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Aldi launches £80 tablet to rival Tesco's Hudl
(Sun, 08 Dec 2013 08:00:49 GMT)
The budget supermarket is the latest to launch a low-cost Android tablet taking on Amazon, Google and Tesco with Lifetab launch. By Samuel Gibbs
Apple, coffee and techno: Jonathan Ive's recipe for success
(Sun, 08 Dec 2013 00:05:44 GMT)
A biography of the iPhone and iMac's British designer sheds new light on technology's most-watched design team
It is cluttered with bikes, skateboards and designers' models, but the ideas factory that sits at the symbolic heart of Apple's vast Californian campus is also the workspace of perhaps the world's most successful designer.
It is here that Sir Jonathan ("Jony") Ive gathers his select team for twice-weekly brainstorming sessions around wooden project tables – the same kind found in Apple stores around the world – always beginning with barista-quality coffee.
It is arguably at these three-hour meetings that the 46-year-old from Chingford, Essex, has powered the American tech giant to become the world's most valuable listed company, currently worth £305bn.
Because Ive likes to work to the accompaniment of loud techno music there is an elaborate speaker setup, but the inner sanctum of his personal office has just a desk, lamp and classic 1976 Supporto chair.
Rare glimpses into working practices at Apple have come from an unofficial biography of Ive, published last week. But getting behind the iron curtain of secrecy created by Apple's former boss Steve Jobs was not an easy task: that secretiveness has proved commercially valuable. The book's author, Leander Kahney, received an "apologetic" rejection from Ive when asking for co-operation, but a last-minute breakthrough with former colleagues has produced some previously unknown insights.
The picture that emerges is that Apple's painstakingly detailed processes and famous perfectionism stems more from Ive than even the late Jobs – though the pair had an intense and close working relationship. At Jobs's funeral in 2011, Ive described him as his "best and most loyal friend", as someone who confided "dopey ideas" in him. "Sometimes they were truly dreadful. But sometimes they took the air from the room, and they left us both completely silent."
Ive was also not afraid to berate his boss for taking credit for his ideas, and once warned him that the perception of Jobs as the engine of Apple's innovation left the company vulnerable.
While stories abound of Jobs's ruthlessness, Kahney's assessment of Ive is quite different. "Very polite, even-tempered, no screaming and shouting, super easy to get along with, very attentive, very kind. He would always take a bullet for his team. If anything went wrong, he would take the blame personally."
The son of silversmith and educationist Mike Ive – who was a key figure in expanding design and technology in British schools – Jonathan's sense of design has brought him a $17m home on San Francisco's billionaires' row, a personal fortune of $130m, and a string of fast cars. In one, an Aston Martin DB9, he had a near-fatal crash, which prompted a big pay rise from Apple. "They realised how important he was to the company," says Kahney.
Ive has been feted by former colleagues at school and college, where his commitment and talent stood out from early on, but it was his close relationship with his father that fed his interest in industrial design. Mike, says Kahney, was far from being a pushy father. "He was just nurturing his son's talent. Design was sort of the family business, and they were both obsessed with design – they loved to talk about it all the time."
Kahney doesn't underplay Ive's talent, but believes things might have been different if he had ended up elsewhere. "There are a lot of potential Jony Ives out there, but they don't work in organisations that have the mindboggling resources of a company like Apple, or that commitment to enabling a design studio as the central R&D lab of this gigantic company.
"Jobs was as obsessed with design as Ive's dad was, and they bonded over that and over this crazy obsession. They would move heaven and Earth to make the most perfect iPod, and the commitment to doing it – the years and years of work to perfect the product – both of them loved to do that. They just got a huge kick out of it."
Kahney compares Apple's design team of 16 to that of Samsung, which employs 1,000. "Samsung has designers all over the world, designing everything from TVs to fridges. But they're all siloed and on a product cycle, a product schedule that keeps cranking this stuff out, and they tend to chuck a lot of stuff at the wall."
