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Posted by Damien Biddulph on Mon 10th Jul 2017

Last year we reported on Microsoft scam telephone calls and now have an update ......

These days, it’s difficult to tell what’s true and what’s false on the Internet, and the same can be said for phone calls that you’ll receive out of the blue. People have been scamming other for ages, and the phone is just another tool they use to do so. Fortunately, it’s a lot easier to spot scams when you know what to look out for, and that’s why we’ve identified these common phone scams. Keep your eyes peeled, ears open, head on a swivel, and stay smart out there!

“Can you hear me?”

This scam has been very successful for criminals simply because of how innocuous it seems. The idea is to ask the victim a simple question so that they respond with, “Yes.” The scammer then records the response and uses it to authorize changes on credit cards, bills, and more. This is because many companies today use voice-automated systems for customer service, which scammers then “hack” with the voice recording. Scammers can also ask to press a button on the phone, which is how they find out if the number is active. The smart thing to do when receiving an unknown phone call is to not respond and not press any buttons on the dial pad. Here are some other questions that these scammers tend to lead with:

  • Are you the homeowner?
  • Are you the lady of the house?
  • Do you pay the household phone bill?
  • Do you pay the household bills?
  • Is Adele better than Taylor Swift? (Okay, just kidding about this one.)

Free Vacations and Prizes

Everyone likes free stuff, but sometimes things sound just too good to be true. This particular scam usually starts off by notifying you that you’ve won a vacation to some exotic locale or popular travel destination, like Walt Disney World. Or, the caller will offer a reward card or some sort of prize, sometimes notifying you that you’ve won a lottery. The key here is that the scammer will ask you to pay a small fee in order to claim the prize, for which you’ll have to share your credit card number. Don’t do it! Victims can and have been had for thousands of dollars.

Phishing Scams

While most phishing scams are related to websites or email, there are also phishing calls that attempt to gain valuable information from you. Generally, the scammer will claim that there is an issue with your computer, putting it at risk of getting hacked. Then, they’ll ask for your payment information to fix the hypothetical problem or attempt to have you download “antivirus” software that will actually hack your computer. It’s important to note that a huge computer company, like Microsoft, would almost never call you out of the blue. Always be vigilant about sharing payment information over the phone, and when in doubt, collect the caller’s information and say that you will call them back after researching it.

Fake Charities

If you think that posing as a charity in order to rip people off is just too despicable for anyone to do, well, guess again. There are plenty of scammers out there that will say and do anything to rip people off, including posing as a charity. A common scam claims to collect funds for local police and fire departments, while another pretended to fund cancer philanthropies. Remember you can always call back a charity after doing some research.

IRS Scams

This is a very popular scam, and its success is probably due to the fact that most people are pretty nervous about dealing with the IRS. Oftentimes, robo-callers call tens of thousands of potential victims, and sometimes the callers will even have the last four digits of your social security number already on hand. While the IRS may potentially call you one day, they would not request direct payment over the phone. If’ you’re not sure about an IRS call, try dialing the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) at 1-800-366-4484.

Loan Scams

Some loans are borderline scams in the first place, so it’s almost no surprise that they’d also be used as a cover for phone scams. Whether it’s a proposed student loan, car loan (especially popular right now), payday loan, or business loan, the goal of the scammer is to harvest your information over the phone. Don’t fall for it!

Debt Collector Scams

Debt collector scams are fairly popular because, unfortunately, there are just so many people with debt out there. The best thing to do in this situation is to ask for the caller’s information, including company name, and to call them back. Also, take note that if you send a written letter to a debt collector asking them to stop calling you, they are legally required to do so.

Credit Card Security Number Scams

As we’ve mentioned, it’s not a smart idea to give out credit card information over the telephone. But, what about just snippets of information? Though it may seem harmless, even giving out the three-digit security code on the back of your credit card (also known as the CVV number) can lead to being scammed. The scammer can disguise themselves as a bank employee, even giving out a fake employee badge number. But make sure to never give out that CVV number, no matter what they say.

Warrant Scams

Whether it’s the DEA, FBI, sheriff, or local police department, warrant scams are designed to make victims panic and then give up their personal information over the phone. The scammer will often state that you’ve missed jury duty or perhaps defrauded a bank, and attempt to get payment information. However, law enforcement demanding money is just something that does not happen legally over the phone. Remember that.

