Apps & Games

By January 21, 2014 Read More →

Just how safe is Chrome?

how safe is chrome?A big selling point of Chrome and more importantly Chrome OS is that Chrome extensions are meant to be clean and simple. A bragging community will tell you that you are safer than any other browser or Operating System. A bold statement that will surely have the sceptics investigating. What have they turned up? Problematic extensions!

Google is making a move to ban obtrusive extensions, because sometimes these can harm your Chrome experience. There is another recent threat Google is dealing with, though. Companies have been acquiring extensions from developers in order to turn them into adware clients. Google has banned a couple of these extensions: Add to Feedly and Tweet this Page. These were once popular extensions that helped users simplify some of the more routine online tasks.

Who is to blame? Are we seeing coders pushing extensions into the Google Store clean only to turn around a harvest vital information for the highest bidder? Not quite. In Add to Feedly’s case, the original developer, Amit Agarwal, was offered “a four digit” amount for his extension, which only took about an hour to code. Of course, he accepted and the transaction went smoothly. He regretted his decision when the new owner pushed an update to the extension. The new owner turned his helpful extension into an ad-serving machine. These were not regular ads either, they worked in the background and replaced links on every website! Original links were replaced by affiliate links without anyone’s knowledge.

How safe is Chrome?

Google’s new policies will help make this all better, though. If we have learned one thing, over and over again, it is that there is always a way for an OS to be corrupted by nefarious source. Google have been quick to act, have learned a lot from the experience and we can only hope that the whole Chrome architecture will return to the safe and reliable service we have grown so accustomed to.

By January 13, 2014 Read More →

Windows 8.2 could be Windows 9

Windows 8.2 could be Windows 9Many reports are currently circulating about the anticipated update to Windows 8 dubbed ‘Threshold’. It was previously understood that the next version would be Windows 8.2 and many hope that it will include the return of the much demanded start menu.

However, according to this report, it’s likely that the successor to Windows 8.1 will be called Windows 9 and that Microsoft out the next iteration of its client operating system at the Build Conference on 2 to 4 April in San Francisco. It is claimed that Microsoft want to create some distance between Windows 8 and the Start Menu debacle, hence the change to Windows 9 and a seemingly clean slate.

If the report is accurate we could expect to see Windows 9 to start shipping to consumers in early 2015.

More details here.

By January 13, 2014 Read More →

Google Glass Glassware must-haves

Google Glass GlasswareMany of you will know that since I got my Google Glass about a month ago I have become a massive convert and huge supporter of it. In fact I wear my Glass almost all the time now, pretty much only taking it off when I go to bed or before meeting.

Those that I work with have also become accustomed to seeing that ‘thing’ attached to my head!

At the moment Google Glass can still be considered to be in Beta and, as it stands, the list of apps, known as Google Glass Glassware, is somewhat limited. However, many new developers have taken up the mantle and and the list of available third-party apps is now growing.

So I thought I would take a moment to mention a couple of the apps that I consider to be must-have and those that I use all the time.

 

Toolkit for Glass

This one is from my dear old friend Paul O’Brien. Toolkit for Glass offers several features that probably should have been a part of the base OS of Glass. Paul’s toolkit provides the following:

  • use ‘open camera’ to give you a camera viewfinder, take pics using the camera button. Enables you to properly frame a photo.
  • use ‘switch wifi’ to toggle wifi with voice confirmation. Turning off WiFi when you aren’t using it helps to extend the battery life.
  • use ‘switch bluetooth’ to toggle bluetooth with voice confirmation. Turning off Bluetooth when you aren’t using it helps to extend the battery life.
  • use ‘get status’ to receive a voice readout of battery, wifi and bluetooth status’
  • just for testing some stuff – use ‘magnify’ to open the camera where sweep forward will zoom in, sweep back will zoom out

Glasquare

This is an unofficial version of Foursquare specifically for Google Glass. Glasquare features include:

  • 3 voice commands: Check me in, Show best venues and Search venues for …
  • super-fast check-ins with a possibility to add photos and comments
  • 10 best venues around you/matching your search with details
  • directions towards a selected venue
  • read tips of the selected venue

SpeedHUD

google_glass_screenshot-300x168The use of Google Glass while driving continues to be controversial and there are still plans to ban it while driving.  However, there are a couple of apps out there that, in my opinion, would certainly improve driving safety and one app that I enjoy using is SpeedHUD which is believe demonstrates the very reason why a blanket ban is premature at best.  SpeedHUD shows your speed and compass direction.

