Posts Tagged ‘tech’

The robots are coming! To clean!

August 29th, 2014 No Comments By Ian Wade

Robot Uprising update: It looks like Dyson are about to launch a robot hoover.

According to a new YouTube teaser, various Dyson types – or at least actors doing a splendid job – are seen looking at a mysterious unseen thing, which moves about a bit occasionally, but remains in the shadows.

Also, said thing appears to have Dyson’s location-analysis technology.

If you factor in Dyson’s investment in a new robotics vision lab at Imperial College in the London, it’s feasible that they collective mindset have come up with a dream clean machine.

They’ve teased the date September 4th as the big reveal, so that’s only a week’s worth of sleepless nights. Or it could be an elaborate trailer for the next Aphex Twin album.

You can never tell these days.

Apple make vague announcement for attention

August 29th, 2014 No Comments By Mof Gimmers

Apple have been intentionally coy of late, leaving everyone else to fill column inches about what they might do next. Is it going to be their smartwatch?

Or will it be the new, larger iPad (which one reader brilliantly referred to as ‘the maxiPad, which we’re stealing and claiming as our own).

Whatever it is, Apple have gone from coy to downright flirty, sending out an invitation to all, with the date on it (9th September 2014) and a ‘wish we could say more’ on it. Of course, they could totally say more. They don’t want to. They’re like those awful people who put a status on a social network that says “Oh, something amazing has happened! Can’t say too much right now #excited”.

 

apple with they could say more 500x439 Apple make vague announcement for attention

 

So there it is. Apple have, at least, given a date for their devoted fans to excited about (they’re going to book the day off work so they can watch a speech on the internet and make plans to buy some sleeping bags and deck chairs so they can queue up for Whatever It Is for a whole week while being filmed by a tech blog).

Either way, we look forward to people arguing about Apple being overpriced against “Shut up! It’s a luxury purchase! You cheapskates wouldn’t understand!”

We’ll just remind the rest of you that a phone really doesn’t define you as a person (unless you’re making nuisance calls with it, because that absolutely defines you as a person).

So. Is it a phone, tablet or wearable technology?

Even bigger iPad a-coming

August 27th, 2014 2 Comments By Ian Wade

apple logo Even bigger iPad a comingApple are bringing out a bigger iPad!

According to reports, Apple are launching a new iPad in the first part of 2015 with a new 12.9 inch screen.

This iPad size follows the 7.9 inch and 9.7 inch.

But don’t leap off a cliff just yet, an updated version of the 9.7 inch iPad and the mini will be in the shops by Christmas, according to Bloomberg.

The iPhone is now expected to increase to 5.5 inch screens, which should be announced at an event on September 9th.

Obviously the company is on the skids and keen to do what it can to make up only selling 13.3 million iPads in the Apr-June period, down a colossal 9.% on the same period the year before.

And iPhones only scraped 35.2 million sales, short of the market predictions of 36 million.

Let’s all cross our fingers and hope things work out for them at this difficult time.

Apps: We’re just not as bothered as we were

August 19th, 2014 1 Comment By Ian Wade

apps 300x199 Apps: Were just not as bothered as we werePeople are not as arsed as they once were with smartphone apps, according to some new research.

A report by Deloitte shows that the average amount of apps downloaded per user per month is on the wane and declined a fair bit over the last year.

Almost a third of smartphoners in the UK do not download any apps in an average month, which is up from one-in-five last year.

Users tend to be more savvy and have a set amount a favourite apps sorted within the first few months of getting a new phone.

But it’s not a full-on sign of the collapse of the app market, as Deloitte reckon that more smartphone users over the age of 50 aren’t that bothered in adding additional stuff.

Paul Lee, whose job title ‘Head of research for technology, media and telecommunications at Deloitte’ is a bit longwinded, said, “The new adopters of smartphones use them mostly for text messaging. When you look at who uses IM services like WhatsApp and WeChat, it tends to be younger age groups and it declines very steeply with age.”

“The ‘if in doubt download it’ attitude to consumer apps is clearly on the decline,” he points out.

What do you want from your mobile phone?

August 5th, 2014 No Comments By Mof Gimmers

mobile What do you want from your mobile phone?When you get a new mobile, what are you really after?

