Latest Technology News

Microsoft acquires machine learning and AI startup Bonsai

Bonsai employees

Seeking to strengthen its artificial intelligence arsenal, Microsoft has announced an agreement to acquire San Francisco-based AI startup Bonsai.

Bonsai already had Microsoft links, having been set up back in 2014 by two former Microsoft engineers, Mark Hammond and Keen Browne. The company specializes in "deep reinforcement learning" which can be used to teach autonomous systems within simulations, and the company sees this tying in with Azure.

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Gamers waiting for virtual reality on Xbox are out of luck

Backtracking on what it said last year, Microsoft has announced that it has no plans to bring either virtual reality or mixed reality experiences to its Xbox console.

Back in March 2017, the company had said that it wanted to bring MR to Xbox users, but now it seems to have changed its mind. Microsoft has not really given any reason for the change of heart, but it has not given up completely on VR or MR.

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Instagram celebrates 1 billion users by announcing IGTV video platform

YouTube is a great video platform -- I have no complaints, really. With that said, I also enjoy watching content on Twitch. Ultimately, competition is a good thing, as it forces companies to innovate rather than stagnate.

Today, yet another video service debuts, and it is backed by a major player in the social network space -- Instagram. Just how major is it? Today, Instagram announces it has achieved 1 billion users! To celebrate, the Facebook-owned photo site is launching a true video platform that goes beyond the short throwaway videos the service currently offers. Called "IGTV," it is aiming to be a true YouTube competitor, allowing users to upload videos up to one hour in length. There is one big twist though -- the videos are vertical only...

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How to get macOS Mojave's Dynamic Desktop on Windows 10

At its recent WWDC, Apple revealed the latest version of macOS -- Mojave. The OS update introduces a number of new features, including a dark theme and desktop Stacks. One of the more interesting additions is Dynamic Desktop which cleverly cycles through a set of 16 images of the desert taken at different times of the day.

If you like the idea of this, but are on Windows 10, the good news is it’s now possible to get the feature on your OS, and for free.

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Attackers use hidden tunnels to steal financial data

money tunnel

Global financial services organizations are targeted by sophisticated cyber attackers in an attempt to steal critical data, according to a new report.

The study from threat hunting company Vectra says attackers build 'hidden tunnels' masquerading as other web traffic to break into networks and access critical data and personal information. These tunnels are used to remotely control an attack and steal data while remaining largely undetected.

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Average UK home has more than £2,000 worth of broken gadgets

Broken phone

UK households are home to thousands of pounds' worth of broken gadgets, according to new research from technology retailer Laptops Direct.

The survey of more than 1,000 UK adults shows that the average household is currently harboring £2,460 of broken technology and gadgets. Smartphones are the most common items in these technology graveyards with 78 percent holding onto them even though they’re broken.

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Alexa for Hospitality brings Amazon's digital assistant to hotel rooms

Alexa for hospitality

Not content with infiltrating people's homes with its range of Echo devices, Amazon is now looking to elbow its way into hotels with Alexa for Hospitality. Amazon has struck a deal with Marriott International that will see the introduction of Echo devices into rooms.

Guests can use these to play music, contact reception and get information about the hotel -- and both Amazon and guests alike will be hoping there won't be a repeat of the recent privacy slip up that resulted in an Echo recording and sharing someone's conversations.

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Automation of endpoint security is top priority for IT pros

Endpoint protection

A new survey of IT professionals finds that automating endpoint detection and response processes is a top priority.

The study from cyber security training company, the SANS Institute, shows 42 percent of the IT professionals surveyed say their endpoints had been breached, and 82 percent of that group say their breaches involved desktops, while 69 percent cited corporate laptops and 42 percent claimed involvement of employee-owned laptops (42 percent).

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Satya Nadella speaks out against 'cruel and abusive' border policy and explains Microsoft's involvement with ICE

Satya Nadella on LinkedIn

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella has publicly shared an email he sent to employees, in which he speaks out against current US immigration policy.

