Tech News

The best upcoming TV shows and movies on Netflix

Latest Tech News - 4 hours 5 min ago

Netflix has changed the way we engage with television shows and movies forever, giving us the most convenient way to experience both from the comfort of our living rooms, laptop screens or smartphones. 

With a rapidly growing library of shows on the service and a huge lineup of projects in the works, we've put together a list of the best upcoming TV shows and movies on Netflix for 2018 and beyond. 

The shows and films on this list have been hand-picked based on how excited we are for them, meaning that it's not intended to be a complete release schedule. Instead, consider it our curated list of the coolest looking Netflix Originals currently in the works. 

We've also included upcoming seasons of already established shows which we're really eager to see. So without further ado, these are the best upcoming TV shows and movies on Netflix.

Given that the original Making a Murderer series took over a decade to make, we're not entirely sure when its announced follow-up will actually land on Netflix. We're hoping sooner rather than later, as subjects Steven Avery and Brendan Dassey, convicted for the murder of Theresa Halbach on what appears to be extremely unreliable evidence, have already been incarcerated since 2007. We're waiting on more information with bated-breath. 

Release date: TBA  

Based on the acclaimed science-fiction novel by Richard K. Morgan, Altered Carbon tells of a future in which permanent death has been rendered obsolete – for those who can afford it, at least. With a huge budget and tremendous cyberpunk visuals that recall Blade Runner, Altered Carbon could be the next big Netflix phenomenon. We'll know for sure when it arrives early next month.

Release date: February 2, 2018

One of the more universally-liked Marvel shows on Netflix, Jessica Jones came at exactly the right moment to confront a number of issues about the mistreatment of women in our culture, turning this female-led superhero series into a somewhat of a phenomenon. Two years on, we can't wait to see what the most badass Defender (Kristen Ritter) is up to following her ordeal with the Purple Man (David Tennant) in the first season. Quite frankly, there was nowhere near enough of Jones in Marvel's The Defenders and that needs to be rectified, ASAP.

Release date: March 8, 2018

Reuniting Hollywood megastars Emma Stone and Jonah Hill for the first time since Superbad, Maniac is expected to be a monster of a hit for Netflix later this year. A remake of the Norwegian dark comedy series of the same name, Maniac sees Hill play an institutionalized man who retreats into a number of fantasy worlds. Need more convincing? Okay, well it's also directed by Cary Fukunaga (True Detective: Season 1, Beasts of No Nation). In other words, there's no way we're missing this show. 

Release date: 2018

The first season of GLOW was absolutely incredible, and we're more than happy that the team behind it went right back to work on the second season. At the end of the first series, the Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling had put on their first successful televised show, and we can't wait to see where the upcoming second season will find them.

Release date: 2018

Fans were devastated when Sense8, the Netflix Original series from The Wachowskis (The Matrix) was cancelled, but luckily, they'll be getting some movie-length closure in the form of this special, which will wrap up the show's various story threads. (We're still waiting for The Get Down to get the same thing, unlikely as that may be...) 

Release date: 2018

Joel and Ethan Coen, directors of such classics as No Country for Old Men, Fargo and The Big Lebowski, officially step into the streaming arena with The Ballad of Buster Scruggs, a Western mini-series that will star James Franco, Liam Neeson and Tim Blake Nelson. It will be the first time that the brothers will write and direct for television, making the upcoming Netflix series a major event for fans. 

Release date: 2018

Late last year, we reported that Netflix will make one more season of House of Cards, but without Kevin Spacey, who was dumped from the show due to sexual misconduct allegations. It's a pretty bold move for Netflix to fire the lead star of its flagship series and carry on anyway, but we're very confident that Robin Wright will easily carry the show for its sixth and final season.

Release date: 2018

Though it was eagerly-anticipated at the time, the fourth season of Arrested Development turned out to be a disappointment for fans, as its actors busy schedules prevented them from sharing much screen time. According to Will Arnett, who plays GOB on the comedy series, that won't be the case with season 5, with the actor telling Business Insider that it will be “much like the original broadcast series.” Once again, we can't wait for Arrested Development to return.

Release date: 2018

Director Duncan Jones' cyberpunk mystery Mute has been in the works for over a decade, once intended to be the filmmaker's follow-up to his debut film, Moon. Thanks to Netflix, we're finally going to see this film about a mute bartender who takes on gangsters in order to find out what happened to his missing partner. Alexander Skarsgård will play the bartender, with Paul Rudd and Justin Theroux providing some comedic relief as a pair of strange surgeons. 

Release date: February 23, 2018

Exciting news for fans of Martin Scorsese's classic gangster films – the director is bringing The Irishman to Netflix in 2018, and Robert De Niro, Joe Pesci, Harvey Keitel and Al Pacino (working with the filmmaker for the very first time) are all along for the ride. The Irishman follows a mob hitman (De Niro) as he recalls his possible involvement in the murder of Jimmy Hoffa, and is based on the best-selling book by Charles Brandt. If you're a film buff and aren't excited about this, you may need to check your pulse. 

Release date: 2018

We love smart homes here at TechRadar, but what if your high-tech household was keeping you prisoner and trying to kill you? That's the premise of Tau, an upcoming thriller starring Maika Monroe (It Follows) and from Federico D'Alessandro, who's making his feature-length directorial debut after having worked in the art department of such major blockbusters as Avengers: Age of Ultron and Doctor Strange.

Release date: 2018

Categories: Tech News

New figures reveal the iPhone 8 outsold the iPhone X last year

Latest Tech News - Mon, 01/22/2018 - 23:07

 

When Apple launched its trilogy of flagship handsets late last year, the exorbitant pricing of the iPhone X along with supply constraints had retail experts CIRP (Consumer Intelligence Research Partners) predicting the all-screen wonder wouldn’t sell as well as the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus.

That prediction has now largely been validated by actual sales data from CIRP, with the iPhone X making up roughly 20% of all iPhone sales in the US for 2017, while the comparatively boring iPhone 8 hit closer to 23%. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the piggy in the middle didn’t perform as well as either of the extremes, with the iPhone 8 Plus comprising roughly 18% of Apple’s handset sales.

When compared to the previous year’s iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus sales, the latest trio of Apple handsets didn’t fare nearly as well. Around 72% of all iPhone sales were attributed to the 7 and 7 Plus in 2016, while the 8, 8 Plus, and X only hit around 61% combined.

While this may suggest that people aren’t as eager to adopt the latest lineup, it’s worth noting that the iPhone X launched more than a month after the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus, potentially preventing prospective buyers from jumping on the 8 series and simultaneously shortening the window of time in which the iPhone X was sold. The supply of the iPhone X was also initially limited, resulting in an upper limit of possible sales during this time.

Categories: Tech News

Lomography launches Lomo’Instant Square, a new take on the instant camera

Latest Tech News - Mon, 01/22/2018 - 21:09

Lomography, the photography company known for its retro products like the Lomo’Instant and Lomo’Instant Automat, has announced the launch of the world’s first fully analogue multi-format instant camera.

