Free 2GB of storage from Google

February 10th, 2016 1 Comment By Mof Gimmers

GoogleDriveLogo 02062013 300x168 Free 2GB of storage from GoogleIf you’re a customer of Google, be it a Gmail user or enjoy the fruits of Google’s Drive storage, then you’re allow 2GB of free storage if you want it.

How do you get it? Well, every year, Google ask you to go a security check-up and, today, you can get the free storage just by doing it. Very handy.

Once you’ve done your security check, you’ll see that two gig of additional storage will have been automatically added to your account.

Of course, doing these checks is rather useful itself, and worth doing from time-to-time. At least when you do it now, you’ll get a reward. It shouldn’t take very long – ours took under a minute to do. You can check that the correct gadgets are accessing your profile (so it’ll tell you which phone, which tablet, which computer, or whatever, is using your Google account). This means you can nix anything dodgy, but chances are, it’ll be fine, you’ll press okay on everything and get free stuff!

If you want the free 2GB of storage, click here, and once you’ve signed-in and clicked a few buttons, you’re away! Free stuff is good.

UK paying too much for faster internet

February 8th, 2016 No Comments By Mof Gimmers

slow internet connection 300x294 UK paying too much for faster internetManufacturers in the UK are coughing up money for no good reason, as they are paying “inflated” amounts to secure fast enough internet access. This is according to EEF, who found that a quarter of small firms and half of medium-sized firms were paying over £5,000 a year just to get access that suited their needs.

Residential customers have been given a priority over businesses, according to EEF, and they’d like to see that sorted out, stat!

“While the quality of networks isn’t currently an issue, companies are paying inflated sums to have proper access and are fearful they will not have competitive access five years down the line,” said Lee Hopley, EEF chief economist.

In their survey, over 90% told EEF that a high-speed internet connection was “as essential to business as electricity and water”. Of course, with businesses paying over the odds to get at it, this is something of an issue. EEF themselves say that, without affordable access, Britain could miss out on the “fourth industrial revolution”.

Ofcom are actually looking into this area, investigating the quality, price, and fairness of the broadband sector in the United Kingdom. One of the things being muttered about, is the break-up up BT. Would broadband in Britain be better if it was owned by a company that was independent of BT? Many think so.

It looks like there’s going to be a shake-up of internet services over the coming years, so business access, and changes in who owns and maintains the network could be on the horizon.

Google are going after fake download buttons

February 5th, 2016 1 Comment By Mof Gimmers

new google logo 300x300 Google are going after fake download buttonsIt happens to everyone – you hit ‘download’ on something, and you don’t get what you wanted, but rather, sent to some annoying site that is filled with crappy adverts, or worse, something that tries to load you up with malware.

Well, Google are not happy about these sites, and are tinkering with their Safe Browsing service (that you get with Chrome) so that you’re warned explicitly about content that might not be what it says it is. Notably, they’re going after buttons that promise one thing, and give you something entirely different.

Google have said: ”Consistent with the social engineering policy we announced in November, embedded content (like ads) on a web page will be considered social engineering when they either: pretend to act, or look and feel, like a trusted entity — like your own device or browser, or the website itself. [Or] try to trick you into doing something you’d only do for a trusted entity — like sharing a password or calling tech support.”

So, if a website is repeatedly flagged up by users, Chrome will start throwing up a big warning at you when you’re on it. Basically, it’ll mither you until you’re at ease with using it, or go elsewhere.

You can assume that Google will be running tests on sites that are flagged up, because if they don’t, mischief makers will be able to flag up all manner of innocent sites, and the whole internet will be covered with warnings… and that’d be terrifically annoying.

This is the latest safety feature implemented by Google for the Chrome browser, and certainly not the last. Now, if they could do something about who go on about their keep-fit routines too often, that’d be great.

App Store and iTunes is down

February 5th, 2016 No Comments By Mof Gimmers

sad apple logo App Store and iTunes is downThere’s been a fair amount of complaining on social media, about Apple’s various outlets being down. One problem sees users being told that they’ve been frozen out of their iTunes account, being asked to validate their details, only to find they still can’t get in.

Other services are on the blink too, with problems arising with the App Store, iTunes Store, Mac App Store, Apple TV, iBooks Store, iTunes in the Cloud, iTunes Match and the Volume Purchase Program. Looks like there’s issues with some iCloud services too.

People have also been reporting problems with iMessage too.

So, basically, if you’ve been trying to buy stuff through Apple, or update your apps, and been having a nightmare with it all, don’t worry yourself unduly – it isn’t just you. Of course, it is really irritating, but at least there’s a load of you that have fallen foul of it, rather than something being wrong with your account.

