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April 19, 2014

Windows XP-The Discontinuation

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By now you all must have heard and are aware of Microsoft’s news to discontinue windows XP and for those who haven’t heard, this is your chance to now find out. Microsoft for the past 12 years has provided support for windows XP but as from April 8th 2014 this will no longer be the case, the time has come for them to invest their time and resources towards supporting more new and recent technologies, so that they can continue to grow with the world as well as deliver new experience’s for all.

Windows XP was first introduced back in October 2001, the original back of windows and over the years the decrease of XP had become more and more apparent, and even more so in 2012 with the introduction of windows 7 in August as this seemed to have drastically taken over the market.

 

How did it last this long

Months of advanced warning to both businesses and individuals for the end of XP have been in place for a while now, starting from the first  introduction of the ‘support life cycle’ in 2002 which was able to limit the amount of support available for its products, this was then followed by the MLS policy in 2004.
It is said that the discontinuation of windows XP may have come in to place much earlier than announced; way before windows 7 came in to place. It seems that the many delays in the different windows versions that followed after XP, contributed largely to the extended life of the operating system.

Another reason for the long life span is down to businesses and their un-eagerness to change and update their systems, according to businesses it seems that it takes a lot of hard work and time to actually get all application running on new windows.

“These upgrades and updates projects can take 12-18 months to roll out”,

Hence the reasons why many of them choose not to keep up with time an upgrade like everyone else.

 

Why the discontinuation and how it affects us

We can finally say that the day that Microsoft has been waiting for is nearly here, I suppose the main and important question that many people  as well as myself would like to know, is why the end and why now?

According to Microsoft the reasons for this includes the following;

 

–>Bid to get users shifting over to a more modern version of windows, so that everyone also using the current windows at the same time.
–>They fear that once the security updates stop, anyone still using XP will be a tempting target for all types of hi-tech thieves.
–>Anyone sticking with XP could be at risk, as it will be easier to crack than the current new window systems. Windows 7 and 8 now employ several different techniques that hide the internal workings of the operating system from attackers.
->-Current office 2013 does not work on XP; this was just the first step in the process.

 

 

As well as understanding why XP will no longer be in place, it is just as important to also understand the effects XP will have on those that are still using the systems as it stands.

 

 

Supermarkets currently still heavily rely and use a version of windows XP to run their POS systems. However recently it was made to light that although mainstream support for windows XP ends in April 2014, Microsoft will provide an individual extended support contract till April 2019. e.g. Sainsbury’s system in fact runs windows Embedded Point of service  Ready 2009 system that was not main available to the general public.

 

Customers such as home users will no longer be able to receive new security updates, non-security hotfixes, free or paid assisted support options or online technical content updates.

Since Microsoft will no longer be supporting security updates those merchants that utilize point of sale or other types of payment cards and are also using windows XP will end up falling out of compliance with the payment card security standards council (PCO SSC).Which sets out guidelines that govern electronic transactions followed by merchants and major credit card companies.

 

 

Although Microsoft are very eager to discontinue in the UK there are some countries in which they have no control over, such as mainland china were windows XP is still  hugely popular. However Microsoft seems to have much less control other those machines there seeing as most of them are actually running on a pirated version, therefore those with the pirated version are then unlikely to then pay for a new operating system that they originally got for free, as a result an retaliation for not wanting to upgrade Microsoft have in fact refused to make any form of special treatment for the country in terms of security protection.

 

So it seems that no matter what there will always be a small trace and existence of Microsoft XP somewhere, either because of individuals and companies who are not bothered to keep to date or because of countries being stuck in their own ways

 

Too sum up in to two short options:

1) Option one states that either you as an individual or organization upgrade your pc to the most recent windows 7 and above and make sure that your pc meets the requirements for that operating system.

2)  Option 2 you invest in a new laptop or computer that has the new and current operating system

 

 

Computer nerds are here to help you with your windows transition from XP to windows 7, specialising in IT support and providing you with IT services, so why not contact us today here.

rip xp

April 19, 2014

Beats Music update lets you subscribe from inside the iOS app

Beats Music on Android, Windows Phone and iPhone

Odds are that you weren't riveted by Beats Music when it first arrived, but the streaming service has just delivered a pair of big updates that may give you a good excuse to tune in. For the iOS app, the biggest improvement is visible when you're signing up -- you can now subscribe from within the software rather than heading to the web. The move makes it that much easier to keep the music flowing after your trial is over, and may just help Beats grow its fledgling customer base.

Not that Beats is neglecting its Android app by any means; you get a "brand spanking new widget" for your home screen if you're running Google's mobile platform. Both the Android and iOS releases also share some common improvements, including the ability to find Facebook friends who use Beats, better social network linking and thousands of new tracks in the Sentence playlist generator. There's no guarantee that either refresh will have you rethinking that Rdio or Spotify subscription, but it's hard to knock upgrades that make it easy to start listening.