Ive was recruited by Robert Brunner, founder of the company's industrial design group, after a couple of unsuccessful attempts. Ive caught his eye as a student with an ambitious prototype phone. "What Brunner liked was that Ive had worked out not only how it would work, but how he would get it made in a factory," says Kahney. "Students don't go that extra step or think that far ahead."
His 21 years at Apple have not been a litany of unqualified successes.
His first project was the second-generation Newton tablet, which hasn't exactly gone down as a design classic. Kahney blames technological challenges and the engineering-led culture of the company at the time.
The turning point came when Jobs returned to the company in 1996 and brutally cut 4,200 posts. "Apple was very engineering-led until Jobs came back. Ive had been there for five years, and he was about to quit because he couldn't take the battles with the engineers any longer," says Kahney. "When Jobs came back, he became Jony's enabler, his muscle. They flipped it around with the iMac, and that was the product that completely changed the engineering culture."
Ive's team had been working on MP3 player prototypes for years before Jobs's return, but kept them behind closed doors until a tiny hard drive was available. It was not until 2001 that the iPod was first launched.
"The designers spend most of their time in the factories working out how to manufacture these things. And a lot of their big design breakthroughs have actually been manufacturing breakthroughs," says Kahney, who thinks the company will realise another of Jobs's ambitions – to have robot-driven factories in the US.
That development is a fascinating hint at what Apple could roll out when the technology catches up with its design team, Kahney believes. "I know for a fact they've got TVs, wearables, all kinds of automotive technology. There's all this kind of stuff sitting there in the lab that they've developed, and they're waiting for the right go-to-market strategy for all of these products."
Want your startup to be a winner? Get an incubator
(Sun, 08 Dec 2013 00:04:08 GMT)
Thanks to startup specialists such as Y Combinator, it's now easy to turn an idea into a big company
One of my favourite books is John Kenneth Galbraith's The Great Crash, 1929, which, with Keynes's The Economic Consequences of the Peace, is a great example of how an expert can write elegantly about something that is intrinsically complex. Galbraith wrote the (short) book as a diversion from working on The Affluent Society and it became one of his bestsellers. As one edition succeeded another, he added a series of prefaces, in one of which he answered a question that had been put to him by a friend: what was the point of going on and on about such a distant catastrophe? The answer, Galbraith replied, is that memory is the only known antidote to financial folly.
Now spool forward to the present day. A startup called Snapchat, which has no visible revenues, recently turned down an acquisition offer of $3bn from Facebook. I can only think of three possible interpretations of this: the founders are idiots; the founders are geniuses who have a plan that will make Snapchat into a Really Big company; or they believe they can get a better deal from someone else.
Then there's Twitter, a company with much the same financial characteristics but that nevertheless achieved a valuation of $14bn on its IPO and is currently valued at $22bn (£13.39bn). In the old days, companies used to be valued on their price/earnings (P/E) ratio. Nowadays, nobody seems perturbed that there is no E. And the other day, in a nicely ironic development, the Nasdaq index nudged past the 4,000 mark, which was the level it reached when things went pear-shaped in 2000 as the first internet bubble burst.
The bad news, therefore, is that we're in a new technology bubble. If you are impolite enough to mention this in Silicon Valley at the moment, however, then people will cut you dead. That's par for the bubble course. The folks who are caught up in one do not appreciate well-meaning attempts to rain on their parade. When the Celtic tiger was roaring in my beloved homeland, for example, a lone economist named Morgan Kelly dared to say that the tiger had no fur – and was roundly abused for his pains.
The good news is that when the current technology bubble pops there will be less collateral damage than last time. This is largely because it costs so much less to start a technology company nowadays and the funding models (and therefore the investment risks) are different. In the 90s, you needed $5m to get going, whereas $50,000 will do the trick now. And whereas in the late 90s you needed venture capital funding (with all the attendant downsides) just to demonstrate that you might have a viable business, nowadays you only go to a VC for the funding needed to scale up the enterprise into a proper company.
