Monday, November 23, 2015

IT News Head Lines (Techradar) 24/11/2015


China's Pepsi Phone has been unveiled
China's Pepsi Phone has been unveiled
It was confirmed last month that an official Pepsi Phone would be coming in the near future and after much speculation, it has finally been unveiled.
Though it has Pepsi branding, the Pepsi Phone is part of a crowdfunding campaign by Koobee (which closes on December 3) and is aimed exclusively at the Chinese market.
Essentially a rebranded Koobee H7, the Pepsi Phone sports a 5.5-inch 1080p display on 2.5D curved glass, a MediaTek MT6592 1.7GHz octa-core processor, 2GB RAM, 16GB internal storage and dual SIM support (you can use the second slot for microSD expansion up to 64GB).
It's also got a 5-megapixel front-facing camera (presumably to take crisp shots of yourself enjoying a refreshing Pepsi), while on the rear you'll find a 13-megapixel camera with a fingerprint sensor right below it.
The Pepsi Phone comes in Silver, Gold and Blue, and is being released in two different versions: the P1 (AU$108/US$78/£51), which is limited to (an already sold out) 1000 units and is bound to carrier China Mobile, and the P1s (AU$153/US$110/£72), which is still available and open to the rest of the world's radios.

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How SMBs can use mobile marketing to grow their business
How SMBs can use mobile marketing to grow their business
Today's consumers are using their mobile phones and handheld devices to engage with organisations so much that it would be foolish for small business owners to ignore the market opportunity. But that means more than just whacking a 'redesign for mobile' plug-in on your website and hoping for the best.
Smartphones and tablets actually offer far more ways to reach out and grab potential customers, and they often come with a much lower price tag than retooling a web presence.
If you run an SMB or have a low marketing budget, these tips can definitely help you get the most mobile-specific promotional opportunities.

Call on me

The most obvious technology a mobile phone offers has neither a laptop or desktop PC does well is the ability to make calls.
James Blews, an online marketing and SEO consultant, has seen clients enjoy an increase in calls when moving from a text based to an image based 'click to call' link on websites.
"Probably the most impactful activity was using 'click to call' advertising in Google AdWords and Facebook Ads," he says. "Our price per click value never increased, but the click was a guaranteed phone call."
The only thing lost when a customer does call you is the 'click path' that leads to the sale. Kyle Christensen, VP of marketing at call intelligence platform Invoca, says the most successful retailers will optimise for the entire customer journey – not just between pages or links, but offline too. "Many of us aren't equipped to analyse and automate the inbound call experience in the same way we are for clicks," he says.
Invoca's service offers you a phone number that lets the customer intelligence continue when the call starts. Code can be added to an advertisement or website that tells you where and when calls originate; identifies keywords that can connect to a specific promotion, and cements the results into metadata that can tell you what is and isn't working from voice data rather than just click traffic.

Mobile only

One of the other advantages of mobile traffic is that you can tell where your customers are. Even services where individual users haven't opted in can reveal a wealth of market data.
"Triggers based on weather, geography, stock market, or location can be used easily on mobile devices and don't need cookies or other identification technology," says Diaz Nesamoney, CEO of ad platform Jivox.
Mobile first strategy consulting firm Purplegator recently put such an approach into practise. Surveys revealed that a lot of people making the four hour drive from LA to Las Vegas hadn't booked accommodation before leaving, so the company sent ads for their off-strip hotel client through the Waze directions app and the hotel enjoyed a jump in business.
When we think of mobiles we also tend to think of apps in the smartphone, but some of the most effective tools have been part of the mobile communications infrastructure for much longer.
According to research by the Australian Interactive Media Industry Association, SMS is still far more widely used than apps and data, and that's a huge market not many companies are tapping nowadays.
75 percent of Americans and 89 percent of Australians' own a smartphone, but that means three million people in Australia and 80 million in the US are beyond the reach of your cool and expensive mobile website.
But SMS has a low cost, is easy for users to access and action, and can reach everybody. Dimitri Tsitsikas, director of strategic relationships of MessageMedia, also thinks SMS's true advantage is the attention paid to it by the average user.
He says 97 percent of all SMS marketing messages are opened – 83 percent opened within one hour, whereas many emails received on mobiles are ignored completely. We also retain mobile numbers on our devices for longer than any other contact method.
"After ten years in the business SMS industry I haven't come across an industry [it] isn't effective in," he says. Even when used as appointment reminders, he says SMS reduces attendance failure by 30 percent.
What's more, 64 percent of respondents to a recent survey would rather text than call for tech support, according to Gigi Peccolo, content manager for cloud communication platform Onereach. One client of the company who adopted messaging for tech support resulted in a 33 percent call reduction overall.
"They did it partly by implementing 'channel pivot', which lets users switch from interactive voice response to text by pressing a button on their phone," Peccolo says. "They could then engage in a conversation over SMS instead of having to wait on hold."

