Latest Technology News

Microsoft reveals its Black Friday deals -- snap up a Surface Pro 3 bargain

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You can’t have failed to have noticed that Black Friday is nearly upon us, with a wide range of deals being offered by pretty much every retailer and manufacturer.

It will come as no surprise then, that Microsoft is preparing its own raft of offers, covering everything from Surface Pro 3 and Surface 2, to Xbox One and Lumia 830. If you’ve had your eye on any of those products, now is the time to get your wallet out.

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The security challenge of business mobile devices

photo by Slavoljub Pantelic, Shutterstock

The trend towards mobile devices and BYOD is great for productivity but it creates new challenges in terms of keeping information secure.

Identity and access management specialist Ping Identity has produced an infographic looking at the vulnerabilities introduced by letting employees use mobile devices.

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New Gorilla Glass 4 better protects displays against shattering

Corning Gorilla Glass 4

Corning's Gorilla Glass is used to protect billions of mobile device displays. In fact, some of the most popular handsets -- like HTC One (M8), Google Nexus 7, Samsung Galaxy S5 -- feature Gorilla Glass 3 or Gorilla Glass 2. Some companies, like ASUS, are also using it on touchscreen ultrabooks. That's because it fares well under normal usage, offering good protection against scratching.

However, things are different when it comes to drops -- as tough as Gorilla Glass may be, it can shatter quite easily when handsets are dropped, potentially leading to damaged displays. Its maker, Corning, says that this is the biggest issue that consumers are reporting. With Gorilla Glass 4, it finally addresses this shortcoming.

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XSS vulnerabilities open the door to drive-by downloads

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Cross-site scripting (XSS) vulnerabilities allow attackers to inject script into web pages in order to infect client computers.

Security company High-Tech Bridge has released a report revealing that 95 percent of XSS vulnerabilities can be used to perform sophisticated drive-by-download attacks, which infect users who open harmless-looking URLs that they trust. More worrying is that 90 percent of vulnerabilities can be exploited in such a way that even advanced users and IT professionals won't suspect anything. The structure and architecture of more than 70 percent of web applications allows the creation of a sophisticated XSS exploit that can perform several fully-automated actions, ultimately giving full administrative access to the attacker. This access can then be used by hackers to compromise the entire website and even the web server.

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Microsoft blames performance update for Azure outage

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Microsoft Azure was hit by an 11-hour outage on November 19, in United States, Europe and certain parts of Asia. The outage impacted multiple services offered through the cloud platform, including Azure Storage, Virtual Machines, Service Bus, and Visual Studio, just to name a few. The culprit? Microsoft links a performance update to the mishap.

The performance update, which is meant for Azure Storage, "had been [successfully] tested over several weeks", says Microsoft, on a small subset of targets, prior to being applied. However, during the general roll-out, Microsoft noticed an issue which resulted in an "inability for the [storage blob] front ends to take on further traffic, which in turn caused other services built on top to experience issues".

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Momentum continues as Lufthansa, Austrian Airlines move to Surface Pro 3

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It may have taken a few tries, but Microsoft is gaining momentum with its tablet/laptop, the Surface Pro 3. The device, which includes an optional keyboard, was released a couple of months ago, and sales seem to be lively from what we've heard.

It's not a major surprise, as businesses love Windows, and now more are adopting this platform. Lufthansa and Austrian Airlines are moving to Surface Pro 3. Microsoft claims it is adopting "certain commercial requirements" in an effort to make the device more appealing to the enterprise.

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UK mobile broadband to get faster and cheaper thanks to moves by Ofcom

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Ofcom has announced it will soon make more frequencies available to mobile broadband, resulting in increased speeds and a cheaper service.

By using the 700MHz frequency band, currently in use by wireless microphones and digital terrestrial TV broadcasts, consumers in rural areas should also receive improved coverage.

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skobbler’s 'Scout' app takes on TomTom

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Telenav subsidiary skobbler has announced the release of GPS Navigation & Maps -- Scout, a powerful -- and now free -- travel app for iOS and Android.

As with the previous skobbler app, you get online and offline maps (via OpenStreetMap), and voice-guided turn-by-turn navigation for cars, cyclists and pedestrians.

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Cloud adoption set to rocket in 2015

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A global survey carried out by Equinix has found that, over the next 12 months, the majority of business applications will be deployed to not just one, but multiple clouds across several geographies.

Of the 659 respondents, 77 percent said they planned to deploy to multiple clouds in the next 12 months and 74 percent expected cloud services to command a larger budget in 2015.

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Caution: Wide Load -- AOC announces 34 inch UltraWideQuad HD Monitor

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While 1080p is a very common monitor resolution nowadays, 4K is poised to become the next big thing. With that said, Dell and Apple have launched products with 5K resolution, so who knows what will happen. While 4K and 5K are both darn beautiful, they are designed with movies in mind. While many people use their computers to watch films, others, such as myself, use their computers for work (imagine that).

AOC is one of my favorite display manufacturers, and today, the company announces a new monitor designed for the working crowd; not the gaming and movie-watching folks. You see, it is a very wide 34 inch monitor with a 3440 x 1440 resolution. What does this mean? It is like having two 20 inch monitors side by side!

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Convert eBooks/Office documents to PDF with Icecream PDF Converter

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Utilities developer Icecream Apps has released Icecream PDF Converter, a capable tool for converting a range of file formats to and from PDF.

There are plenty of similar applications around, but what’s interesting here is most conversions are handled in the background by a bundled copy of Open Office.

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Free tool detects 'government surveillance spyware'

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Free software that can detect the presence of surveillance spyware has been launched by a global coalition of human rights and tech organizations.

Organizations including Amnesty International, Privacy International, Digitale Gesellschaft and Electronic Frontier Foundation have teamed up to unveil the open source tool Detekt.

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Yahoo is the new default search engine in Firefox -- Google gets kicked to the curb

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Google is one of the best search engines, providing relative results with a clean design. There is a problem though -- Google also offers a web browser. Why is that a problem? Well, it is a strange thing for a competing web browser to use the Google search engine. It's like Ford using Chevy parts in its cars -- blasphemy!

A great example of this is Mozilla Firefox. The Chrome web browser is slowly eroding Firefox usage share, so it has felt odd that Mozilla was sticking with Google's search engine for so long. Well, today everything changes, as Mozilla selects Yahoo as the new default search engine in Firefox for both desktop and mobile. Will users applaud or decry the announcement?

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Microsoft is giving away free goodies to celebrate a year of Xbox One!

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Celebrate good times, come on! Microsoft recently celebrated the 13th birthday of the original Xbox, but now it is time to celebrate yet another birthday. You see, the newest console from the company, the Xbox One, will be turning a year old this Saturday.

Normally, people give gifts to the person celebrating a birthday, but today Microsoft is going in a different direction. If you are an Xbox One owner, it is time to get very excited -- Microsoft will be giving all of you gifts! However, the fun does not stop there; the company will also randomly be giving away games to owners too.

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Google releases free open source game to highlight Android TV multiplayer gaming

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Many people consider open source to be the future. It is hard to argue with this, as it allows software to be adapted to different environments. Most importantly, it allows users to view the code, and prevents malicious aspects, such as backdoors. In other words, you never know what is hiding in closed source software.

Today, Google embraces open source in an effort to highlight multiplayer-gaming on Android TV. How? Well, the search giant releases a free open source game called "Pie Moon". It is available now in the Google Play Store.

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