Fitbit’s New Versa Smart Watch Offers Fitness, Health Features Galore

When Fitbit announced its Ionic smartwatch at the tail end of 2017, the company said it planned to make more watches in the near future and the first is already here under the name Fitbit Versa.

The Versa shares a lot with the Fitbit Ionic from last year and while the design is a touch smaller, there are a few less features and the price is slightly lower, it looks to be a solid addition to the Fitbit family.

Fitbit has yet to confirm so, but the price point and feature set looks to make it a suitable replacement for the Fitbit Blaze. That means if you were holding out for the long-rumored Fitbit Blaze 2 you may want to take a look at this watch from the company instead as we may never get one under that name.

Below we've broken down everything you need to know about the Fitbit Versa.

Fitbit Versa Price and Release Date

Let's start with price, and you'll be spending a similar amount here to what you would have if you bought the Fitbit Blaze on day one, with the RRP set at [$199.95.].

There are two special edition versions of the watch with woven straps in the box that cost [$229.95], as well as a variety of other straps made of metal and Horween leather available to buy separately.

You're able to pre-order around the world on the official Fitbit website, while other retailers and Fitbit itself will be shipping the watch from some point in April.

Fitbit Versa Design and Display

Unlike some previous Fitbit products, this comes with a full metal unibody design that feels premium but is much smaller on the wrist than the Ionic. We've yet to learn of the exact dimensions, but it's slimmer and lighter than the Ionic or the Blaze so looks to...

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With Magazine Acquisition, Apple Adds ‘Texture’ to Its Services

Apple is dipping its hand in the journalism industry, announcing Monday its plans to acquire digital magazine distributor Texture.

Texture offers 200 magazines digitally in its app for a $10-a-month subscription. Within its large catalog, the app curates magazine articles based on the user's interests.

Texture is available on both iOS and Android, and Apple says it won't take down its Android platform, according to Recode.

Apple's purchase of Texture signals the Cupertino tech giant's expansion of its services segment, which includes Apple Music, iBooks and other services. The segment has been one of its fastest-growing across all its revenue streams; the services segment revenue grew 18 percent in the company's most recent quarter compared with the same period last year, only behind the "other devices" segment -- which includes Apple Watch, AirPods, and Apple TV -- at 36 percent.

Apple has purchased other media-focused companies, such as Beats for $3 billion and BookLamp, which was then touted as a "Pandora for books," for as much as $15 million in 2014. Texture is the first known acquisition Apple made in direct contact with publishers and journalism outlets.

"We're excited Texture will join Apple, along with an impressive catalog of magazines from many of the world's leading publishers," said Apple executive Eddy Cue in a press release. "We are committed to quality journalism from trusted sources and allowing magazines to keep producing beautifully designed and engaging stories for users."

Apple did not disclose how much it paid for Texture. Texture, which is owned by many big publishers such as Conde Nast and Hearst, has hundreds of thousands of subscribers, according to its CEO John Loughlin in 2016.

In 2015, Loughlin and his company, Next Issue Media, raised $90 million, $50 million of which came from the private equity firm KKR after its subscription magazine app was rebranded to...

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Demisto’s SOAR Platform Honored by Info Security Products Guide

CUPERTINO, Calif., March 13, 2018 -- Demisto, an innovator in Security Automation and Orchestration and Response technology, today announced that Info Security Products Guide, the industry's leading information security research and advisory guide, has named its Security Operations Platform as a Gold Winner in the 14th Annual 2018 Info Security PG's Global Excellence Awards®. Demisto took top honors in the Most Innovative Security Product (Software) of the Year Awards Category for companies with less than 100 employees.

These prestigious global awards recognize cybersecurity and information technology vendors with advanced ground-breaking products, solutions, and services that are helping set the bar higher for others in all areas of security and technologies.

Demisto Enterprise integrates with more than 160 security products and enables organizations to build playbooks for different security operations. By integrating other security products with Demisto, users can orchestrate actions across a suite of products in one window, automate response actions through playbooks, and run live security commands from a collaboration interface to remediate threats. All of which can reduce mean time to response (MTTR) for security incidents and maximize ROI for the user company's entire security product investment. In addition, the case management and machine learning capabilities help security teams save resources and time while enforcing rigor and process to incident response. Demisto helps future-proof security operation centers (SOCs).

?EU?We are pleased to be recognized as having the industry's most innovative security software product of the year by Info Security Products Guide,?EU? said Rishi Bhargava, Demisto co-founder and VP of Marketing. ?EU?Our most recent security orchestration, automation and response (SOAR) innovations enable SOC analysts to better understand the metrics and trends of collected incident data from their networks to most effectively respond to potential security issues. The industry turns to Demisto, including a number of Fortune 500 companies, to address not only...

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President Blocks Broadcom’s Plan To Take Over Qualcomm

Shortly after President Donald Trump blocked chipmaker Broadcom's planned hostile takeover of rival Qualcomm last night, Broadcom said it "strongly disagrees" with that decision and is reviewing the president's order. Estimated at a value of $117 billion, the Broadcom-Qualcomm deal would have been the largest yet in the tech industry.