Future tech

They haven't taken off in a big way yet, but if you've bought a mobile in the last year or two, it's certain to have near field communications (NFC) and/or radio-frequency identification (RFID) hardware.
But there are early adopters, and they're seeing real results. The MPact platform, from technology provider Zebra, uses WiFi and Bluetooth to capture analytics in the retail environment.
When customers opt-in to receive updates about products and promotions, the metrics can reveal which aisles and products are most popular and even the purchase history and behaviour (like which section they most visit) of individual shoppers.
Zebra claims just over half of the people they surveyed would opt in to receiving coupons applicable to their location amongst the wares, over 40 percent would use location-based assistance and a little over a third would be happy to receive text messages from staff about product information and availability while they browse.
And with the big pushes behind Apple Pay and Google Wallet, NFC tech might finally be ready to go mainstream. Instead of worrying about browser versions, OS updates and other technical issues, marketers can piggyback the channel direct to consumers, much like they do with apps through the various app stores.
Even users who don't use Apple Pay will still have the app for it on their phone or iPad, and that allows for a whole new portal for advertising, loyalty programs, promotions and more.
With sales of handheld devices said to have overtaken laptops and PCs this year, it might be the new final frontier in SMB marketing.

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Battle of the Bands: Guitar Hero Live vs Rock Band 4
Battle of the Bands: Guitar Hero Live vs Rock Band 4
After a five year hiatus, 2015 is the year that plastic peripheral music games have made their triumphant return. With new, next-gen consoles like the PS4 and Xbox One offering more processing power than ever before, there was a massive gap in the market for the popular party games.
But how do they compare? Guitar Hero Live introduces not one, but two new play modes to the genre, along with a fundamentally different play mechanism, while Rock Band has focussed its efforts on further perfecting the whole band mentality.
With both titles here at techradar's Australian office, we decided to throw the games against each other in an old-school rock off. To make matters interesting, each of us has a slightly different take on the rhythm music genre – Rob is a real-life musician with a real-life band, Stephen is a bit of a music game expert, and Nick is a relative newcomer to the music game scene.
Together, our little band tackled both Guitar Hero Live and Rock Band 4. And here are our thoughts:

For those about to rock

Rock Band 4 vs Guitar Hero Live
Nick: It's been a long time coming, but the rhythm music genre is back. Interestingly though, after years of copying each other, Rock Band and Guitar Hero have approached next gen with very different ideas.
Slams, you're a plastic guitar God from way back - what are your initial thoughts of the next gen offerings?
Stephen: It's true – I do like to rock and roll all night (and part of every day), so I was looking forward to the glorious return of the plastic instrument genre of video games.
Though I've been eagerly anticipating the return of Guitar Hero and Rock Band for several years, I immediately wondered what these titles would have to offer gamers in 2015.
For Rock Band 4, it's really offering more of the same, basically repackaging last gen's experience with some slightly nicer (and much more expensive) instruments.
The question is: does it really need to do more than that? The game was damn-near perfect last gen, so why fix what isn't broken?
It's a question that its rival, Guitar Hero Live, has completely ignored.
Rock Band 4 vs Guitar Hero Live
While the new Rock Band feels unchanged, Activision has taken its Guitar Hero franchise right back to the drawing board, with a brand new guitar and a split gameplay model that sees you rock out in front of a 'live' crowd on one hand, and play along to a streaming, MTV-style music channel on the other.
When it comes to both titles' approaches to this generation, it feels like Guitar Hero Live is the only one that couldn't have existed on last gen consoles.
Rob, you're a bonafide rock star, how do you feel about the new Rock Band and Guitar Hero games?
Rob: I agree, Slams. Guitar Hero Live is definitely the game that feels like it couldn't have existed on the PS3 or Xbox 360.
Maybe it has something to do with the fragile egos of us musician types, but the use of a 'live' crowd that responds positively or negatively to your playing is surprisingly effective in creating an atmosphere. It really adds to proceedings. While some of the other performers on the stage might seem like the last people you'd want to form a band with – backstage bust ups would be a certainty – Freestyle Games has really nailed the whole rock star fantasy element.
After playing Guitar Hero Live and flicking over to Rock Band 4 I found myself becoming bored quite quickly, and wanting to change back. The crude animations that Rock Band has always offered just didn't cut it anymore. It was like I'd been thrilled watching Prince wailing on his guitar and then all of a sudden I was confronted with *shudder* Nickelback.
Rock Band 4 vs Guitar Hero Live
The same goes for the guitars. Guitar Hero's use of six buttons in two rows of three requires more concentration than Rock Band, which sticks with the five coloured buttons down one end and five for soloing higher up. After playing Guitar Hero, Rock Band felt kind of shallow.
That's not to say that Guitar Hero is perfect. Maybe it's the rock purist in me, but something about playing guitar in time to the electronic beeps and squeals from Skrillex's latest abomination really irked me. There's a reason DJ Hero never really took off.

