Entertainment on the Move

When the iPad was originally launched, tablet devices were launched into the limelight. It goes without saying that Apple were not the first, but they made this category of device sexy and created an experience that many did not know they wanted, until they had handled one of these new wonders. Since the first generation iPad was so successful, many other manufacturers frantically played catchup.

To a certain degree they have, with many manufacturers backing the Google Android platform. Whilst the hardware may not be as sexy, the ecosystem is definitely developing. The selection of apps on the Google Play Store is now more than acceptable, making the myriad of devices from the likes of Samsung, Asus and Acer (to name just a few) very viable options. My personal opinion is that they are not quite as tied in service-wise, whereas the Apple iPad is very good at synchronising with the likes of an Apple desktop or laptop.

This new category, for a long time, has been thought of as an ideal way of consuming media, but not necessarily creating. Things are pretty good, with regard to photo manipulation, simple spreadsheets, text documents and the like, but anything more than that is often a compromise. I do take notes on my iPad, but anything more than that and I grab my laptop, or sit down at a desktop computer.

Whilst these two platforms battle it out, Microsoft is sitting in the wings. It dipped its toe into the water with the Surface RT and Surface Pro, which were a hard sell due to lack of apps. However, with their most recent offerings, the Surface 2 and Pro 2, things have improved. Apps that were missing first time around are now appearing with around half of the mainstream titles not available at original launch, now in the Windows App Store.

Whichever platform you choose, all of these devices have something in common. They are all great entertainment devices. Awesome for playing back videos, music, playing games etc. The internet browsers add yet another dimension and allow you to play online games. You might even be able to increase your riches too, by trying your luck at Blackjack, Slots or Roulette on Casino.com who, like many websites, have enriched their experience for mobile devices. So whether it's online shopping, emails, surfing the internet or staying in touch with friends & family, this new breed of tablet device is here to stay and I am certainly thankful that Apple made this category popular again.

Study shows Android users spend larger percentage of time browsing than their iOS counterparts

Are you reading this on your smartphone? If so, you’ve got about 14 minutes to finish up.

A new study by Simmons Connect finds that smartphone users spend about 14 minutes a day looking at websites. They also compared Android to iOS users, and found some interesting statistics which may cast doubt on previous claims of iOS usage over Android. Interestingly enough, this all comes to light the day after Tim Cook noted (again) that iOS users spend more time visiting websites than their Android counterpart.

Android users spend about 49 minutes on their mobile device daily, whereas iOS users spend a whopping 75 minutes a day squinting at their screens. That averages out to about an hour, which is a good median number for comparison. We’ll keep in mind, though, that percentage of use versus overall time will have an integral part of the discussion...

Read the full story here. Source: Android Authority


Sheryl Sandberg: Teens not abandoning Facebook

RANCHO PALOS VERDES, Calif. -- Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg isn't overly concerned that teenagers will abandon the giant social network, as a Pew study reported. "We're the leaders in a growing market," she said during an onstage interview at theD: All Things Digital conference here. She acknowledged, though, that teens are using sites such as Tumblr and Twitter more. "We are watching that very carefully," she said.

Sandberg also noted that social networking and other Internet activities still trail TV in terms of time spent. Users on average watch 34 hours of TV a week, compared with 6 hours per week on Facebook. "There is room for people to do different things. All other services continue to grow and we do. We don't think it's a zero-sum game," she said...

Read the full story here. Source: CNET

Firefox 20 for Mac Adds Download Manager and New Private Browsing Features

Mozilla has today launched Firefox 20, adding a number of significant improvements to the browser. Users are now able to initiate private browsing without the need to open a new window or close a current browsing session. 

There is a new function in place that allows users to close a hanging plugin without the need to shut down the entire browser, and the update also includes a new download manager in the Firefox toolbar. 

The download manager can be accessed by clicking on the down arrow button on the right side of the search bar. When clicked, the arrow will show the drop down file manager, displaying all downloads and providing a progress bar for files that are in the process of downloading. Tools allow users to pause/resume downloads, cancel, go to the download page, and open the downloads folder. 

Firefox version 20 also includes several bug fixes, performance improvements, and new tools for developers. This version of Firefox comes approximately six weeks after the release of Firefox 19

[Source: MacRumors]

UK ISPs start blocking torrent sites after court order

If you're looking for some naughty torrent action this weekend then hard cheese, my friend -- BT, O2, Virgin Media and BE Broadband have started blocking such sites following an order from the High Court.

But not all. Kickass Torrents, H33T and Fenopy are the only torrent sites you won't be able to access using the above ISPs, thanks to a High Court order earlier this year, The Inquirer reports. The ban started yesterday, but will it really stop nogoodniks?

The three blocked torrent sites are pretty huge: Kickass Torrents is one of the 50 most-visited websites in the UK, while H33T and Fenopy have hundreds of thousands of visitors a day. They join The Pirate Bay, which was also blocked by ISPs last year. Though those wily pirates have found plenty of ways to get around that. And it hasn't meant fewer people are file sharingeither.