 

Obviously there are many more Glassware apps out there but these are just the third-party one that I use all the time. Whether you are new to Google Glass or an veteran they are definitely worth a look!

 

 

By January 6, 2014 Read More →

The Android Automobile rolling out

android-auto-uiIt looks like the rumoured Google-Audi auto alliance is even larger than expected. Google officially announced the Open Automotive Alliance. They are teaming up with Audi, GM, Honda and Hyundai to bring Android-powered “connected” cars of the future. Automobiles equipped with new Android-based User Interfaces will become available before the end of the year. 

The idea goes beyond just using Android to power the Operating system side of things. Supposedly, they are working on using Android to make customizable dashboards and more. In fact, NVIDIA just announced they are partnering up with this initiative also to bring chipsets designed specifically for automobiles. Here’s the full press release for more info,

Quote:
MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif.; INGOLSTADT, Germany; DETROIT, Mich.; TOKYO, Japan; SEOUL, South Korea., January 6, 2014 – Extending the success of the Android ecosystem, which has seen over one billion devices activated to date, a coalition of auto and technology companies announced today a new industry alliance aimed at bringing the Android platform to a device that’s always been mobile: the car.

Audi, GM, Google, Honda, Hyundai and NVIDIA have joined together to form the Open Automotive Alliance (OAA), a global alliance of technology and auto industry leaders committed to bringing the Android platform to cars starting in 2014. The OAA is dedicated to a common platform that will drive innovation, and make technology in the car safer and more intuitive for everyone.

The OAA is aimed at accelerating auto innovation with an approach that offers openness, customization and scale, key tenets that have already made Android a familiar part of millions of people’s lives. This open development model and common platform will allow automakers to more easily bring cutting-edge technology to their drivers, and create new opportunities for developers to deliver powerful experiences for drivers and passengers in a safe and scalable way.

“The worlds of consumer and automotive technologies have never been more closely aligned, and this alliance will only pave the way for faster innovation,” said Ricky Hudi, Head of Electrics/Electronics Development at AUDI AG. “Working toward a common ecosystems benefits driver safety above all.”

“Partnering with Google and the OAA on an ecosystem that spans across vehicles and handheld mobile devices furthers our mission to bring vehicles into our owners digital lives and their digital lives into their vehicles,” said Mary Chan, President of General Motors’ Global Connected Consumer unit. “We see huge opportunities for the Android platform paired with OnStar 4G LTE connectivity in future Chevrolet, Buick, GMC and Cadillac vehicles.”

“Millions of people are already familiar with Android and use it everyday,” said Sundar Pichai, SVP of Android, Chrome & Apps at Google. “The expansion of the Android platform into automotive will allow our industry partners to more easily integrate mobile technology into cars and offer drivers a familiar, seamless experience so they can focus on the road.”

“We are very pleased to join this alliance with Google as a founding member because Honda is committed to providing the very best connected-car experience to our customers,” said Yoshiharu Yamamoto, president, CEO and director of Honda R&D Co., Ltd. “The Honda team is looking forward to collaborating with Google and all OAA members to help advance the safety, value and ease of use of connected-car technologies.”

“Through the OAA, our customers using Android devices will soon be able to enjoy the continuous user experience in their Hyundai and Kia vehicles.” said Dr. Woong-Chul Yang, Vice Chairman of R&D, Hyundai Motor Group. “By introducing the latest IT technologies safely and securely throughout our full range of vehicles, we continually strive to provide the highest levels of convenience and enhance the in-vehicle experience.”

“The car is the ultimate mobile computer. With onboard supercomputing chips, futuristic cars of our dreams will no longer be science fiction,” said Jen-Hsun Huang, president and chief executive officer, NVIDIA. “The OAA will enable the car industry to bring these amazing cars to market faster.”

