DigitalOutbox Episode 304

Chris and Ian discuss Uber, MWC and the Nintendo Switch

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DigitalOutbox Episode 239

We are back! Chris and Ian discuss the weeks news and catch up on Mobile World Congress, Game Developers Conference and the Apple Keynote. It’s a long one!

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Picks
Ian
Cities: Skylines
– £22.99
– Mac, PC, Linux
– Sim city builder
– Addictive and you need a bit of strategy especially around transport
– Some bits tedious – water and sewers done manually, demolition of abandoned buildings
– Overall awesome 🙂
– Mods
– Custom buildings, fixes etc
– Save Games
– GTA map, completed cities
– Maps
– Many towns from around the world
– Can make your own

DigitalOutbox Episode 174

DigitalOutbox Episode 174
DigitalOutbox Episode 174 – PC decline, Microsoft Restructure and ISP’s go to war

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1:19 – PC sales see ‘longest decline’ in history
4:31 – Microsoft Realigns To Focus On Hardware And Better Compete Against The Apples And Samsungs Of The World
8:41 – How Microsoft handed the NSA access to encrypted messages
12:28 – UK to probe Huawei staff’s role at cybersecurity centre
15:11 – Leaked letter shows ISPs and government at war
21:27 – Google for Non-profits hit’s some of the UK
23:00 – UK to test self-driving cars on public roads this year

DigitalOutbox Episode 138

DigitalOutbox Episode 138
DigitalOutbox Episode 138, Facebook, Trolls and Do Not Track

