The Irish government is phasing out the so-called 'Double Irish' finance scheme that currently enables companies such as Google and Apple to slash millions (or even billions) of dollars from their tax bills. The scheme works by companies, regardless of where they may be operating in the world, collecting their profits through an Irish office (where tax is already low), and then funneling the money through a subsidiary company located in another tax haven by means of royalty payments.
Companies, like individuals, are understandably keen to keep their tax bills down as much as possible, and will jump through lots of hoops to reduce the amount of tax they have to pay. Offshore bank accounts, subsidiary companies and the like might sound like the makings of something illegal -- which it can be -- but it's a legitimate way to reduce costs. But the fact that something is legitimate doesn't mean that it's popular. At least it's not something that is popular with governments.
Creating content for YouTube is actually very hard and takes a long time to edit and upload. Even a simple-looking unboxing video can take hours from start to finish -- sometimes longer if you cut yourself opening the box and have to treat a wound. It is very disappointing to have your content removed for copyright issues, when you haven't actually violated anything. Even worse, it can be an impossibility to successfully dispute the bogus claim.
Today, many YouTube content creators were inconvenienced and upset by take down requests from an apparently overzealous company called "Marketly", acting on Microsoft's behalf. You see, all of the videos were Windows related, but not all of the removals were warranted. Of course, like all controversies, it has already been given a name and hashtag of #Microstopped.
Microsoft released the Windows 10 Technical Preview a fortnight ago, inviting testers to participate in the Windows Insider Program and help the company build a better operating system.
In two weeks, over a million people have apparently signed up to try out the new OS, and according to Microsoft, the tech giant has received over 200,000 pieces of user-initiated feedback to date via the built-in Windows Feedback app. You can see a rough breakdown of the top feedback received so far here. Microsoft also revealed some genuinely interesting information regarding how people are running the OS.
One of the greatest benefits of living in a free country such as the USA is the ability to vote. Even in this country, we aren't far removed from a time where women and non-whites were not allowed to vote -- an embarrassment. With that said, a bigger embarrassment is people that do not vote at all. Don't get me wrong, people have the right not to vote, and it is sometimes discouraging to always choose the lesser of two evils, but when you think of the people that fought and died for your right to vote, it is almost a slap in their face to not do it.
If you don't feel you have enough knowledge about the candidates, that is understandable; there are far too many distractions, such as Walking Dead, Twitter and working very long hours. Between work and media consumption, there just is not enough time to research election details. Today, Microsoft wants to make it easier for people to learn about the election with the all-new Bing Elections; a one-stop hub of information.
Google's Android Wear is still getting started, having a smattering of devices such as the LG G Watch and Motorola's Moto 360. The wrist wear brings the mobile platform to a small screen, and it's received a lot of attention since the launch.
Microsoft has a history of supporting Android, releasing all of its apps to the rival devices, despite Google's failure to reciprocate. Last month the the company released OneNote for watches and now the software giant is working on Android Wear again, offering a new analog keyboard app for the tiny items.
The main highlight in the Windows 10 Technical Preview is unquestionably the new Start menu. It is the perfect blend of the old and the new, mixing the Windows 7 Start menu with Windows 8's tiled Start screen.
If, however, you’re a Windows 8.x user who has become accustomed to working in the Start screen, you may not want to take the 'backward step' of returning to a Start menu. (My colleague Mark Wilson certainly feels your pain). The good news is Windows 10 lets you choose between the Start menu and Start screen, although switching backwards and forwards between the two modes is rather cumbersome. Fortunately, there’s a simple solution.
Microsoft Surface Pro 3 is one of the greatest tablets for content creators. It can run full-blown software like AutoCAD, Lightroom, Office and Photoshop because Windows 8.1 runs the show, it rivals ultrabooks in the speed department, can double as a laptop with a Type Cover attached, offers good battery life thanks to efficient processors and, on top of all this, ships with a neat stylus as well, out-of-the-box, which Microsoft calls Surface Pen.
Surface Pen is a precise input tool, which comes in handy when users want to draw, sketch or take notes, for instance. Still, for those who would like to make the stylus even more precise in operation can turn to Microsoft's new app, Surface Hub, to adjust pressure sensitivity, among other things.
Microsoft is encouraging people who have downloaded the Windows 10 Technical Preview to provide feedback on the embryonic operating system. The Start menu is something that users have been begging for, and changes to the Command Prompt have been a very long time coming, but just what do testers think of Windows 10 so far? There's still quite some time to go until Windows 10 is released giving Microsoft lots of opportunity to respond to user feedback. This is what Microsoft is all about these days after all.
