Posts Tagged ‘tech’

Free 2GB of storage from Google

February 10th, 2016 1 Comment By Mof Gimmers

GoogleDriveLogo 02062013 300x168 Free 2GB of storage from GoogleIf you’re a customer of Google, be it a Gmail user or enjoy the fruits of Google’s Drive storage, then you’re allow 2GB of free storage if you want it.

How do you get it? Well, every year, Google ask you to go a security check-up and, today, you can get the free storage just by doing it. Very handy.

Once you’ve done your security check, you’ll see that two gig of additional storage will have been automatically added to your account.

Of course, doing these checks is rather useful itself, and worth doing from time-to-time. At least when you do it now, you’ll get a reward. It shouldn’t take very long – ours took under a minute to do. You can check that the correct gadgets are accessing your profile (so it’ll tell you which phone, which tablet, which computer, or whatever, is using your Google account). This means you can nix anything dodgy, but chances are, it’ll be fine, you’ll press okay on everything and get free stuff!

If you want the free 2GB of storage, click here, and once you’ve signed-in and clicked a few buttons, you’re away! Free stuff is good.

Week-long mobile battery, on the way!

February 9th, 2016 1 Comment By Mof Gimmers

mobile Week long mobile battery, on the way!Another day, another wild promise about mobile batteries that will last for aaaaaaages. So what’s this new one about? Well, this has been developed in Blighty, and after they harnessed the power of hydrogen for London black cabs, they’re now making a mobile battery that will only have to be charged once a week.

Intelligent Energy Holdings say that hydrogen fuel cells will be made, that are small enough to put in a mobile phone. This tech converts hydrogen into electricity, which leaves water vapour as a byproduct, so you might have to tip your phone out now and then.

“Embedding fuel-cell technology into portable devices provides a solution to the current dilemma of battery life,” says Julian Hughes from Intelligent Energy’s Consumer Electronics division; “With consumers demanding more and more from their phones, battery innovation has not kept up.”

Henri Winland, who is Intelligent Energy’s chief executive, says: “The killer app is a battery with a seven-week refresh life and we think that will appeal to everyone. It’s not just for intrepid explorers.”

Obviously, these people aren’t great at communicating, but the thought of a battery that only needs to be charged once per week, is pretty great.

The company have a deal with an unnamed smartphone maker, which is going to allow them to develop a prototype fuel cell phone, and more than just helping us lot to stop plugging our phones in, the real joy of this tech is that it will help those people who live off the grid, maybe in rural parts of the third world and what have you.

Hughes continued: “What we offer is a solution that is clean and efficient and means consumers could be truly mobile and free from the constraints of the grid.”

UK paying too much for faster internet

February 8th, 2016 No Comments By Mof Gimmers

slow internet connection 300x294 UK paying too much for faster internetManufacturers in the UK are coughing up money for no good reason, as they are paying “inflated” amounts to secure fast enough internet access. This is according to EEF, who found that a quarter of small firms and half of medium-sized firms were paying over £5,000 a year just to get access that suited their needs.

Residential customers have been given a priority over businesses, according to EEF, and they’d like to see that sorted out, stat!

“While the quality of networks isn’t currently an issue, companies are paying inflated sums to have proper access and are fearful they will not have competitive access five years down the line,” said Lee Hopley, EEF chief economist.

In their survey, over 90% told EEF that a high-speed internet connection was “as essential to business as electricity and water”. Of course, with businesses paying over the odds to get at it, this is something of an issue. EEF themselves say that, without affordable access, Britain could miss out on the “fourth industrial revolution”.

Ofcom are actually looking into this area, investigating the quality, price, and fairness of the broadband sector in the United Kingdom. One of the things being muttered about, is the break-up up BT. Would broadband in Britain be better if it was owned by a company that was independent of BT? Many think so.

It looks like there’s going to be a shake-up of internet services over the coming years, so business access, and changes in who owns and maintains the network could be on the horizon.

