Posts Tagged ‘News’
A lot of BT’s rivals are happy about how much (or, rather, how little) has been invested in Openreach, and they would like it sold. Sharon White, Ofcom’s chief executive, is looking at BT’s provision of superfast broadband and said that ”the structural separation” of Openreach from BT is definitely one thing being looked at.
White said the four possible options are:
- Whether to continue the status quo which is “unlikely.”
- More deregulation.
- The “structural separation” of Openreach and BT.
- Adjusting the existing system to make it “more fit for purpose”, making new superfast lines, improving services, and making a lot of repairs.
Seeing as BT is responsible for connecting almost all houses to the network, even if they’re on a different network, this is big news. While splitting Openreach and BT up is not a foregone conclusion, something needs to be done about the 2.5m houses that aren’t getting access to minimal broadband speeds of 10 megabits per second.
This is the speed that the government has promised everyone will have by 2020. Ofcom are expected to start reporting their recommendations next year.
BT are on record, saying that they think splitting off Openreach from them would be a “mistake”, as they think they’re the only ones big enough to deal with such a responsibility.
A spokesperson for BT said: “The UK’s broadband market compares well with other major European countries, but it has also changed beyond recognition in the past decade and regulation needs to be updated to reflect that. We believe the current model works extremely well but there is always room for improvement and for deregulation given the UK market is now far more competitive than it was a decade ago.”
Now, we’ve just done a quick test, and yep, links to Telegram don’t work in the app, on Android at least. On iOS, things seem to be fine.
Other links with Telegram as the server name are also not working in WhatsApp, such as telegram.notme and Telegram.com, so there’s something up. Obviously, Telegram has been getting more popular lately, thanks to providing end-to-end encryption technologies on its platform. Of course, it got a spike in traffic after WhatsApp went down last year.
Telegram, while talking to The Verge, said that a silent update to WhatsApp seems to have broken these links, and a spokesperson said: “Typically after a media backlash, FB steps back and blames their intelligent filtering for the problem. We expect the same to happen this time as well.”
Facebook have previous when it comes to blocking and censoring things, but in their defence, they haven’t made a comment about this yet (neither have WhatsApp), but we’re sure it’ll all be ‘resolved’ when they find ‘a glitch’ and there’ll be further updates.
In ‘absolute twaddle’ news now, and some Texans decided to do an exorcism in a Starbucks. Obviously, the news that Starbucks’ red winter cups weren’t Christian enough for some lunatics, was missed by these lads, who decided to remove the devil out of someone while using Starbucks’ WiFi and having a skinny latte.
The exorcists went to an outlet in Austin, and obviously, some people decided to film it on their mobiles. As you should. Always capture nonsense like this and share it with the world.
Here’s the video.
Now, to us, it looks like someone who has had too much ale, or has been throwing space cakes down their neck, and have all the throat gunk of someone who thought a bit of caffeine might pick them up.
However, as the video shows, three men holding down someone while saying “by the blood of Jesus Christ” and saying stuff about someone or something having ‘no business being in there’, this does sound a lot like some people trying to remove a demon.
Unless, of course, the other lads have been on the mushrooms as well.
Over at HUKD, there’s been some furrowed brows over a company called CombatZones.co.uk. They’ve been selling video games, and the prices have been too good to be true. The latter, obviously, rang alarm bells and a number of people have given them the swerve.
However, some people have bought things with them, and it looks like they won’t be getting their purchases any time soon.
For starters, the website is, at the time of press, offline. One person said: ”Do not order goods from this website. The support email address bounces back, and searches on Google for games website, does not bring up any results. Not legit company.”
With orders vanishing into the ether, especially before Christmas, this could be a lot of mither for some. Looking at the cache of the page, it looks like most orders were completed with PayPal, which is something at least, because you can get a refund easily through them.
PayPal’s ‘Buyer Protection’ says: “If an eligible item that you’ve bought online doesn’t arrive, or doesn’t match the seller’s description, our Buyer Protection will reimburse you for the full amount of the item plus postage and packaging costs. Buyer Protection covers all your online purchases, on eBay or on any other website, when you use PayPal.”
