Windows 10 is here!

July 29th, 2015 1 Comment By Mof Gimmers

windows 10 300x199 Windows 10 is here!Today, Microsoft are going to start rolling out Windows 10, for free to those that want it. From now, it’ll always be free, as Microsoft stop trying to use their OS as a thing to make money with.

So what’s new?

Well, the Start Menu is back (that’s not new, but it will be a relief to some) and there’ll also be the addition of Cortana (Siri-alike and best friend of dance-pop outfit, Clean Bandit) and Microsoft Edge.

According to Microsoft, upgrading to Windows 10 will see them using a system that is easy to understand if you’ve used Windows 7 or Windows 8.1.

Lots of people have reserved their right to download Windows 10 today, who will be notified in batches, when it is ready to be downloaded. How do you download it?

Well, if you’re upgrading from Windows 7 or Windows 8, open Windows Update (search for Windows Update in Start Menu or Start Screen) and if you’re eligible, you’re away! It is very, very easy. It is sure to be a jammed network, so don’t worry if it all isn’t happening immediately – you’ll get it eventually.

Apple won’t sell Google’s Nest

July 24th, 2015 No Comments By Mof Gimmers

nest 300x270 Apple wont sell Googles NestGoogle and Apple don’t like each other. They both want to rule the world, but sadly, this Earth isn’t big enough for the both of them. And they’re probably going to squabble about that new Earth that NASA have found, too.

Anyway, onto smaller things and it looks like Apple have pulled the plug on Google’s Nest Learning Thermostat from its physical and online stores.

The people at Nest have said that they consider Apple to be a valuable partner for their company, and they intend to sell their wares through Apple’s channels, even though Apple have taken all the product pages down.

This isn’t the first time Apple have walked away from the Nest – they removed both physical and online listings of the device from their stores earlier in July. However, this time, it looks like they’re doing it for good.

Even though Apple were one of the early adopters of Nest and were willing to promote it, they’re now trying to do their own thing, obviously. They created their own smarthome stuff, with the arrival of HomeKit. Of course, within that range, there’s ecobee3, which is the smart thermostat which is compatible with HomeKit.

Of course, Google showed off Brillo, which is their own version of the HomeKit platform.

Former Apple executives Tony Fadell and Matt Rogers are the co-founders of Nest, with Fadell being dubbed ‘the godfather of the iPod’, but it seems that tech companies just can’t play nicely together, despite what their penchant for twee adverts and ukulele music might suggest.

Your Windows XP computer is a liability

July 22nd, 2015 7 Comments By Mof Gimmers

windows logo 300x274 Your Windows XP computer is a liabilityWhile the death of Windows XP is a surprise to very few, chances are, your place of work is so tight-fisted that they’re still running everything on the creaking OS.

Well, you might want to tell your boss (and if you are the boss, pull your finger out already) that Microsoft have not only stopped support for the operating system, but they’ll also stop their free anti-virus software. So basically, you will be using a computer that is just asking for trouble and malfunctions.

On Microsoft’s sites, they say that the Malicious Software Removal Tool and updates to Microsoft Security Essentials will stop being a thing after 14th July 2015. Yes. That’s a date that is now gone.

If you don’t know, the Malicious Software Removal Tool checks your computer for infections by prevalent malicious software. Normally, it is updated once a month, but as of yesterday, any threats can now waltz their way inside your XP computer and cause bother.

And you can guarantee that cyber-crooks will be looking to exploit those who are lazy and have thought ‘it’ll be fine’. That’s what they do. They’re good at it too.

Naturally, if you’re running a computer that has XP on it, then it is invariably a bit on the old side. That means it is worth considering buying a new one. You could buy a cheap Windows 8 PC and just wait for the Windows 10 free release, which will be happening very soon. Or, if you’re a Linux nut, you could eye that up.

Failing that, you can just try and style it out and hope for the best, but don’t go crying to anyone when your PC dies with loads of infections.

Apple back after going offline

July 22nd, 2015 1 Comment By Mof Gimmers

apple Apple back after going offlineYou probably know that a lot of Apple services went down last night, meaning that people couldn’t buy apps and albums or whatever it is they do with their phones.

Well, the company have said that the App Store, Apple Music, iTunes Store and others, are back online after their 3 hour downtime. Ever the coy gits, Apple didn’t really divulge any more than that, but for the sake of scandal and gossip, we’re hoping that this was part of the recent spate of hacks that have been doing the rounds.