If you look on DownDetector, you can see that this is a global problem across multiple Apple services. There’s no word on what’s happening yet, but it is safe to assume that Apple are trying to get it all fixed as quickly as possible.

Facebook has a secret chess game for you!

February 4th, 2016 5 Comments By Mof Gimmers

facebook 300x300 Facebook has a secret chess game for you!Have you been talking to someone on Facebook’s messenger, and found them to be about as exciting as an old mop? Well, worry not, as there’s a secret (well, it isn’t a secret now) chess game built-in, which you can play with your pals.

First, in your message, tap in ‘@fbchess play’, and that’ll bring the board up, ready for you to play on. Now, all you need to do is to make the pieces move.

Easy enough – you type the letter of the piece you’d like to move, and then select where it is moving to. Obviously, the position is determined by the corresponding letters and numbers around the board.

The key for the pieces is as follows:

K for king
Q for queen
B for bishop
N for knight
R for rook
P for pawn

You’ll be able to work it out, as you’re incredibly resourceful and bright. However, should you get yourself in a tangle, and need some pointers, then all you have to do is type ‘@fbchess help’ in your chat, and you’ll get all the help you need.

Sadly, we can’t tell you how to be great at chess – you’ll have to do that for yourself. This is what the secret Facebook chess game looks like.

chess2 Facebook has a secret chess game for you!

windows 10 Youre about to get an automatic upgrade to Windows 10If you have a PC, then it’ll be getting Windows 10 soon, automatically. As of February 8th, the update is going to upgrade your operating system for you, even if your settings say that you’d like to do it manually.

Don’t worry though, as this won’t cost you anything and isn’t a trial version that you’ll have to pay for, or turn down at a later date. If you hate the idea of Windows 10, then you’ve got reason to be annoyed.

Microsoft has said that you’ll be getting a notification which will pop-up on your screen, confirming the switch to the newest OS, but that’ll only happen once the files have been downloaded already.

Now, if you really, really, really don’t want it, then Microsoft say that you’ll be able to ditch Windows 10 and revert to your old favourite within 30 days.

Now, Windows 10 is a little bit too keen when it comes to hooveirng up your data, and memorising keystrokes and the like, but no fear! Once you’ve done the switch over, check out our super-easy way of stopping Microsoft from getting at all your personal stuff, by clicking here.

The response to the new system has been largely positive, so if you’ve been a bit nervous about it, don’t worry. Also, this change isn’t going to affect business customers, so you don’t have to give your IT team too much of a headache.

Here’s a video of some hidden features on Windows 10 that you might like

Have Microsoft bought SwiftKey?

February 3rd, 2016 No Comments By Mof Gimmers

Windows 300x300 Have Microsoft bought SwiftKey?Microsoft have apparently bought the hugely popular keyboard app SwiftKey for $250 million. It is thought that they’ve bought this, not just for its popularity, but also that it can be used with artificial intelligence in Microsoft’s imminent Word Flow smart keyboard.

The app, if you haven’t ever seen it or used it, allows you to type text without removing your finger from your screen. It uses AI to predict which words you’re using, and analyses your writing style to improve the more you use it.

It has topped the charts on iOS and Android platforms, and has technology that can learn slang, which emoji you prefer, and people’s nicknames. The company themselves say that they’ve saved almost two trillion keystrokes and over 23,000 years in combined typing time.

It looks like this.

However, like a lot of businesses with a good idea, SwiftKey has not exactly been a great business model. That’s where Microsoft are hoping to change things.

Microsoft have indeed been busy of late, buying to-do app Wunderlist, the Sunrise calendar app, and Acompli. It looks like Microsoft are staying relevant by acquiring third-party apps. Could be a winner, provided they don’t make a hash of it.

Three new Apple devices next month?

February 3rd, 2016 No Comments By Mof Gimmers

apple Three new Apple devices next month?Do you like spending money on Apple gadgets? Well, you’re in luck, because it looks like there’s going to be three new things you can buy in March - the iPhone 5SE, the iPad Air 3 and a new version of the Apple Watch.

Some rumours are so specific, that the date for the new devices is March 15th, so if you like watching glitchy livefeeds of Apple events, you should mark the date in your diary. Or not. No-one’s forcing you. Of course, it might just be an announcement, rather than Apple showing off their new wares, so don’t get your hopes up.

The new phone is rumoured to be the iPhone 5SE, the 6C, or a 7 Mini, depending on who you’re listening to, and it’ll be a new entry level phone, to replace the 5C. You can assume it’ll be lighter, faster, have a better camera, and all the usual things you’d expect from an updated handset.

It should act as a teaser for the iPhone 7, which is due to hit the shelves some time in September of this year.

