Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Google Search by voice is now available on iOS

The Siri-like update to Google's Search ( app for iOS is now available for download at the iTunes store & iDevice. I have just tried it on my iPhone 4 and it's fantastic! As shown in the video above, it's really snappy with the search and voice recognition; even with the fourth generation iPhone (non-Siri iPhone). Now if you're located outside of the States or your default language is not set to English (U.S.) then the when you use the Voice Search, you won't get the answers spoken directly back to you.

To turn this on, first tap on the Settings icon located top right.

In the Setting page, tap on the Voice Search label.

In the Voice Search page, turn on Voice Search, select your language to English (U.S.), and then you'll see the option for Speak answers back is now available.

Turn it on, tap on the Done button and that's it. You now have Voice Search fully loaded.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Twitter Updates

Removed my Twitter feed from the blog today as the old version of the api is now deprecated and the new version forces you to use their own widgets and it just looks ugly. If you want to check out my Twitter timeline just head over to @robintay.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Tuesday, October 09, 2012

AMD AppZone Player (Android emulator for x86)

AMD AppZone Player, Powered by BlueStacks is able to connect to Android user's Google Play accounts and run Android-targeted software on a Windows-based desktop, laptop or tablet. Similar to the Wine compatibility layer - which allows Windows applications to be run on Linux - the emulation is invisible to the user, although not every Android package is guaranteed to work.

There’s also native support for AMD’s OpenGL drivers as used in the company’s APUs and GPUs, along with support for Cloud Connect. That works with an app on your Android phone to allow your computer to sync apps and SMS, and run software on your phone on your PC’s display.

You can download the player directly from here ( Once installed, you can click the home page button to get the player home screen. From there, discovering new apps is easy! You can use the top buttons to browse recommended apps, use the search button to find apps across app stores or click one of the suggested apps along the right side that are recommended based on the apps you have previously downloaded.

Angry Birds Star Wars out on November 8!


Angry Birds Star Wars: Angry Birds creator Rovio has teamed up with LucasFilms to release an upcoming Star Wars version of Angry Birds. I for one am excited for this release.

Monday, October 01, 2012

Scammy Phishing emails

No one likes SCAM or phishing emails. There has been quite a few variants and I'm sure it will never end. What's the purpose of scam emails? Their main purpose is to fool you in giving your personal details over to them. Usually in disguise to tempt you for a 6-7 figure sum amount. Most Email Operators have been doing quite well in blocking you in receiving these types of emails (if you can call them that) or sending them directly to the spam folder in your mailbox. Well the newer ones that I've seen this year is where they attach an image that includes instructions needed for you to claim "your" money.

Needless to say, if you're ever in doubt just send delete the email. No organisation or institution will ever email you to ask you for your personal details, bank account details and or passwords. This applies to random phone calls as well. If you get a phone call from a scammer, just ask for their name and the organisation they are calling from and tell them you'll call them back to confirm. You can do a lookup for their contact number on Google, YellowPages, Whitepages etc. If they refuse then just hang up.

Anyway here is one that was emailed to me claiming that Google and Apple have teamed up and that I have been selected to win an Apple iPad. Don't fall for these scams! However good they may sound.

URL Address have been removed from the image above.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Borderlands 2 SHiFT code with 10k redemptions

Get an additional Golden Key for Borderlands 2:


Thanks Randy Pitchford

Don't have the game? You can buy it here (UK) or here (US).

Friday, September 21, 2012

Apple iOS 6.0 update

iOS 6.0 was just released to the public a few days ago on the 19th September 2012 and Apple's servers must have been hammered by the millions if not billions of Apple iDevices in the market now trying to update to the new OS. I decided to wait out a little (a few hours :p) to update my iPhone and saying that the update took roughly 30 minutes to download and update.

