Daily updated technology news

FaviconNintendo Switch outsold PS4 and Xbox One in July 18 Aug 2017, 4:19 am

Nintendo Switch outsold PS4 and Xbox One in July

Nintendo's latest gaming console, Nintendo Switch, has been near impossible to get in some parts of the world for some time now. In July, Nintendo finally managed to produce more units for retailers - and the results were impressive: Switch outsold both PS4 and Xbox One in July.

NPD Group, who tracks the console sales, says that two factors were there to push Switch to the #1 spot: first of all, the supply of the units hasn't been on par with the demand and now that problem has finally been solved by Nintendo. Secondly, Splatoon 2 has gained massive momentum and has made the console interesting even for the "hard-core gamers".

At the same time, the upcoming SNES Classic is already sold out - the year 2017 seems to treat Nintendo pretty well.

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FaviconNokia releases its latest flagship phone - here's Nokia 8 16 Aug 2017, 3:26 pm

Nokia releases its latest flagship phone - here's Nokia 8

HMD Global who currently has the rights to use iconic Nokia brand in its phones, released its latest Android flagship phone just moments ago.

New Nokia 8 is a direct challenger to other Android-based flagship models in the market and is priced accordingly - and packs pretty familiar features, too.

Nokia 8 has a heatpipe-cooled Snapdragon 835 chipset, 4GB of RAM memory and a 5.3-inch QHD (2560 x 1440px) Gorilla Glass 3 display. It ships with 64GB of internal storage which can be expanded with microSD memory cards.

According to HMD, the phone is meant for "content producers" - not meaning people who write blogs for living, but people who use social media actively and post lot of a/v content to net. This means that HMD has made an extra effort to make sure all the audio and video features of the phone are on par with the top models in the market.

Both, front and rear camera can record video and capture still images at the same time without video recording suffering from this. Both cameras can be operated at the same time and can be viewed on screen simultaneously. To enhance the "multi-dimensional" video recording, Nokia 8 also supports Nokia OZO surround audio recording.

Rear camera is a dual 13Mpix camera - the other one capturing black and white spectre and other one capturing colors, a similar solution to the one Huawei has used in its recent flagship models. Furthermore, the front camera has a 13Mpix sensor.

Estimated global pricing is set at around €559 / $658. Availability should be "soon", but HMD didn't reveal exact dates. HMD's current phones have been praised for their "almost vanilla" Android and snappy operating system updates.

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FaviconSecret code found in WhatsApp beta - adds support to payment transactions 11 Aug 2017, 5:39 am

Secret code found in WhatsApp beta - adds support to payment transactions

Mobile payments have been the de facto method of making person-to-person payments in developing countries for more than a decade now - and the rest of the world is catching up, it seems. Obviously, the fact that most people in developing countries don't have a bank account, but most of them have access to a mobile phone has created such seemingly weird disparity between the industrial countries and developing countries.

Now, tech companies around the world have finally decided to jump he bandwagon before the market has matured. Facebook introduced payment transactions to its Messenger app in United States and is rumored to expand the service to India soon.

Facebook's other messaging product, WhatsApp hasn't made such move previously - until now. People have dug through the latest Android beta version's code and have found out that the app has hidden feature to support UPI payment model, standardized in India.

Beta version has TOS clauses that ask user to approve WhatsApp's payment policy and user's own bank's payment policy before proceeding with transactions.

Meanwhile, Paytm, a mobile payment company that has 200 million users in India, is rumored to add messaging capabilities to its payment app in near future. Thus, making the Paytm and WhatsApp to go head-to-head in India, where both companies have 200M+ active users.

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FaviconMicrosoft announces a new edition of Windows 10 - aimed for "real pro" users 11 Aug 2017, 4:12 am

Microsoft announces a new edition of Windows 10 - aimed for "real pro" users

Microsoft has announced a new edition of Windows 10, aimed for power users. The new version, Windows 10 Pro for Workstations has four major selling points over existing editions.

Firstly, there is ReFS (Resilient file system), a file system that provides cloud-grade resiliency for data on fault-tolerant storage spaces and manages very large volumes with ease. Using its integrity streams, ReFS detects when data becomes corrupt on one of the mirrored drives and uses a healthy copy of your data on the other drive to correct and protect your precious data.

Second major selling point is the support for NVDIMM-N memories that allow super-fast read and write times - and are non-volatile, meaning that the memory keeps the data even when the power is switched off.