While my guitar gently beeps

Nick: I found the two rows of buttons on the Guitar Hero controller incredibly challenging at first. It was like my brain had to almost completely rewire itself in order to make them shift up and down.
But I didn't get bored by Rock Band. I actually felt that the Rock Band Guitar was significantly better in almost every way.
I really hated the "clickety-clack" sound every time you strum on the Guitar Hero guitar, and the fact you have to stick a Bluetooth dongle into the PS4 in order to use it feels very last-gen. Given the Rock Band instruments manage to connect without taking up a USB port, this really just seems like laziness.
I also enjoyed the new freestyle solo element of Rock Band, which introduces a new rhythm element and the five higher buttons up the neck.
I definitely don't think the Rock Band guitar is worth double the cost of Guitar Hero Live's guitar (which is what it costs in shops around here), but it certainly did have a quality advantage over Activision's unit. Nailing a solo section in Rock Band felt way more satisfying for me than in Guitar Hero.
Rock Band 4 vs Guitar Hero Live
Less appealing, I think across both games, is the track listing. The fact of the matter is I didn't recognise the vast majority of songs in either game. But that said, I really like Guitar Hero's approach: short sets with different bands to unlock songs, or jump into GH Live TV, which is like interactive 80s MTV on crack.
Rock Band does have the benefit of porting old downloaded tracks forward (so long as you've stayed in the same console family), but given my Best of Bon Jovi DLC from Rock Band 3 is on Xbox 360 and I was testing on PS4, that's not something I could take advantage of.
Stephen: I completely agree with you about the Rock Band 4 guitar. I actually really dislike the new button layout on the Guitar Hero axe, and find that its build quality makes it feels like a cheap toy.
While I find that Rock Band 4's on-disc tracklist is severely lacking in quality songs, things do get much better once you've brought your old DLC purchases back into the fold.
Annoyingly, there is no option to automatically download these songs. You actually have to manually scroll through over 1,300 tracks in order to find the ones you've purchased before. this feels like poor design on Harmonix's part.
Thankfully, this gives you the opportunity to grab a few other tracks that you may have missed last generation.
Sure enough, you'd have to spend a significant amount of money to get a tracklist that rivals what's available in Guitar Hero Live's TV mode, but the fact that Harmonix actually uses 4-track masters for all of its songs, and that it uses, in my opinion, vastly superior note charts, makes it much better overall.
We should also compare the vocals in each game. In Rock Band, it feels like a significant part of the overall experience, whereas in Guitar Hero, it feels tacked-on and mostly worthless.

I'm singing in the game

Rob: The vocals in Rock Band are certainly miles ahead of Guitar Hero. I like the way Rock Band's hard and expert difficulty settings enable you to sing an alternate melody to the one on the original track, and provided the new melody works with the backing music the game will award you points for it. This isn't perfect, but works often enough, and Harmonix gets points for trying.
Comparatively, Guitar Hero's vocals have the appearance of an afterthought. The game's ability to register when a player is and isn't singing is very hit and miss, and it wasn't long before I started to lose interest. The fact that vocals aren't offered in conjunction with the 'live' crowd performances – Guitar Hero's greatest strength – is pretty disappointing, too.
Rock Band 4 vs Guitar Hero Live
Playing as the vocalist also further highlights the issue of both games' limited track selection. If you're playing along with the guitar or drums it doesn't really matter whether you know a song or not, because as long as you follow the prompts you'll get by just fine. Vocals are a different matter entirely, and I struggled to find songs that I knew the melody and lyrics to – yes I know the lyrics are provided for you, but good luck getting them out in time when you've never heard a particular song before.
Nick: Definitely agree. I think the vocals component of the games showcase the other major difference between the franchises – that is, Rock Band is a party game, best enjoyed with a few mates (and perhaps a few beers), whereas Guitar Hero Live is all about letting you live out the dream of being a real-life rock 'n' roll guitarist.
While you can technically have two GH guitars paired up and playing together, it is a case of two people playing the exact same thing, rather than creating a cohesive band environment.
I'd love to see Activision push the Live element of Guitar Hero a bit further. I love the sense of being on stage with a real band... But that's not enough for me. I want to start a band, playing the dingy club scene, and then rise up to the massive festival circuit. I want to be able to mix things up, playing online with friends in the same band, where they see the stage from a different perspective.
But even more than that, I want to be able to play on stage with my favourite bands, working through their greatest hits. And I want to do it in virtual reality for a truly immersive experience.
I don't think any of those things are too much to ask for on their own, and if Activision can pull them off, then Guitar Hero has got my money. Rock Band, on the other hand, can keep doing what it's doing, but it really needs to slash the price of its instruments – When a game costs more than the console you play it on, you know something is wrong.
Rock Band 4 vs Guitar Hero Live
Stephen: It's true that Rock Band 4 has got a serious price problem, especially when Guitar Hero Live's (admittedly lacklustre) double guitar set is going for less than half the price of the full Rock Band 4 band kit.
Pricing aside, I can't help but swear allegiance to Rock Band, as it provides a truly polished and undeniably fun multiplayer experience – it doesn't reinvent the wheel in any way, but why should it? Harmonix has pretty much perfected the music rhythm game at this point.
While I admire the new concepts Guitar Hero has brought to the table with its next generation reboot, I don't feel that its gameplay is anywhere near as fun as it should be, especially when it comes to singing duties (my favourite bit).
I mentioned earlier that I'm quite impressed by the potential of Guitar Hero Live's expanding tracklist, though I think developer FreeStyle Games should focus on music from actual rock bands, and leave the likes of Skrillex and Eminem to a potential DJ Hero reboot somewhere down the line. Like Rob said, standing on stage and playing guitar to a bunch of 'wub wub' noises feels stupid and breaks the illusion in a major way.
Like Nick said, I think the future of Guitar Hero Live will be in the expanding of its Live portion. Bringing real bands into the mix and giving the player the ability to stand on stage and play along with them is a brilliant idea.
Rob: I think both games have their flaws, but if I was going to fork out for one of them it would have to be Guitar Hero Live.
Rock Band may have perfected the music rhythm game, but is that more true this time around than last? I don't see any incentive to hand over a wad of cash for the same basic experience, especially when the price is so ridiculously inflated.
And yes, I know Guitar Hero's instrument feels cheap, but not significantly more so than Rock Band's. They're both kind of crappy, but at least Guitar Hero prices its instrument accordingly.
I'm impressed that Guitar Hero Live is trying to do something different. It's not there yet – and to be completely honest I'm probably not going to buy either of these games – but it looks like Guitar Hero is on a path that'll lead to something I'd invest in.
I'm excited by what future installments of Guitar Hero have in store, whereas I feel like I can already see what Rock Band will offer. It includes PS2-quality animations and instruments so expensive you could go out and buy a real guitar, which you probably should instead.
Nick: Learning a guitar takes a lot of time and practice. Sometimes you just want to feel like a rock star without having to worry about any of that rubbish.
And yeah, I think Guitar Hero does a better job of giving you that sensation this time around. If you like gaming with plastic guitars, Guitar Hero Live is definitely a unique enough experience to be worthy of your money.
Rock Band 4, on the other hand, feels like a more complete game to me. It's got more to do, more to see, and the instruments are more robust.
But it has practically priced itself out of contention. I'm eagerly awaiting the moment retailers try and clear stock from shelves and I can pick it up cheaply, but until that happens, I'm more than happy playing Guitar Hero Live.

