Posts Tagged ‘tech’

HTC and Valve team-up for VR headset!

March 3rd, 2015 No Comments By Mof Gimmers

htc valve vive vr headset 300x300 HTC and Valve team up for VR headset!Some supergeeks will have read the headline and immediately screamed; “I DON’T CARE! HAVE MY MONEY!”

For those of you wondering what in the Sam Hell is going on, then here’s the lowdown: HTC has just announced the Vive, which is a virtual reality headset that they’ve developed in collaboration with Valve. Go pop in on your face, and you’ll be in a world of wonder!

It’ll be on the shelves later in 2015, with a version for developers available in the next few weeks. The best thing about it all is that there’s a promise to make loads of games for it, which should be great fun!

The Vive Developer Edition uses two 1200 x 1080 displays that refresh at 90 frames per second, which we’re told is perfect for “eliminating jitter” and achieving “photorealistic imagery.” That’s good news, if it works! The display on the headset is promising to give you 360-degree views and wholly envelope your field of vision. This really is next-level nerdgasm.

Using a accelerometer, a gyrosensor and laser positioning sensors, the Vive tracks the movement of your bonce to the measurement of one-tenth of a degree. There’s also something called the Steam VR base station, which lets you walk around a virtual space instead of using a controller, which sounds ridiculous and fabulous.

It is also really light so it won’t hurt your head while frying your brain.

HTC’s Peter Chou says: “We believe that virtual reality will totally transform the way that we interact with the world. Virtual reality will become a mainstream technology for the rest of the world.

Chou also reckons that, with the device, you’ll be “attending real-time concerts, learning history, reliving memories.” THE FUTURE! IT IS COMING!

Apple Pay hit by high levels of scams

March 2nd, 2015 No Comments By Mof Gimmers

apple pay 300x169 Apple Pay hit by high levels of scamsApple Pay is taking off in the US, however, it isn’t all peaches and cream. Banks have been surprised at the level of payments being made with card details, leaving them desperately trying to find and fix the flaws in security and trying to quickly work on better verification and checking systems.

It is worth pointing out that criminals haven’t cracked open Apple Pay’s secure encryption system, but rather, they’re setting up new iPhones with stolen personal info and then ringing banks up to set up cards on the phones, before spending victim’s money.

Why Apple Pay? Well, one of the reasons that they’re being targeted is because you can buy expensive things at Apple Stores with Apple Pay. Then, all you have to do is flog your ill gotten gains down the pub for cash, and you’re away.

Reports suggest that total losses have already run into millions.

A spokesman for Apple says: “Apple Pay is designed to be extremely secure and protect a user’s personal information. During setup Apple Pay requires banks to verify each and every card and the bank then determines and approves whether a card can be added to Apple Pay. Banks are always reviewing and improving their approval process, which varies by bank.”

So, it looks like banks need to do a bit more when it comes to customers’ security regarding NFC payments and the like. If you’re worried that this all feels like a disaster waiting to happen, stick to Chip & Pin or cash-only, until the flaws get ironed out.

Ikea’s furniture that charges your mobile

March 2nd, 2015 No Comments By Mof Gimmers

ikea Ikeas furniture that charges your mobileIkea have hit on a novel idea and, typically, they’re putting it into action. They’ll be selling a load of desks, lamps and tables that’ll charge your mobile wirelessly (and tablets etc, obviously).

This new range will utilise Qi wireless technology to charge your devices which have been put on (or near) the special bits of furniture.

“Through research and home visits, we know that people hate cable mess. They worry about not finding the charger and running out of power,” said Ikea’s business area manager of lighting and wireless charging, Jeanette Skjelmose. “Our new innovative solutions, which integrate wireless charging into home furnishings, will make life at home simpler.”

You’ll be able to buy the charging furniture under the Home Spot range and they’ll be getting rolled out across Europe and North America in April. Getting them in the stores globally will follow that.

The good thing about this, is that Ikea are often copied, which means that all the other furniture floggers and homeware vendors will be eyeing all this up. That means, if you’re wanting something that isn’t the traditional plug, which gives your devices some juice, then there’s going to be a lot of activity soon.

Facebook: helping you to stop killing yourself

February 27th, 2015 No Comments By Mof Gimmers

Facebook 300x300 Facebook: helping you to stop killing yourselfAre you wanting to end it all? Considered the various ways of committing suicide and weighing-up which one best meets your needs?

Well, before you go throwing yourself arms-first into a wood chipper or something, you might want to go on Facebook first. No, not to ask everyone’s opinion or leave a really impersonal suicide note, but rather, the social network might be able to stop you from doing it.