Thirdly, Windows 10 Pro for Workstations adds a new, faster mechanism for sharing files called SMB Direct, which promises to improve speeds of sharing large files. SMB Direct requires network adapters to support Remote Direct Memory Access (RDMA). It will reduce the load sharing the files puts on CPU and moves that load to the network adapter instead, resulting faster sharing and lower latency.

Finally, the new Windows edition adds support for server-grade CPUs, like Intel Xeon and AMD's Opteron series, allowing the operating system to utilize all the horsepower in such CPUs. This means support for up to 4 CPUs (currently max of 2 CPUs is supported) and support for 6TB of memory (current limit is 2TB).

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FaviconBrowser war veteran Opera updates - Opera 47 released 11 Aug 2017, 3:53 am

Browser war veteran Opera updates - Opera 47 released

Browser war veteran, Norwegian Opera browser has been updated. New version, Opera 47, brings only handful of improvements, as Opera - just like all other browser vendors - have shortened their release cycle recently.

New features include the ability to export bookmarks, a pretty standard feature among browsers, but one that as been missing from Opera for some time now. Also, Opera 47 promises a smoother video playback for Windows 7 and macOS users.

Furthermore, the "recently closed tabs" list has increased to list 32 recently closed pages from the previous limit of 10 pages. Other improvements are merely cosmetic - some fine-tuning of colors, brightness, etc of the browser's user interface.

You can download the latest version of Opera from our download section. Download links:

Opera, 64-bit Windows version

Opera, 32-bit Windows version

Opera, macOS version

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FaviconBitcoin split in two, say hi to the new Bitcoin Cash 2 Aug 2017, 10:38 am

Bitcoin split in two, say hi to the new Bitcoin Cash

We are seeing some major changes in the world of cryptocurrency as the most popular currency amongst them was divided into two entities. The split has been in the works for a while but it is still considered highly controversial action.

Current Bitcoin will remain as it is and the new cryptocurrency Bitcoin Cash will be created alongside. They use the same transaction history but currently Cash is much less supported.

Behind the split, or "hard fork" as it's called, is the fact that Bitcoin has become very popular and many believe that it has become too overcrowded and may not function much longer given the increases in transaction frequency.

Bitcoin Cash has been designed to tackle the problems with high transaction fees as well as bitcoin size limit that doesn't allow mining larger blocks and thus slowes down the transaction process.

The Bitcoin transaction process is rather limited as the maximum amount of block data per 10 minutes is one megabyte. That means that only seven transactions can be completed every second, which obviously is not enough as the platform gets more and more popular.

Bitcoin Cash on the other hand is said to have up to eight times faster transaction speeds.

Even though the introduction of Bitcoin Cash doesn't necessarily make a difference to someone with Bitcoins, after all you can just continue using Bitcoin as before, it has sparked a lot of debate and controversy. Coinbase, the largest cryptocurrency exchange has no plans to support the new Bitcoin Cash because the value and even the survival of the new currency is too hard to predict.

Whether you'll be able to exchange and use Bitcoin Cash depends on the platform and the wallet you are using.

The value of Bitcoin Cash quickly rose to over $650 but is still a far cry from Bitcoin's $2700.

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FaviconHackers hit HBO, leaked information about Game of Thrones (no spoilers) 1 Aug 2017, 11:01 am

Hackers hit HBO, leaked information about Game of Thrones (no spoilers)

Home Box Office, more familiarly known as HBO, a cable TV network owned by Time Warner Cable was hacked earlier this week. The hackers apparently got their hands on 1.5 terabytes of data which included, as one might imagine, information about future shows.

According to EW hackers have already leaked some of the acquired material to the internet. Included in the published things are "upcoming episodes of a couple series and at least one alleged script or treatment," says EW.

The leaked episodes are from TV shows Ballers and Room 104. However, there's also been leaks from HBO's most valued franchise Game of Thrones. While there hasn't been entire episodes leaked, at least yet, the hackers have revealed some details about an upcoming fourth episode of Game of Thrones' currently running season seven.

The leakers have said that more releases will be coming later on.

HBO has not commented on what kind of material might have been stolen but acknowledges that hacking took place and has started an investigation into the affair.

In April, the streaming giant Netflix was hacked, and the hackers leaked since released episodes from the fifth season of Orange is the New Black. The largest hack perhaps ever in entertainment and especially in Hollywood history happened in late 2014 when hackers hit Sony bringing down their computer systems and stealing data.

