Showing posts from December, 2014

Apple Offers EU Compliant 14-day Return Policy, Wide Open To Abuse

Musicians and app developers lives just got a whole lot more complicated after Apple delivered an implementation of the EU's distance selling regulations which is wide open to abuse. As things stand anybody buying an application or music file can return it within the fourteen day cooling off period no questions asked.

Apple hasn't detailed how it will deal with users who game the system, but their only legitimate option would be to bar the user from further purchases. Given how reliant Apple is on these income streams, it seems an unlikely step to take.

For application developers that means something of an extended trial window for customers to reject their apps. For games developers that's fourteen days for customers to get bored and return the game to the store. In either case, if the app or game justifies the price it's unlikely to be badly affected.

For musicians though, it's a potential disaster in the making. DRM-free music doesn't allow Apple to confirm…

Here's A Smartwatch Concept That Might Work

This is the Kairos T-Band, a smartwatch concept that does away with the watch to become a smartband. It's only a conceptual offering at the moment, with the team behind it seeking funding on Indigogo. If they can pull it off however, there's plenty of promise in the idea.

The team envisions three versions of the watch, all of which act as fitness trackers. In the first, which has no screen, there is a vibration function to notify you of activity on your smartphone. The second version offers a multi-colour LED which uses colour codes to let you know what sort of notification has been received. The third is the very Android Wear-like version shown in the picture, which sports a curved OLED screen to allow you to view and potentially respond to notifications.

The concept looks good, however as we've seen many times in the past, getting that concept to work in reality is a whole different ball game.

Promising concept though...

More Dirt From Sony Hack Reveals MPAA Untruths

TechDirt is reporting on more information gleaned from the files stolen from Sony during the GOP hacking incident, and this one's a bit special.

It turns out that the MPAA has been reporting massively over-inflated numbers for court settlements it has reached with file sharing sites found guilty of copyright breaches. In this case the judgement details of the Hotfile case, which was allegedly an $80m result in the MPAA's favour.

Not so much it turns out.

The full details are in the article, but suffice to say that the real settlement was for just $4m and was paid in full by Hotfile. The settlement included a legal step around that allowed the MPAA to claim the $80m figure in post-settlement activity.

Clearly the MPAA intends to use these inflated numbers to boost any future settlements, which looks like highly questionable behaviour.

Sony may be embarrassed by some of the information leaking from its files, but the MPAA must be absolutely livid. Clearly Sony's ever more d…

F1: Lotus Offered Alonso 2015 Drive

Once it became clear that Fernando Alonso was leaving Ferrari there was plenty of speculation about where he might end up. It's abundantly clear that his first preference would have been to secure a drive at Mercedes, given that the team had built an all-conquering engine and car package.

Once it became clear that neither Hamilton nor Rosberg were going to make a convenient Alonso sized hole in the team by moving on, and there was no chance of teams being forced to run a third car, the pieces of the puzzle fell towards Mclaren and Honda, who might potentially have the surprise package of 2015.

However it turns out that Alonso had at least one other serious offer, and one the is possibly more promising than that of the Mclaren team - in the short term at least. Gerard Lopez, team owner of Lotus, has revealed that he made the double-World Champion an offer to drive for the team in 2015. This is the team with whom Alonso secured both of his World Titles, even if it has gone through …

Sony Going For Universal Unpopularity

One of the upshots of the whole Sony hacking incident has been the release of some very unpleasant information about the way that Sony Pictures goes about its business. Aside from some information which suggests that the company engages in discriminatory business practices and has senior management with serious racism issues; we`ve also learnt that it has engaged in a clandestine war on Google in association with its partners in the MPA.

With this information out in the open you`d think Sony Pictures would be keeping its collective head down. Instead it appears the company is after destroying any shred of sympathy it might have gained from being the victim of a politically motivated hack.

First it threatened media outlets who reported information leaked by the hackers, and following that up with threats against Twitter, demanding closure of accounts retweeting information disclosed by the hackers and specifically against one particular twitter user, Val Broeksmit. Broeksmit`s crime, …

Samsung's Holiday Advert Is Heart Warming

Samsung got together a number of its tablets and smartphones, and a rig to move them in concert, to create a beautiful animated story called Holiday Dreams.