Medical Scams

If you’ve ever dealt with health care, you probably know how difficult it is to dispute a hospital bill. Perhaps that’s why people fall for phone scams that are medical-related. Sometimes the scammer will demand payment on an “unpaid” bill, while other times the scam will offer discounted or free medical services. Unfortunately, these types of scams tend to target the elderly, who have to deal with health care much more than younger people.

Lottery Scam

As with most things in life, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Getting a call out of the blue that you’ve just won the lottery is a pretty big stretch. Add in that it’s a Jamaican, Australian, or some other lottery, and things begin to sound a lot less plausible. And when someone asks for you credit card information over the phone, that’s as good a sign as any that the whole thing is a sham. After all, how many lotteries have you heard of that give out winnings to people who haven’t bought a ticket?

How to Protect Yourself

While phone scams are designed to get victims flustered and panicked on the phone so that they make a rash decision, most of them are actually quite similar.

  • Usually, the most important thing is that you don’t give away financial and sensitive personal information (address, date of birth, bank information, ID numbers) out over the phone.
  • Secondly, you can always ask the person calling for more information, do some research, and call them back. If they’re reluctant to comply, they’re likely trying to scam you.
  • Remember to check your bank and credit card statement regularly, especially after getting a suspicious call.
  • Also, try not to get pressured into making quick decisions. You should always feel like you can take the time to research an organization, including checking it out online.
  • Be wary of sending money anywhere for an emergency situation.
  • Lastly, never send money by prepaid card or wire transfer (which are difficult to track) to someone you don’t know.

With the rise of the Internet, many scammers are moving to the web. But that doesn’t mean that they’ve forgotten about the phone. Any tool that gives them a shroud of anonymity can be used to take advantage of people, especially the elderly. Fortunately, most phone scams can be avoided by simply not making any rash decisions. So, remember: take a deep breath, and don’t let anyone push you into doing something that sounds suspicious.


Source: backgroundchecks.org
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Posted by Damien Biddulph on Wed 14th Jun 2017


Theresa May and Emmanuel Macron

The UK and France will launch a joint campaign to push internet companies like Facebook and Google to do more to remove terrorist material.

Announcing the move in Paris, Theresa May said the internet must not be "a safe space" for extremists.

Speaking alongside President Emmanuel Macron, she said they would also look at proposals to fine social media firms if they fail to take down such content.

It is the PM's first foreign trip since losing her majority at the election.

It comes as UK officials gear up for the start of Brexit talks on 19 June - Mrs May confirmed those negotiations would begin on time despite the unexpected election result and the ongoing talks with the DUP to shore up a minority Conservative government.

Both France and the UK have faced multiple terror attacks in recent years. Three French citizens died in the attack on London Bridge earlier this month, and a British man, Nick Alexander, was killed in the attack on the Bataclan concert hall in Paris in November 2015.

Mrs May and Mr Macron had a working dinner before travelling to the England v France football friendly at the Stade de France, where there was a minute's silence before kick-off to honour those killed in the Manchester and London attacks.

At their joint press conference, Mrs May said the UK was already working with internet companies "to stop the spread of extremist material that is warping young minds".

But she said she and President Macron agreed those firms must do more "and abide by their social responsibility to step up their efforts to remove harmful content".

The joint UK-French campaign will explore options for creating "a legal liability" which would allow companies to be punished if they fail to take steps to remove terrorist content.

More meetings would be held in the coming days between the UK home secretary and the French interior minister to push forward those plans, the PM added.

Mr Macron said they wanted to "strengthen the commitment" of internet companies to removing extremist material.

'More responsibility'

The Metropolitan Police's head of counter-terrorism Mark Rowley echoed the prime minister's concerns that terrorist material was too easily accessible online.

Writing in the Times, Assistant Commissioner Rowley said: "We need communities to be more assertive at calling out extremists and radicalisers amongst us. It's not just overseas propaganda inspiring attacks.

"And we need communications and internet-based companies to show more responsibility.

"It is too easy for the angry, violent or vulnerable to access extremist views, learn about attack methodologies, conspire on encrypted applications and then acquire equipment to kill, all online."

