Posts Tagged ‘tech’
Now that’s a reality, thanks to LG, who plan to introduce their Kizon in America, South Korea and Europe. Using GPS and WiFi, the band tells you where your kid is. Your child can also call you by pressing a button on the front and droning on to you about loom bands while you’re at work.
It’s aimed at pre-school and primary school children, but people have already pointed out several flaws in LG’s plan.
‘A parent should never solely rely on a device alone. This will only give a false sense of security,’ said Peter Bradley from Kidscape. ‘Children still need to be taught about dangers – particularly ‘stranger danger’. There are ethical points to consider too – should a child be able to be traced as part of going about their daily lives? How can a child develop their own coping strategies knowing a parent is watching over them?’
Meanwhile, privacy experts have pointed out that other people could use the device to get access to a child’s location, too. And imagine the parent-panic if your child attaches the device to a stray dog’s leg and watches it wander off into a city.
Honestly, it’s so complicated. Whatever happened to shouting ‘COME IN FOR YOUR TEA OR I’LL BATTER YOU!’ out of the window?
Savvy web users might be able to spot a rubbish fake crown logo or a web address called ‘giveusyourdetails.gov.passport.’ But others are regularly being led down the garden path, according to research by the Advertising Standards Authority.
The ASA is so concerned about this that it’s launching a new awareness campaign, which will lead people to official government web pages and away from the dodgy ones.
It’s also considering tougher enforcement of fake sites and advertisers, pledging to work with Google and Bing to weed out the infiltrators.
Although 8 out of 10 people surveyed could spot the official passport application site, some of the other sites posing as government sites are quite convincing. Only half guessed that a site replacing Births, Deaths and Marriage certificates was actually a commercial website.
‘We’re focused on tackling any sites that continue to mislead, in support of other enforcement activity.’ Said Miles Lockwood from the ASA. ‘We’re also working with search engines and government to ensure the public are protected. In the meantime, always start at gov.uk to access a government service.’
So let us ditch the stuff and instead embrace the Food Hugger, a silicone device that keeps that abandoned half an onion fresh for weeks on end.
The premise, like most things that actually work, is simple. The device is a reusable silicone disk that wraps itself around fruit and vegetables – and crazy online reviewers are in raptures, saying that it keeps food fresh for much longer than anything else.
American designers Adrienne McNicholas and Michelle Ivankovic invented the device to help halt the amount of food waste in the US. And it’s all about the silicone ‘second skin’ – meaning your old manky veg will be completely airtight and no mould will get in.
‘The most targeted solution to the problem of keeping them as fresh as possible was to address the area where the skin had been cut away, and to develop ideas for how we could replace the missing protective skin.’ Said the ladies, chomping on a brilliantly fresh 12 day old tomato.
Originally the project was funded by Kickstarter, but it looks set to TAKE OVER THE WORLD. So there’s no excuse to have fights with cling film or be foiled by foil – for £14.99 you can give your food a hug and keep that half a pepper (that you have no intention of using ever again) until Doomsday.
This time, it’s the UK government online filters, which are a little bit ENTHUSIASTIC. They wrongly block one in five websites, creating the kind of internet censorship you might expect to find in China.
The Open Rights Group Project has been investigating the amount of websites that our overzealous filters are blocking, and it found that out of 101,008 sites, about 19% of websites are blocked by UK ISPs for no particular reason.
One of the blocked websites is the political blog Guido Fawkes’ Order Order. The editor Paul Staines said: ‘We would really appreciate it if TalkTalk would remove us from their block list. The only people who block us are them and the Chinese government.’
TalkTalk say they haven’t blocked them, no not at all, free speech is important etc. But the Open Rights Group ‘Blocked’ Project offers a free checking tool, which gives you information about which sites are blocked by UK filters.
After all, it’s a free country, innit?
OR IS IT?
As we predicted yesterday, the Daily Mail has found a way to put a spanner in the UK Google Glass launch.
According to their latest Glass bashing story, it seems that as well as making you look like a knob, Google Glass can be used by spies, surveillance teams and criminals (even worse, FOREIGN CRIMINALS) to peer at your PIN number while you’re not looking.
Researchers from the University of Massachusetts have helpfully developed rather dubious ‘spy cam’ software that can be attached to Glass. It takes a video of people’s fingers tapping in their PIN and recognises 90% of the numbers, just from their movements – from three feet away.
Professor Xinwen Fu, who heads up the research team, said: ‘We are interested in scenarios such as conferences and similar gathering places where a Google Glass, webcam, or smartphone can be used for a stealthy attack.’
