IPC magazines start using beacons

August 27th, 2014 No Comments By Ian Wade

nme 231x300 IPC magazines start using beaconsThe first UK-wide beacon campaign is launched by IPC Media.

The company behind such publications as NME, Chat and TV Times, will be running a money-off offer for customers that have downloaded OneStop or Appflare Redeem apps.

The promotion will be available in all of Tesco-owned OneStop’s 740 stores for a month from 1st September.

To be able to receive the promotion, consumers will have to enable Bluetooth and turn on notifications while in the store to receive a discount code they can redeem it at the till.

Katharine Challinor, retail sales director at IPC Media, says the innovative campaign will allow its customers to receive relevant and timely promotions.

It will target customers based on their interests to serve them discounts for magazines they are most likely to have an interest in, and start spamming them accordingly.

So, no doubt you can share in the harrowing despair of the 14,000 people left who buy NME as a magazine.

This is the latest in beacon trialling following the likes of Eat and House of Fraser, where a beacon in mannequins or on shelves sends out orders for you to kill alerts you to offers.

If shop staff don’t mither you enough, now bits of technology will. Fabulous.

Kitemarks for money apps

August 27th, 2014 No Comments By Ian Wade

bsi.png Kitemarks for money appsA new kitemark has been launched to help people trust certain apps with their personal data.

The new BSI (British Standards Institution) kitemark has been applied to Barclay’s new Pingit mobile payment service and Barclays Mobile Banking, after they were independently assessed.

Although the kitemark is initially being piloted within the banking industry, the BSI envisages that its use will be adopted by a wider range of firms – for example within the entertainment industry.

Anyone wanting to get a kitemark for their product will have to go through hardcore testing so that their security meets the required standards for dealing with confidential data.

Those that meet the standards will be able to give customers confidence by displaying the kitemark on their products and in their marketing materials.

This is quite the thing as three quarters of Brits now use the internet for shopping and just over half now bank online.

Maureen Sumner Smith who is the UK managing director at BSI, used her mouth and said: “More and more of us are now sharing confidential information through online shopping, mobile banking, booking flights, gaming, university applications or interacting with local government. These behavioural changes from the physical to the digital demand the need for even more rigorous security measures.”

“Many organisations have good information security processes already established, but by having their systems independently tested on a regular basis as part of the BSI kitemark process, they can clearly demonstrate to customers their commitment to safeguarding information.”

Even bigger iPad a-coming

August 27th, 2014 No Comments By Ian Wade

apple logo Even bigger iPad a comingApple are bringing out a bigger iPad!

According to reports, Apple are launching a new iPad in the first part of 2015 with a new 12.9 inch screen.

This iPad size follows the 7.9 inch and 9.7 inch.

But don’t leap off a cliff just yet, an updated version of the 9.7 inch iPad and the mini will be in the shops by Christmas, according to Bloomberg.

The iPhone is now expected to increase to 5.5 inch screens, which should be announced at an event on September 9th.

Obviously the company is on the skids and keen to do what it can to make up only selling 13.3 million iPads in the Apr-June period, down a colossal 9.% on the same period the year before.

And iPhones only scraped 35.2 million sales, short of the market predictions of 36 million.

Let’s all cross our fingers and hope things work out for them at this difficult time.

BT to ruin your Christmas

August 26th, 2014 4 Comments By Ian Wade

bt logo BT to ruin your ChristmasBT are raising their prices in December. Merry Christmas!

That’s right. The telco have announced that they are to raise the prices of their phone and broadband by 6.5%

The price rise has been – surprise – defended by BT, claiming that most customers are on inclusive packages, and that bills have actually decreased by 14% in the last half decade.

It will increase the line rental for direct debit customers by 6.25% to £16.99, and the rate for calling UK landlines by 6.44%.

And also, set-up fees for landline calls, residential calls, to the speaking clock and call return charges will also increase for some or all customers.

BT’s option for low-incomes, BT Basic, will stay the same at £5.10 a month with a call allowance.

Of course, they’re not nearly as keen to have an option where you can get a fibre optic broadband connection without the need for a landline (as a lot of people just rely on their mobiles these days), but there you go.

Amazon goes shopping

August 26th, 2014 No Comments By Ian Wade

twitch 300x300 Amazon goes shoppingAmazon.com have bought live-streaming gaming network Twitch and they’ve paid $970 million for it too.

In cash.

They’d been in a bidding war with Google for Twitch, which allows gamers to broadcast live streams from PCs, XBox and PS4 consoles of themselves playing video games.

Twitch, who we banged on about here, also run gaming events and redistributes content from Joystiq, Gamespot, and Destructoid, Manvsgame and more.

Twitch also has 55 million visitors, which might have something to do with the keen interest from both companies.

This is seen as another step in Amazon’s strategy to big up their entertainment services, and video games are a big old market where cash literally grows on trees (especially in the online game ‘Cash Trees’ where you play a tax-dodging entity having to hoover up as much cash off trees or something).

