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May
21

Fresh from detailing its first converged consumer products, BT is now offering a new business service that combines its broadband and mobile networks.

The concept behind BT 4G Assure is simple – if BT’s broadband network fails, customers will connect to EE’s 4G network.

Businesses who sign up will receive a mobile broadband dongle which plugs into the BT Hub router, which will automatically switch if it detects a fault. It will then check for a broadband connection every second, and once a stable signal has been restored, it will switch back.

BT broadband convergence

Naturally, BT is offering unlimited mobile data, so there’s no bill shock if an allowance has been exceeded.

The service is included with superfast broadband and ultrafast broadband, and costs £8 a month for those with standard ADSL.

“We recognise that a reliable, always on broadband connection is essential for businesses,” said Mike Tomlinson, managing director for SMB at BT. “So we’ve packed even more innovation into our award winning Smart Hub to provide SMEs with a failsafe method to stay online.

“We are very excited about this new service because it combines the strengths of our fixed broadband network and the UK’s most powerful Wi-Fi signal with the most extensive 4G network in the country. This delivers a highly resilient broadband service which will keep SMEs – the backbone of the UK economy - up and running.”

BT has spoken of the potential for converged networks ever since it completed the £12.5 billion takeover of EE in 2016, but until recently had provided very little detail. However CEO Gavin Patterson made convergence the cornerstone of the company’s new strategy after the publication of BT’s full year results.

Although 13,000, mostly management jobs, are to be cut over the next few years, BT is to hire an additional 6,000 customer service and engineering staff to support its converged ambitions.

Last week BT revealed the first consumer converged services and is now hoping to give its struggling enterprise division a boost too.

 


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May
21

There is nothing better than watching football on a big TV. It’s a sport that lends itself to the big screen and when it comes to the biggest football tournament in the world, it deserves to be watched on the largest screen possible - thankfully AO.com has you covered. 

Unfortunately, the size of the screen usually equates to the size of the budget you need. Thankfully, there are a number of brands out there that offer big-screen goodness on a relatively modest budget. 

A great example of this is the Toshiba 65U6763DB. This 65-inch setup, available from AO.com, boasts a number of impressive features but can be yours for just £699. 

Standout is the size and quality of the screen. which is an enviable screen size for anyone, and comes equipped with 4K capabilities. 4K is four times the picture quality of Full HD, offering up sharper and more detailed images, for the ultimate viewing experience. 4K simply means a clearer picture - it's more pixels for a start, so images are crisper with much more details. 4K is also at its best when on a larger screen, where the crystal clarity of the picture really shines through and that is what is offered here in abundance. 

Another bonus of having a large screen is that AO.com is giving you the chance to claim back up to £300 when you buy a large screen TV - as long as England get through to the knockout stages. 

Smart choice

While size matters, it’s not just in this area where the Toshiba 65U6763DB excels. It also has an impressive smart TV platform. These include all your favourite streaming platforms to watch the best content on and Freeview HD - which gives you access to an amazing 70 channels. 

The television comes with four HDMI ports, which means you can have your set top, Blu-ray player and games console all connected without the need to switch around the wires. And if that wasn’t enough, there are also three USB ports on board for all your content needs. 

The Toshiba 65U6763DB is another great TV from a brand that is an absolute stalwart in the industry - one that offers fantastic technology in the form of 4K and smart TV functionality and all at a price that doesn’t need a footballer’s salary to afford. 

For more information on the Toshiba 65U6763DB and how you can be in with a chance of claiming £300 off your big-screen purchase, head to AO.com.


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May
21

Whether it’s the biggest event in the sporting calendar, one that only comes around once every four years, or a league match - there is no denying watching football is special and not treating it as such when looking for your next TV purchase is something of an own goal. 

If you buy a Sony TV, though, you are getting a superb television - and this is thanks to the features that Sony has packed into each television. The thing is, we could just dazzle you with some fancy names for the tech inside but that wouldn’t really do these televisions justice. On its own, the 4K X-Reality PRO processor doesn’t quite conjure up just what this fantastic innovation does. And MotionFlow - it’s a brilliant name, but what does it actually mean?

