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Microsoft announces Office 2016 for later this year

During its Windows 10 event yesterday, Microsoft announced a bunch of universal applications that would provide a similar experience across a wide range of devices. One of those applications, was Office.

 

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The company announced that the next installment of Office is coming out later this year in the form of Office 2016. Not only that, but Office for Windows 10 is coming, and will be pre-installed on phones and tablets that are powered by Windows 10. This means that touch-powered Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote and Outlook will be free for most mobile Windows 10 owners.

Valve has added Steam Broadcasting to Steam, bursts out of beta form

Well, that didn't take long: Valve has made its Steam Broadcasting feature official, dragging it out of its quick stint as a beta part of Steam.

 

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You can now update Steam, if it hasn't already been updated for you, and change your settings if you want Broadcasting to be enabled. This will allow your gameplay to be broadcasted to friends when you start gaming, which is an alternative to the super popular Twitch service, that was recently purchased by Amazon for $970 million.

 

Steam Broadcasting will only broadcast video by default, but you can also stream other applications from your computer if you allow it in the settings. Broadcasting will also take in your computers audio, too.

Facebook releases software to AI open source group

Facebook has released some of their software to the Torch Open Source group. Torch focuses on providing deep learning software. Deep learning software mimics brain function and is a key component to artificial intelligence programs. These programs are used to analyze large amounts of information in search of patterns, which it can then use to make predictions.

 

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Torch speeds pattern recognition by up to 23.5 times. Facebook, and other web titans such as Google, Microsoft, and Twitter, use Torch to predict image contents and to place ads. Torch also has other uses, such as recognizing physical objects and for question answering programs. For instance, "The Lord of the Rings" novels were loaded into Torch, and Torch allows the computer to understand and answer questions about the book.

Continue reading 'Facebook releases software to AI open source group' (full post)

Adobe Lightroom now available for Android smartphones

Adobe has finally made Lightroom available on Android Smartphone platforms, months after adding iOS support for the program. This photo-editing program requires your device to be running Android 4.1 Jelly Bean or newer and needs a minimum of a 1.7GHz quad-core CPU and at least 8GB of free storage space.

 

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This is one of the first times that we've seen smartphone applications specifically contain system requirements, but it's acceptable given the computing power needed for tasks that this software can perform. This app is also free to download, as long as you've created a Creative Cloud account and features slightly less features than the desktop edition - giving you full reign of the basic panel and cropping tools.

 

Unfortunately this release is limited only to your smartphones, with tablets being excluded from operation. You would think that tablets are far superior, given their viewing surface greatly outweighing that of a smartphone.

Continue reading 'Adobe Lightroom now available for Android smartphones' (full post)

Canada makes automatic software installations illegal

Furthering their anti-spam legislation, Canada have made a move today to ensure that users must give their direct consent when installing any software on their devices. Effective immediately, any business operating in Canada that wishes to bypass these laws will see their software installation being classed as illegal and have a C$10 million fine on their hands.

 

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This change to the law is apparently focused toward fighting malware, helping protect consumers and create a greater awareness around problems involving malicious software installations. However legal experts have expressed concern, stating that this amendment to the legislation isn't specific enough and may target legitimate businesses trying to conduct their work.

 

A further addition includes that businesses wanting to install software on a users device must also make them aware if any personal information is collected by the program, or if the coding will interfere with any standard computer operations.

Continue reading 'Canada makes automatic software installations illegal' (full post)

North Korean Red Star OS not the most secure choice in the world

The Red Star operating system made in North Korea, a sloppy clone of Apple Mac OS X, was leaked online - and it didn't take long before vulnerabilities were discovered in the modified Linux operating system. The North Korean-made OS allows backdoors for remote command injection into both the PC and server OS editions, along with weak file permissions.

 

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It's possible the North Korean government aimed towards spying on its users - or the OS coders are just inexperienced - but western security experts are analyzing methods to compromise Red Star-based PCs.

