DigitalOutbox Episode 111

DigitalOutbox Episode 111
In this episode the team discuss Encyclopedia Britannica, BBC, Yahoo Sues Facebook and homeless wi-fi transmitters

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1:29 – BBC Boss confirms Pay Download Service
– BBC director general Mark Thompson has confirmed plans for aniTunes-style download service that will allow viewers to buy programmes minutes after they have finished on TV.
– Thompson said the proposal, called Project Barcelona, would allow viewers to “purchase a digital copy of a programme to own and keep [for] a relatively modest charge”.
– Thompson was not specific about the timescale or pricing, but sources said it was hoped that programmes would be available to buy at the same time as they go on the iPlayer. Early speculation put the price at £1.89 a show.
– Anticipating criticism that viewers were being made to pay twice for the same content, Thompson said: “This is not a second licence-fee by stealth or any reduction in the current public service offering from the BBC – it’s the exact analogy of going into a high-street shop to buy a DVD or, before that, a VHS cassette.
3:47 – DrawSomething is a hit
– In just five weeks, the pictionary-like game has been downloaded 20 million times.
– That’s more users than 3-year-old Foursquare has. That’s almost as many users as 1.5-year-old Instagram.
– Draw Something is one of the fastest growing mobile apps of all time.
– CEO Dan Porter tells us the game is generating 6-figures per day. His company has generated more revenue from the game in five weeks than the entire company generated last year. He hasn’t spent a dime on marketing since the app’s first week.
– Of the 20 million downloads, Porter says 12 million are active users.
5:46 – Game warns investors
– officially warned investors that it is on the brink of collapse.
– The company said it had put itself up for sale but warned that “it is uncertain whether any of the solutions currently being explored by the board will be successful or will result in any value being attributed to the shares of the company.”
– Game desperately needs cash before the end of the month to pay its quarterly rent bill. If it fails to pay up it could be pushed into administration, putting 10,000 jobs at risk and wiping out any shareholder value. The warning sent the shares, which have already lost more than 95% of their value over the past year, crashing a further 65% to 1.2p, valuing the company at just £4.3m.
– At a conference in New York this weekend John Riccitiello, EA’s chief executive, said: “It was a risk a month ago. Now it looks like a fact, although we’re still praying for the lenders to get rational and keep them in business. You probably know who I’m talking about.”

– Diablo III Finally Dated
– Diable III launches May 15th – PC & Mac
– Blizzard also took a moment to remind everyone that you can still snag a free copy of Diablo 3 by signing up for a World of Warcraft annual pass. The deal expires on May 1.
– Diablo II came out in…..2000!
9:38 – Everything Everywhere should be allowed to offer 4G
– The UK’s largest mobile phone company, Everything Everywhere, should be allowed to offer its 27 million customers a 4G superfast broadband connection this year, Ofcom said on Monday.
– The telecoms watchdog said it was inclined to approve an application from EE, which owns the Orange and T-Mobile networks, to launch a 4G network ahead of its rivals.
– “Ofcom has considered whether allowing Everything Everywhere to use this spectrum in this way would distort competition, and provisionally concluded that it would not. And given the benefits this would bring to consumers, Ofcom is minded to allow this change of use.”
– There will be a consultation, which closes on 17 April. Ofcom could grant approval during the second quarter, allowing EE to have its 4G service running by autumn. The company has not said where it intends to make 4G available, although it will be trialling the technology and is likely to target major cities including London.
– This will give EE a significant first-mover advantage over rivals. The UK’s other operators, Vodafone, O2 and Three, are unlikely to be able to create their own 4G networks until they buy more spectrum from the government, and the auction is not due to conclude before the summer of 2013.
11:16 – Virgin Media chosen to bring wi-fi to London Underground
– Virgin Media has been selected to deliver Wi-Fi to 80 tube stations on the London Underground in time for the Olympics, with 120 locations to be live by the end of the year
– Free during Olympics
– Pay as you go post Olympics
12:30 – Yahoo sues Facebook
– Yahoo is filing a lawsuit against Facebook claiming infringement of patents covering advertising, privacy controls and social networking, following through on a threat it made last month.
– In a court filing , the former web giant – which has been reduced to a shadow of its former self as internal strife and the rise of Facebook have eaten away at its position – said that Facebook, founded in 2004, infringes 10 of its patents.
– Not just that – “Facebook’s entire social network model, which allows users to create profiles for and connect with, among other things, persons and businesses, is based on Yahoo!’s patented social networking technology,” Yahoo says in its complaint.
– Time to abolish software patents? Stifling innovation?
15:00 – Twitter buy Posterous
– Twitter just announced that it has acquired Posterous, the Y Combinator-backed blogging and sharing platform that competed early on with Tumblr.
– Posterous says its service Spaces will stay up and running and that the company will give plenty of notice to users if they start to change the service.
16:36 – Encyclopaedia Britannica goes online only
– For 244 years, the thick volumes of the Encyclopaedia Britannica have stood on the shelves of homes, libraries, and businesses everywhere, a source of enlightenment as well as comfort to their owners and users around the world.
– Today we’ve announced that we will discontinue the 32-volume printed edition of the Encyclopaedia Britannica when our current inventory is gone.
– Free access to website for a week
– Then switches to paid access
20:41 – South by Southwest breakout product
– A marketing agency touched off a wave of criticism and debate when it hired members of the local homeless population to walk around carrying mobile Wi-Fi devices, offering conferencegoers Internet access in exchange for donations.
BBH Labs, the innovation unit of the international marketing agency BBH, outfitted 13 volunteers from a homeless shelter with the devices, business cards and T-shirts bearing their names: “I’m Clarence, a 4G Hotspot.” They were told to go to the most densely packed areas of the conference, which has become a magnet for those who want to chase the latest in technology trends.
– Clever?
– Exploitative?
– SXSW outgrown itself
23:54 – Employers asking for facebook logins

