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Posts in category Breaking News

Facebook to buy Instagram for $1 Billion

This acquisition is being done partly in cash and part stock. This will see it being kept as a separate brand and continued develop to allow users to upload photos to rival social networks as well as Facebook.

“…For years, we’ve focused on building the best experience for sharing photos with your friends and family. Now, we’ll be able to work even more closely with the Instagram team to also offer the best experiences for sharing beautiful mobile photos with people based on your interests…” – Mark Zuckerberg

The app sees 5million new photos per day from 30million users worldwide, with a choice of 17 filters allow users too quickly and easily share photos with friends primarily through the app and Twitter but also supports Facebook, Foursquare and Tumblr a popular blogging site. The app recently launched a version for the popular platform Android moving away from originally being just an app available on iPhones which caused some waves in the iPhone Instagram camp.

Some view Instagram as an app “to make photos look like your granny took them in the 70s” others as a way to make Photoshop style changes whilst out and about as you take the photo rather than having to download it to your computer first and play with it. Currently you cannot view photos in your browser without a direct link nor see peoples profiles, this is only possible through the app. Whatever your view Instagram is clearly here to stay, and to increase its market share in the photo sharing market.

Personally I am a big fan of it (even if it has just been since the Android release) and can’t wait for Facebook to improve it and possibly give it a public web gallery without the use of a third party app.

Editor’s Note: This guest post was written by Simon Gunton. You can follow him on Twitter @Cessle and Instagram (username: Cessle), when he isn’t tweeting he’s usually hiding behind servers.

Twitter Verified FAKE @Wendi_Deng (“wife” of Rupert Murdoch)

As mentioned yesterday Rupert Murdoch has recently joined Twitter, and an account claiming to be his Wife was also mentioned in most news articles as giving him advice on using the service.

[blackbirdpie url=”https://twitter.com/#!/Wendi_Deng/status/154204551690457089″]

I have just stumbled across the account again where it now shows that it was in-fact *NOT* the wife of Rupert Murdoch. More interestingly the account was verified for a full day by Twitter – without even contacting the account owner to verify anything.

[blackbirdpie url=”https://twitter.com/#!/Wendi_Deng/status/154204782331039744″]

[blackbirdpie url=”https://twitter.com/#!/Wendi_Deng/status/154204879030714369″]

This is certainly interesting, and worrying particularly as previously twitter have stated that the verified accounts program was ended, yet apparently they have made an exception for Rupert Murdoch and his apparent wife.

It’s truly  incredible how many media outlets assumed this account was genuine… such as The Telegraph,  The Guardian and The Daily Fail,

Although who could blame thenm when twitter is going around verifying (but not actually verifying) the account… I do take a little glee in the fact I was a little skeptical, and now can’t help but wonder if it’s the real Rupert Murdoch behind @rupertmurdoch

EXCLUSIVE: Nokia Lumia 900 Hands On!

That’s right we have been seeing Lumia 900 results popping up. A Nokia source got me hands on with the device & answered a few questions on it.

So first things that you will notice with the device is the huge 4.3 AMOLED screen which is a personal favourite of mine & a 1.4GHz processor.  As with all the Windows Phones on the marketplace currently the HTC Titan is the only other device with a big enough screen with as I was told “a nicer camera to compliment the big screen”.

Regarding the design on the device itself it is just a bigger Lumia 800, keeping the same design and button layout out. The only current differences regarding design were the current Lumia 800 push & click for access to the device & Micro Sim have changed into a iPhone style pin push access to the Sim card and no cover to the Micro USB.

Finally a change which will only go ahead depending on the feedback on the Lumia 800 is the case finish which the current prototype has a gloss finish unlike the current Lumia’s matt finish.

As I only saw a prototype & the device has a while to go till final production we can see a few changes yet to happen but I will try to keep you as updated as possible.

Launch will be hard to really estimate, although some seem to think we’ll be seeing it in Q1 2012 (note the picture on that link is *NOT* the Lumia 900), but we can look at around Tango release because the current prototypes are only running on Tango.  Finally as Nokia are such great fans of NFC I also had confirmation that the Apollo (Next gen of Windows Phones) will bring support for NFC devices.

 

Spotify Apps

Spotify have just announced something rather cool, Spotify Apps.

This looks like it could be a great new way to incorporate more functionality into Spotify with the addition of Apps for things like lyrics and artist information it will certainly add a whole new level to your music listening experience.

As a Spotify Premium customer myself I can’t wait to see what this will be like to use in day-to-day listening and if/how they will work this into the mobile phone apps.

What do you think of Spotify Apps? Let us know in the comments below!

HSBC Systems Down – Ground Control, we have a problem.

