Job ad confirms Apple Pay is on its way

December 19th, 2014 No Comments By Ian Wade

apple pay 300x169 Job ad confirms Apple Pay is on its wayApple have effectively let the cat out of the bag as regards Apple Pay coming to Europe.

An advert on the company’s website, which has now been taken down, said that the company was seeking a London-based intern to “drive out the roll-out” of Apple Pay across Europe, the Middle East, India and Africa.

It said: “Apple Pay is a new and exciting area in Apple that is set to expand across Europe, Middle East, India and Africa.”

“Apple Pay will change the way consumers pay with breakthrough contactless payment technology and unique security features built right into their iPhone 6 or Apple Watch to pay in an easy, secure, and private way.”

Apple Pay is two services that need close links between Apple and the banks.

The first is an in-app payment tool, which developers can implement to allow customers to make purchases without entering credit card details. In apps such as Uber, users will instead be able to pay by simply tapping the touch ID sensor of an iPhone 6, iPad Air 2 or iPad mini 3.

The other allows users to buy items in stores using their NFC-enabled iPhone 6, or their Apple Watch – which is yet to go on sale.

Over in the states, Apple have been making sure that retailers have the sufficient hardware handy. Whereas in Europe, we’re a bit ahead technology wise, and it’s expected to less hassle to launch.

Oh, the future is more trouble than it’s worth.

Facebook add auto photo-enhancement to iPhones

December 18th, 2014 No Comments By Ian Wade

Facebook have brought out an automatic photo-enhancement thing for the iPhone. Now, if you upload a photo onto the social network through iOS, it will be automatically optimised for online viewing.

Facebook have offered such options, but now they will be applied whether you want it or not.

facebook photo 500x500 Facebook add auto photo enhancement to iPhones

Users can still apply their own tweaking and have the option to revert to the original image, which is a nice touch. Facebook haven’t announced it for the desktop, but Android users will be getting it soon

The changes come after Facebook-owned Instagram launched five new filters for its own app yesterday – the first time it’s updated the range since December 2012.

The new filters are called Slumber, Crema, Ludwig, Perpetua and Aden, and take the total number of options up to 25. They all sound like the names of posh people’s children.

New BlackBerry goes back to classic design

December 18th, 2014 No Comments By Ian Wade

BlackBerry have announced a new smartphone that harks back to yore.

The company’s new Classic smartphone has a qwerty keyboard, trackpad and the usual buttons along with a touch screen. Just look at it would you?

blackberry 500x371 New BlackBerry goes back to classic design

Chief Executive Officer John Chen said at an event in New York: “When I went to visit customers — and these are the CEOs of top banks in this town – a lot of them pulled out their BlackBerrys. Don’t mess around with this thing.”

This brings BlackBerry full circle, after the touch screen efforts that fell flat with regular BlackBerry fans, and people fled the company due to it.

And it all looks quite promising, as pre-orders for it have outstripped demand for any BlackBerry item of recent years. So it’s all looking hopeful for the beleagured firm.

BlackBerry is currently selling the Classic for $449 in the U.S. with a view to introducing it elsewhere in the new year.

kanavape 300x282 Introducing the first cannabis electronic cigaretteDo you enjoy the drugs, but trying to quit smoking? Well, rejoice stoners, for the first ‘e-joint’ is now available to buy in the UK.

The first cannabis electronic cigarette came out in June, but it was only available abroad.

KanaVape, a device similar to electronic cigarettes but with cannabinoids, will be purchasable online from the UK from next Thursday.

The product uses hemp with 5 per cent cannabidiol, meaning that it apparently gives users the same effect  – especially the relaxed feeling – as cannabis but without the psychotic side-effects.

The e-joint will mean users can inhale cannabis vapour without the usual smell of smoke.

However the makers of Britain’s first e-joint – Antonin Cohen and Sebastien Beguerie – claim their product is entirely legal as it contains no THC – the chemical in marijuana.

As if to make it sound a bit wholesome, the hemp used in the e-joint is grown in France, Czech Republic and Spain without the use of synthetic pesticides and chemicals.

They said, in unison apparently: “We made KanaVape to give millions of people a legal and tasteful way of using cannabinoids. We craft our production with love, care and scientific research. KanaVape is good for our customers and good for the planet.”

Drug charities aren’t that impressed by the idea, shading it off as something of a lousy gimmick, but accept that it will be legal due to the THC issue.

