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April, 2012

What’s in the box? An Nvidia GeForce GTX 690

Monday, April 30th, 2012

Nvidia GeForce GTX 690

Nvidia kept this one quiet, but early on Sunday morning it revealed what will, almost certainly, become the fastest graphics card on the planet. As naming convention dictates it’s a dual-GPU card and, as high-end gaming silliness dictates, it arrived at the office in a wooden crate.

We found the office crowbar and got to work and, within seconds, the GTX 690 was laid bare: cold industrial aluminium, a pair of windows looking through to the two vapour chamber coolers within, and the large central fan that’s saddled with the unenviable task of keeping the two cores cool.

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The Cookie law: clarity at last (but not from the ICO)

Friday, April 27th, 2012

iccWhen Regulation 6 of the UK Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations 2003 - “the Cookie law” to most of us – became part of UK law in May last year, the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) immediately invoked a one year moratorium on enforcement. Some might interpret that as tacit acknowledgement that the regulations were unenforceable. Little seemed to have changed as the end of the moratorium approached and website owners waited, in vain, for specific guidance from the ICO on how, exactly, to make their sites compliant.

Finally, something resembling advice has appeared, but it’s not come from the ICO but from business organisation the International Chambers of Commerce (ICC). Despite the inevitable disclaimer on page 2 that it “does not constitute legal advice”, it’s by far the most practical guide to the cookie regulations I’ve seen so far and is the result of research carried out by an organisation looking at this from a practical point of view rather than the compliance-based approach of the ICO.

Indeed, David Evans, group manager for business and industry at the ICO, said at the launch of the guide: “Today’s ICC UK guidance provides organisations with a good starting point from which they can work towards full compliance.” Which is about as close to a ringing endorsement as we’re ever likely to get from the 21st Century equivalent of the Circumlocution Office.

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Android fans: pay for your apps, please

Friday, April 27th, 2012

Android PirateThe Football Manager series is one of the world’s most popular gaming franchises, and no-one could deny that its iOS version has been a success. The recently released Android version, though, isn’t doing quite as well, with studio boss Miles Jacobson claiming that, at last count, the piracy rate for his game was at 5:1 in favour of illegally acquired copies. (more…)

Moving from Gmail to Hotmail: the disastrous conclusion

Wednesday, April 25th, 2012

Hands on head

PC Pro editor Barry Collins is conducting a two-week experiment, returning to Hotmail after six years of using Gmail, to examine Microsoft’s claims that its webmail system has improved. You can read his previous blog posts on Moving from Gmail to Hotmail here.

Today, I was all set to bring you the verdict on my two-week experiment of swapping Gmail for Hotmail. Last night, however, I spent in the pub with the PC Pro team, giving the latest issue of the magazine a good send off. Which is when the problems started.

The Twitter client on my iPhone started buzzing like a wasp trapped in a lamp shade. I received the following message:

Cecil Tweet

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New Dell Precision workstations review: first look

Monday, April 23rd, 2012

Dell introduces new Precision modelsDell has unveiled a new line of Precision desktop machines, and we’ve been hands-on with its latest range of workstations – systems that the firm’s vice president of computing, Kirk Schell, described as “customer inspired” thanks to the “two billion conversations” the firm claims to have with its consumers on an annual basis. (more…)

Dear Deidre: what the hell do you know about web censorship?

Thursday, April 19th, 2012

Dear Deidre

It’s hard to know where to start picking holes in the 89-page report of the Independent Parliamentary Inquiry into Online Child Protection (PDF), which heartily recommends that ISPs should censor internet content by default. It has more of them than a golf course.

You could for example question the credentials of The Sun’s agony aunt, “Dear Deidre” Sanders as the Inquiry’s first expert witness. She thinks children should be protected from online pornography, but she’s OK with children looking at Page 3 girls because “the Editor of The Sun thinks it’s okay” and because “nine million people read it”. I’ve got news for you, Deidre: there’s a few more people on the internet.

You could question whether a survey of Mumsnet site visitors should really be used as prima facie evidence that parents are genuinely concerned about children accessing adult material, as it is on p13 of the report.  Especially given the sample size and questions asked are curiously omitted.

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Hotmail vs Gmail: composing messages

Wednesday, April 18th, 2012

PC Pro editor Barry Collins is conducting a two-week experiment, returning to Hotmail after six years of using Gmail, to examine Microsoft’s claims that its webmail system has improved. You can read his previous blog posts on Moving from Gmail to Hotmail here.

Until now, I’ve largely focused on features that help sort out the chaos of your inbox. But what are the respective webmail systems like when it comes to the seemingly straightforward task of writing new messages?

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Look what the iPad’s done to my data consumption

Tuesday, April 17th, 2012

BC data consumption

The graph above shows the quantity of data downloaded (in blue) and uploaded (red) on my home internet connection since 2006 (click graph to enlarge). You’ll notice a fairly gradual climb in data downloads until August 2011, when I treated myself to an iPad 2 for my birthday. Suddenly that blue line jolts like a patient coming out of cardiac arrest in a TV drama.

Why has the iPad resulted in such a dramatic leap in data downloads? Because it’s a weapon of mass consumption. I estimate half of the television I watch these days is watched on the iPad. Whether it’s catching up with Have I Got News For You on the iPlayer app or watching the Monday Night Football on Sky Go while my girlfriend takes the main television set hostage for the Coronation Street, EastEnders, Coronation Street marathon, I’m regularly guzzling video on the tablet, chomping through hundreds of megabytes for every hour’s viewing.

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Moving from Gmail to Hotmail: sorting and importing

Friday, April 13th, 2012

Hotmail sweep

PC Pro editor Barry Collins is conducting a two-week experiment, returning to Hotmail after six years of using Gmail, to examine Microsoft’s claims that its webmail system has improved. You can read his previous blog posts on Moving from Gmail to Hotmail here.

So I’m a few days into my Hotmail revival, and I’m definitely warming to Microsoft’s much-maligned webmail service.

My favourite thing so far? The way it allows you to easily sort messages into different categories without having to laboriously label each email first. Click the Social Updates link at the top of the inbox, for example, and only alerts sent from my Facebook and Twitter accounts appear. Click Newsletters, and only the circulars sent out by various websites are displayed. I’ll repeat: the entire inbox is intelligently and accurately filtered automatically. You don’t have to do anything other than click the tab at the top. (more…)

How Apple forced consumers to pay more for ebooks

Thursday, April 12th, 2012

iPad iBooks

Who would you rather had the monopoly on ebooks: Amazon or Apple? That’s the question Forbes asked last month, and now the US authorities have chosen the former.

The Department of Justice has sued Apple and publishers Macmillan and Penguin (three others have already settled), accusing them of colluding to create the “agency model” of selling ebooks. The filing document offers intriguing detail about what’s happened in the past three years of the growing ebook market.

(more…)

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Posted in: Newsdesk

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