Wayne Williams

BitTorrent unveils its first original TV series -- Children of the Machine


Although BitTorrent’s reputation is as a means to download music and movies illegally, the company is trying to change that by offering original, and legal content.

Two months ago, Radiohead’s Thom Yorke released a new album as a paid BitTorrent Bundle, and now the file sharing firm announces its first original TV series -- Children of the Machine.

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UK High Court orders ISPs to block a further 53 piracy sites


If you live in the UK it’s getting ever harder to access pirated music and movies on the web. After years of trying to defeat pirates in various ways, including suing downloaders, representatives of rights holders have found that the easiest and most effective solution is to take their complaints to the high court and ask for the infringing sites to be blocked.

The process, which started with the banning of The Pirate Bay in 2012, is now so straightforward for the likes of the Motion Picture Association and BPI (British Phonographic Industry), that whole batches of sites are getting outlawed at a time. Yesterday there were 40 copyright infringing sites blocked in the UK, today that number more than doubles to 93.

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Exclusive: Get AMC Security Premium FREE for 6 months

AMC mobile

IObit has an excellent free Android app called AMC Security - Clean & Booster which comes packed with features designed to improve your phone or tablet’s security and boost performance. You can run an all-in-one scan, or access individual features including Antivirus, Privacy Locker, Security Zone, App Manager and Game Speeder. There’s a bunch of additional tools available too, such as Task Killer, Privacy Advisor, Call/SMS Blocker, Battery Saver, Anti-Theft and Cloud backup.

While the free version is very good, there’s a paid edition called AMC Premium available as an in-app purchase which offers some powerful additional features. AMC Premium currently retails for $9.99 a year (although a 7-day trial is available) but BetaNews readers can try it absolutely free for six months.

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PowerSkin selling $50 iPhone and Android battery packs for just one cent on Cyber Monday


There are plenty of bargains to be had before, during, and after Black Friday, and if you’re shopping for a battery back to charge your iPhone or Android device, hold off a few days and you’ll be able to pick up a steal of a deal on Cyber Monday.

PowerSkin, a leader in portable power solutions, sells PoP'n battery packs that cost $49.99, but on Monday the retailer will be offering them for just one penny (plus $7.99 shipping and handling).

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Alternative finance -- New ways to spend your money


The days of paying for everything with cash are slowly drawing to a close, and if you borrow or pay back money, there’s a very good chance wads of notes won't be involved in the transaction. I personally do a lot of online shopping, pay for goods in real shops using contactless cards, and send money and pay bills via an app, and I imagine a lot of people do the same. I still carry a wallet, but it generally doesn’t have much, if any, actual money in it.

Foreign exchange marketplace CurrencyFair.com has put together a very detailed, and great looking infographic covering the many different and innovative ways you can now make payments and exchange currencies -- from crowdfunding, through peer-to-peer payments, to cryptocurrency, like Bitcoin.

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Slow devices are causing billions of lost hours a year


I’m pretty impatient when it comes to technology and I’ve often wondered just how much of my time is being wasted while I’m waiting for something to load, or download, or for tasks to complete. Memory expert Crucial.com has done a spot of surveying and discovered that slow tech is responsible for wasting billions of hours every year.

The company surveyed 1,148 Brits, aged 16-65, and found the average person wastes over 39 hours each year (or 6.5 minutes a day) waiting for slow technology to complete everyday tasks. It also found some people wasted as many as 121 hours a year. For the whole of the UK, this equates to a whopping 2.1 billion hours of wasted time per annum.

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Samsung U28D590D: An affordable UHD 4K 28-inch monitor [Review]


4K displays are becoming much more common, giving buyers a far greater range of choices. The Samsung Series 5 UHD LED Monitor (U28D590D) does a good job of balancing quality with affordability -- just £419.99 from Ebuyer.com including VAT and delivery -- and takes seconds to setup.

The 28-inch LED edge-lit screen offers a native resolution of 3840×2160 pixels, and the monitor sports a black plastic casing with a glossy bezel and an aluminum T-shape stand. Putting it together is just a matter of screwing the neck to the stand (using two pre-installed screws) and then sliding the screen into the neck.

