Contactless payments passes a billion

July 6th, 2015 No Comments By Mof Gimmers

contactless payment Contactless payments passes a billionContactless payment cards are becoming more popular, thanks in part to their convenience, but also thanks to them feeling like they’re really futuristic.

In Europe, this method of paying for stuff you probably don’t need was used more than ONE BILLION times in the past 12 months, according to those swines who work at Visa. As more businesses get the technology in, the more people want to use it, clearly.

Total contactless spending over the year totalled an impressive €12.6bn (that’s around £9bn to you). In March alone, €1.6bn was spent by wafting a card at a machine. That is triple the amount from the year previous.

British shops are, by some distance, the most likely place to see some hot card-on-near field device action. Brits paid for stuff with contactless technology 52.6 million times.

France were second with 20.3m and Poland was third with 14.5m.

In the UK, this number will only rise further as more and more shops get the new technology in and, of course, more people start forking out for shopping with their phones.

“The popularity of contactless will only increase in future as we experience the next generation of digital payments, where the simplicity and convenience is extended to mobile and wearable near field communications technology,” said Visa Europe’s Sandra Alzetta. “We’re proud to have led the way in establishing contactless payments in Europe, and excited to be at the forefront as contactless payments become increasingly available to everyone.”

Google Glass to make a comeback!

July 6th, 2015 No Comments By Mof Gimmers

google Google Glass to make a comeback!Google Glass looked like it was being killed off, but alas, not. The thing that was being shelved was the Explorer Edition, while secretly, Google were working on Enterprise Edition.

According to a report in 9to5Google: “We’ve come to learn from people familiar with the matter that the next hardware is being referred to by Google internally as “Enterprise Edition” or “Google Glass EE” (If you remember, Explorer Edition was referred to as “Google Glass XE”).

“The device named “GG1″ that passed through the FCC seems very likely to be this new hardware—or at least some version of it—and it makes complete sense. Almost all of the Glass at Work startups have focused on the video streaming aspect of the device and have invested millions in software built around it. And in the workplace, this is where Google Glass has been discovered to be most useful. Amped up WiFi capabilities with ac WiFi and 5 GHz support, as well as Bluetooth LE, make sense for video streaming—and Glass startups are more than happy to take advantage of this.”

Obviously, wearable technology is a hot topic for companies at the moment, with everyone getting excited now that Apple have brought a watch out for people to buy. The Apple Watch wasn’t the first, but things go up a notch when they throw their hats into the ring. And of course, there’s a host of Virtual Reality headsets due to hit the shelves, go Google could occupy a middle-ground now that people are more willing to give things like this a whirl.

Importantly for Google, businesses are interested in what Glass can do for them. And with the new eyewear, Google have not just repackaged the old gizmo, rather, the Google Glass Enterprise Edition involves newer, and hopefully better, hardware.

The sticking point, as ever, will be price.

Boost battery life by 800%

June 4th, 2015 4 Comments By Mof Gimmers

There’s a new gadget in town which promises to boost the life of any disposable battery by up to 800%. These types of gadgets usually sell for a fair chunk of money – but not this one – this one will be on sale for a measly £1.60.

 

batterizer Boost battery life by 800%

The Batteriser is 0.1mm thick and, basically, you pop it on an ordinary AA battery like a sleeve, and it’ll boost your dying battery back to the original 1.5v.

There’s other sizes promised too.

What the gizmo does, is boost the battery’s circuitry – when batteries drop below 1.5v, they stop working in your gadgets, but this utilises the 80% of the power that is left unused. This sounds almost too good to be true – but if it works as well as it promises, this could save you money and potentially stop us having to roll the batteries around in remotes to try and get them working.

“The Batteriser has boost circuitry that will boost the voltage from 0.6 volts to 1.5 volts and will maintain voltage at 1.5 – which is a brand new battery,” said Bob Roohparvar of Batteriser.

According to the website, it is ‘coming soon’.

Beats Pill XL are a fire hazard!

June 3rd, 2015 No Comments By Mof Gimmers

beatsbydrdrelogo Beats Pill XL are a fire hazard! Do you have some Beats’ Pill XL speakers? Have you been thinking that the mixtapes you’ve been playing through them are absolute fire? Have you been listening to Heat Wave and thinking it is actually getting Hot in Herre?

Well, that might have something to do with the fact that your speakers are a massive fire hazard and you should stop using them immediately. No. This is not a drill.

Apple are recalling Beats’ largest Pill speaker because the batteries are overheating and it might cause the device to set on fire.

“Apple has determined that, in rare cases, the battery in the Beats Pill XL Speaker may overheat and pose a fire safety risk,” says Apple’s recall website. “If you have a Beats Pill XL Speaker, please stop using it.”

