Latest Technology News

Apple and Samsung may have to settle in patent litigation

business handshake

Apple and Samsung are reportedly close to reaching an amicable conclusion in a long-winded patent litigation battle after the US firm lost another court case against its rival.

The familiar US District Judge Lucy Koh ruled against Apple's bid to impose a sales ban on some older Samsung smartphones in the US and it follows the decision to drop all suits against each other in a range of different countries in the past few months.

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Google Authorship comes to the end of the line

Google Authorship comes to the end of the line

Continuing its propensity for terminating projects, Google has decided to kill of its Authorship program. The markup was introduced to provide online writers with a way to link their work to their Google+ profile and have their profile picture displayed in search results. But in its three year lifespan, Authorship did not really manage to take off, and Google Webmaster Tools' John Mueller announced that "we've also observed that this information isn't as useful to our users as we'd hoped, and can even distract from those results. With this in mind, we've made the difficult decision to stop showing authorship in search results".

Head to one of the Google Authorship support pages and you're greeted by the message: "Authorship markup is no longer supported in web search". This is an interesting move, especially considering how keen Google has been to push people into using Google+. Authorship not only enables writers to more visibly stamp their mark online, but also to gain a following. In practice it was found that Authorship did little to help drive traffic and "wasn't always easy to implement".

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Display your external IP address on the desktop with Mr.IP

Mr.IP_.200-175

Discovering your external IP address is generally very easy. Just visit a site like WhatIsMyIP and it'll give you the IP address, location, ISP, and a whole lot more.

If you need speedy access to this address all the time, though, it might be simpler to use Mr.IP, a tiny free tool which permanently displays your internet -- or external -- IP on the desktop.

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Smartphone shipments show strong growth as Android dominates emerging markets

Mobile graph

More than 1.25 billion smartphones will be shipped worldwide in 2014, up 23.8 percent over last year, despite a slowing of growth in more mature markets, according to the latest data from IDC's Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker.

Growth in mature markets has slowed to 4.9 percent but emerging markets are surging ahead with 32.4 percent growth. Since these emerging markets have accounted for more than half of smartphone shipments since 2011 this is perhaps not too surprising.

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Project Wing is Google's drone-based goods delivery system

Project Wing is Google's drone-based goods delivery system

Drones tend to be associated with surveillance and crowd control, but Google is the latest firm to express an interest in using the unmanned machines as a delivery service. Facebook has previously talked about using drones to "deliver the internet to everyone", and Amazon has also toyed with the idea, but now the search giant wants a piece of the action. The company's development team, Google X, has been beavering away on a delivery system powered by drones, and details of how it works have now been released.

Unlike other drones that tend to take a quad-copter design, Google's take on the idea sees a merging of a plane with a helicopter. Fitted out with a single wing and four propellers which move into different positions when flying, the drones have a housing unit for packages in the center of the wing. The Atlantic has a great deal of background about the project and it looks as though rather than being used to ship things that shoppers have bought, it is more likely to be used to help in disaster areas where aid is needed.

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Nokia's powerful HERE comes to Samsung Galaxy smartphones

Samsung Galaxy HERE

HERE may be commonly associated with Windows Phone, but that is not stopping Nokia from also offering its powerful software on Samsung's Galaxy smartphones as well as the new Gear S smartwatch. Microsoft should be worried, as one of the main differentiating features of its Windows Phone -- the exclusive availability of the HERE suite, among top mobile platforms -- just vanished into thin air.

HERE is making its way to Galaxy smartphones with virtually all of its core features intact. That means turn-by-turn navigation in nearly 100 countries, detailed offline maps for up to 200 countries, live traffic information in more than 40 countries, and directions when using public transportation in more than 750 cities from more than 40 countries. It's pretty much the whole shebang.

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British parents set to spend millions on back to school gadgets

School children laptop

More than a quarter of British parents say they'll be buying new gadgets for their kids ahead of the autumn return to school, with an average spend of £329 per family making a massive nationwide total of £659 million.

This is among the findings of a new survey by comparison and switching site uSwitch.com which finds that the average school bag now contains around £130 worth of tech.

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Easily inspect DXF files with de-caff DXF Viewer

de-caffDXFViewer-200-175

DXF is a very popular CAD file format which has been around since 1982, so you might expect there to be plenty of good viewers around by now.

Unfortunately, the reality is very different. DXF can be complex, and while there are free viewers to be found, they're generally of not much use.

