Posts Tagged ‘tech’
Backing-up your PC? Backing up the stuff on your phone? Pah! That’s for losers! At least that’s what 1-in-5 British PC owners think, according to new research. Over a third of Brits with mobiles can’t be bothered either!
Storage device providers, Verbatim (so no bias then) did a survey to coincide with World Backup Day. Yes. There’s a World Backup Day.
“Having the hard drive on your PC crash can be a traumatic experience. It’s not difficult to do regular backups. There’s a plethora of hardware and software solutions available for backing up, and innumerable tutorials and advice on the internet. Backup and restore is even built into the latest version of Microsoft Windows and requires just three clicks of the mouse. Apple offers similar functionality with Time Machine,” explains Rüdiger Theobald of Verbatim.
He added: “Computer data recovery is a tricky business. Where physical failure has occurred, and the hard drive needs to be worked on in a cleanroom, typical costs can be in excess of £500 and there’s no guarantee all the data will be recovered.”
Turns out that, when questioned about it, the things people are most concerned about losing are their photographs, personal documents, videos and music.
And losing these things is easy, when you consider that of those polled, 25% suffered from hardware failure, accidental damage (17%), a computer virus (13%) and software corruption (13%).
Skim-read the article? Here’s an infographic for you.
This little device allows you to order things at the touch of a button, as it is a WiFi enabled controller which is connected to your phone through the Amazon app.
You stick the buttons around your house, on things that you use regularly. So you can pop one on your washing machine and when you start running low on washing powder, you tap the button and it automatically puts an order through to Amazon for you.
A load of brands have signed-up with the Dash Button and are available to order through the Dash Button program, provided you’re a Prime customer.
If you’re a button basher, you are given a half-hour window to cancel any orders, which is something.
Amazon spokesperson Kinley Pearsall confirmed to the LA Times that the Dash Button is absolutely real, and available to Amazon Prime customers by invitation only.
Watch the video below and reluctantly applaud Amazon for launching this product on April Fools Day, which leaves more people talking about it than normal, as everyone ponders about whether or not it is a prank.
Basically, Jay Z, Jack White, Daft Punk, Beyonce, Rihanna, Chris Martin, Arcade Fire, Kanye West and a load of other people including Calvin Harris, have teamed-up to make Tidal the first major artist-owned streaming service. If you remember, United Artists did something similar with a record label (and that ended well).
The funny thing is, is that these artists are all talking about Tidal like it is Live Aid or something, looking at what they’re doing as something akin to social justice when, of course, the idea behind it is to get people to spend their money.
Basically, Tidal will cost you roughly twice the amount of a Spotify account. Or, if you use torrents, then this will cost you money, period. The idea is that, through Tidal, musicians will release their music there first, at a higher quality than anywhere else. Those involved in it made a little film about it all too, which will make you grind your teeth.
Of course, Jay Z in 2015 is a businessman first and a rapper, second. It isn’t really surprising that he wants to get in the world of tech. Dr Dre has made a pretty penny through Beats and signing up with Apple.
Sadly for him, a lot of music fans aren’t convinced. Some are even angry at the whole thing, with the general bile being along the lines of “Oh, poor you – you’ve been destitute for so long haven’t you? With your champagne, fur coats and helicopter pads…”. It seems that one of the biggest jobs Tidal will have, is PR, if they want a load of disposable income to be thrown their way.
What do music fans actually get from this? Lossless music, demo versions of songs and the chance to hear new releases for a week on Tidal, before it goes to the other platforms. And… uh… that’s about it really.
If you want to check it out, find it here. Do you fancy it and, perhaps more pertinently, do you think it is going to be the saviour of the recording industry?
The airline said that customers’ personal info, like addresses and bank details was not stolen in the attack, which is something, but those affected won’t be able to use the air miles they’ve accumulated while BA try and sort everything out.
A spokesperson said: ”British Airways has become aware of some unauthorised activity in relation to a small number of frequent flyer Executive Club accounts.”
“We would like to reassure customers that, at this stage we are not aware of any access to any subsequent information pages within accounts, including travel histories or payment card details.”
“We are sorry for the concern and inconvenience this matter has caused, and would like to reassure customers that we are taking this incident seriously and have taken a number of steps to lock down accounts so they can no longer be accessed,” the spokesman added.
There’s no word on which set of hackers it is (it doesn’t look like the work of our pals at Lizard Squad), but it is thought that the hackers got into the company’s computers by utilising an automated computer programme that looks for vulnerabilities in online security systems, which is gaspingly unsurprising.