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Channel 10 plays on Telstra TV with launch of TenPlay app
Channel 10 plays on Telstra TV with launch of TenPlay app
When it comes to providing access to Australia’s leading SVOD and TV catch-up services, the Telstra TV is a robust little streaming box that has most, if not all, bases covered.
Though it’s still lacking ABC iView, the Telstra TV can officially cross TenPlay off the missing services list, as it’s available on the platform as of today.
With the addition of TenPlay, the Telstra TV will now be streaming to the most popular shows across the TEN, ELEVEN and ONE channels.

What’s Toadfish up to these days?

That means that Telstra TV owners will now be able to catch up on shows like MasterChef Australia, TBL Families, The Project 7pm, Mary: The Making Of A Princess, The 2015 ARIA Awards, Homeland, Madam Secretary, The Good Wife and Neighbours immediately.
Ten’s also got a big 2016 lineup that will be available to stream once it’s aired on TV, including shows like I’m A Celebrity...Get Me Out Of Here! and its new companion show I’m A Celebrity... Get Me Out Of Here! Now (certainly sounds more urgent, doesn’t it?), as well as Shark Tank, MasterChef Australia, The Bachelor Australia, Offspring, Australian Survivor, Brock, Long Lost Family and The Wrong Girl.
TenPlay joins catch-up services 9Jumpin, Plus7 and SBS On Demand on the Telstra TV, as well as the SVOD services Netflix, Presto and Stan.

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Running Man of Tech: Garmin Forerunner 630 vs TomTom Spark: the half marathon test
Running Man of Tech: Garmin Forerunner 630 vs TomTom Spark: the half marathon test

Race against the wrists

Before we start: this is a real life comparison in a race environment. It's not stress testing each device - it's working out which features I gravitated towards while trying to run as fast as possible. I'll do a more in-depth look later on, but just wanted to set out the stall before you began reading.
The comparison: Garmin's new Forerunner 630 costs £389 / $450 / around AU$630 (with the necessary heart rate monitor to get the most out of it), and it can track everything from sleep and steps to all the normal running metrics as well as advanced stuff like which foot is more dominant and theoretical maximum speeds.
The TomTom Spark comes in at a cheaper £150 / $249 /AU$349, but sticks with a rectangular monochrome screen - it's lower res, but doesn't really impact on the functionality of the device. The main win here is that the Spark offers Bluetooth playback, where MP3s stored on the watch can be streamed right to your ears without the need for a smartphone.
It's also got an inbuilt heart rate monitor, firing light under the skin to measure your pulse. It can take a while to get a reading (as it did here) but once it's worked out your rhythm, it's pretty good.
The two are two different devices, with the Forerunner 630 more advanced in its functionality (and therefore more expensive) and the Spark more of an entry level device - although one that can track swimming, running and cycling.

