Tech News

Fraudulent domains are remaining active for longer

Latest Tech News - Tue, 06/18/2019 - 14:04

Domain fraud is a growing risk for businesses and consumers as cybercriminals register millions of domains to impersonate brands and major global events each year.

As registering a domain requires little more than an internet connection, domain fraud is fairly simple to execute and researchers have even discovered fraudulent domain services available for purchase on the dark web. These services make it simple for cybercriminals with no web design skills to quickly replicate a brand's website on their domains, buy security certificates and even fake company documentation.

In its 2019 Domain Fraud Report, Proofpoint sheds light on the latest trends shaping the domain landscape and the tactics used by cybercriminals to trick users into visiting their fraudulent domains.

One of these tactics is hiding in plain sight as fraudulent domains often use many of the same top-level domains (TLDs), registrars and web servers used by legitimate domains. For example, 52 percent of all new domain registrations last year used the .com TLD while nearly 40 percent of new fraudulent domain registrations also used .com.

Threat to businesses

Proofpoint's research also showed that domain fraud is a widespread threat to businesses. Proofpoint Digital Risk Protection customers from a wide variety of industries all faced threats from fraudulent domains with 76 percent finding “lookalike” domains posing as their brand, 96 percent found exact matches of their domains with a different TLD and 85 percent of retail brands found domains selling counterfeit goods.

The company's researchers also observed email activity for fraudulent domains to discover that 94 percent of it customers found that at least one of their fraudulent domain detections was sending email. However, for the most part Proofpoint observed low volumes of email from these accounts which points to highly targeted and socially engineered attacks such as business email compromise (BEC).

Finally the company's researchers observed how market factors such as pricing and availability appear to influence the behavior of domain fraudsters. Proofpoint highlighted how the launch of the .dev TLD in February was immediately followed by 30 percent of its customers finding potentially fraudulent domains using the new TLD with their brand name just two weeks after its launch.

Domain fraud can be just as damaging as a cyberattack and businesses and individuals need to carefully check the sites they visit to ensure they're not falling victim to any potential scams.

Categories: Tech News

Heads up, Mac gamers: big-time PC game port studio to drop support for 32-bit

Latest Tech News - Tue, 06/18/2019 - 13:49

With Apple macOS Catalina's discontinuation of all support for 32-bit coded apps, one game publisher is pulling a lot of titles from its Mac game store, reports Apple Insider.

The publisher in question is Aspyr – a studio that redistributes, or 'ports', popular games on PC and consoles for macOS – which has posted a list of 24 games that it has removed from sale. The list includes some classic Call of Duty titles, Bioshock Infinite, Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel, Civilization IV, several older Star Wars games and more.

The recent history of gaming on Mac has not been a pretty story. Mac computers aren't given as much love from game developers, and it shows in the lack of modern, popular titles among the best Mac games. Some hits managed to land on Mac, but now their days of wide availability are numbered.

Currently, macOS 10.14 Mojave still supports these 32-bit games. While Aspyr is pulling the games from the store, owners will still be able to play them as long as they don't upgrade to Catalina when it launches later this year. They'll also be able to play them on a different machine running Steam using the SteamPlay feature, which Aspyr notes all of its Mac ports support.

And that's just one game store

Just 24 titles from one game store might not seem like much, but Aspyr is just being proactive about it. The company knows that any 32-bit games it sells to gamers now won't be playable if they upgrade to macOS Catalina later. Aspyr has some 32-bit games that will receive 64-bit support by September, and it will continue to sell those, but there are other game sellers and programs that won't be making the cut.

Steam has plenty of other games available for macOS, and Aspyr is certainly not the exclusive seller of 32-bit titles. And, it's not just games at stake. Anyone running some legacy software, perhaps old versions of the Adobe programs, will lose support for them if they upgrade their operating system to Catalina.

Apple has been giving warnings to users for some time about 32-bit apps, letting users know that they wouldn't be supported forever, and now we see just when that support is ending. It makes sense to see Apple shifting the focus to more modern 64-bit programs, but leaving behind legacy software entirely is sure to displease some users.

This is also an interesting difference between macOS 10.15 and Windows 10, as the latter continues to support 32-bit programs, and the OS even has a 32-bit version available.

  • These are the best Macs on which to play these games
Categories: Tech News

These Huawei P30 Pro deals are now incredibly cheap (we wonder why)

Latest Tech News - Tue, 06/18/2019 - 12:58

It's safe to say that Huawei phone deals aren't the shimmering beacon of the world's best phones they were just a month ago. Making headlines after Google had to cut ties with the company, there is no doubt Huawei is slightly stigmatised right now. 

But in an odd turn of events, that now makes the best camera phone on the market a suddenly affordable option. A host of deals from Mobiles.co.uk mean you can now get a Huawei P30 Pro at a discount of up to £120. 

While there is a risk of Huawei losing its access to Android updates and other important features of the phone, there are also other possible outcomes. With a number of American companies rallying against the ban and a proposed trade deal that could drop it all together, Huawei could go back to normal before we even know it.

Or, if the ban stays in place, Huawei has proposed its own operating system that it plans to launch instead of Android. Either way, you'll have the world's second best smartphone at a majorly reduced price.

We've listed all of the best Huawei P30 Pro deals from this Mobiles.co.uk price drop below. With prices as low as this, depending on how you see it, there has never been a better (or, possibly, worse) time to get this device.

These cheap Huawei P30 Pro deals in full: How good is the Huawei P30 Pro?

Before the ban took place, the Huawei P30 Pro was receiving praise as one of the most innovative devices out there, with a lot of that praise aimed at its camera. Sporting an incredible 50x zoom camera, smart AI camera features and an overall impeccable quality, nothing can quite match it.

Backing up the camera is a high quality inifinity display screen, tonnes of power and a massive battery. In other words the Huawei P30 Pro is here battling for the spot of the world's best phone - just with more than a few reservations.

Read TechRadar's Huawei P30 Pro review here

Categories: Tech News

Australia vs Jamaica live stream: how to watch today's Women's World Cup 2019 match from anywhere

Latest Tech News - Tue, 06/18/2019 - 12:41

After a stunning comeback win over Brazil, Australia can today book their place in the next round of the Women's World Cup 2019 with a win over Jamaica today. While the Reggae Girlz are trying to pick up their very first points of the campaign. You can watch the crucial group game with our Australia vs Jamaica live stream guide.


Australia showed plenty of fight to come back from being two goals down to beat Brazil 3-2. Having lost their opening match against Italy, Friday's result saved the Matildas from likely elimination from the World Cup and another win today will see them through to the next round.

Group C is delicately poised ahead of the final round of matches, with Italy sitting top with six points, Brazil and Australia both on three and Jamaica cut adrift following two defeats. 

Only a big win today will do for the Reggae Girlz, but having conceded eight goals and not having scored themselves, things don't bode well for their clash against Sam Kerr & Co. 

Don't miss any of the action by following the instructions below and grabbing a live stream of Australia vs Jamaica wherever you are in the world.

Watch a FIFA Women's World Cup 2019 live stream from outside your country

If you're in UK, US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, we've got your viewing options listed below. If you're out of the country for today's match, you may find that geo-blocking will prevent you from watching your regular domestic coverage from abroad. You don't have to risk watching the match on a dodgy stream, however.

With the option of using a VPN service, you can tune into the match no matter where you are in the world, and its super easy to set up.

How to watch the Matildas: live stream in Australia

How to stream Australia vs Jamaica live in the UK 

Live stream Jamaica vs Australia in the US

- Discover our pick of all the US's best sports streaming sites

As well as opening up your viewing options for the Women's World Cup, using a VPN allows you to watch all your domestic sports coverage from abroad.

