Posts Tagged ‘tech’
Are you tired of having to hold things in your hands and poke at devices with your beautiful, delicate fingers? Want to get online without all the hassle of moving your arms, but don’t fancy the idea of Google Glass (then again, no-one does)?
Well, you’re in luck! That’s because a research division of the U.S. military is working on a chip (roughly the size of 10p piece) which is put in your brain and works like a computer from there. If you want to access some dirty films online, you’d simply have to think about it.
That could be a problem if you spend all day thinking about dirty films and you’re in a meeting with human resources and all you can see is a load of sweaty limbs and bodily fluids. It all sounds like a science fiction film doesn’t it? And they never run smoothly.
This idea has been hatched up by the brilliant people at the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) who basically get paid to come up with crazy ideas and then try and execute them. That said, some of the things they’re partly responsible for are a predecessor to the internet, so they’re not daft.
“The short term goal of the project is the development of a device about the size of two stacked nickels with a cost of goods on the order of $10 which would enable a simple visual display via a direct interface to the visual cortex with the visual fidelity of something like an early LED digital clock,” report Humanity+.
“The implications of this project are astounding.”
Thus far, the research has tried it out on a bunch of fish, so it is too early to say how this is going. Besides, to fish even use the internet? Would they even know where to find dirty films with the use of their brains? Either way, when Samsung start installing bloatware into your mind, don’t say we didn’t warn you.
Apple are going to get rid of the health-monitoring element of their new smartwatch, thanks to issues with regulations and technology. So now, if you want to know if you’re healthy or not, you’re going to have to look at yourself in the mirror and remember whether you’ve been for a run or not.
Reports have said that some of the features they’d planned to do were just too complicated, while others aspects would have invited ‘unwanted regulatory oversight’. As such, the thing they would have to put out wouldn’t meet Apple’s standards, so they’re not bothering.
“Apple also experimented with ways to detect blood pressure or the amount of oxygen in the blood, but the results were inconsistent,” said sources. ”Moreover, if Apple interpreted the numbers to provide health or behaviour advice, the company likely would have needed approval from the US Food and Drug Administration or other regulators.”
Whether this changes what was said by Apple CEO Tim Cook is another matter. He said in some awfully tedious speech that the new iWatch could prevent cancer from happening: “Some doctors now think that sitting down for long periods is the new cancer, so ten minutes before the hour the Watch software taps you to make you have a walk around. It’s quite funny to be in a meeting at Apple and ten minutes before the hour people get up and start moving around, but people like it.”
As for the release of the phone itself, sources have also said that Apple have asked their Asian suppliers to make up to 6 million of the devices in time for an April release.
It is the year 2015, and Premier Inn have finally realised that they can give their WiFi out to everyone for free! While it stands to reason that they should’ve been doing this ages ago, this is good news because it might well put pressure on other hotel chains to do the same.
So what do Premier Inn have to say?
“You’ve told us you love having WiFi when you stay but that you don’t like paying. Well, we’ve listened to you and now you can check your emails, search the web and update your Facebook status without paying a penny. WiFi is now totally free throughout your stay.”
Basically, when you get to your room, you look for ‘Premier Inn Free Wi-Fi’ in the list of available networks, and you’re away.
That’s a basic connection though. If you want to stream films or download large files, then you’ll have to upgrade to ‘Ultimate Wi-Fi’, which is 8 times faster than the freebie, and will cost you £5 for 24 hours. That’ll be found under ‘Premier Inn Ultimate Wi-Fi’.
There we have it – if you’re wanting to muck around on Twitter while sat in your hotel, knock yourself out. If you want to download dirty videos, it’ll cost you.
If, for some reason, this article didn’t provide enough information for you, then click here to see Premier Inn blathering on.
Have you ever wanted to build your own customisable mobile phone? Most of you are probably quite happy to simply buy one that is ready-made, but Google see a future in having phones that are built by you, so your phone can be filled with things that you want.
They’re going to unveil such a thing at the upcoming Mobile World Congress (MWC) 2015 in Barcelona, giving the world the first proper look at their modular mobiles.
This is all part of a thing called Project Ara and Toshiba are in on it too, developing a 5 megapixel camera module for Google’s Spiral 2, which is a phone that allows you to swap modules and gives you flexibility on what hardware your phone has.
One huge advantage with these modular phones, is that, should you break the screen on it, instead of buying a whole new handset, you can just buy a new screen and replace it yourself, without being one of those people who owns a soldering kit and likes pulling phones to bits for fun.
It looks like the phones will be unveiled next month, in March and the price will range from $50 to $500, depending on what base you want to work from.
More news when we get it – until then, here’s a video to explain it all and give you, dear reader, the chance to not read these words in the article itself.
