DigitalOutbox Episode 70

DigitalOutbox Episode 70
In this episode the team discuss iOS 4.2, Cheaper iPads, Amazon Woes and the Jolibook.

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5:29 – iOS 4.2 Released
– Released on Monday 2nd November
– Finally brings unified inbox, multitasking and folder support to iPad
– Also brings AirPrint
– And AirPlay – send movies from iPad, iPhone to Apple TV
– Find my iPhone/iPad now free for devices that support iOS 4.2
– Start of the move to making MobileMe a freemium product?
9:58 – Apples Embedded SIM Plan
– Major European operators will refuse to subsidize Apple’s iPhone if the handset firm launches devices with an embedded SIM.
– Vodafone, France Telecom and Telefonica have privately expressed concerns over Apple’s rumored efforts to develop an integrated smart SIM for iPhone, which would allow buyers to choose a carrier when activating the device, reported.
– One senior executive said Apple risked a “war” in Europe over the new activation model, which analysts estimate could cut global iPhone sales by 12%, the news site said.
– Operators fear the move would prompt a spike in customer churn as it eases the process of migration, and would lead to a decline in the duration of telecom contracts.
– Such a model would even allow Apple to enter markets as a connection services reseller with an inbuilt competitive advantage, the sources said.
– This comes on the back of rumours that Apple and Gemalto (sim card maker) are building an embedded sim –
– A real threat? Where Apple went with the iPhone design others have followed…pretty closely
– Telegraph – Apple ditch plans due to threats –
– But will allegedly include it in iPads…soon
12:03 – The Daily
– Rupert Murdoch, head of the media giant News Corp, and Steve Jobs, the chief executive of Apple, are preparing to unveil a new digital “newspaper” called the Daily at the end of this month, according to reports in the US media.
– According to reports, there will be no “print edition” or “web edition”; the central innovation, developed with assistance from Apple engineers, will be to dispatch the publication automatically to an iPad or any of the growing number of similar devices.
– With no printing or distribution costs, the US-focused Daily will cost 99 cents (62p) a week.
– iOS 4.3 update in December for this
– Richard Branson to unveil iPad magazine next week too
15:50 – Subsidised iPads coming to the UK
– Three too
– Will soon launch a subsidised iPad
– 18 to 24 month contracts
– Rumours of price dropping by £200
– Will it entice others to sign up?
17:53 – MS Trivia
– 25 years since the first version of Windows was released
– 5 years since the Xbox 360 was released
20:12 – 20 Things I Learned
– Web based book from Google Chrome team that tells you everything you need to know about browsres, cookies etc
– 20 things, 60 odd pages
– Lovely animations and illustrations
– Some clever behind the scenes javascript to mask loading
– Built using HTML5 only
– Thanks Google
21:35 – Spotify Woes
– Revenue of £11.32 million
– Costs of sales and distribution and expenses led to a net loss of 16.66 million
– Surely not sustainable…or means even more advertising on the way
– American launch even more crucial
– Reading complaints from users of how certain tracks are removed from albums after release – almost deliberate spoiling from music firms?
24:09 – Amazon Woes
– Amazons black friday deals look great on paper
– In practice, you’ve got about a second to buy the deal, if your lucky, before they are sold out
– Some look genuinely great – others are ok reductions on items that are maybe not top of your wishlist
– Very clever – create a competitive element, spread the deals via Facebook and twitter and whip up the crowd
– Some people very unhappy – claiming they are being misled and are taking their business elsewhere – get a grip. it’s a sale, some prices are great
– As a test I tried to buy a casserole dish…and did so at a £60 saving. Also tried a set of books – failed miserably :-)
28:35 – Google Cloud Connect
– A new plugin for Microsoft Office called Cloud Connect, which will tie Google Docs directly into the ubiquitous productivity suite, free of charge. Editing a document in Word? It’ll automatically sync to your Google Docs account each time you hit ‘Save’. Want to share a preview of your document without worrying about what file format your coworkers can open? Just send them a link to the Google Docs file. The plugin supports Microsoft Word, PowerPoint, and Excel
– Multiple people can edit the same document and have their changes synced with each save (hooray for the cloud). But because these changes aren’t reflected in real-time, there’s the potential for conflicts — I could edit a PowerPoint slide to say one thing, and my coworker could put something else on the same slide. Google deals with these conflicts by presenting users with an alert prompting them to choose which version they’d like to save; if they want to go back and switch again later, they can using the document’s version history.
– Going live for apps and business users via preview program – others soon
– Windows only, 2003, 2007 and 2010
31:38 – Jolibook
– Now on sale in the Uk for £279
– Specs – Intel Atom N550 processor (1.5 GHz, dual-core), 250GB hard drive, 10.1″ screen, Memory: 1GB, Three USB 2.0 ports, Jacks for mic, headphones, LAN and an external monitor, 3-in-1 card reader
– But it’s Jolicloud 1.1, the cloud based OS thats more interesting
– Based on Ubunto, Chromium and utilising a lot of cloud based services
– Fast and OS is available for downloading and using on any hardware
– Why do you need 250Gb hard drive for cloud based OS?
– Great price compared to a Macbook Air but it has a 1-3 month shipping window!

– Dropbox – but with the added bonus of ability to store files and folder outside of the main “magic briefcase”.

– Far more reliable notifications – better than boxcar which doesn’t always work

DigitalOutbox Episode 69

DigitalOutbox Episode 69
In this episode the team discuss Net Neutrality Threat, Don’t Joke on Twitter, Facebook Messaging and Kinect.

