Tuesday, November 24, 2015

IT News Head Lines (Techradar) 25/11/2015


We've got a good feeling about this: Star Wars VR arrives in December
We've got a good feeling about this: Star Wars VR arrives in December
For those eagerly awaiting the first fully VR Star Wars movie, you will get a tiny glimpse into this experience ahead of Star Wars: The Force Awakens when ILMxLAB releases a serialized VR experience.
Yes that's as cool as it sounds - ILMxLAB is the arm of Industrial Light and Magic that handles the AR and VR output, and it's going to be releasing a Google Cardboard-friendly offering as part of the deal with Google that launched this week.
The new VR content is scheduled for December 2, and you can pick up a specially designed cardboard from a Verizon store in the U.S. to experience the, uh, experience.
It's an early foray into a potentially thrilling new world of VR, and it will be the exciting fantasy worlds that we have created that are likely to be at the forefront of our virtual expansion.
Star Wars is an obvious candidate from the movie world to lure us into a 3D simulated world, but a huge number of our favourite TV shows and games are also seeking to position themselves at the cutting edge.
Via The Verge

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Windows tablets to fly off the shelves, while Apple's iPad merely treads water
Windows tablets to fly off the shelves, while Apple's iPad merely treads water
Apple's iPad may have been on the slide for a couple of years now, but it's not all doom and gloom in the tablet world – and in fact things are looking quite rosy for Windows devices.
This is according to the latest 'Tablet Operating System Forecast' report from Strategy Analytics, which shows that for the first nine months of this year, Windows tablets are up 58% on 2014, with total shipments for 2015 predicted to hit 22 million.
That will give Microsoft a 10% share of the tablet market, compared to 22% for Apple (remember the days when Cupertino owned practically the entire market?) and 68% for Android.
Projections for 2019 show an even healthier picture, with sales of Microsoft-powered slates predicted to hit 49 million units, more than double this year's tally.
Strategy Analytics reckons that four years down the line, Microsoft will have an 18% share of the tablet market, with Google on 59%, and Apple staying steady on 23%. So evidently the iPad Pro isn't seen as turning Cupertino's fortunes around longer-term, at least not according to this analysis (despite the fact that Strategy Analytics does state that Apple will strengthen its position in the enterprise and prosumer arenas with its new slate).
It's certainly Tim Cook's hope that the giant iPad will help to stop the sales rot which has set in quarter after quarter since the beginning of 2014.

Budget boost

What will help drive the success of Windows tablets? Despite having a more balanced approach in terms of pricing compared to Android, Windows budget offerings will still be plentiful, and these cheap and cheerful slates will help to push Microsoft's OS onwards and upwards.
Eric Smith, Senior Analyst, Tablet & Touchscreen Strategies Service at Strategy Analytics, commented: "Windows Tablet market share has dwindled in the mid-single digit range for the last few years but Windows devices now run the gamut from 2-in-1 Tablets by E-Fun in the US starting at $139 [around £90, or AU$190] retail, to Microsoft's Surface Book starting at $1499 [around £990, or AU$2080] retail.
"Power, graphics, and functionality aside, Windows 10 provides a stable base from which the ecosystem can grow and we are entering a world where Windows Tablets take significant market share from Android Tablets on the low end and compete head-to-head with iPad in the high and premium segments."

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Wondering why on Earth you'd need 12 tuners in a TV box? Here's the answer
Wondering why on Earth you'd need 12 tuners in a TV box? Here's the answer
There was a time, back when cathode rays were firing in our televisions, where a single tuner was all we demanded for our TV viewing, but those days are long gone.
UK satellite giant Sky's latest box, the Sky Q Silver, has a staggering 12 tuners built in, the Foxtel iQ3 has eight or ten depending on the SKU - but what are all of these for and why should you care?
At the most basic level, a tuner receives a signal which it converts into pictures and sound - and given that the vast majority of us only watch one screen at once you can understand why that was enough.
But a modern television set top box is not just catering for a single person, and as we enter the connected TV era, you quickly need to ramp up the amount of tuners.

12 tuners - 11 with jobs

Let's take the Sky Q Silver's 12 tuners - we can't find a box with more and it's next gen functionality really shines a light on why you need so many.
Let's start with the most obvious tuner - the one that's providing the picture on your television. That's one.
But like most advanced set top boxes the Sky Q Silver is also a DVR because people get really grumpy when they can't record whatever they want.
Recordings on a Sky Q
In a world with a handful of channels the concept of recording one thing and watching another was revolutionary, but we now have thousands of channels and the chances are that there will be several things that we want to record and watch later.
So four of Sky's tuners are for recordings - allowing you to record four shows concurrently - as well as watch a fifth. That's likely to be plenty...for the main room.


Now, previously the other rooms in the house have been served by boxes with their own tuners, but as we go into a connected world that may no longer be the case - with multi-room offerings increasingly likely to be served by the main box - essentially acting as a server.
Sky's box can support two of these boxes - that's tuner six and seven.
Sky Q mini - dumb streamers
We also like to be able to use our tablets and phones in the home for television, and with the right kind of box that can be live television streamed from our main set top box - giving you access to all of your content. That, of course, needs yet more tuners which is why you can add another two to our tally.

Nine lives

So that's nine - which leaves us with a three more in our leading box to work through.
If you want a nifty user interface that includes a live feed mini-guide, giving you a live glimpse at what's going on on the other channel then you can add a tenth.
Sky is using its 11th channel to keep the data up to date on the box and that leaves the magic 12 as a spare for 'future innovation' - that could well be UHD.
Aerials on the way out - slowly
It's still an enormous number, but for television providers they need to compete with the internet where the only limiting factor is the connection speed, and also future-proof themselves, so you can see the logic.
We're no longer okay with having to crowd around the single screen in our house cooing at Bing Crosby's Christmas wonderland or inviting the neighbours round to try and work out if that's an alien behind Neil Armstrong or just a blob on the magnifying glass.
And that means sophisticated ways to get our television wherever (and wherever) we want it.

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Will Apple Pay launch in China in time for Chinese New Year?
Will Apple Pay launch in China in time for Chinese New Year?
Apple Pay's quest for global domination continues. Following successful launches in the US and the UK, the company recently expanded to
Australia and Canada through a partnership with American Express.
And now, it appears the next big conquest is China, with the Wall Street Journal reporting today that the Cupertino company has inked deals with four of the major state-run banks to launch Apple Pay early next year.
That said, it's not quite a done deal, with sources reporting that the deal could still have to jump regulatory hurdles before Chinese iPhone users can tap their phones to pay for stuff.
Just like in other markets, the amount Apple receives from each transaction is also a bit of a sticking point in the negotiations.
Still, Apple is reportedly hoping to launch the service in time for the Chinese Spring Festival on February 8 next year.

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Netflix bags two more original movies in Girlfriend's Day and Mercy
Netflix bags two more original movies in Girlfriend's Day and Mercy
Determined to show the world that on-demand is the future of cinema, Netflix has picked up two more films for theatrical and digital distribution.
Following on from the success of its acquired film, Beasts of No Nation, Netflix has bought the rights to the upcoming ‘noir comedy’ Girlfriend’s Day, starring Bob Odenkirk (Better Call Saul), as well as the home invasion thriller, Mercy, from writer/director Chris Sparling (Buried).
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Girlfriend’s Day sees Odenkirk play a greeting card writer who’s framed for murder and must clear his name.
Mercy tells the story of four brothers who return home to tend to their dying mother and wind up in a home invasion situation.

Saying hello to Hollywood

Though exact dates have not been given, each film will be receive a simultaneous release in theatres and on Netflix in 2016.
Girlfriend’s Day and Mercy are just the latest acquisitions in Netflix’s movie arsenal – the company recently financed the upcoming Brad Pitt film, War Machine, to the tune of $60 million, and also dropped $50 million on Okja, from Snowpiercer director, Bong Joon-ho.
Netflix also has a deal with Adam Sandler to produce four feature films for the service, starting with the “comedy” western, The Ridiculous 6.

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Updated: Best Amazon Prime Instant Video TV shows: 25 essential Amazon Prime TV series
Updated: Best Amazon Prime Instant Video TV shows: 25 essential Amazon Prime TV series

Best Amazon Prime Instant Video TV shows

Amazon Prime Instant Video
Amazon had a stuttering start when it came to taking on Netflix in the big streaming battle and it wasn't until the company put its full weight behind original programming that it started to see some real gains.
In the past three years, Amazon Prime has grown into a media powerhouse. Taking, and in some ways surpassing, Netflix's self-serving model to produce its own content, Amazon now has a bevy of television shows that are begging to be watched. The choice of what to watch is a difficult one, but that's where we come in.
TechRadar has curated a list of the best Amazon Prime Instant Video TV shows around. Chosen by the team, these are the shows streamed in the US that are "Instant" classics primed to offer hours of compulsive viewing.
It's worth noting these are shows that can be watched instantly when you have Amazon Prime access. There are many more shows you can watch through Amazon but these have to be purchased to be viewed. We will keep this list constantly updated if any paid shows become free that we feel need to be included.

1. The Wire

Best shows on Amazon
Shows about cops and robbers were a dime a dozen in the late '90s, early 2000s. It seems like every week there was a new crime drama that either took place in the courthouse or out on the streets where gritty, foul-mouthed badges upheld the law with a sidearm and implacable morals.
The Wire had some similarities to those shows, sure, but if you watched carefully enough the profound differences started to appear. The series wasn't afraid to talk about race and racism in the courts, nor would it back down from showing the lives of people on the fringe of society. It gave you truly deep characters on both sides of the law that you wanted to succeed, and some you just couldn't wait to see bite a bullet. If you forgot what HBO looked like before swords and sorcery, The Wire is worth tapping into for one last ride around the block.
Seasons on Amazon Prime Instant Video: 5

2. Alpha House

Best Amazon Prime Instant Video TV shows
One of the first successes to come from the Amazon Originals program, Alpha House is the antithesis of Netflix's House of Cards. Yes it has a political edge but the back stabbing is replaced with a little bit of rib tickling. John Goodman is superb as one of four US senators shacked up in the same house.
While the humor may get a little too dry for some, there's warmth in the cynicism and a strange amount of believability in the characters. If you were to choose one comedy that lampoons US politics then go with Veep - but Alpha House is a decent second.
Seasons on Amazon Prime Instant Video: 2

3. The Americans

Best Amazon Prime Instant Video TV shows
The Americans is a cracking crime period thriller that follows the exploits of a couple of KGB agents posing as US citizens around the time Ronald Reagan became US president.
It may occasionally flit between the ridiculous and the sublime but you would expect nothing more from a show that's main conceit comprises characters duelling with duality. The '80s setting is fantastic, too, though there aren't enough shell suits for our liking.
Seasons on Amazon Prime Instant Video: 2