Google are going after fake download buttons

February 5th, 2016 1 Comment By Mof Gimmers

new google logo 300x300 Google are going after fake download buttonsIt happens to everyone – you hit ‘download’ on something, and you don’t get what you wanted, but rather, sent to some annoying site that is filled with crappy adverts, or worse, something that tries to load you up with malware.

Well, Google are not happy about these sites, and are tinkering with their Safe Browsing service (that you get with Chrome) so that you’re warned explicitly about content that might not be what it says it is. Notably, they’re going after buttons that promise one thing, and give you something entirely different.

Google have said: ”Consistent with the social engineering policy we announced in November, embedded content (like ads) on a web page will be considered social engineering when they either: pretend to act, or look and feel, like a trusted entity — like your own device or browser, or the website itself. [Or] try to trick you into doing something you’d only do for a trusted entity — like sharing a password or calling tech support.”

So, if a website is repeatedly flagged up by users, Chrome will start throwing up a big warning at you when you’re on it. Basically, it’ll mither you until you’re at ease with using it, or go elsewhere.

You can assume that Google will be running tests on sites that are flagged up, because if they don’t, mischief makers will be able to flag up all manner of innocent sites, and the whole internet will be covered with warnings… and that’d be terrifically annoying.

This is the latest safety feature implemented by Google for the Chrome browser, and certainly not the last. Now, if they could do something about who go on about their keep-fit routines too often, that’d be great.

App Store and iTunes is down

February 5th, 2016 No Comments By Mof Gimmers

sad apple logo App Store and iTunes is downThere’s been a fair amount of complaining on social media, about Apple’s various outlets being down. One problem sees users being told that they’ve been frozen out of their iTunes account, being asked to validate their details, only to find they still can’t get in.

Other services are on the blink too, with problems arising with the App Store, iTunes Store, Mac App Store, Apple TV, iBooks Store, iTunes in the Cloud, iTunes Match and the Volume Purchase Program. Looks like there’s issues with some iCloud services too.

People have also been reporting problems with iMessage too.

So, basically, if you’ve been trying to buy stuff through Apple, or update your apps, and been having a nightmare with it all, don’t worry yourself unduly – it isn’t just you. Of course, it is really irritating, but at least there’s a load of you that have fallen foul of it, rather than something being wrong with your account.

If you look on DownDetector, you can see that this is a global problem across multiple Apple services. There’s no word on what’s happening yet, but it is safe to assume that Apple are trying to get it all fixed as quickly as possible.

Facebook has a secret chess game for you!

February 4th, 2016 5 Comments By Mof Gimmers

facebook 300x300 Facebook has a secret chess game for you!Have you been talking to someone on Facebook’s messenger, and found them to be about as exciting as an old mop? Well, worry not, as there’s a secret (well, it isn’t a secret now) chess game built-in, which you can play with your pals.

First, in your message, tap in ‘@fbchess play’, and that’ll bring the board up, ready for you to play on. Now, all you need to do is to make the pieces move.

Easy enough – you type the letter of the piece you’d like to move, and then select where it is moving to. Obviously, the position is determined by the corresponding letters and numbers around the board.

The key for the pieces is as follows:

K for king
Q for queen
B for bishop
N for knight
R for rook
P for pawn

You’ll be able to work it out, as you’re incredibly resourceful and bright. However, should you get yourself in a tangle, and need some pointers, then all you have to do is type ‘@fbchess help’ in your chat, and you’ll get all the help you need.

Sadly, we can’t tell you how to be great at chess – you’ll have to do that for yourself. This is what the secret Facebook chess game looks like.

chess2 Facebook has a secret chess game for you!

windows 10 Youre about to get an automatic upgrade to Windows 10If you have a PC, then it’ll be getting Windows 10 soon, automatically. As of February 8th, the update is going to upgrade your operating system for you, even if your settings say that you’d like to do it manually.