How to watch a Canada live stream in the FIFA Women's World Cup 

How to watch a live stream in New Zealand

Categories: Tech News

Facebook WordPress plug-ins found to have zero-day flaw

Latest Tech News - Tue, 06/18/2019 - 12:27

Zero-day flaws which impact two of Facebook's official WordPress plugins have been disclosed by a US-based cybersecurity firm including proof-of-concept (PoC) code that could be used by hackers to exploit the flaws and launch attacks against WordPress sites.

The affected plugins include Messenger Customer Chat which shows a custom Messenger chat window on WordPress sites and Facebook for WooCommerce that allows WordPress site owners to upload their WooCommerce-based stores on their Facebook pages.

The Messenger Customer Chat plugin is installed on over 20,000 sites while the Facebook for WooCommerce plugin has 200,000 users after the WordPress team began shipping the plugin as part of the official WooCommerce online store plugin back in April.

Since that time, the plugin has received a rating of 1.5 stars with reviewers complaining about errors and a lack of updates.

Plugin Vulnerabilities vs WordPress

The flaws in these two plugins became much more dangerous when the cybersecurity firm Plugin Vulnerabilities decided to publicly expose them on the WordPress.org forums. 

The firm and WordPress have been feuding for years after a policy change banned users from disclosing security flaws through its forums and instead required security researchers to email the WordPress team who would then contact the owners of any affected plugins.

However, Plugin Vulnerabilities has continued to disclose security flaws on the WordPress forums despite the new rule which resulted in it having its forum accounts banned. The firm took things a step further this spring when it also began to publish blog posts on its site with in-depth details and PoC code about the vulnerabilities it had discovered.

The two zero-day flaws Plugin Vulnerabilities discovered in Facebook's WordPress plugins aren't as dangerous as those it has revealed in the past as they require social engineering to get a user to click on a malicious link. Although the flaws are harder to exploit, they could allow attackers to take over WordPress sites.

Security researchers are generally doing a company a favor when they discover vulnerabilities but by not going through the proper channels to report the vulnerabilities it discovered, the US cybersecurity firm put everyone who has those plugins installed at risk.

Via ZDNet

Categories: Tech News

Expensive spectrum puts European 5G at risk

Latest Tech News - Tue, 06/18/2019 - 11:58

The UK’s infamous auction of 3G spectrum in 2000 had lasting ramifications for the mobile industry. Intense competition between BT Cellnet, One2One, Orange, Three, and Vodafone resulted in an astonishing £22 billion spent on licences for airwaves that would power new mobile services.

But as difficult as it is to believe in 2019, the mobile phone was not entrenched in everyday life as it is today. An absence of “killer” applications exacerbated limited consumer demand and the huge amounts of money spent on the licences meant operators were constrained in their ability to invest in infrastructure.

By the time smartphones arrived in their modern guise with the iPhone in 2007, it became apparent that 3G networks lacked the capacity and speeds required for emerging use cases.

Learning lessons

It was a lesson that regulator Ofcom recognised when it (finally) auctioned 4G airwaves back in 2013. Some observers lamented the sale only generated £2.31 billion rather than the £4 billion windfall anticipated by the treasury, but the regulator was keen to stress that its role is to maximise the efficiency of the spectrum and its value to society.

This role was reprised at the first 5G auction when £1.4 billion was raised at the first 5G spectrum auction in early 2018. Ofcom will be pleased that all four mobile operators will launch next generation services this year rather than next.

Although Ofcom will sell more bandwidth in the years to come, the amount raised pales in comparison to the recent German 5G auction, raising fears that the cost of spectrum in some countries could hinder network rollout.

German 5G auction

The marathon process finally concluded last week after 497 rounds of bidding for 41 blocks of 2GHz and 2.GHz spectrum, raising €6.5 billion – beating estimates of between €3 billion and €5 billion. Deutsche Telekom, Vodafone and O2 all won licences, as did Mobile Virtual Network Operator 1&1 Drillisch.

However, all were critical of the process, claiming the high cost of the spectrum would hinder their ability to invest. Although far less than the gargantuan €50 billion raised in the 3G sale, the proceeds from the sale exceeded the €5.1 billion raised for 4G licences in 2015.

“The network rollout in Germany has suffered a significant setback,” declared Dirk Wössner, a member of Deutsche Telekom’s management board. “The price could have been much lower. Once again, the spectrum in Germany is much more expensive than in other countries. Network operators now lack the money to expand their networks. With the auction proceeds one could have built approximately 50,000 new mobile sites and close many white spots.”

“We believe it is important to have a balance between the price paid for spectrum and our strong desire to create an inclusive society through investment in mobile network coverage,” added Nick Read, Vodafone Group CEO.

(Image credit: EE)

Rising costs

At least in Germany, operators will indirectly benefit from the proceeds as the Federal Network Agency (BNetzA) will use the money to upgrade Germany’s fixed line network – boosting backhaul services.

But the fear within the industry is that regulators and governments will see spectrum auctions as a way to line their pockets and will overlook the wider economic benefit of 5G that could be forefeited if spectrum costs are too high. Late last year, the Italian 5G auction raised €6.5 billion, for example.

“Every Euro spent acquiring spectrum is one less that is available to deploy the networks,” Kester Mann, an analyst with CCS Insight told TechRadar Pro. “While squeezing every last cent is good news for government coffers, it puts operators on the back-foot as they begin the roll-out of expensive infrastructure vital to supporting Germany’s huge manufacturing sector.

“The terms of the auction have already been contentious and the high amounts pledged so far will only serve to further strain the fragile relationship between the network operators and the government.

“Europe is already on the back-foot in 5G network roll-out compared to other regions and expensive spectrum auctions will do nothing to narrow the gap. Europe’s fragmented market structure and belligerent regulation compared to the US and developed Asian markets mean that it will be playing catch-up once again.”

It’s not all doom and gloom. Although the US and South Korea have beaten Europe to the punch when it comes to 5G, Switzerland and the UK already have next generation network services in place. And the continent continues to have the best 4G networks in the world.

With the truly revolutionary features of 5G, such as ultra-low latency, and new entertainment and business applications not expected until the mid-2020s, Europe can still play a vital role in 5G. But Europe is a fragmented marketplace with so many operators in each country.

Regulators needed to decide whether the direct or indirect economic advantages of 5G are more important.

Categories: Tech News

EE now lets you watch BBC iPlayer and YouTube without using up your data

Latest Tech News - Tue, 06/18/2019 - 11:36

Getting more free data when on the move is always welcome and that's especially true when it comes to streaming video. Well, BBC iPlayer and YouTube are both now completely data-allowance free for EE users with the Video Data Pass. 

EE's Video Data Pass now includes BBC iPlayer and YouTube on top of the current Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, BT Sport, TV Player and MTV Play. The Video Data Pass means users can enjoy unlimited video over a data connection without it affecting their data allowance for the month.

Getting more free data when on the move is always welcome and that's especially true when it comes to streaming video. Well BBC iPlayer and YouTube are both now completely data-allowance free for 

Other Swappable Benefits include Music Data Pass, for free music streaming over data; BT Sport App, for on demand sport; Roam Further Pass, for UK plan allowance while in the USA, Canada, Mexico, Australia and New Zealand; and Upgrade Anytime, which does as it sounds and applies to higher or lower plan changes on a monthly basis. 

All these benefits can be swapped out by using the My EE app or online.

You can find out more by heading to the EE website and by using TechRadar's tailor-made guide to the best EE phone deals.

Categories: Tech News

The best free stock video sites 2019

Latest Tech News - Tue, 06/18/2019 - 11:19

A few well-placed snippets of high quality footage can really bring projects to life – whether they're presentations, websites or your own home-made videos. 