The High Court order came about because of a request from nine major record labels, led by the BPI (British Phonographic Industry). They cited Section 97A of the Copyright, Design and Patents Act, and asked BT, EE, O2, Sky, Talktalk and Virgin Media to stop letting users access the sites. It's not known whether Sky, EE and Talktalk will follow suit and block torrent sites in future.

The four ISPs who have blocked the sites didn't do so voluntarily, but they didn't dispute the BPI's demands either.

I can see why music labels and film studios are so protective of their copyright, but is blocking sites really the answer? It won't stop someone googling and finding another site hosting torrents. And while three of the biggest might be out of action -- only on some ISPs, remember -- it'll just drive traffic to the others, helping them grow, until they're big enough to be the target of a court order, and the whole process starts again. I've said it before, but it's true -- it's like playing whack-a-mole.

[Source: CNET]

UK broadband speeds climb 34 per cent in 2012, but at a cost

The UK's broadband speeds have hit double figures for the first time, watchdog Ofcom jubilantly reports! But are Brits paying over the odds to get faster Internet speeds?

The average fixed-line speed of a UK connection was 12Mbps in November of last year, thereport claims, up from a more modest 9Mbps in May of last year -- a 34 per cent speed increase. The numbers come via 1,291 panel members, who had measurement units strapped to their routers to measure Internet speeds.

It's not all good news though, as Ofcom's findings suggest there's a greater disparity in speeds -- a kind of broadband inequality. The average speed of connections advertised as 'up to 10Mbps' (excluding connections billed as 'up to 2Mbps') was 4.4Mbps in November, down from 5.6Mbps in May.

Ofcom reckons this fall is partly down to Virgin Media shifting its cable customers onto speedier 20 or 30Mbps services. As cable is generally faster than ADSL1 connections, the average has fallen -- ie most of the people left on 'up to 10Mbps' connections are getting less than half that. BT, meanwhile, is upgrading its ADSL network, leaving ADSL1 connections in rural areas that are further from exchanges, and consequently get slower speeds.

The overall speed bump appears to have come from an increase in the number of folks opting for super-speedy fibre connections of 30Mbps and above. The average speed for these connections was a pacy 44.6Mbps, but Marie-Louise Abretti of Uswitch warns the increase in broadband speeds may be putting pressure on our wallets.

Demand for streaming video and downloads has "led to some being frustrated with slow speed," Abretti says, "and, where they can, opting for a pricier fibre connection.

"There are still coverage blackspots across Britain," Abretti also notes, "where consumers still struggle with frustratingly sluggish speeds." 

In other words, while the average speed across the UK is up, things don't look much rosier for those who can't afford -- or can't access -- the kinds of zippy download speeds that fibre provides.

The report to some extent contradicts recent findings by streaming-video service Netflix, which found the UK's average speed recording by its servers was 2.07Mbps. That put us near the bottom of a league table of the countries in which it operates.

[Source: CNET]

Microsoft landed with £486m EU fine in browser-choice row

Microsoft has been landed with a staggering €561m (roughly £486m) fine, after European regulators found the software giant hadn't offered PC owners enough of a choice when it came to their browser.

The fine was handed down by the European Commission, as punishment for neglecting an anti-monopoly settlement from 2009, the New York Times reports. In that settlement the company behind Clippy vowed to offer Windows users a choice of which browser they wanted to use, instead of simply defaulting to its own Internet Explorer.

The result was 2010's browser ballot, which you may have spied yourself if you've started up a new Windows PC in the last couple of years. The ballot offered rival operating systems such as Firefox, Google Chrome and Apple's Safari browser.

The order in which rival browsers would appear on the ballot was a subject of heated debate, but eventually Microsoft plumped for the five most popular Web browsers appearing in random order.

Good stuff, but Microsoft seemingly dropped the ball, with a version of Windows 7 (SP1) not offering users the choice. The company reportedly says it has updated both Windows 7 andWindows 8 to include the ballot, but that hasn't stopped anti-monopoly officials sending the firm a monstrous bill.

Microsoft's Internet Explorer browser remains popular, though critics say a huge part of that success is because it's been the default software on Windows PCs for a long time.

[Source: CNET]

KFC gets free UK WiFi through The Cloud: get some data with your drumsticks

Hey, it worked for McDonald's, didn't it? KFC would certainly prefer that its British customers hang around for long enough to justify a bucket of chicken rather than a Snack Box, so it's teaming up with The Cloud to offer free WiFi in all of its UK restaurants. The gradual rollout will just ask that visitors face a KFC landing page before they wander over to cat videos and ex-partners' status updates. We're glad to have one more avenue for internet access when we're feeling peckish, although we may question our path in life when we're Instagramming a Boneless Banquet For One.