Citing national security concerns voiced by the U.S. Department of the Treasury's Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), the White House yesterday prohibited any takeover, acquisition, or merger bid for Qualcomm by Broadcom. Yesterday morning, Broadcom said it was speeding up its planned redomiciliation from Singapore to the U.S. from May 6 to April 3 in expectation of the planned takeover.

Last night's presidential order marked the latest twist in President Donald Trump's "America First" strategy, which has also seen the White House impose tariffs on imports of foreign steel and aluminum, and block a China-connected company's planned acquisition of U.S.-based Lattice Semiconductor on national security grounds.

Concerns about Chinese Influence on 5G

The CFIUS had concluded that Broadcom's proposed takeover of Qualcomm could pose a risk to the national security of the U.S., the Treasury Department said in a letter last week. The letter cited concerns about Qualcomm's research and development efforts in 5G connectivity, and the potential that any weakening of those efforts "would leave an opening for China to expand its influence on the 5G standard-setting process."

In addition to blocking Broadcom's takeover efforts, yesterday's presidential order also blocked 15 Broadcom nominees from standing for election as Qualcomm directors. Qualcomm has scheduled its annual stockholders meeting for March 23.

The order further requires both Broadcom and Qualcomm to certify with the CFIUS that the takeover effort has been terminated, and to provide details with "a timeline for projected completion of remaining actions."

Mixed Reactions to Decision

Yesterday's...

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Samsung Galaxy S9 Teardown: Dual Aperture Tricks

The good folks over at iFixit have been ripping apart a Samsung Galaxy S9 and a Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus, revealing a few hidden secrets about the brand new flagship phones. For a start, if you're planning on repairing these phones yourself at home, you've got a tough challenge on your hands.

Both phones get a repairability score of 4 out of 10, with 10 meaning an easy repair. The special Infinity Display glass on the S9 and S9 Plus makes it particularly hard to get these devices opened up and put back together again without something breaking, iFixit says.

While battery replacement is "technically possible", as per the teardowns, Samsung has made it harder than it needs to be. In short, unless you really feel confident in your handiness with a phone repair kit, you should be sending these phones back to Samsung or a reputable repair shop if something bad happens to them.

Nice Dual Aperture You've Got There

The teardowns also reveal the trick used to create the special dual aperture trick on board the S9 and S9 Plus: two rotating, ring-like blades for two possible aperture settings. Standard camera lenses use more blades for more aperture positions, but this setup is much more compact, as befits a phone.

Elsewhere there are similarities to the Galaxy S8 models that preceded these two handsets, including the batteries and front-facing camera tech -- that means the AR Emoji feature Samsung introduced with the S9 is largely down to software upgrades.

Head over to the full teardowns for the Galaxy S9 and the Galaxy S9 Plus if you want all the details on what's inside these phones and just how difficult it's going to be for you to open them up and fix them. In comparison, the iPhone X bagged a repairability score of 6/10.

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Microsoft Chat Tool Teams Now Used by 200,000 Customers

One year in, 200,000 organizations are using Microsoft Teams, the company's workplace collaboration tool and its answer to the popular chat software startup Slack.

That's up from 125,000 in September, when Microsoft announced Teams would replace Skype for Business in the Office 365 bundle. (Companies committed to Skype can still opt to use it).

The Redmond giant is announcing a slew of new features to be added to Teams, all aimed at making it an attractive option to replace traditional office phones. Teams calls will be recordable with one click and come complete with transcripts. Video callers will be able to blur their backgrounds so their conversation mate's eyes are drawn only to them (or if they don't want people to know they're making the call from their couch).

Microsoft didn't give specific dates for the new tools, saying only they would be coming later this year. The company also said Teams will soon be available on its huge digital whiteboard, Microsoft Surface Hub.

It didn't announce anything on the speculation that it will release a free basic version of Teams for those who don't subscribe to Office 365, a move that would make it more competitive with Slack.

Slack says more than 50,000 companies pay for its service, and nine million users (paid or unpaid) use it each week.

Teams was first introduced in November 2016 and launched widely in March 2017.

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Dropbox Sets IPO Valuation Between $7 Billion and $8 Billion

The silver lining appears to be coming off Dropbox, the cloud storage company set to go public next week. On Monday, the company set terms for its initial public offering (IPO) that values the company at between $7bn and $8bn -- well below the $10bn valuation when the company had raised private capital in 2014.

Dropbox's IPO is one of the most closely watched stock offerings in years and comes as a stable of so-called unicorn tech companies -- those valued at over $1bn -- consider going public.

Another unicorn -- music streaming service Spotify -- also plans to go public soon but has eschewed the IPO route and will sell its shares directly to the public. It is likely to be valued at more than $20bn.

Uber, valued at $48bn last year, is considering going public in 2019. Airbnb, valued at $30bn, recently moved to tamp down expectations that it will go public this year but still looks set to start the sale process in the near future. Tech news site TechCrunch lists 279 unicorns with a total valuation of $1tn.