These outages happened all over the world, but didn’t affect all users. We’ve checked all the various Apple sites and everything seems to be back to normal, with all issues resolved.

The problems started just as Apple’s radio station – Beats 1 – was meant to tell everyone, exclusively, about the nominations for MTV’s 2015 Video Music Awards.

“We are investigating and will update the status as more information becomes available,” Apple said yesterday, on their support site.

Anyway, everything is fine now, but rest assured, a load of Apple Fanboys will be getting it in the neck from Android Fanboys, with the tried and tested trolling of ‘just works’.

Get Apple’s iOS9 – and what’s new?

July 13th, 2015 No Comments By Mof Gimmers

apple Get Apples iOS9   and whats new?Apple are getting set to drop their latest operating system – the iOS 9 – which will be available some time in Autumn… but you can get it now. Apple have released the public beta version (which means it might have some things in it that need ironing out), which means you can get stuck into it while Apple put the finishing touches to it.

What’s new? Well, iOS 9 has a bunch of new things, including the much welcomed addition of highlighting when you’ve put the capslock on, when composing text on your iPhone or iPad. There’s also a souped-up version of the Notes app, where you can doodle things with your finger and an improved in-built Maps app, which shows you public transport maps and the like.

Nothing revolutionary, but it looks like the additions will be useful enough.

On the iPad, iOS9 will allow you to multitask, by allowing you to use multiple programs and apps at the same time.Video playback will sits in the corner of other opened apps, and there’ll be a shortcut bar for other applications.

The whole thing looks a little tidier too, which means a new font and new logos for all the apps.

So how to do get the beta version? Well, the first thing you should do, is back up your iPhone or iPad. Seeing as this is a work-in-progress version of the operating system, it means that it could be a little temperamental; that means you should have a back-up to revert to, should it end up doing your head in.

It should be very stable, but don’t take any chances.

Sign yourself up for Apple’s testing programme at beta.apple.com/sp/betaprogram and click the blue sign up button. Put your Apple ID in there and you’re nearly on your way. Make sure you are using the same ID you use on the iOS device you will be installing the new software on.

Then, on your chosen device, go to beta.apple.com and, using Safari, sign-in. Then, you can scroll to the ‘step two’ bit of the page and hit ‘download profile’. There, you’ll be redirected to your device’s Settings app, where you can tap the ‘install’ button. Stick in the pin for your device, agree to the T&Cs, and then restart your device.

Once it has restarted, launch the Settings app, hit ‘general’ then ‘software update’ and iOS 9 will waiting there, to install once you press ‘update’.

Google Glass to make a comeback!

July 6th, 2015 No Comments By Mof Gimmers

google Google Glass to make a comeback!Google Glass looked like it was being killed off, but alas, not. The thing that was being shelved was the Explorer Edition, while secretly, Google were working on Enterprise Edition.

According to a report in 9to5Google: “We’ve come to learn from people familiar with the matter that the next hardware is being referred to by Google internally as “Enterprise Edition” or “Google Glass EE” (If you remember, Explorer Edition was referred to as “Google Glass XE”).

“The device named “GG1″ that passed through the FCC seems very likely to be this new hardware—or at least some version of it—and it makes complete sense. Almost all of the Glass at Work startups have focused on the video streaming aspect of the device and have invested millions in software built around it. And in the workplace, this is where Google Glass has been discovered to be most useful. Amped up WiFi capabilities with ac WiFi and 5 GHz support, as well as Bluetooth LE, make sense for video streaming—and Glass startups are more than happy to take advantage of this.”

Obviously, wearable technology is a hot topic for companies at the moment, with everyone getting excited now that Apple have brought a watch out for people to buy. The Apple Watch wasn’t the first, but things go up a notch when they throw their hats into the ring. And of course, there’s a host of Virtual Reality headsets due to hit the shelves, go Google could occupy a middle-ground now that people are more willing to give things like this a whirl.

Importantly for Google, businesses are interested in what Glass can do for them. And with the new eyewear, Google have not just repackaged the old gizmo, rather, the Google Glass Enterprise Edition involves newer, and hopefully better, hardware.

The sticking point, as ever, will be price.

lemmon battery  300x225 Samsung show off tech that doubles lithium ion battery lifeBattery life is one of the main bugbears of anyone who has a mobile. Well, researchers at Samsung reckon they’ve found the new technology that will enable batteries to offer up to 1.5 and 1.8 times higher capacity than those doing the rounds now.

