Guardian - Technology

Latest Technology news, comment and analysis from the Guardian, the world's leading liberal voice
  1. This crowdfunded and croudsourced machine could offer something special if its niggles are ironed out

    On paper the Eve V reads like it should be the king of Windows tablets – a Surface Pro but with more ports, longer battery life and more features.

    What makes the V more surprising is that it actually exists. It is not only a crowdfunded machine but also crowdsourced, meaning that, in Eve Tech’s own words, it was created by “over 1,000 minds working together as one”.

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  2. I get more and better sleep, feel less anxiety and even get out of bed quicker – and it’s all because social media sucks

    I never quite fell in love with smartwatches, but I do credit my brief time with one for sparking the most positive change to my life for years: relegating my smartphone to the hallway.

    With only one plug socket by my bed, and no space for an adaptor, I had to choose one device to win the hallowed bedside charging position. Thanks to my desire to eke out one final hour of standing time to goose my activity tracking, the watch won.

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  3. YouTube’s head of culture and trends on the evolution of viral videos, fake news – and the old-school joys of writing a book

    Your YouTube colleagueRobert Kyncl published Streampunks last year and now you have a book of your own. Why is everyone at YouTube writing books?
    I’ve been thinking about this: why now? I guess it takes time and distance to reflect on the why of things. We have had almost 13 years of YouTube history; so much has changed in those years. There’s been enough time to say what the larger picture is.

    What’s it been like taking an excursion from the overnight successes of viral video to the snail’s pace of nonfiction publishing?
    That’s what I’ve really enjoyed about it actually, putting something in a physical format adds a level of deliberateness. Books are some of the oldest technology that we have, yet are thriving and still a major part of life.

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    • Facebook chief to change news feed to combat ‘sensationalism’
    • ‘There’s too much misinformation and polarization in the world’

    Facebook will begin to prioritize “trustworthy” news outlets on its stream of social media posts as it works to combat “sensationalism” and “misinformation”, its chief executive, Mark Zuckerberg, said on Friday.

    The company, which has more than 2 billion monthly users, said it would use surveys to determine rankings on how trustworthy news outlets are.

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  4. Service providers put out their best tariffs at set times of the year, but many users are failing to take advantage of them, says comparison site

    Broadband providers put out their best deals at the end of the month or every three months when they want to push up their subscriber numbers, it has been claimed.

    A new analysis of broadband usage has found that the average household could save almost £180 a year by switching providers. However, the best deals are only available at certain times of the month, according to ctrlio, a website which compares tariffs according to use.

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  5. Company says it removed more than 50,000 accounts and reported them to investigators, marking latest upward revision of figures

    Twitter has admitted that more than 50,000 Russia-linked accounts used its service to post automated material about the 2016 US election – a far greater number than previously disclosed.

    Announcing the discovery in a post to its website late on Friday, the company said the posts had reached at least 677,775 Americans, all of whom would be receiving a warning by email.

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  6. Corporate buses, which ferry workers from San Francisco to its Silicon Valley headquarters, have become symbols of gentrification

    At least five buses used to transport Apple employees to the company’s headquarters have had their windows smashed by what is suspected to be pellet guns during the last week.

    The first window was shattered on the evening of Friday 12 January, as the shuttle bus travelled from the company campus back into San Francisco. Three more were hit on Tuesday morning, followed by another suspected attack on Tuesday evening, according to an email sent to Apple staff and seen by the Guardian.

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  7. Appointment made before deadline for bids on rights to stream Premier League matches

    Facebook is poised to appoint a senior broadcasting executive to lead its multibillion-dollar drive to secure streaming rights for top-flight live sport.

    The appointment of Eurosport’s chief executive, Peter Hutton, follows its global search for a head of live sport after being frustrated in a $600m (£433m) bid to secure streaming rights to Indian Premier League cricket matches.

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    • Shortlist selected from 238 proposals includes one Canadian site
    • Stiff competition for $5bn second HQ that could bring 50,000 jobs

    Related:Amazon seeks prime North American spot for second headquarters

    Amazon released a list of 20 cities on Thursday which it is considering for its second headquarters, including established technology hubs like Boston and Pittsburgh as well as more surprising choices such as Columbus, Ohio.