That’s literally someone’s idea of a very merry Christmas. Not here though. Bitterwallet’s body is a temple.

Christmas AdWatch: Apple

December 17th, 2014 2 Comments By Ian Wade

Just when we thought we’d finally seen the back of Christmas adverts for the year, along comes a late entry from Apple.

The advert – ‘The Song’ – sees a young lady – via a variety of Apple products, naturally – create a nice duet based on her Gran’s recording of Love Is Here To Stay.

The sell Apple is giving it is: “With a Mac, iPhone or iPad you have the power to create thoughtful, emotional gifts and memories that transcend time. It could be a movie, a homemade card or a song that brings two generations closer together.”

Have a gander at it now. Here.

It’s genuinely quite lovely, and seeing gran tear up as she flicks through photos of yore will have you… no, it’s okay… just something in our eye.

Perhaps it is good that it’s come out a bit later than all the others, otherwise December’s commercial breaks would soon become an intolerable minefield of feelings and heart-string-pulling emotions., and we can’t be having that.

Barclaycard road-testing tap and pay gloves

December 17th, 2014 1 Comment By Ian Wade

barclaycard gloves 300x180 Barclaycard road testing tap and pay glovesAll you’ll need is gloves, if a batcrap trial currently being conducted by Barclaycard has its way.

The bank are trialling a prototype glove that will ‘tap and pay’ like shoppers would do with contactless cards.

Barclaycard’s cashless mittens are embedded with a small contactless chip that can be linked to a credit or debit card. And look so, so stylish.

You can use them to pay for items up to £20 which all sounds a bit of an effort to be honest.

They are presently being tested on guinea pig shoppers (not people shopping for actual guinea pigs) in the UK and may take off next year if they go down well.

Barclaycard added that it is working on, rather sexistly, ‘his and hers’ versions of the gloves, with the women’s version having a softer and more ‘fleecy’ appearance than the men’s.

Mike Saunders, managing director of digital consumer payments at Barclaycard, said that the gloves “could be bringing some festive cheer to bag-laden shoppers by Christmas 2015″. No, honest. He did.

The company had previously announced that they have already been testing out bPay wristbands. Oh they might as well just turn us all into cyborgs and be done with it, eh readers?

Google News no longer a thing in Spain

December 16th, 2014 3 Comments By Ian Wade

Google News is no longer a thing in Spain, due to what the search engine reckons is a new law that would have required it to pay publishers for their content.

Google had previously said that the site was going to stop, to comply with the recent updates in Spanish law, and today the company confirmed that it was off.

googlenews 500x283 Google News no longer a thing in Spain

The post says: “We’re incredibly sad to announce that, due to recent changes in Spanish law, we have removed Spanish publishers from Google News and closed Google News in Spain.” (but in Spanish, obviously).

The new law actually comes into play on January 1st, and will now require search engines to cough-up for the rights to re-link snippets of news stories.

Basically, it’s the first sign of people giving Google what for, and should this take off, expect other countries to follow suit. Things could be about to get rather ugly.

Skype introduces Skype Translator

December 16th, 2014 No Comments By Ian Wade

skype Skype introduces Skype TranslatorSkype have announced the launch of Skype Translator, which feels like something straight out of Star Trek.

Thanks to speech recognition software that can decode foreign tongues in real time, Skype Translator is now out there in the public. Roaming about.

There are up to 40 instant messaging languages to choose from, so you can get up to all manner of saucy talk from around the world now.

According to Skype’s corporate vice president, Gurdeep Pall: “Skype Translator relies on machine learning, which means that the more the technology is used, the smarter it gets,” explained

“We are starting with English and Spanish and, as more people use the Skype Translator preview with these languages, the quality will continually improve. Our long-term goal for speech translation is to translate as many languages as possible on as many platforms as possible and deliver the best Skype Translator experience on each platform for our more than 300 million connected users,” added Pall.

Microsoft reckon it will open up all sorts of possibilities for the people of Earth, allowing them to connect without any fear of getting the wrong end of the stick in various languages.

Skype Translator is available RIGHT NOW. Do you want to see a video of it in action? What else have you got on?

the pirate bay logo 300x300 The Pirate Bay is back, not that it makes any differenceWith yawning inevitability, The Pirate Bay is back online, resurrected by another torrent site. Of course, the return of the site is only of note to show those trying to close torrents that they’re indulging in an utterly futile endeavour.

