Vapes: the latest thing to be malwared!

November 24th, 2014 No Comments By Ian Wade

e cigarette Vapes: the latest thing to be malwared!Electronic cigarettes have now become targets for malware transmission.

Yes, despite being a healthier alternative to the actual fags themselves, e-cigarettes that are charged over night – or plugged directly into a USB port – can be moody affairs that could gain access to your computer’s innards.

According to a report on Reddit, it suggests that at least one “vaper” had been done over by their electronic cigarette.

“One particular executive had a malware infection on his computer from which the source could not be determined,” the user writes. “After all traditional means of infection were covered, IT started looking into other possibilities.”

“The made in China e-cigarette had malware hardcoded into the charger, and when plugged into a computer’s USB port the malware phoned home and infected the system.”

It’s not completely mad. Things have been used as trojan horses to bung some infection into computers since time began, but in this case it’s the possibility of BadUSB, which can reprogram USB devices at the hardware level.

The proper brands that users should stick to are the likes of Aspire, KangerTech and Innokin, and by checking for scratch checkers on the box, which mark out authentic goods from counterfeits.

According to figures from the Press Association, e-cigarettes and related equipment, have been involved in more than 100 fires in less than two years.

The fags eh?

Cab app price war equals cheapness

November 24th, 2014 No Comments By Ian Wade

taxi 300x200 Cab app price war equals cheapnessTaxi apps. They’re at WAR.

The price war between the apps has heated up as the festive season encroaches, and London-based app Get Taxi has just gone hardcore on their competitor’s arses with bargain pricing.

The company will charge just a fiver to travel up to six miles in London, and the app will make up the rest of the fare.

This follows Uber’s fares being reduced by almost half.

Just as an example of the dimensions of this deal, a usual fare from Get Taxi around London is £30.

UK chief executive, Remo Gerber reckons: “There’s a lot of competition over the app makers and to a certain degree you need to think of things that you can do to stand out from the crowd.”

Hailo, Kabbee, Taxibeat and Maaxi are also attempting to gain market share in the UK, which has forced some minicab firms to lower their prices to compete.

There’s an increasing amount of competition from dozens of apps, and so it’s genuinely quite cheap to cab it up in the big cities at the moment. So take advantage and get ready for a LOT of Magic FM.

android lollipop 300x300 What can Androids Lollipop do, that KitKat couldnt?Android 5.0, or Lollipop, is set to be flung out to compatible devices and there’s going to be some changes. Some changes will be irritating for everyone no doubt, but there’s others that are pretty great.

With the latter, here’s some of the cool stuff you can look out for.

Battery and Charging

Instead of charging your battery and staring at it, willing it to juice-up more quickly, Android Lollipop’s new OS will show you how long it would take to charge your phone and will also have a little graph showing off how much time is left before the battery does. The home screen will no show you the time until full charge, which is handy.

Guests

You know how, on your computer, you can set up guest accounts so other people don’t get to nosey around in your business? Well, Lollipop is offering the same thing, so you can add guest users or create a profile for other people. By going to Settings/Users/Add Guest, you’ll be able to tailor what they  can do on your phone.

Torch

Most phones have some sort of torch on them, but now, Android 5.0 has the flashlight pinned in the notifications panel. Pull down the notification thingy and there it is! Hardly earth-shattering, but it not bad at all for those looking for some nice practical improvements.

Notification panel

Speaking of the notification panel, the new one has been made much easier to use. Unlike KitKat, the most useful feature you’ll notice is that you can have the ability to view your notifications on your lock screen. If you’re worried about leaving your phone unattended, then you can disable the function in Settings.

Flappy Bird

The new Android 5.0 has an ‘easter egg’ build-in where you can get a modified version of Flappy Bird. If you want to check it out, go to Settings/About Phone and click it a few times and you’ll get the android robot in place of the bird. The game will still irritate you though.

Chromecast

If you’ve got Chromecast, you’ll now be able to access it much easier. Now, you can simply go to the notification panel and tap ‘Cast Screen’. No more waiting for the ‘Cast This?’ pop-up.

Redesigned Soft Keys

Soft key buttons have been updated and the icons are a bit tidier, a little smaller and rather nicely compact.

Prioritise apps

Your phone can get a bit clogged-up when you’ve been using loads of apps through the day. Lollipop now gives you the opportunity to prioritise which apps you receive notifications from. So, if you’re going to bed, you can switch most of them off so you’re not flooded with pointless notifications first thing in the morning, or whatever.

