Wayne Williams

Windows 10 Build 10061 -- buggy, but a huge leap in the right direction

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I’ve been playing around with the latest build of Windows 10 Technical Preview that was released yesterday, and I have to say I'm liking what I'm seeing so far.

I have been critical of previous Windows 10 releases, opining that the OS wasn’t going to be what I was hoping for, and calling the previous build, 10049, dull, boring and bland. Fortunately, with Build 10061 Microsoft addresses a lot of my concerns and you can now see the operating system’s true potential. Here’s what I like about the new build.

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Safari is king of the mobile browsers -- which could be bad news for Google

safari king

Google’s dominance of the web is best illustrated by Mobilegeddon. The search giant has made changes to its algorithm, prioritizing sites that are "mobile friendly" and demoting those that aren’t. Google says that mobile-friendliness is just one of 200 signals that it uses to determine the ranking of results and that sites which don’t have mobile versions won’t disappear as a result of this change. That said, the truth is if Google says you need a mobile site -- that it approves of -- then you need a mobile site.

But while Google is forcing sites to offer mobile friendly versions or suffer the consequences, it’s Apple’s browser that the majority of people are using to access the web while on the go.

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Could Windows 10 really be set to arrive in July?

surprise shock woman laptop

There were a few raised eyebrows when Microsoft announced it was planning a summer release for Windows 10, its next operating system. Most people assumed the tech giant was anticipating a late summer release -- September possibly -- but now it seems we might be seeing the new OS much earlier than anyone could have predicted.

According to AMD, and as reported by The Verge, Windows 10 will launch in late July. Which seems like an incredibly optimistic target.

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Tweet the Star Wars emojis, Luke

stormtrooper

Yeah, it doesn’t have quite the same ring as "Use the Force", but it gets the point of the story across which is that, starting today, Twitter is rolling out new Star Wars inspired emojis.

Naturally this is in anticipation of the theatrical release of the new Star Wars movie, 'The Force Awakens' (which hopefully won’t be anywhere near as dreadful as the Star Wars prequels). Watch the new teaser trailer for that below.

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The Apple Watch launch is a brand-damaging botch job

Apple watch Embarrassment

It really is amateur hour at Apple. The tech giant’s first major product line launch in years has gone badly wrong, with the original in-store sales date scrapped, and no word of when the Apple Watch will actually go on sale for people to, you know, buy.

Sales predictions, and online pre-order numbers look great, but that’s about the only thing that’s good about the launch of the first new product line to come from Apple under Tim Cook’s stewardship. Frankly, everything else associated with the launch has been a balls up from start to finish.

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Apple Watch is coming… but when? [Update: not any time soon]

Apple Watch

Apple’s first wearable went up for pre-order last week, with early estimates suggesting it managed to sell close to a million devices in the US in one day alone. Reuters estimates 6 percent of US adults intend to buy the device. Oddly though, Apple has so far not released any official pre-order figures, which is strange if the device is the success that it appears to be. Why isn’t Apple shouting about it from the rooftops? What is it waiting for?

Another more pertinent question is this: when will Apple start selling the device -- for real -- and in-store? 24th April you say? Well that’s what Apple originally said, but that no longer appears to be the case.

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HBO says 'down Periscope' after Game of Thrones livestreamed on Twitter's app

Game of thonres

Game of Thrones enjoyed an impressive season 5 premiere on Sunday, with nearly 8 million viewers tuning into HBO to watch it. Unfortunately for the broadcaster, millions more pirated the show -- as is the case every year -- and the situation wasn’t helped by the online leak of the first four episodes that came in advance of the new season’s launch.

HBO is obviously furious about that leak, which it confirms originated from an as-yet unidentified reviewer, but it’s equally unhappy with Twitter, whose Periscope app was apparently employed by some users to livestream episodes of the show on Sunday.

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Withings' scales now tell you the weather and how active you are

Withings weather

If you’re the sort of person who regularly weighs yourself, the chances are you do so first thing in the morning, before you’ve loaded your body up with food and drink. Scales can tell you your weight, and sometimes your BMI and now, thanks to Withings, they’ll be able to provide you with other information to kickstart your day.

A new firmware update for the company’s Wireless Scale and Smart Body Analyzer devices shows the current weather conditions and temperature, as well as your step count from the previous day.

