Microsoft's big release of the day may be Windows 8.1, but it doesn't end there. The desktop operating system may have stolen the headlines today, but Microsoft also recognizes the importance of mobile devices. The company is not only concerned with its own devices, realizing that Apple and Android still dominate the mobile arena. But this does not mean that mobile users do not need access to Windows PCs -- hence the release of Microsoft Remote Desktop for iOS and Android.
The prospect of running Windows on an Android or iOS device may be a little way off yet, but it can be achieved via remote access -- which has the handy side effects of making it possible to access files, apps and anything else that might be needed whilst away from your computer. There is no shortage of remote desktop apps in the App Store, but Microsoft's offering aims to keep things simple. As you would expect, this is an app -- free of course -- that can be used to control a Windows PC from an iPhone, iPad, iPod touch or Android device.
When it comes to fire, you can never be too safe. Sadly, I know all too well. You see, I once lived through a fire that destroyed my apartment and all of my belongings. While it was a devastating event, I came out of it uninjured and with a new respect for fire safety.
Today, Nest announces a new product that combines technology with not only fire safety but carbon monoxide protection too.
Many people are settling into the idea that a 7 inch screen is the ideal size for a tablet. The extra screen space provided by a 10 inch model sounds great in theory, but it does result in a device that is slightly more cumbersome to take from place to place. Looked at in terms of portability, 7 inches is perfect -- large enough to make most tasks easy, but small enough to easily slip into a bag, if not necessarily a pocket.
The slightly smaller size also makes an important difference to the price tag, and there is a burgeoning market for tablets of this size. It is interesting to see that as the screens of phones gradually get larger and larger, the general trend for the tablet is to shrink -- the two are on a collision course!
The Office of Fair Trading (OFT) is calling on the games industry to avoid pressuring children into making in-app purchases in games and potentially running up large bills. Back in April, an investigation began into the ways in which children are pressured into making in-app purchases. 38 web and app-based games thought to appeal to children were looked at, and the results of the investigation are available in the Children's Online Games report.
The OFT aimed to determine whether the way in-app purchases were presented could be considered "misleading, aggressive or otherwise unfair". As a result of the investigation, the OFT has drawn up a set of eight proposed principles that apps and games should follow. The principles include clearly and prominently informing app users about the potential for costs to be incurred through the app. It is suggested that users should be able to fully understand the current and future costs associated with any app they download.
Some habits are hard to kick. Even though the world is trending towards a digital lifestyle, many business users still use Post-it Notes. I am guilty of using these low-tech pieces of paper daily. Sometimes, I need to quickly jot-down a note or phone number; a piece of paper can be faster than unlocking my smartphone or workstation. However, at the end of the day, I find my desk littered with these things. I have often wished for an easy way to transfer them to my computer.
Apparently, I am not alone as today, Evernote announces a partnership with Post-it which aims at organizing these notes. The company says, "for us at Evernote, Post-it Notes are a Hero Product. We strive for the sort of flexible, instantly-understandable usefulness that draws hundreds of millions of people to purchase Post-it brand products. There is one drawback. As ubiquitous as they are, they’re also, well, attached to stuff. That’s where Evernote comes in. Evernote is giving Post-it Notes a digital life and whole new set of tricks".
Twitter announces details of its new Twitter Alerts service which will make it possible to disseminate information when other methods fail or when large groups of people need to be notified about something. What does this mean? In times of national emergency, crisis or natural disaster, Twitter Alerts could be used to provide details about what is happening and what steps are being taken by authorities.
In times of emergency, it is very common for people to turn to the internet. But as we know all too well, the internet is home to a wealth of misinformation so this could end up to be less helpful than it should be. A number of international organizations have already signed up to be part of Twitter Alerts including the American Red Cross, FEMA, the World Health Organization, and various police and fire departments. Other interested organizations are invited to take part.
Michael has recorded a video demonstrating a few proofs of concept which leaves iPad and iPhone users open to potential attack. His example scenarios are purposefully harmless -- he has opted to show how opening an email could lead to an app being opened without permission or instigate a tweet or SMS (although it is not sent without confirmation) -- but the security hole is going to make many users feel uneasy.
The release of iOS 7 seems like as good a time as any to reassess the mobile operating system market, and this is precisely the thinking of Pfeiffer Consulting. The firm pitted Android, Blackberry 10, iOS 7, iOS 6 and Windows Phone 8 head to head (to head to head to head), comparing the aspects of the OS that have direct impact on user experience. Rated in four key areas, Windows Phone 8 came bottom of the list in terms of overall usability.