Mr Rowley said "an internet going darker" was making it harder to look into people who may be of concern, but he welcomed Theresa May's efforts to look at strategies for dealing with extremism.

The government's independent reviewer of terrorism legislation, Max Hill QC questioned whether heavy fines for tech companies that failed to take down extreme content was "absolutely necessary".

He told BBC News: "I've sat with the relevant police unit as they identify extreme content. I've seen them communicating with tech companies and I've seen the cooperation that flows from that.

"It's a question of the bulk of the material rather than a lack of cooperation in dealing with it."

Google says it already invests heavily in combating abuse on its platforms and is working on an "international forum to accelerate and strengthen our existing work in this area".

Facebook has also insisted it works "aggressively to remove terrorist content from our platform as soon as we become aware of it".

Twitter says "terrorist content has no place on" its platform.

Source: bbc.co.uk
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Posted by Damien Biddulph on Wed 14th Jun 2017

Apple Mac computersImage copyrightGETTY IMAGES

Image captionApple Mac computers are being targeted by two types of malware being spread on the "dark web"

Mac users are being warned about new variants of malware that have been created specifically to target Apple computers.

One is ransomware that encrypts data and demands payment before files are released.

The other is spyware that watches what users do and scoops up valuable information.

Experts said they represented a threat because their creators were letting anyone use them for free.

The two programs were uncovered by the security firms Fortinet and AlienVault, which found a portal on the Tor "dark web" network that acted as a shopfront for both.

In a blog, Fortinet said the site claimed that the creators behind it were professional software engineers with "extensive experience" of creating working code.

Those wishing to use either of the programs had been urged to get in touch and provide details of how they wanted the malware to be set up. The malware's creators had said that payments made by ransomware victims would be split between themselves and their customers.

Researchers at Fortinet contacted the ransomware writers pretending they were interested in using the product and, soon afterwards, were sent a sample of the malware.

Analysis revealed that it used much less sophisticated encryption than the many variants seen targeting Windows machines, said the firm.

WannacryImage copyrightREUTERS

Image captionNHS computers were hit by a high-profile ransomware attack last month

However, they added, any files scrambled with the ransomware would be completely lost because it did a very poor job of handling the decryption keys needed to restore data.

"Even if it is far inferior to most current ransomware targeting Windows, it doesn't fail to encrypt victim's files or prevent access to important files, thereby causing real damage," wrote the researchers.

The free Macspy spyware, offered via the same site, can log which keys are pressed, take screenshots and tap into a machine's microphone.

In its analysis, AlienVault researcher Peter Ewane said the malicious code in the spyware tried hard to evade many of the standard ways security programs spot and stop such programs.

Mr Ewane said Mac users needed to start being more vigilant as malware creators targeted them.

"As OS X continues to grow in market share we can expect malware authors to invest greater amounts of time in producing malware for this platform."

Statistics gathered by McAfee suggest that there are now about 450,000 malicious programs aimed at Macs - far fewer than the 23 million targeting Windows users.


Media captionWhat is ransomware?

Aamir Lakhani from Fortinet said Mac users should make sure their machines were kept up to date with the latest software patches and be wary of messages they receive via email.

"Mac ransomware is definitely becoming bigger," he told EWeek. "Although market share is still small, hackers know that there is valuable data on the Mac."

Apple declined to comment on the developments.

Source: vision.discus.co.uk
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Posted by Damien Biddulph on Tue 13th Jun 2017

Firm pitches game as classroom resource to help students learn about coding and computing


Microsoft is taking Minecraft to the classroom

Microsoft is taking the Minecraft game and pitching it at classrooms as a complementary tool to assist in the teaching of science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

Minecraft will be offered as a classroom resource to help students learn about events and geographies and provide an introduction to coding and computing.

"Technology empowers educators and inspires students to achieve more. It opens the door to a classroom and world full of possibilities and learning infused with curiosity," said Anthony Salcito, vice president of worldwide education at Microsoft, in a Microsoft in Education Blog post.


"Innovative educators are seeking resources that can spark this curiosity and imagination, drive discovery and creation, and foster sharing and collaboration.

"Thanks to passionate students and visionary educators around the world we are finding Minecraft to be one of these resources in classrooms.