After a successful Kickstarter project, the Lomo’Instant Square has finally seen the light of day. The new instant camera allows users to swap between using Fujifilm Instax Square film and Instax Mini film, with the latter usable via a detachable back accessory that comes bundled with the shooter.

Like the other Lomography cameras, the Lomo’Instant Square comes in different colors – this time there’s Matte Black, Glittering White and Red Leather. The new camera also keeps with the brand’s retro look – pop-out bellows allow the Lomo’Instant Square to fold into a compact form factor and give it that quintessential ‘olde worlde’ vibe.

Getting creative

The new camera features a 95mm glass lens (that’s a 45mm equivalent) that promises to produce sharp images. Lomography is also touting “an advanced automatic mode” and a “smart zone-focusing system” that make the camera more user friendly.

The camera’s designers have also retained a lot of the features found in its other instant cameras – there’s a bulb mode on offer when using manual shutter controls, unlimited multiple exposures, a self-timer and infrared remote control.

Prospective buyers also have the option of grabbing the new shooter in a Combo Package, which includes a glass lens for portraits and a Splitzer that adds kaleidoscopic effects when combining multiple exposures.

Pricing and availability

The Lomo’Instant Square is now up for pre-order on Lomography’s website and the camera is priced at $199 (about £142/AU$250). For anyone eyeing the Combo Package, that will set you back $239 (about £170/AU$300).

The camera will begin shipping out on January 24.

Categories: Tech News

Android 8.1 update lets you check the speed of public Wi-Fi networks

Latest Tech News - Mon, 01/22/2018 - 18:44

One of the niftiest small features that Google announced it was stuffing into Android 8.1 Oreo is the ability to see the speed of a public Wi-Fi signal before you join it. Today, after a bit of a delay, that feature finally started rolling out to users.

After updating, Android's Wi-Fi Assistant will tell you if a signal is Very Fast, Fast, OK or Slow the next time you try to join a public Wi-Fi channel.

With "Very Fast," you should be able to watch high-definition video from the likes of HBO Now and Netflix; and with "OK," you should be able to do relatively simple internet tasks along the line of checking Facebook and Twitter. With "Slow," you might be better off sticking with your cellular data plan.

Keep in mind that Wi-Fi Assistant only works for public, open Wi-Fi networks as Android needs to access the signal in order to check it out. If the network is password protected, there's a good chance you wouldn't have been able to use it anyway.

If you're a business owner who doesn't like random Android users seeing this kind of information, Google has fortunately given administrators a couple of ways to opt out. On the user end, you can also disable the feature in the Settings app under Network & Internet.

Staggered delivery

Of course, being able to enjoy this feature means you need to be able to use Android 8.1 in the first place. 

As we've seen, some Oreo-compatible phones such as the OnePlus 5T are resistant to Google's "Project Treble," which allows Android users to update their devices to the most current version of the popular operating system. 

Complications such as this should cease to be as much of an issue in the near future, though, as Google is requiring all phones that ship with Oreo to support Project Treble.

Roadblocks such as the one we see with the OnePlus 5T are among the clear drawbacks of a highly customizable operating system that's meant to run on all sorts of devices, but with features such as Project Treble, Google has fortunately been making great strides toward lessening the frustrations with the system.

Now it just needs phone companies to play along.

Categories: Tech News

Waymo is bringing its self-driving cars to the streets of Atlanta soon

Latest Tech News - Mon, 01/22/2018 - 16:55

Image credit: Waymo

Waymo, the division of Google's parent company Alphabet that's dedicated to automated cars, recently announced that it'll soon start testing its self-driving minivans in Atlanta, Georgia. 

Unfortunately, we know little else about the Atlanta tests aside from the location, but the rollout should be soon. 

Last week Waymo started building 3D maps of the downtown Atlanta area in preparation for the launch, ensuring that the cars have an up-to-date reference before Waymo starts inviting locals to hop in the vehicles.

Waymo is currently testing its cars in two California cities (Mountain View and San Francisco), as well as in Phoenix, Austin, Detroit and Kirkland, Washington.

With Atlanta added to the growing list, Waymo now has an impressively large number of driving conditions in which to test its cars, ranging from hills and extreme heat to rain and bitter cold. 

In recent months, in fact, the company has even started putting cars on the road without safety drivers in Arizona, although members of the general public aren't allowed to ride in these cars yet.

Prior to that, Waymo produced a report showing that its cars had significantly lower rates of driver engagement than its competitors.

What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas

Waymo has a massive lead, but other automated car companies are attempting to expand tests as well.

As The Verge reports, Lyft and Aptiv offered a ride-hailing service for the city of Las Vegas during this month's CES 2018 conference. Originally, the plan was to end the service when the show wrapped up a little over a week ago, but the partnering companies have decided to let Las Vegas riders continue using the semi-autonomous service for the time being. 

Beyond that, Lyft and Aptiv are attempting to bring their service to other cities as well, with Boston looking like a likely location.

Categories: Tech News

DJI Mavic Air leak points to an even smaller foldable 4K drone

Latest Tech News - Mon, 01/22/2018 - 15:58

DJI, maker of some of the most popular and impressive consumer drones on the market, including the DJI Mavic Pro, will launch a new drone at an event on Tuesday, January 23. 

But, in advance of the official announcement, details and image have leaked. DroneDJ says it received the leaks from a tipster and has shared the details. DroneDJ has been the source of earlier leaks related to the drone, and was the first to report its likely name.

Credit: DroneDJ

The leaks show a new drone, called the DJI Mavic Air, that has its rotors on foldable arms, like those of the DJI Mavic Pro, making it extra portable. 

Its styling is somewhere between the DJI Spark and the Mavic Pro, with a slim, mostly rectangular chassis, a camera mounted in front, and four arms for the rotors at each corner. 

The DJI Mavic Air price is also believed to be somewhere between the DJI Mavic Pro's $999 (about £725 / AU$1,250) and DJI Spark's standard $499 (about £360 / AU$625) price tag.

Credit: DroneDJ

Included in the leaks were some details about the DJI Mavic Air's features and capabilities. Its battery may deliver a lengthy 21-minute fly time, while sensors on the drone help it avoid in-flight mishaps. 

A 32-megapixel camera capable of 4K video is also believed to be on the drone with a gimbal mount. Similar to the DJI Spark, the DJI Mavic Air may also have gesture controls for use without a phone or controller.

With the official event only a day away, all the details for the DJI Mavic Air will be confirmed soon.

Via Mashable

Categories: Tech News

Buyer beware: Nokia Body Cardio smart scale will get a little dumber this week

Latest Tech News - Mon, 01/22/2018 - 15:23

Did you buy Nokia’s (formerly Withings’) most expensive smart scale, the Body Cardio? Unfortunately, Pulse Wave Velocity, one of its highlight features that tracks the speed of your blood flow, is being unceremoniously deactivated on January 24.

According to Nokia, which sent out a notice to N users and posted on its website, the feature is being switched off due to it requiring a “different level of regulatory approval” – in layman’s terms, Nokia could find itself in legal trouble if it kept the PWV function up and running. 

