Posts Tagged ‘tech’

Microsoft to revamp Internet Explorer

December 30th, 2014 1 Comment By Mof Gimmers

internet explorer Microsoft to revamp Internet ExplorerRemember in the bronze age when everyone used Internet Explorer to get online? Well, since then, a myriad of alternatives emerged which everyone preferred. The only people who used it were those who are the kind of people ripe for being scammed online.

Well, again, Microsoft have been playing around with it and decided that they want to push it to the fore again, this time, with a new, streamlined browser. Chrome and Safari won’t be losing sleep over it, just yet.

In previous years, Microsoft have considered changing the name of their browser in a bid to distance themselves from the bad experience that was IE. This could be happening with the new one, and at the moment, the codename for the project is ‘Spartan’.

The first look at the new browser will be January 21st when Microsoft shows off their new Windows 10 operating system. Whether it’ll be ready in time to be released alongside their new product is another matter. One thing Microsoft will need to do, is to ensure that the new browser looks great on all mobile devices, or else there’s very little point in them doing it.

One rumour is that Spartan will support extensions, like FireFox and Chrome. They need to think of a better name than Spartan too, because that’s an ugly word that won’t get people excited.

The question is – can anyone release a new internet browser that will be significantly different enough to persuade you away from Chrome and Safari now?

Skype introduces Skype Translator

December 16th, 2014 No Comments By Ian Wade

skype Skype introduces Skype TranslatorSkype have announced the launch of Skype Translator, which feels like something straight out of Star Trek.

Thanks to speech recognition software that can decode foreign tongues in real time, Skype Translator is now out there in the public. Roaming about.

There are up to 40 instant messaging languages to choose from, so you can get up to all manner of saucy talk from around the world now.

According to Skype’s corporate vice president, Gurdeep Pall: “Skype Translator relies on machine learning, which means that the more the technology is used, the smarter it gets,” explained

“We are starting with English and Spanish and, as more people use the Skype Translator preview with these languages, the quality will continually improve. Our long-term goal for speech translation is to translate as many languages as possible on as many platforms as possible and deliver the best Skype Translator experience on each platform for our more than 300 million connected users,” added Pall.

Microsoft reckon it will open up all sorts of possibilities for the people of Earth, allowing them to connect without any fear of getting the wrong end of the stick in various languages.

Skype Translator is available RIGHT NOW. Do you want to see a video of it in action? What else have you got on?

UK ahead on content streaming

December 11th, 2014 No Comments By Ian Wade

BBC iPlayer Radio logo UK ahead on content streamingVideo streaming app downloads are all the rage in the UK. ALL the rage. According to new figures, the UK lead the rest of Europe in the Insatiable Appetite For Video Streaming stakes.

In the UK, Netflix, BBC iPlayer, YouTube, ITV Player and BBC Media Player were the top five most downloaded apps in Q3 of 2014, with BBC News, Sky Go, 4oD, BBC Sport and TV Catchup completing the top 10.

Over in Germany they favour something called 7TV, RTL Inside and ZDFmediathek, while the French dig 6Play and YouTube.

According to figures, the UK saw around 20% more downloads of all apps than Germany. Ha. Take that, Merkel.

And the top ten video content app things in the UK had twice as many downloads than the Top Ten in Germany.

The company App Annie also noted that in Europe, many networks are using apps as a supplementary channel to maintain or enhance viewer loyalty. According to the report: “As well as building brand equity through a constant presence on the mobile device, apps allow content providers to communicate directly with their audience and begin a two-way conversation to strengthen brand engagement. In this way, apps are enhancing traditional TV offerings. A strong app is now a vital component of successful viewer retention strategies for TV networks and operators.”

And you thought you were just snorting childishly at Vine compilation videos.

Pirate Bay goes offline

December 10th, 2014 No Comments By Mof Gimmers

the pirate bay logo 300x300 Pirate Bay goes offlineThe Pirate Bay has been taken offline after a raid in Sweden. The po-po got their hands on servers in Stockholm after a complaint was filed by some people who are part of the Rights Alliance group who target internet crime.