Anyway, reset your passwords if this affects you.
Ever wanted to learn a new language, but hate the idea of doing a class that will make you take irritating exams? Want to be able to converse abroad without having to sit on your sofa with the headphones on, repeating inane phrases?
Well, you might be in luck if you’re tired of simply shouting in staccato English and have an Xbox One.
The successful language learning tool, Rosetta Stone, has been launched as an app on the Xbox One, which is a good idea.
The app will visualise real-world situations for you, so you can learn phrases that matter to you. Presumably, phrases like “Can I have a beer please?”, “where is the nearest cash machine?” and “I’m sorry, but I’ve soiled myself – please stop laughing.”
For the time being, there’s only English and Spanish that are available, but obviously more languages will be added.
The developers say: “You explore several locations in the Discovery Zone and chat with the characters you find there. In the Training Zone, you’ll solidify the concepts you encountered with study recommendations, cultural tips, phrase books, and of course, more games! Keep track of your achievements, and keep practising until you get a perfect score.”
So what do you get with it? Well, it looks like it has more features than the competition, with live traffic updates and speed camera notifications and all that. Oh, and of course, you can navigate yourself with it. That’s pretty obvious though.
You can also take trips to millions of ‘points of interest’ and if you’re worried about hammering your data, you can download offline maps for the 111 countries covered by TomTom.
What’s the catch? Well, it is free to download, but that’s limited to 50 miles per month. If you’re driving in advance of that, then you’ll need to look at the £14.99 per year subscription (or £34.99 for three years).
Of course, you could just use Google Maps for free, or indeed, the Google-owned Waze which also won’t cost you a penny.
However, Google Maps can be a bit of a faff, while TomTom Go Mobile has big, clutter-free buttons, which is advantageous if you’re behind the wheel. Either way, sat-navs as we know them are rapidly becoming a thing of the past, so TomTom need to do something, and with this freemium model, they might be onto something.
Unless Google are scheming something…
Google wants to get in on all that lovely television action that everyone else is weighing into. Apple are going to start streaming TV shows, and Amazon have their Fire TV box and stick. The internet godzilla is prepping the launch of the Nexus Player on 26th March in the UK.
As you’d expect, the Nexus Player will let you stream films and telly programmes from Netflix and Amazon Instant Video. Of course, this is pointless if you have a console, but for non-gamers, this is a good move and yet another option to look at.
That said, this offering from Google hasn’t exactly won everyone over in America, Canada and Japan.
One problem is that the Nexus Player us likely to cost somewhere in the region of £75 and, if you want to play games on it, then the joypad is another £30.
Google haven’t made an official announcement on all this, but the product has appeared on an Amazon listing.
Is there any point buying one if you can already stream Netflix from other devices to your television, for a much cheaper price?
A lot of people don’t like the power Google have online, and this won’t help the internet giant any further.
If you have an Android phone and a Google account, then you might have been tracked without you knowing. Now, this’ll be old news to some, but it seems like there’s a good number of people out there who still have no idea.
Not to worry though – you can stop being tracked really easily
First off, watch this short video which tells you about how you’re being tracked and how you can see where you’ve been – provided you had your phone in your pocket – via a section on Google Maps.
As you can see, you can go back in time and see where you’ve been on a Google Map, which may well give you the willies, but it is easy enough to fix.
First off, you should switch your location services off on your mobile. You’ll find that in your settings. Some apps ask you to turn your location on, but you don’t have to. Twitter doesn’t need to know where you are and if you’re using something like Tinder which requires your location to show you who wants to hump nearby, then only switch your location on when it is needed.
As the video shows, it is really easy to delete your location history, and you can find out more on that, here.
We spoke about Project Spartan and the sweeping away of Microsoft’s Internet Explorer at Christmas, and now, after 20 years in the game, it looks like IE is going the same way as Britpop – a vaguely embarrassing footnote in pop culture.
That said, we’ve all been a little unfair on IE, despite the many obvious flaws it has.
IE was there at the start of most people’s internet browsing, launching billions of pages and filled with innovations that were much copied and help to shape the internet as we know it. It originally killed off Netscape Navigator, before coming up against Chrome, Safari and Firefox and soon enough, when hackers had their way with it, entire governments were advising you didn’t use IE.
However, those that lead the way don’t always last forever, and Microsoft look ready to put the browser to bed. Microsoft’s head of marketing announced this week that there is going to be a new browser, currently code-named Project Spartan. Chris Capossela said: “We’re now researching what the new brand, or the new name, for our browser should be.”
