DigitalOutbox Episode 68

DigitalOutbox Episode 68
In this episode the team discuss Kinect, Virgin, Digital Britain, RockMelt and Sheep Wars.

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2:27 – Times Paywall Fail
– Persuaded 50,000 people to pay for The times
– Analysts estimated that the initial annual revenues generated from digital would be about £5m.
– The Times charges £2 a week – the “paywall” – for access to its digital content, after customers pay an inital £1 for a 30-day trial. Customers can also pay £9.99 a month to sign up to a dedicated edition for the Apple iPad, although only about 10,000 chose to pay for this version only.
– All we know is that “around half” of the total are monthly subscribers. They will be composed of people taking advantage of News International’s 30-day £1 introductory offer to the website itself and people who have paid £9.99 for The Times’s iPad app.
Similarly, that comment in News Int’s statement about “many” of “the early adopters” living in the UK does not give a geographical breakdown. How many of the total come from inside and outside Britain?
– It is no surprise that they are “relatively affluent”, of course. That message is clearly aimed at advertisers. But ad agencies will surely want to know the British audience numbers.
Most importantly, there is no clear breakdown of the 105,000 total figure to show how many people have subscribed monthly, weekly or daily.
– They did have a figure of 30 million impressions at one point – nothing like that now
– None of their content is shared either – nothing can go viral
6:31 – SkyFire
– SkyFire can convert Flash videos — which the iPhone normally cannot display — into HTML5 on SkyFire’s servers, making it possible to view said videos on the iPhone after a short delay
– Browser approved by apple, selling for $2.99 or £1.79 in proper money
– Needs fast connection, doesn’t always work, wont work with games and is blocked by Hulu
– Hours after launch it was pulled from the App Store
– Not by Apple….by developers due to overwhelming demand
– Stunt? It worked – $1 million in revenue i first weekend
8:11 – Virgin announce TiVo Boxes
– Virgin Media has revealed the first details about its new TiVo-powered set top boxes, including a massive 1 Terabyte of storage and web applications for the TV screen.
– Later in the year, the cable operator will launch the new platform, along with a TiVo-powered set top box capable of storing 500 hours of programming.
– When coupled with Virgin Media’s existing video on-demand service, the receiver will give users access to more than 4,600 hours of TV shows, movies and music videos, including HD and 3D content.
– Underpinned by Virgin Media’s fibre optic broadband network, the new box will also feature a dedicated internal modem for delivering bandwidth-heavy services without impacting the user’s main broadband connection.
– That also means the TiVo service will bring a wide range of internet services and digital applications to the television screen.
– No specific details were given on the apps, but it’s likely that social networks such as Facebook and Twitter will be available, along with other digital services.
14:17 – XMarks Saved
– Free and premium options
14:53 – Google Get Knuckles Wrapped
– no punishment though
– Google has also been ordered to delete the data it collected from users’ Wi-Fi networks by its Street View cars once legally cleared to do so. The culture minister, Ed Vaizey, last week announced the Metropolitan police had dropped its investigation into the breaches.
