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Geek News Central
  Updated Mon, 02 Mar 2015 08:26:08 +0000
Description Geek News: Latest Technology, Product Reviews, Gadgets and Tech Podcast News for Geeks
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Booking.com Launches Booking Now App
Category iOS, iPhone, smartphone, tablet, travel accessories, Android, IOS, Tablet, tourism, travel
Published:
Description: I was somewhat surprised to learn that 50% of travel bookings made within 48 hours of departure are booked on a mobile device. On reflection, it’s perhaps not that surprising, given that the spontaneous decision to travel is likely to be followed up immediately, rather than waiting to get home to get the laptop out. […]  more...

Booking.com logoI was somewhat surprised to learn that 50% of travel bookings made within 48 hours of departure are booked on a mobile device. On reflection, it’s perhaps not that surprising, given that the spontaneous decision to travel is likely to be followed up immediately, rather than waiting to get home to get the laptop out.

It’s with this opportunity in mind that accommodation site Booking.com has launched Booking Now, an instant booking app that can get a place to stay in as little as two taps. After a successful launch in the US and Canada, the app is now available in the UK for iOS devices with an Android version to follow. The app’s built-in intelligence, along with GPS, helps it choose the best properties based on your preferences from over 600,000 properties in 70,000 destinations.

Booking Now - Booking.com UK imageWith the launch of Booking Now, we’re increasing our investment in mobile by leveraging our global scale, assets and partnerships to accommodate the growing number of customers who are booking reservations within two days or less of their stay,” said Darren Huston, Chief Executive Officer of Booking.com. “The new app puts users at the centre of the booking experience, drawing from our vast database of properties to meet their specific preferences at the very moment they need to book. Booking Now is designed to deliver a seamless mobile experience for spontaneous consumers, fitting perfectly into their multi-device, on-demand lifestyle.

Booking Now personalises real-time search results based on the traveller profile created by each user when they first start to use the app. The profile indicates specific accommodation preferences, such as budget and options like parking, included breakfast and wifi. Users are then presented with the most relevant accommodation available based on profile and location. The traveller can then modify their choice of accommodation to suit their itinerary and the places that they want to see. With Booking Now’s predictive analytics, the more frequently customers use the app, the more personalised their recommended matches become. Additionally, as user’s swipe through the app, they can pin their top hotel choice to the map so they can see where the hotel is relative to their location or other attractions.

The Booking Now app can be downloaded from the relevant app stores – iOS only for now with Android coming soon.

If only I had more time and more money to be spontaneous!

Dell XPS 13 Experience
Category Information, review, dell, xps
Published:
Description: Over the past 3 weeks I have been using a Dell XPS 13 provided by Dell as my primary laptop. Over the last couple of years I have switched between a Macbook and a Windows laptop. I was honestly skeptical that I would like the smaller form factor as I have always had big screen […]  more...

dellxpsOver the past 3 weeks I have been using a Dell XPS 13 provided by Dell as my primary laptop. Over the last couple of years I have switched between a Macbook and a Windows laptop.

I was honestly skeptical that I would like the smaller form factor as I have always had big screen laptops. In a very short time I have absolutely fallen in love with the Dell XPS. Let me share a little about the tech specs . The machine that Dell sent me again was the XPS 13 with an Intel 5th gen core processor, 8GB of ram, 256GB SSD Drive, backpack, transport sleeve & power companion. It came with Microsoft Office loaded and of course Windows 8.1

My first impression pulling it out of the box was wow this thing is lightweight weighing in @ 2.6 pounds, very  sturdy with aluminium and composite materials . Boot up time was incredibly fast, and what really blew me away was the screen. The Dell team spared no expense in getting the monitor to have absolutely minimal edge distance from screen border to the edge of the lid.