My main concern when I decided to go through with the update was with battery drain and performance due to my past update experience with updating the firmware on the old iPhone 3G, how it virtually became unusable. Surprisingly after having completed the update, my iPhone 4 was still running the same as the first day I got it. Anyway I was excited with iOS 6 with its new maps service (with their collaboration with TomTom) and the new Passbook app.

Went straight to the AppStore to update all of the Apps to take advantage of any iOS 6 specific offerings. I found that the new AppStore was a little glitchy and that could be due to its new iteration of the AppStore or it could not cope with the volume of users doing the same. When I tried out the new Passbook app, it took me to the AppStore to show Passbook specific apps but unfortunately I was greeted with a blank screen. Tried this several times throughout the day and was the same. Did a bit of googling and this is what I found.

To fix the problem just follow the steps, and the problem should vanish.

> Open Settings.
> Open General.
> Open Date & Time.
> Switch the Set Automatically setting to Off.
> Open Set Date & Time.
> Set the date to a year or two ahead.
> Go back to the Home screen and open Passbook.
> Tap the App Store button. The App Store should load.
> Download the apps you want and when finished go back to Date & Time and turn on Set Automatically.

That did it for me and hope that works for you.

Update: Both iMessage and FaceTime stopped working today. It was all ok and working when iPhone was updated but now am getting the "Waiting for Activation" message. Also when I turned did a hard reboot, my passwords were reset. Have to enter passwords for Mail, Facebook, WiFi and iTunes. Coincides with the release of the iPhone 5 today. ARGH!!!

Update 2: Push Notification is offline.

Update 3: Good news; managed to get Push Notifications working again. Bad news; had to do a full restore to get it working again. Here are the steps:

> Open Settings.
> Open General.
> Open Reset.
> Select Erase All Content and Settings.
> Confirm the erase.
> Let it reboot and select restore from iTunes or iCloud (wherever your most current backup is).
> Once the phone reboots from the restore, reinstall the apps again and everything will be back to the way it should be.

Update 4: My iPhone ran out of battery midway through a FaceTime conversation on WiFi. Plugged in the USB charging cable and when the phone was restarted, found that both iMessage and FaceTime would not work until I connected it to a mobile network (Enabled Mobile Data). After that it was ok again on WiFi.

Update 5: Have access to two separate WiFi networks normally can see both networks when I go in to the WiFi settings page but only one showed up. The other only showed up when I selected the to Forget the first network. This is not so much of a problem if you're not abroad but if you are then you're subjected to international data charges.

Update 6: Both iMessage and FaceTime broken again. For some reason it needs cellular data (mobile data) turned on for them to work. This is getting ridiculous. I'm seriously hoping Apple release a fix for all of the bugs found in this release.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Mountain Lion has launched!

Price: GBP£13.99 / USD$19.99

OS X Mountain Lion is the latest release of the world’s most advanced desktop operating system. Mountain Lion includes over 200 new features to update your Mac into the best computing experience yet. With the new Messages app you can send text, photos, videos, contacts, web links, and documents to anyone using another Mac, iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch — you can even start a conversation on one device and continue it on another. The new Share button makes it easy to share files, web pages, photos, and videos, as well as tweet right from the app you are using. With the Reminders app you can create to-do lists and alerts that appear in the new Notification Center. With Notes you can write down all your ideas and even speak your words with voice dictation. Play head to head games on your Mac with friends on their Macs or iOS devices with Game Center. And with iCloud built in, it’s simple to keep all your mail, contacts, calendars, reminders, notes, to do lists, music, photos, iWork files, PDFs, and more up to date across all your devices.

• Send messages from your Mac to friends with an iPhone, iPad, or Mac.
• With iMessage, you can start a conversation on your Mac and pick it up on your iPhone or iPad.
• Messages also supports traditional instant messaging services like AIM, Yahoo! Google Talk and Jabber.

• Documents in the Cloud lets you create and edit your documents on your Mac, iPhone, and iPad.
• The new Reminders app makes managing tasks easy. Jot down your thoughts with the new Notes app. And iCloud keeps your Reminders and Notes up to date across all your devices.

