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Sep 01, 2015 - 7:20 PM - by Reverend
Skype is a free program that uses the latest P2P technology to bring affordable and high-quality voice communications to people all over the world.


Skype homepage
  0 Replies | 146 Views

Contactless payment limit raised from £20 to £30

Sep 01, 2015 - 7:17 PM - by Reverend
The contactless payment limit has been raised from £20 to £30 per transaction to meet the UK's growing appetite for PIN-free payments.

The UK Cards Association (UKCA) explained that the new limit is £5 above the average supermarket spend of £25, meaning that consumers have more scope to use contactless payments.

Research by the UKCA found that £2.5bn has been spent using contactless cards in the first half of 2015, indicating that consumers in the UK are becoming strong adopters of the payment method.

Contactless spending in the first half of 2015 has outstripped 2014's total yearly spending of £2.32bn, and the new £30 limit will push that total in the second half of the year.

Graham Peacop, chief executive at the UKCA, noted how the rise in spending through contactless payments has been driven by the availability of cards and growing retailer support.

"The growth in contactless payments shows people want to use contactless cards and increasing the limit gives customers even more opportunities to pay in this way," he added.

Visa and MasterCard, two of the main providers of contactless payment cards in the UK, as well as facilitators of Apple Pay smartphone contactless payments, welcomed the higher limit.

"We've seen unprecedented growth in this area, with the number of Visa contactless transactions more than trebling in the past year in the UK," said Kevin Jenkins, managing director of UK & Ireland at Visa Europe.

"Today's threshold increase to £30 gives consumers all the benefits of contactless across a broader range of their daily activities, and we expect to see this momentum continue to build as more people adopt mobile and wearable payment technology."

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Amazon Prime to allow offline viewing

Sep 01, 2015 - 7:16 PM - by Reverend
Members of Amazon's Prime service can now download films and TV episodes for offline viewing.

TV programmes, comedy series and films such as The Wolf of Wall Street are available via the service that already lets people stream video content.

Amazon said it would not levy any additional charge for the service. In the UK, a year's subscription to Prime costs £79.

The offline option is available in the US, UK, Germany and Austria.

Owners of Amazon's Fire tablet who are also signed up to the Prime service have been able to download movies and programmes for months. An updated Amazon Video app now extends this to non-Amazon branded gadgets.

Amazon is the first net-based video subscription service to offer the downloading option on Android and iOS devices.

Licensing restrictions will mean some content will be available only for streaming rather than downloading.

BBC News
  0 Replies | 92 Views

Google reveals playful new logo in major redesign

Sep 01, 2015 - 7:13 PM - by Reverend
Google has tweaked its logo a few times since its founding 16 years ago, but never so dramatically.

The company showed off a new look on its official blog Tuesday. In justifying the change, Google says it needed a new design that would work across the multitude of platforms and devices where you may encounter it.

You don’t have to look too closely to see a resemblance to the design behind Google’s new parent company, Alphabet.

Google goes into more detail on the thinking behind the logo on its Google Design blog. The logo was drafted to mesh well with the company’s design language, Material Design. And like many other company logo redesigns, it’s opted for a sans serif font (serif refers to the little "tails" added to the end of letters in various fonts, like Times New Roman).

Along with the new “Google” logo, the team also developed a “G” icon for those times when it wouldn't make sense to squeeze in the entire company name, and floating dots for those inevitable wait times you’ll encounter across different Google products.

You’ll spot the changes right away if you do a Google search or use a product like Gmail or Drive. But it may take some time to get updated elsewhere, especially on all the permanent signage on the multiple Google offices worldwide.

  0 Replies | 97 Views

New Nintendo 3DS Arrives Sept. 25

Sep 01, 2015 - 7:09 PM - by Reverend
In February, Nintendo released the New Nintendo 3DS XL with 3D face-tracking and faster performance, among other things, but the regular 3DS was left out. That changes on Sept. 25 with the launch of the New Nintendo 3DS.

The New Nintendo 3DS will be bundled with Animal Crossing: Happy Home Designer. For $219.99, gamers can pick up the portable console, the upcoming Animal Crossing title, two cover plates, and one amiibo card.

A special Hyrule Edition of the New Nintendo 3DS XL, meanwhile, launches exclusively at GameStop on Oct. 30 for $199.99. Just in time for The Legend of Zelda: Tri Force Heroes (out Oct. 23), the gold-colored system features an intricate Hylian Crest on the front.

"More than 15 million systems in the Nintendo 3DS family have been sold in the U.S. alone," Scott Moffitt, Nintendo of America's executive vice president of sales and marketing, said in a statement. "These new models offer additional fun ways to experience some of the great upcoming Nintendo 3DS games launching in the next few months."

