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Google crashes TV's Edinburgh party

Google crashes TV's Edinburgh party
What did the television industry make of Eric Schmidt's MacTaggart speech?
There are three things the TV executive audience have come to expect from the annual MacTaggart lecture: the pantomime of an inter-industry dispute, an intellectual appreciation of the past year's achievements and a warm glow of self-congratulation derived from being an industry that still matters, despite everything.
Eric Schmidt was never going to tick any of those boxes. Even before Google's executive chairman had taken to the stage, there were mutteringsfrom festival veterans that his would be the most anodyne MacTaggart ever, that he was miscast as keynote speaker, that this was tech tokenism taken a step too far.
What Schmidt did deliver was a carefully crafted lecture designed to boost Google's intellectual credibility, and give much-needed depth to the debate around the role of technology firms in the media industry's future. Evident throughout was the artful hand of Peter Barron (the former Newsnight editor, now Google's UK director of external relations)clearly balancing his first-hand insights of Google with his years of experience in the broadcast industry. But it took Schmidt's charm and erudition to carry this one off; however important Google might be to the future of broadcasting, newish chief executive Larry Page would have lacked the "human interface" required.
The biggest applause of the night was unexpectedly for Kangaroo, after Schmidt had explained the absurdity of blocking development of the online TV project because regulators thought it might be too successful. "You need to get smarter about how to … get the most from your public sector innovations," he said. "Even if YouView meets its revised timetable of launching in 2012, you'll still have thrown away several years when the UK could have been in the lead – a lifetime technologically."
There was the obligatory flattery and dash of nostalgia, too. "If any industry is poised to rise to the challenge, it is yours," he crooned. "Your creative talent is unrivalled. Your independent producers are famed for their entrepreneurial zeal. Your managers have fought hard battles for efficiency, and won. Britain's industry has an unparalleled global reputation, including journalism, comedy and drama … I grew up watching your stuff."
Not everyone was charmed by Schmidt, however. Any eavesdropping Googlers in the George hotel's bar that night might have left feeling that he had gatecrashed TV's most exclusive party. Some felt patronised by his cautious explanations and histories of the computer industry, while the self-deprecating jokes perhaps tried too hard to humanise the corporate behemoth that is Google, trying to make it seem less intimidating. If that wasn't enough to make Google seem 'one of us', Schmidt left the private jet at home (it was in the garage, he said) and arrived in Edinburgh by train. For a billionaire, the East Coast service must have been something of a rude awakening.
Schmidt was more himself the next morning in taking questions from the floor. Gone were the apologies, replaced by his more convincing corporate dynamism. Asked whether the single most constructive thing that Google could do for the UK would be to pay full corporation tax – Britain is Google's second largest market, yet its European base is in Dublin where it pays 12.5% tax instead of the 28% it would pay in the UK – he replied "We pay the legal minimum amount of tax that we have to pay," but argued that £6bn a year runs through Google into the British economy. "We could pay more, but it would be very hard to say to our shareholders 'we feel very sorry for these British people, so we're going to pay millions of dollars in extra taxes that we're not required to do'. There are probably laws against that."
Some of his points are hard to disagree with. European and US online industries must maintain their edge in the face of growing competition from the East, he said. And as well as improving support for later-stage companies, the UK needs to become better at educating children in computer science. Whether the TV industry likes it or not, these issues will come to determine the long-term success of many of our businesses, and his observation that the UK is culturally divided into tribes of "luvvies and boffins" was particularly discerning. Schmidt diplomatically gave credit to Apple's polymathic co-founder Steve Jobs, calling him the definition of creative genius and a man with "an artist's eye as well as a definition of what great engineering is". The festival's own high-profile polymath, Brian Cox, was delighted with the emphasis on better science education.
"It was superb that he talked about the importance of science and engineering graduates, and not going back to old-fashioned boundaries of arts, science and humanities," said Cox, who disagreed with those who saw Google's festival presence as reflecting contrition. "There was no notion of an apology in there. For me he was saying there's a much wider market being opened up and more good we can do together. I don't think Google needs to get down on its knees and say 'please help us be a successful company'."
Where Schmidt did seem to come unstuck was when he started to grapple with the detail of the challenges he said UK media need to address. Does he understand how TV advertising is sold? Not enough to explain it to the satisfaction of an industry expert, he replied. His suggestion that broadcasters run cheap pilots on YouTube and tweak them according to viewer feedback was dismissed by one TV executive as unrealistic. And when he asserted that the UK needs lighter regulation, it was explained to him by another that protections like contract rights renewal were designed to give smaller players a chance against heavyweights like ITV.
"Look, I'm an American entrepreneurial capitalist and technologist," he said to muffled laughter. "I want more competition and I worry about restrictions on that. There's a tendency to over-regulate, so if you want to grow really fast you start by saying 'is that really necessary?' There must be other ways to stimulate competition … Regulation has always favoured the regulated and at some level always shuts off new opportunities."
Broadcaster Mariella Frostrup felt that "what he's done is open a conversation, but he hasn't given all the answers. You want to sit down in a corner with him and say 'OK, so you want to deregulate the internet … and you believe in privacy … how?'"
Notable by their absence were mentions of some of Google's biggest controversies: last week's $500m (£306m) fine for publishing ads for rogue pharmaceutical retailers; accidentally acquiring passwords and personal emails while gathering data for its Street View service; or speculation earlier this month that it passed data on European users to US intelligence services under the Patriot Act.
Google would say that those issues aren't relevant to the broadcast industry, and that Schmidt did mention Google's investment in copyright protection software and the importance of privacy – though that was qualified by saying it must be balanced against the advantages of personalisation.
The undercurrent of any MacTaggart lecture is always self-interest, and Schmidt's was no exception. Strategically, Google was moving to repair damage caused by what he admitted was "an insensitivity to the impact of its innovations", but it was also wooing an audience who, as content partners, could determine the success of its Google TV product, now due to launch in the UK early next year. It's also easy to forget that behind all that powerful technology, Google is essentially an advertising firm, and will have recognised that exploiting the exploding popularity of video content – with the potential of interactive ads – will need quality content on board.
Schmidt was quick to try to dispel the assumption that it has stolen market share from broadcasters: "Why can't we make the pot bigger? The question we see over and over again is how the internet has displaced some existing and fixed revenue stream, but that's not how the world works. You build new businesses. The majority of advertising money Google is getting is new money created from new customers of one kind or another … growth is the solution to nearly all societal problems. Television viewership is declining gracefully and that's bad for all for us. Let's reverse that, let's grow it."
Fru Hazlitt, ITV's managing director of online and commercial, said Schmidt was right to pick up on broadcasters' fear of Google. "Google's DNA is technology and ITV's DNA is creativity – and we have frightened each over the years. But if we're going to invest in other platforms we need to make sure we get a return on that investment. For Google, without fantastic content the aggregators have nothing to aggregate."
Any savvy broadcaster should be taking its very best guess at Google's advertising road map and what that means for their content. Is it a sign of maturity in Google's business that it needed to reach out to the broadcasters, or was there a purely commercial motive?
"Both industries have come from such different backgrounds and viewpoints that it has taken a very long time to agree on what the common goals are," said Schmidt. "In the five years since we acquired YouTube we've been sued, but also developed powerful solutions to address some of those problems, and now we recognise a mutual dependency. We've matured in attitude and technologically, and you understand there's a much larger audience available to you as a result of these new digital tools."
It took four years to bring Schmidt to the Edinburgh television festival, prompting a 25% increase in delegates from more technical backgrounds. And it was right, given the seismic changes transforming broadcasting – an industry founded on the opportunities of combining technology with quality content – that what is arguably the world's most powerful technology and advertising company should have its moment in the MacTaggart spotlight.
It remains to be seen how far the ripples from Schmidt's lecture will carry, and whether delegates are still discussing computer science education or copyright protection software next year, however important these issues are for the long-term health of the UK's broader creative industries. As for the next choice of MacTaggart speaker, no doubt normal service will be resumed in 2012.

