Latest Technology News

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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Samsung unveils blazing fast 970 PRO and EVO M.2 PCIe NVMe SSDs

Samsung solid state drives are the gold standard of storage. True, there are other brands that sell quality SSDs, but Samsung's offerings are not only blazing-fast, but very reliable too. If you can afford it, you shouldn't consider any other brand.

Today, Samsung announces its most impressive solid state drives yet -- the 970 PRO and 970 EVO, both of which are M.2 PCIe NVMe variants. The PRO model features capacities up to 1TB, while the EVO goes up to 2TB.

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May 25th and GDPR goes live... What happens next?

Keyboard with GDPR date

Here’s my predictions for what will happen in a world where GDPR is 'live' -- out in the wild so to speak. The EU’s mythical caged dragon of GDPR is set loose to wreak havoc upon mere mortal humans and their humble businesses. Can you see what I’m doing here? A movie magnate was once purported to have said  "I want a movie that starts with an earthquake and the builds up to a climax." I’m doing that sort of thing.

So, what will happen on May 25th? The honest answer I suspect, is not much. A damp squib, by all accounts. Darn. Not much excitement after the earthquake after all. A bit like when no one was affected at all when the clocks tipped over midnight and the world braced itself for the Y2K global disaster. That was very different though, and once it was over, it was over. Not so with GDPR, it will rumble-on for many years. So what can we expect to see?

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Instagram launches Data Download tool so you can grab the contents of your account

A couple of weeks ago, Instagram said that it was working on a tool that would enable users to download everything from their accounts. Now the tool has been launched ahead of the roll out of GDPR in Europe.

There has been no fanfare for the data download tool, but it's available for everyone to use. It gives people the opportunity to download "photos, comments, profile information and more" which is ideal for anyone looking to either backup their data, or who is thinking about moving to a rival service.

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90 percent of malware given unhelpful labels by AV tools

virus label

According to a new study, 90 percent of malicious files are given generic labels by AV tools, such as 'trojan.generic', providing limited guidance for successful remediation and leaving enterprises exposed to subsequent attacks resulting from compromised credentials.

The study by breach protection specialist Lastline analyzed tens of millions of samples that were for the most part scanned and released by other security solutions.

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TVAddons launches Feeds for Git Browser, making it easy to share lists of favorite Kodi addons

Kodi and TVAddons logos

It has been a little while since we heard anything from TVAddons, the Kodi addons site that has been embroiled in a series of copyright cases. Recently the site launched its Github Browser as part of its continued attempts to provide "resilient and decentralized" links to Kodi addons.

Now TVAddons has launched Feeds for Git Browser, a new feature that makes it possible for anyone to create a list of their favorite Kodi addons and then share them with friends, family and followers.

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Amazon Key In-Car lets Prime subscribers have orders delivered to their car

Amazon Key In-Car

Through Amazon Key, Prime subscribers can grant delivery drivers access to their home using a special keypad so packages can be delivered when they're out. Today Amazon announces an extension of the program, Amazon Key In-Car, which lets Prime users have deliveries placed in their cars.

To start with, the service is available in 37 US cities, and there are plans to roll it out further. Shoppers are given a four-hour delivery window during which time their goods can be delivered to their vehicle. To start with, there is support for compatible 2015 or newer Chevrolets, Buicks, GMCs and Cadillacs with an OnStar account, and 2015 or newer Volvos with a Volvo On Call account. Vehicle support is also due to extend.

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Robin the AI-based assistant automates tedious sales tasks

Sales graph

Sales staff often find themselves spending time on administrative tasks that keep them away from actual selling.

San Francisco-based company SalesHero is aiming to change that with the launch of Robin, a new AI assistant for sales staff that learns from the user's actions and automates processes to improve daily productivity.

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Apple's purchase of Shazam to be investigated by the EU

Shazam on iPhone X

Apple's planned purchase of UK-based music-recognition app Shazam for $400 million is facing an investigation by the European Commission.

The commission is concerned that the purchase could give Apple an unfair advantage because of the access it would have to user data, and there is also concern that consumer choice could be limited. Initial investigations found that Apple may use the takeover to encourage Shazam users to move to its own music streaming services, so the commission is undertaking a more in-depth probe.

