Friday, 10 April 2015

Soundbar shapes up

Samsung HW-J8500

Samsung's HW-J8500 is a premium-priced audio add-on for the brand's premium-priced curved TVs. Danny Phillips hopes it off ers a premium-quality performance too

Whether gimmick or game-changer, curved TVs are here to stay – but sadly so is the typically inadequate sound quality. Soundbars provide the solution, but a straight one looks odd in front of a curved TV. That’s why Samsung has conjured up a range of curved 'bars to complement its bendy screens.

The Swindle

The Swindle

Size Five’s thrilling fusion of steampunk, stealing and Spelunky

Rebecca Wrenchshaft-Blackcurrant won’t be remembered as one of the world’s finest burglars. But she’s hardly to blame for us not clocking that, while a security camera’s field of vision is indeed curtailed by doors, it’s unwise to expect the same when standing behind a window. Alarms blare, the patrolling robots’ searchlights glow red, and the police are on their way. Fortunately, we’ve inadvertently created the perfect escape route. Having absentmindedly left the front door open, we’re delighted to discover two security bots have left their posts to wander out to our escape pod. We sweep up the cash they’ve left behind, crack them on their heads, and make our getaway. If you can’t be stealthy, then being lucky isn’t such a bad contingency plan.



Burning intrigue and human relationships are at the heart of Campo Santo’s debut

Where Dear Esther explores the sensation of being overwhelmed by a wild, unfamiliar environment that you don’t fully understand, Firewatch is about losing control of one you do. Campo Santo’s debut casts you as Henry, a man seeking a simpler existence in the wilds of Wyoming as a fire lookout. Part fireman, part park ranger, your job is to keep a watchful eye on the habitat that surrounds your tower and protect it from threats. It’s a lonely, inherently ominous existence.

Why free trials rarely pay off

free trial

Barry Collins is fed up with companies locking us in with “free” trials

Of all the terms that are roundly abused by tech companies, there’s only one that gets misused more than “unlimited” (advertising speak for “list of restrictions as long as your arm"), and that’s “free”. The Oxford Dictionary defines “free" as “given or available without charge”, and yet customers who sign up for “free trials" often end up facing more charges than Ronnie Biggs.

Amazon is the latest company to be found guilty of perpetrating this ruse. It recently (and rightly) had its wrist slapped by the Advertising Standards Authority - “authority” being another complete misnomer as far as this Cadbury’s teapot of a regulator is concerned, but that’s another column. Amazon was found to have misled its customers after sending them letters advertising a “30-day free trial" of its Prime subscription service, but neglecting to mention until the small print at the bottom that they would be automatically charged if they failed to cancel. Indeed, the letter completely failed to mention how much they would be stung for.

Our guide to Catfishing


Not everyone online is being honest about their identity, and there could even be someone pretending to be you. David Crookes explains the a creepy new trend of catfishing

What is it?

Catfishing is an online activity that involves a person pretending to be someone else, typically with the aim of enticing others into a romantic relationship. 'Catfishes' (this is apparently the correct plural, rather than ‘catfish’) will use someone else’s photos to create a digital identity and post false information to produce a convincing social circle. They often maintain their deception for months and even years.