In this day and age, keeping your customers up to date is as important as getting them on board in the first place. Reports started circulating yesterday that Yahoo users weren’t able to access their email accounts, and all they got for their troubles was a single tweet.
Originally reported in the thread titled “Yahoo Mail has been down for 14 hours, affecting thousands of users in Europe”, users went from saying that having their service shut down without any response being unacceptable to the barrage of comments from users asking if the service was ever truly running these days or how many people were actually affected by the problem (including a rather large barrage joking about the use of Yahoo mail for business reasons).
After checking out Yahoo Mail’s twitter page (the quickest way to update people these days on issues it would seem), the page was filled with nothing but advertisements spread out over days with no communications regarding the reported outage. That was until we checked out their support page, Yahoo Care. Amongst a slew of advertisements for their fantasy baseball teams was a single tweet saying that some users were experiencing issues.
Some @YahooMail users are experiencing issues due to an undersea cable cut by a 3rd party. Fix is a few days out. We’ll keep you updated.
In this day and age, taking days to fix a problem with little to no support for your users seems like a quick way to lose people to other webmail solutions like Gmail and Outlook. We will try to keep you updated (as well as we can with the little information that seems to be available at this moment).
Google Fiber is Googles way of providing the internet for a variety of users, with a wide range of choices to help people in all situations. Their $70 gigabit internet access was their most commonly known option, but for those in Kansas City you could also get 5Mbps internet for a small construction fee, or at least you could as it would appear that Google Fiber has now dropped its free tier. The free 5Mbps option is now longer available for selection
The free 5 Mbps option is no longer available for selection, with a new 100 Mbps costing $50 a month and the $100 installation fee waived in exchange for a one-year commitment. Those who are currently on the tier have until the 19th May to say they want to keep it, but with the option also being available in Austin and Provo, the question is will they soon lose the low-cost option.
With the removal being unannounced and no word from Google yet regarding the removal, it is up to anyone’s guess why they have made this move. It could simply be that the days of fiber being considered a luxury experiment are over and with so many people now offering fiber connections for cheap prices, Google fiber may just need to start making money.
Everyone knows about USB cables. Used for everything from transferring important information from one device to another to charging your devices, they are seen everywhere and the USB Type-C Cables are no exception. Some people were put off when a google engineer fried his Chromebook using a bad cable from Amazon, a move which has now made Amazon ban bad USB Type-C Cables from its site.
USB Type-C (also known as USB-C) is loved for many reasons, from their lack of orientation, no more finding if you’ve put the cable in the wrong way round on the third or fourth time, to the fact that both ends are identical, meaning that there is no right and wrong end, there is only the right ends!
USB-C are also twice as fast as USB 3.0, a standard that barely took off before people noticed USB-C’s popularity. With speeds of up to 10Gbps and the ability to output up to 20V(100W), the USB-C is quickly gaining favor to replace the variety of USB connections that came before it. Sadly with the recent interest in the connector, some people have taken to selling some not so great copies. Listed under their prohibited electronic listings, Amazon now ban any USB-C cable that can be described as:
Any USB-C (or USB Type-C) cable or adapter product that is not compliant with standard specifications issued by “USB Implementers Forum Inc.”
With the ability to report and have bad cables removed from the site, hopefully, fewer people will have to lose their precious devices to cut price and bad quality products.
How fast is your internet? 1Mbps? 10Mbps? Are you lucky enough to get a 1Gbps? With governments all over the world now racing to deliver the best internet to everyone, the speed of your internet is quickly becoming a topic of hot debate. For those with speed hate, I am sorry. It would now seem that it is possible to transmit 57Gbps down a fibre optic cable. Sorry.
I apologise because like many I am someone who has been promised great speeds, but more often than not you find those speeds don’t seem to exist and you can almost hear that digital bleeping from dial-up coming to haunt you as you call it a night, letting your movie buff or your game download.
Researchers from the University of Illinois have pushed fibre optic technology to a new level by transmitting 57 gigabytes of data per second through a fibre optic cable, a whole 17 Gbps extra compared to those reported last year. What’s better about this you ask? The speed was achieved with no errors and then to prove the point they went and send 50Gbps while at temperatures of 85 degrees celsius.
The reason the temperature is important is because electrical components get warm over time (like the bottom of the laptop you’ve had resting on your lap while watching Netflix in bed), which can lead to reduced performance and damaged components. The team behind the idea hope that by showing that these speeds are available from room temperature to 85 degrees, companies will have no reason to push these systems out to the public.
You can read the paper that’s been published on the experiments here and begin to imagine how many games you could delete and download at 50 Gbps. So many games.