Let's get running

The test here was simple: run the Gosport Half Marathon faster than last year. I'll set the scene: this race is beautifully flat, run along the promenade of my home town. It's renowned for a) being a great PB race, given the lack of elevation, and b) being really rather cold thanks to being run in November.
The cold wasn't the issue this year - my word, it was windy. I managed about 91 and a half minutes in 2014, and I really wanted to beat that time. The blustering was going to make that tricky.
It's also an 'open road' race, which means headphones are banned - it would be too dangerous if you couldn't hear cars coming or marshall instructions. Therefore the TomTom Spark's abilities were a little limited, which was a real shame.
TomTom Spark vs Garmin Forerunner 630
Here was the first test: which watch would structure my race the best? Being able to pace yourself is a key element, and both have good systems. The Spark lets you choose a race distance and a time so you can pace against it - Garmin does the same, but you can also download a previous race and run against yourself… although doing this on the Garmin Connect website proved to be a very, very difficult task.
Anyway, the gun went off (well, a man with a klaxon) and we were off. I looked down at the Garmin, and it told me I was '89 minutes behind last year'... well, something had corrupted there. Clearly it wanted the same watch to work properly.
This was particularly irritating as I'd been banking on being able to race myself exactly - the benefit of using this Garmin function is that if you're slower at the start and fast at the end, you'll be matched against that rather than an average pace.
With that lost, I decided to switch to the performance metrics on offer: being able to see which foot I was using more dominantly, work out my performance levels or just keep an eye on my heart rate.
But back to the start, and the TomTom, in 'average pace' mode was working nicely. The start straight saw it bleep and tell me I was in second place compared to the average pace (a nice touch that helps motivate) and a few strides later I was back in front.
Then came the tricky bit: trying to gain as much time as I could while shielded from the wind, as it was going to ruin my race otherwise. I pushed for the first three kilometres, watching the distance ahead rise to 128 metres.
The Garmin, on the other hand, was proving to be a little less useful now the virtual race function was down. The Performance Condition function, which uses your heart rate variability (the difference in beat rhythms) to decide how well you're performing and how much is left in the tank. I was told I was at +3 at the start, where I think it goes up to +10.
That wasn't enough, and a few km later it had dropped to -1 - I was hoping that this was just because it was a new watch and hadn't calibrated my 'fuel tank' yet, as otherwise I wasn't even going to finish this race, let alone beat my time.
I also found that skipping through the screens was a right ball-ache, simply because I needed to push the touchscreen quite hard, rather than tapping the buttons on the side like with the Forerunner 920XT I usually use.

Get me to the end, please

The good news is the heart rate seemed to be pretty accurate, with both devices noting I was pushing up to around the 170bpm mark. Not bad for the roughly 4:10 minutes per km I was going at, so I was pretty chirpy.
The TomTom isn't much use at working out your personal heart rate zones, so using the function that tells you if you're warming up, running easily or really hard didn't quite correlate - so I kept it on the race pace screen, which, at halfway, told me I was nearly 300m up on last year.
The second half of the race was typified by one thing: wind. And no, not because I was breaking it, you immature fool.
TomTom Spark vs Garmin Forerunner 630
The 'out and back' nature of this race meant that the return leg, with less wind, allowed me to recover a bit, but nothing prepared me for slogging it through the wind for 3 and a bit miles again. It was torture, watching my speed drain away and the average pace on the Spark dropping fast.
I watched the Garmin tell me my pulse was shooting up and my pace each kilometre was dropping. I just did what I could, gritted my teeth and hoped for the turning point to come soon.
The run back was fairly uneventful, but both watches came into their own here. My pulse dropped to 165bpm, so I knew I had more in the tank - Garmin's alerts are a little more focused here, and are a good motivation.
The last 5 kilometres were hard, but I managed to push on a bit to use that extra pace in the tank and keep my heart rate up. One of the key elements of the 630 is its ability to work out your 'lactate threshold pace', the pace and heart rate I can push at before exploding, and that hasn't been generated yet… but I reckon it'll be about 172bpm and 4:08 min per km.
A sprint finish later and I was told by both watches that I'd beaten my time - the predicted race time was still working on the Forerunner, it seems, even if racing my past self throughout was not.
However, the Garmin had been a bit generous in tracking, telling me I'd done about 150m more than I had, where the TomTom was pretty consistent. The bigger disparity here was the battery life though - the TomTom was dead a few minutes after the end of the race (although in fairness I'd had the backlight on the entire time).
The Garmin Forerunner 630 was still going very strongly though, with only about 25% lost at the most - hugely impressive. In fact, subsequent tests have shown me that this thing can go for about a week even with a run every day - immense.
The TomTom Spark is a splendid watch and great for the newer runner - it's a lot cheaper and the amount of stuff in there - heart rate monitor, Bluetooth music playback and race guidance - impresses me a lot.
But once the Forerunner 630 has 'learned me' and the key metrics have dialled in on the Forerunner 630 I think I'd prefer that as a watch for racing - the ability to fine tune your race is amazing, although it's so annoying that downloading a previous race doesn't work well enough. Plus I'm never going to be a fan of using a touchscreen during a race.
However, battery life is really important, and the 630 has that in spades - but the great news is, both are excellent choices, and it just depends how much you want to spend.

