Latest Technology News

Cortana embarrasses Siri in new Windows Phone ad

Cortana vs Siri

Even though Cortana shares some major design traits with Google Now, there is no denying that the new Windows Phone 8.1 personal assistant actually feels more like a Siri rival. That is due to their uncanny wittiness and human-like personality, two things that are just not there in Google's (clinical, albeit mighty powerful) offering.

Cortana is gunning for Siri as the latter is a more talked-about personal assistant than Google Now is (and will likely ever be). So it should come as no surprise that, in a new Windows Phone 8.1 ad titled Happy Anniversary, Microsoft pits the two against each-other. And, obviously, Cortana embarrasses its opponent.

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Xbox One now available for pre-order in China

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On Friday, China Telecom, the country's third biggest telecommunications company, said it would start selling the Xbox One in China from September, although no pricing details were revealed.

Today JD.com Inc, China's second largest e-commerce company (by market share), confirmed it has started to accept pre-orders for the games console.

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BlackBerry: Apple and IBM partnership is like 'two elephants dancing'

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BlackBerry isn’t losing any sleep over the recent enterprise tie-up between IBM and Apple as their CEO John Chen compared it to a couple of large mammals taking to the dance floor.

Chen, talking to the Financial Times, likened the partnership to when "two elephants start dancing" and thinks that the firm he is slowly rebuilding has enough in the bag to compete with anyone that challenges it in the enterprise market.

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How network convergence can improve the mobile experience

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Network convergence has been defined as the integration of voice, video and data in a single network. This convergence allowed enterprises to deliver more, and even better services, at a much lower cost to customers. While network convergence has evolved over the years to include teleconferencing, streaming media, and HD video, the latest addition to network convergence is mobility and this includes smartphones, tablets, laptops or any other wireless capable device.

For an enterprise to leverage the advantages of mobility, such as increased employee satisfaction, improved productivity and overall agility, the network should be capable of providing a hassle-free and seamless user experience. Here are a few key things that network admins need to keep in mind when deciding to bring mobility into the enterprise mix.

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Wilson's Weekend Whine: slow connections are dividing the web -- and making me mad

Wilson's Weekend Whine: slow connections are dividing the web -- and making me mad

The inspiration for this weekend's whine, along with the reason for its slight delay are one and the same thing. An appallingly slow (often non-existent) internet connection. Well, actually it's a combination of things, a slow internet connection being just one of them. Most people -- myself included in the past -- don't give a second thought to living online. Web pages are there ready be accessed on demand. Movies are just waiting to stream. Facebook and Twitter posts stream by. And so on. At least that's how it should be. If you live out in the sticks, it's a very different story -- and it stops me from banging about Edward Snowden and the NSA.

Look at the headlines and you’d be forgiven for thinking that everyone in the "developed world" is working with a blisteringly fast connection. Forget cables, we just have our brains connected directly to the internet. But we don’t. Here in the UK, there is a very noticeable digital divide, and I know it's a similar story in many other parts of the world. I've been fairly lucky in the past. Moving house at the turn of the millennium happily coincided with the arrival of broadband in the area. Hooray! 4Mbps of downstream -- more than acceptable nearly 15 years ago. A house move later, and things jumped to 8Mbps.

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Microsoft's Kinect technology powers university library

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Microsoft has made Kinect a big part of its latest gaming console, Xbox One, though customers can now buy the box without that technology tied to it. However, the device can be used for more than just gaming and entertainment.

Liberty University is now using Kinect to power a media wall in the library. The college is located in Lynchburg, Virginia, and is home to some 12,000 students, and around 90,000 more who study through an online program.

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The best thing about San Diego Comic-Con

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The world's most lively pop-culture event reaches the half-way mark today. Four glorious days of geekdom concludes tomorrow at 5 pm PDT, but there's lots to come before the end. Saturday is typically Comic-Con's busiest and brightest day. With the masquerade ball coming tonight, cosplayers will be everywhere. I reflected on "the roles we play" three years ago and adapted the post into the introduction to my book Comic-Con Heroes: The Fans Who Make the Greatest Show on Earth.

About 130,000 make the pop-culture pilgrimage. They come for all different reasons. Some love comics. Others want to see their favorites stars, close up or in celebrity panels. Collectibles draw many people -- those free or purchased. Others want to meet those whom they idolize, which might be getting an autograph from an actor or chatting with an artist. Then there are the artists, writers, and other storytellers who want to learn something that will turn what they love into successful careers. But most attendees share something in common: They are fans. Many are geeks, while others see themselves as misfits -- non-conformists who aspire for something greater.