4. True Blood

Best shows on Amazon Prime Instant Video
One of the biggest advantages Amazon Prime Instant Video has over Netflix is its massive back-library of HBO programming that will make anyone with a monthly subscription salivate over. While each show could have its own entry on this list we instead chose to highlight the best of the bunch, starting with The Wire. A close, though vastly different second is True Blood, a show about the preternatural, social issues and sex. Lots and lots of sex. And if that tag line doesn't sell you, nothing will.
Seasons on Amazon Prime Instant Video: 3

5. 24

Best shows on Amazon Prime Instant Video
Despite CSI and Curb Your Enthusiasm's launch the year prior, many claim that 24 was the first great TV series of the new millenium. The show starred Kiefer Sutherland as Jack Bauer, a counter-terrorism agent whose life is crumbling down around his ears.
The show's themes of terrorism and politics were especially poignant after the 9/11 attacks in New York City, and its exceptional writing, directing and acting only further cemented its place as a cultural touchstone in a turbulent time. While the last three seasons don't have quite the same appeal as the five previous ones (read: don't watch anything after season 5), 24 remains one of the best thrillers of the aughts.
Seasons on Amazon Prime Instant Video: 8

6. Bosch

Best Amazon Prime Instant Video TV shows
With 20-something novels to mine for source material, Bosch is a character that was always destined for the small screen. Created by Michael Connelly but brilliantly brought to life by actor Titus Welliver, the series follows the exploits of LA Homicide detective Harry Bosch and features enough grit to pave the longest of driveways.
This is no surprise - the series has been created by Eric Overmyer, who was part of the alumni that created The Wire. Bosch is another show that has been put together by Amazon Studios - proving that streaming services are becoming just as powerful as the HBOs of the world when it comes to producing compelling drama.
Number of seasons on Amazon Prime Instant Video: 1

7. Fringe

Best Amazon Prime Instant Video TV shows
Everyone who loves and watches Fringes will describe it differently to you. Some will say it's The X-Files come back from the dead. Others say it's a crime drama with a sci-fi spin, a fever dream divinely realized by writer/director J.J. Abrams.
However you talk to and however you hear it described, the word most commonly tossed around is brilliant. From the show's writing to the on-screen chemistry between the actors, everything collides into an engulfing take on the traditional whodunnit.
Number of seasons on Amazon Prime Instant Video: 5

8. Hand of God

Best shows on Amazon Prime
Actor Ron Perlman has been known to play some devious, psychologically unsound characters, but his latest one - Judge Pernell Harris - might take the cake. Hand of God follows Perman's character in his descent into madness, where divine providence and real-world consequences meet and lives are forever changed.
In the vein of Memento, you'll question Pernell's sanity and whether anything is really happening or if it's all in one man's deeply troubled mind. The twist on the show is that it leans on biblical themes to add stakes - philandering, extortion and murder are commonplace here. Don't go in expecting any of it to make sense in the first few minutes, or to leave the first season feeling happy-go-lucky. This is one dark ride.
Number of seasons on Amazon Prime Instant Video: 1

9. Key and Peele

Best shows on Amazon Prime Instant Video
If you couldn't guess by the previous entries on this list, we're pretty big fans of drama, action and suspense. And while there's nothing better than a high-stakes courtroom battle to get the blood flowing around prime time, we find it necessary to counterbalance it with a comedy before calling it a night. Key and Peele is perfect for that.
Poignant, funny and always on-point, Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele's show about both nothing and everything should be a staple in every comedy lover's queue.
Seasons on Amazon Prime Instant Video: 3

10. Red Oaks

Best shows on Amazon Prime
Red Oaks is Amazon's answer to Netflix's Wet Hot American Summer prequel. It's raunchy, lays heavily into stereotyping and is absolutely hysterical. It's formulaic and kitchy, sure, but if ABC isn't afraid to venture into that territory with The Goldbergs, neither is Amazon.
An Amazon-exclusive, Red Oaks focuses in on David (played by Craig Roberts, a minor player in 22 Jump Street and Neighbors) as he navigates the sex, drugs and egotism that comes with being a 20-year-old college student. The show, named after the Red Oaks country club where David works, serves as the perfect backdrop for a summer of shenanigans and tremendously fitting for the loss of innocence theme the show has going.
Seasons on Amazon Prime Instant Video: 1

11. Hannibal

Best shows on Amazon Prime Instant Video
If you like gore-fest crime scene investigation shows like Dexter, Hannibal is so good it's scary. The series follows FBI special agent Will Graham (played by Hugh Dancy) through a string of gruesome murders. Lauded and feared for his ability to empathize with the psychopathic perpetrators he's tasked with unmasking, Graham is assigned to none other than psychotherapist (and devout cannibal) Hannibal Lector for treatment.
While the excess blood can be a bit much at times, show creator Bryan Fuller strings us along Hannibal's descent into madness through the eyes of a charming if somewhat troubled protagonist. If you like your shows like an undercooked steak - bloody - Hannibal is exactly what you've been craving.
Seasons on Amazon Prime Instant Video: 2

12. Firefly

Best Amazon Prime Instant Video TV shows
Joss Whedon's short-lived sci-fi show had all the trappings of a long-running success (witty scripts, likeable characters, space) but it was hobbled beyond repair when it was first shown on television. Episodes were shown out of order and it was put in a graveyard slot.
Thankfully, none of this deterred the faithful few who loved Mal and his ragtag team of space cowboys so much that Firefly was pushed into cult classic status and even given a movie to wrap things up. Don't be put off that there is just one season here - it's a show that's small but perfectly formed.
Seasons on Amazon Prime Instant Video: 1

13. Justified

He may not have had the best career in movies, but Timothy Olyphant has become a TV stalwart thanks to a brilliant performance in Deadwood and an even better one in Justified. The premise of Justified is wafer thin - a Miami marshal is reassigned to his backwater home town after a bullet-strewn altercation - but Raylen Givens' (Olyphant) relationship with his family, old friends and foes is forever riveting and frequently bloody.
Seasons on Amazon Prime Instant Video: 5

14. Man In The High Castle

Best Amazon Prime Instant Video TV shows
There have been a number of successful Amazon pilots that have made it to a full series but none have the epic potential that Man In The High Castle has. OK, we admit that there isn't a full season run of this Philip K Dick adaptation yet but with one greenlit we couldn't leave this off the list.
This adaptation imagines what the world would be like if Germany had won World War II and the Nazis had taken global control. Turns out it's a bit worse than us all driving around in VW Beetles and wearing Hugo Boss coats.
Seasons on Amazon Prime Instant Video: 0 (1 pending)

15. Downton Abbey

Best shows on Amazon Prime Instant Video
Shows on British politics have existed since the dawn of television, but none of them were as weirdly captivating as Downton Abbey, a show about social status, entitlement and posh, rich people doing posh, rich people things. After airing in 2010 on ITV in Ireland and the UK, the glacier-paced series took the entertainment world by storm thanks to its exceptional cast and historically accurate acting and attire.
Seasons on Amazon Prime Instant Video: 4

16. Parks and Recreation

Best Amazon Prime Instant Video TV shows
We always knew Amy Poehler was funny. Sketch after sketch on Saturday Night Live proved she had the comedic timing of a professional stand-up mixed with the creative capacity of an executive producer. Each episode of Parks and Rec is a chance to see Poehler do what she does best, with an excellent supporting cast of Nick Offerman, Chris Pratt, Aubrey Plaza and Rashida Jones behind her every step of the way. While we were sad to see the show come to a heart-wrenching conclusion this year, the finale in February was the perfect excuse to go back and binge-watch the entire series from start to finish.
Seasons on Amazon Prime Instant Video: 5

17. Orphan Black

Best Amazon Prime Instant Video TV shows
Some dodgy accents aside, it's a joy to watch Tatiana Maslany take on the multiple roles that are needed for Orphan Black. She launches herself into every one of the characters and is the constant that is needed to make this sci-fi yarn watchable. One of the reasons Orphan Black works so well is that it doesn't take itself too seriously but when it does it makes you believe in the myriad plotlines that flow through the series.
Currently Amazon is only streaming the first season but by all accounts that's a good thing - the second season and beyond are proving that maybe the source material can't stretch that far. You will still have lots of fun, though.
Seasons on Amazon Prime Instant Video: 1

18. Stargate SG-1

Best shows on Amazon Prime Instant Video
Speaking of Ron D Moore and his original masterpiece, Stargate, it's number 18 on our list. A sci-fi mega series that takes you to the edge of the universe and back, Stargate SG-1 picks up where the eponymous 1994 film left off. Beloved for its ever-evolving characters, wildly creative settings and insanely interesting mythology, the show continues to be in the top five must-watch series in its genre seven long years after it ran its course.
Seasons on Amazon Prime Instant Video: 10

19. The Good Wife

Best shows on Amazon Prime Instant Video
The Good Wife sets out at a breakneck pace. Within the first five minutes we're introduced to Alicia Florrick (played by the award-winning Julianna Margulies) whose husband has recently been charged with sexual and political corruption. Fast forward six months and Florrick is out treading her own path as a lawyer on a pro bono case that seems to have all the odds stacked up against her. Toss in the familial fallout she faces at home and the career challenges of being a lawyer in a state where everyone knew your former husband and you have the basis of the emotional problems Margulies's character faces.
The Good Wife is a meditation not only on marital infidelity but the difficulties of getting a late start in life. As masochistic as it is addicting, The Good Wife is definitely worth 30 minutes of your night.
Seasons on Amazon Prime Instant Video: 5

20. How I Met Your Mother

Best Amazon Prime Instant Video TV shows
HIMYM's winning combination of actors and actresses (like American Pie's Alyson Hannigan, Jason Segel and Neil Patrick Harris), plot twists and red herrings, set the stage for one of the must-watch sitcoms of the last decade. Getting sucked into Ted Mosby's search for "the one" is a heartfelt and earnest affair as you root for everyone to succeed and the group to keep it together for one more episode. Whatever you think of the final season, the on-screen chemistry feels downright natural and Ted's struggle, albeit a bit drawn-out and convoluted, is relatable on the most basic of levels.
Seasons on Amazon Prime Instant Video: 9

21. Sons Of Anarchy

Best Amazon Prime Instant Video TV shows
Seemingly always vying for the top spot of Best Recently Finished Drama (we may have made up that award) with Breaking Bad, Sons Of Anarchy is a long brooding menace of a show that deserves your attention. Centered on a motorcycle gang that live by their own rules (you can probably guess what their name is from the title) the show is positively Shakespearean in its storytelling and will have you gripped from episode one.
While Ron Perlman steals the show as Clay, Charlie Hunnam's Jax is one of the best tortured souls you will see on any television show. Beware that only six series are currently streaming on Amazon Prime - you will have to wait a little while before the fitting final season heads to the service.
Seasons on Amazon Prime Instant Video: 6