It appears that for at least the past hour Since 14:45 GMT HSBC’s banking systems have been a total no go after a total system crash (meltdown), with Internet Banking services down and it appears other systems including withdrawals and even card transactions being unavailable. We have to ask, what’s happening at HSBC, and how can this be allowed to happen to such important systems as banking.

 

 

Errors include infamous Internal Error 500’s:

 

People having issues withdrawing money:

[blackbirdpie url=”https://twitter.com/#!/Darr3nL/status/132476359233650689″]

Cards being refused:

[blackbirdpie url=”https://twitter.com/#!/anna_anna/status/132476518042566656″]

On Twitter @HSBC_UK_Online is doing a fair job at tryng to comfort consumers that the systems are being worked on and users are being told to follow @hsbc_uk_press for updates on the situation.

It’s rumored this could be a network failure at HSBC and we will try to keep you updated as GeekTechBlog.com learns more on this situation.

Update 16:10: We have learn that this is also effecting First Direct who have also confirmed issues.

Update 16:14: We have also noted images failing to load on HSBC.co.uk due to apparent 404’s, which may be connected to the issues.

Update 16:33: Business internet banking now appears to be functioning fine, and Personal accounts are able to login, but then receive an error stating “Sorry, there appears to be a system problem. Please try again later. (085)”. Other users report they are able to access online banking.

Update 16:47: ATMs should now be back online – [blackbirdpie url=”https://twitter.com/#!/hsbc_uk_press/status/132498588700905472″]

Update 16:50: Internet banking & cards now backonline – [blackbirdpie url=”https://twitter.com/#!/hsbc_uk_press/status/132499948305530880″]

Final Update: – What actually happened?

HSBC stated: “Just before 3pm today HSBC in the UK experienced an IT outage that affected our online banking services, some of our ATMs and some of our customers debit card transactions. The problem was located and resolved at 4pm, and all of systems recovered by 4.30pm. “

In a previous update HSBC did specifically state that the outage was with a Mainframe.

They have also said they will ensure customers are not financially impacted due to the failure and that all pending payments have now been cleared & processed.

Everything Everywhere: Orange & T-mobile – The “big 3G switch-on”

A while back Orange and T-mobile (UK) merged into a new company, Everything Everywhere Ltd forming the UK’s largest communications company.

As part of this Orange and T-mobile customers gained massively from the ability to use the other network for their 2G (SMS & Voice mainly) signal helping all Orange and T-mobile customers (myself included) better coverage and quality of signal.

Until now though customers have been unable to benefit from using the 3G signal of the other network. As of next week customers will be able to take advantage of the both networks 3G capabilities thanks to the latest advancements in the mobile networks evolution plan. This will enable all 27 million T-mobile & Orange mobile customers to enjoy faster internet and data access, with wider coverage (woot!).

Since the merge customers from each brand have already been using the shared 2G network in their millions, with a huge 1.7 million days worth of calls (that’s almost 41 million hours!) made on the other brand’s network, as well as a whopping 5 billion additional SMS sent and received since October 2010.

The big 3G switch-on will begin rolling out next week region by region to all T-mobile and Orange customers over the next few months.

“This is a significant achievement and demonstrates the latest milestone in our network vision and customer promise – to provide more things, to more people in more places than any other company in Britain.

Customers are always on the move and demanding instant access to information wherever they are. Not only will customers be able to talk in more places they weren’t able to before, they’ll also now be able to access the internet, social networks or download emails at improved speeds, in more places.” – Olaf Swantee, Everything Everywhere CEO.

The best bit? It won’t cost you a penny more. This will be rolled-out seamlessly and pricing and plans will remain as-is meaning a better service, without you having to pay a penny more, and without having to lift a finger. I for one – as a T-Mobile customer – can’t wait!

Steve Jobs has died

It has now broken that Apple Ex-CEO Steve Jobs has died. Apple.com now simply shows a large image of Steve Jobs with 1955 – 2011 (his life), linking to a short statement from Apple, they also asked for those wishing to share their thoughts, memories and condolences to email remeberingsteve@apple.com.

Steve Jobs has undeniably been a huge influence in the technology industries with an impressive CV ranging from pioneering the personal computer, the music industry with iTunes & iPods and bringing tablet devices out the cupboard and helping to show where predecessors got it wrong.

This sudden news makes Steve’s talk at Stanford University where he talks about how his ill-health and closeness to his death impacted on him.

 

TinyGrab – Under new management

Us at GeekTechBlog are big fans of TinyGrab, and have been closely following the service for the past few months, particularly when they got taken over by a new owner – Now we can finally spill the beans!

TinyGrab has has a rough couple of months, including issues with their Grab.by domain which left many users pulling their hair out.

Company 52 quietly acquired TinyGrab on July 8th and since then have been busy stabilizing the service, including restoring the Grab.by domain and improving customer support.