Don’t worry though, as this won’t cost you anything and isn’t a trial version that you’ll have to pay for, or turn down at a later date. If you hate the idea of Windows 10, then you’ve got reason to be annoyed.

Microsoft has said that you’ll be getting a notification which will pop-up on your screen, confirming the switch to the newest OS, but that’ll only happen once the files have been downloaded already.

Now, if you really, really, really don’t want it, then Microsoft say that you’ll be able to ditch Windows 10 and revert to your old favourite within 30 days.

Now, Windows 10 is a little bit too keen when it comes to hooveirng up your data, and memorising keystrokes and the like, but no fear! Once you’ve done the switch over, check out our super-easy way of stopping Microsoft from getting at all your personal stuff, by clicking here.

The response to the new system has been largely positive, so if you’ve been a bit nervous about it, don’t worry. Also, this change isn’t going to affect business customers, so you don’t have to give your IT team too much of a headache.

Here’s a video of some hidden features on Windows 10 that you might like

Three new Apple devices next month?

February 3rd, 2016 No Comments By Mof Gimmers

apple Three new Apple devices next month?Do you like spending money on Apple gadgets? Well, you’re in luck, because it looks like there’s going to be three new things you can buy in March - the iPhone 5SE, the iPad Air 3 and a new version of the Apple Watch.

Some rumours are so specific, that the date for the new devices is March 15th, so if you like watching glitchy livefeeds of Apple events, you should mark the date in your diary. Or not. No-one’s forcing you. Of course, it might just be an announcement, rather than Apple showing off their new wares, so don’t get your hopes up.

The new phone is rumoured to be the iPhone 5SE, the 6C, or a 7 Mini, depending on who you’re listening to, and it’ll be a new entry level phone, to replace the 5C. You can assume it’ll be lighter, faster, have a better camera, and all the usual things you’d expect from an updated handset.

It should act as a teaser for the iPhone 7, which is due to hit the shelves some time in September of this year.

As for the iPad Air 3, quite a few people thought that we’d see that just before Christmas. Again, it’ll be an updated version of a previous model, and will be lighter, thinner, and will have improved speakers – possibly something tied in with Beats.

The new Apple Watch won’t be a huge change from previous models, apart from some new software and no doubt, a load of new straps you can buy for it. There’s talk of a FaceTime-camera being built into the smartwatch.

Obviously, these are all just unconfirmed mutterings, which will be met with a mixture of excitement from Apple fans, jaded sighs from people who think Apple isn’t as good as it used to be, and outright anger from people who don’t like Apple at all. It wouldn’t be Apple if it wasn’t for all three.

Google autocomplete and the Tories

February 3rd, 2016 1 Comment By Mof Gimmers

david cameron government Google autocomplete and the ToriesThere’s been a lot of conspiracy theorists yelling into their timelines this week, regarding Google’s tax arrangements with the Conservative Party, and how the Tories come up in Google’s autocomplete in searches.

If you missed the chat about this, basically, if you go to Google and tap in ‘Labour are’, or ‘Lib Dems are’, you’ll get a variety of autosuggestions, such as ‘finished’, ‘scum’, ‘a joke’, and ‘traitors’. If you tap in ‘Tories are’ or ‘Conservatives are’, you’ll get… well… nothing!

Now, some people think that Google have done the Tory government a little favour, because they didn’t bust their nuts trying to get a load of tax out of them. Basically, conspiracy theorists think that Google censored its search results to please a party who let them pay £130m in back taxes, instead of a larger amount.

Such is the fuss over this, Google have had to deny this is the case. A spokesperson for the internet giant spoke to the Guardian, saying that the company “can categorically state that tax is not remotely connected to this, nor are their ‘conspiracy theories’ founded in any way”.

“Autocomplete predictions are produced based on a number of factors including the popularity of search terms.” However, the company “do remove offensive or inappropriate content from autocomplete predictions.”