FB is getting some new features where they’ll be offering increased support to those feeling suicidal.

You may not know this, but Facebook has previous with this, and in 2011 launched their service where you could talk to a suicide prevention specialist. They also enabled users to report a link or update if someone was concerning them.

Facebook say: ”Currently, if you flag a post or account from someone whom you believe may be suicidal, Facebook will take over the process from there. If you’re considering killing yourself, ”we now also give them the option of reaching out to a friend, and provide tips and advice on how they can work through these feelings.”

Now, anyone reporting someone will also be offered more assistance: “We’re also providing new resources and support to the person who flagged the troubling post, including options for them to call or message their distressed friend letting them know they care, or reaching out to another friend or a trained professional at a suicide hotline for support.”

10422432 817721084932398 5471046820094188077 n Facebook: helping you to stop killing yourself

Facebook are working with a number of charities and mental health organisations, and asked the advice of FB users who have tried to harm themselves in a bid to come up with a way of helping. However, only US citizens are worth saving, so if you’re outside of America, you’ll have to wait for a roll-out or ignore Facebook entirely and phone the Samaritans.

Have a look at Facebook’s thoughts on all this, here.

Create energy by jacking off!

February 27th, 2015 3 Comments By Mof Gimmers

Do you… erm… like to feel pleased a lot of the time? Do you spend your downtime by… umm… beating up the wookie? Well, if that sounds like you, there’s a gadget that could help you save the planet while you throw yourself into an onanistic fever.

Those scamps at PornHub have made a video about some wearable technology called the ‘Wankband’, which basically sits on your wrist and, with the movement of your wrist, creates energy.

With this thing, you can ‘love the planet, by loving yourself’.

You work, create the energy and then plug your phone, tablet or whatever, into the wrist band and, hey presto, you’re charging your device with the power of love.

Of course, the product is unisex and apparently, you can sign-up as a beta tester for the thing, which you sign-up for over at the smut vendor’s site. Might be best to not access that if you’re at work, unless you have a great game face and are able to tell your superiors that, yes, you’re accessing a dirty site at work, but you’re doing it to help reduce their electricity bills.

The power is in your hands.

Bank of England to launch their own Bitcoin?

February 26th, 2015 No Comments By Mof Gimmers

bitcoin1 300x300 Bank of England to launch their own Bitcoin?Bitcoin is getting taken a bit more seriously lately, and the Bank of England’s (BoE) ears have pricked-up and they’re looking at getting in on the action.

They reckon that digital currencies are going to become as vital and commonplace as banknotes. With that, they’ll ‘mint’ their own version. In a paper, talking about virtual currency, they said that this money could erase the need for a third party (aka A Bank) but they’re worried about the impact it’ll have on the shops and that there’s inevitably a need to have a central bank to regulate everything.

Of course, Bitcoin enthusiasts will be spitting their brews through their noses at the idea of The Man getting involved with their pennies. Having an authority, which people may not wholly trust, centralise the currency, pretty much goes against the enjoyment people get with the increased privacy that comes with digital currency.

“The emergence of private digital currencies (such as Bitcoin) has shown that it is possible to transfer value securely without a trusted third party,” said the Bank of England in a discussion paper. However, they’d like to control the mining of money and they think someone needs to control it, to make it less volatile.

“There are several different ways in which a central bank might make use of a digital currency,” the BoE said. “It could be used as a new way of undertaking interbank settlement, or it could be made available to a wider range of banks and NBFIs [non-bank financial institutions]. In principle, it might also be made available to non-financial firms and individuals generally, as banknotes are today.”

If you want to read the Bank of England’s paper on all of this, click here.

Singalong with Spotify!

February 26th, 2015 1 Comment By Mof Gimmers

spotify logo Singalong with Spotify!Are you one of those people who just can’t work out the lyrics to things and forever singing stupid stuff on night’s out, much to the amusement of your friends? Have you been singing “if I gotta love Eda, honey!” to ‘In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida’? Have you been thinking The Beatles were singing about taking a chicken for a ride?

Well, help is at hand as Spotify are adding a new thing into their desktop app in the shape of a button where you can get all the lyrics to your favourite songs!

This is because Spotify have now integrated the Musixmatch service, who reckon that they’re the world’s largest lyrics catalogue.

The feature will be extra handy to those of you who have heard a song on the radio or in a club, and can remember the refrain, but didn’t catch the song title as you’ll be able to search for songs with the lyrics. When you don’t have time or battery to whip Shazam out, this could be priceless. Although, Google’s search engine does exist too.

Nice that Spotify are doing something new with the desktop app, as they’ve been largely focused on getting people to use the mobile app mostly. And now, you’ll never have to sing the wrong words again!

