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Posted by Damien Biddulph on Wed 7th Sep 2016

Apple iphoneImage copyrightGETTY IMAGES

Image captionSame same - but different?

Wednesday is a big day in the tech world. Apple is holding its annual launch event where the new iPhone 7 is expected to be revealed.

The much-heralded device comes just as rival Samsung has recalled its flagship Note 7 over battery issues.

The tech rumour mill has been running at fever pitch about possible new iPhone features and gadgetry.

Many commentators expect Apple to have ditched the headphone jack, leaving only one port.

That would force consumers to use Bluetooth headphones or buy those compatible with Apple's Lightning port that is also used for charging.

However, old gear won't be completely obsolete, as Apple is expected to include an adapter jack.

Major innovations?

Recent updates of the iPhone have struggled to make a really big splash as they have lacked major innovations.

iPhone 6Image copyrightGETTY IMAGES

Image captionThe new phone is likely to stick with two sizes of the iPhone 6

The speculation is it will be the same with the model due to be revealed on Wednesday in San Francisco. More of the same - just a little bit better.

Camera quality is expected to be improved and this time round the upgrade might mean a two-lens clicker for some of the bigger models.

A dual-lens camera can take pictures with two different exposures, then combine the two images for improved picture quality.

Analysis: Dave Lee, North America Technology correspondent

Another year, another iPhone. But then, it's hardly just been "another year" for Apple, has it?

Since last September, when we saw the iPhone 6S and 6S Plus, the tech giant's world has been turned upside down. A war over encryption, a declining iPhone, a continuing struggle in China and, most recently, the tax bill to end all tax bills.

Distractions, lots of them. And it doesn't look like the new iPhone is going to deflect much of that attention away.

While we're used to saying "evolution, not revolution" in the smartphone market, this upgrade is not expected to turn many heads nor send customers running to the phone shop to upgrade.

If, as we expect, the headphone jack is removed from the device, expect a lot of anger from those who don't want to be ushered into buying wireless headphones.

Then again, Apple faced the same kind of anger when it rolled out the smaller "lightning" charging port, but everyone's just about got over that. Take a look at the "old" Apple charger and tell me it doesn't look almost comically massive. In hindsight, the right call.

A better camera would go down extremely well - more photographs are taken with iPhones than any other device. But some reported leaks suggest only the larger, less popular iPhone size will get the new camera technology.

Looking a bit further ahead, some are speculating that Apple is holding back this time around, instead saving new features for 2017 and what will be the iPhone's 10th anniversary.

Other expected change include increased storage and better speakers.

The new phone is also said to be water resistant, handling submersion for up to 30 minutes - a feature already offered by several of Apple's Android competitors from the likes of Samsung or Sony.

Apple is thought to be sticking with its two sizes, meaning there would be an iPhone 7 and an iPhone 7 Plus.

Neither is the design thought to be changing much, giving it the same overall look as the current models.

Rumour has it there will be more colours available, for instance reintroducing black as an option.

While the new models will be revealed to the world at the launch, consumers will have to wait a few weeks before they are shipped. Pre-orders are expected to open on Friday.

The timing still is crucial. Samsung beat Apple by releasing its Galaxy Note 7 last month. The device was well received by users and critics alike and started selling well.

Samsung Galaxy Note 7Image copyrightARIEL GONZALEZ

Image captionA Galaxy Note 7 reportedly caught fire shortly after its charger was unplugged

But then reports about batteries heating up and sparking some fires prompted Samsung to launch an embarrassing recall last week - just days before the new iPhone makes its debut.

While Samsung's battery problems might tilt some prospective buyers toward the iPhone 7, Apple depends on the ongoing success of its smartphones as they have become its biggest source of revenue.

And after recent bad publicity ranging from issues around security flaws to tax problems, the world's most valuable listed company hopes the iPhone will be a hit.


Source: bbc.co.uk
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Posted by Damien Biddulph on Wed 7th Sep 2016

When people talk about the benefits of digital information, it’s speed and efficiency they tend to focus on – and rightly so. It’s the ability to instantly share digital data which is helping to transform just about every aspect of our lives – including the way we work.

Leaders need to be able to stay on top of their company's digital data

For any SME, efficiency savings are all that’s required to justify switching over to digital processes. It’s the basic ability to get tasks done quicker and for a lower cost that makes the move away from old paper-based work methods something of a no-brainer.

