YouView finally gets Netflix

October 31st, 2014 No Comments By Ian Wade

netflix transparent YouView finally gets NetflixNetflix is coming to BT YouView boxes. AT LAST.

The phone firm struck a deal with Netflix and now everyone’s happy. Customers will be able to add Netflix to their existing TV Entertainment package deal for an additional £5.99 a month.

BT put out a statement with words such as: “We continue to focus on strengthening our TV proposition and are excited to announce we have entered into a partnership with Netflix that will allow our customers to sign up for Netflix alongside our other products and services, with the added convenience of paying on one bill directly through BT” in it.

It’s about time too, as the absence of Netflix is one of the key moans about YouView

It is yet to be confirmed whether YouView customers who don’t own a BT box will be able to access Netflix through the platform, but we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it.

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.

pizza 300x168 Order pizza by shouting FEED ME! at your XboxOrdering a takeaway is hard. You have to first navigate all the menus on JustEat or rifle through all those awful flyers and menus you got stuffed unceremoniously in your letter box and then actually speak to someone on the phone or hit buttons with your fingers.

It is too much like hard work.

Well, here’s good news for you slovens – you’ll be able to simply shout at your Xbox One and get pizza delivered to your door. Sadly, no-one has worked out a way of getting it in your mouth without you walking to the front door and paying someone, but its a start.

Inspired by the Xbox 360′s Pizza Hut app, which raked it in thanks to gaming stoners, the new Domino’s app allows you to utilise the voice-function on your console and simply bark orders at it until someone makes and delivers you a pizza.

The app is optimised for Kinect and as soon as you say “Domino’s, feed me!”, you’re on the way to being fed. You may or may not be aware that Domino’s recently updated their iOS and Android app to allow voice-controlled ordering.

How wonderfully lazy this is.

public wifi Government turn public buildings into WiFi hotspot heaven!The government are turning over 1,000 public buildings into Wi-Fi hotspots!

Over the next few months, places such as libraries, museums, civic centres, transport hubs, sporting complexes and other buildings around the UK will begin to offer free Wi-Fi.

Now you literally have no escape from the bad rays of modernity. Some have already started doing it, and the plan is to get all of them up and running by March 2015.

According to the official Government website: “Millions of citizens, business men and women and visitors will be able to take advantage of free connectivity across the UK, which in turn will support our cities in becoming even more attractive places to live, do business, visit and invest in”.

Which sounds like the sort of speech you hear just before the population’s brains are harvested by killer robot overlords. Sadly the government nonsense bingo card fails to find ‘hard working’ in that statement. Perhaps it was the first draft.

It’s all part of the Government’s £150m SuperConnected Cities programme aimed at transforming the digital capability of UK cities, ensuring our cities boast world-class connectivity and are equipped to deal with the increasing demands of the digital age.

Digital Economy Minister Ed Vaizey chipped in with: “The digital landscape of the UK is undergoing a period of tremendous improvement and is all part of the Government’s long term economic plan. For business, visitors and the UK public, accessing wifi in our cities is absolutely vital. These free hotspots will be instrumental in making UK cities even more appealing as places to not only do business, but to visit as well.”

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.

Help charity via your phone

October 29th, 2014 No Comments By Ian Wade

snapdonate Help charity via your phoneA new Android app allows users to donate to charity just by pointing and clicking!

SnapDonate allows users to donate to charities on a one-off basis, just by pointing their camera at a charity’s logo.

The app recognises the logo from posters, bags or other marketing, and allows the user to send a donation handled through JustGiving.

So just point, snap and donate!

Let’s hear what Mark Warrick, founder and chief technology officer of The SnapDonate Foundation said: “In all the years I ran Busking Cancer to raise funds for Cancer Research UK, it was incredibly frustrating to see the look in people’s eyes when they were inspired to donate during a gig but just didn’t have cash on them. I vowed to enable people to help the causes they care about, without making it a chore for charities.”

“The new SnapDonate app is the first fruit of this labour of love. It is our gift to society. Pure and simple.”

The app currently works on 13,000 UK charities, including Alzheimer’s Society, Amnesty International, Cancer Research UK, Children in Need, NSPCC and the Royal British Legion.

So now you have no excuse, although remember to chuck a few coins in a bucket occasionally though, you MONSTER.

Would you pay for an advert-free YouTube?

October 29th, 2014 4 Comments By Mof Gimmers

youtube 300x300 Would you pay for an advert free YouTube?Remember when YouTube first kicked off, before Google swallowed it whole? Endlessly searching for obscure music videos and old TV shows without an advertisement in sight! Those were the days when the internet was all fields.

