Posts Tagged ‘tech’

Apple no longer offering free games on the App Store

November 20th, 2014 No Comments By Mof Gimmers

apple logo Apple no longer offering free games on the App StoreBefore you get mad, don’t worry – Apple aren’t stopping free apps. Rather, they’ve changed the labelling system where games that have in-app purchases will no longer be referred to as ‘free’.

Apple have been under a fair amount of pressure from the European Union about these games, and of course, you’re never too far away from a horror story about some frustrated parents who has been landed with a surprisingly large mobile bill.

So now, Apple have decided to make it very clear that, when you’re downloading a game, there may well be things in it that cost you money.

The EU suggested a name change in September so consumers aren’t fooled into thinking the apps they’ve downloaded are completely free. Interestingly, Apple has no legal obligation to change the wording in the App Store, but have gone for it anyway.

Amazon, meanwhile, aren’t bothering and keeping things as they are, while Android has created an optional password lock for things with in-app purchases.

Still, it won’t be long until another furrowed brow appears in a newspaper because little Chloe has created a £2,000 bill playing The Simpsons: Tapped Out.

Twitter: now more searchable

November 19th, 2014 No Comments By Ian Wade

Twitter Logo1 Twitter: now more searchable Twitter have been changing a few bits and bobs around the site and now, the microblogging site announced that users can send URLs in Direct Messages once again, after having tinkered about with some maintenance work.

All weblinks sent via private message will automatically be shortened, and the option to share a public tweet via Direct Message is expected to be added in a subsequent update this week.

Twitter are also expected to roll out a new feature which will allow users to search through their tweet history rather than having to do so via third party sites and histories.

The company have been indexing and cataloguing all of your tweets, and should you wish to search for something you said in September 2011 that was really lol, then you don’t have to manually flick through 30,000+ tweets to find it.

As if that wasn’t enough, they’re also introducing an ‘instant timeline’ feature, which will show content from accounts that the user doesn’t follow. Which seems a little counter-productive, otherwise you’d follow those accounts already, no?

These and many other new features have been part of the company’s upgrades, since their last update in September which was designed to help newbies get started on the site, after they incorrectly assumed that Twitter is ‘just people talking about what they had for their lunch’. That joke’s been done. Get a new one.

Nokia release surprise tablet

November 19th, 2014 No Comments By Ian Wade

nokia n1 300x199 Nokia release surprise tabletNokia have sprung a new Android-powered tablet onto the market.

This out-of-the-blue announcement now pits Nokia against Microsoft, who completed its takeover of Nokia’s mobiles ends in April.

The N1 tablet is due to go on sale in China at the start of 2015, and then presumably everywhere else.

However Nokia are not making the thing themselves, but instead have licensed the brand, design and software to a third party, the infamous Foxconn. If you’re buying one, make sure it hasn’t been water-damaged by worker’s tears.

Sebastian Nystrom, head of products at Nokia Technologies, said: “This is a great product for Nokia fans and everyone who has not found the right Android tablet yet,” when he announced the product at the Slush technology conference in Helsinki.

Earlier this month, Microsoft unveiled its first Lumia smartphone without the Nokia name, but reckoned it would still use the brand on less powerful feature phones, and apparently can do so for another ten years due to the terms of the takeover.

The N1 is a 7.9in (20.1cm) aluminium-framed tablet, and is powered by Google’s Android 5.0 operating system. It features an Intel Atom processor and has a Micro-USB slot. The planned retail price is $249 (£159).

But does it have Snake on it?

Tesco launching free WiFi in stores

November 18th, 2014 2 Comments By Mof Gimmers

tesco clubcard 300x168 Tesco launching free WiFi in storesTesco are trying to win over the public with free WiFi in their stores. Of course, this means Minority Report fans are going to lose their baps over this, thinking that the whole thing is an exercise in stealing your data and tracking you around the aisles.

In fairness, that’s probably true.

In a press release, Auntie Tesco said:”Customers are now able to take advantage of BT WiFi free in Tesco Extra and Superstores across the UK and Republic of Ireland. Tesco is helping customers get more value out of their shopping experiences with free and fast WiFi access at stores in the UK and Republic of Ireland, thanks to a new partnership with BT.”

So how do you go about getting it?

Tesco add: “To enjoy the new service, customers should simply select ‘Tesco Wi-fi’ or ‘BT’ on their smartphones or tablets and they can begin browsing. The free service has been fully rolled out to 806 Tesco Extra and Superstores in the UK and 113 stores in the Republic of Ireland.”

While you’re using it, you’ll be allowed to download Clubcard vouchers and get product information too, as well as browsing recipes and hawking the latest in-store offers and all that.

