Monthly Archives: January 2012

Chris Nuttall

Talking to TVs was the talk of the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) this month, with voice and gestures being demonstrated as new ways of controlling internet-connected TVs that have become too smart in their interfaces and capabilities for regular remote controls.

But there are other uses for the cameras and microphones being introduced that can see and hear us. In this week’s Personal Technology column, I have been comparing the telyHD and Biscotti TV webcams that promise better living room communications over Skype and Google Talk. Longer reviews of both are after the jump. 

Tim Bradshaw

No wonder the record labels are sounding much more positive about music subscription services. Spotify is starting to reap the benefits of its oft-doubted “freemium” business model.

After hitting 2.5m subscribers in November, the Anglo-Swedish digital music service has now reached 3m, with more than 20 per cent of its active user base paying every month to banish advertisements or listen on smartphones. 

One thing is going smoothly for Eastman Kodak. This afternoon, in the basement of a Wall Street hotel, it took just three hours to decide who should make up the committee to represent creditors in its Chapter 11 bankruptcy process. 

Tim Bradshaw

After posting forecast-beating results last night, Apple has hit another high this morning.

According to figures published on Wednesday by Kantar Worldpanel, the WPP-owned market researcher, Apple’s iPhone has just overtaken Google’s Android to become the most popular smartphone platform in the US. 

Maija Palmer

Add an ImageNorwegian public sector organisations will be banned from using Google Apps after the Norwegian data protection authorities ruled that the service could put citizens’ personal data at risk.

The data protection authority said Google Apps did not comply with Norwegian privacy  laws because there was insufficient information about where data was being kept. The decision came from a test case in Narvik, where the local council had chosen to use Google Apps for their email. 

Chris Nuttall

The problems for the global PC supply chain caused by the flooding in Thailand are slowly receding, if not as fast as the floodwaters themselves.

Western Digital, the hard-disk drive maker hardest hit, said on Monday it was continuing to ramp HDD production and had resumed manufacturing on Sunday of sliders – a key component where the heads that read and write to a disk are mounted. Slider operations had been suspended since October 10. 

Richard Waters

Six months ago, we called it the Great Patent Bubble: when wireless tech company InterDigital (almost all of whose value resides in its patents) put itself up for sale, it capped a threefold rise that saw $2.5bn added to its stock market value.

Monday’s news that the InterDigital sale has been called off suggests that the bubble is deflating. 

The initial noises out of the shake-up at Research in Motion, although it was more far-reaching than had been expected, are not especially encouraging for the investors and analysts who want radical action.

Mike Lazaridis and Jim Balsillie, the joint chairmen and chief executives of the maker of BlackBerries, have relinquished both roles. But they have handed over to an insider who looks determined to stick to the same course. 

This week brought black outs, shut downs and online protests as online piracy was placed at the forefront of tech news. While Congress announced that it suspended the proposed piracy bills, SOPA and PIPA, commentators wrote that the debate over how to reduce online piracy was not over yet. 

Chris Nuttall

RSS readers used to be the standard way for web users to collect and consume news from different sources, but the advent of tablets has brought personalised photo-rich magazine-style experiences rather than long RSS lists of headlines.

With traditional journalism in decline, the seven news aggregators reviewed here make a case that bots and social networks may be able to take the place of good editors by automatically providing a rich and more personalised news experience.