Their engineering team stuffed a 13.3 inch display in what would normally be a 11 inch ultrabook form factor. The Dell XPS 13 is currently the smallest 13 inch laptop on the planet. A buddy of mine with a Macbook Air was really wowed with the screen resoltion and form factor. With 5.7 Million pixels the Quad HD+ display is 4.4 million more pixels than the MacBook Air.

In the past when I left the house I would pack up the laptop and the power supply which usually weighs as much as a laptop, the Dell XPS 13 power supply is another home run it’s not much bigger than a cell phone charger. Even as small as the charger is I started leaving the charger at home during the day after a trip to California. Here is my battery usage case. I spent 2+ hours at the departing airport on the XPS working due to a flight delay. I then used the laptop on the Aircraft WiFi for about 5 hours catching up on email, Google docs etc.. Then when I arrived at my hotel late in the evening, I checked email and did a lengthy Skype video call to my wife all the while on battery.  I went to bed forgetting to plug in the laptop and charge it. Running a bit late in the morning, I left the hotel with the battery still having about 30% charge. I used the laptop on and off that day only reverting to charge it with the Dell Power Companion in the early evening. In summary the battery life is simply incredible I really do not know how they do it.

My usage of the laptop has largely been web based and a handful of applications including an Autocad drawing reader. I did do a little bit of Audio editing with Adobe Audition, and the laptop performed as I would expect for a Intel i5. If I was going to be doing any heavy video editing I would likely want the i7 version of the XPS. The team at Dell put a lot of thought into this laptop the keyboard is remarkable I do not say that lightly as I am pretty picky. I used both an external mouse and the trackpad and had no issues either way. Nothing to really add about the touch screen as it performs as advertised.

I have received a lot of compliments and questions asked about the XPS  when I have been out in public it attracts attention. I feel very comfortable travelling with the laptop and feel that it will handle what I will be throwing at it. The transition to the smaller screen was not an issue with the incredible screen resolution. It sure makes my mobile bag much lighter leaving me room for other gear.

As configured my laptop specs out a $1140 prices start though at $799, you can get your own at one of these two fine online locations Dell or Microsoft. There is quite a back story to the Dell XPS that is a worth read and of course check out the XPS product page.  This laptop has received a lot of awards and now I know why.

Disclaimer: Dell has provided for free the XPS and accessories for this review. All Geek News Central Reviews are done so under real world conditions and not in some lab. All opinions are those of the author.

Facebook to Add Suicide Reporting
Category Facebook
Published:
Description: Let’s face it, social media has become the main way we communicate with each other today. We have all seen posts from friends in good times but also in bad. When it comes to bad, it’s hard to say how bad things are, but places like Facebook can often be where troubled people reach out. Now Facebook […]  more...

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Let’s face it, social media has become the main way we communicate with each other today. We have all seen posts from friends in good times but also in bad. When it comes to bad, it’s hard to say how bad things are, but places like Facebook can often be where troubled people reach out. Now Facebook intends to do something to help.

Over the next few weeks Facebook will be rolling out a new tool to allow users to flag posts made by someone they are concerned about.

The tool will allow users to report someone they think might be suicidal or hurt themselves in some way.  After flagging the post, you will be given information on how to deal with the person, or let a trained team at Facebook get in touch with the person. You will be given the option to send message to the person, or a mutual friend or even talk to a Facebook team member to advise you on what to do next.

CNET has a full gallery walkthrough of how to use the tool.

This Week in Watch News
Category Apple, wearable
Published:
Description: There are two major leaders in the smart watch world these days, and one hasn’t even released its product yet. Apple and Pebble both are in the news this week, getting everyone all excited about what’s to come in wearables. Pebble launched a new Kickstarter this week to raise funds for its latest smart watch. One […]  more...

screen shot 2014-11-19 at 2.02.18 pm

There are two major leaders in the smart watch world these days, and one hasn’t even released its product yet. Apple and Pebble both are in the news this week, getting everyone all excited about what’s to come in wearables.

