Beware Minecraft scam apps!

May 26th, 2015 No Comments By Mof Gimmers

According to research, there’s around 2.8 million of you out there who have downloaded Minecraft applications on their Android smartphones and tablets, which are malicious.

There’s been a host of dodgy apps doing the rounds in the last year, and 33 of them have been spotted in the Google Play store. These apps tend to offer cheats and tips to players, but of course, they’re doing something else that is no good for you at all. Once you download these apps, you end up getting a warning which says your device has been infected with a “dangerous virus”.

These are some of the malicious apps.

minecraft scam 500x500 Beware Minecraft scam apps!

If the apps fool you, you’re then asked to sign-up with a premium-rate SMS subscription which tells you that it’ll rid your gadgets of nasties.

It won’t, of course. What it will do is charge you for texts, coming in at £3.40 per week, which is around £177 per year if you don’t sort it out. The bogus virus warning page looks like this.

minecraft scam 2 500x332 Beware Minecraft scam apps!

One of the things that gives away these apps are the myriad of negative reviews and comments they’ve received. If you’re ever downloading any app, it is always worth looking at the score they’ve been given and checking out the reviews on Google Play, right before you hit the download button.

A number of the apps have been removed from Google Play, but that’s not to say they got them all. Obviously, snide developers are probably making more and tying them in the with hugely popular Minecraft game.

Like we said, to stop this happening, always look at the ratings and reviews on any app and get some security software for your Android phone. You can see some of the best anti-virus Android software here.

Best Android anti-virus and security apps

May 26th, 2015 1 Comment By Mof Gimmers

android lollipop Best Android anti virus and security appsThere’s always a risk of getting a grim virus on your Android device and, seeing as we all use our tablets and phones so frequently, it is worth making sure our gadgets are safe.

Seeing as Google Play is a bit of a mess and there’s a lack of curating going on, on their part, it is hard to find the best apps for you.

One of the reasons there’s such a dizzying amount of apps around is that anyone can submit their apps to Google’s Play market, and that includes scammers and those who want to brick your phone and all that. Apps can also be downloaded from all over the place, not just Google’s store.

With Android being more open than other operating systems, this is often a good thing – but as ever, there’s always someone who wants to spoil it for everyone.

So with that, let us look at what we think are the best Android antivirus apps around. Search for these in the Google Play Store, read the reviews from other users and see what is best for you.

THE BEST ANDROID ANTIVIRUS AND SECURITY APPS

Avast Mobile Security & Anti-Virus (click)

One of the most highly rated anti-virus apps is the Avast Mobile Security & Anti-Virus, which provides you with a load of background tools to thwart any bleakness you may stumble across. The app is free, too! This is probably the best you can get.

Qihoo 360 Mobile Safe (click)

Another good freebie, the Qihoo 360 Mobile Safe has a big array of useful tools and fares well with other users. This is arguably as good as the Avast app.

Kaspersky Internet Security for Android (click)

Yet another good free app, Kaspersky Internet Security is a solid app that offers protection for your Android devices. Well worth checking out.

Ikarus Mobile Security (click)

This app will cost you £7 inc VAT, and is a lightweight security app that should give you what you need to protect your Android device. That said, we feel it isn’t quite as good as the aforementioned freebies.

Norton Mobile Security 2014 (click)

A popular and famous name, the Norton Mobile Security 2014 app has a lot of helpful tools to manage and secure your phone and again, it is a free download.

Lugging a TV out of the shop is still a pain in the hole. Even though they’re getting lighter and thinner, they’re still pretty cumbersome. However, LG might have just the solution as they’ve come up with a television set that is so light and so thin, it bends like paper.

The TV is less than 1mm thick, and so light that you’d only need a couple of magnets to mount it on the wall. And if it fell off, it’d probably float like a feather or something.

Of course, this is just a concept at the moment, but it looks like this is the future of TV sets.

LG display 500x375 LG makes TV so thin, you can bend it like paper

This TV uses OLED technology, which LG are really keen on. This means that displays can be much smaller because there’s no need for a backlight, like LCD screens have. And to show off, you can bend it while it is switched on.

Seeing as LG do displays for people other than themselves, you can imagine that a load of electronics companies are going to be sniffing around this. Someone will make a phone that is as light as a cigarette paper – just you watch.