A new survey asked, and the answer wasn’t anything to do with eyeball scrolling, indestructible glass or voice control. When it comes to having a phone you’re happy with, it seems all you want is something that won’t run out of battery anytime soon, is easy to use and can get a signal most of the time.

There are figures to look at as well. Despite all the whistles and bells of new smartphones, 29% of those asked said that an easy-to-use phone was most important, while a decent signal is the primary interest of 19%, with battery life hot on its heels.

A decent amount of memory/storage is something people should want, because there’s nothing as frustrating as when you download a couple of apps and your phone starts acting like it is having a massive seizure.

The most useful fancy-feature is fingerprint scanning technology, with 56% of people using it more than once a day. More than a fifth of those in the survey said they liked having and using a camera too.

“It’s becoming increasingly hard for smartphone makers to differentiate their handsets from those of their rivals. They hope that flash features like Fingerprint ID on the iPhone 5S, or Amazon’s Fire Phone and its ‘Dynamic Perspective’ display, will give their phones the edge,” said Ernest Doku, telecoms expert at uSwitch.com (who conducted the survey).

“However, our research shows that many Brits can spot a gimmick from a mile away. It’s actually the basics that affect the every day user experience – like long battery life and a robust design – that people really care about.”

So Google Glass isn’t going to take off with the general public, is it?

fibres 300x225 The fastest broadband in the world   from Denmark The Danes invented Lurpak and The Killing, and now they’ve invented something that could be even better than slightly salted butter and lady detectives in jumpers.

Behold – superfast broadband which is so fast it’s practically instantaneous!

Yes, a team from The Technical University of Denmark have managed to transfer 43 terabits per second through a single optical fibre. That’s the fastest broadband speed in the world.

It’s so fast that it will download a movie in 0.2 milliseconds – before you can even get it together to BLINK. In fact, it can download a thousand movies in the blink of an eye.

Go on, blink and imagine it. That’s fast, innit?

Nobody quite knows how they managed it, but hopefully it means that soon we can kiss goodbye to buffering and loading and waiting and waiting.

And because they’ve used a single fibre to make their network, it’s commercially viable. Whoo-hoo!

Tak, Danmark!

Russia gets heavy with Apple

August 1st, 2014 No Comments By Ian Wade

apple logo Russia gets heavy with AppleIn a bid not to sound paranoid or a bit weird or anything, oh no, the Russian government wants access to Apple’s source codes.

The government wants to make sure Apple’s products don’t contain tools to spy on state institutions.

The Russian proposal was made during a meeting between communications minister Nikolai Nikiforov and Apple’s general manager in Russia, Peter Engrob Nielsen.

Russia reckon it’s all perfectly cool and this move is to ensure the right of consumers and for state security interests.

Apple, unsurprisingly, aren’t too keen on the idea.

While it’s not unusual for non-profit and charitable organisations to offer up their source codes, as it lets other people in to help improve them. The majority tend to keep their codes confidential.

In a statement, Mr Nikiforov said Russian-ly: ”Edward Snowden’s revelations in 2013 and US intelligence services’ public statements about the strengthening of surveillance of Russia in 2014 have raised a serious question of trust in foreign software and hardware.”

“Obviously, companies which disclose the source code of their programmes are not hiding anything, but those who do not intend to establish cooperation with Russia on this issue may have undeclared capabilities in their products.”

That’s making Russia look all far out and liberal, eh readers? Especially with a “remains uncertain” when questioned about a company’s future if they failed to comply.

Mr Nikiforov has also asked for the source codes used by SAP, the world’s fourth-largest business software maker and Germany’s biggest tech company.

Oh, those Russians.

zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz12341 300x200 Driverless cars coming to UK in six months!Vince Cable reckons that the driverless car is going to be a thing, and to prove it, they are going to be trialled in three cities next year!

The business secretary is looking into the laws that ban them from the roads, and going to see if he can overturn it.

He also added that the government would make a £10million fund for developing the technology in the UK. Because it’s quite a priority for the cash-strapped Briton – rent, food, driverless car etc.

Speaking with his mouth, he said: “Today’s announcement will see driverless cars take to our streets in less than six months, putting us at the forefront of this transformational technology and opening up new opportunities for our economy and society.”