Make sure you open your dispute with PayPal as soon as possible, so you don’t miss the window. Do it within 180 days of the purchase. To get a refund, log in to your PayPal account, and see this page.
It looks like CombatZones won’t be fulfilling orders, but if that changes, we’ll update this page. Good luck getting a refund if you’ve been stung.
If you use Uber, you might be really keen to get yourself a 5-star rating. Of course, that rating is stored by Uber, so drivers can see if you’re a massive pain in the arse or not, and can avoid you if you have been nothing but trouble.
Firstly, if you want to find out what your rating is, you can contact customer support. Secondly, what are the ways of making sure you’re rated well by your Uber driver?
Well, here’s a picture for you, which was displayed on the back seat of an Uber driver’s cab.
Obviously, this driver is very keen to get a good rating themselves, saying: “Please let me know what I can do to make this a 5 STAR EXPERIENCE for you! I will do my absolute best to give you a clean, comfortable and most importantly a safe environment during our time together. If there is anything I can improve on please let me know!”
For you, it is pretty straightforward – don’t be rude, don’t make a mess of the car, or anything like that. You can click the picture above to expand, or click here.
Halfords are doing a product recall on the Air Runner Self Balancing Boards (190375 / 192470/192488 – black and white versions).
They say: “We have identified that 144 Air Runner Balance Boards (black and white versions) have been sold with a mains plug and charger that are not fully compliant with British Standards. This affects products with the above serial numbers only, with no others affected.”
Here’s what they look like.
They continue: “We have removed the item from sale whilst a full investigation takes place and are asking customers not to use the product and to return it with the mains plug and charger to their local Halfords shop, where they will receive a full refund.”
“We take the quality and safety of our products extremely seriously and would like to apologise to customers affected for any inconvenience this may cause. Customers who have a query should contact our customer services team on 0345 504 53 53″.
So there you go. Don’t be asking us any questions in the comments as you’ve got all the information you need above.
Last year, a joint lawsuit was lodged by Universal Music, Sony Music, Warner Music, Nordisk Film, and the Swedish Film Industry, against Swedish ISP Bredbandsbolaget, claiming that they should be made responsible for the infringement copyright.
The wanted to see the ISP blocking The Pirate Bay, or else! Bredbandsbolaget refused. They weren’t having it at all. Well, a Stockholm District Court presiding over this had a think about it and decided that the ISP should not be forced to block TPB.
In the ruling, the court rejected the idea that the ISP’s services constitute a participation in crime.
“A unanimous District Court considers, therefore, that it is not in a position to authorise such a ban as the rights holders and therefore rejects the request,” presiding Chief Magistrate Anders Dereborg said in a statement, as translated by TorrentFreak.
Bredbandsbolaget said the judgment was positive one and “important for freedom of expression and the Swedish model of a free and open Internet.”
The ISP added that, if they were required to block The Pirate Bay, they were worried that it would set a precedent that could lead to more sites being blocked.
Now, it is worth pointing out that The Pirate Bay is blocked by a host of ISPs around Europe, but this court ruling might see some renewed action in all of this.
Think this is nonsense? Then take it up with Ofcom, because that’s what they’ve found when they were doing tests on such things. And it just so happens that they’ve got an app that they’ve just launched, so you can test your coverage.
Ofcom reckon that around six million homes and offices could improve their broadband connection, because they’ve set things up that interfere with their signal, such as Christmas lights, baby monitors and microwave ovens.
You can download the Ofcom Wi-Fi Checker app, which obviously you can get on iOS and Android, which runs on smartphones and tablets, to see what your connection is like. It also has a load of tips to help you get the most out of your connection.
Ofcom say: “the app tests the Wi-Fi set-up and, if it finds a problem, will provide some troubleshooting tips to help improve broadband. For example, it may suggest you: move your router away from electrical devices: Halogen lamps, electrical dimmer switches, stereo or computer speakers, fairy lights, TVs and monitors and AC power cords have all been known to cause interference to broadband routers.Keep your router as far away as possible from other electrical devices as well as those which emit wireless signals such as baby monitors etc.”