22. Drunk History

Best shows on Amazon Prime Instant Video
Drunk History is the perfect execution of an idea someone came up with after a night of drinking. Essentially a lesson wrapped in a comedy skit, Drunk History uses real, bonafide actors and actresses to tell the story of semi-accurate historical events. Each episode has its share of great takeaways, fun facts of American figureheads and at least one person hunched over a toilet seat, vomiting.
Seasons on Amazon Prime Instant Video: 2

23. Transparent

Best Amazon Prime Instant Video TV shows
Anything Netflix can do, Amazon Prime can do better it seems, especially when it comes to winning a Golden Globe. Netflix may have made history by being the first streaming service to win a Golden Globe, courtesy of the acting talents of Kevin Spacey in House of Cards, but Amazon went and topped this by winning the Best TV Show prize in 2014 for Transparent.
It was much deserved. Transparent is everything you want in a TV show. It's heartwarming, funny and packs a real punch about a subject that doesn't get enough attention: transgenderism. Jeffrey Tambor's Maura Pfefferman is a television character we hope will be around for a long time.
Seasons on Amazon Prime Instant Video: 1

24. Vikings

Best Amazon Prime Instant Video TV shows
If you have any interest in Norse mythology then the name Ragnar Lothbrok will mean a whole lot to you. Basically he was a king and powerful ruler that was a right git to the English and the French.
Vikings is a series that traces his Norse-based goings on with enough charm and scope to take on Game of Thrones in the sword and sandals stakes. Yes it takes a number of liberties with its source material but the acting is top class, as is the cinematography in a historical romp that's now deservedly in its third season.
Seasons on Amazon Prime Instant Video: 3

25. Avatar: The Last Airbender

Best shows on Amazon Prime Instant Video
There's no better show to end a best-of list with than Avatar: The Last Airbender. This deceivingly profound cartoon-anime hybrid packed deeply complex emotions, eastern philosophy lessons and amazingly choreographed fight scenes into 30-minute segments and short-sold them to children and adults with an open mind and an eye for beauty. The series ran for three seasons and picked up an Emmy in 2009 before taking a multi-year hiatus. The hiatus wouldn't end until The Legend of Korra picked up the mantle, and lovingly continued one of the greatest animated shows of all-time.
Seasons on Amazon Prime Instant Video: 3

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Google can remotely access 74% of Android devices if court ordered
Google can remotely access 74% of Android devices if court ordered
A fact not known by most, a document posted on Reddit has revealed that, if ordered by a court, Apple and Google can remotely change your passcode on devices with older versions of iOS or Android.
The document was prepared by the New York District Attorney's Office, and examines the role of smartphone encryption and public safety.
Currently, if there is a court order - at least in the US - Apple and Google are required by law to essentially bypass passcodes set by a person in order to access the contents of that device for investigation purposes.
However, Apple and Google have both added full-disk encryptions to iOS 8 and Android 5.0 and beyond, which means that they can no longer be remotely accessed by the two tech giants.
But surprisingly, The Next Web reports that there are nearly 74.1% of Android devices that have no been updated to Android Lollipop 6.0, according to the Android Developer Dashboard, which Google can remotely access currently if handed a warrant to do so.
On the other hand, there are only about 9% of devices using versions older than iOS 8. It should also be noted that Android 5.0 doesn't enable full-disk encryption by default, while iOS does.

Law amendments?

While you may feel more secure in the privacy of your phone if you have a new device, the New York DA's Office is arguing that this may cause a hinderance to law enforcement investigations.
"Apple's and Google's decisions to enable full-disk encryption by default on smartphones means that law enforcement officials can no longer access evidence of crimes stored on smartphones, even though the officials have a search warrant issued by a neutral judge," the document reads.
It is hoping to pass a bill that would force companies to make sure they can decrypt phones if court ordered.
"The federal legislation would provide in substance that any smartphone manufactured, leased, or sold in the US must be able to be unlocked, or its data accessed, by the operating system designer," the document reads, adding that compliance of this won't require new tech or costly adjustments.
"It would require, simply, that designers and makers of operating systems not design or build them to be impregnable to lawful governmental searches."

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Biometric 'tech tattoos' could be the future of wearables
Biometric 'tech tattoos' could be the future of wearables
A development firm in Austin, TX is putting a new spin on the concept of wearable tech. Combining sensors with conductive paint, Chaotic Moon Studios has begun work on "tech tattoos" that turn body art into fully-functional health monitors.
The biometric tattoos, unlike their Fitbit and implant kin, are applied like a temporary tattoo. They are removable and capable of monitoring a range of factors, from heart rate to body temperature to location.
"This is going beyond what the fitness tracker is," says Eric Schneider, creative technologist for Chaotic Moon. "This is something you can put on your body once a year that monitors everything [a clinic] would do in a physical, and sends that to your doctor. If there's an issue, they could just call you."
Schneider also mentions use for the tech tattoos in banking, saying that keeping financial information attached to your skin would less vulnerable than inside a loose wallet. Ben Lamm, CEO of Chaotic Moon, agrees on the biowearables' wide array of uses.
"We think there's military applications for it, health applications for it, and there are all kinds of opportunities around it," says Lamm in a TechCrunch report. "It's a platform that basically turns you into a human circuit board."
YouTube : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9iFuTaqD4fM
While the tech is still in a prototype stage, the possibilities of having cyborg-like augmentations without the need for invasive surgery, as well as being removable when one feels like going off the grid, are vast and exciting. It also makes us wish the new Deus Ex was coming out sooner.
Top Image Credit: Chaotic Moon

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Updated: Buying Guide: 7 best mobile workstations 2015: ideal laptops for business
Updated: Buying Guide: 7 best mobile workstations 2015: ideal laptops for business

Best mobile workstation 2015

Few productivity decisions are more important and, in turn, nerve-racking than selecting the right mobile workstation for your employees.
Making the wrong choice could mean saddling your employees with a bad computer. So what do business owners look for?
A great display, computing power and exceptional battery life without breaking the bank. There are few mobile workstations that can do this and we've rounded them up here.
Update: HP announced a new sleek and slim ZBook Studio mobile workstation with impressive specs. The device can be configured with up to 2TB of storage and comes with Intel's latest Xeon processor. In addition to the ZBook Studio, HP also refreshed other mobile workstations in its ZBook lineup.
If you'd prefer a Best Desktop Workstation roundup or, if you're interested in a business laptop that isn't necessarily a workstation, we've got you covered.
  • Be sure to check out our Black Friday guide for the best prices on computing-related products
HP ZBook 14 G2

1. HP ZBook 14 G2

The belle of the mobile workstation ball
CPU: 2.6GHz Intel Core i7-5600 | Graphics: AMD FirePro M4150 (1GB GDDR5) | RAM: 16GB DDR3L (1600MHz) | Screen: 13.3-inch FHD 1920x1080 | Storage: 256GB HP Z Turbo Drive PCIe SSD | Connectivity: 802.11ac Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0 | Camera: 720p | Weight: 3.77 pounds | Dimensions: 13.35 x 9.33 x 0.83 inches (W x D x H)
Gorgeous build
Lightweight, Intel Core i7 processor
No touchscreen
Battery life
The HP ZBook 14 G2 balances style and performance in an lightweight package with a replaceable battery and removable bottom cover.
Read the full review: ZBook 14 G2
Best mobile workstation

2. Lenovo ThinkPad W550s

Workstation-grade performance with Ultrabook-class battery life
CPU: 2.6GHz dual-core Intel Core i7-5600U | Graphics: Nvidia Quadro K2100M | RAM: 16GB | Screen: 15.5-inch, 2,880 x 1,620 (3K), multi-touch display | Storage: 512GB SSD | Connectivity: 802.11ac Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0 | Camera: 720p | Weight: 5.47 pounds (2.48kg) | Dimensions: 15 x 10.2 x 0.92 inches (38.1 x 25.9 x 2.34cm)
Long battery life
Strong performance
No quad-core CPU option
Bulky extended battery
With more conservative CPU and GPU configurations than last year's ThinkPad W540, the W550s provides impressive performance with the added bonus of longer battery life – all in a lighter, thinner body.
Read the full review: ThinkPad W550s
best mobile workstation

3. Dell Precision M6800

This monster laptop impresses with its power and versatility
CPU: Quad-core Intel Core i7 | Graphics: AMD FirePro M6100 Mobility Pro with 2GB GDDR5 dedicated memory | RAM: 32GB | Screen: 17.3-inch HD+(1600x900) | Storage: 750GB HDD | Connectivity: 802.11ac Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0 | Camera: 720p | Weight: 7.86 pounds (3.57kg) | Dimensions: 1.71 x 16.41 x 10.65 inches (43.4 x 416.7 x 270.6mm)
Excellent performance
Versatile, sensible and sturdy design
Poor battery life
Bulky, heavy chassis
The M6800 is impressive, but it's a niche product. If you can justify investing in such a powerful notebook, it excels in every important area, which makes it an excellent high-end workstation.
Read the full review: Precision M6800
Best mobile workstation

4. HP ZBook 17 G2

The best-testing mobile workstation
CPU: 3.10 and 3.30 GHz Intel Core i7-4940MX | Graphics: NVIDIA Quadro K5100M | RAM: 16GB | Screen: 17.3-inch FHD 1920x1080 | Storage: 1TB 7200 RPM SATA, 256 PCIe SSD | Connectivity: 802.11a/g/n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0 | Camera: 720p | Weight: 7.42 pounds | Dimensions: 16.37 x 10.7 x 1.33 inches
Battery life
With more conservative CPU and GPU configurations than last year's ThinkPad W540, the W550s provides impressive performance with the added bonus of longer battery life – all in a lighter, thinner body.
Read the full review: ZBook 17 G2
best mobile workstation

5. Dell Precision M3800

Dell has produced one of the best Windows laptops available
CPU: Intel Core i7-4702HQ | Graphics: NVIDIA Quadro K1100M | RAM: 8GB | Screen: 15.6-inch FHD 1920x1080 | Storage: 500GB SSD | Connectivity: 802.11ac Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0 | Camera: 720p | Weight: 1.86 kg | Dimensions: 18 x 372.1 x 254mm
Superb CPU and graphics performance
Thin-and-light design
Poor battery life
No ethernet port or optical drive
If you can live with its quirks, the M3800 is still one of the best Windows laptops available and something we truly enjoyed using.
Read the full review: Precision M3800
Best mobile workstation

