Wayne Williams

Catch up on the Windows 10 briefing in seven and a half minutes

Win10

The Windows 10 briefing offered up a lot of interesting things, but with a running time of just under two and a half hours, you are going to need to really, really love Microsoft and Windows to sit through it all.

Fortunately, you don’t need to commit yourself to the full briefing as Microsoft has rolled out a 7.25 minute video covering the highlights.

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Windows 10 will be free for Windows 7, Windows 8.1 and Windows Phone 8.1 users… but there's a catch [Updated]

free upgrade

So the Windows 10 briefing is well underway, and Microsoft has already dropped a bombshell, although it’s one that many people will have been expecting.

If you have Windows 7, Windows 8.1 or Windows Phone 8.1 you will be able to upgrade to Windows 10 for free. That’s right, it won’t cost you a single penny. And who doesn’t love free? Now the bad news… it's only free if you upgrade in the first year.

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Watch Microsoft's Windows 10 briefing here LIVE

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Microsoft didn’t livestream its Windows 10 reveal last September, mostly because it wasn’t a product launch as such, or even a presentation aimed at consumers (it was more just a name announcement and a quick run through of the features). The software giant will, however, be livestreaming today’s Windows 10 briefing.

Called "Windows 10: The Next Chapter", the event will include presentations from Terry Myerson, Joe Belfiore, Phil Spencer and Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, and cover the consumer side of the new operating system. We’re also expecting to find out more about Windows 10 Mobile.

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Snowden: iPhone has special software that gathers information on you

spyphone

You have to take a little (sometimes a lot) of salt with some of the revelations made by Edward Snowden, but his latest claim is, on the surface at least, a damning one for Apple.

According to the NSA whistle-blower’s lawyer, the iPhone has special software installed which can be remotely activated, and used to keep tabs on your whereabouts. A spyPhone, if you will.

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Mouse-Box is a complete computer… in a mouse!

mouse box computer

Small computers are proving very popular these days. As well as the likes of Raspberry Pi, there are Windows 8.1/Linux devices like Intel's Compute Stick on the way, and fans of Linux Mint can purchase the CompuLab MintBox Mini. Given the size of this new generation of diminutive device, it’s perhaps surprising that no one has (successfully) tried to squeeze a PC into a mouse before.

Well, now, finally they have. Mouse-Box aims to be a complete computer inside in a fully functioning pointing device. You’ll be able to use it with your normal PC, and then switch to the Mouse-Box computer with ease. You just need access to a screen and keyboard (you already have the mouse!)

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Minecraft usernames and passwords leak online

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Minecraft is a phenomenon. The online game is incredibly popular with well over 100 million PC downloads to date. When Microsoft bought developer Mojang last September it had to shell out a cool $2.5 billion to do so.

So it’s perhaps no surprise that players of the game have been the target of hackers keen to get their hands on poorly guarded gaming credentials. Armed with a valid user name and password, anyone can log into a game, or download a full copy of Minecraft.

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Google Glass is dead -- will anyone mourn its passing?

BearGlass

Google Glass was an interesting project, but now it is no more. It never really took off, and was never likely to. It was ahead of its time -- promising much, but never quite delivering. Along the way it encountered numerous stumbling blocks -- it cost a fortune, made you look daft, and could well result in you getting mugged, or thrown out of a cinema if you tried to wear it while a film was on.

Google has said that it will stop producing Glass in its present form, and will instead focus on "future versions", but that’s just the search giant’s polite way of avoiding saying the project is dead, and the Glass team will be using its corpse as a stepping stone to something new.

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Save Outlook.com email attachments directly to OneDrive with a single click

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Managing email attachments in Outlook.com just got a whole lot easier thanks to a new 'Save to OneDrive' feature which Microsoft is rolling out from today.

The popularity of cloud storage services like OneDrive mean you no longer need to email files to yourself to access them from anywhere, but people still do that from time to time for ease (and -- hands up -- I’m one of them), which can result in a messy and chockfull inbox. Save to OneDrive lets you move attachments you’ve received, or sent to yourself, straight to Microsoft’s cloud storage service, and all it takes is a single click.