Launched in 2009, TinyGrab has grown quickly over the last two years to over 300,000 registered users.  It grew faster than the original founding team’s capabilities, and when the service’s primary server was hacked in March, it set off a chain of events that resulted in unfinished TinyGrab 2.0 beta software being pushed out the door, the disabling of all new paid-plan signups, and a firestorm of user frustration.

After considering offers from multiple companies, TinyGrab’s founders selected Company 52 as the best equipped and committed to ensure TinyGrab’s long-term success.

Since July 8th, Company 52 has taken over all development, maintenance, and customer support responsibilities.  It will also complete development of the Mac and Windows versions of TinyGrab 2.0, reintroduce the paid service plans, and release new mobile app versions.

Company 52 is a primarily US-based web and mobile application development agency.  Its small team of full-time designers and developers is geographically distributed, and has been developing very secure high-availability applications for the last 5 years.

TinyGrab is a cross-platform application that allows users to take screenshots, upload them to a cloud-based service, and share them – within seconds.  It was founded in 2009 by Chris Leydon and Nick Cooper.

Check out our other post where we Interview the Company 52’s CEO Michael Poythress about the TinyGrab acquisition, and their plans for the future – We also have three (3) 2-year TinyGrab Pro subscriptions to give-away!

Updated: LulzSec hacked News International’s sites – TheSun.co.uk

It seems LulzSec are having their hacking fun this evening, this time with News International and boy are they having fun.

At around 11:50pm[1] LulzSec hacked into New-times.co.uk, and added their own touch:

And also published a story on the media moguls death:

Update: View an image of the full fake article posted on TheSun.co.uk here

And had TheSun.co.uk’s homepage redirecting to the story.

However the new-times.co.uk website couldn’t handle the traffic from TheSun.co.uk and went down, so currently TheSun.co.uk is redirecting to the @LulzSec Twitter feed.

[blackbirdpie url=”https://twitter.com/#!/LulzSec/status/93072777959051264″]

After this it seems as well as compromising not only New-Times.co.uk AND TheSun.co.uk they also managed to get access to NewsInt.co.uk and updated their statement regarding The Sun to again redirect to their Twitter feed!

[blackbirdpie url=”https://twitter.com/#!/LulzSec/status/93086985979297792″]

We will keep you updated as we learn more and events unfold…

Update 1: We also forgot to mention, LulzSec claim to have access to News International and The Sun’s emails and is planning to release them shortly.

Update 2 – 00:14: It seems the News International server admins are fighting for control, TheSun.co.uk no longer redirects to the LulzSec Twitter feed and instead returns an error processing the request – others News International sites are also returning similar errors.

Update 3 – 00:22: The News International website – NewsInt.co.uk is now down also, not confirmed if from DDoS, LulzSec or because Admins have taken it down.

Update 4 – 00:24: TheTimes.co.uk is now down due to Namesever failures! – Tipped by our own @ajlanghorn

Update 5 – 00:28: The NewsInt nameservers have been killed completely now. All News Int sites using ns0/ns1.newsint.co.uk are down.

Update 6 – 00:42: @LulzSec has called it a night…

[blackbirdpie url=”https://twitter.com/#!/LulzSec/status/93103067662258176″]

Update 7 – 00:47: Woah! Blindsided apparently Rupert Murdoch is considering stepping down as CEO of NewsCorp (Yet to be confirmed) As reported by Bloomberg

[blackbirdpie url=”https://twitter.com/#!/emilychangtv/status/93102150149881856″]

Update 7 – 05:34: View an image of the full fake article posted on TheSun.co.uk here

Skype automatically adds contacts from Facebook after activating video chat without permission.

facebook-skype-merge-img1So today’s big announcement was the relaunch of Facebook chat and its video call integration provided by Skype however there seems to be a catch to the service which hasn’t been announced and quite frankly has annoyed me greatly.

It turns out that if your Facebook friends have their Skype details on their profile, and they have linked Skype with Facebook at some point (say for Skype’s Facebook feed integration) and have activated video chat that Skype will search all of your friends and automatically add them to your friends list. Without asking for your permission, or at least not expressly.

It gets worse too, if your friends have also done this then there is no accepting the requests it just automatically adds them to your list allowing them to see when you are online with you being none the wiser. I only found out as a friend pointed out that I had been automatically added to his Skype and I had automatically accepted the request. Personally I use Skype and Facebook for very different things.

Facebook is used for social networking and lets be honest anyone who you meet and get on with will probably add you and you will probably accept, Skype on the other hand is much more personal and is more for people who you intend to keep in contact with on a regular basis or for meetings etc. not for every Tom, Dick and Harry.This needs to be resolved and dealt with appropriately and quickly by both parties