Smartphones are now the UK’s Most Popular Web Surfing Device

Ofcom has conducted a survey into the browsing habits of UK citizens and discovered the majority of users prefer mobile devices for internet browsing. Previously, laptops held the top spot with 40% of the vote while smartphones only attributed to 22%. The 2015 results signify a major shift as 33% of people said their smartphone was the primary device to get online compared with 30% who chose a laptop. In Q1 2015, 66% of households contained a smartphone and managed to overtake laptop ownership which stands at 65%.

Interestingly, the report says smartphone users spend an average of 144 minutes browsing the internet, which is almost twice the figure of a Laptop or PC at 69 minutes. The research suggests smartphones are more of a digital companion than a communication tool. For example, 42% of those surveyed watch video clips, 21% stream TV shows, 45% engage in online shopping and 44% have setup online banking.

The largest increase stems from tablet PCs and it’s surprising to read that 54% of households now own a tablet device. Although, the growth of ultra-cheap Android tablets shouldn’t make this a shocking revelation.

Rather alarmingly, almost half (48%) of smartphone users admit to being “hooked” on a mobile phone and rate their addiction a 7 or above out of 10. The data emphasizes how revolutionary connected smart devices have become. Consumers cannot exist without checking their social media, browsing for the latest deals and watching a variety of their favourite programmes. This doesn’t mean the laptop is dead as productivity through a normal keyboard is significantly higher. However, for casual usage, the smartphone looks set to dominate.

Startphones May Be Able to Predict When the next Earthquake Will Be

The common smartphone can do more than track movement, personal health or geographical position. The gadgets nowadays can also warn users of potential earthquakes thanks to advancements in GPS technology.

A team of researchers from the United States reveal how a crowdsourced early warning system can look like. They say that the smartphones are currently able to predict any earthquake with a magnitude of 7 of above. U.S. Geological Survey study leader in California, Sarah Minson, explained how the accelerometer data can be used along with GPS readings to give accurate real-time map activity.

“The GPS on a smartphone is shockingly good. If you take your phone and move it six inches to the right, it knows with surprising accuracy that it moved six inches to the right — and that is exactly what we want to know when studying earthquakes,” Minson stated.

While the idea is unique, it does have its limitations. Smartphones are not scientific instruments and can only act as warning systems, but even so, they may prove to even save lives one day. Minson stated that a special app is required to help record the data.

“The cost is essentially zero, especially since people buy new phones every two years or so to have the latest-and-greatest model,” Minson added.

The researchers have taken data from the 2011 earthquake in Tōhoku, Japan, to test the warning system out. Also, in order to avoid false alarms, the system is said to look for similar movement in different handsets at once.

The study was published in the Science Advances journal, but more research needs to be done before you can have your smartphones yelling at you in case they detect an earthquake.

Thank you Digital Trends for providing us with this information

Jawbone UP3 to Finally Ship Beginning April 20th

Jawbone announced today on its blog that the UP3 would finally start to ship out starting April 20th to those who had pre-ordered. In case you were unaware, the UP3 was supposed to be ready for Christmas 2014 but ran into manufacturing problems.

The new fitness and activity tracker was announced last year for Christmas 2014 availability. As production started to ramp up it became evident that there were problems with the manufacturing as the samples were having issues with water resistance. Now that the production issues have been fixed they are currently in mass production. With the pre-orders starting to ship on April 20th we can look forward to seeing these in stores shortly after that.

Intelligence Agencies Point to Russian Involvement in Recent White House Hacking

The recent White House power outage has turned into being something more than that. CNN reports that US officials have admitted that the White House’s network has been hacked in the process, but the affected computers were part of a non-classified network serving the executive office.

Still, the attackers were able to access sensitive information, such as the president’s real-time daily schedule. CNN also reports that the attackers used an account on the State Department network to phish their way into the White House.

“We’re constantly updating our security measures on our unclassified system but we’re frankly told to act as if we need not put information that’s sensitive on that system. In other words, if you’re going to do something classified, you have to do it on one email system, one phone system.” Ben Rhodes, Deputy National Security adviser, told CNN.

The Secret Service and Intelligence Agencies are already investigating the matter, but it looks like clues point to Russia being behind the attack, or at least the hackers originate from the aforementioned country.

The attackers are said to have covered their tracks by routing their activity through a lot of servers throughout the world.

Thank you Endgadget for providing us with this information

Google Working on New VPN Service for Open WiFi Networks

Android 5.1 appears to come with a new network security feature, as reported by Pocketables. They have found a new VPN feature on Google’s latest Android build called Google Connectivity Services, which can be found in Settings > Apps > All and by scrolling down, users can see it under the latter mentioned name.

