Skip to content

Archive for

27
Jun

Cozmo is the tiny robot with the big brain, from the team behind Anki Overdrive


US toy start-up Anki has had great success with its artificially intelligent, app-controlled driving games over the last couple of years, but it is finally ready to expand its line-up with a departure from its Drive and Overdrive racing systems.

Cozmo is a small, smart robot that utilises the manufacturer’s expertise in AI, but offers something very different to Anki’s other products.

It still have wheels – well, tracks anyway – so drives around rather than walks. It looks like a cross between a tiny truck and a factory conveyor belt, and was part crafted by the lead designer of the Batmobile.

But it’s not what’s on the outside that’s important. Its brain is the main draw, with more processing power than all of the Mars Rovers combined, so says Anki.

It has an “emotion engine” so evolves and learns about you over time. It then responds to you in ways it thinks are most appropriate. There are complex facial expressions and the mini robot has its own voice and language.

It will also recognise other people in your family, and will brighten when it sees a familiar face.

READ: Anki Overdrive review: App-controlled car racing fun for all the family

There are several games that can be played with Cozmo and he’ll soon let you know when he is bored, by nudging your arm to encourage you to play.

More abilities and features will emerge over time, but Cozmo will be exclusive to the US at first, priced at $180 (£136). It will be available from October and requires an iOS or Android connection to work. Pre-orders are available now from anki.com/en-us/cozmo with $20 off.

At internetmatters.org parents can find all the advice they will need to keep their children safe online. Designed specifically for parents, the site offers a wealth of up-to-date, unbiased information and advice about how to deal with online safety. Parents can learn about the latest issues and technologies, get great tips on how to talk about online safety with their children and get the best advice on dealing with issues and taking action. Created with experts, Internet Matters provides detailed information, but also signposts to best-in-class resources from individual expert organisations. Our goal is to ensure parents can always access the information that they need, in a format that is clear and concise.

Advertisements
27
Jun

Dolby’s wide color range technology comes to Amazon Video


Amazon has already dipped its toes into the waters of high dynamic range video, but it’s now ready to get its feet wet. The internet giant has started integrating Dolby Vision HDR into its video subscription and purchase services. Watch the right shows (currently Amazon’s Bosch and a handful of Sony movies, like Fury) and you’ll get a wider color range as well as more details in highlights and shadows. The big catch? Right now, you’ll need one of LG’s HDR-capable 4K or OLED TVs to notice the difference — until there’s more content and hardware support, this is more of a technology showcase than anything else.

Source: Dolby

27
Jun

‘No Man’s Sky’ soundtrack is going on tour around the world


It’s not often a soundtrack associated with a video game, let alone one that’s not been released yet, is taken on tour and played to audiences all over the world. That’s exactly what’s happening with British band 65daysofstatic’s No Man’s Sky soundtrack, with a world tour beginning in October in the Netherlands.

The No Man’s Sky soundtrack features two albums’ worth of science fiction-inspired melodies with one 10-song assortment of tunes and six “soundscapes” meant to accompany you on your journey throughout the game’s procedurally-generated worlds.

If that sounds like something you’d want to hear performed live, the world tour could be making a stop in a city near you. So far, only European dates have been finalized, but the band is assuring would-be concertgoers that additional areas are coming. If your date is already on the list, you can start purchasing tickets as of June 29th.

No Man’s Sky has yet to be released, and in fact was pushed back to August 9th for North American fans on both PlayStation 4 and PC. This follows a lengthy, bizarre legal battle with European broadcasting company Sky TV over the usage of the word “sky” in the game’s title. The game’s soundtrack, No Man’s Sky: Music for an Infinite Universe, is scheduled for release the day after, on August 10th.

27
Jun

HP’s new touchscreen Chromebook is ready for Android apps


It’s no secret that HP loves making Chromebooks, and today the company is expanding its lineup with the future of Chrome OS in mind. Enter the HP Chromebook 11 G5, an 11.6-inch laptop which features a touchscreen, meaning it’ll support Android apps when Google rolls that service out later in 2016. Additionally, the new lightweight (2.51 lbs) Chromebook comes with an Intel Celeron N3060 processor and, according to HP, up to 12.5 hours of battery life. But the best part, perhaps, is that the 11 G5 will only cost $189 when it hits stores in October.