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FaviconSpotify increases the lead on Apple Music, to challenge Apple in podcasts 1 Aug 2017, 10:30 am

Spotify increases the lead on Apple Music, to challenge Apple in podcasts

Spotify has been steadily gaining ground for years but many expected that Apple's unveiling of the new Apple Music two years back would change the dynamic radically. Nevertheless Spotify has been gaining momentum even with the world's largest tech company on its heels.

The Swedish streaming company might not be very profitable but it is definitely the biggest. Spotify boasts now over 60 million paying customers while the closest competitor, now Apple Music, is at mere 27 million.

In addition to paying customers Spotify has over 80 million free tier users that it tries to, and obviously succeeds to en extent, turn into monthly Premium subscribers meanwhile collecting ad revenue, albeit at less than adequate rate.

Even though there's a lot to be done to eliminate the free tier altogether, if it's in the plans or even a possibility, Spotify has managed to decrease the free-to-paying ratio. A year ago twice as many Spotify's users were using free tier compared to Premium, with less that 30 percent of users paying for a subscription. Ratio has decreased from more than 2:1 to 1.33:1.

One can estimate that soon the number of paying subscribers will be overtaking that of free tier users. In fact, if the same rate continues it'll happen around this time next year, and some would consider that a pessimistic evaluation, especially in the wake of news about expansion to new type of content.

According to Bloomberg, Spotify is considering investing heavily in podcasts that have been largely dominated by Apple's iTunes. Even though podcasts have been around for ages, they've really been making a mark in the recent years.

It would seem like an easy move but luring in podcasters from an established platform and educating listeners about a new feature is never going to be simple. Fortunately for Spotify, uploading a podcast to one more, in this case very significant, platform is not necessarily a tough ask.

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FaviconGoogle will merge two subscription services, YouTube RED and Google Play Music 31 Jul 2017, 1:06 pm

Google will merge two subscription services, YouTube RED and Google Play Music

Google has a huge lead in smartphone numbers around the world. 85 percent of new smartphones come installed with Google's platform but it hasn't managed to close the earnings gap with Apple. One thing it has been struggling with is its music services.

Even though Spotify reigns supreme, Apple at least somewhat challenges it with their own Apple Music. Google has been very quiet about its success with Google Play Music, and another subscription service, YouTube RED, seems to a degree have the same audience and the same problems.

Now Google is trying to simplify their approach to customers seeking for a music subscription. While there's no word on what happens to YouTube Music, the two services mentioned earlier are going to be fused into one, The Verge reports.

Currently it's unclear what this means in the end, whether they stick with one name or another, or will these two even create an entirely new service with perhaps new perks. Even as we speak subscribing to one gets you both but many are probably not even aware of this. Also, finding the same music in different places is hardly an optimal solution.

I's certainly not a surprise that Google is moving away from separate music services. Earlier this year Google announced that it'll be combining the YouTube and Play Music development teams into one.

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FaviconMicrosoft's Paint app faces axe 24 Jul 2017, 9:04 pm

Microsoft's Paint app faces axe

Microsoft's iconic Paint application is coming to the end of its development, having been available in Windows since 1985.

The application provides for basic computer graphics editing and has been available with all consumer Windows operating systems, with marginal improvements with each iteration.

Its simplistic nature made it one of the most used Windows applications ever, but now it's days are numbered.

Paint has shown up on a list of Windows 10 features that will either be removed, or will no longer be developed. The list was issued as part of the Windows 10 Fall Creators update.

The successor to Paint - Paint 3D - will still be available for sure.

Other popular apps that face the axe are Outlook Express and Reader.

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FaviconSpotify close to Warner Music royalty deal 24 Jul 2017, 9:01 pm

Spotify close to Warner Music royalty deal

Music streaming firm Spotify is close to securing a royalty deal with Warner Music, according to a report.

The service has already managed to renew deals with Universal, Sony and Merlin in recent months, though it came at the cost of upping limitation on non-premium users.

According to the Reuters news agency, Warner wants similar terms to the other deals and also wants a guaranteed payment that isn't tied to the growth of Spotify.

The deal is expected to be reached before September, ahead of Spotify's planned IPO. It would come as a boost to the service that has been criticized lately for including more unsigned, and allegedly "fake" artists in its popular playlists.

It has also been sued for having unlicensed music available in its vast catalog.