It seems to be a bit tricky to launch the app, having to launch it as an activity rather than a fully fledged Android app. The activity is named “com.google.android.apps.gcs/com.google.android.apps.gcs.WifiAssistantOptInActivity” and can be launched with the help of QuickShorcutMaker, an app which can be downloaded for free from the Google Play Store.

Once you place the Google Connectivity Service on the screen and launch it, users are greeted by popup message stating the following: “To help protect you on open Wi-Fi networks, your data will be transmitted securely through a Google VPN.”

The “Learn More” button will take users to the Google support page, also accessible from here, while the “Got It” button takes the users to the standard VPN connection request screen.

However, the test was not successful, having attempted to connect through open WiFi networks, secure WiFi networks and even LTE with no avail. It is still unclear if and when Google will launch this feature, whether it will be open for everyone or will it be discontinued. What we do know is that Google is at least making an effort to bring some VPN services to its latest Android OS.

Thank you Pocketables for providing us with this information

Facebook Bans ‘Feeling Fat’?

Facebook users know that you can post a vast number of activities on your timeline, from what you are doing, like watching a certain movie, to how you are feeling at a moment in time. But have you ever wanted to post that you are feeling a bit ‘fat-ish’ after a big meal?

Well, whether you were aware of the ‘feeling fat’ emoji or not, Facebook has recently banned it after a number of complaints. It is said that the rosy-cheeked, double-chinned emoticon got banned after activists started a petition against it for its negative impact it might have for those struggling with eating disorders and general issues regarding body weight.

Thank you Gizmodo for providing us with this information

Google Demos First Five Glass Minigames, Not Looking So ‘Normal’ In Public

According to The Verge, Google has demoed their first five minigames for Glass. Up until now, Glass has been shown to send messages, make calls, and do other standard things that smartphones can do, but it’s still lacking in games.

But Google apparently did not like its Glass to be all work and no play. They have demoed their first five minigames for Glass that are super simple, but which also show the gaming potential of the headset. When you say “Ok Glass, play a game”, it will bring up the minigames from the main voice menu. Each game takes advantage of a specific Glass technology.

For example, ‘Tennis’ looks to use the gyroscope and accelerometer to detect head tilts and hit the ball. ‘Balance’ is said to also uses the accelerometer to keep a bunch of shapes from toppling over. ‘Clay Shooter’ is played with the help of voice recognition to shoot clay pigeons out of the air, ‘Match’ apparently has you pairing objects using head movements, and ‘Shape Splitter’ seems that has you slicing objects with your hands in front of Glass’s camera.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9naxeHGIaRY#t=0[/youtube]

Google reportedly created the games to be just as simple as they sound. They’re easy to turn on and play when you have a few minutes of free time, and are easy to get out of when you need to come back to the real world. However, anyone yelling “Pull!” to shoot a pigeon down from the sky in a Glass game will look even weirder than a person simply wearing Glass.

Thank you The Verge for providing us with this information
Video courtesy of The Verge

Sony Resets User Passwords Following Irregular Network Activity

A number of times in the news we have seen reports that Sony’s Playstation Network (PSN) security has been compromised and as a result the user names and passwords of many users, along with their personal information has been illegally accessed. Sadly it looks like the same thing may have happened yet again, but it seems that Sony may have shut the door on anything happening this time round.

Following Sony Europe’s move earlier this week to reset a large number of passwords as part of a ‘precautionary measure’, Sony’s America team has followed suit as they pick up activity on their network that doesn’t follow the usual pattern. Thankfully for the small number of users that have been affected, Sony may have got there just in time, but as always we will recommend that you keep your password safe, making sure that it is changed on a regular basis, but most of all – don’t make it easy to guess. Capitals and numbers mixed in will help to keep your account that bit more secure.

In order to keep a number of users from panicking that they cannot reset their password, a spokesperson for Sony stated:  “Note that if you have access to the email address and Date of Birth associated with the account, you will be able to reset it yourself. If you are missing one or both of those, then you will need to contact us for further assistance.”

Kotaku pushed Sony for a statement regarding the activity; Sony replied “We routinely monitor for irregular activity, and if such activity is detected, we may sometimes reset passwords of affected SEN accounts as a precautionary measure to protect consumers and their account information.”

Whilst Sony may have caught out any potential intruders, it looks like there are still a few creases within their security measures that need to be ironed out to yet again prevent anything like this happening again.

Source: Kotaku.com