Go with the Flow

Let’s look first at MotionFlow. It sounds like a skill Lionel Messi has perfected and will use to against England, but the reality is that it’s a piece of technology that works behind the scenes to make the football you watch on TV look better. It sounds simple, but there are incredibly complex algorithms working to smooth out the flow of something like football, making sure there isn’t any jitter in the picture whatsoever. The TV does the hard work, adding in frames where needed to keep the flow of the game in tact. This is coupled with LED Backlight Control, which regulates the brightness to make sure it’s right for the motion on the TV. Add to this Image Blur Reduction and this will make the picture look a whole lot more crisp. All of these technologies work to make sure that when a ball is kicked, you are focused on whether or not it lands in the goal and nothing else. 

If you want to see the perfect balance of all these technologies at work, then the Sony Bravia KD55XF8096BU is for you, which is available from AO.com - it’s packing Motionflow XR400hz, one of the best versions of this feature around. 

There’s even more reason to buy a big-screen TV this summer. AO.com is giving you the chance to claim back up to £300 when you buy a large screen TV – as long as England get through to the knockout stages.

Playing like a Pro

The other feature that’s worth a mention is the grand-sounding 4K X-Reality PRO processor. Yes, that’s right, our TVs have processors in them now, much like computers. What makes the 4K X-Reality PRO processor special is that it does myriad things to make your viewing experience better.

One of the most important features of the 4K X-Reality PRO processor is its Full HD to 4K upscaling. This technology doesn’t actually add pixels but enhance the ones that are already there. What this boils down to is: you will definitely see whether that contentious goal was actually over the line or not. 

Having this processor on board means that lines become clearer, action stays smooth and if you happened to be streaming anything, then this will become much clearer. 

To see this in action, then what you need, available from AO.com, is the stunning Sony Bravia XE70 range. And, don’t forget, you could be in with a chance of getting a fantastic up to £300 off the price of your new big-screen television, thanks to AO.com .


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May
21

Microsoft is planning to better organize its the Microsoft Store in Windows 10 by introducing a new Departments drop-down menu, which highlights deals among other things – although this functionality is still in testing right now.

Windows 10 users may have experienced some difficulty finding what they need in the Microsoft Store in the past, because there’s a fairly sprawling mass of content of all different types for sale.

So, as Windows Central reports, the idea is to introduce a new Departments drop-down along the top menu which has four main categories: Software & apps, Entertainment, Devices, and Deals. And each of those has various subcategories to allow you to further drill down to find what you need.

Software & apps, as you might expect, is where you’ll bag applications, with subcategories for Windows 10, Office apps, and Edge extensions to soup up Microsoft’s browser. There’s also an option to customize Windows which offers the likes of different themes, and an area for support with software.

That’s Entertainment…

The Entertainment category covers games, movies, books, Mixed Reality and Xbox. And under Devices you’ll find all your hardware options, including Microsoft’s Surface tablets, along with PCs, gaming PCs, accessories, and Xbox consoles.

Bargain hunters, however, will likely be most interested in the Deals category, which highlights any discounts and offers across apps, games, movies and hardware (with subcategories for Surface and PC in the latter case).

All of which should certainly make navigating the Microsoft Store a more pleasant and streamlined experience, and hopefully help you save some money in the process. There are often deals to be had on the likes of Surface tablets, and this should mean you don’t miss them – although we’ll highlight any top-notch deals here at TechRadar as well, of course.

While this is only in testing at the moment, as mentioned, it’s difficult to see why Microsoft wouldn’t want to proceed along these lines, although naturally, the aforementioned subcategories may be rejigged depending on feedback.

Image credit: Windows Central


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May
21
The best web browser 2018: faster and more secure
Posted by Cat Ellis,Alex Cox on 21 May 2018 11:16 AM

The right web browser can make a huge difference to your everyday browsing – whether your priority is faster performance, better security or more flexibility through downloadable extensions.