Bryce 7 pro
– Free until end of march
– Mac and PC – doesn’t work well with Lion

MacUpdate Bundle
– VMware Fusion 4 ($49.99) – Run Windows and more on your Mac without rebooting
– Drive Genius 3 ($99.00) – Optimize, repair, test, resize and clean up your Mac
– PDFpen 5 ($59.95) – Edit and annotate PDFs
– ForkLift 2.5 ($29.95) – File manager: FTP, WebDAV, S3, Bluetooth, and more
– Typinator 5 ($33.00) – Text expansion solution
– DesktopShelves 2 ($14.99) – Display folders as desktop shelves
– Snapheal ($14.99) – Professional-quality image enhancement utility
– Boom ($10.99) – Boost audio output for your entire system
– Phone to Mac ($24.95) – Copy media from an iOS device to your Mac
– Star Wars: The Force Unleashed ($29.99) – High-energy action set in the Star Wars universe
– Worms Special Edition ($9.99) – Classic turn-based strategy game
– $378 of app’s for $49.99
– 13 days and 8 hours – so a couple of weeks to bag a bargain


OS X is perfect. Honest.

I’m joking of course but until Windows 7 came along there was a perceived wisdom that OS X windows management was pretty untouchable and need little or no improvement. In fact I might have mentioned once or twice my love of Expose and how it made using a Mac wonderful compared to Windows. While true, Microsoft really stepped up with Windows 7 and introduced some brand new ways of managing windows particularly around their size and position.

Mission Control on the Mac - nice but can be improved

Windows 7 release spawned a number of window management utilities for the Mac. It was hard to keep up with what each tool did and which one actually offered the best features but after a few months of trying various options I’ve settled on Moom from Many Tricks. Moom, so named for those that move and zoom a lot is a $5 app that add’s a lot of functionality. Once installed Moom offers a variety of window management options and one new feature in particular which is very handy.

You access Moom via the keyboard or more commonly by hovering over the green zoom button at the top left of any windows on OS X. Out of the box you can select one of the icons at the top of the Moom window to easily fill the current window to full screen or the top/bottom half of the screen or the left/right half. Most of the time though you want slightly more control. In the grid below the four screen icons you can draw a window size and when you let the mouse go the current window will not only size to what you have just drawn but also pop to that position on the screen. This makes it really easy to deal with lot’s of windows that you want to size quickly.

Drawing the window size in Moom

Dragging the half width/height icons a few pixels—instead of clicking allows you to size windows to quarter size instead of half. While I don’t have a second monitor, Moom also supports easy movement to a second or third monitor while also moving and sizing the window. However you can customise Moom so that your own sizing options are displayed.

Moom's custom controls

You can setup common window sizes and these can be called up via the custom control dropdown as in the above screenshot or via a custom keyboard shortcut. This really gives you easy window management but one new feature added recently is Window Layouts. You organise your window size and positions and save that layout in Moom. Then when you have the applications opened you can easily select the layout and Moom will organise and resize the windows as per your saved layout. I find this really handy for image editing and also for recording the podcast – so easy to get the same repeated window layout quickly without faffing around sizing individual windows. Take a look at this video for a quick demonstration.

