that users have overlooked something of a privacy issue with the game. It's not unusual for apps and games to request, or require, access to your Google account but there are usually limits in place.

Not so with Pokémon Go. As reported by Search Engine Journal, iOS users have discovered that the game not only requires access to users' Google accounts, it requires full access. This is the highest level of access available to any app and if it is revoked, the game won't work.

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Kim Dotcom to launch Megaupload 2.0 in 2017


Kim Dotcom is a difficult man to ignore, and he's all set to get right back in your face after lurking in the shadows for a few months. In a series of tweets over the weekend, the German technology troublemaker announced that his file sharing service Megaupload is due to relaunch in 2017 -- on the fifth anniversary of a police raid.

Known as Megaupload 2.0 (remember the 2.0 phenomenon?), the platform is expected to appear on 20 January next year. Dotcom has previously expressed something of a passion for Bitcoin, and this looks set to continue with the relaunch -- complete with 100GB of free storage and on-the-fly encryption.

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Nintendo shares jump as Pokémon Go takes the world by storm, hitting over 5 percent of Android phones


Gotta catch 'em all! The Pokémon phenomenon, it seems, did not die. Nintendo suddenly has a surprise hit on its hands in the form of augmented reality title Pokémon Go which is already riding high in the charts. The game has proved so successful, that in the few days since its launch it has been installed on more than 5 percent of Android smartphones.

The international roll-out has been paused while developer Niantic tries to beef up its servers to cope with demand. But while US Pokémon catchers are having a whale of a time, would-be gamers in other parts of the world -- such as the UK and the rest of Europe -- are turning to nefarious sources to grab Pokémon Go APKs. The bad news is that malware writers have already picked up on the title's popularity and developed infected versions.

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The Halvening means that bitcoin mining rewards just dropped by 50 percent


It just became significantly harder to mine Bitcoins. The halving event rolled around yesterday, July 9, and means that the reward for mining just dropped by 50 percent. The cryptocurrency is generated by machines around the world 'mining' for new bitcoins.

Rewards of bitcoins are handed out for giving over computing power to process bitcoin transactions. It's a very, very slow way to make money -- and it just got a whole lot slower. While there were previously 25 bitcoins (around $16,000) available globally to miners every 10 minutes, the figure is now just 12.5 bitcoins. But what does this mean for the digital currency?

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PostGhost, the Twitter verified user tweet archive, is killed by cease and desist order


PostGhost, the website that describes itself as "an archive of public tweets deleted by politicians, celebrities, and other public figures" has been shut down by Twitter. The website was told that its display of deleted tweets was a violation of the Developer Agreement and Policy.

The site was a relative newcomer, having only been active for less than a week. Political tweets archive Politwoops almost met a similar fate, but the distinction with PostGhost is that it was only concerned with tweets from verified users with 10,000 followers or more -- a group that includes politicians, writers, singers, and other celebrities (major and minor).

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