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Google improves Chrome for iOS, Malwarebytes protects you from ransomware, Oracle finally kills the Java plugin, Google Play embraces positivity, and Paul Rudd and Stephen Hawking play quantum chess.

Chrome for iOS Is Faster, More Stable

Google has released a new version of Chrome for iOS which the company claims is “significantly faster and more stable” than previous versions. Which is just as well given most iOS users’ attitude to Chrome, which is known for being sluggish iPad Browsers Compared: Which Is Best? iPad Browsers Compared: Which Is Best? Safari is the iPad's default web browser, but that certainly doesn't mean it's automatically the best tool for the job. Read More and prone to crashing on their favorite operating system.

Chrome for iOS is now faster and more stable as a result of serious changes under the hood. Chrome 48 uses the same WKWebView rendering engine as Safari, replacing the old UIWebView, which was to blame for most of the speed and reliability issues. Google claims speeds may have increased tenfold, with crashes being reduced by around 70 percent.

You can download the new version of Chrome for iOS to your iPhone or iPad from the App Store. And it’s surely worth seeing whether Google’s claims are accurate. However, we suspect it will take more than this to convince the average Apple advocate to switch from Safari Faster, Sleeker, Better: How To Switch From Chrome/Firefox To Safari Faster, Sleeker, Better: How To Switch From Chrome/Firefox To Safari Thinking about using Safari on your Mac, but worried you might lose features and bookmarks? Here's a quick guide to comfortably moving to Apple's web browser, without missing out. Read More to Chrome. Because, in their eyes at least, Google is evil.

Malwarebytes Launches Anti-Ransomware

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Malwarebytes has released new security software solely aimed at tackling ransomware such as Cryptolocker CryptoLocker Is The Nastiest Malware Ever & Here's What You Can Do CryptoLocker Is The Nastiest Malware Ever & Here's What You Can Do CryptoLocker is a type of malicious software that renders your computer entirely unusable by encrypting all of your files. It then demands monetary payment before access to your computer is returned. Read More . Ransomware is a particularly nasty security threat which encrypts the files in an infected machine and demands a ransom to release them. If you don’t pay up then your files disappear.

Malwarebytes Anti-Malware is software designed to stop ransomware before it takes hold, with “advanced proactive technology that monitors what ransomware is doing and stops it cold before it even touches your files”. And as it “does not rely on signatures or heuristics […] it’s light and completely compatible with antivirus”.

The program is currently only in beta testing, and so could be buggy or broken. However, this means you can download it for free and offer “feedback, suggestions, or bug reports” before its final release. The only problem is you’ll only know it’s actually working if you get hit by ransomware Don't Pay Up - How To Beat Ransomware! Don't Pay Up - How To Beat Ransomware! Just imagine if someone showed up on your doorstep and said, "Hey, there's mice in your house that you didn't know about. Give us $100 and we'll get rid of them." This is the Ransomware... Read More , which we wouldn’t wish on anyone.

Oracle Is Killing the Java Plugin

Oracle is preparing to kill the Java browser plugin, the source of a host of security nightmares over the years. The first step is to “deprecate the Java browser plugin in JDK 9,” with Oracle promising it “will be removed from the Oracle JDK and JRE in a future Java SE release”.

The Oracle JDK is the Java Development Kit The Top 6 Things To Consider When You Install Java Software The Top 6 Things To Consider When You Install Java Software Oracle’s Java runtime software is required to run Java applets on websites and desktop software written in the Java programming language. When installing Java, there are a few things you should consider, especially regarding security.... Read More , and the removal of the Java plugin signals the end of an era. The end of an era that saw millions of people adversely affected by bugs inherent in the Java plugin. With Chrome, Firefox, and Microsoft Edge A Microsoft Edge Review From A Die-Hard Chrome User A Microsoft Edge Review From A Die-Hard Chrome User Make no mistake, I am a die-hard Chrome user. But my curiosity got the better of me, so I took the plunge and tried Microsoft Edge. Read More having stopped supporting plugins anyway, this is too little, too late, but I’ll still be having a drink to celebrate.

Google Play Removes Your Thumbs

Google has removed the option to give a thumbs-down to a review on Google Play. You are still able to give an honest review of the gadgets, games, and apps available to buy through Google Play, but you can no longer give a negative reaction to other reviews. Instead, you have a choice of either giving a thumbs-up or marking a review as spam.

This is Google’s attempt at making Google Play a more positive place. Good reviews that people find useful will likely be given greater authority, while everything else will be marked as spam and simply ignored. If it helps make Google Play better 4 Simple Fixes for Google Play Store Problems 4 Simple Fixes for Google Play Store Problems Is your Android device not letting you download apps? You might need to reinstall the Google Play Store. It's easier than you think. Read More then it’s a good change, but there’s something strangely satisfying about giving a thumbs-down to an opinion you disagree with.

