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Tech News & Reviews / Google unveils Android O, promising better battery life
« Last post by snadge on 22 March 2017, 23:53:46 »

Google has released the developer preview for the next version of its operating system (OS), Android O (which will eventually get a sweet-themed name to follow Lollipop, Marshmallow and Nougat). The new OS includes a suite of small improvements – and a few large ones – that will make life easier for Android users everywhere.

The most significant is a new approach to dealing with apps running in the background, which Google says should markedly improve the battery life of phones, tablets and other devices. Now, apps are automatically limited in what they can do when they’re running in the background, in three specific areas: background services, location updates and implicit broadcasts.

Those three areas are often at fault when it comes to battery-draining apps, since they can result in a moderately large power draw on an ongoing basis. In the future, developers will be limited in how much they can do in the background. Location, for instance, will only be updated a few times each hour, while background services – programmes which run continuously doing things like checking inboxes while the user is in another app – will now be closed automatically after a short period.

If the changes sound familiar, it might be because they’re similar to how iOS handles background applications. The two operating systems have been converging on this ground from opposite ends since their inception: Android once had no limits at all on what apps could do in the background, while Apple once banned every single background process that it didn’t create.

Elsewhere, the new OS has some more obvious user-facing updates. Most noticeably, a new notification system should come as welcome news to users who are used to getting a significant chunk of their daily information through app alerts.

Starting with O, Android developers can group their notifications into categories called “Channels”, allowing apps to offer more fine-grained control over how users receive their notifications. For instance, a news app might offer notifications for breaking news, and for replies to comments; now, the user can explicitly tell Android to let the former play a sound, vibrate and show on the lockscreen, while quietly sliding the latter into the notification menu.

Smaller, but no less transformative, is the introduction of a “snooze” button to notifications. If you’re the sort who needs an empty inbox, but can’t deal with that one text quite yet, Android will now simply resend it a bit later.

The rest of the changes are a grab bag, with some only mattering to developers, but a few which will be noticed by end-users:

New autofill APIs allow users to store personal data in specific apps, just like they do with password managers, and autofill them across the whole platform, in a similar way to how keyboards can be swapped out in current Android.
Picture-in-picture display is now available for phones and tablets, letting users watch video while using other apps.
New Bluetooth audio codecs are supported, enabling higher audio fidelity when using headphones like Sony’s MDR-1000x (Google specifically thanks Sony for the amount of help it gave to developing this new version of Android).
Users who pair Android with a keyboard will find it’s easier to navigate around most apps using the arrow and tab keys.
And finally, developers can now make adaptive icons, which will always match the icon style of the particular flavour of Android, whatever type of rounded rectangle it uses.


Over 1,000 people who had been Plusnet customers were overcharged by the broadband provider Ofcom has determined after a lengthy investigation with the 1,000 customers affected covering a four year period from May 2011 to September 2015.

Ofcom has now levied a fine after closing the investigation, and this means the Treasury gains £880,000 as a result of the fine Ofcom has imposed, assuming Plusnet pay it within 20 days. In addition Plusnet did make efforts to track down those owed money (over £500,000) and some 356 customers were refunded £212,140 (figure includes 4% interest), in the case where contact was not made with old customers the balance has been donated to a dozen local charities.

The fine would have been another 20% higher but apparently Plusnet was willing to enter into a formal settlement which reduced the fine, as by playing ball it saved time and money on the side of Ofcom.

The investigation started by Ofcom on 27th May 2016 and while the Ofcom investigation talks of 'the telecoms company broke a fundamental billing rule by continuing to charge a group of customers for landline or broadband, after they had cancelled their service' it is not totally clear if they mean people left via the preferred migration route or this just affected people ceasing their broadband due to moving out of a property.

We feel we should highlight one aspect of changing provider, the Ofcom mandated migration process means you do not need to contact your old provider when switching provider (and the switch is to a provider that runs over the Openreach local loop), and in cases where people have done this some providers actually interpret the contact as the consumer trying to cancel the service. Why is this distinction important? Because a migration is cheaper than a cancellation and provision due to the cease fees that a cancellation can trigger, additionally cease and provide can mean you are without broadband for an extended period compared to the 30 minutes to 1 hour for a migration. For those worried about billing, the solution is to allow your migration to go through and double check the leaving letter you will have received from your old provider to make sure any amounts owed are correct and then once the switch has completed check that any payments taken are correct.


VIRGIN MEDIA has announced that it will now offer 100Mbps broadband as standard, scrapping its previous 50Mbps entry-level plan.

