Microsoft Office for Mac gets a major update

Microsoft has released a new version of Office 2016 for Mac, introducing new online features that bring it closer in line with the cloud-first Office 365.

Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint now feature automatic saving for documents stored in the cloud – a feature that could stop you losing hours of work to an accidentally closed window or system crash.

Worried about accidentally deleting a chunk of your document and having the original overwritten? Office’s upgraded Version History tool shows a list of changes and lets you roll back to an earlier version.

See who’s doing what

Word, Excel and PowerPoint now offer live previews when you’re working on a shared document. Flag icons show you where they’re working (much like in Google Docs) and you can see what they’re typing in real time.

Each app has received its own updates as well. PowerPoint will highlight slides that have changed since you last saw them so colleagues can’t slip in sneaky edits without you noticing, and Excel has a host of new charts and functions.

Most interestingly, Outlook now integrates more closely with Google services, letting you manage your calendar and contacts within the app.

Office 2016 vs Office 365

Microsoft Office 2016 is the latest version of Office available as a one-off purchase. When Office 2019 is released later this year, Office 2016 users won’t get it automatically; they’ll have to pay again if they want to upgrade.

Office 365 is the same software, but paid for via a monthly or annual subscription. It includes extra online storage via OneDrive, ongoing tech support and automatic updates. Office 365 users will get all the new features of Office 2019 as soon as it’s released as part of their subscription.

      

Best Bitcoin wallets for Android in 2018

Electrum Bitcoin Wallet

Bitcoin (BTC) was originally invented as a decentralized and easy-to-use payment system. To this end there are a huge amount of wallet applications available for Android phones and devices, allowing you to take your BTC with you on the move.

In this guide, you’ll discover five of the most popular Bitcoin wallets for Android available today. While we’ve tried to select apps that are as simple to use as possible, if you do have a large amount of BTC you may want to choose a wallet with more security features such as GreenBits. If you only have a small amount of Bitcoin and just want to test the water, you can get started immediately with apps like Bitcoin Wallet.

Bitcoin isn’t the only cryptocurrency on the market today. If you hold any other kind of virtual currency, or would like to exchange some of your coins, you may prefer a multi-currency wallet such as Coinomi.

When picking a wallet that’s right for you, whatever choice you make, we strongly suggest you stick to the ones available either in the Google Play store or the F-Droid repository, as these are less likely to contain malware.

Electrum is well-known in the Bitcoin world as one of the most popular ‘thin clients’ for storing Bitcoins, and the Android app doesn’t disappoint. After downloading, your wallet is generated using a ‘seed’ of 12 random words, which you must write down. If anything happens to your Android device, you can then use this seed to restore your wallet along with your BTC. Your ‘private key’ is not locked in to Electrum and you can export your BTC to another wallet if you wish.

The Electrum Bitcoin Wallet for Android takes security seriously: your seed and private keys never leave your device. During setup you’re also asked to create a 6-digit PIN which is used to confirm payments. If you already use the desktop version of Electrum, you can even set up a ‘watching only’ wallet on your phone which lets you view your balance and receive BTC – but not send them.

The most recent version of Electrum Bitcoin Wallet comes bundled with its own QR scanner to easily capture wallet addresses and send payments. To receive BTC, just tap on the ‘Receive’ section to display a handy QR code for others to scan. This feature is only compatible with the ZXing QR Scanner. If you use another app to scan codes, be warned that this may cause compatibility issues.

Coinomi Wallet was originally created in 2015 and has since developed a solid reputation as a great wallet for storing not only Bitcoin but other cryptocurrencies, including Litecoin, Dash, Bitcoin Cash, Ethereum, not to mention any amount of Ether tokens. During setup you can choose which coins to display in the handy ‘overview’ section which lists the current market price and value of each currency.

Like Electrum, your wallet addresses are generated using a ‘master seed’ of 12 random words which never leaves your device. You can use this to restore your wallet balance for all of your coins should anything happen to your device. Coinomi offers the option to set a password during setup rather than a mandatory PIN as with Electrum. If you choose not to set a password, make sure your Android device has screen lock enabled and is encrypted.

Coinomi has integrated support for exchanging different coins using either of the services Shapeshift or Changelly for a small fee. User reviews have reported occasional issues with this whereby transactions don’t confirm for some time, although this wasn’t an issue during our own tests.

As of January 2018, Coinomi also no longer appears to be open source. This means that it’s very difficult to know if there are any undisclosed security bugs or backdoors in the software.

MyCelium Bitcoin Wallet

Mycelium is one of the most highly acclaimed Bitcoin wallets around. The website claims that Mycelium won the ‘Best Mobile App’ award from Blockchain.info in 2014, and that there’s no wallet which has more stars from reviews on Google Play.