The critical moment in any startup's life is making the transition from idea to commitment. It's the point where you and a mate decide to abandon the day job and work full time on the concept. And here, again, things have changed compared with the 90s, largely thanks to Paul Graham, a celebrated programmer, essayist and investor. In 2005, he and two colleagues came up with the idea for a startup incubator called Y Combinator, which would provide seed money, advice and connections at two three-month programmes every year. In exchange, Graham and co took an average of about 6% of each new company's equity. Thus far, Y Combinator has incubated more than 550 startups, 287 of which are cumulatively worth $11.7bn (£7bn) and include Dropbox, Airbnb, Stripe and Reddit. So Mr Graham has become even richer and the incubator model has spread to other countries, including the UK.
"When I graduated from college in 1986," he writes, "there were essentially two options: get a job or go to grad school. Now there's a third: start your own company. That's a big change. In principle, it was possible to start your own company in 1986, too, but it didn't seem like a real possibility. It seemed possible to start a consulting company or a niche product company, but it didn't seem possible to start a company that would become big. That kind of change, from two paths to three, is the sort of big social shift that only happens once every few generations. I think we're still at the beginning of this one."
So maybe Galbraith was wrong: sometimes, we do learn from our mistakes.
Jobseekers' site spammed with CVs by activists
(Sat, 07 Dec 2013 07:00:54 GMT)
Jobseekers can bypass the unpopular Universal Jobmatch site with a browser plugin that automatically sends their email to multiple advertisers. Cyber civil disobedience is here. By Alex Hern
Raymond Briggs' The Snowman helps curb childrens' mobile gaming habit
(Fri, 06 Dec 2013 17:17:46 GMT)
Channel 4's app is the first mobile game to limit how much kids can spend - good news for relieved parents. By Stuart Dredge
Is it worth upgrading to Windows 8.1?
(Fri, 06 Dec 2013 16:22:37 GMT)
Dave Null wants to know if it's worth upgrading from Windows 8, and Margaret from Windows 7
I bought a laptop with Windows 8, which I despise. I've installed Classic Shell, which mitigates the worst of its "features". Now Microsoft is offering Windows 8.1 for FREE. Should I take the offer? I never, ever use tablet features.
Thanks as always.
Yes. I regard the free Windows 8.1 as an essential update. Microsoft has moved from a three-year upgrade cycle to one that provides more rapid upgrades, and in principle, anyone on Windows 8 or later needs to move with the times and install them when they come out. The next one is due in the spring of 2015. The era of skipping alternate versions and upgrading Windows every six years or so is over, though I don't expect Microsoft to run on a six-monthly (like Linux) or annual (like Mac OS X) cycle.
Either way, it's a good update. If you like Windows 8, then 8.1 makes it faster and better. The benefits include improved multitasking and multi-monitor support, better apps, and "universal search". If you like Windows 7 more than Windows 8, the upgrade to 8.1 provides controls that make it more like Windows 7. It's therefore a Good Thing for people on both sides of the argument.
The most obvious changes have been made to the Start screen, which works as both a program menu and a notification system. There are now four sizes of tile: small, medium, large and wide. You can group your programs in sets with headings -- the equivalent of folders -- and give your most-used programs bigger tiles.
You can also pick from a number of Start screen backgrounds, or use a photo. I have the Bliss wallpaper from Windows XP set as both the desktop wallpaper in Windows 8.1 and the Start screen background. This provides a more harmonious shift when toggling between the two, as well as adding a bit of nostalgia.
Of course, you can still run apps or programs just by typing a few characters, then picking a result from the search list. In this respect, Windows 8 and 8.1 work just like Vista and Windows 7, only better. (Windows XP users could do this by installing Launchy.)
In 8.1, the Start screen's "PC settings" menu covers more settings, so there is less need to use the old Control Panel. This is one area where the Start option is quicker and cleaner, and you're not doing yourself any favours by ignoring it.