It is currently illegal for driverless cars to mooch around UK roads. There are those semi-autonomous affairs like the Volvo XC90, but they still require a human with a license, as opposed to say, a labrador.

The Department for Transport  are also looking into updating the rules on road use, but aren’t offering an ETA of when they’ll get that finished. Hark at them.

The UK already has a few groups working on driverless car technology, with boffins at Oxford and engineering firm Mira.

Coo. Imagine being able to hail a driverless cab and programming it ahead to play Heart’s ‘Alone’ and Atlantic Starr’s ‘Always’ on it’s in-car stereo for major late night vibes.

So yeah. The future.

New hayfever gadget warns of pollen hotspots

July 31st, 2014 No Comments By Lucy Sweet

sneeze New hayfever gadget warns of pollen hotspots If hayfever has you streaming, sneezing and dribbling your way through the summer months, then worry no more.

Nosee is a prototype sensor that is always on the look out for high pollen counts, wherever you happen to be.

It sends information about air quality and sneeze risk to an app, and if you can see it for all that mucus, you’ll know whether to stay indoors with a wet towel over your head.

Nosee is being developed by a digital design company in Birmingham called 383, and it uses a simple traffic light style system to warn you of an attack of the face squits.

It also asks you to tell it how you’re feeling: Sneezy, Itchy, Scratchy, Runny…(and all those others who failed the audition for the Seven Dwarves).

You can put Nosee outside, and it combines local air quality readings with pollen count data and weather forecasts from the Met Office, giving you more tailored and specific information about your personal pollen hell.

‘The daily pollen forecasts issued by the Met Office paint the country with broad strokes either of high, medium or low scores, but it’s often specific locations or pollen types that cause the most irritating effects,’ says a spokesman for 383.

But what actually is Nosee? Is it an app? Is it a hand-held pollen thermostat? Well, as it’s a prototype, at the moment it could be anything. They think a Snotwatch would be nice, but maybe it would be more useful to embed the sensor into a hanky?

The world is an awful, war torn place, full of dead children and Ebola, but sometimes, something comes along that restores your faith in humanity – like ICE CREAM THAT CHANGES COLOUR.

This Wonka-tastic invention is now a reality, thanks to science!

ice cream color 500x310 I scream, you scream, we all scream for colour changing ice cream!

Crazy physicist, engineer and ice cream crackpot Manuel Linares has created this amazing chameleon-like dessert which he calls Xamaleon.

(Er, maybe get a more catchy name that kids could actually pronounce?).

Anyway, Manuel puts the colour changing ice cream – which apparently tastes like a mixture of different fruit flavours – down to the fun central tenets of chemistry: temperature and oxidization.

Oh, and also the use of a VERY inappropriate sounding spray called ‘Love Elixir’ which turns it pink. Then, when you eat it, the colour changes begin.

Manuel’s invention is patent pending, and probably needs a bit of rebranding before it hits the shops. At the moment, it sounds like something you might get in Ann Summers.

But even so, it sounds pretty amazing.

Police block ads in anti-piracy war

July 29th, 2014 2 Comments By Lucy Sweet

music piracy Police block ads in anti piracy war City of London Police are ruining your daily download of pirated content by putting up big buzzkilling banner ads all over them, saying ‘THIS WEBSITE HAS BEEN REPORTED TO THE POLICE – please close the browser page containing this website.’

If they suspect a website is being run illegally, they’ve posted the ads to stop piracy sites making any money out of advertising.

It’s part of a (terribly named) project called ‘Operation Creative, which aims to block ads from well-known companies appearing on dodgy sites, alongside illegal content and porn.

‘When adverts from well known brands appear on illegal websites, they lend them a look of legitimacy and inadvertently fool consumers into thinking the site is authentic,’ said Detective Chief Inspector Andy Fyfe from the City of London Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit (Pipcu).

Operation Creative is using technology created by an equally terribly named private firm called Project Sunblock – which works on behalf of high street companies to have their ads removed from piracy sites, or porn sites called things like in-uranus.net.

It’s a strategy that might hit illegal sites hard – many of them rely on advertising to survive. But some critics have warned against over zealous blocking, amid fears that legal sites might die on their arse without advertising revenue.

