Twitter introduce Digits

October 23rd, 2014 No Comments By Ian Wade

Twitter Logo1 Twitter introduce DigitsTwitter have announced a new thing called Digits. The service will allow users to log in to third-party apps using their phone number as a unique identity rather than a password.

Facebook, Twitter and Google+ have long enabled customers to sign into third party apps and websites using their existing login information, rather than creating a new login account specifically for that website.

The idea behind Digits, is that it simplifies logins, and providing demographic information to web developers.

Digits allows users to login to mobile apps using their phone number alone. After downloading an app, the user simply has to enter their phone number, and the app will verify it by sending a text message to that number and reading it automatically.

According to CEO, the never not funny Dick Costolo: “This is an entirely new native mobile sign up service that makes mobile-first sign-up frictionless, and creates an identity relationship entirely between you and your users,”

“We power it – we make it easy for you to communicate with your users – but that identity relationship is between you and them, not some third party. We power it and then we get out of the way.”

Digits is part of Twitter’s new development program Fabric, aimed at giving developers the tools to develop apps that can hook up with Twitter. The technology will be available in 216 countries and 18 languages, and will be free for developers to use.

Apple admit that iCloud has been compromised

October 23rd, 2014 1 Comment By Ian Wade

apple icloud 300x260 Apple admit that iCloud has been compromisedApple have ‘fessed up about iCloud accounts being compromised by fake log-in pages. This follows an incident wherein Chinese users’ account names and passwords were requested by suspect looking web pages.

After all that celebrity nude action a couple of weeks ago, Apple came up with a two-password verification system to try and increase security.

Alas, reports of organised password phishing syndicates harvesting user information via fake iCloud pages emerged, and Apple had to come clean and say it’s a thing.

A statement released on Apple’s support page has confirmed that these phishers were stealing accounts and passwords, but that remained the dimensions of it. There was no further information as to when these happenings occurred or the severity of them.

Apple have helpfully told users to only use sites if there’s a padlock handy. On the site’s address bar, not around your neck.

They said: “We’re aware of intermittent organised network attacks using insecure certificates to obtain user information, and we take this very seriously. These attacks don’t compromise iCloud servers, and they don’t impact iCloud sign in on iOS devices or Macs running OS X Yosemite using the Safari browser.”

“The iCloud website is protected with a digital certificate. Users should never enter their Apple ID or password into a website that presents a certificate warning.”

Last month, Apple chief executive Tim Cook admitted that Apple could do more to inform users how to make their iCloud accounts more secure, but was too pre-occupied with flogging new tat than being helpful.

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.

Dyson unveil a humidifier for mad people

October 22nd, 2014 3 Comments By Ian Wade

dyson humidifier 114x300 Dyson unveil a humidifier for mad peopleDyson have unveiled a humidifier!

The until-now-quite-hoovery Dyson has launched the HumiMain (which doesn’t sound particularly catchy, but give it time) which uses its Air Multiplier fan technology and claims to tackle health issues around dry air and bacteria.

It’s not the first time the company have used this design, as they originally brought out the bladeless Air Multiplier fan in 2009. In 2011 it updated the fan as a heater and is now launching the technology as a humidifier.

And so they should, seeing as they’ve thrown £37.5 million at the project, and went through 643 protoypes.

Apparently the humidifier uses Ultraviolet cleansing technology to kill 99.9% of bacteria used in the product’s water. Do we really want that much bacteria killing? Either way, great news for nutters out there who feel like they’re being swamped by micro-bugs.

There’s a climate control system to measure the temperature and moisture in the air, while a fancy-sounding piezoelectric transducer in the base vibrates at up to 1.7 million times a second – breaking the water down into microscopic particles which are drawn up into the loop amplifier and projected.

According to Dyson, the machine can run for up to 18 hours on a single tank of water: “It projects clean, hydrated air around the room evenly and quietly. Helping you keep healthy in the winter, and doubling up as a fan to keep you cool in the summer.”

It’s being launched in Japan first, as they have a culture of humidifiers, and will be launched in the UK next March. Perfect for summer, if you’re a lunatic.

Deathwatch: Landlines

October 22nd, 2014 10 Comments By Mof Gimmers

Mobile phone holiday beach GUIDE 01 Deathwatch: LandlinesRemember in the olden days when, instead of ringing an actual person, you had to wait for them to be in a building and then ring that? What a ridiculous system that was.

Well, thanks to this, it looks like the home phone landline is dead. We all knew this, but now there’s a study to back us up. The study showed that a lot of people don’t even know their own landline number (and the Mirror put it to the test by offering £50 to those that could).

Broadband providers Relish conducted some research it they found that 38% of us have no idea what our home phone number is and that half of us only have one because our broadband providers make us have one.

Will Harnden, chief marketing officer at Relish, said: “It’s a sign of modern times that our landlines are increasingly going unused. Despite the fact that many people aren’t using their landline for its intended purpose, they are forced to pay monthly charges for line rental, on top of the cost of their broadband.”