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Flattering words from Schmidt – but he isnt going to save the TV industry

Flattering words from Schmidt – but he isnt going to save the TV industry
The boss of Google charms the Edinburgh TV festival but the company's relationship with the media is complex
Google is the loveable monopolist. It didn't set out, perhaps, to dominate internet search. Its executives like to remind us we have a choice in search every moment of the day – but somehow, whatever Yahoo-Bing's attractions, we end up at Google every time. Google structures how we discover, how we learn, how we shop – and it prospers, as does Microsoft or Apple, in the technology-driven, deregulated global economy, getting larger and larger but we don't seem to mind.

Monopolies used to be a bad idea, but Google's bosses like to argue there's no harm to consumers. Its search engine is free, after all; the company constantly innovates (so it should with $8.5bn of profits to play with), and now there are all sorts of other excitements, like Apple-competing Android phones. It hoards our search data, but reckons the information can be useful to help predict things like flu outbreaks and perhaps riots one day – and anyway its executives, such as Eric Schmidt, are charming. Compare and contrast his visit to Edinburgh with James Murdoch's pugnacious performance in the Scottish capital two years ago.
So Schmidt, when he comes to Britain, wants us to think about other things instead. He worries, rightly, about our lack of software education in schools, about our somewhat excessive regulation of commercial television – particularly at ITV (a company he first came into contact with because of Susan Boyle) – and he wants to be a partner to Britain's broadcasters. Which is why you can enter the The X Factor via YouTube in 2011, whereas in the Boyle era a row between ITV and YouTube meant there was no advertising income generated on any of the millions of views of I Dreamed A Dream on the Google website.
If only it were that simple, though. Some things Google gets wrong, because Google isn't always benign. It pays out $500m to US regulators because it carried illegal adverts from Canadian pharmacies cheaper than those in the US. YouTube was, for a long time, a host to all sorts of pirated content – hardly helpful to the creative industries – but Schmidt came to Edinburgh to tell us it now takes about four hours to take down copyright material from YouTube, which he wants to argue is quick enough. Yet there are limits too to his partnership proposals.

BBC plans to use 3D and 'super hi-vision' for London Olympics

BBC plans to use 3D and 'super hi-vision' for London Olympics
Executive in charge of 2012 coverage has spoken about the proposed experiment at the Edinburgh televison festival
The BBC is considering plans to broadcast the 100 metres final of the London Olympics in 3D, as well as trying out a new technology that delivers picture quality said to be 16 times better than HDTV.
Roger Mosey, the BBC executive in charge of the corporation's London 2012 coverage, told reporters on the sidelines of the Edinburgh international television festival that 3D coverage for the 100m and other events was "certainly on the agenda", as part of a "limited experiment".
The event will see world record holder Usain Bolt seeking to restore some pride after being disqualified from the world championships on Sunday, following a false start.
The BBC will also test "super hi-vision", a new broadcasting technology so advanced it is not expected to be in homes for a decade. Three 15 metre (50ft) high screens will be erected around the country so that the public have a chance of seeing the imagery that Mosey said was so good it would match up with the experience of watching from the stands.

How to repair slow computer with registry fixes

How to repair slow computer with registry fixes
Repair That Slow Computer With Registry Fixes
How to repair slow Computer with registry fixesJust like with a car your computer will run fast and problem free at first. It feels good to browse with no worries or error messages. You know your computer functions properly without fail, but after a few months you notice things are beginning to change a little, and not for the good.
You see your computer gradually slowing down and the overall performance drops in quality. You get more and more error messages. When your car has problems you simply take it to the mechanic, but what do you do with your computer? Will you try to fix it yourself or take it to a specialist?

The is a broad range of problems that can slow your computer down. Most of the time it is due to missing or invalid data in your registry. When you attempt to do even the simplest of tasks like adding/removing software, installing/uninstalling applications, or just everyday tasks, in time this affects your computer’s performance in a negative way. Every time your Windows systems executes a command it changes your Windows Registry system. It automatically updates it with new values as well as new system information.
When that same registry is immaculately configured, totally tuned up, then it plays a vital role. But the data in the registry doesn’t always act like it should. This is something that happens normally. The registry keys and their paths aren’t always updated properly or erased when needed. This results in the slowdown of your computer. It is because your PC now has to scan through a lot of unnecessary clutter to find the information it needs. It wades through corruputed and obsolete data to get to the right stuff.

Come on Jeffrey Archer, tell us some stories

Come on Jeffrey Archer, tell us some stories
You're supposed to be good at that and it'll certainly liven up your tweets
While the Boris Johnsons of this world (@MayorOfLondon) make waves across the Twittersphere you, Jeffrey Archer (@jeffreyarcher), have been quietly getting on with business to a far more select group (4,000 at the last count).
Sadly, a stream of mainly promotional book tweets ("A Prisoner of Birth is No 1 on the Fnac ebook best-selling list (Fnac being the major bookseller chain in France), before Guillaume Musso!") has not set the world alight. But, get the content right and followers will come. You're famous for spinning a good yarn, so pick up your pen and take some notes.

Digital economy or bust: the story of a new media startup - part 31

Digital economy or bust: the story of a new media startup - part 31
Speechwriting, badger racing and posts about Ricky Gervais – it was time for a change with £15k on credit cards
Sam here. I'm on the train up to the Edinburgh television festival. Our friend's not coming. Not enough money in the Enter4Entertainment expense budget, I said.
Now, I had to deliver a bit of bad news last week, but this is the weekend of truth. Obviously there will be a couple of posts about Ricky Gervais (who he, eh?) and all that, but there's a meeting at half three with Rupert Sawyer. Got a job for me, he says, on email, going to be one of the telly ideas, help him out in development – you know, badger racing, that sort of thing. Might be time for a change with £15k on the old credit cards.

"Hiya," said Sawyer downstairs at the conference centre. "I gotta go, meeting, but look I've brought along Sonia to sort things out."
Hang on, I thought, as Sonia, Rupert's frumpy head of press, sat down. What sort of job in telly was she going to offer me? "I thought …" I began.
"Rupert wants you to write a speech for him for next month, we'll pay you £1,000," she said. Obviously, I said yes, but in that moment I realised I would have to un-resign.

