Posts Tagged ‘tech’
They want to deliver your groceries for you, even though you can get the shops to do that. They have Amazon Prime which a lot of people can’t work out whether it is worth it or not. Maybe people are wary of them because they might be spying on everyone, who knows?
Either way, the latest push involves plans to release a $50 tablet, just in time for Christmas. It is likely that Amazon will convert dollars into pounds exactly, so it’ll cost us £50.
The tablet will have a 6-inch screen and come with a mono speaker, and will basically be a smaller version of the cheapo Amazon’s Fire tablet.
There’s a bunch of things worth noting, if you’re thinking of buying an Amazon tablet. Firstly, as Amazon and Google hate each other, you can’t get on the Google Play app store, and many apps are not available on it. There’s no BT Sport app for Amazon, nor YouTube apps and other things you might want to use a lot. It is worth having a look first.
There’s also the small matter of Amazon Fire tablets showing adverts as screen savers, so if that is annoying to you, you might want to look elsewhere, unless you’re good at getting under the hood of the thing.
Still, for $50, that’s not much to spend on a tablet if you want one in the house and are on a budget.
Apple TV will have a brand new operating system, and will be able to host a variety of third party apps. While a lot of the talk about next Wednesday’s Apple event has focused on a new iPhone, it is the set-top TV box that will be seeing the biggest improvements.
Naturally, you’ll be able to watch loads of shows and films with the new box, but also, it looks like it’ll be a big device for gaming.
Apple launched a new Twitter account last week, called App Store Games, and Apple TV’s remote control looks like it will be getting a microphone too, which could be incorporated into games (or at least make it easier for you to get through the menus without moving your fingers much). The remote will invariably have accelerometers, which means you could be thrashing around like you’re playing Wii Tennis or whatever.
It seems that Apple are going after casual gamers, rather than the hardcore who play games on the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One console… and not forgetting the gamers on PCs.
It looks like the new Apple TV will cost around £150, as a starting price.
If you’re disgruntled about the rumours of a rubbish battery in the new iPhones, prepare to be completely gruntled about the latest patent from Apple for a fuel cell system which could give power to the devices of the future ‘for weeks’.
The application looks at technology which would invariably end up being used in MacBooks, and the document states that the power system could keep the laptop running “for days or even weeks”. Bold claim, but then, you can say almost anything about the future, no matter how outlandish. Such as ‘Bitterwallet will be really good in the future’.
The patent talks of a “portable and cost-effective fuel cell system for a portable computing device”, which could use many different energy sources to give the gadget power. So, rather than recharging, you’d replace the device’s power cartridge with a new one when it had run out. Sounds expensive, so obviously, Apple will love this.
The document says: “The fuel source comprises at least one of: sodium borohydride and water; sodium silicate and water; lithium hydride and water; magnesium hydride and water; lithium borohydride and water; lithium aluminum hydride and water; aluminum hydride; an amine borane complex; a hydrocarbon; lithium aluminum hydride; magnesium borohydride; a magnesium borohydride-amine complex; compressed hydrogen gas; and liquid hydrogen,” in what has to be the worst rendition of the coat of many colours song from Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.
There you go though. The future – it is battery based.
Samsung have gone and launched a new hub for smarthome devices, which means you’ll be able to do all manner of things while scratching your hole. Their Hub will, we’re assured, securely unite sensors and all manner of accessories from anyone who makes things that work with the SmartThings open system.
Like what? Well, this is all to do with the fabled ‘internet of things’, and this instance, you can have a home that links everything up, like washing machines, toasters, heating, lights and the rest, controlled through apps on your phone and tablets. And they’ll all be able to ‘talk’ to each other as well, so they can be more efficient and useful to you.
Imagine, if you will, your heating talking to the lighting and the kettle, to know when you’re home from work, so they can all start doing their thing for your return.
Samsung’s device and service will be available from 10th September.
Samsung’s president of UK and Ireland Andy Griffiths said: “We believe a connected home will provide users [with] more information, more piece of mind and more control in their lives – but privacy is fundamental.”
“The whole thing is encrypted end-to-end – think bank-level security – while we have continuous security checks and third-party auditing. Only you will have access to any data stored in the cloud.”
Samsung will sell a starter pack for £199 with the Hub, a door closing sensor, a motion sensor, a presence sensor and a power outlet switch.