In this day and age, most laptops and devices come with a wireless adapter built-in, even the latest Raspberry Pi includes wireless. This is lucky for when you can’t get to the router in your house, or the cable just won’t reach your favourite seat, or when your ethernet connection is disabled by an update.
Some people found this out the hard way this morning when Apple published an update over the weekend which disabled the ethernet port in the El Capitan distribution of their operating system. The reason for the disabled port? An update for the System integrity protection system, a system designed to keep your computer secure by disabling malicious kernel extensions (kext) (the equivalent of drivers for Windows or Linux users). Sadly a small update blacklisted the ethernet ports kext.
While an update was quickly released to fix the issue, some people still had the issue of it disabling their system before they were able to update to the latest version. The idea is that it’s all done behind the scenes, without you having to select the update or even know about it, kexts are updated silently. These updates run even if you have disabled the standard automatic update.
Do you use cabled connections or are you constantly on the wi-fi? Could you live with the other? What would you do if someone accidentally disabled the wireless in your computer, laptop or even your phone?
Buffering, downloading, pausing, even trying to make out the shapes on a low-resolution video have become common place for so many people as their internet speed caps out, normally before they are anywhere near their advertised (and purchased) speeds. It seems that we aren’t the only ones annoyed by this though as a group of business leaders have spoken out now, accusing the UK government of creating a “poverty of ambition” for internet speeds.
The Institute of Directors (IoD) is formed from business leaders within the UK, and in their report titled Ultrafast Britain, they state that the UK is lagging behind when it comes to enabling faster broadband connections. The government states that 90% of UK properties have access to superfast speeds, with that reaching 95% by next year.
The IoD don’t think this is good enough, with them calling for speeds of 10 gigabits per second (Gbps) by 2030. Currently, the government wants just 10 megabits per second by 2020, a speed which many are already getting.
This isn’t the first time that the internet as a structured provision has been discussed this week, with Ofcom telling BT that its cable network should be opened up to other companies. Currently, BT contains two parts, the core company and Openreach, the part of the company responsible for the cable, fibre and network infrastructure that the UK relies on for its internet.
What is your internet speed? Is it ever what you were actually advertised to be getting? Do you know anyone with super fast/slow internet and does it have a big impact on them?
Does it bother you that your new RGB equipped motherboard is flashing on colour, but your chassis is showing something completely different? Then worry no more, as the latest accessory from Phanteks looks to solve all your colour synchronisation problems with one simple addition; the Phanteks RGB LED Adapter (PC-CB_RGB4P).
“With the current trend of motherboard’s customizable RGB LED lighting control, Phanteks today announced the Phanteks’ RGB LED Adapter for compatible motherboards that features RGB headers.” – Phanteks
Their new RGB LED adapter is a pretty simple solution to the problem, as it’s really just a cable that links the chassis lighting to that of your motherboards. The RGB adapter is compatible with the Aura (certified by Asus) series of boards, but will also work with any other RGB motherboard that includes a 4-PIN RGB header in the 12v GRB format. Simply attach this cable to the header, hook it into the compatible Phanteks chassis lighting and all your RGB delights from your motherboard will extend through the chassis lighting, helping you create a more unified effect. This also means that you’ll be able to control your chassis lighting from within your motherboards customization software.
The RGB LED Adapter is currently compatible with the Phanteks Enthoo Luxe, Mini XL and P400. Of course, it’s expected that more models will be supported in the near future as and when they launch.
To make the deal even sweeter, you can get a free RGB LED Adapter if you purchase a compatible Phanteks chassis and motherboards that feature the RGB header before March 1st. Don’t worry though, as with prices of just 2.90EUR / £2, it’s not going to be expensive to pick one up yourself.
Do you have an RGB equipped motherboard in your chassis and do you like the idea of synchronizing the lighting between this and your chassis? Let us know in the comments section below.
So honest answers only, when was the last time you backed up your computer? We are recommended to do this every week but so many of us leave it until we’ve already lost our computer to some nasty malware or power surge. If we do that to our computers with all our pictures and documents on, what do we do with our phones? Do you ever back up your phone? Meem, a company in the UK, is looking to help you do just that.
One of the reasons we often ignore backing up is because we don’t think we have the time, we are simply too busy or in a rush. Ways to speed this up are to back up while you are doing something else, downloading updates? time to back up. With a phone this is more difficult because we rarely leave the devices alone, constantly checking for messages or emails.
The one time we do leave our phones alone is when they are charging, normally overnight. The Meem cable comes with internal storage that copies your phone contacts and photos every time you use it to charge your device, this means that you just simply charge it like you would at the moment and have an instant backup from your phone.
Kelly Sumner, chief executive of the company behind the device, said that while many phones use the cloud to back up your devices, some don’t trust online service and you are limited by the requirement for an internet connection.
