Posts Tagged ‘tech’
Well, Google have tinkered with their Google Play Developer Program Policy, so they can begin cleaning up their app market place. Now, there’s a specific provisions in the policy which tells developers what type of content is permissible for apps.
It looks like these policy changes focus mainly on the elimination of dodgy ads.
The new revision says that apps are prohibited from engaging in or benefiting from identified inappropriate behaviour. They want to put an end to deceptive ads, redirection to another portals without full consent of users. They’re also looking at ending unsolicited promotions through SMS services and tricking users into downloading apps through those fake system dialogue box pop-ups.
Google are basically telling developers that any simulation or impersonation of a user interface of any other app is now prohibited.
Of course, with this, there’s a bit of Mary Whitehousing going on, as Google is now getting jumpy about erotic content. They’ve said that content of apps can no longer be erotic just to promote pornography.
Looks like Android is getting sensible.
It followed an email complaint by Joey Parker of MTV Act, who emailed Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO, to say that there were no black, brown or Chinese heads in the emoji vocabulary. The email was forwarded that same day to Katie Cotton, vice president of world wide corporate communications.
‘Tim forwarded your email to me.’ She wrote. ‘We agree with you. Our emoji characters are based on the Unicode standard, which is necessary for them to be displayed properly across many platforms. There needs to be more diversity in the emoji character set, and we have been working closely with the Unicode Consortium in an effort to update the standard.’
The last emoji update was in 2012 when they added some same sex couples to the mix. So when can we expect a multicultural cavalcade of differently coloured faces to tag onto our tweets and emails? Nobody knows yet, but maybe one day emoji-land will catch up with the rest of the world.
While they’re at it, could they also update their other emoticons? There are currently no emojis for gin and tonics or sex toys, which means it makes it hard for me to describe what I’m up to at the weekend.
Well, there is a possible solution for Google – they’ve just signed a deal with eyewear company Luxottica, who make bins for Ray-Ban and Oakley.
They’ve been charged with creating an exclusive range of frames for Glass for the American market, which will apparently ‘combine high-end technology with avant-garde design offering the best in style, quality, and performance.’
It’s the first indication that Google are keen to push Glass into a more mainstream market that doesn’t just involve corporate eejits and Silicon Valley pillocks. But it’s not going to be THAT mainstream.
‘You’re not going to see Glass on your favourite Oakleys or Ray-Bans tomorrow,’ said Google. ‘But it marks a new chapter in Glass’s design.’
May I suggest that Luxottica take inspiration from a few glasses wearing British icons? I’m thinking The Pollard, The Mallett and the Great Suprendo could be added to the range…
Firstly, it is being suggested that Apple are thinking of offering iTunes to Android devices. However, the amount of complaining people have been doing about iTunes recently, you have to wonder if any Android users will want to go anywhere near the service.
Apple need to do something though – according to figures, iTunes’ rates have declined while things like Spotify are doing decent business. Google Music is on the up also, so is there any need to offer iTunes to anyone not using Apple devices?
They’re also rumoured to be tinkering with their Apple TV service, presumably on the back of everyone dashing off to buy Google’s Chromecast (as well as Roku and a mooted Amazon service) and the success of Netflix and the like. Basically, it looks like they’re going to offer a new streaming service which could be integrated into a new version of their set-top box.
Apple have already revamped the online store and they are said to be looking at featuring gaming capabilities. They are also hoping to sign-up with a variety of internet providers where they hope to separate the new TV service from public internet traffic, in a bid to get rid of buffering during peak internet usage.
Relatively speaking, it hasn’t been a spectacular year for Apple and other companies have stolen a march on a variety of products and services. Looks like Apple are playing hardball again, pinning their hopes on entertainment services rather than brand new products (although, there is this). For those waiting for an iWatch, it certainly looks like Apple are holding off while they try and tie up people’s viewing and listening habits.
The new campaign from those consumer muskateers Which! is focusing on broadband providers, and demanding that they guarantee their broadband speeds.
Three in five people regularly experience slow speeds and problems with broadband – that’s 13 million households that Which! describe as in the ‘broadband slow lane.’
They found that internet provider customer satisfaction is low. In their survey, they found that a quarter of people who reported interruptions in their service had to wait days for the situation to be resolved – with one in ten having no internet for a week.
Speedy broadband is becoming an increasingly essential service as we spent all our waking hours online, shopping, trolling and watching movies.