But there’s a more profound benefit offered by digital data, and it’s something that’s not so immediately obvious. This is the power it provides to start seeing the internal workings of a business in ways never previously possible.

It’s the equivalent of switching on a light within an organisation to reveal a whole new business environment – an untapped resource of digital information, allowing SMEs much better ways to monitor performance, track financial metrics and identify future dangers.

It gives business leaders the accurate and up-to-date information they need to make informed decisions – to improve their ability to identify those aspects of a company which are helping or hindering its growth

A real-world example is the way digital expenses management systems are replacing the traditional manual and paper-based methods of handling employee costs. These systems automatically track and store data on every aspect of an expenses claim.

It’s not just who, when and what – it also creates a digital data stamp showing the exact time and location of each claim. If it’s a mileage expense, the information collected will include details of the precise route and distance of the journey.

The systems are also continually monitoring for claims that breach set levels or fall outside of company policy. When these are identified an alert is automatically triggered, letting an account manager know to investigate further.

With finance teams no longer having to manually process bundles of paper claims, all of this information is instantly accessible and combined with user-friendly reporting tools, lets companies view, analyse and manipulate this data in any ways they want.

It gives business leaders the ability to set accurate metrics with quantifiable goals that can be easily tracked and monitored. It also provides a valuable insight into the health of the organisation – to identify any weaknesses and spot potential problems.

In a pre-digital world, it could take weeks or months for any kind of "up-to-date" report to be manually compiled. It meant that early warning signs were liable to remain unnoticed, small issues were allowed to grow into more serious problems.

Without a digital system to enforce a policy in real-time, finance teams faced the onerous task of trying to retrospectively spot where breaches had occurred. It’s within this organisational blindspot that expenses fraud was allowed to become endemic within UK businesses.

With companies not having the tools required to properly tackle fraud, each grudgingly tolerated it. The National Fraud Authority estimates that in excess of £100m continues to be lost each year by UK companies to exaggerated and falsified expenses claims.

It’s this power of digital data to shine a light on exactly what’s happening within a business which is helping to transform the role of our finance teams, moving the focus away from processing data and more towards the management and visualisation of information.

The challenge facing today’s SMEs is being able to harness digital information, rather than being overwhelmed by it. It’s finding digital friendly systems and teams that enable your business to maximise these new ways of working.

While any organisation which moves to a digital system can reap the basic benefits of a speedier and more efficient processes, there is a real competitive advantage available to those SMEs who fully harness the potential of digital data.

Not only can it improve the present health and performance of a company but it’s also providing business leaders with the insights they need to better guide the future path of their organisations.

Adam Reynolds is the CEO of webexpenses.

Source: realbusiness.co.uk
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Posted by Damien Biddulph on Tue 6th Sep 2016

Austrian Chancellor Christian Kern talks to the media as he arrives for a cabinet meeting in Vienna, Austria August 30, 2016.Image copyrightREUTERS

Image captionEvery sausage stand pays more tax than Starbucks in Austria, Mr Kern told Der Standard.

Amazon and Starbucks pay less tax in Austria than a local sausage stall, the country's Chancellor Christian Kern has said in a newspaper interview.

"Every Viennese cafe, every sausage stand pays more tax in Austria than a multinational corporation," Mr Kern told Der Standard.

"That goes for Starbucks, Amazon and other companies," he said.

He added that EU countries with low corporate taxes were undermining the structure of the union itself.

"What Ireland, the Netherlands, Luxembourg or Malta are doing here lacks solidarity towards the rest of the European economy," he said.

He praised the European Commission's recent order that Apple should pay 13bn euros (£11bn) more in tax to Ireland.

On Tuesday, the European Commission decided after a long investigation that Apple should pay the 13bn euros in extra tax, plus interest, to the Irish government because a long-standing tax deal with the US tech giant amounted to illegal state aid.

Apple and the Irish government have criticised the decision and the US firm has said it is confident it will be overturned on appeal.

Mr Kern, who heads Austria's Social Democrats and the country's coalition government, also said Facebook and Google had sales of more than 100m euros each in Austria.

"They massively suck up the advertising volume that comes out of the economy but pay neither corporation tax nor advertising duty in Austria," he added.

As well as Apple, the European Commission has launched past or current investigations into the tax arrangements of Fiat, McDonald's, Starbucks and Amazon.

