Mark Wycislik-Wilson

Chuwi LapBook Air now available for pre-order -- or you can win one in a giveaway!

chuwi-lapbook-air

Chuwi has been building anticipation for its upcoming LapBook Air, and the company has now opened up pre-orders for its ultra-thin laptop. Priced at just $429 the LapBook Air is described as being "a very MacBook-like device," and it weighs in at just 1.3kg.

The device is powered by Windows 10 running on an Apollo Lake N3450 processor backed by 8GB RAM and a 128GB SSD. If you're happy to subscribe to a Chuwi newsletter you can shave an extra $50 off the price, but there's also a giveaway which means you could get one for free.

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EFF resigns from W3C in protest against Encrypted Media Extensions DRM standard

electronic-frontier-foundation

Digital rights group the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) has resigned from the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) because of a move to standardize the Encrypted Media Extension (EME) API for controlling DRM in web browsers.

The EFF is far from being the only group to be unhappy with the W3C for the decision to standardize EME, but this is the first -- and possibly only -- one to have gone as far as resigning as well as filing objections. The group says that it proposed compromises that were ignored, and the opposition of EFF and other W3C members were simply overruled.

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Privacy: With iOS 11 and Safari's cookie blocking, Apple is kicking advertisers in the teeth

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Apple news has been dominated -- understandably -- by the launch of the iPhone X, iPhone 8/8Plus and Apple Watch Series 3. But there's also iOS 11 to consider. The latest version of Apple's mobile operating system hit iPhones and iPads around the world yesterday, bringing with it a raft of new features.

The release of iOS 11 includes an updated version of Safari and, importantly, a feature called Intelligent Tracking Prevention. Enabled by default, the feature blocks certain cookies from websites, making it harder for advertisers to follow users around the web. Users and privacy advocates are happy; advertisers, it must be said, are not, saying "Apple's unilateral and heavy-handed approach is bad for consumer choice and bad for the ad-supported online content and services consumers love."

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Microsoft opens pre-orders for standard Xbox One X

xbox-one-x-and-controller

Hopefully you have been saving up, because today the standard version of the not-particularly-cheap Xbox One X is available to pre-order. Last month saw the Project Scorpio Edition open up for pre-orders, and now it's time for those who are interested in the standard black model.

The console will be available worldwide on November 7, but if you want to avoid disappointment on the day, it's probably best to get your order for "the world's most powerful console" in right now -- links are below. As well as opening up pre-orders today, Microsoft has announced that the list of Xbox One X enhanced games has grown to over 130.

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Adblock Browser 2.0 for iOS adds Ghost Mode for the ultimate in anonymous private web browsing

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Adblock Plus is about more than just its eponymous software -- the company also produces Adblock Browser. Now version 2.0 of the secure, private mobile web browser has been released for iOS and it introduces a wealth of new features.

Key among these new features is Ghost Mode which makes it easy to slip into anonymous web browsing mode whenever privacy is of the utmost importance. As the name of the browser implies, there is also an integrated ad-blocker, but it does not end there -- this is an update that the company has been working on for more than a year.

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Amazon announces faster Fire HD 10 tablet with improved battery, 1080p display and a lower price

Fire HD 10 Colours[4]

It has been a while since Amazon launched a new Fire tablet, but today the online retailer has unveiled the all-new Fire HD 10. The processors, battery and screen have all been upgraded, but the starting price has been slashed to just $149.99 (or £149.99).

The screen is a 10.1-inch 1080p affair offering 224 ppi, and the tablet's processor has been upgraded to a quad-core chip, boosting the speed by up to 30 percent. Amazon claims the battery will last for up to 10 hours, and the addition of stereo Dolby Atmos Audio speakers has the sound side of things covered. The company also claims that the Fire HD is "more durable than the latest iPad Pro 10.5” (and costs a lot less too)."

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Avast opens up about CCleaner hack and outlines how it will protect users

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When news broke yesterday that CCleaner had been hacked and a dangerously modified version had been available to download for a number of weeks, there were understandable concerns from the program's large userbase. And the concern is well-placed -- some 2.27 million machines are thought to have installed the infected software.