Pebble launched a new Kickstarter this week to raise funds for its latest smart watch. One with color e-paper, longer battery life, and new timeline interface. They were able to raise $8 million in a few hours. Their new watch will be thinner and include a microphone for responding to messages or taking memos.

In the other corner, Apple’s Tim Cook, in an interview with the Telegraph, has dropped some more product info about what to expect from the Apple Watch.

In addition to getting all your messages and notifications, and being a pretty nice fashion accessory, the Apple Watch will be replacing your car key-fob, and have a lot of focus on health.

Cook said the watch will “tap” the wearer at intervals throughout the day to remind them to get up and go for a walk. It will also feature an incentive program to exercise. Rewards will be given as the user hits metabolic targets.

Apple’s watch event is scheduled for March 9 and the watch is expected to be available for purchase in April.

Google Flip Flops on Adult Blogger Content
Category blogger, bloggers, google
Published:
Description: Earlier this week Google announced a policy change that would have users of its Blogger service remove any and all adult content. After some backlash, the search giant has changed its mind. According to Techmeme, Google will only be cracking down on commercial porn content, and not the likes of sex bloggers and people making home made […]  more...

porn-google-web

Earlier this week Google announced a policy change that would have users of its Blogger service remove any and all adult content. After some backlash, the search giant has changed its mind.

According to Techmeme, Google will only be cracking down on commercial porn content, and not the likes of sex bloggers and people making home made porn(…?) We’re not sure about that last one but regardless, Google must have realized that not ALL adult content is problematic. It seems as long as you’re not using the service to sell your porn, you should be in the clear.

“This week, we announced a change to Blogger’s porn policy. We’ve had a ton of feedback, in particular about the introduction of a retroactive change (some people have had accounts for 10+ years), but also about the negative impact on individuals who post sexually explicit content to express their identities.”

Adult bloggers will have to continue to mark their pages as having “adult content” so they can be sorted into the appropriate listings with the appropriate warnings.

Uber’s data breached in 2014
Category Information
Published:
Description: More bad news for Uber, as the company said in a press release that 50,000 of their drivers may have had personal information stolen from the company’s databases in 2014. In late 2014, we identified a one-time access of an Uber database by an unauthorized third party. A small percentage of current and former Uber […]  more...

Marco Rubio Speech On Innovation At Uber's DC Offices

More bad news for Uber, as the company said in a press release that 50,000 of their drivers may have had personal information stolen from the company’s databases in 2014.

In late 2014, we identified a one-time access of an Uber database by an unauthorized third party. A small percentage of current and former Uber driver partner names and driver’s license numbers were contained in the database. Immediately upon discovery we changed the access protocols for the database, removing the possibility of unauthorized access.  We are notifying impacted drivers, but we have not received any reports of actual misuse of information as a result of this incident.

 

So long, Leonard Nimoy
Category Movies, TV
Published:
Description: Perhaps one of history’s most famous, and loved, aliens, Spock trained himself to let go of human emotion. But upon the passing of Leonard Nimoy, the Internet is full of “the feels.” Countless posts have been made since it was released that Nimoy had passed, and never has anyone seen so many emotion-filled comments by […]  more...

vulcans-4ever

Perhaps one of history’s most famous, and loved, aliens, Spock trained himself to let go of human emotion. But upon the passing of Leonard Nimoy, the Internet is full of “the feels.”

Countless posts have been made since it was released that Nimoy had passed, and never has anyone seen so many emotion-filled comments by fans around the world.

Nimoy had been battling end-stage chronic obstructive pulmonary disease for some time, when he died yesterday at the age of 83.

He was not only a talented actor but also a wonderful photographer, artist and writer.

Leonard Nimoy was preceded in death by other Trek-mates DeForest Kelley, James Doohan, Majel Barrett and of course, Gene Roddenberry.

