Latest Technology News

Following Apple's lead from 2016, Microsoft, Facebook and Google replace gun emoji with water pistol

It is now two years since Apple decided that an image of a gun had no place as an emoji. The company replaced the handgun icon with an image of a water pistol, leading to a debate about whether it was the right thing to do.

With further serious shootings and gun crimes bringing firearms into the spotlight time and time again, more technology companies decided to follow suit. The latest names to follow Apple's lead are Microsoft, Facebook and Google, all of whom plan to kill the gun emoji and replace it with a water pistol.

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Exploit emerges for Microsoft's problematic Meltdown patch for Windows 7 and Server 2008

Spectre and Meltdown 3D renders

For Microsoft, the patches it produced for the Meltdown chip vulnerability proved to be just about as problematic as the original issue, further reducing the security of systems. Following the emergence of an exploit for the Windows-maker's first patch, users are advised to hurry up and install the patch-for-a-patch that was later released.

Last month, Ulf Frisk from Sweden revealed that Microsoft's Meltdown patches were making things worse for Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008, making it possible to read and write kernel memory and gain total control over the system. Now code has been posted online that can be used to exploit the "Total Meltdown" vulnerability.

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Digg is now owned by ad-tech company BuySellAds

Digg website

Digg used to carry some major clout on the internet, but this all changed back in 2012 when the site was bought by Betaworks. Now the site has been sold again, this time to an ad-tech company.

Boston-based BuySellAds has just bought Digg's assets and its editorial and revenue teams for an undisclosed amount. The company says that it "plans to streamline Digg and build up its ad stack", which will come as sad news for those who still cling onto a nostalgic image of what Digg used to be.

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Philips Momentum 43-inch 4K Quantum Dot Monitor is HDR1000 certified

These days, 4K televisions and monitors are becoming much more common. Operating systems support them well, and there is a lot of available UHD content -- including on Netflix and YouTube. Not to mention, prices have dropped dramatically -- these 4K monitors are finally achievable by the average consumer.

Philips has announced an all-new 4K display called "Momentum" (model 436M6VBPAB) that is downright breathtaking. First of all, it is huge -- a massive 43 inches. Size aside, it has Quantum Dot technology, an insane 1,000 nits max brightness, 10-bit color, and most impressive of all, it is HDR1000 certified.

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Microsoft releases Windows 10 Redstone 5 Build 17655 for Skip Ahead

While we’re still waiting for a release date for the next feature update of Windows 10 -- the April Update expected in May -- Microsoft has rolled out another Redstone 5 build for Insiders who have opted to Skip Ahead.

Build 17655 introduces a makeover for mobile broadband (LTE) connectivity and there’s a number of other changes and fixes to be aware of.

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North Korean leaders abandon western social media

North Korea keyboard

Chances are you're not currently friends with Kim Jong Un on Facebook. And it's not likely to happen any time soon according to researchers at Recorded Future who have been looking at the internet usage patterns of North Korea's leaders.

In July last year they found that the country's ruling elite were plugged into contemporary internet society, were technologically savvy, and had patterns of internet use that were very similar to users in the West.

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Google launches Tasks app for iOS and Android, revamps web version

Google Tasks app

The big news from Google today is the launch of the redesigned Gmail, but it's not the only news. The company has also launched a new app called Tasks which -- no prizes for guessing -- allows for management of to-do lists.

The Google Tasks service is nothing new, and it has been accessible from Gmail inboxes and Google Calendar for quite some time, but this is the first time there has been a dedicated app for it. As well as the app, there's also a revamp of the web-based version of Tasks.

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Cohesity simplifies the creation of cloud development environments

cloud development

Secondary storage specialist Cohesity is launching new capabilities that allow organizations to leverage the public cloud for faster application testing and development, while still ensuring seamless backup and recovery.

A growing number of enterprises are moving application testing and development onto public cloud infrastructure, taking advantage of its agility and elasticity to speed time to market. Using Cohesity CloudSpin, users can instantly convert backup data stored on Cohesity DataPlatform into a new virtual machine for testing or development in the cloud.

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Security flaw could allow hackers to create hotel master keys

Hotel lock

Most hotel chains these days rely on some sort of electronic key card mechanism rather than more traditional locks.

Researchers at F-Secure have found that hotels worldwide are using an electronic lock system with a flaw that could be exploited by an attacker to gain access to any room in the building.

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Endpoints still vulnerable despite advances in protection technology

Endpoint protection

Although endpoint security solutions have improved, a new survey of IT security professionals finds that three quarters believe their existing anti-malware solutions would be able to prevent no more than 70 percent of infections.

The study from anti-evasion specialist Minerva Labs shows nearly half of the respondents surveyed (48 percent) say that they have seen about the same number of malware infections than previous years while 32 percent claim to have seen an increase in infections.

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'Awexa, play Disney songs' -- Amazon unveils new Echo Dot Kids Edition

While the likes of Google and Apple are making some headway in the home voice assistant market, Amazon remains king. Part of the reason for its success (beyond simply being the first to market) is the retail giant offers a range of Alexa compatible devices to suit every need and budget.

Today, it adds another device to its range, targeting a different, but inevitable demographic -- Echo Dot Kids Edition.

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Opera launches (another) mobile app -- Opera Touch 1.0 links in with Opera desktop browser

Opera Software has launched Opera Touch 1.0 a mobile app for Android (with iOS due to follow shortly). It joins existing mobile apps Opera and Opera Mini.

The new app is designed to work in tandem with Opera’s desktop browser using Flow, a means of instantly sharing tabs between desktop and mobile. It’s also been optimized to facilitate fast web searches and for one-handed use.

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WhatsApp raises minimum user age to 16 in Europe and announces data download tool

WhatsApp on Android phone

With new privacy laws due to roll out around Europe next month, WhatsApp has increase its minimum age from 13 to 16.

The Facebook-owned messaging tool has made the change in order to comply with GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) which comes into force on May 25. To continue to use WhatsApp, users must now confirm that they are at least 16 years old and agree to the privacy policy and terms of services of the newly-created WhatsApp Ireland Limited.

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Google rolls out massive Gmail redesign -- here's what's new and how to access it

We've known for a little while that Google was planning a major overhaul of Gmail -- complete with a host of new features -- and now the big day has arrived. The most obvious change is the new look which is more in keeping with the aesthetics of Material Design, but it's the new features that Google is most keen to talk about.

While the company says that the aim of the update is "to help people be more productive at work", the new features are available to everyone starting now. What do you have to look forward to? Nudges, Smart Replies, email snoozing, action buttons and more.

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Urban Armor Gear's rugged 'Plasma' Apple iPad case is a Best Buy exclusive

Apple's iPad tablets are beautifully designed, but let's be honest -- they are not durable. If you drop it, there is a very good chance the screen could shatter. Even if the display is unhurt, it could become dented or scratched, which can really destroy the resale value. Money aside, it can be depressing to use a device with cosmetic blemishes. Look, you spent good money on your iPad, right? Well, you should protect it.

The best way to do this is with a rugged case. This way, if you do drop your precious iPad, it should hopefully survive unscathed. One manufacturer that produces reliable cases is Urban Armor Gear. Today, that company announces the "Plasma" case for both the regular iPad (9.7-inch, 5th and 6th generation) and iPad Pro (12.9 and 10.5-inch). Not only is it very rugged, but it looks quite beautiful too. Apple Pencil users should love the integrated holder.

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