Starbucks to start delivering

October 31st, 2014 No Comments By Mof Gimmers

starbucks logo 300x300 Starbucks to start deliveringStarbucks are planning to do a delivery service through their mobile app in some parts of America. You can assume that, if this works, they’ll be rolling this out across the globe.

So what made the company decide to do this? Well, the coffee giant has reported lower-than-expected quarterly sales. Just imagine if they’d paid more tax too. They’d be weeping into their piggy banks.

“We are playing offence,” CEO Howard Schultz said, like a git, adding: ”Imagine the ability to create a standing order that Starbucks delivered hot or iced to your desk daily.”

Starbucks is hugely popular and there’s money to made through delivering a load of brown liquid to people in offices. It goes without saying that there’ll be some who don’t understand the point of it all, preferring to eat spoonfuls of Mellow Birds or whatever, but you can see this becoming a popular thing.

The coffee chain is looking at ways for getting consumers involved through online shopping rather than plain old brick-and-mortar stores. As well as a delivery service, Starbucks are going to allow customers to pre-order drinks on their smartphones by next year.

Looks like Starbucks aren’t happy with other businesses stealing a march on them.

Here: the Microsoft Band

October 31st, 2014 No Comments By Ian Wade

microsoft band 300x128 Here: the Microsoft BandThe Microsoft Band is here!

In the latest in this season’s Battle of the Wrists, Microsoft Band, along with a related online service, Microsoft Health, will analyse the data from the band and other devices to help people with their fitness goals.

It’s fairly straightforward design is no great shakes, and it does all the basic things like Facebook and paying for coffee and that, but it also has sensors in the device will continuously track heart rate, sleep quality and calories burned.

Also, as a bonus, it will cost $199 (£125), which is a great deal cheaper than the Apple Watch due in the new year, which starts at $349 (£220).

Obviously the good will out as users will start to figure out which is the best and most reliable phones, especially if they take their exercise seriously.

However, according to a recent survey, PricewaterhouseCoopers found that about a third of respondents who purchased a wearable device more than a year ago now say they no longer use it or do so infrequently.

So a case of the Emperor’s new wristwatch all round, if the wearable market becomes a flash gadget arena for people with too much money.

EE offers up 4G+

October 31st, 2014 3 Comments By Ian Wade

zzzw EE offers up 4G+EE have launched its next generation 4G+ in London.

They claim this G is better than all the other Gs, as it offers download speeds of up to 150MBps and averages of 90Mbps – five times faster than the average UK broadband connection.

However – as is always the way with EE – there’s a caveat: availability is quite limited in the UK, so it’s literally running before it can walk.

First up you will need a 4G+ compatible smartphone (EE only offers two: Samsung’s Galaxy Alpha and Galaxy Note 4). Whereas non-EE smartphones that are 4G+ compatible include Motorola’s Nexus 6, Huawei’s Ascend Mate 7 and LG’s G3.

And when they say London, they don’t mean Lambeth or Crouch End or White City, they mean Shoreditch, Old Street, Westminster and Kensington.

They hope this will be expanded to the whole of Greater London by June 2015 and then on to Manchester, Liverpool and Birmingham.

The new 4G+ connection brings the UK up to speed with the world’s most connected countries – including South Korea, Japan and the US – and places it ahead of most other European countries.

So, swings and roundabouts.

Moto 360: Launches in the UK

October 30th, 2014 No Comments By Ian Wade

moto 360 300x225 Moto 360: Launches in the UKA month later than intended, Motorola have finally got around to launching the Moto 360 smart watch in the UK.

You can get one of these smartwatches for £199.99 and there’s a whole bunch of designs available for those of you with vain wrists. As a sweetener, Motorola will also be offering up the Moto X smartphone with £60 off.

However, Motorola have said that purchases are limited to two watches per person while stocks last. Sadly for Motorola, the smartwatch went on sale and, while the grey design sold out, the black version was still available to buy like no-one is particularly arsed about them.