"In response to the excitement from educators I'm excited to introduce our new Minecraft destination designed to provide educators with a forum to share their ideas and receive inspiration."


Salcito cited existing uses of Minecraft as evidence as how the game can be used in numerous ways for educational purposes.

"Elementary students in Seattle are learning foundational math skills by calculating perimeter, area and volume in Minecraft during a Saturday math program.

"Alfriston College students in New Zealand are partnering with Auckland War Memorial Museum to learn the history of the New Zealand people who served in the 1915 Gallipoli campaign by re-creating the landscape in Minecraft, block by block.

"Middle schoolers are learning the building blocks of computer science in an online Minecraft coding camp. Elementary students in Scotland are learning about city planning and engineering by reimaging, redesigning and then building in Minecraft what they think Dundee waterfront should look like."

Microsoft acquired Minecraft from games developer Mojang last year in a deal worth $2.5bn in a move that was not universally welcomed by fans of the game, although Microsoft promised it would not alter the ethos of the game.

Source: v3.co.uk
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Posted by Damien Biddulph on Tue 13th Jun 2017

Unpatched Virgin Media Super Hub uses single encryption key, warn researchers

Virgin Media fixes Super Hub security flaw uncovered by researchers

Virgin Media fixes Super Hub security flaw uncovered by researchers

Virgin Media has rushed out patches to secure its Super Hub routers after researchers found a glaring security flaw that would enable attackers to gain full administrative rights to every Virgin Media Super Hub in the UK. 

Researchers at Context Information Security found that, following an investigation in which the box firmware was reversed engineered, they were able to gain access by restoring backups of user configurations, such as port forwarding and dynamic DNS.

The issue was caused because the encryption key is identical for all Super Hubs, meaning that if an attacker could takeover one, they could take over every single Virgin Media router. 

At its worst, the access available could allow an intruder to access the entire network and change settings on anything that was attached.

Andy Monaghan, a principal security researcher at Context said: "The Super Hub represents the default home router offering from one of the UK's largest ISPs and is therefore present in millions of UK households, making it a prime target for attackers.

"While ISP-provided routers like this are generally subject to more security testing than a typical off-the-shelf home router, our research shows that a determined attacker can find flaws such as this using inexpensive equipment."

"ISPs will always be at the mercy of their hardware suppliers to some extent," said Jan Mitchell, a senior researcher at Context.

"Recent press coverage of attacks such as the Mirai worm highlights the importance to vendors of carrying out independent security testing of their products to reduce the likelihood of exploitation in production devices. Thankfully, Virgin Media was quick to respond to Context's findings and start the remediation process."

A spokeperson for Virgin Media said, in a statement: "As made clear in Context's blog post, Virgin Media has deployed a firmware patch to our SuperHub 2 and 2AC routers that addresses this issue.

We take the security of our customers very seriously and experts within our organisation often work with trusted third-parties to help keep our customers as secure as possible. We thank Context for their professionalism and cooperation."

So just to confirm, although there was an issue, thanks to Context, Virgin Media has now been able to fix it and as long as you're not stopping your router from updating to the latest software version, you've nothing to worry about. 

Virgin Media recently announced it was to make customer's routers into public hotspots, in the same way as BT does with FON. 

Source: v3.co.uk
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Posted by Damien Biddulph on Tue 13th Jun 2017

4K, teraflops and all the rest are no replacement for decent games - when is the arms race going to end?

Xbox One X - a sales blag, and nothing more

Xbox One X - a sales blag, and nothing more

Microsoft Xbox Scorpio has officially arrived, and it's called the Xbox One X. The XB1X. The XBoneX. XOX. Aww. We love you too.

Logically broken name aside, the Xbox One X led an E3 showing from Microsoft that the company is carefully trumpeting and retrumpeting contained "42 games" for your delectation.

It's just a pity that the vast majority of them have been in the Steam sale for several years already, and show an alarming amount of 16-bit pixel art inspirations that you could easily run on a Sega Mega Drive, never mind something with this many teraflops and zetafans and isotropic giga-terrain system support Mega RAM.

