Archive for November, 2017

29

November

Are smart toys so smart?

Smart toys flew off the shelves on the black Friday and Cyber Monday event. However, we ask, what makes them so smart and are they safe?

The FBI has now issued a stark warning to parents who bought tech for their children over the Black Friday and Cyber Monday weekend.

In recent years, there have been several scares about technology watching and listening to everything we do. In 2016 Amazon Alexa was found to be activated by TV adverts; prompting the ordering numerous products on customer amazon accounts.

How are they dangerous?

Smart toys now typically have sensors, microphones and cameras in them, enabling children to interact with the toy. Many have multimedia capabilities, GPS and storage to ensure the toy remembers details and interacts properly.

Unfortunately, with the inclusion of technology in children’s toys they have become a target of crime. Many toys, including the Furby connect, are accessible by Bluetooth as well as WIFI. Devices which are taken out of the home can easily be accessed by the public when they are within BlueTooth range.

How to Avoid Danger

There is no set method to avoid data breaches, or criminals connecting or contacting your devices. There are ways to prevent a greater risk of problems occurring including:

  • Check the toy’s security features: Ensure the toy company doesn’t share any data with third parties. This often creates a weakness where data is accessible at multiple points, with multiple companies.
  • Keep devices up-to-date: When a weakness is found the company will often release a fix, much like when phones are updated. This will secure a device where possible.

If you’re unsure of any of the features you can always switch off wifi and Bluetooth. This may disable the features and interactivity but it will ensure the device isn’t providing GPS and other information.

What are the latest smart toys?

There is a huge range of smart toys on the market, from Furbies to robots and cloud pets. The EU is now looking into the potential threats and data protection violations.

If you’re concerned about the safety of the toys you may have purchased in the last week or so you can always check the manufacturer’s website. Our best advice is to always supervise children playing with smart toys in the same way you would an iPad/tablet or mobile phone.

  • Star Wars Droid Inventor Kit
  • DropMix
  • Nintendo Amiibo
  • Furby Connect
  • i-Que Intelligent Robot
  • Cloud Pets

If you’d like to research your smart toys, you can find more information online, or at which.co.uk.

24

November

Black Friday Tech Deals 2017

Black Friday

Are you looking for the best Black Friday tech deals 2017?

It’s always hard to know what bargains are out there as part of the Black Friday tech deals; every advert is telling you it’s the best offer, so we’ve had a look and listed out some of the top prices for this Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

Remember just because they say there’s a saving of £XX. It may be untrue, we’ve already spotted an electric toothbrush on sale from £97; just over a month ago it was on sale for £69.

Laptops/Tablets in the black Friday tech deals

This year we were surprised to see that Dell has given an enormous 15% off, included in this deal is the XPS 13 laptop. This is one of the most powerful laptops or notebooks on the market;  with the generous 15% off the laptop now costs less than £1000.

Unfortunately, it’s no surprise that they are reporting that they now have low stocks of this item. Be sure to act fast to ensure you get the deal using the code SAVE15.

Mobile Black Friday Tech Deals

As always with Black Friday, there are plenty of mobile phone deals with lots on the sim only offers.  We’ve actually seen a significant change in apples Black Friday deals this year; similar to last year but a little more generous, they are offering a  £40 gift card when you purchase an iPhone 7, 6s or SE. Although there’s no money off any apple products directly; depending on the device you’re purchasing you’ll receive a gift card. For example, a Mac has £120 gift card with it while the Apple iWatch only offers £20.

If you looking to get the iPhone contract, Carphone Warehouse has some great deals offering a £56 per month contract, with £149. 99 up front, saving £50 in the Black Friday sale.  This offer ends on Monday.

If you’re more of a Samsung fan, Carphone Warehouse also has fantastic deals on the Samsung Galaxy S8 saving £200, and £200 on the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge.

Black Friday Camera Deals

If you’re into photography then Black Friday is a fantastic time to get a new camera, some of the best deals are available in places like Argos, PC World and Amazon.  PC World is offering The Canon EOS 1300d DSLR for  £379 down from £529; along with the Canon Powershot sx540 is down to £229 from £349.99.

Unfortunately, many GoPro fans will find minimal discounts on these little durable cameras (around £30-£40 off). However, on eBay, you can now find the hero5 has been refurbished for under £300 for Black Friday.

Gaming Black Friday Tech Deals

With Christmas just around the corner, it’s to be expected that games will become high on the list for shoppers this Black Friday. Some of the most popular deals can be found at Tesco and PC World; with many of them offering bundles of games which are showing savings of around £100.

One of the top retailers to find Black Friday tech deals with is Game. They are offering PlayStation for 500GB with; Call of Duty: World War II, GT Sport, hidden agenda & 2 months of NOW TV for £199.99 saving £75. The offers at Game include variations; for example the type of games console or game bundle, however, the savings are all around £75 to £85 each.

Recycling

If you’re planning to buy these as gifts for friends and family this Christmas why not recycle your old gadgets and ensure they are disposed of safely. www.cashinyourgadgets.co.uk

19

November

Pixel Art is the Newest Craze

Do you remember the days when pixel art was all you could really do on Paint? Then Photoshop came along and your page of pixels went from 20 up to 300 and a smooth image appeared. Well, that craze is over and much like fashion, all the old school style is back again!

The most popular app on the market for this pixel colouring craze is Sandbox Colouring. It’s a modern twist on the traditional colouring book you would have bought your children about 15 years ago. Essentially it’s a colour by numbers except it’s digital and it’s all square blocks rather than a patchwork of shapes.

Generally, the app store is full of apps for adults but with the increasing number of children using tablets and iPads it’s no surprise the tech gurus are utilising the gap in the market.

How Popular is the app?

So far it appears there have been around 12 million downloads of the app this month with almost 50% of those coming from the USA. The trend is expected to continue to grow with the spread gaining strength through word of mouth. Many children playing the colouring game with their friends causing the downloads to spread like wildfire.

How are the makers making money?

The company generates revenue through subscriptions, this app isn’t a one time purchase like most other child-friendly apps. this app instead offers options like weekly, monthly and annual subscriptions to enable users regular updates of new images, add removals and unlimited pictures. It’s thought the company has made around $500000 this month alone.

The makers of the software haven’t needed to use traditional social media advertising as the young generation appears to be spreading this app by mouth.

 

If you’re looking to make some quick money in 2017/18; it might be worth looking at your old computer games for a little app inspiration.