New iPhone to have rubbish battery?

September 2nd, 2015 No Comments By Mof Gimmers

iphone battery 300x208 New iPhone to have rubbish battery?The iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus is, according to rumours, going to have a battery that has a reduced capacity compared to the current iPhones on the market.

These mutterings are coming from China, where cnBeta say that the iPhone 6s will feature a 1715 mAh battery and the 6s Plus a 2750 mAh battery. In plain speaking, that means a drop of 5.3% and 5.5% respectively for each phone.

However, Apple have previously said that the new iOS 9 will be more energy efficient, and it’ll have a Low Power mode, which means it shouldn’t need to use as much battery. However, if people feel like their phones are dying more frequently than before, there’s going to be a lot of whining online. This is a bold move from Apple.

There’s other good looking stuff on the new iPhones. Both are going to be getting a new 12MP camera, which is capable of shooting 4K video, and more.

They’ll also have Force Touch technology, which lets you do different actions depending on how hard you press your screen. Very fancy.

Apple has been sending out press invites for an event on Wednesday September 9th, so we’ll no doubt hear more about these phones then, as well as news on an updated Apple TV. Lunatics, start queueing up at your local Apple shop now.

sad apple logo Hundreds of thousands of Apple accounts stolen from iPhonesEven though Apple’s iOS is well regarded for its robust security, it isn’t completely without the risk of some swine causing bother with it. If you jailbreak a phone, you do away with all that lovely security so you can get full control of your gadget.

With that, malware is being installed via third-party iOS apps onto jailbroken iPhones, which has resulted in what is being described as “the largest known Apple account theft caused by malware.”

The malware is called KeyRaider, and has stolen around 225,000 iOS users’ Apple account credentials, purchasing receipts, certificates and private keys according to the security firm, Palo Alto Networks and Chinese iPhone developers Weiptech.

And now, for a lot of jargon.

“The malware hooks system processes through MobileSubstrate, and steals Apple account usernames, passwords and device GUID by intercepting iTunes traffic on the device. KeyRaider steals Apple push notification service certificates and private keys, steals and shares App Store purchasing information, and disables local and remote unlocking functionalities on iPhones and iPads,” the Palo Alto Networks wrote in a blog post.

So what’s happening, in plain English? Around 225,000 accounts are thought to be affected, and some people have said that their accounts are showing abnormal purchasing history. Others have said that their phones are being held for ransom by people who are best described as ‘not-rights’.

If you don’t have a jailbroken iPhone, iPad or iPod, then you don’t need to do anything at all. You’re golden. Those with affected jailbroken phones reside in countries including the UK, France, Germany, Australia, Russia, Japan, America, Canada, Israel, Italy, Spain, Singapore, and South Korea.

You can read all of Palo Alto Networks findings and check out their tool which will help you to check if your device has been affected and some other helpful bits… click here.

Crackdown on Moshi Monsters

August 28th, 2015 No Comments By Mof Gimmers

moshi monsters 300x300 Crackdown on Moshi MonstersThe ASA, the UK’s advertising watchdog, has cracked down in a ruling against online games Moshi Monsters and Bin Weevils. They’re not happy about the ways in which they pressure children to spend money.

The Advertising Standards Authority said both “directly pressured” youngsters to pay subscriptions, and that, in the case of Moshi Monsters, children were told that they’d be “super popular” if they coughed up money. Meanwhile, Bin Weevils’ options to pay subscriptions were put to children as if they were orders, rather than requests.

“Although it was possible to play the games without spending real money or sharing the game, certain activities required participation in a paid-membership system, which entitled members to additional benefits,” the ASA said.

“Both games contained language and prominent calls to action that put pressure on young players to purchase a subscription to take part in additional gameplay. We considered that text, including “Become a Member”, “JOIN NOW”, directly exhorted children to purchase membership subscriptions as well as in-game ‘currency’.”

The ASA added that Moshi Monsters used phrases like “The Super Moshis need YOU” which pressurise children. Of course, putting direct pressure on children is prohibited by the advertising code. It must be a nightmare for the ASA at Christmas eh?

The watchdog said that they’re reminding publishers to take more care with in-game purchase mechanisms aimed at kids.

Mind Candy, who publish Moshi Monsters, said it took its “responsibilities very seriously with regards to how we communicate with all of our fans, especially children”. In a statement, they said: “We have been working with the ASA to ensure that we adhere to best practice and have made changes to the Moshi Monsters game accordingly. We will continue to work with the ASA in any way possible.”

The Bin Weevils publisher, 55pixels, said: “As soon as [we] were made aware of the complaint made to the ASA about a potential breach, and once we had understood the area for concern, we changed all our membership pages to comply with their recommendations. They subsequently upheld the complaint about the original wording but referenced that we now complied, in the text of the ruling.”