However, it can be tricky to break out of your comfort zone. The browser you're currently using might not be the best, but you've probably become use to its idiosyncrasies over the years without realising there are better options around that will make your life so much easier.

Here, we’ve put the biggest browsers through their paces (plus some that you may not be familiar with) to identify the browser that best ticks all of these boxes. And, if you have a particular concern, then read on to see if there’s an alternative that might be better suited to your needs.

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Mozilla Firefox

After several years dropping behind the competition in terms of speed, Firefox is back in the game with a fully updated code base

Firefox recently received its biggest update in 13 years, and it's so impressive, it's propelled the browser to the top of our list. 

Firefox has always been known for its flexibility and support for extensions, but in recent years it had started to lag behind the competition in terms of speed. Firefox Quantum, first released last year, represented a total overhaul of the browser's code base, with speeds now comparable with Google Chrome. That's not just on top-end computers, either – the new Firefox makes frugal use of RAM, even with masses of tabs open.

Firefox also scores serious points when it comes to privacy. Mozilla is non-profit, which means it doesn't have the same impetus to sell your data as some other browser developers. The organization also makes regular updates to help protect its users' privacy as internet companies come under increasing scrutiny over the way they treat people's data.

Quantum also introduced a new system for extensions that prevents rogue developers making malicious changes to the browser's internal code. 

It's not always the absolute fastest – for some pages Chrome still has the edge, as Mozilla's own video demonstrates – but the new Firefox has come out swinging and is our pick for the best web browser of 2018 so far.

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Google Chrome

Chrome is a superb browser - fast and adaptable - if you aren't bothered by letting Google handle all your online activity

With Chrome, Google has built an extendable, efficient browser that deserves its place at the top of the browser rankings. According to w3schools' browser trend analysis its user base is only rising, even as Microsoft Edge's install numbers are presumably growing. Why? Well, it's cross-platform, incredibly stable, brilliantly presented to take up the minimum of screen space, and just about the nicest browser there is to use.

Its wide range of easily-obtained and installed extensions mean you can really make it your own, and there's support for parental controls and a huge range of tweaks and settings to ensure maximum efficiency.

However, Chrome isn’t without its downsides. It’s one of the heaviest browsers in terms of resource use, so it’s not brilliant on machines with limited RAM, and its performance doesn’t quite match up to others as far as benchmarking is concerned. And, with Google’s tentacles running through it, you may be uncomfortable with how your browsing data is used.

That said, Google is making some moves towards security, and is pushing HTTPS particularly hard. Future versions of the browser will make it very clear when sites aren't using HTTPS encryption, aiming to make it standard throughout the web.

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Opera

Opera is a superb browser with a clean interface and built-in ad-blocker, plus a Turbo mode that makes slow connections more useable

It's sad that Opera makes up only around 1% of the browser market, because it really is a quality browser. It launches fast, the UI is brilliantly clean, and it does everything its rivals can do with a couple of extras thrown in for good measure.

The key reason we'd at least recommend having Opera installed alongside your main browser is its Opera Turbo feature. This compresses your web traffic, routing it through Opera's servers, which makes a huge difference to browsing speed if you're stuck on rural dial-up or your broadband connection is having a moment.

It reduces the amount of data transferred too, handy if you're using a mobile connection, and this re-routing also dodges any content restrictions your ISP might place on your browsing, which can be mighty handy. Opera automatically ducks out of the way if you're using secure sites like banks so your traffic is free and clear of any potential privacy violation.

There's also an integrated ad-blocker – which can be switched off if you're morally inclined in that direction – and a battery-saving mode which promises to keep your laptop going for longer.