Chatterbox: Bank Holiday Monday

Chatterbox: Bank Holiday Monday
The place to talk about games when the Bank Holiday barbecue is rained off
Just in case you're stuck indoors with nothing to do today, why not chat about the games you've been playing over the weekend? If you've bought Deus Ex: Human Revolution, what do you make of Square Enix's new intepretation of the Warren Spector classic?
Or are you catching up with titles you haven't had chance to enjoy yet? I'm playing a fare bit of Lego Star Wars with my sons, but will also be grabbing a few Quarrel Deluxe sessions.
Anyway, over to you!




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The people who want to ban PowerPoint

The people who want to ban PowerPoint
A group of people in Switzerland are trying to outlaw the world's favourite presentation softwareSwitzerland could become the first country to outlaw PowerPoint presentations if a new party runs in the October parliamentary elections. Matthias Poehm, founder of the Anti-PowerPoint Party, claims that €350bn could be saved globally each year by ditching the scourge of public speaking. Poehm believes that the software takes people away from their work and teaches them little. "There is a solution," he says. "A flipchart."
On leaving academia seven years ago I vowed that I would never use PowerPoint again. I still speak at conferences, though, and have been known to rant at organisers when asked in advance for my PPT presentation. I inform them that I will be turning up with a set of index cards on which I have jotted down key points, but will not be boring my audience to tears with fiddly slides consisting of flying text, fussy fonts or photo montages.
Call me old-fashioned, but I believe in having a real discussion about ideas as opposed to force-feeding an increasingly sleepy crowd with numerous graphs and bullet points projected on to the nearest wall. Sometimes I wonder why we even bother showing up to hear a colleague elucidate on their thesis, when we are helpfully posted an advance printout of the presentation. As the speaker is building to a crucial statistic, delegates have long finished and are doing the crossword instead.
If Poehm gains 10,000 signatures his party is free to run candidates in the election. So far fewer than 300 people have put their names to the cause. Unfortunately I don't think a move to Switzerland is on the cards for me.


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London's burning

London's burning
What happens when the city you love goes up in smoke and you're on the wrong side of the Channel, aperitif in hand? It's a riot of tweets – and a moment missed

I went on holiday. It was lovely, thanks. Tan, wine, etc. The sound of crickets. The blazing aircon of a European supermarket and whole nights spent arguing about the fan. Badminton. Bread. But while I was away, loads of stuff happened. Our first night out of London, the world economy collapsed. Whoomph. Like a sneeze. Then a few days in, my friend Katie, who lives next door, texted to tell us about the view from our windows – riot vans parking up, police leaping among our local prostitutes who were half dressed but not in the usual way – they were wearing pyjama bottoms. At the end of our road she saw a swelling group of worshippers protecting their mosque, and rioters trying to mingle among them to avoid arrest. At home, she implied, everything was breaking a bit. During our clammy evening drinking Jet 27 (alcoholic mouthwash; it stains your tongue), we refreshed our phones' Twitter feeds for updates on the violence. The shops went. The windows smashed. At one point a rumour began that a tiger had escaped from London Zoo. The cities burned. I felt very far away indeed, but also, never closer.

I didn't do a gap year, or a college term abroad, any of that "finding yourself" stuff, and as I've grown older my London loyalty has quietly emerged, like snails after a storm. I've travelled around a little bit, but the countryside is obviously nonsense, and I always find other cities somewhat… wanting. New York? Tall London. Paris? Smoky London. Amsterdam? London with mayonnaise. So the feeling that came with seeing my marvellous city wobble from a distance was a little like, I imagine, how it feels to spontaneously lactate at the sound of a crying baby. I found myself gazing in the direction of the airport, picturing the route home.

We hunched around our phones, updating, updating, calling out news from our neighbourhood, addicted to the rush from Twitter's ticker tape. It wasn't until returning home on a Terravision coach, seeing the police patrolling meaningfully, that I realised that I'd seen nothing – I'd read about the fires and broken glass, and Turkish shop-owners guarding their high street like sexy Beefeaters (BILFs?), but my experience of the riots was all in words. All in badly spelled Tweeted yells, postcards sent the wrong way – to a holiday, rather than from. Did this inflate our anxiety? Fuel our excitement? The lack of pictures having the effect of an unseen monster in a horror film. The language, the tropes, the "community"s, the "society"s – the repetition of phrases acting like sinister drum rolls, reeling you in. Were the echoes heard from our holiday home amplified by the way we heard them? And if so, would we have had the same experience if we'd been in the suburbs, or somewhere similarly un-looted?

We came home last week, a plane, that coach. There's still a smashed car outside my flat, a "police aware" note fluttering on the passenger seat, weighed down with broken glass, but I'm having trouble really understanding what happened. Because I missed it. I had tonsillitis one day when I was 12, and missed the maths lesson where I should have been taught long division. To this day I have no clue. Not one. And I fear the same will happen with the riots – I'll never be able to fully comprehend that week because I was absent. It's a thought that disturbs me.

I missed a conversation my friends had with an older girl 17 years ago about "cool jeans", hence my reliance ever since on a single pair from Gap. These lost moments add up – I'm only now learning to enjoy coffee, having missed the crucial moment in my youth. I don't know how to fold shirts. There will always be a gap in my relationship with London, and I don't like it. I don't like it at all.



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Twitter and Facebook riot restrictions would be a mistake, says Google chief

Twitter and Facebook riot restrictions would be a mistake, says Google chief

Eric Schmidt criticises David Cameron's proposal that potential rioters should be barred from social media

Google's executive chairman, Eric Schmidt, has criticised David Cameron's proposal to limit the use of social media sites during civil unrest in the wake of the riots that took place across England earlier this month.

Schmidt, speaking at the MediaGuardian Edinburgh International Television Festival on Saturday, said that such a move was likely to backfire, highlighting how when the Egyptian authorities turned the internet off to try and quell unrest earlier this year it merely "enraged the citizens and got them to leave their homes to protest".

Rugby World Cup 2011 – review

Rugby World Cup 2011 – review

Xbox 360, PS3, 505 Games, cert 3, out now

Fans of rugby games, rather like fans of the All Blacks, have had a long wait. Although the four-year delay since the last oval ball-based offering from the gaming industry is hardly in the same league as the 24-year wait New Zealand have had to endure since they last won the World Cup (not that they're chokers or anything…), it still feels like a very long time. Factor in that the last game in question was EA Sports' lacklustre Rugby 08, a hasty remake of Rugby 06 rushed out to cash in on the 2007 tournament, and the hold-up is even harder to bear.

Unfortunately, playing RWC2011 only forces one to question what the game's developers, HB Studios, have been doing in this intervening period, since it does not appear to have included much time working on this title. However, fans of the old EA Sports Rugby series may well love it, if only because, despite the gap in time, there are so many parallels between them.

Street Fighter III: Third Strike Online Edition – review

Street Fighter III: Third Strike Online Edition – review

PS3, Xbox 360, Capcom, out now

Released at the fag-end of the 90s, a decade in which Capcom had taken the fighting game to a mass market and then, with countless iterations, relegated it to the doldrums, Third Strike was largely overlooked. With the fighting genre reborn, it seems an appropriate time for its return.