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0:59 – Google Rewards and Punishes
– Gives all employees $1000 extra bonus
– Also increases all salaries from 1st Jan by 10%
– And…
– “We’ve heard from your feedback on Googlegeist and other surveys that salary is more important to you than any other component of pay (i.e., bonus and equity),” the memo reads.
– “To address that, we’re moving a portion of your bonus into your base salary, so now it’s income you can count on, every time you get your paycheck… Thank you for all that you do, and for making Google a place where magic happens.”
– But they weren’t happy that the actual memo got leaked so….
– Within hours, Google notified its staff that it had terminated the leaker, several sources told CNNMoney. A Google spokesman declined to comment on the issue, or on the memo.
– Offer engineer $3.5 million to not join Facebook
– We’ve confirmed today that a staff engineer at Google being heavily romanced by Facebook was offered a jaw dropping $3.5 million in restricted stock by Google (this means Google is handing over stock worth $3.5 million based on its value today, and that stock will vest over time). He quite wisely accepted Google’s counter offer. Facebook lost this one.
– Also up to 30% increase for top execs
– Stories that Google may be planning “G-Town” – A town for Google employees to live, work and play! OMG. We said that Google had the cash of a small country… now they might have the infrastructure.
5:24 – End of Net Neutrality?
– Culture minister Ed Vaizey has backed a “two-speed” internet, letting service providers charge content makers and customers for “fast lane” access.
– It paves the way for an end to “net neutrality” – with heavy bandwidth users like Google and the BBC likely to face a bill for the pipes they use.
– Ditching net neutrality could lead to websites paying ISPs to ensure their content gets priority.
– Internet Service Providers (ISPs) are supposed to treat all web traffic equally – serving only as a one-size-fits-all pipe for whatever data is passing from content providers to end users.
– But some traffic management, where traffic from one source is favoured over another, is likely to be allowed, with a ruling due next year, Mr Vaizey suggests.
– In his speech, he argues that the continued quality of internet services in the UK is under threat due to the rapid expansion of mobile and wireless networks and the “massive investment” it needed.
– As a result, ISPs had to be free to experiment with new ways of raising revenue – provided customers were clear about what they were buying.
10:52 – Stop the Broadband Con
– Why are services advertised as up to 20 or 24mb when average speed is just 6.5Mb – The average download speed received for ‘up to’ 20/24Mb DSL packages was 6.5Mb according to Ofcom’s 2010 UK broadband speeds report
– Virgin Media is already delivering the fastest broadband in the UK and it’s prepared to be open about the exact broadband speeds it delivers. It’s the first ISP in the UK to publish the typical real world speeds its customers receive each month.
– They want other ISP’s to sign up to this campaign
– Virgins typical speeds for October –
13:47 – HM Government EMail
– Response to petition regards not disconnecting file-sharers.
“It is clear that online copyright infringement inflicts considerable damage on the UK’s creative economy including music, TV and film, games, sports and software. Industry estimates place this harm at £400m pa.
– The Digital Economy Act includes a number of measures to tackle the problem and we expect these to be successful in significantly reducing online copyright infringement. However this is an area of rapid technological change and developing consumer behaviour. The Act therefore includes a reserve power to introduce further “technical” measures if the initial measures do not succeed. These technical measures would limit or restrict an infringers’ access to the internet. They do not include disconnection.”
– Loving the subject of another email this week – from Adobe
– “Why explore new Acrobat X? It’s magic.”
16:34 – Facebook Messaging
– “This is not an email killer. This is a messaging experience that includes email as one part of it,” Zuckerberg said. It’s all about making communication simpler. “This is the way that the future should work,” he continued.
– To do that, Facebook has created three key things: Seamless messaging, conversation history, and a social inbox. Essentially, they’ve created a way to communicate no matter what format you want to use: email, chat, SMS — they’re all included. “People should share however they want to share,” engineer Andrew Bosworth said.
– All of this messaging is kept in a single social inbox. And all of your conversation history with people is kept.
– Alongside the product on, this is going to work on their mobile applications as well. An updated iPhone app is launching shortly. It’s important that you can keep messages going while you’re on the go, Bosworth noted.
– But you don’t need an app. It’s important to note that this can work with SMS too.
– And yes, everyone can get an email address if they want. But they don’t need to get one — you can use any email address. And yes, IMAP support is coming soon too (but not just yet)
– This messaging system will be rolling out pretty slowly over the period over the next few months, Zuckerberg said.
– He said that 15 engineers have worked on this product — remarkably, this is the most that have ever worked on a single Facebook project.
– Also be able to view office attachments without leaving Facebook using MS Office Web apps
23:09 – Twitter joke trial: Paul Chambers loses appeal against conviction
– The man convicted of “menace” for threatening to blow up an airport in a Twitter joke has lost his appeal.
– Paul Chambers, a 27-year-old accountant whose online courtship with another user of the microblogging site led to the “foolish prank”, had hoped that a crown court would dismiss his conviction and £1,000 fine without a full hearing