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Microsoft Edge

Edge works on all your Windows 10 devices, with sandboxing for security and a special reading mode to isolate the important content on pages

The default 'browsing experience' on Windows 10, and unavailable for older operating systems, Edge is an odd one. Quite why Microsoft needs to be running a pair of browser products in tandem rather than making Edge backwards compatible is beyond us. The company's reason, it seems, is that Edge represents the more user-friendly end of Redmond's offering while Internet Explorer scales a little better for enterprise.

Integration with Windows 10's core gimmicks seems to be Edge's main strong point. It happily runs as a modern-skinned app on Windows 10's tablet mode, and works with Cortana. It's also highly streamlined for the current web age, doing away with insecure protocols like ActiveX and forcing you into Internet Explorer if you want to use them. We're more used to browsers failing to render newer pages than we are to being told off for visiting older corners of the web.

Curmudgeonly grumbles aside, actually using Edge is a perfectly pleasant experience. It's super-quick, hammers through benchmarks, its integrated reading mode makes complex sites more palatable, and by sandboxing it away from the rest of the operating system Microsoft has ensured that Edge won't suffer the security breaches of its older brother.

It's just a shame that Microsoft is quite so insistent on forcing Edge upon Windows 10 users, making it the default browser for links opened in the Mail app, adding shortcuts to your desktop after major OS updates, and presenting it as a potential result if you start typing 'Firefox' in the Cortana search box.

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Microsoft Internet Explorer

Microsoft Internet Explorer is a fast and powerful browser, and makes modest use of your system resources, though it lacks the flexibility of Firefox and Chrome

Microsoft Internet Explorer has seen some ups and downs in its long tenure, from dominating the browser charts to languishing behind its main two competitors. This is partly an issue of choice – particularly the browser choice that Microsoft was forced to give customers after a court ruling – and partially because older versions fell behind the rendering and compatibility curve.

There are no such issues with Internet Explorer 11. It's clean, powerful, highly compatible, and it demands less of your RAM and CPU than equivalent pages would on Chrome or Firefox. Plus it one-ups both of them on WebKit's Sunspider benchmark.

That's not to say this browser is perfect. Google's V8 benchmark sees it struggling, and IE isn't quite as able to handle add-ons and extensions as many of its competitors. So while there's no reason to avoid IE like there might once have been, if you're looking for a more customised browsing experience you're out of luck.

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Vivaldi

Vivaldi is a relatively new browser that's bound to see more development soon. Its interface is fully customizable, though it doesn't officially support extensions yet

Here's something a bit different. We all spend probably far too much time sitting in front of our web browsers, and up-and-comer Vivaldi wants to make that as pleasant and personal an experience as possible.

The whole style and structure of its interface is entirely up to you. There's a built-in note-taking system, you can dock websites as side panels while using the main window to do your main browsing, and we love its innovative tab stacking tech, which allows you to group up tabs and move them around to avoid the crowding that so often plagues other browsers.

Vivaldi is built on Chromium, which means you can expand it even further with extensions from the Chrome Web Store. Just pick your preferred plugin and click 'Add to Chrome'. Some extensions might behave slightly differently in Vivaldi, but most work perfectly.

Vivaldi is a refreshing and creative take on web browsing, and one to watch in the next couple of years as more features are added.

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Tor Browser is a heavily modified version of Firefox that re-routed web traffic via random nodes worldwide

Tor Browser is, perhaps unjustly, most regularly associated with the seedy underworld of the dark web. While it's true that you can use this web browser to access otherwise unlisted sites, Tor's privacy aspects – where your traffic is routed through random nodes the world over, making it very hard to track - are its real asset.

Tor Browser is really a package of tools; Tor itself, a heavily modified version of the Firefox Extended Support release, and a number of other privacy packages that combine to make it the most secure browsing experience you're likely to find. Nothing is tracked, nothing is stored, and you can forget about bookmarks and cookies.

You'll need to alter your browsing habits to ensure that you don't perform actions online that reveal your identity – Tor Browser is just a tool, after all – but for a secondary browser useful for those private moments it's a great choice. Run it from a USB stick and nobody need even know you have it at all.


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