DigitalOutbox Episode 96
In this episode the team discuss the Facebook Timeline, Amazons New Fire and the Apple iPhone 4S.
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1:17 – Facebook F8
– What Zuckerberg showed was a beautiful new Profile that is much more visual than anything Facebook has done before. To be honest, it looks a bit like a really nice Tumblr blog. It has three main parts:
all your stories
all your apps
a new way to express who you are – And it goes all the way back to when you were born.
– Greater integration with Spotify et all
– Tracks played are listed on Facebook – click on track and it will open Spotify and synchronise playback
– Spotify also open to all and gifting 6 months subs to all new users worldwide
– News app’s will highlight what your reading on your wall
– Others can click and read post
– Can like etc from within app
– Guardian, Washington Post, The Daily partnering at launch
16:06 – HP Gets a New Boss
– Meg Whitman has been named president and CEO of Hewlett-Packard, replacing fellow HP board member Leo Apotheker
– The move follows several months of angst capped by high drama in August, when Apotheker confirmed reports that the company might sell or spin off its big PC business and nuke its tablet effort. That, along with his plan to drop more than $10 billion to buy Autonomy Corp. PLC, sparked a furor that has yet to subside.
– Whitman was lauded for building eBay into an online auction powerhouse, but her later years there were marred by a disastrous $2.5 2.6 billion purchase of Skype in 2005. Two years later, eBay took a $1.4 billion write-off on that deal.
18:36 – Scots want .scot
– The Scottish government has asked the UK culture minister to back its bid for a .scot domain when applications for new top-level domain names open in January.
In a letter sent to Ed Vaizey today, Alex Neil, Cabinet Secretary for Infrastructure and Capital Investment in Scotland, said that the .scot domain would bring together “a worldwide family of Scots” and give them a place “to demonstrate that identity online”.
– The new domain would pay for itself too, claims Neil, “we believe there is strong demand for a dot-scot domain and that it should be run as a public resource on a not-for-profit basis that will quickly become self financing.”
– The Scottish government has officially thrown its backing behind DSR, the Dot Scot Registry, a campaign group that has been preparing its bid for the domain since it was announced two years ago that new TLDs would be introduced.
– If it would pay for itself, why doesn’t the Scottish government buy it? Twats.
21:02 – Technology in the Docks
– An unfortunate 19-year-old last week received a harsh lesson in the subtleties of courtroom policy over photography. The teenager was sitting in the public gallery of Luton crown court last Friday when he received a message from a friend asking him where he was. To explain why he couldn’t talk, he recorded a shot on his BlackBerry’s camera and sent the picture to her of the courtroom. The police officers in the dock noticed.
– The phone was seized and the youth, Paul Thompson, was taken down to the cells under arrest. An hour later Thompson reappeared in court, was charged with contempt of court and sentenced to two months in prison.
– Swift justice, undoubtedly. Judge Barbara Mensah told Thompson:
There are notices all around the court building about not taking photographs in court. This is a serious offence and the message must go out that people cannot take photos.
– Contempt of court is one of those offences for which a wide range of punishments may be imposed. There do not appear, as yet, to be any specific sentencing guidelines on how to deal with snap-happy mobile users. Last September, the Ministry of Justice revealed that 24 people were at that time locked up for a variety of contempt offences.
22:23 – Mobile coverage expanded in £150m plan
– George Osborne has promised £150m of government money to get mobile coverage to 99% of the UK, ensuring even the most remote beauty spots will no longer escape the chirping of portable phones.
– The chancellor’s money, to be gathered from government department underspends, will ensure up to 6 million more people will be able to get a signal. Mobile coverage reaches 95% of the UK, although in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland masts only reach 90% of locations.
– The money will be used to pay for new masts, with procurement expected to begin next year. Osborne hopes to improve coverage for voice calls and data connections for internet services.
– Voice signals should reach more rural areas by 2013, while data connections will come when the networks begin to roll out 4G spectrum. The government’s auction of 4G airwaves is due to take place next summer, with faster data networks up and running by the following year, although there are fears it could be delayed.
