Posts Tagged ‘tech’

Google accused of building digital superstate

April 18th, 2014 No Comments By Mof Gimmers

google caterpillar logo 300x146 Google accused of building digital superstate Mathias Dopfner, the head honcho at Europe’s largest newspaper publisher Axel Springer, has gone after Google saying that they’ve abused their monopoly in the digital world, discriminating against rival search engines and building up a digital ‘superstate’.

Big talk.

Dopfner sent a letter to Google’s Eric Shmidt, saying that Google’s motto should be ‘pay us or be finished’.

Not only that, Dopfner said that he was scared of Google, because his company relies too much on Google. Of course, calling them names probably won’t help.

He stated that Google knows everything about their customers, thanks to private messages in Gmail being scanned, read and analysed by the company.

Of course, there’s Android handsets as well.

Most people realised a while back that Google weren’t exactly a nice company – at odds with their ‘don’t be evil’ ethos – but it is interesting to see a media mogul go on the attack in this way, even if the outcome is absolutely nothing changing.

Rupert Murdoch, another man with a media empire, called Google ‘parasitic’, but backed down from slagging them off because he suspected his papers weren’t as prominent in the search listings (although that might be something to do with paywalls and having rubbish publications).

Chrome Chrome to allow you to control your desktop from your phoneAndroid users can now access their desktop computers remotely with a new app from those folks at Google.

The new Chrome Remote Desktop app has sprung out of a previous version that allowed access to a remote computer from a laptop or desktop.

“Have you ever been out and about, and urgently needed to access a file that’s sitting on your home computer? Since 2011, Chrome Remote Desktop has let you remotely access your machine from another laptop or computer in a free, easy and secure way. And now, with the release of the Chrome Remote Desktop app for Android, we’re making it possible for you to do the same thing from your Android device,” says product manager Husain Bengali.

Bengali said the app works with machines running Windows and Apple’s OS X.

Once you’ve downloaded the app, you’ll have to pair it with your computer so you can access what you need. Then, you can ”simply launch the Android app on your phone or tablet, tap on the computer’s name and start using your remote machine as if you were sitting right in front of it.”

You never need to be without that hilarious meme you love, ever again.

Samsung Galaxy S5: someone’s already hacked it

April 16th, 2014 1 Comment By Mof Gimmers

A matter of days after Samsung unleashed the Galaxy S5 on the world, some smart-arse has already hacked the fingerprint scanner on it.

In a video, below, the researchers showed how a wood glue spoof made from a mould is all that’s needed to get under the fingerprint security.

The narrator on the video says: “the spoof was made under lab conditions but is based on nothing more than a camera phone photo of an unprocessed latent print on a smartphone screen.” Well, obviously.

Of course, this isn’t the only fingerprint hack. Apple’s iPhone 5S was hacked by Chaos Computer Club a matter of hours after launch. The main difference between the two hacks is that, unlike the iPhone, the Samsung handset doesn’t require a password to authenticate after a certain number of incorrect attempts.

That means nasty people can try as many times as they like.

SRLabs accuse Samsung of failing to learn from the mistakes of other technology companies, and seeing as the method used in the S5 hack was basically the same as the iPhone hack, they may well have a point.

google plus logo Google: Contact lens cameras and still looking at your emailsGoogle, as we all know, aren’t too fussed about your privacy. When they’re not teaming up with governments, they’re scanning your correspondence so they can target adverts at you.

Personal privacy groups have long been unhappy with the internet giant and even Microsoft got in on the action, shouting “Don’t Get Scroogled by Gmail” when they were trying to convince everyone to use Outlook.

One court case against Google’s sniffing around our emails, District Judge Lucy H. Koh said that Google’s terms of service and privacy polices did not explicitly notify the plaintiffs “that Google would intercept users’ emails for the purposes of creating user profiles or providing targeted advertising.”

After that was said, Google spontaneously decided to update their terms of service, which came into play as of Monday, adding the provision that “Our automated systems analyse your content (including emails) to provide you personally relevant product features, such as customized search results, tailored advertising, and spam and malware detection. This analysis occurs as the content is sent, received, and when it is stored.”

Not only that, but it looks like they’ve got some more wearable tech in the pipeline which could well creep out the kind of people who think the sky is falling on their heads.

Basically, those worried about Google Glass taking photos without consent will love the news that Google now has a pending patent for a contact lens embedded with a camera. That’s Google Glass which you wouldn’t be able to see if someone was wearing it. That’s human beings, essentially walking around with a camera stuck on their eyeball. It’ll be ace of paparazzi photographers.

Google say that the development would be used or diabetics and blind people, which is a nice idea; but if Glass takes off, you can’t see a scenario where Google wouldn’t want to try and make a shedload of money from it with a general sale.

