Latest Technology News

Microsoft helps Royal Caribbean become the ultimate cruise line for nerds


Cruising is something that is near and dear to my heart. As someone who grew up very poor, my family never went on vacation -- it was a waste of money. This was the mindset that I was raised to have, thinking travel was stupid, when money can go towards bills. This thinking was dangerous though, as I became an adult that almost never left New York. It's a cliche, but life is short, and it is silly not to see the world.

What broke this frugal trance was cruising. While a normal vacation is very expensive and far from my grasp, a cruise can be very affordable as all food is included. Over the last 8 years, I have been on 7 Royal Caribbean cruises, and a couple of weeks ago, I went on my first Celebrity cruise (it's the same company). To say I like Royal Caribbean is an understatement -- I love it and am proudly a Platinum member of its Crown and Anchor Society. Unfortunately, technology on the ships has been very lacking. As a computer nerd, not having tech was maddening, although sometimes freeing too. Today, Royal Caribbean appeals to nerds, with the help of Microsoft, as its Quantum of the Seas ship goes high-tech.

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Google Drive for Work sees strong enterprise adoption

office workers

Google’s Drive for Work storage product is seeing 1,800 new businesses sign up every week as enterprises continue to come around to the secure storage and collaboration option that it offers.

blog post by Scott Johnston, director of product management at Google Drive, explained that the $10 (£6) per user per month package has been popular across a number of industries since it was launched just two months ago.

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One weird trick -- Facebook to clear newsfeeds of click-bait headlines

One weird trick -- Facebook to clear newsfeeds of click-bait headlines

Click-bait articles are rife online. Countless websites ply a trade in leading headlines designed to lure readers in, giving as little away as possible as an encouragement to click through. A virtual prick-tease, if you will. Sometimes the click is worth it, but all too often the article -- particularly on tabloid-style newspapers, magazine websites and sites peddling listicles -- is pointless or misleading. A suggestive question, the promise of sex, inappropriate references to the iPhone 6, the implication of free money... the possibilities for click-bait are virtually endless. It -- understandably -- annoys a lot of people, and it has annoyed Facebook enough for the social network to take a stand.

You've no doubt noticed that your Facebook newsfeed has become clogged up with countless "one weird trick", "ten ways to give her the best orgasm ever", and "you'll never guess what!" headlines. Now Facebook is taking steps to limit the appearance of such articles so that what users see is more interesting and relevant. In a post on the Facebook blog, it has been announced that two key updates are to be made: "the first to reduce click-baiting headlines, and the second to help people see links shared on Facebook in the best format".

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Amazon buys Twitch for almost $1 billion -- Google left empty-handed


To call Amazon a book-seller at this point is simply not accurate. The company has blossomed into so much more; manufacturing smartphones, tablets, e-readers and pretty much selling everything under the sun. Hell, as a retailer, it is a one-stop-shop for anything, such as streaming media, groceries, and hygiene products to name a few.

Yes, Amazon is trying to be all things to all consumers and quite frankly, it is working. Today, the company's tentacles grab yet another endeavor as it acquires video-game-streaming company, Twitch, for close to a billion dollars.

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Amazon gives go-ahead for pilots of 5 new kids shows


In the new online original content landscape, Amazon is not messing around, having announced several new comedy shows debuting this year. Now the streaming video service arm of the retailer is greenlighting new pilots of kids shows as well, though these aren't the first to hit Prime.

In all, five new pilots were announced, though this means little about which will survive, as Amazon allows the viewers to vote. The winners gain a full season production run. The losers simply go away after one episode.

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Lian Li unveils weird-looking PC-Q19 brushed aluminum Mini-ITX case


It is often said that variety is the spice of life, so it is appreciated when a manufacturer takes a risk on a product design. Even though I am a Ford man, I was a huge fan of the Honda Element -- a boxy cross-over vehicle. Many people thought it was ugly and ultimately, the manufacturer stopped making it. However, I thought it was pretty and sexy. In other words, beauty is in the eye of the beholder -- what is ugly to some is pretty to others.

Today, popular case manufacturer, Lian Li, shows-off a new Mini-ITX case, called the PC-Q19. It is tall, skinny and weird-looking and I love it. However, I predict that it will be quite the polarizing design, just like the Honda Element. Do you think it is ugly or pretty?

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CloudPhysics uses big data to help VMware users benchmark their systems

cloud storage

One of the difficulties with using virtual systems is that it's harder to measure performance. Now though data insights specialist CloudPhysics is launching a new Global Insights tool to allow VMware users to continuously benchmark their virtual infrastructure against global metrics.

This is part of enhancements to its SaaS solution which include interactive Daily Insights, that dynamically aggregate and expose operational hazards across the datacenter. The addition of Global Insights analysis across a massive range of data samples enables CloudPhysics users to instantly identify areas for improvement in their own environments, as well as specific actions for achieving better datacenter health, performance and efficiency.