If you don't like the Start screen, you can configure Windows 8.1 to boot straight to the desktop. To do this, type nav into the Search box and click the top option. The old-fashioned desktop approach is to right-click the Taskbar, select Properties, go to the Navigation tab, and check the box that says: "Go to the desktop instead of Start when I sign in". Alternatively, you can do it via the Control Panel: look for "Appearance and Personalization" or "Taskbar and Navigation".
This does not remove the Start screen, nor does it bring back the old menu system, so you may want to stick with Classic Shell. However, you can bring up a useful menu by pressing the Windows key and X, and this offers more functions in Windows 8.1. You can, for example, run the Task Manager, Control Panel, File Explorer, Windows PowerShell (for a command line) and various other things. This pop-up menu also provides easily accessible restart and shutdown options.
There are many other improvements to Windows 8.1, including Internet Explorer 11 with WebGL support, deeper integration with SkyDrive, and Skype. Most of the "tablet" apps have been improved, including the Bing-based apps (Weather, Finances, News Sports etc), Xbox Music (which now has a free radio feature), and Xbox Video. Since these "modern" apps are quick and convenient, I can't see any reason not to use them. They work very well with a mouse with a scroll-wheel, as hundreds of YouTube videos attest.
Windows 8/8.1 is very innovative and, in Microsoft's favourite phrase, "fast and fluid". It does have a learning curve, but if you can be bothered to learn it, it's excellent. Further, as part of the Microsoft ecosystem, it's increasingly being integrated with Windows Phone, Xbox One and Azure/Outlook.com/SkyDrive so you get familiar operations, apps and services across "three screens and a cloud": smartphone, PC, and TV. This is not to be despised, it's the future.
I have recently bought a new desktop which runs Windows 8.1. My two-year-old laptop runs Windows 7. My desktop is upstairs and my laptop downstairs. I am 85 and I don't want too much running up and down stairs.
Currently, if I look at Blueyonder email messages in Live Mail on the laptop they don't appear on the desktop. I can get them on either PC using webmail.
1. Can the computers be networked even though they have different Windows programs on them? (My son set up a network when the upstairs computer was Windows XP.) Would it make any difference to the email issue?
2. Should I put Windows 8.1 on my laptop? Advantages/disadvantages?
Windows Live Mail is a free desktop mail program, which is faster and more powerful than using web-based email, and it handles multiple email accounts. It's very popular on Windows 7 and Vista, but you can still download it and install it in Windows 8.1. If both copies of Windows Live Mail are set up to use the IMAP protocol, then both should download and show the same emails.
Virgin Media, which operates Blueyonder and other email services, has various help pages to explain how to do it. These include How to use IMAP in Virgin Media Mail, How to configure IMAP for Windows Mail and How do I check my email settings in Windows Live Mail?.
You can connect your Windows 8.1 desktop to the network that you used with the Windows XP machine, and the process is much the same (except you can no longer right-click on networks to get their properties). It's actually very easy to do, but Microsoft has instructions specifically for Windows 8.1 at Add a device or PC to a network.
Upgrading your Windows 7 laptop to Windows 8.1 will not provide any benefits in terms of networking or your use of Blueyonder email, and in your case, I can't think of any advantages that would be worth the cost. However, I can think of one major disadvantage, which is that you would have to re-install your Windows 7 programs and any devices, such as printers.
When Microsoft released Windows 8, it provided an easy upgrade to Windows 7. However, Windows 8.1 is a new operating system and Microsoft generally avoids doing two upgrades at once. It would still be simple to upgrade from Windows 7 to 8, and then download the free upgrade from Windows 8 to 8.1 from the Windows Store. Unfortunately, if you want to jump from 7 to 8.1, then the options are to keep your personal data files or to keep nothing and do a clean installation. There is no option to keep programs, devices, and personal data files. See Upgrade to Windows 8.1 from Windows 7.
