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The new platform services will allow companies to unify disparate customer data throughout their entire organization and then personalize every engagement based on a single view of the customer.
Customer 360 will also go beyond traditional CDP capabilities and extend the power of CRM with consumer-scale data management and activation.
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President and chief product officer at Salesforce, Bret Taylor explained how companies can boost loyalty by creating a single view of the customer, saying:
"Customers today will not settle for fragmented experiences, and companies recognize that creating a single view of the customer is imperative to earning their loyalty. With Customer 360, we continue to extend our platform in new ways, empowering brands to unify data and personalize customer engagement at scale."Customer 360
Salesforce introduced Customer 360 at last year's Dreamforce conference to help companies connect Salesforce apps and create a unified customer ID to build a single view of the customer. Now the company is expanding the service with new advancements that will make it easier to bridge fragmented customer data cross the entire organization.
The next generation of Customer 365 will also include new data unification and consent management features that will enable brands to unify all of their customer data to create rich customer profiles. Additionally, with Salesforce's consent management framework companies will have the ability to easily gain customer consent wherever they engage users from email marketing to digital advertising.
New segmentation capabilities will allow companies to identify specific groups of people to engage with in real-time based on demographics, engagement history and all other customer data available. Brands will also be able to activate customer data across marketing, commerce, service and beyond to deliver personalized engagement everywhere.
Finally, Customer 365 will allow brands to leverage Einstein's AI capabilities to analyze and understand how and when to engage with customers to drive customer loyalty and improve business performance.
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Even though mobile gaming has a ways to go before it's just like playing on a desktop or console, it's inching closer every year - and it might grow in leaps and bounds in 2020.
Why? AAA publishers are getting good at translating their AAA franchises to mobile, but the onset of 5G and cloud gaming could elevate mobile gaming across the board.
At E3 2019, we talked to publishers, game developers and phonemakers about their products and projects to get a hint at what's coming for mobile gaming in 2020.
The top-level observations aren’t too surprising: the dependable recipe for success is to make new titles from old but well-known IPs or craft mobile versions of already-popular desktop/console franchises. With so many games out there, new titles have to be platform-savvy and a bit tailored to their audience's regional tastes.
Overall, mobile gaming in the next year will slowly iterate on lessons learned - but the industry is also looking ahead to a sea change from 5G and cloud streaming, both technologies that could change how, and what, we play. Read on for the five trends we see coming in the next year.Trend 1: big franchises, small screens
By far the biggest new title for mobile gaming shown off at E3 2019 was Call of Duty: Mobile, a version of the hit franchise shrunken down to be playable on smartphones. We found the game to be a remarkably similar experience to its fully-fledged siblings, featuring levels ripped straight from the older games, including a bunch stitched together to form the game’s huge battle royale map (which should give seasoned Call of Duty fans an advantage).
Otherwise, the game plays a lot like other more serious mobile shooters: move with your thumb on the left side of the screen, perform actions like shooting, crouching or switching loadouts by hitting the appropriate button on the right side of the screen. It works...once you’ve gotten the hang of it.
But attempting to replicate a console experience on smartphones makes for a cluttered interface, something that plagues every game that uses on-screen controls rather than a dedicated external gamepad (which aren’t common).
To its credit, Call of Duty: Mobile introduces a few control innovations - like auto-shooting once a player hovers their crosshair over an opponent - but these are intended for newer players to get the hang of the game until they transition to the precision of manually moving/aiming/shooting.
In essence, mobile titles inheriting IP from consoles and desktop gaming have good reason to try to import that experience as wholly as possible, but - at least right now - compromise is essential. But there can be elegance in that adjustment.
The other big example on the show floor was The Elder Scrolls: Blades, a game that’s been out in the US in early access for some months before a general release (everywhere but China) in time for E3 2019.
The control scheme is a simplified version of traditional Elder Scrolls combat: once engaged with an enemy, players swipe the screen to attack. It’s missing the free movement that’s defined fighting in the main games, but it enables one-handed play.
Or two-handed, if players prefer: the game’s big innovation is supporting both portrait and landscape modes, with seamless transitions between either, even in the middle of a fight.
The result is “a classic dungeon crawler designed for the modern day,” Lafferty said.Craig Lafferty, Senior Producer
“It took a lot of dev time” to pull off, Veronique (Vero) Bruneau, Producer at Bethesda Game Studios for TES: Blades told TechRadar in an interview at E3. That was surely an understatement: he and Craig Lafferty, Senior Producer and Project Lead at Bethesda Game Studios explained they had to program that swapping mechanism for many phone types and tablets.