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Uber is stealing drivers away from Lyft

Driving Navigation Car Driver

Ride sharing startup Uber has been caught using "brand ambassadors" to steal drivers away from its biggest competitor, Lyft.

Uber provides teams of independent contractors with credit cards and "burner" phones (essentially phones that can be bought without signing a contract) who then order rides from Lyft and charm the drivers over to Uber.

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Understanding Snapchat's valuation

Snapchat - Valuation

Snapchat's valuation has soared from about $2 billion last year, when it reportedly declined an acquisition offer from Facebook, to $10 billion in its latest round of funding. Let's compare Snapchat's valuation and engagement metrics to those of other social networks/apps and attempt to understand the rationale behind this valuation.

While Snapchat is still a pre-revenue company, they are preparing to roll out their first monetization attempt this November. The service, called Snapchat Discovery, will allow users to view publications or video clips from advertisers. At this point, Snapchat may successfully monetize their user base before Whatsapp does. Of course, there are various monetization models available to both, that have already been validated by Asian messaging apps.

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Google, Nvidia and VMware team up to bring graphics-intensive apps to Chromebooks

VMworld2014-Acer-Chromebook-CAD

VMware, Google and Nvidia are all teaming up in a scheme which will allow high-end graphics intensive applications to be used on a lowly Chromebook.

How will that work? Obviously a Chromebook doesn't have the horsepower to run heavyweight programs such as, say, Photoshop or AutoCAD, but the laptop won't be running it in this case. The software will run in the cloud, on powerful machines in data centers, and be streamed to the notebook.

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Ubuntu 14.10 Utopic Unicorn Beta 1 is here -- Unity not invited to the party

unic

Linux distributions and goofy names go together like peanut butter and jelly. There is a method to the madness though, as code names make it easier to search for version-specific issues. Still, I wish the names would be a bit less silly. Case in point, the new version of Ubuntu, 14.10, is code-named "Utopic Unicorn". Sigh. Whatever.

Regardless of what it is called, Ubuntu is a great distribution, especially for beginners. Today, Canonical announces that Beta 1 of 14.10 is available for immediate download. However, only the alternative flavors are available; the default Unity version no longer participates in official beta releases. Gentleman, start your downloads!

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Apple's march of the lemmings

Apple store logo

So the Apple media invites are out, and I am laughing my ass off at how effectively the company manipulates the Fourth and Fifth Estates and how willing are the lemmings to be led. (I got no invite, by the way, and didn't expect one.)

So what? We've got the same venue where Steve Jobs unveiled the Mac in 1984. Thirty-year anniversary. Check. The hall is considerably larger than the two others more typically used. Check. Add them together and you have a writ-storm of speculation -- and soon purported, unconfirmed leaks -- about something really big coming on September 9th.

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Album sales are in the toilet and that's a good thing

toilet mabn

My biggest hobby, other than tinkering with computers, is listening to music. As a young kid, I discovered my love for music by watching MTV in the 1980s. While I love all genres, I am truly a Hip-Hop fan. Say what youy want about rap music, but there is much knowledge in the lyrics. Sure, some of it is ignorant, but I have learned countless lessons from KRS-One, De La Soul and Common to name a few.

Unfortunately, the internet and piracy threatened the future of the music business. It was a perfect storm, as album prices were getting extremely high around the same time broadband connections became widely available. And so, people justified their theft by decrying the cost of CDs. While online music sales from places like iTunes were more reasonably priced, the damage was done -- album sales were forever doomed. Luckily, streaming services are here to save the day. Things like Beats Music and Google Play Music All Access offer unlimited music in exchange for paltry monthly fees; piracy simply is not worth the effort. As can be expected, these services are driving the final nail into the coffin of album sales...and that's a good thing.

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Twitter Analytics now lets everyone check the popularity of their tweets

twitter_analytics

For a while now, verified users and advertisers have been able to check statistics about their Twitter account so they can see how many times individual tweets have been viewed, check what types of tweet encourage the most engagement, and so on. Now Twitter Analytics is available to everyone -- free of charge.

It doesn’t matter if you have a blue verified tick next to your name or not, now you can use the analytics dashboard to check the performance of tweets. While this is a useful tool for businesses, for the average Twitter user it is a tool that will satisfy an idle curiosity and provide a way to while away the time obsessing over what key phrases yield the greatest return.

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