France have already fined Google £150,000 because they failed to co-operate with its laws on tracking and storing information, and it looks like Italy might be next to hit the company with a piffling fine that wouldn’t even make a dent in the average Google CEO’s lunch bill.
The Italian data protection Authority have told Google that they must ask its users for permission to use their personal information before they go spreading it around Facebook in the form of targeted ads about Fitflops and belly fat.
They also said they must honour customer requests to delete data within two months. Or else.
Google are co-operating so far, perhaps fearing reprisals from burly, well-connected Sardinian men called Beppe.
How about you stop selling our data to advertisers without our permission, Google? That would be logical ‘next step.’
As they say in Italy – VAFFANCULO.
Apple will dripfeed everyone with their new operating system, Yosemite, as of tomorrow.
OS X Yosemite was announced in May, and now it will be available as a public beta test, which will kick off around 1pm EST (which is around 6pm in the UK). If you want to test it out, then hit this link and sign up.
So what’s new? Well, Yosemite will use translucency throughout the system, so if you didn’t like the ‘flat’ colourful UI design of iOS 7, you’ll probably hate this.
There’s also a thing called ‘Handoff’, where Yosemite and iOS 8 will work easier with each other. If you start work on your iPad, it’ll be simpler to pick up where you left off on your Mac (and vice versa). You’ll be able to answer phonecalls from your iPhone with Yosemite too.
There’s improvements to iCloud and the Mail app too, and AirDrop will now work between iOS and Mac devices.
There’s a load of other new things going on as well, but we advise that, if you’re really interested in all that, you let Apple tell you all about it, here. The short version is that Apple want to hook your iPhone up with your other devices in a way that is much easier for the user.
Smartwatch watchers, your hunch was correct. Apple have indeed been busy designing a smartwatch and were awarded a patent for a wrist-worn device with a touchscreen that can communicate with a smartphone.
The patent was submitted in 2011, but Apple’s secretive design manoeuvres mean that it wasn’t officially disclosed until yesterday.
On some of the documents, the device is called ‘iTime’ but as the name hasn’t been trademarked, it’s possible that idea has been ditched somewhere along the line.
The patent is for a device that can work either clipped into a wristband, or on its own.
But when connected to the wristband it turns into a smartwatch which includes ‘haptic sensors’ that mean you can control it with hand gestures (you probably know a number of ‘hand gestures’ you’d like to do at smartwatch wearers).
When will the watch finally appear? Who knows? But Apple say in the patent that there are: ‘continuing needs to make portable electronic devices smaller and more portable. There is also a continuing need to enhance functionalities of portable electronic devices.’
GET ON WITH IT THEN.
Anyone whose connections are believed to have been used to hawk copyrighted material, could receive up to four letters a year, although there are no sanctions as yet for those who continue to ignore the warnings.
The aim of the letters is to boost consumer awareness of the wide array of legitimate online content services and help reduce online copyright infringement, or in other words, stop people nicking stuff.
The warning system, known as the Voluntary Copyright Alert Programme (VCAP), is the result of years of negotiations between ISPs and industry bodies representing the UK’s creative industries, including the Motion Picture Association (MPA) and the BPI (British Recorded Music Industry).
There had been the original enforcement regime, which was outlined in the Digital Economy Act, which was rushed through parliament under the previous Labour government in 2010.
That Act called for an escalating series of sanctions on persistent file-sharers, starting with sending letters to illegal downloaders and culminating in slowing down the connection speed of offenders or temporarily suspending their connections.
Yet no one really gave much of monkeys, as it was heavily opposed by ISPs, who argued that the anti-piracy measures were inconsistent with European law and would breach the privacy of their customers, as well as driving up costs for providers and consumers.
The consortium of companies that make up Creative Content UK, said it will play an important role in educating consumers about the huge range of entertainment content that is available from legal and licensed sources.
It will also operate within the wider context of programmes aimed at combating copyright infringement, such as the blocking of illegal sites and working with advertisers and payment processors to cut off revenues to such sites.
Let’s tolerate some words from Business Secretary Vince Cable: “The creative industries in the UK are one of our brilliant global success stories. Yet too often that content is open to abuse by some who don’t play by the rules.”
“That is why we are working with industry to ensure that intellectual property rights are understood and respected. Education is at the heart of this drive so people understand that piracy isn’t a victimless crime – but actually causes business to fail, harms the industry and costs jobs.”
Everyone involved seems quite into it, as Geoff Taylor, chief executive of the BPI described it as “a real step forward for digital entertainment in the UK”, and Dido Harding, chief executive of TalkTalk, said it would help consumers “make the right choices about how they access content”.
Figures published by communications watchdog Ofcom last year revealed that more than 1.5 billion files were downloaded illegally in the UK in 2012, accounting for almost a quarter (22 per cent) of all content consumed online.