So Which! are asking broadband providers to give customers speed estimates for their properties before you sign a contract, and allow customers to break the contract without being penalised if they fail to meet their speeds.
Over to you, Speedy Gonzales himself, Ricardo Lloyd:
‘The internet is an essential part of modern life, yet millions of us are getting frustratingly slow speeds and having to wait days to get reconnected when things go wrong. It’s less superfast broadband, more super slow service from companies who are expecting people to pay for speeds they may never get.’
YOU TELL ‘EM.
There’s been subterfuge afoot in the Microsoft camp – a senior software architect has been arrested for passing on secrets about Windows 8 to a French tech blogger in 2012.
Alex Kibkalo, who was formally charged at a district court in Seattle yesterday, was apparently upset with Microsoft after he got a crappy performance review, so instead of taking it out on the Dilbert gonk at his workstation, he decided to go rogue and leak trade secrets instead.
Soon, Microsoft noticed that screen shots of Windows 8 had begun to mysteriously appear on tech blogs prior to its release, and the FBI were called in to investigate.
Kibkalo sent the blogger a piece of code that could have allowed hackers to infiltrate the software. He also stole Microsoft’s Activation Server Software development kit.
But Kibkalo wasn’t as good at covering his tracks as creating code – in an email, he allegedly bragged about breaking into a building on Microsoft’s Washington campus and trying to copy a server.
What could it be? Well, rumour has it that new CEO Satya Nadella wants to unveil the new Microsoft Office for the iPad. Writers and freelance layabouts in cafes rejoice!
If it happens, it puts an end to Microsoft’s long and involved iPad snub. Like a sulky teen, they’ve been pretending for years that iOS wasn’t happening. But last year they launched software for iPhone/iPad so you can look at Word docs on your phone for free.
But they’re not going to let you have anything else for free. Oh no. If/when Office comes to the iPad it will in the form of Office 365, cloud based software for which you pay a monthly or yearly fee. Many businesses already use Office 365 for multiple computers (rather than getting a licence), but they’re likely to start doing a version for us drones if the rumours are true.
This of course, is all conjecture until the big event. Perhaps Microsoft’s new CEO won’t be unveiling Office for iPad at all. Maybe the ‘cloud and mobile focussed event’ will be an hour of him noxiously farting the Intel Inside theme tune while filming it on his phone?
If you’ve got a mobile and you want to send cash to any bank account, a new secure payment system called Paym can do it for you –without the need for sort codes or fiddly account numbers.
According to the Payments Council, Paym (like, you know ‘PAY ‘EM’) will be available to 40m banking custiomers very soon and will be integrated into banking apps. All the information you’ll need to complete a payment will be the person’s phone number.
So if you’re a Barclays, Bank of Scotland, Halifax. HSBC, Lloyds, Santander or TSB customer, you can be one of the 30 million people who can start using PayM. Then later on in the year, it will be available to Clydesdale Bank, First Direct, NatWest, Royal Bank of Scotland and Yorkshire Bank.
It’s expected that the service will be used to make small payments, like repaying your mate that tenner you borrowed for a lapdance/kebab, but the daily limit will be £250.
Adrian Kamellard from the Payments Council said: ‘Paym will enable millions of people to pay securely using just a mobile number from spring this year. In a world where many of us are inseparable from our phones, it’s readily believable that more than one billion of these payments could be made in the next five years.’
It’s readily believable alright, Adrian!
Of course, Pingit from Barclays has been doing this for a while, but Paym has much a wider range of customers. There’s also Zapp, which will launch in the Autumn and allow you to pay bills with your mobile.
Which is all very well, but can someone think of some better names for these things? Paym, Pingit and Zapp sound like aliens in rubbish Cbeebies programme.
We got a bit carried away when Google announced their new Chromecast gizmo, and we still are. There’s something very pleasing about a boring looking gadget that is being sold for relatively cheaply, which can connect all manner of things to your TV, so you can sit on your arse for longer and have more fun doing it.
If you missed the announcement and can’t be bothered clicking a link, Chromecast is a dongle you plug into your television set, which enables you to stream directly onto your big screen. It essentially turns your TV into a monitor for your phone, laptop or tablet.
This is particularly good if you have the BT Sports app on your tablet, and want to watch the football on your TV, rather than have a tablet on your knee.
And now, there’s a release date! An internal listing at Dixons retail stores says that Chromecast will be available in the UK on March 19th.
There’s no official word on pricing, but we suspect it’ll cost around the £30 mark.