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ASUS C300 Chromebook Review


This summer, I took a break from Chromebook, to conduct an experiment going "Microsoft All-In". After using the browser-based concept for about two years, I even gave up Google products and services for awhile. What terrible timing! There's a sudden shift in the winds, as Chromebook heads away from x86 and towards destination ARM and competing Intel processor Bay Trail. These lower-power consumption, lower-heat producing chips also illuminate new Chromebook form-factors: 13.3-inch displays. The first of these -- from Acer, ASUS, and Samsung -- started shipping in June, July, and August. I tested the ASUS C300.

Like the other two manufacturers, ASUS offers Chromebooks with 11.6-inch and 13.3-inch screens. I review the larger laptop. Both compete with the ARMs by adopting Intel’s Bay Trail processor, which offers similar benefits and performance pitfalls. There's nothing exceptional about the C300, which strangely is a benefit. The laptop's attributes are quite balanced -- design, performance, and price.

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Ultimate Settings Panel 1.0 now available, puts key Windows shortcuts just a couple of clicks away

Ultimate Settings Panel 1

UK developers Techy Geeks Home has released Ultimate Settings Panel 1.0, a brand new collection of shortcuts to key system Control Panels and other tools for Windows users.

Version 1.0 offers easy access to key Windows shortcuts as well as useful management utilities for Microsoft Outlook 2010, System Configuration 2007 and System Configuration 2012. More categories are promised in future versions.

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Argente Utilities review


Argente Utilities is a one-stop PC maintenance suite with tools to clean, optimize, repair and generally improve your system's speed and reliability.

It's a relatively lightweight, portable package, arriving as a 7.5MB zip file, and there's no adware or similar hassles: just a gentle "donate" screen which you can dismiss forever with a click.

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India gets its first Firefox OS smartphone

Intex Cloud FX

For Firefox OS to become mainstream, the open-source smartphone operating system has to reach as many important markets as possible, through devices that are more than capable of meeting the needs of local buyers. When it comes to India, Mozilla is confident that the new Intex Cloud FX has what it takes to woo local consumers.

The launch of Cloud FX marks the first contact Indian buyers will have with Firefox OS, as it is the first device of its kind to be available in this Asian market (and, the whole of Asia). That places it in the difficult position of having to set the right tone for Firefox OS, and upcoming handset launches, in one of the largest smartphone markets worldwide. Fail now, and all hope may be gone forever.

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Which is the safest home for your data, LAN or cloud? [Q&A]

cloud computing backup

Following on from Edward Snowden's revelations about the NSA's activity there have been increasing concerns about just how secure our data is, particularly if it's stored in the cloud. Indeed it's reckoned that the cloud industry faces losing billions of dollars in revenue to privacy concerns.

Yet some experts believe that storing data in the cloud is still safer than keeping it in-house. We spoke to Orlando Scott-Cowley, evangelist, strategist and technologist of email management specialist Mimecast to find out why.

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Microsoft makes Surface 2 more attractive

Microsoft Surface 2

With Microsoft focusing its attention on the bigger, newer and more expensive Surface Pro 3, it is easy to lose sight of its second flagship tablet on sale, Surface 2. It may not run Windows 8.1 Pro or tote a PC-grade processor, like Surface Pro 3, but it is nonetheless an interesting option for folks who wish to join the Windows RT 8.1 camp.

Unlike most other tablets out there, its build quality is solid, it is designed with multitasking in mind, ships with a version of Microsoft Office, and was designed to work well with a keyboard and mouse. Plus, after a $100 discount, the Surface 2 experience is now more affordable than ever.

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Most people don't know the Internet of Things is actually a thing

secrets shock surprise man woman

A recent report has suggested that the biggest barrier to the Internet of Things (IoT) is that a large proportion of consumers have never even heard of the term.

According to a survey by The Acquity Group, titled "The Internet of Things: The Future of Consumer Adoption", 87 percent of respondents had not heard of the Internet of Things prior to the questionnaire.

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Sony's PlayStation Network taken down by DDoS -- should you be worried?


Last year, I eagerly pre-ordered the Sony Playstation 4 and got it on launch day. This was a happy moment for me, but I did have some trepidation. You see, Sony's reputation had been soiled for many years. If you recall, in 2005, the company severely impacted the security of many Windows machines with its CD rooktkit software. Any other company likely would have lost its supporters over such a disgraceful tactic, but Sony has a long history and it weathered the storm. However, fast-forward to 2011, and the PlayStation Network was hacked. This was not a small thing; personal identifying information of 77 million people were exposed. As a result, the company's reputation was severely impacted. Unfortunately, as a PlayStation 3 owner, I was included in that group and had to sign up for identity theft protection (Sony paid for a year of the service).

Somehow, I still bought the PS4 and after only owning it a very short while, I got an email from Sony that my login credentials needed to be changed for security reasons (irregular activity). Enough was enough -- I decided to return the PlayStation 4 and be done with Sony for all things that require network connectivity. Today, the PlayStation Network is once again in the spotlight as it has been taken down for hours by a denial-of-service attack. Sony has confirmed the attack, saying that so far, there is no evidence of stolen information.

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