Driverless cars! They might get hacked!

November 21st, 2014 No Comments By Mof Gimmers

car in flood Driverless cars! They might get hacked!With all technology, at some point, writers are legally obliged to worry about hackers getting dastardly with it.

And so, to driverless cars, who are now being thought of as an army of marauding, wheeled weapons under the spell of balaclava’d ne’er-do-wells on laptops. No longer are these robot cars the thing that will remove human error and make the roads safer.

Not only do we have to shriek hysterically about hackers taking the wheel, but research conducted via simulators has shown that human drivers may be a huge problem too, if they’re going to mix with our pilotless carriages. It turns out that human beings change the way they drive when using the same roads as autonomous cars by copying the driving styles and leaving less space between themselves and the vehicle in front. Stupid, susceptible human idiots with their slower-than-a-sensor reaction times.

These warnings come as the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) publishes a report on driverless vehicles and how they can be integrated onto our roads.

They think that autonomous vehicles will be commonplace on British roads, with public transport and delivery vehicles being the cheaper, safer option within 15 years. We don’t have to wait that long though, to get a look at them. The first driverless vehicles look like they’ll be on the road from January 2015 in a series of trials from the Department for Transport.

Hugh Boyes, cyber security lead at the IET, said there’s cause for panic: “If the hacker community could start to target vehicles we can imagine a fair amount of chaos. The motor industry is really strong on safety but if someone tries to interfere with the vehicle, tries to hack it and disrupt it, then these don’t fall under the typical safety issues.”

“Unfortunately living in the world today people do try to tamper with technology. The industry is only just starting to recognise this.”

“Recent reports analysing software show that 98% of applications have serious defects and in many cases there were 10-15 defects per application. If ultimately you want to use autonomous vehicles, we need to make sure they don’t have a defect.”

Just wait until we get the first fatality from someone getting run over by a driverless car. That’s when the real shrieking will begin.

 

Beats on all iPhones by March

November 21st, 2014 1 Comment By Ian Wade

beatsbydrdrelogo Beats on all iPhones by MarchApple are planning on forcing more stuff onto your iPhone. A new iOS update in March will automatically install the Beats Music app to all iPhones.

Apple bought Beats back in May for $3 billion, and it looked like they’d lost interest in it when little was mentioned of it back when they launched the iPhone 6.

This follows Apple’s foisting of U2′s latest album into everyone’s iTunes and shoving iBooks in with the iOS 8 update.

The Beats streaming service will have two different subscription plans $9.99 (£6) per month or $99.99 (£67) per year.

This will no doubt ruffle feathers going up against Spotify, who do a monthly subscription, but not an annual one as yet.

Apparently Beats Music currently has around 110,000 subscribers, which looks set to sky-rocket should Apple’s evil plan work. Can we just ban all bloatware now?

Tesco launch Secret Scan-ta app

November 21st, 2014 No Comments By Ian Wade

Tesco Clubcard are hoping to help you find the perfect gift via Twitter! They’ve teamed up with We Are Social to create a campaign that endeavours the find the ideal gift for people via Twitter.

The Secret Scan-ta (OH GOD YOU SEE WHAT THEY DID THERE) app will focus on the cheaper end of goods they offer, rather than stuff like tellies and fridges.

secret scanta 500x363 Tesco launch Secret Scan ta app

Both Clubcard customers and non-customers can input the Twitter handle of a person they are buying the gift for, and then Secret Scan-ta will sift through that particular Twitter account sourcing info on what sort of people and organisation the user follows.

Then using this data – which they’ll probably store away and cite you as a stalker or something in the future – the Scan-ta will offer up gift solutions which they have in stock.

Clubcard members who input their Clubcard vouchers at the start of the search will find their voucher value doubled and deducted from the gift’s price if they go ahead with the purchase.

And that’s not all, each week five winners will be selected at random from those who have used the app to receive 5,000 Clubcard points, and one ultimate winner will be in with a chance to win a Samsung Galaxy S5.

Katie Aust digital marketing manager from Tesco Clubcard, said: “Christmas, although a happy season, can often bring with it panic and stress of buying gifts. This campaign gives the buyer get a bit of genuine insight into what the recipient is really interested in, resulting in a personal, and thoughtful gift. It also promotes the huge offerings of the Tesco gifting range and the benefits of joining Clubcard and boosting vouchers.”