Swedish police said: ”We had a crackdown on a server room in Greater Stockholm because of a copyright infringement, and yes it was Pirate Bay.”

A bunch of other, smaller torrents have gone down too, as they were related to TPB. How long they’ll stay down is another matter entirely and of course, everyone time one torrent’s server gets whacked, three spring up in the place of it.

Peter Sunde, one of the co-founders of The Pirate Bay, is spectacularly unarsed about the whole thing, saying that it should be shut down for good.

He said in a blog post: ”News just reached me that The Pirate Bay has been raided, again. That happened over eight years ago last time. That time, a lot of people went out to protest and rally in the streets. Today few seem to care. And I’m one of them.”

“Why, you might ask? Well. For multiple reasons. But most of all, I’ve not been a fan of what TPB has become.”

A couple of years ago, The Pirate Bay said they were going to the cloud, so raids would be pointless. Back then, they said: ”The site that you’re at will still be here, for as long as we want it to. Only in a higher form of being. A reality to us. A ghost to those who wish to harm us.”

ipod classic Sell your iPod Classic now as it is worth a small fortune!Since their final demise was confirmed in September, iPod Classics are – typically – now going for small fortunes.

Ruthless types who racked up a selection of devices merely because they had an Apple logo on them, are now selling iPod Classics on eBay, who reckon they’ve seen 3,000 sold on the online car boot sale since October.

Naturally, some buyers have complained that the condition of the resold ones aren’t quite what the seller was claiming, with something that looks like it’s been stuck up a dog’s arse arriving in a jiffy bag through their letter box.

Collectors editions of the iPods are going for even more. A set of boxed U2 iPods sold for £50,000 on eBay in October, and another rare edition sold for £7,995. An old prototype also sold for £641.33. Demented.

However the main basic non-fancy 80GB and 160GB ones are going for around £100-200.

The iPod Classic was quietly put out to pasture back in September due to Apple claiming they couldn’t get the parts. Which seeing as Apple invented it, surely the whole ‘parts’ issue shouldn’t have been a thing. Perhaps the ‘parts’ excuse was simply them saying “We haven’t given a shit about updates for these things since we went iPhone crazy”.

And it’s all about the cloud these days, as Apple have been shrinking their hard drives, expecting everyone to throw their content in the air like they just don’t care.

Anyway. Cheerio iPod Classic. If you’ve got a couple stuffed away in the back of a drawer, get it on eBay now!

Spectrum’s Clive Sinclair releases new console!

December 4th, 2014 6 Comments By Mof Gimmers

People of a certain age may be about to make a mess of themselves as Sir Clive Sinclair, the man behind the revolutionary ZX Specrum, is at it again, bring us the ZX Spectrum Vega.

So what does it do?

zx vega controller 660 Spectrums Clive Sinclair releases new console!

Well, this little device will enable you to play all 14,000+ games that were developed for the original ZX Spectrum, but thanks to modern circuitry and technology, the innards have been replaced, which means the Vega has shown “big cost savings” during manufacturing.

The console itself comes with roughly 1,000 games built-in and it plugs straight into your telly. How much? Well, it will, according to the makers, cost “well below £100″ and, better yet, 10% of the sales price will go straight to Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children. That’s nice isn’t it?

Sinclair says: “I have been thinking about this idea [to bring the Spectrum back] for 15 years or so, because so many people I met and articles I read were telling me that the Spectrum had made a big difference to their lives.”

“Also in Russia, until recent years at least, the Spectrum was the most plentiful computer in the country, which made me realise that even nowadays the Spectrum is a great-value product.”

“In the 1980s it was necessary for computer enthusiasts to spend quite a lot if they wanted to build up a good-sized library of games, but with the current technology we can provide the games free, already in the Vega’s memory, and we can give away more games later.”

“The most serious games enthusiasts might buy both a Vega and a modern-day console. For them the Vega would be an extra console on which they can replay some of the games from their youth. I also believe that the inclusion of around 1,000 games in the Vega makes it such good value that many people who do not want to spend the cost of a modern games console plus the cost of a range of games will buy the Vega instead.”

