News Roundup: Hulk Hosting, Riots and Naughty Bitcoin

Data Hosting, Brother

Hulk Hogan is known for many things; his wrestling, his loud persona and attire, some bad acting and always that incredible moustache. He’s not known for any sort of tech nous, so it’s surprising he’s decided to get in the ring with Tech Assets, Inc. and provide web hosting services. In what is one of the strangest tech news stories for a while, Hulkamania is putting his name, along with plenty of size nine puns, to the new service, Hostamania. The promo video features the 12-time world champion spoofing Miley Cyrus’ ‘Wrecking Ball’ video, and is worth a couple of minutes. What you gonna do, Brother?

Riots, Supressed by Robot Overlords

I do enjoy the things some of these data analysts say. They spend most of their time talking about server trends and whatnot, but deep down they’re robot loving anarchists. Kenneth Brandt, one of the firm’s analysts speaking at Gartner's Symposium ITxpo, predicted that thanks to smart machines, unemployment will rise, resulting in all manner of social unrest. Other predictions from the company for the future include the spread of 3D printing, crowdsourcing, and learning computers. Not that any of our robot lords will let us use them. They’ll be no techy types to save us either; they’re all already overworked, according to a new report

Twitter’s Dirty Laundry

Twitter’s IPO is imminent, so it’s time to really dig deep into the company’s back story. Good thing Nick Bilton is releasing a book on the subject then. An early excerpt printed in the NYTimes has ruined Jack Dorsey’s reputation, revealed Al Gore almost bought (and would’ve destroyed) the company, and the whole thing could have been a Friendstalking mess.

It hasn’t dampened excitement among the traders though. Some over-excitable investors saw the TWTRQ symbol on the exchange and sent the shares flying up 750%. Unfortunately though, the shares were for a company called Tweeter, the home electronics store that’s been bankrupt since 2007. Whoops.

NSA still in hot water

Another week – another load of NSA headlines….

- Servers at the NSA’s storage facility have been spectacularly blowing up.

- The NSA has been doing it’s hardest to break into Tor, has mixed results.

- Germans & Russians have their own PRISM-esque programs, Australia knew about the tracking, UK politicians claim ignorance over GCHQ’s actions, Brazil points a finger at Canada.

-Lavabit’s founder loves to Troll the authorities, wanted $3,500 to log user data.

-NSA Director loses touch with reality, wants more surveillance, but would outsource storage of phone data.

Fishy Bing

According to Microsoft, people prefer Bing. Shockingly, eyebrows were raised at that hypothesis, and a professor at Yale decided to do his own testing to see how the results matched up. His study found that if you searched for Bing’s suggested terms, Bing usually won, but if you used web's most popular searches, Google won out by a sizable distance. Bad show.

And seemingly not learning from the reaction to NSA stories and the general dislike of tracking Cookies, Microsoft are planning to replace Cookies with something even more stalkerish. Sources have told The Reg, “Redmond is in the early stages of developing a replacement technology which acts as a device identifier and stores similar data to cookies, but within Microsoft's ecosystem and linked in with Internet Explorer and Bing.” Any wonder no one likes them anymore?

On the plus side, however, outgoing CEO Steve Ballmer has promised that a full iPad version of Microsoft Office is in the works! The catch, however, is that we’ll have to wait until the touch-friendly Windows version comes out, so don’t hold your breath. Best to stick with the iPhone version eh?

Aye-aye, A4AI

First there was, where Mark Zuckerberg wants the rest of the world online. Now there’s the Alliance for an Affordable Internet, or A4AI, which, er, wants the rest of the world online. Facebook has unsurprisingly joined, along with Google, Microsoft, Yahoo, Cisco, and Intel.

At the opposite end of the spectrum is Repair, Restart, which wants to get people repairing their phones instead of just replacing it as soon as it breaks. It’s quite scary really how much this tech stuff engulfs our lives. In the UK, 1 in 12 waking minutes is spent online, 1 in 7 of those is spent on Facebook, 5.5 days a year is wasted waiting for things to load, while ¼ of all internet traffic is spent pirating. Once you factor in the amount of Porn & Cats online, what’s left?

