Monthly Archives: July 2012

Google+ Hangouts are heading to Gmail

One of the best features of Google+ are the Hangouts. Basically a video chat system where a number of people can be involved.

If you do not have a G+ account you may not have come across them, but from today Google are rolling out Hangouts in Gmail.

Here is what they have to say about it.

Since the introduction of Gmail video chat back in 2008, many of you have told us that you love the direct, personal communication it provides. That’s why we’re excited to announce that video chat is being upgraded to a more modern video calling technology — Google+ Hangouts.

Unlike the old video chat, which was based on peer-to-peer technology, Hangouts utilize the power of Google’s network to deliver higher reliability and enhanced quality. You’ll be able to chat with all the same people you did before and, in fact, with Hangouts you’ll now be able to reach them not only when they are using Gmail but also if they are on Google+ in the browser or on their Android or iOS devices.
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Today’s Google Doodle is all about the 2012 Olympics

Today marks the beginning of the 2012 Olympics in London.

Google‘s doodle of the day is in honour of what promises to be a great event.

The opening ceremony is still shrouded in secrecy although rumours of Voldemort and multiple Mary Poppins have cropped up.

We shall all have to wait and see later this evening.

Here are some more details from the Olympic’s official site.

The Opening Ceremony is a celebration showcasing the best of the Host Nation. It also features a parade of all competing nations and the highly anticipated entrance of the Olympic Flame, which ignites the Cauldron and signals the start of the Games.

The eyes of the world will be on London for the Opening Ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games. The Ceremony will provide an opportunity for the world to view the artistic expression of the Artistic Director (Danny Boyle) and his team, and the culture of our Host City and the UK. There are certain elements that must feature in every Ceremony, as outlined in the International Olympic Committee (IOC) charter. The artistic performance of the Ceremony then gets underway and welcomes the world to the London 2012 Games.

The name of the Olympic Opening Ceremony show will be ‘Isles of Wonder’ and the worldwide broadcast will commence at 9pm. The Ceremony will kick off with the sound of the largest harmonically tuned bell in Europe, produced by the Whitechapel Foundry, and the Stadium will be transformed into the British countryside for opening scene ‘Green and Pleasant’, which includes real farmyard animals. The Ceremony will also include a special sequence celebrating the best of British, featuring volunteer performers from the NHS.

Danny Boyle, Artistic Director of the London 2012 Olympic Opening Ceremony, said: ‘Our Isles of Wonder salutes and celebrates the exuberant creativity of the British genius in an Opening Ceremony that we hope will be as unpredictable and inventive as the British people.’

Free Wi-Fi in London

This news that a free wi-fi service has been launched in central London’s West End is great to hear. It will initially cover Oxford Street, Regent Street, Trafalgar Square, Leicester Square, Piccadilly Circus and Parliament Square. It will cover more of Westminster with Covent Garden being the next area.

The deal between Westminster City Council and O2 makes the service available to all internet users, regardless of their current provider.

This is initially due to the Olympics, but it is planned to remain free of charge to everyone after the Olympics has ended.

The project has been paid for by O2 and it hopes to use targeted advertising to recover the costs. Users can get online after completing a single registration process.

Councillor Philippa Roe, leader of Westminster Council, said the free wi-fi was part of a “long term project to help make London one of the most technology-friendly cities in the world”.

Free Wi-Fi is always a good thing and it would be great if this eventually spread to other UK cities. Of course when using public Wi-Fi do make sure that your computer is secure. Using a VPN service to get the data transmissions encrypted for example.

Source: BBC

Robo-Cameras are heading to the Olympic Games

The London 2012 Olympic Games are almost with us. When we are watching and reading about the event you may notice some amazing camera shots and wonder just how they were taken.

It turns out that Reuters will have 11 robots set up alongside their numerous human photographers. The robots will be in places no human would be able to reach. Using Canon’s 1-DX, the system will have three-axis control and have a photographer at a computer operating its every movement with a joystick.

“We are essentially able to put cameras and photographers where they’ve never been before, capturing images in ways they’ve never been captured,” [Fabrizio] Bensch said. “For example, I’ve installed a robotic camera unit on a truss, 30 meters high — in a position where no photographer has been in a previous Olympics.”

For [Mark] Reblias, those are positions you just can’t compete against. With the traditional remote-control cameras, if the subject showed untethered joy five feet out of frame, you were out of luck. Now if Reuters is able to get that shot, “well, there’s nothing I can do,” he said. “Maybe I’ll have to upgrade my gear and make a robotic system. It’d be expensive, it might be a cost I have to take on.”

