TfL goes all contactless payment

September 16th, 2014 No Comments By Ian Wade

oyster swipe TfL goes all contactless paymentThe London Underground service goes contactless today! We can only hope it causes complete mayhem all day, so the national news can tell the rest of the country about it all, like people in Merthyr give a hoot.

Anyway, you Londoners or People Visiting London, contactless payments come into force for the London’s underground, trains and trams from this morning and commuters will now be able to pay for their trips by smartphone or a contactless-enabled bankcard.

It’s already proven a hit* (*baffled and upset tourists) on the buses, and so now the entire TfL network has followed suit.

Contactless payments are still the same prices as Oyster Cards, however TfL promise they’ll calculate a user’s costs so they don’t pay over the odds.

Each use of a contactless payment will be registered on a user’s bank statement, while journey details will be stored on their TfL account, if they register. There’s been a pilot scheme already, with 3,000 Londoners taking part. Apparently around 65,000 journeys have been taken. Not each, that would be mad.

Shashi Verma, TfL’s director of customer experience, said “Offering the option of contactless payments will make it easier and more convenient for customers to pay for their travel, freeing them of the need to top up Oyster credit and helping them get on board without delay.”

TfL have also been banging on about CARD CLASH so that commuters don’t end up paying twice when two cards are read from the same handy wallet. They’ve even been handing out nice little reminder wallets.

So anyway. Be alert. No one needs CARD CLASH. It’s not a look.

Anti-deathwatch: Bebo

September 15th, 2014 1 Comment By Ian Wade

It looks like Bebo is back. Back. BACK.

The apparently dead social network posted a teaser video on YouTube last week, which gave the impression that it was an app.

The ad – bugling itself as ‘#Bebo – probably not for boring people’ (hark at them), illustrates how users are able to create avatars for their messages.

LET’S LOOK AT IT

Also, the whiteboard feature will make a return, with users able to send drawings to each other. Remember that Draw Something thing?

It’s still in its infancy of returning, but while the mothership has lain dormant, the company has launched Blab, and plans another two releases later this year, including something called Hug.

At one point, Bebo was the third largest social network behind MySpace and Facebook, and then sold to AOL for $850 million. It was brought back by the couple who originally owned for a mere $1 million after it went bankrupt.

That’s some good businessing.

Screen Shot 2011 11 24 at 09.17.44 300x236 Topshop to show off new stuff online before catwalkTopshop are doing a first this weekend, and showcasing its Spring/ Summer 15 (SS15) Unique collection on Facebook before the catwalk.

As part of London Fashion Week, on Sunday (September 14th), their looks will be seen on their social media channels before the likes of the front row of mostly bored looking F-listers get a gander.

Five of Topshop’s users will be filling up the social media channels with the wares and exclusives available in the range.

The high street giant has also turned to Instagram to deliver content around the show.  Five users of the platform have been chosen to populate Topshop’s social channels and website over the course of the week.

Their content, alongside other posts and pictures from fans who use the hashtag #TOPSHOPWINDOW will be pulled in to a custom-designed installation in the window of Topshop’s flagship store on Oxford Street.

There will be an interactive digital mosaic type-thing acting as something of a livestream of the show, and anyone can dig what they see and walk in and get it.

A lady named Nicola Mendelsohn, VP EMEA, Facebook said: “It’s such a trailblazing move to premier part of their SS15 collection on Facebook and off the runway, and further demonstrates Topshop’s bold use of digital to reach fashion lovers around the world and offer them a truly unique way to interact with the action from London as it happens.”

That Sir Phillip Green is keen to make Fashion Week more of an accessible thing to his punters: “This season, the strength of our social community allows us to be the first brand to debut looks from a catwalk collection on a social network granting unprecedented access online”.

“I believe that enabling Topshop’s fans to view key looks from the collection before our industry insiders is a real revolution – and one that we are proud to pioneer.”

Get them!

Deathwatch: iPod Classic

September 11th, 2014 No Comments By Ian Wade

While everyone was ooohing and aaahing over the new iPhone and Apple Watch news while complaining about Bono invading their privacy, the noble giant that begun the Apple revolution was, basically, taken out the back and killed.