The result is “a classic dungeon crawler designed for the modern day,” Lafferty said.
Of course, the game has a lot of accoutrements from the Elder Scrolls franchise, though Blades is deliberately set in a different time period than the other ongoing TES game, Elder Scrolls Online, to avoid content overlap. The wild success of the 2016 game Fallout Shelter convinced Bethesda that its IP could be suitable for mobile titles, provided they found satisfying gameplay mechanics appropriate for the franchise.
Which, in its own way, explains Commander Keen.Trend 2: novelty stands apart in a crowded market
During Bethesda’s E3 2019 showcase, Kira Schlitt, Creative Director at ZeniMax Online Studios, came on stage to introduce a new mobile title she’s helming: Commander Keen. Based on the beloved PC platformer pioneer that was first released in 1990, the game looks to revive the classic side-scrolling gameplay on iOS and Android smartphones and tablets.
The announcement was a surprise: while Commander Keen certainly has cultural cachet with older gamers, and a place in the history books as the title that enabled the foundation of id Software, it’s not a franchise players have clamored to revive.
But the Bethesda keynote didn’t fully explain the game. Commander Keen will be a platformer with a similar goofy, light-hearted cartoony style as the original...and a card game, too. Each of the title character’s signature gadgets (like pogo sticks and sci-fi traps) is activated via a card, which is shuffled back into their mini-deck once used.
The resulting game sounds like a novel combination of tried-and-true genres: a real-time platformer that requires less twitchy reactivity and more thoughtfulness to proceed. Players can bring eight cards with them into a level, which they can cleverly combine: create a hazard with your vortex gun and then bounce enemies into it with a trampoline. Voila!
It’s hard to imagine how a real-time card-platformer will work out - Bethesda rescinded their offer of a hands-on demo just before E3 2019 - but it sounds different, and more delightful than the usual AAA mobile game (outside of Nintendo’s chipper games, anyway). The Commander Keen team began developing it in early 2018 and were inspired by Hearthstone, The Elder Scrolls: Legends, and Clash Royale, but unlike those, the game ended up being more physics-based (and real-time), Schlitt told TechRadar.
Whether the game is a hit, the bigger lesson is that it will (unsurprisingly) be free-to-play with in-game purchases. Schlitt assured that those won't be pay-to-win - they’ll just be cosmetics and time-savers, which should preserve the balance of the 1v1 PVP battle mode coming alongside the single-player story mode. New gadgets will only be unlocked via randomized packs awarded from playing battle mode, which hopefully won’t lock out unlucky players from drawing a complete arsenal.
If established franchises (or ‘intellectual properties’ as the lingo goes) draw more interest than new ones, Commander Keen is a sort of test balloon for dormant franchise palatability: as a F2P title on mobile, there’s conceivably less risk with reviving an old and unlooked-for series than re-introducing a full AAA title on console and desktop. And companies could certainly do worse than Commander Keen’s whimsical pop sci-fi action.
Image credit: NetmarbleTrend 3: Established franchises could be the key to popularizing new genres
South Korea’s biggest mobile game company, Netmarble, didn’t debut new titles to the public at E3 2019, aside from one showed off behind closed doors that’s set to launch in the US before year’s end. But the company’s biggest titles have been ongoing for awhile: Marvel Future Fight, and until last December, Star Wars Heroes and Disney Magical Dice. The company even has an officially-licensed game about the globally popular K-pop boy band BTS.
In other words, Netmarble has plenty of experience securing globally popular IP - but to stand out in a saturated game landscape, the company can’t just dash out a quick title to cash in on very recognizable names. Instead, Netmarble’s current strategy is to build themes and gameplay mechanics that match the IP, Netmarble US CEO Simon Sim explained to TechRadar.
He came to E3 2019 with Netmarble to promote a mobile game coming to the US later in 2019: King of Fighters All-Stars. Just like previous games in the main King of Fighters series, the free-to-play title will feature characters from many SNK games - but the mobile game is a side-scrolling beat-em-up instead of a traditional fighting game.
Image credit: King of Fighters
The genre switch seems like a shrewd move to preserve the fun of hand-to-hand combat without forcing players to use clumsy mobile game controls for fighting games, which require precise inputs to compete. Indeed, KoF: All Stars abbreviates those inputs with a small cluster of buttons on the right side: a big one for basic strikes surrounded by three for signature moves, while buttons at the top of the screen switch out teammates.
The game proved popular in Japan, where Netmarble first released KoF: All Stars back in 2017, and has been a success in South Korea after launching there in May 2019. When asked whether KoF: All Stars will catch on in the US - a market where side-scrolling beat-em-up mobile games aren’t super popular - Sim explained that the genre didn’t need to be a top-seller for Netmarble’s title to be successful.
