Monthly Archives: April 2013

Chris Nuttall

The Nest thermostat, designed by iPod creator Tony Fadell, is a fun way to turn your air conditioning system on and off, but it could soon be saving users serious money with its latest deals.

The Silicon Valley company says it is now working with leading US energy providers to reduce energy usage and consumers’ bills through its auto-adjustment of their home’s heating and cooling needs. 

Indian makers of tablet computers are elbowing their way into the domestic market, which is expected to expand rapidly in the next few years, writes Avantika Chilkoti

Although Samsung and Apple feature strongly in the Indian tablet market, figures from the International Data Corporation, an information technology research company, show India’s two leading domestic manufacturers have grabbed a market share of more than 20 per cent.

 

The dramatic manhunt for suspects in the Boston marathon bombings that took place in the evening and early morning hours of April 18 and 19 was covered extremely well by a group of non-journalist online civilians . . . until it fell apart under its own weight.

It began with a tweet at roughly 11 pm, saying that shots had been fired on the MIT campus. As an editor on the FT’s newsdesk in New York, I alerted our reporter on the ground in Boston and began to hunt online for more information. 

Earlier on Friday, Wired reported that Apple’s voice app Siri, which is perhaps most famous for its comical misinterpretations, keeps users’ data for up to two years.

Now Google has told the FT that it stores queries to its voice search service for the same period. The difference is that Google stores the actual audio samples for up to two years, unlike Siri which deletes the audio after six months and then just retains the queries. So, is two years too long? 

Images and video poured out of Boston on Monday as runners and spectators of the city’s historic marathon posted their media across the internet after two bombs exploded near the race’s finish line.

As the content hit the internet, individuals online started to piece things together. Certain people were seen carrying black backpacks. Some of these people appeared later without the backpacks. A black backpack found at the scene was believed to hold one of the bombs.

This is the world of internet sleuthing, and depending on who you ask, it’s becoming either a shining example of crowdsourcing or a dangerous vigilante trend. 

Chris Nuttall

At a time when laptop makers are looking for ways to cut the price of ultrabooks to appeal to mass-market consumers, Toshiba has announced a new luxury line where no expense is being spared.

The Japanese company’s Kira brand makes its debut with the 13.3-in KIRAbook, available next month in versions costing from $1,600 to $2,000 in the US. 

Some people avoid buying clothes online because they don’t know the right size; others do buy online but end up returning ill-fitting products.

Now one of the companies aiming to address this problem – Fits.me – has raised a further £5m in venture capital funding. That follows the news earlier this year that some big names – including Adidas and Hugo Boss – have signed up to its technology. 

Nevermind superfast broadband – the British government is lining up “superfast patents”. Inventors could be awarded a patent in just ninety days, under a government consultation published on Tuesday. That’s a fraction of the usual two to five years, and only a little longer than the ticketing process for the 2012 London Olympics.

Observers may see anything that makes patents easier as a bad idea, given the smartphone wars. Hence the UK is proposing an extra fee of £3,500-£4,000 for the fast-track service. The hope is that will strip out less credible claims, while allowing serious investors to get their patent – and then some venture capital. 

If you predicted the bubble and bust in the Bitcoin market would kill off the nascent virtual currency, well, the very best you could say is that you’re early, writes Stephen Foley.

In fact, dating site OkCupid is going to start accepting payment in Bitcoin from tomorrow, the biggest brand name so far to join the Bitcoin economy. Since the site is part of Barry Diller’s IAC media empire, this gives the currency a toehold in a major corporation. 

Chris Nuttall

Logitech announced plans in January to sell its Harmony universal remote-control products division, as part of a strategic review that will see it focus more on PC, tablet and smartphone-related products.

But the Swiss company, which reported a disappointing $180m loss in its last quarter as PC-related sales slumped, is still coming out with new products, with two Harmony universal remotes announced today for the US and Europe.