So maybe, Tories are just better at getting offensive stuff removed from the autosuggested terms than the Lib Dems and Labour?

There are some online though, which aren’t exactly nice to the Conservative Party. If you tap in ‘the Conservative party is’, you get offered ‘your enemy’. There’s also these, which were results today.

tories google 500x177 Google autocomplete and the Tories

Anyway, whatever is going on here, there is actually a page where you can report offensive autocomplete results, if that’s how you like spending your time. If you want to look at that, click here.

EU watchdogs meet about your personal data

February 2nd, 2016 No Comments By Mof Gimmers

peeping tom spy EU watchdogs meet about your personal dataRemember Facebook losing a court case about the way they transferred your personal data out of Europe and back to America?

Well, this case has massive ramifications for tech firms, because most of them make their money on the data they harvest, and EU data regulators are having a meet-up to discuss how these companies handle everyone’s data.

Watchdogs are looking at what happens next, now that the Safe Harbour agreement doesn’t apply in Europe any more. The previous agreement meant that business didn’t have to get authorisation for individual data transfers.

A replacement deal is still being mulled over, and it is thought that there’s going to be some kind of announcement about it tomorrow.

Any new pact means that American companies are going to have to convince EU regulators that there’s adequate privacy protections for Europeans and their personal data. A new agreement is all set to be called ‘Safer Harbour’, which must have taken all of 5 seconds to come up with.

Safer Harbour will try and work out a way of protecting citizens, without hindering American tech companies too much. There’s talk of an independent ombudsman being introduced, who could heavily penalise tech companies that aren’t careful enough with people’s personal information, and there’s also mutterings about this going to court all over again, should the tech companies not like any new proposals from Europe.

More when we get it.

Safari is down, knackered, and not working

January 27th, 2016 No Comments By Mof Gimmers

sad apple logo Safari is down, knackered, and not workingIf you’ve been wondering why you can’t open Safari on your Mac or your iPhone today, let us tell you – it isn’t working. There’s a bug that has busted it for everyone, and looks like it is affecting all versions of iOS and OS X.

It seems that on the iPhone, the browser keeps crashing, and on OS X, Safari is locking up. Some people are not experiencing this, but many are. Presumably, they can’t read this article, so let us take this opportunity to slag them off, by commenting about the size of their nose and how much they smell like the inside of a cheap pie.

If you want to fix the issue, go to the settings on your iPhone, hit Safari and disable ‘Search Engine Suggestions’, and hopefully, you’ll be able to launch your browser.

As for a temporary work around For Mac OS, you need to disable ‘Include search engine suggestions’, which you’ll find in the Safari preferences, and ‘Search’.

Apple say: “We are currently experiencing a global outage with Safari and working to get this resolved for everyone.

This is not related to the story we wrote yesterday, about the prank site ‘CrashSafari’, but if you want mess with some Apple users after this problem is fixed by making their browser crash again, you know what to do.

Apple want to scan your face for emotions

January 8th, 2016 No Comments By Mof Gimmers

apple Apple want to scan your face for emotionsThose crazy swine at Apple are up to something, and it involves your emotional state. Seems like the phone vendor would like to be able to read your emotions through your devices. How? Well, they’ve bought a company that uses facial-recognition technology to read your feelings.

If you’re sad, or amused, or thoroughly jaded, your Apple Watch might be able to understand it.

Apple has acquired Emotient, which is an American start-up which is able to detect the slightest changes in your expressions, which aims to determine what your emotions are. The company refers to itself as “the leader in emotion detection and sentiment analysis based on facial expressions”.

Seems a bit creepy.

We’re not sure how you make money from this, but we can assume Apple have seen a goldmine in something to do with advertising, as that’s where the cash is. Maybe they’d sell user information on how happy, disgusted or whatever, a user’s response is to commercials and product placements. Who knows?

Just last year, Emotient said that they were planning to develop software for Google Glass, which would let people who work in shops see how customers respond to them. You can assume that means bosses could see if the assistants were making people happy or not, rather than the assistant themselves, not being able to trust their own eyes.