As for the iPad Air 3, quite a few people thought that we’d see that just before Christmas. Again, it’ll be an updated version of a previous model, and will be lighter, thinner, and will have improved speakers – possibly something tied in with Beats.

The new Apple Watch won’t be a huge change from previous models, apart from some new software and no doubt, a load of new straps you can buy for it. There’s talk of a FaceTime-camera being built into the smartwatch.

Obviously, these are all just unconfirmed mutterings, which will be met with a mixture of excitement from Apple fans, jaded sighs from people who think Apple isn’t as good as it used to be, and outright anger from people who don’t like Apple at all. It wouldn’t be Apple if it wasn’t for all three.

EU watchdogs meet about your personal data

February 2nd, 2016 No Comments By Mof Gimmers

peeping tom spy EU watchdogs meet about your personal dataRemember Facebook losing a court case about the way they transferred your personal data out of Europe and back to America?

Well, this case has massive ramifications for tech firms, because most of them make their money on the data they harvest, and EU data regulators are having a meet-up to discuss how these companies handle everyone’s data.

Watchdogs are looking at what happens next, now that the Safe Harbour agreement doesn’t apply in Europe any more. The previous agreement meant that business didn’t have to get authorisation for individual data transfers.

A replacement deal is still being mulled over, and it is thought that there’s going to be some kind of announcement about it tomorrow.

Any new pact means that American companies are going to have to convince EU regulators that there’s adequate privacy protections for Europeans and their personal data. A new agreement is all set to be called ‘Safer Harbour’, which must have taken all of 5 seconds to come up with.

Safer Harbour will try and work out a way of protecting citizens, without hindering American tech companies too much. There’s talk of an independent ombudsman being introduced, who could heavily penalise tech companies that aren’t careful enough with people’s personal information, and there’s also mutterings about this going to court all over again, should the tech companies not like any new proposals from Europe.

More when we get it.

Alphabet topples Apple

February 2nd, 2016 No Comments By Mof Gimmers

alphabet 300x149 Alphabet topples AppleWho is the most valuable company in the world? Well, if you’re able to deduce things from headlines, you will have guessed that Alphabet Inc are now top of the pile, knocking Apple from the top spot.

If you’re all ‘Alphabwho?’, then remember, that’s what Google changed their name to.

Why should some arbitrary list be of any importance? Well, there is something to be said about being top of this list. Once upon a time, IBM were top, who were then surpassed by Microsoft, who were in turn toppled by Apple, who have now been replaced by Alphabet.

Looking at that list, you can see how certain companies just start to fall out of favour, and given that Google and Apple were once best buds, before falling out over the development of the Android platform, this could be seen as something of a power shift.

Of course, this meant that Alphabet shares shot up this week, and in total is worth $568 billion, while Apple are worth $535 billion.

There’s been numerous analysts and reports, saying that Apple’s appeal is softening of late, and that they’re not shifting the amount of phones they once did. One problem market for Apple is China, where they’re just not that interested in new iPhones and the like.

Google/Alphabet meanwhile, have been doing a roaring trade since the restructuring of the company, while Apple seem to have spent half their time in court with Samsung and other.

Alphabet are hoping that Google’s search engine carries on being as popular, as well as YouTube videos, and not to mention the imminent self-driving cars, the mysterious X research division which does all the secret, weird stuff, and the smart-home thingy, Nest. They’ve got a lot of irons in the fire, and people seem to be responding to that.

The scrap between Apple and Alphabet is on!

Apple to go into virtual reality?

February 1st, 2016 1 Comment By Mof Gimmers

apple Apple to go into virtual reality?All the tech firms are looking giddily toward a world of virtual reality, and Apple are no different. There’s rumours that they’ve got a secret team working on VR and augmented reality headsets, in a big to take on HTC Vive, Sony’s efforts, and the Microsoft Hololens.

Of course, there’s also Facebook’s Oculus, so this is not a bunch of small-fry hobbyists making their way into this field. However, any involvement from Apple means that there’s going to be increased interest in new technologies.

This follows Apple honcho Tim Cook, praising VR, saying that it is ‘not niche’ and does have ‘some really interesting applications’. Like their other forays into wearable technology, such as the Apple Watch, it looks like the company are going to let everyone else go first to see what the take-up is like, and then, if there’s interest, they’ll swoop in with their own product.

There’s a lot of money to be made in this field – Sony’s PlayStation headset is going to cost around £300, which is more expensive than the console you’ll be using it with. If people go crazy for VR and augmented reality, then the companies that get it right, or have a loyal fanbase, stand to coin it in!