– But Judge Jacqueline Davies instead handed down a devastating finding at Doncaster which dismissed Chambers’s appeal on every count. After reading out his comment from the site – “Crap! Robin Hood airport is closed. You’ve got a week and a bit to get your shit together otherwise I’m blowing the airport sky high!!” – she found that it contained menace and Chambers must have known that it might be taken seriously.
– He was also saddled with a legal bill three times higher than his original £384 with £600 costs, as the court ordered him to pay a further £2,000 legal bill for the latest proceedings.
– Stephen Fry offers to pay for fine
– Twitter campaign to raise funds for appeal
– I Am Spartacus
– Twitter users angered by the conviction of a man who threatened to blow up an airport in a Twitter joke showed support for him in their thousands today, thumbing their noses at the law by republishing the words that landed him in trouble.
– Under the hashtag #IAmSpartacus – a reference to the film in which Spartacus’s fellow gladiators show their solidarity with him by each proclaiming “I am Spartacus” – thousands of people have copied Chambers’s original message.
– As a result of the show of support for him, #IAmSpartacus was the most popular worldwide subject being referred to on Twitter at the time of writing.
– Even Daily Mail think it’s absurb –
– But as Paul said this morning – “Support from The Daily Mail is like kissing your sister. Essentially it’s the same, but it just doesn’t feel right.”
27:29 – Tory councillor arrested over Alibhai-Brown Stoning Tweet
– Police in Birmingham today arrested a Conservative city councillor who sent a Twitter message saying that the newspaper columnist Yasmin Alibhai-Brown should be stoned to death.
– Alibhai-Brown said last night she would report Gareth Compton, a councillor for the Erdington district, to police following the tweet
– The Conservative party said Compton had been suspended indefinitely over the alleged tweet.
– The message – now apparently deleted – said: “Can someone please stone Yasmin Alibhai-Brown to death? I shan’t tell Amnesty if you don’t. It would be a blessing, really.”
– Alibhai-Brown, who writes columns for the Independent and the London Evening Standard, said last night she regarded his comments as incitement to murder. She told the Guardian: “It’s really upsetting. My teenage daughter is really upset too. It’s really scared us.
– “You just don’t do this. I have a lot of threats on my life. It’s incitement. I’m going to the police – I want them to know that a law’s been broken.” She added that she regarded Compton’s remarks as racially motivated because he mentioned stoning.
30:13 – Twitter and Ping
– Like a track in iTunes Ping and it will auto tweet for you
– Set it up and it defaults to tweeting everything you like (can be changed)
– Click on link on Twitter and in side panel track is listed and can be previewed – click again to buy in iTunes
– Awful – nothing about social, like, and all about commerce
– Noise in my twitter stream
– Don’t cross the streams!!!
32:13 – Google TV Being Blocked
– Fox has finally made a decision, following the other major networks, Hulu and several cable channels by opting to block streaming video on its website from Google TV devices
– Blocking by Flash ID is the order of the day and takes simple browser workarounds out of play, so unless users want to go the PlayOn route, there’s large swaths of legitimate video on the web that’s now inaccessible. This same type of blocking is likely to affect other devices like the Boxee Box
– It’s the old empire logic again. Even though you can view the content online, because this is being delivered on a TV, it MUST BE STOPPED…. we’ll see more of this as the lines blur between tech.
35:06 – Beatles on iTunes
– Finally Beatles available on iTunes
– Great, just….
– In some cases double the price of cd’s that can be bought online and shipped to you by couriers – physical media!!!
– or that Apple grossly over hyped the event as contractually they probably had too
– “Tomorrow is just another day. That you’ll never forget. Check back here tomorrow for an exciting announcement from iTunes.”
– Ringo Starr added: “I’m particularly glad to no longer be asked when the Beatles are coming to iTunes.”
– They do have exclusive digital rights that extends into 2011…and they’ve made some adverts for it so they think it’s a big deal
– Steve thinks he’s the fifth Beatle
38:11 – Google Voice App Finally hits App Store
– US only and it only took a year or so
– This is Apple saying sorry for all the Beatles shit.
39:13 – Gingerbread will have NFC
– Near Field Communication will be in next Android release
– New Android phones will have a chip that let you tap your phone against special sensors to complete an action
– Payments – hook up credit card to phone
– Location – sign in
– This was a rumoured feature of next iPhone – Google look to be beating Apple
– Coming…within a few weeks
– Also, Schmidt Schmidt has finally made it clear what differentiates Google’s Android OS from the soon-to-be-released Chrome OS: keyboards.
– That’s a rather simplified expression of the bigger picture, but ultimately, Google sees Chrome OS as the operating system for traditional computers, such as PCs, netbooks and laptops, which may include touch interfaces but always include keyboards; and the company sees Android as an operating system best suited to mobile devices, which may include keyboards but almost always include touch interfaces.
– Chrome OS – next few months for release (rumoured to be November)
43:33 – Edit Google Docs on your Mobile Device
– Google now rolling out editing of docs on your iOS (version 3.0+) and Android with Froyo (version 2.2) devices over next few days
– Great for iPad users
– Works for docs and spreadsheets
44:23 – GT5 Release Date
– Finally announced – Wed November 24th
– Will have…1000 cars
– Lots of tracks and modes
– 800 “standard” cars and 200 “premium” cars (premium cars have deformation, standard, just get scratched)
46:57 – COD Black Ops Breaks Records
– $360 million revenue in…..24 HOURS
– Avatar – $232 million in its opening weekend
– UK – £58 million day one sales ($93.5 million) – 1.4 million units
– $650 million in five days – first patch now out