6. Lenovo ThinkPad W540

A top-notch 3K workstation with a top-shelf price tag
CPU: 2.7GHz quad-core Intel Core i7-4800MQ | Graphics: NVIDIA Quadro K2100M | RAM: 8GB | Screen: 15.6-inch, 2880 x 1620 (3K) IPS | Storage: 256GB SSD | Connectivity: 802.11ac Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0 | Camera: 720p | Weight: 5.57 pounds | Dimensions: 14.8 x 9.8 x 1.1 inches
Immaculate 3K screen
Great performance for any task
Inconsistent build quality
High-res screen hogs battery life
The Lenovo ThinkPad W540 is a workstation powerhouse, but it's too expensive for general office use.
Read the full review: ThinkPad W540

7. MSI Prestige PE60 2QD

A mobile workstation that has game
CPU: 2.6GHz quad-core Intel Core i7-4720HQ | Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960M 2GB | RAM: 12GB | Screen: 15.6-inch, FHD anti-glare | Storage: 1TB HDD, 7200RPM | Connectivity: 802.11ac Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0 | Camera: 720p | Weight: 5.29 pounds | Dimensions: 5.07" x 10.23" x 1.06" (38.28 cm x 25.98 cm x 2.7 cm)
Insane graphics
Beautiful 15-inch LCD screen
Clunky touchpad
Poor performance on battery power
The MSI Prestige is a laptop that can handle the newest games and tons of spreadsheets. It's got a gorgeous screen, a dynamic build and it runs at a very nice clip.
Read the full review: Prestige PE60 2QD

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iOS Tips: Safari for iPhone & iPad: How to open tabs in the background
iOS Tips: Safari for iPhone & iPad: How to open tabs in the background
So, you're reading a fascinating article in Safari when you come across a link to something else that looks interesting. You don't want to stop reading, but you're afraid you'll forget about the new article, so you open it in another tab for safe keeping. Annoyingly, though, Safari kicks your current article to the curb and immediately takes you to the new one. Argh! If Safari was a person, you could punch it in the face — but since it isn't, here's what else you can do: make new tabs open in the background.
To do this, you first need to change a setting:
  • Open the Settings app.
  • On an iPhone, navigate to Safari > Open Links. On an iPad, go to Safari > Open New Tabs in Background.
  • On an iPhone, select the "In Background" option. On an iPad, toggle on "Open New Tabs in Background."
Safari for iPhone and iPad: How to open tabs in the background
Now you can open links in the background tab by performing these steps in Safari:
  • Tap and hold on any link.
  • On an iPhone, select "Open in Background." On an iPad, choose "Open in New Tab."
  • On an iPhone, you can find the new link by tapping the Show All Tabs button in the lower-right corner. On an iPad, the link opens in a new tab beside your current one.
Safari for iPhone and iPad: How to open tabs in the background
Voilà! You can now open stories to read later without leaving your current article, and Safari didn't get its face punched. Everyone's a winner!

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Yahoo confirms it's blocking email access if you use an ad-blocker
Yahoo confirms it's blocking email access if you use an ad-blocker
While an in-browser ad-blocker is generally recommended to prevent malware, as well as to make certain websites less annoying, Yahoo has begun testing a new feature that could end up blocking you from your Yahoo Mail account if you use an ad-blocker.
Last week, users began reporting they were being blocked from accessing their Yahoo email inbox for using an ad-blocker without warning.
While Yahoo didn't announce the changes or warn users, it eventually released a statement over the weekend explaining that it was in fact testing a new "experience" with some users in the US.
"At Yahoo, we are continually developing and testing new product experiences," Yahoo said in a statement, according to the New York Times.
While it didn't reveal how many users were being affected by this test, Yahoo said, "This is a test we're running for a small number of Yahoo Mail users in the US."
Yahoo hasn't revealed how long this test will run for, or if it will eventually roll out the new feature to all Yahoo Mail users.
It is interesting, however, that it is testing this "experience," considering Yahoo users were hit with malware attacks through the company's ad network just a few months back, but if you want to access your Yahoo Mail inbox, you may need to switch off your ad-blocker.

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Updated: HP partners with another high-end watchmaker for a mystery wearable
Updated: HP partners with another high-end watchmaker for a mystery wearable
Update: An HP representative told us that "This watch will have features that align with the Titan brand." For a better idea of what that is, the rep advised us to peruse the current Titan offerings.
Essentially, the design will fit in with the brand's look while Engineered by HP will supply the tech.
As far as when we'll see a watch? Not any time soon: "The announcement today was to unveil the relationship between HP and Titan only, and that a watch is on its way to official availability."
Original article below...
Titan, the fifth largest watchmaker in the world, will join up with HP to make a smartwatch but it's unclear when we'll be seeing it - in fact, there aren't even images just yet. The one above is from HP's other recently announced partnership with high-end watchmaker Movado.
Unlike the Movado Bold Motion watch, there aren't any solid details on the Titan timepiece. The release notes that the companies want to "infuse technology seamlessly into the way consumers live, providing them with smart accessories that are productive and responsive, but not intrusive."
From the sound of it, the Titan watch will likely look analogue and provide the same notifications as the Movado watch if HP sticks to the same pattern of mixing a bit of tech with a discrete design.
The Engineered by HP program seems to be expanding in an attempt to stake a claim in the smartwatch world so expect to seem more partnerships announced in the future.

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Buying Guide: 10 best Ultrabooks 2015: top thin and light laptops reviewed
Buying Guide: 10 best Ultrabooks 2015: top thin and light laptops reviewed

Best Ultrabooks

Ultrabooks have come a long way since they were first introduced to compete with the MacBook Air world. They're thin and light while featuring powerful Intel Core processors, fast SSD storage and superb battery life. But more than anything else they represent the bleeding edge of laptops; case in point the size shrinking Dell XPS 13, the unbelievably light Lenovo LaVie Z and Microsoft's own addition with the
Surface Book.
Of course, this all means Ultrabook also come at a premium. Don't be surprised with prices that start at $999 (around £584, AU$1,064) just for the low-end and nearly $2,000 (around £1,169, AU$2,131) at the very high end.
It's an arms race in the Ultrabook world and there's no room for losers in this space, as such it's hard not to find a great machine. But if you're looking for the very best cream of the crop, you've come to the right place.
Best Ultrabooks

1. Dell XPS 13

Possibly the best laptop on the planet, Dell's latest is a masterpiece
CPU: 2.2GHz Intel Core i5-5200 | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 5500 | RAM: 8GB | Screen: 3,200 x 1,800 | Storage: 230GB SSD | Connectivity: 802.11 AC, Bluetooth 4.0 | Camera: 720p | Weight: 2.8 pounds
Gorgeous display
Super lightweight
No ethernet port
Off-centre webcam
The new Dell XPS 13 has a 13.3-inch screen, but it has the small footprint of an 11-inch notebook. Fortunately for us, the XPS 13 isn't all beauty and no brains. This laptop features the horsepower to make work and play enjoyable, and more than enough battery life to never die on you. Regardless of whether you choose to upgrade to the touchscreen quad HD+ version, or if you stand pat with the full HD model, the Dell XPS 13 will provide you with a delightful experience for years to come. And in case you're not already on-board, there are also newer models with Skylake processors.
Read the full review: Dell XPS 13
Best Ultrabooks

2. Asus ZenBook UX305

A truly excellent ultrabook at a very agreeable price point
CPU: 800MHz Intel Core M 5Y10 | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 5300 | RAM: 8GB | Screen: 13.3-inch 1920x1080 | Storage: 256GB SSD | Connectivity: 802.11n + Bluetooth 4.0 | Camera: 720p | Weight: 2.6 pounds | Dimensions: 12.8 x 8.9 x 0.5 inches
Very thin and light
Incredible performance
Wonky video driver
Tinny speakers
The ZenBook UX305 is a superbly-built, fully metal machine that's thin, light and very attractive. This lightweight system can easily take on any task whether its browsing the web, watching video or editing images. What's more, you get excellent battery life out of this machine all while doing. The most striking thing about the UX305 is that it comes priced at $699 or £649 (about AU$902). While it isn't exactly a shining symbol of innovation in the Ultrabook space, it's the most affordable Ultrabook out today and it won't disappoint you.
Read the full review: Asus ZenBook UX305
Best Ultrabooks

3. Surface Book

The heavy duty performance Ultrabook
CPU: 2.4GHz Intel Core i5-6300U | Graphics: Intel HD graphics 520; Nvidia GeForce graphics | RAM: 8GB | Screen: 13.5-inch, 3,000 x 2,000 PixelSense Display | Storage: 256GB PCIe3.0 SSD | Connectivity: 802.11ac 2x2 MIMO Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0 LE | Camera: Windows 8MP rear-facing autofocus camera (1080p HD), 5MP front-facing Hello face-authentication camera (1080p HD) | Weight: 3.48 pounds | Dimensions: 12.3 x 9.14 x 0.51-0.90 (W x D x H)
Futuristic design
Seamless tablet separation
Battery life falls well below promises
A bit heavy set
The Surface Book is both the world's most powerful and thinnest Windows 10 PC in the world as well as an excellent laptop. This is all thanks to its ability to swap between being a really terrific notebook and tablet. Plus with all the power of an Intel Skylake processor and a discrete Nvidia GPU, this machine outpaces almost every other Ultrabook. The only thing users might find annoying is how it's heavier and bigger than most 13-inch laptops thanks to its 3:2 aspect ratio and 13.5-inch screen.
Read the full review: Surface Book
best ultrabook

4. Lenovo Yoga 900

Performance meets design, Lenovo's latest flagship is a jewel
CPU: 2.5GHz Intel Core i7-6500U | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 520 | RAM: 16GB | Screen: 13.3-inch QHD+ 3,200 x 1,800 IPS display | Storage: 512GB SSD | Connectivity: Intel Wireless-AC 8260; Bluetooth 4.0 | Camera: 720p webcam | Weight: 2.84 pounds | Dimensions: 12.75 x 8.86 x 0.59 inches
Gorgeous display
Slim design
Shallow keyboard
Display drivers issues
If you're all about style and want power to back it up, things don't get much better than Lenovo's latest flagship hybrid Ultrabook. It's much more punch than its Intel Core M-toting predecessor thanks to trading in Core i5 and i7 CPUs, and it has bigger batteries to boot. Though it's no longer one of the lightest Windows laptops to date, the Yoga 900 still retains an incredibly sharp and thin design. Although it comes at a steep price, such panache will be worth it for style nuts.
Read the full review: Lenovo Yoga 900
Best Ultrabooks