Have you backed up your phone recently? How about any other device you use every day? I think this cable will help a lot of people with their devices, giving you security and safe knowledge that your data is there if anything happens to your phone.
Linksys is one of the biggest manufacturers of routers and network equipment in general, but that doesn’t mean that there isn’t room for a more devices as well as room for improvement on the current lineup. Linksys’ new modem router is the X6200 and it is a combined cable and ADSL/VDSL dual-band WiFi model.
The Linksys X6200 supports pretty much any connection you can have from static RJ45-based over cable to DSL connections and I wouldn’t be one bit surprised if you could use the included USB 2.0 port to attach a 3G/4G/LTE modem too. While it can connect to pretty much any type of internet connection, the built-in cable modem might be the selling point for this router. The internet connection speed has gone up and up, but a lot of cable modems lack the capability to handle the fast speeds your provider is selling you, which in return means that you’ll get a worse experience than you should.
“There is a lack of knowledge when it comes to cable modems. Consumers have cable modems or gateways that don’t match the cable broadband subscriptions they are paying for – thus getting slower speeds and frustrating experiences,” said Justin Doucette, director of product management, Linksys.
The Linksys X6200 isn’t the fastest wireless router, but the speeds of 300Mbps on the 2.4GHz band and 433Mbps on the 5GHz band should be sufficient for any internet usage. The modem router also features four RJ45 LAN ports for that direct Gigabit Ethernet connection that will provide you with the best connection. As previously mentioned, the X6200 also features a USB 2.0 port that can turn your USB drive into a network attached storage device.
The new Linksys X6200 modem router will be available in March 2016 for an MSRP of £79.99 and also has more advanced features such as parental control and guest access.
One VDSL/ADSL2/2+ port, Annex A – RJ-11 port
One Gigabit WAN port with auto MDI/MDIX sensing (RJ-45) for Router functionality
Four Gigabit Ethernet ports
One USB 2.0 port
Supports VPN pass-through with IPSec, PPTP, and L2TP
Supports logging for incoming and outgoing traffic
DHCP server for LAN
Supports Universal Plug and Play (UPnP)
IPv4/IPv6 dual-stack support
DSL Modem supports ITU G992.5 ADSL2+ Annex A, L, and M and VDSL G.993.1 and ITU G.993.2 standards
At the same time as Linksys introduced us to this new modem router, they also announced an expansion of DD-WRT support among their existing routers. The support now includes the WRT1900AC, WRT1200AC, and recently released WRT1900ACS Dual-band Gigabit Wi-Fi routers.
Lexar released a bunch of new flash-based products and we naturally also want to update you on these. While HDDs are the go-to medium for NAS and SSDs for the PC systems, we shouldn’t forget about our portable storage and mobile devices.
The drive pictured above is the first of Lexar’s new flash drives and it is actually an SSD, just an external one. We have previously reviewed Lexar’s Professional Workflow SSD in the same form factor and that is compatible with the Workflow drive dock system, and this new Lexar Portable SSD is compatible to that system too despite not being from the Professional Workflow series.
The compact and durable drive reads with up to 450MB/s and writes with up to 245MB/s, making it quick and easy to take your files on the go. The LEDs on the front work as capacity meter and the drive is available as 256GB and 512GB models. Since it’s a full-fledged SSD, the drive supports NTFS, FAT, and exxFAT without any trouble. The Lexar Portable SSD will be available in Q1 2016 with MSRPs of £120.99 (256GB) and £200.99 (512GB), a more than fair price.
The second new Lexar product is the 1800x microSD card with impressive speeds that hold up to even the most demanding tasks. The Lexar 1800x is available as 32GB, 64GB, and 128GB models and it leverages Ultra High Speed II (U3 technology) to provide you with the best experience. The card is capable of speeds up to 270MB/s read speeds and is designed for high-speed capture of extended lengths of 4K, 3D, and 1080p full-HD video and high-quality images.
Lexar’s Professional 1800x microSD UHS-II cards are already available with an MSRP of £65.99 (32GB), £109.99 (64GB), and £219.99 (128GB).
The next new Lexar product is quite ingenious. Whether you’ll want to call it a 3-in-1 drive or an Apple Lightning charging cable with built-in flash storage, you’d be right. The JumpDrive C20i is all that and also a USB 3.0 flash drive at the same time, completing the 3-in-1 scenario. The drive can read with up to 95 MB/s and write with up to 20 MB/s for easy expansion of your iPhone or iPad memory. The new JumpDrive C20i flash drive will be available in Q1 of 2016 and have MSRPs of £28.99 (16GB), £39.99 (32GB), £56.99 (64GB), and £79.99 (128GB).