There’ll be other stuff you can buy too, like moisture sensors, cameras and sleep monitors, which will retail for around £30 a pop. Of course, there’ll be more and more things added to the range as time goes on.
Samsung want to get developers involved, as well as other companies, and have vowed that, within 5 years, all devices made by Samsung – including TVs and whatnot – will be able to connect to the internet and able to integrate into the SmartThings Hub.
That’s because Technics are every DJ’s favourite decks, so you can imagine the consternation when it was announced in 2010, that they were no longer being produced.
Well, Panasonic – who own the Technics brand – have decided to start making them again, as part of a revival for the famous brand.
Much of what is planned is still under wraps, but it looks like there’s going to be a host of Technics products like amps, headphones and of course, direct drive turntables. It looks like they’ll be unveiled and on the market some time between April 2016 and March 2017.
Panasonic showed off a prototype of the new turnable at some industry show, which is made from aluminium and basically looks a bit like a metal kitchen sink from a secondary school.
See for yourself. You could play records and drain your cutlery on the side of these rascals.
The innards are going to be rebuilt, but Panasonic assure vinyl enthusiasts that they’ll be as responsive as the old turntables, so don’t you worry just yet.
“Turntables are a very iconic product for the Technics brand,” Michiko Ogawa, director of Technics and executive officer at Panasonic, told Wired. “It is important to show our sincere dedication [to that]. The turntable market is very small but it is a very important brand product.”
These mutterings are coming from China, where cnBeta say that the iPhone 6s will feature a 1715 mAh battery and the 6s Plus a 2750 mAh battery. In plain speaking, that means a drop of 5.3% and 5.5% respectively for each phone.
However, Apple have previously said that the new iOS 9 will be more energy efficient, and it’ll have a Low Power mode, which means it shouldn’t need to use as much battery. However, if people feel like their phones are dying more frequently than before, there’s going to be a lot of whining online. This is a bold move from Apple.
There’s other good looking stuff on the new iPhones. Both are going to be getting a new 12MP camera, which is capable of shooting 4K video, and more.
They’ll also have Force Touch technology, which lets you do different actions depending on how hard you press your screen. Very fancy.
Apple has been sending out press invites for an event on Wednesday September 9th, so we’ll no doubt hear more about these phones then, as well as news on an updated Apple TV. Lunatics, start queueing up at your local Apple shop now.
It is all happening at Google. First, they welcomed in the Alphabet, and now, they’ve updated their logo so it looks neater and… umm… more childish.
Of course, this isn’t the first time the internet monster has updated their logo. They’ve had loads in fact. If you want proof, or are a typeface perv, then watch this video and you’ll get everything you need to know about previous logos and the new one.
This revised design isn’t wildly different, sticking to the usual mix of blue, red, yellow and green for the words, but it is a little bit hipper than the previous one, which basically means ’rounder’.
The new typeface is called ‘Product Sans’, which is a bit crap, and is a change from the previous serif typeface that they’ve been using for over 15 years.
As the video shows, a swirl of dots in the same colours as the Google logo will appear when you give it a spoken command. It is all much tidier basically, and allows Google to use a theme across multiple platforms, which is kinda useful.
Google said in a blog: “Today we’re introducing a new logo and identity family that reflects this reality and shows you when the Google magic is working for you, even on the tiniest screens. As you’ll see, we’ve taken the Google logo and branding, which were originally built for a single desktop browser page, and updated them for a world of seamless computing across an endless number of devices and different kinds of inputs (such as tap, type and talk).”
Nice of them to use a cutesy primary school typeface while they’re slowly taking over the world and logging our every move.
We told you before about contactless payments going up to £30 before, and understandably, many of you probably thought it was too good to be true. You couldn’t imagine a world where such a beautiful thing could exist.
Well, it has finally happened! The single payment limit for a contactless card transaction has been bumped up to £30 from £20! This is our moon landing. This is everything we’d ever wanted. Human endeavour has peaked. We might as well give up on all projects now, as this won’t be topped.
This increase also affects smartphone payments like Apple Pay, and the rest, which lets you buy stuff by wafting stuff at a machine without entering a PIN number. PIN numbers eh? They’re like the dark ages.
Of course, with such a glorious development, some places won’t be able to offer the new limit because they haven’t updated their software. Go easy on them. Such huge life-changing events can take time to form in people’s minds.
