When can I upgrade? How to find out when your phone contract ends

If you don’t remember exactly when your phone contract first started, chances are you won’t know when it ends. Knowing how long you’ve got left on your contract is useful: it enables you to know when to start thinking of upgrading and when you can renew or start researching other providers. Here is how to tell how long you’ve got left on your phone contract.

If you’re an EE customer

Login to ‘My EE’ and check your upgrade status. This will tell you the exact date when you’re next eligible for an upgrade. For EE customers, upgrades become available exactly 45 days prior to the contract end. So simply add 45 days to the date shown and you’ll get your contract’s end date. You can also text ‘UP’ to 150 to find out your upgrade date and follow the same process.

Similar methods apply to Orange and T-Mobile customers.

If you’re a Vodafone customer

There are three ways to check how long you have left on your contract for Vodafone customers. You can login to ‘My Vodafone’ and go to ‘Upgrade or change plan’. Your contract’s end date will appear.

You can also find out the end date through the Vodafone app. Go to ‘My product and services’ and then click ‘My plan’. It will tell you when your contract ends.

The final way is to call 191 and ask customer service, or to check your bill or welcome email on which your contract’s start date will appear. You can figure out how long you’ve got left by adding the contract’s length to the start date.

If you’re an O2 customer

O2 customers simply have to login to ‘My O2’  and go to ‘My tariff summary’ to find the contract’s end date. Alternatively, they can also call 202, which is free of charge from an O2 mobile.

If you’re a Three customer

Login to ‘My3’. Go to ’Upgrade and offers’ and select ‘Check if you can upgrade’. Your contract’s end date will appear under ‘Your minimum term finished on’. It will also be available on the letter or email you received when you first joined Three. If you can’t find it, call 333 or 0333 300 3333 and ask customer service, free for all Three customers.

If you’re a Tesco customer

If you’re a Tesco customer, login to your ‘Pay Monthly’ account to view your end date. You can also call 4422, which is free for all Tesco clients.

When you’re ready to upgrade, check out our guide to the best phones of 2017.


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Microsoft’s sharper speech recognition tech should supercharge Cortana

Microsoft is making big efforts in the field of voice technology, and is boasting about having honed its speech recognition AI to an even greater extent, with a system that apparently now rivals the accuracy of multiple human transcribers.

Nearly a year ago Microsoft revealed that it had bested IBM by hitting a word error rate (WER) of 6.3% (in the industry-standard Switchboard speech recognition benchmark), dropping that to 5.9% just a month later – and at the weekend the firm announced that it’s now achieved a WER of 5.1%.

While the WER of 5.9% matched the ability of a professional human transcriber, the new 5.1% score is on a par with a multi-transcriber process – i.e. multiple humans working together, and listening to the material several times.

In a blog post, Microsoft explains that this is a “new industry milestone, substantially surpassing the accuracy we achieved last year”.

Neural net gains

The company noted that it managed to reduce its error rate by 12% compared to last year, mainly through improvements to its neural net-based acoustic and language models.

What does all this mean for the average user? In short, more accurate speech recognition for Cortana across desktop PCs and mobiles, although Microsoft also uses voice recognition elsewhere – in Office and Microsoft Cognitive Services, while even Windows has its own built-in speech recognition (which is better than you might think these days).

The ultimate aim for Microsoft is to be able to improve Cortana to a level where it’s possible to hold a natural conversation in which it feels like you’re talking to a human being as opposed to a digital assistant.

Along with voice recognition, Microsoft Translator is also much improved of late, having made our list of the best translation software of 2017.

Via: TechCrunch

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How to watch Game of Thrones free online: Watch Beyond The Wall without Sky

The penultimate episode of Game of Thrones Season 7 has now broadcast in the UK, leaving us looking forward to next week’s season finale. This will be available at 2am on Monday 28 August – see the teaser above for more.

The sixth episode of Game of Thrones Season 7, Beyond The Wall, was broadcast in the UK on Monday 21 August at 2am, and will be repeated at 9pm. It is available on catch-up now – and for free, even if you don’t have a Sky subscription.

You can get a free 14-day free trial for NowTV, which offers cheaper access to content from popular Sky channels such as Sky Atlantic on which Game of Thrones is broadcast. You’ll need the NowTV Entertainment package to watch season 7 of GoT. 