• Type both searches and web addresses in the new Smart Search Field.
• Pinch to see tabs with Tab View and swipe to switch between them.
• iCloud Tabs makes the last websites you looked at accessible on your iPhone, iPad, and Mac.*

Notification Center
• New notifications appear in the top right corner of your screen.
• Open Notification Center from anywhere in OS X to see recent notifications.
• Configure your notifications to receive just the ones you want.

• Share links, photos, videos, and other files right from the app you're in.
• Share with Mail, Messages, and AirDrop.
• Sign in to Twitter, Flickr, and Vimeo once to start sharing.
• Tweet right from your apps with the Tweet sheet.

Game Center
• Play live multiplayer and turn-based games against friends on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, or Mac.
• Log in to the Game Center app to see friends in your gaming network.
• Check out leaderboards and achievements.
• See what games your friends play and track your progress against them.

Other great Mountain Lion features
Dictation lets you talk anywhere you can type—no setup or training required.
• AirPlay Mirroring shows your Mac screen on your HDTV with Apple TV.
• Power Nap keeps your Mac up to date while it sleeps so it's instantly ready to go.
• Gatekeeper makes it safer to download apps from the Internet by giving you control over which apps can be installed on your Mac.
• New features for Chinese users include improved text input, leading search engine Baidu as an option in Safari, sharing to microblogging service Sina Weibo and video websites Youku and Tudou, eight new fonts, and a new Chinese dictionary.

* iCloud Tabs on iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch requires iOS 6.

AirPlay Mirroring works with Apple TV (2nd generation or newer), iMac (mid 2011 or newer), Mac mini (mid 2011 or newer), MacBook Air (mid 2011 or newer), and MacBook Pro (early 2011 or newer).

Power Nap works with MacBook Air (mid 2011 or newer) and MacBook Pro with Retina display.

Some features require an Apple ID and/or compatible Internet access; additional fees and terms apply.

Some features require apps developed to work with Mountain Lion.

Price: GBP£13.99 / USD$19.99

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Apple with warranty or no warranty?

On a recent trip abroad, I had accidentally left my Apple charger at home and my iPhone was running out of juice. As everyone knows that Apple iPhones don't last more than a day if fully charged. So while I was transiting over at Sydney International Airport, I popped into the official Apple store to buy a new charger. All other stores were selling third party USB chargers with the Apple connector for roughly the same price as an official Apple charger so I went ahead and bought the Apple iPad 10W USB Power Adapter.

Now what was my reasoning for choosing Apple in the first place? Was it because of the brand recognition, price or quality? Well, all of the above tbh. For a few dollars cheaper I could have bought an unheard third party brand product, not knowing how long it would last etc, it was just not worth the hassle.

The charger itself has been working wonderfully as expected for a couple of weeks now and to my surprise, it stopped charging a few days ago. I took the cable and plugged it to the computer and it was charging fine so I know the cable is working fine. Next I attached the extension cable that came with the box to plug in the USB transformer portion of the charger. Tried it again and it didn't charge. So I jumped onto the Apple website to check for a support number that I can call to get this faulty charger replaced.

The first person that had received my call was very nice. He said that there are two ways of getting this sorted out and that one, Apple will set up a DIY part request where they send you a working charger and you send them back the faulty one. That option would take 4-5 business days to arrange. Option two was to call a few Apple certified support service companies and arrange a replacement. I went with option two thinking that it might be easier and quicker to arrange. Was I wrong about this. I called up two companies around my area and they said that it would too take 4-5 business days to arrange as they would have to investigate the cause of the fault with the charger and no replacement would be given on delivery so I would be out of a charger for 4-5 days.