Source: HP

27
Jun

China launches its new mainstay rocket


China is celebrating the successful launch of its Long March 7 rocket, a key component and backbone of its future space program. As Xinhua News explains, the craft is designed as the “main carrier” for the Chinese space program, capable of pushing 13.5 tons of gear towards the heavens. SpaceFlightNow reports that the rocket carried a miniature version of China’s forthcoming crew capsule, which is currently being tested. Other craft on the launch included an experimental satellite tasked with cleaning up space junk and a device to measure the Earth’s gravitational field.

As impressive as 13.5 tons may sound to us, China’s already looking to dwarf that record with its next rocket, the Long March 5. While Long March 7 will be used for regular trips beyond the sky, March 5 will be able to carry 25 tons of hardware. That’ll come in useful over the next few years, when the nation begins working on the 60-ton Tiangong-3 space station. Before that, Tiangong-2 will launch towards the end of this year, although that’ll be carried on the back of the older, less exciting Long March 2F. As for Tiangong-1, the station seems to have malfunctioned towards the end of March and has now, reportedly, “gone rogue.”

Via: The Verge

Source: Xinhua News, SpaceFlightNow

27
Jun

Google’s virtual reality field trips are available to everyone


Have you been slightly envious of kids going on Google’s virtual reality field trips? Don’t be. As part of a broader educational push, Google is making the necessary Expeditions app available to everyone. So long as you have an Android device (iOS is coming soon), you too can pay a VR visit to the Great Barrier Reef and other wonders of the world. You don’t need Cardboard or another VR viewer to make it work, but this might give you an incentive to get one.

The search firm is also putting its streaming technology to work in schools. It’s introducing a Google Cast for Education app for Chrome that lets both teachers and students share their screens. You might not use it yourself, but it’ll be a big help for classes full of Chromebooks — students won’t have to walk over to the projector just to share a project.

Source: Google Official Blog, Google Play

27
Jun

Half of US households now subscribe to VOD services


With the various ways you can consume digital media aside from television and cable channels, it should come as no surprise that now, according to a new report from Nielsen, that about half of all households in the US partake in subscription VOD services like Netflix or Hulu.
While that number was dangerously close to half back in February, it’s been solidified now. Television viewing habits are continuing to decline as mobile devices like tablets or smartphones open up additional options for digesting media on consumers’ own time, anywhere at all.

It’s important to note that these viewing habits reflect mainly the 18-34 demographic, where 39% of media viewing takes places on mobile devices and computers and 15% on streaming devices like Apple TV and Roku. The 50 and over demographic spend about 53% of their television viewing time with the actual TV, and 21% on digital platforms.

The latest Nielsen report also demonstrates a 60% increase in viewing activity via smartphones among US adults over 18, quoting an average of 62 minutes a day just a year ago to 99 minutes per day, contrasting sharply with a 1% decline in live TV viewing.

These are interesting statistics, especially considering TV networks’ push to broadcast content and other unique forms of media across other mediums like Snapchat or Facebook.

Source: Variety

27
Jun

Best UK roaming data plans for Europe


eu_flag_wp.jpg?itok=NvQSDKby

The best options for getting online in Europe this summer — without breaking the bank.

Whether it’s a well-deserved annual holiday, a quick weekend break or a business trip, millions of Brits will find themselves travelling to continental Europe this year. And for most of us, that means navigating the mess of roaming deals offered by the UK’s mobile networks — not all of which are great value.

So if you’re frustrated by the maze of data bundles, plug-ins, add-ons and whatnots, then we’ve sifted through everything to bring you a plain English guide to EU roaming. Read on.

uk-sims.jpg?itok=c5oLA76V

The big four

A quick note before we begin: For the purposes of this article we’re looking at roaming plans for contract (pay monthly, not pay as you go) customers on each of the major networks.

EE

ee-sim-2048.jpg?itok=BxDvtsn8

EE now offers 4G LTE roaming in many countries (the carrier maintains a list here, and it’s been overhauling its European roaming plans over the past year.

Euro Pass / Euro Data Pass

EE Extra customers get unlimited calls and texts in Europe included in their plans. For roaming data, they can purchase a Euro Data Pass, which gives up to 500MB to use each day for £3 per day (which runs from midnight to midnight UK time.) To opt in, text EURODATA to 150. If you use up your 500MB, you’ll be able to buy an extra 75MB for £3, or 150MB for £5.

