Latest Technology News

Microsoft to tweak its sneaky Windows 10 popup, but it's far from a u-turn

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Windows 10 has been described as being like malware by a lot of people due to the way Microsoft forces it on to users’ computers without express permission. The software giant has engaged in all manner of sneaky and underhand tricks to fool users into agreeing to an upgrade they don’t want.

The latest, and possibly evillest move (to date) involves making closing an unwanted upgrade popup -- by clicking the x in the top right corner -- the same as agreeing to the upgrade.

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Ransomwhat? 43 percent don't know what ransomware is

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A new report shows that 43 percent of consumers in the US and Canada don't know what ransomware is. A similar number (44 percent) say they don’t know what data or information could be stolen in a ransomware attack.

The study by Kaspersky Lab surveyed 4,000 US and 1,000 Canadian consumers aged over 16 and found that only 16 percent mentioned ransomware as a cyber threat they were worried about, compared to their concerns about viruses, spyware and Trojans.

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People want safer alternatives to passwords and they want them now

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As the recent leak of LinkedIn data shows, passwords are an increasingly vulnerable and flawed way of securing systems.

A new survey from identity management specialist Gigya reveals that consumers are beginning to recognize this and that 52 percent would choose anything but a traditional username and password account registration when given the option.

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Microsoft to ditch hundreds more workers in smartphone streamlining measures

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After the sale of its feature phone business last week, Microsoft is making further structuring changes. Announcing the "additional step of streamlining our smartphone hardware business" Terry Myerson says that up to 1,850 jobs could be impacted, with the vast majority of these (1,350) being in Finland.

He also says that the company will continue "develop great new devices", no doubt fueling rumors of the highly-anticipated Surface Phone. Microsoft recognizes that its success with phones have been "limited", and Myerson's memo to employees reiterates the company’s commitment to the Windows platform, and Windows 10 in particular.

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Apple re-hires security expert of PGP, Blackphone and Silent Circle fame

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Following the company's very public stand-off with the FBI over the San Bernardino shooter's iPhone, Apple is demonstrating that it has a great interest in security by re-hiring encryption expert Jon Callas.

Best known for founding security-focused firms PGP Corp and Silent Circle -- the company behind the ultra-secure, privacy-centric Blackphone -- Callas has worked for Apple on two previous occasions.

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How much does a DDoS attack cost?

GitHub hit by biggest DDoS attack ever

Security researchers have discovered that DDoS attacks are now available to purchase on the Internet for as little as $5 an hour.

The researchers, who work for the security firm Imperva, were able to find distributed denial of service attacks (DDoS) for as low as $5 an hour on the online professional services marketplace Fiverr. A year ago these same services cost $38 an hour and could only be found on the dark web.

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The problem with analytics

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There is a difference between knowledge and understanding. Knowledge typically comes down to knowing facts while understanding is the application of knowledge to the mastery of systems. You can know a lot while understanding very little. Just as an example, IBM’s Watson artificial intelligence system that defeated the TV Jeopardy champs a few years ago knew all there was to know about Jeopardy questions but didn’t really understand anything. Ask Watson to apply to removing your appendix its knowledge of hundreds of medical questions and you’d be disappointed and probably dead. That’s the problem with most analytics, which is why it can be a hard sell.

The answer to this problem, we’re told, is not just machine learning but Deep Machine Learning, the difference between the two being that plain old machine learning is a statistical process that could be (and used to be) replicated by hand, while the deeper variety looks several generations deep in a longitudinal analysis that quickly grows too big for mere mortals to comprehend. Deep machine learning will, theoretically, find all the interconnections and dependencies that until now we’ve had to rely on domain experts to provide, yet even then it can only happen if you happen to be gathering the right data.

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View, edit and process CSV files with CSV Buddy

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CSV sounds like it should be a simple file format. Every data field separated by a comma, one record per line -- what could possibly go wrong? Quite a lot, unfortunately. Fields might be separated by other characters, use different encapsulators ("string markers"), include line breaks, not include a header, have some custom encoding, and more.

CSV Buddy is a free tool which opens just about any CSV file, and allows you to alter its header, separator, encapsulator and encoding, as well as edit individual records, and generally view, sort, filter and browse your data.

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Samsung 750 EVO SATA SSD gains wider availability and 500GB capacity option

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When you are either building a desktop or upgrading a laptop, one of the first things you should focus on is the SSD. This drive will hold your precious data -- it is not the component where you should try and save money. Even if it costs a bit more, it is totally worth spending on a reliable brand.