Lenovo attacked by Lizard Squad

February 26th, 2015 No Comments By Mof Gimmers

Lenovo ThinkPad driver 300x300 Lenovo attacked by Lizard SquadLenovo annoyed everyone when it turned out that they’d put Superfish in a load of their laptops. The company said that it was supposed to enhance the user’s experience, but any fool could’ve told them that this was never going to be the case.

No-one wants a program that offers you shopping tips, as most people already know what they’re shopping for, or indeed, are hit with enough adverts while online, that there’s buyers fatigue while on the computer.

As such, Lenovo have been hit with a cyber-attack and, again, those cute Lizard Squad guys were behind it, turning their attention away from games consoles long enough to cause the laptop vendor some grief.

“One effect of this attack was to redirect traffic from the Lenovo website,” Lenovo said in a statement. “We are also actively investigating other aspects. We are responding and have already restored certain functionality to our public-facing website.”

The company is also “actively reviewing” their network security and will be taking steps “to protect the integrity of our users’ information and experience”. They’re bloody obsessed with ‘user experience’ aren’t they?

If you missed the news, Lenovo are no longer dealing with Superfish software after a huge amount of complaints.

Pebble raise $7m for smartwatch

February 25th, 2015 No Comments By Mof Gimmers

Pebble have announced their new smartwatch, which is called Time. This new device was shown off on their Kickstarter page for it, and at the time of writing, has already raised in advance of $7 million (in pounds, that’s ‘shed loads’).

This new watch does look rather smart and comes with a colour screen. Previously, Pebble watches had greyscale screens, which is a bit drab.

pebble time 500x240 Pebble raise $7m for smartwatch

To say people are excited about this is something of an understatement – the company were hoping to generate half a million dollars for Time, however, after a matter of hours, they’d gone way past that.

So what’s the deal with it? Well, the Kickstarter page says that Time is a [sic] “color e-paper smartwatch with up to 7 days of battery and a new timeline interface that highlights what’s important in your day.”

They add: “Time’s new microphone lets you send voice replies to incoming notifications or take short voice notes. We used the latest technology to maintain water resistance so you can swim or surf with Pebble Time (we do not, however, recommend talking underwater).” In addition to that, “Pebble Time is 20% thinner than the original Pebble at just 9.5mm” and you’re able to personalise it as they’ve “included a soft silicone band with each Pebble Time, but all standard 22mm watch bands will fit.”

You’ll be able to access messages and emails and the like (obviously) as well as keep tabs on your physical activity and find out about the weather, as is par for the course with smartwatches. There’s over 6,000 Pebble-specific apps that you can get at too. The phone will run on Android.

If you like the look of the thing, there’s a load of images, gifs and videos on the Kickstarter page. When it hits British shelves, it should cost around £130.

Emoji get more diverse

February 25th, 2015 1 Comment By Mof Gimmers

emoji middle finger 300x300 Emoji get more diverseThere’s been complaints that emoji aren’t exactly inclusive, but that’s all about to change. This, no doubt, will prompt a load of tutting from people who a) Never see what the fuss is about because they’re fine or b) People who swear at the mere mention of emoji.

There’s another set of people who shudder because they didn’t realise that their Samsung phone was making them have a large phone bill for sending texts with emoji in them.

Anyway, 300 more are being added to the iOS 8.3 keyboard and include a whole host of differently coloured faces and whatnot. Good news for those that have been wishing for it and taking absolutely nothing away from those that didn’t.

There’s more too. There will be more options for relationships and gadgets. That means there’s going to be some same-sex emoji available for use and, because this is Apple, they’ve created an iPhone 6 and an Apple Watch icons. There’s going to be a load of new flags added too, which is nice for vexillologists.

“Apple supports and cares deeply about diversity, and is working with The Unicode Consortium to update the standard so that it better represents diversity for all of us,” said an Apple spokesperson.

And here, we have some of the more more diverse emoji, c/o Apple.

Emojis diverse 500x281 Emoji get more diverse

If you’re wondering about the skin tones, they’re apparently based on something called the Fitzpatrick Classification scale, which was founded by dermatologist Thomas Fitzpatrick at Harvard Medical School in 1975. The yellow emoji is supposed to be the standard, just-like-the-old-emoji-and-therefore-aren’t-meant-to-be-human-coloured, just in case you were wondering.

Samsung’s Galaxy S6 – a curved affair

February 23rd, 2015 2 Comments By Mof Gimmers

Even though Samsung aren’t ready to actually unveil the new Galaxy S6, an image of it has appeared on the internet. With this not being an Apple phone, the level of salivating is greatly reduced as Android users tend to be a bit more lowkey about new handsets.

