Latest Technology News

Patreon scraps plans to introduce new charges, and apologizes to users

Patreon logo

Artists' and creators' platform Patreon has scrapped controversial plans to introduce a new pricing structure after a vocal backlash from users.

The site -- used by many artists and creators to raise money -- had planned to add a service charge to pledges placed by patrons. While the new pricing structure would have reduced fees paid by artists, there was a fear that fewer pledges would be made due to fees having to be shouldered by those pledging money. CEO Jack Conte has now apologized and says that the company will work on a better system that does not unfairly impact upon smaller payments.

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Facebook adds Snooze button to silence irritating friends, pages and groups

Women hitting snooze button on alarm clock

If you're friends with someone on Facebook it should mean that you're interested in hearing about what they have to say and see what they have to share. But at the same time, it's likely you've been extremely annoyed by the incessant stream of babble that flows from some people.

You might not want to go quite as far as unfriending someone -- maybe you're just sick of them posting movie spoilers, or you're tired of hearing them go on about their team's latest success -- so Facebook has introduced a new Snooze option. This can be used to hide a particular person's posts for a month.

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Amazon extends Christmas shopping free shipping deadline -- no Prime needed

Christmas is quickly approaching. If you haven't finished shopping for gifts, what the heck are you waiting for? The longer you wait, the more anxiety you will feel about potentially not having presents ready to give on the big day. Thanks to the internet, you really have no excuse -- other than a lack of money -- to be empty-handed when visiting with friends and family this holiday season.

Speaking of online shopping, Amazon is one of the most popular such retailers. Quite frankly, I have done about 90 percent of my Christmas shopping on that site. I mean, can you blame me? Amazon has competitive pricing, a huge selection, and great shipping options. In fact, today, the company announces that it is extending its free shipping offer until December 16. This means you can have gifts delivered by Christmas at no charge if you place your order no later than tomorrow -- no Prime needed!

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Google Maps for Android gets step-by-step directions for public transit navigation

When some people -- such as suburbanites -- think of Google Maps, their minds likely go to motor vehicles, such as cars, motorcycles, and trucks. People also use it for other types of transportation, however, such as walking, biking, and mass-transit. Google Maps works rather well for these various means of traveling, adjusting both the route and estimated time based on your selection.

Today, Google Maps for Android gains a new feature that will greatly benefit folks that ride the train or bus. You see, the app will now provide step-by-step directions for public transit navigation. In other words, the search giant is helping you to avoid missing your stop.

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The average US home is worth less than 20 Bitcoin

Home bitcoin

It's fair to say that, in its current state, Bitcoin does not work as a means of payment for basic things. The average transaction fee is over $20, which makes common purchases, like a cup of coffee, virtually impossible to justify. However, as I noted in my What can you buy with Bitcoin? piece, things are different when we are looking at very expensive purchases.

One such scenario where using Bitcoin makes a whole lot of sense is buying a home. The transaction fee is negligible, as the cost is in the hundreds of thousands of dollars, if we are looking at the median price of a US home.

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Why the IoT needs wireless power

Wireless internet of things

With a predicted 200 billion connected devices in use by 2020, the Internet of Things is leading to a massive growth in the number of powered devices.

While this is a massive opportunity for manufacturers it's also a problem as all of those devices have to be kept powered up. Batteries are the current solution, but they're expensive, limit the design and life of a device, and contain nasty substances that are difficult to dispose of when they reach the end of their life.

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Synology announces DiskStation DS218 and FlashStation FS1018 NAS

Synology FlashStation FS1018 front

Synology has been slowly refreshing its NAS lineup in the past couple months, and now it is adding two more models to the range. The star of the show is the FlashStation FS1018, a high-end NAS that, as its name suggests, is designed with all-flash storage in mind. The DiskStation DS218, meanwhile, is the new two bay, mid-range NAS for consumers.

The FS1018 is an impressive piece of kit. It can house up to 12 SSDs (SATA), has 8GB of ECC (error-correcting code) RAM as standard, a dual-core, 64-bit Intel processor, a 10Gb wired connection and support for the Btrfs file system, just to name some of the highlights.

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Using AWS for data protection -- where barriers can also be benefits

Cloud data security

Cloud data protection and management specialist Druva has released the results of its 2017 AWS Cloud Data Protection Survey, which shows that the three biggest barriers for moving data to AWS for cloud storage are cost, security and lack of control.

But for respondents already in the cloud those same barriers are identified as the top benefits. One of the biggest benefits seen from those who have already moved their data to the cloud is cost savings (59 percent). Yet 49 percent of respondents who are considering a move cite cost as the number one barrier.

