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All posts by Stephan Lourens

Stephan Lourens
Born 20 years too early. Curses sometimes. Thinks too much. Believes plug-and-play is the best invention ever. If asked what he wants for his birthday he will say a gadget, then money. So he can go buy a gadget.
  • The Pirate Bay out on open waters, sets course for Spain and Norway

    Sweden's Pirate Party, after continued pressure from a domestic anti-piracy group, has decided to discontinue its hosting of The Pirate Bay (TPB), the world's most popular file sharing website that has been making copyrighted material freely available since 2001. Being internationally infamous does not help TPB, with many countries not willing to (or dissuaded by international pressure) to host the site. While no one knows for sure the exact location of the pirates, according to TorrentFreak, it has been traced to Scandinavia, courtesy of the Swedish Pirate Party. This prompted Sweden's Rights Alliance, which represents the entertainment industry, to...

  • BlackBerry to reassess rejected ‘Built for BlackBerry’ apps

    After several complaints, BlackBerry has decided to introduce a review process to re-assess some apps that were mistakenly rejected from its US$10k Developer Commitment and Port-Athon projects. Many apps were mistakenly classified as "single function" apps, while other well constructed apps were rejected outright. This is a key development plan for BlackBerry, as past devices have been slated for the lack of quality apps. BlackBerry currently has a little over 70 000 apps available in its BlackBerry World app store, a far cry behind Apple and Google's stores, which are each stocked with more than 700 000 apps. In a...

  • Logitech Washable Keyboard review: squeaky clean

    Plug and Play has a new word added to it: washable. The Logitech k310 Washable Keyboard (WK) delivers the promise of a clean and washable waterproof keyboard that will keep OCD users safe from dust and dead bugs. Because for those of you who don't know, the humble keyboard can actually be a festering sump of nasty germs, and has even been rated as dirtier than a toilet seat. Anyone who knows me will know that, even though I can be the most disorganised gadget freak on earth, I am quite anal about a few things. A clean PC and...

  • Google shows off Google Now during Grammys, Nexus 4 gets a mention

    The smartphone personal assistant war is heating up, with Google Now for Android taking Siri for iOS head-on. During the Grammy awards on Sunday, Google aired an advertisement for Google Now on the Nexus 4, focusing particularly on the application. Google Now has been rated highly by pundits, and has received praise with Popular Science naming it the "Innovation of the Year" for 2012. We could see this as the first case of an app selling a smartphone, not a smartphone selling itself with amazing specifications and pixels. Smartphones are becoming increasingly similar in performance across the board and...

  • Intel set to stop producing desktop motherboards in three years

    The word is still out on the future of PC desktops, as Memeburn has reported on extensively. The signs are ominous that mobile computing will (eventually but maybe not entirely) take over the traditional box-with-a-brain, and thus the announcement that Intel, the world's largest and highest valued semiconductor chip maker, will set its production of desktop motherboards into idle is an unpleasant and stomach churning proclamation for a vast industry. What? Intel is changing its core reason for existence? It's not an unusual move if the current market is anything to go by, and Intel will not be the first...

  • Heins: BlackBerry could license BB10, has to be ‘successful’ first

    It is no secret that RIM has been struggling lately. Apple and Samsung rule the roost, with various other smartphone manufacturers taking large cuts out of BlackBerry's previous market share. But until now we have been hearing mostly that it's just a quieter period for the Canadian company, that it is just building its new operating system for the future. In a recent interview with German newspaper Welt, RIM CEO Thorsten Heins spoke about that future. Reading it in a tongue in cheek manner, what he says could be interpreted as showing how much of struggle RIM is actually...

  • LG sells 1m flagship Optimus G smartphones, is miles behind big rivals

    LG's flagship Optimus G, the smartphone that runs on Qualcomm Inc.'s Snapdragon S4 Pro processor, has sold more than one-million units since its release four months ago, reports Yonhap News. Sales started in Korea in September 2012, before moving to the rest of the world in October. While this is a good and fairly solid performance for LG, it is also quite revealing of how distantly far behind the rest of the world's...