Anyway, technology is getting lighter and thinner, so good news for removal men!

It isn’t good to mess around on your mobile while your hands are covered in chicken grease. With that in mind, KFC are pulling a stunt where they serve fried chicken on trays that come with disposable Bluetooth keyboards.

The tray syncs up with your mobile, allowing you to troll friends and be ignored by celebrities on Twitter without making your touchscreen a complete mess.

It has been named the ‘Tray Typer’, the mega-slim Bluetooth keyboard is so thin and flimsy that it can be folded up.

KFC Keyboard 500x332 Finger clickin good disposable keyboards from KFC

Regrettably, this was only available in KFC Germany for a week, but we do hope that this gets tried out elsewhere, so we can try it out. It was so popular in Germany that every single keyboard was taken home (aka ‘nicked’).

WE WANT ONE.

Google Glass to make a comeback?

May 19th, 2015 No Comments By Mof Gimmers

google glass Google Glass to make a comeback?The appetite for Google Glass hasn’t been too great, leaving Google to pull the idea for a while. While the idea of the gadget isn’t all that bad, there was something awry about it and the prohibitive price didn’t help matters.

With all that in mind, the wearable technology could be making a comeback, as part of a new crop of wearable products. With the Apple Watch selling like hot cakes, the time might be right for Google to chance their arm again, in this particular field. We shouldn’t forget that virtual reality is just around the corner too.

So what’s the score? Well, there’s been a number of job adverts on Google’s website. The Google Glass team are now focused on developing “smart eyewear and other related products,” suggesting that Google are going to expand beyond the goggles.

These job listings include an Audio Hardware Manager, a Human Factors Designer, an RF Systems Engineer and a Hardware Automation Engineer (Manufacturing). It has also been rumoured that Google will be unveiling a new version of the Glass headset alongside other wearable products at the Google I/O developer conference at the end of this month.

Google just need to remember that, whatever they do, it has to have style as well as substance, as the old glasses looked a bit grim. The Apple Watch has been warmly received for the aesthetic, so Google Glass needs to look like a designer pair of specs and, importantly, not cost a grand. Then, they might be on to something.

Apple Watch not as secure as you’d think

May 15th, 2015 1 Comment By Mof Gimmers

Having secure gadgets is a good thing as it offers you some solace that, should it get nicked, it might be useless to the crim who swiped it. However, the Apple Watch might not be as secure as you’d hope.

The 1.0 version of the smartwatch doesn’t really have anything to protect itself against thieves. Basically, if yours gets stolen, it is pretty easy to reset it and waltz away with it like it is brand new.

iPhone are much less easy when it comes to resetting, but with the Apple Watch, you can easily reset the device and pair it with a new phone, and you’re away.

Look! Here’s a video and everything!

Apple site iDownloadBlog pointed out the lack of an Activation Lock-like feature on Watch OS 1.0. “It’s not a security problem from a user data standpoint, but it is a security issue from a device theft standpoint,” it said.

“At the very least, it would seem that Apple could make it so that the device checks against the Apple ID of the last paired device, and requires the proper credentials before un-pairing with that device.”

BitTorrent launches chat app

May 14th, 2015 No Comments By Mof Gimmers

bleep bittorrent 300x187 BitTorrent launches chat appBitTorrent have launched their private messaging app, Bleep, across all the major platforms. Good news for those of you who don’t trust or like the existing ones.

Farid Fadaie, senior director of product development at BitTorrent, announced this news through the official BitTorrent blog. Farid confirmed that the app is now available to download on Android, iOS, Windows, and Mac from bleep.pm.

This is just the latest messenger app that is focused on privacy and security. Users of Bleep will be able to get a personalised Bleep key with the encryption keys for images stored on your device, rather than in a cloud.

That means there’s no server for hackers to get stuck into.

You’ll also be able to send ‘whisper messages’ with Bleep, which basically allows you to choose whether or not you want to keep parts of the conversation or not. With the whisper setting, all messages and pictures will disappear from devices after they’ve been viewed. Not unlike Snapchat in approach, but without – you’d hope – the privacy issues.

