Facebook to save your life

October 17th, 2014 No Comments By Ian Wade

Bitterwallet Facebook censorship Facebook to save your lifeFacebook are bringing out a new feature that will tell people that you’re okay during a disaster.

While nobody likes to think about such things, increasingly, social media is keyed into every element of modern life, so a move like this is fairly inevitable.

Plus, like, the world is in a bit of pickle innit?

Called Safety Check, the service lets you input whether you are safe or not in the affected area. That, of course, is down to things like your situation not being one where there’s a bomb that wipes out communication or something like that.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced ‘Safety Check’ while in Japan, where they’ve had their unfair share of natural disasters.

If Facebook notices that you are using a device in an affected area during a natural disaster like an earthquake, it will ask: ‘Are you safe?’ Presuming you’re emotionally stable enough to be checking your phone and not crying at the sky, you can confirm or deny.

Location is determined by the city listed in your profile, and your last location if you use the ‘Nearby Friends’ thing or the city where you are using the internet. It can be used around the world on Android, iOS and on computers.

The company says that this development came about from the Disaster Message Board that was created by Facebook after the 2011 earthquake and tsunami in Japan.

Naomi Gleit, vice president of product management at Facebook, said:  “Unfortunately, these kinds of disasters happen all too frequently. Each time, we see people, relief organisations and first responders turn to Facebook in the aftermath of a major natural disaster.”

“If you’re ever in a situation that would require you to use Safety Check, we hope it’s a tool that helps you stay connected to those you care about, and gives you the comfort of knowing your loved ones are safe.”

Apple: Releasing a load of stuff again

October 17th, 2014 No Comments By Mof Gimmers

apple logo Apple: Releasing a load of stuff againApple love the big event so much that, at the moment, they’re having one every two seconds, or at least, that’s what it feels like.

Yesterday, they revealed two new iPads and a high-resolution screen iMac desktop, which of course, we already told you about.

Basically, Apple are giving everyone the iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 3, as well as blarting on about Apple Pay where you can pay for stuff with your phone (which of course, is a thing that’s been around for ages under different names).

So what about the Pad Air 2? Well, it is thin. You can get it in silver or gold and it is now thinner than a biro at just 6.1mm thick. Apple reckon it is the world’s thinnest tablet. It comes with a faster processor and a better camera too.

The new iPad has now got a lot of the features that you’d find in an iPhone, so you can now do slow motion video and burst shots with it, and it has the fingerprint ID sensor. Apple’s new OS, Yosemite, will be available as a free download too.

The new iMacs will have a sharper display. How much sharper? According to Apple, they’ll have seven times the amount of pixels you’ll find on a standard HD TV.

If you’re after a new iPad, prices start at £319. If you’re wanting a new iMac, prices start from £1,999.

Voice search: The kids are alright about it

October 16th, 2014 No Comments By Ian Wade

girls texting 300x200 Voice search: The kids are alright about itA recent study by Google, into the voice-search habits of Americans, reckons that if you still type in your search request, then you are like, really old and should book Dignitas immediately granddad.

The Mobile Voice Study found that while teenagers are all fine and everyday about using voice search daily, only 41% of adults use it.

And out of that lot, 56% of the adults feel like a nob doing so.

Google also spotted that teens are happy just to use voice search willy-nilly. Right there. In front of you. Making anyone over the age of 20 wish they were dead. They don’t care.

Shall we gander at some of the other findings? You may be quizzed on it later, so best to be prepared.

40% use voice search to get directions;
32% use voice search to initiate phone calls;
39% use voice functionality to dictate text messages;
38% use voice search while watching television;
41% wish voice search could tell them where the TV remote was located;
23% use voice search while cooking;
51% of teens and 32% of adults use voice search ‘just for fun’;
27% use voice search to check the weather;
22% of teens use voice search in the bathroom.

Scott Huffman, Google’s Vice President for Conversational Search in a press release that accompanied the blog post, said: “Voice search is a key feature of the Google app that’s becoming ever more important as people spend more time on their mobile phones,”

“We wanted to learn more about how people of all ages use Google hands-free on their phones. We found that for teens, voice search comes as naturally as checking social media and they’re getting very creative about how (and where) they use it. The study gives us great ideas about new ways we could help people – maybe even help them find their keys and other elusive objects.”

More video messaging solutions courtesy of Qik

October 15th, 2014 No Comments By Ian Wade

qik 300x285 More video messaging solutions courtesy of QikJust in case you weren’t keeping up to date with video messaging, along comes Qik. Qik was originally an app that came as part of the deal with Skype, but now Microsoft is trying to big it up as a separate thing.