5. Asus ZenBook Pro UX501

An attractive alternative to a certain fruit-flavoured laptop
CPU: 2.6GHz Intel Core i7-4720HQ | Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960M | RAM: 16GB | Screen: 15.6-inch, 3840 x 2160 IPS Display | Storage: 512GB PCIe x4 SSD | Connectivity: Intel PRO Wireless AC 7260 + BT Wireless LAN Combo | Camera: Built-in 720P Video Camera | Weight: 5.0 pounds | Dimensions: 15.08 x 10.04 x 0.84 inches
Bright, vibrant screen
Excellent performance
Feels heavy
Mediocre battery life
If you're looking for a laptop with a little more meat on its bones but don't want to break the bank, the Asus ZenBook Pro UX501 is a stylish contender. It features a bright, vibrant 4K display and simply flies with the fastest storage drive around. While it's not the lightest Ultrabook around, it comes with a very capable processor and a dedicated graphics card to handle some light gaming too. The UX501's meaty innards and affordability make it an attractive option for content creators and media buffs alike.
Read the full review: Asus ZenBook Pro UX501
best ultrabook

6. Lenovo LaVie Z

The lightest Ultrabook in the world
CPU: 2.40GHz Intel Core i7-5500U | Graphics: Intel HD Graphic 5500 | RAM: 8GB | Screen: 13.3-inch WQHD (2560 x 1440) LED anti-glare | Storage: 256GB SSD | Connectivity: Wi-Fi 802.11 ac and Bluetooth 4.0 | Camera: 720p HD | Weight: 1.87 pounds | Dimensions: 12.56 x 0.67 x 8.35 inches
Core i7 processor
Excellent WQHD screen
Mediocre battery life
Astronomical price tag
By creating the 1.87-pound LaVie Z, Lenovo has created the lightest laptop in the world. Aside from its lightweight chassis, the Lavie Z offers performance and display are among the best available today. However, the laptop's somewhat questionable build quality, inferior battery life, and inflated price tag are qualities that could turn many off from what is an otherwise splendid device.
Read the full review: Lenovo LaVie Z
best ultrabook

7. HP EliteBook Folio 1020 G1

A thin, attractive business laptop posing as an Ultrabook
CPU: 1.2GHz dual-core Intel Core M-5Y71 | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 5300 | RAM: 8GB | Screen: value | Storage: 256GB M.2 SSD | Connectivity: Bluetooth 4.0; dual-band 802.11ac (B/G/N), dual-band Wi-Fi | Camera: 720p webcam | Weight: 2.68-pound | Dimensions: 12.2 x 8.27 x 0.62-inch
Sleek design and tough construction
Fingerprint scanner, enterprise security
Underpowered Intel Core M performance
No full-sized SD card reader
Although it has the look and body of an Ultrabook, the HP EliteBook Folio 1020 G1 is very much a business laptop in disguise. Underneath its MacBook Air like exterior, this machine packs plenty of enterprise perks including fingerprint scanner, enterprise security and the durable build quality to meet a Military Specifications certification. At the same time though, the HP Folio 1020 G1 has a gorgeous aluminum and fanless design that's atypical of business-class notebooks. Add in a gorgeous QHD screen, comfortably ergonomic keyboard, and this premium business machine is well worth its slightly upscale price tag.
Read the full review: HP EliteBook Folio 1020 G1
Best Ultrabooks

8. Acer Aspire S7

Acer's luxurious laptop is an ultraportable star
CPU: 2.4 GHz Intel Core i7-550U | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 5500 | RAM: 8GB | Screen: 13.3-inch, 1,920 x 1,080 touchscreen | Storage: 256GB SSD | Connectivity: value | Camera: value | Weight: value | 12.72 x 8.78 x 0.51 | Dimensions: 12.72 x 8.78 x 0.51 inches
Attractive glass design
Full-day battery life
Screen limited to 1080p
Too much bloatware
If you have a passion for white electronics, the Aspire S7's looks alone may seal the deal, but the laptop is more than just a pretty face. Acer packs in Intel's Broadwell Core i7 processor, a battery that lasts close to a full work day, plenty of storage and RAM all into a sleek body. The Aspire S7 is an attractive and powerful laptop, but not one without compromises. If you're willing to invest a little time to removing bloatware and can live with a keyboard with the shallow key travel, then the Aspire S7 rewards you with a very capable computing experience that also looks stunning on your desk.
Read the full review: Acer Aspire S7
Best Ultrabooks

9. Toshiba Kirabook

A high-res Ultrabook that's easy on the eyes
CPU: 2.4GHz Intel Core i7-5500U | Graphics: Intel® HD Graphics 5500 | RAM: 8GB | Screen: 13.3 inch 2560 x 1440 WQHD touchscreen | Storage: 256GB SSD | Connectivity: Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 7265 + Bluetooth 4.0 | Camera: HD webcam | Weight: 2.9 pounds | Dimensions: 12.4 x 8 x 0.37 inches
Stylish design
Good battery life
Dim, bendy screen
The Toshiba Kirabook (otherwise known as the Kira in the UK) sits at the higher end of the Ultrabook spectrum. It offers a high-res screen and a fully metal body that feels so premium, it even gives the MacBook a run for its money. While there were a few missteps with the annoying keyboard and dim screen, you'll be pleased with this long lasting machine that's easy on the eyes.
Read the full review: Toshiba Kirabook
Best Ultrabooks

10. Samsung Ativ Book 9 Plus

With stunning performance and screen, it doesn't get much better than this
CPU: 1.6 GHz Intel Core i5-4200U | Graphics: Intel integrated | RAM: 4GB | Screen: 13.3-inch 3,200 x 1,800 | Storage: 128GB SSD | Ports: 3 x USB 3.0 | Connectivity: 802.11ac | Camera: 720p | Weight: 3.06 pounds | Dimensions: 12.6 x 9 x 0.5 inches
Incredible touchscreen
Excellent battery
It's expensive
Full of bloatware
Samsung was one of the very first PC manufacturers to jump on the Ultrabook bandwagon. It's done a fine job of representing Intel's baby ever since, with some stunning offerings including the Samsung. It's a wonderful-looking unit that's thin and carefully crafted, with shiny, chamfered edges lining its all-aluminium chassis. Although this particular model has kept the company ahead of the game for a while, Samsung recently introduced its first convertible laptop with the Ativ Book 9 Spin.
Read the full review: Samsung ATIV Book 9 Plus

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Almost all drones in the US should be registered, FAA task force says
Almost all drones in the US should be registered, FAA task force says
The US Federal Aviation Administration has released a report of recommended regulations for drones in the US, including the proposal that drones be registered with the FAA.
Under the direction of the FAA, the proposed regulations report (which can be found here) was put together by a task force made up of representatives from drone makers, tech companies, government officials and other organizations with an interest in drones.
They were tasked with providing "recommendations to the FAA 'on registration requirements and process for small UAS, including those used for commercial purposes, and all model aircraft'."
The final report recommends that all drones over 250 grams (about .55 pounds) be registered with the FAA, as the task force found that anything under this weight would not be life threatening if it fell from the sky.

How to register your drone

According to the report, the registration proposal only affects drones, officially named Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS), weighing more than .55 pounds and under 55 pounds, as anything heavier falls under established FAA regulations.
For any drones in this weight category, however, the task force recommends a three part registration system for individuals, which includes filling out an electronic form, after which you'll receive an electronic certificate of registration and a personal registration number, and then marking your number on all your UAVs.
Registrants will need be to 13 years or older, and you'll only need to register once, as your registration number will cover all your drones if you have more than one.
The task force also recommends a basic training course "similar to the existing content in the Know Before You Fly campaign" be included in the registration process.
While the recommendations have yet to be approved, it is expected that they will likely be approved in a few weeks time as more drones hit the market.

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Buying Guide: 15 best laptops you can buy in 2015
Buying Guide: 15 best laptops you can buy in 2015

Best laptops

Updated: Out of the shadow of the Surface Pro 4, the HP Spectre x2 has emerged as an affordable Windows tablet champion
Laptops are on the rise again thanks to Windows 10's arrival, Nivida's efficient Maxwell graphics cards, and fresh new Skylake processors from Intel. Notebooks once thought to be replaced by tablets are more plentiful and diverse than ever between gaming laptops that hook up to liquid-coolers, thin and light Ultrabooks to incredibly affordable Chromebooks. Even Microsoft has gotten into the game with the Surface Book.
With so many options to choose from, picking the best laptop for your needs is more important than ever. Those who crave fast boot up times and a lightweight machine to carry might drool over an Ultrabook. Serious gamers will gravitate towards gaming laptops tailored to their graphical and processing needs, while those after flexibility might fancy a convertible laptop-tablet hybrid.
It might seem overwhelming at first – what with all of the available choices – but we're here to help you find the best laptop for you. Believe us when we say that there is a perfect laptop out there for you. With this guide, you'll find the absolutely best machines.
Best laptops

1. Dell XPS 13

Dell's latest laptop is a masterpiece ahead of the curve
CPU: 2.2Ghz Intel Core i5-5200 | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 5500 | RAM: 8GB | Screen: 13.3-inch 3,200 x 1,800 UltraSharp QHD+ touch display | Storage: 256GB SSD
Gorgeous display
Super lightweight
No Ethernet port
Off-center webcam
The Dell XPS 13 isn't just an astonishingly thin and light laptop, it's a revolution in design. Fitting a 13.3-inch screen into a 11-inch laptop frame is no small feat, but Dell has pulled off a miracle creating a nearly borderless infinity display. This is also one powerful and long lasting machine that only gets better with the new Skylake processors, all while coming in at a very affordable starting price. For these reasons, it easily takes the top slot as the best Ultrabook, the best Windows laptop and the best overall laptop.
Read the full review: Dell XPS 13
Best laptops

2. Asus ZenBook UX305

Better than the MacBook and at a fraction of the price
CPU: 800MHz Intel Core M 5Y10| Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 5300 | RAM: 8GB | Screen: 13.3-inch FHD 1,920 x 1,080 (matte) | Storage: 256GB SSD
Thin and light
Vibrant matte screen
Tinny speakers
Troublesome video driver
The Asus ZenBook UX305 might look like a MacBook Air from every angle, but it's a better machine in almost every way. It's thinner, lighter and even more attractive in some ways with its purple tinged aluminum body. With a sharp display, a good helping of storage space and a fanless design to keep things thin and silent, this machine is one hot ticket. Most importantly, though, you can get this whole great package at a very affordable price.
Read the full review: Asus ZenBook UX305
Best laptops