– I weakened like Ian at an Apple store.
– For all the jibing it has solicited, I love it.
– Of course early days. Honeymoon period, but this turns an xbox into something else. I know it’s not for all, but it’s like getting a new console. The games even come in a purple box rather than green.
– Played multiplayer yesterday, and it’s all good.
– Technology is impressive. It works. It does track behind, but this doesn’t really affect as the games don’t require pixel perfect precision.
– It does indeed need a lot of room. For 2 player, the start of the play area is about 6ft and the back of the play area is about 12ft. Need 6ft sideways as well.
– It costs. Sure. But it will come down in price. I also have confidence that it will have its killer game next year some point.
– Already 1m units sold. I am not alone.

Boxcar for iPhone
– Notification app for iOS
– Instant push notifications for your social networks, email accounts, RSS feeds and more.
– Receive super fast notifications when someone comments, updates or messages you.
– Buzz, Twitter, Facebook, RSS, Growl
– Track when someone else tweets

DigitalOutbox Episode 68

DigitalOutbox Episode 68
In this episode the team discuss Kinect, Virgin, Digital Britain, RockMelt and Sheep Wars.

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2:27 – Times Paywall Fail
– Persuaded 50,000 people to pay for The times
– Analysts estimated that the initial annual revenues generated from digital would be about £5m.
– The Times charges £2 a week – the “paywall” – for access to its digital content, after customers pay an inital £1 for a 30-day trial. Customers can also pay £9.99 a month to sign up to a dedicated edition for the Apple iPad, although only about 10,000 chose to pay for this version only.
– All we know is that “around half” of the total are monthly subscribers. They will be composed of people taking advantage of News International’s 30-day £1 introductory offer to the website itself and people who have paid £9.99 for The Times’s iPad app.
Similarly, that comment in News Int’s statement about “many” of “the early adopters” living in the UK does not give a geographical breakdown. How many of the total come from inside and outside Britain?
– It is no surprise that they are “relatively affluent”, of course. That message is clearly aimed at advertisers. But ad agencies will surely want to know the British audience numbers.
Most importantly, there is no clear breakdown of the 105,000 total figure to show how many people have subscribed monthly, weekly or daily.
– They did have a figure of 30 million impressions at one point – nothing like that now
– None of their content is shared either – nothing can go viral
6:31 – SkyFire
– SkyFire can convert Flash videos — which the iPhone normally cannot display — into HTML5 on SkyFire’s servers, making it possible to view said videos on the iPhone after a short delay
– Browser approved by apple, selling for $2.99 or £1.79 in proper money
– Needs fast connection, doesn’t always work, wont work with games and is blocked by Hulu
– Hours after launch it was pulled from the App Store
– Not by Apple….by developers due to overwhelming demand
– Stunt? It worked – $1 million in revenue i first weekend
8:11 – Virgin announce TiVo Boxes
– Virgin Media has revealed the first details about its new TiVo-powered set top boxes, including a massive 1 Terabyte of storage and web applications for the TV screen.
– Later in the year, the cable operator will launch the new platform, along with a TiVo-powered set top box capable of storing 500 hours of programming.
– When coupled with Virgin Media’s existing video on-demand service, the receiver will give users access to more than 4,600 hours of TV shows, movies and music videos, including HD and 3D content.
– Underpinned by Virgin Media’s fibre optic broadband network, the new box will also feature a dedicated internal modem for delivering bandwidth-heavy services without impacting the user’s main broadband connection.
– That also means the TiVo service will bring a wide range of internet services and digital applications to the television screen.
– No specific details were given on the apps, but it’s likely that social networks such as Facebook and Twitter will be available, along with other digital services.
14:17 – XMarks Saved
– Free and premium options
14:53 – Google Get Knuckles Wrapped
– no punishment though
– Google has also been ordered to delete the data it collected from users’ Wi-Fi networks by its Street View cars once legally cleared to do so. The culture minister, Ed Vaizey, last week announced the Metropolitan police had dropped its investigation into the breaches.
– He added that the technology giant would now be subject to an official audit of its data protection practices in the UK.
15:37 – Skype 5 Hits the Mac
– New UI
– Integrates with address book
– Group video chat
17:19 – Ministry of Sound Suspend File Sharing Action
– Ministry of Sound is suspending plans to send warning notices to more than 25,000 BT broadband customers suspected of illegal downloading, claiming that the internet service provider has deleted their details.
– BT had agreed to retain the personal details of 20,000 of its customers earlier this year, so that Ministry of Sound could pursue them once an injunction on the court order was lifted. However, the record label today said that BT had “failed to preserve” the details.
– A BT spokesman responded: “We’re surprised at this claim since we provided a similar number of customer details to comply with a court order earlier this year for Ministry of Sound and there was no suggestion then that this was a problem for them.
– “All such information is automatically deleted from our systems after 90 days in accordance with our data retention policy; the Ministry of Sound and its solicitors are well aware of this. Upon request from Ministry of Sound we saved as much of the specific data sought as we reasonably could and any not preserved must have been too old. Our door remains open to Ministry of Sound and any other rights holder who wants to enforce their rights in a fair way through an established legal process.”
21:10 – Queen joins Facebook
– First Youtube, then Twitter, then Flickr now Facebook
– Not an individual account but an official page
22:36 – Sheep wars…
– Blacksheep is a firefox addon that scans open networks for Firesheep snoopers and alerts the user.
– Available for download on the Zscaler website (
24:56 – RockMelt
– Social browser that lives in the cloud
– Built on Chromium it uses Facebook to authenticate and sign in
– See friends on left hand side of browser
– Can easily post content to them, chat, mail etc from browser
– Bookmarks on right hand side alongside tweets but these are favourite sites whch ping you when new content is added
– All stored on cloud – same browser experience wherever you login to browser
– Isn’t this Flock 2.0?
– Limited beta for the moment
32:34 – Kinect Launches
– The Kinect is out in shops. £130
– And the amazing thing? That the first reviews are almost universal in saying that it’s an impressive piece of tech.
– Other than a couple of howlers, most launch games are around the 7 mark.
– You can’t ignore the fact that all reviews say there are some glitches along the way and that you need a good amount of space to use but most are convinced that this is a game changer (not for your average gamer – but for casual).
– Finally, all reviews are looking forward to the defining games for the tech which will no doubt come next year…
– I’m tempted…
– Oh’ and there’s a bounty out for people to hack and get working on PC – looks like someones already managed it at rudimentary level.
38:39 – Dev Builds Bot to Buy Cheap Stuff Online
– Started with a strip from xkcd –
– Hunkin wrote a Python script that would scrape certain categories on the site for cheap, buy-now items with free shipping. The script is optimized to search for rare, esoteric items, as well. The bot gets $1 added to its savings every day, and all purchases are deducted from the savings.
– Not only does the bot buy these treasures on Hunkin’s behalf; it also shares its finds with the world via Twitter: –!/trademe_xkcd576
– If the bot doesn’t find any items that meet its parameters, it simply tweets that it’s putting its dollar into savings.