Source: bbc.co.uk
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Posted by Damien Biddulph on Tue 6th Sep 2016

5 September 2016 · By 

It is an undeniable fact that in today's digital world, we are all pretty much reliant on information technology and the Internet to run our businesses. It is also a fact that it is not "if" but "when" will our IT Infrastructure and business applications be under attack.

Once you’ve addressed the insider threats within your organisation, you can turn your attention to external cyber threats

Image: Shutterstock

Before you even begin to address the dark world of cybercrime or sponsored attacks, plotting to compromise your IT systems; you should first remember that cyber security begins at home. By home, I mean the business owners, their senior managers, their staff and their third party contractors.

It is a salient point that security breaches by staff or third party contractors – whether malicious or accidental – are one of the largest sources of cyber-attacks on an organisation's systems. And cyber criminals will seek out the weak points in your organisation as these present the easiest opportunities for attack.

How can I ensure my systems are safe from within?

Before we look at solutions, we must understand the various ways in which employees and contractors can be responsible for security breaches.

Careless employees – Obvious examples of careless behaviour include: staff who use weak passwords, staff who surf unauthorised websites and staff who click on links or open attachments in suspicious emails. Then there are staff who don't take proper care of their personal or company devices.

Vengeful ex-employees – This happens more than you might think as ex-employees believe they won't be caught. This is especially so if they had access to systems, networks and databases with privileged passwords.

BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) – The fact that a firm's information is shared to or copied onto personal devices creates an inherent risk of theft. Passwords on personal devices are often weaker than those used at the workplace, making them vulnerable to hacking. 

Unauthorised devices to the network – Many don’t think twice about connecting their own devices to the company IT infrastructure. This can facilitate the introduction of malware into the organisation’s systems, or provide an entry point for a hacker.

Third party service providers – Service providers are often an important part of your extended team but can pose a risk if their security practices are not as rigid as your own. It is not unusual for contractors to use a single or shared password for all their employees – and often the password used is weak to facilitate new staff.

This makes the potential theft of login details relatively simple – often simply by guessing. 

Here's what you can do to minimise this threat.

(1) Employee vetting – All staff must be thoroughly vetted for honesty. For sensitive positions, police criminal checks should be undertaken. You must also ensure that your third party contractors have similarly vetted their own staff.

(2) Training and education – Have well-documented procedures that provides training for all staff. Educate them on the need for strong security and the implications of careless or bad password management. Awareness and training exercises should include education about scams such as phishing and key logger scams. Consider introducing a password management system and deploy validated encryption as part of your strategy. In highly sensitive situations you might consider the introduction of two-step authorisation.

(3) Introduce a strict password cancellation policy for ex-staff – Ensure that proper procedures are in place so that all passwords are immediately cancelled for any employee leaving the company.

(4) Have a clear BYOD policy – This should be a carefully written document that spells out exactly what employees can and can't do with their devices. This will include such FAQ's as: Can they download company documents, emails or business data? Can they download personal applications onto company networks? Implement systems to monitor mobile devices. This will reduce risks if a device is lost or stolen. Encryption and containerisation of data on devices can also form part of an overall solution.

(5) Introduce a "no tinkering" policy – No unauthorised tinkering with the company's systems should be allowed and specifically no devices, USBs etc. should be connected without first being checked by your IT security team.

(6) Insist that all third party contractors have acceptable security procedures – All service providers must implement "best practice" as far as password security is concerned. Monitor the contractor's security procedures and immediately cancel all access passwords as soon as a provider has ceased working for you.

(7) Monitor and report – Violations of the policies can be monitored and actions taken to identify and stop real damage from occurring. While tools and techniques can be quite complex, to manage out the numerous false-positives (security events that are benign) much can be done by simply monitoring for internal threat scenarios that could be most damaging to your business. Ensure that a well-defined incident management procedure is in place to back up the management of a security violation and that there is a disciplinary procedure in place to deal with employees and contractors who would compromise the security of your organisation.

Once you’ve addressed the insider threats within your organisation, you can turn your attention to external cyber threats.

Source: realbusiness.co.uk
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Posted by Damien Biddulph on Tue 6th Sep 2016

HP's new Elitebook 1040Image copyrightHP

Image captionHP said its new screens can darken the picture by up to 95% when viewed from wide angles

Computer firm HP has developed two new laptops that feature an optional privacy mode, which obscures the screen unless viewed face-on.

The technology, called Sure View, darkens the picture by "up to 95%" when observed from wide angles.