From there I decided to call Apple back to arrange a DIY part request and that's where my annoyance grew. Apple now says that they can not replace the charger because it's outside of warranty. I was shocked. The newly bought charger is only 2 weeks old. I thought all Apple devices/accessories carry at least a one year warranty? Apple said that was correct but my iPad is outside of warranty. I was uhhh... I know my iPad is outside of warranty but what does that have to do with my iPad charger? For some reason when it comes to buying an Apple accessory, if there is a fault, they need to tie it in with an Apple device that it was intended for. I had to go in full circle to explain to them that it is a newly bought charger and it is not for my iPad etc... They then put me on hold to speak to their supervisor. I hung up a few times because the second person that I had talked to had me on hold for more than 30 mins. The third had me on hold for 10 mins. The fourth however was much quicker and after 5 mins or so later, they said yes can arrange for a part replacement but there is a holding cost. Basically the cost for a new charger.

The person at Apple had the audacity to tell me it's easier to just buy another charger. By this time I was furious. By this time I was ready to email Tim Cook my complaint... but didn't. Anyway I agreed to pay the holding fee to get the charger replaced. I hope the company comes through with this because this is not a way to treat your loyal customers. Living in the UK for several years now and have the ease of just popping into a physical Apple store to buy or exchange was so much easier. Why isn't Tim Cook interested in opening one in NZ?!?

Update: A TNT parcel arrived a few days ago with the replacement. What was received was just the USB transformer portion of the charger shown in the image below.

Apple Part 661-5594
For this they put a holding fee of NZD$44 on my credit card. What happened to the rest of the charger? Thought that Apple would send a new kit altogether. A brand new complete kit costs NZD$49 on the Apple Store! An interesting bit of info I found on the Customs Invoice that states that the part costs only USD$4.79! At today's exchange rate, that makes just over 700% markup! Now that's how Apple is able to trade above USD$600 boys and girls.

Monday, March 05, 2012

Friday, March 02, 2012

Movies I'm looking forward to in 2012

Marvel Avengers Assemble (27 April 2012 UK)

Prometheus (1 June 2012 UK)

The Amazing Spider-Man (4 July 2012 UK)

The Dark Knight Rises (20 July 2012 UK)

Brave (13 August 2012 UK)

The Bourne Legacy (17 August 2012 UK)

* Release dates according to IMDB

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Mass Effect 3 Trivia Sweepstakes Week 3 Answers

Continuing from week 2's link's questions, here are week 3's questions and answers.

Week 3 link; ends February 24th, 2012

Q. Grunt calls Shepard ____________
A. Battle Master

Q. The main antagonist of the first game is former Spectre ____________________
A. Saren Arterius

Q. Shepard's former Commanding Officer is ________________
A. Captain Anderson

Q. Joker suffers from what ailment?
A. Vrolik Syndrome

Q. Jacob Taylor must confront which family member during an away mission?
A. His Father

* Only available to legal residents of the United States of America (excluding Puerto Rico and its other territories and possessions), Canada (excluding the Province Of Quebec), the United Kingdom, Germany, Czech Republic, the Netherlands, Australia And Brazil. and you must be eighteen (18) or older to be eligible to participate.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Mass Effect 3 Trivia Sweepstakes Week 2 Answers

Continuing from week 1's link's questions, here are week 2's questions and answers.

Week 2 link; ends February 24th, 2012

Q. Who is Archangel?
A. Garrus

Q. What disease does Thane suffer from?
A. Kepral's Syndrome

Q. What fashion model was the default Shepard’s face based upon?
A. Mark Vanderloo

Q. Liara T'Soni is an expert in the field of ______________
A. Prothean archaeology

Q. The character Garrus is voiced by which actor?
A. Brandon Keener

* Only available to legal residents of the United States of America (excluding Puerto Rico and its other territories and possessions), Canada (excluding the Province Of Quebec), the United Kingdom, Germany, Czech Republic, the Netherlands, Australia And Brazil. and you must be eighteen (18) or older to be eligible to participate.
Update: Week 3's question and answers now available here.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Mass Effect 3 System Requirements