COD Black Ops
– Great update
– Multiplayer is good
– Single player more of the same, with some pretty controversial scenes

DigitalOutbox Episode 67

DigitalOutbox Episode 67
In this episode the team discuss Firesheep, Adobe, Samsung Tab and Cloud Backups.

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3:22 – FireSheep
– Firesheep takes almost everything required for stealing people’s Facebook and Twitter sessions – along with those from many other sites – and puts it into one attractively designed Firefox extension.
– Password stealing from open networks is nothing new, and the flaws that Firesheep exploits have been known for more than a decade
– However it required some knowledge and skill – this makes it easy
– Firesheep, though, has an easy-to-use interface and, perhaps most importantly, a cute name. To use it, you simply install it into Firefox and click a few buttons. One minor additional step, installing WinPcap, is required for Windows users.
– Cookies passed in the clear…cookie stores password – tada!
– 104,000 downloads in 24 hours
– Solution – https or turn on wpa for open access point and make password known to customers – cookie then encrypted
– Force major players like facebook and twitter to move to https
– Just remember – this is illegal!
7:04 – Google creating stringer privacy controls
– Appointing director of privacy across engineering and product management
– All employees to receive training on Googles privacy principles and are required to sign Googles Code of Conduct
– Every project now requires a privacy design document
– Finally, the street view cars and wifi capturing – a number of external regulators have inspected the data as part of their investigations (seven of which have now been concluded). It’s clear from those inspections that while most of the data is fragmentary, in some instances entire emails and URLs were captured, as well as passwords. We want to delete this data as soon as possible, and I would like to apologize again for the fact that we collected it in the first place. We are mortified by what happened, but confident that these changes to our processes and structure will significantly improve our internal privacy and security practices for the benefit of all our users.
– Information Comissioners Office to re-investigate –
9:10 – Android hits 100000 Apps
– Rampaging app store
– Not much more to say
10:03 – Blekko
– Search is dead – everyone uses Google…or Bing
– Blekko’s alternative search engine — a $24 million venture-backed project that’s been three years in the making — is today launching its public beta.
– Blekko is designed to eliminate spam search results, allowing users to search just a subset of the web through its proprietary slashtag technology.
– The most significant upgrade to Blekko’s search engine is the addition of slashtags that auto-fire for queries that fall into one of seven categories: health, colleges, autos, personal finance, lyrics, recipes and hotels. Every time a Blekko user’s query is determined to be in one of these categories, Blekko will automatically append the associated slashtag to the query and limit results to just the subset of URLs that fall under that slashtag.
– Basically slash tags tell Blekko to limit your search to a human-curated category of websites — a custom search. So say you want to find good resources for learning about arrays in PHP? Type “arrays /php.” Need a good pumpkin pie recipe. Yup, you guessed it — append the /recipes slash tag.
– Well, according to CEO and co-founder Rick Skrenta, it’s because the web is filling up with spam and low-rent webpages from content farms like Demand Media, saying the web now has 100 billion urls, most created by bots.
– “You need to bring large-scale human curation and combine it with algorithmic techniques to bring the quality back,” Skrenta said. “If you have the set of the top 150 health sites, you know what, you really can answer nearly any health question, and you know what, you really don’t want to be searching outside of that set.”
– More people use it and curate, the better the results?
15:56 – Microsoft in the money
– Microsoft Corp. today announced record first-quarter revenue of $16.20 billion for the quarter ended Sept. 30, 2010, a 25% increase from the same period of the prior year.
– Worth noting, also, that Microsoft’s fallen behind Apple in the revenue race. Although Microsoft’s still winning where it counts, posting $5.41 billion in net income to Apple’s $4.3 billion.
– net income by division:
– Windows and Windows Live: $3.32 billion
– Business: $3.39 billion
– Entertainment and Devices: $382 million
– the Online Division. Last quarter, the division lost $560 million for Microsoft. That’s better than the previous quarter when it lost a staggering $696 million, but it’s much worse than a year ago, when it lost $477 million. In the past year, Microsoft has lost well over $2 billion from the division.
– Major shift with silverlight – Silverlight is our development platform for Windows Phone – Bob Muglia – Microsoft’s SVP of the Server and Tools Business
– the technology has some “sweet spots” for media applications (presumably like Netflix, which uses Silverlight on the web), its role as a vehicle for delivering a cross-platform runtime appears to be over. “Our strategy has shifted,” is how Muglia put it.
– Instead, as they made clear during PDC, Microsoft is putting their weight behind HTML5 going forward. Hallelujah. But what if you’ve invested in Silverlight – like Netflix?
– More info…in a few months
– Also, every microsoft employee is to get a windows phone 7 device – 89,000 employee’s
– Another 1000 free WP7 handsets were handed out to Professional Developer Conference attendee’s
– Cost – $20 million but will generate a whole load of chatter
20:49 – Adobe Digital Publishing Suite
