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Investigators have warned consumers they face potentially fatal risks after 99% of fake Apple chargers failed a basic safety test.

Trading Standards, which commissioned the checks, said counterfeit electrical goods bought online were an “unknown entity”.

Of 400 counterfeit chargers, only three were found to have enough insulation to protect against electric shocks.

It comes as Apple has complained of a “flood” of fakes being sold on Amazon.

 

Apple revealed in October that it was suing a third-party vendor, which it said was putting customers “at risk” by selling power adapters masquerading as those sold by the Californian tech firm.

The Trading Standards tests were performed by safety specialists UL.

They applied a high voltage to the chargers, which were bought online from eight different countries, including the US, China and Australia, to test for sufficient insulation.

‘Life-threatening’
Leon Livermore, the chief executive of Chartered Trading Standards Institute, urged shoppers to buy electrical goods only from trusted suppliers.

“It might cost a few pounds more, but counterfeit and second-hand goods are an unknown entity that could cost you your home or even your life, or the life of a loved-one,” he said.

 

A separate operation found that of 3,019 electrical goods bought second hand, 15% were non-compliant.

Officers said the unsafe electrical items, which came from charity shops, antique dealers and second-hand shops, had failings such as counterfeit plugs and basic insulation.

How to spot a dangerous fake charger
Plug pins – Plug the charger into a socket, but don’t switch it on or connect to a device. If the charger does not fit easily, the pins may be the wrong size. There should be at least 9.5mm (0.3in) between the edge of the pins and the edge of the charger.

Markings – Look for a manufacturers’ brand name or logo, model and batch number. Check for the “CE” safety mark, but be aware it can be easily forged.

Warnings and instructions – User instructions should include conditions and limitations of use, how to operate the charger safely, basic electric safety guidance and details of safe disposal

 

Gillian Guy, chief executive of Citizens Advice, said: “Counterfeit electrical goods are likely to be poor quality and in the worst cases unsafe.

“Look out for tell-tale signs of counterfeiting such as mistakes in brand names or logos, and check plugs for safety marks – all genuine electrical items made in the EU should have a CE mark on them.”

Consumers were also urged not to overcharge appliances and to never cover devices when charging or use a charger with a cracked case or frayed cable.

There is no suggestion the company involved in the Apple case sold the chargers used in the Trading Standards tests.


Source: BBC

Plans for the truck were first announced in March, 2015, but this is the first detailed look we've had at the design.
 

It's expected to go on sale late next year in parts of Europe, Africa, South America and Australia. But it won't be available in the United States, even though big, luxurious trucks are extremely popular here.

Mercedes (DDAIY) showed off two versions of the truck, called the X-class, at a presentation in Stockholm, Sweden on Tuesday. One, a green truck, was outfitted for off-road use. The other truck, which was white, was more of a high-end luxury model with a wood-trimmed interior.

 

Customers will be able to choose from a variety of options and features -- such as high-end materials and familiar entertainment technologies -- that are available on other Mercedes-Benz models.

The top-of-the-line version will have a powerful six-cylinder diesel engine and full-time all-wheel-drive. Mercedes points to the growing market around the world for more luxuriously-equipped personal-use trucks as evidence that there is a market for a pickup with a Mercedes badge.

 

In the United States, both General Motors' (GM) Cadillac and Ford's (F) Lincoln luxury division have offered luxury trucks in the past, but neither does so currently. Instead, they sell trucks like the GMC Sierrra Denali and the Ford F-150 Limited that offer the accoutrements of a luxury vehicle but with a brand name associated with serious work trucks.

Mercedes-Benz isn't new to trucks -- it sells large commercial trucks all over the world.

Mercedes was also one of the first luxury manufacturers to enter the luxury crossover SUV market, when it introduced the M-class SUV in the 1990s. The G-class SUV, a more rugged off-road vehicle, has been in production since 1979.

Mercedes traces its roots back to Karl Benz and his 1886 Benz Patent Motorwagen, which is generally credited as being the first internal combustion-powered automobile.

 

Source: CNN

WhatsApp has finally launched video calling across its entire platform - meaning that iPhone, Android and Windows Phone users can use the feature together.

The feature has been teased for months, but the messaging app (that boasts over a billion users) announced it in a blog post today.

 

It puts the Facebook-owned app in direct competition with the likes of Apple's FaceTime, Microsoft's Skype and Google's recently-released Duo app .

"We’re introducing this feature because we know that sometimes voice and text just aren’t enough. There’s no substitute for watching your grandchild take her first steps, or seeing your daughter’s face while she’s studying abroad," WhatsApp said.