Amazon Fire HD 7 Review
Category amazon, review, tablet, Tablet
Published:
Description: Back in February 2014, I reviewed the Kindle Fire HDX 8.9 and I was impressed with Amazon’s top-of-the range tablet. Amazon has continued to push their Fire tablet range and the fourth generation of the Fire tablets came out in September 2014. Not only did Amazon bump the spec with the refresh, they bumped the […]  more...

fire_hd7

Back in February 2014, I reviewed the Kindle Fire HDX 8.9 and I was impressed with Amazon’s top-of-the range tablet. Amazon has continued to push their Fire tablet range and the fourth generation of the Fire tablets came out in September 2014. Not only did Amazon bump the spec with the refresh, they bumped the Kindle moniker too, reserving that for the ereaders. On review here, is the Fire HD 7 tablet, Amazon’s offering in the 7″ market. Let’s take a look.

HD Fire 7

In the box there’s the tablet, a travel charger and a USB charging cable. This review unit (courtesy of Amazon) came with a US charger but I imagine that chargers will be supplied according to local requirements.

From the very start the Fire HD 7 is a little bit different from the average tablet with a choice of five different colours – black, white, cobalt, magenta and citron – and obviously this is the white version. I think it would be fair to call the Fire HD 7 as chunky – it’s a little over a 1 cm thick and weighs in at 337g, which specs it very closely to the Nexus 7 2012 but it looks a bit bigger – there’s a bit of trickery going on in that Google devices have narrow chrome bands with curved backs which make them look thinner than they are. Setting the figures to one side, the HD7 feels….fun.

Fire HD 7

Giving the HD 7 a once over, there’s not much to poke at. The front has the main screen and a front-facing camera, on the top side there’s the power button, micro-USB port and the headphone port, and on the left there’s a volume rocker. Round the back, there’s the rear camera and stereo speakers. The rear camera is 2 MP and the front camera is VGA, which seems a bit under-specced for a 2014 tablet but it does record HD video. There’s also a large Amazon logo emblazoned in the middle of the back and not everyone will like the plastic back, though it’s largely a matter of personal taste. Even though the back cover does have a matte texture, it’s not that grippy, so I’d be investing in some kind of case.

Fire HD 7 back

Geek Bench 3Performance-wise, the Fire HD 7 has a 1.5 GHz quad-core processor, with two 1.5 GHz cores and two 1.2 GHz cores. As a result, it scores 766 in single core and 1483 for multicore in Geek Bench 3, putting its performance close to the 2013 Nexus 7 (and much better than the 2012 one). Regardless of what the benchmarks say, the HD 7’s performance in the hand was great.

On powering up, Fire OS looks as good as ever, even on the 7″ display. The screen is 1280 x 800 pixels, giving 216 ppi, which might not be as detailed as some, but the display is good and bright with rich colours that aren’t over-saturated. The carousel style interface works well with apps and media all mixed in together. As before, there are some great touches to the interface with the soft buttons moved to the right-hand side, conveniently under the hand in landscape view but still at the bottom when held in portrait. It’s tempting to review Fire OS but given this is the fourth generation of the tablet, it’s probably unnecessary.

FIre OS Screenshot

However, it’s still all about the apps though, and it’s good to see that the range of apps available in the Amazon Store has increased in the year since I reviewed the HDX. For example, Zinio is now available (though it didn’t want to load on the HD 7) and Mailbox has been released as well, so there’s a great email client too. For the average user, it’s hard to see app availability as an issue.

More than apps, Amazon is about content and as with all Amazon devices, the Fire delivers well. Signing into the Fire HD 7 with your Amazon credentials instantly accesses all your books, music and video content. It’s easy to switch between content that’s on the device and content that’s still in the cloud – there’s a simple toggle on the top right – so managing storage is less of an issue, even on 8 MB devices. Audio playback is good and background noise is minimal, even when listening with earbuds in quiet environments. The rear speakers are one of the highlights of the Fire HD 7, giving surprisingly good sound and add to the atmosphere when watching video.