Well, the government are looking at connectivity on trains and have announced that they’re going to free up £50 million of funding for free WiFi on the rail networks in England and Wales.
Rail Minister Claire Perry said that the Department of Transport want to make sure that WiFi is available on more services by 2017. It’ll be useful for people who work while they travel and, naturally, it’ll be good for bored people wanting to stream TV shows or listen to Spotify without hammering their data.
In addition to all this, all future bids for new franchises and direct award agreements are going to have to include provisions for WiFi infrastructure. At the moment, the DoT are looking at improvements on Thameslink, Southern and Great Northern, Southeastern, Chiltern and Arriva Trains Wales.
Rail Minister Claire Perry said: “Free WiFi is a priority for many as being able to keep up with work, connect with friends or even check the latest journey information online helps make rail travel more productive.”
Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander, looking like a penis hiding in an old sock, said: “The government is earmarking around £50 million to provide free WiFi on trains; this and our other franchising improvements mean that nearly three-quarters of rail journeys will be made on trains with wi-fi provision.”
YouTube are pretty good at removing inappropriate material from their website, thanks to a number of algorithms that flag material for them. However, on the video-site, it seems there’s been a load of dirty films uploaded to it, missed because they were tagged in Irish.
The mucky films hung around on YouTube for four whole months, contravening all manner of policies that say the site can’t host sexually explicit imagery.
So what happened? Well, a man was looking for some non-bongo films to watch and, being Irish, he looked for the Gaelic word for ‘film’, which is ‘scannán’. What he found was a load of X-rated films. So, he did what anyone would do – he rose to his feet, took a deep breath, rubbed his hands together and shouted for his roommate who happens to be Irish language journalist Maitiú Ó Coimín.
The writer looked into it a little more – for investigative purposed of course and told the Irish Independent: “I looked a bit further into it, and there were about 15 to 20 films of a questionable nature. These were real pornographic films.”
YouTube had no idea about the films, clearly, but were quick to sort it out, removing the films found. YouTube issued a quick statement, saying: “YouTube’s community guidelines clearly state that sexually explicit content is not allowed on our site. We remove videos and channels that violate our policies when flagged for our attention. YouTube staff review flagged videos 24 hours a day, seven days a week, to determine whether they violate our community guidelines.”
However, BW decided to search for ‘scannán’ on YouTube and, in among the trailers for films and all that, lo and behold, there’s some dirty movies for your viewing pleasure.
So, if you want to get stuff hosted on YouTube that is in violation of their rules, seems the best thing to do is pick a language that isn’t widely spoken. We look forward to searching for the Welsh or Basque words for ‘film’ (‘ffilmiau’ and ‘filmak’ respectively).
Thefts of smartphones are a real problem and Google and Apple have both extolled the virtues of kill switches on mobiles.
A new report suggests that kill switches are not only a good idea, but actually working as a deterrent as phone thefts in London have decreased by 50% in London, since manufacturers began putting these kill switches in place. Over in San Francisco and New York, mobile theft has dropped by 40% and 25% respectively.
If you’re not up to speed, kill switches allow a mobile to be deactivated remotely.
Apple have their ‘activation lock’ and ‘delete phone’ services while Google and Microsoft have been introducing kill switches into their phones. Samsung are also on-board with the idea.
Boris Johnson, the Mayor of London, has been putting pressure on manufacturers of phones to have kill switches in all new handsets, while California is in the middle of implementing laws which means all phones will have to have a kill switch option.
“The wireless industry continues to roll out sophisticated new features, but preventing their own customers from being the target of a violent crime is the coolest technology they can bring to market,” said San Francisco District Attorney George Gascon.
Everyone was shrieking in horror yesterday when it turned out that Samsung’s new TVs were voice-activated and it would listen to your voice and store it in some evil word-server at Samsung HQ.
Today, Samsung are trying to calm everyone down and downplay the idea that they’re Big Brother, putting eavesdropping televisions in your house and listening to you while you do dirty phone calls or shout obscenities while playing video games online.
As a reminder, the policy said: “Please be aware that if your spoken words include personal or other sensitive information, that information will be among the data captured and transmitted to the third party.”
Naturally, Samsung aren’t the only people doing this. Most voice activated stuff is problematic when it comes to personal privacy. In fact, back in 2013, LG had a similar problem with their smart TVs, regarding the data they gathered while people were watching telly.
In a statement, Samsung said with the utmost gravity, that they take privacy issues “very seriously” and have put in place a number of safeguards to stop unauthorised use of your data.
The statement pointed out that the voice recognition feature on their smart TVs was an option and could simply be switched off and that: “Should consumers enable the voice recognition capability, the voice data consists of TV commands, or search sentences, only.”
