The iPhone’s 3G is off, the Wi-Fi is shut down and my flamboyantly sadistic 19-year-old son has taken custody of my iPad for the next week. Out comes the network cable and I draft an automatic reply for email messages. As the witching hour approaches, I bid farewell to my 200,000-odd followers on Twitter: “Internet addiction check-up. Off-line for a week from tomorrow. Be in touch”.

Continue reading: “A week without the worldwide web”

There are many laws that help us to make sense of the world: the laws of physics; the law of averages, write George Osbourne, the UK finance minister, and Eric Schmidt, Google chairman. However, one of the more significant is Moore’s law, which forecasts that the processing power of the latest computer chips doubles every two years. This prediction has proved to be unerringly accurate over the past 50 years, and means that the pace of technological innovation is accelerating, not slowing nor flatlining.

However, it is not just the pace of technology progress that is accelerating. The role that technology plays in driving job creation and economic growth becomes more important each day.

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I used to think that each new generation of workers was pretty much like the last one, at least in big ways. We all want more money, more praise, more interesting work and colleagues who are pleasant enough to join for a sandwich at lunchtime.

Yet last week I started to wonder if 20-year-olds might be something different altogether. I had a conversation with a young man who, far from sharing sandwiches with his colleagues, has never even met them. He doesn’t talk to them on the phone either. Instead, Jamie Holmes has spent the past two years interacting with his bosses and with the people he recruits and trains entirely by text message and email.

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In the afterglow of Apple’s big iPad 3 reveal yesterday comes the somewhat souring realisation for its legions of European fans that they will not be able to use the much hyped 4G capabilities for some time, if at all on this device, writes Dan Thomas.

Sure, they will get the high-definition screen and the spruced up processor, but Europeans will not be able to happily “facetime” 4G LTE iPad owners in North America on super speedy mobile broadband. Read more

Sean Maloney asks the question that is on my mind before I get to ask it. “Do you think I’m better or that I’m not better?” he inquires, barely 15 minutes into our conversation.

In his case, it is not such an odd question. Two years ago, he did not even know if he would talk again after suffering a stroke. He had been running with his 20-year-old son, then sat on the bed in his San Francisco home and everything went blank. “When I woke up there was nothing. It was terrible, waking up like that and asking what was I doing with my life,” he recalls.

By then, the London-born Mr Maloney was widely seen as the heir apparent to Paul Otellini, Intel’s chief executive, who is due to step down in 2015. Mr Maloney had risen rapidly through the ranks at the company since joining in 1982 – but the stroke called his inexorable ascent into question. “It almost killed me,” he says. Read more

From the FT’s Business blog:

Fujitsu’s plan to enter the European smartphone and tablet market has a 1980s ring to it. By the early part of that decade, Japanese companies had already grabbed large shares of the markets for televisions, hi-fi, calculators, electronic toys, and digital watches. These days, Europeans are more used to hearing about new Chinese, Taiwanese and South Korean entrants.

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A list of hacked private data belonging to 537 customers, posted anonymously on the internet on Friday led Dutch telecoms company KPN to shut down email access for two million clients for two days while it reinforced security, writes Matt Steinglass in Amsterdam.
But it soon turned out that the hacked data didn’t come from KPN at all; it came from an online baby-products store called Baby-Dump (

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In what the Twittering classes have universally seen as a retrograde step,  Sky News introduced a new social media policy on Tuesday, which includes an effective ban on its journalists retweeting non-Sky sources, writes Ben Fenton.

I haven’t seen the email myself, but I am confident from several sources that the offending sentence runs like this:  “Do not re-tweet information posted by other journalists or people on Twitter”. Read more

by Dan Thomas, Telecoms Correspondent

Google is taking Chrome mobile for the first time with the introduction of its web browser across the Android phone platform.

The company promises to make surfing the web a seamless experience from desktop to phone by allowing users to sync opened web pages, bookmarks and preferences across devices. Read more

Mark Zuckerberg

At long last Facebook has filed for its initial public offering, the most eagerly awaited event in Silicon Valley since Google went public in 2004. Having read the prospectus, with its details of how profitable and cash-rich the social networking enterprise is, may I suggest it calls the whole thing off.

There is still time to cancel its IPO and the filing provides plenty of reasons why it ought to, and why Mark Zuckerberg, its founder and chief executive, would probably be happier if it did. He could carry on running Facebook as a private company and would not have to justify himself to outsiders.

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BNP Paribas has launched an iPad app in the hope that hedge fund managers will want to check out their stock holdings on the move, writes Dan McCrum.

“You can get off an airplane and in one minute see everything that’s happening in your portfolio,” says Sam Hocking, head of prime brokerage sales for the French Bank. Read more

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. Read more

Eastman Kodak’s last big investor meeting ended with its executives trying to finish while a shareholder shouted at them: “You guys have no credibility. Zero.” Since then, things have got worse.

Continue reading: The smart technology loser folds

by Daniel Thomas, Telecoms Correspondent

Just one per cent of subscribers consume half of all downloaded data with the latest devices from Apple in particular fuelling demand for bandwidth-hungry mobile content. Read more

The Birmingham Laptop Ensembe in action

In 2006, during the traditional speech that follows the Last Night of the Proms, the conductor Mark Elder bemoaned the effect that new aircraft baggage restrictions were having on instrument-carrying musicians. Noting that the rules still allowed laptops, he joked: “It seems to me that next year we should all look forward to Concerto for Laptop and Orchestra.”

Many a true word is spoken in jest – and a quick search online would probably have led Elder to Princeton University, where a group of tech-savvy musicians had already gone one better. Co-founded in 2005 by Professors Dan Trueman and Perry Cook, the Princeton Laptop Orchestra (PLOrk) was the first serious attempt to put together a computer-only musical ensemble.

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facebook generic

Even as US Christmas shoppers have spent record sums online this year, one of the biggest disappointments for some internet entrepreneurs has been a company that is otherwise hot property: Facebook.

Retail executives and consultants say Facebook has yet to take off as a retail platform, defying excited predictions that “social commerce” – jargon for shopping via social media sites – would be the next big thing.

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Ten years ago, a typical 17-year old girl in Scott Thompson’s neighbourhood south of San Francisco would have spent Saturdays hanging out at the shopping mall with friends, says the 54-year old father of three. Today, his own daughter of that age “never, ever, ever” sets foot there of her own accord.

“My wife in fact has to drag her to get her to go to the mall this time of year to help her buy stuff for friends and relatives. She just doesn’t want to do it,” Mr Thompson says. Read more

When Thierry Breton, chief executive of Atos, said the IT services company would ban use of internal email by 2014, it caused a sensation across the media, with commentators describing the idea as either “brave”, “stupid” or doomed to failure.

But in fact, a number of companies have been quietly moving away from using email as the primary way of communicating within the company. Read more

Whoever thought up Amazon’s latest idea for squeezing other retailers – offering money off to people who scanned prices in US stores with its smartphone app and then bought the goods on Amazon – deserves an award for bad timing.

Continue reading: “Don’t make Amazon a monopoly”

If you were running Yahoo, what would you do to revive its core internet services?

That question, or something similar, is being asked all over Silicon Valley and the internet industry – not just by the Yahoo board, which is looking for a permanent replacement to Carol Bartz, the ousted chief executive; but also by private equity investors such as Silver Lake and TPG that hope to buy a big stake and bring new leadership to one of the best web brands.