Describing the separating of children from their families as "cruel and abusive", he stresses that while Microsoft does work with US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), the work amounts to support for "legacy" services and is in no way related to child separation. The president of Microsoft, Brad Smith, also used a blog post to set out the company position on the matter.

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American Girl selling 'Xbox Gaming Set' for dolls

Growing up in the 80s and 90s, I remember video games being considered a "boy thing." This was just marketing -- of course girls liked gaming too. Sadly, games that were designed for girls were often terrible. It seemed like developers thought they could use, say, Barbie as a way to sell garbage games to this particular demographic. The truth is, girls enjoyed playing the same games as boys -- Super Mario Brothers, Street Fighter, etc. Ultimately, there was no need to market games based on the player's gender.

These days, the old stereotypes are largely gone, though not entirely. Seeing a girl or woman play a video game should be unremarkable, although there are still trolls that feel threatened by it and harass female gamers. In other words, there is still work to do. Thankfully, as time marches on, girls are being increasingly empowered to embrace video games. Today, wildly popular doll-seller American Girl unveils a really cool accessory kit that reinforces the fact that girls can enjoy gaming. The "Xbox Gaming Set," as it is called, lets the owner turn their doll into a gamer. How cool is that?

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Google launches Podcasts app for Android

Google Podcasts

Google has never really shown much interest in podcasts -- despite their age and popularity -- but today this changes. The company has launched a new Android app called simply Google Podcasts complete with ubiquitous AI for personalized suggestions.

Available in 47 languages, the app currently provides access to a collection of around two million podcasts, but this number is likely to grow very quickly. Google boasts of integration with Google Assistant and Google Home, the main benefit of which is being able to start a podcast on one device and continue on another.

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Bricked iPhones with 'Error 53' just cost Apple $6.7 million in Australia

Hanging Apple logo

Apple has been hit with an AUS $9 million ($6.7 million) fine for misleading customers in Australia. More than two years ago Apple started to "brick" iPhones that had been fixed at non-authorized third-party repairers, generating an Error 53.

Apple admitted to intentionally preventing certain repaired iPhones and iPads from working for security reasons, but later apologized and issued a fix. However, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) sued Apple for "misleading or deceptive conduct", and now an Australian court has hit the iPhone-maker with a multi-million dollar fine

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IBM celebrates 10 years of DevOps with new releases

IBM logo

Over the past decade, DevOps techniques have helped to transform software development teams with a new and more agile approach.

But now companies are starting to move beyond the standard DevOps approach in what is being called 'Day 2' DevOps, a world that emphasizes scalability and teamwork. In such environments, development teams shift one way, operations teams shift the other and together they can deliver and manage multiple, complex applications at the same time.

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Website attacks up as smaller businesses are targeted

On screen lock

Website attacks increased 14 percent in the first quarter of 2018 compared to the final quarter of 2017 as cybercriminals set their sights on independent websites and small businesses.

Figures from website security specialist SiteLock show that one percent of sampled sites are infected at any one time. This may not sound much, but it means 18.7 million sites are infected.

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TP-Link launches Deco M9 Plus AC2200 Smart Home Tri-Band Mesh Wi-Fi System

When it comes to Wi-Fi, we are living in very exciting times. It used to be that the majority of homes -- regardless of size -- had one router. Then, depending on needs, people would piecemeal various range extenders and repeaters that would maybe work well. Worst of all, routers of yesteryear were not only slow, but woefully unreliable -- they often required rebooting. I recall TV show South Park once had a joke where the entire internet was fixed by unplugging the power from a giant router and then plugging it in again.

These days, however, many routers are rock solid, requiring a reboot almost never. They are insanely fast too, usually offering performance that surpasses the user's internet speed. The greatest innovation for home networking in recent memory, however, is mesh. If you aren't familiar, this is where several access points work together to blanket a home in Wi-Fi. There are many great mesh offerings on the market, and today, TP-Link unveils its latest. Called "Deco M9 Plus," it is a small disc-shaped Tri-Band access point that offers AC2200 performance -- an upgrade to the existing non-plus version.

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