The last new Lexar drive is a little more traditional and it is called the JumpDrive S45. The tiny nano-styled drive is designed for a plug-and-stay setup with its low profile. It is capable of speeds up to 150MB/s reading and 45MB/s writing and be available in capacities up to 128GB. An impressive capacity for a nano-drive. Depending on the capacity, the JumpDrive S45 comes in different colours: Orange, Blue, Teal, and black. Along with the JumpDrive S45, you also get the EncryptStick Lite software for 256-bit AES encryption of your content. The flash drive has MSRPs of £7.99 (16GB), £10.99 (32GB), £18.99 (64GB), and £28.99 (128GB) and will be available in Q1 2016.
While the consumer world is starting to adjust and get up to date and 4K resolution monitors and TVs are starting to enter more and more homes around the world, Panasonic is already working on the next generation of 8K monitors. We have already seen a few large-screen monitors on display that could handle this high resolution, but it wasn’t really real. The 8K image was composed out of two 4K 60Hz images spliced into one.
The reason for this was the bandwidth limitation by the current cables and connectors, but Panasonic found the solution for this and presented the first single cable and connector solution for transmission of full-spec 8K video signals. For reference purpose, I can share that the official full-spec 8K resolution features 33 million pixels in a 7,680 by 4,320 pixel setup at 120 frames per second.
The new cable is a hybrid cable made of metal wire and plastic optical fiber and it overcomes the previous trouble of alignment. With detachable connectors like this on a cable, it is difficult to precisely align optical axes at the connection, which leads to poor connectivity and other defects. That has hampered the deployment of optical fiber cables in video transmission cables with detachable connectors, but that’s about to change.
Panasonic developed the new cable and connector type together with KAI Photonics Co., Ltd., a venture from Japan’s Keio University. The plastic optical fiber and its connection technology are using ballpoint-pen type interconnects and Panasonic further added their know-how on multi-level modulation of broadband signals to achieve a transmission bandwidth that exceeds 100 Gbps with a single cable. That should be plenty even for 8K 120Hz setups.
Professor Yasuhiro Koike of the Faculty of Science and Technology, Keio University, commented: “I am delighted that Panasonic successfully developed a prototype cable for transmitting 8K images based on ‘plastic optical fiber and its connection technology using ballpoint-pen type interconnect,’ which was developed by Keio University. We would like to further cooperate with Panasonic to respond to the variety of needs for audiovisual transmission.”
Naturally this is intended for corporate usage for now, but what starts in the corporate world usually makes it to the consumer market sooner or later. For now, we need the 4K format to take off with more available content.
Hands up if you have ever used multiple screens on your computer? Some people use it to watch a movie while they browse the internet, some have several screens to display a virtual world in panoramic view. Whatever you use multiple screens for there has always been a problem with setting them up, the connections. Does your graphics card have an HDMI port free or does your laptop have that VGA port? The end result was the creation of single cable screens. Connect a screen to your device with only a single cable, designed to run both the power and the data needed through it. Asus have announced the latest in single cable monitors, one using the new USB type C connection.
Titled as the MB169C+ portable display, the device features a 15.6-inch screen with 1080p resolution. The idea of taking a stack of screens out of a bag and connecting them to any computer or laptop of your choice is quite pleasing especially with them only weighing 800 grams a piece.
With ASUS confident that regardless of platform, the screen will connect and function as intended you could soon connect the same screen to your phone or laptop on the go and then hook it up for a dedicated screen for your emails when you get home. With no set price yet or release date, we can only wait to hear more.
2015 was the year that cable TV companies could no longer dismiss ‘cord cutting’ – eschewing traditional television services in favour of new online alternatives, both legal and illegal – as a fad. US cable providers lost 4.9 million customers last year with that figure expected to jump by 12.5% in 2016, and that’s not counting the scores of young people who have grown up with online services and have no intention of ever signing up for cable packages. Wall Street has taken notice, too late, with billions lost over the last half-decade. Cord cutting is a real threat to old media, and it’s only going to become more popular.
How are the cable companies responding to this crisis? How do they intend to attract back old customers and tempt new young consumer? By putting their prices up, of course. From January 2016, AT&T, Verizon, Dish, DirecTV, Comcast, and Time Warner Cable will all be putting up their rates, by between $2 and $10 a month.
“Comcast, the nation’s largest cable provider, announced earlier this month that subscribers nationwide will see prices go up an average of 3.9 percent, and increases already have taken effect in some markets. The company will also hike its “broadcast TV fee” by 66 percent from $3 a month to $5. This relatively new fee covers the cost of retransmission fees that over-the-air broadcast TV networks like CBS, NBC, ABC and FOX charge cable companies for redistributing their networks on pay-TV systems.”