Gamescom, Cologne – review

Gamescom, Cologne – review
Will Freeman finds out what's on offer at Europe's biggest games fair

Increasingly expansive, last week's Gamescom, the annual video games expo in Cologne that welcomes both the industry and the public, now features audience numbers that rival the size of the world's biggest music festivals. It also shares their bewildering choice, stands spewing noise and neon competing for the attention of 275,000 attendees and creating an atmosphere where only the finest titles stand out.

Quality hands-on time did reveal the show's highlights, however, one of which was the Vita, the new hand-held from Sony. As more titles are confirmed for the device – which is to play host to Resistance: Burning Skies, Call of Duty, BioShock, Fifa and many other giants of mainstream gaming culture – it looks more exciting by the day.

Lee Cronin: Aliens could be made from iron

Lee Cronin: Aliens could be made from iron

Lee Cronin explains the potential benefits of evolving inorganic materials

Lee Cronin is the Gardiner professor of chemistry at the University of Glasgow. He also runs the Cronin Group, which is involved in work to "construct complex functional molecular architectures that are not based on biologically derived building blocks". Earlier this year, he gave a talk at TEDGlobal in Edinburgh.

What is inorganic biology?

Inorganic biology is my attempt to try to ask a very basic question about the nature of matter in the universe: can we do biology outside of organic chemistry?

You think biology is defined by evolution?

Yes, evolution occurs in biology but it doesn't occur anywhere else in the natural world. What I mean by evolution is this idea of survival of the fittest and adaptation by replication or birth of offspring. Evolution is a very good way to make complex systems that are robust and function in an environment. Darwin's theory of evolution is in fact a special theory of evolution because it only applies to biology, it only applies to carbon-based life. But four-and-a-half billion years ago there was no life. So I wanted to ask the question: what is the most basic unit of stuff that can independently undergo evolution? You could probably tell me the answer…

Bacteria?

Exactly, a biologist might say bacteria are too complex but basically they are single-cell creatures of some description. And so when you set up that you come up with three questions, which are: what is life?; is biology special?; is matter evolvable? If we answer them in reverse order: we know matter is evolvable because biology is made of matter and it needs chemistry material to do its stuff. And if we could make general stuff outside of biology evolve, then we would know how special it is. And then that would lead us to question what is life.

So what would be an example of the general stuff?

All stuff that we have on Earth that isn't replicating.

So you would like to turn the material world into the living world?

We can use the phenomenon of evolution to improve stuff as well as discovering new materials, devices or systems. And that has a profound consequence in itself: not only can we develop a whole new technology, but we might be able to understand how we got here in the first place.

Even a few decades ago, scientists thought that life was incredibly difficult to assemble from nothing and that we were a once-in-a-universe achievement. But actually I think, and I am not alone in this thought, that the emergence of life on Earth is as probable as the emergence of life elsewhere. And so there are many life-forms in the universe but on Earth we are constrained by our bias of carbon and organic chemistry because organic chemistry works brilliantly here. If we were able to prove our assertion that biology is a general phenomenon, not just based on the organic, then we know there is probably other life in the universe.

What I am saying is that all universes can come alive, they just do it in different ways. And in fact in this universe there will be life based on iron or silicon – we just can't conceive of it.

How far have you got in trying to prove biology is a general phenomenon?

Digital jukebox Spotify on track to report modest first profit

Digital jukebox Spotify on track to report modest first profit

Music streaming service Spotify now has almost 2 million paying customers

Spotify, the digital jukebox, is forecast to report a profit for the first time when it publishes its 2010 results later this year, in the biggest indication yet that a business model is emerging that could stem the millions lost to music piracy.

Already ahead of iTunes as the biggest digital music retailer in Sweden and Norway, Spotify now has 1.9 million paying subscribers in the US and Europe, although most of its 6 million active users still use its song library for nothing.

The music streaming service lost nearly £17m in the UK alone last year. But industry expert Martin Scott at Analysys Mason forecasts that the company will report revenues of €59m (£52m) for the year to December 2010, compared to just under €13m in 2009.

Steve Jobs's greatest legacy: persuading the world to pay for content

Steve Jobs's greatest legacy: persuading the world to pay for content

Apple's CEO always wanted to get something great to the customer without any obstacles – except that they should pay

Ten years is, of course, a long time in media. Ten years ago, if you wanted to download some music, your best bet was Napster or one of the filesharing systems such as LimeWire or KaZaA. There were legal services, but they were so dire they wouldn't pass much muster today: there was PressPlay and MusicNet (from rival groups of record companies), which required $15 a month subscriptions for low-quality streaming (when most people had dialup connections, not today's broadband). You couldn't burn to CD. They were stuffed with restrictive software to prevent you sharing the songs.

What happened? Steve Jobs happened, mainly. The hardware and design team at Apple came up with the iPod (initially intended to be a way to sell more Macintosh computers), and then followed the iTunes Music Store – a great way to tie people to Apple by selling music. In 2003 Jobs persuaded the music companies – which wouldn't license their songs to bigger names like Microsoft – to go with him because, he said, Apple was tiny (which it was, at the time). The risk if people did start sharing songs from the store was minimal, he argued. The record labels looked at Apple's tiny market share (a few per cent of the PC market) and reckoned they'd sell about a million songs a year, so they signed up.

Apple sold a million in the first week of the iTunes Music Store being open (and only in the US). It sold 3m within a month. It's never looked back.

Nowadays Apple sells TV shows, films, books, apps, as well as music. We take the explosion in available content for granted. But without Jobs, it's likely we wouldn't be here at all; his negotiating skill is the thing that Apple, and possibly the media industry, will miss the most, because he got them to open up to new delivery mechanisms.

Content companies have been reluctant to let their products move to new formats if they aren't the inventors, or at least midwives. Witness Blu-ray, a Sony idea which wraps up the content so you can't ever get it off the disc (at least in theory); or 3D films. Yet neither is quite living up to its promise, and part of that comes down to people wanting to be able to move the content around – on an iPod, iPhone, iPad or even a computer – in ways the content doesn't allow. Apps downloaded directly to your mobile? Carriers would never have allowed it five years ago. Flat-rate data plans? Ditto. But all good for content creators.

Jobs pried open many content companies' thinking, because his focus was always on getting something great to the customer with as few obstacles as possible. In that sense, he was like a corporate embodiment of the internet; except he thought people should pay for what they got. He always, always insisted you should pay for value, and that extended to content too. The App and Music Store remains one of the biggest generators of purely digital revenue in the world, and certainly the most diverse; while Google's Android might be the fastest-selling smartphone mobile OS, its Market generates pitiful revenues, and I haven't heard of anyone proclaiming their successes from selling music, films or books through Google's offerings.

Jobs's resignation might look like the end of an era, and for certain parts of the technology industry it is. For the content industries, it's also a loss: Jobs was a champion of getting customers who would pay you for your stuff. The fact that magazine apps like The Daily haven't set the world alight (yet?) isn't a failure of the iPad (which is selling 9m a quarter while still only 15 months old; at the same point in the iPod's life, just 219,000 were sold in the financial quarter, compared with the 22m – 100 times more – of its peak). It's more like a reflection of our times.

So if you're wondering how Jobs's departure affects the media world, consider that it's the loss of one of the biggest boosters of paid-for content the business ever had. Who's going to replace that?