Paul Rudd Saves the Universe

And finally, if you watch only one video today, make it this one showing Paul Rudd and Stephen Hawking The Theory of Everything: The Web Uncovers the True Love Story The Theory of Everything: The Web Uncovers the True Love Story Stephen Hawking called the movie "broadly true" – so what exactly did happen in real life? We piece the true story together behind the Oscar-nominated movie with interesting sources from the web. Read More playing quantum chess. Produced for One Entangled Evening, a one-day conference all about the future of quantum computing, the video is gloriously geeky and breathtakingly bizarre.

Directed by Alex Winter and narrated by Keanu Reeves, the video shows the Ant-Man actor and the theoretical physicist face off at a game of quantum chess. It starts out as ordinary chess, but things eventually take a subatomic turn. Who wins? Why, all of us watching this madness unfold, of course. [H/T Gizmodo]

Your Views on Today’s Tech News

Will you be giving Chrome for iOS another chance? Have you ever been stung by ransomware? Will you miss the Java plugin? Should Google Play retain thumbs-downs for reviews? Has that video made you more curious about quantum mechanics?

Let us know your thoughts on the Tech News of the day by posting to the comments section below. Because a healthy discussion is always welcome.

Tech News Digest is a daily column paring the technology news of the day down into bite-sized chunks that are easy to read and perfect for sharing.

Image Credits: Jan Persiel via Flickr

  1. Ralph Cramden
    January 29, 2016 at 3:15 pm

    Karl's right. I sometimes have to wonder why anyone whines about our government allowing so many foreigners in to our country to take IT jobs away from our own college IT graduates and it's all because of what he related in his story about so many of our grads being so ignorant of the history of computing. To be fair though, it isn't *just* the students' fault for their being so ignorant, it's also those who profess to be their 'teachers' in the schools they went to.

    It's simply a shame either way.

  2. IFarm2
    January 29, 2016 at 2:52 pm

    Thank you Karl !
    Good times for Old Guys

  3. fcd76218
    January 29, 2016 at 2:49 pm

    "Google Play Removes Your Thumbs"
    Just what we need, a kinder, gentler, castrated, Politically Correct Google following in the steps of Facebook.

  4. Chris Del Toro
    January 29, 2016 at 1:07 pm

    I installed the Anti-Ransomware beta software and it flagged my Trend Micro program as ransomware and deleted a bunch of processes for it. I had to uninstall the Anti-Ransomware program and reinstall Trend Micro.

  5. Karl La Fong
    January 29, 2016 at 11:40 am

    Some day in the future, I may 'test drive' Google's 'Chrome for Ios', when I have solved all of the other problems I face every day.

    What I REALLY would like from Google? A peek 'under the hood' of Google's indexing technology. Not the really secret stuff, just some insights to satisfy my techie curiosity. As a former software products manager for a premiere AI company, with database query technology light years ahead of its time, I had a professional curiosity for advances in indexing technology, with an ever-increasing query retrieval speed and breadth of the size of databases (now called "Large Data"...named by the Department of Redundancy Department, evidently). From its debut, Google's incredible query retrieval speed across vast amounts of data had piqued my interest. What do you say, Emperor Google? I am willing to sign the standard Google "Under An Extremely Painful Death" Non-Disclosure Agreement, in blood.

    I really enjoyed the "Paul Rudd Saves The Universe" video - I love everything he does. Plus, it has Steven Hawking, one half of the funniest Physicist Comedy Duo, with Neil deGrasse Tyson. Both men always manage to tickle my Quantum Funnybone, one that I never knew existed, as it is invisible to non-physicists. I know that I am always laughing in the majority of the parallel universes.

    But I digress: I had some fun messing with some young tech nerds at a VOIP trade show. I noticed that the signage in many of the booths had the acronym "CMS" prominently displayed. I would ask the booth attendant what he thought "CMS" stood for; they would reply with some explanation of a VOIP-related concept. Then, I would explain that I was an investigator, working for the International Business Machines Corporation - IBM, who owned the copyright, trademark and service mark on "CMS" - Control Monitor System, and these rights had been held for decades. I would ask for the name of the person in their company who would be responsible for paying IBM for use of its trademarks and also the name of their law firm as IBM fiercely protects its trademarks. It was quite amusing to see the color drain from the young, erstwhile faces as they professed (valid) ignorance of just about any knowledge about anything to do with IBM. A few offered their business cards as means to contact their corporate offices to discuss the matter.

    As a 'button' to close the scene, I would explain that my tech experience went back to the "punch card days"... that would elicit a puzzled expression, some with a classic tilt of the head. I would quickly explain that "data used to be stored on punched cards with vertical rectangular holes in the cards, storing a maximum of 80 characters. All sorting was done mechanically, taking hours of reductive passes..." Their eyes glazed over as if I was Klatu from "The Day The Earth Stood Still". Except, they most likely had never seen that movie. At least it was amusing for me.

    I found this issue of "Tech News" informative and that leaves me chomping at the bit. Get it? 'bit', the base component of a 'byte'...(sigh) never mind.

    Karl La Fong

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