There’ll also be free voice calls, which are connected directly without the need for a cloud. Fancy a bit of this? Or will you wait a bit to see if it is another flash-in-the-pan app that you’ll have to move away from eventually?

ps4 20th 300x176 Sony and Game rapped by ASA for trying to run a fair PS4 promotionThe ASA has a tough job, investigating hundreds of complaints into adverts every year even if only one person has complained about an advert that no-one else saw. However, it seems it’s an even harder job these days to run a ‘fair’ promotion, even if the people making it unfair are the public themselves…

An ASA adjudication, published today, upheld a complaint against a promotion, jointly administered by Sony and Game stores, offered the first 100 entrants the opportunity to purchase a limited edition Playstation 4 games console (PS4), as well as giving five random entrants the opportunity to win the same console.

The promotion was a competition- a daily clue was published which described a specific character from PlayStation history. The clue also included a link to a ‘character image’ page, which contained over 300 different characters, and only selecting the correct character would give a link to a Game page with a submission form to enter the competition. Sony said the link to the Game page was updated approximately one minute before a clue was released to allow them to check that the link worked before the clue was released.

The problem was that people, being people, didn’t play fair. To start with, the link Sony posted was static, which meant that it could be copied and pasted on to a gaming forum site, for example, for anyone to click, not just those who had been bothered to work out the clue. Sony said their system functionality was not in place to allow for unique URLs, and they had “not foreseen” the issue of the submission form URL being shared. Sneaky sorts also devised clever little scripts that allowed them to access the Game page even before the Sony clue was published, effectively letting them jump straight to the front of the queue. Sony actually made 112 consoles available per day to try and compensate for this fact.

In addition, while  Game laboriously checked names addresses and IP details for daily winners, they didn’t manage to check across the whole period of the promotion, meaning  five people were able to purchase more than one discounted PS4, albeit on different days, which was in breach of the competitions own terms and conditions.

The ASA accepted that Sony and Game had tried to run the competition fairly, and noted they had time-stamping entries and only disqualified multiple or early entries, or those from outside the UK. However, the ASA found that, because of the actions of the naughty public, the promotion was not, in fact, run fairly and breached the CAP code on administration of promotions, as those who had entered fairly did not have an equal chance of actually winning.

We’re all spending twice as much time online in the UK, that we did 10 years ago. That might be something to do with the fact that the internet was slow and painful a decade ago and now it is… well… less slow.

Of course, we’ve collectively got more gadgets to play with now. Mobiles are better and there’s also the small matter of tablets and now, smartwatches.

This is all according to new research by Ofcom.

 

ofcom 3299765b 500x312 Were all online twice as much as we used to be

If you’re 16 or over, you’re spending an average of 20 hours and 30 minutes online each week, which is up from 9 hours and 54 minutes in 2005.

Ofcom’s Media Use and Attitudes 2015 report showed that the largest increase in internet use was among 16-24 year olds, which almost tripled from 10 hours and 24 minutes per week in 2005, to 27 hours and 36 minutes by the end of last year. There’s apps on your phone where you can easily send people photos of your junk now. All we had in 2005 was a row of fields and a phallus shaped stick to share.

Now, we spend time online while out and about, which is a relatively new thing, increasing from 30 minutes in 2005 to 2 hours and 18 minutes in 2014.

Interestingly, the mobile phone is now the primary gadget used for gaming.

Instant messaging has also seen a sharp increase, going from 38% of mobile users in 2013 to 42%. This is thanks to apps like WhatsApp and BBM. With Facebook getting in on the action, that figure is only going to increase.

Oculus VR machine on sale early 2016

May 7th, 2015 No Comments By Mof Gimmers

Is actual reality getting you down? Is everything too humdrum and irritating? Well, never fear, because virtual reality is on the way! Which one? Well, you can get the highly anticipated Oculus VR nonsense at the start of 2016!

That’s right – Rift with be released within the first three months of 2016.

 

occulusrift 500x281 Oculus VR machine on sale early 2016

There’s been developer versions of Rift knocking around, but they’re not too indicative of what customers will see on the shelves. The Facebook owned Oculus VR will be the first of the VR headsets on the market, beating HTC’s rival Vive product, and Sony’s Morpheus too.

