Baby monitors are vulnerable to hacks

September 3rd, 2015 1 Comment By Mof Gimmers

BabyonPhone 300x164 Baby monitors are vulnerable to hacksIf you’re a gadget fiend and have a baby monitor that can connect to the internet, then you better listen up. Of course, if you have a normal baby monitor or just rely on your ears, then feel free to tut at new technology (like you needed permission).

These monitors that connect to the internet, so you can listen to your child when you’re away from home, are vulnerable to hacks according to security firm Rapid 7.

Their study shows that at least nine internet-connected baby monitors are vulnerable to these attacks, which means that ne’er-do-wells would be able to monitor your house. Some models have unencrypted web apps, so hackers can even get in and access their cameras.

Others will let hackers add people to the list of viewers, which means anyone could be hawking your home.

You can read Rapid7′s report here, which gives you everything you need to know about all this, including a list of all the products that they have tested and the corresponding vulnerabilities.

This is clearly one of the big problem facing the myriad of gadgets that are going to be part of the ‘internet of things’.

Samsung launch hub of internet things!

September 3rd, 2015 1 Comment By Mof Gimmers

samsung logo Samsung launch hub of internet things!Samsung have gone and launched a new hub for smarthome devices, which means you’ll be able to do all manner of things while scratching your hole. Their Hub will, we’re assured, securely unite sensors and all manner of accessories from anyone who makes things that work with the SmartThings open system.

Like what? Well, this is all to do with the fabled ‘internet of things’, and this instance, you can have a home that links everything up, like washing machines, toasters, heating, lights and the rest, controlled through apps on your phone and tablets. And they’ll all be able to ‘talk’ to each other as well, so they can be more efficient and useful to you.

Imagine, if you will, your heating talking to the lighting and the kettle, to know when you’re home from work, so they can all start doing their thing for your return.

Samsung’s device and service will be available from 10th September.

Samsung’s president of UK and Ireland Andy Griffiths said: “We believe a connected home will provide users [with] more information, more piece of mind and more control in their lives – but privacy is fundamental.”

“The whole thing is encrypted end-to-end – think bank-level security – while we have continuous security checks and third-party auditing. Only you will have access to any data stored in the cloud.”

1286 500x300 Samsung launch hub of internet things!

Samsung will sell a starter pack for £199 with the Hub, a door closing sensor, a motion sensor, a presence sensor and a power outlet switch.

There’ll be other stuff you can buy too, like moisture sensors, cameras and sleep monitors, which will retail for around £30 a pop. Of course, there’ll be more and more things added to the range as time goes on.

Samsung want to get developers involved, as well as other companies, and have vowed that, within 5 years, all devices made by Samsung – including TVs and whatnot – will be able to connect to the internet and able to integrate into the SmartThings Hub.

Major flaw in Samsung Galaxy Note 5 could wreck it

August 26th, 2015 3 Comments By Mof Gimmers

samsung logo Major flaw in Samsung Galaxy Note 5 could wreck itSamsung have been getting decent reviews for the Galaxy Note 5, however, there’s something wrong with it and it could brick your device.

Thanks to a major design flaw, the S Pen that comes with the Note 5 could do major damage to the functionality.

So what’s happening here? Well, you can insert the S Pen into the Galaxy Note 5 any way you like, because Samsung have designed it that way. However, pop it in with the wrong orientation, and you could break the device’s stylus detection feature, which means it won’t work.

Most devices that have a stylus are designed in such a way that it can only be inserted the correct way, presumably to stop nonsense like this from happening. Not with the Galaxy Note 5, nosireebob. A very simple fix could lead to a very expensive apology from Samsung.

The Verge says: “If you are unfortunate enough to slide your S Pen in the wrong way, you’ll have a hard time unjamming it from the slot (though eventually you should be able to pry it away), but more importantly, you might disable the Note’s stylus detection feature.”

So what do Samsung have to say about all this? Are they going to fix the problem or issue some adapters to stop this from borking a load of devices? Course not.

In a reply to The Verge, Samsung said: “We highly recommend our Galaxy Note 5 users follow the instructions in the user guide to ensure they do not experience such an unexpected scenario caused by reinserting the S pen in the other way around.”

There you have it. You’re slipping it in wrong.

 Microsoft to send electric shocks through your clothesMicrosoft are thinking of the future, and have patented technology that could see people being notified of messages and the like, through smartclothes that send shocks through your skin. You can expect it to be more of a tingle, rather than something akin to death row.

