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Tech News

Apple 13in MacBook Pro review 2020: going out on a high?
Posted on Monday June 01, 2020

Apple perfects its current laptop design, with great power, battery life and now an excellent keyboard

The 2020 13in MacBook Pro is the last of Apple’s laptops to get its new and improved keyboard, banishing various issues to the rear view mirror and essentially perfecting this current design.

Despite both sharing the same name, the 2020 13in MacBook Pro is split into two lines: a cheaper version starting at £1,299 with two USB-C/Thunderbolt 3 ports and older eighth-generation Intel chips; and a more powerful version starting at £1,799 with four USB-C/Thunderbolt 3 ports and the latest 10th-generation Intel chips.

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Facebook employees rebel over Mark Zuckerberg's refusal to act against Trump
Posted on Monday June 01, 2020

Workers in rare display of dissent after site left up post that was hidden by Twitter

Facebook employees are staging a rebellion over Mark Zuckerberg’s refusal to act against Donald Trump, expressing their dissatisfaction with their boss on social media in a rare display of dissent from within the company.

Disagreement came from employees at all levels of the company, including some senior staff. Particular criticism was levelled at Zuckerberg’s personal decision to leave up the Facebook version of a tweet sent by Trump in which the president appeared to encourage police to shoot rioters. By contrast, Twitter hid the message behind a warning.

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When there’s an app that can save lives, there will be no need to download it out of a sense of duty
Posted on Sunday May 31, 2020

The NHS test and trace app fails on several counts; no wonder ministers are resorting to peer pressure to encourage uptake

The NHS Covid-19 alert app will be available nationwide in June. It’s voluntary, so those of us with smartphones must decide: should we download the app?

The health secretary, Matt Hancock, thinks we should, claiming that we would be “doing our duty and helping to save lives”.

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Cutting edge: Japanese paper art inspires a non-slip shoe
Posted on Monday June 01, 2020

Scientists use kirigami techniques to create a sole with pop-up, high-friction spikes

The Japanese art of paper cutting and folding, or kirigami, has led to mind-bending 3D structures from 2D sheets, including spectacular pop-up designs. But now researchers have been getting to grips with the technique for a very down-to-earth reason: creating non-slip shoes.

Scientists have revealed they have developed a kirigami-inspired sole, where tiny spikes pop up from its surface as the shoe is bent during walking. The team found the spikes enhance grip, which could help prevent potentially fatal falls.

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The five: robots helping to tackle coronavirus
Posted on Sunday May 31, 2020

Automatons have been chipping in with the effort to beat Covid, from disinfecting hospitals to delivering groceries

Singapore park-goers have been reminded of their social distancing obligations by Boston Dynamics’ yellow “dog”. The robot hound is equipped with numerous cameras and sensors, which it can use to detect transgressors and broadcast pre-recorded warnings. The authorities have reassured locals it is not a quadruped data-collection device.

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Microsoft sacks journalists to replace them with robots
Posted on Saturday May 30, 2020

Users of the homepages of the MSN website and Edge browser will now see news stories generated by AI

Dozens of journalists have been sacked after Microsoft decided to replace them with artificial intelligence software.

Staff who maintain the news homepages on Microsoft’s MSN website and its Edge browser – used by millions of Britons every day – have been told that they will be no longer be required because robots can now do their jobs.

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How did the Covidsafe app go from being vital to almost irrelevant?
Posted on Saturday May 23, 2020

The PM told Australians in April the contact tracing app was key to getting back to normal but just one person has been identified using its data

It was sold as the key to unlocking restrictions – like sunscreen to protect Australians from Covid-19 – but as the country begins to open up, the role of the Covidsafe app in the recovery seems to have dropped to marginal at best.

“This is an important protection for a Covid-safe Australia,” the prime minister, Scott Morrison, said in late April. “I would liken it to the fact that if you want to go outside when the sun is shining, you have got to put sunscreen on.”

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'People still need to laugh': how lipsyncing spoofs saved lockdown
Posted on Saturday May 16, 2020

From a drunk Donald Trump to storytime with Boris Johnson, women are skewering the absurdity of Covid-19 life

In the TikTok videos going viral across social media, the voices are familiar: a rambling presidential whine, or a patronising prime minister. But the people apparently speaking are altogether – and hilariously – different.

In uncannily calibrated lipsyncs, Donald Trump is shown as a hectoring schoolteacher or drunken clubgoer, while Boris Johnson reads a bedtime story to a petulant Theresa May.

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Uber, Lyft and Airbnb cut thousands of jobs as pandemic batters Silicon Valley
Posted on Friday May 08, 2020

Juul, Yelp and hundreds of startups among tech firms cutting jobs while Amazon and Zoom see huge boosts

The economic fallout from the coronavirus has come to Silicon Valley, with major tech firms announcing layoffs in recent weeks.