These days, things are different. For a kick-off, people are now able to make some money from YouTube. However, if you miss the ad-free days, Susan Wojcicki, Google’s senior VP in charge of the service has said that there is going to be a version of YouTube where you can pay to get rid of all the adverts.

YouTube has over one billion unique visitors each month, who between them, watch over 6 billion hours of videos per month and uploading 100 hours of stuff every minute of the day. The reach it has, especially in the lucrative 18-34 demographic, far surpasses any TV station on planet Earth.

So obviously, the service as it stands isn’t broken, but a lot of people do get irritated by rollover ads and the like… but are they annoyed enough to cough-up their money to lose all the commercials?

YouTube would presumably throw more at such a service, rather than just getting rid of salesmen. If they adopt a monthly subscription model, then you can imagine YouTube Premium (or whatever) would be advertless and allowing you to watch Exclusive Content From Some Bands Or Whatever and have an instant messaging services embedded in it, as the latter seems to be a huge obsession in the land of tech.

If the package was right, would you pay for a YouTube with no adverts?

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.

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.

HS3 trains to halve travel times in the North?

October 27th, 2014 No Comments By Mof Gimmers

train HS3 trains to halve travel times in the North?The time a train journey takes between Northern English cities could halve if predictions about the new high-speed rail project are correct, according to a report.

The HS3 plans were backed by Prime Minister David Cameron who reckons the new fast railways will ‘create a northern powerhouse’ by giving a shot in the arm to jobs and businesses.

Sir David Higgins, the head of the £50billion HS2 project, unveiled the next phase of plans which will potentially see travel times reduced between Leeds and Manchester, not to mention a host of other journeys.

He described it a ‘strategic necessity’ and as important to the North as the Crossrail is to London.

Cameron added: “Improving connectivity and reducing journey times between our great northern cities is a crucial part of our long-term economic plan for the north. That’s why we are backing HS3.”

The improvements would be in addition to the north-of-Birmingham phase two of HS2 which will see a Y-shaped route going to Manchester and Leeds.

With HS2/3, the predicted times are indeed, much shorter, with Manchester to Leeds taking half an hour, Birmingham to Sheffield taking three quarters of an hour and Manchester to York being doable in under an hour. How much it will cost everyone to use this service and whether trains will be on-time, is quite another matter.

like 300x168 Which!!! fraudster is using your Facebook to obtain false credit cards in your name...Social media is supposed to be fun. Ish. A way to connect with childhood sweethearts and a means for potential employers to decide whether you are the right fit for their company before they hire you. But now Which!!! have found a new, less amusing use for your Facebook profile- a way to get a free credit card.

As an experiment, and using volunteers, Which!!! mined some personal details from Facebook, and then used this information to cross check to other publicly available records, like telephone directories and electoral roll details. Which!!! then used these details to apply for three credit cards who do not require bank account details on an application (as presumably even the most muppety Facebook muppet wouldn’t post their bank account number on Facebook). While the applications with Santander and Nationwide ultimately proved fruitless, it seems it is possible to get a Capital One credit card in someone else’s name relatively easily.

Now, the application did require the correct home address for the person whose name was being used, but apparently this is a minor setback that is relatively easy to solve. Cifas, the UK’s card fraud prevention service, said so-called ‘current address fraud’ accounted for 75% of identity frauds recorded between January and August of this year. Typically, fraudsters target victims who live in blocks of flats where post can be nicked from a communal area, or apply for a credit card while the victim is on holiday (because you’ve been boasting about that upcoming trip ALL over Facebook), making it easier to surreptitiously retrieve the card.

Another sticking point could be your date of birth, and some silly folks still have their full date of birth showing on their ‘about’ tab. However, even if you don’t have this information showing, Facebook helpfully tells all your friends when your birthday is, so that they can write all over your wall, notifying potential identity swindlers of the date. And all you have to then is complain about being “30 next year” or something and they’ve got the year too.

The three card companies Which!!! identified told us they take credit card fraud and online security very seriously and each has various sophisticated measures and checks to prevent fraudulent applications and to verify each applicant’s identity. And to be fair to Santander and Nationwide, their measures seemed to work.

However, Capital One, the one whose checks failed to spot a fraudulent application, told Which!!! without a trace of irony that it “leads the industry both in preventing fraud and in assisting the victims of fraud” but that it advises customers to protect their data and to restrict access to their profiles on social media sites.

Which!!! do have further guidance about how to protect yourself on social media, which includes never mentioning your birthday, and never telling anyone where you are or where you’ve been, and by protecting your tweets so only 17 people can read them. Which all seems to kind of defeat the purpose of social media really…

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 2 Comments 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.