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Microsoft reveals its Black Friday deals -- snap up a Surface Pro 3 bargain


You can’t have failed to have noticed that Black Friday is nearly upon us, with a wide range of deals being offered by pretty much every retailer and manufacturer.

It will come as no surprise then, that Microsoft is preparing its own raft of offers, covering everything from Surface Pro 3 and Surface 2, to Xbox One and Lumia 830. If you’ve had your eye on any of those products, now is the time to get your wallet out.

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Free up space in Windows 10 with the new Disk Cleanup System Compression feature

disk cleanup

Windows 10 Technical Preview is very much an early work in progress. Microsoft is releasing new builds on a fairly regular basis (although the next one isn’t expected until the New Year), and implementing changes based on user feedback. Personally I’m liking what I’m seeing so far.

Although Microsoft discusses the major new features and changes in each build, there’s still some hidden functionality that you may not be aware of. Case in point is the little known System Compression option tucked away in Disk Cleanup.

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Life after Microsoft -- Nokia's new N1 is an Android tablet that looks like an iPad


After Nokia sold its Devices and Services division to Microsoft, you might not have expected to see any great new mobile products coming from the Finnish firm, but you’d be wrong.

Today at the Slush conference in Helsinki, Nokia took the wraps off a new Android tablet -- the N1.

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Energous: Wirelessly charging electrical devices over-the-air is safe and not wasteful [Q&A]


Three weeks ago, Energous announced a partnership with appliance manufacturer Haier Wireless, to add its WattUp wire-free charging transmitters to a wide range of home appliances. This will allow phones, tablets and other devices to charge over-the-air, just by being in range of an equipped appliance, such as a washer, microwave or fridge.

I spoke to Gordon Bell, Director of Marketing for Energous, to find out more about WattUp and the company's future plans.

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Windows 10 Technical Preview Build 9879 arrives -- here's what's new


If you’re using/testing the preview version of Microsoft’s operating system as one of the million+ "Windows Insiders", get ready for a big update. Build 9879 is arriving today and will be with you shortly, if it isn’t already.

Microsoft's Gabe Aul has provided a handy run through detailing all of the major changes, but one of the big additions is the ability to hide the Search and Task View buttons on the taskbar. That will please my colleague Mark Wilson who hates them. You’ll be able to toggle those off just by right-clicking the taskbar and disabling them in the context menu.

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Woojer: A wearable subwoofer that lets you feel sound [Review]


Music at a concert is different to music played at home, or in the car, because the high acoustic energy that surrounds you means you don't just hear the sounds, you feel them. There have been attempts in the past to marry sound with vibrations -- subwoofer chairs and vibrating vests, for example -- so that games or movies feel more realistic, but Woojer, which successfully raised $143,000 on Kickstarter, takes a subtler approach.

The matchbox sized subwoofer is worn on the body and connects between any audio source (your phone or a tablet, say) and headphones. The audio input -- be it a music track, a game or film -- is transformed into a tactile vibration, which you can feel throughout your body.

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How to use Microsoft's new tool to create a Windows 8.1 installation disc or flash drive


For some strange reason, when Microsoft released Windows 8.1 it forced Windows 8 users to update through the Windows Store. If you wanted to download an ISO file for installing how and when you liked, you either had to be an MSDN subscriber or use a couple of clever workarounds (as detailed here and here).

Thankfully, better late than never, Microsoft has finally come up with an official tool which will let you create your own Windows 8.1 installation DVD or USB flash drive. If you need to install Windows 8.1 from scratch, no longer do you need to install Windows 8 first, and then update through the store.

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Raspberry Pi introduces the better, and cheaper Model A+


Raspberry Pi, the hugely popular credit card-sized ARM GNU/Linux computer, is available in two versions -- the Model A and the Model B. Four months ago the Raspberry Pi Foundation launched an updated version of the latter called the Model B+, which added more USB ports, more GPIO and microSD support (among other features). Impressively, the price remained the same -- $35.

Today the foundation announces an upgrade to the cut-down Model A called -- can you guess? -- the Model A+, and while it’s better than the A in several ways, it’s also smaller and cheaper.

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