Microsoft just released the second major iteration of its Blink Windows Phone 8 app which now introduces GIF (the pronunciation is still open for debate) support, new features and improved functionality.
The app, which is built by Microsoft Research (the software giant's research arm), allows users to take advantage of its burst shot feature to combine multiple pictures (the number is user-selectable) into a GIF image. The GIF can be viewed directly after creating it and can be shared via email and three social networks -- Facebook, Microsoft's Socl and Twitter. (It's time to test this with the help of your pet and post the results, for posterity's sake of course.)
Network products maker TP-LINK has released the results of a survey into the importance of the internet amongst UK consumers. It shows that reliable access to the internet is now among the highest priorities of many people.
Amongst men 42 percent rank sex and internet access as more important than shelter and food. Though this may well tell us more about British men than it does about the web. More interesting is that 51 percent of respondents say that thanks to internet access they've strengthened their friendships and a quarter say that it gives them an enhanced sense of belonging. However, only seven percent say that the web has brought a positive change to their love lives -- so much for all those online dating sites then.
Twitter has released TweetDeck 3.0.2 for Windows, a major new build of its desktop Twitter client. The new release adds support for minimizing the application to the Taskbar Notification area, plus unveils a new layout, followers column and additional search filters.
TweetDeck is designed to make it easier to track real-time conversations as well as monitor specific Twitter feeds or hashtags through the use of a multi-columned layout. Users can also access TweetDeck via their browser using its web-based app, which also recently gained a redesign.
A funny thing happened when I checked my email this morning. I found I had a friend request from Myspace, something I haven’t had for a long time. Even funnier was when I clicked on it Myspace -- or at least Myspace as I knew it -- was gone. In its place was a new sleek, Modern UI meets Spotify, music-based site. A site that doesn't seem to do friend requests anymore either so it's lucky I got that email or I might never have stumbled on it at all (conspiracy theories on a postcard please).
Of course this really shouldn't have come as a surprise, around nine months ago my colleague Wayne Williams reported early news of the update with the headline New Myspace is gorgeous, but who will use it? Like everyone else though I’d read about a Myspace update and not deemed it worthy of brain space. So suddenly finding myself on the new site -- fresh out of beta -- was a bit of a shock.
It really doesn’t make any sense for Google to be shutting down such a widely used and cherished feeds subscriber as Google Reader, but the web giant isn’t going to change its mind unfortunately, so we must look towards alternatives that we can adopt.
But with countless options to choose from, where should one even begin looking? An excellent place to start is a website called Readable.cc.
Canadian smartphone maker BlackBerry just rolled out a new version of its Facebook BB 10 app, bringing the latest iteration one step closer to its Android and iOS counterparts. This is the second major update in the past couple of months.
The new Facebook app for BlackBerry 10, now at version 10.2.0, focuses on design and functionality improvements. In the former department, the app sports a new "refined" look for the newsfeed, adding a couple visual tweaks. The most noteworthy enhancements, however, are related to photo management and tagging.
Dr Web Anti-virus has released its latest report on malware activity showing that Trojans continue to be the most common threat.
New threats found in May include Trojan.Mods.1 which replaces the contents of webpages loaded in a browser. This is part of a premium rate SMS fraud that puts up a page asking for a mobile number and then sends a text message asking for a reply. Almost 16,000 copies of this Trojan were detected by Dr Web during the month of May.
Undoubtedly, Twitter deems Windows Phone 8 as a second-class citizen. The popular social network introduced filters for its Android and iOS apps nearly six months ago but only late-yesterday did the feature finally arrive on the tiled mobile operating system.
Similar to its Android and iOS counterparts, Twitter for Windows Phone 8 introduces eight filters -- Vignette, Warm, Cool, 1963, 1972, Golden Hour, Antique and Black & White -- which can be applied to new pictures or already existing ones from the Photos gallery. Adding filters is straightforward -- select the picture and either scroll to the right or hit the "filters" button to choose the desired effect.