– The Digital Publishing Suite will let publishers create, produce, distribute and monetize their digital magazines and content across different devices and marketplaces.
– The Digital Publishing Suite is an add-on that will let publishers assemble editorial and advertising pages and then preview and test complete issues, including interactive elements.
– Issues can be previewed both in InDesign, an iPhone or iPad simulator, or on testing hardware units.
– Great publishing options, sending to multiple targets and devices
– Supports subscription options and brings a lot of analytics
– Price – $700 a month (per publisher not app) with a per issue cost on top
– Massive potential
24:32 – Adobe Air 2.5
– New version of Air for computers, smartphones and tablets and TV’s
– Big push for Adobe
– From engadget – Air will also come standard in RIM’s BlackBerry PlayBook, but it’s not just for fun, productivity and games there — Adobe told us that the PlayBook’s entire UI is built on Air.
– Wow. Great for Adobe, really poor for RIM?
– Confirmed on RIM’s tablet OS dev page – The initial release of the BlackBerry Tablet OS SDK allows developers to create Adobe AIR applications. Leveraging Adobe design and development tools, the BlackBerry Tablet OS SDK for Adobe AIR allows you to create rich, powerful applications like never before.
27:42 – iPhone Daylight Savings Bug Hits Europe
– Europeans’ recurring alarms are going off an hour later following the switch to Standard Time.
– Same bug that affected New Zealand and Oz
– alarms set never to repeat, or set to repeat every day, are unaffected; just the selective repeat alarms (only weekends, only weekdays) are getting munged
– In less than a week, Apple’s largest customer base, its US iPhone users, will likely have their recurring alarms go off an hour later, too, unless Apple can address the problem before November 7
29:23 – Coming Soon for Kindle
– we are making Kindle newspapers and magazines readable on our free Kindle apps, so you can always read Kindle periodicals even if you don’t have your Kindle with you or don’t yet own a Kindle. In the coming weeks, many newspapers and magazines will be available on our Kindle apps for iPad, iPhone and iPod touch, and then we’ll be adding this functionality to Kindle for Android and our other apps down the road. Our vision is Buy Once, Read Everywhere, and we’re excited to make this possible for Kindle periodicals in the same way that it works now for Kindle books. More details when we launch this in the coming weeks.
– later this year, we will be introducing lending for Kindle, a new feature that lets you loan your Kindle books to other Kindle device or Kindle app users. Each book can be lent once for a loan period of 14-days and the lender cannot read the book during the loan period. Additionally, not all e-books will be lendable – this is solely up to the publisher or rights holder, who determines which titles are enabled for lending.
36:52 – Samsung Galaxy Tab Launched
– Launches on O2 on Mon 1st Nov
– £599 on a range of pay an go tariffs
– All prices compared – £499 – £599 for hardware depending on tarrif
– Average reviews too –
– Pros – good multitasking, flash support, camera
– Cons – juddery scrolling, lag, over sensitive accelerometer, battery life 4 hrs against claims of 7, gets hot when playing video, Android 2.2 not optimised for tablets (admitted by Google), worse screen outdoors than iPad (ouch), 7 inches a little too small for tablet, poor camera
– or great reviews –
– Perhaps the best part about the Tab is that you don’t have to worry about the sluggish performance we’ve seen on other Android and Windows tablets. The entire experience is very snappy, and it kept up with us even when we had four or five applications open.
– On our taxing video rundown test, which loops a standard definition video at about 65 percent brightness and 3G off, but WiFi on, the Tab’s 4000mAh battery lasted for 6 hours and 9 minutes.
– After spending the last couple of days with the Galaxy Tab, we can confidently say it’s the best Android tablet on the market. Now, that’s not saying much given the state of the Android competition, but we can also assuredly say that the Tab is the first true competitor to Apple’s iPad.
42:11 – Virgin launches 100Mb Broadband
– Virgin Media today said it will begin increasing the maximum downstream broadband speed available via its network to 100Mbit/s, and maximum upload speed to 10Mbit/s.
– The gradual programme will take more than 18 months to cover the country, it said, and is due for completion in mid-2012. The first areas scheduled for upgrade, in December, are in London, the South-East and Yorkshire.
– The 100Mbit/s service will come with a new Virgin Media-branded combined cable modem and 802.11n router. It will launch at £45 per month as a standalone package, or £35 with an £11.99 per month phone line. The current top package costs £38 per month on its own.
– 10,000 sign up on first day (for interest)
45:38 – Nintendo makes a loss
– The Japanese computer games firm posted a net loss of 2bn yen ($24.7m; £15.6m) for the six months to 30 September. This compares with a net profit of 69.5bn yen for the same period in 2009.
– Nintendo’s sales for the first half of its financial year were down 34% to 363.16bn yen, partly due to lower demand for its Wii console.
– Need to innovate – 3DS a gimmick?
50:04 – Playstation Phone Leaks
– Familiar bumpers, slide out controls
– Android 3, usual tech specs
– No memory stick – microSD card
51:36 – Xbox 360 New Dashboard
– Restyled dash is out in time for Kinect
– Biggest features aren’t in UK – ESPN, Zune, Netflix
– However we get
– Improved voice chat quality
– Some minor stuff around re-orged content to make navigation easier i.e. for Kinect
– thats it but here’s a nice post on Xbox Live and NAT (Network Address Translation) –