Amazon Music

For films and TV on demand, Amazon offers its Instant Video – playback of movies is as smooth as you’d expect. I reviewed much of GNC’s CES coverage on the HD 7 and it handled all the video I threw at it.

Amazon Instant Video

As with other Fire tablets, Amazon offers FreeTime, a parental controls app that lets Mum and Dad add apps and content to a child’s profile. Access to the web browser and social networking apps is restricted and the amount of play time can be controlled as well. It’s well done and increases the appeal of Amazon Fire tablets to families.

Turning to price, the base cost is GB £119 for the 8 GB wi-fi version with “Special Offers” aka adverts. Taking the memory to 16 GB ups the cost to £139. Removing the adverts costs an additional £10 in both configurations.

I’ve been using the Fire HD 7 for over a month now and I like it a great deal. It’s fun, robust, inexpensive and with the parental controls, makes a good choice for a family tablet. The screen might not have the highest resolution but if I hadn’t read the spec sheet, I wouldn’t know or care as it looks great. I enjoyed having the HD 7 around and there were plenty of times when I picked up the HD 7 in preference to my Nexus 9. If you are into the Amazon ecosystem, this would appear to be a no-brainer buy…….

….but the Fire HDX 7 is currently reduced by £50 to £149 for the 16 GB versions albeit with ads. This has a 2.2 GHz CPU and 1920 x 1200 (323 ppi) screen, so personally, I think this is the one to get. Tell you what, buy the HDX for yourself and the HD for the kids. Perfect.

Thanks to Amazon for the loan of the Fire HD 7 tablet.

GNC #1013 The FCC Brings the Hammer
Category Podcast
Published:
Description: The FCC has brought the big hammer and executed the nuclear option. Now it is World War III between the ISP’s, Mobile carrier and the FCC / People. Was this a perfect solution not by far. But if the ISP’s had not installed a Toll gate and become trolls this all could have been avoided. […]  more...

The FCC has brought the big hammer and executed the nuclear option. Now it is World War III between the ISP’s, Mobile carrier and the FCC / People. Was this a perfect solution not by far. But if the ISP’s had not installed a Toll gate and become trolls this all could have been avoided.

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Listener Links:
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Title II Nuke.
iWatch on the 9th.
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BBC License Model.
Botnet Takedown.
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Google Invest 300 Million in Solar.
Pebble Kickstarter.
Seven years Possible Prison Sentence to Scumbag.
Programs for Coders.
Hangout and Pictures breaking out.
Firefox TV Sets.
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90 Days in NYC No Phone, No Internet, Back to basics.
Facebook Suicide Prevention Plan.
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Robot Underpants: 02.25.15 (190) “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious”
Category Information, underpants
Published:
Description: Baron Mat “Langley” Luschek, “Starman” Michael Gaines, Kathy Hopkins and “Karaoke” Bob bring you this week’s latest and greatest, including: Cleveland Comic Con review, Lou Ferrigno interview, Aquaman news, Alien news, Power Rangers short film, Oscars, new Duck Tales, new Pee Wee Herman movie, and more! Interview with Lou Ferrigno Karen Gillan Clip Bruce Campbell Clip […]  more...

Baron Mat “Langley” Luschek, “Starman” Michael Gaines, Kathy Hopkins and “Karaoke” Bob bring you this week’s latest and greatest, including: Cleveland Comic Con review, Lou Ferrigno interview, Aquaman news, Alien news, Power Rangers short film, Oscars, new Duck Tales, new Pee Wee Herman movie, and more!

Interview with Lou Ferrigno
Karen Gillan Clip
Bruce Campbell Clip
Corey Feldman Clip
Billy Boyd and Graham McTavish Clip

Cleveland Comic Con

Power/Rangers
Aquaman
E Kiss
Alien Movie News
Jeb Bush’s Frank Zappa Wedding Photos

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