The cable providers are justifying the price rise as necessary to cover the cost of its programming. In other words, the companies are losing customers, and therefore revenue, and yet the programming output remains the same. Therefore, existing customers are having to pick up the slack left by cord cutters who have jumped ship:
“Cable and satellite companies say the higher prices cover some but not all of the higher programming costs. The amount that Time Warner Cable pays local broadcast channels has risen 85 percent in the past two years, while its costs for carrying sports networks have increased 116 percent since 2008, according to spokesman Bobby Amirshahi.”
71% of cord cutters attest to moving away from cable subscriptions due to rising costs. As ever, old media is too entrenched in its stubborn methods to turn that shotgun away from its own foot.
The OnePlus 2 handset has struggled to live up to its predecessor and isn’t the “flagship killer” everyone hoped for. Despite this, it’s still a very good smartphone for the money providing you can acquire an invite. On the other hand, the company recently encountered a large number of complaints as the bundled USB Type-C cable had the potential to damage other devices by drawing too much power. Thankfully, OnePlus addressed this in a blog post and made some interesting claims:
*Name-brand products like chargers, cables, power banks and USB hubs that are made by reputable companies are usually pretty trustworthy and safe to use. But there are a lot of products on the market that are cheaply made and more likely to potentially harm your devices. It’s a good rule of thumb to choose products from the brands you trust and research their products to ensure compatibility before you purchase them.
“The issue is that the cable and adapter are designed for a maximum of 2 amps of power, but the resistor will allow fast-charging devices to try to draw more power than a power source may allow. This could result in damage to the power source (third-party charger, USB port, etc.) if the device and power source do not have an internal mechanism to self-regulate the amount of power flowing to or from them. Typically, if a charger has a CE, UL or CCC logo on it, it has been certified and is safe to use.”
“There are a lot of products on the market that are cheaply made and more likely to potentially harm your devices. It’s a good rule of thumb to choose products from the brands you trust and research their products to ensure compatibility before you purchase them.”
It appears they are portioning the blame on their supplier and feel the cables were not up to par. Additionally, the bundled cables didn’t even confirm to the official USB Type-C standard. If you purchased an official cable directly from OnePlus, you can apply for a refund here until December the 31st. Sadly, this doesn’t apply to any third-party retailers but ones with a good customer service record should refund you in a timely manner.
Strong rumours suggest that Amazon Instant Video will soon include access to other video-on-demand networks, and could do so as soon as this December. According to Bloomberg, Amazon’s video streaming service is set to become the on-demand equivalent of a cable or satellite package, with the company even considering launching its own live channel through Amazon Prime.
While Amazon’s potential new partners have not been revealed – Amazon spokesperson Craig Berman refused to comment on the story – it would make sense for cable channels such as HBO and Showtime to bundle their existing video-on-demand services in an effort to expand their reach beyond existing US cable subscribers.
Amazon Instant Video has an estimated 43.2 million US subscribers, second only to Netflix, and the move can only attract more customers from its rival, especially if, say, Amazon Instant Video becomes the portal through which people get to watch the latest episode of Game of Thrones online, a privilege previously restricted to HBO Go subscribers.
The company is also in the preliminary planning stages to launch its own live channel, in partnership with CBS Corp. and Comcast Corp.’s NBCUniversal, to position itself against TV providers such as Comcast, AT&T, and Sky. Apple are reportedly pursuing a similar strategy.
One of the most annoying things about slimline charging cables is the damage caused to one of the charging ends. This is more common with Apple and previous generations of the iconic charging cables, but it does still impact the newer cables. Cheap fixes, or ‘hacks’ used to be getting a small spring from the inside of a retractable pen and putting that on the end to prevent excess bending or even wrapping shoelaces to prevent the bending.
The issue is more apparent with the older charging cables, the newer style cable hasn’t had many reported issues, but a new Kickstarter campaign has taken it upon themselves to produce one of the nicest cables I have ever seen.
Not only is it stylish, it is extremely strong; although I think a better strength test would have been attaching a clip to the end of the cable instead of tieing a knot about an inch away.
Now getting excited over a cable isn’t something I do every day, but that is one gorgeous thing that I wouldn’t mind sticking in my living room for people to charge their phones from. However, anyone else think 6ft is a tad excessive? I’d like to see not only more length options but also a move over to micro-USB for Android users.
Comcast has at last given up on their attempt to merge with rival Time Warner Cable. Since the announcement of the merger early last year, the two largest cable providers in the United States have struggled against stiff consumer opposition. The final blow was struck as officials in the Federal Communications Commission and the Department of Justice both started anti-trust investigations into the merger. If the merger had gone through, Comcast would have controlled over 57% of the broadband market with over 33 million customers.