The UK Cards Association said there’s 58 million contactless cards in the country, and last year, over £2.5bn was spent using them. The places that are accepting these payments are growing too. It is like living in a science fiction film. Corner shops will sell lazer guns next, and Boots will probably have suicide booths or something.
Richard Koch, who has a name that has been tittered at since he was born, is the head of policy at the UK Cards Association, and he said: “Contactless payments are fast, easy and secure and use the same robust encryption technology as chip and PIN. Consumers are increasingly choosing contactless as a way to pay and the new £30 limit will give shoppers and retailers even more opportunities.”
Facebook are launching a virtual assistant, that basically is a rip-off of Siri. It’ll also have support from real humans in a call centre somewhere, but basically, it is another thing you can talk to and it will respond accordingly.
This thing will be called Facebook M, and will work within Facebook’s Messenger app. This being FB, you can assume that these things are a wonderful tool for gathering all manner of data on people, which can then be sold for huge sums of money.
Anyway, what does David Marcus from Facebook have to say about it all? He said: “M is a personal digital assistant inside of Messenger that completes tasks and finds information on your behalf. It’s powered by artificial intelligence that’s trained and supervised by people.”
“Unlike other AI-based services in the market, M can actually complete tasks on your behalf. It can purchase items, get gifts delivered to your loved ones, book restaurants, travel arrangements, appointments and way more.”
There’s no date given for a rollout and indeed, it is still being tested.
In Wired, there is more information: “Facebook’s M trainers have customer service backgrounds. They make the trickier judgement calls, and perform other tasks that software can’t. If you ask M to plan a birthday dinner for your friend, the software might book the Uber and the restaurant, but a person might surprise your friend at the end of the night by sending over birthday cupcakes from her favourite bakery.”
So there you go. Fancy letting Facebook be your party planner? That’s if your phone has enough memory on it to cope with yet another pissing update from this shower.
Cortana, Microsoft’s Siri rip-off, already has 75 million devices using it, according to the company. This will be something to do with loads of people installing Windows 10, no doubt.
And with that, Microsoft would like to tell us some interesting facts about it all. You are not legally obliged to find these facts interesting, for the record. You are obliged to slag stuff off in the comments though.
Yusuf Mehdi, Corporate Vice President of Marketing for Windows and Devices, went on Twitter to tell everyone about these titbits, one of them being about Cortana pulling out some wisecracks. Apparently, it has shared over half a million jokes in response to “tell me a joke” query which people keep asking it.
What kind of person asks artificial intelligence for a joke? Arseholes like Clean Bandit, that’s who. You’ll remember them getting friendly with a robot female voice on that godforsaken advert.
Millions have also downloaded Microsoft Solitaire Collection, which is the new version of the old Solitaire time wasting exercise. Also popular with millions, is Minecraft: Windows 10 Edition Beta.
So there you have it. Cortana – telling loads of jokes. Are they funny? Ask it yourself. We’re terrified of it.
So, with that, the idea that there might be crash-proof computers in the not-too-distant future is good isn’t it?
That’s what the researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) are looking into, and they’ve developed a file system which is part of the computer’s operating system that writes data to disk and remembers where it is stored, so it’s “mathematically guaranteed” not to lose your stuff.
Nickolai Zeldovich, part of the team that carried out the research, said: “What many people worry about is building these file systems to be reliable, both when they’re operating normally but also in the case of crashes, power failure, software bugs, hardware errors, what have you.”
“Making sure that the file system can recover from a crash at any point is tricky because there are so many different places that you could crash. You literally have to consider every instruction or every disk operation and think, ‘Well, what if I crash now? What now? What now?’”
“And so empirically, people have found lots of bugs in file systems that have to do with crash recovery, and they keep finding them, even in very well tested file systems, because it’s just so hard to do.”
We’ll find out more about all this later in the year when the team give out their results. So for the old-fashioned romantics among you, your computer will still frustrate you by crashing out on you from time-to-time, but at least you won’t lose that spreadsheet you spent an hour doing without saving it.
Thanks to a major design flaw, the S Pen that comes with the Note 5 could do major damage to the functionality.
So what’s happening here? Well, you can insert the S Pen into the Galaxy Note 5 any way you like, because Samsung have designed it that way. However, pop it in with the wrong orientation, and you could break the device’s stylus detection feature, which means it won’t work.
Most devices that have a stylus are designed in such a way that it can only be inserted the correct way, presumably to stop nonsense like this from happening. Not with the Galaxy Note 5, nosireebob. A very simple fix could lead to a very expensive apology from Samsung.
