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Microsoft delivers service pack-like Windows 10 1909

Nov 15, 2019 - 9:52 PM - by Reverend
Microsoft on Tuesday released Windows 10 1909, a feature update that has little in the way of new features.

Also dubbed "Windows 10 November 2019 Update" - the 1909 moniker noted its year and month, even though the release was actually 1911 - the upgrade was immediately available to those who sought it.

(On an unmanaged PC, select Settings > Update & Security > Windows Update, choose Check for updates and then pick Download and install now.)

On consumer PCs running Windows 10 Home and Windows 10 Pro systems not overseen by IT, 1909 will be installed only when the user chooses "Download and install now." However, as the current edition nears its support expiration, Microsoft will take charge and start an upgrade.

Computerworld has forecast that Microsoft won't begin force-feeding 1909 to users until late January, when it begins upgrading machines running Windows 10 1809. (On Windows 10 Home and Pro, 1809 drops off support May 12, 2020.) Most Windows 10 Home PCs running 1803 were compulsorily upgraded by Microsoft to 1903 in the four months prior to the former's retirement using this mechanism.

Commercial customers on Tuesday were also told to kickstart their testing of 1909. "IT administrators should begin targeted deployments to validate that the apps, devices and infrastructure used by their organizations work as expected with the new release and features," wrote John Cable, director of program management, in a Nov. 12 post to a company blog.

For those keeping score, Windows 10 1909 is notable for what it is not: It is not a feature upgrade as Microsoft has defined the term for Windows 10. Instead, 1909 will be little more than a rerun of May's 1903, including all the fixes Microsoft has made to that version since its debut, and a very small number of new features.

... [Read More]
  0 Replies | 100 Views

Microsoft's Game Streaming Service xCloud to Launch Next Year

Nov 15, 2019 - 9:46 PM - by Reverend
Microsoft plans on launching the company's game-streaming service, xCloud, some time next year, when it'll also be available over PCs.

For the past month, Microsoft has been letting gamers test out xCloud on Android smartphones and tablets as part of an ongoing public preview. But the company hasn't forgotten about PCs. "You want more ways to play. And we are delighted to announce in 2020 we will bring Project xCloud to Windows 10 PCs," said xCloud general manager Catherine Gluckstein at the Inside Xbox event in the UK.

"And of course, we won't stop there. We are working with a ton of partners to bring Project xCloud to every device where you want to play," she added.

In addition, when xCloud launches it will support a variety of third-party Bluetooth controllers, along with the official Xbox One wireless controlllers. Gluckstein named the Razer Junglecat and the Sony Dualshock 4 gamepads as examples.

Another notable announcement was how Microsoft will let you stream games from xCloud that you already own. So they'll be no need to buy a game again if you bought a copy for your Xbox. Instead, the company is teasing that you'll be able to continue to play it over your xCloud-enabled smartphone or tablet.

On top of all this, xCloud will be added to the Xbox Game Pass as a new perk. "Gamers will be free to discover, choose, and play their favorite games anywhere and everywhere," the company said in the announcement.

Microsoft refrained from getting specific on the launch date. But the company first plans on extending the ongoing public preview into 2020 by making it available in additional markets such as Canada, Japan and more of Europe.

To entice more gamers to test out the service, Microsoft announced that the xCloud preview will now let you stream and play 50 different Xbox games, including Devil May Cry 5 and Tekken 7.

... [Read More]
  0 Replies | 78 Views

Apple bans vaping apps from the iOS App Store

Nov 15, 2019 - 9:40 PM - by Reverend
Apple has removed all 181 vaping-related apps from the iOS App Store, Axios reported on Friday morning. The move follows rising concern about the possible health impacts of vaping.

Some of the banned apps provided news and information about vaping. Some were vaping-themed games. There were also apps that allowed users to adjust the temperature and other settings on their vaping devices.

To avoid breaking functionality for existing customers, Apple is allowing them to continue using vaping apps already on their devices—and to transfer them to new devices. But new users won't be able to download these apps, and new vaping apps can't be published on Apple's store.

Since their inception, e-cigarettes have faced questions about their safety. Manufacturers have portrayed them as a safer alternative to cigarettes, but critics—including the Food and Drug Administration—say companies haven't proven these claims scientifically. The technology is so new that the long-term health impacts aren't yet clear.