The cameras will use the following lenses – a 24-105mm, a 70-200mm and telephotos up to 400mm. In addition to three axes of movement, the cameras’ pilots control shutter speed, sensitivity and image size.

The video below gives us a closer look at the technology the Associated Press will be using.
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American Smartphone Psycho Parody

As it is almost the weekend how about something fun? This parody takes the classic business card scene from American Psycho and replaces them with Smartphones.

Source: TechRadar

What does Steve Wozniak have in his travel backpack?

Steve Wozniak is one of the co-founders of Apple so you would expect him to have a few gadgets on him when he goes travelling.

The image (via Gizmodo) above shows just how many gadgets he takes along and it is quite a lot. A fascinating peak into the world of one of the shapers of modern computers.

Click on the image for a bigger version and below is Wozniak’s description of what he carries.
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Charge your iPhone and other gadgets with a camp stove

This is a fantastic little gadget that serves two purposes. Firstly you can cook food or boil water while camping. Then you can charge your iPhone, GPS, lights or other gadgets while it cooks.

The BioLite wood burning campstove converts heat to electricity and you can just use twigs so no need to carry fuel cells or oil.

It can boil water in 4.5 minutes and 20 minutes of charging an iPhone 4S (2G) provides 60 minutes of talk time. Charging times vary by device and by strength of fire.

Fire Power Output Peak: 3.4 kW (LO), 5.5 kW (HI)
USB Power Output Max continuous: 2W @5V, Peak: 4W @5V

Using BioLite’s patent-pending thermoelectric technology, BioLite Stoves convert heat to electricity that powers a fan to make the fire ultra-efficient.

It costs $129.00 and you can buy it here.


Yahoo was hacked so here is how to check it your Gmail or Hotmail password was leaked

Yahoo has now confirmed that they recently had a data breach and that “approximately” 400,000 email addresses and passwords have been leaked in plain text online.

Here is their official statement:

At Yahoo! we take security very seriously and invest heavily in protective measures to ensure the security of our users and their data across all our products. We confirm that an older file from Yahoo! Contributor Network (previously Associated Content) containing approximately 400,000 Yahoo! and other company users names and passwords was stolen yesterday,July 11. Of these, less than 5% of the Yahoo! accounts had valid passwords. We are fixing the vulnerability that led to the disclosure of this data, changing the passwords of the affected Yahoo! users and notifying the companies whose users accounts may have been compromised. We apologize to affected users. We encourage users to change their passwords on a regular basis and also familiarize themselves with our online safety tips at

They have said that less than 5% of the emails had active passwords.

However, if you are concerned you can head over to Sucuri to see if you email was one of the ones leaked.

They say that 135,599 emails came from; but that a further 106,185 came from; 54,393 from; 24,677 from; 8,422 from and 6,282

Source: TechCrunch

Check out the size of the iPad Mini compared to other tablets

Although still a rumour this diagram shows us how the new iPad Mini measures up to the Kindle Fire, Nexus 7 and iPad.

The rumoured iPad mini would very probably definitely share the same 4:3 aspect ratio of the current iPad, which (among other reasons) would call for a 7.85-inch screen as opposed to the flat 7-inch screen of the Kindle Fire and Nexus 7. So though in name the iPad Mini might be a “7-inch tablet”, the rumoured dimensions of it have it as nearly 40% larger than 7-inch tablets and two-thirds the size of the original iPad – Gizmodo

Thanks to TrojanKitten for putting the diagram together.

Nokia’s PureView technology heading to the Lumia range

Nokia’s vice president of worldwide developer relations, Richard Kerris, has said that the company’s PureView camera technology currently featured only in the 808 is coming to the Lumia range “very soon”.

Nokia 800 PureView has a 41 MP autofocus with Xenon Flash camera. The resolution is 7152 x 5368p. It also has 1080p video recording.

He went on to explain to Neowin that Nokia have many new features and new technology heading our way. They have over 30,000 patents with 10,000 of them active.

Bendable screens and a complete wrap around display so that when you want your device to be a camera, it looks like a camera. With bendable screens, you flex the display to zoom in or out, depending on the angle.

In addition, they are also working on making devices become aware of where they are. For example, when you walk in to your house after work, it hides all of your business emails and content or when a child picks of the device, it can detect the small hands and lock settings and email accounts.

Some interesting developments heading our way.

What new technology would you like to see in the next generation of Smart Phone?