Latest Technology News

Amazon offers refunds to people who paid to remove ads from Prime Exclusive Phones

Amazon logo on iPhone

For anyone looking to bag a bargain-priced handset, Amazon Prime Exclusive Phones were a great idea. There was just one drawback: lockscreen ads. Of course, there was the option to pay to hide the advertising, but that sort of negated the benefit of the initial low price.

Last week, Amazon announced it was going to get rid of these ads. This is great news for owners of Prime Exclusive Phones, but it irked people who had paid for ad removal. Now Amazon has announced that it will be offering refunds to anyone who parted with money to hide ads.

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Microsoft gives sysadmins Meltdown and Spectre detection in Windows Analytics

Broken processor

Microsoft has released an update to its free Windows Analytics tool, giving system administrators a new way to check for the Meltdown and Spectre vulnerabilities.

The update not only makes it possible to see whether firmware patches are already installed or if they are needed, but also helps sysadmins to determine whether the patches are causing problems of their own. The checking tool is available for fully updated versions of Windows 7 through Windows 10.

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Official Amazon Music app for Windows 10 lands in the Microsoft Store

Part of the reason why Windows 10 S failed was because it only allowed software from the Microsoft Store and the Store is famously lacking in quality apps.

It’s always news when a big name app arrives in the Store, and today Amazon Music debuts there for users in the US, UK, Germany, Austria, France, Italy, Spain and Japan.

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Google Pixel sales still no match for iPhone, Galaxy S series

Google Pixel 2 XL

Google has high hopes for the Pixel line. Its smartphones compete against the best the market has to offer, featuring cutting-edge hardware, vanilla Android and, unlike many of its droid-toting siblings, three years of support. But consumers aren't (yet) enamored with them.

According to IDC, Google shipped 3.9 million Pixel smartphones last year, which is not a whole lot when you consider just how many tens of million of units the big players ship in a single quarter.

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Judge refuses to quash arrest warrant for Julian Assange

Julian Assange Twitter account

A UK judge has refused to cancel a warrant for Julian Assange, meaning that the WikiLeaks founder still faces arrest if he leaves the Ecuadorian embassy in London where he has taken up residence. The judge said that Assange "appears to consider himself above the normal rules of law and wants justice only if it goes in his favor."

Assange skipped bail back in 2012, fearing extradition to Sweden where he faced rape charges, and further fearing being handed over to the US where he believes he faces charges of revealing state secrets. Although Sweden has since dropped charges, he could still be arrested in the UK for breaking his bail conditions.

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Cloud adoption is up but 35 percent of spend is wasted

Cloud dollars

The dash to move data and applications to the cloud shows no signs of slowing down, but while the adoption of cloud solutions is up there are still major challenges.

A new report from cloud delivery specialist RightScale shows that 26 percent of enterprises (with more than 1,000 employees) are spending over $6 million a year on public cloud.

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Google is bringing AMP to Gmail, promising dynamic emails with interactive content

Gmail on smartphone

Google has launched a developer preview of AMP for Email, bringing its Accelerated Mobile Pages feature to Gmail. The aim is modernize email, allowing for the creation of messages with interactive, dynamic content.

In practice what this means is that emails could be updated with new information if details change, and that it will be possible to fill out forms and so on without leaving your inbox. There are already a number of big names getting involved -- including Pinterest and Booking.com -- and more will use the open source tool.

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Business data is getting bigger

Data folders backup

It probably comes as no surprise that we're all storing more data. But just how much of an impact is this having for businesses.

Enterprise file sharing specialist Egnyte says 82 percent of businesses are hybrid-enabled, keeping their data both physically backed up and in put into cloud storage. This is up from 76 percent in 2016.

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Despite challenges, mainframe use is still central to large enterprises

mainframe

Mainframes are still vital to many larger businesses and a new report from Syncsort highlights some key trends including the mainframe’s role in strategic projects.

The results show the mainframe remains strategic to businesses, with 57 percent of respondents saying it will continue to be the main hub for business-critical applications this year. It will run revenue-generating services for 43 percent. Cost control is a priority though, 51 percent say they plan to cut IT costs by optimizing mainframe resources.

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Lara Croft explores Windows 10 alternatives -- Rise of the Tomb Raider coming to Linux and macOS

While Windows remains the dominant platform for PC gaming, Microsoft’s stranglehold is slowly eroding. True, Linux and macOS won’t overtake Windows 10 on the desktop anytime soon, but as developers are learning, you can make money by supporting alternative operating systems. With Linux in particular, users are very loyal -- many won’t dual boot with Windows for gaming. The only way to get their dollars is to embrace the penguin.

Developer Feral Interactive has seemingly gotten the message, as it is bringing one of its top-tier titles to both Linux and macOS. The game to which I’m referring is Rise of the Tomb Raider, featuring the iconic cave-explorer Lara Croft.

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The UK government reveals AI software that automatically blocks extremist content online

Amber Rudd

Continuing its drive to take control of the internet, the UK government has unveiled a new tool that it says can block extremist content "on any platform" with astonishing accuracy. The system -- as yet unnamed -- was unveiled by Home Secretary Amber Rudd and cost £600,000, paid for with public funds, and has been designed to detect jihadist content.

The government says that the algorithms can automatically detect "94 percent of Daesh propaganda with 99.995 percent accuracy." Speaking to reporters in London, Rudd said that "we're not going to rule out taking legislative action if we need to do it," opening up the possibility that the likes of Facebook, Twitter and Google could be forced to use the system.

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Start and manage a new business from your smartphone with these four essential apps

The way we view work has changed hugely in the last few years, with everyone keen to do their own thing, start a business or simply become the 'next big thing' online.

Either way, there’s a shift to self-employment and being your own boss and being able to work from just about any location. With flexibility in mind, what are the best apps you can use on your smartphone to start and maintain your new business?

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Google Summer of Code 2018 mentor organizations revealed! Kodi, Fedora, GNOME, LibreOffice, and more

Learning can be fun. Actually, scratch that -- learning should be fun. If a child or adult is bored while studying or being taught a new lesson, something is wrong. True, not all subjects are interesting to all students, so that is why it is imperative to match students with topics that truly interest them. In other words, it can be better to focus on strengths rather than weaknesses.

If a college student is interested in coding, for instance, there is no shortage of curriculums to support that -- depending on the university, of course. The thing is, you can only learn so much from books and lectures. Like anything in life, hands-on experience can trump everything. That's why Google's "Summer of Code" program is so important. If you aren't familiar, it gives university students the opportunity to work on an established open source project. The mentor organizations that are participating aren't third-rate either. For example, students can work with Kodi, GNOME, and LibreOffice, to name a few.

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Microsoft to bring Windows Defender Advanced Threat Protection to Windows 7 and 8.1

Square Microsoft store logo

Formerly a Windows 10 exclusive, Microsoft today announced that Windows Defender Advanced Threat Protection (ATP) is coming to Windows 7 and Windows 8.1.

That's not to say that the older operating systems are set to gain the full benefit of ATP, however. Microsoft says that it is the Endpoint Detection & Response (EDR) functionality that will make its way to Windows 7 and 8.1 at some point this summer. This cloud-driven feature will be made available as a preview in the spring.

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Android P will support iPhone X-style notches and feature a dramatic redesign

Android P

The number of people running Oreo may well be very small, but there's already talk about the next version of Android -- Android P. Reports about what has been named internally as Pistachio Ice Cream promise not only a design overhaul, but also iPhone X-style notch support.

The Oreo successor is due for release later this year, and a Bloomberg report shed some light on what we can expect, including tighter Google Assistant integration, support for different phone formats, and improved battery life.

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