Posts Tagged ‘tech’

mobile phone 300x225 Mobile customers paying £92 extra for handsets youve already paid for?Mobile-havers in the UK are losing £92 each per year (that’s around £355million if you add everyone up) on handsets they’ve already bought, but carry on paying for through their bill.

A lot of contacts combine the tariff and the cost of the device over a period of time, however, the cost isn’t always split, which means many don’t know when they’ve paid off the cost of their phone. Those who are with EE, Vodafone, and Three will be charged under one bundled price, while O2, Virgin Media and Tesco Mobile have separate handset and other tariff costs.

This is all according to Which!!! who gave a couple of examples, which show how overcharging occurs. For example, a contract with O2 Refresh for an iPhone 6 costing £49 a month for 5GB of data and unlimited minutes and texts points out that the handset part of the bill is £25 and the deal price will drop to £24 once the device has been paid for. However, if you do a similar thing with Vodafone, costing £48.50 a month, the price doesn’t change once the contract period is up and the handset has already been paid in full.

According to the Which!!! survey, 60% of those polled think that there should be a clear separation of tariff and handset costs in their bills. Around 97% think that price is a crucial factor when deciding whether or not to switch and 74% reckon that it is paramount that providers inform customers when their contract is coming to an end.

Which!!! big cheese Richard Lloyd said: “Consumers are being misled and as a result are collectively paying millions of pounds each year for a phone they have paid off. All mobile phone operators should separate out the cost of the handset so people don’t continue to pay after the contract comes to an end.”

“Mobile providers need to play fair and ensure their customers are not paying over the odds.”

 

Google to play nice with iPhone?

April 10th, 2015 No Comments By Mof Gimmers

apple android Google to play nice with iPhone?Apple and Google are usually at war with each other and sadly, as yet, haven’t started firing missiles at each other’s head-offices or conducting drive-bys on each other’s houses (seriously – if you’re going to beef, do it properly).

The lack of decent hostilities might be something to do with the fact that Google are looking at making their Android Wear compatible with iOS. One day, you lucky things, you might well be able to receive iPhone notifications on your Google-having smartwatches.

According to reports, Google is “close to finishing the final technical details” which is required to bridge the gap between the two platforms.

This new version of Android Wear is currently in-development and will work with a companion app on the iPhone which will receive notifications from FaceTime and all that jazz, as well as displaying information from Google Now cards. It is about time really.

Of course, this doesn’t mean that Apple will return the favour and actually allow Google to run anything on their devices and if they do, they won’t open up their OS to everyone, because they’re a bit protective like that.

Facebook Messenger goes to desktop

April 10th, 2015 No Comments By Mof Gimmers

Facebook 300x300 Facebook Messenger goes to desktopJust like WhatsApp, Facebook have sent their Messenger to the desktop.

After separating their messaging service from the Facebook app on Android and iOS, they’ve now made it standalone for the web, which you can access at Messenger.com.

“We’re launching Messenger for web browsers – a standalone web chat product accessible via Messenger.com,” Facebook said in a statement. ”Once logged in, people can dive directly into a dedicated desktop messaging experience, keeping their conversations going and picking up where they left off.”

Like the desktop version of WhatsApp, once you log-in, you’ll see all your existing chats fullscreen. You can also make calls with the phone or video buttons which you’ll find in the menu bar. It reminds us of the interface you get with Google Hangouts, if you must know.

So there you go. It isn’t too thrilling to look at, and is pretty functional. However, it could be handy for those who haven’t got everyone from Facebook as a contact or number in their phones or on Skype.

Problems with Apple Watch orders

April 10th, 2015 2 Comments By Mof Gimmers

Apple Watch Problems with Apple Watch ordersApple Fanboiz will know that the Apple Watch became available for pre-order this morning, and since then, there’s been a bit of bother.

Thanks to huge volumes of traffic, some people have found that the Apple website is unresponsive, groaning under the weight of people wanting the new smartwatch.

What’s a little more surprising is the news that there’s going to be rather a long wait for the watch to be delivered. While a small number of people bagged an April delivery date, a lot of people have noted on various social networks that they’re looking at deliveries in May, with a ’4-6 weeks’ window being offered.

Some will have to wait until June or July to get the thing on their wrist.

It seems it all depends on which model you’ve ordered and, seeing as there’s a lot of variations you can choose from, there’s a lot of variation in delivery dates.

Whether this is a matter of Apple not being able to make their Watch quickly enough to sate demand, or whether this is a case of Apple withholding some stock to make their product feel more exclusive, is anyone’s guess. Both aren’t out of the realms of possibility.

Either way, the earliest anyone will be getting one is the end of this month.

How many internet things do you own?

April 10th, 2015 No Comments By Mof Gimmers

slow internet connection 300x294 How many internet things do you own?Unless you’re wearing a tinfoil hat and worried about people spying on you, getting someone to read this out to you on a self-destructing sheet of paper in a lead coated house, chances are, you’ve got some internet on you.

