Latest Technology News

Chromecast is 2 years old -- Google giving away free movie rentals to owners!

Chromecast 2nd Bday

While Google's Chromecast is impossibly small physically, it is absolutely enormous in its usefulness. The search giant successfully bridged the gap between device and television with a cute little HDMI dongle. Originally, the selling point was its low price, but as more and more companies choose to leverage the cute hardware, it becomes more than a simple value purchase.

The dongle is apparently celebrating a second birthday. While it is weird to celebrate the "birth" of an inanimate object, the tech community has normalized the practice to become acceptable. After all, we tech nerds love our devices like family, right? While the birthday boy or girl is usually the one receiving gifts, this time, Chromecast owners are getting the present. What is it, you ask? A free movie rental! What will you rent this weekend?

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Drive a Dodge, Jeep, Chrysler or Ram? It may be recalled due to potentially deadly hacks

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When it comes to cars, I only consider American manufacturers. Every car I've ever owned has been a Ford, but I am open to GM and Fiat Chrysler vehicles like Chevrolet, Jeep, Dodge and Ram. Lately, I fell in love with the Jeep Renegade -- an Italian-made American SUV -- which was tempting me from Ford.

Due to the reported security deficiencies in Jeep vehicles -- potentially deadly hacks -- I immediately came to my senses. No such vehicles in my future. While the Renegade is not impacted, the brand is, at least for now, tarnished for me. Today, Fiat Chrysler is voluntarily recalling the vehicles that are prey for hackers -- Dodge, Jeep, Chrysler and Ram are all on the list.

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EU wants to remove geo restrictions for TV content

European Union flags

Six major US film studios, and Sky UK have been charged by the EU on the basis of unfair restriction of content across the European Union.

Competition chief Margrethe Vestager said that the European consumers want to watch the pay-TV channels of their choice regardless of their location in the EU. But according to their investigation, the film studios cannot restrict the content because of the licensing agreements. They believe that these studios might be in breach of the EU competition rules.

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New password manager aims to reach people who don't use password managers

Security Score

We're always being told that we need to use stronger passwords, but most of us tend to trade off security for real world convenience.

Minneapolis-based Password Boss is hoping to convert people with the launch of its free password manager and digital wallet aimed at consumers.

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Google offers lots of free cloud storage to take on Amazon Web Services

Cloud storage

The launch of Cloud Storage Nearline brings Google firmly into the battle against Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure and all the other cloud platforms currently available, but, unlike search, Google is way behind the competition.

To gain some early customers, Google is offering an enormous 100 petabytes (100 million gigabytes) of storage for free. To a single customer, that is enough to last a lifetime, but for a medium sized business it may last a few months.

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What you need to know before installing Windows 10 (including you might be waiting MONTHS for the upgrade!)

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Microsoft has started sending out emails to Windows users who have reserved their copy of Windows 10 in advance of the launch next week. As reported previously, you probably won’t get your copy on the big day -- Microsoft says "After July 29, when Windows 10 is ready for your device, it will download in the background. You’ll then get a notification to schedule your upgrade right away or at another time that’s convenient for you".

Before you do install it, you’ll want to make sure your PC or tablet is ready for the upgrade.

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Cloud security myths busted

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The benefits of cloud are vast and significant. Cloud enables rapid deployment, provisioning, and scaling of IT resources and data. It also shortens development time, reduces waste, and lowers costs. But despite increasing cloud adoption rates, some companies still do not rush to move its workloads and applications to the cloud due to some common myths and delusions that are more fluff than fact.

When organizations are considering moving to the cloud one of the first questions asked is, "Is it secure?" It’s a reasonable question, since there have been a lot of fears and doubts circulating across the industry around this point -- particularly with some high profile breaches in 2014. While security is always a priority when it comes to business, several of these concerns are much more bark than bite. So, let’s demystify those concerns and give peace of mind for organizations looking to move forward with a transition to the cloud.