Tomas Kadlec, Group Technology Director, Tesco, said: “Customers now want the same kind of experience in-store as they enjoy online, with fast and convenient access to product information, pricing and offers at the touch of their fingertips. We were the first supermarket in the UK to offer free WiFi  and the first to launch online shopping. We’re now bringing these innovations together to put our customers in control with better service and value than ever before.”

Get on the torrents while you’re shopping for beans, eh?

broadband slow 319970 Stop fibbing about your broadband speeds say WhichWhich!!! have called on regulators to have a word with how broadband services are advertised.

At the moment, providers are allowed to use a ‘headline speed’ to advertise their services, but in reality only around 10% of their customers will actually get that. According to findings by Which!!!, a quarter of people would have selected another deal had they been better informed about what the actual speeds were.

To cover their backs, however, providers say various factors can affect the speed individual customers get.

According to Richard Lloyd, executive director of Which!!!, it’s not on: “Internet connection is now an essential part of modern life so it beggars belief that providers can sell people short by advertising speeds that only 10% of customers could receive,”

“We want advertising watchdogs to pull the plug on confusing adverts and ensure broadband providers show the speeds the majority of customers will actually get.”

Which!!! called on the advertising watchdogs, the Committee of Advertising Practice (Cap) and the Broadcasting Committee of Advertising Practice (Bcap), to review current guidelines, and now has started a campaign. Uncatchily entitled ‘Give us broadband speed guarantees‘, Which!!! are asking the public to sign up and to put pressure on those that lie.

Damn right.

Sony launch PlayStation TV service

November 13th, 2014 No Comments By Mof Gimmers

watching television Sony launch PlayStation TV serviceSony are showing off their new PlayStation Vue service, which is basically a bit like Netflix. Basically, it is a new cloud-based TV service which will show live TV as well as on-demand shows without the need for a satellite service.

At the moment, it is only launching in the USA at the start of 2015, but if they get their licensing deals right and start offering, say, HBO and Comedy Central to the rest of the world, they could make some serious money.

The Vue service will be available on PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 4 initially, before being shunted to iPads and other non-Sony devices shortly afterwards.

There’s no clue on how much PlayStation Vue is going to cost, but it is fair to assume you’ll pay a monthly subscription in the same way you pay for Spotify or Netflix.

As for the American launch, Sony have struck some deals with a good number of big US TV networks including Fox, CBS, Discovery, Viacom (who own BET) and NBC Universal. It’ll have somewhere in the region of 75 channels. There’ll be catch-up and the ability to save your favourite shows to the cloud and watch them later, provided you watch them within the 28 day limit.

Rumour has it that it won’t be long before there’s a UK roll-out and then a Europe-wide version of the service. If they manage to get a load of decent American shows, it could well be a challenger to Netflix.

Meanwhile, people who can work a torrent remain utterly uninterested in all of this.

YouTube take on Spotify

November 13th, 2014 No Comments By Mof Gimmers

spotify logo YouTube take on SpotifyBack in August, we told you about YouTube launching a music service, and now, it is here to take on Spotify who have been getting it in the neck from Taylor Swift this week.

The paid music subscription service is called YouTube Music Key, and it’ll be available for free if you can put up with some adverts. If you can’t, it’ll cost you. So far, so Spotify.

Google, who own YouTube, have renegotiated licensing deals with record labels, but no-one is saying how much everyone is getting. The bottom-line is that this service is going to cost you £7.99 a month (for a limited number of users) and then it’ll be made available to everyone for £9.99 per month.

Music Key – a rubbish name – is leaning heavily on the Spotify model, by allowing users to create playlists and save music to your device, as well as the obvious, like listening to albums and that.

However, this being YouTube, the added bonus here is that it’ll feature a whole load of music videos rather than just audio. Google/YouTube are hoping that artists will really go for this, as they can push harder with their product placement in promo vids. You’ll probably end up dreaming of Beats headphones if you sign-up.

So basically, if there’s a video for a song, you have to stream that as well as the song, but if there is no video, then you can download it as audio-only. Sounds like a bit of a faff eh?

Of course, Google already have their own music service in the Google Music app through Google Play, so with two on the go at once, you have to wonder if one of them (or both) will wither on the vine. Either way, last month we asked if you’d pay for an ad-free YouTube… looks like we’re about to find out.

amazoninstant Got Amazon Prime? Free unlimited photo storage, next day shipping and TV for you!If you’ve got Amazon’s Prime subscription deal, things just got a whole lot better for you as now. UK customers now get a load of other stuff for their buck with free next-day shipping, TV streaming service and also unlimited cloud storage for photos too!

You may know that Amazon announced free unlimited full resolution photo storage to Amazon Cloud Drive for our American cousins last week, but now us Limeys can have it too!

Prime members can upload their photo collections and, as well as that, every time you take a photo, you’ve got the choice of automatically uploading your new photos to the service while you take them.

