Mozilla are currently hopping mad and investigating claims that Dell have been charging users to install Firefox for them. One report states that people have been asked to cough-up £16.25 to have the browser installed on their new computer.
Of course, Firefox is open-source and completely free. And it is an absolute doddle to install as well. Mozilla have said that there’s “no agreement” with Dell to permit this fee.
“Our trademark policy makes clear that this is not permitted and we are investigating this specific report,” said Denelle Dixon-Thayer, vice-prez of Mozilla’s general counsel.
If you look at Mozilla’s policy document, it says: “If you are using the Mozilla Mark(s) for the unaltered binaries you are distributing, you may not charge for that product. By not charging, we mean the Mozilla product must be without cost and its distribution (whether by download or other media) may not be subject to a fee, or tied to subscribing to or purchasing a service, or the collection of personal information.”
So what is Dell’s excuse? Well, they’ve said that they’re simply charging for time and labour: ”In this particular situation, the customer would not be charged for the Mozilla Firefox software download, rather the fee would cover the time and labour involved for factory personnel to load a different image than is provided on the system’s standard configuration.”
Are Dell just exploiting the dimwitted or is this an outrage? Comments please, readers.
Josh Grant’s mother died, leaving him with her iPad. Of course, the tablet was secured with passwords so Grant asked Apple if they’d unlock it for him. Apple refused, despite the fact Josh had provided copies of his mother’s death certificate and will. Apple, it seems, don’t think these things are sufficient.
Grant said: “We obviously couldn’t get written permission because mum had died. So my brother has been back and forth with Apple, they’re asking for some kind of proof that he can have the iPad. We’ve provided the death certificate, will and solicitor’s letter but it wasn’t enough. They’ve now asked for a court order to prove that mum was the owner of the iPad and the iTunes account.”
Naturally, Grant could buy a tablet all of his own, but you have to assume that, rather than wanting an iPad to dick around on, he’s actually wanting access to photographs and the like.
Threads have been started on Apple’s Support Communities, but it seems like the tech giants are closing them all down. However, these things are cached.
Obviously, Apple have these measures in place to look after devices that have been stolen.
Grant said: “I’m a big fan of Apple, their security measures are great but we have provided so much evidence. At 59, my mum was fairly young, I’ve already lost my dad and it’s a bit cold of them not to treat things on a case-by-case basis.”
Are you completely neurotic about your health? Well, join the growing army of the worried well who are using technology to plan, plot and monitor every breath with this new iPhone case from Azoi.
We’ve seen enough wearable health tech in recent months to clog up landfills for millions of years, but this is the first phone CASE that can check your blood pressure while you’re on the move.
The Wello case looks like an ordinary, boring black phone protector, but inside there are multi-purpose sensors that can accurately measure your ECG, blood pressure, heart rate, blood oxygen and lung function.
It’s a must for health freaks or just people with an abnormally high rate of self-absorption.
All you need to do is hold it in your hand, wait a minute and see whether it flashes red and starts beeping the Funeral March. (Actually, your readings are transferred to an app, which you can show to the doctor when you arrive at A&E, clutching your chest.)
The Wello case is out this summer and will cost £120 – which would probably be better spent on pies because you’re going to DIE ANYWAY.
We liked the look of Google’s Chromecast, and it appears that everyone else is going to be getting in on the action. If you missed it, or can’t be bothered to click on the link, Chromecast is a cheap device which you plug into your television, enabling you to stream things to it from your phone, tablet or whatever.
And now, Roku have announced their smart TV device, the Streaming Stick.
With this device, you can surf channels and browse from your iOS or Android phone or, if you like, use the bundled Roku remote. Channels that are available from Roku include BBC iPlayer, 4oD, Demand 5, Now TV, Sky Store and Sky News and you’ll be able to stream personal media from your devices. That includes your Netflix accounts and what-have-you.
The 2012 Roku Streaming Stick didn’t have the Chromecast functionality, so be careful if you’re looking at buying one.
Jim Funk, senior vice president of product management at Roku and owner of a marvellous, marvellous name, says: “The new Roku Streaming Stick gives consumers more choice for streaming entertainment to the TV than any other device. Consumers want a ton of entertainment, an easy way to search for movies and TV shows, and options to control the experience with a remote or mobile device. This new Roku Streaming Stick brings all that and more – and in a tiny form factor.”
Roku’s device is slightly pricier than the Chromecast, retailing at £49.99. However, it is in the shops now. Definitely worth looking at.
Welcome to the HUVr. That’s a hoverboard which a team claims to have mastered, thereby making a load of Back to the Future fans’ dreams a reality.
In the video below, you’ll see a promotional stunt showing off the HUVr, with celebrities like Skateboarding legend Tony Hawk, musician Moby and rap god Schoolboy Q taking the thing for a ride.