Amazon Web Services
– Free tier from 1st Nov for a year –
– 5gb/month of S3 storage, 15gb of internet data transfer (out and in), 25 SimpleDB machine hours, 750 hours of free time on an Amazon EC2 micro instance running Linux + a whole load more – setup a web app for free for a year
– Also reduced Amazon S3 storage prices –
– Using Arq for backups
– Keep multiple versions of a file (think dropbox)
– No limits on file size or number of files
– Flexible scheduling and bandwidth options

DigitalOutbox Episode 66

DigitalOutbox Episode 66
In this episode the team discuss Back to the Mac, Google and Apple quarters, Amazon Kindle and those pesky Canadians.

Listen via iTunes
Listen via M4A
Listen via MP3

1:21 – Google Profits
– Third quarter revenues jumped 23 percent to $7.3 billion. Net income was up 18 percent to $2.2 billion. On a non-GAAP basis, earnings per share rose slightly faster to $7.64. This blew away the consensus estimate of $6.67 among Wall Street analysts.
– Google ended the quarter with with $33.4 billion in cash and 23,300 employees (300 of those came from acquisitions). Paid clicks were up 16 percent on an annual basis. Cost per click was up 3 percent.
– Non-search revenues for the quarter (which includes Google Apps for Enterprise) were $254 million, up 35 percent for a year ago, but slightly down from $258 million in the second quarter.
– Display advertising: The company’s annualized run rate for display ad revenues is approaching $2.5 billion, according to Rosenberg. Google called it its next billion dollar business, and that it’s already here. Much of Google’s display ad business comes from its $3.1 billion acquisition of DoubleClick.
– YouTube: While Google didn’t reveal specific revenue numbers for YouTube, the company did say it is monetizing 2 billion views per week, up 50% from last year. Recent reports suggest that YouTube is approaching $1 billion per year in revenue.
– Mobile: The annualized run rate for Google’s mobile business is $1 billion this year. That means, if things stay on track, mobile will become yet another billion-dollar business for the search giant. As a note, this is really more about Google’s mobile ad business and less about Android, which is free for companies to use.
8:05 – Plan to store Britons phone and interned data revived
– The government is to revive a plan to store every email, webpage visit and phone call made in the UK, a move that goes against a pledge made by the Liberal Democrats ahead of the election.
– The interception modernisation programme, proposed under Labour, would require internet service providers to retain data about how people have used the internet, and for phone networks to record details about phone calls, for an unspecified period.
– The government says police and security services would be able to access that data if they could demonstrate it was to prevent a “terror-related” crime.
– The revival of the programme is buried in the strategic defence and security review, which was published yesterday. The review says the programme is required to “maintain capabilities that are vital to the work these agencies do, to protect the public”.
19:45 – Back to the Mac
– Updates across all iLife products. Free on new Mac’s. Upgrade about $50
– iPhoto upgrade looks very nice
– Facetime available in OSX
– A seperate desktop app for iChat – can now chat phone to Mac – Had serious security flaw which is now fixed
– OSX Lion announced (release next year Summer)
– Desktop App store (will also be avail in Snow Leopard soon) – 90 days
– Controversial
– Many dev’s can’t afford to avoid
– Another goldrush
– Flight Control already announced
– So many limitations
– Mission Control (icon grid for desktop) – Combines existing expose/spaces/dashboard as well
– Full screen apps
– New Macbook Air(s)
– 13” model updated + new 11” version
– Unibody design – wedge shape.
– SSD drives only.
– 5 / 7 hour battery life (11” / 13”)
– Also mentioned:
– Tweak to Macbook range – updated clock speed.
– Bla bla bla sold frickin gergillions of products.
– So, OSX is getting a fusion of some iOS features.
35:09 – Windows Phone 7
– First impressions appear to be positive start.
– Fun and slick to use.
– Minimal interface
– Some good features
– Gripes being
– App store is too busy (includes music in searches)
– Sometimes minimal interface gets in way of achieving goals
– Early days mean missing key apps.
– Definitely behind the curve – better than early Android and iPhones BUT we’re a long way beyond early versions of these platforms now. How long will the version iterations happen and how advanced will point releases be in catching up?
38:56 – Nokia N8
– First phone to use Symbian 3
– Unfortunately, doesn’t seem up to snuff
– Good enough hardware – responsive and good 12mp camera
– Sounds like operating system is main drawback with difficult to use and understand – clunky
– Is Nokia losing the battle?? Are they still king in the standard handeset market – and just not relevant in Smartphone market now…? (Nokia cutting 1800 jobs)
41:05 – MS Office 365
– Microsoft have officially announced their web based office product as Office 365.
– It’s a subscription based service. For consumers, the base product is $6 per month.
– Enterprise will have options from $2 – $20 per month.
– Distinct push to the cloud in everything MS is announcing at the moment. Also, a subscription based model is also a new step for consumers. Are we ready? How does $6 per month sound?
43:42 – Ray Ozzie Resigns
– Ozzie became an employee of Microsoft in 2005, following its acquisition of Groove Networks. He became the company’s chief software architect in 2006, after Co-founder and Chairman Bill Gates stepped down from the role to spend more of his time on the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation — which he began doing full-time in 2008.
– In October 2009, he founded the FUSE Labs (Future Social Experiences) division within Microsoft to develop more social, web-based products, such as social aggregation tool Spindex. He also been credited with driving many of Microsoft’s software products, such as Microsoft Office, to the cloud.
46:08 – Boxee Box
– Nov 12th in UK
– £200
47:29 – Fable 3
– Fable III will feature a one off redemption game card in each game box to unlock DLC…
– Essentially, you need to buy a new game in order to gain all features of game… In this case, they seem just innocent, non-game changing features and additions.
– However, with EA also releasing game codes that are designed to scupper 2nd hand game sales, are we seeing a worrying trend?
– PS looking forward to it anyway :)

Kindle 3G

– Purchased on the spur of the moment… it’s just about in the price range to do this.
– Only had it a few days – but glad I got it! Plenty of free “classics” available. Prices seem to have settled down and you can get some good deals.
– Button only navigation feels old fashioned but seems well laid out.
– Has in-built browser, although very clunky, might work ok for simple RSS feed type websites. Does try with more complex websites but essentially won’t offer any compelling browsing experience.
– Allows you to play MP3 files – podcasts/songs if you want.
– Reads books out loud (if publisher licences this) and computer voice is acceptable… but I imagine would detract from anything other than blog reading.
– Possible to import your own PDFs.
– Screen is great. Love the fact that when you turn it off, it displays a picture – and it’s kind of spooky at how much it looks like paper and ink… I’ve become so used to seeing screens with a viewing angle – that when you don’t have one, it feels alien!
– Problem of DRM and lack of EPUB support are biggest downsides.
– Tiny keyboard is not ideal.

DigitalOutbox Episode 65

DigitalOutbox Episode 65
In this episode the team discuss Google, Facebook and its Back to the Mac.