3. Asus Chromebook Flip

A premium Chromebook that backflips on command
CPU: 1.8GHz Rockchip 3288-C | Graphics: ARM Mali T624 | RAM: 2GB LPDDR3 SDRAM | Screen: 10.1-inch, WXGA (1,280 x 800) IPS multi-touch display | Storage: 16GB eMMC
Fully metal construction
Excessive battery life
Large screen bezels
When most people think of Chromebooks they might expect some cheap, plastic device that's only just good enough to get them by through a day of computing. Asus on the other hand offers the fully metal Chromebook Flip that doubles as a tablet just for the heck of it. The 10.1-inch, 2-in-1 Chromebook is an exceedingly light laptop that feels premium to the touch. Thanks to a little known Rockchip processor, it can also outrun most other Chrome OS machines both in performance and with its eight hour battery life.
Read the full review: Asus Chromebook Flip
Best laptops

4. 13-inch MacBook Air (early 2015)

Light and faster than ever
CPU: 1.6GHz dual-core Intel Core i5 | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 6000 | RAM: 8GB | Screen: 13.3-inch, LED-backlit glossy display (1440 x 900) | Storage: 256GB SSD
Excellent battery life
Nippy storage
Dated design
Low-res display
While the latest MacBook Air sticks to its guns with a dated design and low-resolution screen, it's not showing any signs of slowing down on the performance front. Thanks to a capable CPU, this thin and light machine can handle everything from simple web browsing to serious number crunching and even some light gaming. Sure the New MacBook is lighter and thinner, but it does not come with the Air's spread of full-sized ports nor a 13 hour battery life to last you though an entire day.
Read the full review: 13-inch MacBook Air (early 2015)
Best laptops

5. Surface Pro 4

The best iteration in Windows 10 tablets
CPU: 2.4GHz Intel Core i5-6300U | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 520 | RAM: 8GB | Screen: 12.3-inch, 2,736 x 1,824 PixelSense display | Storage: 256GB
Larger, sharper screen
Vastly improved Type Cover
Type Cover still sold separately
Battery life hasn't improved much
There's a new reigning king of Windows tablets and its name is the Surface Pro 4. Building on everything the last iteration got right, this new slate introduces a larger screen more sensitive touchscreen perfected for everything from penning documents to painting images. Thanks to a newly redesigned island keyboard, tapping away on the Type Cover feels almost as good as a real laptop and the glass trackpad feels simply superb. Internally the Microsoft's latest also features a faster processor and storage, all in a shell that's actually lighter and thinner than the Surface Pro 3. Overall, these improvements make the Surface Pro 4 an affordable Windows tablet that really can replace your laptop.
Read the full review: Surface Pro 4
Best laptops

6. Surface Book

The ultimate Windows 10 hybrid laptop
CPU: 2.4GHz Intel Core i5-6300U | Graphics: Intel HD graphics 520; Nvidia GeForce graphics | RAM: 8GB | Screen: 13.5-inch, 3,000 x 2,000 PixelSense Display | Storage: 256GB PCIe3.0 SSD
Futuristic design
Seamless tablet separation
Battery life falls well below promises
Major updates are still in tow
If you're looking for a more traditional notebook, Microsoft knocked it out of the park with its first ever laptop, the Surface Book. Though it has a peculiar 3:2 aspect ratio and 13.5-inch screen that's outside of the norm for most Ultrabooks, it's one of the best designed convertible laptops ever created. As a standalone tablet, otherwise known as the Clipboard, it's the most powerful and thinnest Windows 10 computers in the world, then docking it into the keyboard base affords it even more performance by way of its discrete GPU.
Read the full review: Surface Book
Best laptops

7. Toshiba Chromebook 2

One of the best full HD Chromebooks
CPU: 2.16GHz Intel Celeron N2840 | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics | RAM: 4GB | Screen: 13.3-inch, 1920 x 1090 TruBrite TFT display | Storage: 16GB SSD
Gorgeous 1080p screen
Thin and light
Blinding screen glare
Mismatched casing parts
Of course, if a long lasting machine is what you seek, you should invest in a Chromebook. The Toshiba Chromebook 2 lasts for six and a half hours and packs a wonderfully colorful full HD screen to boot. It's a better package compared to most Windows laptops you can pickup at this low, low price. Although the Toshiba Chromebook 2 is looking a bit old now with its last generation processor, it can still hold its own, and even today it remains to be one of the more attractive Chrome OS machines - better yet, Toshiba has announced it updated the Chromebook 2 with Broadwell Celeron and Core i3 processors.
Read the full review: Toshiba Chromebook 2
Best laptops

8. New MacBook 2015

Gorgeous, thin and light
CPU: 1.1GHz dual-core Intel Core M | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 5300 | RAM: 8GB | Screen: 12-inch, 2,304 x 1,440 LED-backlit IPS display | Storage: 256GB SSD
Terrific design
Surprisingly good speakers
Runs sluggish at times
If you want a real bombshell of a laptop, look no further than the extremely slender MacBook. It's come a long way from the days of being the MacBook Pro's rounded, plastic underling. Apple reintroduced the MacBook as one of the World's thinnest and lightest laptops featuring a razor sharp aluminum unibody and high-resolution Retina display, which still hasn't made its way into the MacBook Air. The nigh travel-less keyboard takes a little getting used and forget about using ports without an adapter, but if you can get over these humps, the MacBook is a machine that will turn heads and make your friends jealous.
Read the full review: New MacBook
Best laptops

9. Lenovo Yoga 900

A thoughtfully refined 2-in-1 convertible
CPU: 2.5GHz Intel Core i7-6500U | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 520 | RAM: 16GB | Screen: 13.3-inch QHD+ 3,200 x 1,800 IPS display | Storage: 512GB SSD
Gorgeous display
Slim design
Shallow keyboard
Display drivers issues
Whereas the Lenovo Yoga Pro 3 had a winning design and underwhelming performance, the Yoga 900 is the full package. By integrating more powerful Intel Core I processors and a larger battery, Lenovo's latest flagship convertible can stand toe-to-toe with most Ultrabooks and even Microsoft's latest Surface Book. All this extra power has only made the Yoga 900 slightly thicker and heavier, however, it still largely retains a very thin and flexible frame that folds back into tablet mode.
Read the full review: Lenovo Yoga 900
Best laptops

10. HP Spectre x360

Striking the perfect balance between a laptop and tablet
CPU: 2.2GHz Intel Core i5-5200 | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 5500 | RAM: 8GB | Screen: 13.3-inch, 1,920 x 1,080 FHD Radiance LED-backlit touchscreen | Storage: 256GB SSD
Superbly thin Excellent performance and battery life
Too heavy for tablet usage
Weirdly wide trackpad
The HP Spectre x360 comes easily as one of our most recommended 2-in-1 hybrid laptops. It's one of the best looking and most powerful hybrid notebooks out today, and the vibrantly bright display doesn't hurt either. Although it weighs nearly as much as a 13-inch MacBook Pro Retina, its dimensions put it more in line with a MacBook Air and the fully metal body is a nice touch too, even if it ends up making this convertible notebook a tad bit too heavy for prolonged tablet use. Users who want even more power should look to the Bang & Olufsen limited edition version, which comes with newer Skylake processors.
Read the full review: HP Spectre x360
Best laptops

11. MacBook Pro 13-inch with Retina display (early 2015)

Robust and stunning, the MacBook Pro is as good as old reliable
CPU: 2.7GHz dual-core Intel Core i5 | Graphics: Intel Iris Graphics 6100 | RAM: 8GB | Screen: 13.3-inch IPS, 2,560 x 1,600 pixels| Storage: 128GB SSD
Faster Processor
Superb battery life
Underdeveloped Force Touch
Unchanged design
The MacBook Pro is a tried and true road warrior. Whether you're a student, graphic designer, desk jockey, photographer, DJ or a simple everyday user, this is one of the most versatile and best laptops ever made. Along with delivering great performance and amazing battery life, this latest MacBook Pro comes with Apple's new fangled Force Touch trackpad giving you access to more gesture commands. It's an even more enticing option when you add up all the bundled freebies including office programs and software upgrades.
Read the full review: MacBook Pro 13-inch with Retina display (early 2015)
Best laptops

12. HP Spectre x2

A budget Windows tablet filled to the gills with tech
CPU: 1.2GHz Intel Core m7-6Y75 | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 515 | RAM: 8GB | Screen: 12-inch, 1,920 x 1,280 WUXGA+ IPS WLED-backlit touchscreen | Storage: 256GB SSD
Ultrathin design
Exceptional Core M performance
Massive bezels
Recessed kickstand
While the Surface Pro 4 has established itself as one of the very best Windows 10 tablets in the market, the HP Spectre x2 is another standout device that comes at a very attractive price. This Intel Core M-powered 12-inch tablet is a smidge thinner while offering a long battery life. Aesthetically, the Spectre x2 feels like an even more premium device with a solid metal body and stylish bar-shaped kickstand. The Windows tablet also comes jam packed with tech including a quadruple speakers and a total of three cameras.
Read the full review: HP Spectre x2
Best laptops

13. Dell Inspiron 13 7000

A great all-around laptop-tablet hybrid for discerning students
CPU: 2.4GHz Intel Core i7-5500 | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 5500 | RAM: 8GB | Screen: 13.3-inch, 1,920 x 1,080 FHD IPS touchscreen | Storage: 256GB SSD
Attractive and sturdy design
Speedy powerful performance
Lackluster battery life
A little hefty
Then again for those who don't need the latest laptop on the block and rather stick to their guns with something more traditional, the Dell Inspiron 13 7000 is a lovely fit. With a metal chassis coated in soft-touch rubber, this Special Edition 13-inch laptop hardly feels like a budget machine. Aside from the more than serviceable computing experience you'll get out of this notebook, the screen also flips back giving you a 1,080p tablet experience.
Read the full review: Dell Inspiron 13 7000
Best laptops

14. Acer Chromebook 15 C910

This 15-inch Chromebook has it all
CPU: 2.2GHz dual-core Intel Core i5-5200 | Graphics: Intel HD 5500 | RAM: 4GB | Screen: 15.6-inch full HD (1,920 x 1,080) | Storage: 32GB SSD
Speedy performance
Sleek diamond texture
Too heavy
Awkward keyboard
Who says Chromebooks can be big too. While the mass majority of Chrome OS machines come in the shape of low-powered 13- to 10-inch laptops, the Acer Chromebook C910 is the 15-inch big daddy. Not only does it come rocking a vibrant 15-inch, 1080p display, it also has a substantially more powerful Intel Core processor for some more heavy duty Cloud computing. You might think all this added power would take a chunk out of the battery life, but this Chromebook colossus can last for nearly nine hours.
Read the full review: Acer Chromebook 15 C910
Best laptops

15. Lenovo LaVie Z

This skinny kid can fight
CPU: 2.40GHz Intel Core i7-5500U | Graphics: Intel HD Graphic 5500 | RAM: 8GB | Screen: 13.3-inch WQHD (2560 x 1440) LED anti-glare | Storage: 256GB
Core i7 processor
Excellent high-res display
Mediocre battery life
Astronomical battery life
A laptop as light as a tablet? It's not as crazy as you think with the Lenovo LaVie Z weighing less than two pounds. Aside from its lightweight chassis, the Lavie Z offers better performance and a higher resolution screen than most of its 13-inch Ultrabook competitors. Still, this machine has a few unfavorable characteristics including a soft build quality, inferior battery life and inflated price tag; major turn offs for what is an otherwise splendid device.
Read the full review: Lenovo LaVie Z

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Updated: 11 best VR games: best virtual reality games for PC and mobile
Updated: 11 best VR games: best virtual reality games for PC and mobile


Assetto Corsa
Picking the best VR games at the moment is tricky because many of the best VR experiences aren't the best games, and vice-versa. For example, much as we love Team Fortress 2, you don't half get motion sick running at the scout's speed in VR.
Other experiences are like hands-off coaster rides - Sony's The Deep, for example - which one would hardly want to call games. Oculus' story studio takes that one step further, employing ex-Pixar staff to create bespoke first-person VR entertainment.
Even those games that are good fun are often just demos, for products that will be released when the Rift, Vive and the rest are all on sale. We've picked the five games we're most excited about seeing and the 10 games that we think are best now. If you disagree, let us know in the comments.