But what has Jeff Bezos to say, hmmm?

“Broadcasting and watching gameplay is a global phenomenon, and Twitch has built a platform that brings together tens of millions of people who watch billions of minutes of games each month.”

Tens of millions. Bet his pants tightened at that.

Help save Earth from cybercrime!

August 22nd, 2014 No Comments By Ian Wade

GCHQ Help save Earth from cybercrime!Fancy yourself as some kind of cyber-crim thwarter? Well, you’re in luck.

The British intelligence agency GCHQ, have launched an online game to test whether you’d be any good at stopping a fictional attack.

GCHQ are hoping to find some masterminds among the gameplayers, and then use them, USE THEM FOR THEIR MINDS.

And it’s not a piece of puff, winners of previous missions have gone on to work at the agency.

In the game, called ‘Assignment: Astute Explorer’, users must protect a fictitious aerospace technology company threatened by imminent attack from imaginary cyber terrorists called The Flag Day Associates. There’s even YouTube threats and all sorts. Fancy that!

The story goes that fictitious company Ebell are concerned about the threat of an imminent attack and have asked GCHQ operatives (the public playing the game) to assess the scale of the threat. Sounds like fun.

If you fancy your chances at, you know, one day possibly saving the world, head here.

Playstation ruining gamers bank holiday

August 22nd, 2014 No Comments By Ian Wade

playstation network 300x216 Playstation ruining gamers bank holidayPlaystation is having a scheduled maintenance. On Bank Holiday Monday.

“THE BASTARDS!”, some of you cry.

The Playstation Network will be off at 5.40pm and won’t be back until 0.50am Tuesday.

PlayStation users will be unable to access the PlayStation Store, PSN account management and Network account registration.

Entertainment services and online gameplay will also be unavailable, and you won’t be able to sign into PSN via the PlayStation website.

So, you know. Go outside. Visit friends.

Finally put those shelves up.

Soundcloud: Now with ads

August 21st, 2014 No Comments By Ian Wade

soundcloud 300x150 Soundcloud: Now with adsMusic platform Soundcloud have announced plans to bring advertising onto the site.

There are also moves being made by the company so that users will be able to collect royalties too.

According to an email to users this morning, Soundcloud founder Alex Ljung explained that “We’re laying this foundation by initially inviting a small group of creators to become Premier partners in the On Soundcloud program, enabling them to make money on the platform. Over time we will roll this out across the creator community.”

“To make this possible, we’re introducing advertising from select brand partners to SoundCloud. When someone sees or hears an ad, they’re supporting an artist. We will include ads gradually and bring on more advertisers as we grow On SoundCloud.”

It is also part of a new licensing deal with various companies, including Sony/ATV and BMG

The adverts will come from the usual suspects, and naturally you’ll be able to avoid them by signing up for a premium account. So far, so Spotify.

Quite what this will mean for the literally penniless unsigned acts and bedroom fiddlers, who use the platform as a free sharing device to get their tunes and mixes out to a wider audience, is anyone’s guess. Although, you could guess that they’ll remain penniless.

The company are still in negotiations with other major companies, in a bid to stop suing anyone who uses one of their tunes on the service.

Radio Times are launching a special animated Dr Who cover with its next digital issue.

The magazine, exclusively to iPhone and iPad, will celebrate the return of the series with a special Blippar-enabled cover, as well as a 68-page supplement about the show’s first decade, with an episode guide and a Dalek-building walk-through.

Dr Who covers have always been a big seller for the magazine in the past, but this is the first time they’ve gone all specially animated.

The cover celebrates the arrival of Peter Capaldi as the new time lord, and features an exclusive interview, as well as hidden clues for the series ahead.

Is this the future of magazine publishing as print dies a slow and, in some cases, quite horrible death?

The special edition Radio Times digital issue is available for a promotional price of 99p for all you giddy, salivating Whovians out there.

youtube 300x300 Googles musical YouTube service! Its here!Google’s long rumoured music service is upon us!

YouTube Music Key will feature over 20 million tunes and videos curated especially for the service.

It will offer a 30-day trial for free, and then a monthly subscription giving access to what they’re bugling as “high-quality tracks – complete albums, organised into artist discographies”, specifically for YouTube with both video and audio-only streaming and offline listening.

It’s likely that the service will link in with Google’s current Play Music All Access thing, which also costs £9.99 a month.

According to reports, the YouTube service will offer concert footage, covers and remixes in addition to the official discographies of artists.

Google will offer an enhanced version of YouTube’s existing recommendation engine based on user choice, making suggestions of what to listen to as users watch videos on YouTube.

The service is expected to be offered once they’ve cleared up all the business of licensing and rowing with smaller labels.

That will no doubt be exciting… but won’t stop people enjoying the fruits of the torrent tree.

iPhone 6 to have reversible USB

August 20th, 2014 No Comments By Ian Wade

reversible usb port 300x225 iPhone 6 to have reversible USBLooks like the iPhone 6 will have a reversible USB cable with it.