It's very far from being a hard sell, but it's also not vomit-inducingly sloppy like some others I could mention.

Sony Releases CES 2015 Teaser: Welcome To The New World

Away from the dramas currently engulfing Sony Pictures, Sony Electronics has started the process of building hype for its CES 2015 unveilings with a teaser video, titled 'Welcome to the New World'. Hints of a smartphone and camera at the in here I'd say.

Not a long wait until the unveiling, with Sony scheduled to reveal all on January 5th.

Sony Pictures Cancels The Interview Release

After yesterday's cancellation of the premiere of The Interview, comes the news that Sony has killed the cinema release of the movie as well. All things considered that's a good move, although whether it will prompt the Guardians of Peace to take their foot off the company's throat remains to be seen.

The whole episode will serve as an important lesson to businesses everywhere and will no doubt be used as an educational exercise in boardrooms the world over in future.

First of all the bare facts: Sony Pictures has caved to blackmail. It's clear that the company could not reasonably proceed with the release of the movie given the threats of violence against movie-goers, employees and management at Sony Pictures. There is also the underlying suspicion that the information released thus far does not contain the bombshell whose release Sony Pictures fear.

Secondly there is the back story. The movie was a terrible decision. A storyline that makes its central joke about the…

iPod Competitor Lockout Was Legitimate Business Move For Apple

A US jury has unanimously found that Apple did not harm consumers by disabling access to third party music store tracks when releasing updates to its iTunes software.
This was always going to be a difficult case to prove, primarily because Apple never offered access to tracks using DRM from other stores as a feature of its iPod.
Lawyers in the case sought to show that Apple had used its lock-in the maintain the high price of the iPod, however it seems to me that the opposite was true and the iPod was able to maintain its high price specifically because of the way that it integrated so tightly with iTunes.
To claim that Apple had harmed consumers by blocking tracks bought from the Real Networks store seems a bit of a stretch. You might as well try to sue Microsoft for preventing games bought in Playstation format from running on the Xbox.
The closed ecosystem sales model isn't unique to Apple, nor is it difficult to understand. Even though music tracks are now sold in DRM-free ver…

Sony Cancels 'The Interview' Premiere, Stars Cancel Media Appearences

The alleged threat of a '9/11' style attack on a movie theatre showing Sony's controversial movie The Interview has put the wind up several movie theatres in the US, some of whom have already decided to give the release a miss.

Now Sony Pictures has cancelled its planned New York Premiere and stars Seth Rogen and James Franco have pulled out of all media appearances promoting the movie in the run up to its release.

Seth Rogen is among those who have called on the media to stop reporting on the information released in the attack, however given the insight that it gives into the way that Sony Pictures and its fellow MPAA members go about there business, this is never going to happen.

The bigger question that Rogen should be asking himself (amongst others who gave a green light to the project) is: Should we have made a movie that was deeply offensive to a head of state of a foreign power, no matter how much we dislike him?

If we replace Kim Jong-Un with Xi Jinping or Vladimi…

F1: Gutierrez To Ferrari

Mexican racer Esteban Gutierrez, dropped by Sauber after four seasons with the team, two as reserve driver and two in a race seat, will be Ferrari's test and reserve driver for the 2015 season. Whilst it seems like a positive move for the 23 year old, that position is notable for being the final resting place for aborted promising careers.
Despite shining in the lower formulae - winning both Formula BMW and GP3 titles - it's probably fair to say the Gutierrez demonstrated little in the way of star quality when measured up against either of his team mates at Sauber, generally the best indicator of a driver's performance.
With former team mate Nico Hulkenberg allegedly on Ferrari's wanted list, presumably to replace a retiring Kimi Raikkonen in 2016, there's little chance that Gutierrez will end up with a race seat for the team. And with little in the way of testing opportunities due to the restrictive rulings currently in place, the best that Esteban can probably h…

Sony Pictures Goes After Media Outlets To Prevent Spread Of Hacking Information

The release of information obtained from Sony Pictures via the Guardians of Peace hack gets worse and worse for the company. Revelations that it has been working with other members of the MPAA to combat Goliath (AKA Google) and change the way the internet works (in the USA at least) have been damaging for both Sony and its peers in the MPAA. There have been embarrassing emails about actors, budgets and salaries; not to mention employees personal data.