The new device is going to be officially announced next week, but T-Mobile CEO, John Legere, tweeted a link to the S6. When you get to the page, you’re greeted with this image.

galaxy s6 500x281 Samsungs Galaxy S6   a curved affair

So what does all this mean?

Well, it does look like the handset will be a curved affair, as seen with a previous Samsung release – the Note Edge. The difference this time is that it is thought the curve will be on both sides of the thing.

note edge 500x375 Samsungs Galaxy S6   a curved affair

One good thing is that Samsung appear to have edged away from the fake leather and horrible plastic, with a rear made out of metal.

Gathering up the online rumours and confirmed reports, the Galaxy S6 will have an improved processing chip which will be faster and use less battery, which is useful. There’s also news that there’s going to be some wireless charging going on, as well as something that Samsung describe as a new “amazing” camera feature.

Samsung’s DongHoon Jang has vowed that this is “the future of cameras”, which is a rather bold claim, adding that the S6 “will be intelligent and do all the thinking for users, allowing them to take amazing pictures under any conditions, without having to worry about anything more than just pressing the shutter button.”

Hmmmm. Either way, this new phone has got to be better than the S5 which was met with a thorough ‘meh’ from the world.

Lenovo: Superfish killers and support

February 20th, 2015 1 Comment By Mof Gimmers

Lenovo ThinkPad driver 300x300 300x300 Lenovo: Superfish killers and supportYou heard about Lenovo installing something that was annoying at best and intrusive at worst, with a thing called Superfish. One of our readers impishly pointed out it should’ve been called ‘SuperPhish’, arf!

Well, the company got in touch and wanted to clear some things up, so you can stop chewing your nails in worry.

They say that Superfish was “previously included on some consumer notebook products shipped in a short window between September and December to help customers potentially discover interesting products while shopping. However, user feedback was not positive, and we responded quickly and decisively.”

And so, this is where we’re at, according to Lenovo:

“1) Superfish has completely disabled server side interactions (since January) on all Lenovo products so that the product is no longer active. This disables Superfish for all products in market.
2) Lenovo stopped preloading the software in January.
3) We will not preload this software in the future.”

So there. The company assure customers that there’s no need to fret about the security of your computer.

They continue: “We have thoroughly investigated this technology and do not find any evidence to substantiate security concerns. But we know that users reacted to this issue with concern, and so we have taken direct action to stop shipping any products with this software. We will continue to review what we do and how we do it in order to ensure we put our user needs, experience and priorities first.”

“To be clear, Superfish technology is purely based on contextual/image and not behavioural. It does not profile nor monitor user behaviour. It does not record user information. It does not know who the user is. Users are not tracked nor re-targeted. Every session is independent. Users are given a choice whether or not to use the product. The relationship with Superfish is not financially significant; our goal was to enhance the experience for users. We recognize that the software did not meet that goal and have acted quickly and decisively.”

If you have any problems, you can uninstall it with our directions, or Lenovo themselves are offering support to users, with detailed information available at the Lenovo forum.

bad photoshop 300x300 Photoshop turns 25: heres the best FREE alternativesWould you believe it! Adobe’s Photoshop is now 25 years old! In all that time, it has changed the way we view things – some tasteful, some awful, some so funny you wish you could Photoshop the urine from your trousers from laughing at a model with three limbs.

Anyway, Photoshop isn’t cheap to those who want to play around with photo editing software now and again, rather than spend their time using it like a pro. Of course, there’s people who will swear by it, but if you’re looking for a free alternative, then there’s a number of programmes you can try.

Whether you’re looking de-wrinkling yourself or just cropping photos and making a collage of something, there’s a load of options you can get stuck into.

Naturally, if you know how to get cracked products from torrents, then this might not be the best list for you. Indeed, there are other round-ups of alternatives available online for paid-for products, but for the best free PS alternatives, these could be just the trick for you.

Seven Best Free Photoshop Alternatives

Gimp [download]

This open-source programme is a good all-rounder and available for OS X, Windows and Linux. It takes a little while to get your head around it, but once you do, you can manage all manner of things with it. Very good indeed and

Aviary [download]

A capable, solid image editor with resizing and touch-up tools for you to use. This one is liked because it is more straightforward than some others, so won’t batter your brains with impenetrable jargon.

Pixlr [download]

Pixlr has a decent tool for everything you’re likely to want to do to an image unless you’re a graphic designer. However, some of Pixlr’s advanced apps ask you for an annual subscription.