– He added that the technology giant would now be subject to an official audit of its data protection practices in the UK.
15:37 – Skype 5 Hits the Mac
– New UI
– Integrates with address book
– Group video chat
17:19 – Ministry of Sound Suspend File Sharing Action
– Ministry of Sound is suspending plans to send warning notices to more than 25,000 BT broadband customers suspected of illegal downloading, claiming that the internet service provider has deleted their details.
– BT had agreed to retain the personal details of 20,000 of its customers earlier this year, so that Ministry of Sound could pursue them once an injunction on the court order was lifted. However, the record label today said that BT had “failed to preserve” the details.
– A BT spokesman responded: “We’re surprised at this claim since we provided a similar number of customer details to comply with a court order earlier this year for Ministry of Sound and there was no suggestion then that this was a problem for them.
– “All such information is automatically deleted from our systems after 90 days in accordance with our data retention policy; the Ministry of Sound and its solicitors are well aware of this. Upon request from Ministry of Sound we saved as much of the specific data sought as we reasonably could and any not preserved must have been too old. Our door remains open to Ministry of Sound and any other rights holder who wants to enforce their rights in a fair way through an established legal process.”
21:10 – Queen joins Facebook
– First Youtube, then Twitter, then Flickr now Facebook
– Not an individual account but an official page
22:36 – Sheep wars…
– Blacksheep is a firefox addon that scans open networks for Firesheep snoopers and alerts the user.
– Available for download on the Zscaler website (
24:56 – RockMelt
– Social browser that lives in the cloud
– Built on Chromium it uses Facebook to authenticate and sign in
– See friends on left hand side of browser
– Can easily post content to them, chat, mail etc from browser
– Bookmarks on right hand side alongside tweets but these are favourite sites whch ping you when new content is added
– All stored on cloud – same browser experience wherever you login to browser
– Isn’t this Flock 2.0?
– Limited beta for the moment
32:34 – Kinect Launches
– The Kinect is out in shops. £130
– And the amazing thing? That the first reviews are almost universal in saying that it’s an impressive piece of tech.
– Other than a couple of howlers, most launch games are around the 7 mark.
– You can’t ignore the fact that all reviews say there are some glitches along the way and that you need a good amount of space to use but most are convinced that this is a game changer (not for your average gamer – but for casual).
– Finally, all reviews are looking forward to the defining games for the tech which will no doubt come next year…
– I’m tempted…
– Oh’ and there’s a bounty out for people to hack and get working on PC – looks like someones already managed it at rudimentary level.
38:39 – Dev Builds Bot to Buy Cheap Stuff Online
– Started with a strip from xkcd –
– Hunkin wrote a Python script that would scrape certain categories on the site for cheap, buy-now items with free shipping. The script is optimized to search for rare, esoteric items, as well. The bot gets $1 added to its savings every day, and all purchases are deducted from the savings.
– Not only does the bot buy these treasures on Hunkin’s behalf; it also shares its finds with the world via Twitter: –!/trademe_xkcd576
– If the bot doesn’t find any items that meet its parameters, it simply tweets that it’s putting its dollar into savings.