With that, we mean devices that access the internet. In Britain, we have a lot of gadgets and according to a survey, the average British household owns 7.4 internet devices. Your old HTC Desire that ran out of memory after a week counts as the .4 or something.

Count up how many you have. Tablets? Phones? Consoles? Laptops? There’s a lot of stuff that talks to the internet these days.

The survey also showed that people are getting more into the idea of tablets, with 40% having purchased one within the last year. The YouGov poll found that consumers are most likely to have a smartphone to get online, followed by laptops and then tablets. Per British household, on average, there’s 1.7 smartphones, 1.3 laptops, and 1.2 tablets. How about that then? 70% of households now have at least one tablet. 11% have three or more, like massive show-offs.

When the survey asked which bit of your life would be most affected without the internet or phones, 51% said banking and finance. After constantly checking your balance came keeping up with the news (42%), shopping (38%) and relationships (37%).

And how much would you pay for internet things? Well, the survey found that the average Briton would be willing to pay up to £1.53 a month for their email service, £1.33 to use search engines, £1.10 for video content, 92p for news websites, 88p for social media, 55p for online games and 52p for price comparison sites.

Let us hope we don’t have to pay subscriptions to our own emails and tweets, eh?

Emojis diverse 300x168 The new skin tones for emoji are here (and more Apple updates)Apple have revamped their emoji after some noticed that they weren’t very diverse. With the new software update iOS 8.3, users will now get over 300 new emoji and a redesigned keyboard. Now, the emoji come in a variety of skin tones.

People will non-Apple phones won’t see any difference on their timeline, which is making for some strange tweets and in some cases, the emoji doesn’t even show up at all, making a mess of some timelines, but there you go.

Apple created the new emoji with the Unicode Consortium, and the yellow one is the standard icons, with a variety of more realistic skin tones based on the Fitzpatrick scale, which is the standard used by dermatologists.

Some people, after the update, can’t see any difference. Here’s how to access them: Select the emoji you want to use and then press and hold. That will bring up different icons to use, just like when you want to choose a special character in text, or whatever.

Apple’s update also addresses some other things, such as better performance for app launch and responsiveness. They’ve improved some issues with WiFi and Bluetooth. There’s other stuff going on as well and if you want to know about all the improvements, click here.

There’s more support regarding languages for Siri – there’s now support for Siri in English (India, New Zealand), Danish (Denmark), Dutch (Netherlands), Portuguese (Brazil), Russian (Russia), Swedish (Sweden), Thai (Thailand) and Turkish (Turkey).

There’s also another 32 new country flags to play with as well.

Are Google going to save you from spoilers?

April 9th, 2015 No Comments By Mof Gimmers

cinema 300x238 Are Google going to save you from spoilers?If you live your life coupled to social media, then you’ll know that someone, at some point, is going to spoil the ending of a new film or TV show for you. Even if you avert your gaze from your timeline, the information that Character X Gets Killed By His Mum!!! will filter into your brain (sorry to fans of hit sci-fi thriller, Character X, there).

Well, Google are looking at ways of correcting this with some fanciful patent which could put an end to the spoiler as we know it.

The patent shows a system that would keep track of your progress on the shows, films and books you’re into and enable you to block posts about what Google thinks will contain spoilers by blurring out words and giving you a pop-up warning.

Quite how Google will implement this over social networks it doesn’t own is another matter, but trivial things like that haven’t bothered them in the past.

It might concern some freedom of speech sorts, but if it stops people crying themselves inside out because someone has spoiled a bit of Game of Thrones, it might well be worth it.

it4hwtisazy5dapj4yjn 500x401 Are Google going to save you from spoilers?

EE launches WiFi calls service

April 7th, 2015 3 Comments By Mof Gimmers

zzzw EE launches WiFi calls serviceEven though there’s loads of apps out there that enable you to make calls and communicate with people over the internet, EE have decided to launch their own thing where you can phone people up over WiFi.

Handy if you’ve no mobile signal and haven’t heard of Skype or whatever. This new service will be available on the Microsoft Lumia 640 and the new Samsung Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge. Other handsets are set to follow suit. iPhone users will be able to do all this by summer.

EE think they’ve spotted a problem and have said that 1-in-10 people have rooms in their house where they can’t get a signal (especially in rural places) so they’ll be able to make calls by piggybacking on the WiFi.

This service makes the most of the IP multimedia subsystem framework, which EE showed off in the Churchill War Rooms underneath Whitehall (which is underground and has a shield of five feet of concrete around it) and they made calls over the WiFi there. Presumably, Churchill didn’t have a WiFi connection down there, or he would’ve lost the war by playing hashtag games on Twitter.

Of course, if you don’t have a WiFi connection, you might as well try and make a phonecall on an abacus.

That all said, EE reckon that their WiFi calling service is easier to use than Skype, WhatsApp and the like, because it uses the phone’s standard dialler and contacts and you won’t need a special app (although, a lot of phones enable you to use the standard dialler now).

They’re all at it though. Vodafone are bringing something similar out and O2 has the Tu Go app, like Three’s InTouch thing. It all sounds like bloatware to us.

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 8 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…