Feel better now? While you might be able to forgive them for these snooping television sets, no-one should ever forget the time they did that awful, awful rap song.
Amazon, Google and Apple have all employed voice activated assistants and, Samsung are in on the act too – but there’s one big problem with theirs: they are going to eavesdrop on you and store what you’re saying while you’re sat in your house.
Cue Big Brother and Thought Police style thinkpieces from various columnists.
In their policy, it says: “To provide you the Voice Recognition feature, some voice commands may be transmitted (along with information about your device, including device identifiers) to a third-party service that converts speech to text or to the extent necessary to provide the Voice Recognition features to you. In addition, Samsung may collect and your device may capture voice commands and associated texts so that we can provide you with Voice Recognition features and evaluate and improve the features.”
It also says that: “Please be aware that if your spoken words include personal or other sensitive information, that information will be among the data captured and transmitted to a third party through your use of Voice Recognition.” See for yourself.
So get that! Your TV will record your conversations and then send them to Samsung! Worries aside, you have to be impressed with how honest Samsung are being about it. They’ve not tried to bury it under jargon at all.
Further into the policy, Samsung also state that wholly opting out of being tracked isn’t part of the deal, which is an absolute crock.
It says: “If you do not enable Voice Recognition, you will not be able to use interactive voice recognition features, although you may be able to control your TV using certain predefined voice commands. While Samsung will not collect your spoken word, Samsung may still collect associated texts and other usage data so that we can evaluate the performance of the feature and improve it.”
“You may disable Voice Recognition data collection at any time by visiting the “settings” menu. However, this may prevent you from using all of the Voice Recognition features.”
Samsung have made a statement about all this, saying: ”In all of our Smart TVs we employ industry-standard security safeguards and practices, including data encryption, to secure consumers’ personal information and prevent unauthorized collection or use.”
“Voice recognition, which allows the user to control the TV using voice commands, is a Samsung Smart TV feature, which can be activated or deactivated by the user. The TV owner can also disconnect the TV from the Wi-Fi network. Should consumers enable the voice recognition capability, the voice data consists of TV commands, or search sentences, only. Users can easily recognize if the voice recognition feature is activated because a microphone icon appears on the screen.”
“Samsung does not retain voice data or sell it to third parties. If a consumer consents and uses the voice recognition feature, voice data is provided to a third party during a requested voice command search. At that time, the voice data is sent to a server, which searches for the requested content then returns the desired content to the TV.”
If you’re the kind of person who likes to upload videos, or indeed, are a band that likes new technology, then YouTube are looking at ways where you can upload multiple camera angles for your films. When viewers watch your wares, they’ll be able to flick between various angles, which is nice and interactive.
Dirty buggers will be hoping for upskirt shots no doubt.
Initially, it’ll only be available on the desktop version and is being tested in the USofA, but you can have a go on it right now, as there’s a video for an artist called Madilyn Bailey which is up, where you can choose between four angles, while she sings and a man with a bumbag shouts too much.
It doesn’t look too pretty at the moment, looking like a normal YouTube video with four clunky thumbnails at the side of it. It is very straightforward though – you click play and then you hit the thumbnails to look at the different sides of a young singer’s head.
That said, this feature could be really very good if you’re watching a full concert or sporting event or some such. Smarter people will come up with all manner of things that should keep us entertained with it, no question.
YouTube spokesperson Matt McLernon said: “We want to give artists as many ways to connect with their fans as possible, and this experimental feature brings fans even further into creating the experience they want.”
But alas, no more, as rumours are getting very loud about Apple and Beats and what they plan to do.
It looks like there’s going to be a launch for a new subscription-based music service which will be Apple-made, but powered by Beats technology and music content. This won’t be a mere installing of the Beats app into iDevices, but rather, Apple things will integrate Beats ‘deeply’ into the iOS mobile operating system, iTunes and Apple TV.
According to reports, the service will cost $7.99 per month, which crucially, makes this cheaper than Spotify’s $9.99-a-month. It’ll also be cheaper than Google’s music offerings, as well as Rhapsody and Rdio. It’ll be more expensive than Pandora though. Not that anyone cares as this is a three-way dogfight between Google, Spotify and Apple.
Apple should really get a wriggle on with this, as there was a lot of fanfare when they bought Beats for $3 billion last year. It looks like they’ll be rolling something out this Summer, with mutterings pointing at a June release.
However, we’re all too long-in-the-tooth and cynical to believe that by merely embedding something as standard into a device, it’ll be a success. Anyone who owns a Samsung phone will tell you about the huge amount of entertainment apps that just sit in devices, taking up space and being unused.