Firefox say cheerio Google and hello Yahoo

November 21st, 2014 1 Comment By Ian Wade

firefox 300x288 Firefox say cheerio Google and hello YahooYahoo is to replace Google for Firefox’s web browser.

The move ends a decade long partnership with Google and the Mozilla Foundation, and will take place in the US in December.

Although Firefox users in Europe shouldn’t notice much of a change, Yahoo has said the deal “provides a framework for exploring future product integrations and distribution opportunities to other markets”.

Yahoo’s partnership is for five years, wherein they hope to introduce and enhanced search experience with an immersive design, which will go out to Yahoo users early next year.

“Mozilla is an inspirational industry leader who puts users first and focuses on building forward-leaning, compelling experiences,” said Marissa Mayer, Yahoo’s CEO.

“This partnership helps to expand our reach in search and also gives us an opportunity to work closely with Mozilla to find ways to innovate more broadly in search, communications, and digital content.”

Google had paid £300 million a year to be Firefox’s chosen one – which accounts for 90% of the browser’s annual revenue, however things have been a bit shaded since Google launched Chrome.

Driverless cars! They might get hacked!

November 21st, 2014 No Comments By Mof Gimmers

car in flood Driverless cars! They might get hacked!With all technology, at some point, writers are legally obliged to worry about hackers getting dastardly with it.

And so, to driverless cars, who are now being thought of as an army of marauding, wheeled weapons under the spell of balaclava’d ne’er-do-wells on laptops. No longer are these robot cars the thing that will remove human error and make the roads safer.

Not only do we have to shriek hysterically about hackers taking the wheel, but research conducted via simulators has shown that human drivers may be a huge problem too, if they’re going to mix with our pilotless carriages. It turns out that human beings change the way they drive when using the same roads as autonomous cars by copying the driving styles and leaving less space between themselves and the vehicle in front. Stupid, susceptible human idiots with their slower-than-a-sensor reaction times.

These warnings come as the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) publishes a report on driverless vehicles and how they can be integrated onto our roads.

They think that autonomous vehicles will be commonplace on British roads, with public transport and delivery vehicles being the cheaper, safer option within 15 years. We don’t have to wait that long though, to get a look at them. The first driverless vehicles look like they’ll be on the road from January 2015 in a series of trials from the Department for Transport.

Hugh Boyes, cyber security lead at the IET, said there’s cause for panic: “If the hacker community could start to target vehicles we can imagine a fair amount of chaos. The motor industry is really strong on safety but if someone tries to interfere with the vehicle, tries to hack it and disrupt it, then these don’t fall under the typical safety issues.”

“Unfortunately living in the world today people do try to tamper with technology. The industry is only just starting to recognise this.”

“Recent reports analysing software show that 98% of applications have serious defects and in many cases there were 10-15 defects per application. If ultimately you want to use autonomous vehicles, we need to make sure they don’t have a defect.”

Just wait until we get the first fatality from someone getting run over by a driverless car. That’s when the real shrieking will begin.

 

Beats on all iPhones by March

November 21st, 2014 2 Comments By Ian Wade

beatsbydrdrelogo Beats on all iPhones by MarchApple are planning on forcing more stuff onto your iPhone. A new iOS update in March will automatically install the Beats Music app to all iPhones.

Apple bought Beats back in May for $3 billion, and it looked like they’d lost interest in it when little was mentioned of it back when they launched the iPhone 6.

This follows Apple’s foisting of U2′s latest album into everyone’s iTunes and shoving iBooks in with the iOS 8 update.

The Beats streaming service will have two different subscription plans $9.99 (£6) per month or $99.99 (£67) per year.

This will no doubt ruffle feathers going up against Spotify, who do a monthly subscription, but not an annual one as yet.

Apparently Beats Music currently has around 110,000 subscribers, which looks set to sky-rocket should Apple’s evil plan work. Can we just ban all bloatware now?

Your webcam is probably being hacked by Russians

November 20th, 2014 4 Comments By Ian Wade

hackers Your webcam is probably being hacked by RussiansToday’s ‘not at all creepy. Oh no’ news now, and basically don’t get your bits out in front of a webcam ever again.

A Russian website is being shut down for streaming images stolen from the likes of baby monitors, bedroom cameras and CCTV.