HP said the laptop can ensure privacy when used in public spaces.

One analyst said it could appeal to security-conscious enterprise customers.

Numerous peripherals companies already manufacture attachable glue-on screen filters that achieve the same effect, but HP claims its Sure View technology is the world's first "integrated" privacy screen.

It will launch with two new 14-inch laptops.

Pressing the F2 key enables the privacy mode, which HP said can reduce "up to 95% of visible light when viewed at an angle".

HP said the technology is becoming more of a necessity because of "visual hacking", a term it uses for infiltrating accounts by spying on people using their laptops and smartphones.

'Nothing new'

Chris Green, a technology analyst for communications agency Lewis, played down the impact of HP's technology.

"Angled screen view protectors are nothing new, they have been around 30 years," he said.

He added that while over-the-shoulder hacking is a security issue "it's not something that the industry is measuring with any research".

But Patrick Moorhead, a principal analyst for Moor Insights & Strategy, said that integrating the filter made the tech more dependable for enterprise customers.

"With the glue-on filters, IT departments don't actually know if you are using them. They may think they are managing security but they don't know for sure if that filter is on.

"So to me this lowers the risk, because IT departments can program the laptops so that the filter is always on."

Moorhead said the tech would be particularly useful "in environments of high security and high privacy such as healthcare, government, and even consultancy firms".

He added that, while there is little research to measure the prevalence of visual hacking "anecdotally I think it happens a lot".

Research conducted by the Ponemon Institute in Michigan claimed that nine out of 10 attempts to acquire sensitive business information using only visual means were successful.

Privacy firm 3M, which developed the Sure View technology for HP, funded Ponemon Institute's research

Source: bbc.co.uk
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Posted by Damien Biddulph on Tue 6th Sep 2016


This ain't no GamesMaster​.

Dara O Briain's Go 8 BitBY 


Video games are a surprisingly rare sight on primetime TV. Not since GamesMaster in the 1990s have we had a show that celebrates gaming in quite the same way. We hadVideogame Nation for a bit, but even that was axed.

But Dave is about to launch the latest attempt at making video games work on TV - Dara O Briain's Go 8 Bit. The comedy series challenges celebs to a host of classic and current games, ranging from Space Invaders to Tekken to FIFA.

Speaking to Digital Spy about the series - which launches tonight - Dara told us that he's amazed how video games have been treated by TV over the years, and how it's a lot simpler than coming up with strange new gameshows.

"People are genuinely competitive," he said. "Nobody cares if they win a round of Mock the Week, when really it's just a plot device to get people talking. But this one is genuinely competitive.

"But also TV companies always try and come up with [complicated] games - 'you get the orange ball, and then you have three orange balls, and then you get a red ball and answer a question' - these ridiculous rules.

"We have a gameshow where we just play the same games as people in their houses play with their mates. It turns out that these games are pretty well-tested!

"TV has always treated them as this weird runt cousin, when they're the biggest entertainment industry in the world. For some reason it was considered as this really minority or niche interest."

He also pointed out that TV viewers can easily get behind bizarre sports at the Olympics, so why not games?

"It's a thing that's enormously popular. This shouldn't be counter-intuitive, considering we're all up until 3 in the morning watching sports that we don't understand the rules of or that we don't watch for four years, and are amazingly gripped by them. They're much more obscure than Pac-Man or Sensible Soccer."

Go 8 Bit launches on Dave  (September 5) 

Source: digitalspy.com
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Posted by Damien Biddulph on Tue 6th Sep 2016

WhatsAppImage copyrightAP

WhatsApp says it will begin sharing more data with Facebook and will start letting some companies send messages to users.

It is the first time the company has changed its privacy policy since the firm was bought by Facebook in 2014.

WhatsApp will now share users' phone numbers with the social network, which it will use to provide "more relevant" friend suggestions and advertisements.

One analyst said some people might feel "betrayed" by the move.

Data sharing

WhatsApp said sharing users' phone numbers with Facebook would help tackle spam and abuse, as well as offer people "better friend suggestions and more relevant ads".

Using the data, Facebook will be able to match people who have exchanged phone numbers, but have not added one another as "friends" on the social network.

WhatsApp will also share information about when people last used the service, but said it would not share the contents of messages, which are encrypted.

"Your encrypted messages stay private and no-one else can read them. Not WhatsApp, not Facebook, nor anyone else," the company said in a blogpost.