It also appears that Sony was attempting to use DDoS attacks to suppress the spread of the leaked information - in itself probably an illegal activity.

However its latest attempt to stop that leaked information spreading smacks of desperation and is likely to cost it any sympathy it may have had over the attack.

As GigaOm reports, the company has been threatening media outlets with legal action if they fail to destroy any information originating from the leak. As the article points out, the First Amendment protects the publication of th…

F1: Jean-Eric Vergne Stars On Formula E Debut

Just a few weeks after being dumped by Toro Rosso (for the second time in one season, no less) Jean-Eric Vergne arrived in Formula E, with a star turn in the Uruguayan leg of the electric formula's debut season.
Having never turned a wheel in the Renault-powered electric car, and with a whole new style of driving to contend with, as well as running in the first qualifying session (the slowest because of the 'green' track surface) JEV set down something of a marker, with a time that earned him pole position.
An unfortunately timed safety car cost him the lead of the race, and then a suspension failure ended his race as he was about to retake it, but even without finishing, his point was made.
Where the amiable Frenchman ends up next is anyone's guess. His drive in Formula E was with the Andretti team and it's not beyond the realms of possibility that JEV could end up driving one of that teams Indycars in America next season.
It seems untenable though that his F1 ca…

Uber In The News Today - But Not In A Good Way

A couple of breaking stories about Uber reflect both the company's relationship with entrenched taxi services and the way that it manages to continue hitting the self destruct button.

First of all the news that Parisien taxi drivers are planning a mass protest this Friday morning, driving in convoy from both CDG and Orly airports to the city centre ina slow rolling protest that will bring absolute chaos to one of Europe's busiest road systems.

The protest is being driven by a court's decision to block new legislation restricting how and where Uber can acquire new users. With 160,000 users already registered across France incumbent taxi services see this legislation as allowing them to prepare their services to compete on a flat playing field. The legislation will now have to return to the French parliament for further clarification before it can be enforced.

Across the world and Australia became the latest target for terrorist activity, when armed gunmen took up to fifty …

F1: 2014's Driver Of The Year Is...

Valtteri Bottas. The Finn had a magnificent season in the Williams, finishing on the podium six times and would have thoroughly deserved his first victory had fortune looked on him favourably when the opportunity arose. His fourth place in the championship was well deserved and over the course of the season he always impressed.

His speed relative to Felipe Massa was an excellent barometer of the 2011 GP3 Champion's progress. He was regularly faster even though the Brazilian looked to have regained his sparkle after a demoralizing few years at Ferrari. The pair carried Williams to a well deserved third place in the constructor's championship and delivered a complete rejuvenation of a team that looked to be on the ropes this time last year.

Other contenders for the prize were Daniel Ricciardo and Danii Kvyat. The Australian's performances were flattered by the woes suffered by Sebastian Vettel, who endured a torrid season of mechanical difficulties and bad luck, whereas Ricc…

Spain's Newspapers Feeling The Rain On The Plain

Newspapers have been having something of a battle with Google over the Google News service - the demands for payment for news snippets used in generating the links that Google News offers have been rejected by Google, which makes no money on the service.

Spain followed Germany's lead in making a payment to the news sites mandatory, and as a result Google has canned its News service in Spain.

This is whole heaps of stupid in so many ways, and it appears that the Spanish Government and court are prepared to sacrifice their news industry for this issue - whether the news industry wants it or not.

First of all newspaper sites can't survive without links in Google, which owns so much of the search market that it is, in effect, the search market. That is true of any site, anywhere in the world. And newspapers are now competing with each other on a global scale, so cutting out any source of readership - and hence revenue - is a short cut to financial suicide.

For Spain, it has a sec…

Microsoft Needs To Find A Better Way For First Use Updates

Microsoft hasn't been on the receiving end of a lot of love since launching Windows 8, changing the way that people perceive and use their computers turns out to be a lot more difficult than Microsoft anticipated. But they haven't helped themselves any, with botched advertising, limited support for enterprise requirements and by doing a poor job of making Windows 8 work well on the desktop.