In this age, it’s a blessing and a curse that products can be updated post-release. Sure, most companies use this as a benefit, adding onto products with pro-consumer updates. But in the case of Nokia, those who paid good money ($80 more than the next cheapest scale) have found themselves in an unfortunate situation. And because it's a Wi-Fi connected smart gadget, you can't avoid the automatic update.

Nokia points out that all other features are unaffected, and thankfully, the company’s offering a plan to make it up to customers. If you’ve purchased a Body Cardio smart scale, you can opt in to a $30 credit to spend or get a full refund through this page.

Via Engadget

Categories: Tech News

Amazon's futuristic new grocery store lets you truly grab and go

Latest Tech News - Mon, 01/22/2018 - 15:20

Image credit: Amazon

Amazon has already made life rough for traditional brick-and-mortar stores with its wildly popular (and powerful) digital marketplace, so it may come as a surprise that Amazon just opened a brick-and-mortar grocery store of its own called Amazon Go.

You can find the 1,800 square-foot store in Amazon's home turf of downtown Seattle, but what you won't find are any check-out lines or human cashiers. Instead, aside from a few humans who hang around to keep the place stocked, it's all fully automated. 

All you need is a special app for Amazon Go, which registers you as you walk in, much as turnstile monitors read your tickets at a subway station. You then grab all of your items and simply walk out.

Cameras inside the shelves and throughout the store register which items you've picked up and add them to your virtual cart, and the system apparently works so well that you can put an item back on your shelf and it will register as leaving your virtual cart.

The New York Times reports that the system also does a good job of thwarting shoplifting, such as when it noticed that the reporter tried to hide an item by wrapping a shopping bag around it. As far as the bags themselves go, you're expected to bring your own – no shopping carts or baskets exist in Amazon Go, either.

The concept has been in the testing phase for a while now, and we first covered it back toward the end of 2016. Amazon says it currently has no plans to implement the system in Whole Foods, which Amazon bought to much fanfare last year.

Maybe too convenient?

Amazon also downplayed the devastating effect a wide adoption of this shift might play on cashier employment, pointing to the human cooks and stockers that are (still) needed to run the place.

As the Times notes, the US Department of Labor reported in 2016 that 3.5 million Americans held cashier jobs in May of 2016, and 900,000 of those were employed in grocery stores. 

In many smaller towns, cashier positions are often among the only reliable jobs. Amazon's statement also leaves out that stocker and food preparation jobs already exist alongside cashier jobs in many traditional stores already.

Categories: Tech News

Don't download Intel's latest Spectre and Meltdown patch, Intel warns

Latest Tech News - Mon, 01/22/2018 - 14:46

If you own a PC or Mac using an Intel processor and have been patiently waiting for Spectre and Meltdown patches appear on Windows Update or Mac App Store updates, you shouldn't download it.

That’s the latest directive from Intel, who cited spontaneous reboot and system instability problems – first reported January 11 – following its latest firmware patch aimed to defend against the Spectre and Meltdown exploit vulnerabilities. The company issued a blog post today warning both its partners and end users.

“We recommend that OEMs, cloud service providers, system manufacturers, software vendors, and end users stop deployment of current versions on specific platforms,” Intel EVP Neil Shenoy writes, “as they may introduce higher than expected reboots and other unpredictable system behavior.”

Intel is just now getting to the bottom of the problem, having identified the root cause of these issues in Broadwell and Haswell-generation chips. The firm claims to have already issued early versions of fixes for these issues to its partners, but not yet a final release.

However, Intel has yet to directly address similar issues affecting both older and more recent processors than the Broadwell and Haswell families, namely Ivy Bridge, Skylake, Kaby Lake, and Coffee Lake generations. However, it has named processors from those families as suffering from the problem in official documentation.

In short, while computing device vendors and other Intel partners work with Intel to fix these issues at the top level and hopefully avoid these faulty patches, the firm also asking end users to stay away from the latest processor updates. However, the firm stresses users should keep their devices up-to-date and secure with with all other software releases.

(Don't worry, AMD is suffering a similar fate, with Microsoft recently having to halt a patch from the firm for similar reasons.)

If your machine automatically updates through Windows 10 Update or the Mac App Store and you’re experiencing these problems, it’s unknown when a fix will be available for you.

Via The Verge

Categories: Tech News

Top 5 Linux server distros of 2018

Latest Tech News - Mon, 01/22/2018 - 14:45

As a free and open source operating system, Linux is the ideal candidate for setting up your own server. The community of developers behind each Linux distribution (distro) regularly review the source code of their chosen OS to make sure it's free of bugs.

When it comes to servers, the emphasis should obviously be on stability. While upgrades are a good thing on the face of it, they have the potential to interfere with the smooth running of your server.

We’ve highlighted some of our favourite Linux server distros in this article, including operating systems that offer long term support, stability, and ideally a fast setup process.

Debian is over 20-years-old and in part owes that longevity to the emphasis placed on producing a stable operating system. This is crucial if you want to set up a server as updates can sometimes clash badly with existing software, as we’ve already mentioned.

There are three branches of Debian, named 'Unstable', 'Testing' and 'Stable'. To become part of the Stable current release, packages must have been reviewed for several months as part of the Testing release. This results in a much more reliable system – but don't expect Debian to incorporate much 'bleeding edge' software as a result. 

You can get started with Debian using a minimal Network Boot image which is less than 30MB in size.

While Ubuntu is best known for bringing desktop Linux to the masses, its Server variant is also extremely competitive. Canonical, the company behind Ubuntu has developed LTS (Long Term Support) versions of Ubuntu Server, which like the desktop flavour can be updated up to five years after the date of release, saving you the trouble of upgrading your server repeatedly.

If you're intent on building your own cloud platform, you can also download Ubuntu Cloud Server. Canonical claims that over 55% of OpenStack clouds already run on Ubuntu. For a fee, Canonical will even set up a managed cloud for you using BootStack.

OpenSUSE (formerly SUSE Linux) is a Linux distro specifically designed for developers and system admins wishing to run their own server. The easy-to-use installer can be configured to use 'Text Mode' rather than install a desktop environment to get your server up and running.

OpenSUSE will automatically download the minimum required packages for you, meaning only essential software is installed. The YaST Control Center allows you to configure network settings, such as setting up a static IP for your server. You can also use the built in Zypper package manager to download and install essential server software such as postfix.

Fedora is a community developed operating system based on the commercial Linux distro Red Hat. Fedora Server is a special implementation of the OS, allowing you to deploy and manage your server using the Rolekit tool. The operating system also includes a powerful PostgreSQL Database Server. 

Fedora Server also includes FreeIPA, enabling you to manage authentication credentials, access control information and perform auditing from one central location. 

You can download the full 2.3GB ISO image of Fedora Server using the link below. The same page contains a link to a minimal 511MB NetInstall Image from Fedora's Other Downloads section for a faster barebones setup.

Like Fedora, CentOS is a community developed distribution of Linux, originally based on the commercial OS Red Hat Enterprise Linux. In light of this, the developers behind CentOS 7 have promised to provide full updates for the OS until the end of 2020, with maintenance updates until the end of June 2024 – which should save the trouble of performing a full upgrade on your server in the near future.

