Latest Technology News

Et tu, Office? After pulling Windows 10 update, Microsoft does the same for Office

Microsoft glass building logo

Microsoft's update procedure for Windows 10 has been a little, er, wobbly of late. The Windows 10 October 2018 Update proved so problematic that it had to pulled, and even the re-released version is far from perfect.

Now it seems the cancer is spreading to Office. Having released a series of updates for Office 2010, 2013 and 2016 as part of this month's Patch Tuesday, Microsoft has now pulled two of them and advised sysadmins to uninstall the updates if they have already been installed.

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Google is killing off SMS notifications for Calendar

Google Calendar on mobile

In early January 2019, you will no longer be able to receive SMS notifications about Google Calendar events. The change will affect Android and iOS users.

While Google does not give an explicit reason for killing off SMS notifications -- other than seemingly not wanting to offer too many means of receiving notifications -- the company says that users should not notice any difference because of in-app notifications.

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Ivanka Trump used a personal email account for government business, but no we shouldn't 'lock her up'

While I am not a fan of Donald Trump, I am hardly an admirer of Hillary Clinton either -- I had serious concerns about her use of a personal email server. I mean, look, the former Secretary of State was sending and receiving classified emails through a personal server set up in her home. She then deleted some of the communications which were property of the American people. Regardless of what you think about Ms. Clinton, it cannot be denied that she broke the law by doing these things. It felt very shady, and quite frankly, it probably cost her the 2016 election.

With that said, I cringed at the calls to "lock her up" where a vicious mob mentality took over at Trump's rallies calling her "Crooked Hillary." Should she have faced justice for breaking the law and arguably making the USA less safe? Absolutely. But we did not need the vicious chanting or name calling. Fast forward to 2018, and now the tables have turned in dramatic fashion. Donald Trump's daughter and White House administration member, Ivanka, has been exposed by a group called American Oversight for using her personal email accounts for official government business. Yes, she essentially did the same thing that Clinton did, albeit on a much smaller scale.

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Singapore's newest security officer is a robot

From November 11-15, 2018, Singapore hosted the 33rd annual Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) conference. While there, people mingled with the 20 world leaders who attended and may have even seen a security robot on patrol.

Singapore's security robot is a four-wheeled device that moves independently along a pre-defined route. It has flashing red and blue lights that increase visibility, but the bot also features onboard obstacle-avoidance technology. Perhaps the most noticeable feature of the security robot is one of its main cameras, attached to a long, thin component attachment that moves up and down and lets the camera swivel around.

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Razer launches compact and silent BlackWidow Lite mechanical gaming keyboard

If you are a fan of mechanical keyboards, you are probably in heaven these days. After all, there are many manufacturers producing quality products. Unfortunately, many of these models are designed for gaming, meaning they are ostentatious, with RGB lighting and funky teen-friendly style. They often have noisy keys, too -- great for the user, but annoying to those around them. If you want a more conservative mechanical keyboard, your options are a bit limited.

Today, Razer launches a very beautiful mechanical gaming keyboard that looks very sophisticated rather than childish. The "BlackWidow Lite," as it is called, has regular white back-lighting and forgoes a number pad, making it very compact. Best of all, Razer's own orange switches are silent, meaning you won't bother family or coworkers when gaming or typing. It is reasonably priced too.

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Almost a quarter of reported vulnerabilities have no known solution

data threat

The number of reported vulnerabilities in 2018 is seven percent down on the same period last year, according to a new report from Risk Based Security.

It's not all good news though, as 24.9 percent of 2018's reported vulnerabilities currently have no known solution which is a reminder that, while patching is very important, it can't be relied on exclusively as a remedy.

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Businesses struggle with the rate of growth in API use

api

In the last few years APIs have become a critical enabler of digital transformation for businesses across all sectors.

Cybersecurity company Ping Identity has surveyed more than 100 security and IT professionals to determine their concerns surrounding the increased use of APIs.

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Satechi launches Qi-Certified Aluminum USB Type-C PD and QC Wireless Charger

There are many Qi wireless chargers on the market these days. They have become very affordable, so if your phone supports the feature, you really should buy one. No longer will you need to fiddle with plugging a cable into your phone -- especially tedious when you are exhausted and just want to fall into bed.

Before you purchase a wireless charging pad, however, you should make sure you are getting one that is high-quality. I suggest looking for a reputable brand that does not have an integrated cable. Instead, you should target one with a removable cable -- preferably USB-C. The other thing to look at? Wattage. Not all pads are created equally, and depending on your phone, you may get faster charging speeds from a pad with higher watts. Today, Satechi launches a wireless charger that seemingly checks all the boxes.