Still, it’s better to be on the safe side. After all, you don’t want a back to school at BHS advert appearing on a hardcore bumming page, do you?

okcupid 300x300 OkCupid is actually a massive psychological experiment Looking for someone with their own teeth, face, head and a GSOH who shares your love of craft beer/cat memes/potholing? Well, chances are you’ve dabbled with online dating.

If you’ve got a profile on OKCupid, however, start getting worried. Its founder Christian Rudder, recently wrote a blog post, and admitted that the site used Facebook style psychological tricks (without users’ knowledge).

The post, subtly entitled ‘We Experimented on Human Beings!’ told the world that the company removed text from profiles, hid people’s photos and even told users that they were a perfect match when actually they completely incompatible.

Why? ‘We might be popular, we might create a lot of great relationships, we might blah blah blah,’ Rudder wrote. ‘But OKCupid doesn’t really know what it’s doing. Neither does any other website. Experiments are how you sort it all out.’

Their first experiment was called ‘Love Is Blind’, and removed pictures from all the profiles and found that conversation flowed and message responses were up 44%. (Of course, as humans are irretrievably shallow, these conversations stopped as soon as the profile pictures went back up.)

Then they tried to work out how much the text on the profile mattered – compared to the photo – and found that you may as well have just written skduskwehlwhfjfdjhsjsrslrsekajeskhjr and posted a photo of a hot girl in a bikini. Text mattered less than 10%.

But perhaps most heinously, OKCupid deliberately mismatched couples to see what would happen. Thankfully, the couples figured out that they were awful for each other straight away.

While these experiments are pretty revealing, and show what a crock online dating actually is, not telling users what they’re up to is still pretty dodgy. But Rudder is unrepentant.

‘Guess what, everybody: if you use the Internet, you’re the subject of hundreds of experiments at any given time, on every site.’

*secretly massages your algorithms*

Italy gives Google 18 month privacy deadline

July 24th, 2014 No Comments By Lucy Sweet

google Italy gives Google 18 month privacy deadline The way Google handles data is under fire from Italy, who have given them 18 months to change their ways and improve user privacy.

France have already fined Google £150,000 because they failed to co-operate with its laws on tracking and storing information, and it looks like Italy might be next to hit the company with a piffling fine that wouldn’t even make a dent in the average Google CEO’s lunch bill.

The Italian data protection Authority have told Google that they must ask its users for permission to use their personal information before they go spreading it around Facebook in the form of targeted ads about Fitflops and belly fat.

They also said they must honour customer requests to delete data within two months. Or else.
Google are co-operating so far, perhaps fearing reprisals from burly, well-connected Sardinian men called Beppe.

They said: “We’ve engaged fully with the Italian DPA throughout this process to explain our privacy policy and how it allows us to create simpler, more effective services, and we’ll continue to do so. We’ll be reading their report closely to determine next steps.”

How about you stop selling our data to advertisers without our permission, Google? That would be logical ‘next step.’

As they say in Italy – VAFFANCULO.

Apple start showing off Yosemite, Sam

July 24th, 2014 1 Comment By Mof Gimmers

Apple will dripfeed everyone with their new operating system, Yosemite, as of tomorrow.

OS X Yosemite was announced in May, and now it will be available as a public beta test, which will kick off around 1pm EST (which is around 6pm in the UK). If you want to test it out, then hit this link and sign up.

yosemite OS 500x290 Apple start showing off Yosemite, Sam

So what’s new? Well, Yosemite will use translucency throughout the system, so if you didn’t like the ‘flat’ colourful UI design of iOS 7, you’ll probably hate this.

There’s also a thing called ‘Handoff’, where Yosemite and iOS 8 will work easier with each other. If you start work on your iPad, it’ll be simpler to pick up where you left off on your Mac (and vice versa). You’ll be able to answer phonecalls from your iPhone with Yosemite too.

There’s improvements to iCloud and the Mail app too, and AirDrop will now work between iOS and Mac devices.

There’s a load of other new things going on as well, but we advise that, if you’re really interested in all that, you let Apple tell you all about it, here. The short version is that Apple want to hook your iPhone up with your other devices in a way that is much easier for the user.