The patent notes that, in modern society, everyone hates people’s phones making noises, so with this, your body will vibrate to let you know that Domino’s are doing yet another bloody offer and they won’t ever leave you alone.

The patent’s abstract says: “Techniques are described herein that are capable of providing electrical stimuli to skin of a user to convey information to the user. For instance, the electrical stimuli may inform the user of an event, a condition, etc.”

Mircosoft are looking at a shoe and a t-shirt as examples of clothing that could stimulate you when you get a message. We suspect someone will fashion something for the gusset with this technology.

While our minds are in the gutter, Microsoft suggest that, not only will these clothes give you notifications for messages, but also, that the tech could be used to tell someone when their clothes are about to ‘wear out’ or that you could link it up with street navigation apps.

Microsoft wrote in the patent paperwork: “People are increasingly exposed to information these days. A snapshot of our modern society is likely to reveal many people using mobile devices while performing their daily routine tasks. For instance people often text, conduct telephone calls, check messages, search the internet, etc. Using mobile devices in such a manner may raise any of a variety of concerns, namely safety and/or etiquette.”

“In an effort to address such concerns, companies are developing devices that are capable of delivering content to users in an unobtrusive and/or hands-free manner.”

Control your sex toy through your Apple Watch

August 21st, 2015 1 Comment By Mof Gimmers

Like having a bit of a fumble with your grumble? Tired of doing all the work manually? Well, good news onanists! A company has come up with a sex toy that you can rig up to your Apple Watch, making having a ‘lie down’ marginally easier.

A company called Lovense have brought out the ‘Blush’ and, with the smartwatch app, you can control your vibrator and have a thoroughly splendid time. You can even match it up to the speed of the music you’re listening to. We suggest a nice, steady pace like some Chic songs that are 120bpm.

Or, for the adventurous, you can stick some Squarepusher or death metal and obliterate your innards. Whatever tickles your pickle.

The toy can be controlled through the Apple Watch or through an app on your phone if you prefer.

One thing that could be fun, is that you can allow someone else to take control of the device or, indeed, let someone ‘sort you out’ from afar if you’re mucking around on Skype or whatever. It could be very good for long distance relationships, is what we’re saying.

Or, y’know, you can frig with a bit of marrow or whatever it is you like doing. We’re not the boss of you.

Spotify to poke around your private parts

August 21st, 2015 No Comments By Mof Gimmers

spotify logo Spotify to poke around your private partsPrivacy concerns are a big issue when it comes to the apps on your phone. Well, Spotify have just updated their privacy policy, and it makes for unpleasant reading.

They now want to access more information on your mobile, specifically with sensors so they know whether you’re running, standing still or walking. That doesn’t seem like to much bother does it? Well, they also want your GPS co-ordinates too. And access to your photos and contacts.

They say that they will share that information with ‘partners’, which means that Spotify could now be telling people about where you are and, oddly, how quickly you’re getting there.

Whether you’re on the freemium model, or you’re a subscriber, this update applies to both.

The agreement says: “Depending on the type of device that you use to interact with the service and your settings, we may also collect information about your location based on, for example, your phone’s GPS location or other forms of locating mobile devices (e.g., Bluetooth).”

“We may also collect sensor data (e.g., data about the speed of your movements, such as whether you are running, walking, or in transit).”

Now, you might not be bothered by this, but there’s some people who are already miffed about the whole thing. Over on various social networks, some have asked if Spotify are ‘crossing the line?’, while others are saying they want to quit the service. This is bad timing for the music streaming service, as they’ve never had so much competition for people to jump to.

Whether the competition is any better, remains to be seen.

A Spotify spokesperson said that they rolled out the new policy to be “as open and transparent as possible when it comes to how we describe our business, how we work with advertisers, what information we collect, and what we do with it”.

**UPDATE**

Spotify has issued an apology and an explainer.

CEO Daniel Ek says: ”We should have done a better job in communicating what these policies mean and how any information you choose to share will – and will not – be used.”

So, they’re saying that you don’t have to let them access all your data, because the ask you for permission first. And they won’t share any of that info without ‘de-identifying’ it first.

Spotify want you to know that these permissions can be revoked whenever you want… although, seeing as you have to agree to their t&cs on Android, or you can’t download the app, and you can’t customise your permissions in the settings, it isn’t clear what they actually mean by this.

Spotify promise that they’re going to update their privacy policy over the coming week, in a bid to explain themselves better.