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How to fix Windows 10 privacy issues
How to fix Windows 10 privacy issues

Tighten privacy in Windows 10

How to fix Windows 10 privacy issues
There has been a lot of discussion about the amount of data Windows 10 collects about you – is it really making your computing life easier, or are there genuine privacy concerns that need addressing?
Whatever the answer, it's also true Windows 10 provides settings that allow you to choose what to share and what to keep private.
The problem is, those settings are scattered all over your computer, so finding them all is time-consuming and not always that easy. Don't panic, though, because O&O ShutUp 10 is looking out for you.
This free tool – which runs directly from your hard drive – provides convenient access to the privacy settings you may want to examine and tweak. Read on to discover how to quickly and painlessly choose what content you want to share with Microsoft.

1. Get O&O ShutUp

How to fix Windows 10 privacy issues
Go to O&O's website in your web browser and click the green Download button. Save to your Downloads folder – once done, right-click the folder and choose 'Extract All…'
Click 'Extract', then open the OOSU10 folder that's created and double-click OOSU10.exe, clicking 'Yes' when prompted.

2. Take a quick tour

How to fix Windows 10 privacy issues
Your current privacy and security settings will be displayed in a list, divided into various sections, with a slider indicating if the setting has been disabled (green) or not (red).
Click a setting's title and a panel will appear with a full explanation. The green tick, yellow triangle and red exclamation mark indicate whether the setting can be disabled without ramifications.

3. Create Restore point

How to fix Windows 10 privacy issues
Rather than flick each item on or off individually, you can quickly apply settings using the Actions button. Before you begin, however, take steps to protect yourself by choosing 'Create a system restore point (recommended)'.
Click 'Yes' when prompted to confirm your action – you're now ready to tighten your PC's privacy and security.

4. Take recommended steps

How to fix Windows 10 privacy issues
Click the Actions button again, but this time choose 'Apply all recommended settings'. You'll see all items marked with a green tick have their switches flicked to 'On'.
You've just restricted Windows 10's access to your PC and increased your privacy as a result. But don't stop there – now it's time to see what other settings you can disable.

5. Review other settings

How to fix Windows 10 privacy issues
Now roll your mouse over each setting marked with a yellow triangle and click the question mark button.
Review what the setting is and whether or not you need to use it – if you don't envisage it serving any purpose (such as biometrical features), then click the red switch to turn it to green and increase your privacy further.

6. Tame Windows Update

How to fix Windows 10 privacy issues
If you're unhappy with how Windows Update operates, scroll down and review its settings. We suggest selecting 'Activate deferring of upgrades', which postpones non-critical updates for up to a month as well as 'Automatic driver updates through Windows Update disabled'.
Other settings should be left as they are based on the recommended settings.

7. Undo tweaks

How to fix Windows 10 privacy issues
You can now close O&O ShutUp – your settings will remain in place. Should you run into problems, simply relaunch the app again, locate the troublesome setting in question and flick the switch back from green to red to disable it.
If all else fails, open the Actions button and click 'Apply all recommended settings' or even 'Undo all changes'.

8. Your privacy secured

How to fix Windows 10 privacy issues
Congratulations – you've just taken decisive steps to ensuring your PC isn't leaking unwanted information to all and sundry. You've also reined in the worst excesses of Windows Update.
Keep checking the 'History of changes' section at the O&O ShutUp web page – new updates are regularly released, some of which offer more hidden settings to tweak.

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BLACK FRIDAY: Early Black Friday deals in the US for November 22: PS4, Fitbit and iPhone 6S
BLACK FRIDAY: Early Black Friday deals in the US for November 22: PS4, Fitbit and iPhone 6S
Black Friday deals begin this week in the US, and American stores are already rolling out discounts on top gifts like the Sony PS4, Xbox One, Apple's iPhone 6S and the Fitbit Charge activity tracker.
Yes, just in time for your Thanksgiving gorge on turkey, fitness trackers are finally going on sale, and the price drop puts them under $100. That's the discount shoppers have been waiting for.
The best early Black Friday deals in the US seem to be at Amazon, Walmart, Best Buy, GameStop and Target, with a few more on eBay every other day.
Although November 27 is the official date for Black Friday, these retailers are trying to stretch the sales period to the entire week (if not the month), with a culmination on Cyber Monday.
Here are the best Black Friday deals we've found so far, before they expire or sell out.

Best Black Friday deals in the US

Fitbit Charge has the best deal for fitness tracking members of your family at Amazon for $90
PlayStation TV deliver media and video game streaming to your television at Best Buy for only $20
Canon Rebel T5 EF-S 18-55mm IS II & EF 50mm f/1.8 II Kit may be refurbished, but it's also only $199 via Canon
LG 43LF5900 Smart LED TV sketches 43 inches but this television deal is just $399 at Amazon.
Samsung UN55JS7000 55" 4K SUHD Smart LED TV is an even more serious TV at $899 via eBay deals
Nintendo 2DS is going for a Blue Light Special discount at Walmart for $79

black friday deals

Gaming deals

Leading the Black Friday deals charge among video games consoles is the PlayStation 4, with its sales almost doubling that of Microsoft's Xbox One. Don't worry, they're both still at a decent price, closing in on the bargain bottom line of the Nintendo Wii U and 3DS.