The site has been featuring live feeds from basically anywhere that’s broadcasting on cam, including a gym in Manchester, a bedroom in Birmingham and an office in Leicester. The site’s database shows listings for 4,591 cameras in the US, 2,059 in France and 1,576 in the Netherlands.

The UK’s information commissioner Christopher Graham urged the Russian authorities to take immediate action to take down the site, but Russia being Russia at the moment, there’ll probably try and make an international incident out of it.

Graham also said he also would be working with the Federal Trade Commission in the US to try to force the site to close if the Russian authorities failed to cooperate.

Interviewed on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, Graham said: “I’m very concerned about what this [website] shows and I want the Russians to take this down straight away … We now want to take very prompt action working with the Federal Trade Commission in the States to get this thing closed down. But the more important thing is to get the message out to consumers to take those security measures. If you don’t need remote access to a webcam then switch off that function altogether.”

WEBCAM HACK 500x351 Your webcam is probably being hacked by Russians

Graham also said consumers were too laid back about security: “We have got to grow up about this sort of thing,”

“These devices are very handy if you want to have remote access to make sure your child is OK, or the shop is alright, but everyone else can access that too unless you set a strong password. This isn’t just the boring old information commissioner saying ‘set a password’. This story today is an illustration of what happens if you don’t do that. If you value your privacy put in the basic security arrangements. It’s not difficult.”

The Russian site has been online for a month, and has already been the cause of some alert around the world. The UK have known about it for just over 24 hours.

So, watch out next time you do a broadcast. Your audience may be more global than you thought.

4G data bills will be cheaper eventually

November 20th, 2014 No Comments By Ian Wade

Ofcom logo w500 300x220 4G data bills will be cheaper eventually4G data bills should be lower, claims Ofcom.

Mobile user bills should be cheaper, now that the telecoms regulator has ruled that frequencies currently reserved for digital TV transmissions and wireless microphones should switch over to mobile broadband.

This freeing up of the spectrum should kick in around – oh – between 2020 and 2022. Ofcom reckon that network providers will be cutting their bills as a result of this increase in capacity.

A spokesperson parpled: “Millions of consumers could benefit from lower mobile tariffs than would otherwise be offered, because we expect a significant proportion of the network cost savings to be passed through to them,”

“Specifically, these include network cost savings from deploying fewer base stations and improvements in mobile performance in hard-to-serve locations.”

Ofcom also went on to say that TV viewers wouldn’t have another one of those nightmares of switchover, that happened when analogue signals were decommissioned.

It will, however,  be a problem for some of the communications equipment used by theatres, sports venues and music event organisers, who will now have to update their systems.

WhatsApp goes on lockdown!

November 19th, 2014 No Comments By Mof Gimmers

whatsapp WhatsApp goes on lockdown!WhatsApp will now have encrypted messages from now, which is a boon for those who are concerned about personal privacy when chatting and sending photos of their junk to hook-ups. Of course, governments and spy-agencies won’t be at all happy about this, as they get jumpy and start shouting ‘TERRORISTS!’ as soon as anyone hides what they’re talking about.

WhatsApp said that this is the “largest deployment of end-to-end encryption ever.” What that means, in English, is that your messages are safe from people listening-in, unless of course, WhatsApp have a deal with someone where they’ll pass all that information on. Seeing as they’re owned by Facebook, you’d be daft to not indulge that in your thoughts.

Thus far, it’ll only work on Android and is limited to one-on-one text-only chats. So group chats and photos are not as locked down.

Whisper Systems – the company behind the software which is being used to encrypt your WhatsApp messages – have said: ”We have a ways to go until all mobile platforms are fully supported, but we are moving quickly towards a world where all WhatsApp users will get end-to-end encryption by default.”

It does look like chat-apps are all working toward utilising this kind of encryption, which is a headache for the NSA and GCHQ. In their eyes, the only people who should have encrypted messages are government officials and people like the FBI.

Hard cheese.

Christmas AdWatch: Samsung

November 19th, 2014 2 Comments By Ian Wade

Samsung are entering the TV advertising arena this season with their first Christmas campaign!

The series of ads will showcase the company’s range of gadgets while soundtracked by the decidedly ponce and unfestive Ravel’s Bolero. Mercifully, it doesn’t involve this gawdawful rap.