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  8. Malware developers have had to demand ransoms in local currencies as they attempt to not price their targets out

    Bitcoin’s price swings are so huge that even ransomware developers are dialling back their reliance on the currency, according to researchers at cybersecurity firm Proofpoint.

    Over the last quarter of 2017, researchers saw a fall of 73% in payment demands denominated in bitcoin. When demanding money to unlock a victim’s data, cybercriminals are now more likely to simply ask for a figure in US dollars, or a local currency, than specify a sum of bitcoin.

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  9. Voice assistants were in everything at the trade show, suggesting the future is smart – but does anyone actually want to talk to their toilet?

    The annual trend-setting tech extravaganza that is CES International in Las Vegas is drawing to a close, having suffered through torrential rain, blackouts and a few uncooperative robots. And it’s clear that your voice is more important than ever.

    CES 2018 rammed home that big technology thinks voice is the next major evolution in computing. First we had the computer, then the smartphone and now voice assistants.

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  10. Tony hates apps such as Cortana, Edge, Xbox, Groove and would like to uninstall them. But should he?

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  11. Ludo wonders if he should keep paying for commercial clean-up program to run in Windows 10. Fortunately there are free alternative suites

    Do I still need paid-for software like ParetoLogic’s PC Health Advisor with Windows 10 Pro? Ludo

    Short answer: no. Tune-up programs enjoyed some success in the boom years from Windows 95 to XP, when hardware was slower and optimisation might make a difference. Today, Windows 10 looks after itself pretty well, and the simplest “tune up” is to go to the Recovery section of the Settings app and choose “Reset this PC”. Another option is to restore from a back-up made before any problems appeared.

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  12. Annabelle has been using an Apple iPod Shuffle but the battery is going. Is there a cheap and suitable music player she should replace it with?

    I am a blind young woman who absolutely loves listening to music. Does anybody out there know of any lightweight, blind-accessible alternatives to the iPod Shuffle? I have a first-generation Shuffle, which I purchased in 2008, and the battery dies after one hour. I want something that can be compatible with iTunes Music, especially .m4a files, that can store lots of music, and most important of all, that has an easy way to replace the battery. Also, I don’t want it to be too spendy, as right this moment, I don’t have hundreds of dollars. Annabelle

    Apple has discontinued the iPod Shuffle, but there are still lots of them available from other sources. Many are advertised as being brand new and still sealed in their boxes. Your simplest and least disruptive option is to buy a more recent Shuffle, or two, either “as new” or little used. Given that your last Shuffle lasted around nine years, this should also be a reasonably cost-effective option.

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  13. Sam’s old Dell has failed and she urgently needs a replacement. Happily there are lots of attractive options for less than her £800 budge …

    My seven-year-old Dell desktop has died and I need urgently to buy a new PC. It is a family computer but I also use it for work, for processing photos that I take professionally, and creating photobooks. Otherwise, my husband has 333GB of music, and we have also have email and web-surfing needs. I’m looking to spend £800-ish. Please help, it’s a minefield out there. Sam

    Buying a new desktop PC is one of today’s simpler computer problems. The main decisions are about size, speed, source and price, though not necessarily in that order. There aren’t any tough technology decisions, because we already know the best options. The main barrier is the ability, or willingness, to pay for them.

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  14. Firm hopes to extend its market dominance further as Alexa-powered, 2.5in-screened smart speaker comes to UK

    Amazon is launching its small clock-like Echo Spot in the UK, as it continues to cement its market dominance.

    The Echo Spot is small sphere with a 2.5in circular screen, camera and clock face that’s capable of showing the time as well as other at-a-glance information, similar to the larger Echo Show that launched earlier in the year.

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  15. CEO reveals this year’s ‘personal challenge’ as site faces relentless criticism over spreading of misinformation and damage to users’ mental health

    Amid unceasing criticism of Facebook’s immense power and pernicious impact on society, its CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, announced Thursday that his “personal challenge” for 2018 will be “to focus on fixing these important issues”.

    Zuckerberg’s new year’s resolution – a tradition for the executive who in previous years has pledged to learn Mandarin, run 365 miles, and read a book each week – is a remarkable acknowledgment of the terrible year Facebook has had.

