Posts Tagged ‘tech’
Going to the Isle of Wight for your jollies? Well, if you travel with ferry company Red Funnel, you’ll be able to have free WiFi over summer, which is just grand.
The company says that they’re going to be offering improved connectivity and greater bandwidth, which they’re providing thanks to a fivefold increase in demand.
So, if you want to Instagram pictures of the sea, or want to livetweet someone who has appalling sea-sickness, ralfing their guts up over the side of the ship, you don’t have to worry about your signal dropping out.
Red Funnel say they’ve made a “significant investment” in all this, with the number of wireless access points being increased.
Marketing and communications director Jonathan Green said: “Following extensive trials, we are delighted to be launching our new on-board WiFi service to coincide with the start of the school holidays.”
“We are particularly pleased to have overcome the technical challenges of providing a robust connection to our high-speed vessels which is a technical first on the Solent and great news for Red Funnel’s 1.1 million Red Jet customers.”
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.
Regarding the data corruption, Apple have put out a firmware update to fix the laptop’s flash storage component. It is the 15″ mid-range 2015 Retina model that has shown signs of corruption.
This follows a lot of complaints about MacBooks that have knackered screens. Marks, or ‘stains’ are appearing on the laptops in such volumes that someone bothered to set up a website dedicated to the problem. It is called staingate.org, and shows a number of botched screens.
Just shy of 3,000 people (and counting) have joined a Facebook group about this issue too.
Obviously, one of the big concerns is that they’re going to be rinsed with expensive service fees that they’ll have to fork out for once the warranties or protection plans expire.
Considering that the MacBooks are considerably more expensive than the rest of the market, you can see why people have the hump.
Apple haven’t confirmed whether there’s an issue or not (there clearly is) and it seems to be models from 2013 that are causing the most grief for people.
Google 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.
Google have confirmed that they’re toying with the idea of letting you customise your Gmail address, so instead of having HunngMan69@gmail.com, you can now go for something that says alex@SummatElse.com.
There’ll be rules on domain names and all that, but it will allow you to have something more personal to you, rather than the usual address.
Now, this will come at a cost, and it looks like Google will charge $2 per month. We suspect that Google will do the $1 = £1 rule on this, so in the UK, you’ll have to cough-up a couple of quid every month. That’ll give you exactly what you already have, but with a different address.
For $5 per month, you can get extra storage, coming in at 30GB, along with 24/7 support and probably some other stuff you won’t use. Then, for the go-getters among you, you can spend $10 per month for unlimited storage with archiving capabilities and Google’s eDisovery service.
“We know that your first choice of username probably wasn’t firstname.lastname@example.org which is why we’re experimenting with scalable ways to provide other options. This is just a test though, and we haven’t made any decisions for the long term,” a Google spokesperson said.
You 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’.
In Europe, this method of paying for stuff you probably don’t need was used more than ONE BILLION times in the past 12 months, according to those swines who work at Visa. As more businesses get the technology in, the more people want to use it, clearly.
Total contactless spending over the year totalled an impressive €12.6bn (that’s around £9bn to you). In March alone, €1.6bn was spent by wafting a card at a machine. That is triple the amount from the year previous.
British shops are, by some distance, the most likely place to see some hot card-on-near field device action. Brits paid for stuff with contactless technology 52.6 million times.
France were second with 20.3m and Poland was third with 14.5m.
In the UK, this number will only rise further as more and more shops get the new technology in and, of course, more people start forking out for shopping with their phones.
“The popularity of contactless will only increase in future as we experience the next generation of digital payments, where the simplicity and convenience is extended to mobile and wearable near field communications technology,” said Visa Europe’s Sandra Alzetta. “We’re proud to have led the way in establishing contactless payments in Europe, and excited to be at the forefront as contactless payments become increasingly available to everyone.”
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.
You’ll know that you can get Windows 10 for free, but there’s some mutterings of discontent about the OS already, regarding the security of your WiFi password.
With a thing called WiFi Sense, anyone who rocks up to your house and gets the password for your WiFi, could let all their friends onto your network. Now, of course, someone could just tell everyone your WiFi password anyway, but this is slightly different.
This feature is designed to make it much easier for people to get access to the internet while they’re on the go, which it does by automatically logging them into wireless hotspots. It logs people into select open networks, and it also allows them to share secured connections with their pals.
So, should someone with a Windows 10 device log on to a new network, they can tick a box which will share that access with all their contacts – that includes Facebook friends, contacts they’ve got on Outlook and the people they know on Skype.
Craig Mathias, from the Farpoint Group who happen to be specialists when it comes to wireless tech, said that this feature was “a cheap hack,” and continued by saying that ”no-one should ever leave WiFi access wide open.”
The idea behind WiFi Sense is so you can let your guests use your WiFi connection without having to give them the password. In a FAQ, it says that any user who shares network access, sends the password through an encrypted connection to a Microsoft server, where it is then stored (where it is encrypted) before being doled out securely to friends, which are found via location data from their device.
The worry is, is that Microsoft might have a feature that doesn’t work as well as they predict, which means hackers could find one of your friends on Facebook, and then get busy accessing your network via WiFi Sense.
Mercifully, you can opt out of this. To make your WiFi network unavailable to Wi-Fi Sense, you can rename your network to include “_optout” at the end of the SSID. Or, if you prefer, you can make sure the aforementioned checkbox turned off, and you can carry on giving your guests your WiFi password manually.