The project has already passed the £100,000 needed for production via Indiegogo. Have a look at it below.

Ring America for free ’til Christmas

December 3rd, 2014 No Comments By Mof Gimmers

america 300x168 Ring America for free til ChristmasTesco are hoping no-one remembers that Skype and the like exist, by offering free calls to America via the new Tesco International Calling App. You have until the end of the year to get the full value of their promotion, or obviously, you can ignore it and use one of the myriad of alternatives that already exist and are free all year ’round.

If you’re determined to ring an American landline for free, then you can download the Tesco International Calling App for free from the Apple App Store and Google Play.

A Tesco spokesperson said: “Thousands of people in the UK have family, friends or business contacts across the pond and Thanksgiving is the perfect time to get in touch. So, this seems like the ideal time to run a promotion allowing Brits to call the States for free.”

When the promotion runs out, presuming Tesco put things back the way they were, it’ll cost you 2p a minute to call the USA with Tesco’s app, or 25p a minute via Tesco Mobile network.

If you don’t know anyone in America, you can ring other places for a reduced rate. So if you’re calling China or Australia, prices start at 1p per minute. Or, again… and we can’t labour this point enough… you can do it for free through a whole host of things that exist on the internet.

If you have a WiFi connection, use Skype, Google Voice, Viber or whatever and save yourself the bother of all this nonsense.


Pavlok: electrocuting you out of your bad habits

December 2nd, 2014 No Comments By Mof Gimmers

pavlok Pavlok: electrocuting you out of your bad habitsHave you got a load of bad habits? Silly question. Bitterwallet readers are the most debauched ne’er-do-wells on the internet. Do you want to do anything about those habits? On the incredibly slim chance that you do, then you’re in for a shock.

You can get yourself a Pavlok wristband which will electrocute you in a bid to stop you eating too much or whacking one off in front of The One Show.

The electrifying bracelet has raised around £160,000 through crowdfunding thing, Indiegogo, which is well in advance of what they were asking for initially. You can pre-order one for $199.99 (which is around £130) and will be released in 2015.

The producers are calling it the “personal coach on your wrist” and it will give you an electric shock and, it goes without saying, certain Bitterwallet readers will be thinking of new, dirty bad habits they can do with a electrified strap.

You get an app with the wristband. One is an alarm clock that will jolt you out of bed in a morning. Another is called ‘Productive’, which keeps tabs on your internet habits and if you start dossing off work, you’ll get volts in your arm. The last is called ‘Fit’, which presumably will give you a shock when you stop running or something.

It’ll be open-source too, so you can integrate it with other apps and do what you like with it. You can also set it up so friends can send electricity through your limbs for whatever reason.

The Pavlok website refers to itself in grandiose terms that would make Kanye blush: “Pavlok doesn’t just track what you do – it transforms who you are. You’ll wish you had started today.”

The company say that you can also set it up so that the Pavlok will “shock you when you text your ex-lover” or “beep loudly any time you step inside of a McDonald’s”.

So there you have it. You can turn yourself into one of Pavlov’s dogs (hence the product name) by electro-shocking yourself to change your habits. Marvellous. Please don’t send us the videos you make where you’ve got 5 Pavloks crammed into your undercrackers.

Apple no longer offering free games on the App Store

November 20th, 2014 No Comments By Mof Gimmers

apple logo Apple no longer offering free games on the App StoreBefore you get mad, don’t worry – Apple aren’t stopping free apps. Rather, they’ve changed the labelling system where games that have in-app purchases will no longer be referred to as ‘free’.

Apple have been under a fair amount of pressure from the European Union about these games, and of course, you’re never too far away from a horror story about some frustrated parents who has been landed with a surprisingly large mobile bill.

So now, Apple have decided to make it very clear that, when you’re downloading a game, there may well be things in it that cost you money.

The EU suggested a name change in September so consumers aren’t fooled into thinking the apps they’ve downloaded are completely free. Interestingly, Apple has no legal obligation to change the wording in the App Store, but have gone for it anyway.