An Apple bod posted a picture of the cable on Twitter, which helpfully showed the difference between the old school normal cable, and the new so-called “lightning” cable.

The Lightning cable can already be used in the latest round of iPads and iPhones, and so users no longer need to have freak outs about plugging them in wrong anymore.

According to a patent discovered by uSwitch, the cable is very clearly a thing. Designed to help rid the planet of “user frustration” and to reduce the potential for USB connector damage.

Another, new reversible cable was announced by the snappily titled USB Promoter Group, but that’s not compatible with ANYTHING useful at the moment.

So there you have it. Less swearing in your life.

Flappy Birds chap reveals Swing Copters

August 20th, 2014 No Comments By Ian Wade

Flappy Bird lovers unite, for the creator has announced a new game which will entertain you in a way that is so frustrating that you might chew your own hands off!

The brilliantly named Flappy Bird creator Dong Nguyen has come up with a new time-wasting bit of addictive nonsense in the form of Swing Copters.

swing copters 500x292 Flappy Birds chap reveals Swing Copters

The scrolling game demands its players to tap to make a character, handily wearing a propeller hat, fly from side to side, while avoiding troublesome platforms and hammers.

It’s out on August 21st as a free download, and there’ll be the option for players to pay 69p via an in-app thing which lays off the adverts.

Poor old Dong got it right in the neck when he took Flappy Birds down in February, after he was a bit concerned at how huge it had become.

Online critics gave heavy shade, and even – you big people – death threats were being thrown at him. He did however remain unkilled long enough to launch Flappy Birds Family on Amazon’s set-top box thing.

So anyway. Put down those weapons and rejoice again!

Snap, crackle and app!

August 19th, 2014 No Comments By Ian Wade

Where once it was Snap, Crackle & Pop, Kellogg’s Rice Krispies have now launched an app.

Yes, the jolly breakfast cereal ideal for the nippers and can multi-task as a delicious chocolate krispie cake snack, has gone all future, with an ISO app and Isobar.

rice krispie app 300x225 Snap, crackle and app!

Kids can now go on an adventure in something called Mallow Town.

They can choose one of the three characters to have an adventure, personalising it all with video and making it shareable on social media.

There’s recipes and the like too, as well as ‘engaging content aimed at the user’ type stuff.

rice krispie app2 300x225 Snap, crackle and app!

Isobar creative director, Pierre Duqesnoy, said: “It’s great to be going beyond traditional channels to create genuinely rewarding experiences for kids and parents to enjoy together. Kellogg’s Rice Krispies enjoy a special place in families’ imaginations, and this app takes this into a whole new space, powered by technology.”

Sure sounds a lot more fun now you can no longer seem to get a novelty gift with each box, which then some morons would mistake for cereal and then choke on it.

Happier times.

Apps: We’re just not as bothered as we were

August 19th, 2014 1 Comment By Ian Wade

apps 300x199 Apps: Were just not as bothered as we werePeople are not as arsed as they once were with smartphone apps, according to some new research.

A report by Deloitte shows that the average amount of apps downloaded per user per month is on the wane and declined a fair bit over the last year.

Almost a third of smartphoners in the UK do not download any apps in an average month, which is up from one-in-five last year.

Users tend to be more savvy and have a set amount a favourite apps sorted within the first few months of getting a new phone.

But it’s not a full-on sign of the collapse of the app market, as Deloitte reckon that more smartphone users over the age of 50 aren’t that bothered in adding additional stuff.

Paul Lee, whose job title ‘Head of research for technology, media and telecommunications at Deloitte’ is a bit longwinded, said, “The new adopters of smartphones use them mostly for text messaging. When you look at who uses IM services like WhatsApp and WeChat, it tends to be younger age groups and it declines very steeply with age.”

“The ‘if in doubt download it’ attitude to consumer apps is clearly on the decline,” he points out.

xbox one square Dad called cops after sons Xbox extravaganceA dad shopped his own son after he blew nearly £3,000 on Xbox games.

Using the family business card, Daniel Holmes managed to make 77 payments to the Xbox Live network.

Naturally, dad Ian hit the roof, and called the police when he discovered the payments on his card statement.

Daniel  made 77 payments to Xbox live, which came to £2,400. With interest this totalled £2,800, North Devon Magistrates’ heard on Friday.

While Daniel had an investment in the family business, and had the card legitimately, once confronted by his dad about it, did not deny it, but admitted that he couldn’t pay it back.

Tim Hook, defending Daniel, said: “The defendant continued to use it, on each occasion buying Xbox games and carrying on a form of gambling which increased into a relatively substantial sum.”

His father asked him to repay it. He said he was extremely annoyed and “could hit him”".

He also realised that Daniel – then unemployed – would be unable to pay £200 a month. Hence a court case. Holmes Jnr, of Ilfracombe, Devon, was ordered to do 100 hours of unpaid work and pay compensation of £2,097.88.

Don’t let your children use your credit cards. That’s the blindingly obvious lesson here.