Otherwise, it's mostly more Forza and stuff. I met Dan Greenawalt once and he was very nice, but the man can't half talk about the relationship between tyres and roads. He was going on about Forza being the most physically realistic tyre-road interface in about 2005, and doing it in 3840 x 2160 isn't really going to change much. It's still just Caterhams going round in circles over and over again, you know.

Anyway, apart from cars, more cars and a load of shooting-exoskeleton-in-dystopian worlds-but-now-in-higher-resolution-than-ever games (alright, and Assassin's Creed with a lovely eagle), what really struck me about the yawnsome, nerd tech bragging-rights of the Xbox One X was Microsoft's furore around 4K Minecraft.

Minecraft. A game about forming worlds out of big cubes, with deliberately low-resolution textures on them. A game about the delight of minimalism and the imagination. Now in 4K.

Could there ever be a bigger indicator that this resurgence of the meatheaded specmania has all gone too far? That the absolutely chronic dearth of good ideas (and reliable sales thereof) in the games industry has now reduced console buying to a hyped, iterative, iPhone-like buying cycle where you're effectively buying a new machine just to post photos of its newer, slimmer, flatter, newerness on Twitter, argue needlessly and incessantly about specs with your snorting "PC Master Race" colleagues on Reddit, and basically become a walking, bickering advertisement for a technology company's desperate attempts to stay relevant and profitable in a market of low concept dudebro waffle that's turning no heads?

Filling up the E3 PR gaps for a 4K, hyper-specced console with deliberately low-tech games like Cuphead and Deep Rock Galactic is just absolutely embarrassing and weird, and heavily underlines the disconnect here.

The fact all of this excited big graphics talk also included word that - after clearly finding that compatibility for a slew of Xbox 360 games was a good selling point - Microsoft is now adding back-compat for original Xbox titles, made everything even more ironic.

This new scheme is starting with Crimson Skies: High Road to Revenge - a game that never looked particularly ground-breaking and fantastic even at launch in 2003, but was just a very good arcade-style dogfighting game with a rich universe attached to it.

You don't need a £449 console to play it, but at the same time you'd be hard-pushed to find anything much better in its genre in the 14 years since its release.

The reason? At some point in time, Microsoft forgot it was supposed to be a games publisher as well as a hardware purveyor, and is now fast dragging all its customers into a ridiculous arms race with its rivals at Sony to keep sticking a few more MHz under the hood, an extra letter or two on the name, and less decent games than ever piped down to the television. R&D could easily have gone on a few more Rare games than creating this fancy behemoth that nobody needs.

If this sort of strategy keeps up, Microsoft and Sony could be the two giants who destroy each other, and the console industry. Sony's profits keep dipping - despite the PS4 almost solely sustaining the company in some quarters - and while Microsoft has the cash reserves to keep going, this driving process of keeping-up-with-the-Joneses is coming with an almost total abandomnent of software innovation for both parties.

For those wondering, I still don't like the Nintendo Switch and I still think it's overpriced and balanced awkwardly between home and portable (just look at FIFA 18 and its weird, old, TV-unfriendly engine).

But at least in concepts like ARMS and whatever the new Mario is going to be (probably great - it's Mario!) Nintendo is actually trying to cue up something to make the most of what it's built here.

For the rest of us, it's a couple more years of  upscaled cars, guns, cars ‘n' guns before we're told to upgrade to the next level of terafloppage.

And, by god, Microsoft's grinning executives are going to bang that tech drum and make you think you need this thing (and the next thing after it) in your life while it sits on your shelf - like your Xbox One before it - slowly gathering dust once you've posted enough angles of the newest, blackest, blandest box on Instagram, and resumed your neutral nu-gaming position of aimlessly tapping at Clash of Clans in front of Britain's Got Talent.

Any number of metaphors about emperors and clothes or cars without fuel would serve here, but here's the bottom line: the Xbox One has few decent games, and rereleasing it with the capacity for even nicer graphics while still announcing no interesting games to capitalise on those technological gains is a lousy idea, which wastes development cash for Microsoft and punishes the consumer with the delivery of a big, boring box with no toys inside.

Words like "powerful", "immersive", "smoother" and "bigger" are only as good as the games they support, and from where I'm standing, right now, there's nothing out there except finely-rendered 4K tumbleweed.