Android vulnerable to Heartbleed

April 14th, 2014 2 Comments By Mof Gimmers

heartbleed bug Android vulnerable to HeartbleedSay what you like about the Heartbleed bug that’s been going round, but one thing is for certain – it definitely has the most eye-catching logo.

However, it isn’t very nice and Google are the latest to issue a warning about it, saying that their products could be prone to Heartbleed exploitation.

The company have noted that all Android versions are unaffected, unless you’re on version 4.1.1 (that’s Jelly Bean to you), which a good number of you are. Google are in the process of patching up the chink in the OS’s armour.

Over a third of Android users are running on 4.1 to 4.1.2, with the exact number of users running 4.1.1 not known. The problem here is that a lot of budget handsets could be on this specific Jelly Bean and not being given updates once shipped.

In addition to that, Google’s Search, Gmail, YouTube, Wallet, Play, Apps, App Engine, AdWords, DoubleClick, Maps, Maps Engine and Earth were affected by Heartbleed, but should’ve been patched by now. Facebook, Tumblr, Twitter, Yahoo!, Dropbox and Amazon were also vulnerable.

Apple, meanwhile, have said that nothing of theirs was in danger at any point.

Google to offer more through Chromecast

April 9th, 2014 No Comments By Mof Gimmers

chromecast 300x199 Google to offer more through ChromecastGoogle’s Chromecast is a pretty great piece of kit, allowing you to stream from your phone, tablet or computer, straight to your TV set. BT Sports users who only have the app, will now be able to watch live sports on their tellies, or stream full length films from YouTube.

The homepage, which you see on your screen when not in use, is a selection of typical vistas designed to exude calm through nature, is pretty and all, but not particularly useful (apart from having a clock on it).

However, that looks like it is about to change.

Google are looking at giving you a little more on the wallpaper and over at TechCrunch, they’ve stumbled across various findings after some people went rummaging around in the source code. What was found was some javascript references, which will also add a weather forecast on your homescreen.

There’s weather related icons, as well as the current temperature in a given region, but mainly, it’ll tell you what it’s like outside – either coat weather, t-shirt weather and so on.

On top of that, there’s also code which looks like Chromecast will eventually give users the opportunity to have custom wallpapers, instead of the various streams and horizons which Google love so much.

While these aren’t hugely exciting, you hope that this at least vaguely points to the idea that Google are willing to do much more with Chromecast. You could use your TV screen for reminders, checking messages and whatnot. Basically, you could make your television set a second dashboard, which is exciting if you like that sort of thing.

Another day, another dodgy invention that wouldn’t look out of place on an ancient episode of Benny Hill. Alongside the heat sensor bra that unhooks itself, we now have the very useful and not at all stupid Intimacy 2.0 dress, which becomes transparent when you’re turned on.

dezeen Intimacy 2 0 by Studio Roosegaarde with Anouk Wipprecht 3 300x300 Oops, my dress appears to have become transparent

Aside from looking completely hideously unwearable, like it was fashioned from the plastic bendy bits you get inside a new pair of shoes, the dress also responds to heart rate and temperature. When the temperature is raised, the ‘e-foils’ that it is made up of start to become opaque and turn into clear plastic.

In order to pretend that this is some kind of technological/design milestone, and not a useless perv dress that will also become transparent when you’re running for a bus or cleaning out the guttering, Netherlands-based designer Daan Roosegaarde calls it ‘techno poetry.’

‘Technology is used here not merely functional but also as a tool to create intimacy as well as privacy on a direct, personal level which in our contemporary tech society is becoming increasingly important.’ He said.

Blah blah blah…tits.

Tag Heuer launch solar powered smartphone

April 7th, 2014 1 Comment By Mof Gimmers

TAG Heuer might mean little more than fancy watches to most, but they’ve released a new smartphone which is, of course, needlessly expensive and looks funny.

Their Meridiist Infinite has a nifty idea though, that other phone companies should look at. The new handset has solar panels which means it can conserve power. If cheap calculators can have solar panels, then surely we could have some working efficiently with our phones?

This new phone’s solar panels will slowly charge the device when it starts running low on battery, powered by Wysips technology created by Sunpartner Technologies. The panels are hidden in the phone’s screen and can be charged with natural or artificial light.

Tag Heuer Meridiist Infinite 500x291 Tag Heuer launch solar powered smartphone


TAG Heuer will be selling 1911 units of the Meridiist Infinite, which, if you’re a Championship footballer, will be on-sale from July onwards.


Welcome to Googlebox

April 7th, 2014 No Comments By Lucy Sweet

Google are riding high on the success of their Chromecast dongle, which has sold millions and become the best-selling technology product on Amazon since its launch in the US last summer.