You don’t want to be listening to ‘Burning Down The House’ through it and then end up a desperately ironic and amusing footnote in a local newspaper, do you?

To sort this out, click here and submit a request to return it to Apple. You have to do it through the website, so don’t think about taking it to an Apple shop, because they won’t take the speakers off your hands. Via the website, you’ll get sent a box to return it in and then you’ll get £215 in Apple Store credit or they’ll wire you the cash.

Best Android anti-virus and security apps

May 26th, 2015 1 Comment By Mof Gimmers

android lollipop Best Android anti virus and security appsThere’s always a risk of getting a grim virus on your Android device and, seeing as we all use our tablets and phones so frequently, it is worth making sure our gadgets are safe.

Seeing as Google Play is a bit of a mess and there’s a lack of curating going on, on their part, it is hard to find the best apps for you.

One of the reasons there’s such a dizzying amount of apps around is that anyone can submit their apps to Google’s Play market, and that includes scammers and those who want to brick your phone and all that. Apps can also be downloaded from all over the place, not just Google’s store.

With Android being more open than other operating systems, this is often a good thing – but as ever, there’s always someone who wants to spoil it for everyone.

So with that, let us look at what we think are the best Android antivirus apps around. Search for these in the Google Play Store, read the reviews from other users and see what is best for you.

THE BEST ANDROID ANTIVIRUS AND SECURITY APPS

Avast Mobile Security & Anti-Virus (click)

One of the most highly rated anti-virus apps is the Avast Mobile Security & Anti-Virus, which provides you with a load of background tools to thwart any bleakness you may stumble across. The app is free, too! This is probably the best you can get.

Qihoo 360 Mobile Safe (click)

Another good freebie, the Qihoo 360 Mobile Safe has a big array of useful tools and fares well with other users. This is arguably as good as the Avast app.

Kaspersky Internet Security for Android (click)

Yet another good free app, Kaspersky Internet Security is a solid app that offers protection for your Android devices. Well worth checking out.

Ikarus Mobile Security (click)

This app will cost you £7 inc VAT, and is a lightweight security app that should give you what you need to protect your Android device. That said, we feel it isn’t quite as good as the aforementioned freebies.

Norton Mobile Security 2014 (click)

A popular and famous name, the Norton Mobile Security 2014 app has a lot of helpful tools to manage and secure your phone and again, it is a free download.

There’s a myriad of emulators on the internet, that allows you to play old video games consoles. If you have an Android mobile, you’ll know that you can get Mega Drive and NES emulators on your phone, so you can relive the glory years by playing Alex Kidd or Super Hang-On or whatever.

That said, nothing quite matches up to the thrill of playing these things on your television set. Of course, there’s official recreations of these things, be it through bundled games on disc, or indeed, through retro-joypads that you plug-in, and go.

However, here’s a thing that knocks them all into a cocked-hat.

The Retro Freak 500x332 Amazing machine that is 11 games consoles in one!

The Cyber Gadget Retro Freak is a great little thing that houses 11 different games consoles in one unit!

So, if you get one, you can play games from the Mega Drive, Famicom, SNES, Game Boy, Game Boy Colour, Game Boy Advance, PC Engine, TurboGrafx-16 and PC Engine SuperGrafx and more. If you like, you can use the original controllers through an adapter and you can even install games onto the console itself, so you don’t have to muck about with cartridges.

If you can read Japanese, find out more here.

Lugging a TV out of the shop is still a pain in the hole. Even though they’re getting lighter and thinner, they’re still pretty cumbersome. However, LG might have just the solution as they’ve come up with a television set that is so light and so thin, it bends like paper.

The TV is less than 1mm thick, and so light that you’d only need a couple of magnets to mount it on the wall. And if it fell off, it’d probably float like a feather or something.

Of course, this is just a concept at the moment, but it looks like this is the future of TV sets.

LG display 500x375 LG makes TV so thin, you can bend it like paper

This TV uses OLED technology, which LG are really keen on. This means that displays can be much smaller because there’s no need for a backlight, like LCD screens have. And to show off, you can bend it while it is switched on.

Seeing as LG do displays for people other than themselves, you can imagine that a load of electronics companies are going to be sniffing around this. Someone will make a phone that is as light as a cigarette paper – just you watch.

Anyway, technology is getting lighter and thinner, so good news for removal men!

Google Glass to make a comeback?

May 19th, 2015 No Comments By Mof Gimmers

google glass Google Glass to make a comeback?The appetite for Google Glass hasn’t been too great, leaving Google to pull the idea for a while. While the idea of the gadget isn’t all that bad, there was something awry about it and the prohibitive price didn’t help matters.