New things afoot for EE TV

August 20th, 2015 No Comments By Mof Gimmers

watching television New things afoot for EE TVEE are going to dole out a load of new features to their TV service, in the battle to win the hearts, minds, arses and eyes of the UK. Seems like everyone is getting involved in television at the moment.

So what’s going on? Well, next week, EE will launch new features in a ‘My TV’ section, which will let you personalise your televisual experience. Basically, you’ll have options for your favourite channels and programmes.

There’s also going to be a companion screen function, so you can use a secondary screen for additional information and interactivity, which relate to whatever you’re watching. EE are also promising a better search tool and functionality.

EE have also said that there’s going to be some new channels too, including a film channel called Mubi.

“The new EE TV features take the personalisation capability that all smartphone and tablet owners are familiar with, and incorporates it to create what we believe is the best multi-screen TV service available today,” said Simeon Bird, director of home broadband and TV at EE.

So there you have it. Another thing to try and win your TV affections. When BT take over EE, this could all change, or indeed, it might be merged with BT Sport. One to keep an eye on, that’s for sure.

Google to release their own OnHub router

August 19th, 2015 4 Comments By Mof Gimmers

What do you think of your router? Don’t care as it is almost entirely functional and you hid it behind something else so the blinking lights don’t catch your eye every 2 seconds?

Well, Google want to give the humble router a bit of design and class, and they’re going to release the OnHub wifi router to do exactly that. Oh, and it’ll have some other stuff going on.

Have a look it.

google onhub 500x375 Google to release their own OnHub router

Aside from looking like a pint of stout, the new OnHub will have an app-driven user interface and there’ll be no flashing lights either. Instead, it’ll have a glowing ring, just like your mum.

There’s also talk of auto-updating firmware too, if you’re into that sort of thing.

For those who like some spec, this’ll have 13 antennas firing out 1900Mbps of internet over AC 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz bands. It’ll have support for Bluetooth Smart Ready, Weave and the like. The app will allow Android users to troubleshoot stuff on their phone, rather than blowing into ports and swearing with the router in their hand.

So there you have it. Knowing Google, this will have a secret CCTV camera in it so they can watch you sleep.

Google’s customisable phone, delayed

August 18th, 2015 No Comments By Mof Gimmers

ara1blogpost 300x200 Googles customisable phone, delayedAges ago, we spoke about Google’s Project Ara, which allows you to build your own phone out of component bricks.

They were all set to unveil the thing by now, showing off the new world of modular mobile phones. However, Google have decided to push back the public test of Project Ara until 2016.

The team behind this - Google’s Advanced Technology and Projects (ATAP) group – have said that the release of the smartphone pilot changed this week, which scuppered the plan to have it in people’s hands this year.

The reason for the delay, is that t project has gone through more iterations than ATAP initially thought they would.

That all said, this is still a great idea. If you want your phone to have a super-fancy camera, you can customise it. If you’re not bothered about selfies and want better than standard speakers, then potentially, you’ll be strapping some on your phone with ease. We like the idea a lot and, if it goes to plan, will be a good, cheap way of getting the phone you want.

We’re just going to have to wait to have a play with it though.

Android announce Marshmallow!

August 18th, 2015 No Comments By Mof Gimmers

android marshmallow 225x300 Android announce Marshmallow!So, Android fans – the next big update you’ll be doing on your phones and devices, is called Android 6.0 Marshmallow. Sadly, the image on the right is not the official logo for the Google’s new mobile OS, but it should be.

Dave Burke, Android’s VP of Engineering, showed off the new service on Twitter last night. In addition to that, Google even put a statue outside their Mountain View HQ of the green robot holding a massive marshmallow (which you can see here).

“Whether you like them straight out of the bag, roasted to a golden brown exterior with a molten centre, or in fluff form, who doesn’t like marshmallows? We definitely like them,” wrote Jamal Eason, Product Manager, Android in the blog post. “Since the launch of the M Developer Preview at Google I/O in May, we’ve enjoyed all of your participation and feedback. Today with the final Developer Preview update, we’re introducing the official Android 6.0 SDK and opening Google Play for publishing your apps that target the new API level 23 in Android Marshmallow.”

Bitterwallet isn’t keen on marshmallows, but that’s beside the point we’re guessing. One thing we do like is the needlessly flashy boot screen that comes with the update, which you can see on this video.

Whether it’ll be still considered fun when our phones get stuck in a reboot, is another matter entirely.

So how is this going to be different from Lollipop?

Well, apart from the fancy loading screen, it isn’t promising too much in the way of new features. Mainly, Marshmallow will want to make everything more stable and perform better.