Amazon, meanwhile, aren’t bothering and keeping things as they are, while Android has created an optional password lock for things with in-app purchases.

Still, it won’t be long until another furrowed brow appears in a newspaper because little Chloe has created a £2,000 bill playing The Simpsons: Tapped Out.

Twitter: now more searchable

November 19th, 2014 No Comments By Ian Wade

Twitter Logo1 Twitter: now more searchable Twitter have been changing a few bits and bobs around the site and now, the microblogging site announced that users can send URLs in Direct Messages once again, after having tinkered about with some maintenance work.

All weblinks sent via private message will automatically be shortened, and the option to share a public tweet via Direct Message is expected to be added in a subsequent update this week.

Twitter are also expected to roll out a new feature which will allow users to search through their tweet history rather than having to do so via third party sites and histories.

The company have been indexing and cataloguing all of your tweets, and should you wish to search for something you said in September 2011 that was really lol, then you don’t have to manually flick through 30,000+ tweets to find it.

As if that wasn’t enough, they’re also introducing an ‘instant timeline’ feature, which will show content from accounts that the user doesn’t follow. Which seems a little counter-productive, otherwise you’d follow those accounts already, no?

These and many other new features have been part of the company’s upgrades, since their last update in September which was designed to help newbies get started on the site, after they incorrectly assumed that Twitter is ‘just people talking about what they had for their lunch’. That joke’s been done. Get a new one.

Nokia release surprise tablet

November 19th, 2014 No Comments By Ian Wade

nokia n1 300x199 Nokia release surprise tabletNokia have sprung a new Android-powered tablet onto the market.

This out-of-the-blue announcement now pits Nokia against Microsoft, who completed its takeover of Nokia’s mobiles ends in April.

The N1 tablet is due to go on sale in China at the start of 2015, and then presumably everywhere else.

However Nokia are not making the thing themselves, but instead have licensed the brand, design and software to a third party, the infamous Foxconn. If you’re buying one, make sure it hasn’t been water-damaged by worker’s tears.

Sebastian Nystrom, head of products at Nokia Technologies, said: “This is a great product for Nokia fans and everyone who has not found the right Android tablet yet,” when he announced the product at the Slush technology conference in Helsinki.

Earlier this month, Microsoft unveiled its first Lumia smartphone without the Nokia name, but reckoned it would still use the brand on less powerful feature phones, and apparently can do so for another ten years due to the terms of the takeover.

The N1 is a 7.9in (20.1cm) aluminium-framed tablet, and is powered by Google’s Android 5.0 operating system. It features an Intel Atom processor and has a Micro-USB slot. The planned retail price is $249 (£159).

But does it have Snake on it?

Tesco launching free WiFi in stores

November 18th, 2014 2 Comments By Mof Gimmers

tesco clubcard 300x168 Tesco launching free WiFi in storesTesco are trying to win over the public with free WiFi in their stores. Of course, this means Minority Report fans are going to lose their baps over this, thinking that the whole thing is an exercise in stealing your data and tracking you around the aisles.

In fairness, that’s probably true.

In a press release, Auntie Tesco said:”Customers are now able to take advantage of BT WiFi free in Tesco Extra and Superstores across the UK and Republic of Ireland. Tesco is helping customers get more value out of their shopping experiences with free and fast WiFi access at stores in the UK and Republic of Ireland, thanks to a new partnership with BT.”

So how do you go about getting it?

Tesco add: “To enjoy the new service, customers should simply select ‘Tesco Wi-fi’ or ‘BT’ on their smartphones or tablets and they can begin browsing. The free service has been fully rolled out to 806 Tesco Extra and Superstores in the UK and 113 stores in the Republic of Ireland.”

While you’re using it, you’ll be allowed to download Clubcard vouchers and get product information too, as well as browsing recipes and hawking the latest in-store offers and all that.

Tomas Kadlec, Group Technology Director, Tesco, said: “Customers now want the same kind of experience in-store as they enjoy online, with fast and convenient access to product information, pricing and offers at the touch of their fingertips. We were the first supermarket in the UK to offer free WiFi  and the first to launch online shopping. We’re now bringing these innovations together to put our customers in control with better service and value than ever before.”

