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Facebook to Simplify Messenger

Jan 16, 2018 - 10:46 PM - by Reverend
Facebook Messenger is getting a makeunder.

In a Tuesday blog post, Facebook Messenger Head Davis Marcus admitted that the app has "become too cluttered" as of late.

"Over the last two years, we built a lot of capabilities to find the features that continue to set us apart. A lot of them have found their product market fit; some haven't," he wrote. "Expect to see us invest in massively simplifying and streamlining Messenger this year."

Marcus didn't offer up any specifics as to how Facebook plans to pare down the app. He did, however, say Messenger get more visual messaging options this year, additional group chat features, and new ways to interact with businesses. The company also plans to "continue investing in real time communications" features, like voice and video chat, to help people stay connected via Messenger.

At this point, some 1.3 billion people use Messenger every month, Marcus wrote. In 2017, Messenger users sent more than 500 billion emoji, 18 billion GIFs, and had 17 billion video chats. Businesses have launched more than 200,000 chatbots on the platform.

Meanwhile, Facebook last month released a version of the Messenger app for kids. The Messenger Kids iOS app can be installed on a child's Apple smartphone or tablet, but controlled from a parent's Facebook account. The company also recently added support for 4K photos.

News of the impending Facebook Messenger overhaul comes after Snapchat in late November announced a major redesign, which will separate content from friends and content from publishers, as part of an effort to make the app easier for newbies to understand.

PC Magazine
  0 Replies | 69 Views

Microsoft to stop Windows 10 upgrade for Windows 8.1 as mainstream support ends

Jan 15, 2018 - 10:24 PM - by Reverend
Microsoft is to close its free Windows 10 migration offer to users of Windows 8.1 within the next 24 hours as part of its winding down of support for the unloved operating system.

After five years, Microsoft stopped offering mainstream support for Windows 8.1 on 9 January. That means that the company won't be implementing new features, although what it calls "extended support" will ensure they continue to receive security updates for a further five years - until 2023.

Although the company told users to make the switch to Windows 10 in order to benefit from fixes, patches and updates, some people have been reluctant to upgrade, even though the company too the unsual trouble of making the upgrade free.

Indeed, despite giving users a year to upgrade to Windows 10 for free, a report from NetMarketshare indicates that millions of Windows 8 and 8.1 users had spurned the offer by the time of the deadline in July 2016

However, Microsoft offered extra time to people who claimed to use assistive-technologies, such as braille keyboards and screen readers.

The company warned users that it would close this loophole on 31 December, 2017. However, that day came and Microsoft extended it till 16 January - tomorrow.

Based on Microsoft's track record, some people have suggested that the firm will continue to keep this loophole open to convince more consumers to switch to Windows 10.

Windows 8.1 follows in the footsteps of its predecessor Windows 7, which lost mainstream in January 2017. And Microsoft severed ties with Windows Vista completely last year.

Even though it is out of mainstream support, Windows 7 still remains one of the world's most popular computer operating systems, boasting a market share of around 40 per cent.

In comparison, Windows 8 (launched in 2012) and 8.1 (released a year later) never really took off, with Windows 7... [Read More]
  0 Replies | 78 Views

Windows Meltdown patches halted for some AMD systems after PCs refuse to boot

Jan 09, 2018 - 3:59 PM - by Reverend
AMD processors aren’t affected by the devastating Meltdown CPU flaw, but the emergency fix for Meltdown and Spectre can apparently bring certain AMD CPUs to their knees. Microsoft has stopped offering the Windows security patch to some AMD systems after reports of PCs not booting.

“After investigating, Microsoft has determined that some AMD chipsets do not conform to the documentation previously provided to Microsoft to develop the Windows operating system mitigations to protect against the chipset vulnerabilities known as Spectre and Meltdown,” Microsoft’s security advisory reads. “To prevent AMD customers from getting into an unbootable state, Microsoft will temporarily pause sending the following Windows operating system updates to devices with impacted AMD processors at this time.”

Microsoft doesn’t specify which AMD CPUs are vulnerable to the error. CSO reports that forum complaints largely revolve around older Athlon and Sempron chips, with the largest thread bearing over 160 replies and more than 800 “I have the same question” votes.

AMD and Microsoft are working to resolve the issue. Security updates for affected computers will resume after it’s fixed. If your AMD PC refuses to boot after installing last week’s emergency patch, Microsoft says its guides for troubleshooting bluescreen errors in Windows 7, 8, and ... [Read More]
  0 Replies | 220 Views

Mozilla Firefox 57.0.4

Jan 09, 2018 - 11:08 AM - by Reverend
Firefox is a free, open-source and cross-platform web browser.

English (US): Windows 32-bit | Windows 64-bit | Linux | Mac OS X

Release notes

Firefox homepage
  0 Replies | 300 Views

Windows 10's final free upgrade offer expires on January 16

Jan 06, 2018 - 11:25 PM - by Reverend
When Windows 10 first launched, Microsoft ran a promotion offering free upgrades for a year. While that program ended in July of 2016, free upgrades have remained available through an exception for users who take advantage of "assistive technologies." Though that exception was due to end on December 31, 2017, Microsoft has quietly extended the upgrade another couple of weeks (via MSPU).