VR games on our radar

Rigs: Mechanized Combat League

If you've never wanted to pilot a massive mech in VR then you're probably a liar. Either way, you'll get your chance in Rigs: Mechanized Combat League, a Project Morpheus FPS heading to the PS4.
Set 50 years in the future, you control 'Rigs' — piloted, highly-tuned, athletic machines that compete in a futuristic, weapon-based sport. Of course, your robots have lasers, rockets and plasma cannons, which means you'll also need jump jets to avoid getting killed all the time.
Set in massive multi-floor arenas, its backdrops of Dubai and Rio look gorgeous, and we can't wait to see how its gameplay fares.


One of the huge draws of VR is immersion, something that upcoming space exploration game P.O.L.L.E.N has in abundance. It's a slightly different affair to the Alien: Isolations of the world in that there are no monsters to speak of. Instead, it's all about adventuring and places a focus on picking up and observing objects to find clues and discover what happened aboard the mysterious space station you're exploring.
In development for two years by Finland-based studio Mindfield Games, P.O.L.L.E.N reeks (in a good way) of classic science fiction movies like Solaris and Space Odyssey. Its gorgeous graphics and an intriguing narrative could make it the modern VR equivalent of the classic adventure game Myst from 1993. Only more, er, spacey.

Eve: Valkyrie

Eve Valkyrie
What started out as a spectacular tech demo for the developers of Eve: Online has rapidly morphed into a full project that's entirely focused on squad-based dogfighting in deep space.
Though the game is far narrower than Star Citizen and Elite: Dangerous, it promises to be a classic multiplayer experience, with a Call of Duty-style rank progression that allows you to unlock more ships, weapons and equipment the better that you do.
That focus on combat allows the game to be much less realistic and more visceral than its competitors - and potentially much more fun.

Star Citizen

Star Citizen
While Eve: Valkyrie looks to have the most promising combat, Star Citizen is hoping to have the most comprehensive space experience.
As an unofficial follow-up to the Wing Commander series, the game is promising to combine gutsy first-person shooting on space stations and planets, exploration of its crazy-large universe in a variety of hand-crafted spaceships, and a huge storyline with a cast of movie stars.
The VR experience is still unclear, but will probably work along the lines of Elite's - head-tracking, whilst you use a joystick or gamepad to control your craft.


No platform is complete without a pant-wetting horror experience and Dreadhalls is planning to provide that. Along the lines of Amnesia, you're an unarmed explorer in a series of procedurally-generated tunnels attempting to simply find your way to the exit.
Sadly, the maze is filled with a variety of monsters, like gargoyles that only move when you're not watching, and spooky little girls. Objects in the maze can help you, but ultimately it's a game about hiding and running away. For a more involved dungeon crawling game, Oculus' own Hero Battle sounds promising.

Robinson: The Journey

Robinson: The Journey
There are few details on Crytek's first VR game yet, but given the firm's history we can be assured that it'll be outrageously beautiful with a terrible story.
You're playing as a small boy who's crashlanded on an alien planet that seems to be inhabited by dinosaurs. It's notable that Crytek has been separately showing off a VR demo in a similarly lush jungle where you're hiding out in a T-Rex nest as various dinosaurs menace you.
Crytek promises that "players will become pioneers by interacting with the rich ecosystem around them and unearthing incredible secrets at every turn."


The biggest promise of VR is in story-driven games like Technolust. It's a puzzle and mystery game, where you explore this brave new world, finding clues and objects to move the plot forward.
Here, you're in a near-future cyberpunk world where big business has taken over. You can choose to join the resistance and battle large corporations, pop to the arcade to experience new worlds, or just stay at home and watch TV with your AI. This could be the nearest thing we get to Bladerunner - until they adapt it for VR, that is.

1. Elite: Dangerous

Elite Dangerous
It's been over thirty years since the first Elite was released and original creator David Braben has finally got around to making a sequel (i.e. got the rights back.)
Elite: Dangerous takes the elements of the first game - trading, exploration and combat in a huge procedurally-generated universe - and updates them, so that you can do all those things in an accurate representation of our galaxy in the future.
The game has also added massively-multiplayer gameplay, and industry-standard VR. Sitting in a cockpit in Elite and looking around feel utterly real, and well worth it.

2. Euro Truck Simulator 2

Euro Truck Simulator 2
Ever wanted to deliver frozen chickens from Innsbruck to Bad Kissingen in an eighteen wheeler? Someone, who should probably be using their genius for the betterment of mankind, has perfectly replicated the art of being a truck driver, letting players fulfil their long-haul longings.
The VR experience has been updated to work well with the Oculus DK2 and lets you look all around your cab, as well lean out of the window to look behind you. You'll still crash your semi into the hard shoulder on a regular basis, but that's your fault, not the game's.

3. Alien Isolation

Alien Isolation
Creative Assembly's masterful conversion of the Alien movie into a survival game was an unexpected success of last year, allowing players to take the role of Ripley's daughter, attempting to survive another xenomorph event and discover what happened to her mother.
The long-promised Oculus support wasn't released with the game, but exists in the game's code and has been reimplemented by modders. It makes for an utterly terrifying and hardcore experience, with players trying to stealth their way through the grimpunk space station, but it's mostly short-lived due to the alien's efficiency.

4. Surgeon Simulator 2013

Surgeon Simulator
Just like Alien Isolation, there are aliens in Surgeon Simulator 2013, but this time you're the one taking them to pieces.
One of the few comedy games of recent years, SS13 is all about your incompetence in performing advanced surgery (including heart and brain transplants), which is only exacerbated by the VR interface.
The game supports VR natively in Oculus Rift and uses Razer Hydras to allow you to attempt heart transplants.

5. Assetto Corsa

Assetto Corsa
I've never really been a petrolhead - though I do know that red ones go faster - so I can't comment on how good a game Assetto Corsa is.
Suffice to say that my Petrolhead friends say it's one of the best car games out there, and the reviews agree. The key point is its moddability, which has allowed gamers to add all sorts of fancy new cars and tracks onto its superb driving system.
It supports Oculus natively and, like Elite, it makes perfect sense to be able to look around when racing, whether rallying or in an F1.

6. Dear Esther

Dear Esther
VR is wonderful at providing a sense of presence in a world - but not so good, as yet, at interacting with it. Which is perfect for 'walking simulators' like this.
Dear Esther is an exploration game, where you walk all over a remote Scottish island, plumbing its depths and heights, as your character whinges about his life. It may sound like an art-house adaption of a J.G. Ballard novel, but the game is utterly beautiful to wander.

7. Shufflepuck Cantina Deluxe VR

The unofficial sequel to 1989's Shufflepuck Cafe takes the physical game of Shufflepuck (AKA Air Hockey) to the furthest possible point.
Shufflepuck Cantina takes place in an interstellar casino, where you play against a charismatic range of aliens and robots with a huge array of special moves on a range of bizarre tables.
The casino is just charming to wander, packed with unearthly sights and detail, and fun challengers to natter to. Warning: you'll need to shut your eyes for the control-free intro, as it's utterly nausea-inducing.

8. Dying Light

Dying Light
The unofficial follow-up to Dead Island from the creators of the same game was a surprisingly good take on the zombie survival action game, mingled with gruesome melee combat, fun parkour and a ton of other bits nicked from Dead Rising.
The VR version is still a bit shonky - the menus and buttons are unreadable and the camera control needs work - but it's a wonderful world to wander around, before zombies tear you apart. There will almost certainly be a separate VR release when the Vive and Oculus launch.

9. Subnautica

Subnautica looks like it should be a simple diving game - but then you realise you don't recognise any of the 'fish'... or the sky or the sun.
It's actually a survival game on a distant ocean world, where you have to craft equipment, pilot submarines, and terraform the aquatic undersea for humankind - whilst surviving hostile wildlife, volcanoes, and aircraft-sized jellyfish. It's still in Early Access, so the Oculus Rift support is limited but effective.

10. Grand Theft Auto V

What could be better suited to VR than a game that simulates real life? Rockstar's latest cime-em-up doesn't officially support virtual reality yet, but that hasn't stopped people hooking the game up to an Oculus Rift DK2 and getting up close and personal with Los Santos' shady underworld.
In one particular video, which shows footage from a third-party mod that replicates mouse movement control, you can see the Oculus wearer let rip down the freeway on a motorcycle, taking in the environment while weaving in and out of traffic.
It's eerily effective and almost makes the case alone for splashing out on a headset, a beefy PC and a copy of GTA V. Not sure about the Snow Patrol soundtrack, though.

11. Temple Run VR

Temple Run
You're probably familiar with Temple Run, the endless runner that has been downloaded by millions of smartphone owners. You're likely less familiar with the VR version of the game, which was released for Samsung's Gear VR Innovator Edition.
Taking on a first-person view of the sprint, the game is surprisingly harrowing – mainly because you can look back at the giant artic monster monkey chasing you through the snow-capped mountains. When not admiring the view you'll have to navigate the track while running, jumping and collecting power-ups to rack up the highest score possible.