In the time TBP was shut down, internet piracy carried on as normal. Seems the authorities are so busy chasing a big name that they haven’t cottoned on to the fact that most people who use torrents have moved on or at least, have ten other options.

Of course, the takedown wasn’t without retaliation – a group related to Anonymous released a load of emails of government sorts, leaving officials flailing around, screaming ‘WON’T SOMEONE TELL US HOW THE INTERNET WORKS?!’

The Pirate Bay can now be found, fully functional, at oldpiratebay.org.

If anything, this resurrected version is a bit nicer than the old one, with all the dirty adverts that littered up TPB now missing. Isohunt, who have revived it, have said that, even though TPB is a competitor of theirs, they’re happy to bring it back because of its historic importance to the file sharing community.

“As you all probably know, the beloved Pirate bay website is gone for now,” a statement released with the new site said. “It will be always remembered as the pilgrim of Freedom and possibilities on the Web. It’s the symbol for a whole generation of the internet users. In it’s honor we are making oldpiratebay.org search.”

“We, the Isohunt.to team, copied the base of the PirateBay in order to save it to the generations of users. Nothing will be forgotten.”

Amazon’s 1p cock-up causes mayhem

December 15th, 2014 3 Comments By Ian Wade

amazoninstant Amazons 1p cock up causes mayhemA software error on Amazon’s website on Friday saw hundreds of things sold for literally 1p.

The error, which occured between 7pm and 8pm on Friday, could cost retailers – who use the tool RepricerExpress – thousands of pounds.

So what happened? Well, this software balls-up has seen hundreds of items sold for just 1p. The tool, which promises to “auto-optimise” prices on behalf of retailers, allowing them to “sell more and keep listings competitive 24/7 without constant attention”.

While those who spotted the glitch, ramraided the site for tat they didn’t necessarily need and wanged on about it on Twitter, the retailers being hit are mainly small companies, and family-run set-ups.

Well what did Brendan Doherty, the RepricerExpress CEO, have to say about the matter?: “I am truly sorry for the distress this has caused our customers. We have received communication that Amazon will not penalise sellers for this error. We are continuing to work to identify how this problem occurred and to put measures in place to ensure that it does not happen again.”

Amazon said the majority of orders were cancelled immediately and confirmed it would be working with sellers who had seen orders processed.

A spokesman for Amazon said: “We are aware that a number of Marketplace sellers listed incorrect prices for a short period of time as a result of the third party software they use to price their items on Amazon.co.uk.”

“We responded quickly and were able to cancel the vast majority of orders placed on these affected items immediately and no costs or fees will be incurred by sellers for these cancelled orders. We are now reviewing the small number of orders that were processed and will be reaching out to any affected sellers directly.”

UK trounces rest of World in online shopping

December 12th, 2014 1 Comment By Ian Wade

online shopping  UK trounces rest of World in online shoppingEveryone! We’re a nation of online shoppers! Praise be! That’s how much we hate human contact and actually walking down a street!

The UK spends around £2,000 online per head each year on average – it’s 50% more than the nearest rival Australia manages, and is down to broadband and our inability to get off our arses.

A higher use of debit and credit cards has also been cited as quite a key thing, according to a new report from Ofcom.

As a bonus, Ofcom also discovered two-fifths of advertising spending was now happening online – way more than in any other country.

Ofcom said the popularity of online commerce was boosted by widespread superfast broadband access in the UK, which is ahead of France, Germany, Italy and Spain. Nearly eight in 10 UK homes have access to broadband services that provide connection speeds of at least 30 megabytes per second.

Said Ed Richards. Ofcom’s chief executive: “The internet has never been more important to the lives of people in this country, and the demand for better connections keeps rising,”

“We are making significant progress in this area. However, we all acknowledge that there is more to do, and this will be the challenge for the coming years.”

UK ahead on content streaming

December 11th, 2014 No Comments By Ian Wade

BBC iPlayer Radio logo UK ahead on content streamingVideo streaming app downloads are all the rage in the UK. ALL the rage. According to new figures, the UK lead the rest of Europe in the Insatiable Appetite For Video Streaming stakes.

In the UK, Netflix, BBC iPlayer, YouTube, ITV Player and BBC Media Player were the top five most downloaded apps in Q3 of 2014, with BBC News, Sky Go, 4oD, BBC Sport and TV Catchup completing the top 10.