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Kids today need a licence to tinker

Kids today need a licence to tinker

Forget the old approach of the national curriculum, we need to open young minds to the creative possibilities of computing

Back to school time and millions of British kids are heading back to classrooms to embark on the national curriculum so beloved of busybody ministers. One item in particular on that curriculum will bemuse the youngsters. It goes by the initials ICT, short for information and communication technology. If they are in primary school, they will have to get through key stages 1 and 2. Secondary pupils have to get through stages 3 and 4 which, the soon-to-be-abolished Qualifications and Curriculum Development Agency tells us, "have been developed to enable schools to raise standards and help all their learners meet the challenges of life in our fast-changing world". Michael Gove, the government's education supremo, has set in train a root-and-branch overhaul of the national curriculum, but for the time being our kids are stuck with the current version.

Reading through it, one is struck by its quaint, well-intentioned style. The key ICT concepts at stage 3, for example, are "capability", "communication and collaboration", "exploring ideas and manipulating information", as well as "the impact of technology" and "critical evaluation". Drilling down from these broad headings, one finds that, say, "communication and collaboration" involves getting pupils to explore "the ways that ICT can be used to communicate, collaborate and share ideas on a global scale, allowing people to work together in new ways and changing the way in which knowledge is created". All of which is fine and dandy, but some conceptual distance away from the use of BlackBerry Messenger to coordinate looting.

Why iPads in cockpits prove the future of PCs is up in the air

Why iPads in cockpits prove the future of PCs is up in the air
The continued advance of mobile computing suggests the PC has reached its end state
With admirable aplomb, if not grammar, Michael Dell, the chief executive and founder of Dell Inc, tweeted last week: "Like Mark Twain, the reports of PC's death have been greatly exaggerated." His point (once you got past the dangling participle) being that he thinks the PC business is still alive and kicking.
The trigger for his comment was Hewlett-Packard's announcement that it would explore "alternatives" for its Personal Systems Group division, which is the world's biggest seller of PCs. According to Léo Apotheker, the chief executive since September, the PSG chunk might be spun off, sold off, or (perhaps) just kept inside HP.
In a follow-up interview, Dell crowed at the prospect of HP shedding its PC business, as he thinks that will lead to more business for him in the pricier server business (which HP is hanging on to), just as happened after IBM sold its PC business to Lenovo in 2004.
For Dell, focused on selling PCs and "big iron", the billions in revenues to be soaked up from HP's likely exit from the PC business look appetising. But that doesn't alter the suspicion that Dell is looking in the wrong direction if what he's after is profitable growth.
The trouble with the Windows PC business is that while it might be growing, just (at about 2% this year), it's become commodified. Even HP can only wring $40 of profit from each $800 (on average) PC it sells. Microsoft makes about the same profit per Windows licence – ie, per PC. The Windows division is the second-most profitable in Microsoft (after the one that sells Office); PSG is HP's least profitable division.

But you don't have to sell PCs. A fascinating story last week detailed how United and Continental Airlines, the US's biggest, is replacing heavy bags full of flight plans with Apple iPads: a special app will hold the charts, and be updated wirelessly with new information. As well as the saving in weight, they're more convenient, and with a long enough battery life, they'll last all but the longest flights without charging. "The paperless flight deck represents the next generation of flying," said United's senior vice-president of flight operations, Captain Fred Abbott. Computing is becoming something that just gets done where it's needed, not in the temple of a device with a physical keyboard, Intel chip and 12-inch screen perched on a table or lap.

Eric Schmidt, chairman of Google, condemns British education system

The chairman of Google has delivered a devastating critique of the UK's education system and said the country had failed to capitalise on its record of innovation in science and engineering.

Delivering the annual MacTaggart lecture in Edinburgh, Eric Schmidt criticised "a drift to the humanities" and attacked the emergence of two educational camps, each of which "denigrate the other. To use what I'm told is the local vernacular, you're either a luvvy or a boffin," he said.

Schmidt also hit out at Lord Sugar, the Labour peer and star of the hit BBC programme The Apprentice, who recently claimed on the show that "engineers are no good at business".

Schmidt told the MediaGuardian Edinburgh international TV festival: "Over the past century, the UK has stopped nurturing its polymaths. You need to bring art and science back together."

Apple wins ban on Samsung Galaxy Tab sales in Germany

Samsung has been banned from selling its Galaxy Tab tablet computers in Germany until at least 9 September following a successful injunction claim by Apple. The decision leaves the South Korean electronics giant in limbo during the giant IFA consumer electronics fair in Berlin next week.

A German court said on Thursday it would deliver its ruling on that date, two days after the end of IFA, after hearing arguments from Samsung and iPad maker Apple, which had argued that the Galaxy Tabs "slavishly" copied its design.

Samsung had asked for a decision before IFA. In his response, the judge said there were "overarching similarities" between Samsung's Galaxy Tabs, which run Google's Android operating system, and Apple's iPad.
It was not clear at the time of publication whether the terms of the injunction prohibit Samsung from displaying the Galaxy Tab at IFA.

Chinese TV programme shows apparent cyber-attack on US website

Chinese TV programme shows apparent cyber-attack on US website
China's state broadcaster has screened footage that apparently shows army-labelled software for attacking US-based websites, security experts have said.
Beijing has consistently denied being behind cyber-attacks, insisting it plays no part in hacking and is itself a victim.
The analysts warned that the six-second clip could be a mock-up by the broadcaster, CCTV, and that, if genuine, it was probably around 10 years old. The footage emerged as the Pentagon's annual report to Congress on the Chinese military said the People's Liberation Army (PLA) had closed some key technological gaps and was on track for modernisation, including thorough investment in cyber capabilities, by 2020.

BlackBerry maker cues up BBM Music

BlackBerry maker cues up BBM Music
BlackBerry maker Research in Motion is to launch a music subscription service, BBM Music.

BBM Music went on trial on Thursday in the UK, US and Canada, and is expected to roll out to 18 countries later this year. For $4.99 a month – UK prices have yet to be confirmed – BBM users will have access to 50 songs.

Users can build up their playlist by sharing with friends, and have access to all 50 songs on a friend's profile. Once a month, customers can change 25 of the songs on their list.

The service was built by British music services company Omnifone, which has licensed 10m tracks across all music genres from classical to contemporary rock and pop, with new music generally available on the day of release.

Steve Jobs resigns as Apple CEO: how the web reacted

The entrepreneur's entrepreneur, Steve Jobs has fascinated and mystified the tech business community for more than a decade steering Apple from near-bankruptcy to become the most valuable company in the world.

Under Jobs, Apple has become the exception to every business rule, expanding into markets that might have seemed outside Apple's core strengths – not least music, with the iPod and iTunes, and mobile phones, with the iPhone. Its expertise, though, was in understanding and creating consumer electronics in whatever form.

Co-founder Steve Wozniak, speaking to Bloomberg, last night defined Apple's success as being about the way products are developed as much as the products themselves. "Steve had been very disciplined and forthcoming in reasons for running things certain ways. At Apple great products are not the important thing – it's where those products come from and so much of that was down to the way of thinking of Steve Jobs," said Wozniak.
"The people around somebody who thinks in great ways like that and thinks ahead – they admire that and what to be like that … Apple is not going to change drastically or suddenly hit the tubes … I just hope that Steve is happy and feels that apple is in the best possible place for the future. His goal is not money. His personal goal is to be the implementer of technology that would improve people's lives – that's what he was born for, he told me once."