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  16. Claims of Russian meddling dominated 2017. The US midterm elections will be first big test of Facebook’s effort to stamp it out

    Social networks spent much of 2017 slowly coming to terms with the extent to which their platforms had been exploited to spread political misinformation. But the narrow focus of investigations over the last year is likely to cause further pain in 2018, as the US midterm elections create a new urgency for the problem to be solved.

    At the beginning of this year, Facebook was hostile to the suggestion that it may have played an unwitting part in a foreign influence campaign. After the election of Donald Trump, Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s chief executive, described the suggestion that his site may have swayed voters as a “crazy idea”, despite evidence that hoaxes and lies had been spread on the social network during the campaign. (He later apologised for the comment, saying it was “dismissive and I regret it”.)

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  17. This year, Facebook turned on its notification function for attacks in London and Las Vegas, Stockholm and St Petersburg. But do we feel more secure?

    You know the drill by now: a terrorist atrocity or catastrophe occurs in your home town, and no sooner have you seen the news than you receive a Facebook notification that one of your friends has marked themselves safe, or that another is asking you to do so.

    This was my experience during the attack in Westminster in March, with friends as far away as Canada asking me to declare myself “safe”. Clicking on Facebook’s nagging notification revealed 31 of my friends were apparently out of danger, but a further 249 were “not marked as safe”.

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  18. In the first of a new series on ideas and advances in science, nature and tech, we look at the innovations coming to this year’s Winter Olympics

    South Korea boasts the speediest broadband in the world (an average of 28.6Mbps compared to the UK’s 16.9) and connectivity will be further boosted at Pyeongchang by the introduction of a 5G mobile network at games venues, courtesy of Intel. 5G delivers download speeds of 100Mbps (Stoke-on-Trent was recently crowned the town with the fastest 4G connection in the UK at 26.6Mbps). The tech giant is planning to show off the capabilities of its enormous mobile bandwidth by offering such delights as transcendent live streaming and unsurpassed live VR experiences to visitors.

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  19. Inventor Hugo Spowers has a dream: to replace today’s cars with his own hydrogen prototype. Is the world ready?

    In the mid-1990s, Hugo Spowers ran a Formula Three racing team. At the time, motorsport was in the pocket of big tobacco. Every weekend, Formula One cars emblazoned with cigarette brands – Marlboro, Camel, Silk Cut – raced on TV in front of millions. “It was pretty clear it was killing people,” Spowers says. “Meanwhile, the industry was portraying a link between smoking and winners. It was ludicrous. But nobody was going against it.”

    So when, in 1995, Spowers’ team introduced a car decorated with an anti-smoking campaign, it caused a commotion. At a party the night before the car was set to debut at the British Grand Prix, the chairman of the British Racing Drivers’ Club summoned Spowers, outraged. “He bellowed at me for a full five minutes, about how motorsport needed its sponsors, and ‘not pinkos like you’,” Spowers says now, chuckling. But Spowers was unmoved: he knew he was right. Furthermore, he believed it made financial sense: the relationship with tobacco was tainting the sport for businesses that didn’t want to be associated with smoking.

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  20. Apple chief talks about tax affairs and overuse of tech at launch of school coding initiative

    The head of Apple, Tim Cook, believes there should be limits to the use of technology in schools and says he does not want his nephew to use a social network.

    Cook was talking at Harlow college in Essex, one of 70 institutions across Europe that will use Apple’s Everyone Can Code curriculum, it was announced on Friday.

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  21. The company’s hunt for a city to host its second headquarters has prompted a bizarre beauty contest, amid the promise of jobs and an economic boost

    Two hundred and thirty-eight candidates have been whittled down to 20. Getting there was “very tough” and everyone showed “tremendous enthusiasm and creativity”, but there will be only one winner in the hunt for America’s Next Top Amazon Headquarters.

    The bizarre beauty contest has seen mayors around the country attempt to woo the $600bn technology company to build its second headquarters, Amazon HQ2, in their city, with offers of generous tax breaks, subsidised construction costs, gifts (including a giant cactus from Tucson, Arizona) and even name changes.