The 360 runs on Google’s Android Wear OS and features a round face that makes it appear similar to a regular wristwatch and on the face is a 1.5in circular display complete with a 320 x 290 pixel resolution that delivers 205ppi.

It can also contain 4GB of onboard storage, and 512MB of RAM with a wireless charging dock included to plug in the Moto 360. It is also water resistant, has Bluetooth connectivity, and will eventually have a choice of a metal or leather strap while supporting voice recognition, and contains a heart rate monitor and pedometer.

Your phone will need to run Google Android 4.3 or higher to work with your Moto 360, but if you take the company up on their Moto X offer, you’ll be in like Flynn.

New Android to help to delete bloatware?

October 30th, 2014 No Comments By Mof Gimmers

500px android logosvg 300x300 New Android to help to delete bloatware?One of the most irritating things about buying a mobile is the amount of stuff that is pre-loaded into your handset, that can’t be deleted – or bloatware as it is commonly known and complained about.

For example, if you buy a Galaxy 4, you’ll find that you’re obliged to have ‘S Health’, ‘Story Album’, ‘Samsung Wallet’, ‘Samsung Link’, ‘Samsung Hub’, ‘WatchON’, ‘ChatON’, ‘Group Play’, ‘Galaxy Apps’, ‘Knox’, ‘My Galaxy’ and more.

That’s a lot of apps that you might not want, taking up space on your phone. Unless you’re the kind of person who can get under the hood of a phone, chances are, you’ll just put up with them.

However, that might be changing as Android Lollipop, Google’s latest mobile operating system, might be helping you lose the bloat.

If the apps are installed through Google Play (even if they’re done automatically when you first boot your phone or tablet up when you buy it), they’ll be on the data partition and you’ll be able to remove them. And this is according to Google Vice President of Engineering for Android and Nexus Dave Burke and Android team Group Product Manager Gabe Cohen.

That all said, there’s going to be a catch – you can just sense it. There’s no way phone manufacturers and the like are going to design all these crapps and let them wither on the vine.

We’ll find out when the Nexus 6 and Nexus 9 come out, which will launch with Android 5.0 Lollipop soon. Hopefully, this will be the start of something genuinely useful for Android phone-havers.

Samaritans launch suicide help app

October 29th, 2014 1 Comment By Ian Wade

The Samaritans have created a new free app that detects signs of worry among your circle. The app watches Twitter for any indication of people having a shitty time and struggling to cope, and will send out a message to people to check their chum’s wellbeing.

samaritans Samaritans launch suicide help app

It is hoped that the Samaritans Radar app will give people a “second chance to see potentially worrying Tweets, which might have otherwise been missed”.

It operates with Twitter’s API and searches messages for specific keywords and phrases that could point to the tweeter having issues. These phrases include: “tired of being alone”, “hate myself”, “depressed”, “help me” and “need someone to talk to.”

Of course if someone’s “Jam” is Al Green’s ‘Tired Of Being Alone’ then it probably will dismiss that.

It then sends email alerts to the user – basically a more professional approach to uokhun? – and will offer advice and help. To sign up to the service, which is a web app, users need only to visit the Samaritans Radar website and enter their details.

Samaritans acknowledges that social media is increasingly being used as an outlet for people to share their feelings.

It also marks the start of a wider collaboration with Samaritans which includes a referral process: when somebody gets reported as suicidal, the Twitter “Trust & Safety team” verifies the report and if they deem it accurate they get in touch with both the reported and the reported account, to share recommendations and contact information for Samaritans.

Obviously don’t just rely on posting pass/agg messages about hating yourself and wanting to die. Especially during X Factor, as it won’t stand a chance.

Amazon selling mobiles on contract

October 28th, 2014 No Comments By Mof Gimmers

Amazon Smartphone 300x180 Amazon selling mobiles on contractAmazon UK have, without much fanfare, started flogging pay monthly mobile phones to its online store.