OAA members share a vision for the connected car, and bringing these open standards of innovation to the market will help extend people’s mobile experience seamlessly to another platform they already know and love. Timing from each automaker will vary, but you can expect to see the first cars with Android integration by the end of this year. The OAA invites other automotive technology companies to join in this endeavor.

Posted in: Apps & Games, News
By January 3, 2014 Read More →

Presenting a Bluetooth ZX Spectrum

bluetooth_zx_spectrum_at_a_glance_l13_v3_2Recently a new Kickstarter idea has raised an eye-brow over here are T&M. We love all things techy from today, tomorrow and yesterday. Even more when it combines today, tomorrow and yesterday. A clever start up is developing a Bluetooth version of the classic ZX Spectrum 48k, the icon black machine with rubber buttons we all know and most of us love.

“One Device … Two Functions”

  • Controller for the Bluetooth ZX Spectrum apps
  • Bluetooth Keyboard in the form factor of a 48K ZX Spectrum

In the default ‘GAME Layer’ mode, the Bluetooth ZX Spectrum acts as a controller for the Bluetooth ZX Spectrum running on iOS / Android (and later Windows) phones and tablets. In this mode it offers authentic, rubber-key play control over the Bluetooth ZX Spectrum apps. (1)

In the optional ‘QWERTY Layer’ mode, the Bluetooth ZX Spectrum acts as a Bluetooth keyboard, in the form factor of a 48K ZX Spectrum, for other apps and applications running on most phones and tablets as well as on PCs and Macs. In this mode it offers the opportunity to type a letter, send an email or play a game with the other apps and programs(2) you use every day, on your PC / Mac.

(1): The simultaneously released and separately sold Bluetooth ZX Spectrum apps (and ‘backwardly compatible’ apps, such as the ZX Spectrum: Elite Collection / HD apps) are the only apps which have been customized and optimized to operate with the Bluetooth ZX Spectrum. Each of the apps in this comprehensive catalogue of 100% original, officially licensed, paid-for Bluetooth ZX Spectrum games (and more) is available via a secure App Store environment and offers simple and swift PLUG’N’PLAY access to the Bluetooth ZX Spectrum.

(2): Compatibility with 3rd-party apps and programs is not guaranteed. Encourage you app or program supplier to offer compatibility with the Bluetooth ZX Spectrum by sharing this Technical Overview with them.

Both the default and the optional functionality of the Bluetooth ZX Spectrum will be available at the time of the device’s launch. Details of how the optional functionality may be enabled will be revealed at a later date – most likely as a further full project update of the Kickstarter appeal for the Bluetooth ZX Spectrum and by the addition of a further device specification to the BluetoothZXSpectrum.com site.

This is something I think every household will require. If successful imagine where it might lead! Amstrads, Commodores, Vic 20s, Virtual Boys… forget that last one. With an end-user price of between £39.99 and £49.99 (plus delivery) this will be a nostalgic Christmas gift for any kid of the 80’s.

Posted in: Apps & Games, News
By December 18, 2013 Read More →

Surprises as Microsoft 180 on their Xbox One DRM 180

Killer_Instinct_61114Microsoft may have done a 180 on its 180 regarding the DRM 24 hour check-in. By that, I mean that the console – during a live tournament that was being broadcast on Twitch – seemed to stop in the middle of the game to ensure that those using the console were the proper owners of the content.

FGCNN, where they were watching the stream and claim they noticed that during game users were kicked out and asking them to verify the content by checking in online. Video footage was captured, courtesy of Twitch user NYCFurby. FGCNN contacted Microsoft about the issue before running the story but they say they’ve received no response.

Worse yet it appears that the DRM check-in, as showcased in the video above, completely kicked the users out of the game. Before saving, logging anything or issuing a warning, the check-in just completely exited the user with complete and total disregard to the user activity or the content.

That’s just lovely.

Posted in: Apps & Games, News
Tags: ,
By December 17, 2013 Read More →

Samsung announce a Gamepad

Samsung announce a GamepadSamsung today introduced the Samsung Mobile Console GamePad and application to improve so popular online gaming experience for Samsung Galaxy devices.

