For those of you wondering what in the Sam Hell is going on, then here’s the lowdown: HTC has just announced the Vive, which is a virtual reality headset that they’ve developed in collaboration with Valve. Go pop in on your face, and you’ll be in a world of wonder!
It’ll be on the shelves later in 2015, with a version for developers available in the next few weeks. The best thing about it all is that there’s a promise to make loads of games for it, which should be great fun!
The Vive Developer Edition uses two 1200 x 1080 displays that refresh at 90 frames per second, which we’re told is perfect for “eliminating jitter” and achieving “photorealistic imagery.” That’s good news, if it works! The display on the headset is promising to give you 360-degree views and wholly envelope your field of vision. This really is next-level nerdgasm.
Using a accelerometer, a gyrosensor and laser positioning sensors, the Vive tracks the movement of your bonce to the measurement of one-tenth of a degree. There’s also something called the Steam VR base station, which lets you walk around a virtual space instead of using a controller, which sounds ridiculous and fabulous.
It is also really light so it won’t hurt your head while frying your brain.
HTC’s Peter Chou says: “We believe that virtual reality will totally transform the way that we interact with the world. Virtual reality will become a mainstream technology for the rest of the world.
Chou also reckons that, with the device, you’ll be “attending real-time concerts, learning history, reliving memories.” THE FUTURE! IT IS COMING!
Apple Pay is taking off in the US, however, it isn’t all peaches and cream. Banks have been surprised at the level of payments being made with card details, leaving them desperately trying to find and fix the flaws in security and trying to quickly work on better verification and checking systems.
It is worth pointing out that criminals haven’t cracked open Apple Pay’s secure encryption system, but rather, they’re setting up new iPhones with stolen personal info and then ringing banks up to set up cards on the phones, before spending victim’s money.
Why Apple Pay? Well, one of the reasons that they’re being targeted is because you can buy expensive things at Apple Stores with Apple Pay. Then, all you have to do is flog your ill gotten gains down the pub for cash, and you’re away.
Reports suggest that total losses have already run into millions.
A spokesman for Apple says: “Apple Pay is designed to be extremely secure and protect a user’s personal information. During setup Apple Pay requires banks to verify each and every card and the bank then determines and approves whether a card can be added to Apple Pay. Banks are always reviewing and improving their approval process, which varies by bank.”
So, it looks like banks need to do a bit more when it comes to customers’ security regarding NFC payments and the like. If you’re worried that this all feels like a disaster waiting to happen, stick to Chip & Pin or cash-only, until the flaws get ironed out.
This new range will utilise Qi wireless technology to charge your devices which have been put on (or near) the special bits of furniture.
“Through research and home visits, we know that people hate cable mess. They worry about not finding the charger and running out of power,” said Ikea’s business area manager of lighting and wireless charging, Jeanette Skjelmose. “Our new innovative solutions, which integrate wireless charging into home furnishings, will make life at home simpler.”
You’ll be able to buy the charging furniture under the Home Spot range and they’ll be getting rolled out across Europe and North America in April. Getting them in the stores globally will follow that.
The good thing about this, is that Ikea are often copied, which means that all the other furniture floggers and homeware vendors will be eyeing all this up. That means, if you’re wanting something that isn’t the traditional plug, which gives your devices some juice, then there’s going to be a lot of activity soon.
Well, before you go throwing yourself arms-first into a wood chipper or something, you might want to go on Facebook first. No, not to ask everyone’s opinion or leave a really impersonal suicide note, but rather, the social network might be able to stop you from doing it.
FB is getting some new features where they’ll be offering increased support to those feeling suicidal.
You may not know this, but Facebook has previous with this, and in 2011 launched their service where you could talk to a suicide prevention specialist. They also enabled users to report a link or update if someone was concerning them.
Facebook say: ”Currently, if you flag a post or account from someone whom you believe may be suicidal, Facebook will take over the process from there. If you’re considering killing yourself, ”we now also give them the option of reaching out to a friend, and provide tips and advice on how they can work through these feelings.”
Now, anyone reporting someone will also be offered more assistance: “We’re also providing new resources and support to the person who flagged the troubling post, including options for them to call or message their distressed friend letting them know they care, or reaching out to another friend or a trained professional at a suicide hotline for support.”
Facebook are working with a number of charities and mental health organisations, and asked the advice of FB users who have tried to harm themselves in a bid to come up with a way of helping. However, only US citizens are worth saving, so if you’re outside of America, you’ll have to wait for a roll-out or ignore Facebook entirely and phone the Samaritans.
Have a look at Facebook’s thoughts on all this, here.
