Posts Tagged ‘tech’

1 in 5 Brits never back-up their devices

April 1st, 2015 No Comments By Mof Gimmers

Old women on laptop 300x221 1 in 5 Brits never back up their devicesBacking-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.

unnamed 1 in 5 Brits never back up their devices

amazoninstant Amazon unveil button that looks like a joke... but isntAmazon have announced the Dash Button, which looks 100% like a hoax, but remarkably, it isn’t.

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.

Are you going to sign-up with Tidal?

March 31st, 2015 3 Comments By Mof Gimmers

Tidal Are you going to sign up with Tidal?By now, you will have heard that Jay Z and his famous friends are going to change music forever. How? By offering some expensive streaming to us plebs via Tidal.

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?

British Airways accounts hit by cyber-attack

March 30th, 2015 No Comments By Mof Gimmers

British Airways 857 19385812 0 0 4005 300 British Airways accounts hit by cyber attackBritish Airways have had to freeze tens of thousands of frequent flyer accounts after a cyber attack.

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.

Want to learn Spanish on your Xbox?

March 27th, 2015 No Comments By Mof Gimmers

Bitterwallet Spain 300x237 Want to learn Spanish on your Xbox?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.”

Facebook to beef up Messenger

March 26th, 2015 2 Comments By Mof Gimmers

Facebook 300x300 Facebook to beef up MessengerFacebook are giving their Messenger app some muscles as they look to woo businesses and brands (brands is a cuddle way of saying ‘businesses who want you to feel like they’re a lifestyle choice’) out of loads of money.

There’s going to be a rake of new features, enabling people to integrate their own apps with Messenger (thanks to a new thing called Messenger Platform) and companies will be able to enhance online shopping and bug everyone on Facebook (thanks to a thing called Businesses on Messenger).

Mark Zuckerberg reckons these new tools will end up in social media tools replacing the old types of talking to companies.

“Currently, if you want to get in touch with a business, most of us probably still call,” Zuckerberg said. “But I actually don’t know anyone who likes calling businesses. It’s just not fast or convenient and it definitely doesn’t feel like the future.”

David Marcus, also of Facebook, added that this would restore the “personal and delightful experience” that customers have when shopping at little local shops for local people. David Marcus clearly hasn’t been to Royston Vasey.

Anyway, the whole deal here is that Messenger Platform will help people plug apps into Messenger which will allow users to share photos, audio or whatever, more easily. Alongside that, businesses will be able to play with the format too. Expect to get some animated gifs from Oreos or something, in the near future. Or, you can live chat with IAMS about your cat that just choked to death.

TomTom launch free sat-nav app

March 26th, 2015 1 Comment By Mof Gimmers

TomTom 281x300 TomTom launch free sat nav appTomTom have gone a launched a free sat-nav on Android called TomTom Go Mobile. If you’ve just bought a sat-nav, gutted for you.

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 ready Nexus Player

March 25th, 2015 1 Comment By Mof Gimmers

nexus player 300x300 Google ready Nexus PlayerGoogle 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?

Google tracking your every move

March 19th, 2015 7 Comments By Mof Gimmers

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.

Deathwatch: Internet Explorer

March 19th, 2015 3 Comments By Mof Gimmers

internet explorer Deathwatch: Internet ExplorerWe 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: now checking your apps

March 18th, 2015 No Comments By Mof Gimmers

android apps 300x187 Google: now checking your appsGoogle 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.

Facebook rolling out payment system

March 18th, 2015 No Comments By Mof Gimmers

Facebook 300x300 Facebook rolling out payment systemFacebook are pushing on with a payments system for their Messenger app, which means people will be able to send money to their contacts directly and instantly.

That is, of course, if you trust Facebook with your bank details.

Initially, this is going to be a thing in America, where Stateside users can link their accounts and debit cards with their profiles and with a couple of taps, send cash to people. Facebook themselves are going to handle transactions and the encryptions. They already handle millions in advertising and gamers on the social network, so that should allay a few fears.

If you’re game, you’ll be able to add a PIN or use Apple’s Touch ID security as further protection.

Again though. This is Facebook who have a rather wayward approach to your data, so if you hold off and stick to tried and tested methods away from them, we wouldn’t blame you.

This new feature will be hitting iOS, Android and the desktop version in the coming months and will be rolled out worldwide soon enough.

“Incorporating security best practices into our payments business has always been a top priority,” Facebook said. “These payment systems are kept in a secured environment that is separate from other parts of the Facebook network and that receive additional monitoring and control. A team of anti-fraud specialists monitor for suspicious purchase activity to help keep accounts safe.”

Apple to start streaming TV?

March 17th, 2015 No Comments By Mof Gimmers

Picture 22 300x208 Apple to start streaming TV?Apple are, apparently, planning to launch their own online TV streaming service, allowing iFans to watch programmes on their iPads, Apple TV boxes and whatnot.

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.

Yahoo! want to kill the password as we know it

March 17th, 2015 1 Comment By Mof Gimmers

password 300x289 Yahoo! want to kill the password as we know itYahoo are looking at killing off the password as you know it. Instead, they’re liking the idea of on-demand passwords if you want to login to their services.

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.

Bionym Nymi 300x162 Fancy unlocking your account with the rhythm of your heart?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.