Finding the right video clips can be tricky, though. Many stock video sites charge a subscription fee for their best content. Thankfully, there are also places where you can download high quality video clips completely free of charge for both personal and commercial use, with no royalties or strings attached.

We've put the best free stock photo sites under the microscope and picked those that offer the best combination of video quality, variety of clips, and flexible licensing.

It's worth bearing in mind that even if a video clip is in the public domain, you shouldn't use it to create that shows identifiable people in a bad light.

There are some truly spectacular videos available on Pexels – all under a Creative Commons 0 (ie public domain) license, which means you’re free to use them for personal or commercial projects without attribution. 

The time-lapse videos are particularly lovely, and there are plenty of fun clips from GoPro-wearing divers and climbers. Pexels also include a handy ‘mockup’ category for footage of mobile devices with green screens that can be easily replaced via chroma keying.

Search results include premium videos from Shutterstock, but unlike most stock video sites, Pexels displays these at the bottom so you’re unlikely to mistake them for free clips.

Videos are provided in MP4 format in HD. The only drawback is the lack of clips in 4K, but if Full HD is enough for your project, Pexels should be your first stop.

If you need stock photos, Pexels also offers a great selection of stylish premium-quality stills under the same license. 

Pexels

Stock Footage for Free feels like the video equivalent of free stock photo site Unsplash, focusing on quality rather than quantity. The footage is extremely impressive; we particularly like the selection of landscapes and looping backgrounds.

You’re given a detailed description of the video so you can be sure it’s the right one before downloading it. This is a sensible decision; downloads can take a while because of the large file sizes. The site’s HD videos are provided in MOV format, but there aren’t currently any 4K clips available.

Video clips are free for personal and commercial use, unless it’s a seriously high-budget production. Stock Footage for Free provides a detailed license agreement that makes explicit all the intellectual property information you’re likely to need.

Before you can download files you’ll need to sign up for a free account or log in using Facebook. At the time of writing, an error meant that we were unable to log in using an email address, though the Facebook option worked fine. We’ve reached out to the company to find out if this is an issue that can be resolved.

Stock Footage for Free

Pixabay is best known as a resource for free stock photos, but is also has a great selection of video clips available to download and use, no strings attached. 

The videos are all submitted by Pixabay’s community of users, and are generally under a minute in length. The site is a good option for abstract images like clouds, as well as somewhat niche clips (the video of a man preparing pieces of beef is a particularly odd example). 

There’s a small selection of 4K video too, motion graphics, and some infinitely looping clips that are handy for websites.

All clips are provided free for personal or commercial use, with no attribution necessary. The files are provided in MP4 format, in a choice of resolutions.

Pixabay

Clipstill is dedicated to cinemagraphs – still photos containing a small repeated animation that plays on a loop. The effect is hypnotic, and a great way to grab viewers' attention. There's only a small selection of cinemagraphs available free (most of the videos on the site are premium content), but they're high quality and change each month, so it's well worth keeping Clipstill bookmarked.

Clipstill's cinemagraphs are available to download as small video files, and are particularly well suited to web design.

It's not essential to provide credit when using Clipstill's videos, but a link back is appreciated. You're free to use cinemagraphs in your own projects unless you're making a commercial product in which it's the main attraction, such as a greetings card or website template (see the licensing page for full details)

Clipstill

Footage from Videezy is royalty free for personal and commercial use, but users are asked to credit ‘Videezy.com’ in their projects.

Most videos are provided in HD resolution, but there’s also a good selection of 4K clips – mostly landscape scenes and abstract clips rendered using Adobe After Effects.

The quality is mixed, but generally high. We particularly like the selection of aerial drone footage 

All videos are supplied in MP4 format, and you can see the resolution below the preview on the download page.

Keep an eye out for search results marked with a green 'Pro' tag; these are premium clips only available using paid-for credits. The first two rows of search results are also sponsored videos from Shutterstock, which also require a paid membership to download.

Videezy

Videvo offers thousands of videos contributed by its community of users. Quality is variable (a few clips have clearly been shot without a tripod) but they’re generally good, and there’s a huge selection to choose from so it’s highly likely you’ll find something suitable – even if it takes a little while.

If you'd like to contribute your own videos for others to download, you can do so after signing up for a free account.

Videos on Videvo fall under one of three licenses, so be sure to check which one applies to your chosen clip before you start working:

Videvo Standard License, which lets you use the clips in your own work without attribution, provided you don’t redistribute the footage.

Videvo Attribution License, which is the same as the Standard License, but requires you to credit the clip’s creator.

Creative Commons 3.0 Unported, which lets you share and adapt the clip, but requires you to credit the creator and indicate if you’ve made any changes.

Clips marked ‘Editorial use only’ can’t be used commercially, but those labelled ‘All projects and media’ can.

As with many free stock video sites, the top row of search results are actually premium samples from an advertiser (in this case Shutterstock). Scroll past these for Videovo’s own clips.

Some clips are provided as MP4 files, while others are delivered in QuickTime format. There’s a small selection of 4K clips, but half of these are Christmas-themed motion graphics. If you’re specifically looking for 4K video, you’re better off looking at one of the sites listed above.

Videvo

Categories: Tech News

Echo Show 5 vs Echo Spot: which Amazon smart display comes out on top?

Latest Tech News - Tue, 06/18/2019 - 11:12

Smart home enthusiasts are in thrall to Amazon. With the humble Amazon Echo having found its way into millions of homes worldwide, and expanded into a number of distinct models, it’s no surprise that the latest Echo to land from the retail giant – the Echo Show 5 – is already drumming up excitement.

The launch of the Echo Show 5 later this month is set to be something of a refresh. The new screen-based Echo manages to undercut both the Echo Spot and previous Echo Show on price – Amazon’s other smart displays currently on sale – while still seemingly offering the latest and best of smart functionality to boot.

Amazon doesn’t always do itself favors with the complexity of its Echo range, however. With a variety of speakers and displays varying from the minimal Echo Dot to the woofer Echo Sub, there’s a host of shapes, sizes and functionalities on the market, with new iterations of each coming out all the time.

That’s why we’ve put together this head-on comparison of the Echo Spot and Echo Show 5, with everything you need to know about their specs, pricing, and what the Show 5’s arrival means for the Echo range as a whole. 

We’ll be sure to update this guide when we get to a full review of the Show 5, but if you’re unsure whether to get the Spot or wait for the new display, this guide is for you.

Echo Show 5 vs Echo Spot: overview

The Amazon Echo Show 5 launches in late June, and comes in both black and white colorings (Image Credit: Amazon)

The Echo Show 5 and Echo Spot have a lot in common at first glance. Amazon has a tendency to make slight alterations between its Echo products to see which features are most important to its audience, and its range of smart displays is no different.

Both displays are screen-based smart home devices, able to play both video and audio on a compact screen.

The Echo Spot has been commercially available since late 2017, when it launched as smaller bedside alternative to the then first-generation Echo Show.

Meanwhile, the Echo Show 5 is a sibling to the 2nd gen Echo Show, which came out in 2018 with a 10-inch screen. (The ‘5’ branding refers to the new model’s 5.5-inch screen, much like the naming of Amazon Fire tablets). 

The Show 5 launches on June 26, and will be available in the US, UK, Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Japan, Canada, New Zealand, and Australia – with models shipping to India in July.

Design

The main difference between the two smart displays is their size. The Echo Spot has a rounded body and 2.5-inch circular screen, making it ideal as a clock face for a bedside table. The Echo Show 5, on the other hand, features a rectangular 5.5-inch screen with a curved back, offering a more traditionally-shaped display.