“Today, we move on. Of course, we would have liked to bring our great products to new cities, but we structured this deal so that if the government didn’t agree, we could walk away. Comcast NBCUniversal is a unique company with strong momentum. Throughout this entire process, our employees have kept their eye on the ball and we have had fantastic operating results. I want to thank them and the employees of Time Warner Cable for their tireless efforts. I couldn’t be more proud of this company and I am truly excited for what’s next.”
Opponents of the merger claimed that the result would have created an unstoppable monopoly and harmed competition. Comcast argued that the merger would have saved them billions in redundancies and that the two companies don’t compete against each other anyway. Two of the major complaints were Comcast’s terrible customer service track record and the fact that Comcast were unable to promise any savings to customers as a result of the merger.
In a move to streamline things Microsoft will be ceasing the sale of the Kinect for Windows and instead sell the XBox One Kinect and its PC adapter cable. It was selling essentially the same product twice so the move to selling a single Kinect unit adapter cable should keep things simple.
The Kinect for Windows was so popular with desktop developers that in some markets there were supply issues. That should not be the case with moving to a single product and having the adapter cable available. Developers and owners of Kinect units should not worry though as support will still be around for the unit. With all the simplifying and consolidating that Microsoft has done recently this move makes a lot of sense and it is likely that more products will follow suit.
Globalgig and D-Link have released a new router based on 4G technology to give you the ability to have multiple devices connected wherever you might be. The D-Link DWR-922 comes with the standard cable, NDN and ADSL ports to connect to the internet traditionally, but it also features a SIM slot for a 4G mobile data SIM should you wish to run it off 4G entirely.
It is said that D-Link will be selling the router along with a Globalgig 4G SIM and $30 starting credit through its website. While Globalgig offers fast 4G internet through its Optus’ 4G network in Australia, it also has some great deals through its flat-rate 3G mobile broadband net access in 84 countries. Tariffs for roaming stretch from $20 for 250m and up to $70 for 5GB.
Staying connected in today’s era is something everybody is trying to achieve, and with the D-Link DWR-922, users won’t have to rely on a hotel or other venue for internet when travelling abroad. D-Link is selling the router bundled with a Globalgig SIM and $30 starter credit for 5GB of 4G in Australia and 1GB abroad for $249.95.
Thank you Gizmodo for providing us with this information
Comcast has decided that the best way to improve people’s perceptions of itself is to copy one of the most famous slogans in tech. On every Apple product, big or small, from tiny headphone cables to whole computer systems, you’ll find the words “Designed by Apple in California.” Words that symbolise one of the greatest design heritages the world has seen.
So, it’s a little surprising to see Comcast, a company renowned for the amount of dislike it draws to itself, using such a slogan. If you think of the words Comcast and design, you picture not-so well designed set top boxes like this. But the thing is, that slogan in the headline is no joke. Comcast has started using it on their “premium” X1 remote.
There have been numerous attempts over the last few decades to create a single, universal remote control with the capacity to interact with every one of your home entertainment devices, with varying results, but the Ray Super Remote may now have cracked it.
The Super Remote, developed by Ray Enterprises, is a touchscreen device that can control your TV, satellite or cable box, DVR, games console, and internet streaming box, like Apple TV or Roku. It can connect to over 200,000 different devices, and can run software to control any home device with an IP address, such as the Nest thermostat.
The interface is fully customisable and the software can learn your habits and preferences to suggest programmes that may appeal to you. Battery life is around ten days, and the charging dock doubles as the remote’s holding tray.
David Skokna, CEO of New York-based Ray Enterprises, offered some insight into the development process of the remote, saying, “As we looked at ways to reimagine TV, it seemed like the remote control needed the most help. We think we have a big opportunity to do something magical.”
The Ray Super Remote is due for release in May or June this year, and will cost $199. www.ray.co is accepting pre-orders now.
Comcast, America’s most hated company, has done yet another thing to draw hate towards itself. It appears that the company has a new policy of changing customer’s names on their bills. These names aren’t nice though, they really are quite derogatory.
Like many Comcast customers, Ricardo Brown was having some trouble paying his bill – the services he was paying out for became too expensive for him to keep up with, so he wanted to remove some of those services and reduce his bill. Now we all know how hard that can be. Even if you’re not a Comcast customer, you’ve most likely encountered the stories from those who have found themselves on the phone for hours in an attempt to cut down their bills or leave the service altogether.
Ricardo’s wife, Lisa, was the one who made the call to Comcast, and when they said that to remove their cable subscription would cost $60, she decided not to take the offer. She was then passed to one of Comcast’s ‘Retention Specialists’ instead. This is what Lisa believes caused the name change.
“I was never rude,” she says. “It could have been that person was upset because I didn’t take the offer.” Lisa Brown talking to Chris Elliot.