Since the Apple site was updated to show off the new products, the iPod Classic was nowhere to be seen, indicating once and for all that that’s it.

ipod classic Deathwatch: iPod Classic

This means no more hard drive and wheel control for the iPod line-up, and more importantly, no more 80 or 160GB of storage.

Literally a design classic that put the whole i-thing into the vernacular, there have been no new iPods produced since 2012, however there are still places where you can snap one up before they’re a thing of the past.

Poor the iPod Classic. You were brilliant.

(But Christ. Jet. What were people thinking?)

Blackberry still really popular (with thieves)

September 10th, 2014 2 Comments By Ian Wade

Picture 111 Blackberry still really popular (with thieves)Chart topping news for Blackberry now, as it turns out that the 9790 is one of the most stolen phones in the UK.

It’s not even the most popular phone in the UK either, as figures released by the Home Office say that the four most stolen phones are all iPhones, Blackberry handsets are more stolen than those by Samsung or HTC.

Rather than being linked to popularity thieves target phones that are seen as ‘soft’ targets with poor security. The Blackberry 9790 is joined in the top 20 by the Blackberry 8520, Z10, 3G, 9900 and 9780.

Also in the top 20 most stolen list include the Samsung Galaxy S3 and S4, HTC One X, One S and One, iPhone 4 and Samsung Galaxy Note.

The Home Office reckon that the new security features in iOS 7 has helped reduce the lure of these phones as thieveable items.

Home secretary Theresa May chipped in: “The mobile phone industry is already taking vital action to introduce features that enable phones to be tracked and wiped if they are stolen.”

“It is encouraging to see that these security improvements have contributed to recorded theft from the person falling by 10 per cent in the last year, according to the most recent crime statistics.”

Oh and the most vulnerable targets for phone thieves, is if you’re between 14-24. Watch out, if you’ve got a baby face.

Ratings to be taken from your tablets

September 10th, 2014 No Comments By Ian Wade

bbc iplayer 300x205 Ratings to be taken from your tabletsRatings news now, of a sort, with the announcement that viewing figures for TV watched on tablets is being recorded for the first time.

The Broadcasters’ Audience Research Board (BARB) has now mastered the technology to allow such a thing, and will be able to read from Android and iPads.

The traditional way of measure TV ratings, BARB uses a panel of 5,100 homes across the UK, giving it data on the viewing habits of around 11,500 people. Then this is all extrapolated to work out the viewing figures for the entire country.

“The ability to track how our panel members watch television on their tablets is a great step forward,” said Justin Sampson, chief executive of BARB.

Only half of the 5,100 homes has such devices, but the that would be representative as demand increases.

So basically, someone’s going to get a lot of reports on what internet traffic certain shows are getting. It really is mind boggling that they didn’t think of doing this ages ago.

Vodafone and VISA sitting in a wallet

September 10th, 2014 No Comments By Ian Wade

vodafone 300x216 Vodafone and VISA sitting in a walletVodafone and Visa are launching a mobile ‘wallet’ type thing next month, pass it on.

The news is slightly shaded by the Apple big cock-of-the-walk doodahs.

It will initially be only on Android devices, and the maximum spend on the phone will be set at £25, for security, and obviously no-one wants more incentive to have your phone stolen.

There are also rumours that Vodafone will allow people to pay for London Underground travel using the mobile wallet, and are also possibly offering loyalty card type scenes with Nectar.

“The pieces are falling into place,” said Alix Pryde, head of innovation at Vodafone UK. “There are now the devices, the contactless payments and increasingly the consumer behaviour to make this a success.”

Vodafone customers will need to replace existing SIMs for NFC-enabled versions and have a compatible device.

Facebook to add view counts

September 10th, 2014 1 Comment By Ian Wade

facebook 300x300 Facebook to add view countsFacebook have just updated its video features!

The new look video will now add a new view counter so that the narcissists can find out their “digital reach” or some such bollocks.

The company claims that the soon-to-be-rolled-out feature will allow both those who have posted the video as well as those who are viewing it to see how many people have viewed a particular clip. The view counts will be displayed next to the ‘like’ and ‘comment’ area.

This is similar to the view counter on Vine, where people find out quite quickly how unpopular they are and just how few people are looking at their videos, for maximum despondency.

Facebook is also reportedly testing another feature on mobile that will suggest related videos after users finish watching a clip.

They’ve not said anything about fixing the autoplay videos, which is running up needless bills and gobbling data where you’re away from a WiFi connection, but there you go.