Only a quarter of the people who consumed the most illegal content said they would stop if they thought they might be sued, according to Ofcom, and one in five said they would stop if they received a letter from their ISP telling them that their account had been used for copyright infringement.
Although one would imagine you’d have to shifting some serious amounts of unpaid-for and effectively stolen goods for the ISPs to take notice.
Four strikes and you’re… well… nothing will happen.
Customers trying to make payments and do their banking both online and via their mobiles over the weekend were thwarted by error messages and frustration.
They took to Twitter on Sunday night with pitchforks and voiced their annoyance at the glitches, which took place between midnight and 7.30am this morning.
Nationwide said they were very sorry, but regular website maintenance had taken longer than expected.
‘Unfortunately our overnight planned maintenance has overrun and affected customers accessing our online bank and mobile banking app.’ Said a spokesperson. ‘We apologise for the inconvenience caused to our customers. The online bank and mobile banking app are now up and running.’
Perhaps the real reason that customers are so annoyed is that it’s a fairly regular occurrence with Nationwide. It ain’t the first time – and chances are it’s not going to be the last…
Of course, this won’t be news to some people, but they’re exactly the kind of people who found this out, learned how to fix everything themselves, and then kept the whole thing under their hat and moaned about sheeple on their Twitter accounts.
For those that didn’t know, there’s a chance you’re being ripped off.
The folks at Which!!! placed basic software faults on a number of devices that should have cost £50 or less to fix, but found that most retailers were willing to charge over £100.
Nine Windows laptops and 15 MacBooks were used to see if Apple, the Carphone Warehouse, Currys & PC World and some independent stores were pulling a fast one.
According to Which!!!’s findings, Currys & PC World only managed to fix one of six laptops correctly and charged £154 for it. One job cost £169.99 to fix and had the wrong operating system installed, with the customer being told that they needed to buy a new hard drive that they did not need.
The Carphone Warehouse performed better than the rest, asking for £50, £20 and £24.99 for the repair of three Windows laptops. That said, they also advised one customer that they needed to buy a £40 hard drive they didn’t need and another laptop had all data unnecessarily wiped while a new OS was being installed.
The independent shops were just as bad, with one charging £200 for data recovery.
Apple meanwhile, didn’t charge anything to repair four of six MacBooks, but didn’t bother with two others because they were older models.
“It’s shocking that major high street retailers are failing consumers when faced with such basic repair issues and are charging people through the nose in the process,” Which!!! editor Richard Headland said. ”We want to see improved staff training and repair procedures, as well as fair and consistent pricing so people can be confident in the services they receive.”
The plan is to allow unlimited access for e-books, which is going to put the cat among the book pigeons for sure.
The $9.99 per month Kindle Unlimited offers access to 600,000 titles in the Kindle format.
Subscribers will be able to access the books on Amazon’s Kindle tablets, as well as other devices with a Kindle app, including iPads and iPhones, Windows devices and Android-powered mobile gadgets.
Amazon is using a model made popular by Netflix for films and television programs, but also by services such as Spotify for music.
This all sounds a bit like rum news ahead for the world of publishing, but Colin Gillis at BGC Partners reckons the move to subscriptions is part of a trend toward ”a ‘rent, not own’ society. We see it with music, with movies. It makes sense that they would do that with books.”
Understandably not everything will be available immediately on the service, but future releases could come as part of a deal to lure people into the service.
Publishers meanwhile are resisting the subscription model because it effectively cuts the price of books and royalties paid.
Despite this, Amazon knows that some of its readers will be up for it, said James McQuivey, an analyst at Forrester Research: ”Amazon knows its customers,” the analyst said. “They know if you read a mystery every week, they know whether they are in a position to make you an offer you can’t refuse.”
“If you’re a one book a month reader and a best seller person, this isn’t going to work for you,” McQuivey said.
The Kindle Unlimited service will also include audio books available through the Audible service. The service is initially being launched for US customers, with other countries likely to follow.
Hipster cyclists like nothing more than tackling a huge hill in full lycra kit, rewarding themselves with some craft ale at the top, then taking a photo of it on Instagram. This is to say: “Look at me! I’m doing exercise, but I’m drinking beer, so I’m not like those other arses with their kale.”
Of course, they’re exactly the same as those other arses.
Most people who have bikes just want to stretch their legs for a mooch or commute to work, so hills aren’t exactly a thrilling prospect. No-one wants to turn up at the office with sweat dripping off them.
Google Maps already has a function where you can see cycle routes, but the latest update include journeys based on elevation, which means you can avoid hard climbs if you want to. Or indeed, you can look for more strenuous journeys, if that’s your thing.
Android Police have reported that there’s tools to compare different elements of your journey and a whole bunch of voice controls to help you out too.
