Software & Apps News - Page 2
Ever since current owner Elon Musk bought Twitter and turned it into X, he's been trying to create what some call the everything app. Such an app would become the central focus for a whole range of activities with China's WeChat being the example most people think of. The app is a social network but also used for a variety of things in the country, including payments. One of the features that Musk had X's engineers add was support for video and audio calling, but it was limited to only those who pay for X Premium. Now, that's all changed.
First announced by an X engineer before being confirmed by current CEO Linda Yaccarino, the change means that everyone who wants to take advantage of video and audio calls now can, with X also adding the feature to choose to allow calls from everyone or limit the number of people who call to just those who they follow, are verified, or are being followed. Choosing to only allow calls from people you follow is also an option.
Checking to see if your account now has the feature and managing who can call you is simple. Just open the X app on your phone, tap your profile picture, and choose the Privacy and Safety option in the app's settings. The calling feature is for some reason hidden inside the Direct Messages option, and that's where you can select the different settings to tailor the calling feature to match your specific requirements.
If you're a Google Chrome web browser user you're about to benefit from not just one, but three different AI capabilities that will do everything from automatically organizing your open tabs to writing text for you the next time that you need to fill in a form online. The new AI features are part of a new Chrome M121 release and are experimental, which means that they could change or just not work. But the fun is in the finding out.
There are three different features all announced under one AI-based blog post and they're all set to be useful to varying degrees. The first will automatically suggest and create tab groups based on the tabs that a user has open which could be useful when you're researching something but also want to keep those tabs separate from where you're ordering your groceries.
Chrome already has generative AI wallpapers on the Google Pixel 8 devices thanks to Android 14 and now the same text-to-image technology is now coming to Chrome. It'll create you new custom themes based on a mood or subject, or you can just give it a color or style and let it work its magic. The feature could be huge for people who just want a new theme but have no idea what they want it to look like - just let the generative AI do the creative thinking for you.
Hardware and software go hand-in-hand, and the latter often gets overlooked. NVIDIA has been creating powerful software and tools for its GeForce RTX hardware and GPUs for years, from the first Control Panel to recent efforts like RTX Broadcast. Not to mention timely and robust driver support.
However, in recent years, it's all felt a little disjointed thanks to the GeForce Experience app used for updating drivers and optimizing games being completely separate from the NVIDIA Control Panel that offers deep drivel-level customization tools and the best display and color calibration suite currently available for Windows.
It doesn't help that Control Panel looks like an app for Windows XP and GeForce Experience, like an app from the mid-2000s. To say that we've been waiting for something like the NVIDIA App would be an understatement; something that would overhaul the GeForce Experience and expand its capabilities.
Signal has long been one of the more popular secure instant messaging platforms and it's the one that has also required that people use a phone number by way of identification. That also meant that people needed to share their number if they wanted to connect with anyone on the platform which is less than ideal. But now, that's all changing.
Signal has now confirmed via a blog post that it is going to start hiding phone numbers as default, making it easier than ever for people to protect their privacy. In its place will be a username, and that's also how people will be able to identify people in the future. The username isn't a permanent handle however, with Signal saying that it is simply a way to initiate contact on the network without sharing a phone number.
The announcement also comes as Signal confirms that it is launching a new, optional privacy setting that will allow people to stop themselves from being searchable using a phone number at all. The result is that unless someone knows an exact username, they won't be able to contact people who don't want to be.
There are plenty of instant messaging platforms to choose from right now and most phones have first-party options built in, including Apple's wildly popular iMessage. But WhatsApp is also a great option and it's free, encrypted, and available across every platform you're likely to think of. And now it has some new text formatting options that make it easier than ever to get the point across.
While WhatsApp already offered Markdown-like syntax for formatting text, it now has four new options to go with bold, italic, strikethrough, and monospace. The new options are bulleted lists, numbered lists, block quotes, and inline code.
The first of those is fairly obvious and users can create a bulleted list by placing a '-' before a line. Numbered lists are the same, but a number followed by a period replaces the hyphen. All simple stuff and great for sending things like shopping lists to your significant other.
Windows 11's big 23H2 update from 2023 has entered a new 'rollout phase,' one that will leverage machine learning (ML) to automatically update Windows 11 devices to the latest version of the operating system. Forcing major OS updates on users is never a good look, but this adds an extra layer thanks to AI being in charge of which devices will be 'force-updated.'
Of course, it comes down to older versions of Windows 11 reaching their end of servicing phase, so there's a definite reason to update. The devices in question are predicted to be those running Windows 11 21H2 or 22H2.
"This automatic update targets Windows 11 devices that have reached or are approaching end of servicing and it follows the machine learning-based (ML) training we have utilized so far," Microsoft writes. "We will continue to train our intelligent ML model to safely roll out this new Windows version in phases to deliver a smooth update experience."
If you're a big sports fan who also happens to have an iPhone, Apple has some good news for you. The company has released the Apple Sports app and it's now available for download in the App Store. It's completely free and is available in Canada, the United States, and the United Kingdom.
The new app brings live real-time scores and stats to people in those countries, with a number of sports and leagues from around the globe included at launch. The company also confirmed that additional leagues will be added in due course, specifically before their new seasons begin.
At launch, the following sports and leagues are all available and they include the biggest soccer leagues from across Europe.
2FA, or two-factor authentication, is how many of us log into our favorite sites and apps with the peace of mind that there's a second layer of security beyond a simple (or complex) password.
Twilio Authy is one of the most popular 2FA authentication apps and services; however, if you're using the Twilio Authy Desktop on Windows, macOS, or Linux, you definitely want to jump to the Android or iOS app as soon as possible. Like other 2FA services, the Twilio Authy app generates codes every 30 seconds for additional log-in authentication.
As of March 19, 2024, the Twilio Authy Desktop apps will reach their End-of-Life (EOL) - a date brought forward from the previously scheduled cut-off in August 2024. Once this date hits, the desktop apps will cease to function.
Windows XP is approaching 23 years old, but there are folks out there who still use the operating system - in very niche cases obviously - but those people should be aware that MSI Afterburner no longer supports the ancient Microsoft platform.
Perhaps the biggest surprise here, though, is that the overclocking utility from MSI did still support Windows XP until its latest release.
MSI Afterburner version 4.6.6, which is in beta, made the change due to switching over to the VC++ 2022 compiler.
Windows 11 has a new preview build out which introduces some useful changes for the widget board and elsewhere in the interface.
This is Windows 11 preview build 26058 which has just been deployed to testers in the Canary and Dev channels.
In the usual lengthy blog post, Microsoft explains that the headline change comes on the accessibility front with a new Pointer Indicator to help those with low vision. As you might expect, this highlights where the cursor is, using a red crosshair to make that as clear as possible (check out the above screenshot).