“It seems like now is the time the capital can finally wave goodbye to the landline.”

Of course, we can’t wave goodbye to them completely – businesses aren’t going to start giving staff members mobiles instead of banks of telephones. At home, the landline is becoming increasingly pointless. 4 in 10 of us won’t even answer the landline phone if it rings. People who ring landlines are either after money or mithering you for hours on end.

Social networks, as well as Skype and good ol’ fashioned texting are the most common ways of communicating and 65% of adults already think of landlines as a thing of the past. Naturally, people still leave the house and talk at people’s earholes, but that’s the standard and never going to go away, despite what desperate old lunatics say.

What this all means is that broadband providers need to modernise the packages they sell to customers. Landlines are all but obsolete. We await the rebranding of ‘line rental’ to something more internet based for Ver Kidz.

online shopping Shops still play part in online shopping solutionsShoppers still prefer to have a gander at goods in real shops before purchasing them online, a new survey has said.

According to findings, 65% of shoppers prefer to check out a thing in a shop before pressing ‘buy’ online.

The report by Geometry Global, called The Connected Shopper study, interviewed 9,486 people across 12 countries, and found there is a continued reliance on physical stores with 88% of shoppers who visit a physical store first citing seeing the product in real life as the primary reason for visiting.

Of the 12 countries studied, China topped the list in number of online purchases (5.88) with European countries trailing significantly; the countries making the least purchases online were France (2.40) and Spain (2.17).

Checking prices (65%) is the second reason why shoppers visit physical stores.

Actual online shopping only grew by 5% in 2011 to 7% in 2014. Which isn’t all that really.

The elegantly named Cesar Montes, EMEA CSO of Geometry Global, said: “Our findings confirm that we haven’t yet witnessed the complete online shopping revolution some had predicted. There are a number of reasons for this: the high street still occupies a central and vital function in the consumer’s journey to purchase.

“In addition, there remain a number of obstacles to consumers fully accepting online shopping, such as security concerns, payment methods and unwillingness to engage with brands via social media.”

The study also noticed that 63% of users really are not going to ‘friend’ brands online. So stop trying to engage, you big bad corporates. However 70% liked ads tailored to them. Little wonder when some companies deliveries are so poor.

illegal downloading1 269x300 Google to crack down on illegal downloading sites. Again. Google are planning on making changes to its search engine in a bid to crack down on illegal stuff happening.

The engine will direct users away from sites where they can half-inch content, pushing them towards less dodgy sites.

Google have caved in to pressure from the entertainment industry, who have been campaigning for the search engine to do something, while they carried on rearranging deckchairs.

Google will now list these legal services in a box at the top of the search results, as well as in a box on the right-hand side of the page, but if legal sites want to appear in the slot, they will need to pay Google for placement, something music trade group BPI has a problem with.

BPI made 43.3 million requests for Google to remove search results in 2013 – the U.S equivalent group, the RIAA, made 31.6 million and Google removed 222 million results from search because of copyright issues

Google’s Content ID system, which detects copyrighted material, scans 400 years-worth of video every day, which they then offer the music labels the choice of having the content removed, or monetising by having advertising placed there.

The report said: “Piracy often arises when consumer demand goes unmet by legitimate supply,’ the report said.

As services ranging from Netflix to Spotify to iTunes have demonstrated, the best way to combat piracy is with better and more convenient legitimate services.”

It’s unlikely that this will have a massive turnaround in the entertainment industry’s favour, who are missing the days where everyone was on champagne and cocaine breakfasts, but people will find a way around it. They always do.

However, with Google directing people to Google Play, making money through advertising on YouTube adverts and other schemes to ‘combat privacy’, it looks like they might be having the breakfast of a ’70s record company executive, so not everyone is a loser in this. We never said they were unscrupulous.

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.

MasterCard really want to see those fingers

October 20th, 2014 1 Comment By Ian Wade

zwipe 300x200 MasterCard really want to see those fingersMasterCard are trialling a contactless card with fingerprint reader.

The credit card giant are doing tests to see if a fingerprint function would work instead of a PIN number.

The company unveiled the protoype, which they developed in conjunction with Norwegian company Zwipe, who invented the fingerprint technology.

The contactless payment card has an integrated fingerprint sensor and a secure data store for the cardholder’s biometric data, which is held only on the card and not in an external database, the companies said.

The card also has an EMV chip, used in European payment cards instead of a magnetic stripe to increase payment security, and a MasterCard application to allow contactless payments.

The card is currently thicker than the usual ones, as it will have a battery in it to make it work, however Zwipe plan to eliminate the battery and make it the same as other cards, once they’ve started harnessing energy from contactless terminals.

As the fingerprint authentication is quite unique, there’s no limit on contactless payments, whereas other contactless cards have limits in them so that bad people can’t use them to buy diamonds.

Norwegian bank Sparebanken DIN has already tested the Zwipe card, and plans to offer biometric authentication and contactless communication for all its cards apparently.