Do you… erm… like to feel pleased a lot of the time? Do you spend your downtime by… umm… beating up the wookie? Well, if that sounds like you, there’s a gadget that could help you save the planet while you throw yourself into an onanistic fever.
Those scamps at PornHub have made a video about some wearable technology called the ‘Wankband’, which basically sits on your wrist and, with the movement of your wrist, creates energy.
With this thing, you can ‘love the planet, by loving yourself’.
You work, create the energy and then plug your phone, tablet or whatever, into the wrist band and, hey presto, you’re charging your device with the power of love.
Of course, the product is unisex and apparently, you can sign-up as a beta tester for the thing, which you sign-up for over at the smut vendor’s site. Might be best to not access that if you’re at work, unless you have a great game face and are able to tell your superiors that, yes, you’re accessing a dirty site at work, but you’re doing it to help reduce their electricity bills.
The power is in your hands.
Lenovo annoyed everyone when it turned out that they’d put Superfish in a load of their laptops. The company said that it was supposed to enhance the user’s experience, but any fool could’ve told them that this was never going to be the case.
No-one wants a program that offers you shopping tips, as most people already know what they’re shopping for, or indeed, are hit with enough adverts while online, that there’s buyers fatigue while on the computer.
As such, Lenovo have been hit with a cyber-attack and, again, those cute Lizard Squad guys were behind it, turning their attention away from games consoles long enough to cause the laptop vendor some grief.
“One effect of this attack was to redirect traffic from the Lenovo website,” Lenovo said in a statement. “We are also actively investigating other aspects. We are responding and have already restored certain functionality to our public-facing website.”
The company is also “actively reviewing” their network security and will be taking steps “to protect the integrity of our users’ information and experience”. They’re bloody obsessed with ‘user experience’ aren’t they?
If you missed the news, Lenovo are no longer dealing with Superfish software after a huge amount of complaints.
Pebble have announced their new smartwatch, which is called Time. This new device was shown off on their Kickstarter page for it, and at the time of writing, has already raised in advance of $7 million (in pounds, that’s ‘shed loads’).
This new watch does look rather smart and comes with a colour screen. Previously, Pebble watches had greyscale screens, which is a bit drab.
To say people are excited about this is something of an understatement – the company were hoping to generate half a million dollars for Time, however, after a matter of hours, they’d gone way past that.
So what’s the deal with it? Well, the Kickstarter page says that Time is a [sic] “color e-paper smartwatch with up to 7 days of battery and a new timeline interface that highlights what’s important in your day.”
They add: “Time’s new microphone lets you send voice replies to incoming notifications or take short voice notes. We used the latest technology to maintain water resistance so you can swim or surf with Pebble Time (we do not, however, recommend talking underwater).” In addition to that, “Pebble Time is 20% thinner than the original Pebble at just 9.5mm” and you’re able to personalise it as they’ve “included a soft silicone band with each Pebble Time, but all standard 22mm watch bands will fit.”
You’ll be able to access messages and emails and the like (obviously) as well as keep tabs on your physical activity and find out about the weather, as is par for the course with smartwatches. There’s over 6,000 Pebble-specific apps that you can get at too. The phone will run on Android.
If you like the look of the thing, there’s a load of images, gifs and videos on the Kickstarter page. When it hits British shelves, it should cost around £130.
You heard about Lenovo installing something that was annoying at best and intrusive at worst, with a thing called Superfish. One of our readers impishly pointed out it should’ve been called ‘SuperPhish’, arf!
Well, the company got in touch and wanted to clear some things up, so you can stop chewing your nails in worry.
They say that Superfish was “previously included on some consumer notebook products shipped in a short window between September and December to help customers potentially discover interesting products while shopping. However, user feedback was not positive, and we responded quickly and decisively.”
And so, this is where we’re at, according to Lenovo:
“1) Superfish has completely disabled server side interactions (since January) on all Lenovo products so that the product is no longer active. This disables Superfish for all products in market.
2) Lenovo stopped preloading the software in January.
3) We will not preload this software in the future.”
So there. The company assure customers that there’s no need to fret about the security of your computer.
They continue: “We have thoroughly investigated this technology and do not find any evidence to substantiate security concerns. But we know that users reacted to this issue with concern, and so we have taken direct action to stop shipping any products with this software. We will continue to review what we do and how we do it in order to ensure we put our user needs, experience and priorities first.”
“To be clear, Superfish technology is purely based on contextual/image and not behavioural. It does not profile nor monitor user behaviour. It does not record user information. It does not know who the user is. Users are not tracked nor re-targeted. Every session is independent. Users are given a choice whether or not to use the product. The relationship with Superfish is not financially significant; our goal was to enhance the experience for users. We recognize that the software did not meet that goal and have acted quickly and decisively.”