There are other ways to get free NowTV subscriptions, too. For example, if you’re also considering upgrading your phone then selected Vodafone deals such as this Galaxy S8 32GB Red Entertainment package come with a free two-year NowTV Entertainment pass.

When is Game of Thrones next on?

The sixth and penultimate episode of season 7 was broadcast in the UK on Monday 21 August 2017 at 2am on Sky AtlanticThis is so it airs at the same time as the US. It will be again broadcasted in the UK at 9pm on Monday 21 August.

The season finale will be broadcast on Monday 28 August at those same times – 2am and 9pm on Sky Atlantic.

Season 7 is the penultimate series, concluding with season 8 in 2018. It has been confirmed that the season 7 finale will be longer than ever at 81 minutes.

How to watch Game of Thrones online

Game of Thrones will be shown exclusively on Sky Atlantic in the UK, so if you’re a Sky customer with the right package then simply tune in via your Sky Box. If you want to watch online with an internet connection then you can do so with Sky Go or other methods. 

Sky Go

If you have a Sky subscription, then it’s easy. Game of Thrones is every Monday on Sky Atlantic.

Sky Go is available through web browsers and via the smartphone and tablet app.

Click here to download Sky Go for free on iPhone or iPad

Click here to download Sky Go for free on Android phone or tablet

Now TV

If you’re not a Sky customer then don’t worry as there is still an easy way to watch Game of Thrones Season 7 online. Sky Atlantic (and various other channels) is available through Sky Now TV as part of the Entertainment package which currently costs £6.99 per month.

Click here to view the deal

You can sign up for a free 14-day trial, which then charges you £6.99 per month (until 15 August when the price rises to £7.99). It’s a cheap and easy way to catch GoT.

Like Sky Go, Now TV is available on a wide range of devices including Chromecast, Roku, YouView, Xbox One, PS4, PC, Mac, Android and iOS. Sky also has the Now TV Box which you can buy for just £14.99.

See: Best media streamers

HBO Now

Since Game of Thrones is an HBO TV show you can also use the broadcaster’s streaming service, HBO Now, to watch Game of Thrones Series 7 when it arrives. However, it’s only available across the pond so you’ll need to use a VPN in order to gain access.

Read: What is Sky Q and how much is it?


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How to watch EA live stream at Gamescom 2017

Although Electronic Arts had a rather exciting time at E3 2017, the company isn’t done yet. EA has announced that, along with hosting a stand with more than 400 gameplay stations at Gamescom 2017, the company is set to host a livestream entitled EA Live Show.

But how are those of us at home in the UK supposed to follow the EA Live Show? Here, we show you how to watch the EA Live Show at Gamescom 2017 online, along with what to expect from the announcement.

How to watch the EA Gamescom 2017 livestream

Electronic Arts has announced that it’s set to host a livestream event the day before Gamescom 2017 officially begins, at 5:30pm BST on Monday 21 August 2017.

EA has confirmed that the event will be streamed via its own official website, along with its official Twitch channel. We’ve embedded the Twitch stream above, so head back here at 5:30pm this evening to find out what EA has to offer!

What to expect from the EA Gamescom announcement

Like with many other Gamescom announcements, EA is holding its cards close to its chest and not even teasing what we might see during the event.

But while there’s nothing official, we expect to see new gameplay footage from its most anticipated games coming out this year, including the likes of Star Wars Battlefront 2, Need for Speed Payback and, of course, FIFA 18.

We also expect to find out more about The Sims 4 for consoles that’s due out in November.


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How to watch Game of Thrones online: Watch Beyond The Wall without Sky

The penultimate episode of Game of Thrones Season 7 has now broadcast in the UK, leaving us looking forward to next week’s season finale. This will be available at 2am on Monday 28 August – see the teaser above for more.

The sixth episode of Game of Thrones Season 7, Beyond The Wall, was broadcast in the UK on Monday 21 August at 2am, and will be repeated at 9pm. It is available on catch-up now – and for free, even if you don’t have a Sky subscription.