Minimum System Requirements
- OS: Windows XP SP3/Vista SP1, Win 7
- CPU: 1.8 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo or equivalent
- RAM: 1GB for XP / 2GB RAM for Vista/Win 7
- Disc Drive: 1x speed
- Hard Drive: 15 GB of free space
- Video: 256 MB* (with Pixel Shader 3.0 support)
- Sound: DirectX 9.0c compatible
- DirectX: DirectX 9.0c August 2009 (included)

*Supported chipsets: NVIDIA 7900 or better; ATI X1800 or better. Please note that NVIDIA GeForce 9300, 8500, 8400, and 8300 are below minimum system requirements, as are AMD/ATI Radeon HD3200, HD3300, and HD4350. Updates to your video and sound card drivers may be required.

Recommended System Requirements
- OS: Windows XP SP3/Vista SP1, Win 7
- CPU: 2.4 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo or equivalent
- RAM: 2GB for XP / 4GB RAM for Vista/Win 7
- Disc Drive: 1x speed
- Hard Drive: 15 GB of free space
- Video: NVIDIA GeForce 9800 GT / GeForce GTX 550 Ti or greater
- Sound: DirectX 9.0c compatible

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Mass Effect 3 Trivia Sweepstakes Week 1 Answers

NVIDIA is having a competition in relation to the upcoming Mass Effect 3 demo launch. There is a chance of winning copies of Mass Effect 3, GeForce GTX Graphics Cards and a GTX-Powered Gaming PC.

"Win Mass Effect 3, GeForce GTX Graphics Cards and a GTX-Powered Gaming PC from NVIDIA

To celebrate the launch of the Mass Effect 3 demo, we've teamed up with our friends over at EA & BioWare so that we can give five copies of Mass Effect 3, a GeForce GTX graphics card once a week for the next three weeks, and a massive NVIDIA GeForce gaming PC to give away as part of our exclusive Mass Effect 3 competition.

Test your knowledge of Mass Effect 3 trivia and stand a chance to Gear Up for the best gaming experience possible."

Week 1 link; ends February 17th, 2012

Q. In the Mass Effect universe timeline, how long ago was the Citadel constructed?
A. Over 50 Millennia ago

Q. Which race authored the Unified Banking Act?
A. Volus

Q. Voiced by @SethGreen, what is Joker’s real name?
A. Jeff Moreau

Q. This species has two names: a "face name" and a "soul name".
A. Hanar

Q. Who said "How can we get emotionally attached when the galaxy is at stake?"
A. Miranda Lawson

* Only available to legal residents of the United States of America (excluding Puerto Rico and its other territories and possessions), Canada (excluding the Province Of Quebec), the United Kingdom, Germany, Czech Republic, the Netherlands, Australia And Brazil. and you must be eighteen (18) or older to be eligible to participate.

Update: Week 2's question and answers now available here.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Not all A380s are made the same

It's been awhile since I last sat in an Airbus A380. Last time I flew on an A380 was back in 2008 with Singapore Airlines. This time round it is with Lufthansa.

How do they compare to each other? They both share the same 3-4-3 seat configuration in the economy class (same class as when I flew with Singapore Airlines). They both have wide screen entertainment systems, both offering the option of USB connectivity to play your own media.

The immediate difference with Lufthansa is that they don’t have a remote to control their entertainment system called Media World. Instead the screens are resistive touchscreens. It is nice to see an airline utilising newer technology than the traditional remotes. The downside of using the resistive touchscreen is that half of the time; I would have to re-tap a few times to select my selection. Another is that even through their seats feels slightly more comfortable than Singapore Airlines’ eco class seats, they do feel slightly narrower in width and leg room. Website SeatGuru confirms this (Singapore vs. Lufthansa).

Anyway Lufthansa’s crew were friendly on the long-haul flight and were very helpful when asked for assistance. One thing the airline could do to improve their service is offer toilet amenities that most airlines offer as standard.