26:04 – Amazons new Kindles
– Kindle Fire
– the Kindle Fire is a 7-inch tablet running Android and functioning as a “souped-up version of the Kindle.” To reach that keen price, Amazon has eschewed the integration of a camera, microphone or 3G, though the Fire will come with WiFi and a free 30-day trial of Amazon Prime. Prime membership typically costs $79 per year and grants the benefits of free two-day shipping and access to Amazon’s video-streaming service.
– the Kindle Fire has a Gorilla Glass-protected, multitouch-capable IPS display, a TI OMAP4 dual-core processor, and at 14.6 ounces (413g), a pretty lightweight frame. The resolution on that screen is 1024 x 600, same as on RIM’s BlackBerry Playbook, and the Kindle Fire’s physical dimensions are 7.5 x 4.7 x 0.45 inches (190 x 120 x 11.5mm). There’s 8GB of built-in storage and the battery’s rated to last for eight hours of continuous reading or 7.5 hours of video playback (with WiFi switched off). A 3.5mm headphone jack is naturally included as is a pair of top-mounted stereo speakers.
– On the software front, we’re told that Amazon has “painted over the rough surfaces” of Android with its own, more accessible user interface and has closely tied the device with its content library. That includes the Amazon App Store, which has grown to number over 10,000 applications, and what’s described as a “lightning-fast web browser” running on Amazon’s EC2 cloud computing engine. Calling it Silk, Bezos explains that it splits the workload between the Kindle Fire and Amazon’s cloud, doing some backend hocus pocus to streamline what gets to your device. All other media and content on the Kindle Fire will also be backed up to the cloud, so you can delete things without a care. One final note of software import: the Fire supports Flash!
– Magazines, books, video, apps, games, music, web – A true consumption device all backed up to the cloud…for free
– In addition to all of the digital content we associate with Amazon, including video, audio, and Kindle e-books, the company has announced that the Kindle Fire Newsstand will stock “100 exclusive graphic novels” from DC Entertainment. Titles include Watchmen, Batman: Arkham City, Superman: Earth One, and Green Lantern: Secret Origin. If comics aren’t your style, you can look forward to seeing “hundreds of magazines and newspapers” available in Fire-optimized form, including The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, USA Today, Wired, Elle, The New Yorker, Cosmopolitan, and a particular favorite around the Verge offices, Martha Stewart Living. As an added bonus, Kindle Fire customers will enjoy free three-month access to a selection of 17 Condé Nast publications.
– The Kindle Fire will ship in the US (and only in the US, there are no plans for an international launch yet) on November 15th for $199 and pre-orders are now being taken at the link below.
– Great at that price as well – really is a great shopfront for Amazon
45:01 – Samsung and Microsoft licencing deal
– They decided to cross-license their patent portfolios. This would better protect both companies from outside attacks moving forward.
Past that, Samsung will pay Microsoft royalties for all phones and tablets running the Android platform.
– 7th Android company to reach agreement with MS over Android
– Google aren’t happy:
– “This is the same tactic we’ve seen time and again from Microsoft. Failing to succeed in the smartphone market, they are resorting to legal measures to extort profit from others’ achievements and hinder the pace of innovation. We remain focused on building new technology and supporting Android partners.”
– Microsoft’s response, via a tweet from Microsoft’s head of communications, Frank Shaw
– let me boil down the Google statement they gave to @parislemon, from 48 words to 1: Waaaah.
49:14 – Firefox 7
– Improved memory handling
– Improved performance
– Version 7? 4 came out in March this year!
50:47 – New delicious launches
– Delicious relaunch
– Now with stacks – group links together and share – looks more visual
– Buggy, RSS issues, some character issues
– Pinboard looking far better compared with the refreshed giant
51:30 – Adobe acquires Typekit
– Adobe has acquired Typekit
– Team will remain, Typekit will remain a standalone product, as well as become a vital part of Adobe’s Creative Cloud.
54:46 – Onlive Finally Launches in the UK
– Gamers will gain access to nearly 150 top-tier titles on Thursday asOnLive, the on-demand cloud gaming service, launches in the UK. Consumers can sign up for free at and stream triple-A games via almost any broadband Internet connection to their HDTV, PC or Mac. OnLive says the service will soon extend to iPad and Android tablets.