Listen via iTunes
Listen via M4A
Listen via MP3

3:54 – Google Developing Automated Cars
– goal is to help prevent traffic accidents, free up people’s time and reduce carbon emissions by fundamentally changing car use.
– So we have developed technology for cars that can drive themselves. Our automated cars, manned by trained operators, just drove from our Mountain View campus to our Santa Monica office and on to Hollywood Boulevard. They’ve driven down Lombard Street, crossed the Golden Gate bridge, navigated the Pacific Coast Highway, and even made it all the way around Lake Tahoe. All in all, our self-driving cars have logged over 140,000 miles. We think this is a first in robotics research.
– use video cameras, radar sensors and a laser range finder to “see” other traffic, as well as detailed maps (which we collect using manually driven vehicles) to navigate the road ahead. This is all made possible by Google’s data centers, which can process the enormous amounts of information gathered by our cars when mapping their terrain.
– Our cars are never unmanned. We always have a trained safety driver behind the wheel who can take over as easily as one disengages cruise control. And we also have a trained software operator in the passenger seat to monitor the software. Any test begins by sending out a driver in a conventionally driven car to map the route and road conditions. By mapping features like lane markers and traffic signs, the software in the car becomes familiar with the environment and its characteristics in advance. And we’ve briefed local police on our work.
7:16 – Google OS out in November
– Want it….
8:59 – Google Goggles hits iOS
– Part of Google Mobile App
– Works very well – take a pic or barcode and search results returned
– Quick too
– Noogle Noggles launched too – from Delicious Monster
– Powered by Google Goggles, dif interface, free
12:55 – Sony Google TV
– All 1080p devices except the 24”, built in wifi, 4hdi, 4usb
– Also announced internet enabled Blu-Ray device
– Uses Google Chrome as browser, has the search features already announced, doesn’t have some of the video features of the logitech device
– Surprise is price – $100 more than similar specced internet enabled Bravia devices
– Keen, keen pricing – only Google enabled TV this year
– No news on pricing or availability in uk
17:34 – Sony Google TV Remote
– So thats where the original Kindle designers went to work
– Looks truly awful – fisher price make better looking tech
19:30 – Facebook frees your data
– One of the complaints on Facebook, whether you like it or not, was there was no option to take your data from Facebook – now there is
– Can download data in a zip file
– People own and have control over all info they put into Facebook and “Download Your Information” enables people to take stuff with them
– you can access the “Download Your Information” feature from your account settings, hit the download button (see above) and Facebook will allow you to download everything off your profile, including your friends list, events, all of your messages, wall posts and all of your photos into a zip file
– Photo’s include photo’s you’ve been tagged in
– HTML, not xml or other easy to use machine readable file
– Doesn’t delete, just download
– Great, great, great – should be able to own and move/store your data
– Also launched dashboard to see how applications connect to your data – gives single view of the apps you’ve authorised and how they use your data
24:11 – Facebook Overhauls Groups
– Each group controlled by all members
– There’s group chat, group doc editing, and other apps that can be used within these groups
– Groups have an icon and logo
– Don’t replace friend lists, but may replace twitter lists –
– Looks ok but nothing ground breaking…although is this really a simple Google Wave?
27:36 – Bing Likes Facebook
– Starting today, if you do a search on Bing, it will try to recognize your Facebook account through instant personalization, and you will automatically start to see links that your friends have “liked.” These will appear in a separate module, with related social links called out.
– The example Microsoft gives is if you are searching for San Francisco steak houses and one of your friends liked Alexander’s Steakhouse in San Francisco, that would appear as a result along with the name of your friend.
The same thing could happen for movie results or news articles.
– Along with adding Facebook likes into search results, Bing is also using Facebook data to do better people search. When you start looking for a person, Bing will analyze the people you know and the people they know through Facebook and return those who are most closely linked to you socially.
30:48 – Skype 5
– Version 5 launched for Windows (not Mac – boo but it is ‘coming soon’)
– Group video chat
– Cleaned up interface
– Facebook integration – facebook feed inside Skype
– For facebook friends with hone numbers you can call directly from skype
– Will next step be Skype integration in Facebook? Facebook to buy Skype?
34:54 – Windows Phone 7
– Coming Oct 21st to UK
– 10 new phones in America….10!!!!!!
– HTC HD7 looks pick of the bunch – top spec smartphone
– Is there something thats compelling though to tempt people from Android, iOS or Blackberry
– Gut feel is it’s a solid to good first release but it’s 2 years too late – will it get aggressively updated like Android and iOS?
42:17 – App Hall of Fame
– Hard to find good apps, so this is another attempt to promote ‘the best’ apps
– Launched on Oct 11th with 12 apps
– Every month, at most 12 new app’s added
– Good’ish idea, but will it help only new users?
44:01 – Back to the Mac
– October 20th, Apple holding back to the mac event
– Mac OSX 10.7. Lion? Touch integration? Big upgrade?
– New Macbook Air?
49:50 – Lovefilm on PS3 and Apple
– Rumour is that Apple is trying to do a deal with LoveFilm before releasing Apple TV stock
– Lovefilm streaming will be coming to UK-based PS3 owners sometime this autumn, with a wealth of search options available and free trials promised for those who’ve yet to buy into the outfit’s services
– Shown on video on Sony youtube channel which has since been pulled
– Lovefilm is UK’s Netflix
50:48 – GT5 Delayed Again
– We sincerely apologize to GT fans for the delay, however, creator Kazunori Yamauchi and the team at Polyphony Digital want to make certain they are creating the perfect racing experience, and we are confident that this ambitious game will exceed expectations when it launches

TED for iPad
– Free
– Great way of watching TED content
– Can highlight your favourites
– Can store videos for offline viewing

Cut the Rope
– Great game for iOS
– Addictive and makes good use of touch