Posts Tagged ‘tech’
Have you seen Amazon’s Echo? If you haven’t, it is a new device which you can place somewhere around the house and ask it things – like an external Siri.
We can’t decide if it feels like the eerie monolith from 2001: A Space Odyssey or that house voiced by Pierce Brosnan from The Simpsons which pervs on Marge in the bath.
Anyway, this little talking tool was shown off by Amazon with an advert which has already been rightly lampooned, thanks to it being so amazingly awkward.
So, having watched the spoof, it is now time for you to watch the original and, if you haven’t seen it, you’ll be stunned that the spoof version used so much of the one put out by Amazon.
In fact, the joke version might not be as toe-curling, weird and funny as the one Amazon spent money on. Is there anything more dreadful than the family as envisioned by an ad-agency?
The latest is something called WireLurker, which is collecting phone book contacts, call logs and other sensitive info. Researchers reckon more than 450 Mac OS X applications offered on a Chinese third-party application store called Maiyadi have been loaded up with WireLurker.
So if you’re smart enough to stick to Apple’s official appstore, you’ll be fine. If not, you may as well jump off a bridge/sort your phone out.
These affected apps have been downloaded hundreds of thousands of times and some paranoid folk reckon that this is an information gathering operation and some are hysterical enough to think that the Chinese are spying on everyone. China’s authorities, for the record, are saying that this notion is complete poppycock (but that’s exactly what a spy would say).
So what’s the deal? Basically, if you connect your iOS device to an infected Mac using a USB cable, the WireLurker malware gets to work and starts looking for vulnerabilities in your security. It then installs itself on your iPhone or iPad.
Apple said in a statement: “We are aware of malicious software available from a download site aimed at users in China, and we’ve blocked the identified apps to prevent them from launching. As always, we recommend that users download and install software from trusted sources.”
That’s according to Oculus VR CEO Brendan Iribe, who made the soon come announcement sound slightly dirty during a presentation at Dublin’s Web Summit 2014.
“We’re all hungry for it to happen,” he said. “We’re getting very close. It’s months, not years away.”
However his definition of ‘months’ translates as ‘many months’. Oh.
The headset that allows gamers to game in a 3D set-up, that allows players to step inside their favourite games and completely immerse themselves in the virtual world. Wooh.
The Oculus heaved into view earlier this year, when rumours of a public beta launch were mooted for the Summer of 2015.
Iribe has said of Oculus, that “want to get it right” and not launch something half-baked just to get it out there. He added, like some lothario: “We don’t want it to be four or five years. We’re eager for this to happen.”
Just imagine what it’ll be like when the adult entertainment industry gets their hands on it.
There’s places in Britain where it is nigh-on impossible to get a connection on your mobile, which is preposterous seeing as so many of us rely on them for work, socialising and sending weird and threatening messages to complete strangers on Twitter.
Well, the government plans to kick mobile operators up the arse in a bid to improve their coverage. One thing that is being looked at, is rivals sharing their networks with each other. These connection blackholes are being referred to as ‘notspots’, which means that some places have coverage from some operators, but not all.
Culture Secretary Sajid Javid: ”It can’t be right that in a fifth of the UK, people cannot use their phones to make a call. The government isn’t prepared to let that situation continue.”
So what proposals are being offered? For starters, they want the national roaming mentioned earlier, where operators share their network. They also want to see infrastructure sharing where networks would be able to put transmitters on each other’s masts. They also want to bring in a ‘coverage obligation’, which would see networks agreeing to cover a certain percentage of the UK, but the operators would decide how to do it between themselves.
The government has given the industry, businesses and the public until 26th November to respond to their proposals.
However, there’s some resistance to these ideas. A leaked letter from Whitehall shows that Home Secretary Theresa May isn’t happy with this idea because roaming networks might make it difficult for the government to spy on people’s phone activity. Of course, what they’re saying is that they’ll find it hard to track criminals and terrorists, but we all know what that means.
The letter says: “[It] could have a detrimental impact on law enforcement, security and intelligence agency access to communications data and lawful intercept”, adding that more research is needed to ensure that this won’t make things troublesome for police to access information about calls and emails that is “crucial to keeping us safe”.
Of course, there’s some annoying elements to this for the phone-haver too. Roaming hammers your mobile’s battery and there’s a very strong chance that operators would include charges for anyone switching to another network. We’ll just have to wait and see what everyone has up their sleeves on this, but a solution that works for everyone is not something you should hold your breath about.
Some adverts are great, but mostly, they’re a bit of a drag that stops you from watching your favourite shows.