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Via: Recode, Droid-Life

Source: App Store, Google Play

April 19, 2014

Daily Roundup: Xperia Z2 review, Oculus VR lets a terminal patient travel and more!

You might say the day is never really done in consumer technology news. Your workday, however, hopefully draws to a close at some point. This is the Daily Roundup on Engadget, a quick peek back at the top headlines for the past 24 hours -- all handpicked by the editors here at the site. Click on through the break, and enjoy.

Sony Xperia Z2 review: a big, powerful slab of a phone

The Xperia Z2 is just as waterproof as the original Z1 and it packs a slightly larger display and better battery life -- not to mention it's several grams lighter. But at 5.2-inches, Sony's curveless flagship might be too big for its your britches.

Oculus Rift helps terminally ill woman take one last stroll in the sun

Sure, exploring the world of Minecraft with an Occulus Rift is fun, but pure entertainment isn't the VR headset's only use. Roberta Firstenberg may be a home-bound terminally ill cancer patient, but Oculus let her take a virtual trip to Tuscany before she passed.

Wu-Tang fans hope to liberate 'Shaolin' for $5 million but have a ways to go

Yes, the Wu-Tang Clan is selling the only copy of its upcoming album, Once Upon a Time in Shaolin, for $5 million. Don't have that kind of cash? Not to worry, a group of fans put together a Kickstarter in hopes of putting its latest jams in the hands of ordinary people.

NASA just crashed a satellite into the moon on purpose

Remember NASA's LADEE satellite? Well, it's no more. According to the agency, the vehicle didn't have enough power to maintain orbit... so they gave it a proper galactic burial and slammed it into the lunar surface.

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April 19, 2014

Nike reportedly killing the Fuelband to focus on fitness software

Just days after Nike announced the launch of its Fuel Lab location in San Francisco to enhance partnerships with other digital services for athletes, there's a report that it's fired much of the team behind its FuelBand wristwear. CNET reports that, according to a person familiar with the matter, as many as 55 people from its 70-member hardware team are being laid off, and plans for another version of the FuelBand to follow the SE have been shelved. All of this comes just as the wearables market is heating up, with products already arriving from Samsung, LG, Motorola, Pebble and more, while activity tracking integrated with phones is also becoming more popular. At the same time, not all of Nike's tech initiatives have worked out, and Nike+ has largely disappeared from its shoes in the last year.

A Nike spokesman confirmed to CNET a "small number of layoffs" as its "Digital Sports priorities evolve." Given Nike's close relationship with Apple (Tim Cook is a member of Nike's board), one could wonder if the prospect of an upcoming wearable from Cupertino had a hand in swinging the apparel company's focus towards "simpler data-powered experiences" -- or they just spent all the money on tonight's sweet 3D projector intro to the Jordan Brand High School All-Star Game.



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Source: CNET

April 19, 2014

Hide your stash, heat-seeking drones are helping thugs hijack UK weed crops

cannabis background

Criminals are dicks. That much we all know is true. But now these dicks are using heat-sensing drones to pull off "sophisticated" heists of weed farms (yes, that weed) in the United Kingdom, as local paper Halesowen News discovered. Consider this quote from one enterprising crop hijacker:

It is not like I'm using my drone to see if people have nice televisions. I am just after drugs to steal and sell. If you break the law, then you enter me and my drone's world.

It's solid logic, really. Marijuana has yet to be legalized in the UK, so growers are technically in the wrong for bothering to grow their own, get high and overeat while watching terrible telly. Or, fine, they're probably selling that weed, too. And also, these opportunistic crooks are using drones to hunt down these cannabis crops! So, I guess we should applaud their enterprising spirit? I don't know how to feel.

Unfortunately for the victims, these raids can sometimes turn violent. Though the smug thug speaking to Halesowen News admitted that his crew usually just outright steals from or imposes a tax on their targets since "the people growing [weed] are not gangsters." See? He's a thoughtful dick.

The local members of Parliament aren't unaware of the situation either, but it also doesn't appear as if a solution is underway. Tom Watson, chair of a Parliamentary group on drones had this to say about the spike in weed-jacking incidents: "This ... story shows the proliferation of drone technology which can be used for both good and bad." That's some deep insight from the local government right there, folks. People can do good and bad things... and all in the name of weed.