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Apple Watch first-day preorders nearly 1 million in the US alone

Apple Watch buyer

While Apple haters would love to see the company’s latest product fail, it looks as if the tech giant currently has another sizable hit on its hands with Apple Watch. High preorders have already triggered the predictable backlog -- supply was always going to fall short of demand, Apple knows how to play this game -- with shipping times now at least a month for all models.

Slice Intelligence tapped its panel of over 2 million online shoppers to size up the early demand for Apple Watch, and also for the new MacBook, and the sales estimates make for interesting reading.

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The first four episodes of Game of Thrones Season 5 leak online

GoT

Season 5 of Game of Thrones begins tonight, and millions of fans will tune in in one way or another… but there’s a problem, and it’s a huge one.

Game of Thrones is the most pirated show in the world, and HBO has tried to counter that in the past year by making its programming accessible through additional means, which is a smart move. The only way to beat pirates is to offer an easier, and superior viewing experience. But how can HBO compete with leakers who are putting out episodes well in advance?

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The best and cheapest ways to watch Game of Thrones

Got

Sunday is a massive day for Game of Thrones fans as that’s when the long awaited season 5 begins. During the Apple Watch 'Spring Forward' event, Tim Cook announced HBO NOW, a new and exclusive premium streaming service for Apple TV. The service, naturally, was perfectly timed to ride the latest wave of GoT hype.

But HBO NOW on Apple TV (or iOS) is hardly the only way to catch up on the world’s most pirated TV show. There’s, well, piracy for starters, and for more law abiding TV watchers, other options like Sling TV. If you're not already sorted for watching the show this weekend, here are some of the options available for you (and we'll also tell you how to get a free Game of Thrones game for Android and iOS).

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How to make Project Spartan the default browser in Windows 10

Projectspartan logo

The latest Windows 10 release, Build 10049, comes with Microsoft’s new browser, Project Spartan. The software giant describes the new app as being built for the modern web, with a design that’s "streamlined and puts the focus on the page, not the browser". My colleague Mark Wilson, has a different view, describing it as "fat, chunky, and devoid of style and features".

While you can launch Project Spartan directly from the Start menu, Internet Explorer remains the default web browser in the new build. You can easily change this behavior though.

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Could old video games eventually disappear altogether?

Duke Nukem

One of the many great things about the internet is it preserves the past. If you want to read about something that happened years ago, you can find that news story somewhere on the web. Photos posted over time are available online, and historical content is regularly digitized and made available to view.

If you want to revisit your youth and play old video games, the internet can help here too. You can find ROMs to play on emulators, browse 'abandonware' sites, and even play games directly on the web thanks to the likes the Internet Archive. However, companies that preserve old video games are often on shaky ground legally, with the Entertainment Software Association (the trade body that represents the major game publishers) firmly against the practice of restoring the functionality of old games -- making them playable on other systems, for example -- if they are no longer supported by the original publisher.

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Microsoft confirms the Windows 10 Start menu will be resizable

windows 10

The thing I dislike most about the Windows 10 Technical Preview -- and there are a few design points I’m really not a fan of, including those ridiculous icons -- is the current Start menu. In the latest builds this is a fixed size (with a full screen option), that takes up too much space, and is very tile heavy. If you don’t like, or simply don’t require, the Modern UI, it’s awful.

The Start menu in the first official build was far superior, and could be resized in different ways. It would automatically grow or shrink depending on how many (or how few) tiles you had. If you don’t like tiles, all you had to do was remove them, and it would turn into a traditional Windows 7-style menu. When Microsoft removed this feature, Windows 10 became much poorer for it. Well, the good news is the resizable menu is definitely coming back.

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Microsoft vs. Apple -- Which has the most loyal and satisfied customers?

Apple v Microsoft

When you think of the great tech rivalries, it’s unquestionably Microsoft vs. Apple that springs to mind -- after all the two firms have been battling it out for close to 40 years. Microsoft was the dominant force for much of that time, until Apple surged ahead to become the most valuable company in the world.

Both tech giants have massive, and incredibly loyal fan bases. When we write something negative or overwhelming positive about either company’s products on BetaNews, the fanboys come out in force, accusing us of bias or being on one of the firm’s payrolls. So surely it’s time to find out which company has the most loyal and satisfied customers -- will it be Microsoft or will it be Apple? Place your bets now…

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