Get on the torrents while you’re shopping for beans, eh?

broadband slow 319970 Stop fibbing about your broadband speeds say WhichWhich!!! have called on regulators to have a word with how broadband services are advertised.

At the moment, providers are allowed to use a ‘headline speed’ to advertise their services, but in reality only around 10% of their customers will actually get that. According to findings by Which!!!, a quarter of people would have selected another deal had they been better informed about what the actual speeds were.

To cover their backs, however, providers say various factors can affect the speed individual customers get.

According to Richard Lloyd, executive director of Which!!!, it’s not on: “Internet connection is now an essential part of modern life so it beggars belief that providers can sell people short by advertising speeds that only 10% of customers could receive,”

“We want advertising watchdogs to pull the plug on confusing adverts and ensure broadband providers show the speeds the majority of customers will actually get.”

Which!!! called on the advertising watchdogs, the Committee of Advertising Practice (Cap) and the Broadcasting Committee of Advertising Practice (Bcap), to review current guidelines, and now has started a campaign. Uncatchily entitled ‘Give us broadband speed guarantees‘, Which!!! are asking the public to sign up and to put pressure on those that lie.

Damn right.

Sony launch PlayStation TV service

November 13th, 2014 No Comments By Mof Gimmers

watching television Sony launch PlayStation TV serviceSony are showing off their new PlayStation Vue service, which is basically a bit like Netflix. Basically, it is a new cloud-based TV service which will show live TV as well as on-demand shows without the need for a satellite service.

At the moment, it is only launching in the USA at the start of 2015, but if they get their licensing deals right and start offering, say, HBO and Comedy Central to the rest of the world, they could make some serious money.

The Vue service will be available on PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 4 initially, before being shunted to iPads and other non-Sony devices shortly afterwards.

There’s no clue on how much PlayStation Vue is going to cost, but it is fair to assume you’ll pay a monthly subscription in the same way you pay for Spotify or Netflix.

As for the American launch, Sony have struck some deals with a good number of big US TV networks including Fox, CBS, Discovery, Viacom (who own BET) and NBC Universal. It’ll have somewhere in the region of 75 channels. There’ll be catch-up and the ability to save your favourite shows to the cloud and watch them later, provided you watch them within the 28 day limit.

Rumour has it that it won’t be long before there’s a UK roll-out and then a Europe-wide version of the service. If they manage to get a load of decent American shows, it could well be a challenger to Netflix.

Meanwhile, people who can work a torrent remain utterly uninterested in all of this.

YouTube take on Spotify

November 13th, 2014 No Comments By Mof Gimmers

spotify logo YouTube take on SpotifyBack in August, we told you about YouTube launching a music service, and now, it is here to take on Spotify who have been getting it in the neck from Taylor Swift this week.

The paid music subscription service is called YouTube Music Key, and it’ll be available for free if you can put up with some adverts. If you can’t, it’ll cost you. So far, so Spotify.

Google, who own YouTube, have renegotiated licensing deals with record labels, but no-one is saying how much everyone is getting. The bottom-line is that this service is going to cost you £7.99 a month (for a limited number of users) and then it’ll be made available to everyone for £9.99 per month.

Music Key – a rubbish name – is leaning heavily on the Spotify model, by allowing users to create playlists and save music to your device, as well as the obvious, like listening to albums and that.

However, this being YouTube, the added bonus here is that it’ll feature a whole load of music videos rather than just audio. Google/YouTube are hoping that artists will really go for this, as they can push harder with their product placement in promo vids. You’ll probably end up dreaming of Beats headphones if you sign-up.

So basically, if there’s a video for a song, you have to stream that as well as the song, but if there is no video, then you can download it as audio-only. Sounds like a bit of a faff eh?

Of course, Google already have their own music service in the Google Music app through Google Play, so with two on the go at once, you have to wonder if one of them (or both) will wither on the vine. Either way, last month we asked if you’d pay for an ad-free YouTube… looks like we’re about to find out.