That’s what we believe: if you change the game you will change the trend,” Sim said.Simon Sim, Netmarble US CEO
The company has experience pioneering mobile game genres, Sim continued. Netmarble beta launched Lineage 2 Revolution in South Korea in late 2016 at a time when mobile MMORPGs weren’t popular. Back in January, the game crossed $1.5 billion in player spend, according to Sensor Tower.
It’s possible that KoF: All Stars could kick off its own trend in the US. “That’s what we believe: if you change the game you will change the trend,” Sim said.
That doesn’t mean every game will work everywhere - the company tweaks its games slightly for each market for legal compliance and for playerbase taste. Asian markets don’t mind the randomness of true ‘gacha’ systems, while Western and US players prefer a more expected reward system that grants, say, a guaranteed five-star character or one from a certain game. As a result, KoF: All Stars has three distinct versions for Japan, South Korea, and the upcoming US/Western release.
But Netmarble isn’t just trying to hit big with already-popular IPs - the company aims to release a popular game featuring its own intellectual property, for obvious financial reasons (licensing fees, etc). Sim used Stone Age as an example (Stone Age Begins first came out in 2016), but when asked if they had new games to announce from its IPs, he only had one thing to say: stay tuned.
Image credit: TechRadarTrend 4: Phonemakers are still committed to local gaming, not streaming
In the last few years, phonemakers have released handsets aimed at gamers that pack high specs and special modes that optimize phone gaming. One of these, the Chinese OEM Black Shark, just released its second phone (the Black Shark 2) in April - but it’s already looking toward the future.
The company didn’t show off its anticipated Black Shark 5G, which some reports say could come out before 2020, but Black Shark VP of Yang Sun, VP Marketing of Black Shark Global, had serious thoughts about how the next year of gaming might change - specifically, with hardware.
Currently, the best phones for gaming are high-specced flagships, but specialized handsets that pack in more features specifically for playing games. The Black Shark 2 is one of these, and its additions range from the obvious (a liquid cooling system to lower internal temperatures during intense gaming sessions) to the subtle (large antennas so players can won’t impede signal wrapping their fingers around the phone).
Others, like the Red Magic 3, have ‘shoulder’ touch buttons. If you’re playing locally, these handsets provide the best gaming experience.
But 5G and cloud gaming could alter how we think of mobile gaming devices. 5G will have obvious benefits, like faster internet speeds and lower latency, which will likely help across the board. It could take awhile for these changes to affect consumers, with all the network and server infrastructure that still needs to be built.
And 5G-compatible devices will probably be expensive for the next three years until the tech trickles down to more affordable handsets. Even the Black Shark 3 coming in 2020, which will pack Qualcomm’s next 5G-capable chipset, will almost surely be as pricey as the last.
Image credit: TechRadar
Instead of relying on your local hardware, cloud gaming shifts the processing to massive server farms; upcoming services like Google Stadia and Microsoft xCloud promise to deliver console/PC-level performance to any device that can stream media. We simply won’t need local hardware anymore - not to the extreme degree it’s at right now, anyway.
Mobile devices would need failproof connectivity, of course, but the other major priority to reach parity with PC and console gaming lies in improving displays. Smartphones and tablets lag behind in screen clarity and quality; eventually, cloud gaming would reduce the choice between mobile, tablet and PC to which size screen you’d like to game on.
There are other obstacles limiting mobile gaming, like inferior screen controls vs. gamepads - and even hardware limitations. There are tricks Black Shark is ready to build into its phones that they claim will bring mobile gaming closer to parity with PC and console, like interpolating game framerates of 30 frames per second to imitate 60fps - but it’s the hardware that restricts them. If Qualcomm opened up their chip tech to Black Shark, the company claims it could improve the mobile gaming experience.
Which would help the chicken-and-egg situation that has kept mobile gaming stagnant for years: why build a better experience if there aren’t games that need it? And why would developers raise the production level of their games if they’re only playable on less-accessible higher-spec phones? Something needs to come along to break this quagmire.
Perhaps it is 5G, or cloud gaming, or even next year’s Black Shark 3, which the representative told me is “just completely other stuff.” Sea changes are most likely coming...but slowly.
Image credit: TechRadarTrend 5: 5G is coming - and how will it change mobile gaming?
Tucked between IndieCade, Sega/Atlus and Nintendo’s massive floorspace at E3 2019, Verizon had a simple presence: one screen on each side of a square booth, each showing off a different mobile game developed during a game jam the carrier held in December 2018. All were made to show off the potential of 5G.