Either way, Apple will be pushing on, and it has been suggested that this new service will focus on cloud streaming that is centred on what’s already in your music library.
Basically, it started off as a concept for mobiles which would scan the world around it in three glorious dimensions, which could then be modelled and used for augmented reality and all that futuristic good stuff (or, worrying Dystopian future hell, depending on your view of technological developments).
One of the practical uses would be that Project Tango users could utilise the technology to map their home, so you could use the dimensions before buying a sofa online, or whatever. Google also pointed out that it could help blind people get around too.
They’re looking at making money out of it too, which means it will definitely be hawked around the video game industry to see if it can be integrated into games.
So, from Google’s experimental Advanced Technology and Projects (ATAP) wing, it has gone to a “new home within Google”, which the company announced in a G+ post. They said: “We’re excited about the continued commitment to developing the technology for our users — we wish our fellow pirates fair winds and following seas.”
Rumour has it that Google have already been talking to LG so we can get the technology at some point this year. However, Google should take caution because the world wasn’t exactly set alight by Google Glass.
Anyway, the Project Tango Development Kit will let tinkerers and engineers to muck around with the technology and start developing apps for it, which means retailers will be jumping on it to see how they can make their products come alive in some virtual space or what have you.
Google have been parping on about their driverless cars, and now, rumours are getting louder about Apple making an electric car.
CNN have an image of a patent which has been granted to “Apple Electric Car, Inc.,” yesterday, which should get some Apple devotees reasonably excited, and some Android defenders tutting into their laps.
Now specifically, this patent shows an adjustable mount for a computerized display in a golf cart, which isn’t strictly going to fulfil the promise of an all singing Siri and app-dancing iCar, but there’s no smoke without fire.
Tesla were spotted at Apple a few years ago, which got tongues wagging and Wall Street analysts have been loudly muttering about Apple looking at electric cars as an investment for ages.
And let’s be honest here – electric cars and Apple do look like a match made in heaven and with motoring changing toward a new model and, most importantly, a huge money-spinner if you get it right, Apple will absolutely be weighing up a move into the car game.
If this is just a move that Apple are making to create huge LCD dashboard panels, then you’ve got to ask yourself if you’d be into having that, or indeed, distracted by that.
Feel free to make your own jokes about an Apple car being installed with windows.
Recently, there was a host of problems with WhatsApp Plus, an unaffiliated app to the popular messaging service. Now, there’s issues with the real deal, as security tinkerers have found that anyone can see a WhatsApp users’ profile photos, no matter if they’ve locked their accounts down.
WhatApp launched a web version of their app, syncing the two up, but sadly, there seems to be security flaws which means that, even if you’ve messed with your settings, so that only your friends can see your photos, a bug allows people to get ’round that, and check out your images.
Even if the photos have been deleted, the flaw allows anyone to see those photos too. They might be blurred out on your phone, but online, they’re crystal clear. Not much use if you think you’ve been sending sensitive images to people in presumed safety.
“Sure, it’s not the most serious privacy breach that has ever occurred, but that’s missing the point,” says security expert Graham Cluley in a post about the WhatsApp weakness. “The fact of the matter is that WhatsApp users chose to keep their profile photos private, and their expectation is that WhatsApp will honour their choices and only allow their photos to be viewable by those who the user has approved.”
There’s even a video you can watch, detailing this weakness, which you can watch below.
WhatsApp will invariably be patching this up in the coming weeks, but until you hear something official, it’d be a good idea to only sent images you don’t mind the world seeing through the service.
Despite the laws made against them, the biggest threat to their business could be Google.
A while ago, Google Ventures – the internet giant’s venture capital wing – invested huge sums in Uber (in advance of $250m) and it looked like they were keeping an eye on it, and thinking about an eventual takeover. David Drummond, Google’s chief legal officer and senior vice president of corporate development, joined the Uber board of directors and is still there.
However, rumours abound that Google might be rivals, rather than the boss of Uber with mutterings that they’re preparing their own taxi app service. It has been reported that Uber have been told of this and that there’s even been screenshots of Google’s rumoured taxi hailing app.
If Google are successful in making cars that drive themselves, then they could also end up with a fleet of autonomous taxis, which is very futuristic.
That all said, Google are currently denying all this, after firing off a tweet which said: “We think you’ll find Uber and Lyft work quite well. We use them all the time.”
That’s not going to stop these rumours though.
While Uber’s app is synced up with Google Maps software, Google will be aware that there’s huge amounts of money to be made from a service like this. Uber came from nowhere and is now one of the world’s biggest startups, valued at $40 billion and operating in over 54 countries. Some people don’t trust the Uber brand yet, but with Google branding, they just might.