You can get a free 14-day free trial for NowTV, which offers cheaper access to content from popular Sky channels such as Sky Atlantic on which Game of Thrones is broadcast. You’ll need the NowTV Entertainment package to watch season 7 of GoT. 

There are other ways to get free NowTV subscriptions, too. For example, if you’re also considering upgrading your phone then selected Vodafone deals such as this Galaxy S8 32GB Red Entertainment package come with a free two-year NowTV Entertainment pass.

When is Game of Thrones next on?

The sixth and penultimate episode of season 7 was broadcast in the UK on Monday 21 August 2017 at 2am on Sky AtlanticThis is so it airs at the same time as the US. It will be again broadcasted in the UK at 9pm on Monday 21 August.

The season finale will be broadcast on Monday 28 August at those same times – 2am and 9pm on Sky Atlantic.

Season 7 is the penultimate series, concluding with season 8 in 2018. It has been confirmed that the season 7 finale will be longer than ever at 81 minutes.

How to watch Game of Thrones online

Game of Thrones will be shown exclusively on Sky Atlantic in the UK, so if you’re a Sky customer with the right package then simply tune in via your Sky Box. If you want to watch online with an internet connection then you can do so with Sky Go or other methods. 

Sky Go

If you have a Sky subscription, then it’s easy. Game of Thrones is every Monday on Sky Atlantic.

Sky Go is available through web browsers and via the smartphone and tablet app.

Click here to download Sky Go for free on iPhone or iPad

Click here to download Sky Go for free on Android phone or tablet

Now TV

If you’re not a Sky customer then don’t worry as there is still an easy way to watch Game of Thrones Season 7 online. Sky Atlantic (and various other channels) is available through Sky Now TV as part of the Entertainment package which currently costs £6.99 per month.

Click here to view the deal

You can sign up for a free 14-day trial, which then charges you £6.99 per month (until 15 August when the price rises to £7.99). It’s a cheap and easy way to catch GoT.

Like Sky Go, Now TV is available on a wide range of devices including Chromecast, Roku, YouView, Xbox One, PS4, PC, Mac, Android and iOS. Sky also has the Now TV Box which you can buy for just £14.99.

See: Best media streamers

HBO Now

Since Game of Thrones is an HBO TV show you can also use the broadcaster’s streaming service, HBO Now, to watch Game of Thrones Series 7 when it arrives. However, it’s only available across the pond so you’ll need to use a VPN in order to gain access.

Read: What is Sky Q and how much is it?


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How to watch the Solar Eclipse 2017

What time is the Solar Eclipse, where it will be visible, and how you can watch it in person or via a live stream, whether you’re in the UK or the US.

The first total solar eclipse in 99 years will be seen in the US today, with a partial eclipse viewable from the UK


By

On Monday the US will experience the first total solar eclipse in 99 years, with a partial solar eclipse also visible from parts of the UK.

What time is the solar eclipse?

The solar eclipse will take place on Monday 21 August 2017.

The phenomenon will begin at 9.05am PDT in Salem, Oregon, reaching totality at 10.17am PDT. In Columbia, South Carolina the partial eclipse will begin at 1.13pm EDT and reach totality at 2.41pm EDT.

Location Eclipse begins Totality begins Totality ends Eclipse ends
Salem, OR 09.05am PDT 10.17am PDT 10.19am PDT 11.37am PDT
Madras, OR 9.06am PDT 10.19am PDT 10.21am PDT 11.41am PDT
Idaho Falls, ID 10.15am MDT 11.33am MDT 11.34am MDT 12.58am MDT
Casper, WY 10.22am MDT 11.42am MDT 11.45am MDT 1.09pm MDT
Lincoln, NE 11.37am CDT 1.02pm CDT 1.03pm CDT 2.29pm CDT
Jefferson City, MO 11.46am CDT 1.13pm CDT 1.15pm CDT 2.41pm CDT
Carbonale, IL 11.52am CDT 1.20pm CDT 1.22pm CDT 2.47pm CDT
Paducah, KY 11.54am CDT 1.22pm CDT 1.24pm CDT 2.49pm CDT
Nashville, TN 11.58am CDT 1.27pm CDT 1.29pm CDT 2.54pm CDT
Clayton, GA 1.06pm EDT 2.35pm EDT 2.38pm EDT 4.01pm EDT
Columbia, SC 1.13pm EDT 2.41pm EDT 2.44pm EDT 4.06pm EDT

Can I watch the solar eclipse in the UK?