The video assures us that we’re watching the real thing, but it clearly isn’t the case. First off, the celebrities involved send alarm bells off. Tony Hawk will do anything to promote his brand. Moby will do anything for money (remember when his ‘Play’ album soundtracked every single advert ever?) and Schoolboy Q is a rapper and everyone in hip hop knows that you don’t make money from records anymore, so you get paid elsewhere.
The project says:
“What began as a summer project in 2010 at the MIT Physics Graduate Program has evolved into one of the most exciting independent products to be developed out of MIT since the high-powered lithium-ion batteries developed by Yet-Ming Chiang in 2001. Our team consists of materials science, electricity & magnetism experts who’ve solved an important part of one of science’s mysteries: the key to antigravity.”
“The HUVr Board team ultimately aims to improve the efficiency, speed and sustainability of mass transportation. Yet rather than spend several more years closed off from the world while investing in research and development, the team and our world-class investors have worked to change the economics R&D by marketing this exciting consumer product in order to fund ongoing R&D.”
Eagle-eyed viewers will look toward the shadows in the video to see bits of bad editing but, if they could do this, surely it would be the most wonderful invention of a generation.
Volvo recently showed off their new Tablet Crammed Into A Dashboard Thing, and now, Apple have decided to show off their new technology which takes them into the world of motoring.
Basically, Apple are taking iOS into your motor with CarPlay. In short, it is a version of the iOS interface, but simplified so you don’t crash your car while using it. It’ll have voice-controlled stuff, obviously, and interestingly, there’ll be no virtual keyboards.
CarPlay is able to sync up with your calendar and emails, and as a result, will anticipate meetings and give you suggestions for relevant destinations and direct you there. Siri will read your text messages too, while allowing you to dictate a response.
This is all furiously bad news if you’re having an affair.
Of course, you’ll be able to listen to music through iTunes and Spotify and, as yet, Apple aren’t letting many apps through that they don’t own. CarPlay is driven entirely from your phone (iPhone 5, 5s, or 5c). If you’re getting a Ferrari, Honda, Hyundai, Jaguar, Mercedes-Benz, and Volvo, and have an Android phone, this is a bit useless to you.
More on all that, over at Apple.
Volvo have gleefully announced their new “human machine interface” which will be shown off at the Geneva Motor Show.
You get a screen embedded into your dashboard which is divided into tiles. Most prominently, there’s information on navigation, media and stuff about your car and secondary features for messing about with your phone and the temperature of your vehicle.
Volvo say that this new dash ‘reduces visual noise’. To you, it looks like someone put a tablet in the dashboard, which is pretty snazzy.
You know how annoying it is to have to wait in all day for a parcel, only to find a card through your door in the two minutes you popped to the corner shop? Now someone has invented someone who can receive your parcel for you when you’re not even there. Your car.
Volvo are currently trialling a new smart car system that, basically, gives your car keys to a delivery , to enable them to leave your parcel in the boot of your car. Because that doesn’t have disaster written all over it.
The idea uses a smart-phone approved digital key, which allows one-time access to open the boot. Once the boot is closed, the key expires and can only be opened again by the person with the proper key, ie the car owner. The system is based on the functionality of the telematics app Volvo On Call, which, among other things, makes it possible to remotely heat or cool the car and see its position or fuel level via the mobile phone. The system also uses GPS so your car doesn’t even have to be in a stated place at delivery time- the parcel will come to you.
Volvo trialled the technology during a pilot programme of 100 people, 86% of whom agreed that ‘roam delivery’ saved them time.
Volvo are clearly dazzled by the benefits of the scheme, and are aiming to save some of the estimated €1billion re-delivery costs incurred when people aren’t in. We think they haven’t thought everything through. What happens when the delivery person forgets to shut the boot, or leaves raw fish on a sweltering hot day? And this all assumes shady sorts won’t be able to use the system/technology to get into, and off in, your car.
So what do you think?
If you’re getting sick of people looking at their phones while you’re trying to talk to them, then steer clear of Barcelona this week. The Mobile World Congress has begun and it’ll probably be more irritating than a Dom Joly sketch.
But the MWC is a big deal for companies rolling out their new toys, and today sees the unveiling of the waterproof Sony Xperia Z2, with an 5.2inch HD display and Android KitKat software (Mmmm, Kit Kats.)
There are also a lot of wearables, smart watches and health monitoring bands that look like really lame Swatches, and tons of ‘phablets’ – a really annoying word that makes me want to kick a hole in the wall.
And the other big news today is that finally, Nokia has woken up to the 21st Century and actually designed a phone that runs Android, rather than the woeful Windows. Hurray!
But unfortunately, the Nokia X is a bit crap and clunky and has an interface like one of those plastic cracker puzzles where you move the tiles around. It looks cheap because it is – retailing at around 90 euros. And it doesn’t even run Google Play.