So thats Moom. For $5 it’s a bargain. One thing to note is that it’s available on both the Mac App store and from Many Tricks direct. I chose to purchase directly rather than App Store as I’m unsure on the sandboxing proposals from Apple as I can see it restricting app’s like Moom in the future. I might be wrong, but thought it worth mentioning. If you use a lot of app’s day to day on your Mac I really do recommend Moom – it makes managing windows a lot easier.

DigitalOutbox Episode 110

DigitalOutbox Episode 110
In this episode the team discuss the new iPad, Google Play and Halo 4.

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0:59 – Apple Keynote
– We’re in post pc world
– 1080p movies and tv shows on iTunes and via iCloud
– New Apple TV – same price, 1080p, new UI – out March 16th
– iPad
– Retina display
– Ryan Block’s first impressions of the new iPad:
It’s the best display I’ve ever seen. Anywhere, period. And it makes a meaningful difference to the experience — it’s not just a spec.
– 4G LTE support – not great for UK- Everything Everywhere, Three (3) and O2 have plans to roll out 21Mbit/s HSPA+ nationwide by Q3 2012
– 5mp camera
– Voice dictation – No siri
– Prices the same
– New name – iPad 🙂
– Out March 16th
– iPad 2 price reduced
– iPhoto for iOS software announced – very nice UI
– Switched to using Open Street Maps for maps – – The OSM data that Apple is using is rather old (start of April 2010) so don’t expect to see your latest and greatest updates on there. It’s also missing the necessary credit to OpenStreetMap’s contributors; we look forward to working with Apple to get that on there.
– iOS 5.1 out – Jap siri, can now delete photos from photo stream plus a few minorish updates
– Sad face – too many people saying Steve wouldn’t have done this, Apple are failing, they’ve made a mistake – from successful business folk or tech commentators that are link baiting. Work it out.
15:08 – Google Play
– Google shutter Android Market, Google Music and the Google eBookstore and launch Google Play
– Google Play – apps, movies, music and books – all in one place
– Not just a store front – it’s a digital destination
– With Google Play you can:
– Store up to 20,000 songs for free and buy millions of new tracks
– Download more than 450,000 Android apps and games
– Browse the world’s largest selection of eBooks
– Rent thousands of your favorite movies, including new releases and HD titles
– Android 2.2 or higher getting OTA updates over the next week
– One more thing – rented movies from Google play won’t work on rooted devices
– So… this not iCloud and iTunes?
16:43 – Raspberry Pi
– Shipped tail end of Feb
– Available from RS Components and Farnell – both suffered melt down
– Demand at end of last week was running at 700…….per second
– Farnell – Besides interest in the UK, here had also been interest from a Middle East government which wanted to give one to every schoolgirl in order to enhance their job prospects. She declined to name the country, but said “the inclusion of girls is very important.
20:47 – BT and Talk Talk lose challenge over Digital Economy Act
– The government has been given the green light to implement the Digital Economy Act after the final legal challenge by two internet service providers was thrown out at the court of appeal.
– BT and TalkTalk on Tuesday lost their appeal against last year’s judicial review of the government’s controversial anti-piracy legislation on all but one ground.
– Three senior judges at the court of appeal ruled that the government could not make ISPs pay a proportion of the case fees attached to the act.
– They confirmed that the ISPs should pay 25% of relevant costs, which are operating fees incurred when identifying which subscribers are accused of illegal downloading.
– The judges overturned a previous high court ruling which said that the ISPs have to pay 25% of case fees that are charged by the proposed appeals body.
– Rights holders have agreed to foot 75% of the costs in each of the three fees.
– The court of appeal also ruled that BT and TalkTalk must pay 93% of the costs of the legal challenge, a figure understood to have run into six figures.
– So ISP’s will start writing letters to ‘pirates’
22:44 – Lulzsec leader was working for the FBI
– Hector Xavier Monsegur, known as Sabu, was charged with 12 criminal counts of conspiracy to engage in computer hacking and other crimes in court papers in Manhattan federal court, after secretly pleading guilty on August 15 to 12 counts of computer hacking conspiracies.
– Monsegur, an unemployed 28-year-old Puerto Rican living in New York, pleaded guilty to carrying out online attacks against PayPal and Mastercard, documents unsealed in a Manhattan court on Tuesday shows. The charges were filed via a “criminal information” form, which means the suspect has been cooperating with the government.
– Five other people – two in the UK, two in Ireland and one in Chicago – were either arrested or charged by the FBI on Tuesday, details of which were set out in an indictment brought by the US Attorney General’s office in New York.
– One of the people named in the indictment, Jake Davis, already faces a number of charges in the UK relating to alleged hacking by LulzSec. Also known by his hacker name of “Topiary”, Davis, 19, of Lerwick, Shetland, was on Tuesday charged in the US with two counts of computer hacking conspiracy.
– But the explosive revelation that LulzSec’s leader was cooperating with the FBI, even while he was claiming to hate the government, could lead to the arrest of other hackers within the broader Anonymous group. It will also heighten distrust among the more powerful members of the collective – where paranoia about security always runs high anyway.
– An FBI official was quoted by Fox News, which broke the story, as saying: “This is devastating to the organisation … we’re chopping off the head of LulzSec.”
24:39 – Game and Capcom issues
– Capcom’s Street Fighter X Tekken and Asura’s Wrath will not be available from GAME or Gamestation.
– Both were scheduled for release this Friday on March 9th.
– It is the latest in a string of blockbusters not stocked by the High Street chain, including Mass Effect 3, Mario Party 9, The Last Story and FIFA Street.
27:49 – Halo 4 Preview
– How do we really support different play styles in Halo 4? There’s always been a lot of choice in Halo, but it’s about pushing that even further. It gets back to how do we allow players to choose the thing that supports the play style that makes them the most successful.”
The move toward a full character progression system will no doubt be controversial with Halo fans, and will be viewed as a shift in style toward first-person shooter rivals such as Call of Duty and Battlefield.
– “The community should have some confidence that it’s been thought through as a Halo game,” said franchise development director Frank O’Connor. “The balance system has been considered as an intrinsic part the Halo feel. I’d like to tell people to be happy and confident and look forward to it, but I can’t control that. We’ll explain our decisions at a later date. It’s been carefully considered.”
– During a press briefing, Holmes also hinted that the infrastructure of the multiplayer mode is likely to evolve too, with changes to the lobby and matchmaking systems that suggest a more socially connected title. “We’re really changing the experience surrounding multiplayer,” he said. “We’re providing a brand new experience for you and your friends to play, in a way you’ve never played Halo before.”
– The worry over this not being a Bungie game hasn’t gone
– Battle rifle returns…but unlockable abilities sound like COD or Battlefield
– Forza Horizon
– Forza Horizon is being developed by Playground Games in collaboration with Turn 10 Studios. Playground Games is an independent UK game development studio formed in 2009. It was founded by the leadership team responsible for award-winning racing franchises like TOCA, Colin McRae Rally, GRID, and DiRT.
– Forza outrun as Gavin described it – Fall 2012
– Forza Porsche pack coming May

