Wayne Williams

Consumer rights group strongly criticizes Microsoft over Windows 10

Frustrated

The EFF (Electronic Frontier Foundation) has already ripped into Microsoft and Windows 10 for "blatantly disregarding user choice and privacy", and now consumer group Which? says Microsoft "must act over Windows 10 woes" and "do better".

Which? says it has received well over 1,000 complaints about Windows 10, with PC users claiming the new OS has brought them nothing but problems.

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Windows 10 Insider Preview Build 14931 for PC arrives on the Fast ring

Windows 10

A week ago, Microsoft rolled out its first really big new Windows 10 Insider Preview build since the Anniversary Update. As well as fixing a lot of problems, Build 14926 introduced some experimental new features, including the ability to "snooze" a tab in Microsoft Edge.

Today, Microsoft releases Build 14931 to the Fast ring, but unlike recent builds it’s only available for PC. Build 14926 introduced a couple of big problems for Mobile last week, so Microsoft has decided to hold off issuing a new build until they are fixed.

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Google's new chat app Allo is a privacy nightmare

Allo

Four months ago, Google announced two new communication apps: Duo, for video calling, and Allo, for traditional WhatsApp-style messaging. Duo arrived for Android and iOS a month ago, while Allo is available from today.

While Allo is a good looking app, it has some big privacy issues that users need to be aware of.

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Microsoft finally removes its scummy Windows 10 nagware from Windows 7 and 8.1 systems

Happy PC user

15 months ago, in an effort to make it as easy as possible to upgrade to its new operating system, Microsoft introduced a Get Windows 10 app for Windows 7 and 8.1 that allowed users to reserve their upgrade.

While this tool was innocuous enough to start with, it soon turned into something much more akin to malware, becoming harder and harder to kill, and employing all manner of scummy methods in an effort to trick users into installing Windows 10 against their wishes.

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Microsoft's Surface Phone set to have a fingerprint sensor

Surprise finger

Windows Phone sales are currently insignificant -- according to Gartner, during Q2 2016 Microsoft’s mobile operating system claimed a share of just 0.6 percent worldwide -- and with no new Lumias on the horizon, it seems a fair bet to say the platform is doomed.

But not so fast. Microsoft is still banking on Windows 10 Mobile, and it’s long been rumored that the company has plans for a Surface Phone. There’s nothing concrete known about it at the moment -- will it be a single device, or a whole new family? -- but one thing that does seem likely is it will have a fingerprint sensor built in.

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The iPhone's passcode security can be beaten for just $100

iphone crack

Remember how Apple and the FBI clashed regarding the unlocking of San Bernadino shooter Syed Rizwan Farook's iPhone 5c some six months ago?

Apple refused to help the FBI find a way to unlock the iPhone as it believed doing so would, in Tim Cook’s words, "undermine the very freedoms and liberty our government is meant to protect". After lots of posturing from both sides, the FBI eventually found a way to crack the encryption without Apple’s help, although at a reported cost of in excess of $1 million. But now a Cambridge computer scientist says he has managed to crack the iPhone 5c’s passcode security for a lot less than that -- just $100, in fact.

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How to check if your Samsung Galaxy Note7 is likely to catch fire

fire isolated over black background

As you’ll no doubt know by now, Samsung has recalled its Galaxy Note7 smartphone because there is a danger of the battery exploding. An OTA update that limits the charging capacity of the battery has been issued which should reduce the danger, but if you own a Note7, you need to be looking to return it as quickly as possible.

The chances of your phone catching fire are slim, but even so you don’t really want to be carrying what is potentially a small bomb around with you. Here’s how you can check if you’re at risk.

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Outlook.com gains sharing support for Google Drive and Facebook

Facebook

Microsoft is continuing to add new features and functionality to Outlook.com.

In addition to the integrated OneDrive support, the software giant added Box and Dropbox sharing to its webmail service earlier in the year, and today it makes sharing even more useful with the addition of support for Google Drive and Facebook.

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PLUG aims to be the world's most powerful battery pack

Plug

Having once had a phone die on me in an important moment while traveling I’ve learned not to go any distance without a battery pack with me, just in case. I also use the ThinCharge case for my iPhone, which I reviewed here.

ChargeTech, which makes that battery case, has produced a new battery pack that essentially lets you take a wall outlet with you. You can charge any device, including laptops, and also power equipment from it.

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Microsoft to flip the kill switch on older Windows 10 Insider Preview Builds

angryKidLaptop

You don’t need a valid license to run a Windows 10 Insider Preview Build on your PC. Each build is time-limited, but a new version will be released before the previous one expires.

Provided you keep updating your system to the latest build, you’ll have no problems. However, if you’ve installed a preview build and not updated it -- hey, free Windows! -- Microsoft is about to flip a kill switch that will stop it working entirely.

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Windows 10 Insider Preview Build 14926 for PC and Mobile arrives on the Fast ring, introduces experimental features

Windows 10

It’s been two weeks since Microsoft rolled out a new Windows 10 build to Insiders on the Fast ring. In that time the company has been busy upgrading its build monitoring services.

Today, it's business as usual once more, as the company releases Build 14926 for PC and Mobile. The latest build is well worth the wait as this not only fixes the issue that was killing Wi-Fi for some users, and the problem causing bluescreen crashes for Kindle owners, but introduces several notable new features.

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Amazon Echo, Echo Dot finally come to UK and Germany

FamilyShot_centered

Amazon released Echo in the US a year ago, and has introduced a wealth of additional features to it since. You can use the Bluetooth and Wi-Fi-enabled cylindrical speaker to get answers to your questions, order food, request a taxi, play music and even control your home.

For those of us in Europe the wait for Echo -- and its personal voice assistant Alexa -- has been a long one, but today the retail giant announces the device is finally set to be made available in the UK and Germany.

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iOS 10 update bricking iPhones and iPads [Update]

Bricked iPhone

I’ve been waiting patiently for iOS 10 to arrive, resisting the urge to try out any beta versions, and today is the big day when the update officially becomes available to all.

Imagine my joy when the new software update appeared ready to install on my devices a short while ago. And then imagine my horror when the installation bricked both my iPhone and iPad. Thanks Apple. Just the upgrade I didn’t want.

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Windows 10 Anniversary Update may take up to three months to reach all users

bored waiting

The latest big update to Windows 10 began rolling out to users a month ago, but while the Anniversary Update officially became available on the 2 August, it was a staggered launch.

Microsoft targeted "newer" devices first, with those on older systems set to receive the update shortly afterwards. If you were keen to upgrade, you could of course hurry things along or take matters into your own hands.

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Have the exploding Galaxy Note7 phones put you off Samsung?

Note7 fire

Samsung’s Galaxy Note7 smartphone has received universally favorable reviews, and looked to be a big hit for the South Korean company… and then came the news that some devices had exploded, leading to a massive recall.

Since then, in addition to the estimated $5 billion the recall is expected to cost, Samsung has seen $14.3 billion wiped of its market capitalization. There have been stories of children being injured by exploding devices, cars being set on fire, airlines warning passengers not to take the device on flights, and so on. It's a major catastrophe for Samsung.

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