You can avoid unnecessary packages by installing the 'minimal' ISO from the CentOS website, which at 792MB can fit onto a 90 minute CD-R. If you're eager to get started, the site also offers preconfigured AWS instances and Docker images.

Categories: Tech News

The best free antivirus in 2018

Latest Tech News - Mon, 01/22/2018 - 12:39

Antivirus software is one of the first things you should install on a new PC, and top quality protection can be yours completely free. We've updated our roundup of the best free security software so you know you're getting the very best protection for your data and your personal information.

It's fair to suggest that Windows 10's built-in antivirus solution, Windows Defender, is the last free AV app you should trust to keep your system clean. Not that it's overtly bad – although it does tail behind just about every third-party antivirus solution – but because it has a big target painted on it for attackers.

Windows users who haven't installed something hardier are the perfect hosts for viruses; attack the weak links, attack through the chinks in the one piece of software armour these weak links have by default, and you're in.

That's why we've dropped Defender from our list of free antivirus apps in this latest update of our free AV roundup. You need more than it can offer. If you're not running advanced virus detection, zero-day virus protection, anti-malware, anti-ransomware and other security essentials, you're not doing it right and leave yourself open to infections and identity theft.

Once again we've consulted the experts at the AV-TEST virus lab to find the most effective virus protection, and we've listened to your comments regarding usability, too. Free antivirus without popups, or at least some sort of seedy side, is a bit of a pipe dream – free AV is more of an advert than an altruistic gift. But we understand that for many of you the constant hassle presented by free AV popups can be a bit much to take – so if you're willing to sacrifice a minuscule amount of antivirus protection in favour of a cleaner experience, we're with you.

Bitdefender Antivirus Free edition has received a major overhaul and taken the top spot in our free antivirus roundup. It's the best free security software you can download today

Essentially consisting of the AV section of the full product, Bitdefender Antivirus Free Edition's clean, light, well constructed scanning mechanisms – which are almost universally faster than the industry average – and unrivalled virus definitions mean it's pushing back towards the top of the tree. AV-TEST's December testing round did pick out a few flaws in its handling of zero-day threats, however.

The free version's insistence on running in autopilot mode is a double-edged sword, making the process of virus management easy but taking it out of the user's hands; while we're inclined to trust it, there have been cases in the past of automatic systems going slightly rogue, such as the incident a few years back when Panda Antivirus identified itself as a virus and locked up a large number of Windows systems. 

While Bitdefender isn't exactly popup-free – it can be quite annoying, in fact – it's clean, clever, and efficient enough to take our top spot this time.

Review and where to download: Bitdefender Antivirus Free Edition

Following its takeover of AVG, Avast now benefits from a much larger userbase, all reporting details of new security threats

Avast and AVG haven't yet fully merged, despite the former formally acquiring the latter in mid-2016. The newly combined company says the two free antivirus products will remain separate, although there's apparently a joint AV package on the way soon. Obviously, though, Avast now has a lot more data to work with, having expanded its effective userbase (and, therefore, its threat detection network) to a whopping 400 million users.

The latest edition of Avast Free Antivirus adds an automatic gaming mode to mute popups and reduce system load when you're firing up a processor-hungry game, which is very handy indeed, and the interface has been given a clean new overhaul. There's a password manager, too, which is an undeniably good addition to your security portfolio.

It scores well on AV-TEST's widespread malware benchmark and continues a clean sweep against 0-day attacks – presumably that expanded detection network is really helping. Less impressive is the slight negative effect Avast has on software launch times, and its slightly popup-heavy attitude.

Review and where to download: Avast Free Antivirus

Sophos Home delivers enterprise-level antivirus protection for home users

Marketing itself as "business-grade security", Sophos Home does a little more than most free antivirus software, and actually seems better suited to families.

You get standard antivirus and anti-malware protection, along with browser tools like anti-phishing and, most importantly, content control. Combined with central management of up to 10 PCs, this means you can effectively lock down your kids' browsing options.

Although AV-TEST hasn't formally assessed Sophos' skills, fellow lab AV-Comparatives offers a decent rating of its antivirus abilities. Desktop notifications can be a bit intrusive, though since Sophos Home isn't a direct advert for another comsumer-level product (the company mainly deals with business software) you're not constantly badgered with requests to upgrade. 

Review and where to download: Sophos Home

Kaspersky has finally launched a free version of its extremely successful antivirus software

The paid-for version of Kaspersky's Windows security software frequently tops charts of best antivirus solutions and AV-TEST once again gave it full marks across the board in its latest round of testing.

As you would expect, Kaspersky Free is a scaled down version of the full program, ditching additional features such as privacy protection and safe payment sandboxes to concentrate on powerful, no-frills and - most importantly - free protection for your PC. The result is a tremendously easy to use and navigate bit of software that does an effective job of keeping you protected from viruses.

Using the nuts and bolts real-world scanning engine of the paid-for suite, Kaspersky Free is fiendishly hard for viruses and trojan horses to break down. And we love that it doesn't constantly pester you with nudges to upgrade to the full version.

Review and where to download: Kaspersky Free

Avira Free Antivirus remains a superb free antivirus suite, but its frequent popup alerts are annoying, resulting in a drop down our chart

Avira Free Antivirus for Windows continues to score highly on AV-TEST's stringent testing program, quashing 99.7% of tested threats, and it generally doesn't put too big a burden on your hardware.

It has a clean, friendly interface - with a swish redesign ready for 2018 - and throws up minimal false positives. The introduction of a free security suite to optionally run alongside it – with ransomware and phishing protection, a 500MB/month VPN and various speedup promises – just sweetens the deal. This is one of the best free antivirus packages of 2017. 

So why, then, have we dropped it from the top spot on our list, a position it's held for the past two years? It's the constant badgering. There's a certain level of popups and advertisements that's acceptable for a free product, and Avira has begun to cross the line. It's not as onerous as some – Comodo's over-enthusiastic interface comes to mind – but booting up your PC to see Avira shouting at you once again is jarring. 

Review and where to download: Avira Free Antivirus

AVG now benefits from Avast's added antivirus expertise, but isn't as strong as its parent company's free software

There's a growing trend amongst some online pundits to label antivirus apps like AVG – and, indeed, AVG specifically – as 'crapware'. We don't subscribe to that definition; if that term is supposed to mean that these apps are ineffective or pointless, it's simply not true.

AVG offers (reasonably) effective virus protection for free, and it does so with minimal system impact. If, on the other hand, the derogatory term refers to products which go a little heavy on the advertising and features that don't matter – AVG AntiVirus Free's 'tune up' portion, for instance – perhaps the shoe fits here.

Popups or not, it's the antivirus we're most interested in. Looking at AV-TEST's figures, and considering AVG shares the same expanded userbase as Avast, we were a little surprised that its strength doesn't quite match up to its new parent, and anti-phishing tools could use some improvement, too. Speculatively, this could mean AVG's engine is not getting the same love it once did, or that Avast's is slightly stronger – whatever the case, keep your eyes open for the combined Avast/AVG antivirus that's on the roadmap for this year, because both products running in tandem will be just about unbeatable.