– OMGPOP game.
– Cross device app (Android, iOS)
– Turn based pictionary in essence. You get to chose the word you want to try and draw. More coins earned for harder words.
– Other person then gets to see a recording of you drawing.
– Hangman style letters at bottom of the screen to chose from and make a word.
– Once correct/pass, the recording of the other person guessing is then played back to the original drawer – followed by watching the other player draw their word… etc
– Idea is to get the longest winning streaks.
– Coins earn you unlocks – eg you start with a limited pallet, so coins unlock more colour options. High coin prices on colours etc mean you need to play lots to unlock OR (of course) you can in-app purchase more coins.
– Yes, it’s easy to cheat and just write the word on screen – but MOST people don’t do this and I just stop playing with anyone who does that.
– Currently on sale 69p.

DigitalOutbox Episode 109

DigitalOutbox Episode 109
In this episode the team discuss Mobile World Congress, Windows 8 and trouble for Game.

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3:00 – Mobile World Congress
– Android Stats
– 850,000 activations per day bringing total to some 300 million total devices — including 12 million tablets.
– That’s according to Andy Rubin, who clarified the numbers in a meeting with reporters earlier today: he said that Google only counts activations once per device ID and doesn’t “chop things up” when users reset or sell their phones.
– Devices like the Kindle Fire that don’t include Google services aren’t included in the numbers — Rubin said that Samsung’s larger Galaxy Tabs are the most popular tablets counted.
– As far as apps, Rubin noted that there are now some 450 thousand apps in Android Market, up from 160 thousand a year ago.
– Rubin also said that Nexus devices aren’t huge sellers, but rather Google’s attempt to “set the bar for what’s possible”
– Tablets – 2012 is going to be the year that we double down and make sure we’re winning in that space.”
– Rubin said he was “painfully aware” of Motorola concerns, but stressed that Google has “literally built a firewall” between the Android team and Motorola. “I don’t even know anything about their products, I haven’t seen anything,” he said. “They’re going to continue building Motorola branded devices and it’s going to be the same team doing it.”
– Asked if other OEMs would be disfavored once Motorola’s team comes in-house, Rubin also said that the open source nature of the platform makes it “physically difficult for me to advantage somebody,”
– Jelly Bean, Android 5.0, hinted at for fall 2012