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Re-released Windows 10 October 2018 Update breaks Apple iCloud

The woes inflicted on users by the re-released Windows 10 October 2018 Update continue, with the latest issue concerning Apple iCloud.

The problem affects the latest version of iCloud for Windows (7.7.0.27), and is causing updating and syncing issues with shared albums. In addition, if you try to install iCloud on a system running Windows 10 1809 the installation will fail.

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Microsoft admits Cortana is an epic failure by shamelessly selling Amazon Echo Dot

Stunningly, Microsoft lost the smartphone wars despite getting a huge head start with Windows Mobile, and going back even further, Windows CE. Despite having a stranglehold/monopoly on desktop computing, the company made too many missteps with mobile, and ultimately, has been forced to exit the very profitable business. Microsoft even took down Nokia in the process, destroying a once beloved company.

Following smartphones, the next big thing was voice assistants, and Microsoft was ready with Cortana. Unfortunately, unlike Apple and Google who had successful mobile operating systems to push their assistants, Microsoft was once again left trailing behind since consumers passed hard on Windows Phone. Online retailer Amazon came out of nowhere and dominated this field too. Ultimately, Cortana has become a thing that exists solely to annoy Windows 10 users. This is a shame, because Cortana is actually pretty good.

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Linux: Ubuntu 18.04 LTS will be supported for a full decade

Stacked Ubuntu logo

Mark Shuttleworth has announced that Ubuntu 18.04 will be supported for ten years. Long Term Support releases of Ubuntu usually enjoy just five years of support, so this doubling is highly significant.

Shuttleworth -- the founder of Canonical and Ubuntu -- made the announcement at the OpenStack Summit in Berlin, and the change is a tactical maneuver that will help Ubuntu better compete against the likes of Red Hat/IBM. It is also an acknowledgement that many industries are working on projects that will not see the light of day for many years, and they need the reassurance of ongoing support from their Linux distro. Ubuntu can now offer this.

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You can now watch full blockbuster movies on YouTube for free... thanks to ads

YouTube and popcorn

With little fanfare, YouTube has started to offer ad-supported, feature-length movies, giving visitors the opportunity to watch Hollywood titles for free.

As reported by AdAge, it seems that YouTube introduced this option last month, but gave it something of a stealth launch. It has been possible to purchase movies from YouTube for some time, but until now there has been no (legal) way to access movies for free. And if you are concerned that free might mean that poor quality, you should be reassured to see titles such as The Terminator and Agent Cody Banks in the library of free-to-watch, ad-supported movies.

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Privacy-focused search engine Startpage.com relaunches with new look, faster speeds and Anonymous View

Startpage,com relaunch

Startpage.com is a privacy-focused alternative to the likes of Google (although the search results are provided by Google -- minus all the ads and stripped of tracking), and the search engine has just relaunched with a new look and new features. The visual changes will be apparent to anyone who has used the site before, but for anyone who is concerned about their online privacy, it is new options such as Anonymous View that will be of greater interest.

This new feature makes it possible to visit websites completely privately, essentially using Startpage.com as a proxy. Importantly, this extra level of privacy and protection does not come at the expense of speed, meaning you can browse the web anonymously without compromise.

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The re-released Windows 10 1809 is still buggy -- and some fixes won't arrive until next year

Windows 10 version 1809 -- aka the October 2018 Update -- was such a mess that Microsoft was forced to pull it and spend weeks trying to fix the numerous problems that early adopters had encountered, which included (but were not limited to) data loss, Windows failing to remember default app choices, driver issues and much more.

On Tuesday, the software giant finally re-released the update, but if you were hoping things would go a lot smoother this time around, you’d be wrong. Windows 10 1809 still has some pretty major issues for users to be aware of.

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Firefox Monitor Notifications will issue a warning if you visit a breached site using Mozilla's web browser

Firefox Monitor

If a website suffers a security breach you may well decide that you want to give it a wide berth. The problem is that it is impossible for individuals to keep track of all of the breaches that take place, and Mozilla wants to help out.

After teaming up with Have I Been Pwned recently, Mozilla created Firefox Monitor to help inform people about breaches, and this is now expanding to more languages. On top of this, the organization has also now launched Firefox Monitor Notifications that will issue a warning if you visit a site that has been breached.

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