[Source: Engadget]

More than 7m Brits are yet to use the Internet, government says

You might hate me for saying this (if you're over, say, 25), but I genuinely can't remember a world without the Internet. But it seems 15 per cent of UK adults have managed to avoid it completely -- more than 7.4 million Brits have never used the Web, according to an official report from the Office for National Statistics.

While those figures may sound surprising, the majority of the population who have yet to experience the wonders of the Internet are aged 75 or over. Internet use is highest among those between the ages of 16 and 24, of course, with very nearly 100 per cent of the population having used the Web. There were still 53,000 among the younger generation who had not, however, with poverty the main cause.

300,000 people who have not accessed the Internet put this down to earning less than £200 a week -- in stark contrast to the 100 per cent earning over £2,000 who are plugged in.

More and more people are accessing the Internet all the time though, with 1.2 million users having connected to cyberspace since last year.  

The report showed men were also more likely to use the Web, with 12 per cent of men having never been online as opposed to 16.9 per cent of women.

The older generation was not the only demographic with a particularly high proportion of people having never used the Internet: 32.8 per cent of people with disabilities live offline.

The report revealed that, unsurprisingly, single people were most likely to live their lives online with just 5.2 per cent having never accessed the information superhighway (you may have noticed I'm running out of synonyms here).

The problem with the social divide of Internet users could soon become much worse, with many government services being moved to its online portal. The first major service to get a 21st century overhaul will be the Department of Work & Pensions' Universal Credit project, which will combine six benefits into one, that can then be managed and claimed online.

[Source: CNET]

Top 5 YouTube Alternatives

When I think Internet video, I think of YouTube. And to be honest, I'm more than confident that you do too.

Below, I have listed my top 5 YouTube alternatives.

1. Vimeo

Vimeo is a great video sharing website. Personally, I find that the videos that are uploaded to Vimeo are of a higher quality than the videos on YouTube. The creators aim for a higher quality, and normally more creative too.

2. Blip.tv

Blip.tv is more tailored towards web series. Blip.tv offers you access to a wide variety of comedies, dramas, comedies, arts, sports and other shows.

3. Veoh

Veoh is an Internet television company that allows users to find and watch major studio video content. It's not very well known. But it does let you upload substantial sized videos.

4. Viddler

Viddler is focused on the business side of video rather than the adverage customer. It's main aim is to build your company brand. It has a great analytics tool and you can customize your video player. Because Viddler is made for businesses, it does have a few payment plans.

5. yfrog

yfrog is famous for being a photo sharing website for Twitter. However, did you know that is also allows you to upload short videos too? yfrog is great for taking a short video, then sharing it to your Twitter followers.


What do you think about this top 5? What's your favourite video sharing website? Let us know in the comments below.

[Image Credit]

Xbox 720 makes Internet connection mandatory, report says

Microsoft could be working hard to suck all the bargains out of gaming, if fresh rumours concerning the next Xbox are to be believed.

Citing "sources with first-hand experience of Microsoft's next-generation console", Edge reports that the Xbox 720 (said to be code named 'Durango') will require an Internet connection in order to function, and will see games shipping with single-use activation codes.

That would put the kibosh on buying or selling second-hand games, forcing you to always pay first-hand prices. It would likely also rule out lending games to a friend or sibling.

This is only a rumour for now, so take this report with a pinch of salt. These anti-second-hand measures are already being taken by a number of games publishers however, who bundle one-use codes with games in order to make the discs less valuable to sell. Sony's upcomingPlayStation 4 is rumoured to feature the same locked-down technology.

The report also reckons that the next Xbox will use Blu-ray discs, taking advantage of the format's high-capacity discs, and will come packing a quad-core processor.

The next Xbox and PlayStation 4 are both expected to go on sale this year, to combat the Wii U, which was released before Christmas. Sony has already teased a PlayStation event on 20 February, so we could be less than a fortnight away from glimpsing the fourth PlayStation console.

[Source: CNET]

Monopoly Board Game Gets a Cat Token Thanks to the Internet

Leave it to the Internet to bring its obsession with cats to the classic board game of Monopoly.

Hasbro, the published or the Monopoly board game, started a campaign last month on its Facebook page to vote out one of the old game pieces and introduce a new one. The token to get removed from the game was the iron, a token that had existed since the original patent was submitted in 1935.

And the winner to take its place? A cat.

Oh, Internet. Why are we not surprised?

The other options were a diamond ring, guitar, helicopter and a robot. The last one was probably the only one with a real shot against the cat, but seeing as LOL Cats are still a prominent meme on the Web, the outcome was inevitable.

The cat token is expected to replace the iron in mid to late 2013, so if you want to get the last run of the retiring piece, you may want to head out to the stores soon.

It could have been worse. A strip of bacon could have been put up as a suggestion and then we all know what would have happened.

[Source: TechnoBuffalo]