So it seems that a disgruntled employee who had a hard time trying to keep Mr and Mrs Brown from cutting down their services could very well have decided ‘Asshole Brown’ was a more fitting name. Comcast have since apologised and in the process given Ricardo Brown quite a nice goodwill gesture – a refund for the last two years of service and the next two years free. Wow.
Thing is, while you’d think this story would end there, it doesn’t. This wasn’t the only time this has happened to a Comcast customer, because it has happened again. Mary Bauer called the company a number of times trying to solve issues with her cable reception. After 39 total engineers came out to her over a period of several months, her problems were eventually resolved. But then she was faced with another problem – she stopped receiving her bills. So she called again and eventually she did receive a bill through the post, except this time her name had been changed to ‘Super Bitch’.
That’s not a headline you read everyday. A journalist at the Philadelphia Daily Newshad a number of e-mails from customers of one of America’s most hated companies complaining about poor service. So, what’s a journalist with high profile contacts to do to help these people out? Call the CEO? No, even better – she called the CEO’s 92-year-old mother.
Diana and Jason Airoldi told columnist Ronnie Polaneczky that they were having a pretty hard time with Comcast. Apparently, they would be completely cut off for six weeks, all thanks to the company having broken its appointments with them. That’s literally six weeks without cable and internet in a world where the latter is quite often vital for many people’s professions. Plus, remember this is the USA we’re talking about here – Comcast, like other telcos in America, often have a monopoly in certain regions, largely due to them owning all of the infrastructure, leaving customers with no alternative.
So Polaneczky decided it would be a good idea to give Comcast’s CEO Brian Roberts’ mom a call. It was a good idea too – the next day vans turned up at the Airoldi’s house and got them up and running.
Making a mockery of the “enthusiast” market has been a thing for as long as I can remember. From HDMI cables that cost hundreds of pounds, to speaker wire that makes promises so grand, it may as well be forged from unicorn horns. Standard cables are perfectly fine, typically the only time you’ll need a slightly more expensive cable is if you’re installing them into walls, where you want the cable to be more durable. So what about ethernet cables? How much should you be spending on one of those?
If you want “The Diamond” cable from AudioQuest, you can expect to pay £6899.00 for a 12m cable that comes with a 5 year warranty!
“The Diamond is a top-grade Ethernet Cable which is the result of a lifetime’s research by AudioQuest made from the very best materials available. This really is a ‘money no object’ cable for the dedicated Hi-Fi enthusiast that has extended into a world of digital audio sources.” – audiovisualonline
That’s about as much as I’m going to humour that affront to technology, as RJ45 signals are digital and unless you’re stringing together a bunch of rusty coat hangers to make your cables, a standard £9.98 20m Cat6 from OCUK will do the job nicely, especially with 8m of extra cable and a total saving of £6889.02!
I wonder if anyone has bought one…
What’s the most you would pay for a 12m RJ45 cable?
CES 2015 is always an incredible show, bringing many, if not all, of the world’s major technology companies into one place, ready to show off their latest and greatest products. This year was a little different for us here at eTeknix. After the show, we took to the roads to visit San Francisco and Los Angeles. On our trip, we stopped by the offices of Thermaltake, Patriot, Corsair, NZXT and more! A trip like CES is a big undertaking, for me personally it requires a four-hour train journey, a ten-hour flight and we clocked up over 20 hours driving over 1500 miles. All that is before the return journey of another ten-hour flight and another four-hour train journey home. All this traveling is enough to make you tired. Fortunately, there were a few luxuries that helped make the journey just that little bit easier for us; without which, we would have struggled.
LUXA2 Phone Dock
First up we have one of the simplest gadgets of them all, but by far the one that helped us out the most on our journey from Las Vegas to San Francisco, then again on our journey from San Francisco to Los Angeles, the LUXA2 Mobile Phone Mount.
The car we used, a Ford Mustang, has a cigarette lighter high up on the dashboard, perfect for keeping your Sat Nav or mobile phone charged when mounted in a cradle or dock of some format. Even better is how the LUXA2 mount works, as the mount fits directly into the cigarette lighter, giving you a powered USB port directly from the mount to connect your phone, while also providing a sturdy mount that doesn’t have to stick onto your windscreen, or hang from the air conditioning vents. The mount was universal and proved more than capable of housing our iPhone 6 Plus.
Ultra Short Patriot iPhone Lightning Cable
The only downside with this kind of mount is that the normal iPhone cable trails all over the place. Given the phone mount we had, we found the standard cable got caught on the dashboard controls, wrapped around the gear stick and more; not what I would call ideal. Patriot, perhaps better known for their high-end memory products, also make mobile products and quickly came to our rescue. Their new Lightning USB cable is just 6 inches long, perfect for going from dock to phone. This is the perfect cable to keep in the car and it saves you having to bring your full cable with you.
