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It’s time to fine networks for prolonged outages

March 20th, 2014 by Barry Collins

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 | 14 Comments »

AmIRunningXP.com: not as daft as it sounds

March 14th, 2014 by Barry Collins

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.

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Kittens and six other web revelations from Tim Berners-Lee

March 13th, 2014 by Nicole Kobie

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 | 2 Comments »

Why Apple can’t be insanely great after Steve Jobs

March 13th, 2014 by Tim Danton

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. Read more

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Posted in: Random | 12 Comments »

CeBit 2014 diary: Cameron comes to town

March 11th, 2014 by Steve Cassidy

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.

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The 5 most interesting UK businesses at SXSW

March 11th, 2014 by Tim Danton

SupaPass trimmedFrom data analytics to social media, the full gamut of British technology companies is on show at SXSW Interactive. They’re here to strike new partnerships, find new investors or simply see what’s going on at the world’s biggest meeting of technology minds. Here, we shine the light on five diverse businesses…

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Posted in: Random | No Comments »

Quickest way to upload 1GB? Hop on a train

March 10th, 2014 by Barry Collins

Train blur

I was in London last week when I saw the 4G symbol pop up on my HTC One handset for the very first time. I’m on the 3 network, which has upgraded its customers to 4G without fuss or extra charge — just one of the many reasons why I put up with its iffy reception down here in Sussex.

Naturally, I did the first thing any nerd would do: I ran a speed test. The results? 35.73Mbits/sec down, 12.45Mbits/sec up. Socks: blown off.

Then a rather sobering thought occurred to me, which was later confirmed by my back-of-an-envelope calculations. Just a day earlier, I had uploaded around 1GB of photos for a client from my ADSL connection at home in Sussex, which has an upload speed of only 0.71Mbits/sec. Would it have been quicker for me to make the one-hour train journey to London, upload the files using my (unlimited) mobile data account and head back, than to upload 1GB of photos from home?

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Posted in: Rant | 19 Comments »

Move over Delia: IBM Watson is cooking tonight

March 7th, 2014 by Tim Danton

IBM truckSXSW always serves up something interesting, but I was curious to see crowds surrounding an orange truck sitting opposite the conference centre. Normally that means something is being given away for free, and so it proved – but this time with a twist.

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Eric Schmidt on the double-edged smartphone: friend and foe

March 7th, 2014 by Tim Danton

Schmdit at SXSW 2014SXSW Interactive is a strange place, attracting all the greatest tech minds to the city of Austin in Texas. The result is a lot of over-excited people getting over-excited about new ideas, most of which will disappear in a puff of over-excited smoke, and it’s also a chance for big companies to push their message to a watching world. Read more

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Posted in: Random | 1 Comment »

Getty joins the race to the bottom

March 7th, 2014 by Barry Collins

Last week, PC Pro would have had to pay Getty £90 to use the photo above on our website for a period of up to two years. Now it’s free.

Getty announced yesterday that it was making 35 million of its images free to embed on websites for what it very loosely describes as “non-commercial use”. That, apparently, not only includes the hordes of bloggers out there, but also (according to this interview in the British Journal of Photography), any “editorial websites, from The New York Times to Buzzfeed”. I, for one, didn’t realise The New York Times was a non-profit organisation, or that Buzzfeed’s ceaseless Ten Ways You’re Going To Give Us More Traffic articles were for charity, but there you go.

However, my bigger concern – as someone who now earns part of his living from photography – is the way in which one of the world’s biggest agencies has completely devalued professional photography.

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