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  22. The firm’s chief executive says his hands-on approach has paid off so far, but he’s not ready for a victory lap just yet

    The secret to rekindling Sony’s return to form, according to the company’s chief executive, is personalisation – achieved not by the mass collection of customer data in the way some big tech firms do, but by eliciting an emotional response to its products.

    “Getting in close is the only way,” says Kaz Hirai, who took the helm of Sony five-and-half-years ago charged with turning the company around; he has succeeded, with Sony projecting its largest-ever annual operating profit of £4.2bn this year. Hirai is a passionate believer in the Japanese concept of Kando, which is about establishing an emotional connection across what Sony calls “the last one inch” to the consumer – the wow factor that creates enthusiasm and loyalty.

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  23. OnePlus has done it again, producing a smartphone with almost its rivals’ high-end features, including 36-hour battery life, at an affordable price

    The OnePlus 5T propels the Chinese company into the brave new era of full-screen smartphones, with a new 6in minimal bezel display squeezed into the body of a 5.5in device.

    The 5T is OnePlus’s fourth phone in two years. Unlike the OnePlus 3 to 3T upgrade in 2016, the internal components for the 5T have mostly stayed the same as those of the OnePlus 5, with the screen and camera the biggest differences.

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  24. The fastest and smoothest Google Android device has a cracking camera, squeezable sides, great battery life and baked-in AI

    Google’s direct challenger to the iPhone 8 Plus and upcoming iPhone X is the Pixel 2 XL, and you may be blown away by the sheer speed of the thing.

    The Android-maker has removed the gloves, thrown down the jacket and is seemingly ready for a straight-up fight with Apple, despite the ramifications of inevitably competing directly with Google’s partners such as Samsung and other key Android smartphone manufacturers.

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  25. Korean firm’s infinity display pushes smartphone design forward, and its new device is packed with the latest technology encased in a metal and glass shell

    Following the Note 7 debacle, Samsung really needs a home run to keep its lead in the smartphone market. Is the almost all-screen Galaxy S8 it?

    It seems so. The Galaxy S8 (find here) is arguably the best improvement in smartphone design in years and the biggest step forward to the holy grail of an all-screen phone.

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  26. The company’s most important smartphone in years does not disappoint, with Face ID and an all-screen design that spells the end of the home button

    The iPhone X is Apple’s most important – and most expensive – new smartphone in four years, bringing with it a significant change to the design, dumping the home button to usher in a full-screen experience. Thankfully, Apple nailed it.

    After four years of the company recycling the design of the iPhone 6, the iPhone X is a breath of fresh air. The beautiful OLED screen takes up pretty much the whole front of the device. It’s one of the best displays I’ve ever seen on a smartphone, and while it’s not quite as bezel free at the sides as Samsung’s Galaxy S8 and Note 8 devices, it’s a giant leap forward for Apple.

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  27. Voice-control devices that can play music, answer questions and buy goods are one of the hottest gifts this Christmas. Here’s what they can do – and our pick of the best buys

    Smart speakers are set to be the hottest Christmas gift this year. On Black Friday, Amazon dropped the price of its core Echo product to £79 (it is back up to £90 now), while Google slashed the cost of its Home device from £129 to £77.50 at most outlets (it is also back up now). Meanwhile, Apple is promising to launch its version, HomePod, although the price point is rumoured to be significantly higher.

    With the pre-Christmas launch of the Echo Show, which ups Alexa’s game with a built-in screen, are they the next must-have device? A simple voice command can fill your room with music – and change tunes whenever you wish. They will answer questions on a vast range of topics, set alarms, tell you the weather and what your commute holds in store. Some can order almost any goods over the internet for delivery within hours or days. Hooked up with other devices, they turn lights on and off and control the heating. But they have also been accused of making fake purchases and snooping on your conversations.

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  28. The new top-end Kindle is an indulgent purchase, but with added water resistance and other refinements it’s still the one to beat

    Amazon’s new top-end e-reader is now water resistant, but is the all aluminium Kindle Oasis still the luxury option to buy?

    While the original Kindle Oasis was a big step forward in e-reader design, the 2017 Oasis is more of a refinement with fewer of the compromises made last year for fit and form.

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