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Best Windows apps this week

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One-hundred and thirty-eight in a series. Welcome to this week's overview of the best apps and games released for Windows in the past seven days.

Microsoft's promotion for Windows 10 is in full swing currently. The new operating system launches on July 29, officially, and will find its way on to millions of end user systems thanks to Microsoft promoting it via Windows Update.

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CCleaner strengthens Windows 10 compatibility

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Piriform Software has released CCleaner 5.0.8 FINAL and CCleaner 5.0.8 Portable, the latest builds of its Windows cleaning tool.

The new build promises compatibility with the RTM build (10240) of Windows 10, and adds support for Microsoft Edge Browser Monitoring to the Professional version of the software. By adding Edge to the Browser Monitoring feature in CCleaner Pro, users can now automatically clean the browser whenever it’s closed (or be prompted to do so).

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Twitch.TV dumps Flash for HTML5

twitch-tv

Twitch.TV is the most popular platform for professional and casual gamers to livestream, but it has always run slower than the competition. This is partly due to Twitch’s server support, but also due to the Flash video player it built being a clunky mess for users on slow connections.

This has been worked on over the years, but retaining Flash support is starting to become a burden for Twitch.TV, so much so the company has announced HTML5 and JavaScript support will be coming in the next few months.

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Instantly invert your screen colours with NegativeScreen

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Optimizing your PC’s screen colors cuts eyestrain, reduces headaches, and helps you sleep at nights. It can be surprisingly easy, too -- set up a program like SunsetScreen and it works largely automatically.

There may still be times when your display is too light, or maybe too dark, though, and that’s where NegativeScreen comes in. It’s a tiny freeware app for Windows 7 and later which can invert your screen colors on demand.

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Sony unveils PlayStation 4 remote

SonyRemote

Sony is set to release an officially-licensed remote control for the PlayStation 4 in the fall, which is intended to provide easy navigation and media playback functionality.

The PlayStation’s remote will work through Bluetooth and will allow the user to control up to four devices including the PS4, TV, set top box and audio receiver.

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Nintendo and Facebook partner on new Super Mario Maker video game

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The first video game that I ever fell in love with was Super Mario Brothers for the Nintendo Entertainment System. While I had a second-hand Atari 2600 with Mario Brothers, it did not compare to the magic of the "Super" variant on Nintendo's console. While I bought every home Nintendo console since the NES, I did not buy the most recent one, the Wii U. While Nintendo consoles have always been about the software -- hardware specifications be damned -- I felt that company was too conservative with this newest console and delivered a sub-par product.

The upcoming Wii U exclusive game, Super Mario Maker, however, has me wishing I had the console. Much like the classic Nintendo games Excite Bike and Wrecking Crew, the user can create and edit levels. In other words, anyone that buys the game can contribute to the Mario universe, and even share it online. Today, Nintendo announces that it is partnering with Facebook for a very special level in the game.

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Huge improvements made to Google Voice transcription accuracy

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If you're a Google Voice user, you'll almost certainly have experienced its frequently insane attempts at voicemail transcriptions. There are times when these offer some hilarious relief in the middle of a dull day, but they also stand in the way of, you know… actually understanding what's been said.

Transcriptions that are not accurate are less than helpful, and Google has taken steps to up its game. Using sample voicemails from volunteers, it has been possible to improve voicemail transcriptions so there are far fewer errors. The new and improved system is available right now, and Google is keen for you to try it out.

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Why should you upgrade to Windows 10? 'Multi-doing' and getting things done

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This time next week many of us will have upgraded to Windows 10. Until that day, Microsoft continues to publish videos pushing the benefits that the latest incarnation has to offer. This time around we are treated to a guide to 'multi-doing'.

Microsoft explains that this is "all about removing the obstacles between you and 'Done'", and the video is essentially a showcase of all of the tools that help with productivity. From Snap Assist to virtual desktop, Microsoft uses its latest video to show just what Windows 10 can do for you.

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