On Wednesday, Uber became the latest company to announce cuts, revealing in a filing to the Securities and Exchange Commission that it will lay off 3,700 workers – roughly 14% of its global workforce.

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Revealed: Amazon told workers paid sick leave law doesn't cover warehouses
Posted on Thursday May 07, 2020

California workers say the company is pressuring sick employees to show up – and flouting a California law meant to protect them from Covid-19

Amazon workers in southern California’s industrial heartland say the company’s policies are forcing sick employees to work and that warehouses are refusing to comply with a state paid sick leave law meant to prevent Covid-19 outbreaks.

In the Inland Empire region outside Los Angeles, Amazon workers told the Guardian they fear losing their jobs if they are ill and stay home. At least four Amazon warehouses in the region have recorded Covid-19 cases.

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Lockdown laptops: affordable options for those stuck at home
Posted on Saturday May 23, 2020

With a full return to work and social life still some way off, you may need a new computer

With a full return to work, school and spending time with family in real life rather than on a video call still not in sight, you may have finally decided that it is worth buying a new laptop. If you want an affordable computer there are lots to choose from, including Chromebooks and Windows 10 PCs.

Really cheap Chromebooks are often better than the equivalent Windows machines because Chrome OS is a lighter, low-maintenance operating system built around Google’s Chrome browser, web and Android apps. Just check how long the machine will receive updates from Google before you buy.

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How the 'Plandemic' conspiracy theory took hold
Posted on Saturday May 23, 2020

To have one viral sensation, Oscar Wilde might have said, is unfortunate. But to have two smacks of carelessness. And that’s what we have. The first is Covid-19, about which much printer’s ink has already been spilled. The second is Plandemic, a 26-minute “documentary” video featuring Dr Judy Mikovits, a former research scientist and inveterate conspiracy theorist who blames the coronavirus outbreak on big pharma, Bill Gates and the World Health Organization. She also claims that the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (which is headed by Dr Anthony Fauci) buried her research showing vaccines weaken people’s immune systems and made them more vulnerable to Covid-19. Just to round off the accusations, Mikovits claims that wearing masks is dangerous because it “literally activates your own virus”. And, if proof were needed that the pharma-Gates-scientific-elite cabal were out to get her, the leading journal Science in 2011 retracted a paper by her on a supposed link between a retrovirus and chronic fatigue syndrome that it had accepted in 2009.

The video went online on 4 May when its maker, Mikki Willis, a hitherto little-known film producer, posted it to Facebook, YouTube, Vimeo and a separate website set up to share the video. For three days it built up a head of steam on Facebook pages dedicated to conspiracy theories, many of which linked to the video on YouTube. By 11 May it had been viewed more than 8m times on YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, and had generated countless other posts on websites and social media. Later that day YouTube, Vimeo and Facebook took down the video, and in theory it disappeared from the internet – only of course it hadn’t, in the time-honoured way of subversive material in the networked world. The cognitive pathogen had escaped into the wild and was spreading virally.

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Puzzled man solving 'miracle' sudoku becomes YouTube sensation
Posted on Friday May 22, 2020

Lockdown turns mild-mannered mutterings from a Surrey loft into unlikely spectator sport

When Simon Anthony quit his lucrative but miserable job at a London investment bank to solve sudoku puzzles on YouTube, it looked like a bit of a leap. His early posts had done well to gain 100 views. Perhaps he had overestimated the demand for long videos of a 46-year-old man putting numbers in a grid from his spare room in Surrey.

A year later, Anthony is one half of an unlikely viral sensation: Cracking the Cryptic, the channel he runs with his old friend Mark Goodliffe, has become a lockdown fixture for millions. Much to the puzzlement of both men, they have turned sudoku into what right now might be the world’s most popular spectator sport.

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Beats Powerbeats review: Apple's cheaper Bluetooth fitness earbuds
Posted on Thursday May 14, 2020

Long battery life, comfortable and secure ear hooks and great sound for exercising

Apple’s revamped Powerbeats Bluetooth workout earphones take what was great from the firm’s true wireless earbuds and add a cable, longer battery life and cheaper price.

The new £129.95 Powerbeats replace the older, more expensive Powerbeats 3, with redesigned ear hooks, cable guides and Apple’s H1 chip, which simplifies Bluetooth connectivity and gives them all the AirPods-like features Apple’s headphones have with iPhones.

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Best smartphone 2019: iPhone, OnePlus, Samsung and Huawei compared and ranked
Posted on Tuesday December 17, 2019

Our updated list of the top iOS and Android mobile phones – at the best prices right now

Need a new smartphone but don’t know which one is the very best? Here’s a guide comparing the current top-end smartphones from Apple, Samsung, Huawei, OnePlus and others to help you pick the best handset for you.