There is some new stuff though – mainly, there’s going to be a load of contactless payment things, such as Android Pay, Tap on Now, as well as other things which aren’t very exciting at all. It’ll be available in an update later this year, but there’s no concrete date as yet. Start thinking about which apps you’ll want to delete, as the new OS will invariably want more of your memory, which is already groaning under the weight of bloatware you get with a lot of Android phones.

Apple dodges lawsuit over vanishing messages

August 6th, 2015 No Comments By Mof Gimmers

rotten apple 243x300 Apple dodges lawsuit over vanishing messagesApple won’t be getting busted over the cock-up that saw people’s messages disappearing on iMessage when users switched from iOS to Android.

The iCompany were victorious in a ruling that means they won’t have to get their nice suits ready for court, after a lawsuit was levelled at them over their messaging platform.

In case you don’t remember, Adrienne Moore filed a complaint after she went from an iPhone 4 to an Android-powered Samsung. She discovered that her messages from her iPhone having pals weren’t being delivered. This, of course, warranted legal action.

Anyway, according to the group, if you choose to leave Apple’s system, you’d find yourselves “penalized and unable to obtain the full benefits of their wireless-service contracts.” However, District Judge Lucy H. Koh wasn’t having any of it and said that the case can’t proceed as a group lawsuit, because she was unable to determine “whether iMessage actually caused the proposed class members to suffer any interference.”

So basically, the ruling doesn’t say that Apple haven’t ballsed-up, but rather, there’s not really any evidence to suggest that this actually affected each member of this lawsuit in the way it was described.

All-in-all, this means that Apple won’t have to keep coughing-up for legal costs of another lawsuit. Not that they’re short of a bob or two, but y’know, a result is a result.

Of course, Apple have had other issues with their messaging service, with the most recent being that certain combinations of characters would see iPhone’s crashing.

Lexus make actual, real-life hoverboard

August 5th, 2015 2 Comments By Mof Gimmers

hoverboard 300x168 Lexus make actual, real life hoverboardAre you sick of all these people who watched Back to the Future, complaining about hoverboards? Are you tired of all these marketing teams who pretend to have invented a hoverboard, when they haven’t?

Well, looks like Lexus have brought the first ever real, actually working hoverboard to the world. Of course, we’re sceptical, but we’d really like this to be true, mainly to shut the traps of ’80s nostalgia divs.

The car manufacturer has shown off their board, which is powered by superconductors and magnets, which ride over a special magnetic track. So obviously, you can’t ride anywhere you want with it, but this is the future – the future sometimes comes in baby steps.

The gadget uses liquid nitrogen-cooled superconductors and magnets to make the board float. This is pretty similar to some of the things that have gone before, but y’know, FLOATING SKATEBOARDS.

In the Lexus video, professional skateboarder Ross McGouran gives it a whirl and falls off a lot.

If you’d like to see it in action, and pretend that you’d have the money to buy one if they went on sale, watch the video below. The bit where it goes over water looks like fun, in fairness.

EE Power Bar explodes

July 29th, 2015 5 Comments By Mof Gimmers

powerbar EE Power Bar explodes A medical student ended up being badly burned as her EE Power Bar charger exploded, and set fire to her bedroom carpet. Using her laptop to charge the device, Katy Emslie heard her charging device explode, which then fired across the room ‘like a firework’.

She said that the Power Bar crashed into the wall and then charred the carpet behind it and caused a fire under her bed. The burns came from Emslie trying to extinguish the flames.

Katy said: “I was charging my EE power bar through my Mac computer overnight and at I was woken up by something which sounded like a firework. The power bar had exploded up the wall and flames began spreading around my bedroom.”

“I was screaming for my mum who was in the next room, I tried patting the flames out with my hand because I was worried that the fire could spread underneath and set my bed alight. My mum came through with a towel and put out the flames while I ran through and ran my hand under the cold water tap.”

“We then went to A&E where I had to keep my hand underneath a cold water tap for three hours before it was cool enough to be treated.”

Katy added: “The executive office at EE phoned me up and said that they’ll be holding an internal inquiry but all I want is to have the full use of my hands back.”

EE say that this is an isolated incident, with a spokesperson saying: “We’re sorry to hear about Ms. Emslie’s experience. All of our products undergo stringent safety tests. This is an isolated incident and we’re in contact with the customer to investigate the cause of this issue as a matter of urgency.”

argos aliens 300x200 Argos launches trade in service for unwanted gadgetsArgos, in a partnership with WRAP, have introduced a new service at all its 788 UK stores, which allows you to exchange your unwanted gadgets.