In an update to the upgrade offer page FAQ, Microsoft now states that the upgrade offer will end on January 16.

"If you use assistive technologies, you can upgrade to Windows 10 at no cost as Microsoft continues our efforts to improve the Windows 10 experience for people who use these technologies. Please take advantage of this offer before it expires on January 16, 2018."

Although intended for assistive technology users, the upgrade offer doesn't require any verification of whether you actually use assistive technologies of any sort. Essentially, the offer has acted as a loophole for anyone to secure a free upgrade following the official end of the general free upgrade program in 2016.

Once the offer expires, you'll have to shell out $119 or more to get a copy of Windows 10. If you still have Windows 7 or 8 PCs that are in need of an upgrade, however, you can head to the upgrade site to move up to Windows 10 for free before January 16.

Windows Central
  0 Replies | 314 Views

HP Recalls Laptop Batteries Over Fire Risk

Jan 05, 2018 - 10:48 PM - by Reverend
Own an HP laptop? It may contain a defective battery that poses a fire hazard and needs to be replaced.

HP this week announced a worldwide voluntary safety recall and replacement program for about 52,600 laptop batteries, which "have the potential to overheat, posing a fire and burn hazard to customers." The recall affects batteries shipped with certain HP Probook, x360, Envy, Pavilion, and HP 11 notebook computers, plus certain HP ZBook mobile workstations sold worldwide from December 2015 through December 2017.

These products were sold via Best Buy, Amazon, HP's website, and other authorized dealers and sites. HP and its authorized service providers have also sold the faulty batteries as accessories and provided them as replacements.

"HP has received eight reports of battery packs overheating, melting, or charring, including three reports of property damage totaling $4,500 with one report of a minor injury involving a first degree burn to the hand," according to an alert from the US Consumer Product Safety Commission.

If you believe your machine may be affected, head to HP's recall page and download the HP Battery Program Validation Utility to check.

"It is extremely important to check whether your battery is affected," HP wrote on its recall page, adding that validation "generally takes less than 30 seconds."

If the validation tool indicates your battery is affected, HP said you should "discontinue use of the battery immediately by placing it in Battery Safety Mode." When enabled,... [Read More]
  0 Replies | 320 Views

Roku is making its own voice assistant

Jan 03, 2018 - 4:24 PM - by Reverend
The company's TV-streaming devices and smart TVs will get the assistant in an automatic software update this fall. It's officially called "Roku Entertainment Assistant," but you can just use its first name. For example, "Roku, play Rihanna in the guest room."

Roku has ambitions for the rest of your house as well. The new assistant will be available in smart speakers, but Roku isn't making them itself. It just launched a licensing program that will let hardware makers sell Roku branded smart speakers, soundbars and audio systems. TCL will be the first company to announce a Roku branded device at CES January 8.

The audio gadgets will run Roku's own operating system and be able to connect wirelessly to each other to do things like sync audio. Customers will be able to control them all with one Roku remote and voice commands. The company is not yet sharing details on what tasks the assistant will do beyond control music and videos.

Roku is the most popular streaming device in the U.S., beating out competing hardware from tech giants Apple, Amazon and Google, according to Parks Associates.

The company, which was founded in 2002 and went public in September, had a head start on the market. It also benefits from cheap dongles (they start at $30) and from not producing its own content.

While Apple, Google and Amazon fight over what competing streaming services they'll allow on their devices, and try and lock users into their ecosystems, Roku has apps for all the major players except iTunes.

  0 Replies | 356 Views

Security Researcher Finds 15-Year-Old MacOS Bug

Jan 03, 2018 - 4:19 PM - by Reverend
Happy New Year, Apple. As 2017 drew to a close, a security researcher tweeted out a macOS security flaw that's apparently existed for at least 15 years. "Woah. One tiny, ugly bug. Fifteen years. Full system compromise," the researcher, who goes by Siguza, tweeted on Sunday.

Siguza did not warn Apple before tweeting, but claims the flaw can only be triggered when you have local access to the Mac.

The bug resides in the software's "IOHIDFamily" component, and can be used to gain full system privileges, according to Siguza, who published a detailed write-up of the flaw.

It affects all Mac operating systems. But on Twitter, Siguza said there was no ill intent in disclosing the vulnerability. "I would've submitted to Apple if their bug bounty included macOS, or if the vuln [vulnerability] was remotely exploitable," the researcher tweeted. "Since neither of those were the case, I figured I'd just end 2017 with a bang because why not.

"If I had actually wanted to hurt anyone, I would've found some remotely triggerable vuln, written some ransomware worm and not done a write-up on it," Siguza continued.

Still, the flaw can still be useful for hackers looking to take over a Mac. The bug itself triggers when the system logs outs. Siguza imagined one attack scenario, where a hacker infects a Mac with malware, which waits until the computer reboots or shuts down to exploit the flaw.

So far, Apple hasn't publicly commented on the vulnerability or issued a fix.

PC Magazine
  0 Replies | 406 Views

» News Archive

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