DigitalOutbox Episode 75
In this episode the team discuss Egypt blocking the internet, Sony NGP and O2 rolls out free wifi.
1:05 – Egypt Blocks the Internet
– Started off with rumour of Facebook and Twitter being blocked
– Vodafone said it wasn’t them – govt were blocking
– Internet and SMS and Mobile phone networks now being blocked
– Follows a week of protests and escalating violence on the streets – protests over ruling government – demonstrators demanding the resignation of President Hosni Mubarak
– Tim Bray, an engineer at Google, tweeted: “I feel that as soon as the world can’t use the net to watch, awful things will start happening.”
4:53 – BBC Cuts
– 360 staff to lose jobs
– Online budget to drop to £103m by 2013 – 25% cut
– BBC said it will meet with commercial rivals twice a year to clarify its online plans, increase links to external sites to generate 22m referrals within three years and will halve the number of top level domains it operates.
– Blast, Switch and h2g2 are among the sites to be ditched.
Other closures will include the standalone websites for the BBC Radio 5 Live 606 phone-in show and 1Xtra, 5 Live Sports Extra, 6 Music and Radio 7 digital stations.
– In all, the BBC is pledging to close half of its 400 top level domains – with 180 to be gone ahead of schedule later this year.
– The 606 site and iPlayer Message Boards close. iPlayer will become focused on “long form video content” – no radio via iPlayer – http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/aboutthebbc/2011/01/delivering-quality-first.shtml
– While BBC iPlayer has been a good home for online radio, the way audiences want to interact with radio and music online is different to TV. Radio and music will come out of BBC iPlayer, and we’ll develop a new stand-alone product. All radio station sites, music events, podcasts and programme pages will be integrated to focus on highly interactive live radio, quick and seamless access to programming, support for new music and personalisation – on whatever internet-connected device you happen to have.
9:26 – Sites Hacked/a>
– Lush has it’s site hacked
– anyone who made online purchases on the handmade cosmetic company’s UK site between October 4th and January 20th is at risk of having their credit cards used fraudulently
– Site was hacked on Christmas Day but Lush only took down their site on Friday 21st
– Many people angry at the delay – no wonder – Lush say they were investigating the hackers intentions – only when they started to use small test payments using stolen card details did they take action
– Paypal driven website to launch shortly
– Trapster’s site also compromised
– 10 million e-mail addreses and passwords potentially stolen
– If you used a common password, nows the time to change it
– E-mail addresses and passwords now ‘in the hands of hackers’
14:48 – ACS Law stops chasing file sharers
– The patent court in London is currently scrutinising 26 cases brought by ACS: Law on behalf of its client MediaCAT. The law firm had sent thousands of letters to alleged file-sharers.
– Those who received such letters may pursue ACS: Law for harrassment, said law firm Ralli, which represents some of the defendants.
– In a statement read to the court, solicitor Andrew Crossley said he had now ceased all such work
– “I have ceased my work…I have been subject to criminal attack. My e-mails have been hacked. I have had death threats and bomb threats,” he said in the statement, read to the court by MediaCAT’s barrister Tim Ludbrook.
“It has caused immense hassle to me and my family,” he added.
16:51 – Google censoring torrents
– The search engine now actively censors terms including BitTorrent, torrent, utorrent, RapidShare and Megaupload from its instant and autocomplete services. The reactions from affected companies and services are not mild, with BitTorrent Inc., RapidShare and Vodo all speaking out against this act of commercial censorship.
– What is most surprising about the new filter is that the keywords appear to be picked arbitrarily. It includes BitTorrent clients such as uTorrent and Xunlei, but not BitComet and Vuze. While cyberlockers such as RapidShare and Megaupload are banned, prominent sites such as 4shared, HotFile and MediaFire are not.
– In addition, all the names of popular torrent sites including The Pirate Bay are not included in Google’s banlist either. BitTorrent’s Simon Morris agrees that this is odd, to say the least.
21:23 – Amazons Record Quarter
– Significant milestone – tipping point?
– Sold 115 kindle books for every 100 paperbacks – doesn’t include free downloads
– Ian – been enjoying using Kindle software, not hardware
– Amazon in general doing really well – sales up %40 on last year – first $10 billion quarter
23:46 – Microsofts Great Quarter
– Kinects – 8 million in 60 days
– Entertainment division doing well
– Office 2010 – fastest selling consumer version of Office yet – licence sales 50% ahead of 2007 at this stage
– Windows 7 – fastest selling op system yet – sold more than 300 million licences
– Windows phone 7 – umm – 100 new apps per day?
27:08 – O2 Rolls Out UK WiFi
– O2 is planning to deploy 13,000 Wi-Fi hotspots over the next two years, with free internet access in exchange for your mobile number and a few quid from the venue.
– Free for all, no matter what network your on
– The network won’t just be for O2 customers: anyone with a mobile phone will be able to sign up to the service, which will provide free internet access while logging the customer’s location and details for better delivery of targeted advertising. This will all be paid for by the venue, which might also like to make use of that advertising channel.