Facebook M: Here to help like Siri

August 28th, 2015 No Comments By Mof Gimmers

Facebook Facebook M: Here to help like SiriFacebook are launching a virtual assistant, that basically is a rip-off of Siri. It’ll also have support from real humans in a call centre somewhere, but basically, it is another thing you can talk to and it will respond accordingly.

This thing will be called Facebook M, and will work within Facebook’s Messenger app. This being FB, you can assume that these things are a wonderful tool for gathering all manner of data on people, which can then be sold for huge sums of money.

Anyway, what does David Marcus from Facebook have to say about it all? He said: “M is a personal digital assistant inside of Messenger that completes tasks and finds information on your behalf. It’s powered by artificial intelligence that’s trained and supervised by people.”

“Unlike other AI-based services in the market, M can actually complete tasks on your behalf. It can purchase items, get gifts delivered to your loved ones, book restaurants, travel arrangements, appointments and way more.”

There’s no date given for a rollout and indeed, it is still being tested.

In Wired, there is more information: “Facebook’s M trainers have customer service backgrounds. They make the trickier judgement calls, and perform other tasks that software can’t. If you ask M to plan a birthday dinner for your friend, the software might book the Uber and the restaurant, but a person might surprise your friend at the end of the night by sending over birthday cupcakes from her favourite bakery.”

So there you go. Fancy letting Facebook be your party planner? That’s if your phone has enough memory on it to cope with yet another pissing update from this shower.

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.

Apple to fix your iPhone camera

August 24th, 2015 No Comments By Mof Gimmers

apple Apple to fix your iPhone cameraIs the camera on your iPhone, to use the common vernacular, a load of shit? You may recall that, last year, the iPhone 6 Plus had Apple’s best ever smartphone camera, but for some, their pictures were coming out rubbish and blurry.

Well, Apple have decided to fix that. Over the weekend, Apple said that they’re doing a replacement programme for faulty iSight cameras on the iPhone 6 Plus.

It seems that some phones have a faulty component in it, and Apple have identified what and where the problem is, and it concerns phones sold between September 2014 and January 2015.

So what do you need to do? Well, you will have to check your phone’s serial number on Apple’s designated site about this issue. If you find your phone is on the list, you’re in business.

You’ll be able to get your faulty module sorted out at an Apple Store. Apple don’t seem to be doing a phone swap though, so if you’re smart, you’ll backup the contents of your phone before taking it in.

While you have a little time to get this sorted, what with Apple covering this issue for three years from the time you purchased your phone, it is worth remembering that Apple are on the brink of releasing a load of new bits, including the iPhone 6s, iPhone 6s Plus, which means they’re going to be rammed and busy… so better to get this sorted out sooner, rather than later.

Google develop new foodie add-on for Maps

August 24th, 2015 No Comments By Mof Gimmers

Recipie For Natural Dog Food 1 300x224 Google develop new foodie add on for MapsHate people taking photos of their tea? Assume they’re either showing off how often they can afford to eat in restaurants or that they’re crowing about what amazing cooks they are? Well, you’re going to love this news from Google.

The tech behemoth has unveiled a new food photo tool, which they’ve built-in to the Google Maps app on Android. Basically, you can now attach images of your dinner to places within Maps. This is to improve people’s reviews or something.

So what do you do? Well, you take a photo of what you’re eating and then, Maps figures out where you are from your GPS, gives you a notification saying that they’ve detected a shot has been taken in the establishment where you’re sat and then, with a tap, you can post your visual review onto Maps.

It looks like the Tablescape app which Google were mucking around with, but shelved, has had its technology repositioned to this Maps add-on.

There you have it. Amateur foodies are given yet another outlet to blort on about things being under-seasoned, or saying the word soupçon about some crappy meal or whatever.

Just what we all needed.

Google to kill off some bloatware

August 21st, 2015 1 Comment By Mof Gimmers

google plus logo Google to kill off some bloatwareA lot of Android phones are clogged up with loads of apps they don’t use and don’t want. Samsung users have reams of pointless Samsung apps and, of course, a load of mandatory Google apps too. It is very annoying.

Well, Google have decided to do something about that and have cut down on the number of apps they make you have on the Android operating system. You’ll be able to delete stuff! Forever! Without your phone mithering you to update them!

So which ones are applicable here? You’ll be able to get rid of Google Play Games, Google+, Google Play Books and Google Newsstand, which is great.

Of course, if you want these apps, you’ll still be able to get them through the Google Play store if you want.

This is a good move (about time) from Google and that means people with lower-priced handsets will be able to free up more space for music, movies, hi-res dirty pictures, or whatever it is you’d prefer to have on your phone. If all the other bloatware makers could follow suit, that’d be great.

And of course, Google have just announced Android Marshmallow too, the latest version of its OS.

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.