Well, with that in mind, Sony have filed a patent which would allow you to skip TV commercials simply by shouting at your television set. You were shouting at your telly anyway, so nice to see someone trying to put your futile cries of anguish to good use.
The patent also shows off other ways to speeding up or dodging adverts, including interacting with your TV using a controller. In one example, you’d be asked to “throw the pickle to speed up commercial”. Not a literal pickle (who would waste a perfectly good pickle by throwing it at a sofa advert?) but rather, a virtual pickle at the screen during a burger commercial.
The idea is that you’d utilise voice recognition, Bluetooth, networked tablets and phones and motion sensing gizmos to swerve the salesmen.
You might think the advertisers would be annoyed at this, but they’ve got bigger problems to worry about as there’s a number of reports and bits of research that show that humans are very, very good at tuning out commercials while they’re airing on TV or playing on your computer. Advertisers need to find a new way of interacting and engaging with people, and if that lies in throwing pretend pickles at pretend burgers, then so be it.
Here’s a lovely illustration from the patent.
Ordering a takeaway is hard. You have to first navigate all the menus on JustEat or rifle through all those awful flyers and menus you got stuffed unceremoniously in your letter box and then actually speak to someone on the phone or hit buttons with your fingers.
It is too much like hard work.
Well, here’s good news for you slovens – you’ll be able to simply shout at your Xbox One and get pizza delivered to your door. Sadly, no-one has worked out a way of getting it in your mouth without you walking to the front door and paying someone, but its a start.
Inspired by the Xbox 360′s Pizza Hut app, which raked it in thanks to gaming stoners, the new Domino’s app allows you to utilise the voice-function on your console and simply bark orders at it until someone makes and delivers you a pizza.
The app is optimised for Kinect and as soon as you say “Domino’s, feed me!”, you’re on the way to being fed. You may or may not be aware that Domino’s recently updated their iOS and Android app to allow voice-controlled ordering.
How wonderfully lazy this is.
Remember when YouTube first kicked off, before Google swallowed it whole? Endlessly searching for obscure music videos and old TV shows without an advertisement in sight! Those were the days when the internet was all fields.
These days, things are different. For a kick-off, people are now able to make some money from YouTube. However, if you miss the ad-free days, Susan Wojcicki, Google’s senior VP in charge of the service has said that there is going to be a version of YouTube where you can pay to get rid of all the adverts.
YouTube has over one billion unique visitors each month, who between them, watch over 6 billion hours of videos per month and uploading 100 hours of stuff every minute of the day. The reach it has, especially in the lucrative 18-34 demographic, far surpasses any TV station on planet Earth.
So obviously, the service as it stands isn’t broken, but a lot of people do get irritated by rollover ads and the like… but are they annoyed enough to cough-up their money to lose all the commercials?
YouTube would presumably throw more at such a service, rather than just getting rid of salesmen. If they adopt a monthly subscription model, then you can imagine YouTube Premium (or whatever) would be advertless and allowing you to watch Exclusive Content From Some Bands Or Whatever and have an instant messaging services embedded in it, as the latter seems to be a huge obsession in the land of tech.
If the package was right, would you pay for a YouTube with no adverts?
Carl Smith, who founded Ngen Works in That America, have been send a photo of a bloke messing about with his bare junk by Apple, who were letting them know about an app they’d created which can be used to view mucky material.
The dirty attachment was sent with no warning from Apple.
Writing on his blog, Carl said: “It turns out Apple thought the best way to tell us our app could be used to surf porn was to surf for porn using our app. Then send us some pictures and say take a look at these! Except they said, “Please see the attached screenshot for more information.” So with no warning…”
“Apple sent us pornography without trying to mask it and with no warning of what we were going to see. This means they exposed employees of my company to things Apple themselves said was objectionable. How is this acceptable?”
The picture in question, made modest by Smith, is here for your viewing pleasure. Seems very odd that Apple would send such a thing to another business, but there you go.
[top image, like all our porn coverage, c/o the wonderful SFW Porn]
Yesterday, they revealed two new iPads and a high-resolution screen iMac desktop, which of course, we already told you about.
Basically, Apple are giving everyone the iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 3, as well as blarting on about Apple Pay where you can pay for stuff with your phone (which of course, is a thing that’s been around for ages under different names).
So what about the Pad Air 2? Well, it is thin. You can get it in silver or gold and it is now thinner than a biro at just 6.1mm thick. Apple reckon it is the world’s thinnest tablet. It comes with a faster processor and a better camera too.