A study by CAST in conjunction with Rackspace reveals that users of wearable technology -- such as the Nike+ FuelBand and Jawbone UP -- feel using such devices boost their intelligence levels. The study looks at residents of the UK and US, and finds the wearable tech users not only feel cleverer, but also more self-confident.
These are not the only benefits the study unearths. US participants were generally rather more impressed with the benefits of wearable technology -- 71 percent of American users felt their health and fitness had improved as a result of using such devices, compared to 63 percent of those in the UK. More than half (53 percent) of US users believe wearable tech helps to improve intelligence, compared to just 39 percent of UK users.
Facebook is great for sharing thoughts, links, complaints and pictures with your friends, family and colleagues but, until now, there has been no easy way to share files through the social network. Pipe is a Facebook app that has undergone private testing for some time, but is at last available for everyone to use. Once installed, Pipe will let you send files of up to 1GB in size to your Facebook friends.
The app works by setting up a P2P connection between you and anyone you decide to share a file with. Ordinarily, file transfers are carried out in real-time, but if you want to send a file to a friend who is not currently online, it will be securely stored until they are available. This reduces the size limit right down to 100MB but it is possible to send an unlimited number of files in this way.
British libel law is a veritable minefield and the difficulty of policing many aspects of the internet mean that websites and social networks have often been treated rather differently to newspapers and magazines. But a court ruling means that this is set to change. A judge has ruled that a 46 character tweet made by Sally Bercow, wife of the Speaker of the House of Commons, John Bercow, is indeed libellous.
The tweet read "Why is Lord McAlpine trending? *Innocent face*". For the uninitiated, Lord McAlpine is the former Deputy Chairman and Party Treasurer of the Conservative Party and he denied claims that he was involved in alleged sexual abuse at a Welsh foster care home in the 70s and 80s.
Following a rebrading, late-yesterday, third-party Instagram client Itsdagram shed its name and looks and surfaced as the new Instance on Windows Phone Store. The app, which boasts the same essential functionality as before, now sports a redesigned interface and introduces a couple of new features and enhancements.
According to the developer, Daniel Gary, the app's rebranding follows Microsoft's request to better differentiate Itsdagram from Instagram. The software giant appears to pursue the path of least resistance in order to beef up the Windows Phone ecosystem and keep third-party apps in the running. Gary says that no legal action nor "threats" influenced his decision to comply with the request. Now let's go through the changes introduced by Instance.
Facebook has announced that it's introducing verified pages to help users find the authentic accounts of celebrities, businesses and other high profile subjects. Verified pages will have a blue check mark next to the name both at the top of the page and in search results.
Given that Facebook has long been plagued by fake pages and that Twitter has had verified accounts -- marked by a blue tick, funnily enough -- since 2009, it's perhaps surprising that the social network has taken so long to make this step. On its official blog announcing the news the company says, "Facebook proactively verifies authentic Pages and profiles, but if you believe that you're being impersonated you can always report a fake account."
Google is all about searching. Well… not "all" about, but it's what the company is known for. Any firm that logs information about how customers are using its services are usually berated, but Google Trends can provide a fascinating insight into how the rest of the world is using the internet. This tool has been available for a while but there's now a sexy new full screen mode available -- and you can turn it into a screensaver.
If you've ever been curious about what people in other parts of the world are searching for, head over to the full screen visualization tool and you can find out. At the bottom of the screen you can choose from one of several countries, or opt to see an overview of global searches.
After a number of high-profile account hijacks and criticism from both its users and the tech media, Twitter finally decides to take security seriously. Today, the popular social network introduces two-factor authentication which, when enabled, requires users to type in an additional six-digit passcode received via SMS in order to log in.
Sadly, as I learned, not every user can actually enable the new security feature. Twitter says that folks must have a "verified phone number and confirmed email address", the former of which is still incompatible with my mobile operator: "Sorry, we don't have a connection to your carrier yet!". Other local mobile operators are supported, but not mine.