The company said users would be able to opt out of sharing information with Facebook by following the steps outlined on its website.

How can I opt out of data sharing?

WhatsappImage copyrightWHATSAPP

Image captionThe box to opt out of data sharing is tucked away in the app's terms and conditions

  • When prompted to accept the updated terms and conditions, tap Read to expand the full text
  • A check box at the bottom of the new privacy policy will let you opt out of the data sharing
  • WhatsApp states Facebook will still receive data in some situations

"When WhatsApp was acquired by Facebook it was able to reassure users that it would remain independent," said Pamela Clark-Dickson, principal analyst at Ovum.

"Now it's giving Facebook phone numbers - some might say that's a betrayal of trust. In a small way, it has gone back on what it said it wouldn't do."

Marketing messages

The updated privacy policy also paves the way for businesses to send messages to WhatsApp users.

The company suggested messages typically sent via SMS text message - such as airline flight alerts or bank balance updates - could be sent via WhatsApp instead.

It said that in addition to appointment information and delivery notifications, it would also allow "marketing" messages.

"Messages you may receive containing marketing could include an offer for something that might interest you," the company said.

Ms Clark-Dickson said users may not mind the service "if they can opt in and the messages are useful".

"It will help them generate revenue if they charge businesses a fee to send messages," she told the BBC.

"But WhatsApp needs to be careful, a lot of people use it because they don't get advertising there."

The company said it would test such messaging features in the coming months, but promised to avoid a "spammy experience" where people are inundated with ads, and said it would not display so-called banner ads in its app.

Other messaging apps such as China's WeChat have already enabled business-to-consumer communication to great success, but Ms Clark-Dickson suggested WhatsApp would take a different approach.

"WeChat is a content-driven platform," she told the BBC.

"It opened up its platform to third parties, letting people make payments, book taxis. That seems to be the direction Facebook is taking Messenger.

"WhatsApp has the potential to be a great communication facility, if it concentrates on a solid user experience as its differential."

Source: bbc.co.uk
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Posted by Damien Biddulph on Tue 6th Sep 2016

Man uses laptop on Parliament Bridge outside WestminsterImage copyrightISTOCK

Kevin Cunnington has been appointed head of the Government Digital Services (GDS).

He was formerly director of business transformation at the Department for Work and Pensions

GDS runs gov.uk, the government's overarching website, and advises departments on how to provide online services and manage data.

Cabinet Office Minister Ben Gummer said he would "continue the transformation of government services".

Mr Cunnington, who becomes the third chief executive in a space of just over a year, said he was "delighted to be joining" and wanted to "continue to improve digital services and increase value for money for taxpayers".

He succeeds Steve Foreshew-Cain who said in a resignation post on social media that the unit was in strong shape and committed to continuing to making government simpler and more effective.

Praising his team, he wrote: "Collectively they are the best shot we have to transform government for the internet era. And we all need them to do that."

Analysis - by Rory Cellan-Jones, BBC Technology Correspondent

Gov.UK officesImage copyrightGOV.UK

Image captionGDS has divided civil servants

To its supporters the Government Digital Service is a shining example of how to bring innovation into public service IT projects via a team of fast-moving and imaginative developers ready to break with convention and cut through civil service bureaucracy.

To its detractors, it is a collection of naive and arrogant young know-it-alls who are better at their own PR than actually delivering improved government services.

Now it looks as though the enemies of GDS, which include some senior civil servants, have won a victory.

The appointment of another chief executive, just a year after the founding leader Mike Bracken left, is being painted by the Cabinet Office as just another step in the evolution of the service.

But many GDS supporters are clear that this is the revenge of the mandarins, and fear it signals a retreat from plans to bring digital innovation to all areas of government activity. There is particular concern about what it means for the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) where GDS was involved in trying to rescue the failing Universal Credit IT system.

The new GDS boss Kevin Cunnington is not being replaced in his role at DWP - does that mean that the immensely difficult job of trying to deliver benefits in a more digital fashion has been put on hold?

Some in government may feel that the revolutionary fervour of the GDS team was fine five years ago, but there now needs to be a period of calm consolidation.

But in the words of crossbench peer Baroness Lane Fox, who was the inspiration behind the foundation of the service, it would be an "immense waste of taxpayers' money" not to build on the success it has achieved so far.

One of GDS' key projects, Notify, recently moved into private beta testing.

Notify is a service which will allow departments across government to keep in touch with citizens using their services via email, text or letter.