Thus far, we’ve been given teasers which promise that Rift has a “more natural fit” and an “improved tracking system” than earlier models which we’ve seen. ”In the weeks ahead, we’ll be revealing the details around hardware, software, input, and many of our unannounced made-for-VR games and experiences coming,” Oculus said on its blog.

“Virtual reality is going to transform gaming, film, entertainment, communication, and much more. E3 is just around the corner – this is only the beginning.”

a child on the internet 300x182 Is a single digital market on the way?The internet is supposed to be a global thing, but entertainment companies insist on geo-locking their product, making certain elements of online frustrating and pointless.

With that, the European Commission have a plan to make a ”digital single market”, which aims to remove the borders from the content we get online. It is a nice idea, and obviously, one that is set to be fraught with red-tape and problems.

However, if it works, that means that Netflix, Sky Go and iPlayer could be available to everyone across the whole of the EU. The commission themselves say that the idea is that EU residents can enjoy “the same online content and services regardless of the EU country (they) are in”.

Another good thing that could spring out of this is the end of roaming charges. There could also be cheaper parcel deliveries, as everyone will be allowed to browse stores that reside in different companies, that are cheaper.

The European Commission has guessed that this could create (up to) £250bn in additional growth. Hopefully, this would mean companies could focus on better prices, better services and a better quality of products, because they’ll be investing in those rather than wrestling with regulations.

As an aside, this is a move from the EU to tackle the dominance of Google and Facebook, who incidentally, are being probed along with Amazon. This is a different investigation from the antitrust one. There’s going to be a report on the transparency of search results and there’s a potential for some regulation against them.

Internet rationing on the way?

May 6th, 2015 2 Comments By Thewlis

internet 240x300 Internet rationing on the way?Do you remember life before the internet? When you could actually argue over who was right on a contentious point for hours, rather than googling it on your phone? When people actually had to write to each other, rather than using email? When accessing certain private services could result in stuck together pages of a magazine rather than a wipe-clean screen? It seems those sepia-toned days could be making a comeback, as experts warn that we’re all gobbling up so much data, that pretty soon we’re going to run out of capacity, which could force us into a new age of internet rationing.

The reports predicting a capacity crash come ahead of next week’s Royal Society meeting in London, when industry experts will meet to discuss the ‘capacity crunch’ that power and data networks are moving towards, as incessant demand for web access goes through the metaphorical roof.

And don’t even think this is a Far Away problem, like pensions, that you don’t really have to worry about, the crash is predicted to fall sooner than you might think. Professor Andrew Ellis, an expert in optical communications, warns that, at the rate consumers are using the web, existing cables will reach their data capacity limit by the end of the decade. This decade. He calls it a “potentially disastrous capacity crunch”.

Of course, extra cables, and more technologically advanced ones, upgrading the UK data network to fibre-optic cables and the like have increased the ability of existing networks and cabling systems to deal with an increased demand for data. But scientists are suggesting even the newer cables are reaching their physical limit because of the rapid increase in popularity of web-enabled devices such as smartphones, tablets and laptops greedily sucking up data all day long.

So what’s the answer? Just lay more cables?  On top of the obvious cost involved in bolstering an infrastructure of this size, it seems money might not be the only problem if considering laying more cable. We could then run out of juice.

According to experts, The Internet is already consuming at least 8% of Britain’s total power output, which is equivalent to the output of three nuclear power stations all by itself, and increasing demand is pushing that higher, even before the added drain of extra cables. Lay too much cable, and the internet could suck all our power. And how would we do the vacuuming then?

BT’s head of optical access, Professor Andrew Lord, said ominously:

“It’s the first time we have had to worry about optical fibres actually filling up. We could expand the network by laying more cables but the economics of that do not work and it would increase power consumption.”

So there you have it- looks like we’re destined for internet rationing and a lucrative black market in dodgy data. The roaring twenties of the 21st century could involve everyone shouting at each other for their turn to have a go on the country’s internet…

flag tattoo man 300x187 Tattoos stop your Apple Watch from working properly?Have you got tattoos? Got a ’50s pin-up girl on your arm like you’re a sailor, riddled with scurvy? Have you got a butterfly next to your navel? Well, you should be okay if you buy one of the new Apple Watches.

However, if you have one on your wrist, you might have problems.