Still, things have got better in Windows 8.1, and they're going to get better still in Windows 10, when it arrives late next year (if you're interested, I'm betting on August 24th, which would also mark the twentieth anniversary of Windows 95's launch).

One thing that is still decidedly poor is the way that Windows Update handles machines that have been on the shelf for a while.

OEMs shipped a lot of machines with Windows 8 that have taken time to sell, between the Windows 8 fiasco and the fall in PC sales. When those machines do sell, customers have to face the tyranny of …

F1: Button Gets Mclaren Nod

After much delay and head-scratching, the management of Mclaren finally decided to offer Jensen Button an extension to his contract with the team, partnering him with Fernando Alonso as the team moves into its new partnership with Honda.

I wonder what sacrifices Button has had to make to retain his drive. Most obviously, his value to the team in terms of remuneration will have been significantly reduced by the arrival of the Spaniard. Already suggestions are being made that Button's salary has been reduced from $12m to $8m.

More importantly, how has his status in the team been damaged by the signing of Alonso? It seems highly unlikely that Alonso would have rejoined Mclaren, and Ron Dennis in particular, unless a very exacting definition of his number one status in the team has been written into the contract. Remembering how Mclaren, Alonso and Hamilton managed to let the title slip through their fingers in 2007 as a result of the power play between the two drivers, I'm guess…

Why Google's Removal Of Amazon's App Shouldn't Concern You, But Apple's Uncertainty Should

Google took exception to some of the features that Amazon made available in its most recent app upgrade and ejected the app from the Play Store. If this had occurred on iOS or Windows Phone you would be completely cut off from Amazon's Instant Video service and for Prime users at least, inconvenienced.

Being Android of course there is an easy way to bypass the ban.

Go to this page on the Amazon website on your Android phone, download the Appstore and install it. Launch the Amazon Appstore and search for Prime Instant Video. install and you have access to watch your Prime videos on your device again. As a bonus you can now install apps from the Amazon Store instead of the Play Store if you so desire.

The open nature of Android really does mean that the device is yours to use as you choose and not under the direction of some other authority.

Compare that to the complete chaos that exists in iOS and the problems for developers using the new widgets and sharing functionality. Right n…

Microsoft Has Damaged Windows Phone By Chasing iOS & Android Users

Windows Phone remains a niche platform, picking up good numbers in some regions and at the bottom of the market. For Microsoft however, Windows Phone is no longer a priority, in fact it would be fair to say that by chasing Android and iOS users it is writing the death warrant for its mobile platform.

When Microsoft bought Nokia's handset division last year it bought itself a whole heap of trouble. It was now a manufacturer of smartphones. Not a particularly profitable one at that. Since then Microsoft has done everything it can to promote Windows Phone to OEMs: removing the licensing fee, supporting Android hardware and specifications, making Lumia only apps available across the Windows Phone Store. These have all been sensible moves. By increasing the popularity of Windows Phones in general Nokia sales should be boosted too. A rising tide lifts all boats, as the saying goes.

At the same time though, Microsoft have been promoting its services on Android and iOS phones and it is t…

How Good Are Cheap Windows Tablets: NextBook 8 Put To The Test

One of Microsoft's introductions this year was the Windows 8.1 with Bing edition. A free version of Windows for OEMs released in an effort to make cheap Windows tablets available to compete with the Android tablets currently dominating the tablet market.

Those first cheap Windows tablets are starting to arrive and the first in New Zealand is the NextBook 8, manufactured by Chinese OEM E-fun.

As the name suggests it's an 8" screen Windows 8.1 tablet. It packs a meagre 1GB of RAM and an even more stingy 16GB of storage, of which just 4GB is available on first boot. Against that it also manages to pack in a micro-HDMI connector, microSD card slot and 8mp rear / 2mp front cameras. In terms of size it is equivalent to the Toshiba Encore. Processing power is via the 1.8GHz Intel Atom. You also get 1TB of Onedrive storage and a 12 month Office 365 subscription thrown in as well.