As you’ll be able to do this in stores, rather than post them off, this could be just the ticket for a lot of people who would like to get rid of some old tech. Part of this new service sees you getting an instant quote and payment over the Argos counter.

Customers can trade it in and get an Argos gift card to spend on something else that they’re invariably end up wanting to scrap, but still, you can lose your unwanted tat and then spend the money on over 50,000 Argos products. These items will be refurbed and resold.

Amy Whidburn, Head of Corporate Responsibility at Argos, said: “As a leading technology retailer we know that our customers are looking for solutions to responsibly dispose of unwanted gadgets when they replace or trade-up devices. Our new scheme in conjunction with WRAP offers them a safe way to do this, in a really convenient location on their local high street or retail park, with the added benefit of receiving a gift card in return immediately.”

“Depending on the response from customers, we may extend the scheme to include other electrical items in the future, such as camera, sat-navs or laptops.”

Marcus Gover, Director of WRAP, said: “We’re delighted to see this type of service become available over Argos store counters. Our research told us consumers have an appetite for trading in and Argos is now providing a convenient and easy way for them to do just that and release the value from their unwanted gadgets. By doing so we’re keeping valuable resources out of landfill and in use longer, reducing the impact on diminishing virgin materials and protecting our environment.”

How to… use Apple Pay

July 14th, 2015 2 Comments By Mof Gimmers

apple pay 300x169 How to... use Apple PaySo, as you know, Apple Pay is kicking off today in the UK, which means people with iPhones and Apple Watches can pay for things with their devices, contactlessly.

You might be wondering how to do it, because you might not be as tech savvie as everyone on the internet. Don’t sweat it – we’re here to guide you through it.

What Do I Need?

Right, you’ll need one of the following – an iPhone 6 or iPhone 6 Plus, an iPad Air 2 or iPad mini 3, an Apple Watch that you’ve synced-up with your iPhone 5/iPhone 5c/iPhone 5s/iPhone 6/iPhone 6 Plus. Your phone needs to be running on iOS 8.3 or above. If you think you need to update your operating system, click here to sort that out.

You will also need to have your fingerprint with Touch ID, as well as having an iCloud account on a phone that has the United Kingdom set at the region. And of course, you’ll need a credit or debit card from a bank that is supporting Apple Pay.

I’m Not Sure If My Bank Supports Apple Pay!

The short answer is that Barclays haven’t signed-up with Apple yet. The long answer is that RBS, Nat West, Nationwide, Ulster Bank, MBNA, Santander, are. In the next 4 weeks, HSBC will have joined-in too. Later in the year, the Bank of Scotland, Lloyds, Halifax, M&S Bank and TSB Bank will be on board too.

So How Do I Set Up Apple Pay On My Device?

Get on your device and open Passbook. If you need to go through the menus, go to Settings, then hit Passbook and Apple Pay. There, you’ll add your card by hitting the plus symbol. Or, it might say Add Credit or Debit Card. Depends which device you’re adding it to. You might have already added your card when you linked it with your iTunes account, in which case, you’ll only have to pop in your security code.

You’ll click ‘Next’ to get everything verified with your bank and, once they’ve given you the all-clear, you’re set. In the Passbook section, you can add a number of cards, if you like.

Where Can I Use Apple Pay?

There’s over 250,000 retailers who will be accepting Apple Pay, and we’re certainly not going to list them all here. You’ll see that some shops have signs saying they accept Apple Pay. However, some of the bigger stores include Lidl, Boots, M&S, the Post Office, McDonald’s, Waitrose, Costa, KFC, Starbucks, BP, Wagamama, Subway and Nando’s.

More and more shops will be getting down with Apple Pay in the coming months. You can also use it like an Oyster Card on the readers on London’s public transport.

So How Am I Supposed To Use The Thing?

Have you done a contactless payment with your debit card? If so, very similar to that. If not, it is really straightforward.

Hold your phone over the card reader with your thumb/finger (the one you stored with Touch ID – so sucks to be you if you did it with your nipple or dog’s nose) on the home button, and Passbook will automatically kick in. Your device will vibrate and make a ping! noise, and your payment is done. Just to be extra thorough, your device will day ‘Done’ on the screen.

If you’re planning on using it through your Apple Watch, then, when making a payment, double-click the side button to get your card up, then hold it next to the card reader and, again, it’ll vibrate and ping!, and you’re away.

What Is An iPhone?

Don’t you worry. You can still pay for things with money. Don’t get worked up about it all.