Apple Watch users on a number of social media sites have noted that their expensive gadgets lose connection and delivers inaccurate heart rate results if you’ve got wrists with tattoos on them.

It seems like the watch’s plethysmograph sensor doesn’t like the ink pigmentation of tattooed people and it can’t properly assess whether or not it is maintaining skin contact.

iMore decided to run some tests, and they said “we’re inclined to agree with those early reports — if your tattoo happens to be a solid, darker color. This is has to do with the way Apple measures your heart rate.” They added: “The tests produced misleading heart rate measurements on solid black and red colours. Tattoos with lighter colors seemed to give Apple Watch less trouble, only leading to heart rate readings that were slightly off the mark.”

You can hit the link above to read their test results, but this is potentially bad news for gadget loving hipsters with full sleeves on the go.

Tidal: already a massive flop

April 24th, 2015 1 Comment By Mof Gimmers

Tidal Tidal: already a massive flopRemember the launch of Tidal, where Jay Z said that him and his pals were making history, by offering a slightly expensive music streaming service? Those were the days eh? Our generation’s very own moon-landing moment.

Well, some of you cynics looked at the whole thing and wondered why on Earth you were supposed to feel sorry for a bunch of multimillionaires. The jaded were all ‘what? Shut up, superstars! Stick to making records, alright?’

Initially, Tidal burst into the American iPhone top 20 download chart, which was expected. However, in the fortnight since then, it has dropped out of the top 700. To make matters worse, all this talk has seen an upswing for Tidal’s rivals. Pandora and Spotify have seen a surge in customers.

In fact, since Tidal started tutting at Spotify, it reappeared in the iPad top 40 download chart for the first time in months. By attacking its rivals, Tidal has managed to give Spotify and Pandora a shot in the arm, increasing the public’s awareness of the products. They weren’t the only people profiting from all this - Beats Music has even seen an increase of people downloading their app.

Sadly for Tidal, they’ve shot their mouths off and made their competition even stronger, who have all ridden Tidal’s momentum and are now looking stronger than they were last year.

So well done to all concerned at Tidal.

Twitter threaten abusers with lockdown

April 22nd, 2015 No Comments By Mof Gimmers

fail whale 300x225 Twitter threaten abusers with lockdownPeople, for some reason, like shouting at strangers on the internet. HEY BUDDY! I HOPE YOU GET CROHN’S DISEASE AND SOMEONE MOWS YOUR MA DOWN WITH A STEAMROLLER! all over something daft.

For example, someone jokingly suggested Sue Perkins for Top Gear, which saw people sending her death threats. Some of these people are actual adults with actual jobs. Some people thought they’d threaten to sexually assault a woman for suggesting that Jane Austen should be on the £10 note.

Imagine getting arrested or a criminal conviction for something as lame as that?

With that, Twitter want to try and tackle the situation, which will no doubt see some people shrieking like someone with a 2-bar heater in the bath with them: WHAT ABOUT MY HUMAN RIGHTS?! WHAT ABOUT MY RIGHT TO FREEDOM OF SPEECH?! While others will just set up a sock-puppet account and carry on as normal, like they’re notorious MP [comment removed under legal advice].

There’s a couple of policy changes which is looking at this. Twitter will allow its support team to lock abusive accounts for periods, then ask users to confirm their phone number, while asking them to delete certain tweets.

Shreyas Doshi, director of product management at Twitter, said: “The updated language better describes the range of prohibited content and our intention to act when users step over the line into abuse. This feature takes into account a wide range of signals and context that frequently correlates with abuse, including the age of the account itself, and the similarity of a tweet to other content that our safety team has in the past independently determined to be abusive.”

“It will not affect your ability to see content that you’ve explicitly sought out, such as tweets from accounts you follow, but instead is designed to help us limit the potential harm of abusive content.”

Now, the Twitter policy has got rid of ‘direct, specific threats of violence against others’ and is now stating that ‘threats of violence against others or promot[ing] violence against others’ is not acceptable. You can still call them names though, so don’t worry.

Do remember this though: if you’re concerned that you aren’t being allowed to say what you want on a social media platform or indeed, in the comments on a websites, your freedom of speech isn’t under threat because you can still go and set up a Tumblr account or whatever, and spout off about whatever you want, whenever you want. So stop crying like a big internet baby.