Mycelium is entirely open source, which means it’s much easier to check for any software bugs, and also near-impossible for developers to include hidden backdoors to steal your BTC.

The interface is laid out in very simple fashion with buttons to send and receive BTC as well as scan in QR codes. Mycelium also has a built-in address book for making payments.

The settings section of Mycelium contains a massive arsenal of security features. First and foremost is the security PIN which you can set so that Mycelium requests it each time you make payments. The app also supports sweeping private keys from paper wallets, as well as ‘cold storage’ wallets which will only display your balance, and cannot be used to send BTC.

Although there’s no desktop equivalent of Mycelium, you can use it with hardware wallets like Trezor to digitally ‘sign’ transactions. This makes it much harder for anyone to steal your Bitcoins.

At the time of writing Mycelium doesn’t support Segwit. You can read more info about what this is and why it matters here. However, this should not affect everyday transactions.

GreenBits Bitcoin Wallet

GreenBits is a secure and open source Bitcoin wallet. It is truly cross-platform in that as well as being available for Android, there’s also a GreenAddress Chrome extension allowing you to manage your BTC from any device running Google’s browser.

If a person or company supports the GreenBits wallet service, BTC can be sent without needing to wait for confirmation via the Blockchain (which can take hours or days), allowing for near-instant payments. Each payment also has a unique ‘hash’ preventing fraudsters from spending the same coins twice.

During setup, a 24-word mnemonic is created which you can use to restore your BTC on another machine if anything happens to your Android device. The app also prompts you to set up payment confirmation via two-factor authentication.

GreenBits is secured via a PIN which you create during setup. If you fail to enter the PIN correctly three times, your wallet’s decryption key will be destroyed. After that, the only way to recover your BTC is by re-entering the 24-word mnemonic.

This makes for a very secure wallet, although the setup process might be a little intimidating for newer users who only hold a small amount of Bitcoin. The good news is that once you have secured your wallet, the interface is very easy to navigate. BTC can be sent by entering an address or scanning a QR code.

Bitcoin Wallet

With BTC transaction fees skyrocketing at present, users may also be concerned that there’s no built-in feature to manage these either. Bitcoin Wallet simply informs you what the transaction fee will be.

The developer of the free and open source Bitcoin Wallet claims that its Android app is the oldest in existence, and that it’s one of the easiest ways to get started with Bitcoin.

Unlike other wallets which require you to set up a PIN or write down a seed, you can use Bitcoin Wallet immediately after installation. The interface couldn’t be any clearer – simply click ‘Send’ or ‘Receive’ to manage your BTC. There’s even a handy address book to keep track of your favorite payment destinations. Your current balance is displayed in mBtc (millibitcoin) by default, as well as your local fiat currency, but you can change this in the app’s settings.

This extra simplicity comes at the price of security, however: anyone with access to your device could open the app and steal your Bitcoins. Your private keys, which are used to send payments, are stored securely on your Android device, but there doesn’t seem to be an easy way to recover your BTC if anything happens to the device itself.

The app does, however, support ‘sweeping’ of paper wallets – in other words, scanning the private key of a Bitcoin paper wallet to empty it and add the BTC balance to the wallet app.

      

Chromebooks could soon be able to sideload Android apps without developer mode

You’re likely aware that these days many Chromebooks (certainly new ones) happily run Android apps, but it will reportedly soon be possible to sideload apps from outside the (relatively) safe haven of Google Play – at least for enterprise users to begin with.

At the moment, if you want to use Android apps from outside the Play store, it is possible to sideload APKs (Android Package Kits), but you need to be in developer mode to do so.

The latter allows for serious tinkering with your Chromebook, but it’s obviously not designed for the average user – rather, it’s aimed at developers, as the name suggests – and it slackens things on the security front, among other issues.

However, Chrome Story spotted a new Chromium commit, which reads: “Add ARC sideloading device policy.

“Adds a simple boolean device policy to give enterprise administrator control over allowing APK sideloading for Chrome OS / ARC users.”

Enterprising idea

Essentially, this would allow full sideloading of said APKs when running in Chrome OS with no developer mode necessary, the caveat being that it’s talking about giving enterprise admins control over whether this is allowed.

So when (or indeed if, as this isn’t definite yet) this filters down to Chrome OS, it may only allow business users to benefit from the option (assuming their admin decides it’s okay and enables the feature).

Hopefully, though, it may morph into an option which is accessible to the average Chrome OS user, assuming that Google decides any security risk in allowing roaming outside the Play store isn’t too great, when moving beyond the more controlled enterprise arena.