The problem of breasts in video games
(Fri, 06 Dec 2013 14:26:20 GMT)
The gore-splattered Xbox One launch game Ryse: Son of Rome has been attracting plaudits for its astonishing visuals. But the game seems to have one familiar weakness: breast physics
WikiLeaks' Sarah Harrison: 'You can't take Omidyar seriously'
(Fri, 06 Dec 2013 12:33:59 GMT)
WikiLeaks staffer who accompanied Edward Snowden to Russia, attacks the eBay founder for not helping the 'PayPal 14'
Spotify to take on iTunes Radio with free tier for its music apps
(Fri, 06 Dec 2013 11:25:56 GMT)
11 December event expected to expand free mobile access from US, although on-demand streams will be limited. By Stuart Dredge
Christmas gadget gift guide: accessories and cool stuff – in pictures
(Fri, 06 Dec 2013 11:08:43 GMT)
Cullen Hoback calls for US to grant Edward Snowden immunity – video
(Fri, 06 Dec 2013 10:47:00 GMT)
Cullen Hoback, the film-maker behind Terms & Conditions May Apply, a documentary on digital privacy, talks to Jemima Kiss
Technology experts to get fast-track UK visas to attract best international talent
(Fri, 06 Dec 2013 08:56:10 GMT)
David Cameron to unveil £15.5m funding package to support innovative firms as he pledges to make UK 'best for business'
World-class technology experts will be given fast-tracked visas under a push to attract the best international talent to the United Kingdom's digital sector, David Cameron will announce on Friday.
The prime minister will also unveil a £15.5m funding package to support innovative firms as he pledges to "make Britain the best place in the world in which to start and grow a business".
It comes as a report reveals the sector grew by 16% between 2009 and 2012 in London and is behind 27% of all job growth the city, employing around 582,000 people.
During a visit to Tech City, Britain's answer to Silicon Valley, in east London on Friday, Cameron will outline plans for the government to open up the exceptional talent visa route, which is usually reserved for international leaders in science and the arts who have been approved by expert organisations such as the Royal Society or Arts Council, from April next year.
Funding of up to £12.5m for research and development will be available to boost digital and computing technologies across the UK as well as least three new pots of cash worth £1m each to encourage specialist clusters including in Wales and the north-east.
Cameron said: "The world of business is changing rapidly and one of the most promising opportunities for new jobs and growth lies within a new wave of high growth, highly innovative digital businesses.
"This is why, as part of our plan to help Britain succeed, we established Tech City UK to support the creation of a technology cluster in east London and committed to help these businesses to become cornerstones of our economy.
"We've had real success. Today Tech City serves not only as an example of how a city can be transformed into an engine for growth and innovation, but it is also a blueprint for fostering growth that has been recognised globally.
"But this is not just about London. We are determined to build a rebalanced economy across the country and get behind the entrepreneurs imagining a new tomorrow in the dozens of technology clusters, accelerators and start-up incubators across Britain."
The Tech City annual report said it is now recognised as Europe's digital capital and between 2009 and 2012 tech companies in London increased 76% to 88,215.
Joanna Shields, Tech City chief executive and ambassador for digital industries, said: "In 2010, the government recognised the growth potential of the tech sector and, three years on, the results are significant. The economic impact generated by creative and innovative digital businesses is not only supporting our recovery, but, as today's new data shows, it has ensured our lead as one of the world's leading digital economies.
"Our challenge now is to build on these firm foundations to drive higher rates of startups and create a landscape favourable to digitally enabled firms to thrive and contribute long term to growth and jobs."
