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Microsoft Q2 FY2015: The highlights

Does a deleted Microsoft blog post show it's about to buy mobile email firm Acompli?

Microsoft has released its earnings report for Q2 FY2015 (that's Q4 CY2014 for everyone else), revealing figures that closely match analyst expectations. The software giant achieved $26.5 billion in revenue, with operating income coming in at $7.8 billion. Gross margin and diluted earnings per share were $16.3 billion and $0.71, respectively. However, in after-hours trading, Microsoft's shares dropped by $2, or 4.28 percent, to $45 per share.

Microsoft has delivered some good news through its earnings report concerning its Devices and Consumer part of the business. Surface revenue reached $1.1 billion at the end of the quarter, which translates to a healthy increase of 24 percent over Q2 FY2014. Lumia sales topped 10.5 million, which, again, is better than the same quarter from a year prior as well as the previous quarter, Q1 FY2015. And the list goes on.

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Logitech ConferenceCam Connect for business is no Surface Hub, but it's still cool

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Business tech does not have to be grey and boring. Sure, companies often put costs above sexy, and that is understandable, but employees like using fun tech. Trust me, morale is critical for success, and disgruntled or disenfranchised employees do not make for optimal productivity.

Microsoft's upcoming Surface Hub looks to be an amazing all-in-one conferencing solution, but likely to be expensive; it will require a serious commitment from an organization. What if you need something impressive, but on a smaller scale? Logitech has a solution ready to integrate with your existing displays and computers; the ConferenceCam Connect for business.

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Facebook is weak and utterly wrong to censor 'offensive' pages in Turkey

Facebook is weak and utterly wrong to censor 'offensive' pages in Turkey

Mark Zuckerberg is a hypocrite. For all of his spiel about being a proponent of free speech, ultimately he is a man all too willing to bow to the demands of a country. Turkey took umbrage at the existence of pages that insulted or offended the Prophet Mohammad and threatened to completely ban Facebook in the country if they were not blocked.

Facebook has now decided to comply with the Turkish demands. Zuckerberg would have us believe that "we never let one country or group of people dictate what people can share across the world", but this is clearly not the case when it comes to upsetting the Islamic faith. This latest move is a political one and shows a lack of strength and conviction.

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Get Cortana working in Windows 10 in the UK, and other non-US countries

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One of the biggest new features in the latest build of Windows 10 is Cortana. Microsoft is bringing its virtual assistant to the desktop, and if you install Build 9926 you can see what she’s capable of right now. Well, you can if you’re in the US at least.

If you live outside of America, in the UK for example, if you summon Cortana you’ll be told she’s "not available to help in your region", which is a bit rubbish. Fortunately, there are ways around this silly restriction.

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Unlock Windows 10's hidden secrets

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Microsoft released Build 9926 of the Windows 10 Technical Preview on Friday, and so far we’re liking what we see. There are a few issues with it, naturally, but it’s definitely a giant leap in the right direction (for the most part anyway).

There are several hidden features available, but not activated, in this new build, which are well worth exploring and so we’ve put together this handy guide explaining how to get them all working.

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How hackers can infiltrate a network and remain undiscovered

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In 2014 we saw many data breaches which were often due to a direct attack on a company’s network in which human error played a part.

Big data security specialist Exabeam has produced an infographic showing how hackers can penetrate a network and remain difficult to spot.

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What you need to know about T-Mobile's new Score program

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T-Mobile wants nothing to do with subsidies, but it is willing to trim the cost for a price. Normally, if you want to buy a new phone from the magenta carrier you will have to pay full price, either outright or through financing. Except that now T-Mobile has a new program, called Score, which was just introduced to allow its customers to get smartphones at lower prices. Is Score a good choice for you?

For just $5 per month, T-Mobile customers who sign up for Score will be able to take advantage of lower prices when purchasing a new smartphone from the carrier, in either six months or a year after joining the program.

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What retailers need to do to take advantage of the Internet of Things

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If you have ever visited your local electrical retail chain only to discover that you know more than the salespeople do, get ready for a whole new era of dissatisfaction.

Internet of Things buzz at the Consumer Electronics Show reached fever pitch this month. Smart home and wearable gadgets like thermostats, kettles and watches represent the first new product categories technology retailers have seen in years. Interested customers will expect retail staff to be knowledgeable experts, able to educate us and answer questions that guide us through purchasing decisions. Their managers will expect them to have sufficient knowledge to make the sale. But, while buyers nowadays are arming themselves with highly detailed product information found online to ask ever-more complex questions, busy sales staff often only seem knowledgeable about a few characteristics of each of a store’s wide product offering.