The adverts entitled ‘All Wrapped Up Early’ and ‘Christmas Round Ours’ are already on Samsung’s YouTube channel. All Wrapped Up will be on TV tonight (19th Nov) during that I’m A Celebrity nonsense, and ‘Christmas Round Ours’ makes its TV debut next Monday.

Russell Taylor, vice president of corporate marketing at Samsung Electronics UK and Ireland said: “Christmas provides the perfect platform for us to communicate with a large base of Samsung customers and will help to make the UK’s biggest tech brand also its most loved one.”

The Galaxy Note 4 takes centre stage in ‘All wrapped up early’ celebrating the brand’s flagship smartphone. ‘Christmas round ours’ showcases the whole Samsung range.

Will it persuade you to ask for a Samsung for Christmas? Didn’t think so.

Twitter: now more searchable

November 19th, 2014 No Comments By Ian Wade

Twitter Logo1 Twitter: now more searchable Twitter have been changing a few bits and bobs around the site and now, the microblogging site announced that users can send URLs in Direct Messages once again, after having tinkered about with some maintenance work.

All weblinks sent via private message will automatically be shortened, and the option to share a public tweet via Direct Message is expected to be added in a subsequent update this week.

Twitter are also expected to roll out a new feature which will allow users to search through their tweet history rather than having to do so via third party sites and histories.

The company have been indexing and cataloguing all of your tweets, and should you wish to search for something you said in September 2011 that was really lol, then you don’t have to manually flick through 30,000+ tweets to find it.

As if that wasn’t enough, they’re also introducing an ‘instant timeline’ feature, which will show content from accounts that the user doesn’t follow. Which seems a little counter-productive, otherwise you’d follow those accounts already, no?

These and many other new features have been part of the company’s upgrades, since their last update in September which was designed to help newbies get started on the site, after they incorrectly assumed that Twitter is ‘just people talking about what they had for their lunch’. That joke’s been done. Get a new one.

Nokia release surprise tablet

November 19th, 2014 No Comments By Ian Wade

nokia n1 300x199 Nokia release surprise tabletNokia have sprung a new Android-powered tablet onto the market.

This out-of-the-blue announcement now pits Nokia against Microsoft, who completed its takeover of Nokia’s mobiles ends in April.

The N1 tablet is due to go on sale in China at the start of 2015, and then presumably everywhere else.

However Nokia are not making the thing themselves, but instead have licensed the brand, design and software to a third party, the infamous Foxconn. If you’re buying one, make sure it hasn’t been water-damaged by worker’s tears.

Sebastian Nystrom, head of products at Nokia Technologies, said: “This is a great product for Nokia fans and everyone who has not found the right Android tablet yet,” when he announced the product at the Slush technology conference in Helsinki.

Earlier this month, Microsoft unveiled its first Lumia smartphone without the Nokia name, but reckoned it would still use the brand on less powerful feature phones, and apparently can do so for another ten years due to the terms of the takeover.

The N1 is a 7.9in (20.1cm) aluminium-framed tablet, and is powered by Google’s Android 5.0 operating system. It features an Intel Atom processor and has a Micro-USB slot. The planned retail price is $249 (£159).

But does it have Snake on it?

tv 300x266 Get up to 25% off a new telly by recycling your old oneWhen you hear the words “sustainability campaign group”, you are more likely to roll your eyes at the prospect of more recycling than to rub your hands in glee. However, a new initiative from such a group, Wrap, could see you saving up to 25% on a new telly, or getting a cheaper refurbished one, all in the name of saving the planet. Win/win.

The “revolutionary” new recycling scheme launched today has got 50 electrical retailers signed up- who collectively corner 66% of new TV sales in the UK- and they will give you vouchers or a discount when you bring back your old electrical appliance in good working order.

The list (below) includes a number of major retailers such as Sainsbury’s, Argos, Homebase and B&Q, and the scheme could potentially offer drop-off points where customers can take their old trash TV, with smaller retailers possibly collecting old appliances in a van.tv recycling list Get up to 25% off a new telly by recycling your old one

Likely estimated resale values range from £170 – £240 for a laptop between 2 and 4 years old, £475 for a three year old 55″ LCD telly, and £50-£70 for  a 2-3 year old SatNav, which would mean that if the retailers give you full value for your recycled product, you might be able to reduce the cost of a new TV by as much as a quarter. However, experts suspect that discounts are “likely to be smaller.”