APPLE: Phones! Watch! U2! Etc!

September 10th, 2014 1 Comment By Ian Wade

After weeks of speculation and rumours and unboxing videos and all that, Apple have finally revealed a bunch of stuff. The key bit of that stuff being the iPhone 6 and the larger iPhone 6 Plus at their launch event in Cupertino, California.

iphone 6s 500x392 APPLE: Phones! Watch! U2! Etc!

The new handsets have bigger screens, general upgrading of internal bits and bobs, along with a new look and feel.

The iPhone 6 has a 4.7-inch, 1334 x 750 Retina HD screen capable of displaying more than 1 million pixels, while the iPhone 6 Plus has a 5.5-inch, 1920 x 1080 Retina HD panel that displays over 2 million pixels, 185% more than the iPhone 5S. They’re slimmer than previously, and measure 6.9mm and 7.1mm respectively.

Both the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus are powered by Apple’s A8 chip, which has 2 billion transistors, making it up to 25% faster than the iPhone 5S, with twice as much graphical prowess.

There’s also new M8 motion processor built in, for fitness tracking, as well as a barometer to measure altitude through air pressure – because we’ve been desperate for that.

The larger phone will provide 24 hours of 3G talking time and the smaller only offers 14 hours. Oh and there’s only 80 and 50 hours of audio playback on them respectively. They also support Wi-Fi speeds of up to three times faster than before. Fancy that.

DON’T PANIC THERE’S STILL A CAMERA.

It’s an 8 megapixel thing offering digital image stabilisation along with now an optical image stabilisation. They can record HD video at 1080 and 60 frames per second. It also features New Focus Pixels for phase-detection and autofocus, like an SLR. A FaceTime HD camera is on the front, with an all-new sensor and a larger f/2.2 aperture that allows in 81% more light than its predecessor on the iPhone 5S.

As previously rumoured, an NFC payments affair is launching alongside  the new iPhones, allowing users to make contactless payments, but only the Yanks are getting that for now. Not to mention that contactless payments are nothing new and loads of phones already have it.

The iPhone 6 will be available in gold, silver and space grey, with prices starting at £539 for a 16GB model, running up to £699 for 128GB. Apple’s iPhone 6 Plus comes in the same colours, costing £619 for the 16GB model, £699 for 64GB and £789 for 128GB. They’ll both be available to pre-order on September 12th, and will be released in the US and eight other countries on September 19th.

And then. THEN. Apple announced the launch of their first wearable – the Apple Watch.

The key feature of the watch is a ‘digital crown’ on side of it. This allows the user to scroll through and browse the features on it. The phone can detect when you’re either touching it or pressing it, and these subtleties open up extra layers and settings within the watch.

apple watch 500x334 APPLE: Phones! Watch! U2! Etc!

Menus are made up of things called ‘Glances’ that are taken from first and third party applications. Swiping left and right will go through each Glance.

It already looks like people’s stubby fingers aren’t going to be able to work the digital crown. And digital crown sounds stupid. You are able to control music from your watch on your iPhone, and even access music stored locally with a glance.

apple watch 2 300x174 APPLE: Phones! Watch! U2! Etc!

There’s also something what Apple are calling the ‘Taptic engine’, which is a small vibrator in the watch as well as a waterproof speaker, giving you alerts without bothering the others. Phones that vibrate? That.

You can view these bits just by raising your wrist, and if for example, someone sends you a message, the watch will then work out, by reading the text, the simplest and quickest way of replying, so you don’t need to type in anything. WHICH IS SLIGHTLY CREEPY.

There are also customisable animated emojis! Great for those who have completely given up on language.

Siri’s in the watch now too, so it will literally be a bit Star Trek, and anyone seen talking into their wrist for the forseeable will be mugged.

There’s an in-built heartbeat reader than you can send it to your mates in an instant! You’ll be able to tweet from your watch, get directions back to your BMW i3.

Then there are the fitness apps, heart monitors and move ring, exercise ring and stand ring which all calculate how much time you’ve spent doing, um, moving, exercising and standing.

Apple hasn’t confirmed an exact release date for the device, but has set ‘early 2015′ for sale. They have, however, confirmed $349 as the starting price for the US.

u2 300x300 APPLE: Phones! Watch! U2! Etc!