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1:53 – Facebook has more than 1 billion users
– Facebook now has more than one billion people using it every month, the company has said. The passing of the milestone was announced by founder Mark Zuckerberg on US television on Thursday.
– The company said that those billion users were to date responsible for 1.13 trillion “likes”, 219 billion photos and 17 billion location check-ins.
– Funny – http://www.geekculture.com/joyoftech/joyarchives/1751.html
3:42 – Facebook could be used to prove identity for public services
– Personal login details for social networking sites, bank accounts and personal mobile phone accounts could be used be used as official proof of identity to access public services, the Cabinet Office has confirmed.
– Ministers are to announce in the next few weeks the first list of potential “certified providers” for its “identity assurance programme”, which will allow citizens to assert their identity safely and securely online to access public services.
– The scheme is intended to help people sign in securely to the gov.uk site that is being developed as a portal for all online government services, including looking for a job, applying for welfare benefits, paying car tax or applying for a passport or a student loan.
– The Cabinet Office says the scheme is specifically designed for citizens to retain control of their own data, avoiding the issues of privacy and security raised by a centralised database that was involved in Labour’s national identity card scheme.
– Under the scheme each individual is to be allowed to choose from a range of “trusted non-government organisations” to verify their identity without centrally storing or sharing their personal data or having knowledge of the government service that has asked for proof of identity.
7:27 – Troll jailed for three months
– A teenager who posted explicit comments and jokes about April Jones on his Facebook page has been jailed for 12 weeks. Matthew Woods, 19, from Chorley, Lancashire, made comments about April and Madeleine McCann, the three-year-old who went missing during a family holiday in Portugal in 2007.
– Woods was arrested for his own safety after about 50 people descended on his home. He pleaded guilty at Chorley magistrates court to sending by means of a public electronic communications network a message or other matter that is grossly offensive. The chairman of the bench, Bill Hudson, said Woods’s comments were so “abhorrent” he deserved the longest sentence the court could hand down.
– Hudson added: “The reason for the sentence is the seriousness of the offence, the public outrage that has been caused and we felt there was no other sentence this court could have passed which conveys to you the abhorrence that many in society feel this crime should receive.” The court was told Woods’s Facebook page was available to a large number of people.
– Martina Jay, prosecuting, said: “He started this idea when he was at a friend’s house , saw a joke on Sickipedia [an online database devoted to sick jokes] and changed it slightly.”
– In mitigation David Edwards, defending said: “In one moment of drunken stupidity he places himself as public enemy number two – behind only the person who carried out this crime.”
– Was it right to jail him? Is this any different to Frankie Boyle? Why not do this for other trolls?
11:33 – David Cameron joins twitter
– His first tweet
– I’m starting Conference with this new Twitter feed about my role as Conservative Leader. I promise there won’t be “too many tweets…”
— David Cameron
– The @ replies to him were…..amazing
– About time he was on twitter though
12:44 – Huawei and ZTE pose security threat, warns US panel
– Chinese telecom firms Huawei and ZTE pose a security threat to the US, a congressional panel has warned after an investigation into the two companies.
– The two firms should be barred from any US mergers and acquisitions, according to a House Intelligence Committee report. The panel says the firms failed to allay fears about their association with China’s government and military.
– The firms – among the world’s biggest makers of networking equipment – denied the accusations in front of the panel.
– On Monday ZTE issued a statement insisting its equipment met all US standards and posed no threat. “ZTE has set an unprecedented standard for cooperation by any Chinese company with a congressional investigation,” China’s Xinhua news agency quoted the firm as saying.
– Huawei is expected to respond formally to the charges later on Monday but the firm’s vice-president, William Buckley, earlier denounced the allegations as “dangerous political distractions”.
– The panel’s report will cause transatlantic friction over the role of the Chinese companies. In the UK, Huawei is a major supplier to the telecoms provider BT, and has supplied infrastructure being used in the new 4G superfast mobile network built by Everything Everywhere – the merged Orange/T-Mobile. Huawei provides access to its source code for GCHQ specialists who have reportedly examined it for threats and passed it as safe for use.
– Huawei is a private company founded by a former Chinese military engineer, and has grown rapidly to become the world’s second largest supplier, behind Sweden’s Ericsson, of telecommunications network gear, with operations in more than 140 countries. ZTE is the world’s fourth largest mobile phone manufacturer, with 90,000 employees worldwide, and fifth-largest maker of telecoms equipment.
– While both companies’ sales of mobile devices such as smartphones have grown in the US, espionage fears have proscribed any move into network infrastructure sales.
– Huawei’s relationship with BT now under investigation – http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2012/oct/10/huawei-international-blacklisting
– The longstanding commercial relationship between BT and Huawei is being investigated by parliament’s intelligence and security committee, its chairman Sir Malcolm Rifkind has confirmed to the Guardian.
– In a move that could cause disruption to major broadband and mobile phone infrastructure projects in the UK should security fears be raised about Huawei’s equipment, the committee is “reviewing the whole presence of Huawei in regard to our critical national infrastructure and whether that should give rise for concern”.
– The committee has been taking evidence in private for some months from members of the security services, and is considering whether to make some of its findings and recommendations public. A report will be sent to David Cameron before Christmas.
– “In the background are allegations that Huawei has links to the People’s Liberation Army in China, and that any Chinese company is ultimately subject to the Chinese government,” said Rifkind.