Later on, there’s rumoured to be the launch of the Samsung Galaxy S5, and tonight Mark Zuckerberg will be delivering the keynote address. And there’ll be ringtones, finger swiping and demonstrations galore from Glassholes in casual shirts. For the next 4 days.
Which is all very well. But does anyone have a battery for an Ericsson?
Seeing as Google just got spurned by WhatsApp, who decided to get in bed with Facebook instead, they’re showing off all the interesting things they’re doing like a jilted groom copping off with everyone in the eyeline of his ex.
With that, Google have showcased a new phone that makes real-time, 3-D maps of environments. The phone will have “customized hardware and software”, which includes sensors which gives the device the ability to make hundreds of thousands of measurements every second, you can map a building or something. It could help those who are visually impaired, which is nice.
“We are physical beings that live in a 3-D world,” says Google says. “Yet, our mobile devices assume that physical world ends at the boundaries of the screen.” Watch the video below if you find written words boring.
So there you go.
A prototype of the device, developed by Google’s Advanced Technology and Projects unit is being doled out to 200 developers to play with and is going by the name ‘Project Tango’. If drinks and 80s footballs are anything to go by, Tango is going to be ace!
Now, they’re getting back into boring-but-supremely-practical stuff, and looking to get in on the action owned by DropBox and Google Drive. Today, they announced the availability of their (rebranded) cloud storage, OneDrive.
You may remember it was called SkyDrive, but BSkyB sued them for that.
So what’s it got going for it? Well, you get your first 7 gigabytes of storage for free. Like DropBox, you can get more if you refer it to a friend. Up to 5GB of free storage for that. You also get a further 3GB if you use the OneDrive camera backup feature.
“Five or 10 years from now, if you say that you lost a file, your kids will look at you funny,” said Chris Jones, the Microsoft vice president in charge of the company’s OS Services group. “It’s not going to happen. That’s the dream.”
However, with Microsoft’s many and varied balls-ups with security and data, they’re going to have to win over a lot of friends if anyone is going to take this seriously.
That said, people who aren’t using cloud storage may be won over by a big brand announcing their own. While Microsoft’s reputation may be mud with some nerds, the public at large invariably aren’t nearly as arsed. Could be just the thing to start making some new pals for Microsoft.
Like going for a run? Wear your iPod or iPhone (or even, your iPad because you’re a maniac) when you do? Well, Apple are aware of the amount of white earphones you see when people in Lycra charge by, and are looking at getting in on the fitness action.
You’ll no doubt be aware of the volume of people who are keeping fit, thanks to the profoundly annoying social media updates from various fitness wristbands and the like (note – if you’re one of these people, feel free to run into the nearest lagoon and never come back), and Apple have patented their own approach to it all.
They are planning on tracking how fit and well you are through your ears, thanks to some fancy headphones.
The sports monitoring system would put some sensors and accelerometers in the earbuds, which would track your physical activity, how much you’re sweating and what rate your heart is going at. There would also be a separate monitor which you could clip to your clothes or headphones. If Apple get on this, there’ll be no need for Apple Fanboiz to buy separate kit from Nike or whoever.
Here’s an image from the patent, via venturebeat.
With that, they’ve released a list of dos and don’ts, along with their idea of social etiquette, like they’re some kind of finishing school for web-designers with Fixie bikes.
Of course, new companies aren’t happy referring to you as a ‘customer’ or ‘consumer’, so have to come up with cloying titles that force the idea of some kind of loose-knit community. For Glass, Google have come up with ’Explorers’. Explorers of ‘the urban jungle’ no doubt.
The post says: “The first Explorers were developers from Google I/O 2012 and people who told us what they would do #ifihadglass. Since then, we’ve continued to expand the Explorer Program. We’re at the start of a long journey and we’re looking to our Explorers to help us develop this new technology. Since the program started, our Explorers have gotten a lot of attention when they wear Glass out and about. Reactions range from the curious – Wow! Are those the ‘Google glasses’? How do they work? – to the suspect – Goodness gracious do those things see into my soul?!”
If you’ve managed to recover from that hilarious jape, the guide says that people are encouraged to explore your surroundings (maximising your chances of getting mugged or mocked), utilise the range of voice commands (making you look mental), ask permission before taking any photos or videos (fair enough, but that won’t be heeded by dirty buggers), use the glass screen lock (fine) and to be an active member on the Glass Explorer Community (use a lot of hashtags in things, no doubt).
As for the don’ts, Google point out that you shouldn’t invade people’s space, not staring at the screen too much or reading too intently (which they’ve called ‘Glassing-out‘) because, seeing as you’re looking at a screen no-one can see, you’ll look like a dribbling lunatic on the bus. You shouldn’t wear the device while doing extreme sports, try not to be creepy and, in Google’s own words, don’t be a “Glasshole”.
If you want to see what Google have to say about it all, have a look at their post google.com/site/glasscomms/glass-explorers