There has never been a better time to buy a new flagship smartphone with many quality handsets available at a wider range of prices than ever before. Whether your priority is two-day battery life, fantastic camera performance or a spectacular screen, there’s plenty to choose from.

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iPhone SE review: Apple's cut-price smartphone king
Posted on Friday May 01, 2020

Top performance, good camera, long support and manageable size make cheaper iPhone a bargain

Apple’s latest iPhone SE is a surprise cut-price marvel that revives a classic iPhone design and trounces every other mid-range phone in the process.

The £419 iPhone SE takes the important bits of the iPhone 11 – the processor and software – and shoehorns them into the body of an iPhone 8 from 2017. You get a phone design largely unchanged from the iPhone 6 of 2014, with traditional home button, but the performance and longevity of a brand new Apple phone for £310 less than an iPhone 11.

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Fairphone 3 review: the most ethical and repairable phone you can buy
Posted on Wednesday September 18, 2019

Dutch firm asks £200 above the norm for a smartphone that might help change the industry

What if you could buy a phone that will last five years, can be easily repaired and is made as ethically as possible? That’s the aim of the latest Fairphone 3 – and on many counts it succeeds.

Ethically creating a phone is a lot harder than it may sound, but you have to start somewhere. Amsterdam-based Fairphone turned from an awareness campaign about conflict minerals into a phone company in 2013, and aims to source as many materials as possible in both human and environmentally kind ways.

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Samsung Galaxy Z Flip review: back to the folding flip phone future
Posted on Wednesday February 19, 2020

Revamp of 2000’s flip phone means big screen folds in half into a compact clamshell that fits in small pockets

It’s not often something comes along to genuinely change the game, but the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip does just that, bringing foldable displays closer to the mainstream and reinventing the flip phone for 2020 in the process.

Screens that fold in half finally arrived last year with the Galaxy Fold, which was originally plagued by durability issues causing a delay and a reworking of the device.

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OnePlus 8 Pro review: the Samsung killer
Posted on Thursday April 23, 2020

Stunning screen, serious speed, cracking camera, water resistance and wireless charging propels OnePlus to top of the pile

OnePlus’s latest range-topping 8 Pro phone puts Samsung on notice, featuring a slick design, 120Hz screen, 5G, improved cameras and even wireless charging.

Starting at £799, the 8 Pro builds on the success of last year’s £649 7 Pro and £699 7T Pro, but with a higher price on par with its premium rivals. In offering it, OnePlus has shifted from its self-proclaimed cut-price “flagship killer” roots to directly competing with the likes of Samsung and Apple without a massive price advantage.

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Huawei MateBook X Pro review: Windows 10's MacBook Pro rival
Posted on Thursday May 21, 2020

Slim and powerful laptop with excellent keyboard and trackpad is hindered by a few small flaws

The 2020 MateBook X Pro takes a winning design and upgrades the chips to Intel’s latest for a powerful and surprisingly good-value machine.

The new MateBook X Pro starts at £1,299, and fits a pretty large 13.9in screen in the size of a laptop body that would traditionally fit only a 13in screen.

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George Floyd: Anonymous hackers re-emerge amid US unrest
Posted on Monday June 01, 2020

As the US is engulfed in civil unrest, the masked hackers are being credited with new action.

Facebook staff anger over Trump post
Posted on Monday June 01, 2020

Employees say they are ‘ashamed’ that a controversial post by the President was not removed.

Google delays Android 11 launch
Posted on Monday June 01, 2020

The launch of the latest version of the Android operating system had been due to take place on Wednesday.

George Floyd death: Jake Paul denies looting Arizona mall
Posted on Monday June 01, 2020

The social media star told followers he was only at the protest to create content for his YouTube.

KSI: 'I wanted to make my parents proud through YouTube'
Posted on Sunday May 31, 2020

The YouTuber says his mum and dad initially wanted him to become a doctor or lawyer.

Drones keep a close eye on Australia’s wildlife
Posted on Monday June 01, 2020

Thermal imaging is helping to monitor and survey Australia's wildlife even in remote areas.

Supernatural: The next-generation keep-fit coach?
Posted on Saturday May 30, 2020

Will virtual reality fitness classes lead a revolution in home workouts - or is it a passing craze?

Amazon UK website defaced with racist abuse
Posted on Sunday May 31, 2020

The online giant blames a "bad actor" for the language appearing alongside multiple product listings.

Microsoft 'to replace journalists with robots'
Posted on Saturday May 30, 2020

Dozens working on the MSN site look set to be replaced by AI, media reports say.

'Scorching-hot hacked computer burned my hand'
Posted on Friday May 29, 2020

Student's computer overheated after it was hit with a "crypto-jacking" attack.

 


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