500px android logosvg 300x300 Welcome to Googlebox

So now they’re going to do what Amazon and Apple did and launch Android TV. And although it’s yet to be publicly announced, they’ve rather Partridge-ly described it as an ‘entertainment interface’, rather than a platform. They’ve also said it will be ‘cinematic,’ ‘fun’, ‘fast’ and ‘fluid’ (ewww), ‘with the least amount of friction.’ (Wait a minute. We ARE still talking about TV, aren’t we?).

It looks the same as other ‘entertainment interfaces’ – a bunch of horizontal tiles you can swipe through with a remote control, which has a navigation pad which goes in four directions. You can scroll through apps, and third party TV streaming services like Netflix.

One of the big differences, though – this being Google – is the ‘search’ function. They’re hoping that they’ll do such a good job with their predictive recommendations that you won’t even need to search.

How this all chimes in with Chromecast, though, is anyone’s guess. Won’t it leave their dongle dangling?

Mozilla update: Eich out

April 4th, 2014 3 Comments By Ian Wade

zxzxzx Mozilla update: Eich outSo anyway, following the exposure of his support of anti-gay marriage shitfest Proposition 8 earlier this week, Brendan Eich has resigned as CEO of Mozilla.

In a post by Mozilla, they’ve basically said ‘we screwed up’.

Eich had been standing firm and refusing to budge this week, but continued to dig a big hole for himself. Believing that his personal beliefs were not relevant.

Despite his reputation and talents, it will be interesting to see what company will pick Eich up now after this week’s shitfit, as he’s become a toxic entity that few companies would welcome onboard in a bid to avoid similar controversy.

Shall we look at the full Mozilla statement? Yes, let’s. It’s a bit epic: ”Mozilla prides itself on being held to a different standard and, this past week, we didn’t live up to it. We know why people are hurt and angry, and they are right: it’s because we haven’t stayed true to ourselves.”

“We didn’t act like you’d expect Mozilla to act. We didn’t move fast enough to engage with people once the controversy started. We’re sorry. We must do better. Brendan Eich has chosen to step down from his role as CEO. He’s made this decision for Mozilla and our community.”

“Mozilla believes both in equality and freedom of speech. Equality is necessary for meaningful speech. And you need free speech to fight for equality. Figuring out how to stand for both at the same time can be hard. Our organizational culture reflects diversity and inclusiveness. We welcome contributions from everyone regardless of age, culture, ethnicity, gender, gender-identity, language, race, sexual orientation, geographical location and religious views. Mozilla supports equality for all.”

“We have employees with a wide diversity of views. Our culture of openness extends to encouraging staff and community to share their beliefs and opinions in public. This is meant to distinguish Mozilla from most organizations and hold us to a higher standard. But this time we failed to listen, to engage, and to be guided by our community.”

“While painful, the events of the last week show exactly why we need the web. So all of us can engage freely in the tough conversations we need to make the world better. We need to put our focus back on protecting that Web. And doing so in a way that will make you proud to support Mozilla. What’s next for Mozilla’s leadership is still being discussed. We want to be open about where we are in deciding the future of the organization and will have more information next week. However, our mission will always be to make the Web more open so that humanity is stronger, more inclusive and more just: that’s what it means to protect the open Web.”

“We will emerge from this with a renewed understanding and humility — our large, global, and diverse community is what makes Mozilla special, and what will help us fulfill our mission. We are stronger with you involved. Thank you for sticking with us”.

Some PR probably thought that ‘more waffle’ was the key approach, obviously.

Amazon Fire TV is here!

April 3rd, 2014 No Comments By Mof Gimmers

After loads of speculation, Amazon has finally announced their plans for Amazon Fire TV. With their set-top box, you’ll be able to stream Amazon Prime video and, in the States, it’ll cost you $99, which is around £60.

Amazon Fire is based on Android and, according to a statement, it is three times more powerful than Apple TV. With it, you get a little remote which has all the relevant buttons, but also, comes with a built-in microphone so you can control Fire with your voice.

For an extra $39.99, you can get a game controller, which connects with Bluetooth and gives 55 hours battery life.

amazon fire 500x281 Amazon Fire TV is here!

Amazon aren’t mucking about when it comes to streaming content. They’re offering their own services, as well as their competitors such as Netflix, HuluPlus, ESPN, Vevo, Crackle and Flixster.

Disney, Gameloft, EA, 2K Games, Sega, Ubisoft, Double Fine, and Telltale Games are all signed-up to develop games for Fire TV. The controller itself is based on the Xbox 360 controller. Perhaps not as pretty or robust, but decent enough to throw around while gaming.