Like many games made during a jam, these had easily-grasped concepts: Knights on a Rocket, for instance, featured two knights battering each other while trying to steer themselves through an asteroid field. The point, one of the game’s developers Kevin Harper told TechRadar, was to showcase 5G technology.
If you could stream in far more data - at the game jam, Harper and his team saw 1Gbps download from Verizon’s temporary 5G setup - then you could make a game that relied on assets downloaded very very quickly. You could see the result as asteroids came hurtling quickly but seamlessly at his game’s knights, without any visible network slowdown.
“Techwise [5G is] there, but the infrastructure needed is huge."Kevin Harper, game developer
Another game in the Verizon booth featured a simple dagger shooting up the side of a pillar and veering from side to side dodging obstacles - simple enough gameplay, but the mesmerizing, shimmering lighting effects were console-level quality.
Current mobile games can’t pull this off, even those adapted from console/desktop titles. Fortnite, for example, is “very much a mobile build,” Harper said.
5G could enable much more dynamic gameplay...eventually. “Techwise it’s there, but the infrastructure needed is huge,” Harper said. By his estimation, we won’t see that 5G-enabled next-generation of mobile gaming arrive in 2020. Next year will be about validating the technology first, then seeing if and where it can be useful to consumers.
When it arrives, Harper sees a mobile gaming future much like Black Shark’s representative: devices will require much less hardware, essentially narrowing their development priorities down to handsets that process video streamed in over the air and send inputs back to servers.
That’s a potentially scary proposition for OEMs that have justified ever-higher flagship phone prices by including higher and higher-specced hardware. “But there’s definitely an opportunity for someone to take advantage of,” Harper noted.
Even with less complex devices that just stream video, one roadblock to 5G mobile gaming looms large: carrier data caps, which seem prohibitively limiting compared to the massive data speeds 5G is capable of. These, Harper noted, are ‘artificially imposed’ and hopefully ripe for change before a single night of gaming wipes out your data allocation for the month - but we’ll have to wait and see how carriers meet customer needs when the next-gen networks expand beyond the handful of coverage pockets that exist today.
- E3 2019 is the biggest gaming event of the year. TechRadar is reporting live from LA, telling you all about the biggest announcements of the week, from epic game trailers to shocking release date reveals. Follow our expert analysis of the keynotes and what we see on the E3 show floor.
The operators behind the GandCrab ransomware have announced that they are closing up shop after almost a year and a half in which they claimed to have earned $2bn from ransom payments.
GandCrab rose in popularity among cybercriminals after the operators began to market their services on underground criminal sites in January of 2018. Since then, its creators have become some of the most dominant actors in the ransomware space.
News that GandCrab is shutting down came from security researchers Damian and David Montenegro who have closely followed the exploits of the ransomware on the underground hacking and malware forum Exploit.in. It was there that they discovered a post from the GandCrab operators in which they said they are shutting down their operation.
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In the post, the operators said that the ransomware has earned over $2bn with average weekly payments of $2.5m while they personally earned over 150m. The GandCrab operators went on to explain their future plans, saying:
“We are leaving for a well-deserved retirement. We have proven that by doing evil deeds, retribution does not come. We proved in a year you can earn money for a lifetime. We have proved that it is possible to become number one not in our own words, but in recognition of other people.”GandCrab
In the announcement, the operators also said that they have stopped promoting the ransomware while requesting that affiliates stop distributing it within 20 days. Additionally, their forum post is scheduled to be deleted at the end of the month.
The operators even encouraged victims to pay for decryption now as their keys will be deleted at the end of the month. Hopefully though, they release the keys once they shut down as other large ransomware operations have done in the past.
GandCrab's operators have always operated a bit differently than their counterparts though, using taunts, jokes and references to organizations and researchers in their code. Another such example is the fact that the operators decided to use domain names for their Command & Control servers which were based on organizations and websites known for ransomware research.
While it is good news that GandCrab is finally shutting down, cybercriminals are likely working right now to fill the gap it will leave in the ransomware space.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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.
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
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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
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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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.
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.
- Take a look at our roundup of the best video editors
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.
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.
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.
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)
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.
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.
- We’ve hand-picked the best graphics cards for your video needs
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.
- See what Amazon has in store for this summer's Prime Day sales
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.
- Google Home Hub vs Amazon Echo Show: battle of the smart displays
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.
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.
- We’ve also chosen the best free email client if you don’t want to pay anything
- Want your company or services to be added to this buyer’s guide? Please email your request to email@example.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: PixabayOther 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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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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?
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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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.
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.
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