How? Well, they’ve come up with a brand new way of coating the battery cathodes, which means they can get more juice for your device.

The report explains to those people who understand this sort of thing: “Here we report direct graphene growth over silicon nanoparticles without silicon carbide formation. The graphene layers anchored onto the silicon surface accommodate the volume expansion of silicon via a sliding process between adjacent graphene layers. When paired with a commercial lithium cobalt oxide cathode, the silicon carbide-free graphene coating allows the full cell to reach volumetric energy densities of 972 and 700 Wh l-1 at first and 200th cycle, respectively, 1.8 and 1.5 times higher than those of current commercial lithium-ion batteries.”

We fell asleep about half way through the second sentence of that. However, BATTERIES THAT LAST LONGER! WE’RE INTO THAT!

The best thing about this, is that Samsung think this is commercially viable, which means this isn’t one of those developments that stay in the lab, which means this should end up in the phones they release in the future.

When will we see this fancy new batteries? Well, Samsung are working things out, trying to improve the effectiveness of the battery.

google Google launch music streaming service (but might be spying on you)Google art taking shots at Apple by launching a free version of its music streaming service Play Music. Of course, Google Play Music as a subscription service is already a thing, but the internet behemoth has decided to take on Apple’s music service (and of course, Spotify’s).

This free version is going to be made up of curated playlists, which have been designed for different times of the day, which sounds a bit rubbish. Initially, this service is only available in the States and will have adverts like Spotify’s freemium service.

With Apple set to launch their music service on 30th June, they’re no doubt going to be annoyed by this.

In a blog post, Google product manager Elias Roman said: “Even if you’re not already a Google Play Music subscriber, we’ve got you covered. Google Play Music now has a free, ad-supported version in the US, giving you a new way to find just the right music – and giving artists another way to earn revenue.”

“The new free, ad-supported version of Google Play Music is launching first in the US. It’s available on the web today, and is rolling out this week to Android and iOS.”

However, this won’t cover up the fact that a load of people are losing their baps about Google spying on everyone. Open-source developers noticed that Chromium (that’s the open-source version of Chrome) had been installing audio-snooping code that was capable of listening to users.

Now, this code has been put in, so that people can talk to their computers via OK Google thingummy, which is all well and good, but the kicker here, is that the listening technology was activated without anyone’s permission. That, obviously, isn’t cricket.

“Without consent, Google’s code had downloaded a black box of code that – according to itself –  had turned on the microphone and was actively listening to your room”, said Rick Falkvinge, the Pirate party founder. “Which means that your computer had been stealth configured to send what was being said in your room to somebody else, to a private company in another country, without your consent or knowledge, an audio transmission triggered by… an unknown and unverifiable set of conditions”.

Google say that this isn’t activated “unless you opt in to hotwording”, but developers aren’t having that. Developer Ofer Zelig says: “While I was working I thought ‘I’m noticing that an LED goes on and off, on the corner of my eyesight [webcam]‘. And after a few times when it just seemed weird, I sat to watch for it and saw it happening. Every few seconds or so”.

So there you go – you can have free music, but Google might end up listening to you caterwauling along to it as well.

What’s the skinny with Windows 10?

June 23rd, 2015 No Comments By Mof Gimmers

Windows 300x300 Whats the skinny with Windows 10?We’re about a month away from Microsoft doling out Windows 10, and for the most part, they’re giving it away for free, which seems awfully nice of them.

That said, there’s always a fair amount of trepidation when there’s a new Windows knocking about, because some releases have been so very, very abysmal. This new one is going to be used across all Microsoft devices, so they need to get it right. That includes the Xbox, and no-one wants to make gamers mad because some of them have a lot of time on their hands and a unique ability to take things personally.

The new OS will not be like previous releases, as this will be one that you get regular updates for, so you’ll always have the latest system, for no additional cost.

The Start Menu is back, and it’ll have something like the live tiles from Windows 8. There’ll also be a new browser called Microsoft Edge, which will be integrated with Microsoft’s personal assistant Cortana (imagine if that old Windows animated paper clip if it could talk and flirt with Clean Bandit on the telly).

In an attempt to get this working well from the off, Microsoft developed this with the ’Insider’ programme, which basically gave Windows fanboys the chance to give the company feedback before it was unleashed on the general public.

windows 10 500x312 Whats the skinny with Windows 10?