The Total Solar Eclipse will be viewable only in North America, though here in the UK we should be able to see a partial eclipse in areas in which there is no cloud between 7.30pm and 8.30pm.

Location Start of partial eclipse Maximum eclipse End of partial eclipse
Aberdeen 7.37pm 7.56pm 8.14pm
Glasgow 7.37pm 7.56pm 8.19pm
Belfast 7.37pm 8pm 8.23pm
Edinburgh 7.38pm 7.58pm 8.18pm
Newcastle 7.38pm 7.59pm 8.19pm
Leeds 7.39pm 8.01pm 8.23pm
Liverpool 7.39pm 8.02pm 8.24pm
Sheffield 7.39pm 8.02pm 8.24pm
Swansea 7.39pm 8.05pm 8.30pm
Nottingham 7.39pm 8.02pm 8.25pm
Norwich 7.40pm 8.02pm 8.24pm
Oxford 7.40pm 8.04pm 8.28pm
London 7.40pm 8.04pm 8.28pm
Bristol 7.40pm 8.05pm 8.29pm
Brighton 7.40pm 8.05pm 8.29pm
Bournemouth 7.40pm 8.06pm 8.31pm
Plymouth 7.40pm 8.07pm 8.33pm

How can I watch the solar eclipse?

If you’re not in an area in which the total eclipse is viewable, you’ll be able to follow the live stream that takes place between 12 noon and 4pm EDT (in the UK that’s 5pm and 9pm BST). We will embed this at the top of this page when it becomes available.

Areas within the path of totality – a circa-70 mile-wide stretch between Salem, Oregon and Charleston, South Carolina, which includes Idaho, Wyoming, Montana, Nebraska, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee and Georgia – will be able to view a total solar eclipse.

The path of totality is illustrated below.

Total Eclipse path of totality

Total Eclipse path of totality

What do I need to watch the solar eclipse?

NASA recommends that you will need a pair of Eclipse glasses (not sunglasses) – a selection is available via Amazon (and Amazon UK) – or a pinhole projector. You can make your own using the templates provided at NASA’s site.

The glasses or projector should be used at all times except totality.

What is a total solar eclipse?

A total solar eclipse occurs when the moon passes in front of the sun, completely blocking our view of it.

In the last few seconds before it reaches totality you can see a Diamond Ring, which is just the sun’s outer edge shining through. Following this is Baily’s Beads, whereby only valleys on the moon’s surface allow sunlight to escape.

When totality occurs darkness falls on earth. This may last under a minute – the longest total eclipse will occur is near Carbonade, Illinois, where it will last 2 minutes 40 seconds.

When the moon begins to pass by the sun you will see a crescent shape.

Follow Marie Black on Twitter.

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Jackery Titan S 20100 review: An affordable battery that packs a punch

Note: The following is part of our roundup of USB-C battery packs. Go there for details on how we tested this device.

The Jackery Titan S 20100 mAh (72.4 Wh) battery pack is listed on Amazon at a respectable $40.

Our test found the efficiency of the Jackery Titan S to be just shy of the 80 percent mark, at 79.54 percent.

On the front of the housing, you’ll find a power button, two USB-A ports, and a USB-C port. There are also two USB-A-out ports, one with Smart Fit tech; the other for QC 2.0 devices. The USB-C port is used to charge devices or the battery pack itself.

Total time to recharge the pack from empty to full was just over five hours using a standard 5V/2A USB wall adapter (not included with the pack).

One benefit of the Jackery Titan S I wasn’t expecting is its ability to charge the Nintendo Switch or a MacBook.

Included in the box is a microUSB cable and a USB-C cable. Both cables are standard USB-A cables, so if you were hoping for a USB-C-to-USB-C cable, you’ll need to find one elsewhere.

On top of the pack you’ll find four indicator lights, signalling how much battery is left in the pack, and giving you a quick reference when the pack itself is charging and how much it has left to go.

Based in beautiful Colorado, Jason Cipriani is a freelance writer who contributes to Macworld, Wired, Fortune, and CNET.

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