So, ‘gifting’ – we’re saying that now, are we?

Your webcam is probably being hacked by Russians

November 20th, 2014 4 Comments By Ian Wade

hackers Your webcam is probably being hacked by RussiansToday’s ‘not at all creepy. Oh no’ news now, and basically don’t get your bits out in front of a webcam ever again.

A Russian website is being shut down for streaming images stolen from the likes of baby monitors, bedroom cameras and CCTV.

The site has been featuring live feeds from basically anywhere that’s broadcasting on cam, including a gym in Manchester, a bedroom in Birmingham and an office in Leicester. The site’s database shows listings for 4,591 cameras in the US, 2,059 in France and 1,576 in the Netherlands.

The UK’s information commissioner Christopher Graham urged the Russian authorities to take immediate action to take down the site, but Russia being Russia at the moment, there’ll probably try and make an international incident out of it.

Graham also said he also would be working with the Federal Trade Commission in the US to try to force the site to close if the Russian authorities failed to cooperate.

Interviewed on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, Graham said: “I’m very concerned about what this [website] shows and I want the Russians to take this down straight away … We now want to take very prompt action working with the Federal Trade Commission in the States to get this thing closed down. But the more important thing is to get the message out to consumers to take those security measures. If you don’t need remote access to a webcam then switch off that function altogether.”

WEBCAM HACK 500x351 Your webcam is probably being hacked by Russians

Graham also said consumers were too laid back about security: “We have got to grow up about this sort of thing,”

“These devices are very handy if you want to have remote access to make sure your child is OK, or the shop is alright, but everyone else can access that too unless you set a strong password. This isn’t just the boring old information commissioner saying ‘set a password’. This story today is an illustration of what happens if you don’t do that. If you value your privacy put in the basic security arrangements. It’s not difficult.”

The Russian site has been online for a month, and has already been the cause of some alert around the world. The UK have known about it for just over 24 hours.

So, watch out next time you do a broadcast. Your audience may be more global than you thought.

4G data bills will be cheaper eventually

November 20th, 2014 No Comments By Ian Wade

Ofcom logo w500 300x220 4G data bills will be cheaper eventually4G data bills should be lower, claims Ofcom.

Mobile user bills should be cheaper, now that the telecoms regulator has ruled that frequencies currently reserved for digital TV transmissions and wireless microphones should switch over to mobile broadband.

This freeing up of the spectrum should kick in around – oh – between 2020 and 2022. Ofcom reckon that network providers will be cutting their bills as a result of this increase in capacity.

A spokesperson parpled: “Millions of consumers could benefit from lower mobile tariffs than would otherwise be offered, because we expect a significant proportion of the network cost savings to be passed through to them,”

“Specifically, these include network cost savings from deploying fewer base stations and improvements in mobile performance in hard-to-serve locations.”

Ofcom also went on to say that TV viewers wouldn’t have another one of those nightmares of switchover, that happened when analogue signals were decommissioned.

It will, however,  be a problem for some of the communications equipment used by theatres, sports venues and music event organisers, who will now have to update their systems.

Christmas AdWatch: Samsung

November 19th, 2014 2 Comments By Ian Wade

Samsung are entering the TV advertising arena this season with their first Christmas campaign!

The series of ads will showcase the company’s range of gadgets while soundtracked by the decidedly ponce and unfestive Ravel’s Bolero. Mercifully, it doesn’t involve this gawdawful rap.

The adverts entitled ‘All Wrapped Up Early’ and ‘Christmas Round Ours’ are already on Samsung’s YouTube channel. All Wrapped Up will be on TV tonight (19th Nov) during that I’m A Celebrity nonsense, and ‘Christmas Round Ours’ makes its TV debut next Monday.

Russell Taylor, vice president of corporate marketing at Samsung Electronics UK and Ireland said: “Christmas provides the perfect platform for us to communicate with a large base of Samsung customers and will help to make the UK’s biggest tech brand also its most loved one.”

The Galaxy Note 4 takes centre stage in ‘All wrapped up early’ celebrating the brand’s flagship smartphone. ‘Christmas round ours’ showcases the whole Samsung range.

Will it persuade you to ask for a Samsung for Christmas? Didn’t think so.