– OnLive founder and CEO Steve Perlman says the cloud-gaming service can offer game experiences on virtually any connected device.
– “OnLive is incredibly excited to bring instant-play, on-demand cloud gaming to the UK,” said Perlman. “It’s an entirely new way of experiencing top-tier video games, anywhere, anytime with awesome cloud-powered features and community unlike anything you’ve ever seen before.”
– Among the titles on offer through OnLive’s service are recent releases such as Deus Ex: Human Revolution, DiRT 3, Homefront and F.E.A.R. 3. Players can also gain access to top-rated titles such as Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood, Lego Harry Potter: Years 1-4 and Batman: Arkham Asylum.
– Gamers who sign up for OnLive’s services have several offers in front of them. First-time buyers can purchase their OnLive PlayPass Game for just £1.
56:51 – BBC coming to Xbox by year end
– Microsoft announce TV content deals for Xbox
– BBC, LOVEFiLM, Channel 4 and Channel 5 are all coming to Xbox Live later this year
59:20 – Apple Keynote
– iOS 5
– Top ten features – Notifications, iMessage, Reminders, Twitter Integration, Newsstand, Camera, Safari, Mail, PC Free
– Free update, October 12th
– iTunes in the cloud
– Photo sharing
– Oct 12th for iCloud enabled iOS iWork apps
– New – Find my Friends – See where friends and family are, temp sharing option, simple privacy, worst looking interface ever
– iTunes Match – $25 a year, says it will stream music as well, End Oct for US, end of the year for other countries
– iPod Nano
– Swipe between icons
– Tracks walks and runs
– Added 16 new clock faces due to popularity of watch cases
– $129 for 8GB nano, $149 for 16GB, available today – £115, £129
– iPod touch
– No 1 portable games device
– Now comes in white and black
– $199 for 8Gb, $299 for 32, $399 for 64 – available October 12th – £169, £249, £329
– iPhone 4S
– Same externally, all new internally
– A5 chip (not in the iPod touch!)
– 2x CPU, 7x graphic performance
– Improved battery life!
– Download speeds doubled – 14.4Mbps theoretical maximum
– Has both GSM and CDMA – a world phone finally
– Camera – 8 Megapixel, more light, high end IR filter, five element lens, 2-3 times quicker at taking pictures – quite an impressive camera upgrade
– Video recording – 1080p, real-time video image stabilization, real-time temporal noise reduction
– Airplay mirroring
– Siri – intelligent voice recognition – some great demo’s, whats the weather, read my messages etc – will it work with Glaswegian accent though? Answer that Apple! Can set up invites, query Wikipedia and Wolfram Alpha – very nice. Dictation support as well – speak in your natural language
– White and black
– Same pricing as iPhone 4 – with 16, 32 and 64gb versions
– iPhone 4 – $99, iPhone 3GS – free
– Pre-order from Oct 7th
– Released – Oct 14th
– no iPhone 5, no Facebook blah blah blah
1:29:04 – Zune killed
– Zune finally removed from sale in the US, no new players will be launched
– Great game now out for iPad 2 (only – don’t buy if you’ve an iPad 1)
– Free and paid options
– take photo’s and put them together in a montage
– scrapbook app
Frozen Synapse humble bundle
– Edge gave it a 9, describing it as a top-down, turn-based Counter-Strike…normally $25
– Supports multiplayer 🙂
– 55 single player missions
– There are a wealth of game modes besides – ones which demand territorial control, hostage rescue, or the plundering of data – each of which can be played ‘dark’, meaning that only the last known location of enemy troops is visible to you. Then there’s the matchmaking, in-built chat and integration with YouTube: this is a sizable offering. Yet, thanks to its gripping central tenets of simultaneous scheming and emergent multiplayer, you may never even notice.
– Pay over the average ($4.50) and you get Trine, Survivor and a couple of other games – total bundle price is $49
– Deal ends on October 12th
– I have a feeling that I have already had this as a pick. But things have moved on. Incredibly impressive browser based demos, games, features experiments. WebGL has moved things on hugely. Unbelievable that they can now render in a browser what used to take a supercomputer weeks of computation.