Internet Explorer went from accounting for 95% of all browsing, but these days, it is much less fancied, thanks to the previously mentioned problems and competitors, and not to mention the fact that Microsoft failed to keep up with people’s web habits.
However, Microsoft aren’t giving up and, after dominating Web 1.0, they’re skipping 2.0 and eyeing up Web 3.0 or, if you prefer, the terribly named ‘Internet Of Things’.
It looks like Spartan (whatever it ends up being called), will be robust and stripped down, like Chrome. It could also be unveiled in the next 4 weeks, if rumours are to be believed. Sadly, it might also feature the chippy Microsoft equivalent of Siri – Cortana – who made Clean Bandit laugh so much in those appalling adverts (below).
Anyway, for now, we bid Internet Explorer farewell. Thanks for enabling much of the Western world to get access to dirty films in a much easier way.
Google have just tinkered with their Play Store policies, which means that from now, Android developers are going to have to wait for their apps to be approved by the Internet Behemoth once they’ve been submitted.
Before now, Google didn’t bother with such things and only looked at apps once they’d been reported for violating its policies or whatever. Now, they’re going to preside over everything like Apple do with theirs. However, Google say that no-one will notice much difference as they’ve actually been doing it for months now.
“We value the rapid innovation and iteration that is unique to Google Play, and will continue to help developers get their products to market within a matter of hours after submission, rather than days or weeks,” Google’s product manager for Google Play, Eunice Kim, wrote. “In fact, there has been no noticeable change for developers during the rollout.”
It seems that’s the main difference between Android and Apple – the time it takes for apps to be verified, as Apple is known for their lengthy approval process.
In addition to this, Google will also be issuing a new age-based rating system, so the kidz don’t have to be flooded with genitals and gore. Probably.
This means that developers are going to have to fill-in a questionnaire about their new (and existing) apps so that they can be given an accurate rating. The questionnaires are available to developers now and Google reckon that apps “may be blocked in certain territories or for specific users,” if developers don’t submit them by May.
They’ve been talking to companies like ESPN, FX, CBS, and Fox, which isn’t going to set the world on fire, but is a start. You can presume that any deal won’t involve NBCUniversal, as Apple fell out with the broadcaster’s parent company Comcast.
Looks like Apple are going after the subscription market, with rumours that their service will set you back around £25 per month. If the mutterings are to be believed, we’ll be hearing much more about this around June.
It isn’t surprising they want in, what with Netflix doing so well and Amazon Prime Instant Video muscling into the market. If Apple manage to get HBO and deliver that around the world, that could be a game-changer. Only last week, they announced that they’d secured exclusive early access to the HBO Now streaming service, which means Game of Thrones devotees will be keeping an eye on all this.
Apple, as ever, aren’t commenting on the speculation, leaving berks like us to do all their promotional work for them.
Basically, this new service lets you log into a Yahoo account using a short password that is sent to your mobile phone. So, every time you want to get at your Yahoo! mail or whatever, instead of tapping in your password, you’ll hit a button which says “send my password”. You get it in a text and then you can login with a four-character password.
It all sounds like an almighty faff in the making.
Yahoo executive Dylan Casey said: “This is the first step to eliminating passwords.”
Of course, some places already have a two-step authentication process where you enter your password and then get a second one of the phone, but all the really popular sites don’t have them for a reason.
You can presumably stay logged-in to your account on your devices at home, but if you repeatedly check your emails at work or away from the house, this sounds like a royal pain in the dick.
How’s your heart? Well, your Halifax bank account might need to know as they’re toying with the idea of having a bracelet which you wear while it tracks the beat of your heart, which acts as a replacement for your password to get at your account.
No, seriously. It’s called the Nymi Band and it’ll look at the rhythm of your pulsating chest meat to keep you logged-in so you don’t have to remember tedious things like passwords, codes and PIN numbers.
All you do, is pop your finger on a plate which is housed in the band and it creates a circuit, and checks your electrocardiogram against one you’ve stored in it. As long as you’re wearing the band, you have access to your bank account and all that jive.
Bionym, who have come up with this device, reckon it is a much more secure than the usual means of identification. They also think you should use it for contactless payments.
Halifax digital development director Marc Lien muttered: “We are in the very early stages of exploring potential uses for the Nymi Band and wearable technology more widely which will help us further understand how we can serve our customers in the way that best appeals to their needs.”
Cue the Daily Mail worrying about someone hacking your heart through the bracelet.