PS4 Black Friday deals

The PS4 500GB Uncharted: Nathan Drake Collection bundle is our favorite because it pairs Sony's Indiana Jones-style games trilogy with the console. It costs $347 at Amazon and $349 at Walmart.
PS4 1TB bundle with Call of Duty Black Ops 3 doubles the storage of the gaming system and adds Activision's landmark first-person shooter for a Black Friday discount of $429 at Amazon.
PS4 bundle with Nathan Drake Collection, Call of Duty Black Ops 3 and controller charging station combines the three and adds accessory extra for $399 at Costco.
PS4 Star Wars: Battlefront bundle includes the new game, plus classics downloads Super Star Wars, Bounty Hunter, Jedi Star Fighter and Racer Revenge, all for $349 at Amazon and $349 at Walmart.
PS4 Star Wars Battlefront Limited Edition bundle is the ultimate Black Friday deal for Jedi fans. It doesn't come out till November 17, but is available to pre-order for $399 at Walmart.
Alternatively, the PS4 Disney Infinity 3.0 Limited Edition Star Wars Bundle combines the console with the Disney Infinity 3.0: Star Wars Edition Bundle Kit and four classic game for $399 at Walmart.
PS4 bundled with The Last of Us Remastered and Call of Duty: Ghosts lets you dual wield with two of last year's top-selling PlayStation 4 games. Right now, it's just $399 at Walmart.
PS4 Black Friday Bundle with GTA 5 and The Last of Us Remastered is another pairing of games that came out last year, but still worth investing in if you're an adult. It's $472 at Amazon.
PS4 Limited Edition Destiny The Taken King bundle brings you up to speed on the next-generation console and one of the most popular video games for $399 through Walmart.
PS4 bundle with Batman: Arkham Knight comes with a bonus controller discount. Other retailers bundle the Batman game alone (and it's pricier), but it's just $349 at GameStop.
The absolute cheapest PS4 Black Friday deal doesn't come with a game and it's used, but the price is right at $299 through Best Buy.
The inverse, the PS4 console in white, is also pre-owned and doesn't come with a game, but retails for a mere $339 at GameStop.

Xbox One Black Friday deals

Xbox One 1TB Halo 5: Guardians Limited Edition bundle is the best Black Friday deal for fans of the Mast Chief franchise, and costs just $479 at Amazon.
Xbox One Halo: The Master Chief Collection bundle brings last year's game and the 500GB console together with the best price being $349 at GameStop.
Want it in white? Xbox One Special Edition White Halo: The Master Chief Collection bundle is sold out, but when it is back in stock will cost $349 at GameStop. Until then it's $404 at Amazon.
Xbox One 500GB Gears of War: Ultimate Edition bundle in black is even cheaper on Black Friday, with prices currently at $325 through Amazon.
Want it in white (again)? Xbox One 500GB Gears of War Special Edition White bundle is a exclusive that is actually cheaper. Act fast, because its price is $329 only at Walmart.
Xbox One 1TB Limited Edition Forza Motorsport 6 bundle is ideal for racing fans who can handle the tight curves of this simulation game. It's best discount is $399 at Walmart.
Xbox One 1TB Madden NFL 16 bundle brings a bargain to the gridiron. Its best Black Friday deal so far make it $449 at Amazon.
Xbox One 1TB FIFA 16 Limited Edition bundle combines the other kind of football, soccer, with Microsoft's next-gen console. It's in stock for $399 at Walmart.
Xbox One 1TB Fallout 4 bundle gives you enough internal storage to save and re-save your game that could glitch any moment. Don't worry, the game is buggy, but fantastic, and costs $399 at Amazon.
Xbox One The LEGO Movie is the console bundle for the kids and the kids at heart. It's $345 through Amazon.
Xbox One 500GB standalone console does away with all of the game bundles, but clocks in at a cheaper price, one that matches the name of Halo's developer. It's $343 at Amazon.
Xbox One 1TB console bundle with three games includes Gears of War: Ultimate Edition, Rare Replay, and Ori the Blind Forest for $394 at Amazon.
Want a Kinect with that? Xbox One Kinect bundle with three games includes Dance Central Spotlight, Kinect Sports Rivals and Zoo Tycoon for $479 at Amazon.
Xbox One 500GB bundle with Assassin's Creed Unity adds the latest game in the Ubisoft franchise and retails for just $365 at Amazon.
Xbox One 1TB Rise of the Tomb Raider bundle is still available, but we could only find it in one store. It's price is $399 at Best Buy.
The Xbox One Elite bundle combines a 1TB console with the pro-level Xbox One Elite controller. It launches on December 1, but you can pre-order now for $499 at Amazon.
The cheapest Xbox One is at GameStop, which isn't always known for the best prices. It's inexpensive because it's pre-owned. It's in black for $299 at GameStop and white at $299 at GameStop.
Just in case this hot number sells out before Black Friday, there's another deal for a black Xbox One on sale for $299 at Amazon.