WipEout creators form new studio
(Fri, 06 Dec 2013 08:27:28 GMT)
Former senior members of the legendary Psygnosis and Sony Liverpool studios have set up a new team, Firesprite, to work on innovative console and smartphone titles
Android torch app with over 50m downloads silently sent user location and device data to advertisers
(Fri, 06 Dec 2013 08:00:29 GMT)
US Federal Trade Commission charges 'deception' over app which turned on lights on Android smartphones - but also told advertisers about location and device information. By Charles Arthur
Boot up: techno-optimism, Nexus 4 v KitKat, Knox knocked, and more
(Fri, 06 Dec 2013 07:30:00 GMT)
Plus Surface 2 reviewed, BlackBerry remembered, headlines from a mathematically literate world, Bluetooth updates, and more
A burst of 9 links for you to chew over, as picked by the Technology team
The techno-ethusiasm that greeted the Bezos interview is hardly unique. We have seen the same sort of reaction to 3D printing, which at least has the advantage of being real and available today. 3D print is also a very exciting new technology that enables many things once thought impossible. But it has also inspired a vast quantity of tech journalistic nonsense: 3D printing will replace conventional manufacturing, families will meet all their needs for manufacturing objects with home printers; or, my favorite, we will solve the problem of hunger by printing food. These breathless predictions uniformly ignore the limitations of both technology and economics, not to mention the fact that after 40 years, old-fashioned 2-D printers remain the most unreliable pieces of tech equipment that most of us own.
The company is now inviting owners to swap devices through a free mail exchange before February 5th. While the upgrade isn't mandatory, Google warns that it's only developing with the newer Explorer Edition in mind -- there's no guarantee that new accessories or software will work on old models. The invitation is more of a push than a gentle nudge, then, but we doubt that many Glass users will complain about a free update.
Includes changes to make it compatible with prescription frames.
"Guest columnist" Bob Tedeschi (while David Pogue leaves the building, presumably):
I found the touchpad on the Type Cover less responsive than the touchpads found on laptops, but then I realized: Who needs one when you can swipe and tap the screen?
Note that on the Surface 2, the Office experience isn't exactly the same as you would find on a Windows laptop — or, for that matter, on the Surface Pro. If you are an Excel ninja, for instance, you'll be sad to know you can't perform some advanced functions with Office RT. Same goes for other Office applications. That said, Office RT is far better than mobile apps that seek to approximate the Office suite. Google last year bought the best of the bunch, QuickOffice, and the user reviews have plummeted since the deal.
Neither Surface device connects to a cellular network, so it's Wi-Fi or nothing, and the sound on the Surface left me pining for more volume.
Your children will also be sad to know they can't download Minecraft or any other desktop apps on the Surface 2. The Windows mobile app market has no official Minecraft app, which is available on Apple and Android.
And as he also notes, Angry Birds costs $3.50 rather than being free, as is the case with other apps. A smaller, pricier app selection, limited versions of Office - this is "winning"?
When Samsung launched its latest flagship smartphone, the Galaxy S4, in March, company executives promised it would come preloaded with the Knox system. But Knox wasn't ready in time for that rollout, with the system still hampered by inadequate security specifications and bugs. Knox didn't come preloaded on any Samsung devices until the release of its Galaxy Note 3 phone-tablet hybrid that made its debut in September.
One of Samsung's key partners, the Defense Information Systems Agency—the Pentagon unit that grants approval for technologies to be used by other government agencies—has been particularly frustrated with the delivery of a ready-to-use device loaded with Knox's security features, according to people familiar with the matter. It granted Samsung Galaxy smartphones—as well as iPhones and iPads—a key initial security approval in May, based on Samsung's assurances of a smooth Knox rollout.
"We understand the technology challenges each of our vendors must work with respect to their products being market ready and will continue to work closely with each of them," said a spokeswoman for the Defense Information Systems Agency.
Samsung says its research and development teams have been working "very closely" with the U.S. National Security Agency, which helps technology companies shape new products for U.S. government agencies. The NSA said it wasn't able to comment on the matter.
3's official site no less a site which does its level best to look like an official site for network operator Three, but is in fact unaffiliated to it:
A wide variety of problems are being reported by Nexus 4 users who've updated to Android KitKat. Some of the most serious issues involve the home-button ceasing to function, the phone dialler not working anymore and the lock-screen getting stuck.
