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By Namerah S
Virgin Media launches hologram dining experience in the UK
by Namerah Saud Fatmi
It has been over a year now since the novel coronavirus first clasped its iron grip on the world. In the UK, things are finally starting to look better as educational institutions, businesses and care homes are starting to open up to visitors once again. However, many are still unable to meet their loved ones and have to communicate through other means.
In an effort to close the gap between such stranded people, Virgin Media has started a new service at two outlets of the Two Hearts Pizzeria. The London and Edinburgh outlets of the restaurant are offering an unusual dining experience to customers while maintaining social distancing rules. Visitors can now participate in a hologram dining experience at these locations.
Customers eating at either outlet will be able to virtually dine with each other in real-time. Virgin described the technology used in the newly launched initiative in the following words:
Jeff Dodds, Chief Operating Officer at Virgin Media, released a statement about the holographic dining experience introduced by Virgin:
Dr James Bellini, a leading British futurologist, has commented on the holographic dining experience. Dr Bellini believes that in the years to come, the use of holograms will be normalized. His belief stems from the fact that allegedly many Britons are 'bored of video calls' and feel that holograms would be more humanistic and emotionally connective.
The hologram dinners are planned to accommodate 30 people in the next two days, but customers need to reserve seats beforehand.
By Steven P.
Get three months of Amazon Music Unlimited or HD for free
by Steven Parker
Amazon Music Unlimited has been around for a while now, but has since expanded its catalog of music from a measly 40 million tunes to over 70 million over the course of five years. Although Prime members already get the standard Amazon Music included with the subscription, that service only contains around two million songs and far fewer full albums.
Amazon Music Unlimited has the following benefits:
In 2019, Amazon launched Amazon Music HD, which offers up to "Ultra High Definition" audio streaming; HD refers to 16-bit audio with a 44.1kHz sample rate, and Ultra High Definition means 24-bit audio, with sample rates up to 192kHz.
Amazon Music HD has the following additional benefit:
The service will play the best quality available based on your network quality, and the high definition audio is supported on multiple platforms, including desktop devices, Android, iOS, and Amazon's own smart speakers (barring some exceptions), Fire TV devices, and tablets.
Now you can get either Amazon Music Unlimited, or HD free for three months, after which Unlimited costs $9.99/month (US) / £9.99/month (UK) or HD for $14.99/month (US) / £14.99/month (UK). Existing Amazon Music Unlimited subscribers (Individual or Family Plan) can also upgrade to Amazon Music HD for an additional $5/£5 a month.
Get three free months of Amazon Music Unlimited in the UK or in the USA Get three free months of Amazon Music HD in the UK or in the USA These offers are only available to new Amazon Music HD or Unlimited subscribers and they end on May 24th, and as with other Amazon subscriptions, you can always choose to end your subscription before the billing cycle starts and the three months trial period ends.
As an Amazon Associate, Neowin may earn commission from qualifying purchases.
Vodafone joins EE in keeping stores open longer post-lockdown
by Paul Hill
Vodafone reopened its stores today now that England and Wales have begun lifting more lockdown restrictions. Similarly to EE, Vodafone has extended its opening hours to meet anticipated customer demand after months of its store being closed.
Across England and Wales, the firm has opened 363 stores while in Scotland and Northern Ireland it has opened 15 Click and Collect stores. To meet customer demand, store opening hours have been extended until 10 pm in a number of locations around the country. The firm also offers Tech Team Virtual Appointments for people who can’t travel or feel uneasy about venturing out to a Vodafone store. These virtual appointments give customers the option to resolve problems remotely and can be booked online through to Online Store Locator.
Commenting on the re-opening of stores, Max Taylor, Consumer Director, Vodafone UK said:
By leaving stores open longer, Vodafone will be able to interact with customers in a safer manner as fewer people be entering stores at any one time. Other safety measures it’s taking include deep-cleaning stores, providing alcohol-based hand gel at store entrances and providing staff with personal protective equipment, it has removed display devices to reduce the risk of surface contamination and it has implemented a virtual queuing system at its largest stores so customers only enter the store when they’re asked to.
Sony confirms PlayStation Store closure on PS3, PSP, and PS Vita
by João Carrasqueira
Just over a week after initial reports came in that Sony would be shutting down the PlayStation Store on some of its older consoles, the company has now confirmed exactly that. In a notice on its website, Sony says the stores on PlayStation 3 and PlayStation portable will shut down on July 2, while the PlayStation Vita will shut down on August 27, the exact dates mentioned in the earlier report.
Over the weekend, some users noticed that the old web version of the PlayStation Store, which included the ability to buy games for these older platforms, is no longer accessible either. To be fair, Sony launched a new web portal for the Store in October and warned that only the platforms on that store - the PlayStation 4 and 5 - would be supported going forward, but the old version was still accessible until recently.
Until the closure of the PlayStation Store on each of these consoles, you can still buy games for them through their own built-in stores. After the closure, though, you won't be able to buy games, movies or other video content, or in-game purchases on these platforms. You also won't be able to redeem gift cards that give you wallet funds.
However, if you have vouchers for specific games or PlayStation Plus subscriptions, they will continue to work after these dates. You'll also still be able to re-download any content you've purchased, as well as games claimed through PlayStation Plus - as long as your subscription stays active. Should you have any funds in your wallet after the closure, you can use them on newer platforms or request to have them refunded to you.
While the closure of the PlayStation Store on older consoles may be upsetting to some users, all of these platforms are pretty old or irrelevant. If you've been holding off on a specific purchase on these consoles, now is the time to do it.
UK politicians face legal challenge over self-destructing messages
by Paul Hill
The law firm Foxglove and the non-profit The Citizens have teamed up to challenge the government over disappearing messages on platforms like WhatsApp and Signal that are in widespread use by politicians, according to a report in The Guardian. The two groups say self-destructing messages are a threat to transparency and the archival of messages that are required in UK law.
Commenting on the legal challenge, Cori Crider, a director at Foxglove, said:
In 1958, legislation was passed in the UK that required documents to be archived. According to The Guardian, the law also applies to digital formats such as emails. The introduction of easy-to-use self-destructing messages means that politician can more easily sidestep this legislation and campaigners say this mustn’t be allowed to happen.
Clarity over whether digital communications were covered by the 1958 legislation came ten years ago when the Information Commissioner’s Office has to tell Michael Gove MP and his office to stop using private email accounts to conduct government work due to concerns that messages sent through these channels wouldn’t be archived as required by the law.
Speaking to the BBC, the Cabinet Office has said that processes are in place to record official communications and that there are periodic reviews to ensure that collection methods are sufficient.