For solid state drives, Samsung is one of the best such brands. While its drives can be a bit pricey, you get what you pay for. Today, that company announces that the budget-focused 750 EVO SSD is gaining a 500GB option to go along with 120GB and 250GB. Even better, the SATA drive is getting wider availability starting in June. Yes, the SSD is leaving the confines of emerging markets and heading to major ones, such as the USA, China, Europe, and Korea.

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Ulefone Vienna: A competitive phablet that doesn't break the bank [Review]

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Up and coming Android manufacturers are proving that you do not have to spend hundreds and hundreds of dollars to get a good smartphone. The Xiaomi Mi4c, which I reviewed late last year, is a fantastic alternative to big-name devices from the likes of Samsung and LG that does not break the bank. The new Mi4s is shaping up to be even better, and the Mi5 looks to be more impressive still.

But, say you prefer something that's a bit larger that is also relatively inexpensive. Well, in this case, you should take a look at the new Ulefone Vienna, which packs a big display, large battery, nice camera, and competitive specs, all at a sub-$200 price point. You can read my impressions below.

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Google's Paris headquarters raided in probe into "aggravated financial fraud and organized money laundering"

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Google's tax affairs in Europe have been the subject of some interest for a while now. Today the company's headquarters in Paris was raided by French investigators as part of an ongoing financial probe.

While other European countries have questioned whether Google is paying enough tax, in France the company finds itself accused of "aggravated financial fraud and organized money laundering". It is also accused of evading taxes by channelling money through other countries.

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Apple is the new Nokia

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Washington Post reporter Hayley Tsukayama asks, following up on a commentary by software developer Marco Arment: "Is Apple really at the risk of becoming BlackBerry?". The answer absolutely is No. But the concept is right. The fruit-logo company's dire straight is much more profoundly catastrophic. The risk is becoming Nokia, and the path to that destination is already well-trodden.

Arment calls BlackBerry "king of smartphones", referring to its market position before Apple released iPhone nine years ago in June. The description is apt enough. "BlackBerry’s success came to an end not because RIM started releasing worse smartphones, but because the new job of the smartphone shifted almost entirely outside of their capabilities, and it was too late to catch up", he asserts. But smartphones were a niche category in 2007, so insignificant that analyst firms lumped the devices together with PDAs. iPhone's disruption was far, far greater—Nokia lost its perennial global handset lead; for many of the reasons Arment identifies. Nokia, and not BlackBerry, is the metaphor, and it is frighteningly foreshadowing.

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Even if you like Windows 10, you should be angry at Microsoft

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As I’ve said numerous times in the past, I actually like Windows 10. It’s still rough around the edges -- and the Anniversary Update, out in July, won’t fully change that -- but what I don’t like is Microsoft’s aggressive, relentless pushing of the OS on to people who not only don’t want it but have expressly rejected it.

It’s scummy behavior, totally unbefitting of a company of Microsoft’s size and reputation. The latest trick, making closing an unwanted upgrade popup the same as agreeing to the upgrade, should have people brandishing pitchforks and flaming torches and marching on Redmond, but it doesn’t. Why? Because Microsoft’s shitty tricks are now what we expect from the company which doesn’t care in the slightest about its customers.

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Toshiba announces ultra-fast OCZ RD400 NVMe PCIe SSD with up to 1TB capacity

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If you are still using a SATA SSD, you probably think your drive is fast. Yeah, compared to an old-school mechanical hard drive it is. However, the future of computing is all about NVMe PCIe drives. These solid state drive variants break past the SATA barrier, delivering amazing performance that older SSDs can't match.

Today, Toshiba announces the ultra-fast OCZ RD400 NVMe PCIe SSD. This drive offers insane read and write speeds, making it a wise choice for both gamers and PC enthusiasts alike.

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SteelSeries Rival 700 modular gaming mouse now available -- OLED display and tactile alerts

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Gaming mice are pretty common nowadays -- there are many makes and models available. Some are rather basic, while some have advanced features, such as adjustable weights and DPI. Many of them light up for aesthetic purposes too. It can be almost impossible to stand out from the crowd.

Today, however, SteelSeries begins selling a gaming mouse that raises the bar. The wired Rival 700 gaming mouse is modular, and has some unique features -- an OLED display and tactile feedback. Believe it or not, the price is quite affordable too.

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