Source: v3.co.uk
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Posted by Damien Biddulph on Tue 13th Jun 2017


Facebook logoImage copyrightREUTERS

Image captionFacebook has yet to comment on the death sentence

A man accused of posting blasphemous content to Facebook has been sentenced to death by a court in Pakistan.

Taimoor Raza was convicted after allegedly posting remarks about the Prophet Muhammad, his wives and companions within the site's comments.

The public prosecutor involved said he believed it was the first time the death penalty had been awarded in a case related to social media.

Human rights campaigners have expressed concern.

Facebook itself has yet to comment on the case.

The US firm previously announced in March that it was deploying a team to Pakistan to address the government's concerns about blasphemous content on its service, but added that it still wished to protect "the privacy and rights" of its members.

Pakistan's Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has described blasphemy as being an "unpardonable offence".

Religious debate

Raza's case was heard by an anti-terrorism court in Bahawalpur - about 309 miles (498km) from the capital Islamabad.

His defence lawyer said the 30-year-old had become involved in an argument about Islam on the social network with someone who had turned out to be a counter-terrorism official.

The public prosecutor said the accused had been arrested after playing hate speech and blasphemous material from his phone at a bus stop, following which his handset had been confiscated and analysed.

Raza will be able to appeal against the death penalty at Lahore High Court and then, if required, in Pakistan's Supreme Court.

The Express Tribune, a local newspaper, reported that the verdict came days after a college professor was refused bail in another case involving accusations of blasphemy on social media in Pakistan.

Amnesty International recently published a report critical of the country's blasphemy laws.

Its Pakistan campaigner, Nadia Rahman, has called for Raza's immediate release.

"Convicting and sentencing someone to death for allegedly posting blasphemous material online is a violation of international human rights law and sets a dangerous precedent," she told the BBC.

"No one should be hauled before an anti-terrorism court or any other court solely for peacefully exercising their rights to freedom of expression and freedom of thought, conscience, religion or belief online."

Anti-Facebook demoImage copyrightGETTY IMAGES

Image captionThere were anti-Facebook protests in 2010 after a competition to draw the Prophet Muhammad

The developments come seven years after a Pakistan court temporarily blocked local access to Facebook after the social network was used to promote a contest to draw images of Prophet Muhammad - an act considered to be offensive by many Muslims.

Analysis - Tahir Imran, BBC Urdu social media editor

This is a dramatic time for Pakistani social media. Once considered a platform where people could express themselves freely, it is now a place where people worry about the consequences of commenting.

Instead of acting to restore confidence and safeguarding the masses' right to freedom of expression, the government has been busy making threats through TV and newspaper adverts.

This is happening with a clear understanding about the gravity that accusations of blasphemy can have. There have been several incidents of vigilantes taking the law into their own hands after such claims.

Human rights activists accuse the government of pushing through a controversial cyber-crimes law without addressing their concerns.

In a country where fewer people have been convicted of blasphemy than have been killed after being accused of the offence, this ruling will not calm nerves. And increasingly people prefer to use chat apps and closed groups to post content so that their thoughts cannot be seen by the wider public.

Source: bbc.co.uk
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Posted by Damien Biddulph on Wed 7th Jun 2017

glamix 3Glamix

Fashion lovers, rejoice — recreating the outfits you see on your social media feeds or even on the street is now as easy as taking a picture.

Glamix, a chatbot created by Israeli startup Syte, allows users to snap a photo of an outfit they like, and send the image via Facebook Messenger to Glamix (@glamix.me), the "personal fashion assistant" the company calls "gigi."

The photos generating the search can be taken either directly from the Instagram pages of influencers, online magazines, or can simply be a photo taken by you and stored on your phone.

The AI-bot or "shopbot" platform then uses automatic responses and image recognitions to identify the exact same products or similar (and sometimes cheaper) items that are available to buy online, allowing you to recreate any outfit.

The "visual search engine" has agreements in place with most major retailers in the UK, according to co-founder, CMO, and former City capital markets banker Lihi Pinto Fryman, as well as some in the US and France. She said that at the point of last week's launch, the bot could access around 10 million products.

In the UK, it has access to high street favourites like Topshop, ASOS, H&M, Zara, Mango, as well as department stores House of Fraser, John Lewis, Selfridges, and Harrods, with the company earning a commission on each sale. In the US, it counts Bloomingdales and Macys among its stockists.