The Beats 1 Radio will be free for the foreseeable future, but if you signed up for Apple’s music streaming service, you’ll end up getting charged for it and, obviously, Apple already has your credit card details. Remember? When you set up your iTunes account, you put your details in there? So even if you’re not using it, or don’t like it, you could end up seeing charges on your bank account.
So what happens if you don’t want to pay for it?
Well, you can disable auto-renewal of your Apple Music subscription, so you don’t get any nasty surprises. If you’re on your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch, here is what you have to do.
Open up the Music app, and then hit the icon that looks like a person, in the top-left of the screen. Sign-in and all that. Then, hit View Apple ID (you might have to put your password in again) and then, under the Subscriptions bit, press the Manage button. There, you’ll see a thing that says Renew Options. In there, you’ll be able to switch Automatic Renewal to off.
As well as being exploited by a Chinese hacker crew, it has now been added to the Magnitude exploit kit, which enables amateur malware authors to build all manner of software which could make your life difficult. There’s already been some attempts to install ransomware on some computers.
Adobe have confirmed that the flaw is being jumped on by hackers, especially those using Internet Explorer on Windows 7 and Firefox on Windows XP. Even if you aren’t using these things, you should still sort your life out and update your Flash.
If you prefer, you can just get rid of Flash. As most computers come with it built-in, even though it isn’t the crucial thing it once was, this means hackers are always tempted to attack it.
If you’re using Chrome, your browser updates it automatically. If not, click here to see if you have the latest version of Flash and, if you don’t, update it now.
Now it is here, what do you need to know about it? If you said ‘nothing’, then feel free to stop reading this article and watch a video of people doing idiotic things instead. If you do want to know what’s going on, here’s the lowdown.
What is it?
Well, Apple Music is like Spotify. There’s a load of tunes on a service and you can listen to them and it is all very straightforward. However, one slight difference is that Apple Music has a thing called Beats 1, which is a radio station with some famous DJs on it like Zane Lowe who used to be on Radio 1 and Ebro from NYC’s Hot 97.
It’ll cost you £9.99 per month. There’s no free version like Spotify. There is a 3 month trial which is free. There’ll also be a family plan, which allows six people to use Apple Music for £15 a month. Spotify have exactly the same family plan.
What’s so special about it?
Well, some people will like it because it looks and feels so Apple-y. They’ve also managed to negotiate with Taylor Swift and have permission to stream her new album ’1989′. If you don’t like Apple or Taylor Swift, these aren’t going to draw you in. However, if Apple can get exclusives that say, Spotify can’t, that could sway some music nuts.
When is it available?
Update your iPhone or iPad and it is available, right now. Later in the year, it’ll be available on Android too. You’ll also have to wait for it to become available on OS X.
What else do I need to know?
Nothing. That’s basically it. It is a streaming service like the other streaming services.
Battery 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.
Behold! A new machine that can create any image on the foam of your cup of coffee! The Ripple Maker combines the mechanics behind inkjet and 3D printers, so you can have any image on top of your brew. You could have a picture of your dog! You could have an image of Ol’ Dirty from the Wu Tang Clan if you wanted!
Lets be honest. Most people are going to draw cocks on it, because that’s what all men do when given the chance of defacing something.
Anyway, the image can be put on your coffee in just 10 seconds, using coffee extract stored in ‘Ripple Pods’. Again, ‘Ripple Pods’ sounds like a euphemism for something that men might want to recreate on their frothy beverage.
Of course, things like this aren’t cheap. People wanting in, can download an app to send their own photos to the machine, which will then be recreated – but it has a price tag of $999 (£634). In addition to the up-front money, there’s also a $75 (£47) monthly subscription fee.
While that is very steep, imagine the advertising you’d get if you’re a coffee shop owner, if you have everyone constantly putting your brews all over Instagram. With everyone being crazy for coffee at the moment, this could be a very wise purchase for some boutique/hipster haunt.
There’s increased interest in paying for things contactlessly (yes, that’s a dreadful and clunky word, but we’re sticking with it), and Apple’s moves in the area are only going to see that increase.
Of course, Barclaycard have been supporting contactless tech for a while now, but they recently pulled their products as they wanted to do something new. And lo, they came back with three new products to help you pay for things with gadgets (and no, we’re not talking about those silly, silly gloves they were looking at).
Barclaycard is releasing three wearable bPay devices, in the form of a wristband, a fob and a sticker. While these might seem familiar to you, Barclaycard assure us that these are different.
For starters, the money botherers have launched a new website and app which allow bPay fanciers to transfer money into their digital wallet, look at their purchases and change payment settings for each individual device. And you don’t have to be a Barclays or Barclaycard customer to use them – if you have a UK-issued Visa or Mastercard debit or credit card, you can try these out.
Barclays won’t be supporting Apple Pay just yet, but eventually they will. It looks like they’ve been too busy tinkering with their own thing to be sorting out stuff for another company.
All three devices will go on sale via the bPay website from July 1st and they’ll cost you. For a sticker, you’ll pay £14.99 for the sticker, £19.99 for the fob and for the wristband, that’ll be £24.99 please.
Payments are limited to £20, and from September, that goes up to £30.