Latest Technology News

Get 'Rails: Novice to Ninja' ebook ($30 value) FREE for a limited time


Rails: Novice to Ninja is an easy-to-follow, practical, and fun guide to Ruby on Rails.

Aimed at beginners, this ebook covers everything you need to get up and running, from installing Ruby, Rails and SQLite, to building and deploying a fully-featured web application. The third edition of this book has been fully updated to cover Rails 5, the latest version of the framework.

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X-Doria releases Action Band for Apple Watch


I really enjoy my Apple Watch, but understandably, not everyone shares my enthusiasm. Heck, my colleague Joe Wilcox felt enslaved by his! For fans of the smartwatch, however, it isn't just a device, but a fashion statement too. It can be fun to swap bands to match an outfit, for instance. I own a casual nylon band for everyday use, and a more professional-looking leather variant for special occasions.

Today, popular case-manufacturer X-Doria releases a new band series for Apple Watch. Called "Action Band," it comes in three colors and can be had in both 38mm and 42mm sizes.

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Microsoft buys cybersecurity startup Hexadite


Microsoft is rumored to have acquired Israeli cybersecurity startup Hexadite in a deal worth around $100 million.

The startup was founded in 2014 and its primary focus is identifying cyberattacks through the use of artificial intelligence (AI). By connecting a number of cybersecurity detection systems that are already in place, Hexadite then uses AI to analyze threats automatically as they present themselves.

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83 percent of security staff waste time fixing other IT problems

desktop support

A new survey of security professionals reveals that 83 percent say colleagues in other departments turn to them to fix personal computer problems.

The study by security management company FireMon shows a further 80 percent say this is taking up more than an hour of their working week, which in a year could equate to more than $88,000.

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Microsoft renames Beam live-streaming platform to 'Mixer' and adds new features


Live-streaming of video is continually gaining in popularity, but it isn't just for gaming. While platforms like the Amazon-owned Twitch were designed for video games, they have evolved to the streaming of almost anything. Popular YouTuber Barnacules has a daily Twitch show where he drinks coffee with fans, for instance. With that said, gaming is definitely still the bread and butter.

In an effort to compete with Twitch, Microsoft bought the Beam platform in August 2016. Today, the Windows-maker announces that it is giving the platform a rebrand -- it is now called "Mixer." It is not merely a name-change, however, as Microsoft is also adding some new features. Not to mention, Mixer will get a dedicated page on the Xbox One Dashboard.

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Intelligent bot software can automate up to 80 percent of business processes

robot worker

Bots are increasingly being used in the automation of business processes, but up to now their capabilities using rule-based Robotic Process Automation (RPA) have tended to be somewhat limited.

But now Automation Anywhere is launching what it calls IQ Bots, software bots capable of studying, learning and mimicking human behavior for intelligent process automation.

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Facebook's latest Trending Topics tweak aims to kill the echo chamber problem


The way Facebook's algorithm's work -- and the way we generally make and maintain friendships -- means that expressing our view on social media is very much like shouting into an echo chamber. The people we follow and who follow us are likely to have broadly similar views on many topics, and Facebook has long worsened the problem by suggesting content we might like to read.

But this is about to change. Not that Facebook is going to stop suggesting content, rather it is redesigning the Trending topics page. What this means is that you're going to see news from a wider range of sources, decreasing the chances that you'll only see articles that precisely mirror your existing views.

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Current enterprise networks are not ready for Office 365

group young business it network server room solving help support

Business are keen to take advantage of the advantages offered by Office 365, but a new study reveals that often their networks are not up to handling it.

The survey from cloud security company Zscaler finds that majority of respondents (64 percent) are concerned about the impact Office 365 has on their bandwidth and latency.

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Xiaomi's new Mi Max 2 packs a 6.44-inch display and 5,300mAh battery

Xiaomi Mi Max 2

A year after announcing the original Mi Max, Xiaomi unveiled its successor, the Mi Max 2. The phablet comes with the same major selling points as before, namely a huge screen and a massive battery.