According to Dan Chastney and Piero Sierra on Skype’s Big Blog: “A small team of Skype designers and developers recently took up the challenge to build a new app to run alongside Skype and provide an ongoing form of video chat.”

“They knew they had to create something mobile and lightweight, as spontaneous as messaging but as intimate as calling. And it had to be fun and easy to use. What they created was Skype Qik.”

Qik works on Google Android, Apple iOS, and Windows Phone gadgets. You can do 43 seconds of video footage to share over the internet, and then two weeks later it’s deleted. Like Snapchat, but with a longer tail.

The videos can be sent to multiple people simultaneously, who can reply in kind if they have Qik installed. If not, they get a text message with details about how to download it

Users can also records five-second GIFs, dubbed Qik Flik, to use if they are offline, but this can be only used on Android and iOS.

Skype bought Qik back in 2011 for $100 million and marketed it as a simple video chat app. But as Snapchat and a host of other firms started having success with short-lived picture and video apps, Microsoft decided to get in the game with this new software.

EasyJet allow you to check-in with photo

October 14th, 2014 No Comments By Mof Gimmers

easyjet 300x180 EasyJet allow you to check in with photoEasyJet are allowing passengers to check-in for their flights via the budget airline’s official app, by taking a photograph of their passport.

This means, thanks to an update to the Android and iOS apps, you now don’t need to manually tap-in all your details when registering for a trip.

The idea is that, this new feature makes the check-in process a whole lot quicker, by allowing everyone to sign in with their smartphone up to two hours before their flight at the 110 EasyJet airports.

“Our new mobile passport scanning function will save time for the millions of customers who use the app to input their travel documentation details,” said EasyJet head of digital James Millett. ”It’s another example of innovating to make travel as easy as it is affordable with EasyJet.”

The app is free on the App Store and Google Play.

mobile phone 300x225 Mobile connectivity aint all that on London trainsMobile connectivity is a right state on London’s commuter routes.

That’s according to the findings of a study by Global Wireless Solutions, who tested the ten most popular commuter routes to discover that that one in three mobile internet tasks and one in seven voice calls on commuter trains fails.

The networks EE, O2 and Vodafone all rely heavily on their older 2G networks and ‘half-rate codecs’ for the commuters, but this means that call quality can be poor and many data packets are dropped.

The study found that 23% of 3G data packets and 37% of 4G data packets travelling across the networks of the four major UK operators do not make it to their intended destinations.

Basically, the best network on which to chat on is 3, while Vodafone’s subscribers get best 3G data service and EE subscribers get the best 4G data service.

In a statement that suggests he needed it written for him, Paul Carter, chief executive of GWS said: “Leaves on the track, the wrong kind of snow, having to stand up all the way to work and back – commuters have enough to contend with without the kind of mobile connectivity problems we’re revealing today,”

“It’d be great to see networks, rail operators and station-masters taking the lead on improving connectivity for commuters – rather than having to be dragged into the 21st Century kicking and screaming.”

Bless him. Shall we look at the Top Ten worst stations then?

Station / Average number of voice and data failures

1. St Pancras (99)
2. Radlett (53)
3. Kentish Town (43)
4. Upminster (42)
5. Elstree & Borehamwood (36)
6. Hendon (33.5)
7. St Alban’s City (33)
8. Cricklewood (27.5)
9. Kidbrooke (27)
10. Ockenden (26)

will.i.am to launch smartwatch this week

October 14th, 2014 No Comments By Ian Wade

william 261x300 will.i.am to launch smartwatch this weekPopular music irritant will.i.am is to launch his new smartwatch affair on Thursday, barging right into competition with the Apple Watch.

The watch will have Bluetooth capability for wire-free internet connection, and doesn’t need to be linked to a mobile phone like Apple’s.

It is capable of making and receiving calls without a supplementary phone.

However what is of interest among all this folly, is that will.i.am has used UK firm 7digital to deliver the music aspect of the gadget.

The company’s shares went up by 44% as a result of being associated with the Black Eyed Pea.

The device stores music, which can be updated via its internet connection, and there are rumours that using will.i.am’s clout, 7digital have made deals with a variety of labels and hope that each artist is treated equally.

Which will make a change for an online music service.

Skype gets a facelift at last

October 13th, 2014 No Comments By Ian Wade

Skype looks like it has finally had a facelift at last! A beta version of what they’re all calling ‘Skype 7′ has been rolled out on Mac clients, and it’s looking good.

skype7 500x352 Skype gets a facelift at last

Skype 7 has had a complete revamp, in a bid to make itself relevant once more.