If you’re on a regular EE pay monthly plan (not EE Extra), you’ll be able to buy a Euro Pass, which costs £4 per day. This has the same data allowances and overage prices as the Euro Data Pass, but comes with unlimited calls and texts too. (The reason for the price difference is that EE Extra customers already get EU roaming calls and texts included in their price plan.)

That 500MB daily limit reasonably high enough that you probably won’t hit it unless you’re streaming lots of music and video content. However, note that you won’t be able to use the Euro Pass or Euro Data Pass if you’re on an EE shared plan or mobile Wi-Fi plan.

Roaming Data Add-ons

The alternative from EE is its selection of European roaming data add-ons. Which add-on is right for you will depend on how long you’re away and what you plan on doing with your data. Here’s how things break down:

  • 75MB for £3 for 24 hours
  • 150MB for £5 for 24 hours
  • 300MB for 7 days for £12
  • 600MB for 7 days for £20

If you’re grandfathered into EE’s older roaming add-on price structure, you may be offered different (and more favorable) roaming prices. The “special” roaming rates include £2 for 100MB for 24 hours, £12.50 for 250MB for a week, or £25 for 1GB for a week.

Whichever roaming option you eventually choose from EE, you’ll be able to see all the available bundles once you land at http://add-on.ee.co.uk.

Vodafone

lte-generic.jpg?itok=57mQQ8NQ

Vodafone UK has arguably the most comprehensive — and confusing — European roaming coverage. To start, though, the good news is that Voda now offers 4G LTE roaming coverage throughout most of Europe.

If you took out your contract before May 5, 2016 you’ll likely be able to use Vodafone EuroTraveller.

EuroTraveller lets you use your UK allowance for calls, texts and data in Europe at no extra cost, including 4G and tethering.

See this PDF for the list of EuroTraveller countries. You may need to text ADD to 40506 to opt in, so double-check before you travel.

If you’re not opted in, you’ll pay Vodafone’s standard roaming rates, which may work out much more expensive if you’re a heavy data user.

If you took out your contract after May 5, 2016 you’ll likely have an Inclusive Roaming allowance

Inclusive Roaming gives you unlimited calls, texts and picture messages, along with 4GB of roaming data in Vodafone’s Inclusive Roaming countries in Europe.

This PDF shows Voda’s Inclusive Roaming countries. (At the time of writing it’s exactly the same as the EuroTraveller coverage area.)

There’s a built-in data cap to stop you going over the 4GB limit. If you reach the limit, you can buy additional data in 100MB (lasts one day, for £2) or 1GB (lasts one month, for £15):

  • To add 100MB for £2, text ‘ROAM 100MB’ to 40506.
  • To add 1GB for £15, text ‘ROAM 1GB’ to 40506

You can also remove your data cap from your account control panel and pay Vodafone’s standard roaming rates, but these are extremely expensive and there’s basically no reason for you to do this.

O2

o2-generic.jpg?itok=BFU0XslA

O2’s EU roaming plans are refreshingly simple. With O2 Travel (available on most, but not all O2 contracts) you’ll pay £1.99 per day (midnight to midnight UK time) for 120 minutes, 120 texts and unlimited data on the continent. (A complete list of included countries can be found here.) The network states “there’s no upper usage limit with data however data speeds may vary,” which suggests you may get throttled if you push things too hard.

O2 contract customers can text O2TRAVEL to 23336 to opt in, or NOTRAVEL to 23336 to opt out, with changes taking up to 24 hours to take effect. If you’re not opted in, you’ll pay O2’s standard roaming rates of 4.3p per MB.

The only downside: 4G LTE is not currently available for roaming O2 customers.

Three

three-uk-2048-nowm.jpg?itok=mbtBzho_

On Three you’ve got a couple of options depending on where exactly you’re going.

Feel At Home

If you’re visiting a European country in Three’s “Feel At Home” area — currently Austria, Denmark, Finland, France, Italy, Spain, Norway, Ireland, Sweden or Switzerland — you can use your phone abroad at no extra cost. There are a few strings attached, however:

  • You’ll be limited to HSPA+ data speeds when abroad, and there’ve been reports of significant data speed throttling from some customers.
  • If you’re on All You Can Eat (unlimited) customer, you’ll be capped at 12GB (and 5,000 texts) while abroad.
  • Tethering isn’t included.
  • Inclusive minutes can’t be used for calls to other international (non-UK) numbers.
  • Calls to UK numbers starting 070, 084, 087, 09 and 118 aren’t included.