Storing all your photos in a cloud service eh? What could possibly go wrong, eh Apple?

Of course, Amazon’s Prime Photos lets you upload your snaps from all manner of platforms including Android, iOS, Amazon Fire tablets, Windows PCs and whatever else there is.

The photos you store on Amazon’s Cloud Drive can be viewed on Amazon Fire TV, Playstation 3, PlayStation 4, iPads and all that, which means, if you’re having a dirty party, you can have all your n00dz playing like a meat-carousel on your television set while you pop your business in the mash potatoes.

Just great.

Have you seen Amazon’s Echo? If you haven’t, it is a new device which you can place somewhere around the house and ask it things – like an external Siri.

We can’t decide if it feels like the eerie monolith from 2001: A Space Odyssey or that house voiced by Pierce Brosnan from The Simpsons which pervs on Marge in the bath.

Anyway, this little talking tool was shown off by Amazon with an advert which has already been rightly lampooned, thanks to it being so amazingly awkward.

So, having watched the spoof, it is now time for you to watch the original and, if you haven’t seen it, you’ll be stunned that the spoof version used so much of the one put out by Amazon.

In fact, the joke version might not be as toe-curling, weird and funny as the one Amazon spent money on. Is there anything more dreadful than the family as envisioned by an ad-agency?

Malware infects Apple gizmos again

November 6th, 2014 2 Comments By Mof Gimmers

sad apple logo Malware infects Apple gizmos againApple fanboiz have often hooted at everyone else with derision because their devices don’t get infected by cyber-nasties. However, of late, Apple’s devices have been getting all manner of malware.

The latest is something called WireLurker, which is collecting phone book contacts,  call logs and other sensitive info. Researchers reckon more than 450 Mac OS X applications offered on a Chinese third-party application store called Maiyadi have been loaded up with WireLurker.

So if you’re smart enough to stick to Apple’s official appstore, you’ll be fine. If not, you may as well jump off a bridge/sort your phone out.

These affected apps have been downloaded hundreds of thousands of times and some paranoid folk reckon that this is an information gathering operation and some are hysterical enough to think that the Chinese are spying on everyone. China’s authorities, for the record, are saying that this notion is complete poppycock (but that’s exactly what a spy would say).

So what’s the deal? Basically, if you connect your iOS device to an infected Mac using a USB cable, the WireLurker malware gets to work and starts looking for vulnerabilities in your security. It then installs itself on your iPhone or iPad.

Apple said in a statement: “We are aware of malicious software available from a download site aimed at users in China, and we’ve blocked the identified apps to prevent them from launching. As always, we recommend that users download and install software from trusted sources.”

Oculus Rift could be here by next Summer

November 5th, 2014 1 Comment By Ian Wade

ZXZZZZX5 300x195 Oculus Rift could be here by next SummerThe consumer launch of Oculus Rift is mere months away – yes, the fancy new headset will soon be yours to giddygoat about  in your own home!

That’s according to Oculus VR CEO Brendan Iribe, who made the soon come  announcement sound slightly dirty during a presentation at Dublin’s Web Summit 2014.

“We’re all hungry for it to happen,” he said. “We’re getting very close. It’s months, not years away.”

However his definition of ‘months’ translates as ‘many months’. Oh.

The headset that allows gamers to game in a 3D set-up, that allows players to step inside their favourite games and completely immerse themselves in the virtual world. Wooh.

The Oculus heaved into view earlier this year, when rumours of a public beta launch were mooted for the Summer of 2015.

Iribe has said of Oculus, that “want to get it right” and not launch something half-baked just to get it out there. He added, like some lothario: “We don’t want it to be four or five years. We’re eager for this to happen.”

Just imagine what it’ll be like when the adult entertainment industry gets their hands on it.

Goverment want to sort out mobile blackholes

November 5th, 2014 No Comments By Mof Gimmers

mobile Goverment want to sort out mobile blackholesThere’s places in Britain where it is nigh-on impossible to get a connection on your mobile, which is preposterous seeing as so many of us rely on them for work, socialising and sending weird and threatening messages to complete strangers on Twitter.

Well, the government plans to kick mobile operators up the arse in a bid to improve their coverage. One thing that is being looked at, is rivals sharing their networks with each other. These connection blackholes are being referred to as ‘notspots’, which means that some places have coverage from some operators, but not all.

Culture Secretary Sajid Javid: ”It can’t be right that in a fifth of the UK, people cannot use their phones to make a call. The government isn’t prepared to let that situation continue.”

So what proposals are being offered? For starters, they want the national roaming mentioned earlier, where operators share their network. They also want to see infrastructure sharing where networks would be able to put transmitters on each other’s masts. They also want to bring in a ‘coverage obligation’, which would see networks agreeing to cover a certain percentage of the UK, but the operators would decide how to do it between themselves.