– Users wanting to take advantage will need to provide a mobile phone number, from any network, which will be confirmed with a text message. O2 then links the number to the MAC code (unique identity) of the kit connected, enabling it to automatically authorise future connections as well as spotting when the customer enters an area covered – enabling the delivery of the aforementioned advertising by text message or MMS.
-You can opt out of O2 Wi-Fi altogether, which will prevent you from receiving content from the venue.
– The system will only know you’re there if the equipment with the registered MAC address is switched on when you pass by, so advertising should only really happen when you try to use the service. That will change over time – modern smartphones constantly monitor for Wi-Fi networks, and connect to them when they are available, which will be enough for O2 to consider you fair game for a text message.
– But at least O2 won’t be tracking usage or browsing habits, nor will it be filtering content beyond what’s legal and in contrast to the mobile network. All UK mobile operators are required to block access to pornography and other adult services over their mobile networks until the customer presents proof of age, but it seems the same company can provide internet access over Wi-Fi without any such obligation: a strange double standard that surely can’t be allowed to continue.
31:12 – BSkyB buys The Cloud
– The acquisition gives us ownership of over 5,000 public Wi-Fi locations across the UK, ensuring that customers can access our online service at a network of convenient locations,” it said in a statement.
– “In addition, the initiative will complement our existing broadband services by offering customers a comprehensive option for Wi-Fi connectivity while they are on the move.”
32:28 – Galaxy Tab Price Drop
– Amazon and Tesco have also chopped their prices to a palatable £341.24 ($542) and £359.20 ($571)
– Dropped $250 in America
– Not selling too well or new updates coming in next 3 months or so?
– Honeycomb can be installed seemingly on the tab
34:35 – Android 3 Honeycomb Previewed
– Built for tablets – looks really, really good
– I like how they’ve made more changes due to screen seize, especially on home screen – iPad missed opportunity in many ways – lots of widgets and stacks
– Latest Android SDK includes an early Android 3.0 system image for developers
37:09 – Runkeeper Pro Free Forever
– Formerly priced at $9.99, fitness-tracker RunKeeper was one of the first 200 apps in the iTunes app store and became one of the store’s top sellers. After a month of free downloads, the company announced today that the product will remain free indefinitely. It’s not about app sales – it’s all about the platform.
– “We are less concerned about short term monetization,” founding CEO Jason Jacobs told us by email today, “and more concerned about building up the biggest, most engaged community of fitness enthusiasts that we can.”
– Jacobs told us that three million users had downloaded a RunKeeper app over the past 2 years, 1 million of whom downloaded Pro for free in a single week in January. The free and Pro versions of the app both made Apple’s top free and grossing apps of 2010 lists.
39:36 – Playstation Suite
– Sony unveiled a cross-platform software framework called PlayStation Suite, which sounds rather boring in those words, but what it amounts to is an official PlayStation Store filled with games for your Android tablets and cellphones.
– Sony’s starting with an emulator for existing PSOne titles and is promising an Android game store later this year, but soon it might be much, much more: the company’s calling PlayStation Suite a “hardware-neutral” development framework to make games portable for all sorts of handhelds, and says that “new and exciting content” is also on the way.
– PlayStation Suite requires Android 2.3 at a minimum
– Emulate touch screen controls
41:01 – Sony NGP
– 5 key concepts – Revolutionary User Interface, Social Connectivity, Location-based Entertainment, Converging Real and Virtual (augmented) Reality
– Specs include a quad-core ARM Cortex-A9 processor, 5-inch touchscreen OLED display with 960 x 544 resolution, dual analog sticks (not nubs as on the current generation), 3G, WiFi, GPS, a rear-mounted touchpad, the same accelerometer / gyroscope motion sensing as in the PlayStation Move, an electronic compass, and cameras on both the front and back.
– Games will come on “new media,” not UMD anymore, but we’re unclear on what sort of flash memory is being used. Sony’s rather proud of the fact it’s offering the world’s first dual analog stick combo on a portable device, though we’re more geeked about the quadrupling of pixel count from the original PSP.
– touch panel on the back is the same size and positioned directly under the front OLED touchscreen, which allows for some pretty sophisticated controls when using the two simultaneously.
– In closing its presentation, Sony trotted out Hideo Kojima to show off a cutscene from MGS 4 rendered in real time on the NGP. It was pulled directly from the PS3 version of the game and ran at 20fps, which looked very smooth indeed
– Allegedly…the power of a PS3 and will deliver PS3 like graphics
– Out in 2011…in at least one territory
– Free from Autodesk
– Supports tablets – bamboo and higher spec tablets from Wacom – great mockup tool for free
– Pro version for £44.99 (was £19.99 at Mac store launch) has more tools, layers and export options
– A great compact flash from Nikon
– Makes a big difference when shooting, especially indoors