Nokia release surprise tablet

November 19th, 2014 No Comments By Ian Wade

nokia n1 300x199 Nokia release surprise tabletNokia have sprung a new Android-powered tablet onto the market.

This out-of-the-blue announcement now pits Nokia against Microsoft, who completed its takeover of Nokia’s mobiles ends in April.

The N1 tablet is due to go on sale in China at the start of 2015, and then presumably everywhere else.

However Nokia are not making the thing themselves, but instead have licensed the brand, design and software to a third party, the infamous Foxconn. If you’re buying one, make sure it hasn’t been water-damaged by worker’s tears.

Sebastian Nystrom, head of products at Nokia Technologies, said: “This is a great product for Nokia fans and everyone who has not found the right Android tablet yet,” when he announced the product at the Slush technology conference in Helsinki.

Earlier this month, Microsoft unveiled its first Lumia smartphone without the Nokia name, but reckoned it would still use the brand on less powerful feature phones, and apparently can do so for another ten years due to the terms of the takeover.

The N1 is a 7.9in (20.1cm) aluminium-framed tablet, and is powered by Google’s Android 5.0 operating system. It features an Intel Atom processor and has a Micro-USB slot. The planned retail price is $249 (£159).

But does it have Snake on it?

sex with glass Google Glass app lets you see how awful you look during sexAre you the kind of person who prefers to look at your own arse in the mirror while you’re having sex? Well, LIVE IN THE NOW as someone has come up with an app for Google Glass so you can check yourself out while on the job.

The app is called Glance which captures the viewpoint of your partner, you fantastically vain swine. Of course, this isn’t all about you. If you and your partner like filming yourself whilst knocking your uglies together, then you can both do a movie and play them back side-by-side.

Basically, you can now truly see what your partner has to put up with during your grunting sweatfests.

What happens is that you pop on your Google Glass(es) and say ominously: “Okay glass, it’s time.” The app will then stream the footage. For the full experience, you’ll need a pair of Google specs each. Amusingly, to stop the footage, you need to say “Okay glass, pull out.”

The creators said: “Glance let’s you see two different perspectives, seamlessly. It changes the way you experience something personal. Like sex. Having sex with Glance brings a completely new perspective.”

The inventors also said that they’re very concerned about you and your partner’s privacy and that they won’t host the videos anywhere and that you’ll be the only people to own a copy. Of course, if you store it on a cloud service, that could all go out the window. Either way, the app database won’t store anything and the footage will be on your phone only.

The next ‘Fappening’ is going to be interesting isn’t it?

mobile phone 300x225 Now you can find out where the best mobile network coverage isAn app has been created which can indicate the strength of the mobile signal in a certain area.

OpenSignal have invented a heat map, which uses crowd-sourced data, showing 2G, 3G and 4G signal available to users throughout the UK on the major networks – Three, EE, Vodafone and O2.

It shows that – shock – the strongest signals are to be found around cities, where 4G speeds range from 12Mbps to 15Mbps, however the UK still has some catching up to do in a lot of areas.

The map also shows that EE has the best 4G coverage, encompassing 75% of the UK population over 300 towns and cities, and also offers the best overall performance.

However up in Scotland, Three offers the best 4G performance, and in Nothern Ireland Vodafone are the victors with their average download speed of 19.3Mbps

In Scotland, however, Three offers the best 4G performance, with an average download speed of 10.6Mbps and upload speed of 7.0Mbps; while in Northern Ireland, Vodafone has the best 4G performance with an average download speed of 19.3Mbps and upload speed of 9.9Mbps.

Jay Karsandas, digital manager at Mobiles.co.uk, who licensed the maps from OpenSignal, said: “Despite a slow start, the UK has made significant progress in the provision and speed of 4G. It is likely that the initially high price point of 4G dissuaded consumers from taking contracts that utilised the high-speed technology. With a range of flexible and competitive 4G plans on offer by major retailers, and a race to provide the most UK coverage, 4G will inevitably be the future of mobile connectivity.”

This comes after the report which OpenSignal had done with Which!!!, which showed that average speeds on 4G mobile networks had almost halved in the past year. Ironically, the slowdown is attributed to more and more 4G subscribers, but not enough 4G masts.

Fancy that!

Microsoft shows off its Lumia 535

November 12th, 2014 No Comments By Ian Wade

The Lumia 535 has been unveiled by Microsoft. It’s the first Windows phone to have done away with the Nokia branding, and will cost a sprightly £90.