Another, called Pay - which enables government departments to receive payments or to make refunds - has been approved to process credit and debit card payments on behalf of other government departments and wider public sector organisations.

The government's 2015 spending review outlined a £450 million investment in the service.

Source: bbc.co.uk
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Posted by Damien Biddulph on Wed 24th Aug 2016

10 things you didn't know the Surface Book could do

Surface Book review price

Rumours surrounding the Surface Book 2 get more feverish by the day, so we thought it prudent to revisit Microsoft's first true hybrid that made it all possible.

The Surface Book was not perfect, but it offered an interesting take on the humble laptop, and the Surface Pen added an unexpected level of functionality. Here's a selection of tricks and secrets to help you get the most from the device.

1. Adjust pressure sensitivity
The Surface Book supports up to 1,024 levels of pressure sensitivity, which allows nuanced strokes and a good level of precision.


The value can be tweaked to better serve your needs, and configured with the preinstalled 'Surface' app. Just use the Search bar to find it or ask Cortana.

Click the Pen icon to get at the settings and adjust the slider to configure the pen's sensitivity.

2. Replace the battery in the Surface Pen
The AAAA battery that powers the Surface Pen promises a hardy 18 months of life, and replacing it is easy.

Surface Book battery replacement

Rotate the end of the pen (indicated by the clip) counter-clockwise until you hear a click. Simply take out the extinguished battery, remembering to dispose of it carefully, and pop in a new one. Aligning the contacts is slightly tricky, so make sure it all lines up if you're tempted to apply brute force.

3. Use handwriting recognition
The Surface Book's handwriting recognition tool is impressively accurate.

Surface Book handwriting

Just click the keyboard icon located towards the right of the Windows Taskbar, and select the Pen icon to switch between input modes.

From there just start writing in the panel to transform your handwritten scribbles into text.

4. Tweak the touchpad
We never really got on with the Surface Book's touchpad but that's not to say you won't find gold in the gestures.


The touchpad can be configured to recognise three- and four-fingered taps, as well as a three-fingered drag and slide. All these settings can be found in the 'Mouse & touchpad' options.

5. Take screenshots with the Surface Pen
We're big fans of Windows' Snipping Tool. The Surface Book offers an even simpler screen-capturing tool in the form of the Surface Pen.

Surface Book screen capture

Just double tap the button on the top of the Pen to capture what's on the screen. You can also take a screenshot by holding down the Power button with the Volume Up key that sits next to it. This is contrary to some reports that tell you to use the Volume Down button.

6. Use the Surface Pen to right click
Examine the Surface Pen closely and you'll notice a button that sits almost flush with the shaft.

Surface Book Pen right click

This performs a right-clicking action much like a mouse or trackpad.

7. Charge the Clipboard
Being able to use the tablet part (or as Microsoft calls it the Clipboard) on its own is one of the Surface Book's headline features. If for some reason you want to take this one step further, and perhaps leave the keyboard part behind entirely, you can.

Surface Book clipboard charging

The Surface Book charger can be plugged into the bottom of the Clipboard to top it up whenever the juice is running low.

Using it solely in this way means you lose out on USB ports (among other things), but you can also plug it directly into the Surface Dock should you want to extend your non-keyboard adventures.

8. Force integrated graphics
If you've plumped for the full-fat Surface Book with that powerful discrete Nvidia GPU you have the option to choose between two different graphics cards.


Admittedly there aren't a great deal of situations where you'd need to, but it's always nice to have the option. Fire up the Nvidia Control Panel and select 'Manage 3D Settings'. The drop-down menu that appears defaults to Auto-select, but you can force High Performance Nvidia processor or integrated graphics options from here.

More useful is the ability to choose which apps use the integrated graphics or the discrete Nvidia GPU. Switch to the Program Settings tab and use the drop-downs to select an app to customise, along with your desired graphics selection.

9. Improve gaming performance
If you run a Surface Book with the aforementioned discrete Nvidia graphics option you can download the GeForce Experience app to eke out that extra bit of performance.


Once downloaded, the app will scan your Surface for games and configure the optimal settings for each.

10. Alter screen brightness
Microsoft neglected to include brightness controls on the Surface Book's keyboard for some reason.

Surface Book keyboard shortcuts

You can still tweak the brightness to preferred levels via the Action Centre, but if you want a tighter control over things there are a couple of handy keyboard shortcuts.