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Facebook Lite officially available for low-end Android devices

Facebook Lite Android

Facebook is not exactly the lightest mobile app around. In fact, it is one of the worst offenders, no matter if we are talking about Android or iOS. It uses plenty of resources, both in terms of data and processing power. We may have gotten used to it by now, but these are major pain points in developing and emerging markets, where more and more potential users are going online for the first time.

There, lots of consumers are rocking low-spec Android devices and small cellular data plans, and the standard Facebook flavor is not a great match for them. So, the social network has finally released a lighter version of its Android app, called Facebook Lite, which promises to address those shortcomings. Let's take a look at it.

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Turkey to Facebook: ban pages that insult the Prophet Mohammad or we'll block you

Turkey to Facebook: ban pages that insult the Prophet Mohammad or we'll block you

Over the weekend a court in Turkey told Facebook to block several pages that had been deemed to insult the Prophet Mohammad. A court order was delivered to the social network with the threat that if Facebook failed to comply, the site would be completely blocked in Turkey.

Turkey's banging of the religious insults drum comes just weeks after satirical French magazine Charlie Hebdo was targeted for featuring a cartoon that mocked the prophet. At the time Mark Zuckerberg spoke out in support of the #JeSuisCharlie campaign that followed the tragedy, saying that Facebook had previously refused to ban content about the prophet, but it's not clear whether Turkey's threat could make things different this time.

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Build the perfect portable toolkit with SyMenu

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If you regularly work on other people’s PCs then it can be wise to bring along some software of your own.

Add portable Firefox and GIMP to a USB stick, say, and you won’t need to rely on the host PC’s browser or graphics editor any more. Your favorite applications will be available wherever you are, with your own settings, and a relatively private history (it won’t be as easy for the PC owner to see the sites you’ve accessed).

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How to remove embarrassing photos from social networks

Embarrassed business woman

Sharing photos and videos online has never been easier. Internet access is available practically anywhere and everywhere, and interconnected wearable and portable devices with photo and video recording options are omnipresent.

In such a world, getting the wrong material posted online can become a huge problem, especially for teenagers unaware of the consequences.

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UK government tries sneaking previously rejected snooping laws into Counter Terrorism bill

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The UK government has been trying to impose new surveillance laws on the internet at large, but for the past four years privacy activists have thwarted attempts by Labour and the Conservatives.

In a recent push, the government secretly added 18-pages to the Counter-Terrorism and Security Bill (CTSB), including a mirror image of the Communications Data Bill, rejected in 2012 for the potential of national surveillance on every person.

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Windows 10 Technical Preview Build 9926 hands on -- making good on earlier promises

Windows 10 Technical Preview Build 9926 hands on -- making good on earlier promises

Windows 10 has been something of a tease so far. There have been hints that it could be a good operating system, protestations that it will be great, but a series of preview builds that have been a little uninspiring. With the release of build 9926, it appears that Microsoft is starting to deliver on its promises. From this release we can see that Windows 10 is actually starting to take shape.

Microsoft is clearly pleased with the progress that has been made because it has simplified the process of upgrading from Windows 7 and Windows 8 -- Windows Update can be used to install the Technical Preview. It might not quite be ready for prime time just yet, but I'm cautiously optimistic even though I've been far from impressed with previous builds. Oh, and before you ask, there's no sign of Spartan just yet. So… what's new and what's improved? Let's take a look.

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Windows 10 is the final nail in the coffin for the Linux desktop

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For years now, we Linux fans -- yes, myself included -- have been dreaming of the fabled "Year of the Linux Desktop". What does that mean? To have Linux-based operating systems snag a bigger piece of the desktop pie, if not a majority. While a majority share of the desktop is admittedly absurd, a respectable share was always something I considered a possibility.

For some, this desire stems from a hatred of Microsoft and Windows; that is not my stance, however. No, I love both Linux-based operating systems and Windows; I just want Linux distros to get a bit more respect. A lot of work goes into Ubuntu, Fedora and others and it is sad that they are not used by more people. While the consumer hatred of Windows 8 seemed like an opportunity for Linux to grow, sadly, it did not happen. Even sadder? Windows 10 closes the door entirely. The year of the Linux desktop will never happen. Rest in peace.

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