Let us enjoy ourselves some BRAND MESSAGING

Microsoft are calling the Lumia 535 a phone of ‘fives’ –  Bear with us – as in the budget device has a 5in 960×540 qHD screen, a 5MP rear-facing camera and a 5MP front-facing camera, as Microsoft looks to offer a cheap alternative to the likes of the Lumia 735 and HTC Desire Eye.

Jo Harlow, corporate vice president for phones at Microsoft, said: “Lumia 535 comes with our ’5x5x5′ proposition”

“Innovation should be available to everyone, and we are doing this through the very best integrated Microsoft services free and out-of-the-box – a 5MP wide-angle front-facing camera and a spacious 5in qHD screen – all at an affordable price.”

The phone has a 1.2GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 200 processor and 1GB RAM paired with Microsoft’s Windows Phone 8.1 operating system, as well as the Lumia Denim update.

There’s 8GB on it, which can expand up to 128GB via microSD, and a 1,905mAh battery which Microsoft promises will offer 13 hours of talk time.

Apple in lack of information lawsuit

November 12th, 2014 No Comments By Ian Wade

sad apple logo Apple in lack of information lawsuitApple have had to be forced into taking a US federal lawsuit. The fruity giant is facing claims that they failed to inform customers about their messages possibly being blocked if they switched to an Android.

A class action lawsuit was brought against Apple in May by Californian Adrienne Moore, who alleged that Apple had interfered with her Verizon wireless contract which entitled her to text messages, and so now a US district judge has ordered that Apple must face Moore’s claim.

Disgruntled ex-iPhoners who flee to Androids, have often been unable to receive messages from other iPhone users. If a phone number is still registered to iMessage despite being on a Android phone, SMS messages from iPhone users are often sent to the deactivated iPhone rather than the new device.

Think of all the dirty/boring text messages being lost by people!

This comes a few days after Apple launched a new thing to allow users to deregister from iMessage. Users must either manually turn off the app on their iPhone, or request a confirmation code from the Apple website.

The Californian lady has argued however, that when she switched to a Galaxy S5, Apple hadn’t mentioned anything about how messages may be blocked. According to the court papers seen by Reuters, Apple argued that there was no law to protect customers who subjectively believed their tech hadn’t worked in the way they wanted.

So what have Apple said? Well: “Apple takes customer satisfaction extremely seriously, but the law does not provide a remedy when, as here, technology does not simply function as a plaintiff subjectively believes it should.”

US District Judge Lucy Koh has argued that a “Plaintiff does not have to allege an absolute right to receive every text message in order to allege that Apple’s intentional acts have caused an actual breach or disruption of the contractual relationship.”

Moore hasn’t laid out how she wishes to be compensated as yet.

sainsburys 300x192 Sainsburys app will destroy checkout time by literally secondsSainsbury’s are trialling a new and exciting app, even though they can’t be bothered to give it a proper name yet. Either way, it is being tested in various stores in the next few weeks.

The gadget enhancement allows Nectar-holding customers to build a ‘virtual basket’ of products they’re most keen on, before they shop. It also helps them navigate around the chosen branch, and will even allow for customers to scan and pay at the shelf through a mobile.

Crazy.

The supermarket reckons it will shave minutes off your life spent in their stores. That could really backfire though, eh?

Other upgrades include more flexible delivery slots, with bookings on the half hour as well as the hour, and greener delivery options allowing shoppers to book slots in one vehicle if it’s delivering to neighbours. Far out, maaaaan.

Sainsbury’s digital and technology director Jon Rudoe has weighed in with a say: “We know that customers’ weekly shop doesn’t start at our front door – they know what they like and they also like that search for a bargain. They still want to come into store – but with limited time, they want to be able to get their shop done quickly. That’s why we’re putting digital firmly at the forefront of our agenda, and putting technology in the hands of our customers”.

At least he didn’t say solutions, but for a moment there, we were all thinking it.

Bitterwallet Facebook censorship Facebook forced Messenger migration racks up 500 million usersFacebook and their messenger app seems to have won over the initial haters and can now boast 500 million monthly active users.

So even though they’d pretty much forced their user base into it, and made a few subtle changes and added features, the app has now doubled the size of its base in the last six months.