This means that Virgin's 100Mbps package is now the firm's entry-level offering, eclipsing top packages offered by rivals BT, Sky and TalkTalk, all of which max out at speeds of 76Mbps. 

The firm has opened up its top-tier 300Mbps service to all customers in areas capable of receiving those speeds. Virgin Meda first made up to 300Mbps fibre available this time last year, but only as a special upgrade aimed at home workers.

As noted by Engadget, Virgin's prices are cheaper now too. The 100Mbps Vivid 100Mbps plan is now a fiver cheaper at £32.25 per month, while the firm's 200Mbps Vivid 200 tier is almost a tenner cheaper at £37.25 per month. Virgin's gamer-focused 200Mbps package, which offers 20Mbps upload speeds, is down to £42.25 per month, down from £50.25. 

The new 300Mbps Vivid 300 plan is the most expensive, obviously, at £47.25 per month.

Tom Mockridge, CEO of Virgin Media, said: "By beefing up our bundles we're leaving our competitors in the rear view mirror, starting where they finish. Eye-watering speeds, a better box and top-notch TV is a winning combination.

"More and more switchers tell us they are joining Virgin Media for our faster speeds and we understand why - whether it's 4K Netflix, box sets in multiple rooms or online gaming, the best entertainment requires the best broadband and we're making sure our customers are covered with these bundles at incredible value."

Virgin Media has also announced that its new Virgin TV V6 box is now available to all customers on a wider selection of monthly bundles, and is now included on the Mix, Fun and Full House bundles as standard. µ

Broadband / Re: PlusNet woes
« Last post by snadge on 22 March 2017, 21:26:21 »
sheesh - even if ur contract is up and you want to move from BTwholesale they charge you £30!!!

What is this charge?
It's a charge set by BT Wholesale (who supply our broadband network), to cover the cost of removing broadband from a phone line. It's sometimes called a cessation charge.
How much is it?
It's £30 for residential customers and £25 for business customers (inclusive of VAT).
When would I have to pay it?
You'd only need to pay the charge if the broadband service is being taken off your phone line. Typical reasons for this are:
the phone line that your broadband's on has been cut off
you cancel your broadband account without switching to another provider
you switch to a provider who uses their own network (like a cable provider)
you move to a provider who uses their own equipment in your exchange (often called Local Loop Unbundling)
If any of these happen, you'll need to pay the charge, even if the minimum term of your contract is over.

makes you wonder then... if you should pay a "connection fee" with your new LLU provider as TECHNICALLY they would be lift & shift in one visit...you would be paying twice for one service
Broadband / Re: PlusNet woes
« Last post by snadge on 22 March 2017, 20:49:53 »
Just to add still using the HG612 modem (unlocked) with the hub1 just as a router, seems to work better

thats why you aint having problems mate hehe ;)

Broadcom <---> Broadcom


Lantiq (with known issues) <----> Lantiq (with known issues)
Broadband / Re: PlusNet woes
« Last post by Den1 on 22 March 2017, 20:36:15 »
Just to add still using the HG612 modem (unlocked) with the hub1 just as a router, seems to work better
Broadband / Re: PlusNet woes
« Last post by snadge on 22 March 2017, 19:59:36 »
Huawei cab  ;)

there you go then...lol... you have a nice stable Broadcom chipset with G.INP, i need a broadcom router.
Broadband / Re: PlusNet woes
« Last post by Den1 on 22 March 2017, 19:57:58 »
Broadband / Re: Internet drop out
« Last post by snadge on 22 March 2017, 19:56:10 »
sorry if im slow to respond, im having major issues with my plusnet lol it keeps dying a slow death...that fault finder link i gave you has reported its found a fault on my line....awaiting to see what happens next

anyway...the whole point on the speedtest was just to check to make sure it wasnt congestion (when diagnosing issues like this you have to cover all bases from scratch...unfortunately), I.E. can you get circa 70Mbps? (as i now know you have a 70MB connection)...you will probably only get that over LAN unless you have superfast AC 5Ghz wifi in your PC?  e.g. if you connected the computer via LAN and ran that speedtest and you couldnt continually saturate the throughput then you may have been suffering congestion issues, however, since your new post I now know its possibly a driver or software issue as you said the problem "moved with you" and the chances of line fault at both addresses is unlikely (unless you were experiencing a different issue at old address but with same/similar results).

what make and model is your computer? (so I can guide you to wifi driver reinstall)
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