The government has given the industry, businesses and the public until 26th November to respond to their proposals.

However, there’s some resistance to these ideas. A leaked letter from Whitehall shows that Home Secretary Theresa May isn’t happy with this idea because roaming networks might make it difficult for the government to spy on people’s phone activity. Of course, what they’re saying is that they’ll find it hard to track criminals and terrorists, but we all know what that means.

The letter says: “[It] could have a detrimental impact on law enforcement, security and intelligence agency access to communications data and lawful intercept”, adding that more research is needed to ensure that this won’t make things troublesome for police to access information about calls and emails that is “crucial to keeping us safe”.

Of course, there’s some annoying elements to this for the phone-haver too. Roaming hammers your mobile’s battery and there’s a very strong chance that operators would include charges for anyone switching to another network. We’ll just have to wait and see what everyone has up their sleeves on this, but a solution that works for everyone is not something you should hold your breath about.

tv 3004 narrowweb  300x3730 241x300 Hail the patent which will let you shout at your TV to skip advertsSome adverts are great, but mostly, they’re a bit of a drag that stops you from watching your favourite shows.

Well, with that in mind, Sony have filed a patent which would allow you to skip TV commercials simply by shouting at your television set. You were shouting at your telly anyway, so nice to see someone trying to put your futile cries of anguish to good use.

The patent also shows off other ways to speeding up or dodging adverts, including interacting with your TV using a controller. In one example, you’d be asked to “throw the pickle to speed up commercial”. Not a literal pickle (who would waste a perfectly good pickle by throwing it at a sofa advert?) but rather, a virtual pickle at the screen during a burger commercial.

The idea is that you’d utilise voice recognition, Bluetooth, networked tablets and phones and motion sensing gizmos to swerve the salesmen.

You might think the advertisers would be annoyed at this, but they’ve got bigger problems to worry about as there’s a number of reports and bits of research that show that humans are very, very good at tuning out commercials while they’re airing on TV or playing on your computer. Advertisers need to find a new way of interacting and engaging with people, and if that lies in throwing pretend pickles at pretend burgers, then so be it.

Here’s a lovely illustration from the patent.

sonyadverpatentjtjtedut 1345811442 1 762x428 500x280 Hail the patent which will let you shout at your TV to skip adverts

pizza 300x168 Order pizza by shouting FEED ME! at your XboxOrdering a takeaway is hard. You have to first navigate all the menus on JustEat or rifle through all those awful flyers and menus you got stuffed unceremoniously in your letter box and then actually speak to someone on the phone or hit buttons with your fingers.

It is too much like hard work.

Well, here’s good news for you slovens – you’ll be able to simply shout at your Xbox One and get pizza delivered to your door. Sadly, no-one has worked out a way of getting it in your mouth without you walking to the front door and paying someone, but its a start.

Inspired by the Xbox 360′s Pizza Hut app, which raked it in thanks to gaming stoners, the new Domino’s app allows you to utilise the voice-function on your console and simply bark orders at it until someone makes and delivers you a pizza.

The app is optimised for Kinect and as soon as you say “Domino’s, feed me!”, you’re on the way to being fed. You may or may not be aware that Domino’s recently updated their iOS and Android app to allow voice-controlled ordering.

How wonderfully lazy this is.

Would you pay for an advert-free YouTube?

October 29th, 2014 5 Comments By Mof Gimmers

youtube 300x300 Would you pay for an advert free YouTube?Remember when YouTube first kicked off, before Google swallowed it whole? Endlessly searching for obscure music videos and old TV shows without an advertisement in sight! Those were the days when the internet was all fields.

These days, things are different. For a kick-off, people are now able to make some money from YouTube. However, if you miss the ad-free days, Susan Wojcicki, Google’s senior VP in charge of the service has said that there is going to be a version of YouTube where you can pay to get rid of all the adverts.

YouTube has over one billion unique visitors each month, who between them, watch over 6 billion hours of videos per month and uploading 100 hours of stuff every minute of the day. The reach it has, especially in the lucrative 18-34 demographic, far surpasses any TV station on planet Earth.

So obviously, the service as it stands isn’t broken, but a lot of people do get irritated by rollover ads and the like… but are they annoyed enough to cough-up their money to lose all the commercials?

YouTube would presumably throw more at such a service, rather than just getting rid of salesmen. If they adopt a monthly subscription model, then you can imagine YouTube Premium (or whatever) would be advertless and allowing you to watch Exclusive Content From Some Bands Or Whatever and have an instant messaging services embedded in it, as the latter seems to be a huge obsession in the land of tech.

If the package was right, would you pay for a YouTube with no adverts?