Euro Internet Pass

If your destination isn’t a Feel At Home country, you’ll need to purchase a Euro Internet Pass, which will give you unlimited data in EU countries for £5 per day. Again, there are a few caveats:

“The Euro Internet Pass was designed for browsing. This means that streaming video or audio content and connecting over a Virtual Private Network (VPN) won’t be as good as it is on our UK network. Please note that using your phone as a Personal Hotspot, calls and texts aren’t included in the Euro Internet Pass.”

Head to http://mobile.three.co.uk/europass when you land to buy a pass. If you don’t you’ll pay Three’s standard roaming rate of 17.4p per MB.

Smaller providers

  • GiffGaff charges 4p per MB for customers with a plan, and 5p per MB for those without a plan, for European roaming. More info here.

  • Tesco Mobile has a couple of options — its Home from Home service lets you use your UK allowance in 31 countries (including all EU countries) at no extra cost, from 23 May to 3 September 2016. Outside this time you’ll pay the standard roaming rate of 10p per MB.

  • Asda Mobile charges a standard rate of 5p per MB for roaming data in the EU. More info here.

  • Virgin Mobile has three “Travel Passes” available for roaming in the EU — 10MB for 35p, 50MB for £1.50 or 250MB for £5. Passes last for 30 days; more info here.

What about Brexit?

The European Union currently limits what providers can charge for calls, texts and data when roaming between EU countries. And roaming fees between EU countries are set be abolished altogether by June 15, 2017. Since it could take up to two years for the terms of UK’s exit from the EU to be negotiated, it’s likely the abolition of roaming fees will benefit Brits too — at least for a time.

However, unless the UK government acts to impose its own restrictions on roaming fees, UK networks would once again be free to charge higher prices for roaming once “Brexit” is fully wrapped up — likely in late 2018.

Will you be using your phone abroad this summer? Any tips of your own for saving data? Shout out in the comments!

27
Jun

Sony unleashes the Xperia XA in the UK


Sony has announced the company’s Xperia XA handset is now available in the UK on networks other than O2. Sony had previously released the Xperia XA on O2 on June 23, but today you’ll be able to find the handset from the likes of Carphone Warehouse, Three, Virgin, and more.

xperia-xa-4.jpg?itok=Dh_-WKxU

As well as the £17 per month option (with 100MB of data) on O2, those seeking the Xperia XA will be able to look to Vodafone, which is offering two tariff options for £24 per month (£10 upfront fee — 1GB of data) or £19 per month (£30 upfront fee — 500MB of data). Three has the Xperia XA on plans from £18, but until July 18 you’ll be able to enjoy a 50% savings for the first 6 months.

Lastly, Virgin lists the phone on plans from £15 per month. Those unfamiliar with the Xperia XA, we’re looking at a curved 5-inch, 720p display, MediaTek MT6755 processor, 2GB of RAM, NFC, 13MP rear shooter with 8MP front-facing camera, 16GB internal storage (with microSD expansion), and a battery that is boasted to last for up to two days of use thanks to Sony’s “smart battery management.”

The Xperia XA is available in Graphite Black, White, Lime Gold, and Rose Gold (exclusive to Carphone Warehouse). Hit the links below to be taken to the respective stores where you can purchase the Sony handset. It’s worth noting that Vodafone still has the Xperia XA listed as “coming soon.”

  • Buy the Sony Xperia XA from CPW
  • Buy the Sony Xperia XA from O2
  • Buy the Sony Xperia XA from Three
  • Buy the Sony Xperia XA from Virgin

27
Jun

Best roaming plans for Canadians travelling to the U.S.


roaming-us-imore.jpg?itok=9bcItYYj

Here are the best ways to save money when taking your phone to the U.S.!

Millions of Canadians visit the U.S. every year and, with nearly every pocket protecting a smartphone and its data plan, they increasingly want to maintain the same quality of service they have at home. Thankfully, roaming options have not only proliferated over the past few years but, due to competition at home and abroad, plans have become significantly cheaper.