Critics are particularly worried about rising teen vaping. While conventional teen smoking has been on the decline for decades, those gains have been largely offset by a rise in e-cigarette use among high school students. The Food and Drug Administration is planning to ban flavored vaping products to reduce their appeal to children.

In recent months, health officials have confronted a more urgent problem: hundreds of people have fallen ill after using vaping devices. Officials have linked most of the illnesses to off-brand vaping liquids—especially those involving THC, the main active ingredient in marijuana. One possible culprit: a form of vitamin E, common in skin creams, that may become harmful to the lungs if vaporized. This form of vitamin E has been found... [Read More]
  0 Replies | 80 Views

Google enlists outside help to clean up Android’s malware mess

Nov 10, 2019 - 6:06 PM - by Reverend
Android has a bit of a malware problem. The open ecosystem's flexibility also makes it relatively easy for tainted apps to circulate on third-party app stores or malicious websites. Worse still, malware-ridden apps sneak into the official Play Store with disappointing frequency. After grappling with the issue for a decade, Google is calling in some reinforcements.

This week, Google announced a partnership with three antivirus firms—ESET, Lookout, and Zimperium—to create an App Defense Alliance. All three companies have done extensive Android malware research over the years, and have existing relationships with Google to report problems they find. But now they'll use their scanning and threat detection tools to evaluate new Google Play submissions before the apps go live—with the goal of catching more malware before it hits the Play Store in the first place.

"On the malware side we haven’t really had a way to scale as much as we’ve wanted to scale," says Dave Kleidermacher, Google's vice president of Android security and privacy. "What the App Defense Alliance enables us to do is take the open ecosystem approach to the next level. We can share information not just ad hoc, but really integrate engines together at a digital level, so that we can have real-time response, expand the review of these apps, and apply that to making users more protected."

It's not often that you hear someone at Google—a company of seemingly limitless size and scope—talk about trouble operating a program at the necessary scale.

Each antivirus vendor in the alliance offers a different approach to scanning app files called binaries for red flags. The companies are looking for anything from trojans, adware, and ransomware to banking malware or even phishing campaigns. ESET's engine uses a cloud-based repository of known malicious binaries along with pattern analysis and other... [Read More]
  0 Replies | 229 Views

Google to buy Fitbit in $2.1 billion deal

Nov 01, 2019 - 9:05 PM - by Reverend
Google announced plans on Friday to acquire Fitbit, the world's leading maker of wearable fitness activity trackers.

The deal, worth about $2.1 billion, is one of Google's largest acquisitions. The wearable market is growing quickly. Although Google makes some hardware, including Pixel phones and Nest devices, it hasn't made much headway into smartwatches and other wearable devices.

"With Google's resources and global platform, Fitbit will be able to accelerate innovation in the wearables category, scale faster, and make health even more accessible to everyone," Fitbit co-founder and CEO James Park said.

In a press release, Fitbit emphasized its commitment to data privacy, saying it will remain transparent about the data it collects and why.

The wearable fitness tracker company also said it never sells personal information and that its health and wellness data will not be used for Google ads.

The acquisition deal is expected to be finalized in 2020.

Earlier this year, Fitbit lowered the price on some of its devices and launched a new subscription offering called Fitbit Premium, which provides more in-depth insights about sleep, fitness and overall health. In July, Fitbit slashed its outlook for the full year following disappointing sales of its Versa Lite smartwatch.

  0 Replies | 621 Views

Incognito Mode for Google Maps has arrived on Android

Nov 01, 2019 - 8:59 PM - by Reverend
Earlier this month Google announced that its new Incognito feature for Maps had started to roll out, and now it should be here on your Android devices. Android Police points out a post on the support page from yesterday indicating that the rollout has begun in earnest. While it could take a few days to reach everyone (iOS support is still "coming soon"), if it's available for you, then enabling it only requires a few steps:

  • Open the Google Maps app
  • Tap on your profile picture
  • Tap on "Turn on Incognito mode"

It's not something you'll want to use all the time as some features will be disabled, and it's important to note that it doesn't turn off all tracking. The places you go won't be saved to your Location History (if you have that enabled), your searches won't be saved to your account and it won't use your information to personalize the experience. Still, you could be tracked by internet service providers, other apps, or if you're using Assistant and other Google services.

  0 Replies | 527 Views

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