The sale will be the largest since Snap Inc, owner of the Snapchat app, made its stock market debut in March 2017. That sale has worried investors -- its share price is now slightly higher than its $17 IPO price after reaching a high of $27.

Dropbox, which is used by more than 500 million people, allows users to share and collaborate on files stored online. It was founded in 2007 by MIT computer science students Drew Houston [pictured above] and Arash Ferdowsi. Houston, 35, is the company's CEO and largest shareholder with a stake of about 25%. Ferdowski, 32, owns about 10% of the company.

The company filing also revealed that the corporate investment group of Salesforce.com will buy $100m shares in a...

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Shhh! Streaming March Madness When the Boss Isn’t Around

March Madness begins Tuesday. And that may mean strategizing to sneak in some games when the boss isn't looking.

Fortunately for you -- though not your boss -- all 67 games in the NCAA men's college basketball tournament will be available online. Many of the games, including the Final Four, will require a password through your cable or satellite TV subscription.

Among the changes this year: a special stream to get the hot moments live when multiple games are played simultaneously during the first round. There are also new ways to subscribe to online TV packages, which stream many of the channels you'd get from a cable subscription.

Here's a viewer's guide:

Happy Streaming

The best places to watch: http://www.ncaa.com/marchmadness or the NCAA March Madness Live app. All the games will be there, regardless of where they are televised.

CBS is televising 21 games, including two of the quarterfinals. These games won't require a cable or satellite password. To view on a streaming device such as Apple TV, Roku or Fire TV, you need a $6-a-month subscription to CBS All Access, or a subscription to one of those cable-like online packages.

You'll need a password for the remaining games, which are split among the Turner-owned cable channels -- TBS, TNT and truTV. That includes the semifinals and championship game, known collectively as the Final Four. There's a three-hour grace period on most devices. Games also will be available on individual apps for TBS, TNT and truTV -- again with a password.

On desktops and laptops, the March Madness website will have a "boss button." One click replaces the game with a fake screenshot of a search engine, spreadsheet or PowerPoint-like app -- your choice, but set it up ahead of time.

No Password?

Consider subscribing to an online television package. These packages will let you watch through the service directly...

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Red Planet-Ready? Musk Vows SpaceX Trip to Mars

The fact that Elon Musk wants to go to Mars is no secret. After all, he has said he thinks it will be possible to establish colonies of settlers on the Red Planet in the future.

However, in order to reach that celestial goal, Musk also knows that a lot of things have to break in the right direction. The first of those is an actual rocket capable of launching humans on the approximately 35-million-mile voyage from Earth to Mars. And Musk says we may not have to wait too much longer for the first of those rockets to get into action.

During an surprise appearance at the South by Southwest Conference in Austin, Texas, on Sunday, Musk said his SpaceX company could launch its first rockets to Mars as soon as early 2019. And, as befitting Musk's assertions that the rockets need to be reusable, he also said the spaceships would not only go to Mars, but make a return trip back to Earth.

"I think we'll be able to do short flights, sort of up-and-down flights, probably some time in the first half of next year," Musk said during his appearance.

The SpaceX rocket, which is going by the code name "BFR", (As in Big F*****g Rocket, we'll leave it to you to fill in the blanks) will be so big that it will have double the liftoff thrust of NASA's famous Saturn V rocket, which sent astronauts to the Moon during the Apollo program. The last manned mission to the Moon was Apollo 17, in 1972.

Musk has said he believes SpaceX rockets will be able to start taking people to Mars by 2024.

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Mining Misfire: Calendar 2 Vanishes from App Store

A popular calendar app for the Mac has disappeared from Apple's App Store after it was found to be mining cryptocurrency without the user's permission.

We should note right off-the-bat that the app in question, Calendar 2, was upfront about its usage of the Mac's CPU for mining cryptocurrency (Monero), and this was actually concocted as a (rather novel) alternate payment method to unlock premium features.

In other words, Calendar 2 had both a free version and a version with advanced features that could be unlocked via a one-off or subscription payment -- but if you didn't fancy either of the former, you could unlock the additional features by giving the app permission to use your processor to mine cryptocurrency.

The problem was that even if the user was running the free version of the app, and hadn't given said permission, the software was still mining cryptocurrency -- and this happened thanks to a bug, the developer (Qbix) explained.

As Apple Insider reports, Qbix founder Gregory Magarshak also admitted that a second bug existed which caused the mining process to consume more CPU cycles than the intended 10-20% of processor usage.

Following these discoveries, Magarshak issued a statement to say he was removing the mining feature from the app, but Calendar 2 subsequently got yanked down from the Mac App Store (and remains unavailable at the time of writing).

It's not clear whether the developer removed the app or Apple pulled the software. What also isn't clear is Apple's stance on this potential new way of paying to unlock premium features.

Mining Minefield

Certainly this episode points out the potential dangers in running such a cryptocurrency mining scheme to unlock an app's advanced features, most notably the possibility of mining happening without the user's consent or knowledge.

The other potential bugbear here is the fact that the...

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