Otherwise the inputs are largely the same, with both having a touchscreen display, as well as physical buttons for volume control along the upper side of the casing.

The Echo Spot is envisaged as a bedside alarm clock, rather than a kitchen companion like the Show 5 (Image Credit: TechRadar)

Both models are available in black or white, and require a cabled power connection. They both have a Microphone / Camera Off button, allowing you to switch off any video or audio recording features when you’re wary of being spied on. The Show 5, though, comes with a physical shutter to make sure there’s no way of being filmed by accident – or possibly just to put you at ease.

The Show 5 is a clear winner for picture quality, packing in 960 x 480 pixels in its larger screen, compared to 480 x 480 for the Echo Spot. The quality of images and videos taken with the Show 5’s camera is also significantly better, with a 1MP lens compared to the Spot’s VGA camera (0.3MP).

The Show 5 also has a larger audio output, with 4W speakers over the Spot’s 2W equivalent, though we’re reserving judgement on the sound quality until we test the Show 5 for ourselves – the 2nd-gen Echo Show was a bit bass-heavy, and we’re hoping the new model goes for clarity of voices instead, given we’re likely to use it mainly for YouTube videos and calls.

Features and apps

The main draw of the Echo ecosystem has to be the Alexa voice assistant. Though not perfect, and prone to “trouble understanding right now”, Alexa is still a brilliantly convenient way to navigate music playlists and radio stations, hear weather information or news, learn trivia and definitions, and a whole host of other possible functions.

Both models have the same fully-fledged Alexa assistant that runs across Amazon’s entire Echo range – with the ability to make video calls to other Echo devices, display personal photos, and watch online videos on either model (you can now make calls to phone numbers in the US and UK, too).

It’s the larger size and resolution of the Show 5, though, that opens the way for expanded functionality, with a new integration with wikiHow that "allows you to access hundreds of how-to videos by voice" for day-to-day problems like cleaning specific spills and stains, cooking certain recipes, or any other number of non-domestic queries – though the Show 5 is being angled as more of a kitchen assistant than the Spot’s bedroom alarm clock.

The Echo Show 5 was made with the kitchen in mind, with hands-free videos on a 5.5-inch screen. (Image Credit: Amazon)

It's worth noting that neither the Echo Spot or Show 5 run the Zigbee smart home hub found on the Echo Plus or 2nd-gen Echo Show. Zigbee is essentially a smart home network standard that allows devices from different manufacturers to play nicely with each other – meaning you don’t need every smart gadget in your house to be made by the same manufacturer. 

This is less of an issue now: Alexa will work automatically with the likes of Philips Hue, Hive, or Kasa smart products – with numerous Alexa skills expanding this to Ring, among others. But if your device specifically works via Zigbee and isn’t one of these main brands, it might be worth checking their compatibility.

Price

Perhaps most importantly, what’s the difference in price? The Echo Spot was previously the cheapest way to get an Echo smart display, costing just $129 / £119 / AU$199. By comparison, the 2nd-gen Echo Show retails at $229 / £219.99 / AU$349.

The Show 5, though, comes in at just $89.99 / £79.99 / AU$129 – making it by far the most affordable of the three, despite being twice the size of the Echo Spot. We would be very surprised if the Spot didn't get a price cut on the Show 5's release – especially with Amazon Prime Day coming soon after the launch – but for now the disparity makes it hard to recommend the Spot over its new sibling.

If you preorder two Echo Show 5s from Amazon, you’ll also get a $30 / £25 discount in the US and the UK respectively. Unfortunately the same deal doesn't seem to be available in Australia.

The Echo Show 5 offers more for the price, but the smaller form factor of the Spot may win you over (Image Credit: TechRadar)

Which one should I buy?

The Show 5 sits around the middle of the scale between the miniature Echo Spot and 2nd-gen Echo Show, but with a far more tempting price point than either. Unless you’re specifically hankering after the Echo Spot’s smaller (cuter?) form factor, or the Echo Show’s larger 10-inch (and high definition) screen, the Show 5 should probably be the first port of call for a new smart display – especially as a hands-free kitchen companion.

The Show 5’s pre-order deal makes it a very tempting way to start your Echo family – though if you already have an Echo Spot or Show and want to upgrade, it’s well worth keeping the older models as well. Echo devices were made with multi-room functionality in mind, and being able to connect various Shows and Spots to a single network is a big draw of the Amazon ecosystem.

Categories: Tech News

The best free text to speech software 2019

Latest Tech News - Tue, 06/18/2019 - 11:10

In years gone by, text to speech software was rather expensive, but these days there are excellent text to speech tools available free of charge. We're here to help you find the very best tools that will make converting written documents to audio files as easy as possible.

Text to speech software can be enormously helpful for anyone who's visually impaired, or has a condition like dyslexia that makes reading on screens tricky. It can also help overcome language barriers for people who read a language but don't speak it, or are in the process of learning.

Text to speech software is also ideal if you want to listen to a document while doing something else, if you find it easier to retain information you've heard, or if you want to sense-check something you've written.

Here's our pick of the best free text to speech software for reading either individual paragraphs or whole documents aloud.

Balabolka's flexibility makes it the best free text to speech software around. If you struggle to read text on a screen, it's the perfect choice

There are a couple of ways to use Balabolka's free text to speech software: you can either copy and paste text into the program, or you can open a number of supported file formats (including DOC, PDF, and HTML) in the program directly. In terms of output you can use SAPI 4 complete with eight different voices to choose from, SAPI 5 with two, or the Microsoft Speech Platform if you download and install the necessary files. Whichever route you choose, you can adjust the speech, pitch and volume of playback to create custom voice.

In addition to reading words aloud, this free text to speech software can also save narrations as audio files in a range of formats including MP3 and WAV. For lengthy documents you can create bookmarks to make it easy to jump back to a specific location and there are excellent tools on hand to help you to customize the pronunciation of words to your liking.

With all these features to make life easier when reading text on a screen isn't an option, Balabolka is best free text to speech software around.

Natural Reader works with pretty much any document type, and even includes OCR for scanned text

Natural Reader is a free text to speech tool that can be used in a couple of ways. The first option is to load documents into its library and have them read aloud from there. This is a neat way to manage multiple files, and the number of supported file types is impressive, including ebook formats. There's also OCR, which enables you to load up a photo or scan of text, and have it read to you.

The second option takes the form of a floating toolbar. In this mode, you can highlight text in any application and use the toolbar controls to start and customize text to speech. This means you can very easily use the feature in your web browser, word processor and a range of other programs. There's also a built-in browser to convert web content to speech more easily.

Panopretor Basic accepts a wide range of text document formats, and exports in both WAV and MP3 formats

As the name suggests, Panopreter Basic delivers free text to speech conversion without frills. It accepts plain and rich text files, web pages and Microsoft Word documents as input, and exports the resulting sound in both WAV and MP3 format (the two files are saved in the same location, with the same name).

The default settings work well for quick tasks, but spend a little time exploring Panopreter Basic's Settings menu and you'll find options to change the language, destination of saved audio files, and set custom interface colors. The software can even play a piece of music once it's finished reading – a nice touch you won't find in other free text-to-speech software.

If you need something more advanced, a premium version of Panopreter is available for US$29.95 (about £20, AU$40). This edition offers several additional features including toolbars for Microsoft Word and Internet Explorer, the ability to highlight the section of text currently being read, and extra voices.

WordTalk is another highly customizable text to speech tool, and does an excellent job with Microsoft Word documents

Developed by the University of Edinburgh, WordTalk is a toolbar add-on for Word that brings customizable text to speech to Microsoft Word. It works with all editions of Word and is accessible via the toolbar or ribbon, depending on which version you're using.