The Verge says: “If you are unfortunate enough to slide your S Pen in the wrong way, you’ll have a hard time unjamming it from the slot (though eventually you should be able to pry it away), but more importantly, you might disable the Note’s stylus detection feature.”
So what do Samsung have to say about all this? Are they going to fix the problem or issue some adapters to stop this from borking a load of devices? Course not.
In a reply to The Verge, Samsung said: “We highly recommend our Galaxy Note 5 users follow the instructions in the user guide to ensure they do not experience such an unexpected scenario caused by reinserting the S pen in the other way around.”
There you have it. You’re slipping it in wrong.
You may recall that BT made a deal with the British government, in a bid to get broadband rolled out across the country. Well, it isn’t happening quickly enough, and millions still don’t have a proper internet connection.
In addition to that, Openreach has doled out slower speeds that originally advertised. It is all a bit rubbish, frankly.
The target that was set originally was to have 95% of the UK covered by 2015, however, that date is now being pushed back to 2017, and even with the revised date, BT reckon that it’ll be more like 2018 by the time they reach 95% coverage. And it’ll be longer still before they reach every citizen in Britain.
Another thing that might cause delays is an Ofcom investigation into a monopoly on government contracts. The government gave 44 out of 44 contracts to BT, even though there’s the option of TalkTalk, Virgin Media, and Sky. And now, David Cameron is showing signs of frustration, unhappy at the speed of the rollout.
BT have missed tagrets of speeds of at least 5 Mbps or 24 Mbps, and reports show that new Openreach customers are getting under 2 Mbps on a typical day. Given that countries like Sweden, Czech Republic, Finland, Romania, Lithuania, and Hungary have all been getting faster average speeds, with a lower cost of implementing the services, to say this whole thing is unsatisfactory is something of an understatement.
Given that the UK is the fifth largest economy, it really shouldn’t be this slow when it comes to rolling out such things. BT – pull your finger out.
Microsoft are thinking of the future, and have patented technology that could see people being notified of messages and the like, through smartclothes that send shocks through your skin. You can expect it to be more of a tingle, rather than something akin to death row.
The patent notes that, in modern society, everyone hates people’s phones making noises, so with this, your body will vibrate to let you know that Domino’s are doing yet another bloody offer and they won’t ever leave you alone.
The patent’s abstract says: “Techniques are described herein that are capable of providing electrical stimuli to skin of a user to convey information to the user. For instance, the electrical stimuli may inform the user of an event, a condition, etc.”
Mircosoft are looking at a shoe and a t-shirt as examples of clothing that could stimulate you when you get a message. We suspect someone will fashion something for the gusset with this technology.
While our minds are in the gutter, Microsoft suggest that, not only will these clothes give you notifications for messages, but also, that the tech could be used to tell someone when their clothes are about to ‘wear out’ or that you could link it up with street navigation apps.
Microsoft wrote in the patent paperwork: “People are increasingly exposed to information these days. A snapshot of our modern society is likely to reveal many people using mobile devices while performing their daily routine tasks. For instance people often text, conduct telephone calls, check messages, search the internet, etc. Using mobile devices in such a manner may raise any of a variety of concerns, namely safety and/or etiquette.”
“In an effort to address such concerns, companies are developing devices that are capable of delivering content to users in an unobtrusive and/or hands-free manner.”
The web version of WhatsApp has been kicking around for months now, but not for iPhone users. Until now. That’s right – you can now talk to people through the service on Safari on the Mac, which is not very thrilling, but it is useful.
So, if you don’t know what you’re doing, here’s a brief how-to.
Go to the WhatsApp web version, and you’ll see a QR code. Open the WhatsApp mobile app, scan the QR code and you’re away. That’s it. Dead easy.
If you’ve tried this and it hasn’t worked, don’t worry – the service hasn’t been rolled out to everyone yet, and apparently, it is being done in phases, so be patient and your time will come. If you are ready to go, then good for you. You’ll be able to conduct your inane conversations through your browser.
So, now WhatsApp for Web is available for pretty much everyone. If you’re on Android, BlackBerry, Windows Phone, iPhone, you can get stuck in.
The browser version has been updated too, and you can edit your profile photo and status, and you can delete and archive chats, as well as mute and exit group chats. Like we said, it isn’t that exciting, but it is rather handy. So there you go. Head over there now and have a skive at work or whatever.