17:02 – Do Not Track standard needs action says commissioner
– European commissioner Neelie Kroes has accused members of the online industry of watering down a standard designed to protect consumers’ privacy on the web.
– Websites are under pressure to allow consumers much greater control over how they are tracked online.
– But work undertaken by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) to create a Do Not Track (DNT) standard was “not going to plan”, said Ms Kroes.
– She is angry about delays and a proposal to exempt marketing.
– She is concerned by suggestions that DNT might not be set as a default.
– “The commission services were very clear on this point in their letter to the W3C – at installation or first use, users must be informed about the importance of their DNT choice,” she said.
– She is also angry about the “extremely broad” exceptions now being suggested to the W3C, exemptions that have been described by the Federal Trade Commission’s chairman Jon Leibowitz as “a loophole you could drive a virtual truck through”.
– Much of the anger is reserved for the Direct Marketing Association (DMA), which has asked the W3C that marketing be added to the list of those activities exempt from the standard.
19:54 – BBC Launch iPlayer Radio
– Pulled all radio content into one web and app – iPlayer Radio
– Website is clean and usable
– iOS app out today (Monday) – Android coming – where’s the pitchforks
– The radio web app is the BBC’s first comprehensive attempt to put significant investment into bringing its radio programs up to speed with the work that the broadcaster has done on its video assets: BBC iPlayer allows users to watch content on demand both over its web app as well as via native apps, adding download component to the video service this past September.
– The app, meanwhile, has a couple of nice extra features in it: a dial on the channel selector is reminiscent of a tuner on an old-fashioned radio (something pointed out by a BBC radio presenter on a promotional program). Once you are in a radio station’s home screen, you have a little bump that prompts you to explore other features, such as catch-up radio shows as well as related video clips. The app also has a build in alarm for the app to work like a clock radio. Users can also select different programs and set reminders to listen to them when they are on.
– The BBC says that an Android app will be coming soon, although it will have to iron out issues with Adobe Flash first in order for the app to work across the many flavors of Android devices that are currently on the market.
– Meanwhile the web apps are designed for all-screens and give a significantly more cohesive experience across the many channels that the BBC operates — these include regional stations as well as those dedicated to particular music and other genres. Before this, each interface was slightly different from others, meaning that it wasn’t as easy for users to navigate between them. As with the native app, here again it’s about integrating video alongside the audio experience. The BBC says that this is just the beginning of development with the web app, which will also feature more content direct from DJs (perhaps original content in that sense) and more “two-way conversation between audience and studio.”
24:04 – Kindle Lending Library comes to the UK
– Amazon continues to roll out its content offerings in Europe. Soon, Amazon Prime members will be able to borrow books from the Kindle owners’ lending library. 200,000 books are available at the time of this writing. Amazon will increase the KDP Select program fund to catch up with the increase of demand in book lending.
– According to Amazon, authors who choose to enroll in the Kindle Direct Publishing program and skip the publisher step earns 77 percent more royalties on average than other authors.
– Like in the U.S., Harry Potter e-books will be available to lend. In October, the KDP select fund has been increased by $100,000 to $700,000. Amazon hints at another increase coming in November. Every time a book is borrowed, the other earns on average $2.29.
– Over the past couple of months, Amazon has been trying to bring its ecosystem to Europe ahead of Kindle Fire HD‘s release. Amazon makes little or no money on hardware devices and hopes that customers will actually use the device and buy content.
– Other companies have been trying to move away from the traditional buying model for ebooks. For example, Oyster is trying to bring the unlimited subscription model to e-books, with community and curation features.
– Yet, the lending library launched last year without any of the big six publishers in the U.S. Most of the books available to lend are exclusive self-published books. Some restrictions apply as well. For example, you can only read one book at a time.
– The lending library will be available the U.K., Germany and France at the end of October.
28:59 – Webplatform.org
– Develop in HTML – this is for you
– WebPlatform.org will have accurate, up-to-date, comprehensive references and tutorials for every part of client-side development and design, with quirks and bugs revealed and explained. It will have in-depth indicators of browser support and inter-operability, with links to tests for specific features. It will feature discussions and script libraries for cutting-edge features at various states of implementation or standardisation, with the opportunity to give feedback into the process before the features are locked down. It will have features to let you experiment with and share code snippets, examples and solutions. It will have an API to access the structured information for easy reuse. It will have resources for teachers to help them train their students with critical skills. It will have information you just can’t get anywhere else, and it will have it all in one place.
– And then the note of caution:But it doesn’t. Not yet. Right now, it has a wiki, docs.webplatform.org, which anyone with an account can edit, and structured templates for ensuring consistency. It has a massive import of data from Microsoft, Opera, Google, Facebook, Mozilla, Nokia, Adobe, and W3C, still in a rough form, that needs a lot of polishing. It has a chat channel and Q&A forums, and a blog. And all this material will be available free, for anyone to use for any purpose.
– The site has the backing of some of the biggest players on the Web: Adobe, Apple, Facebook, Google, HP, Microsoft, Mozilla, Nokia, and Opera. These organizations are stewards for the project, enabling W3C to convene the community and grow the site.
– Tech harmony?

Picks
Ian
Super Hexagon
– iOS – £1.99
– Minimal action game
– Fast, simple, addictive