 

"The security of the Red Star OS inherits advantages from using peer-reviewed Linux platforms as a base but everything added or extended by North Korea that I looked at shows a low security proficiency and a lack of good programming practices," said Matthew Hickey, a cybersecurity researcher in the UK, in an interview with Forbes. "They use insecure functions as opposed to secure ones and often make mistakes that could result in security vulnerabilities."

Lenovo is 'hopeful' of Microsoft Windows 10 helping drive sales

Microsoft Windows 10 is scheduled for release before the end of 2015, and it has made OEMs hopeful that consumers will show support for the operating system. Lenovo, the No. 1 PC manufacturer in the world, has seen increased consumer interest in Windows 10 - a trend that other hardware manufacturers and analysts have seen.

 

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"I think customers are anxious to breathe some life into that product," said Peter Hortensius, chief technology officer of Lenovo, in an interview with PC World at CES. "We're obviously very bullish and hopeful on Windows 10."

 

Windows 8.1 was a good OS, Hortensius noted, but Windows 10 will resolve the problems that consumers saw with the operating system. Furthermore, Windows 10 will be integrated across a number of different platforms, instead of the chaotic mess Microsoft left users and developers with during its Windows 8/Windows Phone effort.

Purchase Futuremark 3DMark for $4.99 in Steam sale for next 48 hours

The Daily Deal on Steam is Futuremark's 3DMark Advanced Edition, helping users test Microsoft Windows PC-based machines. The deal is live for the next 48 hours, and started at 10:00AM PST on Thursday, January 8 - with an 80 percent savings, so it only costs $4.99.

 

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The Advanced Edition allows users to run Fire Strike Ultra, which is the only 4K Ultra HD benchmark currently available. In addition, the software enables CrossFire/SLI testing for multi-GPU machines, use benchmark looping, and see in-depth performance graphs of all benchmark runs.

Vulnerability sees routers installed with RomPager open to hackers

It almost seems like vulnerabilities in hardware and software is all that's hitting the news in the past few days. We've reported on multiple issues ranging from the "Grinch" Linux flaw to the vulnerability in SS7's mobile network towers rendering our text messages and phone calls open for all prying eyes.

 

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In recent news, a vulnerability in router software has opened up millions of devices to hacking. This is apparently achieved by the hacker "sending a specially crafted request to RomPager, an embedded Web server running on them" as according to PC World.

 

Once access has been gained, the hacker then has full control over any in-home security, systems or devices connected to the network - meaning they can steal your data, alter your information or utilize your technology to launch attacks against other systems. It gives them the ability to strip SSL from secure connections and also hijack your DNS settings, listing dodgy websites as 'safe' for your personal computers - opening you up to more malicious attacks.

Continue reading 'Vulnerability sees routers installed with RomPager open to hackers' (full post)

Engineers mess up causing Microsoft Azure downtime

Due to gaps in the deployment policies produced by engineers, Microsoft's Azure cloud service was taken offline during a period of time throughout November 2014. This information has been discovered thanks to a detailed mea culpa analysis by Microsoft themselves.

 

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Jason Zander, Azure team member, conducted a final root cause analysis (RCA) and published it recently, claiming that the engineers intended to push software changes to improve performance and reduce processor load of the services' front-end system. However an outage was caused, meaning customers being unable to connect to Azure's storage, virtual machine, website, Active Directory or management portal functions.

 

The coding succeeded well in improving performance in the testing phases, however the full roll-out was discovered to encounter two main issues. Usually Microsoft deploys these updates in waves, slowly increasing the updated infrastructures bit by bit rather than a full roll-out. However an engineer saw this update as a low risk exercise after a small testing phase and pushed it to everyone in one hit. Thanks to this blunder and subsequent outage, Microsoft are heavily enforcing staged deployments from now on.

Continue reading 'Engineers mess up causing Microsoft Azure downtime' (full post)

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