Latest Technology News

Freeplane: a versatile brainstorming tool

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Whether you need to understand a problem, complete a task, or just generally get organized, mind mapping can probably help. Not least because it’s so easy.

Start with the central issue; note down any related ideas, and begin to arrange and order them. You’ll quickly come up with a structure which helps you better understand the issue.

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Roku search rolls out to Android, iOS apps

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Roku is one of the primary reasons that people feel empowered these days to make the move away from cable and satellite. Now the company has enhanced its offerings for the 1,500 channels of video and music already available, making it easier to find what you want.

"Starting today and over the next week a software update will roll out to Roku 3 players so customers can also use Roku Search via the Roku mobile app for Android and iOS mobile devices", says Roku’s Matthew Anderson.

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How to download and install the Windows 8.1 ISO -- using a Windows 8 or 8.1 key

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I’ve been asked by a couple of people in the past week how to download the Windows 8.1 ISO file from Microsoft. Downloading the ISO file necessary to install the OS at a later date, or on another system, is very straightforward, although it’s far from obvious. I covered this six months ago, but things have changed and less trickery is involved now.

At the moment the provided ISO file doesn’t contain the recently released Update, so you’ll need to update Windows straight after installation has finished to guarantee you have the latest version.

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New CEO ahoy! Mozilla grows a Beard… will balls follow?

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Emerging from what it describes as an "unexpected leadership transition", Mozilla announces its new CEO, albeit an interim replacement. The vacancy opened up a couple of weeks ago after the departure of Bendan Eich following outrage from developers that someone opposed to gay marriage should be placed at the head of a company. The pitchfork wielding and flaming torch brandishing mob, got their way as Eich "stepped down".

It's not really clear whether he jumped or whether he was pushed -- what is publicly announced is not necessarily representative of what has taken place behind boardroom doors -- but there's now a new man at the top. Announced with the Mozilla Blog, Chris Beard's appointment is apparently something that had been under consideration for some time: "we began exploring the idea of Chris joining the Board of Directors some months ago." Executive Chairwoman Mitchell Baker described Beard as someone who has "been actively involved with Mozilla since before we shipped Firefox 1.0, he’s guided and directed many of our innovative projects, and his vision and sense of Mozilla is equal to anyone’s".

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Linux powers CERN -- organization deploys Red Hat technologies

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My knowledge of atomic science and particle physics could fit in a thimble. However, as a result of various news reports over the years, I am aware of the Large Hadron Collider and the work being done at CERN with it -- exciting stuff.

The experiments conducted at CERN, including the ones involving the Large Hadron Collider, are very complicated and require specific measurements and execution. And so, the software that the organization chooses for its computers must be very dependable. Which is why CERN has selected Red Hat Enterprise Linux and other Red Hat solutions for its computers. This is a huge win for Red Hat and the Linux community overall.

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Amazon holding another Fire sale on tablets

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It seems Amazon is almost continuously holding sales on its Fire line of tablets. Honestly, the price means little to the retailer, as it simply wants you to join the ecosystem. We've seen this most recently with the Fire TV, which aims to control the living room with media and games.

The latest deal sees prices on the tablet lineup getting substantial discounts -- or at least three out of the four, anyway. Both HD and HDX models are included in the deal.

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Moka5 launches new centrally-managed end-user computing tool

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Enterprises put a lot of time and effort into protecting their servers but what happens on the user desktop always presents a potential risk and can be hard to control.

End-user computing specialist Moka5 is aiming to tackle this with the launch of its Vanguard Moka5LivePC v 4 product. This offers a locally executed live PC container that can be managed centrally.

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Hardwipe drops 32-bit support, improves Recycler cleaning tool

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Big Angry Dog Ltd has released HardWipe 4.0.1 and HardWipe Portable 4.0.1, a major new version of its ad-supported data wiping tool for Windows. Version 4.0.1 is notable for becoming a 64-bit only build, dropping support for legacy OSes including Windows XP in the process.

The update also sees HardWipe transition from the Qt4 to Qt5 application and UI framework as a result of becoming a native 64-bit application.