As of today, you’ll be able to get over 90 phones on deals starting from £13 with nothing to pay upfront. All of Amazon’s plans are 24 months long and are through the O2 network, should you care about those details.

There’s some decent offers too. You can get the HTC One for £0 upfront and £28 per month (with unlimited texts and 1GB of data) or the Nokia Lumia 735 for nothing upfront and £15 a month.

Of course, this gives Amazon the chance to flog their own Fire Phone too, which you can get with a new Amazon contract. With unlimited calls and texts and 1GB of data, you can land one for £0 upfront and £28 a month.

Don’t bother looking for an iPhone though because it looks like Amazon doesn’t want anything to do with Apple. Not yet at least. You can check out Amazon’s deals and phones here.

Google Inbox unveils new design

October 27th, 2014 No Comments By Ian Wade

googlemail 300x168 Google Inbox unveils new designGoogle’s Inbox email app has been redesigned, which thw=ey reckon is now “a completely different type of inbox, designed to focus on what matters”.

The Inbox introduces new features including bundling – which gives people the option to group all sorts of stuff together like emails and receipts.

Sundar Pichai, Google’s senior vice president of Android, Chrome & Apps, says Inbox was developed to tackle issues around email including “important information buried inside messages” and “our most important tasks slipping through the cracks”.

“Inbox will even display useful information from the web that wasn’t in the original email, such as the real-time status of your flights and package deliveries.”

There’s also various assists to help users remember to get in touch with shops, people and what have you, by supplying you with the phone number and will tell you if the shop is open or not.

Inbox by Google is also one of the first Google products to use Google’s new Material design direction. Unveiled in June, the Material features updated colours, icons, typography and imagery guidelines.

Google is currently sending out the first round of invitations to use Inbox.

Hold tight.

loom bands Dad gets slapped with £1,792 phone bill over daughters loom band videosLoom-bands – elastic bands masquerading as craft – as really captured the imagination of the young people of the world.

One young lady called Trinity Groves was such a fan, that she watched tutorial videos so she could improve her looming. However, in the process, she ran up an enormous phone bill over a fortnight after her home’s WiFi stopped working.

Her dad, Philip, was blissfully unaware she’d been using Vodafone’s premium rates to get online, and after 28 hours of videos, dad got the unpleasant surprise of a £1,792 phone bill.

Philip is not happy at all. He said: “She was only learning how to make loom bands so she could trade them with her pals. We thought we were using the WiFi for a good fortnight and there was nothing to suggest it had disconnected.”

“We didn’t know we were using up all these charges for the internet at a premium rate. As far as I was aware, the WiFi was connected. I wasn’t informed otherwise. If a phone company sees a discrepancy in your bill or a huge surge in usage surely they have an obligation to let you know?”

“Suddenly I had this bill through from them on my doorstep, demanding all this money. I was absolutely gobsmacked. Now they are threatening to take me to court – it’s frightening that they can bully you this way. I might have to sell my van just to afford it, but I rely on that for my livelihood. I don’t know where to turn.”

After disputing the bill, Philip got another kick in the groin when Vodafone informed him that he was now blacklisted. They still want paying too.

Philip added: “They cut me off within five minutes. I told them I was going to go to an ombudsman but they have done nothing. They have just demanded I pay £1,410 by next week but I have been out of work recently because of an operation, I can’t afford it. How many of their clients pay this much for their internet? It’s disgusting. I have always had good a credit rating but since this, I have not been able to get a loan or anything.”

Trinity isn’t happy either, saying: “When I come home from school I usually get my phone and all my loom bands… I used to love watching the tutorial videos but now I know it cost my dad £1,792 I have had to stop watching them – it’s made me very sad.”

A spokeswoman for Vodafone said: “We can only confirm at this stage that we will launch a thorough investigation into the matter. We will then get back in touch with the customer once our inquires are concluded.”

