Upgraded BT Wi-Fi App Gives Automatic Hotspots Sign-in With iOS

bt wifi

BT Wi-fi users can now connect automatically to hotspots on iOS devices, with a Windows 8.1 app in the pipeline.

The new iOS app offers a feature previously only available to users of Sky Broadband and The Cloud, but it’s not yet available on BT W-Fi’s Android app.

Auto-connection will also be included in the forthcoming Windows 8.1 BT Wi-fi app, for desktop, laptop and tablet devices.

Erik Raphael, director of BT Wi-fi and devices said, “Latest figures show that BT Wi-fi use has more than doubled in the last quarter to 6.6bn minutes. As demand is increasing, it makes sense that customers can automatically connect to our hotspots.

“Our new iOS app connects a customer whenever they are near a hotspot without the need to open the app again. This makes it even easier to find and use BT Wi-fi.”

While the iOS app simply connects to an available hotspot, the Windows 8.1 app will see the live tiles on their home screen change colour to indicate they’re online.

BT claims to have 5.2 million hotspots, including those created through many BT Broadband customers’ Home Hubs – a network formerly known as BT FON.

BT is currently beta-testing a new version of its BT Wi-fi Android app, which gives priority to your own Home Hub over FON when you’re at home.

BT Faces Fines If It Fails To Fix Most Phone And Broadband Faults Within Two Days

bt openreach

BT engineers will have to fix or install your broadband and phone on time or face fines if new rules are approved in 2014.

Telecoms regulator Ofcom wants to make sure that BT Openreach hits its targets for four out of five repairs and installations requested by ISPs, by April 2016.

Openreach, which looks after the ‘last mile’ between BT exchanges and customers, will have limits on how much it can blame extreme weather like the St Jude’s Storm for delays.

Ofcom said: “For the first time, Ofcom is proposing direct sanctions against Openreach if it fails to deliver against targets in future. We have been concerned about how long Openreach is taking to complete repairs and installations.

“These new rules would mean most telephone and broadband users must see their service repaired within a couple of days.”

The proposed rules require Openreach to fix faults within one or two days of being notified by a customer’s ISP, and to install new lines within 12 working days.

They’ll only be allowed to allowed to blame bad weather for missing targets for three per cent of repairs and one per cent of of installations.

The targets will cover around two-thirds of faults and installations from the middle of next year, rising in stages to about 80 per cent by April 2016.

They come as Ofcom also investigates disputes between Openreach and both Sky and TalkTalk over compensation for its alleged failure to provide compensation on fair and reasonable terms.

Sky said Openreach’s proposals are only the beginning of encouraging Openreach to meet the standards expected by the public.

“The service delivered by Openreach is an issue that impacts thousands of consumers every day,” said Sky. “While we welcome Ofcom’s action to impose minimum quality standards, we’re concerned that some of its proposals do not match up to customers’ expectations.

“As Ofcom’s own research shows, most people do not regard 12 working days as an acceptable standard for installing a new telephone line and it is well short of the goals we set in our own business. We believe that Openreach can and should be required to do better.”

But BT warned that while it already meets these targets on a regular basis – and compensates ISPs like Sky and TalkTalk if it doesn’t – any improvements will need more income from the cost of providing line rental and broadband.

BT said: “There is nothing terribly new here as service level agreements have existed for many years with Openreach compensating ISPs if it doesn’t deliver against targets. The fact is that it does meet those targets on a regular basis.

“Openreach is focused on customer service but it has to be recognised that improvements come with a price tag. Openreach’s charges are already amongst the lowest in the world – allowing UK consumers and businesses to enjoy very low prices – so the challenge is balancing those low prices with an increased focus on service.”

Ofcom’s consultation on Fixed access market reviews: Openreach quality of service and approach to setting LLU and WLR Charge Controls follows two wider studies of the UK’s broadband and phone industry by the regulator.

It’s open for responses until February 13, 2014, and Ofcom will announce its final decision in spring 2014.

Glass Box Suspended Over The French Alps

pans das le vide

It’s an invitation that’s not for the fainthearted: ‘Step into the Void’ is the name of a transparent glass cube that simulates the sensation of stepping off the mountain cliff in the French Alps.

Located atop the Aiguille du Midi, altitude 3842 meters, in the Mont Blanc Massif range, daredevils step into the glass box “Pas dans le Vide” suspended more than 1,000 meters off the valley floor for an unparalleled panoramic view of their snowy surroundings.