The toolbar itself is certainly not the most attractive you'll ever see, appearing to have been designed by a child. Nor are all of the buttons' functions very clear, but thankfully there's a help file on hand to help.

There's no getting away from the fact that WordTalk is fairly basic, but it does support SAPI 4 and SAPI 5 voices, and these can be tweaked to your liking. The ability to just read aloud individual words, sentences or paragraphs is a particularly nice touch. You also have the option of saving narrations, and there are a number of keyboard shortcuts that allow for quick and easy access to frequently used options.

Copy a chunk of text to your clipboard and Zabaware's handy text to speech function will save it as an audio file for later

Despite its basic looks, Zabaware Text-to-Speech Reader has more to offer than you might first think. You can open numerous file formats directly in the program, or just copy and paste text.

Alternatively, as long as you have the program running and the relevant option enables, Zabaware Text-to-Speech Reader can read aloud any text you copy to the clipboard – great if you want to convert words from websites to speech – as well as dialog boxes that pop up. Zabaware Text-to-Speech Reader can also convert text files to WAV format.

Unfortunately the selection of voices is limited, and the only settings you can customize are volume and speed unless you burrow deep into settings to fiddle with pronunciations. Additional voices are available for a US$25 fee (about £20, AU$30), which seems rather steep, holding it back from a higher place in our list.

Categories: Tech News

Best email clients of 2019

Latest Tech News - Tue, 06/18/2019 - 10:54

Email remains the primary method of communication between businesses, but there are a number of different ways in which emails can be used and stored.

The first main way is by using an email client, which will often use POP3, SMTP, or IMAP protocols to collect mail directly from a server to your PC or other computing device. This usually means downloading and installing software for an email client to receive your emails, and an server on which to store and collect your email from.

The second main way is through a web application, which means that you don't need to download any software or even have a server to collect email from, as everything is store online by the web app provider.

While email clients may require a little more work to run, they also allow for more control over user data. In other words, only you control your emails, and third-parties have no access to them unless you purposefully - or accidentally - allow it. 

This can be an important consideration for business purposes, as allowing your email to run through web apps means that although it will be safely backed-up, it also means the provider has control over your data, and some companies openly acknowledge that they will scan private emails at least for marketing purposes.

Therefore while consumers have tended toward the ease of use that web app emails allow, many businesses still prefer to control their own emails through an email server and email clients, in order to protect sensitive business data.

There are a number of email providers on the market, so here we'll look at the best in email clients, before taking a look at additional options, not least email web apps.

  • Want your company or services to be added to this buyer’s guide? Please email your request to desire.athow@futurenet.com with the URL of the buying guide in the subject line. 

Image Credit: Microsoft

Microsoft’s Outlook is the de facto email client for most businesses and enterprises, and has been around for decades, with its origins dating back to MS-DOS. Obviously it has tight integration with other Microsoft services, and that takes email beyond the simple exchange of messages.

Outlook has the advantage of being fully integrated with the Outlook Calendar, making it a snap to share calendars to coordinate meetings. This integration also extends to Outlook Contacts. Outlook is supported for the Windows platform, but also across the mobile platforms of iOS and Android as well.

Microsoft Outlook is available as part of the Microsoft Office suite, which can be purchased as the standalone Office 2016, or the subscription-based Office 365. A single user subscription to Office 365 Personal can be purchased for $7.99 per month or $79.99 for a full year. Office 365 Business is priced similar, with a slightly more expensive Premium edition that bundles collaborative software.

Image Credit: Microsoft

While Outlook is a stalwart of the business world, Microsoft has long realized that it is overkill for many home users, so there’s a lightweight email client built into Windows. Way back when, this client was Outlook Express, but it has since evolved and in the latest version of Microsoft’s desktop operating system, it’s known as Mail and Calendar.

For any Windows user, the Mail and Calendar client is an obvious choice, as when you log into Windows 10 with a Hotmail, Live, or Outlook.com address, the account is already added to the email client.

It can also work with other popular accounts, including Yahoo, Gmail, and iCloud. Mail and Calendar has a useful feature known as Quick Actions, which, for example, allows the user to easily flag or archive a message. It’s also integrated with the Windows Calendar app.

Image Credit: eM Client

This alternative email client is trusted and used by Fortune 500 companies which include Avis, McDonald’s and Toyota.

It offers a wide array of features, including a calendar, contacts and chat. Support is provided for all the major email services including Gmail, Yahoo, iCloud and Outlook.com. The latest version of eM Client (7.2) also offers PGP encryption, live backup, basic image editing capabilities and auto-replies for Gmail.

There is a free tier, but you need the Pro version for commercial use, and that also gives you VIP support and unlimited accounts (the free product is limited to two email accounts). The Pro version has a one-time cost of $49.95.

Image Credit: Mailbird

Mailbird Pro is an email client that promises to “save time managing multiple accounts,” and to make your email “easy and beautiful”.

While beauty may be in the eye of the beholder, as they say, it’s undeniable that Mailbird Pro offers many free themes to make email a more enjoyable and customizable experience.

Unlike some more Microsoft-centric email clients, Mailbird Pro supports a diverse range of integrated apps, including WhatsApp, Google Docs, Google Calendar, Facebook, Twitter, Dropbox and Slack, all making for a better streamlined workflow. However, one downside to bear in mind here is that there’s no support for filters or rules to organize your inbox.

Mailbird Lite is available for free, with Mailbird Pro costing $7.20 a year. Alternatively, you can buy a lifetime subscription to Mailbird Pro for $23.70.

Image Credit: Inky

Inky is an email client that focuses on security, using “sophisticated AI, machine learning and computer vision algorithms” to block all manner of phishing attacks which might otherwise get through.

This client uses an ‘Inky Phish Fence’ that scans both internal and external emails to flag phishing attempts. The proprietary machine learning technology can literally read an email to determine if it has phishing content, and then is able to quarantine the email, or deliver it with the malicious links disabled. It also takes things a step further and offers an analytics dashboard, which allows an administrator to see patterns of attacks based on dates, or targeted users.

The Inky email client does offer a free trial, but sadly, pricing details aren’t made available on the Inky website. However, the site does note that pricing is per mailbox per month on a subscription, with volume discounts available.

Image Credit: TouchMail

TouchMail is an email client that simplifies email by making it more visual. This also makes it easier to use on a touch-based mobile device.

The goal of TouchMail is to aggregate multiple email accounts together, in a single visually attractive interface which is user-friendly. It lets you see all of the day’s emails in one place, with messages color-coded by sender for easy identification. Emails from top senders can be easily sorted and managed, too.

This client is available for the Windows 10 platform, but not for iOS or Android, sadly. TouchMail is available from the Microsoft Store, and costs $9.99. 

Image Credit: Pixabay

Other email clients to consider

An email client was traditionally a piece of software that was installed or downloaded onto your computer. However, these days an email client can also be a web application (as seen above by our inclusion of Outlook as part of the Microsoft Office 365 software platform). Here's we'll consider some additional email client options, both in the traditional sense of being a piece of additional software, and also in the more recent sense of being a web application:

GMail has become one of the most successful web applications for providing email in recent times, not least because it's free to use. Although there have been other popular free email sites, not least from Yahoo and ISP providers, a couple of advantages have made GMail stand out among the competition. The first is that it integrates with all Google services, and even if you're not using the G Suite range of applications cuh as Google Docs, the Google Calendar application works seamlessly with GMail. Additionally, GMail has one of the best anti-spam and anti-phishing filters out there, which helps keep users safe. Added this the fact that having a Google Account to access a range of Google services means having a GMail account at its core has made GMail the popular success for home and business that it is today.