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Seven teenage tech entrepreneurs who made millions before they turned 21

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If you’re a tech entrepreneur, or want to be, the good news is there’s still plenty of money to be made if you have a great idea, and can attract the right audience and/or investors.

According to the Kauffman Foundation, the average age of first-time tech entrepreneurs is 39 but really there’s no age limit -- they can be much older, or much, much younger. In fact plenty of teens have managed to make it big with nothing more than a great idea and the willingness to pursue it.

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Information retrieval requests put a major strain on IT departments

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Time consuming data retrieval requests are putting a big strain on IT teams, at least according to a new piece of research.

Iron Mountain (a storage and data management outfit) conducted the study, and spoke to a number of senior IT bods across Europe (including the UK) to get their opinions on exactly what weight big data was putting on their shoulders these days.

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Top 10 cyber security tips

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High profile hacking incidents continue to make headlines around the world. The Target data breach that compromised 40 million customer accounts is still reverberating around the retail universe, and earlier this month a hacker organization targeted CNET, the popular technology and consumer electronics site. The group claims it obtained over a million usernames, passwords and email addresses.

If you run a business and have valuable customer data to protect or even if you just enjoy visiting sites online and shopping at ecommerce hubs and want to keep your personal information safe, you may worry about hacker attacks. But there are steps you can take to reduce the risk. Here are 10 ways to keep your personal or business information safer.

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Spotify to appear on Vizio Smart TVs

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Smart TVs and Blu-ray players have become all the rage these days, with customers using them to replace the need for a set-top box, though in most cases apps can be limited. So when a new one debuts on a platform it can be a big deal to customers who invest in that particular device for their living room.

Now Spotify announces it will be making its way to Vizio TVs. The app will begin appearing for download in the Internet Apps Plus store right on the big screen.

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Amazon's Fire phone gets more premium apps -- MapQuest and WeatherBug

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Can you feel the electricity in the air? Today is Amazon Fire phone release day! Yes, the mythical smartphone, which was rumored for years, finally becomes available to consumers today. Next door to the pizzeria where I got my meatball parm hero for lunch today, is an AT&T store littered with signage for the device. There definitely is a buzz. Will it be a success? Time will tell, but a big factor will be app selection.

Yesterday, Amazon scored Microsoft OneNote for it -- a huge win for both companies. Today however, the app train keeps on rolling. MapQuest and WeatherBug, both of which are premium apps, are now available for Fire phone too. However, these are not just ports, but customized versions to take advantage of Amazon's unique hardware.

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Chromebooks going back to school in new ad

Samsung Chromebook

Google is making an ever increasing amount of inroads with the education sector. Chromebooks have been finding new homes in many schools over the past year, with institutions either purchasing the devices for students or requiring them to attend with one.

Google is not above taking advantage of this momentum by using it in new advertising, and is doing exactly that with a new video that seems made for TV.

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Best Windows 8 apps this week

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Ninety-first in a series. Windows Store saw some great releases this week, including a fantastic looking shooter from Gameloft, a cute racing game in the style of Micro Machines, and an excellent action RPG optimized for touch-input.

In other news, the notebook app Bamboo Paper has been released for Windows 8. To celebrate this, all premium writing and drawing tools are free of charge for the time being. Make sure you download them while they are free if you like the application.

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The Fed suckered IBM into a failing cloud strategy?

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Economist David Stockman, who is probably best known for being President Reagan’s budget director back in the era of voodoo economics, has been particularly outspoken about IBM as a poster child for bad policy on the part of the US Federal Reserve. How this would be isn’t immediately obvious but I think is worth exploring because IBM is far from the only company so afflicted. There’s an important effect here to be understood about corporate motivations and their consequences.

So I’ll begin with a story. Almost 40 years ago there was a study I worked on at Stanford’s Institute for Communication Research having to do with helping farmers in Kentucky be more successful by giving them access to useful government data. The study was sponsored by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and it gave portable computer terminals to farmers along with access to databases at the USDA, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce, etc. The idea was that with this extra knowledge farmers would be able to better decide what crops to plant, when to plant them, when to harvest them, etc.

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