Lenovo have been accused of something pretty grim, and if true, they’ll have some tough questions to answer. Users on the Lenovo forum have been talking about a bit of adware which goes by the name of ‘Superfish’. It seems that this adware has been hijacking browsers to place third-party adverts on Google searches and websites without the permission of the users.
That’s pretty bad, but the accusations get worse.
This apparently happens by utilising self-signed certificates to trick browsers into showing them on your computer and one person has claimed that the program intercepted a connection to their bank, which means that Superfish could well be collecting data without authorisation.
A number of posts prompted Lenovo employee Mark Hopkins to try and set the record straight. He said that Lenovo has removed Superfish from laptops and that the company have requested that the developer publishes a patch to plug the security gap. He said: ”Due to some issues (browser pop up behaviour for example), with the Superfish Visual Discovery browser add-on, we have temporarily removed Superfish from our consumer systems until such time as Superfish is able to provide a software build that addresses these issues.
“As for units already in market, we have requested that Superfish auto-update a fix that addresses these issues.”
Lenovo have stopped preloading Superfish into new consumer laptops as of January 2015, and they’re investigating what is happening with the systems that are already out there.
HOW TO REMOVE SUPERFISH FROM YOUR COMPUTER
First, hit Start/Windows and open Control Panel. Hit ‘Select Uninstall a program’ or ‘Add or Remove Programs’ and then select ‘WindowsShopper’ and press ‘Remove’ or right-click to select ‘Uninstall’.
There are associated programs that come with Superfish, such as Yontoo – remove that in the same manner as above.
If you’re using Windows 8, select ‘Control Panel’ from the Charm bar settings and click ‘Uninstall a program’ and remove the unwanted application from there.
To remove it from your browser, do as follows.
Google Chrome: Hit the 3-bar icon, top right of the window. Select ‘Tools’ then ‘Extensions’ before selecting the ‘Superfish WindowShopper’ extension and click the bin icon to get rid of it.
If you’re on Internet Explorer, in the browser, go to ‘Tools’, ‘Manage Add-ons’, ‘Enable or Disable Add-ons’ and disable the unwanted app. With Firefox, again, go to ‘Tools’, then ‘Add-ons’ and the ‘Extensions’ and select ‘Windows Shopper’ and remove it.
Any other troubles, employ a Spyware removal tool to get rid of it.
Apple are going to get rid of the health-monitoring element of their new smartwatch, thanks to issues with regulations and technology. So now, if you want to know if you’re healthy or not, you’re going to have to look at yourself in the mirror and remember whether you’ve been for a run or not.
Reports have said that some of the features they’d planned to do were just too complicated, while others aspects would have invited ‘unwanted regulatory oversight’. As such, the thing they would have to put out wouldn’t meet Apple’s standards, so they’re not bothering.
“Apple also experimented with ways to detect blood pressure or the amount of oxygen in the blood, but the results were inconsistent,” said sources. ”Moreover, if Apple interpreted the numbers to provide health or behaviour advice, the company likely would have needed approval from the US Food and Drug Administration or other regulators.”
Whether this changes what was said by Apple CEO Tim Cook is another matter. He said in some awfully tedious speech that the new iWatch could prevent cancer from happening: “Some doctors now think that sitting down for long periods is the new cancer, so ten minutes before the hour the Watch software taps you to make you have a walk around. It’s quite funny to be in a meeting at Apple and ten minutes before the hour people get up and start moving around, but people like it.”
As for the release of the phone itself, sources have also said that Apple have asked their Asian suppliers to make up to 6 million of the devices in time for an April release.
Have you ever wanted to build your own customisable mobile phone? Most of you are probably quite happy to simply buy one that is ready-made, but Google see a future in having phones that are built by you, so your phone can be filled with things that you want.
They’re going to unveil such a thing at the upcoming Mobile World Congress (MWC) 2015 in Barcelona, giving the world the first proper look at their modular mobiles.
This is all part of a thing called Project Ara and Toshiba are in on it too, developing a 5 megapixel camera module for Google’s Spiral 2, which is a phone that allows you to swap modules and gives you flexibility on what hardware your phone has.
One huge advantage with these modular phones, is that, should you break the screen on it, instead of buying a whole new handset, you can just buy a new screen and replace it yourself, without being one of those people who owns a soldering kit and likes pulling phones to bits for fun.
It looks like the phones will be unveiled next month, in March and the price will range from $50 to $500, depending on what base you want to work from.