The New Nintendo 3DS incorporates the same features as its larger sibling, including a wider range of controls, face-tracking 3D, and built-in NFC functionality for communicating with amiibo figurines. Simply tap compatible amiibo cards while playing Animal Crossing: Happy Home Designer to meet characters and learn more about their personalities.

If you have older versions of the portable consoles, you can still use the cards via the $19.99 Nintendo 3DS NFC Reader/Writer accessory, also available on Sept. 25.

PC Magazine
  0 Replies | 99 Views

Instagram adds more direct messaging features

Sep 01, 2015 - 7:07 PM - by Reverend
A couple of years ago, Instagram launched Instagram Direct, a built-in messaging system that lets users share photos or videos with each other -- either one-on-one or in groups of up to 15 people. Now, with over 85 million monthly users, it's time for Instagram Direct to get an update. That's finally happening today with a few new features, which include threaded messaging and a way to share Instagram content as Direct messages.

Threaded messaging is fairly self-explanatory -- instead of having to start a new message every time you want to send a photo or video to someone, you can go ahead and send them right in an existing conversation. You can also now snap a quick response photo in the thread itself and name your messaging groups if you want to differentiate one Direct message group from another.

As for the kinds of photos and videos you can send, that previously only included your own content. Now, however, you can also share pretty much anything you see on Instagram -- perhaps a funny picture your friend took at a party or a video of cute kitten -- as a Direct message. You can do so by tapping a curved arrow (it's located right next to the heart and comment icons) underneath the Instagram post. This will prompt open a Direct message window. Simply enter in who you want to get the message, hit send, and away you go. On the recipients end, when they see the sent image, they can tap it to view the original post. Aside from individual Instagram posts, you can share hashtag and location pages too.

And don't worry about people sharing any of your private photos -- your privacy settings will remain intact. Only those who are permitted to see the image will be able to see it, regardless of who the sender shared it with.

... [Read More]
  0 Replies | 86 Views

Instagram breaks out of the square

Aug 29, 2015 - 5:56 AM - by Reverend
After five years of square-shaped tyranny, Instagram will finally allow users to post portrait and landscape photos and videos.

The Facebook-owned photo-sharing tool announced the change Thursday morning. To start posting photos in their original shapes, users must update their iOS and Android Instagram apps to version 7.5. When you select an image or video, a new button will appear in the bottom left corner. Tap to toggle between square and not-square.

For some Instagram photographers, this update is great news. No more cropping out feet, lesser bridesmaids, tops of giraffes or scenic backgrounds. For others who found the constraint inspiring, it might take some getting used to.

"Square format has been and always will be part of who we are," said the company in a blog post. "That said, the visual story you're trying to tell should always come first, and we want to make it simple and fun for you to share moments just the way you want to."

Instagram's square crop and faded filters were originally designed to mimic medium-format film cameras. You could work around the restrictions and post rectangle photos using third-party apps. But you had to shrink them down and pad them with negative space.

That hasn't stopped people from shunning the square. According to Instagram, one in five posts aren't in the square format.

If the first big post is any indication, advertising dollars may have played a part in the decision. The official Star Wars Instagram account posted a widescreen video on Thursday morning. The clip has already receive more than 80,000 likes.

Videos will now have the same filters as photos, and you can adjust the intensity as you would with a still image. If you don't see the new features right away, check back later. They're rolling out throughout the day.

... [Read More]
  0 Replies | 167 Views

Chrome to Begin Pausing Most Flash Ads Next Week

Aug 29, 2015 - 5:53 AM - by Reverend
Google Chrome is about to get a major upgrade. Beginning Sept. 1, the browser will automatically pause many Flash ads by default to improve user performance, according to a Google+ post.

Google first announced the move in June, and rolled it out to the beta version of Chrome for the desktop. On Tuesday, it will start rolling out to the stable version of Chrome as well.

This means that when you visit a website that runs Flash, Chrome will automatically pause content that isn't central to the page. So, while you're watching a video without interruption, other Flash animations will be halted.

If Google accidentally pauses something you're actually interested in, just click to resume playback.

Google Software Engineer Tommy Li said this "significantly reduces power consumption, allowing you to surf the Web longer before having to hunt for a power outlet."

This could be an issue for advertisers, however, which may start to see their ads halted on Chrome. But Google said that most Flash ads uploaded to its AdWords platform are automatically converted to HTML5, so they will still play. Everyone else using Flash should consider switching to HTML5, Google advises.

Earlier this week, Google also announced that Chrome will now "defer playback of autoplay media" until you actually visit a particular tab. "This means no more 'Where's that sound coming from?' moments when an ad for instance decides to autoplay in a tab you've specifically opened in the background," Google's Francois Beaufort said. At this point, the feature is only available in the latest Chrome Dev build, but will likely make its ways to the Stable version soon.

... [Read More]
  0 Replies | 137 Views

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