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How to control updates on Windows 10
How to control updates on Windows 10


Windows update
Windows as a Service means you need to get used to updates – not just on Patch Tuesday for security, but regularly for new features and bug fixes (especially if you opt in to the Windows Insider program and take flights of new Windows builds as soon as they're available).
But that doesn't mean updates to Windows have to be an annoying, intrusive experience. We show you how to take control of updates in Windows 10, controlling the new features you want, and avoiding any nastiness like unexpected reboots.

Manage app updates

Manage app updates
Most of the update options are in the Settings app, but there's one in the Windows Store. If you want to stop Store apps getting updated automatically and only update the apps you choose, open the Store, tap on your account icon and choose Settings. Change Update apps automatically to Off.
If you've tried this in an earlier version of Windows 10 Home, you may have found the slide was greyed out (and set permanently to On) – make sure you have the cumulative update KB3081448 which was released in August as that fixes the bug.

Choose update options

Choose update options
To change Windows Update options, open Settings (type Settings into the Search the web and Windows bar next to the start button at the bottom left) and choose Update & Security, then choose Advanced options under Windows Update – this will only be available if an update isn't downloading or waiting to be installed.
Change the dropdown from Automatic to Notify to schedule restart, unless you want to turn on your PC in the morning to find that it's restarted without warning. Automatic update restarts happen when you're not using your PC, usually in the middle of the night, and leaving them enabled is certainly the best way of making sure you're always up to date.
But as Windows 10 won't restart the applications you leave open, the restart can be very disruptive. Switch to the Notify option and you'll get an alert asking you to pick a time for the restart, which gives you a chance to save and close your documents.

Optional updates by another name

Optional updates by another name
Also on the Advanced Options screen, another default option that's worth changing is to turn on 'Give me updates for other Microsoft products when I update Windows'. With the switch to Store apps this is less urgent, but if you use the Windows Live apps, or Windows Media Player, you don't have to remember to check for updates for them manually.
The Edge browser is currently getting updated through Windows Update or as part of new Windows builds – in the future it might get updated through the Store, as it's actually a Store app, but there have been enough other updates for the Edge team to piggyback on.
This replaces the 'optional updates' list in previous versions of Windows. You may also want to check for optional features; in Settings, look under System, Apps & Features for the Manage optional features link – this is where you'll find alternative language features.

Peer-to-peer updates

Peer-to-peer updates
Again from Advanced Options, to stop Windows Update using a lot more bandwidth than you expect, select Choose how updates are delivered and change the options for Updates from more than one place. If you turn them off entirely, you won't be using the peer-to-peer system that downloads updates more quickly by copying them from other Windows 10 users – but you won't be using your bandwidth to share updates with other PCs either.
If you have several PCs, leave it turned on but just select PCs on my local network, rather than both PCs on my local network and PCs on the internet (unless you have a fast network and you're feeling altruistic).

Defer upgrades or become an Insider

Defer upgrades or become an Insider
If you're using Windows 10 Pro or Enterprise, you'll see the option to Defer upgrades – this doesn't affect security updates but postpones feature updates for what Microsoft unhelpfully calls "some months".
It actually puts you on the Current Branch for Business; unless your company is controlling the timing of updates with Windows Update for Business, it means they'll arrive after four months instead of every month and you'll be able to defer them for up to eight months.
If you want to get updates more quickly and more often, turn on the Windows Insider option. Click Get Started, then accept the two warning dialogs that check that you understand you're getting preview software.
You'll have to restart your PC to switch to getting Insider builds, and the first build may take up to a day to download. You can choose between the Fast ring, for getting new builds as soon as they're released, and the Slow ring, which waits until Fast ring Insiders have tried the builds out for a while, which sometimes reveals problems.

Remove and hide problem updates

Remove and hide problem updates
Whether you're in the Insider program or just getting the normal Current Branch updates once a month, you can remove updates that cause you problems and block them from being installed again. Again from the Advanced Options screen, select View your update history to see a list of updates, pick the problem one and choose Uninstall. If it's a driver that's the problem, right-click on the device in Device Manager and choose Uninstall – if the dialog box has a checkbox marked Delete the driver software for this device, check the box.
You can only block an update or driver after you've uninstalled it, and you'll need to download a Troubleshooter from Microsoft to do this – you can get the file from here (that's a direct download link).
Click Next when the Troubleshooter starts and pick whether you want to hide updates to stop them from installing again or install updates that you've blocked in the past. The list includes both updates and hardware drivers (which are what you'll most often need to block) – pick the problem update and click Next to hide it so Windows won't keep reinstalling it when you remove it.

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How to customise your Windows 10 Start Menu
How to customise your Windows 10 Start Menu


Windows 10 Start Menu
With Windows 10 finally here, you might be wondering what exciting changes will be in store for you and your PC. Also, will the new system be easy to get used to?
The short answer is, we can absolutely guarantee you will be up and running with your new operating system in next to no time. Of course, there's plenty that's different, but Windows 10 is designed to make your computing life easier and even more streamlined than ever before.
In this tutorial, we start the journey by looking at the Start menu, and see what has changed with the launch of Windows 10. Let's get Started!

1. Pin an app to the Start Menu

Pin it
We'll begin by adding programs to the new Start menu. If you're familiar with how to do this in Windows 7, it follows exactly the same routine here. Find the app you wish to add, right-click it and select 'Pin to Start'.

2. On the tiles

We now have the app's icon pinned to the Start menu as a tile. You can customise your Start menu by resizing and moving the tiles around. Right click one to bring up a drop-down menu. Here you can switch live tiles off or on, resize them and more.

3. Resizing pinned apps

Resize those pinned apps
Here we'll resize a tile to make it smaller. Apps downloaded from the Windows Store offer more resizing options, while other programs only have the option to go from medium to small. You can drag the tiles into the order that suits you best.

4. Group and title

Group them
You can also arrange tiles into groups. The groups can be renamed into categories, for example. To do this, move your cursor just above each column group and left-click once, you can now type in a name for the group.

5. All apps

All apps
With Windows 10 Start Menu comes a slight change in the way you access programs (which is similar to Windows 7) – the All Apps tab at the bottom of the Start Menu brings up a list of everything installed on your computer for quick and easy access.

6. Resize the entire menu

Resize the lot
If you feel the Start menu is still a little too big, you can resize the entire thing. As you would with a window, move the mouse to the edge of the Start menu and left-click. You can now hold to drag and resize the Start Menu to the size you want.

7. Classic Windows 8 Mode

Flip it back to 8
If you really don't want to leave Windows 8 and miss the Tile menu, Microsoft has it covered. Simply click the diagonal arrow in the top right-hand corner of the Start Menu. From now on, this will expand the Start menu across the screen.

8. Enabling Tablet Mode

Shiny new tablet mode
If you have a 2-in-1 tablet, the more desktop-like interface may not be right for you. If you want to change back to a style more akin to Windows 8, click Settings from the Start menu, then go to 'System' and switch on 'Tablet Mode'.

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Square's latest reader is equipped for chips and Apple Pay
Square's latest reader is equipped for chips and Apple Pay
Square has added a new way for small businesses to get paid with their NFC-enabled card reader. Square's new gadget allows customers to get through checkout using mobile payments as well as credit and debit cards with built-in security chips.
The contactless reader, which allow the use of Apple Pay, Samsung Pay, and Android Pay, costs $45 (approximately £30/AU$62) and also includes the company's magstripe reader, which allows cards to be swiped as normal.
In addition to mobile payments, Square's wireless reader also features a slot that reads security chips, which have been recently implemented in credit and debit cards to reduce fraud.
"We built our new Square Reader so every business in the neighborhood could accept Apple Pay and chip cards," said Square on the company's webpage. "We believe everyone deserves faster, more secure transactions."
According to a report in Engadget, Square's reader has already begun seeing use in a large number of cities across the United States such as Atlanta, Chicago, Denver, Los Angeles, Nashville, Minneapolis, Santa Cruz, Seattle, Washington, D.C., and more.
Square's readers, commonly seen in small businesses and on-the-go vendors, allow for payments to be made in place of a conventional point-of-sale system. Entrepreneurs looking to reserve the NFC-enabled card reader can find more information from Square online.

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Microsoft imposes deadline to upgrade to Internet Explorer 11
Microsoft imposes deadline to upgrade to Internet Explorer 11
Business customers looking to continue using Internet Explorer instead of switching to Microsoft Edge on Windows 10 have until January 12, 2016 to upgrade.
Upgrading to the latest Internet Explorer version 11 by the deadline will ensure that you continue to receive security updates and technical support, according to a Microsoft advisory.
"Internet Explorer 11 is the last major version of Internet Explorer, and will continue to be supported for the life of the operating system on which it is installed – including Windows 7, Windows 8.1, and Windows 10," Microsoft said in a statement.
Microsoft continues to support Internet Explorer, which recently turned 20 years old, stating that "Internet Explorer 11 will continue to receive security updates and backward compatibility improvements."

IE for business

Businesses that develop and maintain web applications can save time and development costs by using the new Web Application Compatibility Lab Kit.
Microsoft made product improvements to Internet Explorer to make it more business-friendly. Key product features include Enterprise Mode, Enterprise Site Discovery, HTTP Port numbers, Microsoft Edge and IE11 switching, and a simpler, scalable Enterprise Mode schema.
"For example, Enterprise Mode provides higher-fidelity emulation for older versions of Internet Explorer, and Enterprise Site Discovery can help assess your existing web environment," Microsoft said.
Users can specify port numbers in different document modes. Additionally, users can begin surfing the web in Edge and automatically switch to Internet Explorer 11 for pages that require backward compatibility based on specifications made by IT.
"After January 12, 2016, only the most recent version of Internet Explorer available for a supported operating system will receive technical support and security updates," Microsoft said in a blog post. "For example, customers using Internet Explorer 8, Internet Explorer 9, or Internet Explorer 10 on Windows 7 SP1 should migrate to Internet Explorer 11 to continue receiving security updates and technical support."

IE11 versus Microsoft Edge

Microsoft advises business users to install Microsoft Edge by default when upgrading to Windows 10, but support for legacy technologies means that Internet Explorer will continue to be a relevant tool for businesses. For example, businesses that choose to use password managers, like LastPass, may choose to continue using Internet Explorer because plugins are supported. Microsoft Edge doesn't support the LastPass password extension.
Both browsers are supported on Windows 10. IE11 continues to support plugins, toolbars and ActiveX controls, while Microsoft Edge provides Cortana integration for smarter, contextual searches and allows you to note and annotate web pages.
"In addition to better support for modern web standards, improved performance, increased security, and greater reliability, migrating to Internet Explorer 11 also helps unlock upgrades to Windows 10, Office 365, and the latest Windows devices," Microsoft said.

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