One new development involves the sending of photos, which will now generate a thumbnail of the image automatically, and will also make more sense in the timeline of the encounter, rather than the image taking forever.

Additional improvements include shared PDF documents and Microsoft Office files will have their document icons displayed prominently.

However, the most groundbreaking design feature for the newest iteration of Skype is a split dual pane that will enable users to have a video chat pane directly alongside a chat box, no longer requiring users to switch from one to the other in the middle of a video chat as is standard operating feature in Skype 6; it’s likely that this inability to multitask is Skype 6’s most reviled feature among its wide user base.

That’s all much better news for those of us who use Skype for international calls at least.

Thankfully, the new developments haven’t hampered with Skype too much to the point that people are rioting, however it was more that it seemed to take forever to update.

SAMSUNG Logo2 300x117 Samsung reckon theyve solved pesky wi fi issuesSamsung reckon they’ve come up with a 60 GHz wi-fi technology that will actually adjust to the idealised speed from the actual WiFi speed.

Samsung’s WiFi – it is claimed – will allow speeds of up to 4.6 gigabits a second or 575 megabytes per second.

That’s approximately five times faster than the current high watermark for WiFi speeds, which mooch in at 866 Mbps or 108 Mb.

So, for example, a 1 gigabyte (GB) movie could be transferred between devices in fewer than three seconds, and uncompressed high-definition videos can be streamed from mobile devices to TVs in real time.

Samsung went all announce-y and said: “Unlike the existing 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz Wi-Fi technologies, Samsung’s 802.11ad standard 60 GHz Wi-Fi technology maintains maximum speed by eliminating co-channel interference, regardless of the number of devices using the same network.”

Samsung claim they’ve solved all the palavers that get in the way of traditional WiFi , by making use of wide-coverage beam-forming antennae and micro beam-forming control technology. How flash!

The ‘sung hope to integrate this new technology into it’s products as early as next year.

Nexus 6 expected by end of the month

October 13th, 2014 No Comments By Ian Wade

nexus 300x182 Nexus 6 expected by end of the monthGoogle’s Nexus Android smartphone is expected by the end of October and it’ll be a phablet affair with a 5.9 inch screen made by Motorola.

It will be sold direct through the Google Play site as well as conventional phone retailers.

Dubbed ‘Nexus 6′, it follows the previous year’s Nexus 5 and hopes to push Google into the rising phablet trend with smartphones that are a cross between a phone and a tablet with screens bigger than 5.5in.

The new Nexus will be the first made by Motorola, which Google is selling to China’s Lenovo. Previous Nexus devices, which also include tablets, have been made by HTC, Asus and Samsung, as well as LG, which made the previous two generations of Google’s popular smartphone, the Nexus 4 and 5.

Phablets are becoming quite the thing of late, with a keen fanbase in Asia as well as Europe and the US. Google have nicknamed the Nexus 6 Shamu, after a killer whale from SeaWorld.

Something to remember for future pub quizzes.

Hiya mate, could you tweet us a tenner?

October 13th, 2014 1 Comment By Mof Gimmers

Twitter Logo1 Hiya mate, could you tweet us a tenner?A French bank have said that they’re about to launch a service which allows people to transfer money to each other by Twitter.

Great. Now people will not only spam you with photos of their lunch, but they might expect you to chip in for the bill now.

Group BPCE will operate the cash transfers through the S-money subsidiary. Olivier Gonzelez of Twitter said: “We warmly welcome this innovation developed by Groupe BPCE and the service it provides to Twitter users in France by integrating its S-Money service into a live, public, conversational dimension characteristic of Twitter.”

Jean-Yves Forel, the banks CEO, said they would become the bank to offer a service like this, “where they can transfer money with a simple Tweet” which “opens up a whole new range of payment possibilities on the social networks.”

Of course, with loads of problems with virtual currencies, and hackers having the time of it causing social networks and the like endless problems at the moment, there’s a lot of security concerns around transferring money on Twitter.

Either way, looks like Twitter are very keen on getting money changing hands through their system, as they’ve been experimenting the ability to buy things through them with ‘Twitter Buy’ and, if this payment service works in France, they’ll be rolling it out worldwide. As we all know, there’s good money in being a middle man in the world of finance.

Argos is offering free tablets and broadband as part of a pledge to provide practical skills and access to technology to 9.5 million Brits who aren’t online in a partnership with digital skills charity Go ON UK.

Trained staff members will help people learn the basics of how to use a tablet and how to connect to the internet with workshops that will run from 25th October through to mid-January.