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Dropbox expands into the Asia Pacific market with new office

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Cloud storage darling Dropbox began in San Francisco, home to many tech start-ups, but has since spread, opening offices in Austin, Texas and New York City. The overseas reach expanded when the company launched a Dublin location, but one market where it was absent was the Asia Pacific area.

Now that changes, as a new office in Sydney, Australia is announced. "In Australia, we’re focusing on expanding Dropbox for Business and making Dropbox a delightful part of people’s personal and work lives", writes Tony Huie and Oliver Jay of Dropbox.

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Run super-fast file searches with Hddb

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If you need to run rapid searches for file names on NTFS drives then there’s no substitute for VoidTools’ Everything. The program’s smart use of the NTFS Master File Table (MFT) means you’ll see matching files almost as fast as you can type.

There are competing tools around, though. And the latest, Hddb (Hard Disk Database) is particularly interesting, as it claims to address and fix some Everything problems. Is it worth your time? We took a look.

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Gmail learns a new trick -- easily insert auto-backup photos on the web

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Cloud storage is great for mostly all file types, but there is one type where it truly shines -- photos. Smartphones have become ubiquitous in daily life, making them the perfect camera. After all, precious memories can occur at anytime, not only when you have your DSLR or point-and-shoot. And so, auto-backup of photos to the cloud is an ideal situation for safety and sharing.

Overall, auto-backup is a great solution, because people like the idea of having their entire library of photos with them wherever they go. However, it can sometimes be tedious to utilize those photos. For example, inserting an image from the cloud into an email can be more complicated than adding a locally stored file. Google recognizes this dilemma and improves Gmail on the web with a new "Insert Photo" button.

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Windows 8.1 without Update will no longer receive security updates

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Microsoft has trouble convincing Windows users to upgrade to newer versions of the operating system, even when the update is free of charge. Windows 8 still has a larger market share than Windows 8.1, according to the latest NetMarketShare data, even though the latter is better and can be installed without paying a dime.

So that Windows 8.1 Update does not follow the same path, Microsoft has announced it will no longer make security patches compatible with Windows 8.1 installations which do not have Update applied. It is the new Microsoft, everyone.

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Microsoft Office comes to Google's Chrome OS -- now who's Scroogled?

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What was once the crown jewel of software, Microsoft Office, has arguably been devalued by free offerings. It used to be that when you bought a computer, you pretty much had to buy Office too. Sure, some people got by with the low-rent Works package, but that was not the same. Let's be honest though, most home users only ever used Word, so for these users, many features and programs were for naught.

Unfortunately, the gravy train of overselling home customers has dried up for Microsoft. Don't get me wrong, Microsoft Office is still the best choice for many large businesses. However, many home users can get by without it, thanks to Google Docs and the like. It is up to Microsoft to keep it relevant and desirable. The company is actually doing a good job in this regard, by releasing it for iPad and making it affordable with a 365 subscription. Today, the company does the unthinkable and publishes Office Online to the Chrome Web Store.

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Netflix releases monthly ISP speed test, Comcast improves

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Last month there was a bit of controversy over a deal between Comcast and Netflix. Many, but not all, thought it unfair to force the streaming service to pay up in an effort to provide reasonable service to its customers. The entire net-neutrality issue reared its head, as it appeared to some that Comcast was intentionally slowing traffic to the service in an effort to extract extra money.

Regardless of your feelings on this, Netflix paid to play, and Comcast's speed for streaming media miraculously improved.

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New study claims 1 in 10 pay TV subscribers plan to cut the cord this year

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Not long ago, I conducted a rather unscientific survey, asking readers if they planned to cut the cord in 2014. There was no voting, it simply relied on comments, as I wished to know your thoughts. A number of you had already taken the plunge, but we are dealing with a tech-oriented crowd. This isn't something my mom and dad will be doing -- they’d think I spoke a foreign language if I used the word Roku.

Morgan Stanley, who we don't tend to think of when it comes to media, went a bit further, taking a more scientific approach and collating the results into a nice graphic format.

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