Review and where to download: AVG AntiVirus Free

Despite its use of remote cloud servers, Panda Free Antivirus still puts considerable pressure on your PC's resources

The eternal battle against popups doesn't exactly start well, with Panda's site throwing a huge banner up shouting about a discount on the full version before you're even allowed to download the free one.

Put that aside, however, to look at the software itself: Panda's entirely cloud-based antivirus solution goes about as lightly on system resources as is possible, at least when it's quietly running in the background. But you'll probably find, as AV-TEST's lab did, that Panda Free Antivirus has a bigger impact on many common system tasks – installation, copying files, downloading apps – than most of the opposing AV apps. We also experienced heavy CPU peaks both at random times and when Panda was updating itself.

That said, Panda's overall look – which offers calming vistas where other go for plain white or grey – is refreshing, it's incredibly well laid out, and it comes bundled with a bunch of extra features that don't just seem like fluff. It dials itself down even further with a game mode when you need extra CPU speed, offers to immunise USB sticks (handy if you're worried about preinstalled spyware), has a bootable rescue kit in case a malicious program cripples your Windows install, and includes a threat-weighted process monitor.

Review and where to download: Panda Free Antivirus

It might be an effective antivirus suite, but 360 Total Security gathers a considerable amount of data about your activity and reports it back to developer Qihoo

The specter of developer Qihoo's VW-esque cheating of AV tests seems to be lifting a little these days, and it's hard not to recommend it when you consider exactly what it's offering up for free: AV protection from several concurrent engines (Bitdefender, Avira, and Qihoo's own engines) along with reasonable extras like anti-phishing and a mobile app to help manage multiple systems.

360 Total Security Free Security doesn't bombard you with popups, which many users will love, but we do have serious concerns about its privacy policy, particularly considering that signing up to Qihoo's data-collecting User Experience Improvement program is set as default. The company has no qualms about collecting sensitive information about you, and what it does with it at the other end is anyone's guess. 

We're also not hugely impressed by its interface. You'll need to do some fiddling to get several antivirus engines running at once, and doing so with the rather messy UI is not easy. A lot of the bundled tools seem extraneous, and we hit a couple of false positives in testing too. So if you want quiet, strong protection this is a fine option – but you'll need to do some work, and you may have to pay a high price.

Review and where to download: 360 Total Security

As the name suggests, ZoneAlarm's real expertise lies in its firewall technology

ZoneAlarm's reputation in the firewall world precedes it, and while that particular aspect of this all-in-one package isn't what we're really concerned with here, it's a solid extra if you don't trust your router or Windows' built-in firewall.

The antivirus engine on offer here is actually licensed from Kaspersky, so although we were unable to find any results from independent testing labs – hence its position this low on our list – it's safe to have at least a small amount of confidence in its abilities. It's well laid out, easy to use, and is your only real option if you want to use the ZoneAlarm firewall alongside any anti-malware app other than Windows Defender.

That said, ZoneAlarm Free Antivirus + Firewall isn't a quiet program, alerting you of every little thing that's been blocked or deflected – some people like that, others will quickly become infuriated.

Review and where to download: ZoneAlarm Free Antivirus

The newly rebranded Adaware Antivirus Free offers fewer features than its last iteration

A new name for what was once Ad-Aware Free Antivirus+, to celebrate its company's rebranding from LavaSoft to Adaware.

As another antivirus package with a licensed engine – this time from Bitdefender – and the benefit of Adaware's history in anti-spyware, you'd expect its results to be good. But things aren't so rosy.

This new Adaware Antivirus Free 12 drops the Web Companion from version 11, which blocked malicious and fraudulent URLs; it now acts only on iffy downloads. There are a host of other promised features, but they're not actually there – placed, tantalisingly, on an interface which very much shouts 'adware' more than it does 'adaware'. Better to go for one of the other downloads on this list rather than be dazzled by its slick, shiny interface.

Review and where to download: Adaware Antivirus Free

Categories: Tech News

Have you heard of the XinFin hybrid blockchain? Here’s why you should get involved

Latest Tech News - Mon, 01/22/2018 - 12:21

You’ve heard of Bitcoin and Ethereum, right? That’s all built on blockchain technology, and there’s now a hybrid using the same tech combined with private networks that wants to build the next generation of the global computing network.

The technology itself is called XinFin – short for Exchange Infinite – and it combines both a public blockchain with private networks in order to get the best of both worlds.

XinFin uses something called XinFin Digital Contracts – these are known as XDCs for short – and the system is then recorded by blockchain technology to keep a track of transactions transparently.

All of the benefits you’d expect from normal public blockchain technology are available here, but using it alongside private networks allows for speed and security within enterprises and communities using the hybrid tech.

All members will be able to use the public blockchain tech that’s useful for basic data that needs to be transferred both securely and transparently.

For anything confidential, such as company secrets or financial data, there are also private networks for that extra added layer of security to ensure there are no problems.

XDC technology can be used for both messaging and confirmation of domestic payments, but it can also be harnessed for approved cross border payments.

This technology is being extended to leading organizational and financial institutions, both for payment and settlement layer for transactions, thereby reducing cost of commerce to a fraction.

Unlike Bitcoin and other technologies that use blockchain tech, there’s no need for mining. Typical blockchain mining processes can be expensive, energy intensive and wasteful of natural resources, so the XDC blockchain has a permissioned consensus mechanism instead.

The aim of this tech is to help solve real-world problems and improve efficiency in a variety of businesses and communities. The tech is already being piloted in projects in a variety of sectors including solar energy, aviation, travel and other financial technologies.

The scheme shows great promise by allowing real life projects to be deployed on blockchain-based smart contracts.

If you’re interested in Distributed Ledger Technology or Blockchain, you should get involved with the XinFin Foundation.

The developer’s ecosystem has already been set up and there are already lots of people hard at work improving the technology and making it a viable alternative for enterprises and communities around the world.

XinFin is looking for like-minded people to help out the platform in a variety of ways by extending the XinFin Hybrid Blockchain and XDC01 protocol to build child chain and various real-world use cases. So, be sure to get involved as soon as possible. 

XinFin requests you to take a look at their Technical Whitepaper and requests developers from Community to join onboard. XinFin also encourages developers to explore their Slack and Glitterchat channel and invites them to join the revolution.

Join XinFin community at Telegram.

Categories: Tech News

Microsoft’s cancelled 'Xbox Watch' looked like a killer fitness tracker

Latest Tech News - Mon, 01/22/2018 - 12:08

Microsoft’s odd-but-interesting Xbox Watch unreleased prototype is no stranger to popping up in a leak online, but today, we’ve caught a glimpse of its user interface.

The leak is thanks to a Twitter user who appears to have acquired not one, but several, units.

If you’re familiar with Microsoft Band, then you'll recognise the tile-based interface that was popularized by Windows 8.

Obviously, the Band used a horizontally-oriented display when it was available, differing from the Xbox Watch’s square screen.

 But what’s on-screen looks remarkably similar, featuring a tile for starting workouts, checking heart rate, timing a run and impressively, appears to pack in GPS.

What's not clear is exactly did this watch have going for gamers with it being called the Xbox Watch - so is that why it ended up as the Microsoft Band?