Nokia now goes by the name of Lumia

October 22nd, 2014 No Comments By Ian Wade

nokia lumia logo 300x168 Nokia now goes by the name of LumiaAfter reporting that the Microsoft looked like they were offing Nokia, it’s now official.

Microsoft could keep hold of the name for another ten years, but obviously thought “no, that’s it, you’re dead to us!” and will now be known as the not-at-all catchy ‘Microsoft Lumia’.

The Nokia brand had been visible on recent smartphone launches such as the Lumia 930 and Lumia 735, but Microsoft has not mentioned it in any press on marketing junk.

The Windows Phone apps have also been re-branded to Lumia, and the firm hasn’t even been referring to Windows Phone in advertising, instead using just Windows instead.

The rebranding will roll out across various countries in due course, however it is unclear what branding Microsoft will decide to use on future smartphones and tablets.

Existing devices carry the Nokia logo on the front and back so it will probably be a little while for new devices all branded and sexed up to arrive.

Still. No more Nokia! The name of a mobile giant is chucked in the bin just like that. We’ll be playing ‘Snake’ all night and crying while seeing if it is possible to actually break a Nokia 3310 without the use of nuclear weapons.

Sky to launch mobile service

October 21st, 2014 1 Comment By Mof Gimmers

sky Sky to launch mobile serviceSky have had a nice chat with a number of 3G and 4G operators as they weigh-up whether or not to launch their own mobile services in the United Kingdom.

Sky has been making eyes at Vodafone, EE and O2 about a potential deal, and presumably, will be going with the most lucrative offer, rather than the one that will serve their customers the best. Have you ever tried to watch satellite television when the weather is a bit lousy?

Instead of your TV disrupted by a threat of rain, it’ll you be you screaming down the phone: “HELLO? CAN YOU HEAR ME? HELLO? HEL- MUM? HELLO? CAN Y- OH FORGET IT.”

Anyway, with a number of Sky’s competitors offering mobile and broadband packages, it looks like they’ll be going ahead with it, offering mobile services under their own brand.

Sky’s Chief Executive Officer Jeremy Darroch said the company always “remains open to opportunities”.

He said the mobile market is something that Sky “keeps a close eye on”, adding: ”If we thought there was strong customer demand, then we can be in a good place to respond. We’ve got a very significant customer base already that we know we can cross-sell into very successfully.”

Does anyone want to make a joke about Murdoch and phone-tapping so we don’t have to?

Microsoft to launch new smartwatch for Christmas

October 20th, 2014 1 Comment By Ian Wade

new microsoft logo 300x110 Microsoft to launch new smartwatch for ChristmasFirst Apple announce theirs and suddenly everyone’s launching a smartwatch. Microsoft are the latest to get in on the wrist-action and it is rumoured they’ll have a smartwatch due to launch within weeks.

While there’s no word on an exact date as yet, reports suggest that Microsoft would like it out before Christmas. And, ideally, before Apple.

There’s also rumours that the device will offer a two-day battery life, which shades the Moto 360 and Samsung Gear 2′s everyday charging needs.

The Microsoft smartwatch will also have compatibility for multiple operating systems, including iOS, Android and Windows Phone, and Forbes claims it will also be the first wearable to feature an always-on heart rate sensor, making use of Microsoft’s Kinect technology.

According to a report: “When it comes to battery life, Microsoft may benefit from its historic expertise in software, allowing it to create sensor integrations that boost the device’s power train efficiency.”

Microsoft has yet to comment on the speculation. They’re just offering us “GO AWAY” at the moment.

Facebook to save your life

October 17th, 2014 No Comments By Ian Wade

Bitterwallet Facebook censorship Facebook to save your lifeFacebook are bringing out a new feature that will tell people that you’re okay during a disaster.

While nobody likes to think about such things, increasingly, social media is keyed into every element of modern life, so a move like this is fairly inevitable.

Plus, like, the world is in a bit of pickle innit?