To find out where an outfit featured on a fashion blogger's Instagram post came from, firstly, select the photo.

frugalityInstagram/The Frugality

Then, click on the three dots in the top right hand corner, where the drop down will give you the option to "Share to Messenger."

frugality 2Instagram/The Frugality

Send the image to Glamix (@glamix.me). The bot replies right away, giving users some categories to choose from. We chose "Bags."

frug ssInstagram / @thefrugality

Glamix then comes back with a range of 10 to 20 product options per photo, and users can filter products by price.

frug ss 2Instagram / @thefrugality

"If, for example, you were to send an Instagram photo from the Gucci store, you would probably get the original version, as well as other options, as the machine will recognise the features of the product," Fryman said. "It's fun, instant, and addictive."

Glamix may throw up items from websites in different geographies, but it will only show products that can be shipped to your location, says Fryman. Though, usually that would incur higher delivery costs and longer shipping times.

glamix screenshotGlamix's tagline is: ShopBot bringing fashion from the Streets to your closet. Glamix

Syte, a company focused on combining artificial intelligence and fashion, has spent the last three years developing the platform.

Fryman told Business Insider that it all began with a red dress.

While living in London, she was surfing the internet one day and came across the perfect dress, but couldn't find it for sale anywhere.

"I asked myself, 'How is it possible in 2014 that I see something I like but I can't just tap and get it? It felt a bit surreal given we have achieved so much in tech, but yet fashion is so behind."

It got Fryman and her tech-minded husband, Ofer, thinking. Along with her brother Idan, the three then founded the company.

Now, in Fryman's opinion, a shopbot like Glamix is more user-friendly than an app. "People are tired of downloading endless apps, but everyone has Instagram and Facebook," she said.

The Glamix Instagram account @glamix.me currently has almost 45,000 followers.

It is targeting millennials, both male and female, and generally keen online shoppers. Eventually, Fryman says the plan is to offer new features, such as user discounts and sale alerts, once it has collected sufficient data about what they like.

"It's advertising in a completely different way — when we want them (brands) we can call them by tapping the image," says Fryman. "We want to change the way retailers interact with consumers, which the market is demanding."

Source: uk.businessinsider.com
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Posted by Damien Biddulph on Wed 7th Jun 2017

iPhone Apps 1Become a pro in no time.Chinnapong/Shutterstock



The iPhone has a treasure trove of useful features that can actually save you time. So many in fact, that even the most seasoned iPhone users may not know all of its tricks.

That's why it's always important to keep your iPhone updated: Not only will you protect yourself against cyberattacks, you'll also be able to access the latest features available.

To help you get the most out of your iPhone, INSIDER rounded up 15 of the best tips and hidden features that'll make your life better in 2017. But before you check them out, make sure you're running iOS 10.3 or later on your iPhone.

View As: One Page Slides


Get hourly weather updates without ever opening the Weather app.

Get hourly weather updates without ever opening the Weather app.


This was hands down one of the most useful features that iOS 10.3 introduced. To use it, open Apple's Maps app, search for a location, and firmly press and hold the weather icon in the lower right corner.

Customize the flashlight's brightness level.

Customize the flashlight's brightness level.



Fall asleep listening to music with a custom timer that stops all media on your phone when it ends.

Fall asleep listening to music with a custom timer that stops all media on your phone when it ends.


Open Apple's Clock app, and tap "Timer" on the bottom right to access this feature. This trick was a major game-changer for me when I first found out about it. I use it all the time to fall asleep while listening to meditation videos on YouTube, ocean sounds on Spotify, podcasts, and more. 

Create custom vibration alerts for calls, texts, tweets, calendar reminders, alarms, and more.

Create custom vibration alerts for calls, texts, tweets, calendar reminders, alarms, and more.


By setting up custom vibration alerts, you can easily tell what type of notification you're getting without picking up your phone. Just go to Settings > Sounds, and choose an alert for which you want to create a custom vibration — for example, "Text Tone" or "New Mail." Then, tap "Vibration" and under "Custom," tap "Create New Vibration." 

Tap and hold to create a pulse, and lift your finger to enter a pause between pulses. Tap "Stop" when you're done, and make sure to "Save" your custom vibration.