[Image: Shutterstock]

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Via: Gizmodo

Source: Halesowen News

April 19, 2014

Labels claim Pandora owes money for streaming old songs, probably won’t get it

Les Paul Special guitar

Pandora can't catch a break, it seems. Just weeks after the streaming radio service escaped paying higher royalties to songwriters, record companies and musicians have sued it in a New York court for allegedly violating state copyright laws by refusing to pay for older song recordings. The labels argue that Pandora is subject to state rules on compensation whenever it streams tunes recorded before February 15th, 1972, when federal law took over; right now, it's only paying for those newer works. The suing parties claim that Pandora is both depriving artists of income and wielding an "unfair advantage" over on-demand competitors like Rdio and Spotify, which have no choice but to negotiate royalties for classic tracks.

Pandora says it's looking at the claims, and it hasn't provided a formal response so far. However, you shouldn't assume that it will fight the lawsuit tooth and nail -- the legal action may not do as much damage as you'd think.

As Santa Clara University law professor Tyler Ochoa tells us, the labels are likely suing in New York because it's one of the few states with existing case law that addresses royalty issues like this. While some other states have their own relevant copyright rules, the music companies wouldn't have a good precedent to work with in these territories. They would be "starting from scratch" and face a greater chance of losing, Ochoa says. As such, you shouldn't count on seeing a state-by-state litigation campaign. Even a New York victory isn't guaranteed, since the local law doesn't offer perfect clarity on how to handle radio-like internet services.

The record companies may also collect relatively little cash if they do win. As this isn't a federal suit, Pandora might only have to shell out for songs that New York-based customers play. Any retroactive payments would be limited to the past three years, and there would be questions as to why the music outlets didn't push for compensation much sooner. Pandora could theoretically avoid any new royalties by blocking New York customers from streaming pre-1972 songs, although it may not want to risk a backlash from angry listeners.

To Ochoa, these factors make it "pretty likely" that the lawsuit will end in a settlement. There's enough uncertainty that neither side would get much value from duking it out in the courtroom. The odds are that Pandora won't take a serious blow, and that the labels will only have limited success in getting money for their golden oldies.

[Image credit: Dustin Gaffke, Flickr]

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Via: New York Times

Source: RIAA

April 19, 2014

DARPA envisions a smarter, safer autopilot

Autonomous aircraft serve their purpose, but there's no question that pilotless passenger flights are a long way off, if they ever become a reality. Still, there's obviously room for improvement when it comes to on-board systems that assist pilots in their duties. The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is in the process of creating an advanced autopilot system called ALIAS (yes, another acronym). The Aircrew Labor In-Cockpit Automation System (there you go) would control military aircraft in all stages of flight, from takeoff to landing -- even during a system failure. Pilots would interact with the system using a touchscreen and voice control, supervising a flight instead of commanding it. Of course, we'll see this technology make its way to military planes long before it's adopted by airlines, but ALIAS could play a key role in keeping us all safe at 30,000 feet.

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Source: DARPA

April 19, 2014

Tubecore wants you to hack and mod its beautiful, modular speaker

Let's be honest: Wireless speakers are a dime a dozen. The options are seemingly endless, and new ones arrive on an almost daily basis. Companies have begun to push the boundaries of design as of late, making options that are an aesthetic step above the larger outfits. Tubecore's Duo certainly does that, but it's also so much more.

It may be easy to gloss over the Duo spec sheet and skip right over to the Moto X-esque customization page, however it's there that the real standout features lie. What's immediately clear from the first glance is the vacuum tube-driven preamp. It's a 48v Class A unit that relies on that pair of tubes to deliver "vintage studio hi-fi." The folks at Tubecore say that this allows you to beam audio from any source and get a taste of analog high-fidelity listening. A 24-bit DAC (Digital to Analog Converter) lends a hand there with the help of the standard-issue Raspberry Pi, and the signal is filtered six times to remove any excess noise that might be picked up by the system's components.

All of that leads to uncompressed audio from all input sources in a package that's built to be hacked, moded and upgraded based on the needs and preferences of the user. "Because Duo is high-powered, it's definitely more expensive to manufacture, but the quality is uncompromising," says Tubecore President Jason Perkail.

But the thing looks great, and its industrial design is more than skin deep. Perkail told me that the Duo's cabinet was designed in a fashion similar to an electric guitar, with a heavy dose of inspiration from the analog API Legacy 4x4 console in Ben Folds' Studio A. In fact, it's built in a similar fashion to a six-string and this construction is what gives the speaker a full 10Hz-20kHz range.

"Because DUO is high-powered it's definitely more expensive to manufacture, but the quality is uncompromising."

What's more, the controls are simple. There's a single 4-inch aluminum dial that mimics classic hi-fi knobs up top to wrangle volume, inputs and system preferences powered by an embedded Arduino MC. In terms of connectivity, there's Bluetooth for wireless streaming with WiFi, line-in, RIAA-equalized phono in and the onboard computer's USB ports. This will allow you to connect nearly everything to the speaker from a TV to mobile devices and computers -- easily fitting in as part of a home entertainment system. As you might expect, Android and iOS apps will accompany the Duo and will work alongside Estimote Beacons to track users as they move around the house, blanketing the same experience in configurable zones throughout.