With all that in mind, the wearable technology could be making a comeback, as part of a new crop of wearable products. With the Apple Watch selling like hot cakes, the time might be right for Google to chance their arm again, in this particular field. We shouldn’t forget that virtual reality is just around the corner too.

So what’s the score? Well, there’s been a number of job adverts on Google’s website. The Google Glass team are now focused on developing “smart eyewear and other related products,” suggesting that Google are going to expand beyond the goggles.

These job listings include an Audio Hardware Manager, a Human Factors Designer, an RF Systems Engineer and a Hardware Automation Engineer (Manufacturing). It has also been rumoured that Google will be unveiling a new version of the Glass headset alongside other wearable products at the Google I/O developer conference at the end of this month.

Google just need to remember that, whatever they do, it has to have style as well as substance, as the old glasses looked a bit grim. The Apple Watch has been warmly received for the aesthetic, so Google Glass needs to look like a designer pair of specs and, importantly, not cost a grand. Then, they might be on to something.

Oculus VR machine on sale early 2016

May 7th, 2015 No Comments By Mof Gimmers

Is actual reality getting you down? Is everything too humdrum and irritating? Well, never fear, because virtual reality is on the way! Which one? Well, you can get the highly anticipated Oculus VR nonsense at the start of 2016!

That’s right – Rift with be released within the first three months of 2016.

 

occulusrift 500x281 Oculus VR machine on sale early 2016

There’s been developer versions of Rift knocking around, but they’re not too indicative of what customers will see on the shelves. The Facebook owned Oculus VR will be the first of the VR headsets on the market, beating HTC’s rival Vive product, and Sony’s Morpheus too.

Thus far, we’ve been given teasers which promise that Rift has a “more natural fit” and an “improved tracking system” than earlier models which we’ve seen. ”In the weeks ahead, we’ll be revealing the details around hardware, software, input, and many of our unannounced made-for-VR games and experiences coming,” Oculus said on its blog.

“Virtual reality is going to transform gaming, film, entertainment, communication, and much more. E3 is just around the corner – this is only the beginning.”

Microsoft patent emotional spectacles

May 1st, 2015 No Comments By Mof Gimmers

Are you a psychopath that can’t register basic human emotions? Are you Sheldon from The Big Bang theory who can’t understand members of the same species when they’re upset?

Well, Microsoft might be able to help as they’ve patented some smartglasses that will help you detect and interpret the emotions of people you’re looking at. While everyone else has empathy, you’ll have special emotion specs.

The application for a “wearable emotion detection feedback system” was filed in 2012 and awarded this week in That America and says that the wearer will be able to decide who to analyse from the people in their field of vision, without their knowledge. You may know this as ‘looking’.

bn id649 glass1 g 20150429075308 1 762x428 500x280 Microsoft patent emotional spectacles

One use for these could be in job interviews, where a future boss could look at you with these special glasses on and tell what you’re feeling while being questioned. They’re all in for a rude awakening when they find out that everyone can’t be arsed about anything other than the money being offered.

Or maybe the police forces of the world will be into these, come interrogation time?

Basically, these glasses work by using cameras to pick up information from someone’s face, as well as a microphone to analyse speech rhythms and the like. It will amass information and tell you about someone’s state.

Part of the filing said that context would also be important: “For example, if a subject plays with her hair in a social situation, such as a date, this behaviour may indicate friendliness or interest. However, the same behaviour in a business situation may indicate boredom.”

flag tattoo man 300x187 Tattoos stop your Apple Watch from working properly?Have you got tattoos? Got a ’50s pin-up girl on your arm like you’re a sailor, riddled with scurvy? Have you got a butterfly next to your navel? Well, you should be okay if you buy one of the new Apple Watches.

However, if you have one on your wrist, you might have problems.

Apple Watch users on a number of social media sites have noted that their expensive gadgets lose connection and delivers inaccurate heart rate results if you’ve got wrists with tattoos on them.

It seems like the watch’s plethysmograph sensor doesn’t like the ink pigmentation of tattooed people and it can’t properly assess whether or not it is maintaining skin contact.

iMore decided to run some tests, and they said “we’re inclined to agree with those early reports — if your tattoo happens to be a solid, darker color. This is has to do with the way Apple measures your heart rate.” They added: “The tests produced misleading heart rate measurements on solid black and red colours. Tattoos with lighter colors seemed to give Apple Watch less trouble, only leading to heart rate readings that were slightly off the mark.”

You can hit the link above to read their test results, but this is potentially bad news for gadget loving hipsters with full sleeves on the go.

Apple Watch Google remember theyve got Android Wear to flogNow that people are getting ready to strap their Apple Watches to their wrists, Google have remembered that they might want to capitalise on the SMARTWATCH FEVER! that is sweeping the nation.