Oulook.com is a free online email service from Microsoft. Despite Microsoft's push on Outlook as part of the Office Suite, you don't need to buy or subscribe to that service to get a free account on Outlook.com. This is certainly handy if you simply need a free email address that you can use online. However, as a free service it's not integrated with Microsoft's other products without a paid Office 365 subscription, so it has to be treated as a standalone account. This puts itself at a disadvantage compared to rival integrated services such as GMail, but Outlook.com does the job if you simply want a free if basic email address to use with no strings attached.

Thunderbird is the underrated email client provided by the Mozilla Corporation, better known for their Firefox browser. It's free to download and installation is easy. Once running, you'll find it contains all the features you'd expect from an email client. However, what makes Thunderbird different is that there are additional customization options. You can install addons to provide additional features and functionality, and there are different themes available to download so you can personalize your email experience. So if you'd prefer an email client you can tweak to give what you need, and change the look from the standard vanilla, Thunderbird from Mozilla could be well worth a look.

Yahoo Mail is one of the old established online email providers. Rather than software to download and run, it's a web application you log onto when you're online. Yahoo Mail is also free, which has long been the appeal of this service, especially as it's been available for decades and often provided a free alternative to paid-for Microsoft options. However, these days Yahoo Mail may not be seen to have advanced much beyond its original design, with little push on feature development, not least filtering of junk mail. If you desperately need a free email client then Yahoo Mail is an option, but it's difficult to recommend it over more developed applications such as GMail.

Your ISP because normally when you sign-up for a broadband (or even dial-up) account, your Internet Service Provider (ISP) will provide you with a free email associated with your account. Some will even provide a basic email client in their customer support platform that you can use. The positive is that you have immediate access to sending and receiving emails. The negative is that any such provision will be more limited than any of the more feature-rich alternatives listed above. Additionally, you're likely to repeatedly switch ISPs through your life, so it's probably best not to rely too much on one of their email addresses if you are simply going to move service later, especially when you could use one of the other options already listed here.

Categories: Tech News

Sandvik created the world’s first 3D-printed diamond composite

Latest Tech News - Tue, 06/18/2019 - 10:53

Ask most people what words they associate with diamonds, and they’ll say “proposal”, “love”, “down on one knee” or “three months’ salary”. 

But if you work in the mining industry—or if you’re a huge Minecraft nerd—diamond takes on a different meaning entirely. It’s the hardest naturally occurring substance on Earth, much more durable than common industrial material like hardened steel. Whether you’re building a real-world drill or a virtual pick-axe, you’d pick diamond over anything else.

Why, then, is iron or steel more commonly used? Besides diamond costing much more to mine, it’s also incredibly difficult to carve into a useful shape; your sculpting tool will break before the diamond will. Or, try smelting diamond like you would iron, and it will oxidize (read: burn up into CO2). Building a diamond suit of armor or house isn’t as easy as Minecraft wants you to think.

Sandvik is using additive manufacturing to change that. Using a 3D printer, a semiliquid blend of diamond powder and polymer, and ultraviolet light, Sandvik successfully created the first-ever 3D-printed diamond composite. 

“The additive manufacturing process used is highly advanced,” Mikael Schuisky, Head of R&D and Operations at Sandvik Additive Manufacturing, explains. “We are printing in a slurry consisting of diamond powder and polymer using a method called stereolithography, where complex parts are produced, layer by layer, using ultraviolet light.”

Using its stereolithographic (SLA) printer, Sandvik dips a metal contraption into the slurry; cures a thin layer of slurry using UV light, hardening it into a sliver of diamonds and polymer; lifts this top layer out of the slurry to congeal completely; douses it back into the slurry to cure the next layer; and repeats ad nauseam until the whole model is printed.

Unfortunately, if readers clicked on this article hoping to find a how-to guide for 3D-printing their own DIY engagement ring, we have to share some bad news: it turns out that molding diamond powder into a gem is the easy part, but not the whole process.

The challenge comes from transforming the weak diamond-polymer body into a solid diamond composite, keeping most of the pure diamond’s extraordinary properties. To achieve this, Sandvik uses a “proprietary post-processing technique”, in its own words, that cements the diamond into the indestructible form you see above. 

Whatever secret process Sandvik uses, it allows them to turn their synthetic diamond into a material that is “three times stiffer than steel, with heat conductivity higher than copper, the thermal expansion close to Invar – and with a density close to aluminium”, according to Anders Ohlsson, Delivery Manager at Sandvik Additive Manufacturing. 

So while this diamond may not be pure carbon—and you won’t want to wear it anytime soon—the implications of this technology go far beyond mimicking the shape of a diamond ring. Sandvik can build a diamond prototype of any shape you can conceive of and design in 3D modeling software, replacing tools made out of materials like copper or steel. 

Several industries already rely on diamond materials. Miners and the military use diamond-infused oil to optimize their drills and cutters. Computer makers are replacing silicon with diamond in their semiconductors for better heat resistance. Because diamonds can vibrate without deforming, they’re used in record player needles and speaker systems. A Canadian tech startup is even attempting to build bionic diamond retina implants for the visually impaired.

With Sandvik’s 3D printing technology, diamond-based technology could be much easier to design, and then mass produce, for a variety of industries. While a diamond’s exterior can eventually be carved into a specific shape, Schuisky notes that “you can do features inside these types of materials that’s never been done before.” 

Ohlsson claims that within a few years, “space programs” and construction companies will be building wear-proof prototypes and equipment using Sandvik’s 3D printed diamond composite. And who knows, maybe Minecraft enthusiasts will get the chance to custom order some real-world diamond swords and armor.

Categories: Tech News

Pre Prime Day deals at Walmart include price cuts on Google Home devices

Latest Tech News - Tue, 06/18/2019 - 10:49

While Prime Day deals haven't officially begun, Walmart is slashing prices right now on its best-selling Google Home devices. For a limited time, you can find massive discounts on the Google Home, Google Nest Hub, and Google Smart Light Starter kit. You can also get the popular Google Home Mini on sale for just $29. That's a $20 discount and the best price we've seen for the smart speaker.

The Google Home Mini is a smart speaker that has the Google Assistant built-in. You can ask about the weather, news, sports, traffic reports, and more completely hands-free. You can also use your voice to make calls and play music from Spotify, YouTube, Pandora, and more. The speaker can also control other smart home devices to turn on the lights, adjust the temperature, and more with the command of your voice.

Like we mentioned above, this is the lowest price we've found for the Google speaker and same price as its competitor, the Echo Dot that's also on sale for $29.99. If you're not interested in waiting around for Prime Day, we'd recommend snagging this deal today.

If you're looking for a speaker with more power, Walmart has the Google Home speaker on sale for $79. That's the lowest price we've found for the Google assistance speaker.

Walmart has the Google Nest Hub on sale for $99. The Google Hub is a smart display that can control all of your smart home devices and includes a free three-month trial of YouTube Music Premium.

You can also find the Google Smart Light Starter kit on sale for $45. That's a $10 discount for the kit includes the Home Mini speaker and a smart light bulb.

Google Home device deals:

Shop more Google Home devices with our list of the cheapest Google Home prices: the best Home Mini, Hub and Max deals.

Find out which smart speaker is best for you with our list of the best smart speakers of 2019.

Learn more about the upcoming Amazon shopping event with our guide on Amazon Prime Day 2019: everything you need to know for the July deals event.

Categories: Tech News

You'll soon be able to ride electric bikes and scooters throughout New York

Latest Tech News - Tue, 06/18/2019 - 10:28

Good news for New Yorkers tired of trekking around on foot or relying on the subway: the state is about to legalize electric bikes and scooters.