This is certainly a space to be watched for those who want additional freedom with Android apps.

Meanwhile, at the weekend, we also heard that another Android feature is on its way to Chrome OS: namely notification badges.

Via Liliputing

      

Vodafone in new city-wide deal

Milton Keynes, which has long been setting the pace when it comes to developing a smart city infrastructure, has signed a deal with Vodafone and CityFibre, becoming even further advanced.

Under the terms of the deal, the city will benefit from a full fibre upgrade, thanks to an investment of £40 million from CityFibre. The announcement puts some flesh on the partnership that was agreed between Vodafone and CityFibre two months ago – Milton Keynes is the first city to benefit from the arrangement.

The new agreement means that the city will benefit from fibre optic cables throughout the city. It will mean that, for example, hospitals will be able to download a 2 gigabyte CT scan in just 17 seconds instead of 11 minutes over a standard broadband connection.

This fiber optic backbone will have major implications for mobile networks too. The fiber backhaul will provide additional capacity to support a range of Internet of Things implementations, as well as providing the infrastructure for future 5G services.

Pioneer

Milton Keynes has long been a British pioneer in IoT services. Its MK:Smart initiative demonstrated a range of innovations in areas such as travel, parking and refuse collection. The new fiber backbone will enable the city to build on these.

Cllr Peter Marland, Leader at Milton Keynes Council, said: “We are delighted that Milton Keynes has been selected as the first city in this full fiber roll-out by Vodafone and CityFibre. As a modern city that prides itself on its smart city ambitions and projects, we are perfectly positioned to make the most of this major private investment in our digital infrastructure. We know that the city will get behind this project to ensure that every home and business unlocks their digital potential.”

      

The best Google Chrome extensions 2018: enjoy a better online experience

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Chrome is a fabulous browser – fast, well designed and packed with essential features – but that’s just the start. Chrome’s real strength is in the huge library of add-ons that give it endless new functions and abilities.

In fact, the Chrome Web Store is packed with so many extensions that it’s hard to know which will really make a difference to your everyday browsing.

That’s why we’ve put together this list of 10 of the best Chrome extensions around. These are the ones we’ve installed in our own browsers. Give them a try and transform your online experience.

LastPass screen grab

1. LastPass

Keep your passwords in one place and log into accounts automatically

It’s no secret that using secure passwords everywhere is a vital part of staying safe online, but when something like gLR6@z!kklEc is so difficult to remember, it’s tempting to use 123456 everywhere instead.

LastPass solves the problem by creating a different strong password for every site, storing it locally in an encrypted vault, and automatically filling web forms and logins as required. You just need to remember a single master password, and LastPass takes care of almost everything else on its own.

Unlike some password managers, there’s no need to add all your usernames and passwords to a database before you can use it (unless you want to). Just install the extension, and whenever you log into an online account, it will ask whether to save it. It’s wonderfully convenient.

Lazarus: Form Recovery screen grab

2. Lazarus: Form Recovery

Avoid the frustration of losing data typed into online forms

We’re sure you know the feeling – you’ve just spent ages filling in an enormous online form (perhaps a tax return or insurance claim), you press the submit button and you’re presented with an error page. Perhaps your session has timed out, or your internet connection has dropped. Whatever the reason, when you click the back button everything has been erased.

Lazarus: Form Recovery helps you avoid grinding your teeth to stumps by saving form data as you type. The typed data can be encrypted, and is stored locally on your machine rather than being sent to third-party servers.

You can also disable certain domains so Lazarus doesn’t cache anything you type into your bank’s website, for example.

If you don’t already have Lazarus, download it now before disaster strikes.

Evernote Web Clipper screen grab

3. Evernote Web Clipper

Clip web pages, chunks of text or bookmarks and read them later

If you’re researching a project, or just find yourself getting distracted by interesting articles while you’re trying to work, Evernote Web Clipper is fantastic.

When you find something you want to read, click the elephant icon and Evernote will let you save the entire article, a simplified version of it (with no pictures or formatting), an entire page, a screenshot, or just a bookmark.

You can choose which notebook it should be clipped to, and add tags and notes if you like, though this is optional. If you’re in a hurry, you can clip something with just two clicks. By default, Evernote Web Clipper selects your last used settings when saving a new clip.

Evernote Web Clipper also integrates into the context menu, letting you clip a page, screenshot or bookmark by right-clicking a page, and there are customizable keyboard shortcuts too.

When you have some time on your hands, log into your account on Evernote.com or using the web app and everything you’ve clipped will be there, ready to read.