The Windows Insider had a huge amount of numbers mucking around with Windows 10, to spot bugs and provide reports on which bits of the new operating system were frustrating or made no sense (something they’ve not done too well on in recent years). 4.4 million people signed-up to get the chance to play with Windows 10 over the last 9 months. Mercifully, it was a mixture of techie sorts as well as people ordinary folk who use computers in an every day way.

Those who helped the testing of Windows 10 used a feedback app to offer their thoughts, which Microsoft have decided to keep in the version that gets released next month, so you can tell them what does and doesn’t work.

If you want in, have a look on your toolbar and you’ll see a little Windows logo – hit that and you’ll be able to bagsy your place in the queue to get Windows 10 for free.

BBC to bring mind-powered TV remote

June 19th, 2015 2 Comments By Mof Gimmers

BBC iPlayer Radio logo BBC to bring mind powered TV remoteAre you one of those people who keeps losing your TV remote? Forever sitting on it because you never look down before parking your rear?

Never you mind. You will be able to use the power of your mind instead! Very useful, unless you’re prone to LOSING YOUR MIND, MAAAAAN.

This idea was hatched in partnership with studio This Place and the BBC, and they’ve actually called it ‘Mind Control TV’, which is brilliant. It is being toyed with for use with an experimental version of iPlayer. So, if you missed last week’s Flog It!, or want to catch up with Saturday Kitchen, you just plop on the mind control machine and get your brain on the go.

And now, for a long word.

The electroencephalography (EEG) brainwave-frazzling headset requires you to focus your mind, while a sensor on your forehead and another clipped to the ear gets to work. You’ve got two options too – you can choose ”concentration” or “meditation” as their brain-control controls, and then you can make things happen with the power of your brains!

Obviously, using a remote or clicking some buttons is much faster, but this could be incredibly useful for viewers who have a disability.

And of course, this is just an extension of voice controls that you get on things like the Xbox One, and you can control the iPlayer with little more than barking at it. This “Mind Control TV” is next level though. This is something you could do while people are sleeping next to you or whatever. The prototypes have been successful too.

“It was much easier for some than it was for others,” Cyrus Saihan, head of business development for the BBC’s Digital division, said. “But they all managed to get it to work.”

“The idea that being able to simply think about something and then magically make it happen has fascinated people for many years,” Saihan wrote. “So when we learnt that new technologies were now available in the market that allowed you to control electronic devices by measuring the brain’s electrical activity, we wanted to experiment.”

nest 300x270 Googles Nest gets a camera to watch your homeWe’ve referred to Google’s Nest like it is the realisation of the Ultrahouse 3000 that is voiced by Pierce Brosnan and tries to kill Homer Simpson.

Well, the latest news from the Nest Labs isn’t going to stop us from doing that, as they’ve announced the latest edition to their family of connected gizmos – the Nest Cam.

That’s right! If you want a robot home, you can now add a home-monitoring camera, complete with microphone, speaker, motion sensors and night-vision… one made by Google, and all their lovely privacy practices!

It’ll shoot video of your home in 1080p high-definition, with a wide-angle glass lens and three megapixel sensor, so it can capture all that scintillating footage of you sat on the sofa, scratching your can while watching dirty videos on your phone.

It’ll cost you £199 and you can upload 10-30 days worth of continuous video to the Nest Aware cloud service, which itself, will cost you around £10 or £30 a month, depending on your storage option. There’s also a new version of the Nest Protect device, which is a a fire, smoke and CO2 alarm.

Nest boss, Tony Fadell says: “At Nest, we always wanted to build more than a thermostat. Our vision was to create a thoughtful home, a home that takes care of itself and the people in it. Five years later, all the pieces are in place.”

‘A thoughtful home – a house that takes care of itself and the people in it’. This sounds like a strapline from  dystopian nightmare film where we all get devoured. Don’t even pretend it doesn’t. We’ll all be killed by humdrum machines and there’s nothing we can do about it, as Nest will probably tell the Google automated cars to drive us off cliffs for being insubordinate.

WE’RE DOOMED.

Who has the fastest tablet?

June 15th, 2015 2 Comments By Mof Gimmers

Picture 27 Who has the fastest tablet?Have you got a tablet? No, not the medicinal kind – the sort which you rest on the toilet and watch TV shows on while you have a bath. The kind that you bought, thinking it would transform your life, but you didn’t end up using very frequently.

Well, you might be wondering how fast yours is, compared to everyone else’s.

Thank goodness for Which!!! who have done some tests to find out which tablet is the fastest on the market. It seems the champion is Microsoft’s Surface Pro 3.