“Move your router to a different part of your home: The walls and furniture in your house act as an obstacle to the Wi-Fi radio frequencies. Ideally routers should be kept centrally within the home and placed on a table or shelf rather than on the floor”
“Try restarting your wireless router: This may automatically select a less busy Wi-Fi radio frequency. Use an Ethernet cable to connect directly to your router: An Ethernet cable is a computer networking cable which should give you a faster, more reliable connection.”
“Wi-Fi performance can be affected by lots of things. These can change over time and have a different effect in different rooms of your house. We recommend you try running the Wi-Fi Checker in different rooms and at the times of day when you’re most likely to use the internet.”
So there you go. Great little app if you aren’t so hot at troubleshooting things like this, and thoroughly pointless if you’re a know-it-all (but then, everything is for you).
The RAC are not happy about these mobile blackspots that are all over the UK, and they say that it is putting motorists’ lives at risk. By their calculations, they think there’s around 2,600 miles of road around Britain that don’t even have a 2G signal, which is what you need for the most basic of mobile services.
That means 2% of the roads have no coverage, so if you break down there, you could be in a very stick situation indeed. The worst areas are in the Highlands, Argyll & Bute, and Powys in Wales. In England, the worst covered areas are Cumbria, North Yorkshire, and Devon.
The RAC said that some roads, including the A93 in Scotland, A149 in East Anglia, A494 in Wales and A591 in Cumbria, have no signal at all, which makes them a risk for drivers.
They also found that 14,554 miles of road has no 3G coverage, with an additional 111,679 miles of road only having partial 3G coverage. 56% of Britain’s roads have no 4G coverage, and the RAC would like someone to do something about this.
“Most of us like to think we are always just a mobile phone call away from help but even in a crowded, high-tech country like Britain the reality is somewhat different. Our work shows there are thousands of miles of road along which you would not want to break down or have an accident because calling the RAC, the emergency services or even home wouldn’t be an option. Even where there is partial network coverage it might not be from your network provider,” said Steve Gooding, director of the RAC Foundation.
“And it’s not just in emergencies that we rely on our mobiles. Increasingly we drivers depend on our smart phones for everything from telling us how to get from A to B, to what the weather is going be, to where the congestion is.”
“The concepts of connected cars and drivers is at the heart of much thinking about how we might make our travelling lives easier. But the best ideas in the world will fall at the first hurdle if there are no bars on the phone.”
Vtech, the provider of tech and toys to kids, have confirmed that they’ve suspended trading after a hack that saw 4.8 million customer details stolen. A spokesperson said that an “unauthorised party” accessed the data that was in VTech’s Learning Lodge app store last month.
The information that was included was profile info, which includes names, addresses, IP addresses, email addresses, history of downloads and secret answers to security questions. No password information was taken, and no credit card info was affected either.
Security analyst Troy Hunt, has looked into all this, and said that the passwords were not encrypted, like Vtech claimed: “Once the passwords hit the database, they’re protected with nothing more than a straight MD5 hash, which is so close to useless for anything but very strong passwords (which people rarely create), they may as well have not even bothered. The kids’ passwords are just plain text.”
“The vast majority of these passwords would be cracked in next to no time; it’s about the next worst thing you do next to no cryptographic protection at all.”
This follows what seems to be an endless series of hacks, with the most notable happening with TalkTalk.
Hunt continued: “Despite the frequency of these incidents, companies are just not getting the message; taking security seriously is something you need to do before a data breach, not something you say afterwards to placate people.”
Obviously, you should change your passwords and the like if you think this affects you. If you have any queries, Vtech’s UK number is 01235 546810.
Fax: (01235) 546804
With black cabs talking about accepting contactless payments, Uber make more moves to get people using their services. You can have the aux cord, get money transferred out of your account automatically, and order it on the app without speaking to anyone and, now, if you want to split the cost with someone, you can use UberPool.
Of course, sharing a taxi with a stranger isn’t for everyone, but this could work in the favour of those who want cheaper fares. It is being trialled in London from Friday, and you’ll be able to split a taxi if you’re going in the same direction.
Uber say that this is an environmentally sound thing to do and will cut down on pollution, and elsewhere in the world – where this service is already in place – it apparently accounts for more than half of the company’s journeys.
