advertising
AdBlock is Legal, Says German Federal Court of Justice

There are a lot of people who don't like adblock software. Advertisers, publishers, Google, you name it. While some of those companies have tried to subtly encourage people to accept ads (or  at least some ads in Google's case), there are those who want more proactive measures. Facebook announced it would circumvent adblockers, much to the fury of people around the world, but German publisher Axel Springer took it a step further and was trying to sue AdBlock Plus. Emphasis on "was" because that case has now been thrown out by the German Federal Court of Justice. Read More >>

bitcoin
Amazon Just Got a Patent to Track Bitcoin Transactions and Sell the Data

Big companies file patents all the time. Not because they want to use them, just to have them and stop someone else from coming along and claiming the idea for themselves. Amazon is no different, and back in 2014 it filed a patent for a 'Streaming Data Marketplace' that would allow it to collect online data streams, analyse the data, and after combining multiple streams together they could sell it off to someone else. Read More >>

audio
The BBC Just Made Over 16,000 Sound Effect Samples Available Absolutely Free

The BBC has a pretty hefty archive these days, which is to be expected after nearly 100 years of operation. Among its archives are sound effects that have been used throughout the decades, and the Beeb just made 16,016 samples available to everyone - absolutely free. Read More >>

amazon
Amazon Launches Alexa Blueprints, So You Can Create Custom Skills Without Learning to Code

Amazon has always been quite open about letting third party developers create skills for its Alexa virtual assistant, but now it's just made it even easier to build something for yourself. Alexa Blueprints will let anyone develop skills for Alexa, and they don't even need to learn how to code first. Read More >>

piracy
Pirates Mock Amazon Prime for Poor Quality Video Content

If you're watching pirate streams and end up with some poor quality video, there's not a whole lot you can do about it. While plenty of people will moan about it, and blast the people responsible for ripping the content, at the moment quality issues seem to be affecting anyone trying to watch Amazon content - regardless of whether they're stealing it or going through the correct channels (better known as subscribing). Read More >>

amazon
Amazon’s Rolling Out Intercom-Style Alexa Announcements in the UK From Today

Earlier this month Amazon launched a feature in the US called Alexa Announcements, which let Echo users send one-way intercom-style messages from one Echo device to another. Now it's announced that feature willing be rolling out that feature to UK customers from today. Read More >>

internet
BT Has Plans to Kill the Phone Line by 2025

Do you have a landline? I know I don't, but then again I'm in my twenties and grew up communicating with people via text rather than voice. In the years since I've never really felt like adding an extra bill to my monthly expenses, and do all my calling from my mobile phone. Apparently home phones still use things called 'lines', which are made up of copper wires running through the ground. Well maybe not for much longer, because BT has announced it wants to ditch phone lines by 2025. Read More >>

gadgets
UK Smart Speaker Ownership Doubled in the Past Six Months, Says Poll

In case all those sales on Echo Dots and Google Home Mini's didn't make this a given, it turns out that the number of people who own smart speakers here in the UK has doubled over the past sis months. Or so says a new poll from YouGov. Read More >>

internet
TalkTalk, Vodafone, and BT Top Ofcom’s Broadband, Mobile, and TV Complaints Lists

As many of you will be aware, Ofcom is responsible for complaints levelled against telecoms companies. Complaints about all sorts of things, be it terrible service, nuisance calls, unsuitable content on TV, you name it. Being a public organisation, Ofcom regularly published reports on all those complaints with the latest arriving yesterday. Topping the complaints charts for broadband, mobile, and paid TV services were TalkTalk, Vodafone, and BT respectively. Read More >>

security
Microsoft Protects Users From Phishing Scams With a Windows Defender Chrome Extension

Phishing scams are pretty dastardly things, and supremely irritating. It's got to the point now where you can't ever trust a link in your inbox, even if everything looks legit. Even GMail's spam filters can't differentiate between scams and genuine emails from Amazon about stuff I've actually ordered. What's more plenty of people still fall for them, which is one of the reasons why Microsoft has gone and released a Windows Defender extension for Chrome. Read More >>

gaming
Unboxing Labo, Nintendo’s New Cardboard Play Kit

Back in January Nintendo announced a brand new way to use the Switch console. Labo lets you build cardboard accessories for the portable console, taking advantage of all the sensors built into the Joy Con controllers to do lots of weird and wonderful things that you can't do with another console. For now Nintendo is releasing two kits: The standard Variety Kit with the piano, RC car, a house, fishing rod, and motorbike, alongside the Robot Kit that lets you build your own wearable robot controller. Read More >>

enviroment
The Government is Considering Banning Plastic Straws and Cotton Buds

The government has been working towards reducing the amount of plastic waste people in the UK produce, with a particular emphasis on single-use plastics that'll just end up in a landfill or as part of a turtles dinner. Now it's going to go after plastic straws and cotton buds, with a possible ban on the cards. Read More >>

robots
Now TV Put a Creepy Robot in a Pub, Showing Just How Near and Far Westworld-Style Synths Really Are

Ever since Westworld's first season concluded, people have been eagerly anticipating the second installment. There isn't long to wait, and in the run up to the season premiere the marketing campaign is in full swing. When producers aren't busy trolling fans with fake spoiler videos, Now TV is creeping people out by putting a 'realistic' robot called Fred inside a London pub. Read More >>

facebook
Facebook: In Our Defence, We’re Not the Only Ones Harvesting Your Data

All eyes are on Facebook thanks to Cambridge Analytica shitstorm, and it seems like everyone suddenly has an opinion on how the social network uses their data for its own gain. But it's worth reminding everyone that Facebook isn't the only company that collects user data on such a massive scale. Read More >>

privacy
The Information Commissioner Thinks Data Protection Rules Are Slowing Her Down

Next month the entire EU, which still includes us, will implement the General Data Protection Regulation, which will bolster existing data protection laws and give users more control over what data is stored on them. These rules are going to affect the job of the Information Commissioner's Office, which is responsible for upholding public information rights, but the Commissioner herself feels current rules are slowly down her office's progress. Read More >>