The  Samsung GamePad   instantly transforms Galaxy smartphones or tablets into portable gaming console or even a home console. For its practical design and durable steel structure, the GamePad is attachable to mobile devices ranging from 4 inches to 6.3 inches, which allows users to play from anywhere. Users can also connect Galaxy devices to your TV through a HDMI cable.

The controller design is quite similar to the PlayStation controller analog sticks parallel with each other. But the GamePad is a bit smaller than a PlayStation 3 controller has a standard directional pad, two analog joysticks, four buttons and two triggers.

The press release leads us to believe that the Gamepad work with almost any Android device with Android 4.3 or higher system, but there are special services reserved for Galaxy devices. For example, the PLAY button allows users to quickly access the “Mobile Console” application to view the titles that can be purchased. Samsung says there are 35 games ready for launch dedicated specifically for the Gamepad.

At this time, we do not know the price of Gamepad. Currently available in selected markets in Europe and can branch to other regions in the coming weeks.

By December 17, 2013 Read More →

Steam Machine Prototype gets torn apart

STEAM_M_console__hero

There is always someone out there willing to pull apart their latest high-tech gadget. Today we see a tester, YouTube user Corey Nelson who has posted a number of Steam Machine related videos over the past 48 hours, taking the screw driver and pulling the whole thing apart.  The specifications of this machine are reported to feature a quad-core Intel i5-4570 CPU clocked up to 3.2 GHz, 16 GB of RAM, a GeForce GTX 780 GPU with 3 GB of VRAM, an ASRock Z87E-ITX motherboard, and a Silverstone ST455F power supply.

The innards are tightly pulled together and they whole thing looks to be a high quality product with some real thought put into the layout and execution. Interestingly, there is space and connector for a second hard drive, meaning the potential of this computer/gaming system is pretty limitless.

 

By December 9, 2013 Read More →

Google launches the Player Choice Poll

google-play-trophyGoogle is giving you the opportunity to vote for the best games and apps of the year. Player’s Choice Awards contest, is decided by the people who actually play the games and not an a panel of insiders There are 6 categories in all, three for games and three for apps, each category containing eight nominees. Best of all, if you don’t like Google’s choices, you are can suggest your own favourite.

The categories, and the nominees for each, are:

Posted in: Apps & Games, News
By December 2, 2013 Read More →

Android gaming update 02-12-13

final-fantasy-4-years-after-android-gameThe week of Black Friday has brought many price reductions to the Google Play store, lets have a look at what’s cheap and what’s new.

Square Enix has released the next instalment for their Final Fantasy franchise called Final Fantasy IV: The After Years onto Google Play. As the name suggests, Final Fantasy IV: The After Years takes place 17 years after the original Final Fantasy IV game. Many of the original cast members of Final Fantasy IV make a return in this game as well as a lot of the NPCs from the SNES version become playable characters.final-fantasy-4-years-after-android-game

The After Years Features:

  • Ten Playable Tales: Begin your journey with “Ceodore’s Tale.” Complete it to unlock the tales of six additional characters, which can be played in any order, and then return to the core story with “Kain’s Tale,” “The Lunarian’s Tale,” and “The Crystals.” A total of ten tales in all, and all contained in FINAL FANTASY IV: THE AFTER YEARS.
  • Active Time Battle: Take control of exhilarating combat made possible by the non-stop action in Square Enix’s iconic battle system.
  • Lunar Phases: Feel the moon’s presence in combat, as its waxing and waning influences the potency of attacks and abilities of all combatants. Lunar phases cycle naturally with the passage of in-game time, or when resting at an inn, tent, or cottage.
  • Band Abilities: Combine the strength of your party members to awesome effect with Band abilities that can be unlocked through in-game events or by leveling your characters’ Affinity.
  • Minimap: Keep an eye on your current location and nearby surroundings, or tap for quick access to the world map.
  • Google Play Game Support: Step up to meet all-new challenges offered by dozens of achievements.

The After Years is available from Google Play for £10.99

Posted in: Apps & Games, News