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ASUS unveils Lyra Trio AC1750 dual-band mesh Wi-Fi system

Mesh networking systems are all the rage these days, and it isn't hard to see why. Traditional wireless routers can be deficient in large houses, failing to reach all of the rooms. It can be quite frustrating to experience dead zones in your home, and fiddling with range extenders can be annoying. Mesh networks blanket your home in glorious Wi-Fi by utilizing several well-placed access points.

Today, ASUS unveils its latest mesh networking system. Called "Lyra Trio," it is comprised of three AC1750 access points. The 802.11ac devices are pyramid-shaped and contain vertical 3x3 MIMO antennas. If you don't have experience with setting up a home network, don't worry -- you can use a special smartphone app (Android and iPhone) to do so easily.

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Facebook publishes its internal Community Standards guidelines and introduces appeals process

Facebook censorship

Facebook faces lots of criticisms and questions, and while much of this is focused on privacy and security, there are also lots of queries about what is permitted on the platform. To help users to understand what's allowed and what's not, the company has published its Community Standards for everyone to read.

As well as making it clear exactly what sort of content is likely to attract the attention of censors, Facebook is also introducing a new appeals process, giving people the ability to fight back if their content is removed.

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What is Windows 10 Lean?

Windows 10 Lean

Anyone who downloaded and installed Windows 10 Redstone 5 Build 17650 for Skip Ahead may have noticed references to the previously unheard of Windows 10 Lean. Microsoft has made no announcement about this, so WTF is Windows Lean?

As you might guess from the name, this is a version of Windows 10 where the focus is on reduced size. With an install footprint around 2GB smaller than Windows 10 Pro, Windows 10 Lean is a stripped back version of the operating system with unnecessary extras cut out.

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Apple failed me

At the end of 2016, I found myself in need of a new laptop. Having never owned a Mac before, I was intrigued by the possibility of owning an Apple notebook. In the past, I never even considered a MacBook because they were too expensive. I'm not a rich man -- far from it -- but I justified the expense by telling myself it would be an investment. Apple's quality and service are legendary -- sure, I'd spend a lot up front, but the laptop would easily last me 5 years. Plus, it would integrate well with my iPhone and iPad.

And so, I opened an Apple credit card and bought a MacBook Pro with Touch Bar for about $2,000 -- an enormous amount of money for me. As someone who is often on the go, I opted for a 13-inch model for portability. For specs, I stuck with the Core i5 and 256GB SSD, but did upgrade the RAM to 16GB. I mean, you can't upgrade the RAM yourself, so it would be foolish to leave the base 8GB configuration, right?

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3 ways to move up the analytics maturity curve

Sales graph

It’s past time for companies to begin their digital transformation efforts in earnest. Those companies who have taken advantage of advancements in cloud computing via Artificial Intelligence technology have been able to enhance their customers’ experience, improve decision making and impact the bottom line. We can’t underestimate the impact customer experience  will have on revenue. For example, Forrester suggesting that 30 percent of companies will see declines in customer experience performance in 2018, which will translate into a net loss of a point of growth.

Yet some companies still do not understand the urgency and potential benefits of digital transformation. Approximately one-fourth of CEOs will fail to implement timely digital transformation efforts in 2018, and they find themselves growing exponentially further behind their competitors when it comes to overall efficiency and effectiveness -- a difference that will also be apparent to customers. Additionally, 59 percent of companies remain at a "digital impasse," or an early stage of digital transformation maturity, where they have seen little benefit from their efforts. Before moving away from static dashboards to providing actionable insights can begin, building a solid data foundation -- including data quality and timeliness, harmonized data, and increased privacy and security -- is an essential first step to ensuring the success of any analytics or BI platform integration. Implementing actionable analytics in particular requires the correct groundwork for users to efficiently sift through data and utilize insights.

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What information do Facebook advertisers know about me?

Facebook app permissions

This is the question Facebook poses and (sort-of-but-not-really) answers in the latest addition to its Hard Questions series. It's the social network's latest attempt to claw back some respect and trust from its users in the wake of the Cambridge Analytica privacy scandal, and it sees the company insisting that "you are not the product".

Whether this is believed or not is neither here nor there. That the company is now having to go to such extraordinary lengths to appear transparent, to try to prove that nothing untoward is going on, is simply indicative of the massive level of suspicion leveled at Facebook.

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