News

CONSUMER ELECTRONICS

What drones can do for you

From a PR standpoint this is not a good time to be a drone. Most mentions of drones in the media are not particularly flattering. You hear about military drones, predator drones, pepper-spray-bullet drones--yes, really--and drones used by creepy guys. Any mention of the word drone is usually followed by the potential threats drones pose to our safety and our privacy.

BUSINESS ISSUES

Kogan and BenQ drive 4G smartphone pricing down with $229 Agora 4G

Adorning the Agora 4G is a BenQ badge as the electronics maker looks to establish a smartphone presence in the Australian market. The aggressive price point, coupled with the cache of Kogan's brand, should see many customers calling this BenQ smartphone their own.

SECURITY

Mystery 'Onion/Critroni' ransom Trojan evolves to use more sophisticated encryption

Kaspersky Lab has added more detail on the fiendish ‘Onion' (aka 'Critroni') ransom Trojan that uses the Tor anonymity service to hide its command and control (C&C) as well as displaying a level of thoughtfulness about its encryption design that bodes ill for future attacks.

SOFTWARE | INTERNET

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How to get photos from your digital camera to Instagram in 3 easy steps

Instagram may be designed for smartphones, but you've probably noticed that the best photos have a distinctly non-camera-phone vibe to them. Savvy Instagrammers post high-quality DSLR or point-and-shoot photos instead. You can create a high-quality Instagram feed, too, with a little help from Dropbox and your iOS or Android device.

GAMES

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Missing Pieces: First looks at Halo: Nightfall and the reborn Unreal Tournament, plus more must-know games news

We're almost done with July. To some, that's a sad statement. Soon it will be time to put away the shorts, stow the beach gear, and give up on fruity drinks. The children will go back to school while the adults merely tick off one more summer gone by.

SOFTWARE

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How to revert to Mavericks from the Yosemite public beta

The OS X Yosemite public beta gives us some insight into Apple's next-generation operating system, but it is a beta release--a version of the Mac OS that will have problems and will not be compatible with some of your existing software. If you've leapt aboard the beta without thinking carefully about what this would mean for day-to-day use, and you now wish you had Mavericks (OS X 10.9) back, we're here to help.

SOFTWARE

How to make a bootable OS X 10.10 Yosemite install drive

With Yosemite (OS X 10.10) and the OS X Beta Program, Apple is for the first time since 2000 making pre-release versions of a new operating system available to people other than developers. Specifically, the first million non-developers to sign up for the 10.10 public beta will get to download and install pre-release versions of Yosemite, with the goal being to help Apple find and fix bugs before the OS is officially released.

SECURITY

Nigerian 419 scammers diversifying into Trojan malware, finds Palo Alto

A Nigerian cybercrime gang versed in 419 social engineering scams has diversified into using off-the-shelf RAT tools to attacks Taiwanese and South Korean businesses, according to researchers working for Palo Alto Networks.

SOFTWARE | SECURITY

Internet Explorer vulnerabilities surge to record levels in 2014, NVD figures reveal

Microsoft's Internet Explorer experienced a record number of software vulnerabilities in the first half of 2014, far above any other popular program, a Bromium analysis of US National Vulnerability Database (NVD) figures has shown.

CONSUMER ELECTRONICS

15 strangest smartphone deaths: gadget disasters involving microwaves, wasps, shotguns and cleavage

We take our smartphones everywhere, so it's no wonder that they end up in all manner of sorry states when we drop them, leave them in a taxi or plain old lose them. However, there are some extraordinary tales leading to some rather amusing insurance claims. Here are 15 of the best.

Expert Opinion

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Our favorite iOS Apps, July edition

As we do every month, Macworld staffers got together to chat about the best apps they've been using recently. Here are some that have recently captured our imaginations (and perhaps a spot on our homescreens), whether they're tiny apps from budding developers or the top-grossing apps that everyone is using. Our hope is that, while you might recognize some of these apps, others you might never have encountered. All of them, we think, are worth a look.

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Microsoft's productivity drive could kill software as we know it

On Thursday, Satya Nadella charted a new course for Microsoft, focused on interconnectivity and productivity--one where, conceivably, the company's standard-setting Office applications and other products and services could slowly blur into different modes of working with the same data.

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All about DDR4, the next-gen memory coming soon for PCs and mobile devices

New CPU and GPU architectures roil the market pretty much every year--sometimes more than once a year. Yet in spite of the impact that system memory can have on a PC's performance, the industry has relied on the same basic memory architecture for what seems like an eternity--in tech time, at least.

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Apple's HomeKit hub may already be in your house

At Apple's recent Worldwide Developers Conference, the company announced--among a great many other things--HomeKit, a suite of tools for controlling such devices in your home as thermostats, furnaces and air conditioners, smart appliances, lights, cameras, garage-door openers, and security systems. Apple will provide a platform that these devices will be asked to conform to. Do so, and you can control them all from your iOS device.

Editors Pick

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Apple doesn't need its own gadgets to dominate the smart home

If you believe the weekend rumors, Apple will announce a connected-home platform next week at WWDC. But before you get too excited about an iThermostat and an iFridge and an iCamera watching you sleep, consider this: If Apple does get into the home-automation market, that doesn't necessarily mean it'll make smart-home gadgets of its own.

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10 things we want to see in Microsoft's Surface Mini

If Microsoft indeed intends to release a shrunk-down Surface Mini this month, as an invite for a "small" Surface event suggests, merely downsizing the tablet's design to fit an 8-inch frame ain't going to cut it. Sure, the Surface Pro 2 and Surface 2 are beautiful pieces of kit, but they're made for big-screen productivity--the Surface Pro is essentially an Ultrabook without a keyboard. That experience won't translate well to a smaller form factor, better suited for content consumption than content creation.

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With this phone, I thee wed: How the Nokia-Microsoft union changes everything

There's no getting cold feet now. On Friday, Microsoft's acquisition of Nokia's device business will be official, after months of delays and regulatory hurdles. The remnants of Nokia will get a whopping $7.2 billion. In return, Microsoft will get 32,000 new employees, a legion of Lumias, and oh yeah, those funky Android-based Nokia X phones.

Latest Product Reviews

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MediaBeam: This ultra-cheap streaming stick isn't worth the money

Just what the world needs: another HDMI dongle to compete with Google's Chromecast and Roku's Streaming Stick. Like those popular devices, Ematic's MediaBeam plugs directly into one of your HDTV's HDMI ports in order to stream content.

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Samsung Gear Live: It's the world's best smartwatch, but probably not for long

The Gear Live is the best smartwatch I've ever used--but that's not a remarkable achievement considering all the crappy-to-middling efforts we've seen from Samsung, Sony and Qualcomm. If I were being generous, I'd say Samsung finally landed on a simple, wrist-friendly interface that does away with messy nested menus and convoluted features like voice calling.

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OnePlus One: You're in control with this ultra-affordable phone

There's a utopian idea behind the OnePlus One: Offer a phone powered by the latest hardware and featuring a wealth of carrier options without any carrier restrictions. If that doesn't grab you, the price tag might--it's $300 for an off-contract 16GB model, about half of what you'd pay for phones boasting similar specs. But does the phone deliver a premium experience?

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App Factory 1.2: Turn your script into a stand-alone app

Editor's note: The following review is part of Macworld's GemFest 2014. Every day (except weekends) from July until September, the Macworld staff will use the Mac Gems blog to briefly cover a standout free, low-cost, or great-value program. You can view a list of this year's apps, updated daily, on our handy GemFest chart, and you can visit the Mac Gems homepage for past Mac Gems reviews.