You can ask Google Maps what the traffic is like and get estimates on arrival times and such.
Android Police have made a video of the new features and, as you’ll see, they’re not 100% great but a decent idea if you get around on your bike a lot.
Just don’t use it while pedalling through traffic or you’ll end up nothing more than a stain on the road.
The service will allow business people to receive office and mobile calls to a single device and reduce the risk of them missing important calls. Great for people having affairs with their underlings as well.
The BT One Phone helps streamline calls to any device all into one place. A bit like an email server which aggregates all your accounts. But on a phone.
All phone numbers for the individual are linked to one mobile device, meaning they can manage their calls from anywhere.
Graham Sutherland, CEO of BT Business, said:
“With an increasingly mobile and demanding workforce, businesses need communications technology that is as flexible as they are. Missed calls mean missed business. Today’s announcement, combined with the upcoming launch of our 4G services, demonstrates our ongoing commitment to the increasingly mobile UK workforce.”
Users would need a BT One Phone SIM to gain access to the cloud-based call management service, with which they can receive calls from all of their various phone lines. This gives professionals more control, increasing productivity even when away from the office.
Or to translate that for you – YOU WILL NEVER BE ABLE TO ESCAPE.
Snoopsome administrators will also be able to manage employee access by activating or deactivating employee SIM cards, managing call groups etc. Probably at will, when the fancy takes them and you’ll get all paranoid and neck a box of painkillers.
The future, ladies and gentlemen.
Last July, we told you about Apple going to court for playing a central role in the price fixing of e-books.
We told you about the daytime ITV drama scenario of book executives meeting up in the private dining rooms of upscale New York restaurants, where they bitched about Amazon’s low prices and asking Apple what they could do about it. Apple pulled their best innocent face, but are now coughing up money.
Apple have agreed to pay $450-million to resolve the US State and consumer claims that they conspired with five major publishers to fix e-book prices.
The settlement will provide $400-million for consumers, on the condition of the outcome of a pending appeal of a New York federal judge’s ruling.
Apple will be holding out for the second ruling by the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New York going in their favour. If they reverse the liability finding, they could reduce the amount Apple pays to $70 million, with $50 million going to consumers.
Or they could eliminate payments altogether.
There could well be a lot of private dining rooms in New York getting booked, filled with executives and judges in the coming weeks, if you catch the drift?
In an interview with BBC Newsbeat, Luke Wood pooh-poohed the idea that the headphones were too bass heavy.
“I’ve certainly heard that as an opinion on the headphone, I disagree. We didn’t go to build a reference headphone, something you build in the studio that is really a technical tool to hear when you are recording.”
Adding: “If you look at Dre’s pedigree, Jimmy’s (Iovine) pedigree, even my pedigree, we are all recording engineers. What we did is build a headphone for playback. What does it sound like right when it is finished? And that is what we’ve accomplished.”
Exactly, surely the idea of buying some headphones invented by people who enjoy a bit of bass, saying that they’re a bit bass heavy defeats the point somewhat.
Wood also refused to discuss pesky rumours about sockets on Apple products being changed to accept only Beats headphones following Apple buying Beats earlier this year.
“I’m not here to talk about Apple with you today,” he said. “The truth is that the deal has not closed with Apple, which it will shortly, once it goes through regulatory approval. And at that point we’ll actually sit down with Apple and figure it out. But right now, the truth is there’s absolutely no plans made.”
As you may recall, Apple is set to buy Dr Dre’s Beats Music streaming affair and headphone company for $3 billion, which is nice seeing as Dre can’t be arsed to make music anymore.
“Bass heavy”. Honestly. You Herberts want the moon on a stick.
Well, Google’s smart contact lenses is turning into a reality after they announced that they’ve teamed up with Swiss pharmaceutical firm Novartis to develop special Google Contact Lenses.
The lenses were unveiled as a thing earlier in the year and utilise sensors sandwiched between two soft layers to measure the glucose levels in the wearer’s tears, which then transmits information wirelessly to your smartphones.
You see, these lenses are designed for people with diabetes, rather than being the next-gen Google Glass, where you can watch dirty films, unbeknownst to everyone sat next to you in church. It is hoped that this tech will help diabetics by removing the need to keep taking blood tests all the time.
Novartis reckon that it won’t just be diabetics who will benefit – these contacts could be used to help those suffering from loss of vision as they get old. They could also be developed into “intraocular lenses”, which are contacts that are put in your eyeball forever and ever, so that you have working eyes.
We await the Daily Mail worrying about Google flashing adverts into intraocular lens wearers.
Google co-founder Sergey Brin said: “Our dream is to use the latest technology in the miniaturization of electronics to help improve the quality of life for millions of people. We are very excited to work with Novartis to make this dream come true.”
And there just happens to be LOADS of money in medicine.