Alas, Microsoft has discontinued support for all of its wearables, and though we still can use the Microsoft Band 2, it’s unlikely that the Xbox Watch will ever release. So, why not enjoy a few photos of the unit above, which looks painfully close to being released.

Via The Verge

  • Catch up on the rest of TechRadar’s fitness week where we are highlighting the techy tools you can be using to improve and monitor your physical health 
Categories: Tech News

The best security apps and antivirus for Android in 2018

Latest Tech News - Mon, 01/22/2018 - 12:02

Android is the most widely-used operating system in the world, and that means having the best security apps and antivirus tools for Android installed on your device is essential, as Google's OS is often targeted by malware due to its popularity.

Whatever software you use with your Android phone or tablet, you’d be wise to have an antivirus or a security app installed on your device. In this article, we’re going to highlight 10 of the best antivirus tools for Android in 2018.

Many of them do much more than run automatic scans, and they’ll actively try to prevent malicious web pages and files from being opened or downloaded in the first place.

AVL is a former winner of the AV-Test (a well-respected independent antivirus testing outfit) award for best protection of mobile devices. Its features include not only an antivirus database (of course) but a scanner capable of detecting any kind of executable file making its way onto your device.

Other handy features include a call blocker to prevent malicious numbers from contacting you, as well as an anti-phishing feature to stop harmful websites from loading in the first place. The app is also designed to be light on resources, which is always handy when you’re struggling for battery life.

Antivirus giant Avast has used its considerable skills to create an app which goes above and beyond a mundane scanner. Extra features in the free version include a call blocker, firewall and even an anti-theft measure allowing you to remotely lock or wipe your Android device if it goes missing.

The app used to be paid but is now free, supported by ads. You can pay a small monthly or yearly premium to remove these. Another very useful premium feature is ‘in-app locking’ whereby your device will ask for a PIN before opening certain apps. This prevents malware from launching apps such as internet banking automatically.

Bitdefender is a big name in the security community, and its free antivirus program is extremely lightweight. In fact, it doesn’t run in the background which frees up system resources, although this does mean you have to schedule scans or run them manually to be safe. This said, any new apps downloaded to your device are automatically scanned.

Another advantage of this app is that it’s ready to go as soon as it is installed – no additional configuration is required. 

If you require extra security, sign up for a free 14-day trial of Bitdefender Mobile Security. This includes the basic antivirus as well as real-time protection for the Chrome browser and anti-theft features.

McAfee is another well-known name when it comes to antivirus software for the PC, and this Android app doesn’t disappoint. Besides the antivirus scanner itself, free features include tracking a lost device as well as locking and wiping it remotely. If your device is stolen, the app can even take a picture of the thief…

Other features include the ability to scan apps to check if they leak sensitive information, and lock them if necessary. McAfee will also block access to potentially malicious websites, as well as allow you to keep a blacklist of nuisance callers and texters.

The paid Premium version of the app allows you to remove ads and receive phone support.

Kaspersky has a reputation up there with the big players like Bitdefender. The free version of its security app has some impressive features, and it’s very good at picking up on malware, with a detection rate of 99.9% according to AV-Test’s trials from last November.

Kaspersky Antivirus & Security will also try to block any malicious sites or links before you click through to them, preventing an infection from happening in the first place.

On downloading the app you’ll be given a free 30-day trial of Kaspersky Internet Security (it costs $14.95 a year thereafter – £9.99, or around AU$20). The premium version of the app has extra security features such as call and text filtering.

Sophos’ free antivirus app has previously won the AV-Test award for best protection in 2015. Unlike other free scanners, Sophos doesn’t contain any adverts. It does, however, block websites with potentially spammy or illegal content. 

Apps are scanned for malware or otherwise harmful content as they are installed and Sophos alerts you if they might leak any sensitive information.  The antivirus scanner can be scheduled to scan files and folders periodically, and the malware database itself is updated daily. 

The app also includes a handy QR code scanner which can be used to set up secure Wi-Fi connections. There’s also an authenticator that can generate one-time passwords for two-factor authentication.

This free app from Norton was able to detect 100% of all Android malware when benchmarked by AV-Test a few months ago. The scanner is powered by Norton Mobile Insight and can detect viruses inside apps and files, then remove them automatically.

Other useful security features include the ability to lock your phone via an SMS message, or if the SIM card is removed. You can also choose to remotely lock your device if it goes missing (or have it locked after 10 unsuccessful attempts to enter the passcode).

The app comes with a 30-day trial of Norton Mobile Security which boasts extra features such as SafeWeb filtering that blocks malicious websites.

Trend Micro’s effort not only scans new apps for malware, but prevents newly installed apps from accessing other programs, which can be useful for device admins and parents.

There’s also a built-in privacy scanner for Facebook which warns you if your profile settings are displaying sensitive personal information.

The free version includes a 7-day trial of premium features. These include a malware blocker which is capable of scanning apps before they are even installed to pre-emptively avoid any potential infection. There are also utilities for safe surfing, as well as call and text filtering.

This security app from South Korean AhnLab is not as famous as the others on this list, but nonetheless has very high detection rates for Android malware according to AV-Test (99.6%) and runs well even on older Android devices. Indeed, it has a built-in booster to help speed up your phone’s performance. 

The app comes with a free 10-day trial of the anti-malware features which proactively search for vulnerabilities and warn you if apps could potentially leak sensitive personal information.

Other handy privacy features include a hidden gallery for personal photos and a privacy cleaner to securely clear your browsing history. Anti-theft measures include an alarm which kicks in if the device is reported lost or the SIM card is replaced. You can also remotely track, lock and wipe your device.

Avira’s mobile offering will not only scan files you download and content on your phone’s memory, but it can also scan external storage such as your SD card. Applications are rated using a privacy scale to help you easily decide how much they can be trusted with your data.

The integrated ‘Identity Safeguard’ regularly checks if the email addresses in your contacts list have been involved in any major data breaches. The app is controlled by a web-based management portal, which is extremely useful if you want to set up a common policy over multiple Android devices. 

The premium version includes better support, automatic blocking of malicious websites, and more frequent updates.

Categories: Tech News

The best free software for students 2018: save cash on college essentials

Latest Tech News - Mon, 01/22/2018 - 12:00

College textbooks cost a fortune and university fees are eye-watering, but there's no need to spend extra money on student software.

This essential toolkit of free software will help students work smarter, stay secure and avoid procrastinating (none of us really do our best work at 3am, despite what we might tell ourselves).

Whether you're heading off to college yourself or helping your kids get ready, we've gathered together all the essential apps a student needs to get more work done, stay safe, protect their work and ace those exams.


Office software: LibreOffice

Don't pay through the nose for office software – LibreOffice is a great free option for students, and has all the tools you could possibly need

Students get a discount on Microsoft Office, but it's still not cheap. Stretch your budget further by installing LibreOffice instead – it's a brilliant office suite for students that gives you almost all the same features as Word, Excel and company, completely free.

It can save your work in whichever file type your lecturers prefer (including Microsoft's proprietary formats), and makes light work of page numbering, indexes and footnotes.