COD Black Ops
– Great update
– Multiplayer is good
– Single player more of the same, with some pretty controversial scenes

DigitalOutbox Episode 63

DigitalOutbox Episode 63
In this episode the team discuss Facebook Outages, ACS:Law, Xmarks and sex with goats.

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1:42 – Facebook and Sex with Goats
– Facebook suffers worst downtime in 4 years
– 2.5 hrs outage
– Like buttons across 350,000 websites vanish
– Did anyone care?
– Another twitter dodgy link involving goats
– Stop using twitter!
– Watch out everyone!
– Fixed, messages removed
– Twitter – it’s the news network- it tells you what’s going on around the world, or within your sphere of interest; it helps for bouncing ideas around, for staying abreast of what you have to know. Twitter creates its own little cities of specialism and knowledge which don’t (unlike Facebook) require you to “befriend” the other person; you can follow pretty much anyone you like.
5:32 – Google and boss sued in France
– Paris court has convicted US search engine giant Google and its chief executive Eric Schmidt of defamation over results from its “suggest” function, a French legal affairs website has revealed.
– The new function, which suggests options as you type in a word, brought up the words “rapist” and “satanist” when the plaintiff’s name was typed into the search engine, reported.
– The court ordered Google to make a symbolic payment of one euro in damages and take measures to ensure they could be no repeat of the offence.
– The plaintiff in this case had been convicted on appeal to a three-year jail sentence for corruption of a minor, a conviction that was not yet definitive, when he discovered the results on entering his name in a Google search.
– The court concluded that the search engine’s linking his name to such words was defamatory.
– The court ruled that Google had not showed its good faith in the matter and ordered it to pay 5,000 euros (6,700 dollars) towards the plaintiff’s costs.
– A Google spokesman told AFP by email that they would be appealing the ruling
7:59 – ACS Law Anti-Piracy Law Firm Torn Apart By Leaked Emails
– September 25th
– Earlier this week, anti-piracy lawyers ACS:Law had their website taken down by a 4chan DDoS attack. Adding insult to injury, owner Andrew Crossley was harassed at home in the middle of the night by prank phone calls.
– Anti-piracy lawyers ACS:Law, who send out tens of thousands of letters demanding cash-settlements from often innocent Internet subscribers, became the new target. The company, which is headed up by lone principal Andrew Crossley, is widely hated among file-sharers and innocents alike and with 4chan’s Operation Payback now in full swing, payback is the operative word.
– Now, through a fault with his website, hundreds of megabytes of private emails have been exposed to the public and uploaded to The Pirate Bay
– Their site came back online [after the DDoS attack] – and on their frontpage was accidentally a backup file of the whole website (default directory listing, their site was empty), including emails and passwords,” a leader of the attacking group told TorrentFreak. “The email contains billing passwords and some information that ACS:Law is having financial problems.
– Worse was to follow
– It turns out the e-mail archive contained unprotected xls files listing thousands of Sky, BT, Plusnet, customers who had downloaded files illegally
– Protected files of O2 and BE customers but only an xls password
– Detail – 5300 sky customers – file, IP address, date time, full name, address and postcode – unprotected xls – Sky response – they are concerned –
– Further 8000 sky customer details revealed today, music related, including setlement
– BT, Plusnet – 133 Plusnet – file, IP address, date time, full name, address and postcode – unprotected xls
– O2 – 1800 copyright infringments but with no names or addresses, just IP, title etc
– Finally breaks into mainstream news – BBC
– Potential breach of Data Protection Act – leaking of an unencrypted document – that lists the personal details of more than 5,300 BSkyB Broadband subscribers alongside a list of adult videos they may have downloaded and shared online
– UK’s Information Commissioner (ICO), speaking after the initial leak, told the BBC that ACS:Law had a number of questions to answer.
“The question we will be asking is how secure was this information and how it was so easily accessed from outside,” said Christopher Graham.
– Mr Graham told BBC News that while he did not have the power to put ACS:Law “out of business” a large fine could have serious repercussions for the firm.
“I can’t put ACS:Law out of business, but a company that is hit by a fine of up to half a million pounds suffers real reputation damage,” he said.
– Think about it
– ACS – not giving a toss about security of peoples data, site down and provider put a copy of thei mail file, or at least gave enough info for someone to guess/reverse engineer password
– BT and Plusnet – sending customer details to ACS via unprotected excel files over e-mail – names, addresses, filenames – then asking that ACS keeps this data secure
– ACS themselves admitting in internal mails that the evidence being used to prosecute is flimsy at best
– They’ve sent letters to people who haven’t infringed
– Lots of people who do download illegally will never hear from them or be punished n any way
– Is that fair?
22:29 – Windows Live Space replaced by WordPress
– Microsoft and Automattic, the parent company of, announced today that the Windows Live Spaces blogging service will be phased out in favor of