Tech Weekly podcast: Steve Jobs steps down as Apple CEO

Tech Weekly podcast: Steve Jobs steps down as Apple CEO
reddit this Comments (…) Presented by Jemima Kiss and produced by Scott Cawley guardian.co.uk, Thursday 25 August 2011 14.27 BST Subscribe via iTunes Download mp3 Podcast feed URL

In a special programme we discuss the career of Apple guru Steve Jobs as he steps down from his role as chief executive. Jemima Kiss, Charles Arthur and Dan Crow of UK startup Songkick share their thoughts on the effect Jobs has on computing and the company that just two weeks ago became the world's biggest (by market capitalisation).

Dan, who worked with Jobs on his return to the company in the mid-90s suggests that Steve may be the greatest marketer of our time, because of his ability to understand products and what people find exciting in them.

Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak also shares a story from a turning point during the early years of the company

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Eric Schmidt's MacTaggart lecture to be streamed live on YouTube

Google executive chairman Eric Schmidt's MacTaggart lecture at the MediaGuardian Edinburgh International Television Festival on Friday will be streamed live and exclusively on YouTube.

Schmidt will be the first person from outside the broadcasting industry to deliver the prestigious speech in the festival's history.

The speech will be broadcast live from 6.45pm on Friday on the MediaGuardian Edinburgh International TV Festival YouTube page.

Schmidt, who stepped down as chief executive of the internet giant in January, is expected to tell delegates that Google needs the content industry in order to thrive.

The keenly anticipated speech follows last year's lecture by Mark Thompson, director general of the BBC, and 2009's punchy address by James Murdoch, the chairman and chief executive of News Corporation in Europe and Asia and non-executive chairman of BSkyB.
Writing in the Guardian on Thursday, Thompson described Murdoch's infamous speech having, in retrospect, an "unexpected and almost tragic irony".

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Government faces legal action by US firm over e-border system

Government faces legal action by US firm over e-border system
The government is facing a £500m litigation suit from an American firm that was stripped of its contract to develop the country's e-border system after ministers said it had failed to deliver.

Defence company Raytheon was given a £742m contract to design and implement the IT system that would allow the UK Border Agency to count every person who arrives and leaves the country. The coalition terminated the deal last year, claiming the firm had missed deadlines and delivered substandard results.

But in a letter to the home affairs committee, which has been investigating the problems with the deal, the chief executive of Raytheon UK, Robert Delorge, revealed it was claiming £500m in the courts, arguing that the delays were due to mismanagement by the Border Agency.

HP PSG UK head: what's all this talk about us 'quitting' the PC business?

HP PSG UK head: what's all this talk about us 'quitting' the PC business?
HP's UK head of the Personal Systems Group – that's the part of HP that Leo Apotheker put on the block last week – has sent around a message for clients and customers, which we'll reproduce here, with our own comments.
A message from Paul Hunter, head of HP PSG UK and Ireland.

There's no denying that it's been a strange week at HP. I've spent 16 years with HP in the UK and I certainly can't remember a time like it. But change happens, and I fundamentally believe that HP and PSG are stronger following the announcements surrounding webOS and PSG.

I'd like to firstly clear up any misunderstanding that has arisen from the earnings announcement around the future of the Personal Systems Group. There have been a number of incorrect stories saying that HP is quitting the PC business.

Let me be absolutely clear in saying that at no stage has HP said it is quitting the PC business. Three options are being investigated, and whether the company is spun off, sold or kept in the HP portfolio, the team in the UK remains committed to creating and supporting great products and services.

Two out of the three options offered there involve HP quitting the PC business (because it wouldn't have a PC business in-house any more). And HP's overall profit margins would improve by about 2%, from 10% to 12%, if it got rid of PSG. Overall, PSG is the least profitable division, in percentage terms (ie profits/revenues) of HP by a substantial margin: its average profitability is about half that of the next-worst division, HP Financial (which does leasing, and is tiny).

After Steve Jobs: what next for Apple? | Wendy Grossman

After Steve Jobs: what next for Apple? | Wendy Grossman
As Apple CEO, Steve Jobs 'had great dramatic flair'. Photograph: Jeff Chiu/AP

Why is Steve Jobs regarded by so many as a genius?

As CEO of Apple, Steve Jobs was like a French chef: he strove to create great products and had great dramatic flair for presentation. On the product side, he was a pioneer in embracing the techniques of top-class industrial design for the company's hardware and usability for its software. Key elements like graphical interfaces, desktop publishing and networking (both wired and wireless) were not created at Apple, but Apple was the first to deploy them. Products had to be not just great but insanely great. An extraordinary number of top-class people worked at Apple in the early days to make that possible.

As important was his ability to wow audiences with Apple's new products. No one who saw it has forgotten the company's 1984 Super Bowl ad that announced the Macintosh. His personal demonstration of the new machine to a theatre full of shareholders was another classic: at a time when computers were silent, glorified typewriters, on stage when he turned on the Mac, it spoke: "It sure is great to get out of that bag." Later introductions of the iPhone and the iPad were just as sensational.

Other CEOs can sell products and/or companies; Jobs could make people believers. In 1981, fellow long-time Apple colleague Bud Tribble dubbed this charismatic effect the "reality distortion field".

Is his departure a problem for the Apple brand?

There is a school of thought that holds that it's dangerous for a public company to tie its public image too tightly to a single "rock star" CEO because of the immediate loss of confidence should anything happen to that CEO. Yet, there are benefits, too. Jobs's magnetic effect on the media has certainly brought Apple greater publicity than it could have bought, just as everyone always wants to know what Warren Buffett and Bill Gates think, but it doesn't hurt either Twitter or BlackBerry that their CEOs are relatively unknown.

Microsoft is a good example here: Bill Gates departed apparently seamlessly from day-to-day involvement at Microsoft in 2008, seven years after relinquishing the CEO job to Steve Ballmer. The gradual nature of that transition undeniably helped smooth the way. The immediate drop in Apple's share price does not mean that the company is in trouble. It's now seven years since Jobs's first cancer diagnosis; it was surely prepared for his departure. Any concern must be longer term, around whether the company will be able to continue its technology leadership and consumer focus.

Who is his successor, Tim Cook?

Tim Cook's CV shows a long history in the computer business with 12 years at IBM. He joined Apple in 1998 and became chief operating officer in 2007. He has been acting CEO during all of Jobs's medical absences since 2004. Cook is widely credited with excellence in managing operations, manufacturing and logistics. While that may not sound exciting, it is the bedrock upon which new visions can be built.



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Tim Cook emails all Apple staff: 'confident our best years lie ahead'

Tim Cook emails all Apple staff: 'confident our best years lie ahead'
The Apple logo on an Apple store in San Francisco. Photograph: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Tim Cook has wasted no time in his first day as chief executive of Apple, sending out an email to all staff which indicates his desire to keep the company on track in the future.