– Sony Xperia P
– unibody aluminum handset has a 4-inch display
– first to use Sony’s White Magic display technology, which makes the phone much more readable in sunlight
– 1GHz dual-core processor, and is running Gingerbread — though Sony says an Ice Cream Sandwich upgrade is coming in Q2.
– It also has an 8-megapixel camera that will shoot 1080p video, and connects to Sony’s Xperia Smart Dock to mirror your display onto your HDTV, or connect it to a mouse and keyboard
– NFC too
– 2nd quarter 2012
– HTC One X
– a 4.7-inch 720p “Super LCD 2” panel that is simply better than anything we’ve seen on the market. It’s bright and crisp, of course, but as we turned and twisted the phone we were literally unable to come up with a viewing angle that contained any distortion or discoloration.
– Quad core Tegra, 1Gb RAM
– 8 megapixel camera
– Ice Cream Sandwich and Sense 4
– Next couple of months for release
– HTC One S
– Smaller screen (only 4.3 inch) and pentile
– Design is better – aluminium unibody
– Seemingly feels great in the hand
– Ice Cream Sandwich and Sense 4
– Next couple of months for release
– Nokia 808 Pureview

– reach Europe in the next quarter for a price of 450 Euros
– OS is Symbian Belle; Why not Windows????????????
– the engine is a 1.3GHz single-core chip;
– the display is 4-inches corner to corner but its resolution is a Nokia-style 360 x 640 (nHD).
– There’s 512MB of RAM and 16GB of on-board storage that is thankfully expandable via microSD.
– Now that Carl Zeiss-lensed camera: it handles continuous-focus 1080p, but is claimed to have an incredible sensor resolution of over 41-megapixels when shooting stills — or 34-megapixels for 16:9 images.
– The 808 camera doesn’t take 41-megapixel photos; it collects 41 megapixels of data and uses all that data to create a very nice photo of a much smaller size.
– It uses some clever interpolation jiggery-pokery that condenses four or five pixels into one pixel, to produce a smaller file size for the output image
– Galaxy Tab and Galaxy Note 10.1
– Note comes with a stylus
– Samsung Galaxy S III
– Did an Apple by stealing the show without being revealed?
– 1.5GHz quad-core Samsung Exynos processor
– 4.8-inch “full HD” 1080p resolution with 16:9 aspect ratio display
– A 2-megapixel front-facing camera and an 8-megapixel rear camera
– Ceramic case
– 4G LTE
– Android 4.0
– ASUS Pad Phone
– Dual core, 4.3inch high density display phone – 8mpix camera
– That then docks into a tablet – 1280×800 res
– That can then have a keyboard attached to turn into portable.
16:40 – EU votes to cut roaming charges
– a proposal has been outlined suggesting that by July 2014, operators will not be able to charge roaming customers any more than €0.15 a minute for calls, €0.04 to text, or (perhaps most importantly) €0.20 a megabyte for data. It could soon be the law.
– The legislature will now have to try to convince the European Commission — the EU’s executive arm — and 27 EU governments to approve the lower caps before June, when current roaming regulation expires.
– The parliament’s decision paved the way for a lowering of charges on calls made while abroad to 0.25 euro ($0.33) per minute by June from a maximum 0.35 euro now.
That cap would fall to 0.15 euro in 2014 if the parliament’s proposals win the support of EU governments.
– Vodafone boss, Vittoria Colao, not happy – “Does Europe need employment, or does Europe need rate cuts?” he asked. “We should stop having this continuous intervention on prices and let the industry reinvest the money.”
– He then went on to describe what he saw as “hell”: a worst-case scenario in which profits fall, reinvestment is impossible, development ceases, jobs are cut, and a whole range of related industries — media, software, entertainment.
– Nonsense – Vodafone made nearly $12 billion in profit over the last six months.
19:48 – Windows 8 Consumer Preview
– Start Screen
– From the Start screen you can launch apps, switch between tasks, share content, and check notifications. The tiles show real-time updates—news, sports, and what your friends are up to. You can check your schedule or get the latest weather forecast without searching for information—no need to open an app to see your next appointment or find out if you have any new email.
– Cloud is key – link to skydrive, get contacts etc
– Touch built in – first Windows designed for tablet
– If you’re using touch, just swipe in from the left edge to go back to your last app, or keep swiping to go back through several apps. If you’re using a mouse, just move it to the upper-left corner to see your last app. You can also move your mouse down from the corner to see more recently used apps. Or you can try one of my favorite features: swipe in from the left, and then slide your last app out to the left or right side of the screen to snap it in place.
– Charms
– Swipe in from the right edge of the screen or move your mouse to the upper-right corner, and the charms bar appears (you can also use the Windows key + C). The charms are the quickest way to navigate to key tasks in Windows 8. You can go to the Start screen, or use the charms for quick shortcuts to common tasks.
– Share