And that is the thing. Although the scheme has been announced today, with much trumpeting of trumpets and the like, the 50 signatories to the Electrical and Electronic Sustainability Action Plan have got the next three-to-five years to come up with a fully-functioning buy-back service under the agreement. They have also promised to design more durable products, particularly for the kitchen, to reduce the need for never-ending white goods replacements.

Still, with electrical items worth around £1 billion languishing, unloved, in Britain’s homes, this has to be a good way of not only saving the planet, but saving everyone’s pocket. Manufacturers will be able to recycle products and parts, particularly gold used in circuitry, which might otherwise end up in landfill, and consumers who aren’t the type to rush out and buy the latest TV every two years will be able to buy a reconditioned TV through the scheme at a cheaper price.

Dr Liz Goodwin, chief executive of Wrap, said returned items would create a new market in second-hand goods that could add £3 billion to Britain’s economy.

“This has the potential to revolutionise how we design, manufacture, sell, repair, reuse, and recycle electrical and electronic products,” she said, adding  “this is a win-win situation for consumers and businesses. Consumers could get money for a product they no longer want, someone who can’t normally afford a product or particular brand can now do so from a reputable source.”

Wrap now hopes to convince other companies to join the pioneering 50 signed up to the initiative, while we all wait with baited breath for cheaper tellies to arrive.

Tesco launching free WiFi in stores

November 18th, 2014 2 Comments By Mof Gimmers

tesco clubcard 300x168 Tesco launching free WiFi in storesTesco are trying to win over the public with free WiFi in their stores. Of course, this means Minority Report fans are going to lose their baps over this, thinking that the whole thing is an exercise in stealing your data and tracking you around the aisles.

In fairness, that’s probably true.

In a press release, Auntie Tesco said:”Customers are now able to take advantage of BT WiFi free in Tesco Extra and Superstores across the UK and Republic of Ireland. Tesco is helping customers get more value out of their shopping experiences with free and fast WiFi access at stores in the UK and Republic of Ireland, thanks to a new partnership with BT.”

So how do you go about getting it?

Tesco add: “To enjoy the new service, customers should simply select ‘Tesco Wi-fi’ or ‘BT’ on their smartphones or tablets and they can begin browsing. The free service has been fully rolled out to 806 Tesco Extra and Superstores in the UK and 113 stores in the Republic of Ireland.”

While you’re using it, you’ll be allowed to download Clubcard vouchers and get product information too, as well as browsing recipes and hawking the latest in-store offers and all that.

Tomas Kadlec, Group Technology Director, Tesco, said: “Customers now want the same kind of experience in-store as they enjoy online, with fast and convenient access to product information, pricing and offers at the touch of their fingertips. We were the first supermarket in the UK to offer free WiFi  and the first to launch online shopping. We’re now bringing these innovations together to put our customers in control with better service and value than ever before.”

Get on the torrents while you’re shopping for beans, eh?

Uber cabs get Spotified up

November 17th, 2014 1 Comment By Mof Gimmers

spotify logo Uber cabs get Spotified upUber have been a pain in a load of taxi driver’s necks, but the taxi firm don’t look like they’re going anywhere so everyone is just going to have to get used to it.

As well as letting you book and pay for a cab all through a mobile app, it looks like you’ll be able to act as in-car DJ as, according to a new report, the Uber app will soon let you play Spotify tunes through one of their car’s speakers.

That means you can put on your playlist that features both Barry Manilow and Ty Dolla Sign while someone drives you to the pub.

You’ll have to wait for Uber to update the Android and iOS apps to let you be the tune selecta in your cab, but it will be happening and TechCrunch have some screenshots of the new service. Drivers will need the relevant tech to make this work, so if you jump in an Uber cab and the driver is listening to 20 Greatest Roy Orbison Hits on an 8-track, you’ll have to plug your headphones in your phone if you want your own tunes.

That means drivers will have to update their Uber information to let customers know whether they’ve got an AUX input, just in case you’re the kind of person who demands control of the stereo and can’t be doing with Magic FM being played at full tilt.

Now, the screenshots shown don’t say which music company is behind the Uber music crossover, but all fingers are pointing and voices are muttering in the direction of Spotify. There’ll be a press conference later, which will confirm that it is Spotify.

Anyway, tops off. Taxi rides are about to go H.A.M.