(Why Professor Fu? What are you up to?).
As well as finding ways to spy on people’s PINs, the team are also developing a solution to the problem, by creating a secure keyboard that appears on the screen.
But Google are not impressed with this hysterical spy story. They countered:
‘Unfortunately, stealing passwords by watching people as they type them is nothing new. We designed Glass with privacy in mind. The fact that Glass is worn above the eyes and the screen lights up whenever it’s activated clearly signals it’s in use and makes it a fairly lousy surveillance device.’
Back to the drawing board, DM.
Anyway, rumour-mill time and apparently, the gadget vendor is looking to produce to larger versions of their iPhone in July. When they’ll find time to make and release an iWatch is anyone’s guess.
Apple are rumoured to be rolling out a 4.7in iPhone and a 5.5in phablet while Chinese suppliers starting production in the next month.
It seems Apple are having a headache with their phablet (something to do with display problems) but not so with the phones. They’re expected to ship out in September. In layman’s terms, this new iPhone will be as tall as a Samsung Galaxy S5, but not as wide. Or thereabouts.
It is also thought that the new phone will have rounded edges (the phones have rounded edges any way, but you assume this will be ‘more round’, if you can imagine such a thing) and wireless charging, NFC and possibly a barometer, which is nice.
Thing is, have we plateaued with mobiles? Surely all anyone wants is something that doesn’t get clogged up with bloatware and doesn’t freeze up?
Google have launched their wearable goggles, Glass, in London. The Guardian are set to be stocking up in a bid to look ahead of the game while the Daily Mail are furiously writing 1,000 op-ed pieces about how evil the whole idea is.
The internet giant has launched their Explorer Programme which now allows anyone over the age of 18 to buy a pair of Glass(es), despite still being in the prototype phase.
And it’ll cost you £1,000.
That won’t matter to tech-savvy Londoners with money to burn – soon, they’ll be annoying everyone on the train or in coffee shops by talking to their specs by saying “Glass, which is the most annoyingly named craft beer I can buy?” as well as; ”Glass – search dominatrix services in the Shoreditch area”.
Of course, it isn’t all about looking for dark sexual gratification – you can watch videos, read emails and other stuff which you can do with your phone or tablet. However, Glass leaves your hands free to rub your thighs and give people the middle finger.
At the UK launch, Marketing Director of Google Glass Ed Sanders said: “One of the reasons we’re here in the UK is the country’s spirit of innovation. The consumers, developers and inventors in the UK have a very rich heritage of embracing new technology.”
“Glass is not a finished product yet and part of the spirit of the explorer programme is so that we can work closely with developers and consumers in the UK at a local level to find out what will take the product forward.”
However, the fact that British people are a little more reserved than our American cousins may mean that this device is hamstrung initially.
We await the first arrest from someone using Glass while driving.
Yes, our own Prime Minister can’t get a signal when he’s on holiday in Cornwall, and he’s had to come home for two years running because of it. Therefore he will actually do something about the UK’s ‘not-spots’, where coverage is mostly non-existent.
‘This is a really big issue for people all over the country – the ‘not-spots’. he said.
(It’s a really big issue for YOU, you mean).
‘It’s not good enough to say here’s the mobile coverage for the whole country’ he added. ‘You have got to recognise a lot of people are making important calls while they are on the move. We do need to improve the coverage of the mobile phone signal.’
(‘For Prime Ministers like ME.’)
Ministers are now planning to hold talks with mobile phone providers to improve signal quality and share masts, and the government is investing £150m in improving coverage.
Wow. I wonder what else we can force David Cameron to experience so that he does something about them? Poverty? Hunger? Living on benefits?
They’ve added an iMac to their product line which will cost you £899 ($1,099), which is cheaper than the rest of their offerings, but not exactly something you could buy on a whim once the direct debits have come out of your account at the start of the month.
So what’s under the hood?
Apple say that it’ll have a 21.5-inch display with 1.4GHz dual-core Core i5, a 500GB hard drive, and Intel HD Graphics 5000 hardware. It’ll have 802.11ac WiFi and Thunderbolt and USB 3.0 ports, but, with 8GB of RAM soldered hard to the motherboard, you won’t be able to beef it up. There’s pictures of that here.
This is something of a turnaround for Apple.
Once upon a time, Steve Jobs said that they wouldn’t go cheap(er) because ”we don’t know how to make a $500 computer that’s not a piece of junk.” Of course, this isn’t a $500 computer, but apply some inflation and it’s as good as.