– The Share charm makes it incredibly easy. And just like with Search, apps can hook into Share easily, so you don’t have to jump in and out of an app to share great content. You can quickly send wise words with the Mail app or share a great photo on SkyDrive. The apps you use most often are listed first for quick access, and you can choose whether to share with just one person, or with all of your contacts at once.
– App Store – pretty huge – market so much bigger than Apple, but are consumers used to paying? Still, huge!
– Better cleansing/rebuild options
– Desktop still exists
– Great use of hotcorners – easily navigate around the system
– Consumer preview out now
28:42 – Twitter figure out revenue streams
– DataSift, one of Twitter’s data partners which currently provides developers and third parties with access to the full Twitter firehose in realtime, is about to unlock a whole new set of Twitter data to the ecosystem. The social data platform has launched Historics, a cloud-computing platform that enables entrepreneurs and enterprises to extract business insights from Twitter’s public Tweets dating back to January 2010 (we originally reported on the pending launch here).
– Developers, businesses and organizations can essentially use DataSift to mine the Twitter firehose of social data. But what makes DataSift special (besides the premier access to Twitter data) is that it can then filter this social media data for demographic information, online influence and sentiment, either positive or negative. As we’ve reported in the past, DataSift does not limit searches based on keywords and allows companies of any size to define extremely complex filters, including location, gender, sentiment, language, and even influence based on Klout score, to provide quick and very specific insight and analysis.
– Currently, DataSift is the only company to offer historical Tweets from as far back as two years ago. As AllThingsD’s Liz Gannes reported recently, Gnip was the first authorized reseller of historical data from Twitter, Tweets only went past 30 days (previously developers generally had access to 7 days worth of data).
– With DataSift, companies can now tap into both real-time and over two years of historical Tweets to filter and extract insights and trends that relate to brands, businesses, financial markets, news and public opinion.
– So instead of making their search tool less shit, they have made a business model out of searching greater than seven days worth of tweets
– Twitter promoted ad’s and tweets now on your phone client
– Official twitter app’s only
– Yet another reason to install Tweetbot
30:18 – Game will not stock future EA games
– The latest sign of significant trouble for UK retailer Game: it won’t have Mass Effect 3 to sell for next week’s launch. An internal memo obtained by Eurogamer also reveals the retailer is canceling pre-orders on upcoming EA titles FIFA Street, Tiger Woods 13 and Sims 3 Showtime.
– “Last week we held an event for our publishers in the industry and explained the challenges we are facing in the short term – and we asked for their support,” Game channel director Tom Devine wrote. “We will not stock products if the terms are not right for our business – a position we believe is critical to our long term health as a business – we have taken the very difficult decision to not stock EA’s March releases, including Mass Effect 3.”
– Game tried to spin its missing Ubisoft Vita launch titles last week, but no amount of voodoo is going to get folks to ignore that Mass Effect 3 isn’t available at the retailer.
– Game blamed a dispute with the publisher of Mass Effect 3. The company will refund deposits to customers who have pre-ordered as well as giving customers a £5 voucher or reward points. Refund though is for spending at Game, not a cash refund.
– EA said: “Game’s challenges with several of its suppliers is regrettable, however given the incredibly high demand for Mass Effect 3 we want our consumers to know that the game is available at a wide variety of retailers across the UK and Europe.

– $5
– Application/window sizer
– Size an app to half, quarter screen with ease
– Size to a grid – great for spcaing out apps easily
– Create window layouts – handy for common task involving a few app’s….like podcasting, graphic editing, coding
– A tool OS X should really have built in

Do Not Track +
– Essentially a browser plugin that blocks tracking data from reporting back about your visits.
– Chrome, FF, IE, Safari / Mac, PC
– Stops an awful lot of ‘chatter’ that goes between advertising and tracking companies and social visit tracking through like/+1 buttons.
– Stops analytics tracking.
– Doesn’t stop some tracking – especially where logged in and interacting with social buttons so not fool proof by any means


Long form journalism is becoming a hot topic. It’s becoming rare, especially in the tech and science industry to see proper long form investigative journalism and thats where Matter steps in. Launched by Jim Giles and Bobbie Johnson, Matter hopes to produce one long form investigative story per week for a small fee, estimated at $0.99 per story. It’s planned to be available on the web, phone, tablet, kindle – everywhere by the looks of the info available so far.