Just press Fn + Del to increase screen brightness and Fn + Backspace to lower it.


Source: v3.co.uk
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Posted by Damien Biddulph on Wed 24th Aug 2016

Let's "surf" the "world wide web".

Back in the day when we all sported a Nokia 3310 and VHS was still king, the internet was a very different place. Today, August 23, might mark 25 years since the birth of the world wide web though, but things have changed since those now iconic dial-up pings and pongs preceded every trip into this new, digital world and downloading a picture took minutes rather than milliseconds. Seriously, how did we ever live like that?

Years before Facebook, Netflix and, of course, Digital Spy dominated all of our online experiences, there was a very different batch of websites that used to rule the roost. Anyone remember this lot?

1. AOL


If you were born before '95, chances are your first venture into the internet was aided by AOL. Seriously, who doesn't remember those AOL disks coming through the post? Many people's homepage to the internet, it handled everything from your email and news needs to weather forecasts and even a bit of casual gaming. Even after you cancelled your AOL subscription (the most complicated and frustrating process ever created), ridding your machine of AOL's sodding software was near enough impossible.


New Grounds

Forget your MMOs and connected console campaigns, early online gaming was all about basic Flash titles and the king here was New Grounds. The bane of any IT teacher's existence - who didn't have this running in the background during class? - New Grounds offered an ever-changing array of basic, but brilliantly addictive titles. Many of which would still comfortably help you pass a couple of hours now.



OK, so Kazaa was more than a little bit dodgy, letting you download music, videos and pictures without, y'know, paying. But it was fun spending time on the green and white service hunting out a copy of the latest Offspring or Blur album that didn't distort and disappear halfway through. It wasn't big or clever, but before we knew the rights and wrongs of internet etiquette, it was a regular stopping point.



Nowadays you can download music on any smartphone, laptop or, heck, WiFi-enabled toilet. Back in the day, however, you either spent a ton of money on iTunes or visited Napster and, well, didn't. It's been reinvented time and time again in recent years (mostly after high-profile legal proceedings), but is now the relic of digital download space.



Long before Facebook and the others, there was another means of keeping in touch with the wider world and forming quick-hit friendship groups. As well as letting you chat with chums, MySpace was the place every budding musician - or tuneless berk with a guitar - could upload and share their own tracks, even if no-one else listened to them. We wonder how many friends good ol' MySpace Tom has left now?



Yahoooooooo! If you weren't part of the AOL clan, chances are that your front door to the internet was this other American giant. Back when the internet was more text-heavy and filled with blue hyperlinks, Yahoo offered everything the introductory internet user needed. There was news, there was weather, there was sport and even horoscopes. As well as being a digital newspaper, it offered a couple of casual games and a few shopping options. It was the king... until the rest of the internet arrived.



A hybrid mash-up of AOL meets Google, sort of, Lycos was a search engine, email host and general one-stop internet shop all in one. It was more than that though: it was the place where you could get free ringtones for your new Nokia and drop a bit of cash on downloading some heavily pixelated logo graphics to fill your handset's tiny monochrome display. Anyone for a barbed-wire-adorned 3310?


Friends Reunited

Thanks to Facebook it's now impossible to escape the buggers, but back at the turn of millennium keeping in touch with old school friends and snooping on what their lives were like now was almost impossible. That's where Friends Reunited came in. As well as rekindling old flames, it helped families keep in touch across the world and new friendships form based on common interests. If only the internet had something like that now... oh, wait.

9. Last.FM


Not paying for music online wasn't exclusively reserved for dodgy downloads. Before Spotify came along and mixed things up, Last.FM was the only place to go. It let you build personalised playlists based on the music on your machine and your digital radio stations of choice, something that was unheard of at the time. It's still going, but it's a long way from its early '00s high.


Ask Jeeves

©  Ask

Back before Google ruled the world and search engines were a novelty rather than a way of life, the ability to pose fully-formed questions to a digital butler felt like the future. Sadly, Ask Jeeves didn't really move with the times. Needless to say, Google won, big time, and Jeeves now couldn't even get a gig on Celebrity Love Island.



©  LiveJournal

Believe it or not, there was a time when bloggers weren't celebrities in their own right, just people sat in their bedrooms spewing their every thought at the internet. That was when LiveJournal ruled the web. Essentially Word with an archive feature, you could create personal journals and diaries that your mum could never find stuffed under your mattress.

Source: digitalspy.com
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