Read More: Reuters

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FaviconU.S. company to implant chips in employees 24 Jul 2017, 8:59 pm

U.S. company to implant chips in employees

A Wisconsin-based company is asking its employees to accept chip implants that can help with a variety of verification tasks.

Three Square Market is offering the microchip implants to employees on a voluntary basis at an estimated cost of $300 per implant. More than 50 employees have expressed interest in the implants, according to media reports.

"It's the next thing that's inevitably going to happen, and we want to be a part of it," Three Square Market Chief Executive Officer Todd Westby said.

Employees will be able to use the implants to get in through the front door, and even to log into their work PCs. They can also use the rice-sized implants to pay for food in the break room.

The implant is placed between the person's thumb and forefinger, and can be easily removed at any time. Stored data is encrypted and there are no tracking abilities.

Read More: KSTP

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FaviconMicrosoft challenges Nest with a Windows Smart Thermostat 21 Jul 2017, 12:30 pm

Microsoft challenges Nest with a Windows Smart Thermostat

Smartphones are still perhaps the number one technology people focus on but it seems pretty clear that it might not be as exciting as it once was. Perhaps we're wrong but there seems to be some stagnation, or maturity, in the field.

This gives more room for technologies that have much more to gain in terms of functionality in shorter time span. One of the things that has been talked for years but hasn't quite managed to get the ball rolling in the past years is Internet of Things.

IoT, or more specifically Smart Home applications are getting there, though. Introduction of Alexa and supported Smart Home devices, Google Home, and even Apple's HomePod are making the technology more accessible and way more interesting.

One player that might be a big one in the future is Microsoft. The company's Windows 10 IoT Core operating system could be the future of Smart Home applications and devices. To demonstrate this Microsoft has released a new video showcasing Johnson Controls smart thermostat called GLAS.

The thermostat has a see-though touchscreen display, it monitors the air quality and temperature, and adjusts automatically or from user input. As it runs of Windows 10 IoT Core, it also supports voice assistant Cortana.

Microsoft or Johnson Controls have not revealed any details on when you can buy it or how much it costs.

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FaviconFacebook releases a new feature to further encourage group discussion 20 Jul 2017, 3:05 pm

Facebook releases a new feature to further encourage group discussion

Facebook has launched a new community feature to let people, brands, and communities to keep in touch with their fans more easily. The feature is called Groups for Pages.

To simplify this a little bit, first of all Groups and Pages and separate things. Pages are meant for the messaging from communities and companies. Pages can only be used by an established community and is more strictly controlled. Groups on the other hand can be used in a more general sense to communicate within a group of people that are less loosely connected, eg. group of friends.

Thus Groups for Pages are meant for free ranging discussion within a more tightly-knit community. The point of the feature seems to be to attract people perhaps from more traditional web forums. So for example artists, sports clubs, or even news services can host their own Groups within their Pages.

The feature launched yesterday gives all the 70 million Pages on Facebook the possibility to create discussion in Groups. Facebook has been looking for a way to get more people create "meaningful communities" and harbor discussion.

New feature lets communities also create more specific forums that might attract like-minded people. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg points to examples such as Page and the Affected By Addiction Support Group within that lets addicts connect with each other.

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FaviconApple trying to attract researchers with a journal for AI 20 Jul 2017, 1:20 pm

Apple trying to attract researchers with a journal for AI

Apple has been known to be a very secretive, perhaps the most secretive in the tech industry. Nothing seems to be revealed about their research, comments about future products are very limited, and you'll pretty much have to wait until the product release to learn about them and their development.

This is good for keeping the products under wraps and creating an anticipation not many can create. However, this also means that it is hard to recruit new talent when you can't reveal what type of research you are doing. Not only don't the top researchers know what type of research is possible within Apple but they also would like to make their own work public, and let the scientific or research community take part.

Apple wants to attract specifically AI researchers, so it is only natural that it has now launched its own Apple Machine Learning Journal site. The new journal, blog, website, is a collection of finds and even breakthroughs in the field of machine learning, which is a part of a larger pie of artificial intelligence.

Currently the journal only consists of one release, called Improving the Realism of Synthetic Images. The research goes into creating realistic images from synthetic images by using neural networks.

At the bottom of the page Apple has a link for people looking for a job. A search in the Apple's job database returns 262 jobs matching "machine learning".

Some have expressed a view that Apple has a problem with machine learning because of their strict privacy policy. According to this view companies like Google gain more data to use in their AI research and therefore can develop for example their neural networks better. However, it is highly unlikely that Apple would change its core principles.

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