If that sounds vague, it’s because Matter doesn’t yet exist. It’s yet another Kickstarter project. Watch the Matter team’s launch video for a lot more info.

The great news is that within 36 hours of launching the team had raised their target of $50,000. As I write they are almost at $75,000. There are a number of funding options and if like me you enjoy proper tech journalism then I’d encourage you to support the Matter team.

I’m already looking forward to the coming months and enjoying Matter. In the meantime try out Longreads for lots of great articles to read in Instapaper, Read It Later or the upcoming Readability app.

DigitalOutbox Episode 108

DigitalOutbox Episode 108
In this episode the team discuss Privacy, Piracy, 4G in the UK and the Sony Vita.

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1:15 – New Privacy Rights
– Six of the world’s top consumer technology companies – including Apple, Google and Microsoft – have agreed that apps will provide greaterprivacy disclosures before users download them so as to protect consumers’ personal data, California’s attorney general said on Wednesday.
– The move comes amid increasing criticism over “data grabs” by a number of third-party applications which don’t offer clear disclosure about how much of a user’s personal data such as their address book they will store on their servers.
– The new agreement binds Amazon, Apple, Google, Microsoft, BlackBerry-maker Research in Motion (RIM), and Hewlett-Packard – and developers on their platforms – to disclose how they use private data before an app may be downloaded, Attorney General Kamala Harris said.
– The Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights will give Internet users the right to: control what data is collected, how their personal data is used and shared; avoid having information collected in one context and then used for another purpose; have data held securely; and to know who is accountable for the misuse of the data. It applies to personal data, which means any data–including aggregations of data–that is linkable to a specific individual.
– Google also came under renewed scrutiny over its announcement earlier in February that it would streamline its privacy policy, and still faces separate scrutiny from the US Congress over its circumvention of security settings in browsers to track millions of users of its services on Apple’s iPhone and iPad, and users of Microsoft’s Internet Explorer browser.
– The policy change would give Google access to user information across its products, such as GMail and Google Plus, without the proper ability for consumers to opt out, said the 36 US attorneys general in their letter. EU authorities have asked Google to halt the policy change until regulators can investigate the matter.
– Meanwhile the US’s Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) has put up a page explaining how people can wipe clean their Google Search History before the changes take effect on 1 March. But it noted that this will not prevent some tracking.
– Google mobile safari issue
– on iOS, by default, safari disables third party cookies
– google invisibly posting a form in an iframe in the background without telling you
– google by doing above got round the above setting – once revealed google have stopped doing this
– before stopping this if this was set, google could set cookies and track as they usually do
– who’s at fault – Apple for breaking an accepted web practice by default?
– Google for clearly working around a browser setting that you have set
8:02 – Real world Google Goggles
– According to several Google employees familiar with the project who asked not to be named, the glasses will go on sale to the public by the end of the year. These people said they are expected “to cost around the price of current smartphones,” or $250 to $600.
– The people familiar with the Google glasses said they would be Android-based, and will include a small screen that will sit a few inches from someone’s eye. They will also have a 3G or 4G data connection and a number of sensors including motion and GPS.
– A Google spokesman declined to comment on the project.
– They will also have a unique navigation system. “The navigation system currently used is a head tilting to scroll and click,” Mr. Weintraub wrote this month. “We are told it is very quick to learn and once the user is adept at navigation, it becomes second nature and almost indistinguishable to outside users.”
– The glasses will have a low-resolution built-in camera that will be able to monitor the world in real time and overlay information about locations, surrounding buildings and friends who might be nearby, according to the Google employees. The glasses are not designed to be worn constantly — although Google expects some of the nerdiest users will wear them a lot — but will be more like smartphones, used when needed.
13:24 – Pirate Bay could be blocked in UK
– Major music groups want British internet service providers (ISPs), such as BT and BSkyB, to prevent their millions of customers from accessing The Pirate Bay in the UK.
In a judgment handed down at the high court in London on Monday, Mr Justice Arnold ruled that The Pirate Bay and its users unlawfully share copyrighted music.
– The Pirate Bay is one of the world’s longest-running and biggest filesharing sites. According to record labels, it generated up to $3m in advertising revenue in October last year by making 4m copies of music and films available to its 30 million worldwide users. The site has 3.7 million users in the UK, according to comScore.