Other owners of Google's smartphone have reported terrible battery drain since updating, laggy keyboard performance and some users have even reported that their device is now shutting down of its own accord.
Not all users are affected by issues, but it's a real mess for Google - especially given that early updates to new Android platforms are often highlighted as major selling points of Nexus devices.
What to do if affected?
Google are aware of the problem and they are already thought to working a new update to resolve the issues (KitKat 4.4.1). Waiting it out is an option, but Google are yet to comment when the new patch is likely to made available.
Puts something of a crimp on the promises of the Nexus line getting pure, untroubled Android.
BusinessWeek's cover story is told through peoples' recollections, from the start through to key moments like this:
Thomas Homer-Dixon, professor of political science at the Balsillie School of International Affairs: I was with Jim [Balsillie, RIM co-CEO and co-chairman] on an icebreaker in the Arctic in the summer of 2010 for a weeklong seminar on Arctic issues. That's when things really turned. Saudi Arabia, India, and others were saying RIM had to open up to national intelligence. He gave a talk at the end of the week to everybody on board. He started out by saying, "You know, I'm an electrician's son from Peterborough. A lot of people who are involved in building a $60 billion company like to look back and attribute their success to smart moves along the way. What I'm going to tell you is a story about luck—and extraordinary luck at key moments along the way." He identified six moments where RIM could have failed. A combination of luck and acumen had put them on the right path. Someone asked, "What do you think is going to happen now?" He said, "Well, it's really hard to say. This is a rapidly expanding market. We may have a diminishing share of that market, but who knows?"
Our World: Hollywood Breaks Box Office Records with Explosions, Rising Stars
Mathematically Literate World: Hollywood Breaks Box Office Records with Inflation, Rising Population
And many more, all of similar truth. (Via @RagingTBolt)
The last Bluetooth update was in July 2010, with the spec for Bluetooth Smart, also called Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) or Bluetooth 4.0. It enabled low-energy technology for the Internet of Things.
A single device can now act as both a Bluetooth Smart peripheral and a hub at the same time. For example, a smart watch acts as a hub gathering information from a heart rate monitor while simultaneously acting as a peripheral to a smartphone — displaying new message notifications from the phone.
Bluetooth has become the wireless technology of choice for developers, according to the Bluetooth SIG, with over two billion devices shipping annually. The Bluetooth SIG [Special Interest Group] now counts over 20,000 member companies.
Looking at the result, it's easy to see why people don't believe it was drawn rather than just a photograph. Looking at the start, it's hard to see how he got there. 200 hours of work in between the two.
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Tech City to get superfast 4G network - on its third birthday
(Fri, 06 Dec 2013 00:29:37 GMT)
EE's 4G network expansion will finally give east London's tech startups a superfast connection, it will be announced today
Facebook caught in controversy over earnings exported to Cayman Islands
(Thu, 05 Dec 2013 21:13:13 GMT)
Irish government collected £4.4m last year from world's largest social media company that earned estimated £645m in UK
Facebook is facing a fresh controversy over its tax contributions after company filings revealed the social network exported an estimated £645m earned in the UK and other overseas markets to the Cayman Islands tax haven last year.
Facebook uses a subsidiary in Ireland to collect advertising revenue from around the world. Accounts filed in Dublin this week show that business is booming, with international earnings rising to £1.5bn in 2012, up from £840m in 2011. But the Irish government collected just £4.4m in tax from the world's largest social media company last year.
Using a complex web of subsidiaries in a tax structure known as the "double Irish", employed by a number of American multinationals, Facebook shelters much of the money it earns outside its home market from governments around the world.
Facebook and Google account for around half of the £6bn expected to have been spent on advertising on the internet in Britain this year, according to eMarketer. But Facebook has put most of this income out of reach of the taxman.
The company paid no tax in Britain last year, despite earning an estimated £223m in one of the Europe's biggest advertising markets. Facebook takes full advantage of London's status as a hub for European advertisers. Its European vice president, Nicola Mendelsohn, formerly chair of the well-respected Karmarama ad agency, is based in the capital, near to the headquarters of WPP, the world's largest buyer of advertising space.