Nvidia Shield Tablet
Sitting on a plane for hours on end is a tedious and often boring affair. Sure you’ve got some in-flight entertainment (on some flights), but the easiest solution is to bring your own entertainment with you. Bringing your smartphone is one solution, but the small screens aren’t really ideal for watching movies and TV shows, and battery life isn’t always enough for a long haul flight; especially so if you’re gaming on it. The Shield Tablet solves a lot of these problems, not only did the battery life hold up for the full ten-hour flight, it also provided us with a unique experience that made us the envy of other passengers; Playing Mario Kart 64 on an emulator with two controllers was by far the most fun I’ve ever had on a flight! As an added bonus, the Nvidia Shield Cover provided the perfect viewing angle for gaming, watching movies and reading articles during the flight.
MEElectronics Wireless Headphones
No journey would be survivable without my music with me, but when I’m carrying around a heavy backpack full of camera and a laptop equipment, as well as pulling along a 25KG suitcase, the last thing I need is a cable getting wrapped around my neck. I love my wired headphones, but the strap from my backpack pulls them out of my ears and it’s simply impractical unless I’m sitting still. A set of high-quality Bluetooth headphones was the perfect fix and while they were excellent to wear while walking around, leaving my tablet in my backpack to stream my music, I found them to be even better on the long flight. Being able to fall asleep on a plane is no easy task, but a light set of headphones and some music certainly helped block out the engine noise; plus I didn’t have a headphone wire getting tangled up in my arms, so that’s always a bonus. MEElectronics promised a 14-hour battery life, so our 10-hour flight proved to be easy work for them on a single charge.
CES brings a number of big product introductions, but it also brings a pile of little gadgety items like this – the Zolt wall charger. The Zolt promises to let you charge your laptop and two to three other USB-based devices at the same time.
The tiny three-inch long charger outputs 70 watts of power – around double that of the average laptop charger, giving you more power for those extra devices. It comes with a variety of adapters to fit a range of laptops from multiple manufacturers including Asus, Dell, Lenovo, Samsung, and Toshiba. An adapter for the MagSafe connector on MacBooks will be available once the charger is on sale.
While the US version looks small and compact, one wonders whether the UK version (if there will be one) will be anywhere near as elegant thanks to the clumsy four pronged plugs. Pre-orders start now at $80 and it’ll be $100 once available.
We all know how difficult and frustrating it can be cancelling your TV and internet subscription. They do literally everything they can to stop you from leaving. Despite all that, it probably doesn’t always take 4 hours. For one person however, it did.
Someone who goes by the name of Mike has uploaded an excerpt of his 4 hour hell to YouTube as well as describing his experience with this post on reddit.
“tl/dr (sort of) upon request. Basically, I called to cancel my service after already making preliminary arrangements for an install with ATT. A Comcast retention specialist then offered me what I thought was a deal too good to be true – 50mbps internet (for which I was already paying $59.99/mo) for $39.99 for 12 months. They were also going to cancel my bundled TV service since I didn’t really use it anyway.I grudgingly accepted the offer, called ATT to cancel their install, and waited for the Comcast confirmation e-mail I was told would arrive within the hour. It did not arrive.I called back. The 2nd rep had no record whatsoever of the deal that was made on my first call. I informed them that I had recorded the call, so on to another retention specialist, who claimed to be able to match the original deal. I, again, grudgingly agreed. At this point, I was 2 hours in & just wanted it to be over with.After this, still no confirmation e-mail, and after doing a speed test, I saw that my internet speeds were now maxing out at less than 30mbps.
I called back.
The 3rd rep had no record at all of any of the previous calls. In fact, they showed me as being enrolled in a plan that was more expensive than the one I had originally. So…over to another retention specialist. This one offered me the 50mbps internet for the aforementioned $39.99…BUT I had to bundle it with a TV package including basic + HBO.
I finally get off the phone after almost 4 hours, my speed tests are good, a confirmation e-mail finally arrives all seems well. I go to turn on my TV…no service.
I did not include this part in the video (though I do have the recording), but I called again and was told that my original cable TV box had been de-authorized when the plan was upgraded/changed/whatever, and that I need a whole new box. They offered to either ship me one, or send a technician to my house to install a new one. I declined both of these offers, as I simply do not trust that I will not be billed for these services.
So, in short, several phone calls, several lies, several hours. Finally got working internet at the right price but the TV service is still not working, and I am so wary of rocking the boat and having them screw up my account again that I haven’t authorized them to correct the TV issue…I simply don’t trust them to not screw it up further.”