Hands up if you want Mastercard to store your fingerprints?

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.”

Apple: Releasing a load of stuff again

October 17th, 2014 No Comments By Mof Gimmers

apple logo Apple: Releasing a load of stuff againApple love the big event so much that, at the moment, they’re having one every two seconds, or at least, that’s what it feels like.

Yesterday, they revealed two new iPads and a high-resolution screen iMac desktop, which of course, we already told you about.

Basically, Apple are giving everyone the iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 3, as well as blarting on about Apple Pay where you can pay for stuff with your phone (which of course, is a thing that’s been around for ages under different names).

So what about the Pad Air 2? Well, it is thin. You can get it in silver or gold and it is now thinner than a biro at just 6.1mm thick. Apple reckon it is the world’s thinnest tablet. It comes with a faster processor and a better camera too.

The new iPad has now got a lot of the features that you’d find in an iPhone, so you can now do slow motion video and burst shots with it, and it has the fingerprint ID sensor. Apple’s new OS, Yosemite, will be available as a free download too.

The new iMacs will have a sharper display. How much sharper? According to Apple, they’ll have seven times the amount of pixels you’ll find on a standard HD TV.

If you’re after a new iPad, prices start at £319. If you’re wanting a new iMac, prices start from £1,999.

Voice search: The kids are alright about it

October 16th, 2014 No Comments By Ian Wade

girls texting 300x200 Voice search: The kids are alright about itA recent study by Google, into the voice-search habits of Americans, reckons that if you still type in your search request, then you are like, really old and should book Dignitas immediately granddad.

The Mobile Voice Study found that while teenagers are all fine and everyday about using voice search daily, only 41% of adults use it.

And out of that lot, 56% of the adults feel like a nob doing so.

Google also spotted that teens are happy just to use voice search willy-nilly. Right there. In front of you. Making anyone over the age of 20 wish they were dead. They don’t care.

Shall we gander at some of the other findings? You may be quizzed on it later, so best to be prepared.

40% use voice search to get directions;
32% use voice search to initiate phone calls;
39% use voice functionality to dictate text messages;
38% use voice search while watching television;
41% wish voice search could tell them where the TV remote was located;
23% use voice search while cooking;
51% of teens and 32% of adults use voice search ‘just for fun’;
27% use voice search to check the weather;
22% of teens use voice search in the bathroom.

Scott Huffman, Google’s Vice President for Conversational Search in a press release that accompanied the blog post, said: “Voice search is a key feature of the Google app that’s becoming ever more important as people spend more time on their mobile phones,”

“We wanted to learn more about how people of all ages use Google hands-free on their phones. We found that for teens, voice search comes as naturally as checking social media and they’re getting very creative about how (and where) they use it. The study gives us great ideas about new ways we could help people – maybe even help them find their keys and other elusive objects.”

More video messaging solutions courtesy of Qik

October 15th, 2014 No Comments By Ian Wade

qik 300x285 More video messaging solutions courtesy of QikJust in case you weren’t keeping up to date with video messaging, along comes Qik. Qik was originally an app that came as part of the deal with Skype, but now Microsoft is trying to big it up as a separate thing.

According to Dan Chastney and Piero Sierra on Skype’s Big Blog: “A small team of Skype designers and developers recently took up the challenge to build a new app to run alongside Skype and provide an ongoing form of video chat.”

“They knew they had to create something mobile and lightweight, as spontaneous as messaging but as intimate as calling. And it had to be fun and easy to use. What they created was Skype Qik.”

Qik works on Google Android, Apple iOS, and Windows Phone gadgets. You can do 43 seconds of video footage to share over the internet, and then two weeks later it’s deleted. Like Snapchat, but with a longer tail.

The videos can be sent to multiple people simultaneously, who can reply in kind if they have Qik installed. If not, they get a text message with details about how to download it

Users can also records five-second GIFs, dubbed Qik Flik, to use if they are offline, but this can be only used on Android and iOS.

Skype bought Qik back in 2011 for $100 million and marketed it as a simple video chat app. But as Snapchat and a host of other firms started having success with short-lived picture and video apps, Microsoft decided to get in the game with this new software.

EasyJet allow you to check-in with photo

October 14th, 2014 No Comments By Mof Gimmers

easyjet 300x180 EasyJet allow you to check in with photoEasyJet are allowing passengers to check-in for their flights via the budget airline’s official app, by taking a photograph of their passport.

This means, thanks to an update to the Android and iOS apps, you now don’t need to manually tap-in all your details when registering for a trip.

The idea is that, this new feature makes the check-in process a whole lot quicker, by allowing everyone to sign in with their smartphone up to two hours before their flight at the 110 EasyJet airports.

“Our new mobile passport scanning function will save time for the millions of customers who use the app to input their travel documentation details,” said EasyJet head of digital James Millett. ”It’s another example of innovating to make travel as easy as it is affordable with EasyJet.”

The app is free on the App Store and Google Play.

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)