YubiKey can make online security easy — if it gains widespread adoption. Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac
LAS VEGAS — Nobody wants to get hacked like Jennifer Lawrence’s iCloud account. Everyone, including Apple, is pushing two-factor authentication in the wake of the high-profile hack that exposed dozens of celebrities nude selfies, but verifying an account login with a code sent to your phone is a total pain.
In the not-so-distant future, we might all be storing two-factor authentication on our keychains.
Yubico is already providing eight out of 10 Silicon Valley companies with a tiny USB dongle called YubiKey that securely verifies an employee’s online identity. You just plug it into a computer and tap it when it’s time to log in. Now that Gmail has started supporting YubiKey on the front end, anyone can use it as the second verification step for getting into their inbox.
Internet Explorer could be killed off in Windows 10. Photo: Microsoft
It’s come a long way in recent years, but even so, Internet Explorer may be Microsoft’s most reviled product: a web browser so bad it held web standards back for years. From a Mac fan’s perspective, the best that can be said about Internet Explorer is that, for the most part, you never have to use it at all: the most up-to-date versions only run on Windows.
But that could soon change. A new report suggests that Microsoft could be rebranding Internet Explorer while giving it a radical overhaul… while simultaneously releasing it on non-Windows systems like Mac and iOS.
Microsoft’s Xin is already one of the best ways to share photos between devices, even if you’re on Android or iPhone, but it’s getting even better today for iPhone users with a new update that adds Apple TV support, plus a ton of other set top boxes.
Chomecast, Fire TV, Xbox One and web browsers are all getting support for the simple photo sharing app meaning you can now toss pictures to pretty much any smartphone or TV screen in the world.
See how Xim works with Apple TV in the video below:
Even school kids can see the potential. Photo: Skype/Microsoft
Star Trek Captains Picard and Kirk could talk to any alien, no matter how different it was from humanity, thanks to the universal translator, a magical sci-fi device that explained away why strange civilizations in far-away solar systems all spoke English.
That future just got a little less far-fetched, thanks to Skype Translator, a new preview service that uses technology from Microsoft Research to translate two different languages back and forth in real time.
This is heady stuff, as school kids in Seattle and Mexico City seem to instantly recognize when they chat back and forth in English and Spanish via the Skype service in the video below.
Leaked promotional shot for the canned McLaren phone, Microsoft’s flagship Lumia that was supposed to come out in time for the holidays. Photo: Baidu
If you needed any more confirmation that Windows Phone is dead in the water, two of its most high profile supporters have abandoned it for the iPhone.
Veteran Microsoft journalists Ed Bott and Tom Warren both published essays this week in which they criticized Windows Phone for its shortcomings and announced that they’ve stopped using Windows Phones personally. Citing a lack of carrier and third-party app support, both agreed that Windows Phone has missed its shot at being a real competitor in the smartphone market.
Even Microsoft admits the iPhone 6 is king of 2014. Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac
Microsoft released its list of the top Bing searches of 2014 this week, and among tech companies, Apple appears to be this year’s big winner, again.
The iPhone 6 and iPad both ranked among the top 5 tech search words of 2014, according to BingTrends. Other top searches included Fitbit and the Xbox One, but the iPhone 6’s biggest competitor – the Samsung Galaxy S5 – didn’t even place in the top 10.
Acompli’s powerful email app is now owned by Microsoft. Photo: Acompli
Microsoft is digging its roots deeper into iOS and Android this week with the announcement that it has acquired the popular cross-platform email app Acompli.
News of the Acompli acquisition was posted today on Microsoft’s company blog, with VP of Office, Rajesh Jha, saying the company plans to integrate the app into the Outlook redesign his team is currently working on.
Skype’s latest ad is all about the Mac. Photo: Microsoft
Microsoft’s been doing a stellar job promoting Apple lately, securing placement of its “iPad-like tablets” on CNN and the NFL. But it looks like Redmond has decided to give up and start pushing Apple products.
Microsoft published an ad on Facebook today that highlighted Skype’s ability to keep people in sync, but the real headliner is a huge orchestra of MacBooks — and there’s not a PC in sight.
The ad features a photo of a conductor in New York City’s Bryant Park, surrounded by an array of 11 MacBooks connected to the city’s celebrated subway musicians. Microsoft’s ad comes with the tagline, “The world’s first digital orchestra stays in sync with Skype,” but it looks like the MacBooks and iPhones (as well as the musicians using them) steal the show.
Microsoft has been taking so many shots at Apple as of late that you could be forgiven for thinking we’ve slipped back through a wormhole to 1996. This tendency doesn’t show any signs of slowing down, either, if you go on Microsoft’s latest ad.
Called “Let’s dance,” the ad compares Lenovo’s Yoga 3 Pro convertible laptop to Apple’s MacBook Air, showing them side-by-side and comparing them on size and features. And, wouldn’t you know it, Microsoft’s preferred option comes out on top.