And so, they’re pointing at their own Android Wear and hoping someone takes an interest and have released a big update making them more functional, which is what everyone is after, obviously.

In a blog, Google has underlined the changes they’ve made, including an ‘always-on apps’ feature. Android Wear aficionados will know that there’s existing software already has always-on stuff, but now, this update will let you extend it to apps so that they are visible for as long as you need them. Incredible, obviously. Apple must be soiling themselves in fear.

And the battery? Apparently, that won’t get hammered as the screen will only be full colour when you are looking at it.

Android Wear is going to support built-in WiFi, as well as letting you flick your wrist if you want to scroll through your notifications. You can now tap the screen to start apps and send messages, which feels like a thing that should have been around for ages. One neat thing that the kids will like, is that you can also draw emojis directly on the watch screen and send them via message or text.

Expect these to rollout in the coming weeks. Try to contain yourselves.

password 300x289 Move over passwords... here come the crazy ideasFirst, Yahoo! wanted to kill the password, and now Jonathan LeBlanc, global head of developer advocacy at PayPal, wants them dead too. As he says: ”Passwords are not secure, they need to be replaced.”

LeBlanc gave a presentation at a techie thing called ‘Kill All Passwords’, with a lot of people in thick-rimmed specs all nodding at the demise of passwords as we know them. ”Passwords are so complex it’s just a system that doesn’t work anymore,” chirruped CNET editor Dan Ackerman.

They’ve all been having a think about it and there’s too many sites asking for too many passwords which are hard to come up with – minimum numbers for characters, with a symbol and a number in it, with upper and lowercase letters and all that jive – which is why a lot of people use passwords like ’123456′ and the evergreen ‘password’.

LeBlanc reckons it is time to start thinking of weirder, more interesting things to get by our security measures, pointing out that there are people who are looking at scanning your eyes or face and, as you may know, Google are looking at a smart contact lens that measures the glucose in your tears. That’s not enough for LeBlanc – he wants wearable circuit board tattoos, brain chip implants and password pills that will allow you to eat your way into devices.

You may think that your body being ID is already a thing with fingerprint sensors and the like, but LeBlanc said that PayPal is working with companies who will create scans of your veins and measure your unique heartbeat, instead of passwords.

LeBlanc says: “I ground a lot of my talks in reality, but toward the end of the presentation things get a little strange.”

Apple Watch: not available in the shops

April 16th, 2015 No Comments By Mof Gimmers

apple watch 300x200 Apple Watch: not available in the shopsAre you thinking of popping down the Apple Store to buy yourself one of their new fancy smartwatches?

Think again.

You see, the Apple Watch won’t be available to buy in-store from next Friday and throughout the whole of May. This is according to a memo to staff from Apple’s retail chief Angela Ahrendts.

The memo says that customers will be prompted to order their watches online: “Are we going to launch every product this way from now on? No. We all love those blockbuster Apple product launch days – and there will be many more to come,” she added.

“It’s important to remember that Apple Watch is not just a new product but an entirely new category for us. There’s never been anything quite like it. To deliver the kind of service our customers have come to expect – and that we expect from ourselves – we designed a completely new approach. That’s why, for the first time, we are previewing a new product in our stores before it has started shipping.”

So, if you see one in a shop, it is only there for display and preview purposes. You’re going to have to wait until summer before you can get one in your hands in a store.

“The Apple Store app and our online store make it much easier to purchase Apple Watch and the new MacBook. Customers will know exactly when and where their product arrives,” Ahrendts wrote. “This is a significant change in mindset, and we need your help to make it happen. Tell your customers we have more availability online, and show them how easy it is to order. You’ll make their day.”

So there you have it. We hope some Apple fans queue-up outside a store, out of sheer habit.

Apple Watch: waiting times are cut

April 14th, 2015 No Comments By Mof Gimmers

Apple Watch Apple Watch: waiting times are cutWe told you that there was some concern about the delivery times of Apple Watches, thanks to the huge amount of interest generated in them.

There was talk about people having to wait months and months before they could get the new device on their wrists, but it looks like everyone is in for a pleasant surprise. Or a horrible surprise if you work with a smug early Apple adopter and you hate them.

Apple are likely to ship the smartwatches much earlier than initial estimates. They announced long shipping estimates to be on the safe side and wanted people to avoid disappointment. However, the gadgets will be delivered in advance of those guesses, but they’re not saying when. Apple, it seems, is hoping that fans will be happy with a surprise.

With everyone ordering them online, at least we’re all spared of the depressing sight that is fully grown adults camping outside Apple shops for a week so they can get the latest device, first.

Either way, Apple have sold what can only be described “head meltingly loads” in pre-orders with many versions of the watch selling out already. Looks like the company are going to have to ramp up their production so they can meet the demand.