Friday, 25 July 2014

The Best Apps To Download This Summer

When it comes to the summer months, we will spend less time sitting indoors and more time outside taking selfies on holiday to make our friends and relatives jealous.

But, as well as taking selfies, it is also fun to kill some time on a sunbed too, so here are some apps you should download for over the summer months.

This iPhone-only app will help you put some retro fun into your summer videos and means you can add funky filters to your crazy selfies and pictures of nearby landmarks. There is a limit of 15 seconds of footage but that is definitely a good thing – no one wants to be bored by a minute-long holiday slideshow.

Many of us post updates of pretty much anything that happens in our daily life, but we only say the things that make us look good. Secret is a social network that makes whatever you say anonymous so you can post statuses about anything and people will never know it’s you. Although trying to work out the point of it is difficult, it is all part of the fun that the things on there are people’s secrets.

This free app is for those people looking to get from A to B in a number of countries for as cheap as possible. So if you and your friends are looking to travel to one of the 38 different countries this app has maps for, you can get around for the smallest fare, which means you can save more money for food and less on the travel part.

This app costs 74p but it’s an investment worthwhile if your summer holiday consists of a road trip. This app is designed for Spotify premium subscribers, which is probably the only setback, but it allows you to listen to music that picks up how fast you’re driving and picks a song accordingly. Although, this could get a little boring if you end up stuck in loads of traffic.

If you’re not going anywhere on holiday though, these apps can still be useful for you when around the UK, so you don’t have to feel too left out.

Friday, 18 July 2014

Google And Apple Get Things Rolling

The technology giants are at it again, this time both showing an interest in in-car technology.

Google has, this week, proven exactly why it is serious about moving its technology into cars by adding a new recruit to their ranks. Former CEO, Alan Mulally, has been added to Google’s board of directors which means he brings a wealth of experience to the company and can help them make the necessary steps into the car market.

Alan Mulally left as CEO of Ford after an eight-year stint at the company in June. Before that he served as CEO of Boeing Commercial Airplanes, so he knows his stuff.

Apple have made a move into the car industry too and have set their sights on getting their CarPlay technology into Volkswagen cars by the year 2016. CarPlay was always going to be a slow rollout but we are already seeing more and more names on board.

Volkswagen was not one of those already mentioned in the list of car manufacturers but now there is a lot of talk of Apple changing that. Talks between VW and Apple are currently ongoing and if things go well there could be an announcement made at some point later this year.

Apparently though, if CarPlay is to make an appearance in new Volkswagen models we will have to wait until 2016 as it is a bit late notice for them to feature in next year’s cars. This delay is not wholly a bad thing though as Apple is continuing to update its CarPlay system so it can connect wirelessly instead of having to use the USB Lightening cable.

What both of these moves do mean though, is the race for the best in-car technology system is likely to become very interesting shortly.

Google has already made announcements about its commitment to the motor industry and its Open Automative Alliance includes Audi, Honda, Hyundai and General Motors.

Apple on the other hand, is getting to work on persuading other car manufactures besides Volkswagen, including Mercedes, Jaguar/Land Rover, Toyota and Volvo.

Friday, 11 July 2014

AI Could Match Human Intelligence in Next 30 Years

As you’re probably already fully-aware, we’re big fans of all things digital but in the next 30 years we could be relying on technology a lot more than we do today.

According to Murray Shanahan, professor of cognitive robots at Imperial College London, there is a “good chance that we can see AI matching human intelligence within the next thirty years”.

Murray is working on deep learning in Artificial Intelligence and had also suggested that the chances of us seeing human-level intelligence within AI within our lifetimes are better than 50/50.

This comes as no surprise really, when the likes of Google Now and Siri are becoming more and more intelligent every day. Google recently snapped up the British artificial intelligence company ‘DeepMind’ for £400 million, which has kept Shanahan on his toes and ensuring he keeps a close eye on what they are doing.

Google aren’t alone though, as Facebook and Yahoo are also two companies that have been working closely with AI experts. In fact, Facebook’s ‘DeepFace’ software has the ability to match faces almost as well as humans can.

Shanahan said that there has been a rapid growth and improvement in voice recognition which shows real movement in the progression of AI.

Although, he did mention that as far as learning to be adaptive like humans and animals, AI has a long way to come to be able to work on a human-level. The Imperial College London professor said that there are some missing pieces to this puzzle and that we are yet to come across what they are but once we find out what they are, the growth of AI will happen very quickly.

So Will Smith’s nightmare in the film iRobot of artificial intelligence may have finally subsided, which means there is a very strong chance that he will be able to come face to face with the real thing during his lifetime.

We already rely massively on technology, with many of us checking our phones hourly and using tablets, laptops and computers during working hours, but soon we could be using AI for everyday chores.

As Murray Shanahan suggests though, it is highly unlike to happen any time soon, but he feels a 30 years’ time-frame is a lot more achievable.

Friday, 4 July 2014

Wimbledon Turns Digital With Twitter

It’s that time of the year again when we can watch the world’s best tennis players appear at Wimbledon, one of the most prestigious tennis tournaments.

Unfortunately, the defending champion, Andy Murray is already out of the tournament after getting knocked out earlier in the week. Although this isn’t the only major talking point of the tournament, in fact, this year is set to be the most social Wimbledon ever.

Organisers of Wimbledon are turning to Twitter to help bring fans closer to the action than ever before. Last year social media went into overdrive, especially during the final which saw Andy Murray win the tournament, but this year there is a huge focus on user-generated content.

Members of the public can tweet updates, photographs and votes which will appear on the big screens at Henman Hill (or Murray Mound). There will be a whole host of match-based questions posted throughout the tournament which will prompt the public to get involved.

That’s not all – the organisers are also working with video player Grabyo which will provide video replays of different moments in the games on Twitter. We are likely to see highlights from Centre Court as well as players celebrations, impressive rallies and crowd reactions.

Wimbledon’s adoption of Twitter started on June 23rd when Andy Murray first stepped out onto Centre Court in an attempt to retain his title and the social hashtag to use was #WelcomeBackAndy. Those who got involved were in with a chance of winning one of five digital images of Andy when he won Wimbledon last year, signed and inscribed with a message from him personally.

There is an ongoing competition people can still get involved with too, which gets people to take their best ‘selfies’ and post them to Twitter on a daily basis for a chance to win some prizes and goodies from the official Wimbledon shop.

Although Andy Murray is out, Wimbledon organisers are still optimistic this will be the most social tournament to date. So, if you want to get involved, make sure you tweet the handle @Wimbledon and use a relevant hashtag, or even send in your selfie from Henman Hill.