News Roundup: The Return Of Bob, Hulu says NO and Self-Destructing Microchips

NSA Fallout Continues

NSA Hopping…GCHQ ok…Snowden asylum…Yahoo win court battle...Microsoft might be aiding spies...Kim Dotcom helping privacy start-ups… Germans go on walks…the NSA story is slowing down a little, but titbits are still dripping out. But aside from increased paranoia and strained political relationships, will anything good come out of it?

Well maybe. Russia is calling for the creation of a United Nations agency to monitor collection and use of personal data, according to the New York Times. It is however, also looking to make companies comply with its laws and give them access to the data too.

And it’s also worth noting that while Pew found most Americans (56%) accept NSA data collection, they were your average Joes answering. But when you ask CIOs, the story is very different; 70% said the NSA's actions were unacceptable, showing that when you really understand what NSA was doing, it actually is more concerning. 

Hulu says NO

Hulu caused a stir this week, and refused to be sold. The cheeky beggars. Instead of bowing down to new paymasters, it raised an extra $750 million from its current masters and will invest the cash into its services. Some people might be pissed about the money ($25 million) they spent trying to organize the buyout, but at least they aren’t as angry and confused as Wayne Rooney.

Developing App Priorities

Apps make mobility. It’s true. Without decent apps, you’re left with a shit mirror. And people need apps. Free apps. And you best deliver. Almost 40% of UK workers would quit their organisation if they couldn't use their mobile devices for work, and almost 70% feel the powers that be don’t supply the mobile tools and applications they need. So it’s a good job app developers are providing.

According to a new survey, 84% of developers are interested in developing for smartphones, and 81% for tablets. iOS is a winner on both formats, with Android phones third. Android tablets and HTML5 are tied for fourth. For now, Firefox & Tizen have few takers, and interest is sorely lacking for Windows and Blackberry. A separate study found that paid for apps are declining, and the available number of free apps is up almost 10% on last year. 

With all this talk of mobility, ever wondered about life with apps, but without smartphones?  Qualcomm made a good effort with a funny little video. Well worth a watch here.

A Year at Yahoo!

It’s a year this week that since Mayer took the reign at Yahoo!. And to celebrate, the company released its numbers for 2013, and we’ve done a tasty blog about it that you should definitely read right here. Barely minutes after the finished product was sent to the copy-checking monkeys though, more acquisition news was announced! Firstly was Beijing-based data analysis start-up Ztelic for R&D efforts, and then there was mobile ad start-up AdMovate. The transition to social mobile web portal continues unabated.

The Return of BOB              

Bill Gates spoke at Microsoft’s Virtual Faculty Summit in Redmond on Monday. And what he said sent shivers down the spines of anyone who remembers Windows 3; the return of Microsoft Bob. Back in the 90s, Bob was meant as an easy way to introduce all the capabilities of what the PC could do, all through a horrible cartoony interface. "We tried a little personality that was definitely premature. I think it will re-emerge, but perhaps with a bit more sophistication," Gates said. I think most of the populace, almost as angry and confused as Wayne Rooney, would rather take the return of Clippy.

Who Needs Virtualization?

51% of people believing stormy weather interferes with Cloud computing, 16% of business decision makers think that Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) is a new road project, while 22% think that Platform as a Service (PaaS) is a new philosophy in railway management. These are sad stats I like to roll out occasionally for my own amusement. While not quite up to that level, a new survey from Cisco found that 40% of end-users haven’t heard of virtualization. Clearly not enough people are downloading our awesome white papers and educating themselves. Get to it now.

More Bitcoin Shenanigans

Cryptocurrencies are sticking around, at least for the time being. A recent Cloud provider had to stop new users registering after virtual currency speculators went chasing new player Primecoin. 18,000 people signed up to try their hand at mining after the company offered a promo code for cheap Cloud computing. The owners were shocked, but at least they aren’t as angry and confused as Wayne Rooney.

Elsewhere, this week saw the first major acquisition of a Bitcoin company using Bitcoins. SatoshiDice was sold to an anonymous buyer for 126,315 Bitcoins, or around $11.4 million. S-Dice claims to be “the most popular Bitcoin betting game in the universe”. Could it be the first of many?

Apple Fuels Porn Addiction: Would You Adam & Eve It?

The news that Apple is being sued again isn’t that shocking. That it’s not Google or Samsung or a patent Troll is a little bit surprising. That it’s a man blaming the company for his porn addiction is taking the (soggy) biscuit. Chris Sevier, of Tennessee, blames the company for the breakdown of his marriage after misspelling Facebook and ending up at F**kbook. "The Plaintiff began to prefer the cyber beauties over his wife, which caused his marriage to fail. His wife [left him], which was a subsequent consequence of Apple's decision to sell its computers not on 'safe mode'." The biggest crime about this story? The lack of biblical references about the Apple of temptation & Eve.

Million Dollar Mobility

Smartphones and tablets vary in price, from your $20 tablet to the world’s most expensive smartphone (complete with apps for the 1%). Gazprom’s CEO Alexey Miller, however, didn’t like the blinged-up mobility on show and so has put out a tender to design a new tablet. The budget? $3.7 million. The demands? Has to be iOS, guaranteed to start within no more than five seconds as well as support 3G, GPRS and Wi-Fi. Diamond-encrusted battery charger not required.

This Smartphone Will Self-Destruct In 5 Seconds

Ewaste is pretty grim. In PC graveyards lie mountains of discarded monitors and motherboards that are a pain in the arse to recycle and only a little bit poisonous. The solution? Vanishing electronics. Clever clogs at the University of Illinois have created a microchip that dissolves in water. Why? So that when we discard our unwanted tech it’s easier to get rid of. It’s still early days, and you don’t want to be using it in the rain, or you’ll be as angry and confused as Wayne Rooney.

Paypal Almost Pays the Price

In possibly the biggest eCommerce blunder ever, Paypal briefly made one man the richest human in history. Not just Forbes-rich, not just Bill-Gates-rich, not even Apple-cash-reserves-rich, but so unfathomably rich he could literally by the world. PR exec Chris Reynolds, of Delaware, found the generous boffins at Paypal had gifted him $92,233,720,368,547,800, or $90 quadrillion. For perspective, that’s roughly 1000 times as much as the GDP of the entire world [$84.97 trillion in 2012]. The man who sells car parts on ebay in his spare time called it, “a curious thing.” The humble man said he would have paid down the national debt if he gotten to keep the money. I wonder if governments carry change for a quadrillion?




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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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