And to top it all off, bloody U2 turned up at the end of the do and performed a new number. And then shoved a brand new album – ‘Songs of Innocence’ – onto iTunes for free.

The long player, their first for five years, has had no thought whatsoever put into the artwork! How thoughtful! The altruistic four piece were long rumoured to be doing something with Apple, and sadly, they did!

That bleedin’ Bono said: “From the very beginning U2 have always wanted our music to reach as many people as possible, the clue is in our name I suppose – so today is kind of mind-blowing to us. The most personal album we’ve written could be shared with half a billion people… by hitting send. If only songwriting was that easy.”

“It’s exciting and humbling to think that people who don’t know U2 or listen to rock music for that matter might check us out. Working with Apple is always a blast. They only want to do things that haven’t been done before – that’s a thrill to be part of.”

Bloody Hell.

So anyway: TWO new phones, a watch, contact less payment, a U2 album whether you want it or not and, oh yeah, iOS 8 will be with you on September 17 too.

There you go.

Twitter rolling out the buy button

September 9th, 2014 No Comments By Ian Wade

Twitter Logo1 Twitter rolling out the buy buttonTwitter have started putting ‘buy’ buttons on tweets.

Thus far, it has been launched so far to a handful of US users, and it allows them to buy items directly from the promoted tweets.

Also, and obviously, it’s the first time that Twitter have taken money from its users so it will have all your bank details and everything.

Clearly Twitter needs to branch out, and thought “online shopping! No one’s doing THAT“.

Except they didn’t say that. They – or rather Twitter’s group product manager Tarun Jain – said: “This is an early step in our building functionality into Twitter to make shopping from mobile devices convenient and easy, hopefully even fun.”

“Users will get access to offers and merchandise they can’t get anywhere else and can act on them right in the Twitter apps for Android and iOS; sellers will gain a new way to turn the direct relationship they build with their followers into sales.”

It works pretty much as you’d expect, and follows Amazon’s experiment in May which allowed Tweeters to hit reply and fill their baskets, but it became a right old hot mess.

Initial partners include Death From Above 1979 (PUNK NOT DEAD, EH LADS?), Burberry and anti-AIDS charity (RED).

Tesco not launching smartphone after all

September 9th, 2014 No Comments By Ian Wade

hudl 300x199 Tesco not launching smartphone after allYou remember a few months ago when we excitedly told you of Tesco launching a Hudl smartphone?

Well, cancel that all-night vigil party because Tesco now can’t be arsed.

Instead, the company are pouring their efforts into making the Hudl 2 as amazing as possible.

According to Robin Terrell, the supermarket’s multichannel director: “The technology sector is fast changing and constantly evolving and since then, the mobile market has become even more competitive. So in early July, I took the decision that we would put the phone on hold and concentrate on the Hudl 2 tablet.”

“Mobile technology – phones and tablets – are transforming all consumer industries and particularly retail. Our future success relies on our anticipating and adapting those consumer trends so that we can continually improve the products and services we offer our customers.”

The Hudl 2 is promised in the next few weeks, which is conveniently handy for Christmas.

iPhone 6: Everything you need to know

September 8th, 2014 3 Comments By Mof Gimmers

iphone 6 iPhone 6: Everything you need to knowTomorrow is the big day when Apple unveil the new iPhone 6! One of the things we’ll learn is that it might not be called the iPhone 6. We just don’t know!

Everything is speculation and guesswork! Hurray!

Of course, there’s a lot of videos and images of the phone being leaked all over the internet, and we’ve been running speculative articles too, because we don’t want to be left behind on all that lovely internet traffic.

So with that, here’s everything you need to know about the new iPhone.

Design

One thing is for sure – the new iPhone will look exactly like you expect an Apple product to look like. It’ll have rounded corners and a colour scheme that apes ’70s science fiction films. As it is new, it’ll probably be slimmer and lighter too, because that’s what everyone does.

Size

The new iPhone will probably be taller. Or wider. Or both. Phones are getting bigger again because consumers like pressing the touchscreen a lot. Apple would be mental to make a smaller phone, despite what people want.

Haptic Technology

The new iPhone may well have haptic technology. Haptic-ness has been a feature on phones for ages, so that’s not at all interesting.