The new bill, which is expected to pass on June 19, would recognize three classes electric bikes: pedal-assisted models with a top speed of 20mph, throttle-controlled bikes with a top speed of 20mph, and throttle-controlled bikes that max out at 25mph (though the latter will only be legalized in New York City, not the entire state).

Electric scooters capable of reaching 20mph will also get the green light, though it's not clear yet what rules will be in place to manage scooter sharing companies. According to Electrek, you'll be able to ride your own scooter in Manhattan, but rented ones will be banned.

Playing catch-up

Electric bikes and scooters are a relatively new way of getting from A to B, so it's taking a while for authorities around the world to catch up and decide how to manage them. Some have chosen to ban them outright, others are running pilot programs, and some have decided that they should be legal to ride anywhere (provided you don't make a nuisance of yourself).

Electric scooters are particularly contentious, particularly due to companies like Bird and Lime, which have been known to flood cities with their pay-to-ride scooters, without seeking permission first.

Rules vary enormously from place to place, so if you're thinking of buying our own electric scooter, or looking for a sharing service, check out our guide first: are electric scooters legal?

Via Electrek

Categories: Tech News

Facebook reveals new Libra cryptocurrency

Latest Tech News - Tue, 06/18/2019 - 10:25

Facebook has finally taken the wraps off its long-awaited cryptocurrency.

The social media giant has revealed that it will be launching the new Libra cryptocurrency as part of its blockchain-powered Calibra digital wallet, coming to Messenger and WhatsApp in 2020.

Facebook says you'll be able to send Libra to "almost anyone with a smartphone" quickly and easily, and at a low cost - and the new cryptocurrency can be used for anything from paying for a coffee to riding public transport.

Facebook Libra

Rumours surrounding a Facebook cryptocurrency have been swirling around for some time, and the company finally revealed more details in a blog post today.

Although fairly sparse on exact details, Facebook says that Calibra can help those in developing countries where even the most basic financial services are out of reach, quoting recent research that says almost half of the adults in the world don’t have an active bank account. 

"This is the challenge we’re hoping to address with Calibra, a new digital wallet that you’ll be able to use to save, send and spend Libra," the company says.

Calibra has already signed up a decent posse of backers, with Mastercard, PayPal, Spotify and Uber among those pledging their support.

Facebook says that Calibra will use verification and anti-fraud processes similar to those currently being used by banks and credit card providers, including automated systems that will monitor your usage to flag any potentially fraudulent behavior. 

Calibra will also come with dedicated live support if you lose your phone or forget your password, with Facebook also promising refunds if your account is compromised.

Crucially, the company says that Calibra will run as a completely separate subsidiary of Facebook, and won't share account information or financial data with Facebook or any third party without getting the user's consent.

There's no concrete info on an exact release date yet, but Facebook is promising to reveal more soon.

Categories: Tech News

Nikon to launch mirrorless equivalent to D5, according to Japanese newspaper

Latest Tech News - Tue, 06/18/2019 - 09:53

Nikon's newest mirrorless Z system will be welcoming a Nikon D5-level camera, according to Japanese business newspaper.

In an interview with Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun, Nikon President Toshikazu Umatate stated that a model on the same pegging as the D5 was in the works. 

The article doesn't confirm when such a model will arrive, nor how much it will cost, but with the 2020 summer Olympics in Tokyo just over a year away, Nikon is no doubt keen to give existing D5 users a good reason to stay loyal to the brand.

Such a model would be a natural rival to the Sony A9, which is currently the only full-frame mirrorless camera targeted towards sports and action shooters. That camera recently received a significant firmware update that boosted its AF system, and also gained a new FE 600mm f/4 GM OSS stablemate aimed at sports and wildlife photographers.

The Sony Alpha line recently welcomed the sports-photography-friendly FE 600mm f/4 GM OSS. Image credit: TechRadar

Currently, Nikon's Z system only has two cameras, the flagship Z7 and the more affordable Z6. Rumors of new additions on either side of these models have been circulating almost since the range was launched, although Nikon hasn't given any official word on what camera bodies will come next – only which lenses are on the cards, via a lens roadmap.

Although the roadmap for these lenses only has one telephoto zoom down for release – the 70-200mm f/2.8 S, arriving later this year – users of Nikon's DSLRs can currently use hundreds of F-mount options via the FTZ adapter. Even so, it's likely that Nikon will look to complement a new high-end Z-series model with new native telephoto options.

The right time

While the Z6 and Z7 are certainly capable of capturing moving subjects, neither model can manage the same kind of continuous focusing performance or burst shooting speeds as the company's D5, which remains the most obvious option in Nikon's portfolio for the sports-oriented pro.

The news of a new high-end Z series camera follows fresh reports of a new mid-range mirrorless model joining the range. Unsurprisingly, Canon is also said to be preparing a new high-end mirrorless companion to the EOS R and EOS RP in its latest EOS R mirrorless line.

Categories: Tech News

10Gbps broadband is coming to UK households by end of 2019

Latest Tech News - Tue, 06/18/2019 - 09:46

Rural ISP Truespeed has announced that it will start offering an active Ethernet network linking all its customers to a dedicated 10Gbps connection by the end of 2019. 

The company revealed that it has completed a small pilot deployment using a 10Gbps fibre Ethernet switch from Danish vendor DKT Comega.

This would most probably be the DKT 79751 next generation gateway (essentially a router without wireless connectivity) which incorporates a 10G WAN, one 10G and two 1G LAN ports.

Data center speeds

Any users looking to connect would need a device with at least one 10Gbps port to make the most out of the connection. While there are plenty of 10G switches, they are still quite expensive compared to standard Gigabit ones. 

A spokesperson for the company was not able to confirm how much the service will cost, or how many households will get connected to this superfast broadband before the end of the year. 

However Josef Karthauser, CTO of Truespeed, said in a statement to TechRadar Pro that “it is only a matter of time" until this technology becomes standard.

"In the data centre, 10G interfaces are already being rapidly replaced with 25G, and 100G; data centre switches are only adding 1G interfaces for backwards compatibility. consumers deserve the same data-centric approach," he added. 

"Which is why we are building a data carrier network on which we can run broadband services, rather than using telco-grade equipment and approaches which come with heavy compromises such as network contention.”

Black Fibre is the only other ISP to offer 10Gbps in the UK, although that is limited to the Manhattan Loft Gardens apartment building in Stratford, London, for the eye-watering sum of £199 per month. However those willing to pay will see the speed benefits, as the more widely available  Virgin Media’s 500Mbps (one-twentieth of the rated speed) business broadband costs £62 per month.

TrueSpeed also offers a free full fibre broadband service for life to schools, village halls and other community hubs passed by its network although its nationwide coverage is still far behind mainstream service providers.

Categories: Tech News

Revolt Motors RV 400: All you need to know

Latest Tech News - Tue, 06/18/2019 - 09:16

Revolt Motors have just announced India's first commercially available electric bike, the RV 400 at an event in New Delhi. While there's still a month or so to go before the RV 400 hits the Indian roads, the bike brings along some never-before-seen features in the category.

The move towards electric vehicles is undoubtedly a commendable action, but only when the foundations are strong. As of now, there are no clear policies for electric vehicles laid down by the government of India apart from the usual rumors around the possible ban of internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles in the country in the next few years.

Revolt Motors have partnered with a bunch of technology and services companies which forms the groundwork that has been developed to make the adoption easier. From companies like Airtel which provide their 4G e-SIM solution for the bike to RattanIndia Finance which offers a customized finance offer, Revolt Motors looks likely to have a definitive blueprint in place. The company revealed its partnership with Super SOCO, a European company known for its electric mopeds and we couldn't help but notice the similarity between the RV 400 and Super SOCO mopeds.