A recent app update shows Chromecast is now available in 50 new languages, which means that it looks like Google will be rolling this out worldwide rather soon.
In Stockholm last week, Warner Home Entertainment invited 12 Gravity enthusiasts to watch the movie in a series of special tanks. The viewers lay in the blue lit tank, which had been filled with water and salts and heated to exactly 35.5 degrees to mimic resting body temperature.
As your body is the same temperature as the water, there’s no sensation of BEING in water, so the viewer just feels that they’re weightless.
Apart from going to one of those weird bunkers owned by NASA in the middle of nowhere and doing full on astronaut training, it’s the closest to being weightless the world has to offer. And, doubtlessly it also made viewers feel closer to Sandra Bullock’s chemical peel.
Anyway, then a big screen hovering above showed them Gravity in 3D and they all lost their minds with excitement. Let’s hope they watched out for those big black holes! (in the plot).
Yesterday, we reported on the dubious news that Britain had the best broadband in Europe. Ofcom were all kinds of thrilled about it while everyone else squinted their eyes and muttered to themselves.
Well, turns out that Ofcom might have got it all wrong.
Boris Ivanovic, chairman and founder of FTTH broadband provider Hyperoptic, thinks Ofcom’s report is riddled with flaws. Of course, this means we have to trust someone called Boris, rather than Ofcom.
Either way, Ivanovic said: “The overall conclusion that the UK has the best broadband in Europe is highly questionable as broadband infrastructure in other European countries, especially in Scandinavia, is far superior to ours at the moment.”
Boris wasn’t convinced by the average speeds reports.
“The reason for this is because of the way the data is collated and measured; median and average speeds are confused – just because providers report they are increasing speeds it doesn’t mean that the consumer is able to receive it.”
“For example, many buildings that we have connected with Hyperoptic’s 1 Gbps broadband were on less than 5Mbps beforehand. If these poor speeds are still happening in urban centres then it is hard to believe reports that the UK has the best broadband in Europe: there is a long way to go before we can give ourselves this accolade.”
The aim of this would be to defend freedom and privacy and ensure the rights of web users. This Magna Carta 2.0 would guarantee the independence and integrity of the World Wide Web as a whole. Of course, asking web giants to do it could be problematic, given that half of them seem to be in cahoots with government spying and Facebook is, well, nosey without anyone’s influence.
Berners-Lee made the statement as part of the internet’s 25th birthday celebrations and since Edward Snowden blew the whistle on everyone, Sir Tim has been a loud critic of online surveillance.
He thinks that it is now time for us all to make a communal decision on what the internet is going to be in the future.
Berners-Lee sees 2014 as the perfect time act, what with the NSA leaks and censorship being an increasing concern worldwide. Sir Tim defended Edward Snowden, saying that his whistleblowing was “in the public interest” and that we should be worried about the “growing tide of surveillance and censorship” all over the world.
He said: “In front of us are two roads – which way are we going to go? Are we going to continue on the road and just allow the governments to do more and more and more control – more and more surveillance? Or are we going to set up a bunch of values? Are we going to set up something like a Magna Carta for the World Wide Web?”
Any constitution on internet freedoms should look at the issues surrounding copyright and how ethics work on the internet. His online bill of rights will be included in a campaign called “Web We Want” which hopes to have a worldwide review of internet conventions.
What do you think? Would it ever be enforcible? Could anyone get the internet’s major players to even agree on a first draft?
Sony’s Xperia Z2 is set to launch and soon, users will be able to charge it wirelessly. Wireless charging has been promised for a while, but gadget manufacturers have been reluctant to get on with it and save us all from the hell of tangled plugs and fraying wires.
According to reports, Sony will be releasing official accessories so you won’t need a plug for your Z2. You’ll be able to get an official Wireless Charging Cover and Wireless Charging Plate for £70 and £55 respectively.
Of course, there are others. The Nokia Lumia has a charging plate too (which is considerably cheaper than Sony’s offerings). However, the more companies get on this, the cheaper it’ll all be for everyone. A bit of competition always drives prices down. That said, Sony are well versed in making non-universal adapters for products, so they’ll inevitably work out a way of charging more than everyone else. Worth keeping in mind if you’re looking for new tech. It’ll be £125 extra on top of what you pay for your Z2.
The charging plate should be available from April, but it has been suggested that the cover won’t be out until June, which seems slightly daft.
If everyone else can hurry up and create a reliable, wireless charging system for gadgets, that’d be great.