DigitalOutbox Episode 58

DigitalOutbox Episode 58
In this episode the team discuss Net Neutrality and Chris buys a Mac.

Playback
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Shownotes
0:54 – Pc vs Mac
– Some people didn’t like the Mac vs PC ad’s – arrogant, untrue (not really) but I think the bit that annoyed PC users was that they were on average pretty funny, especially for Mac users, that tiny 5-6% of the desktop market
– Microsoft just couldn’t let it go, so they’ve done a campaign – Deciding between a PC and a Mac
– Some of this stuff is just complete bullshit :-)
– You can’t get a Mac that ships with a Blu-ray player, TV tuner, memory stick reader, or built-in 3G wireless
– Things just don’t work the same way on Macs if you’re used to a PC. For example, the mouse works differently.
– If you use Apple’s productivity suite, sharing files with PC users can be tricky
– Most of the world’s most popular computer games aren’t available for Macs. And Macs can’t connect to an Xbox 360. PCs are ready to play. Umm…yes they can :-)
– With a Mac, it’s harder to set up secure sharing for your photos, music & movies, documents, and even printers with other computers on your home network (It’s one fucking checkbox)
– Macs only come in white or silver. PCs are available in a full spectrum of colors across a range of price points.
– What the buzz is about, which looks like a live twitter feed, is actually a carefully selected list of tweets, that’s the same no matter when you visit the page.
7:29 – Net Neutrality
– http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2010/aug/10/google-verizon-net-neutrality-reaction
– http://www.buzzmachine.com/2010/08/10/internet-schminternet/
– http://www.wired.com/epicenter/2010/08/why-google-became-a-carrier-humping-net-neutrality-surrender-monkey/
– http://arstechnica.com/telecom/news/2010/08/a-paper-trail-of-betrayal-googles-net-neutrality-collapse.ars – fact based rather than opinion based
– One of the biggest, important topics of the next couple of years
– Google and Verizon announced a 7 point proposal on net neutrality
– However, they controversially agree that neutrality and regulation of the home broadband market shouldn’t happen BUT
– Mobile internet…and anything new – that’s fair game and according to Google and Verizon, should be subject to restrictions and tiering
– My take on net neutrality – the fear is that if a deal is put in place then video from Verizon or Google say, will be streamed at 1 mb/sec, and video from everywhere else would be subject to throttling (management) and delieverd at 200k/sec
– Obvious advantage, and the end of the open internet as we know it today
– Couple of interesting points – everyone expects mobile to be the future of internet delivery, with many thinking that wireless is the only way to reach all consumers – easier and cheaper than laying miles and miles of fibre (or copper!!!)
– So I could watch a video at home, but then want to watch it out in the car and I can’t?
– Or I could watch a video at my house but visiting a friend who has wireless only, I can’t?
– Or some new technology comes along that the telco’s don’t like…so it’s instantly constrained, and I don’t mean pirate material, but anything that could be seen as a competitor
– Biggest surprise is Google – why did they sign up to this? What happened to ‘Do no evil?’. http://www.google.com/help/netneutrality_letter.html – Times are a changing.
– Android is the biggest seller, telco’s love Android because it is free, and Google needs the telco’s. Played the Apple is closed, you will like us card, now they are biggest seller, need to protect and side with telco’s. Stinks but like I said with Apple, it’s just business. See through the bullshit.
– It’s attempts to break down the carriers failed – Nexus One etc
– My fear is that where America leads, the rest of the world does tend to follow
– Google Responds – http://googlepublicpolicy.blogspot.com/2010/08/facts-about-our-network-neutrality.html
– Myth and Fact :-)
– Goggle says the compromises are good
– Myth – don’t be evil
– Fact – show me the money
– Shouldn’t overlook the FCC’s lack of action on this matter. They have the power to set rules and haven’t managed to do so. This agreement can be superseeded and it’s up to the FCC to find that agreement. There is an underlying problem in America in the faith of a market free from regulation – in the US, where there are only few large players, this is worrying. In Europe, there are more, smaller players and also a fragmentation between ISP’s and infrastructure.
16:44 – Trade ADSL Download for Upload
– Missed this last week – Bt offering “Annex M”. Basically, adjusting to 85% of download speed to allow higher upload rates.
– BT charges ISP’s £7 per user (Not sure monthly?)
– Only available on LLU or 21Century network and only on good quality lines.
– Could see uploads increased to 2.5Mbs for close exchange lines. More like 1
17:38 – Oracle sues Google
– Is this why they bought Sun?
– In developing Android, Google knowingly, directly and repeatedly infringed Oracle’s Java-related intellectual property. This lawsuit seeks appropriate remedies for their infringement.
– Claiming that Android competes with Java as “an operating system software platform for cellular telephones and other mobile devices” and that the Android stack employs Java apps running on a Java-based framework, Oracle says that Android and the Android SDK infringe on its patents, and it wants to see some cash for its unwitting involvement in the mobile OS’s success.
– Oracle also says Google has known about these patents since the middle of the decade when the latter company hired several Sun Java engineers.
19:20 – Jump or Push
– Hardware chief, Mark Papermaster, leaves Apple. No comment from Apple for reasons.Obviously sparked rampant internet speculation over reasons for leaving.
– According to John Gruber, although his background at IBM was semiconductors he was known at Apple as ‘the antenna guy’
– Also seemingly didn’t fit in with the Apple culture
– Is it the Antenna, the white iPhone delay or just a convenient way of getting rid of someone who hadn’t embedded well and can take the hit, without anything being said publicly?
– Sacrificial lamb
– Antenna Guy title smacks of being created after he left… like Antenna Gate.
21:21 – Apple Plug Security Hole
– A hole was uncovered on the iPhone operating system that could allow unauthorised code to run.
– Relates to the phone auto-loading PDF files (think it might be the reason you can jailbreak just by visiting a website…)
– Apple have come out quickly and plugged the gap with 4.0.2.
– Hate these updates – 5-600mb for a few lines of code
– 3gb for Xcode updates – get a grip – must cost them a fortune in download costs never mind our time
– This was why I could run the jailbreak last week…
– Which after two days I swapped back
– App’s a bit crashy and system as a whole more unstable
– Cydia’s ‘make my life easier – sending my unique Apple ID to some server…somewhere to do…something…what?
– Just not compelling enough for me
26:47 – Android News
– Google Voice Recognition in Android allows you to now send texts and do other things via voice commands
– Voice Actions can send emails. “Send Email to Hugo Barra: I just booked a scuba diving trip to the turks and caicos for September!” You can even add onto the message after it’s been written. Saying “smiley face” also inserts the smiley emoticon.
– go to popular websites with Voice Actions. “Go to Wikipedia
– 10 actions, available now for Android 2.2
– Interesting – the voice recognition takes place on Google servers
– Voice on iPhone is a far simpler version of this
– Chrome-To-Phone
– extension allows you to take a page you’re currently viewing on your web browser and send it to your Android 2.2 device
– if you’re looking at a map and want it on your phone, you can just click the ‘Chrome to Phone’ button in your browser, and your phone will immediately open that map in the Maps application
– Closest on iphone is Prowl but it doesn’t have the same action contexts that Android does – http://www.downloadsquad.com/2010/08/10/prowl-push-websites-from-chrome-to-iphone/
– Tasker
– http://tasker.dinglisch.net/
– Tasker is an application for Android which performs Tasks (sets of Actions) based on Contexts (application, time, date, location, event, gesture) in user-defined Profiles, or in clickable or timer home screen widgets.
– change phone settings by
application: long screen timeout in a book reader
time: screen brightness lower in the evening
location: ringer volume high at the office, turn off ke yguard at home
– take a time-lapse photo series (possibly ‘secretly’)
– make a regular backup of a file on the SD card
– track your phone location via SMS in case of theft
– sounds wonderfully geeky
33:33 – Camera+ Pulled from iStore
– This was Ian’s pick from a couple of weeks back
– Great app, version 1.3 was submitted and included an option for using the volume buttons as a camera button – easier and far less camera shake
– Apple rejected – it will confuse the users
– Taptaptap then revealed via twitter that current version had option – type camplus://enablevolumesnap into safari to enable
– 24 hours later, app gone – Apple removed? Hidden features, breaking rules?
– Biggest well known publisher to get into difficulty I think
– Before we get all fanboyish, Google does the same with their app’s
42:30 – iTV
– Apple TV to be rebranded iTV which is actually it’s original name
– releasing a $99 version of the set top box, similarly sized and packed with internals akin to that of the iPhone 4 (A4 CPU, 16GB of flash storage), and will introduce new iTunes streaming services the box could take advantage of
– Get this – 720p only – no 1080i or 1080p
– the device will be getting apps and presumably an App Store entry, though it’s unclear if there will be cross-pollination between iPad and iPhone / iPod touch offerings and new Apple TV applications.
– Seemingly ITV are ‘furious’ and will vigorously defend their ttrademark
– Apple spokesman – denied the names will be too similar
44:01 – News Fail
– http://techcrunch.com/2010/08/11/elyse-porterfield/
– Telegraph report on girl that quit via a whiteboard
– Pretty funny
– Not the story, but the reporting – it’s a hoax
– Techcrunch revealed all the details
– Don’t believe what you read…

Picks
Chris
FamFam Silk
– Free
– Great icons for web development

Ian
Devour
– Devour sifts out the best videos and posts the well-curated collection every weekday. Fewer cute kittens, fewer skateboarding nutshots, fewer tween heart throbs, and lots more awesome.
– Hand picked (on Youtube there is 25 hours of video posted….every minute)
– every single video on Devour.com is in HD
– every single video plays on the iPhone and iPad
– Left out on thing – comments

DigitalOutbox Episode 57

DigitalOutbox Episode 57
In this episode the team discuss the new Kindle and Phones, Phones, Phones.

Playback
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Shownotes
1:17 – Virgin Making Strides
– Adds customer base, increases profits
– Broadband grows – 43% of its broadband subscribers now take packages of 20Mbps or 50Mbps. Broadband growth was five times that experienced last year, with 28,100 net new customers added over the quarter
– Virgin Media has also confirmed plans to launch its 100Mbps broadband service by the end of the year, along with its first set top boxes enabled with technology developed by US DVR giant TiVo.
– will launch its first set top boxes featuring a new television and broadband interactive User Interface (UI) created by American firm TiVo.
– The new UI is designed to seamlessly blend linear TV and on-demand content, along with opening up a range of online functionality, such as recommendations engines and social media functions.
4:49 – Sky Soars
– Almost 10m subscribers
– 400,000 new HD subs
– 30% of its 9.86m customer base now takes Sky+ HD
– 50 HD channels by Christmas
– Average revenue – £508 per person
– £1bn profit in year to June
– The firm added 119,000 broadband customers in the second quarter to bring its total base to 2.6m. The service also reached profitability for the first time since it launched in 2006.
– 3D channel launches on Oct 1st for home users
– Only in pubs, hotels so far
– Films and sport the drivers
– Ryder cup in 3D
– Premiership football
9:51 – New Amazon Kindle
– The new handheld — slated to be released on August 27th — is 21 percent smaller and 15 percent lighter than the previous model
– has a 20 percent faster refresh rate on its E Ink
– graphite and white
– £109 wi-fi only and £149 for 3G version (free 3G from Vodafone)
– Smaller, faster, cheaper
– Jeff Bezos
– For the vast majority of books, adding video and animation is not going to be helpful. It is distracting rather than enhancing. You are not going to improve Hemingway by adding video snippets,” adding later, “there are going to be 100 companies making LCD [screen] tablets… why would we want to be 101? I like building a purpose-built reading device. I think that is where we can make a real contribution.”
– Amazon predicts they will sell more ebooks than paperbacks by end of 2011
– Surpass hard and paperback combined sales shortly after
– I think that looks really nice, especially compared to original version
– http://mashable.com/2010/08/05/kindle-store-uk/
– UK Store now launched
– features more than 400,000 titles (compared to the U.S.’s roughly 650,000)
– customers can purchase e-books in pounds, most of which range from
about £3 to £11
– UK shoppers can now read e-book reviews from fellow countrymen, and see which e-books are selling best locally, rather than across the Atlantic
16:31 – Google Cleared
– The “pay-load” data collected by Google’s Street View cars did not slurp up “meaningful personal details”, the UK’s privacy watchdog concluded today
– the company hadn’t grabbed information that “could be linked to an identifiable person.”
17:43 – Wave Goodbye
– Wave has not seen the user adoption we would have liked.
– We don’t plan to continue developing Wave as a standalone product, but we will maintain the site at least through the end of the year and extend the technology for use in other Google projects.
– Wave has taught us a lot – yep – stop releasing products with no real world use case
20:44 – Jaibreak Me
– http://www.readwriteweb.com/archives/browser-based_jailbreak_available_for_almost_all_i.php
– Works for all iphones, iPads, iPod touches
– The jailbreak works by navigating to the site in Apple’s default browser Safari and “sliding to jailbreak.” The process can take as little as a minute to download, declare that it’s added itself to the home screen, and tell you to “Have fun!”
– relies on the exploitation of an unpatched mobile Safari vulnerability
– Jailbreaking will void the warranty on a device, Apple says. However, the action is easy to undo by resetting a device to factory settings (and will be undone by downloading any new version of Apple’s mobile operating system, iOS).
– Some reports of bricks!
– Some users are reporting that this jailbreak interferes with Facetime and Multimedia Messaging on the iPhone 4.
– What’s so different with this jailbreak – sooooo easy
22:39 – iPhone Loses to Android in first half of the year
– With a margin of 27% to 23% of the US market, Google Android platform has shown continues rapid growth and has has edged past the Apple iPhone platform with new subscribers.
– So more people bought android phones in the first 6 months
– Android now sells 200k a day – http://www.engadget.com/2010/08/05/googles-schmidt-boasts-200k-android-devices-sold-daily-waxes-i/
– 21 phones, 4 providers against 1 phone and 1 provider
– Stolen/lost iPhone 4 probably killed iPhone 3GS sales
– Inevitable
– Move along, nothing here to see
24:56 – Blackberry Torch
– Too little, too late
– The Torch seems sluggish, underpowered, and dated from a hardware design standpoint, and BlackBerry 6, despite its new features and polish, still feels woefully behind the curve. To call the Torch the “best BlackBerry ever” wouldn’t be an understatement, but unfortunately for RIM and the faithful, their best isn’t nearly good enough.
– Android = Windows
– iPhone = Mac
– Blackberry/Windows Phone 7 = Corporate – Sun/IBM
29:48 – Every 2 Days We Create As Much Information As We Did Up To 2003
– Every two days now we create as much information as we did from the dawn of civilization up until 2003, according to Schmidt. That’s something like five exabytes of data, he says.
– “The real issue is user-generated content,” Schmidt said. He noted that pictures, instant messages, and tweets all add to this.
– Naturally, all of this information helps Google. But he cautioned that just because companies like his can do all sorts of things with this information, the more pressing question now is if they should. Schmidt noted that while technology is neutral, he doesn’t believe people are ready for what’s coming.
– “I spend most of my time assuming the world is not ready for the technology revolution that will be happening to them soon,” Schmidt said.

Picks
Chris
Astraweb Hosting
– Pay as you go – topsmart $25 = 180Gb – doesn’t expire. ($10 25Gb)
– Perfect.
– You can have monthly sub if you want – but why would you.

Ian
Sabnzbd
– Open source newsreader
– Fast, feature rich
– Great for my mac mini
– Controlled via web client, easily extendable

DigitalOutbox Episode 56

DigitalOutbox Episode 56
In this episode the team discuss Wikileaks, Apple and Microsoft Quarters and Flipboard.

Playback
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Shownotes
2:36 – Broadbands Broken Promises
– http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/rorycellanjones/2010/07/ofcom_broadbands_broken_promis.html
– No surprise to UK broadband users, ofcom’s report is pretty damning
– Its analysis of broadband speeds in the UK shows that, for some services, 97% of consumers do not get the advertised speed.
– It also shows a growing gap between the claims ISPs make for broadband and the speed being delivered.
– average residential broadband speed in the UK has risen in the last 12 months from 4.1Megabits per second (Mbps) to 5.2Mbps
– Virgin closest – 8.6 to 9 Mbps for it’s 10meg service
– Best adsl – O2, 4.3 to 5 Mbps for it’s up to 8 service
– the advertising of broadband speeds in Britain is scandalously misleading
– BT’s copper is incapable of delivering decent speeds
– Virgin Media is showing that fibre is the future
– the digital divide between town and country is bound to get wider
– Whenever I’ve looked at BB packages, I would say that they have been pretty clear that they would connect at the fastest possible speed up to a maximum possible. Also, BT offer an estimated line speed that other sites hook into. I don’t think it’s particularly misleading.
7:23 – Wikileaks Afghan War Diary
– 90,000 leaked coalition documents from the Afghan war
– Biggest leak ever
– Quote from Julian Assage, Wikileaks founder:
– This situation is different in that it’s not just more material and being pushed to a bigger audience and much sooner … but rather that people can give back. So people around the world who are reading this are able to comment on it and put it in context and understand the full situation. That is not something that has previously occurred. And that is something that can only be brought about as a result of the Internet.
– Old reports, not future plans
– The Afghan War Diary was simultaneously given to reporters from The New York Times, The Guardian and Der Spiegel several weeks in advance so those reporters could study the documents and provide context with their public release. It was also given to those three publications so that no one national government could censor it.
– WikiLeaks removed data that could implicate its sources, but the U.S. military already has an alleged WikiLeaks source in custody: 22-year-old intelligence analyst Bradley Manning, who The Guardian says is suspected as the source of the video that depicted U.S. soldiers killing civilians. So far we’ve seen no evidence for or against any connection between the Afghan War Diary and Manning.
– Guardian has mapped the 300 major incidents – http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/datablog/interactive/2010/jul/25/afghanistan-war-logs-events
– Created a glossary for understanding those pesky TLA’s
– http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/datablog/2010/jul/25/wikileaks-afghanistan-war-logs-glossary
– Every IED attack with co-ords – map and spreadsheet – http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/datablog/2010/jul/26/wikileaks-afghanistan-ied-attacks
– US says it is irresponsible- http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-10758578
13:25 – EFF Victory Against DRM
– US only but major major legal victory
– Electronic Frontier Foundation had applied to the Copyright Office to grant exemptions permitting the cracking of DRM in three cases
– “jailbreak” a mobile device, such as an iPhone, where DRM is used to prevent phone owners from running software of their own choosing
– allow video remix artists to break the DRM on DVDs in order to take short excerpts for mashups posted to YouTube and other sharing sites, as long as it’s use is non-commercial or educational
– EFF got the Copyright Office to renew its ruling that made it legal to unlock cellphones so that they can be used with any carrier
– So apple and others can say your voiding your warranty, but they can’t say your breaking the law..but, thats not what the ruling says. the ruling says your not violating copyright law
– So still might not be legal…yet
– Of course, Apple isn’t very happy with this
– Biggest is probably the mashup ruling – fair use of material you have bought, but of course it will be ‘you can legally jailbreak your iphone’ that will be most reported as that drives traffic – see leak of iphone 4 and antennagate for example
– in theory, should put a stop to many of the DMCA (1998’s Digital Millennium Copyright Act) removal requests sent to services like YouTube
17:03 – Android Updates
– Sales of Android-based phones more than quadrupled in the UK during the most-recent quarter.
– According to GfK, Android’s share of UK smartphone contract sales sales was a mere three per cent in the first three months of 2010, but skyrocketed to 13.2 per cent in the second quarter.
– Apple, conversely, saw its UK market share decline from 75 per cent to 64 per cent during the same period. And it wasn’t only Android phones that took a bite out of Cupertino: RIM’s UK share rose from two per cent to seven per cent from January through April.
– Samsung S is the new hotness in Android phones
– Were sending out free phones to twitter users complaining about iPhone dropped calls
– Also running Facebook competition
– Best mobile add for a while
22:25 – Apple Quarterly Results
– Boom
– Over 3 milllion iPads – almost outsells Macs, and that was their biggest Mac quarter ever
– Great sales for iphones which is only 2 days of iPhone 4
– They made billions…
– Can’t make enough iPhone 4’s and ipads – LG can’t make enough iPad screens – says it will do better
– Few days later, white iPhone 4’s are delayed again, just a few days after saying end of July:
– White models of Apple’s new iPhone® 4 have continued to be more challenging to manufacture than we originally expected, and as a result they will not be available until later this year. The availability of the more popular iPhone 4 black models is not affected.
– Coupled with September 30th limit on free bumper, iPhone 4 ver B later this year?
– Creating a version B probably raises more questions than answers… if it fixes aerial, won’t all “version A” users want one?
29:46 – Microsoft Quarterly Results
– Boomer
– revenues were up 22 percent, to more than $16 billion
– bigger quarter than Apple
– Strong Windows 7 sales + Office 2010 and a strengthening economy helped
30:57 – Facebook Hits 500 Million Users
– To celebrate, we’ve put together a collection of stories you’ve shared with us about the impact Facebook and your friends have had on your lives.
– We’re launching a new application called Facebook Stories where you can share your own story and read hundreds of others, categorized by themes and locations around the world.
– 5 1/2 months since they hit 400million – around same time to go from 300 to 400 million
– Details of 100m Facebook users collected and leaked
– http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-10796584
– The personal details of more than 100 million Facebook users have been harvested and published on the net.
– Ron Bowles, an online security consultant, used a simple piece of code to collect the data from Facebook.
– The list, which has been shared as a downloadable file, contains the URL of every searchable Facebook user’s profile, their name and unique ID.
– In a statement to BBC News, Facebook said that the information in the list was already freely available online.
– “People who use Facebook own their information and have the right to share only what they want, with whom they want, and when they want,” the statement read.
– “In this case, information that people have agreed to make public was collected by a single researcher and already exists in Google, Bing, other search engines, as well as on Facebook.
– “No private data is available or has been compromised,” the statement added.
33:54 – Flipboard
– Personalised social magazine
– It turns your Facebook and Twitter account into something that looks like a magazine.
– It also lets you build a custom magazine, either by choosing from Flipboard’s pre-built curated “boards” or by importing Twitter lists.
– You can also turn a single person’s Twitter account, or a single brand’s Twitter account, into a Flipboard. For instance, you can follow Techcrunch on Twitter with it and it will turn Techcrunch into a beautiful magazine-like interface that’s easier to read than any other reader.
– Massive buzz, unusabale (for Ian) on day one. Creating invite system to manage demand. Sigh.
– iPad killer app?
– Why does it need to sign into Facebook and Twitter via their own servers?
– May be controversy over how they deliver content – not using RSS, scraping from source websites – http://gizmodo.com/5594176/is-flipboard-legal
– Revenue not from users but from content owners
40:24 – Skype
– http://blogs.skype.com/en/2010/07/iphone_multitasking_3g.html
– Supports calls over 3G
– More importantly, works in background – you can now receive Skype calls, and instant messages, while running any other application.
– Even more importantly – scrapped their planned move to charge for calls over 3G
41:32 – BBC News App Launched
– http://www.bbc.co.uk/bbctrust/news/press_releases/july/mobile_apps.shtml
– iPhone News and Sports app’s approved
– Launched on Friday 23rd
– News will add regional news in future
– News will come to blackberry, android and other devices later in the year
– Looking at findings, why did this take 3-4 months to review?
– To appease “industry”? Doesn’t matter though, correct consumer decision.
43:44 – Daily Star Lies
– The Daily Star has today expressed its “fury” at news that a Raoul Moat version of Grand Theft Auto is in production.
– Apparently “gaming websites” (though obviously not the ones we read) have shown the cover of “a version of the XBox hit Grand Theft Auto”, supposedly called GTA Rothbury, that’s based on the recent Northumberland shootings that dominated the news earlier this month.
– “It is sick – it’s blood money,” the sister of Moat’s ex-partner Samantha Stobbart told the paper. “The game is beyond belief.”
– Journalist, Jerry Lawton, defends his story
– http://www.mcvuk.com/news/40124/Journalist-defends-GTA-Raoul-Moat-story
– “Baffled by the fury of adult gamers,” he wrote, as reported by Destructoid. “These are grown (?!?) men who sit around all day playing computer games with one another who’ve today chosen to enter the real world just long enough to complain about my story slamming a Raoul Moat version of Grand Theft Auto!
– “You would think I’d denied the Holocaust!!! Think I’ll challenge them to a virtual reality duel….stab….I win!!!”
– Cue Apology
– http://www.dailystar.co.uk/news/view/145880/Rockstar-Games-Grand-Theft-Auto-An-apology/
– Grovel grovel grovel
– We made no attempt to check the accuracy of the story before publication and did not contact Rockstar Games prior to publishing the story. We also did not question why a best selling and critically acclaimed fictional games series would choose to base one of their most popular games on this horrifying real crime event.
– It is now accepted that there were never any plans by Rockstar Games to publish such a game and that the story was false. We apologise for publishing the story using a mock-up of the game cover, our own comments on the matter and soliciting critical comments from a grieving family member.
– We unreservedly apologise to Rockstar Games and we have undertaken not to repeat the claims again. We have also agreed to pay them a substantial amount in damages which they are donating to charity.

Picks
Chris
Limbo
– Limbo is a truly stunning looking (and feeling) game. Xbox Live Arcade.
– Eerie, dark, mysterious, funny, scary, frustrating, satisfying.
– No colour, very little sound, no dialogue, largely silhouettes

Ian
Camera+
– Great camera app for iPhone
– Faster than built in app with a lot more features
– Filters, borders etc
– Now my goto app for taking pictures – can also share on the Camrera+ website or to flickr, e-mail etc

DigitalOutbox Episode 55

DigitalOutbox Episode 55
In this episode the team discuss Antennagate, Windows Phone 7, Times Paywall and Xbox Kinect.

Playback
Listen via iTunes
Listen via M4A
Listen via MP3

Shownotes
2:04 – Anttenagate
– Featured on Top Gear
– Consumer Reports can’t recommend it
– Worse, Apple deleting numerous threads in support discussions about this
– Not the first time this has happened – horrible way to treat customers
– Rumours that in the face of this, it HAS to be recalled
– http://www.computerworld.com/s/article/9179164/Microsoft_exec_mocks_iPhone_4_dubs_it_Apple_s_Vista
– “It looks like the iPhone 4 might be their Vista, and I’m okay with that,” said Kevin Turner, Microsoft’s chief operating officer, in a keynote speech at Microsoft’s Worldwide Partner Conference (WPC), which runs through Thursday in Washington, D.C.
– But I don’t know of anyone, anywhere returning the iPhone or saying their call reception is worse
– PR disaster
– 4.0.1 released – new formula for reception bars, taller and fatter now
– http://www.anandtech.com/show/3821/iphone-4-redux-analyzing-apples-ios-41-signal-fix
– Surely a phone works or doesn’t? Do bars matter?
– Press Conference
– http://events.apple.com.edgesuite.net/100716iab73asc/event/index.html
– Started with the iPhone Antenna Song – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VKIcaejkpD4
– Then – Steve Jobs – “You know . . . we’re not perfect.”
– 3 million sold in 3 weeks
– This problem isn’t an iPhone problem – it’s an industry problem
– Apple spent $100 million in testing facility
– Also affects Blackberry, Android, Nokia
– (see http://www.boygeniusreport.com/2010/07/17/can-you-make-your-current-phone-lose-signal-depending-on-how-you-hold-it/)
– ‘Jesus, it must be a lot of users complaining about this’ — So what percentage have called AppleCare? 0.55% Just one half of one percent.”
– “In the early days of the iPhone 3GS return rates were 6%… below the average, we were happy with that… so for the iPhone 4? You think half the people must be returning their phones with what you read online… well it’s 1.7% — less than a third of the 3GS returns.”
– “Even though we think the iPhone 4 is superior to the 3GS antenna… it drops more calls per 100 than the 3GS. We’re being transparent. So how many more does it drop than the 3GS?” “This is hard data… the iPhone 4 drops less than one additional call per 100 than the 3GS. Less than one.”
– The first part is the software update, that fixes the way the bars report and other bugs, that’s out now. Second, people said the bumper fixes everything… ‘why don’t you give everybody a case’? Okay — we’ll give you a free case.”
– “We’re going to send you a free case. We can’t make enough bumpers. No way we can make enough in the quarter. So we’re going to source some cases and give you a choice.” Refund if you’ve already bought one
– “And if you’re not happy, you can bring the phone back. We’ll give you a full refund within 30 days. No restocking fee. We want to make everyone happy, and if we can’t make you happy we’ll give you a full refund.”
– Summary – Yes, it’s a problem but not exclusive to the iPhone however people don’t care as we can’t make enough to sell. We’ve had less returns than our previous bet selling phone which no one complained about. Still, we love our customers and we want to please them – they have been asking for a free bumper so they are going to get one.
OR
– Expert in PR strikes again?
– iPhone 4 perspective: .55% in this case is 165,000 complaints. 1.7% returns is 51,000 phones, +1 per hundred is at least 30K dropped calls.
– Tabloid journalism or the press getting their own back?
– Nothing better than kicking the big guys
– I love how most of the tweets I’m reading that are negative are from non iPhone 4 owners :-)
– And what of those PR experts that said a recall was the only solution. Looking pretty dumb now.
18:18 – Windows Phone 7 Preview
– No caveats now: Windows Phone 7 is a waste of time and money. It’s a platform that no carrier, device maker, developer, or user should bother with. Microsoft should kill it before it ships and admit that it’s out of the mobile game for good. It is supposed to ship around Christmas 2010, but anyone who gets one will prefer a lump of coal. I really mean that.
– Seeing the UI in action across several tasks, not just in a highly controlled presentation, shows how awkward and unsophisticated it is
– And it’s not just the UI: Under the hood, Windows Phone 7 rests on creakingly old technology that the main competitors have all moved past.
– I was appalled, flummoxed, and stupefied by what I saw and the answers to the questions from the 15 or so developers in the audience. Also, it should be noted that minuscule attendance and the utter lack of passion in the room spoke volumes about Windows Phone 7’s ultimate fate as well. By comparison, about five times as many people attended a session on WebOS.
– The bottom line is this: Windows Phone 7 is a pale imitation of the 2007-era iPhone. It’s as if Microsoft decided in summer 2007 to copy the iPhone and has shut its developers in a bunker ever since, so they don’t realize that several years have passed, that the iPhone has advanced, and that competitors such as Google Android and Palm WebOS have also pushed the needle forward. Microsoft is stuck in 2007, with a smartphone OS whose feature checklist might match that era’s iPhone but whose fit and finish would look like a Pinto next to a Maserati.
– Engadget preview
– http://www.engadget.com/2010/07/19/windows-phone-7-in-depth-preview/
– Much more positive
– Idea’s are half baked which is a big risk for MS
– Gizmodo agree – a good, really good – raw components to build a great smartphone
24:10 – Wired predicts the iPad
– “The next iMac attac promises new lollipop laptops, a more serious series of professional machines, and a wireless handheld dubbed the iPad”
25:27 – Broadband Britain Delayed
– The government has dumped a commitment to deliver universal access to 2Mbit/s broadband by 2012.
– The culture secretary Jeremy Hunt said this morning that the previous government had failed to allocate enough funding to meet the schedule.
26:38 – The Times Paywall
– report from the web analytics firm Experian Hitwise that showed that two thirds of the Times and Sunday Times web traffic had melted away after the paywall went up at the beginning of the month.
– If true, better than expected by Times management who expected 90% drop
– But then this afternoon a site called Beehive City had some figures that may have made the champagne go flat at the Times. According to the site, just 15,000 people have signed up to pay for access to the papers’ two websites – and don’t forget that there was an opening offer of £1 for 30 days.
– Beehive City says more than 150,000 registered during the free trial period but it appears that only a small minority then opted to pay. The Times won’t confirm these figures, so why should we taken any notice of an obscure website?
As an aside…..
– BBC ‘rip off’ in perspective: licence fee = £2.80/wk (for TV, radio, websites). New Times paywall = £2/wk (for two websites).
32:36 – Amazon – EBook Outsells Hardcovers
– Amazon.com customers now purchase more Kindle books than hardcover books—astonishing when you consider that we’ve been selling hardcover books for 15 years, and Kindle books for 33 months.
– Bezos again: “The growth rate of Kindle device unit sales has tripled since we lowered the price from $259 to $189.”
36:33 – Google Remains in China
– China consider Google’s latest tweaks satisfactory and have renewed their operating licence that lets them operate within the largest internet market.
– The “tweak” was basically to stop automatically forwarding from the chinese to the HongKong domain and instead have a manual click through.
– In reality, it doesn’t mean that Chinese citizens will get un-censored internet – the Chinese firewall prevents actual access to sites it doesn’t like but Google at least offers uncensored results.
– In a statement, Google made it clear that although it’s abiding by Chinese law, it’s not censoring.
“The products we are keeping on Google.cn (Music, Translate, Product Search) do not require any censorship by Google,” the company said in a statement. “All other products, like Web search, we are offering from Google.com.hk, and without censorship.”
38:21 – Terrorist Takedown
– Blogetery.com shut down – closing some 70,000 blogs – without notice by it’s ISP following FBI contact related to “links to terrorist material” and an al-Qaeda “hit-list”
– Platform owners/users given no notice.
– “The posted material, in addition to potentially inciting dangerous activities, specifically violated the BurstNet acceptable use policy”
41:26 – Jolicloud
– Web-Based Jolicloud OS Reaches 1.0
– OS is now completely built on HTML 5
– pre-dates Google’s forthcoming “Chrome OS” by well over a year
– ability to run both Web-based applications alongside traditional desktop apps like Skype
– provides access to files previously stored on the computer’s hard drive prior to the Jolicloud upgrade, so you don’t have to worry with backing up your files and photos before making the switch. (Although you should, just to be safe). In the future, Jolicloud plans to offer tools to move these files from the computer’s hard drive to the cloud prior to the upgrade, during the setup process
– 700 apps available in included App Centre
– Thanks to the OS’s Web-based nature, if you choose to install Jolicloud on multiple machines, your settings will remained synchronized between the devices as to how your apps are organized, which you’ve installed, which you’ve deleted, etc.
43:49 – Xbox S and Kinect Prices
– Sell out on launch day
– Retailers struggling to get new stock
– Restrictions form MS or a big hit?
48:03 – Old Spice Goes Viral
– Kinnect + Kinect Adventures = £129.99
– Console (4GB) + Kinect + Kinect Adventures = £249.99
– Pricey! £99.99 should have been the one to aim for…maybe thats the cut down price for next year
– No official date but expect November

Picks
Chris
WinToFlash
– A great little utility to make a bootable USB installation of Windows.
– Needed to re-install Windows XP on a Netbook and this utility turned a horrid process into a breeze. (The alternative online process given required 3 separate utilities, many many steps and was command-line driven…)

Ian
Carcassonne
– Great strategy game
– iPhone only but universal version in development
– Graphics and audio are top notch
Conquist
– Like Risk but better
– iPad only
– A few maps and modes but it plays very well
– Multiplayer but only local – shame

DigitalOutbox Episode 54

DigitalOutbox Episode 54
In this episode the team discuss Broadband news, why Apple are shocked and Facebook panics.

Playback
Listen via iTunes
Listen via M4A
Listen via MP3

Shownotes
1:45 – Government spends thousands on iPhone apps
– NHS Drinks Tracker £10,000
– NHS Quit Smoking £10,000
– Jobcentre Plus £32,775
– DVLA Masterclass £40,000
– A report by the Central Office of Information has revealed that the government spent £94m on website development and running costs and £32m on web staff in 2009 – 2010.
– By the end of May there were over 53,000 downloads of the Jobcentre Plus app, although critics have asked why someone who can afford both an iPhone and the expensive running costs would need a Jobcentre Plus app.
– Surely adapting web content to work on all phones is a better way forward
4:57 – BBC Website Spend
– The BBC spent £199.3m on its BBC Online service in 2009/10, according to its annual report – 12% more than the previous year.
– The outlay is 6% of the £142.50 annual licence fee, or the equivalent of £0.67 per month…
– BBC Online reaches 37% of the population each week and therefore costs 8.9 pence per user hour.
– On a per user user basis, that makes it amongst the most costly of the BBC’s main services, with only BBC Alba costing more.
– More than 18m iPlayer requests per week.
– Monthly mobile users up from 4.4m to 7.8m.
– External suppliers received 26% of BBC Online spend – slightly more than its 25% quota.
– At the same time, BBC Trust endorses the 25% budget reduction
– New BBC News coming soon too
9:55 – Finland Makes Broadband a Legal Right
– From 1 July every Finn will have the right to access to a 1Mbps (megabit per second) broadband connection.
– Finland has vowed to connect everyone to a 100Mbps connection by 2015.
– In the UK the government has promised a minimum connection of at least 2Mbps to all homes by 2012 but has stopped short of enshrining this as a right in law.
– The Finnish deal means that from 1 July all telecommunications companies will be obliged to provide all residents with broadband lines that can run at a minimum 1Mbps speed.
– It is believed up to 96% of the population are already online and that only about 4,000 homes still need connecting to comply with the law. In the UK internet penetration stands at 73%.
– The British government has agreed to provide everyone with a minimum 2Mbps broadband connection by 2012 but it is a commitment rather than a legally binding ruling.
13:14 – Race Online 2012
– UK digital champion Martha Lane Fox wants to get everyone of working age online by 2012
– The Networked Nation Manifesto, published today, also highlights the lack of net access “among the disadvantaged, unemployed and retired”.
– David Cameron backed the campaign, saying that “digital inclusion is essential for a modern dynamic economy”.
– However, the issue of who will pay for it all has yet to be addressed.
– Race Online 2012, is asking for people, who are already online, to sign up to volunteer, donate money or equipment, take part in organising events, or contribute their own ideas about how to get others connected.
17:03 – Prince reckons the Internet is Over
– “The Internet’s completely over,” he said. “I don’t see why I should give my new music to iTunes or anyone else. They won’t pay me an advance for it, and then they get angry when they can’t get it.”
– “The Internet’s like MTV,” the star said to The Mirror’s correspondent. “At one time, MTV was hip, and suddenly it became outdated.”
– “All these computers and digital gadgets are no good. They just fill your head with numbers and that can’t be good for you.”
19:23 – Bye Bye Kin
– Microsoft has made the decision to focus on the Windows Phone 7 launch and will not ship KIN in Europe this fall as planned. Additionally, we are integrating our KIN team with the Windows Phone 7 team, incorporating valuable ideas and technologies from KIN into future Windows Phone releases. We will continue to work with Verizon in the U.S. to sell current KIN phones
– Less than 50 days on sale
– Already half price
– Sell off remaining stock
– Allegedly…..503 sold
– Actually – at least 8000
– Just a different way of saying…
– FAIL
22:53 – Apple Admit Signal Fault
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/technology/10490572.stm
– http://daringfireball.net/2010/07/translation_iphone_4
– To start with, gripping almost any mobile phone in certain ways will reduce its reception by 1 or more bars. This is true of iPhone 4, iPhone 3GS, as well as many Droid, Nokia and RIM phones. But some users have reported that iPhone 4 can drop 4 or 5 bars when tightly held in a way which covers the black strip in the lower left corner of the metal band. This is a far bigger drop than normal, and as a result some have accused the iPhone 4 of having a faulty antenna design.
– We have discovered the cause of this dramatic drop in bars, and it is both simple and surprising.
– Upon investigation, we were stunned to find that the formula we use to calculate how many bars of signal strength to display is totally wrong. Our formula, in many instances, mistakenly displays 2 more bars than it should for a given signal strength.
– We have gone back to our labs and retested everything, and the results are the same— the iPhone 4’s wireless performance is the best we have ever shipped. For the vast majority of users who have not been troubled by this issue, this software update will only make your bars more accurate. For those who have had concerns, we apologise for any anxiety we may have caused.
– As a reminder, if you are not fully satisfied, you can return your undamaged iPhone to any Apple Retail Store or the online Apple Store within 30 days of purchase for a full refund.
– So not hardware but software….and software for all iPhones
– So why so many video’s of people stopping bandwidth with their finger if it’s just a display issue?
– Doesn’t add up…
– And was the formula wrong, or did they show more bars to make the iPhone look good?
30:55 – Section 44 Goes Bye Bye
– Police are to be stripped of the power to stop and search anyone for no reason, the Home Secretary has announced.
– Theresa May told the Commons she will immediately limit Section 44 of the Terrorism Act 2000 so members of public can only be stopped if officers “reasonably suspect” they are terrorists. The threshold of suspicion will bring the Act into line with traditional stop and search powers.