Fancy one, or is it worth just saving up for a proper one?
It’s got head-tracking photography. You can buy things with your EYES. Images on the screen appear three dimensional – and the Maps app lets you tilt the phone to ‘see around’ buildings.
The Amazon Fire was unveiled yesterday in Seattle by CEO Jeff Bezos, who waved the phone about and yelled ‘It’s time to whip the crown from Apple!’
So can they do it? Well on the face of it, the 4.7 inch Amazon Fire looks pretty snazzy. It has six individual in-built cameras to create the much-vaunted 3D effect – called ‘dynamic perspective.’ It’s also got 2GBs of RAM, a 720p HD resolution screen and a super whizzy quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon Processor. (Try saying that when you’ve had a few ales.) You get unlimited storage with Amazon Cloud, too.
Of course, you’ll have to put up with a lot of dreary Amazon apps as standard, like that bloody Mayday button with the silly Irish woman on the adverts. And you can bet the phone will make buying something from Amazon as easy as possible.
The most potentially infuriating feature is the Firefly app, which recognises what you’re looking at or listening to, and gives you the option to buy it from Amazon. ANNOYING, OR WHAT?
But it’s the 3D ‘hologram’ effect that might set the world on Fire. The only question is, will it cause a repeat of the great iOS 7 seasickness of 2013?
Superfast broadband coverage is a bit of a lottery across the UK. So while the people of Londonderry might be whizzing along with 99% super fastness, it’s a different story in Inverness, Cardiff and Glasgow.
For example, only one in three people in Glasgow have access to superfast broadband, while almost everyone in Northern Ireland is able to download hooky episodes of Game of Thrones in record time.
Ofcom also found there was a class divide when it came to broadband speeds. People in lower income areas tend to have decreased access to broadband, with Glasgow scoring lowest with 57% access.
The bewitchingly named Claudio Pollack from Ofcom said: ‘Access to fast broadband is an important part of modern life, and a source of economic growth and investment across the UK.
Today’s findings suggest that the usage and availability of faster broadband also vary widely between cities. We will carry out further work in this area to help bring faster broadband to UK homes, whether in cities or rural areas.’
Well, Sharp don’t think so. They’ve developed ‘free form’ display technology that will literally change the shape of things to come.
Care to explain, Japanese tech boffins?
‘Conventional displays are rectangular because they require a minimal width for the bezel in order to accommodate the drive circuit, called the gate driver, around the perimeter of the screen’s display area.’
‘With the Free-Form Display, the gate driver’s function is dispersed throughout the pixels on the display area. This allows the bezel to be shrunk considerably, and it gives the freedom to design the LCD to match whatever shape the display area of the screen needs to be.’
We’ve already seen some advance in curved screen technology, so are we going to get circular or star shaped TVs and monitors, then?
Maybe not right now. It seems that Sharp are focusing their attention on developing new forms for car dashboards and digital advertising, as well as wearable tech.
But who knows where it will lead. Soon, you could be watching Corrie on a screen shaped like a hot dog.
Technology companies are determined to get us all healthy and full of vigour by monitoring our hearts and allowing us to share just how far we’ve run, to rub it in everyone else’s faces.
Samsung have hit on a neat idea though – they’ve come up with a prototype for a smartbike.
The bike, which is unusual to look at, but not exactly ugly, comes with a battery, rear-facing camera, WiFi and Bluetooth routers of laser projectors. Sadly, the latter isn’t a laser gun for shooting fellow cyclists up the hole.
Instead, the lasers allow the rider to shine red lines on the road in a bid to create your own moveable cycling lane, so you can warn motorists of your presence. They’ll switch on when your phone – mounted into the bike itself – detects that light has sufficiently dimmed around you.
The phone mounts onto your bike with a magnetic clip on the stem and the WiFi/Bluetooth will send images to it, so you can also use your phone like a rear-view mirror.
The phone and (as yet undeveloped app) will act like Strava, tracking your route and gathering data about your rides and all that. It’ll use GPS, of course.
Here’s a video with a horrible detached voice, to tell you all about it.
Samsung aren’t alone in thinking there’s money to be made from making intelligent bicycles. Apple have a patent on such a thing (future court battles for Apple and Samsung, yet again) and Audi has been weighing up a similar smartbike themselves.
With cycling taking a huge upturn in Britain (thanks to a couple of Tour De France wins), this could be a popular development for tech companies.
Would you prefer to buy all these things separately and customise them yourself, rather than buying a Samsung branded bike though?