If the aforementioned customization is what you're after, that's certainly a hook here too. There are 10 standard grill covers and 27 custom grill covers (for an additional $19) -- all of which are magnetic -- for adding a splash of color to the wooden speaker. For those looking to dig deeper with the modular add-ons, three tube upgrades range from $25 to $75, and the option to swap out that Raspberry Pi for a UDOO Quad tacks on $110. All of those bits are tacked on to the $649 base price, which is currently discounted for those willing to opt in early to an attractive $479 pre-order rate.

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Source: Tubecore

April 19, 2014

AT&T adds more data and a hotspot option to prepaid GoPhone plans

AT&T is adding more data to its GoPhone prepaid smartphone plans without raising monthly fees in the process. If you're currently paying $60 a month for 2GB, your allotment will jump to 2.5 gigs, while those on the $40, 250MB plan will now get 500MB per month. More data is only part of the value proposition for GoPhone customers, though; the new 2.5GB plan will now offer the ability to use your phone as a WiFi hotspot.

Additionally, the carrier is adding a new $45 plan that includes 1GB of data and unlimited talk -- but note that this is only available at Walmart. While these updates are good news for current GoPhone subscribers, they're not quite as competitive as T-Mobile's pay-in-advance plans, which start at $30 a month with unlimited (read: 5GB) data and 100 minutes of talk. That said, $60 a month for 2.5GB and hotspot functionality is a nice step up on AT&T's part.

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Source: AT&T

April 19, 2014

This enormous gas tank is now a wondrous, isolating work of art (video)

Once it stored enormous quantities of blast furnace and coal gas, but these days the Gasometer Oberhausen is a 385 foot tall cylindrical art gallery. Since the early 90s, the gargantuan storage tank has been host to more than a dozen art exhibitions, and its latest display puts its own absurd size front and center. 320° Licht plays on the gallery's tar-black walls, projecting optical illusions that make the surface appear to warp and bend. "This experience is based on the vastness of the Gasometer," explains project sound designer Jonas Wiese. "We tried to work with that expression to make the space bigger and smaller, to deform it and change its surface over and over while not exaggerating and overwriting the original effect of the room." According to the installation's creators, that effect is dwarfing. Viewers are left feeling small, even lost.

The emotionally taxing light show is powered by 21 Epson projectors, which collectively paint the tank's interior to a captivating, animated display. The display is part of The Appearance of Beauty exhibition in Oberhausen Germany, which runs until late December. Can't afford to fly out to Deutschland? No worries, the gallery has created a preview video - check it out below.

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Source: Gasometer Oberhausen, VICE

April 19, 2014

Engadget Podcast 393 – 4.18.14

We have less libations, but more tech-related news than last week's peaty podcast and that's just fine for your sleep-deprived hosts. First up is some informed speculation on Amazon's new smartphone, based on a few inconclusive photos that recently surfaced. Another work in progress is Google's Project Ara, a modular concept that looks to make swappable smartphone parts a reality. The one thing that's all too real and in your face, however, is the recent Heartbleed exploit, which has had widespread impact across the web. While you're racing to update all those passwords -- yes, it's OK to do that now -- it couldn't hurt to get a refresher on exactly what happened and which sites were affected. So head on down to the streaming links and get your brain fix with this week's episode of the Engadget Podcast.

Hosts: Terrence O'Brien, Ben Gilbert

Producer: Jon Turi

Hear the podcast:

01:56 - Testing Reebok's Checklight head impact monitor with a human punching bag
02:26 - Engadget Podcast 392: The whiskey 'sode
02:55 - Here's Amazon's phone: six cameras and a 4.7-inch screen
15:25 - What is Heartbleed, anyway?
16:40 - Google has patched most of its major services from the 'Heartbleed' security bug
24:02 - Crooks use Heartbleed exploit to steal 900 Canadian tax IDs
25:52 - Tor's anonymity network may have to shrink to fight the Heartbleed bug
27:19 - Bloomberg: NSA used Heartbleed exploit for 'years' without alerting affected websites, the public
35:30 - Google's Project Ara wants to revolutionize the smartphone industry within a year

Subscribe to the podcast:

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[RSS MP3] Add the Engadget Podcast feed (in MP3) to your RSS aggregator and have the show delivered automatically.
[RSS AAC] Add the Engadget Podcast feed (in enhanced AAC) to your RSS aggregator.

Download the podcast:

LISTEN (MP3)
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Contact the podcast:

Connect with the hosts on Twitter: @terrenceobrien, @realbengilbert
Email us: podcast [at] engadget [dot] com

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