With help from one of the readers of his Supersite for Windows, Paul Thurrott has pulled together a list of the top ten requests that have been received so far. The methodology may not be entirely scientific, but it does give an interesting insight into how Windows 10 has been received and what people would like to see changed.
In a post on the Surface blog, Microsoft has moved to assure businesses that the Surface line is here to stay. We've already heard that the Surface Pro 3 is a success -- although there are no figures to back up this claim -- but Microsoft's failure to launch a third generation RT-based version of the Surface, as well as the disappearance of the long-rumored Surface Mini, raised fears that the line of tablets may not be long for this world. Microsoft is keen to allay these concerns, pointing out not only that Surface is here to stay, but also that it is particularly suitable for businesses.
The post points out that the Surface Pro 3 is a device that's "great for getting things done". There's almost an air of desperation to the blog post in which Microsoft extols the virtue Surface and confirms its commitment to the brand. The selling point is still that the device is a laptop and tablet in one, and post author Brian Hall, General Manager for Surface, is quick to mention a number of big names who have adopted Surface Pro 3.
Continuing its run at the top of the charts, Apple is revealed as the most valuable brand in the world. With a massive 21 percent increase over the last 12 months, Apple is now valued at just under $119 billion -- almost double that of Microsoft which finds itself in fifth place with a value of just over $61 billion.
The top 100 rankings have been published by Interbrand, and a number of familiar names from the world of tech are to be found in the top 20. Google's value jumped by 15 percent from last year to $107 billion, and the search giant remains in second position.
When Microsoft took the lid off Windows 10 in late-September, the software giant showcased some of the new features that its new tiled operating system offers in the Technical Preview build. Chief among them was the revival of the Start menu, but virtual desktops, a beefed-up Command Prompt, and Task View were also demoed during the presentation. However, even though it has been an oft-requested addition, there was no mention of a notifications center being baked-into Windows 10.
That was a major disappointment in my book, as a notifications center is a must-have feature for any modern operating system, let alone one that is supposed to run on desktops, laptops, tablets and smartphones (perhaps, even wearables). But, rest assured, Windows 10 does come with a notifications center. Microsoft may not yet want us to see it, but it can be enabled. And here is how.
Going to the movies is one of my favorite things; however, the crowd can make or break an experience. A film is art and deserves respect, regardless of the nature of the content. Whether I am seeing a slapstick comedy, cartoon or serious drama, I demand silence and for children to be kept under control. Sure, I am sounding a bit cranky, but the reality is, movies are very expensive and I am not interested in overhearing phone calls and having kids run up and down the aisles.
Seeing a film aside, finding one to see can be quite the ordeal too, especially when out with a group of friends. No one can ever decide on a theater, film or showtime, so the end result if everyone on their smartphones arguing as they look for movie times. Today, Microsoft announces a new way to find movie times using Bing. While it may not settle an argument over what movie to see, it should at least help the situation.
There are few companies who fail to find themselves under the privacy microscope at some point, but Microsoft is one that is the center of attention more than many. Whilst taking steps to allay fear about a keylogger in Windows 10, the company has signed the Student Privacy Pledge, joining big names from the world of education such as Follett, Learnmetrics, and Knovation. The pledge means that Microsoft will use personal information about students to help better tailor learning packages, but it won't be used for advertising, or sold to third parties.
Anthony Salcito, Microsoft's Vice President for Worldwide Education, announced the move at the Future of Privacy Forum (FPF) and the Software & Information Industry Association (SIIA) launched the pledge to help protect students.
As we all know, Windows 10 Technical Preview is out there and ready for anyone with the time and inclination to try out. Much has been made of the return of the Start menu as well as the new features such as virtual desktops, but over the last couple of days the rumor grapevine has been working overtime.
The big news is that Windows 10 includes a keylogger so that Microsoft can spy on your every action, tracking your every keystroke as you enter usernames, passwords, and bank details. Well, that's not strictly true... despite what some sites would have you believe. So, what then? Windows 10 doesn't include a keylogger? It's not quite that simple.
The "right to be forgotten" is something that was expected to take Europe by storm. A court ruling gave people the right to get in touch with search engines like Google and Bing to ask that results relating to them be removed -- assuming they are "inadequate, irrelevant or no longer relevant". One of the services that popped up after the ruling was Forget.me, making it simple to submit removal requests.
Three months down the line, we have access to the first set of figures relating to requests, and they show that social networks are the most affected type of website.