Sapphire Crystal Display

Apple are going for a sapphire crystal display, which means it’ll be robust and hard to scratch. You’ll still break your phone when you’ve had too much to drink mind. It isn’t invincible. The new iPhone will, unquestionably, have a display. It might be curved, even though no-one is really hankering after a curved screen. Samsung’s curved screen effort didn’t set the world on fire did it? The new phone will have a better resolution too, because there’s no point releasing a new phone without being able to jizz on about the improved resolution.

iOS 8

 

Apple might give you a new operating system. They might not. Thing is, either way it doesn’t matter because if you buy a new iPhone, it’ll have it on whether you like it or not. Like everything else at the minute, it’ll probably focus on health apps. Basically, your new phone will tell you how dreadfully unfit you are.

Camera

All new phones brag about how ace the new camera is, so you can expect the new iPhone to be the same. We hear that it’ll have an 8MP camera with improved OIS. Your naked selfies are going to be warts and all from now on. Just don’t upload them to Apple’s iCloud, eh? Oh, and OIS means optical image stabilisation. It might have an interchangeable camera lens too as Apple got a patent for that.

iPen stylus

Apple have a bunch of patents for a stylus. They might have an iPen with this new device. They probably won’t because a stylus on your phone makes you look more old-fashioned than a car-dealer wearing his Bluetooth earpiece in bed.

Pricing

It’ll be expensive.

Overall

We’ve no idea. No-one outside of Apple does.

Car sales are on the up!

September 8th, 2014 No Comments By Ian Wade

car scrap Car sales are on the up!People are still buying cars, even more so, for the 30th month running!

The number of cars sold so far to August 2014 in the UK is now over 1.5 million. Probably because people can’t afford to catch trains and if you’re going to get rinsed for cash, you may as well do it in the  comfort of your own company.

August also saw car sales jump up 9.4%, which is unusual for a traditionally quiet month, seeing 72,163 cars being registered, according to figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).

Also, it’s unusual as its September, when it all gets busy as cars sell when there’s the new number plate season and buyers want to look really ahead and attractive.

2014 sales are also 10.1% above the same period last year. The UK are ahead of the rest of Europe as far as growth in car sales are concerned.

It can’t last, apparently, as the SMMT reckon it will cool off in the next few months.

Sky News comes to some Xboxes.

September 8th, 2014 No Comments By Ian Wade

xbox one square Sky News comes to some Xboxes.Sky is launching a Sky News app for Xbox on Tuesday!

You’d be wise to hold off ordering the catering for the spontaneous street party for the time being, as it’s only going to be for Xbox 360.

But why this app apartheid, Sky, WHY?

“We are continually looking at other connected devices in the market but don’t have any firm dates yet.”

Sky reckons the app will help it get more viewers in the US, as it’s less accessible than in its UK home.

Head of Sky News Digital, Andrew Hawken, said, “Sky News is consistently exploring opportunities to expand our global reach. Making Sky News available on Xbox was an ideal way to achieve this. With a growing US footprint of a million users and a US news team, we’re thrilled that our coverage will be showcased to millions of Xbox customers.”

So, Xbox 360 ravers, go and knock yourself out eh? Kay Burley wants to shout at you through your screen, possibly about how Xboxes are likely to cause the kind of rare brain cancer that turns you into a Royal Family hating murderer or something.

Google cough up refunds for in-app idiocy

September 5th, 2014 3 Comments By Ian Wade

google play logo1 300x190 Google cough up refunds for in app idiocyGoogle have promised to give kids their money back.

Why? They’re promising to return at least $19 million (£11.6 million) to parents whose kids had racked up in-app purchases.

The kids were able to spree because of the parent’s credit card via Android Play store.

But now, as a result, a minimum $19m will be repaid to those who didn’t actually authorise the payments.

However the FTC found that when Google started its in-app purchasing in 2011, there wasn’t a proper security safeguard to stop them from making immense purchases.

FTC Chairwoman Edith Ramirez says: “As more Americans embrace mobile technology, it’s vital to remind companies that time-tested consumer protections still apply, including that consumers should not be charged for purchases they did not authorize.”

This follows Apple doing a similar pay-out of $32.5m for the same sort of app sprees.

Once the parents get their refund, they should get it in a bag of coins and whack their children over the head with it, then themselves, to teach everyone a lesson.