More news when we get it – until then, here’s a video to explain it all and give you, dear reader, the chance to not read these words in the article itself.
Well, the government are looking at connectivity on trains and have announced that they’re going to free up £50 million of funding for free WiFi on the rail networks in England and Wales.
Rail Minister Claire Perry said that the Department of Transport want to make sure that WiFi is available on more services by 2017. It’ll be useful for people who work while they travel and, naturally, it’ll be good for bored people wanting to stream TV shows or listen to Spotify without hammering their data.
In addition to all this, all future bids for new franchises and direct award agreements are going to have to include provisions for WiFi infrastructure. At the moment, the DoT are looking at improvements on Thameslink, Southern and Great Northern, Southeastern, Chiltern and Arriva Trains Wales.
Rail Minister Claire Perry said: “Free WiFi is a priority for many as being able to keep up with work, connect with friends or even check the latest journey information online helps make rail travel more productive.”
Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander, looking like a penis hiding in an old sock, said: “The government is earmarking around £50 million to provide free WiFi on trains; this and our other franchising improvements mean that nearly three-quarters of rail journeys will be made on trains with wi-fi provision.”
YouTube are pretty good at removing inappropriate material from their website, thanks to a number of algorithms that flag material for them. However, on the video-site, it seems there’s been a load of dirty films uploaded to it, missed because they were tagged in Irish.
The mucky films hung around on YouTube for four whole months, contravening all manner of policies that say the site can’t host sexually explicit imagery.
So what happened? Well, a man was looking for some non-bongo films to watch and, being Irish, he looked for the Gaelic word for ‘film’, which is ‘scannán’. What he found was a load of X-rated films. So, he did what anyone would do – he rose to his feet, took a deep breath, rubbed his hands together and shouted for his roommate who happens to be Irish language journalist Maitiú Ó Coimín.
The writer looked into it a little more – for investigative purposed of course and told the Irish Independent: “I looked a bit further into it, and there were about 15 to 20 films of a questionable nature. These were real pornographic films.”
YouTube had no idea about the films, clearly, but were quick to sort it out, removing the films found. YouTube issued a quick statement, saying: “YouTube’s community guidelines clearly state that sexually explicit content is not allowed on our site. We remove videos and channels that violate our policies when flagged for our attention. YouTube staff review flagged videos 24 hours a day, seven days a week, to determine whether they violate our community guidelines.”
However, BW decided to search for ‘scannán’ on YouTube and, in among the trailers for films and all that, lo and behold, there’s some dirty movies for your viewing pleasure.
So, if you want to get stuff hosted on YouTube that is in violation of their rules, seems the best thing to do is pick a language that isn’t widely spoken. We look forward to searching for the Welsh or Basque words for ‘film’ (‘ffilmiau’ and ‘filmak’ respectively).
Apple are planning a new, free software update which will make your iPad and iPhone run much more quickly. That’s nice of them isn’t it? Unless they mess it up of course.
This brand new iOS 9 update is apparently going to try and iron out all the bugs and lag from your device and generally speed the performance up. While previous iOS updates have been all about that interface, tidying up design and fiddling with the functions, the new one has set its sights almost wholly on performance and speed.
Rumour has it that this new update will come in June and of course, like all other iOS updates, it’ll be free for all compatible devices.
So there you go. If you’ve been whining about your iThing, all your problems might be solved when the summer comes.
Everyone was shrieking in horror yesterday when it turned out that Samsung’s new TVs were voice-activated and it would listen to your voice and store it in some evil word-server at Samsung HQ.
Today, Samsung are trying to calm everyone down and downplay the idea that they’re Big Brother, putting eavesdropping televisions in your house and listening to you while you do dirty phone calls or shout obscenities while playing video games online.
As a reminder, the policy said: “Please be aware that if your spoken words include personal or other sensitive information, that information will be among the data captured and transmitted to the third party.”
Naturally, Samsung aren’t the only people doing this. Most voice activated stuff is problematic when it comes to personal privacy. In fact, back in 2013, LG had a similar problem with their smart TVs, regarding the data they gathered while people were watching telly.
In a statement, Samsung said with the utmost gravity, that they take privacy issues “very seriously” and have put in place a number of safeguards to stop unauthorised use of your data.
The statement pointed out that the voice recognition feature on their smart TVs was an option and could simply be switched off and that: “Should consumers enable the voice recognition capability, the voice data consists of TV commands, or search sentences, only.”
Feel better now? While you might be able to forgive them for these snooping television sets, no-one should ever forget the time they did that awful, awful rap song.