Avast now has something of a PR nightmare on its hands as it tries to rebuild the trust of its users. To this end, company CEO Vince Steckler and CTO Ondřej Vlček have written an article clarifying what happened with CCleaner, and give some details about how they plan to protect their customers -- as well as "correct[ing] some misleading information that is currently circulating."

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Gmail and Inbox now convert addresses, phone numbers and contacts into clickable links

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The chances are that when you read that headline -- particularly if you're not a Gmail or Inbox user -- your reaction was something along the lines of "how is that not already a thing?"

The update is a simple one, but one that will be welcomed by users. Just as URLs are automatically converted into clickable links, so the same luxury is to be lavished on addresses, phone numbers and contacts. Welcome to 2017.

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Microsoft confirms Outlook.com is down for some people

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If you are having trouble accessing Outlook.com at the moment, you're not alone. Many people -- particularly in Europe -- are experiencing problems with Microsoft's email service.

Microsoft has confirmed that there is an issue with "load-balancing infrastructure," and investigations are underway to discover the source of the problem. Users affected by the problem say that the messages they try to send remain in the Draft folder rather than reaching the intended recipient.

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Apple Watch Series 3 does not support roaming

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When the Apple Watch Series 3 was revealed last week, there was much excitement about the fact that -- at long last -- it would be possible to make calls without the need to have an iPhone nearby. Built-in cellular connectivity is something Apple Watch users have been begging for, and the Series 3 model delivers LTE goodness.

But all is not quite as rosy as it might first seem. Yes, it's possible to use your new Apple Watch to make phone calls, but it's not going to be of any use to you if you go abroad. The smartwatch does not support roaming. On top of this, the device will only provide full functionality in the country of purchase -- so if you were thinking of buying a cheap Apple Watch abroad, you might want to think again.

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How to disable the Bixby button on your Samsung Galaxy S8 or Galaxy S8+

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If you have a Samsung Galaxy S8 or Galaxy S8+ you may well have a strong opinion about the dedicated Bixby button. For some people, one-click access to Samsung's digital assistant, Bixby, is a real boon -- for others it's just a pain in the butt.

The positioning of the button is such that it is incredibly easy to hit it by mistake, such as when you try to press the volume down button. With a new update Samsung is finally making it possible to disable the button.

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Security warning: Hackers compromised CCleaner and installed a backdoor

ccleaner-hacked

Users of cleanup, privacy and optimization tool CCleaner are being warned to update their software after it emerged the tool was compromised by hackers. Security researchers at Cisco Talos say that there are a "vast number of machines at risk."

CCleaner is produced by Piriform, now a subsidiary of security firm Avast, making the compromise not only serious, but also embarrassing. With 2 billion downloads -- a number that's rising at a rate of 5 million per week -- the software was targeted by hackers who added a backdoor that could be used to download malware, ransomware and keyloggers. The problem is being compared to the NotPetya ransomware threat.

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Microsoft enters the fight against fake news as Bing gains Fact Check label

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The "fake news" moniker may be a relatively recent one, but the phenomenon is not exactly new. Search engines and social media sites have long fought a battle against rogue news sources, and Microsoft's latest attack sees the company adding fact-checking to Bing.

The addition of Fact Check labels means that anyone looking at search results should be able to tell at a glance if a particular news story has been debunked. The label can be applied to sites as a whole as well as individual articles, making it easier for Microsoft to alert people about poor news sources -- although the company does not do any actual fact-checking itself.

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New Google test drops app ratings in favor of download sizes in the Play Store

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Some Android users have spotted a change in the Play Store. Since time immemorial, Google has shown star ratings in app listings and search results -- because that’s one of the ways in which users decide what to download. But for some people this has changed.

Rather than a star rating, apps are now listed with their download sizes. For the Android user who is worried about running out of space this is arguably a useful change, but it's not something that most people will regard as a step in the right direction.

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Google launches Tez in India, a new digital payment app for iOS and Android

google-tez-india

As had been widely expected, Google has unveiled its new mobile payment service for India. Called Tez, the service is Google's first step into digital payments in Asia.

Tez makes it possible for users to link their bank accounts to the app and then use their phones to make in-person payments and transfers. Support for the government-backed UPI (Unified Payments Interface) means the service is compatible with a number of major banks. At the moment, Tez is limited to India, but there appear to be plans to spread it further.

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