Breakfast Briefing: iTunes 11 arrives, Syria goes offline, Windows release revamp

30 Nov 2012
Breakfast briefing

In today's top tech stories, iTunes 11 released, Syrian web taken offline, Microsoft planning a new Windows release cycle, and more

Today's tech round-up includes a new version of iTunes, Syrian sites and services wiped from the web, how Microsoft could change its Windows release schedule and more.

Apple belatedly releases iTunes 11

The new version of iTunes was delayed from its initial October release date, so Apple promised it would be here in November. Scraping in with only a day to spare, iTunes 11 finally arrived late last night, with a total redesign that’s more in line with the iPad version than the old desktop interface. You can download iTunes 11 here.

Syria wiped from the internet

Internet traffic monitoring company Renesys has an interesting series of graphics showing how the internet has been taken offline in Syria.

Without speculating on the cause or motivation behind the action, the company details how the lights went out on 84 blocks of IP addresses assigned to the country, effectively disconnecting Syria from the web.

"Starting at 10:26 UTC on 29 November (12:26pm in Damascus), Syria's international internet connectivity shut down," the company found. "In the global routing table, all 84 of Syria's IP address blocks have become unreachable, effectively removing the country from the internet."

Speculation mounted over whether the authorities were planning a bloody clampdown, and the web closure was nothing if not thorough, with five offshore networks closed down 12 hours after the initial kill switch was thrown. "Traceroutes to these blocks now die on Tata's network in New Jersey," Renesys said.

Reports: Microsoft planning Windows release overhaul

News service Bloomberg has followed up earlier reports from The Verge with claims that Microsoft is to radically change the way it releases updates to Windows. Microsoft has yet to comment, but according to company sources talking to Bloomberg, the Windows maker could release a new version every year, with an annual upgrade instead of slower step changes, such as from Windows 7 to Windows 8 that took three years.

The project, known as Blue, would see users with a licensed copy of the software able to upgrade more swiftly as technology changed, which could make the company more nimble. There are no details, however, on whether the upgrades would be free or paid-for.

How the internet is about to gain three billion new users

The promise of ultracheap tablets for developing nations has been around for several years, and it seems we’re finally hitting the point where they become a reality. Quartz talks to Suneet Tuli, CEO of Datawind, a company that’s aiming to disrupt the handheld industry by taking the biggest cost - the display - and bringing it in-house. Within a year he says he’ll have tablets down to $25 a pop, and Datawind isn't alone in this movement.

"There’s 50 guys in China right now setting up fabs to make [LCD touch panels like Datawind's]," says Tuli. "In the next six to nine months they’re going to come online. And the moment they start coming online, pricing is going to tank. What’s going to happen is that those disruptive business models are going to change things for everybody. A sub-$50 retail price point in the next six months in the US is very practical for a product that, if you think of horsepower, has as much or more than the original iPad."

Facebook claimant counts cost of ownership case

Remember Paul Ceglia, the New York chancer that sued Facebook claiming to own half the social network? His ambitions continue to cost him money as he has been ordered to pay $70,000 of Facebook's legal fees. The LA Times reports that Ceglia this week pleaded not guilty to criminal charges that he doctored and destroyed evidence in the lawsuit against Facebook, but his lawyer has since quit the case and Ceglia is facing a mounting legal bill.

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