A Facebook spokesman said: "Facebook complies with all relevant corporate regulations including those related to filing company reports and taxation. We have our international headquarters in Ireland that employs almost 400 people and a series of smaller local offices providing support services all over Europe. Dublin was selected as the best location to hire staff with the right skills to run a multilingual hi-tech operation serving the whole of Europe."
Facebook's UK operating company employs more than 120 staff, many in advertising sales, but advertisers are actually billed via the Dublin-based subsidiary, Facebook Ireland Ltd. Accounts show the business employed 382 staff last year, some of them in Ireland and some abroad.
The subsidiary collected revenues of £1.5bn last year, but this was wiped out by two items – the cost of sales and payments made to other group companies. Large sums go directly to the US, with £670m being paid to the listed parent company last year. But £645m was paid to Facebook Ireland Holdings for use of the platform.
This second subsidiary is based in Ireland but does not file full public accounts. This means the final destination of any payments out of Facebook Ireland Holdings is untraceable. However, there are clues to its ownership – filings show Facebook Ireland Holdings is owned by a number of Facebook subsidiaries based in the Caymans, a jurisdiction that does not levy corporation tax.
The ownership structure suggests Facebook may be diverting much of its international income to the tax haven. The company declined to comment on this aspect of its accounts.Margaret Hodge, who chairs Parliament's influential Public Accounts Committee, has criticised Facebook's tax record, accusing the company of apparently "deliberate manipulation of accounts of economic activity to deprive the British taxpayer of a rightful tax contribution".
Political leaders around Europe have urged Dublin to do more to tackle tax avoidance scheme. The G20 group of countries and the OECD are working to close loopholes, while prosecutors in Italy have initiated proceedings against Apple for similar arrangements to those being used by Facebook.
The un-Beliebers: the day BlackBerry turned down 'ambassador' Justin
(Thu, 05 Dec 2013 19:53:12 GMT)
Like the music executive who turned down the Beatles, marketing execs at BlackBerry (then RIM) pooh-poohed the idea of Justin Bieber to tout the brand because 'he's not going to last'. By Charles Arthur
Bitcoin endorsed by Wall Street strategist
(Thu, 05 Dec 2013 17:33:11 GMT)
Bank of America has recommended a $1,300 price target for the digital currency, and described its "clear potential for growth". By Alex Hern
Xbox One basketball game penalises players for swearing
(Thu, 05 Dec 2013 16:25:02 GMT)
Bad language on the NBA 2K14 court? That's a technical foul – whether it's a real game or a virtual one. By Alex Hern
PlayStation 4: gamers frustrated by PS4 pre-order failures
(Thu, 05 Dec 2013 16:21:46 GMT)
High street retailer Game has allegedly disappointed dozens of gamers who pre-ordered Sony's console but are still to receive it
Tesco to unveil second-generation Hudl tablet in 2014
(Thu, 05 Dec 2013 15:35:32 GMT)
Surprised by the demand for its first Android tablet, Tesco plans 'enhanced' followup. By Samuel Gibbs
Microsoft likens government snooping to cyber attacks
(Thu, 05 Dec 2013 15:18:26 GMT)
Senior legal counsel says internal systems will adopt 'Perfect Forward Secrecy' to encrypt links between servers. By Charles Arthur
Autumn statement has mixed messages for tech startups
(Thu, 05 Dec 2013 14:44:15 GMT)
Specific tax breaks for those investing in peer-to-peer lending platforms would have been great news for London's tech city. By Taavet Hinrikus
Bitcoin price tumbles after warning from Chinese central bank
(Thu, 05 Dec 2013 12:49:06 GMT)
The People's Bank of China has issued a warning about bitcoin, telling financial institutions in the country that the currency is not legally protected and has no 'real meaning'. By Alex Hern
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