Will it make Apple fans switch? Probably not. Will is challenge Chromecast? It isn’t really vying for the same market. However, it should sell reasonably well for those looking for something to enable streaming on their TVs and get mild distraction with games more akin to those you’d find on a tablet, rather than the PS4 or Xbox One.

We await news on when Amazon Fire TV will be released in the UK.

WhatsApp: 64 billion record breaker

April 2nd, 2014 1 Comment By Mof Gimmers

whatsapp WhatsApp: 64 billion record breakerWhen Facebook bought WhatsApp, some (including us) wondered if that would see people deserting the messaging app. With the news of the sale, other messaging services saw a spike in interest, so people were definitely wary.

However, it wasn’t to last as this week, WhatsApp processed a gigantic 64 million messages.

This is a record high for the company and they gleefully crowed about it on Twitter, totting up a global 20 billion messages sent and 44 billion messages received. You would have thought there would be more sent than received, but there you go.

It seems that WhatsApp is counting a single message sent to a group as separate received messages, so they’ve diddled the figures ever so slightly, but either way, that’s still a huge amount of messages they’re processing.

Weirdly, this new record beats the amount of messages that went through WhatsApp on New Year’s Eve, which is a traffic heavy period for any messaging service.

When WhatsApp start doing voice messaging, it’ll inevitably get a whole load busier.

Once, humans were the only things that could tell computers what to do. We were the boss of computers – their living, breathing overlords.
pacman Computers that can teach other computers to play Pac Man

But now researchers at Washington State University have done something that could be potentially wonderful/terrifyingly apocalyptic. They’ve developed a computer that can teach another computer what to do. And now, they’re playing Pac Man.

Dr Matthew E. Taylor, AI professor at WSU, (who sadly does not look like Johnny Depp in Transcendence), has created a method for a ‘teacher’ computer to give instructions to a ‘student’ computer. Algorithms have been designed to give the computer specific, regular pointers at the right times, which means that the student computer can learn.

Timing is crucial, but the boffins at WSU have been successful enough to program the teacher computer to teach it its ‘student’ to play simple videogames. And the most INSANE thing of all is that now, the student computer is better at Pac Man than the teacher computer.

Gulp. But how long before the student computer decides to BLOW UP THE UNIVERSE?

Is Google’s Glass a surveillance device?

April 1st, 2014 4 Comments By Mof Gimmers

google glass Is Googles Glass a surveillance device?Over in That Australia, there’s a proposal to overhaul of state and federal privacy laws and with it, things could get a bit tricky for those making wearable technology, in particular, Google Glass.

The Australian Law Reform Commission (ALRC) has put forward an approach to privacy, with regards to technology, which is technology-neutral in their definition of “surveillance device”. Basically, what the ALRC are saying is that things like Google Glass are able to record private conversations or activities and if you haven’t got consent, then it should be illegal.

“Offences in surveillance device laws should include an offence proscribing the surveillance or recording of private conversations or activities without the consent of the participants,” say the ALRC.

“This offence should apply regardless of whether the person carrying out the surveillance is a participant to the conversation or activity, and regardless of whether the monitoring or recording takes place on private property.”

Now, of course, people can film things with their mobile phones or digital cameras, but it is a little more clear if someone is filming you with a handset. With Glass, someone could film you without you necessarily knowing. And obviously, governments like to copy each other, so if this move proves popular, we could see personal privacy rules being brought in, with regards to Glass, by other countries.

There’s already been bother with a Glass wearer who went to the cinema with them on, which ended up with homeland security being called out. There’s a whole host of personal privacy issues for anyone who is online, so is Glass potentially a personal privacy minefield which Google are ignoring, or hoping no-one will notice or care?

The iPhone 6 could look like THIS

April 1st, 2014 8 Comments By Lucy Sweet

A mock-up picture based on leaked plans for the iPhone 6 Air suggest that everyone’s favourite smartphone has lost a bit of weight. In fact, it’s so thin that it almost merits a ‘concerned’ article in the Daily Mail sidebar of shame, alongside a photo of it on the beach in a bikini looking sad.

iPhone 6 concept NowhereElse and Martin Hajek 004 220x300 The iPhone 6 could look like THIS

A French website enlisted the help of a 3D artist, who created an image based on the schematics and specs of the iPhone 6, that somehow ended up on Japanese website, MacFan.

The superthin, superlight handset may have a larger screen with rounded edges and will allegedly come in a 4.7in and 5.7in versions. This goes against Apple CEO Tim Cook’s previous assertion that a larger screen size is harder to hold in the hand – but with larger screen models from Samsung, Nokia and HTC proving a hit, Apple might have changed its mind.

None of this has been confirmed, of course, but the MacRumour mill is obviously getting pretty excited, creating various visuals with curved screens and no home button.

Come June, we will all know the truth. And it will probably look a bit like the last one, but different.