Here are the best ones.

Roam Mobility

Roam Mobility has staked its claim as one of the best roaming options for Canadians traveling south. Owned by Vancouver-based Otono Networks, the company figured out early on that most people want to have their roaming service figured out before they cross the border. Roam Mobility offers SIM cards for unlocked phones that can be easily topped up from the company’s website prior to embarking, with options ranging from per-day, for short-term visitors, to Snowbird plans, for Canadians spending longer periods in warmer climes during the winter.

Though Roam Mobility recently raised its fees to hedge against the weakening Canadian Dollar, at $4.95 CAD per day for 500MB of 4G LTE data, plus unlimited calling and texts with a unique local phone number, it is still one of the best deals around.

What to know: Data is cumulative, and doesn’t reset at midnight like some other plans. If you require more data, purchase an extra day or two in advance; those extra megabytes can be used all at once, and are cheaper than purchasing bundled plans.

See at Roam Mobility

Karma Go Hotspot

karma-go-hotspot-laptop-phone.jpg?itok=A

The only independent solution in the list, Karma’s Go hotspot creates a WiFi signal from a 4G LTE connection, allowing several people to connect to it from up to 100 feet away in nearly 500 American cities.

While the Karma comes with an upfront cost of $149 USD, it can be used with a monthly plan (starting at $40 for 5GB) or a pay-as-you-go flex plan, depending on a user’s needs.

What to know: Karma lasts up to six hours on a charge and can be topped up quickly using a microUSB cord.

Total Cost

  • Karma Go hotspot: $149 USD
  • 5GB month service: $40 USD
  • 10GB month service: $75 USD
  • 20GB month service: $140 USD
  • Shipping to Canada: $20 USD

See at Karma

Local T-Mobile SIM

Another great option for Canadians visiting the States is to head straight to a T-Mobile store to pick up a SIM card for an unlocked phone.

While the rates used to be significantly more generous than they are today, T-Mobile still offers some decent options for data-hungry travellers. For $3 per day, you can get 30 minutes of talk or 30 texts, with the option of adding 500MB of 4G LTE data for $5 per day. Longer stay travellers can spend $10 per week for 1GB of 4G LTE data, which is a great option for those who’ll be hedging with plenty of Wi-Fi.

See at T-Mobile

Keeping your own SIM card

For those uninterested in changing SIM cards, nearly all Canadian carriers have all-inclusive roaming plans for visiting the US. The benefits are obvious: you get to keep your phone numbers, allowing you to send and receive calls and texts as if you were at home. The downsides are obvious, too: they tend to be slightly more expensive than the above alternatives.

Rogers Roam Like Home

For $5 per day, customers on Share Everything plans can access their call, texts and data buckets from back home. Enroll by texting travel to 222.

What to know: Customers spending longer than 10 days per month in the US will only be charged for 10 days, to a maximum of $50.

See at Rogers

Bell Roam Better

For $5 per day, share plan customers can visit the US and access unlimited calls and texts, along with 100MB of data that isn’t tied to their data buckets from back home. Enroll by texting roam to 7626.

What to know: Need more data? It’s easy to add another 100MB of data for an additional $5 per day. Plans expire at 11:59pm Eastern Time, regardless of which US time zone the customer is in.

See at Bell

Telus US Easy Roam

For $7 per day, postpaid customers can access their calls, text and data buckets from back home. Enroll by texting travel to 7626.

What to know: Customers will not be charged after spending 14 days in the US, to a maximum of $100 per billing cycle. Unlike Rogers, users don’t have to be subscribed to a share plan — all postpaid plans are valid.

See at Telus

Wind Mobile

Wind Mobile US Roaming Add-on: For $15 per month, Wind Mobile customers can add unlimited talk and text, and 1GB of full-speed data in the US. Wind also offers many plans that include unlimited US talk, text and 1GB of monthly data.

What to know: Instead of charging extra, Wind Mobile will throttle connections to 2G speeds after using 1GB of data per month.

See at Wind Mobile

Your roaming plans?

Is your carrier not listed? Check with them to see if they have inexpensive daily, weekly, or monthly US travel bundles. Have roaming experiences or tips to share? Leave them in in the comments!

%d bloggers like this: