DigitalOutbox Episode 105

Shownotes
Mark Zuckerberg image – (CC) Brian Solis, www.briansolis.com / bub.blicio.us / CC-BY

0:57 – Facebook IPO
– Finally, Facebook files for $5 billion IPO (Initial Public Offering)
– Values company at around $100 billion
– Zuck owns just over %28%
– He still has full control – pretty impressive
– Zuckerberg compares Facebook to transformative technologies like the printing press and the television, stating “Facebook aspires to build the services that give people the power to share and help them once again transform many of our core institutions and industries.”
– Zuckerberg also describes Facebook’s internal mantra, known as “The Hacker Way”. The word “hacker” has an unfairly negative connotation…hacking just means building something quickly or testing the boundaries of what can be done. The Hacker Way is an approach to building that involves continuous improvement and iteration…We have the words “Done is better than perfect” painted on our walls.
– The letter concludes with Facebook’s 5 core principles: Focus on Impact, Move Fast, Be Bold, Be Open, Build Social Value.
– Going to make a lot of people very rich
– Will Facebook change now that it is answerable to shareholders?
– For example, the graffiti artist who has a shareholding worth around $200 million – http://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/02/technology/for-founders-to-decorators-facebook-riches.html
6:46 – UK Court says you can copyright the basic idea of a photograph
– a judge has ruled that a photograph using a similar idea, but totally different compositionis infringement. You can see the two photographs here:
– As you can tell, the expression is totally different. Obviously, the idea is quite similar, but ideas aren’t supposed to be protected. You can read the full ruling here, in which the court seems persuaded by the fact that the original photographer had to do some Photoshopping to the image. Now, it’s true that European copyright laws are much more open to “sweat of the brow” arguments for copyright (which is not the case in the US), but even so, this ruling is ridiculous and troubling.
– Court said: I have not found this to be an easy question but I have decided that the defendants’ work does reproduce a substantial part of the claimant’s artistic work. In the end the issue turns on a qualitative assessment of the reproduced elements. The elements which have been reproduced are a substantial part of the claimant’s work because, despite the absence of some important compositional elements, they still include the key combination of what I have called the visual contrast features with the basic composition of the scene itself. It is that combination which makes Mr Fielder’s image visually interesting. It is not just another photograph of cliched London icons.
– Bonkers! World gone mad.
10:09 – gov.uk enters beta
– a single domain for central government.
– As Mike Bracken, HMG Executive Director for Digital said, our aim is to deliver simpler, clearer, faster services for users and savings and innovation for Government.
– We have re-written, re-designed and re-thought 667 of the needs people have of Government (broadly, those currently catered for by Directgov) – making them asfindable, understandable and actionable as we can.
– We’ve built a scalable, modular open source technology platform to support them, we’ve designed the user experience around them and we’ve worked with colleagues across many departments to fact-check them. Source is on github – https://github.com/alphagov/
– Through designing and iterating these we’ve got the templates and techniques we need to support a whole host more needs – either written by ourselves or others.
– Now want feedback via getsatisfaction – http://getsatisfaction.com/govuk or twitter and facebook
– Very impressive
13:50 – BBC iPlayer and ITV Player to launch on Sky Anytime+
– Sky will extend Anytime+ to be open to all customers irrespective of broadband provider by Easter 2012
– ITV Player available today on Anytime+
– BBC iPlayer available later this year
– Sky building their VOD capability – Virgin have had iPlayer for years
– Is this to fight off Netflix and the upcoming Google TV?
– BBC and Sky deal unusual as they are hardly the most complementary of each other
– Didn’t know but the BBC still pays £10m per annum to gain access to the Sky network. Most figures show that the most viewed channels on the Sky network are from the BBC
15:41 – Skys New Web TV Service
– Sky has today announced a new service which will allow customers to watch its content over the internet, aimed at people who have so far resisted taking a pay-TV subscription.
– The as-yet-unnamed web-TV service will launch in the first half of 2012 and provide instant access to a range of Sky content, including hundreds of films from Sky Movies.
– It will be available to anyone in the UK on any connected devices, regardless of whether they take the Sky Broadband service.
– Sky said that the new service “will be an additional choice for people who don’t currently subscribe to a pay TV service”.
18:16 – Virgin Up Broadband Prices
– Those free upgrades later this year?
– Well there’s a price increase from April 1st
-Broadband S will increase by £2.00. This increases the product price of Broadband S to £20.95.
-Broadband M, L & XL will increase by £1.50.
-This increases the product price of Broadband M to £23.00, Broadband L to £27.50. and Broadband XL to £38.50
-Broadband XXL will increase by £2.25. The new product price will be £47.25.
20:18 – Twitter announces they have ability to censor a tweet by country
– As we continue to grow internationally, we will enter countries that have different ideas about the contours of freedom of expression. Some differ so much from our ideas that we will not be able to exist there. Others are similar but, for historical or cultural reasons, restrict certain types of content, such as France or Germany, which ban pro-Nazi content.
– Until now, the only way we could take account of those countries’ limits was to remove content globally. Starting today, we give ourselves the ability to reactively withhold content from users in a specific country — while keeping it available in the rest of the world. We have also built in a way to communicate transparently to users when content is withheld, and why.
– We haven’t yet used this ability, but if and when we are required to withhold a Tweet in a specific country, we will attempt to let the user know, and we will clearly mark when the content has been withheld.
– As part of being more open Twitter have published all takedown notices they have received – http://chillingeffects.org/twitter
– Generally a good step but people aren’t happy and called for a twitter boycott last Saturday – I noticed no difference!
– Great post on the realities of being a global internet business – http://tum.hitherto.net/post/16596051373/what-you-need-to-know-about-twitters-new-filters
– Summation – Internet companies will have very little influence over the laws of various countries
– Regimes have whole Internet kill switches, not just ability to censor one network or indeed one tweet
– Google announce the same for Blogger – http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-16852920
– Blogger sites can now be blocked on a “per country” basis after a change to its web address system.
– Google will now be able to block access in individual countries following a legal removal request.
– The new system means blocking will not require restricting world-wide access to a blog. The changes apply in Australia, New Zealand and India, but the BBC understands Google plans to roll it out globally.
25:06 – British tourists banned after making Twitter jokes
– Leigh-Van Bryan, a 26-year-old Irish national, just wanted to have a few beers while soaking up America’s freedom-y goodness. But his trip to the United States came to a halt when one of his tweets caught the attention of the Department of Homeland Security:
“Free this week, for a quick gossip/prep before I go and destroy America.”
– While real terrorists aren’t known to relay their plans via Twitter ahead of time, the Daily Mail reported that armed guards at Los Angeles International Airport took the threat seriously enough to apprehend Bryan and his travel-buddy, Emily Bunting, and bar them from entering the United States.
– “They asked why we wanted to destroy America and we tried to explain it meant to get trashed and party,” said Bunting, according to the outlet.
– Despite explaining they meant no ill will either toward the United States or to its deceased starlets, the Daily Mail reports that Bryan and Bunting were held for another 12 hours in separate cells alongside suspected drug traffickers.
– To really drive home the ridiculousness of the situation, the Daily Mail also posted a photograph of Leigh’s charge sheet that reads: “Mr. Bryan confirmed that he had posted on his Tweeter [sic] website account that he was coming to the United States to dig up the grave of Marilyn Monroe. Also on his tweeter [sic] account Mr. Bryan posted that he was coming to destroy America.”
26:55 – John Browett is Apples new Senior VP of Retail
– Browett replaces Ron Johnson, the inventor of Apple’s “Genius Bar” in-store customer service centres, who left the iPhone and iPad maker last year to become CEO of US clothing chain JC Penney.
– So whats Browetts background?
– Apple, the all-conquering maker of iPhones and iPads, has poached the boss of Dixons to head its network of stores across the world.
– John Browett, who has been chief executive of the struggling high street electronics firm since 2007, was named Apple’s senior vice president of retail, reporting directly to chief executive Tim Cook.
– Analysts said Apple’s board was attracted by Browett’s many years of experience in the retail sector and his performance in successfully turning around Dixons’s reputation for poor customer service. Robert Gregory, analyst at Planet Retail, said: “He is a very dynamic character and not afraid to take risks.
– “One of the things he has brought to Dixons is really improving their customer service. It had a reputation for many years of having poor service. That fits in well with Apple’s philosophy of making the stores a destination where people can go and really get great service.”
31:28 – Minecraft and Lego get married
– Rejoice – Lego will be bringing out official Minecraft sets
– Lego is now readying a concept that “celebrates the best aspects of building with the Lego system and in Minecraft.”

Picks
Ian
ShowYou
– Great video discovery app
– Version 3 just launched
– Find videos from your friends easily via Twitter or Facebook integration
– Really nice scrolling grid views of video – technically very impressive
– Free on iOS or Kindle Fire

DigitalOutbox Episode 104

DigitalOutbox Episode 104
In this episode the team discuss MegaUpload, Is Google Evil, Acta and Apple’s record quarter.

Playback
Listen via iTunes
Listen via M4A
Listen via MP3

Shownotes
1:12 – MegaUpload Shutdown
The FBI has indicted MegaUpload on racketeering and criminal copyright infringement charges, according to a report by the Wall Street Journal. The FBI apparently got help from law enforcement authorities around the world, as MegaUpload’s servers have been taken down. The WSJ is also reporting that four people have been arrested in New Zealand.
– Kim Schmitz, who has recently been calling himself Kim Dotcom, is amongst those arrested. Schmitz used to live in Germany, but relocated to New Zealand a few years ago. The FBI has said in a press release that it and other law enforcement agencies have executed 20 search warrants in eight countries, seizing $50 million in assets and taking down MegaUpload’s servers.
– Never used it, but always assumed it was 99% illegal content
– News on Radio 1 – 5 or 6 people furious as they used it to share legit files?
– Anonymous not happy – http://techcrunch.com/2012/01/19/anonymous-megaupload-department-of-justice/
– the group claimed responsibility for taking down the Universal Music, RIAA (the record industry’s lobbying arm), MPAA (the movie industry’s lobbying arm), and Department of Justice websites, among others. The group also claimed that the current attacks were “the largest attack ever by Anonymous,” with 5,635 participants. And it looks like the campaign is ongoing — Anonymous says it’s going after the FBI’s website next…which they did
– Sends jitters through industry – http://torrentfreak.com/cyberlocker-ecosystem-shocked-as-big-players-take-drastic-action-120123/
– Over the past 48 to 72 hours, the operators of many prominent cyberlocker services have been taking unprecedented actions that can not simply be explained away by mere coincidence. The details in the Megaupload indictment clearly have some players in the file-hosting world spooked.
– Filesonic, a top 10 player in the file-sharing world with a billion pageviews a month, not only withdrew its affiliate rewards program, but also banned any third parties downloading files. Simply put, users can now only download files from the service that they uploaded themselves.
– But according to reports, there’s no guarantee of that. Account owners report that their files are being mass deleted, that’s if their entire account has been banned already.
– Fileserve, another leading player, also ended its affiliate program this weekend. Additionally, this morning TorrentFreak received news that Fileserve has now joined Filesonic in banning all 3rd party downloads.
– Uploaded.to banned all US IP addresses in what appears to be an effort to distance itself from US jurisdiction. Its affiliate program is still listed as operational but the same cannot be said about those run by some of its competitors.
– VideoBB and VideoZer have both reportedly closed their rewards program and according to reports have also been mass deleting accounts and huge numbers of files.
– Other sites closing their affiliate programs and/or deleting accounts/files includeFileJungle, UploadStation and FilePost.
– Smaller host UploadBox calls it quits. “All files will be deleted on January 30th. Feel free to download the files you store with UploadBox until this date.”
– Another host, x7.to, shuts down.
– FileJungle and UploadStation have disabled all 3rd party downloads.
– 4shared cancels affiilate program.
6:29 – Google user data to be merged across all sites under contentious plan
– Google is getting rid of over 60 different privacy policies across Google and replacing them with one that’s a lot shorter and easier to read. Our new policy covers multiple products and features, reflecting our desire to create one beautifully simple and intuitive experience across Google.
– Contentious with privacy campaigners
– “If you’re signed in, we may combine information you’ve provided from one service with information from other services,” Google’s director of privacy, product and engineering, Alma Whitten, wrote in a blogpost.
– After the new policy comes into effect, user information from most Google products – such as YouTube, Gmail, Google Maps, Google+ and Android mobile – will be treated as a single trove of data, which the company could use for targeted advertising or other revenue-raising purposes.
– An article in the Washington Post raised concerns about details of people’s private meetings, health, politics and finances becoming part of their digital dossier kept by Google. Confidential discussions via Gmail of a meeting location might be transferred to Google Maps without the user’s consent, for example.
– “There is no way anyone expected this,” Jeffrey Chester, executive director of privacy advocacy group the Centre for Digital Democracy, told the Washington Post. “There is no way a user can comprehend the implication of Google collecting across platforms for information about your health, political opinions and financial concerns.”[see update]
Google said it expected to roll out the revised guidelines on 1 March, consolidating more than 70 privacy policies covering all of its products.
– I think this is great to be honest – shorter, clearer and to be honest I expected data to be shared amongst my Google profile
– One issue – if you say no you can’t access your gmail or documents – people are forced to accept this really
9:54 – Focus on the user
Google search changes rumble on
– This proof of concept was built by some engineers at Facebook, Twitter and MySpace, in consultation with several other social networking companies. We are open-sourcing the code so that anyone may use it or make it even better.
– How much better would social search be if Google surfaced results from all across the web? The results speak for themselves. We created a tool that uses Google’s own relevance measure—the ranking of their organic search results—to determine what social content should appear in the areas where Google+ results are currently hardcoded.
– All of the information in this demo comes from Google itself, and all of the ranking decisions are made by Google’s own algorithms. No other services or APIs are accessed.
– When engaged, this “Don’t be evil” bookmarklet does one simple thing: It turns back the hands of time, and made Google work the way it did before the integration of Google+ earlier this month.
– Its a very elegant hack, using a number of Google’s own tools – including its “rich snippet” webmaster tool and its own organic search listings, to re-order not only the search engine results, but also the results of the promotional Google+ boxes on the right side of the results, as well as the “typeahead” results that now feature only Google+ accounts (see example below, the first a search on my name using “normal Google” and then one using the bookmarklet).
– Video is well worth watching – https://www.focusontheuser.org/video.php
– Extensions for Chrome, Firefox and Safari available
15:37 – Apples Record Quarter
– Apple more than doubled its profits: to $13.06bn (£8.35bn), compared with $6bn for the same quarter in 2010. The result easily beat analysts’ forecasts, taking pressure off the chief executive, Tim Cook, handpicked by Jobs as his successor. Last October Apple shares recorded their biggest single-day dollar drop after iPhone sales missed their forecast.
– Cook said he was thrilled the company sold a record 37.04m iPhones in the final quarter of 2011, a 128% rise on a year ago. “We could have sold more if we’d had more supply,” he said. The recently launched iPhone 4S proved to be the company’s best seller in the quarter. “We could not be happier,” said Cook.
– In record sales across nearly all product categories, Apple sold a record 15.43m iPads over the quarter, more than double a year ago. It sold 5.2m Macs during the quarter, a 26% unit increase.
– 2nd largest quarterly earning of all time – http://parislemon.com/post/16436735313/this-is-actually-the-craziest-chart-about-apple
– Other 20 are all oil companies
– Sitting on $97 billion – isn’t that a bit obscene?
– http://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/22/business/apple-america-and-a-squeezed-middle-class.html?_r=1&pagewanted=1
– Why the iPhone is made in China
22:08 – RIMs CEOs step down
– BlackBerry maker Research In Motion (RIM) has said its co-chief executives, Mike Lazaridis and Jim Balsillie, have bowed to investor pressure and resigned.
– The pair, who together built Lazaridis’s 1985 startup into a global business with $20bn in sales last year, have weathered a storm of criticism in recent years as Apple’s iPhone and the army of devices powered by Google’s innovative Android system eclipsed their email-focused BlackBerry.
– “There comes a time in the growth of every successful company when the founders recognise the need to pass the baton to new leadership,” Lazaridis said in an interview at RIM’s Waterloo headquarters in Ontario.
– “Jim and I went to the board and told them that we thought that time was now.” They have been replaced by Thorsten Heins, a former Siemens executive who has risen steadily through RIM’s upper management ranks since joining the Canadian company in late 2007.
– Too little too late – company is in a mess. Should jump on Windows or Android
– http://www.theverge.com/2012/1/23/2727096/rim-open-to-licensing-BB10-blackberry-ceo
– But they are open to licensing BB10
23:48 – UK signs ACTA
– The UK and 21 other European Union member states have signed the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement, better known as ACTA – also known as right to be forgotten law
– The countries signed the treaty, which aims to harmonise copyright enforcement across much of the world, in Tokyo on Thursday. However, the signatures of the EU member states and the EU itself will count for nothing unless the European Parliament gives its approval to ACTA in June, and digital activists have urged citizens to lobby their MEPs against voting yes.
– However, five EU countries did not sign, namely Germany, the Netherlands, Estonia, Cyprus and Slovakia. Many other countries, such as the US, Japan and Australia,signed the document in September.
– Although ACTA is primarily concerned with the enforcement of intellectual property rights (IPR), its designation as a trade treaty meant it could be negotiated behind closed doors. This lengthy process, led by the US and Japan, was exposed in a series of leaks — some via Wikileaks — that revealed what was going on.
– The final version of ACTA is very different to earlier drafts, which would have forced countries to disconnect internet users if they were found to be repeatedly sharing copyrighted content. The EU rejected this proposal, and other ideas, such as criminalising the use of a mobile phone camera in a cinema, also fell by the wayside.
– Problem is understanding what it actually means which will hopefully come out over the next few weeks and months
– http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20120126/11014317553/european-parliament-official-charge-acta-quits-denounces-masquerade-behind-acta.shtml
– European parliamentary official asked to investigate ACTA resigned over it today
I want to denounce in the strongest possible manner the entire process that led to the signature of this agreement: no inclusion of civil society organisations, a lack of transparency from the start of the negotiations, repeated postponing of the signature of the text without an explanation being ever given, exclusion of the EU Parliament’s demands that were expressed on several occasions in our assembly.
As rapporteur of this text, I have faced never-before-seen manoeuvres from the right wing of this Parliament to impose a rushed calendar before public opinion could be alerted, thus depriving the Parliament of its right to expression and of the tools at its disposal to convey citizens’ legitimate demands.”
Everyone knows the ACTA agreement is problematic, whether it is its impact on civil liberties, the way it makes Internet access providers liable, its consequences on generic drugs manufacturing, or how little protection it gives to our geographical indications.
This agreement might have major consequences on citizens’ lives, and still, everything is being done to prevent the European Parliament from having its say in this matter. That is why today, as I release this report for which I was in charge, I want to send a strong signal and alert the public opinion about this unacceptable situation. I will not take part in this masquerade.

29:06 – Use pcAnywhere – disable it
– Symantec has confirmed that the hacker group Anonymous stole source code from the 2006 versions of several Norton security products and the pcAnywhere remote access tool.
Although Symantec says the theft actually occurred in 2006, the issue did not come to light until this month when hackers related to Anonymous said they had the source code and would release it publicly. Users of the Norton products in question are not at any increased risk of attack because of the age of the source code and security improvements made in the years since the breach, but the vendor acknowledged on Tuesday night that “Customers of Symantec’s pcAnywhere have increased risk as a result of this incident.”
– Symantec pointed customers to a white paper that recommends disabling pcAnywhere, unless it is needed for business-critical use, because malicious users with access to the source code could identify vulnerabilities and launch new exploits. “At this time, Symantec recommends disabling the product until Symantec releases a final set of software updates that resolve currently known vulnerability risks,” the company said.
30:37 – O2 Share your mobile number
– O2 has apologised for an error that shared users’ mobile phone numbers with the websites they visited.
– An experiment set up by Lewis Peckover, a 28-year-old web systems administrator, called attention to the problem last night.
– Peckover showed that O2 was providing websites with the mobile number of users who visited. The numbers were included as plain text in the header information sent by the phone to the website.
– As well as being a potential breach of the Data Protection Act, this raised the prospect that unscrupulous website owners could collect the phone numbers and send spam SMS or marketing calls.
– O2 admitted that the problem began on January 10th and said it was the “unintended effect” of some routine maintenance that the network carried out earlier this month. They said the issue was fixed this afternoon.
– In a statement, the company said: “We investigated, identified and fixed it this afternoon. We would like to apologise for the concern we have caused.”
– The company added: “The only information websites had access to is your mobile number, which could not have been linked to any other identifying information we have about customers.”

Picks
Ian
Snapseed
– Easy way t enhance photo’s
– Great effects can be added
– New for Mac’s, coming soon for Android
– iOS – £2.99, Mac – £13.99
Henry
Muvizu for PC
– 3d animation software
– free for non-commercial use
– based on unreal 3d engine
– from Digimania in Glasgow

DigitalOutbox Episode 103

DigitalOutbox Episode 103
In this episode the team discuss SOPA Protests, Extradition Worry, Google dabbles with Evil, Facebook spreads outside its domain and Apple solves all problems everywhere.

Playback
Listen via iTunes
Listen via M4A
Listen via MP3

Shownotes
1:05 – SOPA protests
– The Stop Online Piracy Act is an act currently wending it’s way through american government. Key legislators have backed away from it, one of its central provisions was shelved and the Obama administration has denounced the more controversial aspects of the bill and hinted at a possible veto should something resembling SOPA land on his desk.
– However SOPA, despite being an American law, affects everyone!
– Order internet service providers to alter their DNS servers from resolving the domain names of websites in foreign countries that host illegal copies of videos, songs, and photos.
Order search engines like Google to modify search results to exclude foreign websites that host illegally copied material.
Order payment providers like PayPal to shut down the payment accounts of foreign websites that host illegally copied material.
Order ad services like Google’s AdSense to refuse any ads or payment from foreign sites that host illegally copied content.
(These rules don’t apply to domains that end in .com, .net, and .org, which fall under US law — the government has been seizing US domains used for piracy since 2010, and just seized 150 domains last month.)
– Large disapproval in the tech industry, wikipeida goes dark as do many sites on Jan 18th to highlight protest
– Many senators start to backtrack and withdraw their support – A freshman senator, Marco Rubio of Florida, a rising Republican star, was first out of the starting gate Wednesday morning with his announcement that he would no longer back anti-Internet piracy legislation he had co-sponsored. Senator John Cornyn, the Texas Republican who heads the campaign operation for his party, quickly followed suit and urged Congress take more time to study the measure that had been set for a test vote next week.
By Wednesday afternoon, Senator Orrin Hatch, Republican of Utah and one of the Senate bill’s original co-sponsors, called it “simply not ready for prime time” and withdrew his support.
– Hopefully this will be the beginning of the end of SOPA
7:27 – Piracy student loses US extradition battle over copyright infringement
– A judge ruled on Friday that a 23-year-old student can be extradited to the United States for running a website posting links to pirated TV shows and films, despite significant doubts over whether such sites break any UK laws.
– The ruling threw Britain’s contentious extradition treaty with the US, which critics allege is greatly biased against UK nationals fighting their removal to America, under further scrutiny. It came just hours after a businessman from Kent lost an appeal against the decision that he should be sent for trial in Texas for allegedly plotting to send missile components to Iran.
Richard O’Dwyer, a computing student at Sheffield Hallam University, faces a potential 10-year term in a US jail despite never having been to America or using web servers based in the country. When still a teenager O’Dwyer set up a website, TVShack, which posted links to pirated material. It did not directly host any files, which meant, according to the student’s lawyers, that it acted as little more than a Google-type search engine and did not breach copyright.
– The defence team pointed out that the only UK prosecution of a similar site, TV-Links, ended last year with the case being thrown out.
– But the district judge, Quentin Purdy, ruled that O’Dwyer should nonetheless face trial in the US. “There are said to be direct consequences of criminal activity by Richard O’Dwyer in the USA, albeit by him never leaving the north of England,” Purdy said. “Such a state of affairs does not demand a trial here if the competent UK authorities decline to act, and does, in my judgment, permit one in the USA.”
– O’Dwyer said he planned to appeal.
11:10 – Google – What Were You Thinking
– In September, Google launched Getting Kenyan Businesses Online (GKBO). Whilst we saw aspects of their program that were competitive, we welcomed the initiative, as Kenya still has enough growth in it that every new entrant helps the overall market. We are also confident enough in our product, our local team, and our deep local commitment that we believe we can hold our own against any competition, playing fair.
– Shortly after that launch, we started receiving some odd calls. One or two business owners were clearly getting confused because they wanted help with their website, and we don’t currently offer websites, only a listing. Initially, we didn’t think much of it, but the confusing calls continued through November.
– Since October, Google’s GKBO appears to have been systematically accessing Mocality’s database and attempting to sell their competing product to our business owners. They have been telling untruths about their relationship with us, and about our business practices, in order to do so. As of January 11th, nearly 30% of our database has apparently been contacted.
– Furthermore, they now seem to have outsourced this operation from Kenya to India.
When we started this investigation, I thought that we’d catch a rogue call-centre employee, point out to Google that they were violating our Terms and conditions (sections 9.12 and 9.17, amongst others), someone would get a slap on the wrist, and life would continue.
– I did not expect to find a human-powered, systematic, months-long, fraudulent (falsely claiming to be collaborating with us, and worse) attempt to undermine our business, being perpetrated from call centres on 2 continents.
– Someone, somewhere, has some questions to answer.
These are my personal top 3:
If Google wanted to work with our data, why didn’t they just ask?
In discussions with various Google Kenya/Africa folks in the past, I’d raised the idea of working together more closely in Kenya. Getting Kenyan businesses online is precisely what we do.
Who authorised this? Until we uncovered the ‘India by way of Mountain View’ angle, I could have believed that this was a local team that somehow forgot the corporate motto, but not now.
Who knew, and who SHOULD have known, even if they didn’t know?
– Update – Google mortified
– “We were mortified to learn that a team of people working on a Google project improperly used Mocality’s data and misrepresented our relationship with Mocality to encourage customers to create new websites.
“We’ve already unreservedly apologised to Mocality. We’re still investigating exactly how this happened, and as soon as we have all the facts, we’ll be taking the appropriate action with the people involved.”
– Also, vandalising OpenStreetMap
– Alleged to make thousands of wrong edits
– Google sacked the contractors involved, but said it detected only 20 changes
15:55 – Jerry Yang quits Yahoo
– Jerry Yang, the co-founder of Yahoo!, has resigned from its board.
– Mr Yang founded the online company in 1995 with David Filo and was its chief executive from June 2007 until January 2009.
– His resignation comes two weeks after the company hired former PayPal executive Scott Thomson to be its new chief executive.
– Mr Yang annoyed some shareholders by turning down a $47.5bn (£31bn) takeover offer from Microsoft in 2008.
– The company’s current market value is about $20bn.
– Mr Yang has also resigned from the boards of Yahoo Japan and Alibaba Group and said in a statement: “The time has come for me to pursue other interests outside of Yahoo!”
16:22 – A big year…for Flickr?
– Once the darling of photographers other sites like Shutterbug and 500px (and Google+ and Facebook) have taken much of the mindshare when it comes to photo’s
– Unloved, very little innovation and some big behind the scenes names leave the company
– No Flickr have started 2012…by removing some features
– They say it’s a big year so to start off, they are removing features that don’t meet their core vision
– Doing so will clear the decks for their upcoming announcements
– They are also hiring which is a good sign. Here’s hoping for some improvements.
17:29 – Kodak files for bankruptcy
– Kodak has filed for bankruptcy in a bid to survive a liquidity crisis after years of falling sales related to the decline of its namesake film business as digital cameras have taken over the market.
– Eastman Kodak Co, the photographic film pioneer, which had tried to restructure to become a seller of consumer products like cameras, said it had also obtained a $950m, 18-month credit facility from Citigroup to keep it going.
17:59 – Listen to music with Friends
– Today, with music services on Facebook, there’s a new way to listen with friends. This feature lets you listen along with any of your friends who are currently listening to music. You can also listen together in a group while one of your friends plays DJ.
– You can listen to the same song, at the exact same time—so when your favorite vocal part comes in you can experience it together, just like when you’re jamming out at a performance or dance club.
– Look for the music note in the chat sidebar to see which of your friends are listening to music. To listen with a friend, hover over their name, and click the Listen With button. The music will play through the service your friend is using. When a new song plays, you’ll come along for the ride, discovering new music while your friend DJs for you.
19:19 – Facebook Apps
– Facebook’s Open Graph app launch event is underway here in San Francisco, where over 60 new Open Graph websites and apps are either demo-ing or launching remotely. The apps can publish user activity back to Timeline and Ticker, even from offsite. Launch partners include Pinterest, Ticketmaster, Gogobot, Rotten Tomatoes, and many others. Carl Sjogreen, Facebook project manager, also announced that Facebook will now begin approving apps from third-party developers who aren’t partners.
The Open Graph platform was first announced at f8 in September. There, music, news reader, and video apps debuted showing how users could share what they listened to, read, or watched. With today’s launch, a wider variety of activity will begin to appear on Tickers, Timelines, and the Facebook news feed. This includes what users have pinned, tickets they’ve bought, trips they’ve planned, and movies they’ve reviewed.
22:07 – Facebook Verbs
– Already apps like Fab.com, Foodspotting, Foodily, Ticketmaster, Pinterest, Rotten Tomatoes, Pose, Kobo, Gogobot, and TripAdvisor have signed on to share these stories — which go beyond what we’re used to on Facebook.
“When we say anything we really mean anything,” Facebook Director of Product Management Carl Sjogreen said as he took the stage and announced that verbs like “knitting,” “shared” are now a part of Timeline story options.
– The new app actions are basically a conceptual expansion of actions posted by apps like Spotify and the Washington Post, and use verbs and nouns that go beyond the non custom actions like “listen” “watch” and “read” to “bought,””spot,””pose,””want,””love” and “become an expert.”
23:55 – Apple Education Event
– Apple® today announced iBooks® 2 for iPad®, featuring iBooks textbooks, an entirely new kind of textbook that’s dynamic, engaging and truly interactive. iBooks textbooks offer iPad users gorgeous, fullscreen textbooks with interactive animations, diagrams, photos, videos, unrivaled navigation and much more. iBooks textbooks can be kept up to date, don’t weigh down a backpack and never have to be returned. Leading education services companies including Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, McGraw-Hill and Pearson will deliver educational titles on the iBookstore℠ with most priced at $14.99 or less, and with the new iBooks Author, a free authoring tool available today, anyone with a Mac® can create stunning iBooks textbooks.
– The new iBooks 2 app is available today as a free download from the App Store™. With support for great new features including gorgeous, fullscreen books, interactive 3D objects, diagrams, videos and photos, the iBooks 2 app will let students learn about the solar system or the physics of a skyscraper with amazing new interactive textbooks that come to life with just a tap or swipe of the finger. With its fast, fluid navigation, easy highlighting and note-taking, searching and definitions, plus lesson reviews and study cards, the new iBooks 2 app lets students study and learn in more efficient and effective ways than ever before.
– iBooks Author is also available today as a free download from the Mac App Store and lets anyone with a Mac create stunning iBooks textbooks, cookbooks, history books, picture books and more, and publish them to Apple’s iBookstore. Authors and publishers of any size can start creating with Apple-designed templates that feature a wide variety of page layouts. iBooks Author lets you add your own text and images by simply dragging and dropping, and with the Multi-Touch™ widgets you can easily add interactive photo galleries, movies, Keynote® presentations and 3D objects.
– Apple today also announced an all-new iTunes® U app giving educators and students everything they need on their iPad, iPhone® and iPod touch® to teach and take entire courses. With the new iTunes U app, students using iPads have access to the world’s largest catalog of free educational content, along with over 20,000 education apps at their fingertips and hundreds of thousands of books in the iBookstore that can be used in their school curriculum, such as novels for English or Social Studies.* The iTunes U app is available today as a free download from the App Store. Over 500,000 lectures, videos and books
– Some of these books are massive – 2.7GB for example? A 16GB iPad isn’t going to be an option really
– While impressive, they remind me of Encarta!
– Love the look of notes and study cards though – they look great
– Seemingly the new iBook format is wrapped epub – not another format war?
– Create a book in iBooks Author – must be sold via Apple or given away for free
– iBooks and iTunes U content updates – always fresh. Pretty impressive – the book is finally an app?
– A whole 8 textbooks available today
33:20 – Worlds first self healing iPhone case….from Nissan
– Nissan on Monday announced the company’s new Scratch Shield case for the iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S. The case is made of ABS plastic that is designed to create a rigid, robust and tighter-fitting case. Perhaps the most exciting news is the case’s unique ability to heal itself. Nissan’s Scratch Shield paint is the world’s first paint technology that allows fine scratches to quickly mend themselves. The paint is the same that is featured on numerous Nissan and Infiniti automobiles throughout the world. When damage occurs to the coating, the chemical structure is able to react to change back to its original shape and fill the gap, thus “healing” the blemish. The healing process takes between an hour and a week depending on the damage.
– Released…later this year
34:25 – Lucas calls it quits
– George Lucas has announced his retirement from the movie business.
The director blurted the news to the New York Times in an extensive interview centred on Lucasfilm’s upcoming flick, Red Tails.
– “I’m retiring,” Lucas told the paper. “I’m moving away from the business, from the company, from all this kind of stuff.”
– While reports suggest a fifth Indiana Jones movie is in the pipeline – a rumour Lucas was hesitant to quash – Red Tails is apparently the last blockbuster in the man’s plans.
– Long-time Lucas producer Rick McCallum fuelled the claim saying: “Once this is finished… He will have completed his task as a man and a filmmaker.”

Picks
Henry
Blue Icicle
– USB converter and mic preamp combo that allows you to connect any XLR microphone directly into your computer via USB
– Good quality
– Easy to setup

f.lux

F.lux is an app for Windows, Mac and Linux that does a simple but important task – it help’s your eyes. Many modern displays are bright but you don’t really notice how bright they are during the day partly as they’ve been designed to operate well in those brighter conditions. At night it’s a different story and the brightness can really strain your eye’s if your not careful.

The shot above is from my current Mac desktop. It’s fine during the day but the whites at night even with lights on are bright. This is where f.lux helps. It sits quietly in the background and will set the colour temperature of your screen to match your lights. It detects your location and will automatically switch to the new colour temperature at the right time.

At first it feels strange when you see the colour temperature changing but I find it really eases the strain on my eyes although I will admit it does look odd when you see the screenshot above of f.lux in aciton. You can easily switch to different temperatures to match your environment and I also set f.lux to dim gradually over an hour. Makes a big difference to the effectiveness in my opinion. Finally there is an option to temporarily disable f.lux to allow you to work on any graphics or photography too.

A handy free utility that isn’t new but will be a must install on any future computers I own.

New Lick of Paint

I’m super excited to welcome you to a new look DigitalOutbox. We’d grown a little tired of the old theme that has served us well since the middle of 2009 so it was time for an update. It was also time to drop that FriendFeed link – damn you Facebook!

So late last year we started throwing around some options and came up with this brand new look which is a slightly modified version of the Ares WordPress theme. As our work and real life often limits our time there may be a few unfinished parts of the website but over the next few days we’ll even them out. Who said you can’t polish a turd? If you do spot something that doesn’t work feel free to mail or leave a comment on this post, especially if you’ve any good ideas for a new logo!

All our content is still available but we’ve made a few tweaks that should make the site easier to use. Firstly the shownotes are no longer a separate file but integrated into each podcast post so our content is now fully searchable, indexed and connected with other posts. As before we offer mp3’s and mp4’s of each podcast and as we update each of the old podcasts you’ll see a shownote listing and also the start time for each of the topics on the show. Hopefully that will make it easier to find and listen to an older show. Finally the site is more graphical while being slightly snappier than before. Hopefully.

The website update is the first of many planned for DigitalOutbox over the coming year. We hope to post more content on the site including occasional reviews and product comparisons and the podcast itself is being tweaked too. More regular and focussed (shorter!) is the first change you’ll notice. Other changes include…well, you’ll just have to wait and see.

DigitalOutbox Episode 102

DigitalOutbox Episode 102
In this episode the team discuss Google+, Netflix launching in the UK, Virgin Doubling Up and CES

Playback
Listen via iTunes
Listen via M4A
Listen via MP3

Shownotes
0:57 – Google Search plus your World
– Big search engine update – personal results appear alongside web results in Google
– Basically, Google+ is everywhere
Twitter annoyed
– Google surprised – it was Twitter that pulled out of their search deal
4:19 – Netflix launches in the UK
– Netflix is available now and anyone can get a one month free trial: click-to-watch TV programmes and films streamed instantly over the Internet to your smart TV, game console, computer, tablet or mobile device. After the free trial, it costs just £5.99 or €6.99 per month
– PS3, Xbox, Wii, iOS and PC/Mac – limited Android and Smart TV support
– Quite a good range of content both American and British though nothing much from last year or two. Price seems not bad. Speed and quality good.
– Get recommendations via Facebook friends
6:32 – Roku to launch in the UK
– Launched by end of Jan
– The entry-level Roku LT will sell for £49.99 (about $77) and the top of the line Roku 2 XS, which comes with a motion-aware remote control for online gaming, will sell for £99.99. That’s a bit of a premium over U.S. pricing, where both models sell for $49 and $99, respectively. Sales will be online and through Amazon.co.uk only for the time being, but the company said that it is going to add additional retailers in the coming months.
7:50 – Zeebox and Sky tie up
– Sky has bought a 10% equity stake in Zeebox, in a deal reportedly worth upwards of $15m, which was founded by BBC iPlayer developer Anthony Rose and former EMI board director Ernesto Schmitt.
– Will appear in Sky’s apps this summer
12:25 – CES
– Lots of tablets
– Lot of Ultrabooks
– Lots of TV’s
– Kinect for Windows
– Anything catch the eye – Samsung Smart TV’s and the 55” OLED
– The rest is all meh…
14:03 – iTunes Match
– False start on Thursday 15th, but launches on Friday 16th
– £20.99 yearly subscription
– Overwhelmed at first
– Ian – 11,500 library – uploaded 11GB of music (1500 tracks), but matched the others. 6,500 were of better quality than I had already – downloading was fast
16:08 – Virgin Doubling Speeds
– Virgin Media is to invest more than £100m on a programme that will more than double the broadband speed for most of its 4m internetcustomers.
– Virgin Media, which has tested speeds of up to 1.5Gb a second in a trial of tech businesses at the so-called Silicon Roundabout in London, is to spend £110m on the 18-month upgrade programme.
– The company says that those who subscribe to its up to 10Mb service – 74% of its 4.1m internet subscribers – will see their speed double to 20Mb.
– Those on its up to 20Mb tier, 12% of the total subscriber base, will see their speed tripled to 60Mb.
– The 9% who take 30Mb broadband will rise to 60Mb.
– And the 5% who take services from 50Mb to 100Mb will rise to a speed of between 100Mb and 120Mb.
– The top-tier speed – at 120Mb it will be the quickest offered in the UK – will enable customers to download a high-definition movie in about five minutes.
– BT’s response – “It is no surprise to see that Virgin are following our lead by doubling speeds. We announced we would do this for our fibre products last autumn and so they are trying to catch up with us.” Cocks 🙂
18:03 – Microsoft taking pirates to court
– Microsoft has accused high-street retailer Comet of pirating 94,000 Windows Vista and Windows XP recovery CDs and selling them to consumers.
– The software giant announced this morning that it had filed a suit against Comet Group PLC, accusing the group of manufacturing counterfeit discs at a factory in Hampshire and selling them through its UK retail outlets. Comet has 248 stores across the UK. A spokesperson for Microsoft was unable to say where the suit has been filed.
– The allegedly counterfeit recovery discs were then sold to customers who had bought desktops and laptops running Windows, Microsoft said. Microsoft’s associate general counsel for worldwide anti-piracy and anti-counterfeiting David Finn called Comet’s actions “unfair to customers” in this morning’s statement.
– “We expect better from retailers of Microsoft products – and our customers deserve better, too,” he said.
– In an official statement, Comet told The Reg it had sought legal advice from “leading counsel” to “support its view that the production of recovery discs did not infringe Microsoft’s intellectual property.”
21:41 – School ICT to be replaced by computer science programme
– The current information and communications technology (ICT) curriculum in England’s schools is a “mess” and must be radically revamped, the education secretary has announced.
– From September it will be replaced by a flexible curriculum in computer science and programming, designed with the help of universities and industry.
Michael Gove called the current ICT curriculum “demotivating and dull”.
He will begin a consultation next week on the new computing curriculum.
– “Instead of children bored out of their minds being taught how to use Word or Excel by bored teachers, we could have 11-year-olds able to write simple 2D computer animations,” he said.
Computer games entrepreneur Ian Livingstone, an adviser to Mr Gove, envisages a new curriculum that could have 16-year-olds creating their own apps for smartphones and 18-year-olds able to write their own simple programming language.
27:25 – rFactor 2 and Skyrim
– rFactor 2 Beta released! Whoop. £29.99 – “Pre-purchase” basically, buy the game now and you get access to the Beta (planned to run for around 6 months.)
– initial impressions – still not at the bleeding edge of graphics… but the underlying simulation appears stronger than ever!
– Skyrim – addicted. Enought said. Too many hours.

Picks
Ian
F.Lux
– Makes the color of your computer’s display adapt to the time of day, warm at night and like sunlight during the day.
– Mac only
– Free
Chris
3D Laser Mapping
– Next gen Street View?
Henry
Action Movie FX
– Free app for iOS that allows you to add effects to your movies
– Great for blowing up your colleagues