If you were a subscriber of Google Earth Pro, you can put your credit card back down as the Mountain View-based search giant has just removed the subscription fee from the software.
Something that once cost $399 per year is now completely free, something you just need to fill out a form to receive. Once you're got the license, you can download the free Pro client here. The difference between the $399 per year version and now? Nothing, and that's great. The non-Pro version has print images capped at 1000x1000 compared to the Pro version at 4800x3200, and a few other limitations.
The world has been waiting to see what Microsoft would do with the Devices and Services division of Nokia, but it looks like we'll be waiting a little bit longer to see the fruits of that expensive labor.
According to the latest reports, the first Microsoft-branded Lumia smartphone will be unveiled at Mobile World Congress, which isn't too far away. We're being told that the Lumia 1330 will be unveiled, while the more affordable and mainstream Lumia 830 will also be shown off. These will be the first Microsoft Lumia smartphones, with Windows 10-powered handsets rolling out their own devices later in the year.
We don't know much about the new Lumia smartphones except for the fact that they'll be rumored to sport a "3D-Touch" feature that will let you use your smartphone with your hands, without touching the display itself.
Apple is preparing for the launch of its first wearable next month, requesting some of its developers to have their Watch apps ready by mid-February for the big launch.
The company is asking their high profile app developers and close partners to have their Watch-compatible iPhone apps ready to go in the App Store by the middle of February. Even though Watch isn't due until April, Apple is most likely wanting to get things prepared with plenty of time left for testing. Not only that, the apps could be used for promotional material, something we can expect Apple to push in the very near future.
Just how is 4K gaming affecting AMD internally right now? According to Robert Hallock who is part of the Technical Communications division for AMD Radeon graphics, he said that gamers are adopting 4K gaming nicely, but the R&D department for AMD is already planning for the future.
For Hallock, the Radeon R9 290X was a major step in that direction, allowing for gamers to play at 4K with a single GPU. Lower-end parts of the market aren't quite there yet, so GamingBolt asked him some questions where he replied with the future of 4K gaming is an evolution of GPU horsepower, which is something AMD is working on. He said: "If you think back to the launch of the AMD Radeon R9 290X, our video card marked arguably the first time anyone could reasonably expect to play games at 4K on a single GPU. Sure, there were some games that needed two for peak image quality, but one was and is pretty solid for the majority of titles. We were also the first company to offer full support for 4K SST displays in our driver".
"4K adoption is very popular amongst the elite enthusiasts, but understandably slower being adopted in lower-end segments. I couldn't characterize the rates with hard numbers as that's not my area of expertise, but this is the sense I'm getting from interacting with the AMD community every day", he continued. Hallock added: "Ultimately, the evolution of GPU horsepower is the biggest factor in driving 4K forward. Graphics being such an important part of our business, of course, you can count on great progress on that front as the years wind on".
Ye olde trusty wooden pirateship has sailed back! The Pirate Bay, hailed as "The galaxy's most resilient BitTorrent site", is now back online at thepiratebay.se. This long hiatus has come to an end after a Swedish police raids shuttered the site, and employee infighting led to several of the original cast and crew heading for bluer waters.
The latest Pirate Bay saga began when Swedish police raided the servers, which were housed in a converted nuclear shelter in Nacka, Sweden. The Pirate Bay was taken offline and its web ratings plunged from being the 88th largest website in the world to 176. In recent weeks a timer appeared that counted down to the time that the site came online, letting the world at large know that The Pirate Bay may have been down, but it certainly was not out.
The familiar pirate ship logo can still be found throughout the site, but upon resurfacing The Pirate Bay is sporting a new homepage logo with what appears to be a Phoenix, which is unsurprising since The Pirate Bay has once again sprung from the ashes.
Viacom plans to launch a standalone online streaming subscription for its Nickelodeon channel, aimed at children's programming. The media company wants to adapt to changing times before it is potentially left behind as viewer habits continually head to streaming content. Nickelodeon content is currently available on Amazon, while Viacom also released new apps and original series for Internet and mobile users.
"We want to satisfy the demand that is coming from the viewers out there," said Philippe Dauman, CEO of Viacom, in a statement published by the New York Times. "They have an insatiable appetite for great content. They want to view that content on every device that they own."
Cord cutting is becoming increasingly appealing to viewers tired of paying large amounts for cable and satellite subscriptions - and there are a number of standalone streaming services. CBS has a monthly subscription offering, while HBO is expected to release a standalone streaming service later this year.
Islamic extremist groups still enjoy using the Internet and social media to spread propaganda and recruit, but are becoming more skilled in flying under the radar. Intelligence experts are collecting information from previous reckless Internet posts, and that is something the terrorists want to avoid in the future.
To help share propaganda, the groups are largely turning to the Dark Web - and using Skype, WhatsApp, and software that isn't as open. ISIS went a step further by issuing guidelines to its members posting on social media, such as blurring out faces, ensuring geographic tagging is disabled, and being careful what information they are providing on current operations.
"We realize that the people we are interested in are increasingly specialized in computing," said Philippe Chadrys, the head investigator of France's judicial police responsible for fighting terrorism, in a statement to the AFP. "They master encryption software and methods to better erase data. That makes our probes much more complicated."
A new cyber threat victimizing users is the 'RansomWeb' attack, which leaves compromised websites encrypted - and they will remain that way until the victim pays a ransom to cyberattackers. The threat was first detected by cybersecurity firm High-Tech Bridge, investigating a client website, which displayed a database error.
The cybercriminals demanded a $50,000 ransom in exchange for decrypting the database, despite it being compromised six months prior. A closer inspection found that several server scripts were edited so data was encrypted before it was submitted to the database, and data was decrypted after being pulled from the database.
Instead of an immediate ransom demand - like ransomware attacks against business users - the cybercriminals patiently waited until backups were also overwritten.
By now I'm sure you've read about the VRAM issues surrounding the GeForce GTX 970, and AMD taking a stab at NVIDIA because of it, but now the former is offering gamers special discounts if they return their GTX 970s and pick up a Radeon card.
AMD's Roy Taylor has taken to Twitter, offering GTX 970 owners who return their cards special discounts if they swap them out for Radeon cards, including the R9 290 and R9 290X. Taylor tweeted "Anyone returning their GTX970 and wanting a great deal on a Radeon with a full 4GB please let us know" and even tagged the @NVIDIAGeForce Twitter account at the time.
Are you a GeForce GTX 970 owner? Will you be trading in your GTX 970 for the Radeon R9 290X?
Microsoft has released a native Outlook app for Apple iOS and a preview mode for Google Android, as the company continues to embrace change. The successful launch was courtesy of Microsoft's previous acquisition of Acompli, with both sides integrating the teams while continuing to develop the Outlook app.
The Outlook iOS version requires iOS 8.0 or newer, and is a 22.5MB download.
"Microsoft is absolutely doing the right thing putting these important and popular applications on Android and iOS," said Al Hilwa, analyst at IDC, in a statement to PCWorld. "An increasing number of users of these products already use multiple devices, and it is valuable for them to be able to move across platforms with the same tools."