 

"And we want to make these features available to everyone, not just those who can afford the most expensive new phones or live in countries with the best cellular networks."

Because WhatsApp uses data, rather than a phone signal, it can be used over Wi-Fi, which makes it a popular choice for people who want to keep their bills down.

All you need to do to access a video call is hit the call button in the top right hand corner and choose whether you want to make a voice or video call to your contact. It's possible to switch the camera mid-call from the front-facing to the rear camera on your phone.

"Over the years we’ve received many requests from our users for video calling, and we’re excited to finally offer this feature to the world," the company said.

 

This is the latest in a series of new features from Facebook-owned WhatsApp. Recently it has added the ability to tag users in group chats and add stickers to messages just like Snapchat.

It also decided to share all of your user data with Facebook, in a move that got some people a little bit angry. However, pending an investigation from the European Union, the two companies have paused their sharing agreement.

 

Source: Mirror.co.uk

Instagram has become the latest social media company to embrace live video broadcasts.

Following in the footsteps of Facebook, which owns Instagram, YouTube and Twitter’s live-streaming app Periscope, Instagram has released a new feature that allows its users to broadcast live at any time.

Anyone watching can comment and react by posting emoji that pop up on the live video screen.

If it sounds familiar, it is.

 

As soon as you finish your broadcast, it will disappear forever.

That means you won’t be able to share a link to your broadcast and viewers won’t be able to watch it after it’s happened.

 

In a statement, an Instagram spokesperson said that was “so you can feel comfortable sharing what you want, anytime”.

To begin with, the feature will be rolled out to a select group of users before being available to everyone in the coming weeks.

 

Earlier this year, Instagram launched Stories which allows users to post a series of video and photo snapshots and annotate them with words and emoji – Snapchat style.

Those stories last for 24 hours.

The second major feature to be released by Instagram is a change to direct messages, both one-on-one and to groups.

 

Users will now be able to send disappearing photos and videos privately among friends, as opposed to just text.


Source: BBC

Apple is offering to replace the batteries of a “small number” of iPhone 6S phones with a fault that makes them unexpectedly shut down.

The phones with this fault were manufactured between September and October 2015, it said in a statement.

Affected devices will suddenly stop working even though the handset’s battery has plenty of charge.

Anyone with an eligible phone who takes up the offer will get a free replacement battery for their handset.

 

No response

In its announcement, Apple urged customers who believe they have a faulty phone to contact an Apple store, an authorised repair shop or the firm’s support line to start the process of getting a new battery. A “limited serial number range” was affected, it said.

Phone owners should back up data and then wipe it all off the handset before surrendering it for the replacement, it added. Phones with cracked screens might have to be repaired before Apple would go ahead with swapping the battery, it said.

Apple added that mobile operators would not be taking part in the replacement effort.

The AppleInsider website suggested that the fault with the iPhone 6S could be traced to people charging their handset with generic chargers rather than Apple’s own-brand ones.

 

Using one of these third-party chargers damaged circuitry which meant the amount of charge in the battery was not being reported correctly to the phone’s operating system. Apple has not confirmed if this is the cause.

The battery swap programme comes only a few days after Apple announced a separate offer intended to fix a fault on the iPhone 6 Plus.

That problem meant that the touchscreens on some handsets steadily became less and less responsive if they had been accidentally dropped on to a hard surface a few times.

Gadget sites traced the cause to chips used to drive the touchscreen that came loose after an impact.

 

Source: BBC

Samsung has denied that devices in its Galaxy S7 range are affected by the same battery safety issue that forced it to kill off the Galaxy Note 7.

In addition to the Note 7 disaster, there have been reports that other phones in Samsung’s newest range have combusted due to battery issues like the Note 7.

A paramedic, a mother in Australia, and even a tech reporter are among those who have witnessed a Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 Active device go up in smoke, while Samsung is facing a U.S. lawsuit that alleges its battery problems apply to older devices, too.

 

In a note issued late Friday, Samsung denied that there is an issue. It claimed that “severe external damage” is responsible for some incidents:

Samsung stands behind the quality and safety of the Galaxy S7 family.

 

There have been no confirmed cases of internal battery failures with these devices among the more than 10 million devices being used by consumers in the United States; however, we have confirmed a number of instances caused by severe external damage.

Until Samsung is able to obtain and examine any device, it is impossible to determine the true cause of any incident.

The Note 7 crisis saw Samsung’s profit plunge 30 percent year-on-year, so the Korean tech giant can ill afford a reprisal of these issues right slap bang in the Christmas shopping period. Now that Samsung has addressed these reports, we’re likely to find out soon whether there’s anything more to them than just a handful of unfortunate incidents here and there.

 

Source: TechCrunch

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