The Mi Max 2 is a mid-range smartphone with a 6.44-inch display, which puts it closer to a small tablet than the average phablet, and a resolution of 1,080 by 1,920. The battery is a 6,300mAh unit, that is non-removable, with support for Qualcomm's Quick Charge 3.0 technology.

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Samsung says Galaxy S8 iris scanner hack is 'difficult' to pull off


Biometric authentication may be more convenient than a PIN or password, but it is not as secure as you might be lead to believe. The iris scanner on the Galaxy S8 can be defeated with a photo and contact lens, despite Samsung's claims that it offers "airtight security" and provides "one of the safest ways to keep your phone locked and the contents private."

If this has you worried, Samsung says that it is "difficult for the whole scenario to happen in reality," even though the hack "appears simple." The company believes that having the right tools in the first place can prove to be problematic for anyone attempting to defeat the iris scanner.

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Europe approves rules that would force Facebook and other social sites to tackle hate-speech


Facebook may be taking steps to tackle hate speech and other unsavory content but the European Union could soon force it to do more. Plans have been approved for rules that require online content providers such as Facebook, YouTube and Twitter to "protect children and tackle hate speech better."

Failure to comply with the rules could result in hefty fines being levied against offenders. There are still a number of hoops for the proposed regulations to pass through -- including the European Parliament -- before they become law, but it may not be long until social media sites are obliged to block hate speech videos and those that promote terrorism.

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One year from GDPR, organizations are struggling to get compliant by the deadline

Data protection

The EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) comes into force on May 25th 2018, but a new survey by data protection company Varonis shows companies are struggling to meet the deadline and are pessimistic about its effects.

The results from 500 IT decision makers in the UK, Germany, France and the US, reveal that 75 percent of organizations say they will struggle to be ready for the deadline.

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Samba vulnerability could lead to the next WannaCry


A security vulnerability in the popular Samba networking utility could leave unpatched machines open to an attack similar to WannaCry. A single line of code is all that’s needed to exploit the vulnerability, but it is reliant on a number of prerequisites.

The vulnerability has been assigned the ID CVE-2017-7494 and is described as "remote code execution from a writable share" which could allow "malicious clients [to] upload and cause the smbd server to execute a shared library from a writable share." Security researchers say that the flaw is very easy to exploit, and tens of thousands of machines have been found to be running versions of Samba for which a patch does not exist.

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Microsoft will pay you $25 to use Groove


Steaming music is all the rage nowadays, and there is certainly no shortage of services. Quite frankly, you really can't go wrong when selecting one, as many of them are great. With that said, for an optimal experience, Apple Music is probably best for iOS and macOS users, while Google Play Music and Spotify are great for Android and Linux desktop users.

If you spend a lot of time on Windows 10, the Groove Music Pass service is an excellent choice, as is the associated Groove app. While Microsoft's service may not be the most popular, it provides great selection and quality. There are even apps for iOS and Android. Now, for a limited time, the Windows-maker will pay you $25 for using its service!

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OpenStack services monitoring: Challenges and solutions


If you have previously worked with cloud platforms, you will be familiar with the distributed and decoupled nature of these systems. A decoupled distributed system relies on microservices to carry out specific tasks, each one exposing its own REST (Representational State Transfer) APIs. These microservices talk to each other through a lightweight messaging layer usually in the form of a message broker such as RabbitMQ or QPID.

This is precisely how OpenStack works. Each major OpenStack component (Keystone, Glance, Cinder, Neutron, Nova, etc.) exposes a REST endpoint and the components and sub-components communicate via a message broker layer, such as RabbitMQ. The benefits of this approach are first that it allows failures to be allocated to specific components, and second that cloud infrastructure operators can scale all services in a horizontal fashion and intelligently distribute the load.

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