Facebook cut off access to in-app chat and began requiring users to install Messenger to send, receive, and read messages, which explains the sudden surge in numbers.

Old Zuckerberg reckons people use Messenger differently to how they use WhatsApp, which is one of Facebook’s other affairs, giving them the combined messaging power of over a billion users.

Zuckerberg said recently that “Messaging is one of the few things people do more than social networking,”

“In a lot of countries we’ll see than 85 percent of people online use Facebook but maybe 95 percent, in some places 99 percent of people, will use SMS or send text messages. We thought that even though it was a short-term, painful thing to ask folks to use a separate messaging app, we knew we could never the quality of experience inside as just a tab in the main Facebook app. If we wanted to focus on really serving this well, we had to build a dedicated and focused experience.”

It’s all steps on the ongoing road that is the future for Facebook messaging, where they’re looking into such things as engaging directly with companies via message and making payments to chums.

Watch man cry in Apple shop for a refund

November 10th, 2014 1 Comment By Mof Gimmers

There’s nothing quite like a bit of schadenfreude on a Monday morning, taking great glee from someone else’s misery!

In this case, we’re laughing at a certain Mr Pham who went to a shop called Mobile Air in Singapore to buy his girlfriend an iPhone 6. He paid S$950 for a handset, however, he didn’t know he’d also signed up for an agreement which meant he had to pay an additional $1,500 for a one-year warranty for it.

Let this be a lesson to you all. Always read the t&cs.

Pham, after weeping and falling to his knees got $400 back, but was still down $550, which is around two months wages for the factory worker.

You’ve got two options, if you want to laugh at Mr Pham. You can either laugh at him for splashing out on an expensive iPhone while being on a small wage or, if you prefer, you can just laugh at him for crying on the floor and not battering the person who filmed him while he wailed.

We suppose you could feel sorry for him, but that wouldn’t be like you lot.

EE TV: You won’t own it and you might not want to

November 7th, 2014 6 Comments By Mof Gimmers

zzzw EE TV: You wont own it and you might not want toWe told you about EE’s new fancy TV box gizmo, which they think is the bee’s knees. They love it so much that you’re not actually allowed to have one for keeps.

See, if you’re thinking of getting EE’s TV service, you won’t be owning their set-top boxes, rather, you’ll have one on loan and you’ll have to return it to the company at the end of your contract. Seems a bit of a faff and something that might put some people off applying for one.

A press statement said: “Worth £300, the EE TV smart box is free for new and existing EE mobile customers who also subscribe to EE Broadband plans of £9.95 a month or above, delivering even greater value to EE’s 25 million customers.”

That £300 valuing seems to have made EE think; ‘We’re not bloody giving you 300 sheets! We want our stuff back if you’re done with it, thanks.’

In EE’s terms and conditions, they say that the box “will remain our property at all times. We provide you with free hire of the set-top box so you can receive content.”

The contract conditions add further: “If you cancel your television Service (whether that’s during or after the expiration of the minimum term), you will need to return the set-top box to us.”

“If you fail to return it to us within fourteen (14) days, then in addition to any fee payable for early termination of your plan, we may also charge you the cost of the set-top box as set out in our Price Guide and lock the services provided on the box, including pause, record, rewind, replay, restart, multi screen and catch up services.”

“If we lock your box, you will only be able to watch the free to view channels.”

That all said, Virgin Media do something similar to this, but Sky, BT and TalkTalk let their customers keep theirs, presumably under the impression that by keeping the boxes, it might allow them to woo you back into their service again if you walk away.

EE’s t&cs show that their box isn’t too great with regards to their Replay feature. Having a nosey around, they say: “Set your box to record your six favourite channels. Replay means you’ll have an extra day to watch whatever has been on your favourite channels.” An extra day? Pah. The terms also say: “Replay is currently only available to record standard definition (“SD”) channels and high definition (“HD”) channels are excluded. The box will not record between the hours of 3am and 5am so anything airing partially or fully between these times will not be recorded.”

No recording Babestation for you.

They continue: “You will only be able to select six channels from two pre-defined groups. This may result in not all of your favourite six channels being available for this feature. The allocation of channels into groups is outside our control, and is dictated by Freeview channel allocation.”

So there you have it. Things to consider if you’re looking at getting on-board with EE’s television service.