Revolt RV 400 Price and Availability

Revolt Motors didn't reveal the price of its electric bike yet as it officially launches next month. However, if you're sold on the product already, Revolt Motors will start pre-bookings from June 25 on their website and Amazon India. Interested buyers can pay a pre-booking price of Rs 1,000 to pre-book the bike. The company has stated that the deliveries will start on July onwards, post the official launch.

Another catch is that only the people residing in New Delhi can pre-order the RV 400 as the company plans to get into other cities like NCR, Pune, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Nagpur, Ahmedabad and Chennai within the next four months.

We expect Revolt Motors to price the bike at around 1 Lakh INR when it officially launches in India.

Revolt RV 400 features and services

During the event, Rahul Sharma, founder of Revolt Intellicorp Pvt Ltd revealed some key features of the electric bike. The company kept a lot of features and the pricing under wraps for the launch event, when it happens next month.

Here's every feature of the Revolt RV 400 electric bike that we know about.

1. ARAI certified range of 156 km/charge and 85kmph top speed

Automotive Research Association of India (ARAI) has certified the Revolt RV 400 for up to 156 km on a single charge. It makes for one of the longest range electric bike in India and is more than what the market currently offers.

The only other performance-centric feature that we have been able to uncover from the presentation is that the top speed of the Revolt RV 400 is 85 kmph.

2. Charge the battery anywhere or swap it for a new one

Revolt Motor's infrastructure relies heavily on Mobile Swap Stations which offer the rider a fully recharged battery in exchange of their depleted battery module. These battery swapping stations are dynamic and have a specific coverage area. 

Users can recharge the bike's battery anywhere as it is detachable and can be carried along inside the house where it can be plugged into any 15 Amp socket for around 4 hours to get recharged.

Besides, Revolt Motors also offers home delivery of the bike's batteries from the Revolt app, but it is currently unknown as to what kind of pricing this service will incur to the rider.

3. Control and monitor the bike with Revolt App 

Revolt Motor's electric bike supports 4G eSIM and Bluetooth using which it syncs up to the Revolt app on the rider's phone. The app allows users to remotely start the bike, find the nearest battery swapping station, real-time analysis of the bike, order replacement batteries, detailed statistics of trips, and geo-fencing, to name a few.

The app also allows users to preset the bike from the three available modes-- Eco, City, and Sport. We expect the company to shed more details on this at the time of launch.

4. Customizable exhaust sound

Being an electric vehicle, the RV 400 is silent by default. However, due to the sheer popularity and the cult surrounding custom exhaust sounds of bikes in India, the electric bike comes pre-loaded with four different exhaust sounds. More sounds can be downloaded from the internet and can be set as the exhaust audio, as and how the rider deems fit.

5. Voice control

While the company did not reveal the tech behind this feature, voice control was teased for the RV 400 by the end of the presentation. The company is expected to announce more details about key features and performance at the time of launch in July.

Categories: Tech News

Ring's renter-friendly Door View Cam is finally available to buy

Latest Tech News - Tue, 06/18/2019 - 09:01

Ring's mission is to "reduce crime in neighborhoods" – and its latest product, the Ring Door View Cam, is designed so that renters and homeowners alike can secure their dwellings with a smart security camera. 

The Door View Cam, which we saw in person at January's CES 2019 convention, is now available to buy in the US and UK for a recommended retail price of $199 / £179 – there's no word yet on an Australian price, but that works out at around AU$290 based on current conversion rates.

The Door View Cam works like Ring’s previous doorbell cameras, but instead of replacing your doorbell it replaces your front door’s peephole. 

Thanks to a drill-free installation process, the Door View Cam is suitable for renters who can't make any permanent modifications to their front door.  

Ring says that to install it you just need to "remove the existing peephole, install the Door View Cam in its place on each side of the door, pop in the rechargeable battery and the removable cover, and you will have transformed your old peephole into a smart security camera".

Alexa integration

Completely wire-free, thanks to a battery that sits on the inside of your door, the Ring Door View Cam lets you view live video streams and HD recordings of your doorstep in 1080p resolution. 

When someone interacts with your door, you get real-time notifications sent to your smartphone via the Ring app – this even works if visitors choose to knock instead of pressing the doorbell button integrated into the Door View Cam itself, thanks to knock-detection sensors. 

According to Ring, you can also issue compatible Alexa-enabled devices commands like "show me my front door", as well as being alerted by your smart speaker "when motion is detected by the Ring Door View Cam in real time". 

Users will also be able to speak with visitors via Alexa-compatible smart displays and tablets like the Echo Show, Echo Spot, and Fire Tablets (7th generation and up). 

Feel like you'd miss your regular peephole? Ring says the Door View Cam includes a glass viewer, so the functionality of a conventional peephole is retained – after all, not every member of the household will want to interact with a smart security camera every time the doorbell rings.

Image credit: Ring

Privacy first

If you share a hallway with others, and you're worried about invading the privacy of your neighbors, you can set up 'privacy zones', so the camera blacks out specified zones that are in the camera's field of view. 

You can also turn off the audio capture functionality, so that you don't inadvertently listen in on your neighbors' conversations.

It's no surprise that Ring is emphasizing the privacy features of the new security camera; the Amazon-owned company came under fire earlier this year when a report by The Intercept claimed that Ring gave its employees full access to its customers' live camera feeds, inside and outside the home.

Ring responded, claiming the report was 'factually inaccurate', but did admit that "in order to improve our service, we view and annotate certain Ring video recordings".  

It added: "These recordings are sourced exclusively from publicly shared Ring videos from the Neighbors app (in accordance with our terms of service), and from a small fraction of Ring users who have provided their explicit written consent to allow us to access and utilize their videos for such purposes. Ring employees do not have access to livestreams from Ring products."

Categories: Tech News

Could Sony be about to announce an affordable Xperia 1?

Latest Tech News - Tue, 06/18/2019 - 08:31

Sony has just released the Sony Xperia 1, its top-end phone designed for movie-watching and film-making, but there are whispers of its successor, or spin-off, already and a leaked photo of the product has given these rumors a face.

The photo, posted on Chinese social media platform Weibo by user Zackbuks shows a phone that looks a lot like the Sony Xperia 1, except with a camera bump down one side of the rear of the phone instead of the center.

Other than the different placement of the rear camera bump, the leaked image looks a lot like the Sony Xperia 1, leading many to believe the picture shows a spin-off device instead of an altogether new Sony phone.

We've heard rumors circulating about a Sony Xperia 1s or 1v, two versions of the Sony Xperia 1 that the company is purportedly working on. We're not sure where these rumors started, and the company hasn't said anything on the matter so take this all with a pinch of salt.

The leaked photo. Image credit: Zackbuks

The Sony Xperia 1 costs $949 / £849 (roughly AU$1,365), so it's not exactly an affordable device, and it makes sense that Sony would at least consider a more inexpensive version. Samsung and Apple did the same with the Samsung Galaxy S10e and iPhone XR respectively, and both products seemed to have proved popular.

Whether the leaked photo shows an early version of an upcoming Sony phone, or just a prototype that'll never see the light of day, it at least suggests there might be another version of the Sony Xperia 1 on the way. Whether that's the 1s, 1v, or something totally different, we'll be sure to find out eventually.

Alternatively, this could be an early leak of Sony's next flagship, perhaps the Sony Xperia 2, but since it looks so similar to the Xperia 1 we wouldn't be so sure. Whatever happens with Sony's next smartphone, we'll be sure to let you know as soon as we do.

Via TrustedReviews

Categories: Tech News

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