The results are quite damning. Looking at what the report terms "cognitive load" (how easy it is to pick up the OS), Windows Phone 8 actually fared well, receiving the same rating as iOS 7 and being praised for its "streamlined user interface". However the OS is criticized for reducing the overall user experience and efficiency.
Now here's a blast from the past. RealNetworks (remember it?) is launching RealPlayer Cloud, a new service that aims to make it easier than ever to share videos between devices and across platforms. The service has been developed to help avoid the need to transfer videos from one device to another or upload them to an online storage repository ready to download elsewhere.
The idea is that users do not have to worry about the platform videos will be viewed on, or the format they are saved in. There are a huge number of video codecs in use, so the appeal of something that helps to overcome compatibility issues is understandable. There are plenty of services that already make it possible to stream video wirelessly from a PC to an iPad or other device. This is nothing new, nor is the ability to pick up from where you left off watching when you switch devices.
If we are to believe all the comments posted on the Interwebs by Microsoft fanboys, then the Surface lineup should have delivered two of the most popular tablets on the market and Apple and Android OEMs should have gone out of business by now. But, once reality sets in and we overlook the silly one-sided comments, people just don't care enough about Microsoft's slates -- the 4.5 percent Windows market share, from IDC's Q2 2013 report, coupled with the $0.9 billion write-off speak for themselves.
Now there's a second-generation Surface lineup which was unveiled yesterday, comprised of Surface 2 and Surface Pro 2, that quietly wants to change people's perception about Windows-based slates and their preference towards Android tablets and iPads. On paper, the new Surfaces look great. Microsoft appears to have gotten the hint -- more power, more battery life, more versatile kickstand, more accessories. The new Surface lineup is simply "more" than its predecessor. Yet I don't think many people will notice that and rush to pre-order now or buy on sales day.
The number of people who are running iOS 7, either by buying a new iPhone or by downloading the update from Apple, is high. Very high. But shortly after the excitement of the new operating system, a security flaw with Siri emerges -- and it's not one to be taken lightly. Security firm Cenzic reveals details of a vulnerability that enables anyone to bypass the lock screen of an iPhone using Siri.
The voice activated assistant is better known for providing answers to questions and allowing for hands-free operation of iPhones. But Cenzic researchers show that it can also be used for more sinister purposes. You would think that when your phone is locked it should not be possible to do anything, besides answering calls, until you unlock it.
Two days ago Apple rolled out its latest mobile operating system offering, iOS 7. To compliment this new release, Microsoft is making sure to keep up with the latest version of the OS, by pushing out a brand new version of the Bing app. The company is hitting Apple hard with integration right into the heart of the platform.
"With the release of iOS 7 this week, you can now experience Bing search results in Siri", the software giant announces. The Bing search within Siri aims to deliver various types of results, keeping you from going to the web browser to view the same list of results. Microsoft explains, "for example, when you ask Siri a question, you will either see a specific answer or search results from Bing, including web links, related searches, images and video".
Like my colleague Mark Wilson, I was excited about the launch of iOS 7 yesterday, but the update to the new mobile operating system took hours and hours to complete. Starting, failing, doing nothing… When the upgrade finally began -- for real -- it did so at a glacial pace. I have a 100Mbps connection, but the iOS 7 download was at dial-up speeds.
Eventually though, the install was complete, and after a few seconds of setting it up (choosing a PIN in case someone stole my iPad, etc.), I was good to go. By this time I’d read a lot of negative comments and was expecting the worst… but actually I really like iOS 7.
So… it's here. iOS 7 has lumbered its way onto hundreds of thousands of iPhone and iPads all over the world -- mine included. My iPad 2 may be slightly aging, but it still does the job for me. I've yet to find a compelling reason to upgrade to a more recent model, but the prospect of a major OS upgrade is always exciting.
I'd read great things about iOS 7 previously, but having never taken the step of jailbreaking my tablet, I had not been able to try it hands-on. The download from Apple's servers was going to be my first proper experience of the update.
Anyone who manages to get their hands on an iPhone 5c or iPhone 5s on Friday will find that it comes with iOS 7 pre-installed. But if you’re not planning on investing in new hardware, head over to Apple's update server right now and you can grab yourself an upgrade free of charge.
The OS revamp is available as of 10am PST / 6pm BST, and if you jump on the download straight away you may well find it a slow and frustrating experience as the world and its dog tries to do exactly the same. But hang on in there... it'll be worth the wait.