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Software

Windows 9 Morphs to Fit Different Devices?

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Windows 9 Morphs to Fit Different Devices?

The next major version of Windows (to be dubbed either 9 or "Threshold") will look and work differently depending on what hardware it is running on ZDNet reports.

Thus, in a bid to appease disgruntled Windows 8 users Threshold will reportedly run in Windows Desktop mode (via either SKU or version) on laptops or desktop PCs, tablets get a Metro-style UI and hybrid devices will be able to switch between Metro and Desktop modes depending on whether a keyboard is connected or not.

The desktop/laptop SKU should feature the customisable Mini-Start menu seen at BUILD 2014, and will be able to run Metro-style/Windows Store apps in windows on the desktop.

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Google I/O: More Android, Everywhere

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Google I/O: More Android, Everywhere

Google confirms its ambitions to put Android in just anything at this year's I/O conference-- not only smartphones and laptops, but also TVs (Android TV), wearables (Android Wear) and even cars (Android Auto).

The  keynote opened with a preview of the next generation of Android, version 5.0 or "L" (probably stands for "lollipop"). The updated smartphone OS gets an animated look the company calls "Material Design", as well as performance improvements, battery-saving measures, enhanced notifications and 64-bit support.

Google says Android users clock at over 1 billion.

Confirmed at the conference was the new Google take on TV space-- Android TV. First leaked last April, Android TV turns TVs into, well, an Android device. It shares the same API as mobile devices, runs apps from the Google Play store and features "Cast" capabilities just like the Chromecast dongle allowing users to mirror content from mobile devices to their TVs.

Google says Android TV will appear in Sony and Philips TVs, as well as streaming boxes from Razer and Asus.

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WWDC 2014: All About the OS Updates

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WWDC 2014: All About the OS Updates

The Apple Worldwide Developers' Conference (WWDC) has never been a hardware show, but rarely has it been so focused on operating system updates-- both OS X and iOS are getting new versions packed with tweaks and features later this year.

As these things tend to do we also got the latest Apple user numbers, from the Mac installed base (80 million) and the percentage currently using Mavericks (51%) to big iOS numbers (2013 saw 135m customers buying a first iDevice) and overall satisfaction totals (97%).

Opening proceeds before the traditional keynote was "Apps We Can't Live Without," a video celebrating the users' favourite apps and the developers behind them. After all, WWDC is a developers' event-- and registered Apple developer numbers now total 9 million, a 47% increase in 12 months.

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Microsoft Details Windows Updates

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Microsoft Details Windows Updates

Microsoft details the post-Steve Sinofsky future of Windows at BUILD 2014-- the upcoming Windows 8.1 Update sees the touch-friendly OS return to a more keyboard- and mouse-friendly UI, since the Start button makes a much demanded comeback.

Further UI refinements include a booth straight to desktop feature and a redesigned Windows Store pre-pinned to the taskbar.

Meanwhile operating Systems group exec VP Terry Myerson confirms the Start menu will make a showing in a future Windows version. A next version of the OS will allow Universal Windows Apps to run in window mode (as opposed to full-screen), but Myerson fails to specify whether it will be Windows 8.1 Update 2, or Windows 9 Threshold.

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Nearly 30% OS Share for Win XP

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Nearly 30% OS Share for Win XP

Microsoft might be ending support for Windows XP in just about a month, but the venerable OS is not going anywhere any time soon-- according to Net Market Share 29.5% of PCs continue running on XP.

Windows XP supports ends on 8 April 2014, meaning users will no longer get system updates or patches. Microsoft is understandably eager to get such users to move to newer Windows versions (preferably 8/8.1), and even offers a free tool for hopefully smooth migration.

However Windows 8 support remains low-- while 47.3% of PCs run on Windows 7, just 6.4% run Windows 8, with an additional 4.3% for Windows 8.1. Vista is also still around, with 3.1% share.

The rest of the pie is divided between Mac OS X (3.5%), Linux (1.5%) and "other" (4.4%).

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Intel Drops McAfee Name

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Intel Drops McAfee Name

In news pleasing to at least one person Intel CEO Brian Krzanich uses his CES 2014 keynote to announce the company is dropping the McAfee name in favour of "Intel Security."

The re-branding starts immediately, and the transition should take around a year. Intel will continue using the familiar red shield logo and the security company will remain a wholly owned Intel subsidiary, if under the Intel Security name.

Intel will also offer "elements" of McAfee mobile security solutions for free. "The complexity of keeping digital identities safe grows as mobile applications and devices become a more important part of our daily lives," Krzanich says. "Intel's intent is to intensify our efforts dedicated to making the digital world more secure, and staying ahead of threats to private information on mobile and wearable devices."

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PC Viruses can Spread via Microphones

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PC Viruses can Spread via Microphones

OK, we’re not talking stage microphones here but the dinky mics that are built into computers. Yet the concept is somewhat frightening: did you know computer viruses can transmit high frequency communications…and spread. This is the WWZ scenario of AV/IT convergence…

Researchers proved the "badBIOS" virus, found in October, is “transmitting itself by audio broadcasts at inaudible frequencies.”

This malware can get onto a computer via an infected USB stick, then dig into the machine’s BIOS and take over the computer’s microphone and speakers and communicate with other computers by high-frequency sounds that humans can’t hear.

It was so unbelievable as an idea that many other experts rejected the notion. Everyone always underestimates the hurdles that criminals can jump in the name of crime. Continue reading...

Major Advance in Monitor Calibration Software

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Major Advance in Monitor Calibration Software

SpectraCal releases what they claim is “the most powerful calibration software ever made available for personal computer monitors:” CalMAN RGB.

“We’ve been able to calibrate computer monitors precisely before,” Derek Smith, SpectraCal’s founder and Chief Technical Officer, explains “And there have been one-button monitor calibration solutions for a long time. What’s new is being able to do both. There’s never been a fast, automated solution that provides the level of accuracy CalMAN RGB delivers.”

For most users, calibrating a computer monitor with CalMAN RGB will be as simple as centering a meter on their screen and pushing a button.

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Valve Cements Living Room Ambitions

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Valve Cements Living Room Ambitions

Game developer turned online game merchant Valve appears ready to take on home theatre PC (HTPC) space, if with software not hardware-- the company announces steamOS, a Linux-based operating designed around the Steam gaming service.

"As we've been working on bringing Steam to the living room, we've come to the conclusion that the environment best suited to delivering value to customers is an operating system built around Steam itself," the company says. "SteamOS combines the rock-solid architecture of Linux with a gaming experience built for the big screen. It will be available soon as a free stand-alone operating system for living room machines."

As well as running games in a Linux environment the OS will provide game sharing and profile options, and should even stream games installed on Windows and Mac PCs through the magic of home networking.

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