  • ‘App store’ still under fire as Apple, Amazon trade punches over the name

    Apple and Amazon have a trial date set for later this year as the dispute over the term "app store" continues. Amazon has the Appstore, Apple the App Store. The Cupertino-based company is claiming exclusive rights to use the term "App Store", as Amazon found out last year. The judge in charge, US Magistrate Judge Elizabeth Laporte, has however ordered the two companies to come to a settlement, saying: "No participant in...

  • The giants are here: 4K Ultra HD TVs dominate at CES

    There was one thing predominantly clear at CES 2013. Actually it's two things: 3D TV is dead/dying, and enormous living-room-dominating Ultra HD and OLED TVs are the next big thing. Ultra HD, also termed 4K, has been on everybody's lips with the three main competitors Samsung, Sony and LG displaying TV sets that almost defy logic, and making the oft-used phrase "world's first" into a cliché. And believe it or not, an 8K TV snuck in there too... Read more on Gearburn.

  • BlackBerry services down for Vodafone users in Europe, Middle East, Africa

    Yes, BlackBerry is having connection issues again -- but it's not the type of widespread outage we saw back in 2011 when BIS was down for days on end. In what seems to be a carrier problem, BlackBerry users on Vodafone networks are experiencing down time in large parts of Europe, the Middle East and Africa. RIM alerted its users and customers in the UK via twitter account, posting the following: "Vodafone service issues are impacting some BlackBerry customers in Europe, Middle East and Africa. We are supporting their efforts to resolve." The fault is considered to be a router...

  • The Nintendo Wii U trumps the Wii in sales revenue

    Nintendo's Wii U console has surpassed its older brethren in sales. In just under two months since its release, the Wii U has raked in about US$300-million in sales, compared to the US$270-million the Wii garnered on its release. In December the Kyoto based consumer electronics company sold more than 2.65-million hardware units in total. The Nintendo DS (53-million units sold to date) still manages to sell well after all these years, with almost half a million sales over the Christmas season, while the 3DS managed to muster 1.25-million units for a total of 7.7-million units world-wide. The original Wii...

  • Travel the world for free from your armchair with Wikivoyage

    Wikivoyage, launched by the Wikimedia Foundation, is a new site that will provide travellers with information on destinations, restaurants, hotels and whatever users choose to create and update. In the same way that Wikipedia operates the content will be sourced from volunteer authors and travellers. As described on Wikipedia, the site is "built through collaboration of Wikivoyagers from around the globe. Articles can cover different levels of geographic specificity, from continents to districts of a city. These are logically connected in a hierarchy, by specifying that the location covered in one article "is within" the larger location described by another....

  • Steve Jobs was not into streaming music says Beats Audio founder

    Beats Audio CEO Jimmy Iovine apparently tried for years to entice Steve Jobs into the concept of music subscription and music streaming. Jobs on the other hand never seemed very interested, according to an All Things D report. In an interview yesterday with All Things D, Iovine said: "I was always trying to push Steve into subscription. And he wasn’t keen on it right away. Luke Wood and I spent about three years trying to talk him into it... he didn’t want to pay the record companies enough. He felt that they would come down, eventually." Iovine...

  • 80s rock star Peter Gabriel designs MusicTiles for iPhone

    MusicTiles is a new app for iPhone designed by acclaimed artist Peter Gabriel which will allow users, via a simple tile interface, to create, record and share remixes of their favourite music tracks. While it is also a rather obvious way for Gabriel to revive his status in the music world as his album So is featured quite prominently, the app does create a new and easy way for amateurs to play...

  • Europe’s four biggest mobile operators look to combine their services

    The European continent's four biggest mobile operators are seeking to join forces to create a better continental service. In what can be considered a pan-European infrastructure network, the Financial Times (FT) reports that Deutsche Telekom, France Telecom, Telecom Italia and Telefonica have been meeting with the EU's competition chief to discuss how the idea could be achieved in what is a rather fragmented European market. Europe is one continent where different countries and their respective laws causes difficulty in creating a standard for communication laws, and this aspect has created varying differences between the mobile carriers. As one person...