– The high court is expected to rule in June whether the ISPs should prevent their customers from accessing The Pirate Bay.
Mr Justice Arnold said in a written judgment: “In my judgment, the operators of [The Pirate Bay] do authorise its users’ infringing acts of copying and communication to the public. They go far beyond merely enabling or assisting.
– “I conclude that both users and the operators of [The Pirate Bay] infringe the copyrights of the claimants … in the UK.”
15:27 – The Oatmeal on Piracy
– Great comic on the problem with piracy
– So many agreed but Andy Ihnatko had an interesting take…
– The single least-attractive attribute of many of the people who download content illegally is their smug sense of entitlement.
– The world does not OWE you Season 1 of “Game Of Thrones” in the form you want it at the moment you want it at the price you want to pay for it. If it’s not available under 100% your terms, you have the free-and-clear option of not having it.
– I sometimes wonder if this simple, grown-up fact gets ignored during all of these discussions about digital distribution.
18:21 – Nightline visits Foxconn
– It takes 141 steps to make an iPhone, and the devices are essentially all handmade
– It takes five days and 325 hands to make a single iPad
– Foxconn produces 300k iPad camera modules per day
– Foxconn workers pay for their own food — about $.70 per meal, and work 12 hour shifts
– Workers who live in the dorms sleep six to eight a room, and pay $17.50 a month to do so
– Workers make $1.78 an hour
– New employees at Foxconn undergo three days of training and “team building” exercises before they begin
– The FLA (Fair Labor Association – which Apple brought in to audit Foxconn) is interested in whether or not workers will look up at visitors in a factory — if they’ll be “willing to look at curiosities”
– Apple paid $250,000 to join the FLA, and is paying for its audit
– Louis Woo, when asked if he would accept Apple demanding double pay for employees replied “Why not?”
21:11 – 4G Rollout – up to 1 million will need TV filters
– Almost a million UK homes will need to have filters installed to prevent TV interference from 4G mobile signals – at a cost of £108m. The filter, which is fitted to a digital TV box, blocks out unwanted noise from the 4G signal.
It can be fitted without the help of an engineer – but over-75s and disabled people will be given assistance if needed.
– A smaller number of homes – about 10,000 – will need to switch to satellite or cable TV services in order to avoid degraded picture quality.
– Homes that cannot receive these alternative platforms (around 500) will receive up to £10,000 each to “find a solution”.
– Costs will be met by the winner of a spectrum auction later this year.
In these cases, expected to be in rural areas, up to £10,000 per household will be provided to fund alternative solutions to receiving television – such as having fibre cabling installed.
24:47 – 4G Broadband could hit the UK this year
– Customers of phone company Everything Everywhere, the largest UK network with 27 million subscribers, will have access to super-fast 4G mobile broadband before the end of the year if regulators grant permission. EE says it wants to put 4G into the hands of its Orange and T-Mobile customers, as well as those of Three, Virgin Media and other brands that use its network, a year ahead of schedule.
– The UK has slipped behind other nations, including the US, Germany and Sweden, in the mobile broadband speed stakes, and those wanting to access the internet on the go using smartphones and laptops can find the experience frustratingly slow.
– The British auction, the largest ever sale of national airwaves, has been delayed by legal wrangling between the operators and will not conclude until early next year. A full national rollout is now not scheduled until the end of 2013.
– EE has asked telecoms watchdog Ofcom for permission to convert some of its existing 1800MHz (megahertz) spectrum, already used to carry voice calls, texts, and slower 3G internet connections, to 4G.
– Created through the merger of two mobile networks and with a mast sharing agreement with Three, EE has enough spare capacity to offer a limited commercial service without having to buy new spectrum. With few 4G phones available, EE’s service will at first work only on dongles – gadgets which plug into laptops to provide an internet connection via the mobile phone networks.
– EE’s service, which will be on trial in Bristol from April, could launch by the end of 2012 if Ofcom grants approval by April or May.
– A spokesman for the regulator said: “Ofcom has received an application from EE to vary its licence for 4G use. Ofcom is considering that application and once it arrives at a view it will consult with stakeholders.” The process could take between eight and 12 weeks, and will involve soundings with rival mobile phone networks and any other interested parties.
27:34 – Sky Go hits Android
– BSkyB has launched its Sky Go app for Android, following its debut on iOS in 2011. It provides live access of up to 22 Sky channels depending on the user’s home subscription status. Up to two devices can be registered, but it appears to be smartphone-only at the moment: supported at launch are the HTC Desire, HTC Desire S, HTC Desire HD, HTC Incredible, HTC Sensation, Samsung Galaxy S and Samsung Galaxy S II
– Sky did say it would be ‘the year of the app’
– Also confirmed at the weekend a dedicated Formula 1 app will launch
30:06 – Sony Vita
– No doubting quality of the new Sony handheld
– Pricey for what it is.
– Will it be last dedicated handheld platform?

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