If you though Apple would win, then you might be surprised to learn that there was a another device that was quicker than the iPad Mini 3 – the Tesco Hudl 2. Seeing as the Hudl is considerably cheaper than the iPad, that’s good news indeed, for some.

“Our tablet speed test is a great indication of how fast tablets can run when downloading apps or using multiple functions at once,” said Which!!! editor Richard Headland. “Nowadays we expect everything in a swipe or a click of the button, so understanding how quickly a tablet is able to process information is important to buyers”.

Here are the quickest tablets on the market, in order:

1. Microsoft Surface Pro 3 128GB i5
2. Apple iPad Air 2
3. Google Nexus 9
4. Amazon Kindle Fire HDX 8.9 2014
5. Apple iPad Air 32GB wi-fi

6. Samsung Galaxy Tab Pro 10.1
7. Samsung Galaxy Tab S 10.5
8. Asus MEMO Pad 7 ME572C
9. Tesco Hudl 2
10. Apple iPad mini 3

Skype for Windows app gets Translator built-in

June 10th, 2015 No Comments By Mof Gimmers

skype Skype for Windows app gets Translator built inYou may have heard about the Skype Translator app, which helps you to talk to people in a foreign language/troll people abroad – well, it will soon be bundled in with the Skype for Windows desktop app. This will happen by the end of this summer, according to Microsoft.

The app launched last year in the standalone service, available exclusively on Windows 8.1 devices. It seems that it has been received well and tested strongly.

If you don’t know about the feature, it lets you chat to people who speak a different language to you, be it through voice or text. As for the spoken element, Skype only supports English, Spanish, Italian and Mandarin at the moment, but that will invariably grow in the coming months.

In text form, 50 languages are supported.

This is all an attempt to get more people using the service, and the more words are put into the system, the more it can accurately translate. So if you’ve got a thick Geordie accent or talk like you have a mouth full of marbles, start using it so the system becomes more sophisticated and useful for everyone.

Bitterwallet Apple Event on September 1st 300x237 Apple to launch music streaming service today?Looks like Apple are unveiling their own music streaming service at the Worldwide Developer Conference this week – possibly today.

This is according to blabber mouth Sony Music CEO Doug Morris, so blorted the secret to guests at the Midem Music Industry Festival. He said, yesterday, that Apple’s announcement of the Beats-based service is “happening tomorrow”.

Of course, there’s no chat about prices or what features it’ll have, but Apple have a lot of money to throw around, so this should be of some concern to Spotify and Tidal. And of course, with so many people feeling some kind of brand-loyalty to Apple, there’s millions of people who might want to jump ship from another service, to theirs.

However, one thing that could make or break Apple’s music service, is whether or not it is open to everyone. One of Spotify’s successes is that it wasn’t restricted to one platform, meaning the Android users and Apple users could share playlists with one another. And artists won’t want to sign any exclusivity deals if it means they’re cutting out loads of listeners.

Imagine a band in the ’90s saying that their new album would only be playable through Sony stereos and no other – that’d be madness. Either way, Apple aren’t daft, so they’ll have something up their sleeves to get their fans excited – users of torrents, you can carry on ignoring absolutely everything relating to the above.

Password rage is all the… erm… rage

June 4th, 2015 2 Comments By Mof Gimmers

password 300x289 Password rage is all the... erm... rageApparently, a third of us will admit to suffering from ‘password rage’. They’ve been around for decades, but it seems that a number of us would really like them to go and die now.

The main problem seems to be having to remember all the different passwords we’ve got for things (shout out to those who have the same password for everything, especially if it is the word ‘password’), with a quarter saying that they forget their password at least once a day. Think that’s bad? 5% confessed to forgetting it all the time!

In addition to that, 1 in 6 said that their password problems cause disruption in the office, because they’re forever screaming and yelling at their devices. Some people manage to cry and slam doors about it all too, according to the report.

“We’ve all heard of road rage and air rage, but now there’s a new one on the block – password rage,” says Barry Scott, Centrify CTO EMEA at Centrify. “As if we don’t have enough frustrations in our lives, passwords are an added irritant, but also an essential part of what we need in order to access online accounts and applications both at work and in our personal lives.”

Out of those surveyed, 42% create at least one new online account profile every week and 14% say they’ll have over 100 passwords to deal with in the next five years.

One thing you could try is to have the password from the photo above, obviously. Don’t forget to send us all your confidential details and URLs too.