This is the year when things are really going to hot up, and get pushed in this area, so don’t be surprised if Apple start making a lot of noise about it soon.

Safari is down, knackered, and not working

January 27th, 2016 No Comments By Mof Gimmers

sad apple logo Safari is down, knackered, and not workingIf you’ve been wondering why you can’t open Safari on your Mac or your iPhone today, let us tell you – it isn’t working. There’s a bug that has busted it for everyone, and looks like it is affecting all versions of iOS and OS X.

It seems that on the iPhone, the browser keeps crashing, and on OS X, Safari is locking up. Some people are not experiencing this, but many are. Presumably, they can’t read this article, so let us take this opportunity to slag them off, by commenting about the size of their nose and how much they smell like the inside of a cheap pie.

If you want to fix the issue, go to the settings on your iPhone, hit Safari and disable ‘Search Engine Suggestions’, and hopefully, you’ll be able to launch your browser.

As for a temporary work around For Mac OS, you need to disable ‘Include search engine suggestions’, which you’ll find in the Safari preferences, and ‘Search’.

Apple say: “We are currently experiencing a global outage with Safari and working to get this resolved for everyone.

This is not related to the story we wrote yesterday, about the prank site ‘CrashSafari’, but if you want mess with some Apple users after this problem is fixed by making their browser crash again, you know what to do.

windows 10 New way to stop Windows 10 harvesting your data, all over againThere’s been issues with your security and Windows 10 before, and we’re here again, after some updates. Microsoft decided to make some changes, and we’re particularly good at letting users know what they were up to.

If you changed your settings when you heard about Windows 10 storing your keystrokes and voice commands last time, looks like you’re going to have to do it all over again.

Mercifully, this is not a tricky thing to fix. Here’s what you have to do:

First off, hold down the Windows key and press R. There, you’ll get a pop-up, where you need to type in ‘services.msc’. Press ‘enter’. In the list that comes up, scroll until you see ‘Connected User Experiences and Telemetry’. Double click that.

Then, click ‘Stop’. From there, you need to select ‘Disabled’ from the drop-down menu, and then click ‘OK’. And that’s it. You’re done.

Or, if the Threshold 2 update hasn’t installed on your device yet, this will all be under the ‘Diagnostics Tracking Service’, where you do the same as above to stop that from harvesting all your data.

Easy peasy.

Apple want to scan your face for emotions

January 8th, 2016 No Comments By Mof Gimmers

apple Apple want to scan your face for emotionsThose crazy swine at Apple are up to something, and it involves your emotional state. Seems like the phone vendor would like to be able to read your emotions through your devices. How? Well, they’ve bought a company that uses facial-recognition technology to read your feelings.

If you’re sad, or amused, or thoroughly jaded, your Apple Watch might be able to understand it.

Apple has acquired Emotient, which is an American start-up which is able to detect the slightest changes in your expressions, which aims to determine what your emotions are. The company refers to itself as “the leader in emotion detection and sentiment analysis based on facial expressions”.

Seems a bit creepy.

We’re not sure how you make money from this, but we can assume Apple have seen a goldmine in something to do with advertising, as that’s where the cash is. Maybe they’d sell user information on how happy, disgusted or whatever, a user’s response is to commercials and product placements. Who knows?

Just last year, Emotient said that they were planning to develop software for Google Glass, which would let people who work in shops see how customers respond to them. You can assume that means bosses could see if the assistants were making people happy or not, rather than the assistant themselves, not being able to trust their own eyes.

Apple confirmed the deal, saying that they “buy smaller technology companies from time to time”, and left it at that. Like we said – Apple – they’re up to summat.

Sun 300x225 LOreal show off patch that tells you youre burningMost of you reading this, will live somewhere that doesn’t get much sunshine, so burning is not something you’ll be too fussed about. Indeed, if you want to know if your skin is cooking or not, you’ll simply kick your brain in gear and say ‘I seem to be burning’, and put some sun-cream on.

Well, that’s not good enough for some folk. They’ll be interested in L’Oreal, who have made a smartpatch, called My UV Patch.

Basically, it is a wearable skin sensor which monitors UV exposure, and with the help of an app on your phone, will tell you about protecting yourself from the sun.

“Connected technologies have the potential to completely disrupt how we monitor the skin’s exposure to various external factors, including UV,” says Guive Balooch, global vice president of L’Oreal’s Technology Incubator. “Previous technologies could only tell users the amount of potential sun exposure they were receiving per hour while wearing a rigid, non-stretchable device.”

So, while you’re mucking around outside, you wear this patch and then scan it with your phone, and upload it. Then, the My UV Patch mobile app to tell you about how much UV you’re being exposed to.

Here’s a video of it.