– Liberty director Shami Chakrabarti hailed the withdrawal of the power today. “It is a blanket and secretive power that has been used against school kids, journalists, peace protesters and a disproportionate number of young black men,” she said.
– “To our knowledge, it has never helped catch a single terrorist. This is a very important day for personal privacy, protest rights and race equality in Britain.”
– Today’s announcement will be welcomed by photographers, who have battled police for the right to take pictures in public places in recent years. Often officers have used Section 44 to stop and search snappers when they are not suspected of doing anything wrong
32:02 – Google Life in a Day
– a historic cinematic experiment that will attempt to document one day, as seen through the eyes of people around the world.
– On July 24, you have 24 hours to capture a snapshot of your life on camera. You can film the ordinary — a sunrise, the commute to work, a neighborhood soccer match, or the extraordinary — a baby’s first steps, your reaction to the passing of a loved one, or even a marriage.
– Kevin Macdonald, the Oscar-winning director of films such as The Last King of Scotland, Touching the Void and One Day in September, will then edit the most compelling footage into a feature documentary film, to be executive-produced by Ridley Scott, the director behind films like Gladiator, Black Hawk Down, Thelma & Louise, Blade Runner and Robin Hood.
– The film will premiere at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival and if your footage makes it into the final cut, you’ll be credited as a co-director and may be one of 20 contributors selected to attend the premiere.
– Regardless of whether your footage makes it into the final film, your video(s) will live on on the “Life in a Day” channel as a time capsule that will tell future generations what it was like to be alive on July 24, 2010.
35:36 – Google App Inventor for Android
– http://appinventor.googlelabs.com/about/
– what-you-see-is-what-you-get (WYSIWYG) tool for app development on the Android platform
– Instead of having to learn code (in Android’s case, Java), App Inventor is a piece of software that allows you to drag and drop certain elements common to many apps to build a mobile app from scratch.
– Google quote – To use App Inventor, you do not need to be a developer. App Inventor requires NO programming knowledge. This is because instead of writing code, you visually design the way the app looks and use blocks to specify the app’s behavior.
– Plus – takes away barrier of entry
– Minus – could be a Frontpage for Android Apps
– Potentially excellent though
38:49 – Fring vs Skype
– Call Fring to Fring, Skype to Skype
– 3G or wi-fi
– Still amazed Apple haven’t brought out updated iChat to allow Facetime to iChat or vice versa
– It’s also a popular upgrade – http://www.fring.com/blog/?p=2303
– Fring says Skype has apparently blocked fring and threatened legal action against the startup.
– An hour or so ago, Fring reported on its blog that we had blocked their access to Skype. I want to make one thing absolutely clear: this is untrue. Fring was using Skype software in a way it wasn’t designed to be used – and in a way which is in breach of Skype’s API Terms of Use and End User License Agreement. We’ve been talking with Fring for some time to try to resolve this amicably.
– However, over time, Fring’s mis-use of our software was increasingly damaging our brand and reputation with our customers. On Friday, for example, Fring withdrew support for video calls over Skype on iOS 4 without warning, again damaging our brand and disappointing our customers, who have high expectations of the Skype experience.
– We actively encourage developers to build products that work with Skype, acting, of course in accordance with our various API licences. At the same time, Skype will rigorously protect our brand and reputation, and those developers that do not comply with our terms will be subject to legal enforcement.
– In this case, however, there is no truth to Fring’s claims that Skype has blocked it. Fring made the decision to remove Skype functionality on its own.
43:23 – Youtube Mobile Updates
– m.youtube.com
– a more polished UI and better load time
– uses plenty of HTML5 features, including the video tag.
– But most important is the fact that the web app has superior video quality when compared to native applications — namely the iPhone’s — and it will soon feature more content as well
– widely available, with support for nearly any HTML5 compliant mobile browser, including those on the iPhone and Android devices.
– The web app offered a number of advantages, including auto-complete in search and a UI that’s more consistent with the latest version of the YouTube webpage (the iPhone app still uses YouTube’s 5-star rating system, which was abandoned in January in favor of a binary ‘Like’ system). Most important, the video quality of the web application was leaps and bounds ahead of the iPhone app — Doronichev explained that this was because the iPhone app still uses a video streaming format that was developed for Edge, not 3G. Video on the HTML5 app looked much better, and was snappier to boot.
– http://techcrunch.com/2010/07/07/youtube-leanback-tv
– Leanback
– http://www.youtube.com/leanback
– site will immediately start playing videos from a feed of suggestions, based on other videos you’ve liked
– keyboard driven
– Rentals aren’t live for Leanback yet, but the YouTube team says that this is due to a technical issue, not a licensing one, and that it hopes to offer rentals in the next few weeks. And yes, ads will eventually make their way into Leanback as well
46:39 – Facebook Adds Panic Button
– The button, aimed at children and teenagers, will report abuse to the UK Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (Ceop) and Facebook.
– Once installed, the application appears on their homepage to say that “they are in control online”.
– The launch follows months of negotiation between Ceop and Facebook, which initially resisted the idea.
– a Facebook UK representative has contacted us to clarify that Facebook does not perceive this app as a “panic button.” “The app is opt-in, so young people choose to download it/bookmark it to their page in order to use,” she said. A similar button, seen on other sites such as Bebo, is “not opt-in and is simply a reporting link, not teamed with messages of how to stay safe or further info from CEOP,” she said
49:21 – Amazon Does Groceries
Beta for moment
– 22,000 products
– Won’t replace weekly shop for most
– Amazons angle is twofold – better if user buys in bulk
– Amazon Prime – unlimited free one day delivery for annual fee of £49
– Supermarkets typically charge between £4 and £6 but shoppers can choose specific time slots.