Jo Bertram, Uber’s regional general manager in the UK, said: “We believe UberPool can become a credible alternative to car ownership. If you can press a button and get an affordable ride across town within minutes at any time of day or night, why bother to own a car at all?”
So what do you make of that then? Decent little innovation, or something that chills your blood as you’d have to deal with another human for a car journey?
While that seems like a nonsense, the idea is that you’ll plug your headphones into the lightning port, rather than sticking it in the usual hole. Not much cop if you want to rig your phone up to someone’s aux cord or what have you.
This also means that the new headphone system would see your ‘phones able to draw power, and open specific apps and the like. Sounds a bit far-fetched to us, but this is Apple and they own Beats, which means they could ensure that every time you wanted to listen to music, you’d have to buy their products… and that sounds like a very Apple move indeed.
If you wanted to use traditional headphones, then again, Apple would no doubt be on hand to sell you an adapter,
The rumour has come from MacOtakara, who haven’t exactly been great for leaks and rumours in the past, however, if Apple are trying to make even thinner phones, one stumbling block is the size of a headphone socket, which you can’t really make slimmer. That said, we could be moving toward wireless headphones, which opens up a world of slimmer, lighter gadgets.
It is thought that Apple will be releasing a new phone next September, so we’ll have to wait and see.
There’s more calls for bans on adverts that basically promote sugar. A report, released today, wants to the government to be “bold and brave” and try and tackle Britain’s obesity. The report doesn’t want healthy eating campaigns, but rather, promoting exercise.
Members of the Commons health committee think that it is time for a ”far more ambitious” approach, and they recommend the banning of junk food adverts before the 9pm on TV, more control over what junk food deals supermarkets can do, warnings on drinks that have a load of sugar in, a 20% tax on full-sugar drinks with any money raised going to preventing childhood obesity, and a complete ban on supermarkets putting sweets near checkouts.
They also want to see an end to the use of cartoon characters and celebrities in children’s ads, and new guidelines on what a healthy school packed lunch looks like.
Dr Sarah Wollaston, the health committee’s chair, think the government aren’t doing enough. There’s an idea that too much money is wasted on people being fat, when you could probably argue that just as much money is wasted on reports like this, which never result in anything being done about anything.
Anyway, Wollaston said: “What we felt was that the problem is so great that it’s time for action and just taking gentle measures that tinker at the edges won’t have the effect we need. If the problem is great enough we need to do something that makes a difference. A quarter of children from the most disadvantaged families are leaving school not just overweight but obese. That’s just wholly unacceptable.”
Of course, these taxes have been tried in other countries and they haven’t worked too well – fact is, sugary things taste nice and there’s not a great deal you can do about that. With official figures showing that obesity among children younger than 10 years old is falling, you wonder if this is a problem that is already on the way to being fixed?
Either way, would you like to see a sugar tax or not?
Today is Cyber Monday, which is Black Friday’s little brother. Basically, this means there’s a load of deals and offers being put online by retailers. Seeing as Black Friday is mostly internet-based these days, we’re not sure what the point of Cyber Monday is.
However, bargains are bargains, so we’ll get the best of the bunch in today’s Deals of the Day at midday.
With all sales, there’s always a chance that someone will try and scam you out of money in some way. If you’re going through reputable outlets, you’ll be fine. However, keep an eye out for things like look a bit dodgy.
A lot of people looking for a good deal end up on scam sites, and you can usually tell who they are in two ways – the first is that the price of the product is too good to be true, and the second is that the design of their website is complete dogshit.
Cyber Monday might not seem like a big deal to some, but last year, £720 million was spent in the UK, and it is thought that this year, that figure is going to be higher. Again, that’s not touching the figures from Friday, where it seems over a billion quid was spent.
Anyway, stay vigilant.
Hungryhouse has reset the passwords of thousands of their customers, after what was thought to be a data breach.
On Twitter this morning, the fastfood service said: “Hungryhouse have ourselves re-set a number of customer’s passwords as a preventative security measure against a 3rd party.”
If that doesn’t clear it up for you, then the email they sent around today should.
See? Nothing to worry about at all. Now you don’t have to worry about bored teenagers or terrorists knowing about how much pizza you can put away on a weekend.
Anyway, go and reset your password.