Team:

I am looking forward to the amazing opportunity of serving as CEO of the most innovative company in the world. Joining Apple was the best decision I've ever made and it's been the privilege of a lifetime to work for Apple and Steve for over 13 years. I share Steve's optimism for Apple's bright future.

Steve has been an incredible leader and mentor to me, as well as to the entire executive team and our amazing employees. We are really looking forward to Steve's ongoing guidance and inspiration as our Chairman.

I want you to be confident that Apple is not going to change. I cherish and celebrate Apple's unique principles and values. Steve built a company and culture that is unlike any other in the world and we are going to stay true to that

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Jobs resigns as Apple chief executive

Jobs resigns as Apple chief executive
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Lambourn earmarked for a hi-tech revolution in pre-training | Greg Wood

Lambourn earmarked for a hi-tech revolution in pre-training | Greg Wood
A group of two-year-old horses in training using the Kurt Equine Training System, in Istanbul. Photograph: handout from Kurt Systems

Change tends to come slowly in the Lambourn Valley, where both Flat and jumping thoroughbreds have been trained in much the same way for as long as anyone can remember. Lambourn's trainers could soon have an entirely new way to prepare young horses for their life in racing, however, as Mehmet Kurt, a Turkish industrialist, presses on with plans to install his patented "Kurt System" at the village's Kingwood Stud, which he bought this year.

Kurt's System is something of a cross between a mini-racecourse, a horse-walker and an upside-down rollercoaster. It allows horses that are as young as five-months-old to walk, exercise and even canter while harnessed into a hi-tech "car", attached to an overhead rail, which can monitor information such as their heart-rate and breathing.

The theory is that by carrying out the pre-training of horses without jockeys, horses can develop at their own pace and without the added burden of a human on their back. This is intended to bring about significant reductions in tendon and muscle injuries, while the mechanical nature of the Kurt System also means that Flat horses should need little introduction to starting stalls when their racing careers begins.

The exerciser that Kurt wants to install at Kingwood will be a smaller version of the original, which has a circumference of about a mile

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Apple stock drops as Steve Jobs resigns chief executive role

Apple stock drops as Steve Jobs resigns chief executive role
A 3% fall in Apple stock wipes $10bn off the company's value, as investors fret over a future without its visionary leader

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Will Apple be the same? Of course not

Will Apple be the same? Of course not
Apple chief executive Steve Jobs, who is standing down due to ill health. Photograph: Kimihiro Hoshino/AFP/Getty Images

From Wall Street to Tokyo, it's the question on everyone's lips: Will Apple be the same without Steve Jobs? Don't be daft: of course it won't. Jobs is the strategic visionary behind a suite of products that have taken the world by storm and propelled Apple's share price to a level which, briefly, made it the most valuable company in the world. Small wonder the company's stock fell on news Jobs was standing down as chief executive, while the price of Asian rivals such as Samsung and HTC Corporation shot ahead.

Has the world forgotten how Apple was on its knees in the mid-1990s, with analysts giving it little more than six months to live? It was only when Jobs returned to head the company he helped to found in the 1970s that its star began to rise again, as its leader moved into his most creative phase, unveiling the iPod, iPhone and iPad, and launching the iTunes music store to the delight of consumers around the globe.

The Apple mystique and a powerful brand name have enabled it to enjoy profit margins that are twice as fat as those of competitors. Few people in the technology industry can rival Jobs in sensing how products should look and feel, or what will sell. Apple products have been able to command premium prices because they are pleasing to the eye and easy to use

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YouTube stars: the memes fight back

YouTube stars: the memes fight back
Internet hits are the subjects of new documentaries, giving fans a chance to uncover some mysteries. Like, what is 'accoutrema'?

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Steve Jobs: the computer and design guru who inspired absolute devotion

Steve Jobs: the computer and design guru who inspired absolute devotion
Steve Jobs holds up the MacBook Air after his keynote address at the MacWorld Conference in San Francisco. Photograph: Paul Sakuma/AP

Dictator. Tyrant. Genius: Steve Jobs's ferocious perfectionism is the stuff of Silicon Valley legend. Very much the entrepreneur's entrepreneur, the charismatic, ruthlessly ambitious former Apple CEO has built a legion of devotees who worship Apple with nothing less than religious devotion

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Without Steve Jobs, can Apple continue to innovate? | Poll

Without Steve Jobs, can Apple continue to innovate? | Poll
Steve Jobs has resigned as chief executive of Apple, to be replaced by its chief operating officer, Tim Cook. Photograph: Robert Galbraith/Reuters Without Steve Jobs, can Apple continue to innovate?

Yes No



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Chatterbox: Friday

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Why did Google pay $12.5bn for Motorola Mobility?

Why did Google pay $12.5bn for Motorola Mobility?
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Europe's 'unitary patent' could mean unlimited software patents

Europe's 'unitary patent' could mean unlimited software patents
The battles seen in the US over software patents could spread to the UK and the rest of Europe if the unitary patent is allowed to come into force

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Facebook changes how photos are tagged

Facebook changes how photos are tagged
Facebook users will also be able to chose to approve or reject any photo they are tagged in before it goes live. Photograph: AP

Facebook has moved to address one of its biggest privacy challenges by finally giving users more control over photos tagged and shared on their profile.

Facebook users could previously be tagged in any pictures uploaded by their friends to the biggest photo-sharing site on the web, which hosts an estimated 100bn photos.

Acknowledging one of the most common requests from users, one of a new swath of feature improvements being rolled out by the site in the next few days a new drop-down menu will now allow users to request their friend remove the photo or even block that friend. Users will also be able to chose to approve or reject any photo they are tagged in before it goes live.

Two further changes will be seen as responses to Twitter and Google's surging social networking tool, Google

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Motorola smartphone ad banned

Motorola smartphone ad banned
after complaints from Samsung fansAdvertising watchdog rules Motorola must withdraw claim that its Atrix handset is the world's most powerful smartphone

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Apple to release cheap iPhone 4

Apple to release cheap iPhone 4
Apple is expected to release a cheaper iPhone 4 within weeks, cutting profit margins to win lower-end customers from rivals such as Nokia in China and other emerging markets. In addition to the launch of the smaller iPhone 4, Apple is targeting an end-September launch for the next-generation iPhone 5, one source told Reuters, confirming earlier reports on blogs and industry websites.

The new iPhone – which some have dubbed the iPhone 4S because of its largely identical appearance to the existing iPhone 4 – will have a bigger touchscreen, better antenna and an 8MP camera, one source told Reuters. Its two manufacturers have been told to prepare production capacity for up to 45m units altogether, the source said. The phone will be made by Hon Hai Precision Industries and Pegatron Corp, the person added.

Meanwhile, the Wall Street Journal reported on Tuesday that the Sprint network will begin selling a new version of the iPhone in the US from mid-October, which would make it the third distributor for Apple's products in the US after AT&T and Verizon. Reuters said Asian suppliers have begun making a lower-cost version of the hot-selling smartphone with just 8GB of flash storage, to arrive around the same time Apple unveils its iPhone 5.

BlackBerry Messenger to offer music service

Low-profile British company Omnifone is to offer music to BlackBerry Messenger's 45 million users in a deal that it claims will help it overtake Spotify to become the largest music subscription service in the world by the end of next year.