If you really need Word, PowerPoint and Excel, check out Office Online. It doesn't contain all the features of Microsoft's desktop software, but it's a great compromise and includes collaboration tools for group projects.

Time management software: Cold Turkey Blocker

A dramatic, but effective solution to online procrastination

For students whose self-control needs a boost, Cold Turkey Blocker (available for Windows and Mac) is fantastic. It plugs into your web browsers and prevents you accessing your favorite time-wasting sites while you get busy with those important assignments. Once you've started a block, there's no way to stop it.

The free version of Cold Turkey lets you block websites until a certain time, and comes with a ready-made list containing dozens of the most notorious time-thieves. You can also build your own lists of vices to block. 

Cold Turkey Blocker works with Chrome, Edge and Opera. Other browsers will be closed during a block.

Cold Turkey Pro costs CAN$25 (about US$20, £15, AU$25) and adds the ability to schedule blocks in advance, block specific applications (a great way to stop yourself loading Steam) and set time limits so you can't use your computer at all for certain periods. The free version is excellent though – particularly for social media addicts.

Antivirus: BitDefender Antivirus Free Edition

A student-friendly security suite that offers protection from viruses, phishing attacks and other threats – even if they're brand new

Every student needs a solid security suite to protect their privacy and keep their work safe from dangers like ransomware that could damage or encrypt crucial essays and reports. 

BitDefender Antivirus Free is the best free antivirus around – fast and well designed, with excellent detection rates. Its behavioral analysis makes it particularly good at picking up zero-day threats – those that haven't yet been identified and catalogued by its security experts, but have been spotted based on their behaviour.

BitDefender Antivirus Free Edition isn't bloated with add-ons that you'll never use, but it does include anti-phishing and anti-fraud tools to keep students safe when they're banking and shopping online.

Backup software: EaseUS Todo Backup Free

Protect work from accidental deletion, malicious attacks or drive failure

Your college work is irreplaceable, so a regular backup routine is essential. You never know when your PC's drive might fail, you could fall victim to a ransomware attack, or your laptop might be lost, broken or stolen on campus.

EaseUS Todo Backup Free makes protecting your documents as easy as possible. It can make an image of an entire drive (including the operating system), or just selected files or folders. The first time you start it, it begins backing up your documents folder automatically. After that, the choice is yours.

Getting started and setting up a regular schedule is simplicity itself, and restoring from a backup is just as straightforward if the worst happens.

Video chat software: Viber

Keep in touch with parents and friends back home for free

Skype might be the first name that comes to mind when you think of video chat software, but it you're tired of the ads that come with it, check out Viber. It's a great way for students to keep in touch with friends and family, and it's free. 

The mobile app sits comfortably alongside your existing chat and messaging tools, letting you connect with other people using their phone numbers.

Viber is available for Windows, macOS, Linux, iOS and Android, making it easy to chat with loved ones on any device, and offers text chat, voice and video calls.

Categories: Tech News

Huawei Mate 10 Pro: more than just another contender

Latest Tech News - Mon, 01/22/2018 - 11:28

It’s prize fight time and there are some incredible flagship smartphones on the market right now. 

They have deep, punchy screens, sleek, elegant designs and fast to fire-up cameras that capture incredible pictures and videos. Some can even power a home computer experience thanks to next generation processors. 

Standing out in this sea of very good flagships is the Huawei Mate 10 Pro, the phone with the biggest flagship battery, the widest aperture dual cameras and AI at its heart.

Huawei Mate 10 Pro: Brain

AI means this phone is smart. The Kirin 970 processor can think, sort through images, interpret spoken words and even act as an offline international translator using its camera.

Point your Mate 10 Pro at a menu, street sign or newspaper article, take a picture using the Translate app, optimised in partnership with Microsoft, and the Huawei Mate 10 Pro will automatically detect the text language, translate it and overlay the translation on top of the image, combining AI and augmented reality.

This incredible feature is lightning fast and doesn’t require an internet connection, perfect when you’re abroad, watching your data and making every second count.

The Huawei Mate 10 Pro’s AI capabilities aren’t limited to translation though.


 Huawei Mate 10 Pro: Eyes 

The Mate 10 Pro’s camera is like a pair of eyes. Its specs are cutting edge. It has dual sensors, one 12-megapixel and one 20-megapixel, both combined with f/1.6 aperture lenses, making the Huawei Mate 10 Pro the flagship with the widest combined aperture around. As a result, low-light performance is exceptional.

The cameras are paired with smart shooting modes pioneered by Huawei and refined over the years. This time around though, it’s even smarter.

Even in automatic mode, the Huawei Mate 10 Pro can recognize what you’re taking a picture of, optimise the exposure, saturation, contrast levels and focus to make your subjects pop perfectly.

This intelligent phone knows whether it’s looking at a dog, a cat, leaves or a flower, showing you just how smart it is by featuring an icon in the bottom right of its viewfinder accordingly.

Go beyond automatic mode and you can let your photographic creativity run wild. Full manual mode gives you the kind of control you’d expect from a DSLR. Light Painting lets you capture the dreamiest light trails thanks to Huawei’s smart image compositing - something no other flagship offers.

And if you want to take selfies, you can still take advantage of dramatic effects as the Huawei Mate 10 Pro blurs out the background from its front camera as well, all the while keeping your face in focus and optimising your shots beautifully.

 Huawei Mate 10 Pro: Stamina

As for the battery, the Mate 10 Pro has the biggest flagship battery around. 4,000mAh combined with the smart, efficient power management of the Kirin 970 processor means two-day battery is a reality.

A big battery can mean slow to charge, but not when it comes to the Huawei Mate 10 Pro. Featuring Huawei’s SuperCharge technology, the Huawei Mate 10 Pro can power up to over 50% in just 30 minutes - enough for a full day of use. 

In addition, it is also the first fast charge technology to be certified by TÜV Rheinland (a global leader in independent product inspection services) so it isn’t just quick, it’s also safe.

 Huawei Mate 10 Pro: Everything else

To say we’ve just scratched the surface is an understatement. 

We haven’t even spoken about the Huawei Mate 10 Pro’s sleek, elegant design, the fact it’s IP67 water and dust resistant, or the slim-line case the phone comes with in the box, so you can be protected from splashes, dunks and knocks without spending another penny on accessories.

Nor have we mentioned EMUI 8.0’s desktop mode Easy Projection. Built by Huawei to give you a bespoke desktop experience, it harnesses the power of the Kirin 970 and combines it with the vast app support Android 8 offers. This means that the Huawei Mate 10 Pro can be a smartphone, desktop computer or computer games console just by plugging it into a standalone screen. 

As for its screen, the OLED technology on-board is widely regarded as the pinnacle of screen tech. It also offers HDR10 support, so optimised videos will look deep, vibrant and, frankly speaking, jaw dropping.

But don’t take our word for it, check it out for yourself - like us, you’ll quickly discover the Huawei Mate 10 Pro isn’t just another contender, it’s a winner.