– Users of the service will have the ability to transfer their blogs via a new migration utility beginning today.
– Over a six month period, beginning today, Windows Live Spaces users will have the option to move their blogs to To make this possible, we’ve created a brand new importer for Windows Live Spaces to New Windows Live users will also be offered a blog when they choose to create a new blog.
– – 14 million blogs, Windows live Spaces – 30 million blogs
29:49 – Kindle for the Web
– Preview books on the web without any Kindle desktop software
– Can change font size, line spacing, background etc
– Can embed free chapters on your website
– Fondled a new Kindle last week – gorgeous device – bargain
– If i had come out in that form factor a couple of years back, market would be totally Amazons
32:03 – Blackberry Playbook
– 7” Tablet
– Early 2011 for America, 2nd quarter rest of the world
– Multitasking, flash playing, uncompromised browsing
– Supports 1080p video – output only as screen is 1024*600
– There’s Micro HDMI and Micro USB connections, along with a 3MP front and 5MP rear-facing camera. That HDMI connection can even output video to dual displays. There’s no doubt that the PlayBook rocks some impressive hardware, but that’s only a small part of what makes a tablet great. Its future lies in the hands of what seems to be a totally revamped OS.
– Price – unknown!!!
– Who are they targetting?
36:50 – Apples outrageous share of the mobile industrys profits
– Apple sold 17 million mobile handsets in the first half of 2010, compared with 400 million handsets sold by Nokia (NOK), Samsung and LG
– Yet it pulled in 39% of the industry’s profit during that period, more than the 32% earned by the world’s three largest handset makers combined.
– Does marketshare really matter? Statistics, eh?
39:38 – Apple TV
– Now shipping
– The restore firmware has been posted by Apple and can be downloaded
– It is a version of iOS 4.1
– It’s keys have been decrypted –
– Hacktastic – already jailbroken
42:19 – iEducation
– More than 500 medical students at the University of Leeds are being issued with iPhones which can access online text books.
– The smartphones have applications providing students with reference material and prescription guidelines.
– The university, claiming a first for UK medical schools, says the phones will also be used to keep in contact with students training in hospitals.
– The devices will have to be returned when students graduate.
– All fourth and fifth year medical students at the university are going to be given iPhones.
– Cedars School of Excellence in Scotland moved to iPads, ditching paper and pens
– Originally planned to move to iPod Touch – iPads gave so much more and resolved many issues with the Touch
– He said that the results have already been quite dramatic. Student engagement has vastly improved, but working out how it affects attainment will take some time.
“Even though we’re not teaching new subjects – we’re teaching the same material – but we’re teaching it in a new way.
“It strikes me that it just makes sense to the kids. They deal with information electronically and so we’re doing things in a way that suits them. We find kids are engaged for so much longer than they were with just pencil and paper – it’s remarkable,” he added.
47:07 – Xmarks to close
– Started out as a firefox plugin
– Matured into the only cross browser, cross platform bookmarks syncing tool
– Will close in 90 days time
– Gutted
– Couldn’t find a way to monitse platform
– 2 million users, 5 million desktops – and they can’t make a business out of it
– Tried some search options, none grew to be interesting enough for businesses/investors
– Rumours of Google being interested in buying, looks to have fallen through
– Ian – I’d pay for this, £10 a year to make life easy – bargain! Looking at options, there are ones that are free but only within the same browser –
– Alternative – LastPass expressing interest in filling gap
– Diigo
– Bookmarking plus a whole load more
55:37 – Segway Owner Dies
– The flamboyant former miner at the head of the Segway scooter company has died in a freak accident by sliding on one of the miniature two-wheelers off a cliff.
– Jimi Heselden, who latched on to an international craze for the upright, motorised “green commuter machines”, was testing a cross-country version when he skidded into the river Wharfe which runs beside his Yorkshire estate.
– Heselden bought the Segway company in January this year, after commissioning a financial analysis of its success in the US, where it was invented. The scooter has been heavily marketed as a “green commute” but buyers are warned to take a string of safety precautions, including wearing a helmet.

– time / project tracking web app. Clients / Projects / Tasks. Browser timer to track as your day goes on – or post entry screens if you want to do it at end of the day. Displays breakdowns nicely and if you have a team, shows what tasks are killing productivity and allows direct assessment of whether some projects prove worthwhile!
– There is a free option and a subscription “pro” option that allows clients to have hourly rate applied and more in depth assessment of money side of business. Accounts for individuals and teams alike.
– Applications also available on all major handsets for time away from desk.

Google New
– Google has over 100 blogs
– Hard to keep track of new announcements
– Not anymore with Google New
– a 20 percent project that a few Googlers worked on to better showcase what the company is doing as a whole