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Best Windows 10 apps this week

Two-hundred-and-sixty-one in a series. Welcome to this week's overview of the best apps, games and extensions released for Windows 10 on the Windows Store in the past seven days.

As always, if I missed an app or game that has been released this week that you believe is particularly good, let me know in the comments below or notify me via email.

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Apple begins selling iMac Pro, unveils official Thunderbolt 3 cable, and adds 360-degree VR editing to Final Cut Pro X

All-in-one desktops are generally a terrible idea. Outside of saving desk space, there is really no benefit to combining a display and your computer into one unit. Hell, it is quite a negative, as if the display breaks, you have to get the whole damn thing fixed -- and vice versa. Not to mention, you are severely limited regarding upgrades -- it is often non-existent. Let us not forget that these computers typically use less-powerful mobile parts -- including processors and RAM.

With all of that said, today, after 6 months of waiting, Apple finally releases the first-ever iMac Pro -- a super-powerful version of its all-in-one desktop. Despite my aforementioned concerns about all-in-one computers, Mac power-users should probably check it out anyway. Why? Well, unfortunately for macOS fans, Apple really isn't selling a standalone desktop these days. Yeah, you can buy the "Garbage Can" Mac Pro or Mac mini, but those machines are outdated and not worth your money (a new Mac Pro is promised for the future). And so, the iMac Pro is here to hopefully satisfy Mac users with the need for power. There is only one problem -- the starting price is $5,000!

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Satechi unveils Aluminum Type-C Clamp Hub Pro for 2017 iMac Pro

Today is a huge day for Apple, as its much-anticipated iMac Pro finally goes on sale. While it isn’t a revolutionary product, the computer should placate vocal Mac users that have been clamoring for more power.

If you do decide to spend $5,000 or more on the iMac Pro (yes, that really is the starting price) you may not mind spending additional money on accessories for it. Today, Satechi unveils a new product designed for the iMac Pro, but also the standard iMac models too. Called “Aluminum Type-C Clamp Hub,” it attaches to the computer and delivers front-facing USB ports (Type-C and Type-A), plus both an SD and micro SD card reader. Believe it or not, this is necessary as Apple puts all of the computer’s ports on the rear -- not a great design.

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Sphero BB-8: The app-enabled Star Wars droid you're looking for [Review]

Star Wars fever is once again high as The Last Jedi arrives in cinemas around the world. Sphero offers a range of Star Wars droids -- R2-D2, R2-Q5, BB-8 and BB-9E -- which you can control via an app, and which also interact with one another.

The BB-8 model I’ve been testing for a few weeks now is a perfect scaled down version of the orange and white droid first introduced in The Force Awakens. Like most of Sphero’s robots, it’s a gyroscopic ball that rolls around, but with a dome on top that moves independently.

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Get paid $5 just for trying Apple Pay!

Apple Pay is amazing. I use it regularly wherever it is accepted. Two stores where it is particularly good are Walgreens and Kohl’s. These two retailers offer loyalty reward cards that can be linked to Apple Pay for added convenience. When you pay with your iPhone, the reward card is entered automatically -- no need to swipe a second card. It’s a small thing, but it really is delightful.

Today, Apple announces a promotion that makes using Apple Pay a no-brainer. You see, the iPhone-maker will pay you $5 just for trying it! The deal starts today and ends on December 21. Of course, there is one catch -- not all stores are eligible for the promotion.

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TVAddons: Streaming through Kodi addons protects you from malware and cryptocurrency miners

Kodi and TVAddons logos

Kodi has been the subject of controversy for some time, and addon repository TVAddons has, in particular, been criticized from many quarters. Having recently announced that it will no longer proactively check for pirated content, TVAddons is suggesting that there's a very good reason to use Kodi addons to stream online content -- security.

The site says that one of the reasons Kodi is so hated by the industry is that addons give users the chance to avoid advertisements and "all forms of monetization." TVAddons says that Kodi addons not only enable people to avoid ads, but also potentially dangerous malware and secretive cryptocurrency miners.

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Windows 10 gets native OpenSSH client and server

It's quite interesting to see just how far Microsoft has come since Satya Nadella became CEO. The company has gotten out of its comfort zone and made its products more appealing to a wider range of customers, embracing rival platforms and the open-source community. Having Visual Studio on Macs and tons of apps on Android and iOS is something that would have been unheard of only a few years ago.

The same goes for offering a subsystem for Linux or OpenSSH support on Windows 10. That last bit may not excite everyone, but it is especially useful for those who want to log in remotely on Linux devices -- which would have normally required third-party tools like PuTTY. Microsoft is not stopping there though, as it's taking things to the next level by adding a native OpenSSH client and server to Windows 10.

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