The price is the key thing for this tablet though. At NZ$229 (around £115) it is a whole league chea…

It's A Bad Time To Be Sony

Right now Sony isn't in a great place. Sony Pictures is still reeling after an attack which is effectively driven it back to the 20th Century, with PCs, email and servers all still offline. The hack is suspected to have originated from North Korea - and a recent claim that the hackers have demanded the cancellation of the Sony Pictures film ' The Interview' seems to back that up. Add on threats received by employees, details of tax and pay scales; and the leak of unreleased films to torrent sites and its safe to say that someone at Sony Pictures is in for a very bad day, once the mess is sorted out and the inquest begins.

The problems stretch further than Sony Pictures though, with the Playstation Network being taken offline by an attack linked to the Lizard Squad. Given the previous problems with credit card details being released from PSN that's going to make for a lot of nervous gamers.

The Lizard Squad have been involved in previous attacks on the Xbox Live networ…

Nokia Lumia 830 Quick Review

If you've been around here for a while you'll know that I'm a big fan of Windows Phone, even if I'd be careful about recommending buying one to my friends. Having the opportunity to try Microsoft's new mid-range flagship device further emphasizes the positives and negatives of the platform.

Looking at the hardware first, the 830 is a natural progression from the 820 which I enjoyed using during 2013. It's a mid-range phone in terms of price, but is packing a camera which promises to be close to premium phones in performance. On the 830 Microsoft have taken the opportunity to draw a visual reference with the 1020, highlighting the 10mp Pureview camera in a black circle reminiscent of its flagship device. The camera takes excellent pictures, however the delay in opening the camera app is noticeable. If you're big on selfies this isn't the phone for you though. Its front facer is just 1mp and performance is woeful.

The hardware has moved on from the 820 i…

Microsoft Surface Pro 3 Quick Review

Microsoft continues to iterate on its vision of the laptop as a tablet as a laptop, with the third version of the Surface Pro. With a new form factor and improved keyboard covers, this really is the device that could turn the tide against phone-based tablets and MacBooks.

Having owned the original Surface Pro for over a year I've been impressed and disappointed by its capabilities. Mostly the former though. The SP and its direct replacement the SP2 proved to be brilliant devices whose success was blighted by three things. Poor marketing by Microsoft, which failed to sufficiently differentiate them from the RT based Surface, poor battery life when compared to their targeted competition, and poor usability on the lap for many users.

With the SP3 Microsoft seem to have addressed all three issues and delivered a device that out-tablets Android and iOS and out-laptops the MacBook Air.

With the new SP3 arriving in New Zealand, I've had an opportunity to try one and I have to say, i…

Chromebooks Outsell iPads In US Schools

IDC is reporting that Chromebooks outsold iPads in the US Education market last quarter, the first time that the iPad has faced any real challenge since its launch.

It's an interesting comparison of devices, because the iPad is a tablet and the Chromebook is a laptop and therefore they are not really competing in the same space.

Nevertheless it's clear that US schools are seeing something in the Chromebook that persuades them that it offers more value than the iPad. Price is certainly likely to be a factor, as are the recent scandals around how Apple equipment has been selected for several high profile education contracts - and how promised security measures have been easily bypassed by students.

The iPad faces a difficult time going forward. Overall sales are down, as is wider market share. Add to this the further growth of the Windows-based hybrid device, which offers the potential to be both laptop and tablet and you have to wonder how Apple regains its iPad mojo.

Strong r…

Amazon Takes The Next Step With Elements

Supermarkets have done it for years, so perhaps the only surprise is that it has taken Amazon so long to get into the own brand product game. Actually if you count the Kindle range it has been here for a while, although its new Amazon Elements initiative is the first product to target consumer buying.

It's a good first step as well, focusing on two products that are going to see unlimited demand forever. Nappies and baby wipes. As a parent you just cannot ever run out of these.

Amazon Elements offers two advantages over premium brands like Huggies and Pampers. Firstly price and secondly provenance. Being an own-brand product there's no surprise that these are cheap, in fact they're competitive with own brand supermarket products on the shelf.