Categories: Tech News

Build and code a retro handheld games console with this BBC Micro Bit add-on

Latest Tech News - Mon, 01/22/2018 - 11:27

The BBC micro:bit is an awesome mini PC that can help teach kids (and adults) how to code. Now, it’s getting a cool new add-on, known as the :GAME Zip 64, which turns it into a handheld games console that allows you to code – and then play – retro games.

Created by Kitronik, the :GAME Zip 64 has a screen made of 64 individually-addressable full color ZIP LEDs, along with onboard sound, directional buttons, action buttons, haptic feedback and breakout points for additional controls and devices to be added.

These can all be programmed, and the micro:bit computer is slotted into the top of the device. A larger LED screen can also be attached to the console. It is powered by three AA batteries, with the cages used as grips for the handheld console.

The BBC micro:bit’s features – such as tilt, light and movement sensors – can all be used, allowing for all manner of inventive control options for budding programmers to experiment with.

Build and play

Coders can build their own games, or get inspiration from example games written in MakeCode Blocks and MicroPython languages, which can be downloaded for free.

Owners of the :GAME Zip 64 can also laser cut or 3D print their own cases for the handheld, and the Kitronik MI:pro protector case can be used to protect the micro:bit – and in a nice touch it’s shaped like an old school computer game cartridge.

Build your own handheld console

Kitronik co-founder Kevin Spurr said “we all remember playing Pong and Snake in our youth and we wanted to bring the simple fun of these games to the BBC micro:bit. Students, makers and gamers in the UK, Europe and America who use the BBC micro:bit, can now code their own games, enjoying not just playing them, but making them too.”

Getting children and adults into coding, and allowing them to have fun while they do it, is a worthy endeavour, and we hope to see more innovative uses for the micro:bit in the future.

Categories: Tech News

Nokia believes its fitness trackers will one day become your friends

Latest Tech News - Mon, 01/22/2018 - 11:19

Nokia wants its fitness eco-system to one day become as useful as your friends or a personal trainer when you're working out.

Head of Nokia Digital Health Rob Le Bras-Brown told TechRadar exclusively for our Fitness Week, "Our app is called Mate… it should be your mate. You could say, ‘I want to lose five pounds, get a six-pack and add 10 years to my life’. Each time you go back to it, I want it to get more sticky and more bespoke to you. 

“My aspiration is to get to a place where it doesn’t feel like you’re interacting with a machine. I want it to be like you’re talking with a mate who has your back. It knows my needs, my weaknesses, and it helps me navigate those."

One day, this may become a possibility, but it's not something the company is going to be able to offer in its next update. He continued, "I think with machine learning and some of the AI capabilities Nokia has, that’s not an unreasonable place for us to get to."

Check out the rest of this interview - including why the company won't be releasing new trackers anytime soon and the importance of its partnership with Apple - within our TechRadar Fitness Week coverage.

Categories: Tech News

Amazon's Alexa is heading for a lot more Windows laptops later this year

Latest Tech News - Mon, 01/22/2018 - 10:47

The first Windows 10 laptops with Amazon’s Alexa voice assistant embedded in the operating system – debuted at CES 2018 – are apparently just the beginning. By the end of the first quarter of this year, laptops (and PCs) from Acer, Asus, Lenovo, and HP will include the feature.

This will be made possible by an Alexa app for Windows 10 that will be available for download in the near future, with those four aforementioned vendors being the first to receive it.

The first Acer laptops to feature the Alexa app (announced during CES) are the Acer Aspire 5, Aspire 7, Spin 3, Spin 5, Switch 7 Black Edition, Swift 3, Swift 5, Swift 7, Aspire Z24, Aspire U27 and Aspire S24. So, quite a few!

Asus, on the other hand, has yet to explicitly state which of its laptops are going to feature the app, but said during CES that select ZenBook and VivoBook models will include it. Today, Amazon revealed that the ZenBook UX331 – otherwise known as the 2018 edition ZenBook 13 – will offer Alexa upon release.

About 98% of the Alexa experience on your PC

So, what will Alexa on Windows 10 laptops look like? The digital assistant will appear on the OS through an app that displays information in a similar way to how it appears on Amazon Echo Show and Echo Spot, and of course it will be accessible via voice control.

Alexa will be able to check your calendar for upcoming events, create to-do lists for you, answer general questions, read off the day’s news and set timers among other tasks. Naturally, it will also play music for you through supported services as well as audio books – and it will be able to control your smart home devices.

What the Alexa app on Windows 10 won’t be able to do is hold voice or video calls or send text messages – that’s reserved for the Echo family of Amazon devices. Also, sadly for our readers in the UK and Australia, the Alexa app on Windows 10 will launch only in the US to start, with no word on when it will land in those regions.

It will be interesting to see how Alexa and Cortana get along on the same OS, especially considering the latter is far more deeply embedded into Windows 10. Even more interesting will be seeing which of the two gains more adoption, with the latter arguably being way more ingrained in people's’ lives through the sheer amount of Echo speakers in their homes, compared to Cortana.

Until then, we wait with bated breath for the first Alexa-equipped Windows 10 laptop to grace the TechRadar offices - let's hope it's not too long.

Via Digital Trends

Categories: Tech News

Project X, a 400-player battle royale, to be shown at PC Gamer Weekender 2018

Latest Tech News - Mon, 01/22/2018 - 10:13

Are the 100-player battle royale showdowns seen in the likes of PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds (PUBG) or Fortnite not a grand enough conflict for you? Want more – want bigger? Well, a new game which is going to be featured at the upcoming PC Gamer Weekender 2018 next month boasts a 400-player battle royale mode.

Project X (currently the title’s codename) is set to debut at our sister site’s Weekender extravaganza on Saturday, February 17, with the developer Automaton showing off the first in-game footage, as well as spilling further details on the title.

It’s actually a 1000-player massively multiplayer online game in the form of a tactical shooter, set on a near-future island where the players are trying to overthrow the incumbent regime – an overarching narrative is promised which the players can affect with their actions (and which factions they ally with).

The 400-player battle royale will effectively be the game’s PVP (player versus player) arena mode. There’s not much detail on exactly how it will work at this point, but the developer has previously said that with the maximum of 400 players, the arena will be team-based with parties of four competing against each other. With solo players, it’ll be a 100-player battle just as with PUBG.

Tactical touches

Still, despite concerns about the potential for greater lag to be a problem, the prospect of a massive battle which involves 400 players, whether in teams or not, is an intriguing one, particularly seeing as Project X has some pretty nifty sounding touches courtesy of the SpatialOS technology it employs.

The latter allows for a much deeper level of simulation in this tactical shooter, and persistent elements like your character leaving tracks in the mud or foliage, or perhaps disturbing roaming wildlife which subsequently flees, alerting other players to the presence of someone else.

It very much sounds like a greater emphasis is being placed on thoughtfulness and stealth in this respect. At any rate, we’ll find out a lot more come PC Gamer’s mid-February event, which you can discover further details about here.

The developer has previously said that Project X will be released at some point in 2018, although as ever with release dates, that could well slide.

Meanwhile, if you want some battle royale action right now, which should you pick out of the two main players? We’ve discussed just this topic in our recent article that pits Fortnite against PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds.

Image credit and via PC Gamer

Categories: Tech News

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