Latest Technology News

BetaNews Exclusive: Try Bitdefender Antivirus for Mac FREE for 6 months

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Last week Derrick Wlodarz debunked the Apple myth, explaining why security through obscurity isn't security. Macs are not virus-proof -- Apple-targeted malware is proliferating and users need to become aware of the risks and protect their devices just like any other regular Internet user, without false security expectations.

Here’s where Bitdefender steps in. The new Bitdefender Antivirus for Mac is specifically designed for Apple users, and Bitdefender is offering BetaNews readers a free six month license. This is the full version that usually retails for $49.95, not some featured limited "special" edition. However, you’ll have to act quick as the offer is only available for 48 hours.

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Emsisoft, Kaspersky top AV-Comparatives' Real-World Protection Test

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Independent security testing lab AV-Comparatives has revealed a summary of its March 2014 Real-World Protection Test, where top antivirus products are exposed to a test set of 1,264 current threats.

Topping the chart this time were Emsisoft Anti-Malware 8.1 and Kaspersky Internet Security 2014, both blocking 99.7 percent of threats with no false positives at all.

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Corning announces all-new USB 3.Optical cables

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I'll admit it, I'm a sucker for USB. As someone who lived before the invention of the Universal Serial Bus, I realize how much of a game-changer it was. Over the years, I've amassed quite the collection of USB cables, hubs, flash drives, PCI cards -- you name it.

If you think all USB cables are the same, you are mistaken. They come in different lengths, colors and connection types, to name a few. But still, it's hard to get people excited about cables. However, Corning has managed to do just that, with the all-new USB 3.Optical cables. Whoa.

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Microsoft All-in-One Media Keyboard is ready for some HTPC action

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Over the years, many hardware companies have had varying levels of quality. However, there are two companies that you can almost always depend on for solid input devices -- Logitech and Microsoft. Both of these companies make phenomenal mice and keyboards. Sure, there are missteps every once in a while, but for the most part, their hardware can be trusted to work well and last long.

Last week, Logitech announced the brilliant Illuminated Living-Room Keyboard K830 -- a combination keyboard and trackpad. It is an elegant solution (BetaNews will be reviewing it soon), but is a bit pricey at $99. Today, Microsoft announces similar hardware, called the All-in-One Media Keyboard. The price? A very low $39. Is this the perfect low-cost solution for HTPC and Raspberry Pi?

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Google Camera goads iPhone

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Android phones running stock or manufacturer-installed KitKat 4.4+ get a big photo-shooting upgrade today. Google Camera is now available from the Play store. The app replaces the standard shooter on Nexus devices and places a separate camera app on others. The headline feature: Lens Blur, which does exactly what the name indicates. You shoot the image, and then use the app to either blur the foreground or background. Photographers call the capability "bokeh", and it usually requires a specialized lens on dedicated hardware to produce well. The blurred effect is highly desirable for portraits. Can you say selfie?

Google does what Apple should -- use software development wits to add hardware smarts. This is exactly the kind of thing I would expect from the fruit-logo company first. But that's a number recently missing from the iOS crop. Google is by no means first to offer software blur, but in my testing delivers arguably the best effort. Hell, the new camera app even shames newfangled hardware mechanisms. HTC One M8 uses two lenses and feature UFocus to produce bokeh. In my testing, on The One and Nexus 7, blur is surprisingly comparable.

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Google scanning and analyzing the numbers on your house -- strengthens reCAPTCHA

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The greatest dream for many people is home and land ownership. House prices, at least in the USA, are extraordinarily expensive, putting this dream out of reach for many. For those that do achieve the dream, there are many hurdles that must be faced afterwards -- utility bills, property taxes and maintenance to name a few.

Well, homeowners have one more thing to worry about -- the visibility and legibility of their house numbers. You see, Google is now using a sophisticated algorithm to scan Street View data and detect those numbers. The end result is better accuracy in Google Maps, and a stronger reCAPTCHA.

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Bluhell Firewall: a simple but effective ad-blocker for Firefox

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Building the perfect ad-blocker is a complex business, not least because your users can have very different ideas on how it should work.

Some developers try to address this with layer after layer of features. You’ll be able to whitelist this, blacklist that, and add custom filters for just about everything else. Sounds great, until you have to spend an age learning how everything works, and start to notice how all these layers are slowing you down.

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Logitech Harmony Smart Keyboard now controls Amazon Fire TV

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It's been a busy couple of weeks in the home theater market, with a few major releases, including the Roku streaming stick, but also Amazon's much anticipated Fire TV and the latest offering from Harmony. The Logitech-owned company offers a number of smart remotes, but now also has the Smart Keyboard, designed to control your home theater.

The introduction of Amazon's Android-based box seemed to offer a challenge, as the remote is Bluetooth, but Harmony has stepped up and made it work.

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EssentialPIM adds support for cloud sync, Pro users gain PGP encryption

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Astonsoft has released EssentialPIM Free 5.8 and EssentialPIM Pro 5.8, major new versions of its personal information manager tool for Windows.

Also available in portable form as well as on Android and iOS, version 5.8’s headline feature is integration with the new EPIM Cloud feature, allowing data to be synced using the cloud.

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Getac launches rugged Windows tablet for mobile workers

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With tablets becoming more common in the workplace, the problem with normal models is they're not robust enough to cope with the demands of utility workers and field service operatives.

We saw Dell address this market a few weeks ago with a tough convertible system and now rugged systems specialist Getac is launching a new Windows 8 tablet specifically aimed at mobile field workers.

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FilExile deletes files or folders that Explorer won’t touch

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Deleting files from Windows Explorer is usually very easy. Select your target, tap "Del", click the "Yes, I really mean it" button and the object disappears forever. (Or is sent to the Recycle Bin, anyway.)

Sometimes you’ll get an "in use" error, though, usually because the file is locked by Windows or the system. It’s best to find out why -- the file could be important -- but if all else fails, a specialist tool like Unlocker can help you to delete it anyway.

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Don’t waste another $6 million on your financial close -- Automate for better accuracy and efficiency

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Every member of the finance department knows the importance -- and the effort it takes -- to perform the monthly, quarterly and year-end close in order to create corporate financial statements. The tabulation and documentation demand complete accuracy and coordination between all the moving parts of an enterprise.

For large organizations, it's a tremendous process challenge just to consolidate information from so many geographic locations, departments and corporate silos in a relatively short period of time.

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Stickeez boosts ad revenue for mobile developers

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In-app adverts provide a useful revenue stream for developers, allowing them to monetize what would otherwise be free products.

With Gartner predicting that over 94 percent of app downloads will be free by 2017, revenue from in-app ads is likely to become even more critical in the future.

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BitTorrent joins forces with Netgear, brings Sync to NAS

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BitTorrent has been busily updating its Sync ever since the service first debuted. The organization bills this as having no cloud involved, describing it as "being more private and secure than the public cloud".

Now BitTorrent is joining forces with Netgear for the first NAS integration of its Sync program. "NetGear is our first partner to launch a native BitTorrent Sync app, which can be accessed from the ReadyNAS Add Ons page today", says Erik Pounds.

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Mobile kingpins embark in fight against smartphone theft

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Even though technology has advanced tremendously in recent times, smartphone theft or loss continues to be an area which has received little attention from the big players in the industry. And, it is not difficult to see why, as they stand to profit from people's misfortune or mistakes.

While we can track smartphones and delete any personal data remotely, most handsets do not have a kill switch, which means the people who stole or found a handset may be able to use it freely. However, that is set to change, as CTIA has revealed top players in the mobile industry have, finally, decided to fight on behalf of consumers, by employing countermeasures.

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