The provenance promise is far more interesting. Every Elements product will ship with a QR code sticker, which can be scanned into your computer or phone to establish the manufacturing trail for that item.

This is undoubtedly a first…

Zuckerberg Defends Facebook, Jabs At Apple

If you aren't paying for something then you're probably the product. It's a fair assessment of where the internet stands as we approach the end of 2014. Ello, a recently hyped social network, even uses the tagline 'you are not a product' as part of its strategy to get users to abandon Facebook for its new network.

Meanwhile, when Apple was battling its Celebrity photo leak problems with iCloud, Tim Cook took a dig at Facebook saying "A few years ago, users of internet services began to realize that when an online service is free, you're not the customer. You're the product. But at Apple, we believe a great customer experience shouldn't come at the expense of your privacy." A dig at Google for sure, but an interesting comment on Facebook's business model nonetheless.

Mark Zuckerberg clearly felt those slights and has come out swinging - in an interview with Time Magazine about his goal of connecting the world, he take time to hit back at t…

Legal 101: In A Class Action, First Find A Plaintiff

Apple's antitrust trial relating to the way that it's iTunes, iPod and Fairplay DRM worked may be over very shortly. Not because Apple have proved their defence, or the case against them has been proven.

Rather because the plaintiffs in the action don't appear to have bought iPods covered by the action. So they can't really be plaintiffs.

No plaintiff, no lawsuit, everyone goes home.

No doubt the legal team behind this will go out and find new plaintiffs and re-present the claim, because if we've discovered one thing, it's that US class-action lawsuits always end very well for the lawyers concerned, and different degrees of badly for everyone else.

Its just a shame that Apple won't be able to claim its costs from the lawyers who did such a poor job of putting together the whole suit.

Cortana Gets Multi-lingual

Despite there being one good reason to avoid a Windows Phone - that app that isn't available and you can't live without - there are dozens of others why you should pick one up. One of those has been Cortana, which has proven to be a pretty competitive offering in the voice controlled personal assistant market.

Cortana is now available to more users with the release of localised versions for France, Italy, Germany and Spain, making seven locations in total, with the US, UK and China.

Of course the big issue here is that people don't generally like talking to their smartphones whether the assistant be good or bad.

Personally I've found that voice control can be very useful in the right situations, but generally by the time you've reached for the phone, activated the voice assistant and spoken your command, it's taken more effort than just doing what you wanted to do in the first place.

A notable exception here are those assistants which allow you to talk to the …

Third-party Browsers On iOS

The news that the Mozilla Foundation is to cave in and create a browser for iOS completely bemuses me. Then again I'm struggling to see why Chrome on iOS is popular too. Maybe it's just me, but if you have to build your browser around Apple's Webkit rendering engine you're not really building a browser at all, just putting your own skin on Safari.

The truth is that despite installing Chrome on my iPhone I never, ever used it. After all I couldn't set it as the default browser and as a result I was going to spend half my browsing time jumping into Safari anyway - any link from another app can only go there. The same was true for Opera. I'm no Apple fanboi that won't use anything but Apple software, I never use Safari on the desktop for example.

Even the draw of syncing tabs and bookmarks couldn't make me abandon Safari on mobile or Chrome on the desktop, because the strengths of each browser in the right place made the inconvenience tolerable.

Mozilla h…

F1: VW-Audi Considering Entry

Having previously strongly denied rumours of a pending entry into the world of F1, VW may just have to go through the process again as new rumours suggest that an entry is currently undergoing a feasibility study in Germany.
Those rumours have been strengthened by Audi's hiring of former-Ferrari team manager Stefano Domenicalli, and the rumours suggest that it is the Italian who is currently leading the study.
VW have some history here of course, or at least Audi does, as the modern incarnation of the Auto Union team that  battled Mercedes and Alfa Romeo in the thirties. Presumably the huge success being enjoyed by Mercedes has prompted at least some soul-searching at Wolfsburg.
Remember that VW were part of the group of manufacturers who defined the current Turbo / hybrid engine regulations. Deciding not to enter after being part of that decision must be galling for both the FIA and the other manufacturers. However it is said that VW boss Ferdinand Piech doesn't get on with …

Samsung Begins Rolling Out Lollipop To Galaxy S5 Owners

Samsung hasn't been shouting about its plans for rolling out Lollipop to Galaxy handsets, unlike HTC and Sony who both make the promise of rapid version upgrades part of the sales pitch for their premium handsets.