Picks
Chris
Xara Photo & Graphic Designer 6 (and designer Pro 6)
– A largely unknown gem of a piece of software. Vector based graphics program. Exceptionally fast rendering engine. Over time they have increased support for photo manipulation and now have a very powerful photo engine.
– £69 for the standard version.
– Pro comes with a £249 pricetag but comes with some pretty impressive web development features. Literally draw your site.
– Free trials as ever if you want to play.
– PC only – although there is an open source project for lunux

Ian
Osmos HD
– Game for iPad
– Ambient and addictive

Create a US iTunes Account

While most content is made available across the world, every so often there is an app for the iPhone or iPad that is only available in the US app store. For example, the BBC News app which has been written by the BBC has been blocked for release in the UK pending a review by the BBC Trust. However it is available in the US App Store. The Newspaper Publishers Association should take a bow. However it’s a fairly painless process to setup a US account allowing you to grab the app’s that aren’t available in the UK

  1. Open iTunes and sign out of your current iTunes account. Note that it’s easy to swap between accounts and you won’t lose any of your content doing this. Click on iTunes store but you will want to navigate to the US store. Move to the bottom right of the store, click on the UK flag, then select US store to open the US iTunes store.
  2. Next, find a free app that you want – any app will do as long as it’s free. Click Buy and you will be prompted for a login. At this point select ‘Create New Account’
  3. After accepting the terms and conditions, enter your details including an e-mail address different to your current iTunes account. Click continue.
  4. You will now be asked for a payment method – click None on the right hand side of the payment options.
  5. You will then be asked for an address. Enter a US address – Google or Bing maps are your friend. Search for a hotel, business – anything really as long as you can get the address and post code (or zip code as it’s known over there).
  6. The next step is to verify your account. You will receive an e-mail from Apple with the obligatory click on the link step to authenticate the address. Once done you have a US iTunes account.

That was painless. Obviously, if you have a credit card with a US postal address you can set up payment details. If you really need a pay for app from the US store, then you can buy iTunes gift cards online either from eBay (be careful though – reports of quite a few scammers) or more reliably via Maximus Cards.

The US account isn’t just accessible via iTunes on your home computer. Fire up iTunes on your iPhone or iPad, logout of your current account and enter your US account details. You can then download directly to your device and it will be synced back to your home machine at the next sync. You can grab content from multiple accounts and sync to your devices without fear of losing any. So what app’s are worth grabbing?

Well, BBC news is a pretty obvious one. A universal app that works better on the iPad than the iPhone, it’s more visual, like Pulse adder, to give you quick and easy access to today’s news. Bing app gives you quick access to a variety of search options. One useful addition is visual searching similar to Google Goggles. Scan a barcode or front of a book or DVD and search results with a variety of prices will be returned. There is also voice searching but it is not as accurate as Googles voice search. Speaking of voice, Dragon Dictate will turn your voice notes into text. I’ve had mixed success with the app but I put that more down to Glaswegian dialect than the app as it’s got great reviews.

So there you have it – with just a few simple steps you can access app’s even if they aren’t available in your region.