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Amazon Studios partners with Woody Allen for his first ever television series

Woody Allen (2)

Amazon usually produces TV pilots before deciding which ones to turn into full series. Unsurprisingly, its union with critically-acclaimed writer/director Woody Allen, won’t be going through this process.

The company has already ordered a full season of the Untitled Woody Allen Project, which will premiere exclusively on Prime Instant Video.

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Apple CEO Tim Cook fast-tracks 'Je suis Charlie' app

je suis charlie

Apple’s rigorous approvals procedure means it can take quite some time for an app, or app update, to make its way into the App Store. 10-15 days is a typical approval time.

French news agency Nice-Matin created an app which allows users to show their support for controversial French magazine Charlie Hebdo, but was faced with an obvious problem. By the time the app was available in the App Store, support for the 'Je suis Charlie' campaign would have started to dwindle. So the company emailed Apple CEO Tim Cook.

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Windows 7 mainstream support ends today -- should you panic?

Windows 7

Windows 7 is by far and away the most popular operating system, and likely to remain so for many years to come. Windows 8.1 did nothing to dent the older OS’s popularity -- in fact, it helped propel it to even greater heights -- and Windows 10 will have its work cut out to unseat Windows 7 from the top of the pile.

Every Microsoft operating system comes with five years of mainstream support in which the software giant provides security and non-security updates and complimentary online and telephone support, and today, Windows 7 Service Pack 1’s mainstream support comes to an end. So what does that mean for the legions of Windows 7 users?

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'Islamic State' hacks US Centcom Twitter feed, YouTube channel

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US Central Command's Twitter account appears to have been hacked by CyberCaliphate, a hacker group claiming association with ISIS.

The Twitter feed has since been taken down, but posted messages included "AMERICAN SOLDIERS, WE ARE COMING, WATCH YOUR BACK. ISIS. #CyberCaliphate", "Pentagon Networks Hacked! China Scenarios", and "Pentagon Networks Hacked. Korean Scenarios". These last two posts came with military maps and information relating to the countries in question.

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Apple now a more popular camera brand than Nikon -- on Flickr anyway

iphone

If asked to name the top camera brands, the chances are you’ll start with Canon and Nikon, followed by names like Samsung, Sony, Olympus, and Fujifilm. Apple probably wouldn’t make most people’s top five, but it’s long been incredibly popular on Flickr.

The photography website has released its yearly list of the most popular camera brands (based on the number of photos uploaded) and reveals that in 2014 Apple claimed the second spot, behind Canon, nudging photography giant Nikon into third place.

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I want wearable technology that doesn't look like wearable technology

cyborg

2015 is quite likely to be the year when wearable technology finally reaches the mainstream, thanks in no small part to the arrival of Apple Watch. CES is, of course, awash with wearables, but few of them really appeal to me and I can’t see those devices finding much of an audience either. Part of the problem is a lot of wearables are designed to duplicate functionality already found in existing devices. People are used to glancing at their phones to see the time, and get notifications, and that makes a smartwatch -- which offers the same, albeit slightly reduced functionality, on a much, much smaller screen -- seem unnecessary. And there are other problems.

The current generation of wearables, from smartwatches to smartglasses, are also designed to replace watches, spectacles, and so on, that you might already own. While most people I know don’t wear watches, I do. My timepiece of choice is the Omega Seamaster, and I love it. It’s the perfect blend of style and functionality for me. The idea of swapping my watch for something that looks cheap and ugly as some (not all) smartwatches do really doesn’t appeal in the slightest. I currently have an UP24 fitness band nestled up against the Omega (because Jawbone recommends you wear it on the non-dominant arm for improved accuracy) and the black rubber band looks horrible next to the Omega’s polished stainless steel strap.

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Microsoft goes for gold with special editions of Lumia 830 and Lumia 930

gold 930

When, in 2013, Apple announced the iPhone 5s would be available in a gold color there were a few raised eyebrows and snarky comments. However, as is often the case, where Apple leads, others follow, and it wasn’t long before gold versions of other smartphones started to arrive. Handsets given the Midas touch include the Samsung Galaxy S5, HTC One (M8), LG G3, Huawei Ascend Mate 7, and Sony Xperia Z3.

And now Microsoft has decided to add a little bling to its Windows Phones with gold editions of the Lumia 830 and Lumia 930 -- and they look good. Really good.

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