Bz0c FTIEAACTtY 500x250 Argos offers 10,000 free tablets and broadband through workshop

John Walden, Chief Executive of Home Retail Group, which owns Argos, said: “The digital revolution continues apace, however, millions remain on the side-lines. Argos Internet Workshops have been developed to help people overcome the barriers of access and affordability and improve their knowledge, understanding and confidence in digital technology.”

“The internet is becoming increasingly essential in day-to-day life, and offers a world of new possibilities that we believe everyone should be able to access.”

And, they just all happen to be potential Argos customers as well.

Either way, if you can’t be arsed showing your granddad or mum how to use a tablet and get online, Argos will do it for you. They’ll be calling you every 3 minutes on Skype in no time at all.

Spamwatch: Emma Watson

October 10th, 2014 No Comments By Ian Wade

emma watson sofia vergara 300x156 Spamwatch: Emma WatsonPoor old Emma Watson – she’s become the latest front for an internet virus.

Ads claiming to have nudey footage of the Harry Potter star are actually trojans riddled with malware.

Serves you right if you’re that type of person into leaked celebrity baps to be honest.

Bitdefender’s cooly-named Chief Security Strategist, Catalin Cosoi, told Digital Spy: “It all starts with a Facebook comment promising to reveal private or leaked videos of Emma Watson”.

“The comments are automatically posted by users infected with the malware. As is the case with many Facebook scams, victims end up as marketers for cyber-crooks.”

“When users click on the malicious links, they are redirected to a salacious YouTube copycat. Future victims are then asked to update their Flash Player to the latest secured version of Video Player, as an error allegedly prevents them from watching the leaked videos of Emma Watson.”

As if you needed reminding, trojan malware is a bastard, and will rifle through your computer for anything stealable.

Disguised by the Flash Player icon, Trojan downloads the infected components into computer files. The videos themselves are hosted by a fake YouTube account, identified by the Anonymous Guy Fawkes avatar in the left hand corner.

So anyway. Norks on the internet. More harm than good.

Next week, will we see a new Apple TV?

October 10th, 2014 1 Comment By Mof Gimmers

Apple have issued an invitation for an event that will take place on October 16th. Now, seeing as they’ve just updated the iPhone and brought out the Apple Watch, what on earth are they going on about?

Whatever it is, it comes with the strapline of: “It’s been way too long.”

 

apple invite 500x269 Next week, will we see a new Apple TV?

So, what have Apple been ignoring and left to gather dust on the shelf?

The company updated the iPad just last year and the MacBook Pro and Mac Pro both got a revamp recently, so it can’t be them. The iMac got tinkered with in 2013, so you can’t imagine they’re making an announcement about that.

Weighing up what’s likely, that means Apple are up to something with either Apple TV or the MacBook Air. You have to assume, what with everyone jumping on TV services at the minute, that Apple are going to give theirs a shot in the arm. They released Apple TV in 2010 and have only indulged in minor tweaks here and there, never giving it a big rehash.

Recently, Apple CEO Tim Cook while talking about TV, said: “TV is one of those things that is stuck back in the ’70s. Think about all the things that have changed… and TV almost feels like you’re rewinding the clock, and the interface is terrible. It’s awful.”

What with Cook getting randomly jumpy about TV, it looks like the newest Apple product could well be a new and improved Apple TV. Of course, there’s a good chance Apple will cock it up, like they have with everything at the moment. We’ll just have to wait and see.

Google are still at war with Java

October 9th, 2014 1 Comment By Mof Gimmers

google plus logo Google are still at war with JavaGoogle have been at war with Oracle for ages now. It has been going on so long that it is almost a battle of Biblical length. They’ve been fighting over the incredibly exciting thing of Java implementation on Android and it might get all the way to the US Supreme Court.

When it does, take stock of where you are and what you’re doing because future generations will ask: “Where were you when everyone died in the Google-Java conflict?”

The Supreme Court has listed Google’s request to have the US Court of Appeals’ decision reviewed.

If you aren’t aware of what’s been going on (seriously? You’re that jaded by warfare?), Oracle said that Google owed them “billions” because Android’s class libraries replicate the functions and code of some of Java’s copyrighted API packages.

One of the big arguments is whether or not you can copyright an API (that stands for ‘application programming interface’, just so you’re aware).

In May, the Court of Appeals said that you could indeed copyright APIs, but then handed the case over to another court so the argument of ‘fair use’ could be thrashed out.

And now, the Supreme Court is listening to Google’s argument that; “Early computer companies could have blocked vast amounts of technological development by claiming 95-year copyright monopolies over the basic building blocks of computer design and programming.”

If Oracle win this case, then it will mean a whole load of trouble for more companies than just Google. For more, the case has its own Wikipedia page. We can’t wait for the Hollywood blockbuster that is made of this dispute.