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March, 2014

Office for iPad: key information

Thursday, March 27th, 2014

Word for iPadMicrosoft CEO Satya Nadella, in his first appearance since taking over the top job, has confirmed that the company will shortly release a native version of its Office suite for the iPad, as well as updating Office for Mac. Some have called the decision a gamble for Microsoft, while others have seen it as a positive step. Here’s what you need to know. (more…)

Why every PC buyer owes Richard Durkin a debt of gratitude

Wednesday, March 26th, 2014

PC World

You’ve probably never heard of Richard Durkin, and until this morning, neither had I. I first heard his name in a report on this morning’s Today show on Radio 4, which claimed he’d been fighting a legal battle over a laptop he’d returned to PC World because it didn’t contain the promised internal modem.

Typical Today, I thought to myself. Getting its technology wonky again. Laptops haven’t come with internal modems for years. As I listened on, it turned out the reporter was absolutely right. The legal battle has been going on for 16 years. And today, Durkin finally won a victory that means a great deal to anyone buying expensive equipment, such as a PC, on credit agreements.

When Durkin bought that £1,500 laptop from PC World back in 1998, he paid just £50 up front, with the remaining balance going on one of those credit agreements the big stores foist on to customers, in this case with HFC (now owned by HSBC).

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HTC One M8 vs Samsung Galaxy S5: 2014’s big-hitters compared

Tuesday, March 25th, 2014

Samsung Galaxy S5 vs HTC One M8

We now have full details of  the major Android phones of the year: the Samsung Galaxy S5, which was announced out at MWC in Barcelona in February, and the HTC One M8, just launched at events in London and New York. The big question is, how do they stack up against one another?

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Windows XP end of life: key information

Monday, March 24th, 2014

Windows Updates will be ending soon

Windows XP support will end on 8 April. After that date, Microsoft won’t provide any more updates. Yet many millions of people are still using the veteran OS: recent figures suggest that it’s still running on around 30% of PCs worldwide, many of them in businesses.

Understandably, there’s a lot of doubt and concern over what’s going to happen next. If you’re still running XP, here are the straightforward answers to the key questions.

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Cut out the broadband jargon? What jargon?

Friday, March 21st, 2014

Hands on head

Consumer watchdog Which? has got on its high horse, telling broadband companies to “cut out the jargon” and “give consumers information they understand” when fixing problems with their connections.

Frankly, I don’t know what all the fuss is about. Our fearless lion of a telecoms regulator, Ofcom, cracked this problem back in 2010, when it introduced its Broadband Speeds Code of Practice, making it as plain as day what broadband companies should tell their customers when they ring up to complain about their broadband speeds.

To make it easier for the nannying, simpletons at Which? I’ve pulled out the relevant paragraphs on how ISPs should deal with speed complaints:

(more…)

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Posted in: Newsdesk

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It’s time to fine networks for prolonged outages

Thursday, March 20th, 2014

Coins and notes

We’re told that broadband has become the fourth utility, after water, electricity and gas. So why do big companies get away with depriving us of it so frequently?

Last night, EE’s mobile network went down for a period of anywhere up to ten hours, according to some of the comments from customers I’ve seen this morning, yet there’s no suggestion of EE being punished for failing to maintain a network that around 40% of the country relies upon.

Indeed, EE’s Twitter account treated the outage as something of a joke.

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Posted in: Newsdesk

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AmIRunningXP.com: not as daft as it sounds

Friday, March 14th, 2014

AMIrunningXP

A cap doffed in the direction of The Register for spotting this website: AmIRunningXP.com.

The reporter used a WHOIS lookup to discover that the website was actually registered by Kristina Libby, a member of Microsoft’s PR team.

Although The Reg concludes that the website is “a little tongue-in-cheek humour”, I wouldn’t be so sure.

(more…)

Kittens and six other web revelations from Tim Berners-Lee

Thursday, March 13th, 2014

tbl4x3

The web turned 25 yesterday. Well, sort of — it was the 25th anniversary of Sir Tim Berners-Lee’s original paper outlining the principles of the web, but let’s roll with it.

To celebrate this first milestone, Berners-Lee was all over the web, giving interviews, posting videos and even taking part in a Reddit Ask Me Anything session. As someone with a massive professional crush on the man — I once dodged a PR and vaulted a chair to shake his hand; I think I alarmed him — I’ve read through every one of his AMA posts. Here’s a collection of the web creator’s best revelations from the Q&A session.

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Posted in: Random

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Why Apple can’t be insanely great after Steve Jobs

Thursday, March 13th, 2014

Steve_JobsMy very last session at SXSW was arguably the most interesting, with Geoffrey Fowler from the Wall Street Journal interviewing journalist-turned-author Yukari Iwatani Kane. Her new book, Haunted Empire, charts what life is like at Apple in the shadow of Steve Jobs.

What became incredibly clear during her talk is that the company can never be the same again — and nor should it try to be. Here, I try to explain why. (more…)

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Posted in: Random

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CeBit 2014 diary: Cameron comes to town

Tuesday, March 11th, 2014

IMG_1539

How can one link together rural broadband, Big Data and enterprise resource-planning software? By including a pair of EU leaders in the mix, of course. An early start on the stand of sponsor Software AG at this year’s CeBIT put me in a very unaccustomed position among the scrum of paparazzi, as German chancellor Angela Merkel and British prime minister David Cameron walked up behind a fearlessly simplistic diorama of Smart Big Data at work.

As you may be able to tell from my wobbly picture, the perfectly sensible explanation of how cargo-tagging and inventory management makes shipping more efficient may not have exactly kindled the perfect spirit of European allegiance that both Merkel and Cameron would have preferred as a takeaway message for the assembled press-pack. It certainly fired up Software AG’s Karl-Heinz Streibich, whose German flowed much faster than my talent for translation; I got the idea, in as much as an appraisal of the use of Big Data in an Internet of Things around a container port can be made in a three-minute speech with two impatient heads of state waiting their turn with the microphone.

(more…)

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