Monday tech roundupIn yet another ‘just because it’s on the internet, doesn’t mean it’s true’ story, last week there were many red faces when a news story concerning Facebook’s real name policy turned out to be nothing but a hoax. A Facebook user became a social sensation when he posted a photo of his passport showing his real name to be “Phuc Dat Bich” and asking for Facebook to stop discriminating against him. It was later revealed the passport copy was doctored and the man uncovered as Thien Nguyen according to Mashable.

Also last week we discovered a cool piece of tech called Atmotube, we debated whether Office 365 is slightly expensive and learned about Microsoft’s new ‘weed out the bad apps’ software.

Personal sensor detects danger

A new $100 sensor can warn owners of all kinds of dangers from pollution to toxic chemicals and more. Called the Atmotube, this small unit can sniff out some 127 compounds including carbon monoxide, which is too often a silent killer. The unit is being built with money raised through crowdfunding platform IndieGogo.

Atmotube takes new readings every ten seconds and sends them off to your smart phone. The creators say that they “created a holistic parameter that quickly gives you an idea of the air pollution level.”

This is really just the start of what a device like this can do. Especially interesting is the fact that it can be customized over time to fit various needs and different environments. Already sensors are revolutionizing all kinds of industries such as agriculture where they can detect moisture levels and help farmers decide when to plant.

Is Office 365 worth $420 a year?

Microsoft Office used to cost around (USD) $500, and for that price you could pretty much use it forever. Better still, with discounts the price was usually a fraction of the full retail but things seem to be changing and Microsoft is getting more expensive.

Microsoft is charging $420 for the highest end edition of Microsoft Office – and that’s the yearly rate (not a pay once and it’s yours forever rate).

For that price you do get all the standard productivity apps, and also a high-end version of Skype, but there is also a wealth of security tools. Still, it seems a bit crazy that the annual cost of the subscription could be more than the price of a low-end but perfectly functional laptop. Am I the only one to see this that way?

Microsoft to help unwanted and dangerous apps

IT pros are constantly dealing with PCs corrupted by software that should never have been installed in the first place. Microsoft hopes to cure these ills with a new tool called System Center Endpoint Protection, which can identify and then weed out these rogue apps.

Many of these apps, so easily downloaded from the Internet, carry adware and other dangerous and invasive features.

“These applications can increase the risk of your network being infected with malware, cause malware infections to be harder to identify among the noise, and can waste helpdesk, IT, and user time cleaning up the applications,” wrote Microsoft in a recent blog.

End users might not be so pleased. They are used to installing all kinds of apps, provided they have the credentials to do so. That’s why so many IT pros resist giving end users admin rights (that, and the fact that giving users admin rights is a security disaster waiting to happen).

To keep end users happy, it is probably wise to craft a policy that limits these downloads and let employees know about it. This way they won’t be surprised when their favorite app is suddenly missing from their PC.

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