Three years in the making, the structure is built from three layers of tempered glass and can withstand winds of more than 220 km/h and a maximum temperature of 60°.

Mont Blanc Glass Box

The attraction is accessible by the Aiguille du Midi cable car, a 20-minute journey from Chamonix.

Mirrors Of The Future

iMirror

The iMirror looks like a normal full-length mirror, but behind the reflective panel is a touchscreen computer with voice commands and even facial recognition technology.

Its makers, Posh View, claim that the average adult spends over 168 hours a year in front of the mirror and that much of that time could be much more entertaining and productive. How about catching up on the latest cat videos while brushing your teeth or literally following a how-to guide when applying new makeup shades for the first time or attempting to tie a bow tie or Windsor knot?

Best thought of as an absolutely huge tablet, capable of running ‘full-length’ apps, the iMirror connects to a home’s wi-fi network and has a built-in camera which it uses to recognize who is staring into it.

Facial recognition means that it’s able of pre-loading favored apps or other settings based on the family member’s preferences — whether it’s CNN and the weather forecast, the inbox or, in the case of children, nothing other than their reflection, after all they spend far too much time in front of screens watching TV programs or playing video games.

As well as being equipped for multiple accounts, the iMirror is touch-sensitive meaning it can be navigated just like a tablet or smartphone but it also responds to voice commands, which is useful seeing as people are usually brushing their hair, shaving, dressing or brushing their teeth when using a mirror, meaning their hands are otherwise engaged.

The iMirror is still in its prototype stage (at the moment, each iMirror is built by hand in a workshop in Canada to customer specification), and in an attempt to bring the product to a mass market and streamline production before next summer, Posh View has launched a Kickstarter campaign in order to raise $200,000, which, if successful will price the iMirror at $2,750.

However, even if the crowdfunding campaign fails to hit the target, Posh View still aims to bring iMirror to market in a number of sizes, but it will take just that little bit longer.

KhalifaSat Set To Be Launched In 2017

khalifasat

Shaikh Mohammad, accompanied by other dignitaries, visited the Emirates
Institute for Advanced Science and Technology (Eiast) in Dubai.

KhalifaSat, the UAE’s first locally-built satellite, is set to be launched in 2017, said His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, as he visited the Emirates Institute for Advanced Science and Technology (Eiast).

“We have launched today, thanks [to] Almighty Allah, executive steps to build the first UAE-made satellite, the first such breakthrough in the Arab world,” Shaikh Mohammad told millions of his twitter followers on Sunday.

Shaikh Mohammad said the KhalifaSat, named after the President His Highness Shaikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, will be launched into orbit in 2017.

“Our confidence in [the] children of the UAE has no limits, so is our ambitions and success is always granted by Almighty Allah,” Shaikh Mohammad tweeted.

The KhalifaSat will be the third after DubaiSat1 and DubaiSat2, which have been built in Seoul, under a knowledge-sharing arrangement with the South Korean company Satrec.

Twenty Emirati engineers played roles in the building the two satellites, with a view to developing expertise and ensuring the next satellites are built locally.

Dedicating the new scientific breakthrough to the Shaikh Khalifa, Shaikh Mohammad said the success of UAE citizens in space, engineering and energy fields will open huge development horizons and areas to step into for the first time.

“Arabs are creative…brilliant…leaders and our mission is to create the suitable environment. Our history says Arab and Muslim scientists offered the world many achievements and we still believe that the same creative spirit flow in their children,” Shaikh Mohammad said.

Shaikh Mohammad said KhalifaSat’s team will be personally overseen by him and that the Government will set up similar teams in several other areas.

Eiast was established in 2006 to promote advanced research and technological innovation, more specifically satellite technology; to build a well-established internationally competitive base for human skills development; to position the UAE as a hub for space technology development internationally; to optimise the potential of Eiast satellite programmes, DubaiSat-1 and DubaiSat-2, through broadening their applications; and to provide support to decision makers in all sectors through application of its specialist skills.

Shaikh Mohammad inspected the facilities in Dubai to become self-sufficient in constructing and testing satellites, which are planned to be ready by 2015.

A national team including forty-five Emirati engineers are working on building the KhalifaSat, which, according to Shaikh Mohammad, catapults the Arab region into a new era of space industry and competition in space technologies.

While launching the promising project, Shaikh Mohammed said “KhalifaSat is a message to all Arabs that Arab ushering into the space era is neither out of reach nor impossible and our State will be a leader in this industry as long as we have the confidence and courage to enter into competition with major countries in this field.