Like Ctrl+Z or Command+Z for your iPhone, shake your phone to undo typing.

Like Ctrl+Z or Command+Z for your iPhone, shake your phone to undo typing.


This feature is especially useful if you accidentally delete long paragraphs of text.

You can turn this feature on and off by going to General > Accessibility, and tap the toggle next to "Shake to Undo."

See and edit drafts across all your different email accounts with the tap of a button.

See and edit drafts across all your different email accounts with the tap of a button.


Don't waste time checking the draft folder for each of your email accounts. Instead, tap and hold the "New Message" icon in the bottom right of Apple's Mail app, and you'll see every draft you have saved.


Instantly choose a camera mode, even when your phone is locked.

Instantly choose a camera mode, even when your phone is locked.


Respond to calls with a quick, custom text message.

Respond to calls with a quick, custom text message.


Before I knew about this trick, I used to take the time to decline a call, unlock my phone, open my iMessages, and text the person who called me. I can do the same thing now with just two taps.

Go to Settings > Phone and tap "Respond with Text." Here, you'll be able to create up to three custom text responses that you can use whenever you're unavailable to take a call.




Easily and quickly type symbols and letters.

Easily and quickly type symbols and letters.


This trick makes typing symbols much more convenient. For example, to type a backslash, tap and hold the forward slash symbol instead of tapping the "123" button and then tapping the "#+=" button to get to the backslash button.

Type symbols and numbers without switching between keyboards.

Type symbols and numbers without switching between keyboards.


Don't waste time tapping the "123" button, tapping a symbol, and then tapping the "ABC" button again. Use this trick instead.


To save even more time while typing, double tap the space bar to add a full stop (a period plus a space).

To save even more time while typing, double tap the space bar to add a full stop (a period plus a space).


Instead of tapping the "123" button while typing to enter a period, double tap the space bar to insert a full stop. To turn this feature on and off, go to Settings > General > Keyboard and tap the toggle next to "." Shortcut.

Replace your 4-digit passcode with a more secure Alphanumeric code.

Replace your 4-digit passcode with a more secure Alphanumeric code.


Go to Settings > Touch ID & Passcode and tap either "Change Passcode" or "Turn Passcode On." Then, tap "Passcode Options" and choose "Custom Alphanumeric Code."

To make your passcode even more secure, you can add symbols from the keyboard instead of just letters and numbers.



Customize text replacements for your keyboard to insert common phrases, symbols, or emojis more quickly.

Customize text replacements for your keyboard to insert common phrases, symbols, or emojis more quickly.


To see and edit your list of keyboard shortcuts, go to Settings > General > Keyboard and tap "Text Replacement."

Next time you're building or fixing something, use Apple's Compass app as a handy level.

Next time you're building or fixing something, use Apple's Compass app as a handy level.



See a location on the map without opening Apple's Maps app.

See a location on the map without opening Apple's Maps app.


Instead of opening Google Maps or Apple's Maps app and manually typing in an address someone sends you, use this trick to save time. Tap and hold the address in your iMessage to see a menu of options. Or, press firmly to see the address on Apple's Maps app, and swipe up on the screen for menu options.

NOW WATCH: The Micro Phone Lens lets you see the world up close




Source: uk.businessinsider.com
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Posted by Damien Biddulph on Wed 7th Jun 2017

appleREUTERS/Aly Song

Apple is working on chips to power artificial-intelligence capabilities in its gadgets, Bloomberg's Mark Gurman reported Friday.

The chips would handle more advanced AI tasks, such as facial recognition, and help better manage battery life and power, the report says. The chips could also be used in future products, like self-driving cars or digital glasses, in addition to iPhones and iPads.

The news comes as Apple's competitors like Google, Amazon, and Microsoft have made significant advancements in AI. At its developers conference last week, Google showed how it was adding AI to a variety of products, including phones, connected speakers, and cars. Apple is seen largely as behind the competition when it comes to AI, which could power the next wave of connected gadgets.

Last year, Apple made some improvements to its Siri AI assistant, giving access to third-party developers in limited categories like messaging and payments. Apple's developers conference starts June 5, and many will be paying attention to more advancements in Apple's AI.


Source: uk.businessinsider.com
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