Over in Germany they favour something called 7TV, RTL Inside and ZDFmediathek, while the French dig 6Play and YouTube.

According to figures, the UK saw around 20% more downloads of all apps than Germany. Ha. Take that, Merkel.

And the top ten video content app things in the UK had twice as many downloads than the Top Ten in Germany.

The company App Annie also noted that in Europe, many networks are using apps as a supplementary channel to maintain or enhance viewer loyalty. According to the report: “As well as building brand equity through a constant presence on the mobile device, apps allow content providers to communicate directly with their audience and begin a two-way conversation to strengthen brand engagement. In this way, apps are enhancing traditional TV offerings. A strong app is now a vital component of successful viewer retention strategies for TV networks and operators.”

And you thought you were just snorting childishly at Vine compilation videos.

Pirate Bay goes offline

December 10th, 2014 No Comments By Mof Gimmers

the pirate bay logo 300x300 Pirate Bay goes offlineThe Pirate Bay has been taken offline after a raid in Sweden. The po-po got their hands on servers in Stockholm after a complaint was filed by some people who are part of the Rights Alliance group who target internet crime.

Swedish police said: ”We had a crackdown on a server room in Greater Stockholm because of a copyright infringement, and yes it was Pirate Bay.”

A bunch of other, smaller torrents have gone down too, as they were related to TPB. How long they’ll stay down is another matter entirely and of course, everyone time one torrent’s server gets whacked, three spring up in the place of it.

Peter Sunde, one of the co-founders of The Pirate Bay, is spectacularly unarsed about the whole thing, saying that it should be shut down for good.

He said in a blog post: ”News just reached me that The Pirate Bay has been raided, again. That happened over eight years ago last time. That time, a lot of people went out to protest and rally in the streets. Today few seem to care. And I’m one of them.”

“Why, you might ask? Well. For multiple reasons. But most of all, I’ve not been a fan of what TPB has become.”

A couple of years ago, The Pirate Bay said they were going to the cloud, so raids would be pointless. Back then, they said: ”The site that you’re at will still be here, for as long as we want it to. Only in a higher form of being. A reality to us. A ghost to those who wish to harm us.”

google wallet All I want for Christmas is to be able to pay for it via a digital wallet claim shoppersQuite a few shoppers would have liked to have used near-field communications (NFC) solutions to pay for things this Christmas.

This is according to a new survey from Skrill who have nothing better to do and added that over a third of 2,000 consumers responded, saying that they’d be well into it.

As an eye-opening insight into consumer habits, 40% said that when they have a budget, they stick to it.

59% believed a prepaid card with a set limit would minimise the risk of going mental, while 8% admit to using a digital wallet. The perverts.

36% reckon using credit cards online was the most likely way of overspending, however 90% said they’d purchase at least one thing online this season, with 26% making between one and five.

Spiros Theodossiou, vice president of product strategy at Skrill threw some insight into these findings: “New technology such as prepaid cards and digital wallets are an ideal way to curb expenditure, as you can set a limit and then cut your cloth accordingly. Spending with new technology like this can help people to enjoy their Christmas and a debt-free January too.”

Mobile wallets are rapidly becoming a thing, with the Apple Pay solution linking up with several retailers when it was launched in September.

sky Dont be fooled by Sky broadband for a tenner claimsSky are offering what they reckon is the lowest broadband price in the UK. For a measly £10 a month, you can get their superfast fibre broadband.

It also includes a 25GB usage cap and download speeds of up to 38Pbps and is currently being offered as an alternative solution to the company’s unlimited fibre affairs.

As with the bigger packages, subscribers will have the option to protect their devices with Sky’s Broadband Shield security product at no extra cost, and then still get a load of viruses on their computer any way.

Lyssa McGowan, Director of Sky Broadband, said: “We’re always looking to give customers even more reasons to choose Sky. Sky Fibre means we can now offer superfast speeds for just £10 a month – the lowest standard price in the UK. It’s perfect for those who want to try fibre for the first time.”

Of course, it isn’t really £10 per month as deals like this never are. That’s because there’s line rental which will costs you a further £16.40 per month. So the headline should read: “Get Sky broadband for £26.40 a month!” which isn’t nearly as alluring.

So, for example, you could get Virgin Media’s broadband-only package for £28.50 per month, which granted, is more expensive, but there’s no need for a phone line and there’s no download caps and faster speeds.