Wii U Black Friday deals

Black Friday deals for Nintendo Wii U console bundles are going to be hard to find because they always sell better than expected with families. Here's what we found so far, before mom and dad snap them up.
The Nintendo Wii U bundle Mario Kart 8 Deluxe pairs one of the best Wii U games with the 32GB system, and it's actually cheaper than buying the system without the game at just $299 at Amazon.
Wii U bundled with Super Mario 3D World and Nintendo Land is the best Black Friday deal if you want Nintendo's console and plumber pairing. It's sold out at Best Buy, so try for $349 at Amazon.
The Wii U bundle with Super Mario Maker gives you control over creating your own 2D levels, and it's a blast. Best of all, it's merely $299 at Walmart.
Wii U Skylanders Swap Force bundle is the cheapest Nintendo console with new Skylanders game on Black Friday (so far). Yes, it's the entry-level white 8GB console, but just $276 at Amazon.
Finding Wii U bundled with Splatoon is no easy task. It's sold out at Best Buy, but the very underrated Nintendo game is available for $399 at Amazon.
The cheapest Nintendo Wii U Black Friday deal comes with a few caveats. It's used, or "premium refurbished," and is the 8GB model. But it's an incredible $229 at GameStop.
Stepping things up to the Nintendo Wii U 32GB standalone black model, which is also used, brings the price up a bit to a still hard-to-pass-up $259 at GameStop.

Nintendo 3DS Black Friday deals

Nintendo is venturing into the mobile space, but all of its best portable games remain on the 3DS. It's going to be that way for some time. Here's the best way to save on the still viable handheld system.
The Nintendo New 3DS XL in Red, with the wholly-worth-it C Stick and larger display, is discounted a few dollars to $194 at Amazon.
The Nintendo New 3DS XL in Black is almost a cheap for Black Friday month. It costs $195 through Amazon and $195 at Walmart.
The same Nintendo New 3DS XL with a choice of game is a good deal if you're getting a game anyway, as it starts at $221 at Walmart.
Save some money with Nintendo 3DS XL in Black or Red without the C stick. It plays all of the same games and costs just $174 on Amazon.
Even cooler is the Nintendo New 3DS XL Hyrule Gold Edition. This exclusive, in stock for now, won't be available for long due to its cheaper price at $199 only at GameStop.
New 3DS XL Hyrule Gold Edition with Zelda Triforce Heroes bundles one of the best games on the Nintendo 3DS. It's $239 only at GameStop.
The cheapest Nintendo 3DS XL is the NES Edition Black Friday deal. It's a hidden gem locked away inside of an old Nintendo controller at $169 at GameStop.
Slightly cheaper is the same Nintendo 3DS XL NES Edition console at the used price of $139 pre-owned at GameStop.

Smartphone deals

iPhone and Android deals are on a lot of wish lists this Black Friday, and we're here to help point out the best bargains on AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile and Sprint.
Apple's iPhone 6S on AT&T moves to the US carrier's monthly plan, so you don't have to pay for the phone upfront. It starts at $21.63 a month at Best Buy.
The new iPhone 6S on Verizon is sticking to the usual two-year contract plan through some retailers on Black Friday. That means it starts at $199 and up at Best Buy.
iPhone 6S on Sprint also uses two-year contracts, though it sometimes offers lower monthly payments (which add up to more money over time). Best bet is to go with the $199 at Best Buy.
The iPhone 6S deals are rare. Even Apple's official store doesn't give Black Friday discounts on its smartphone because, really, it doesn't have to. It's usually out of stock come Christmas, anyway.

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TechRadar Deals: Best iPad Air 2 deals for Black Friday 2015
TechRadar Deals: Best iPad Air 2 deals for Black Friday 2015
Apple's iPad Air 2 is by some distance the best tablet on the planet, and on this page we're going to help you find one at the right price, whether it be a standalone ipad Air 2 wi-fi or an iPad Air 2 4G on contract.
Either way, this is a device that anyone using a tablet from 2012 or earlier should be thinking very strongly about upgrading to - it's that good.
The combination of lots more power compared to the original iPad Air, a far better screen, improved design and an upgraded OS make it the only real option for anyone who wants to buy a serious tablet - and that's before getting into the fact the tablet app ecosystem is so much stronger than on Android.
And the iPad Air 2 is even better now that iOS 8 is capable of scaling apps so seamlessly - the days of low-res iPhone apps are gone. It's another hammer blow to the Google tablet market, although you can still be fully confident that's going to catch up in quality soon.
ipad air 2 deals prices

Key iPad Air 2 specs:

OS: iOS 8.3 | Screen size: 9.7-inch | Resolution: 1536 x 2048 | Memory: 2GB | Storage: 16/64/128GB | Battery: 2703mAh (10 hours) | Rear camera: 8MP | Front camera: 1.2MP
+ Superbly powerful | + Lovely screen | - No volume silencer | - 16GB option not enough

Today's best iPad Air 2 deals and prices:

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Available Tags:TV , Windows , iPhone 6 , iPhone , TechRadar , iPad

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