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Save to Pocket screen grab

4. Save to Pocket

Not into Evernote? Pocket is a great alternative and suggests extra content

Save to Pocket (formerly known as Read it Later) works much like Evernote Web Clipper, letting you save interesting bits and pieces during your everyday surfing.

Save to Pocket lets you save web pages, links, images, files and more to a central list, then automatically syncs the results across all your devices.

It’s a great system for web research. Whether you’re adding pages or links on your phone, tablet or desktop, they’re immediately available for browsing on any of the others.

When you save something to Pocket, the extension suggests other content that might take your fancy. If that’s not enough, users in the US can also see trending Pocket topics using the Pocket New Tab extension.

FoxClocks screen grab

5. FoxClocks

Get a fully customizable world clock in your browser’s status bar

FoxClocks is a simple idea, brilliantly executed. It shows you the time different countries at the bottom of your browser, saving you the hassle of looking the same information up on Google. That’s it.

FoxClocks takes account of daylight saving times, so you can be confident you’re not going to miss an important meeting or deadline by an hour, and you can see the time in a format of your choice.

Pick a timezone or search for a city to add it to Chrome’s status bar. If that looks too cluttered, locations are also accessible by clicking the button beside your browser’s address bar.

Tab Wrangler screen grab

6. Tab Wrangler

Close inactive tabs automatically after a certain time has passed

Chrome is fantastically flexible, but running too many tabs at once can gobble up RAM like nothing else. If you’re the kind of person who ends up with dozens, or even hundreds of tabs open while you’re browsing, Tab Wrangler is well worth your attention.

It works by closing tabs that you haven’t used for a certain period of time. If that sounds alarming, don’t worry – all closed tabs are saved in Tab Wrangler’s ‘corral’ (nice cowboy metaphors) so you can re-open them with a click. Any tabs you really need to keep open can be pinned so they stay in place.

Tab Wrangler is brilliant for tab-addicts, but bear in mind that it doesn’t save the state of a page, so if you’ve been working on something in a web app or form, it’ll be lost. Unless you’ve used Lazarus, that is – see above.

Full Page Screen Capture screen grab

7. Full Page Screen Capture

Grab a whole web page with a single click and download it as a JPG

Firefox Quantum includes a built-in full-page screen grab tool, and Full Page Screen Capture can add the same thing to Chrome.

The extension doesn’t need any special permissions – just install it, then click the icon in your browser or tap Alt+Shift+P to take a full-page screen grab.

The page will scroll as it’s captured, and you’re advised not to move your mouse over it until it’s finished. Once it’s done, the resulting image will open in a new window, ready to be downloaded. It’s a particularly handy tool for saving webpages that you want to read offline.

In the unlikely even that the page is too huge to be grabbed in one go, Full Page Screen Capture will warn you and split it into manageable chunks instead.

Pushbullet screen grab

8. Pushbullet

Send and receive messages and get call notifications in your browser

Distracted by the smartphone on your desk? Pushbullet puts all your chat services in your browser, including WhatsApp, Kik, Facebook Messenger, and even SMS messages.

You’ll receive notifications when you receive messages and calls (provided you have an Android phone), and dismissing them on your desktop will clear them from your handset too.

If you’re at your desk anyway, why not make full use of your keyboard and mouse? Sending text messages from your computer is far easier than using a fiddly touchscreen, and sharing links is effortless.

Stylish screen grab

9. Stylish

Give unattractive web pages a new look with custom color schemes

Some web pages are incredibly useful but, frankly, ugly. That’s where Stylish comes in. This handy Chrome extension lets you apply custom skins to web pages, giving them an instant makeover so they’re easier on the eyes.

If reading black text on a white background gives you a headache, you’ll appreciate the abundance of themes specially designed for sites including Reddit, Facebook and Google. There are also themes for all the biggest video hosting sites for a more pleasant viewing experience on YouTube, Vimeo and others.

You can edit any installed themes, and create your own with the Stylish CSS editor if you’re feeling creative.

AdBlock Plus screen grab

10. Adblock Plus

Block ads and tracking cookies for improved speed and privacy

It’d be remiss of us not to mention Adblock Plus, the best-known ad-blocker for Chrome. Installation is quick and easy, and the benefits are obvious immediately. Just point your browser at an ad-heavy site, the Adblock Plus icon displays a running count of everything it’s blocked, and you’ll probably find most pages display far more quickly.

The other major highlight with Adblock Plus is its extreme configurability. Whether you just want to prevent the extension running on a particular site, maybe to avoid causing problems, or you’d like to use a completely new set of ad blocking rules, the Options dialog has tools to help.

All we’ll say is that most websites rely on advertising, so maybe think about disabling ad-blockers on friendly sites like TechRadar.

      

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