PicMonkey [download]

PicMonkey is free, browser-based image editor with a solid feature set for simple photo touchups, adding text to images and adding frames. Images can be taken from a computer or various cloud services, including Dropbox and Flickr. A paid-for upgrade removes the ads and gives access to more fonts and effects.

Fotor [download]

tor is a free image editor that’s available on just about any platform either in app or web app from. It has a good selection of tools, each with an easy-to-use sliding scale of effect. Batch editing is a bonus, as are the filter tools.

Paint.net [download]

Easy to use and great for simple cropping and photo manipulation. You can’t do gigantic amounts with it, but if you want something simple to sort out some pictures, this freebie is the job for you.

SumoPaint [download]

A browser equivalent of Photoshop is a decent photo editor. Again, some of the more advanced features will cost you, but if you want to resize something, crop it or another basic edit, then this is worth checking out.

Lenovo ThinkPad driver 300x300 300x300 Have Lenovo been installing bank intercepting software on laptops?Lenovo have been accused of something pretty grim, and if true, they’ll have some tough questions to answer. Users on the Lenovo forum have been talking about a bit of adware which goes by the name of ‘Superfish’. It seems that this adware has been hijacking browsers to place third-party adverts on Google searches and websites without the permission of the users.

That’s pretty bad, but the accusations get worse.

This apparently happens by utilising self-signed certificates to trick browsers into showing them on your computer and one person has claimed that the program intercepted a connection to their bank, which means that Superfish could well be collecting data without authorisation.

A number of posts prompted Lenovo employee Mark Hopkins to try and set the record straight. He said that Lenovo has removed Superfish from laptops and that the company have requested that the developer publishes a patch to plug the security gap. He said: ”Due to some issues (browser pop up behaviour for example), with the Superfish Visual Discovery browser add-on, we have temporarily removed Superfish from our consumer systems until such time as Superfish is able to provide a software build that addresses these issues.

“As for units already in market, we have requested that Superfish auto-update a fix that addresses these issues.”

Lenovo have stopped preloading Superfish into new consumer laptops as of January 2015, and they’re investigating what is happening with the systems that are already out there.

HOW TO REMOVE SUPERFISH FROM YOUR COMPUTER

First, hit Start/Windows and open Control Panel. Hit ‘Select Uninstall a program’ or ‘Add or Remove Programs’ and then select ‘WindowsShopper’ and press ‘Remove’ or right-click to select ‘Uninstall’.

There are associated programs that come with Superfish, such as Yontoo – remove that in the same manner as above.

If you’re using Windows 8, select ‘Control Panel’ from the Charm bar settings and click ‘Uninstall a program’ and remove the unwanted application from there.

To remove it from your browser, do as follows.

Google Chrome: Hit the 3-bar icon, top right of the window. Select ‘Tools’ then ‘Extensions’ before selecting the ‘Superfish WindowShopper’ extension and click the bin icon to get rid of it.

If you’re on Internet Explorer, in the browser, go to ‘Tools’, ‘Manage Add-ons’, ‘Enable or Disable Add-ons’ and disable the unwanted app. With Firefox, again, go to ‘Tools’, then ‘Add-ons’ and the ‘Extensions’ and select ‘Windows Shopper’ and remove it.

Any other troubles, employ a Spyware removal tool to get rid of it.

brain jar Want to go online? Activate the chip implanted in your brain!Are you tired of having to hold things in your hands and poke at devices with your beautiful, delicate fingers? Want to get online without all the hassle of moving your arms, but don’t fancy the idea of Google Glass (then again, no-one does)?

Well, you’re in luck! That’s because a research division of the U.S. military is working on a chip (roughly the size of 10p piece) which is put in your brain and works like a computer from there. If you want to access some dirty films online, you’d simply have to think about it.

That could be a problem if you spend all day thinking about dirty films and you’re in a meeting with human resources and all you can see is a load of sweaty limbs and bodily fluids. It all sounds like a science fiction film doesn’t it? And they never run smoothly.

This idea has been hatched up by the brilliant people at the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) who basically get paid to come up with crazy ideas and then try and execute them. That said, some of the things they’re partly responsible for are a predecessor to the internet, so they’re not daft.

“The short term goal of the project is the development of a device about the size of two stacked nickels with a cost of goods on the order of $10 which would enable a simple visual display via a direct interface to the visual cortex with the visual fidelity of something like an early LED digital clock,” report Humanity+.

“The implications of this project are astounding.”

Thus far, the research has tried it out on a bunch of fish, so it is too early to say how this is going. Besides, to fish even use the internet? Would they even know where to find dirty films with the use of their brains? Either way, when Samsung start installing bloatware into your mind, don’t say we didn’t warn you.