Nevertheless, it is the South Korean giant who got there first this time, with Galaxy S5 owners starting to receive the latest release of Android. As per usual Samsung has used a small market to act as guinea pigs for the rest of the world. This time it's Poland that gets first dibs on the update, with the rest of Europe and South Korea to follow shortly.

If you're wondering what Lollipop mixed with TouchWiz is going to look like, then this video from Sammobile is for you, with a pre-release version spilling most of the upgrades secrets.

F1: Bianchi Accident Report Rejects Closed Cockpits

The panel setup by the FIA to investigate the accident which befell Jules Bianchi at the Japanese Grand Prix, has made its report to the World Motor Sports Council, and manages to make sensible recommendations without resorting to the kind of knee-jerk responses which proliferate the modern world.

On the cause of the accident, the panel found that Bianchi had not slowed sufficiently on approaching the double waved yellow flag zone covering the recovery of Adrian Sutil's Sauber. Also, an incompatibility between the Marussia's brake-by-wire system and the engine management system prevented the engine shutdown which should have been activated when Bianchi hit both the brakes and throttle as he left the track. A combination of this, locked wheels and wet surface meant that the Marussia hit the crane at a speed of 126kph - around 78mph.

The panel found that Bianchi's brain injury was caused by a massive deceleration caused by the impact between helmet and crane, added to an an…

What Legitimate Reason Could Apple Have For Deleting Your Music?

The WSJ, reporting on Apple's antitrust trial for music and iPod sales, tells us that Apple spent years deleting music downloaded from rival services from customer's iPods - without telling users why or how.

The process ensured that music from rival services couldn't be synced with an iPod and also deleted existing music from a customer's library.

That's pretty nasty behaviour and certainly not the way that a customer would be expecting their music player to work. It seems hard for Apple to justify this behaviour in any other way than an effort to stifle competition. Apple, being Apple, is going to try.

In this case Apple is claiming that the music was deleted because of security concerns.

Apparently these deletions were to prevent the risk of system break-ins. By third party music files. Does anyone else find this assertion ridiculous? If the iPod was vulnerable to hacking by a music file then surely the correct action would have been to close the vulnerability, …

UBS Predicts Apple Watch Being Bigger Than iPad By 2016

Based upon a survey of smartwatch buying intent, UBS is predicting that Apple's Watch will generate more revenue for the company by the end of its second year on sale. That's a big prediction based upon less than 2,000 responses to a survey - especially with a smartphone market being hundreds of millions of phones wide.

Nevertheless, UBS is in the business of making these calls and if it's giving this advice to investors you have to assume it has a reasonable level of confidence in those numbers.

For the record UBS points to 24 million sales in FY2015, followed by 40 million in FY2016. That's an awful lot of Apple Watches. Annual revenue would top $17bn, surpassing the iPad if its current rate of decline continues.

Interestingly, across three of the four territories surveyed, and overall, more people said that they would buy a Samsung smartwatch than one from Apple (37% vs 25%).

Full details can be found at Fortune, here.

Band Aid 30: Wrong Place, Wrong Time, Wrong Message

Bob Geldof is quickly finding out that the world is a rather different place, thirty years on from Band Aid and Live Aid. The 'convenient' Ebola crisis allowed Geldof to crawl back into the pub;ic eye and reprise his role as the saintly saviour of Africa. Except that this time Africa is a different place, the music industry has changed and the world in general is just a little bit more cynical than before.

Sales of the Band Aid 30 hit 300,000 last week - assuming that every penny of the 99p digital download fee makes it to the fund to fight Ebola, that's £300k - a relative insignificant amount. Geldof - showing a lack of understanding of the digital world - urged buyers to delete the single and download it again. Which of course would generate no extra income the way that music services work.