Apple confirmed the deal, saying that they “buy smaller technology companies from time to time”, and left it at that. Like we said – Apple – they’re up to summat.

Sun 300x225 LOreal show off patch that tells you youre burningMost of you reading this, will live somewhere that doesn’t get much sunshine, so burning is not something you’ll be too fussed about. Indeed, if you want to know if your skin is cooking or not, you’ll simply kick your brain in gear and say ‘I seem to be burning’, and put some sun-cream on.

Well, that’s not good enough for some folk. They’ll be interested in L’Oreal, who have made a smartpatch, called My UV Patch.

Basically, it is a wearable skin sensor which monitors UV exposure, and with the help of an app on your phone, will tell you about protecting yourself from the sun.

“Connected technologies have the potential to completely disrupt how we monitor the skin’s exposure to various external factors, including UV,” says Guive Balooch, global vice president of L’Oreal’s Technology Incubator. “Previous technologies could only tell users the amount of potential sun exposure they were receiving per hour while wearing a rigid, non-stretchable device.”

So, while you’re mucking around outside, you wear this patch and then scan it with your phone, and upload it. Then, the My UV Patch mobile app to tell you about how much UV you’re being exposed to.

Here’s a video of it.

Google to produce a 3D phone

January 8th, 2016 No Comments By Mof Gimmers

new google logo 300x300 Google to produce a 3D phoneWhen Amazon released their 3D phone, everyone was briefly excited, before realising it is wasn’t very good. Undeterred, Google and Lenovo are tag-teaming to make their own 3D handset, which they say is the first mobile to use three-dimensional mapping, which was developed for Google’s ‘Project Tango’.

This was announced at CES 2016, where loads of geeks have got together to look at the future of technology. The new 3D phone is a part of a new generation of smart devices that can be used for indoor mapping, augmented reality and a whole load more.

Apparently, this phone (which hasn’t been shown off physically yet) will be on the large side (with a 6″ display) and will cost over £300. It will be called the Tango phone, and sadly, doesn’t seem to have anything to do with the Adidas ball they used at the World Cups in the ’80s.

“This was not designed as a niche device,” said Lenovo vice president Jeff Meredith. “We want this to be accessible to a large audience.” Project Tango leader Johnny Lee, joined in by saying that the technology “transforms the smartphone into a magical window on the world.”

A magical window!

The technology will allow you to have a more detailed map, as well as help you to take precise measurements of a room should you be shopping for some furniture or something. It’ll also use depth sensing and motion tracking to create on-screen 3D experiences, if that tickles your pickle.

The phone is still in testing, but it’ll “definitely” launch in mid-2016.

Windows 300x300 Microsoft ending support for Internet Explorer 8, 9, and 10If you’re using Internet Explorer 8, or 9, or 10, then you need to know that it might be time for you to upgrade as Microsoft are stopping support for them on January 12th.

Basically, they’re going to stop offering security updates and technical help for these older versions of IE, apart from 11. Of course, running older versions means that, unless you’re computer savvy, users could be more vulnerable to attacks on their computers.

“Regular security updates help protect computers from malicious attacks, so upgrading and staying current is important,” Microsoft say. They’d like you to use IE 11 (or Edge), and they add that the newest version offers “improved security, increased performance, better backward compatibility” and other kinds of useful support.

Microsoft said this was going to happen back in August 2014, so this isn’t a surprise, rather, a reminder.

There are some exceptions though – Microsoft have said that they’re going to give help to enterprise customers (which are organisations with over 500 employees). With a lot of large companies slow to update their systems, Microsoft said that they’ll be there to help them out.

However, if you’re just someone with a computer in their house, running an older system, shortly, you’ll be getting a final “End-of-Life” software update on the 12th, and that will have a prompt in it, to give you the opportunity to upgrade to a more recent browser.