Called Safety Check, the service lets you input whether you are safe or not in the affected area. That, of course, is down to things like your situation not being one where there’s a bomb that wipes out communication or something like that.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced ‘Safety Check’ while in Japan, where they’ve had their unfair share of natural disasters.

If Facebook notices that you are using a device in an affected area during a natural disaster like an earthquake, it will ask: ‘Are you safe?’ Presuming you’re emotionally stable enough to be checking your phone and not crying at the sky, you can confirm or deny.

Location is determined by the city listed in your profile, and your last location if you use the ‘Nearby Friends’ thing or the city where you are using the internet. It can be used around the world on Android, iOS and on computers.

The company says that this development came about from the Disaster Message Board that was created by Facebook after the 2011 earthquake and tsunami in Japan.

Naomi Gleit, vice president of product management at Facebook, said:  “Unfortunately, these kinds of disasters happen all too frequently. Each time, we see people, relief organisations and first responders turn to Facebook in the aftermath of a major natural disaster.”

“If you’re ever in a situation that would require you to use Safety Check, we hope it’s a tool that helps you stay connected to those you care about, and gives you the comfort of knowing your loved ones are safe.”

Careless: Whisper

October 17th, 2014 2 Comments By Ian Wade

whisper Careless: Whisper Whisper is the app that reckons you can share secrets with, without it being retraced back to you… except it’s not particularly good at it.

According to a Guardian report, the service is tracking people who don’t want to be tracked, and there are some issues around privacy which are a little alarming.

It transpires that Whisper are apparently sharing information with the US Department of Defense and is retaining user’s posts in a searchable database.

The Guardian claims that four days after learning about the report, Whisper changed its terms of service, allowing the company to establish the broad location of people who have disabled the app’s location feature.

According to Whisper: “Even for users who opt into geolocation services, the location information that we do store is obscured to within 500 meters of their smartphone device’s actual location.”

This is at odds with the temporary, anonymous selling point of the app, where users might have thought that anything they post would soon disappear into the ether

The Guardian report suggests “data, which stretches back to the app’s launch in 2012, is being stored indefinitely.”

Whisper’s response: “Whisper may retain posted content for a brief period of time as stated in our terms of service, however, the internal database contains no personally identifiable information and is secure/access-audited, and not publicly accessible”

Hmmm. So what you thought was secret isn’t. Who knew!

mobile phone 300x225 Mobile connectivity aint all that on London trainsMobile connectivity is a right state on London’s commuter routes.

That’s according to the findings of a study by Global Wireless Solutions, who tested the ten most popular commuter routes to discover that that one in three mobile internet tasks and one in seven voice calls on commuter trains fails.

The networks EE, O2 and Vodafone all rely heavily on their older 2G networks and ‘half-rate codecs’ for the commuters, but this means that call quality can be poor and many data packets are dropped.

The study found that 23% of 3G data packets and 37% of 4G data packets travelling across the networks of the four major UK operators do not make it to their intended destinations.

Basically, the best network on which to chat on is 3, while Vodafone’s subscribers get best 3G data service and EE subscribers get the best 4G data service.

In a statement that suggests he needed it written for him, Paul Carter, chief executive of GWS said: “Leaves on the track, the wrong kind of snow, having to stand up all the way to work and back – commuters have enough to contend with without the kind of mobile connectivity problems we’re revealing today,”

“It’d be great to see networks, rail operators and station-masters taking the lead on improving connectivity for commuters – rather than having to be dragged into the 21st Century kicking and screaming.”

Bless him. Shall we look at the Top Ten worst stations then?

Station / Average number of voice and data failures

1. St Pancras (99)
2. Radlett (53)
3. Kentish Town (43)
4. Upminster (42)
5. Elstree & Borehamwood (36)
6. Hendon (33.5)
7. St Alban’s City (33)
8. Cricklewood (27.5)
9. Kidbrooke (27)
10. Ockenden (26)