Web WhatsApp available for iPhone users

August 20th, 2015 2 Comments By Mof Gimmers

whatsapp Web WhatsApp available for iPhone usersThe web version of WhatsApp has been kicking around for months now, but not for iPhone users. Until now. That’s right – you can now talk to people through the service on Safari on the Mac, which is not very thrilling, but it is useful.

So, if you don’t know what you’re doing, here’s a brief how-to.

Go to the WhatsApp web version, and you’ll see a QR code. Open the WhatsApp mobile app, scan the QR code and you’re away. That’s it. Dead easy.

If you’ve tried this and it hasn’t worked, don’t worry – the service hasn’t been rolled out to everyone yet, and apparently, it is being done in phases, so be patient and your time will come. If you are ready to go, then good for you. You’ll be able to conduct your inane conversations through your browser.

So, now WhatsApp for Web is available for pretty much everyone. If you’re on Android, BlackBerry, Windows Phone, iPhone, you can get stuck in.

The browser version has been updated too, and you can edit your profile photo and status, and you can delete and archive chats, as well as mute and exit group chats. Like we said, it isn’t that exciting, but it is rather handy. So there you go. Head over there now and have a skive at work or whatever.

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.

Samsung Galaxy, now with hideous/cool keyboard!

August 14th, 2015 2 Comments By Mof Gimmers

Samsung have released a new phone cover for the Galaxy S6 Edge+ and Note 5, which comes with a keyboard, very much like the ones you’ve seen on BlackBerry handsets.

That’s right – a physical keyboard that you tap your messages on. You clip it to the front of your phone and off you go, looking like a banker from 10 years ago. Once you clip it off, your phone goes back to being a touchscreen affair, just like you’d expect.

Have look.

Galaxy S6 edge 500x312 Samsung Galaxy, now with hideous/cool keyboard!

Samsung showed this off at an event called Unpacked, and it begs the question – are there actually people out there who miss the BlackBerry QWERTY keyboards so badly, that Samsung needed to bring it back?

Is it really ugly and stupid, or is it a really wonderful add-on for some folk?

The Galaxy S6 Edge+ should be out next month and will have a 5.7 inch Quad HD Super AMOLED display, and that curved screen design so you can… well… do whatever you’re supposed to do with a phone that looks like the screen has melted off the side. You can preorder one, if you want, from August 18th.

Check your 3G and 4G on an interactive map

August 14th, 2015 2 Comments By Mof Gimmers

mobile apps Check your 3G and 4G on an interactive mapYou might be thinking that, if you wanted to find out how good your 4G signal was, you could just get your phone out and start using it. How wrong you are. You need to use a map. That way, you can see if your phone is a piece of crap, or indeed, find out what the reception is like a place you’re about to visit, so if it is lousy, you can take a load of books and ignore everyone that way.

Good thing Ofcom have come up with an interactive map, where you can check out the phone reception, 3G and 4G connections all over the UK.

There’s four mobile phone providers included in the map – Vodafone, O2, EE and Three. One good thing is that you can use the tool to see which company has the best service in your area, which could help if you’re planning on getting a new phone contract.

Basically, all you have to do is pop in a postcode into the search bar and then hit one of the options from ‘voice calls’, ’3G data’ or ’4G data’. And boom! You’re away.

You can also check indoor and outdoor coverage too. If you’re wondering where Virgin is, they use EE’s network. And if you’re wondering where TalkTalk are, they use Vodafone’s.

Click here to have a look at Ofcom’s mobile map.

New iPhone next month?

August 10th, 2015 4 Comments By Mof Gimmers

There could well be a new iPhone hitting the market within weeks, with rumours abounding that it’ll hit the shelves on September 7th. Or 9th, depending on which rumours you’ve heard.

Will it be a new iPhone 7, or the (more likely) iPhone 6 S or Plus or whatever they call them? And will there be those ugly plastic bits on it?

iphone7 500x280 New iPhone next month?

It looks like the design will be the same as the newest iPhones that are currently on the market, but the innards will be given a makeover. It’ll still have 16GB of storage, but will include new NFC technology and fewer chips. The NFC tech, for the uninitiated, means Apple are going hard on Apple Pay, so you can waft your phone at a device and pay for stuff.

There’s also talk about something called ‘Force Touch’, which features on the latest Macbook and Apple Watch. Basically, this senses how hard you’re tapping and touching your phone, so you can do different commands. It could be used like a ‘right click’, but for a touch screen.

Will the new phone have a better battery life? Well, you’d hope so wouldn’t you?

Blabbermouths at Foxconn – they’re the people who actually assemble iPhones – have been saying that the new iPhones will have 12MP rear cameras and support 4K video recording, which is nifty. Likewise, you can expect the new phone to have a better screen resolution, to match the improved image capturing tech.

Will it be cheaper? Don’t be silly.