Blackberry's mixed fortunes

Another mixed week for the struggling Blackberry. They’re being sued by investors over misleading promises, it admitted it’s not the leader in emerging markets anymore,  and revealed it had what could have been a potentially company-saving deal in China fall through. All hard pills to swallow.

However, despite this, there are some silver linings. The company somehow still has the resources (surely PR/marketing types are the most expendable when it comes to redundancies?) to announce it’s launching a new cloud-based service to enable easy, web-based management of mobile users and apps. And there’s suddenly a queue of potential buyers, with Cisco, Google, and SAP lodging interest earlier in the week, and BlackBerry co-founders Mike Lazaridis and Douglas Fregin also potentially interested. Will Blackberry exist as we know it by the year’s end? Almost certainly not. Will it exist at all? Hard to say, but I wouldn’t count on it.

Hardware: Million Pis & Curvy Screens & FrankeNokia

Loads of fun things happening in hardware this week…

-          A million Raspberry Pis have been made in Britain, and 1.7 million worldwide.

-          Samsung and LG both debut curved screen phones, Flexiphones becoming more likely

-          Nokia do a Frankenstein impression and power a Lumia with a lightning bolt.

-          HTC One Max has a fingerprint scanner, while Fingerprint-based payment is now a thing.

-          Disney has developed tactile sensations that mimic real surfaces for touchscreens.

-          The tablet market in India is worth $2 billion, while the Nigerian Government think it’s ok to buy 53 gold iPhones to celebrate 53 years of independence.

There’s been plenty of Wearable tech news too…

-          By 2017, companies will ship more than 64 million wearable technology devices.

-          Apple will be pocketing around $2.6 billion thanks to the iWatch in just one year.

-          Samsung will launch Gear Glass next year, while someone else is releasing another ‘stylish’ rival.

Qualcomm sorry

Last week Qualcomm’s Anand Chandrasekher said the iPhone 5S’ 64-bit A7 processor was nothing but a ‘marketing gimmick’ with zero benefit for the customer. Qualcomm’s PR people didn’t like that, and have issues a statement distancing themselves from that opinionated maverick. “The comments made by Anand Chandrasekher, Qualcomm CMO, about 64-bit computing were inaccurate,” the dull statement reads. “The mobile hardware and software ecosystem is already moving in the direction of 64-bit; and, the evolution to 64-bit brings desktop class capabilities and user experiences to mobile, as well as enabling mobile processors and software to run new classes of computing devices.”

Bitcoin Grows up, gets naughty

Bitcoin has hit the press again. The FBI’s shutdown of Silk Road is still newsworthy, as the FBI is having trouble accessing Ross ‘Dread Pirate Roberts’ Ulbricht's personal Bitcoin stash of 600,000 BTCs - thought to be worth around $80 million.

Meanwhile, physical Bitcoin cash machines have begun shipping. Bitcoin Venture company Lamassu has shipped ATMs to Slovakia, China, France, Australia, New Zealand, Finland and others, while Las Vegas-based Robocoin is shipping some to a physical exchange in Canada and has orders for more all over the world.

Best of all, however, is the release of King of Bitcoin. It’s an e-Book based on Bitcoin, but it’s not just any old e-Book. No, someone thought the world needed an erotic Bitcoin novel. It apparently features “19-year old Atlas Fawkes, a condescending Bitcoin miner who survives a global financial collapse in 2019 only to become fabulously wealthy thanks to his smart lack of faith in fiat currency.” Hot, hot stuff there. It doesn’t look like you can buy the book with the currency itself though.

Forking Forkly

If you follow IDG Connect’s posts, you know the terrible naming habits of Startups has become a bug bear of mine recently. I’ve decided to try and regularly highlight some that I find in the news. Last week was Fashism, this it’s Forkly’s turn. While not as politically incorrect as calling your users ‘Fashists’, the alarming unoriginality of its creators is maddening. Take the essential eating implement, and add ‘ly’ to the end of it. No wonder it’s closing down. Take a lesson from Hostmania, that’s a good name. Even Yahoo’s latest (after a brief dry spell) addition, Hitpost, tried a little harder and was rewarded.


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Dan Swinhoe

Dan is a journalist at CSO Online. Previously he was Senior Staff Writer at IDG Connect.

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