The new iPad has now got a lot of the features that you’d find in an iPhone, so you can now do slow motion video and burst shots with it, and it has the fingerprint ID sensor. Apple’s new OS, Yosemite, will be available as a free download too.
The new iMacs will have a sharper display. How much sharper? According to Apple, they’ll have seven times the amount of pixels you’ll find on a standard HD TV.
If you’re after a new iPad, prices start at £319. If you’re wanting a new iMac, prices start from £1,999.
Argos is offering free tablets and broadband as part of a pledge to provide practical skills and access to technology to 9.5 million Brits who aren’t online in a partnership with digital skills charity Go ON UK.
Trained staff members will help people learn the basics of how to use a tablet and how to connect to the internet with workshops that will run from 25th October through to mid-January.
John Walden, Chief Executive of Home Retail Group, which owns Argos, said: “The digital revolution continues apace, however, millions remain on the side-lines. Argos Internet Workshops have been developed to help people overcome the barriers of access and affordability and improve their knowledge, understanding and confidence in digital technology.”
“The internet is becoming increasingly essential in day-to-day life, and offers a world of new possibilities that we believe everyone should be able to access.”
And, they just all happen to be potential Argos customers as well.
Either way, if you can’t be arsed showing your granddad or mum how to use a tablet and get online, Argos will do it for you. They’ll be calling you every 3 minutes on Skype in no time at all.
After the huge celebrity leak of photos, dubbed ‘The Fappening’, looks like we’re due ‘The Snappening’ as rumours abound that hackers have got a load of Snapchat photos and plan release all the mucky, naked ones that match with usernames.
They’ll be available on October 12th on a torrent.
According to reports, the hackers have a 13GB library of snaps from a third-party app which allows users to save Snapchats without the sender knowing.
Snapchat are deflecting blame away from themselves, but if they were really vigilant, they should’ve got third party apps removed from app stores or something.
What should worry people though is that a lot of young people use Snapchat, which means anyone looking at any potential leaks could basically be looking at compromising images of underage kids.
Apple have issued an invitation for an event that will take place on October 16th. Now, seeing as they’ve just updated the iPhone and brought out the Apple Watch, what on earth are they going on about?
Whatever it is, it comes with the strapline of: “It’s been way too long.”
So, what have Apple been ignoring and left to gather dust on the shelf?
The company updated the iPad just last year and the MacBook Pro and Mac Pro both got a revamp recently, so it can’t be them. The iMac got tinkered with in 2013, so you can’t imagine they’re making an announcement about that.
Weighing up what’s likely, that means Apple are up to something with either Apple TV or the MacBook Air. You have to assume, what with everyone jumping on TV services at the minute, that Apple are going to give theirs a shot in the arm. They released Apple TV in 2010 and have only indulged in minor tweaks here and there, never giving it a big rehash.
Recently, Apple CEO Tim Cook while talking about TV, said: “TV is one of those things that is stuck back in the ’70s. Think about all the things that have changed… and TV almost feels like you’re rewinding the clock, and the interface is terrible. It’s awful.”
What with Cook getting randomly jumpy about TV, it looks like the newest Apple product could well be a new and improved Apple TV. Of course, there’s a good chance Apple will cock it up, like they have with everything at the moment. We’ll just have to wait and see.
Google have been at war with Oracle for ages now. It has been going on so long that it is almost a battle of Biblical length. They’ve been fighting over the incredibly exciting thing of Java implementation on Android and it might get all the way to the US Supreme Court.
When it does, take stock of where you are and what you’re doing because future generations will ask: “Where were you when everyone died in the Google-Java conflict?”
The Supreme Court has listed Google’s request to have the US Court of Appeals’ decision reviewed.
If you aren’t aware of what’s been going on (seriously? You’re that jaded by warfare?), Oracle said that Google owed them “billions” because Android’s class libraries replicate the functions and code of some of Java’s copyrighted API packages.
One of the big arguments is whether or not you can copyright an API (that stands for ‘application programming interface’, just so you’re aware).
In May, the Court of Appeals said that you could indeed copyright APIs, but then handed the case over to another court so the argument of ‘fair use’ could be thrashed out.
And now, the Supreme Court is listening to Google’s argument that; “Early computer companies could have blocked vast amounts of technological development by claiming 95-year copyright monopolies over the basic building blocks of computer design and programming.”
If Oracle win this case, then it will mean a whole load of trouble for more companies than just Google. For more, the case has its own Wikipedia page. We can’t wait for the Hollywood blockbuster that is made of this dispute.