What is becoming clear is that the buying public don't see the point in the whole exercise. If we want to give money to a cause we'll give it directly, we don't need the …

Why The Samsung Galaxy S5 Might Just Be The Best Phone For Everyone

Looks like Samsung's recent malaise will be continuing, with the company set to remove executives responsible for recent smartphone strategy after another bad quarter and reports that over estimates of the popularity of the Galaxy S5 has left retailers and wholesalers with large stocks in warehouses.

The thing about the Galaxy S5 is that if you can look past the poor media reception resulting from the phone's iterative updates over it's predecessor, most people will actually find a smartphone that fits their needs better than any other.

For example, battery life. The biggest complaint I hear from smartphone owners is that they can't make their battery last a full day. With the GS5 that's not a problem. Even under heavy load the GS5 will run to a comfortable day and a half - from morning one day to evening of the next.

The GS5 gets slated for having a plastic body. That's actually a massive plus - as you'll soon find, when others around you are struggling f…

F1: Sebastian Vettel Arrives At Ferrari, Official Video

This is the official video released by Ferrari, including an interview with Sebastian Vettel following his first drive in a Ferrari at the team's test track at Fiorano.

As current rules don't allow any testing Vettel drove the a V8 powered Ferrari used by Fernando Alonso in 2012. This was a car that Alonso harried Vettel in, right down to a winner take all finale in Brazil. If nothing else Vettel will have gained insight into Alonso's capabilities as a driver by comparing the Ferrari to his title winning Red Bull.

Vettel's arrival at Ferrari mirrors that of Michael Schumacher, his mentor and friend. It took Schumacher five seasons to win his first title in red. Something tells me that Vettel might just better that record.

Microsoft Readying New PureView Phone

The Nokia Lumia 1020 is the best phone for taking photographs, with its huge camera sensor, OIS and a Xenon flash. Now it looks like Microsoft is getting ready to replace it with a new, even more advanced replacement.

These pictures surfaced on the Baidu, so there's no real guarantee of authenticity, however the replacement for the 1020 seems like an odd thing for someone to spoof, so I'm guessing that these are genuine images.


Although the rumour suggests that the new PureView camera packs 50mp and has a physically larger sensor, the rear view reveals at least two retrograde steps which are going to be hard to ignore when considering an upgrade.

First of all the phone looks like it has a metal shell and plastic end cap for the antennas. If this is how production devices will ship Microsoft appear to have take Nokia's legacy of good looking phones and flushed it away. It look ridiculous and all so they can claim a premium device feel and ride the 'metal…

If You Aren't Paying For A Service Then You're The Product: Flickr

Flickr announced its intention to start monetising photos that have been stored in its service using particular forms of the Creative Commons licence. Those users who have published their photos under a CC Attribution or Attribution Share-alike license will not receive any recompense when their photos are used in this way.

The licensing of an existing piece of work shared to the service cannot be retrospectively revoked, and as a result Flickr will be able to re-use these photos in any manner it sees fit to try and drive an income stream.

I understand that the first step in this process will be to allow people to buy prints of pictures uploaded to the service. Future work could involve reselling to other publishing services and media.

This is being presented as a grab by Flickr, but only by those who don't understand the Creative Commons licensing elements. By uploading your work to Flickr as public and using one of the Attribution licenses you have effectively given anybody the …

Racing: Webber Survives Interlagos Crash, Performance Differential At Fault Again

Mark Webber suffered an enormous accident in his Porsche 919 sports prototype racer at Interlagos in Brazil today. The accident once more demonstrated the problems in running cars and drivers with enormous performance differentials in a single race.

Webber's Porsche, a Le Mans Prototype racer, collided with a production class Ferrari at the massively fast uphill 'straight' approaching the Start-Finish line. Anyone who knows the circuit from F1 will no this is not a good place to have an accident, with little run off and a solid concrete barrier, unprotected by tyres or other energy absorbtion devices. Both cars speared into the wall, Webber's at a seemingly unabated speed - fortunately hitting at a slightly obtuse angle, which may have been enough to save the Australian from serious injury.

The accident's cause hasn't been discussed, but it would appear that Webber went to pass the Ferrari on the inside of the left hand sweep past the pit lane entrance, only f…