“Our doors will remain open for cooperation with all Arab countries in space technology and engineering,” Shaikh Mohammed added.

In order for Eiast to achieve its goal of using space technologies and applications effectively, the institution has pursued four programmes: research and development of outer space, satellite manufacturing and system development, Earth observation from satellite images, and ground station services and support to other satellites.

Lamborghini Huracán Is The Gallardo Replacement

huracan

Lamborghini has taken the wraps off the eagerly awaited Gallardo replacement, but fans and potential owners hoping to see it in the flesh will have to wait until the Geneva Motor Show in March to do so.

Lamborghini claims that the Huracán is new from the ground up and, while that’s no doubt true, the end result bears a striking resemblance to the company’s current flagship Aventador. The same angular headlamps and the same sharp lines feature, although this is a much more compact car.

Still, saying that a car looks too much like a Lamborghini Aventador is not exactly a criticism of it. However, good looks only go so far and for a vehicle to be greeted with open arms into the supercar club, it had better be able to perform, too.

And, on paper at least, it appears that Lamborghini’s new baby will have no problems. The 5.2-liter V10 engine has been tweaked to deliver 610HP, and because so much carbon fiber and aluminum has been used in the car’s construction, it only weighs 1,422kg; that’s a power-to-weight ratio of just 2.33kg per horse power.

Lamborghini also claims that the new car is good for a 0-100km/h time of 3.2 seconds and a 0-200km/h time of 9.9 seconds, yet somehow, the engine meets the latest EU6 emissions regulations.

Some purists will be upset that the new car cannot be specified with a traditional manual transmission. A seven-speed, dual-clutch paddle-shift unit is standard. But so is active four-wheel drive and carbon-ceramic brakes, which means that it will be able to stop as quickly as it accelerates.

Lamborghini Huracan interior

The biggest difference over the car it replaces can be seen in the cabin. Most of the Gallardo’s instruments and dashboard elements were lifted straight out of an Audi (well, the German carmaker is its owner).

The Huracán’s cabin is much more exciting and is dominated by a central 12.3-inch touch screen which can be customized to display everything from how the engine is revving to maps and infotainment functions. Lamborghini says that the first deliveries will take place in Spring 2014.

London To Get Electric Black Cabs In 2014

metrocab

The classic London black cab will eventually be replaced by an electric alternative knows as the Range-Extended Electric Metrocab (REE, for short).

Johnson took the zero emission taxi, which is the work of UK company Ecotive and technology partner Frazer-Nash Research, for a spin at City Hall’s underground car park to demonstrate “the Metrocab is ready for market”.

Trials of the new cab will begin in early 2014, with a small fleet of Metrocabs used. Unless something terrible goes wrong, it will then be rolled out across London and other cities around the world.

“The Metrocab is designed as the next-generation London taxi and represents a revolution in the market as the first electric-powered cab to meet the duty cycle of a London taxi, where cabbies typically drive many miles from outside the city – making pure electric cars impractical with current technology and infrastructure,” Metrocab chairman Sir Charles Masefield explained.

“Ready now, our range extended drivetrain technology offers the solution London and other world-class cities are looking for.  We are confident Metrocab will make a real impact in the market and provide a better service to cities, drivers and passengers alike.”

The Metrocab is powered by an electric motor and has a small range-extending petrol engine that kicks in to help with recharging when the juice gets low.

It’s hoped the new cab will make life quieter, cleaner and more comfortable for passengers in London. Cab drivers will also benefit from much lower fuel and tax bills as the cost of electricity to ‘fill her up’ will be much less than it would be using diesel or petrol.

Reports say the new cab will cost as much as the rival diesel TX-4 cab. Only time will tell if it proves to be as hardy.

Nissan has also expressed an interest in replacing the standard taxi with something of its own creation, the NV200.

Golden Xbox One Commands Nearly $10K

gold xbox one

Retailing for £6,000 ($9,800) from London’s boutique department store Harrods is a 24-carat gold plated Xbox One.

The piece was supplied by Crystal Rocked, a customization company that specializes in applying crystal and gold layers to headphones, smartphones, and tablets — even concert pianos.

Reddit user SirSyhn posted the image after spotting Microsoft’s gold-encrusted console on a trip around the London store — one founded by a 19th century grocer and now owned by Qatar’s investment arm.