Based in Chiswick, London, Omnifone specialises in creating music download services for other brands, rather than marketing its services direct to consumers. Its customers include Hewlett-Packard and Sony, whose Music Unlimited service is to be pre-installed on 350m Sony products, including games consoles, smartphones, computers and televisions over the coming years.

Speaking after the BlackBerry announcement, Omnifone chief executive Jeff Hughes said: "By the end of next year, our platform will service, with our partners, more paying subscribers than any other digital music service on the planet."

Hughes said that more deals would be announced before the end of the year and that the company was in discussions with car manufacturers about building a music subscription device into their vehicles' dashboards.



Omnifone is privately owned and will not disclose subscriber numbers, but accounts filed at Companies House show its turnover increased 29% to £4.3m between 2009 and 2010. The company nevertheless made a £15m loss, which includes £6.4m of deferred invoices. Its headcount has grown from 35 people four years ago to nearly 200 this year.

The company was created in 2003 by its chairman, Rob Lewis, a publishing entrepreneur and founder of successful technology news site Silicon.com. As record labels cast about for a digital music revenue model that will replace the millions lost to piracy, a number of music executives have been taking a close interest in Omnifone.

Sony Music's digital business executive vice president Michael Paull is among its directors, and Universal Music Group's digital business chief Rob Wells was a director until earlier this year.

Hughes said: "People who want to launch a service that is global come to us. We are providing the building blocks for other people to create the models they want, but it all runs on the same platform, so there are economies of scale."

Omnifone services currently have fewer subscribers than Spotify, which is believed to be the largest "music rental" business globally, with an estimated 1.7m subscribers in Europe and the United States. But there are signs that the online subscription model, which has so far failed to make a significant contribution to record company profits, is beginning to take off.

The bulk of Spotify's 6 million followers use the service for free, but by placing tighter restrictions on the amount of free music available in May, Spotify added more than 500,000 paying customers in a month. Within months of this summer's US launch, Spotify had an estimated 175,000 subscribers.

Omnifone's deal with BlackBerry maker Research In Motion (Rim) is more restrictive than the Spotify service. The songs will only be playable on a BlackBerry and cannot be transferred to other devices. After a trial period, costing $4.99 a month in the US – a UK price has yet to be announced – users will be able to download 50 songs to their phone, but can share all 50 with other friends on the service, thus building up each others' libraries. Once a month, users will be able to swap 25 of their tracks. "Potentially we will see a big growth in subscription music," said analyst Martin Scott at Analysys Mason. "And if BlackBerry gets the balance right in terms of the price and the product, an online music service could help it to retain its customers."

ABI Research predicts that by the end of 2011 there will be 5.9 million paying subscribers to mobile phone music services globally, increasing to 161 million in the next five years.

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British student charged over online attacks

British student charged over online attacks
in JanuaryCharge follows investigation into attacks by hacking collective Anonymous on sites including Mastercard and PayPal

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Government backs down on plan to shut Twitter and Facebook in crises

Government backs down on plan to shut Twitter and Facebook in crises
Home Office and police reject proposals including banning suspected rioters from using social networking sites during civil unrest

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Steve Jobs: iDesigned your life

Steve Jobs: iDesigned your life
once told the New York Times, "because the people working on it were musicians, artists, poets and historians who also happened to be excellent computer scientists." And the people who bought the first Apple Mac computers were often architects, designers and journalists. One way or another, Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak, creators of the Apple Macintosh computers in the 1970s, came up with a line of products that

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Good news, Mr Jobs - Taiwan's CGI wizards have recapped your career

Good news, Mr Jobs - Taiwan's CGI wizards have recapped your career
To say that Taiwan's NMA has put a figurative spin on the literal events of the Apple chief's life only just begins to capture it.

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Tim Cook has tough job to keep Apple sweet

Tim Cook has tough job to keep Apple sweet
Tim Cook's first challenge as Apple chief executive will be the expected unveiling of the next versions of the iPhone. Photograph: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Apple's new chief executive Tim Cook vowed to stick to Apple's "unique principles and values" as investors marked his first day as successor to founder Steve Jobs by selling shares and marking the company's value down by more than 5%, or about

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Why HP's purchase of Autonomy is good news

Why HP's purchase of Autonomy is good news
Hewlett-Packard is buying Autonomy - and UK startups should be happy. Photograph: Marcus Brandt/EPA

The planned acquisition of British software company Autonomy by US tech giant Hewlett-Packard has stirred up a lot of comment. Shadow business secretary, John Denham, said there might be a case for looking at whether certain strategic industries should be protected from foreign takeover, and criticised financial backers of technology startups who insist on a sale of the business so they can recoup their investment. Tony Burke, Unite's assistant general secretary for manufacturing, claimed the problem with merger and acquisitions is that they do not grow the economy and rarely create jobs.

Have we really come to this? Instead of celebrating a great British success, our reaction is to wring our hands and discuss legislation to make sure such success cannot happen again. Something is very wrong with this picture.

I spent more than a decade in San Francisco and New York working both for startups and for large tech companies such as Apple and Google. Two years ago I returned to the UK, where I'm now CTO of one of London's leading tech startups, Songkick. Much has changed in the UK since I left, but apparently we still have a fair way to go if we're to emulate the success of Silicon Valley.

The UK has several concentrations of startup activity. A number have sprung up in "Silicon Fen" around Cambridge University, Autonomy among them. Another hub is in east London with more than 500 startups based around Shoreditch, in an area fondly known as Silicon Roundabout. Government support for these burgeoning communities is very helpful, but what we really need is a steady flow of money and expertise to fund exciting new companies. These companies are creating thousands of new jobs and are attracting new investment from within and outside the UK.

What success looks like

Any success like Autonomy's is a huge inspiration for those who aspire to run a company. It shows that hard work, and building great products pays off. Mike Lynch, Autonomy's founder, was a penniless graduate when he founded the company in 1991 and now stands to reap the rewards of decades of success. He has a long history of investing in British startups. He and many others now at Autonomy will be ploughing their money and their know-how back into the UK startup scene, creating yet more jobs and, hopefully, more successful entrepreneurs.

So let's look at Autonomy's acquisition a different way. This is not a threat to Britain's future, its a vital component of our future. If we want large, successful technology companies in the UK we first need lots of smaller, successful companies. Autonomy's acquisition will pump vast sums into both the UK government's coffers and into the hands of investors.

Successful startups reach an "exit". This usually comes in the form of an initial public offering

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The Skin I Live In


Antonio Banderas plays a Madrid plastic surgeon, wealthy, cultured and respected; he gives brilliant lectures and research papers on advances in face-transplant surgery. Daringly, heretically, he advocates transgenic treatments from animals to toughen the skin.

In his palatial home, he has a private operating theatre where he carries out experimental work on Vera, a beautiful woman he keeps prisoner, who is dressed only in a clinging gauzy, flesh-toned material and whose skin has an unnaturally smooth, flawless look. She appears to submit ecstatically to her imprisonment, but this is finally to be the cause of madness and violence.

The Skin I Live In is adapted from the 2003 novel Mygale (Tarantula) by Thierry Jonquet, but clearly Almodóvar has taken something from Georges Franju's 1960 film Eyes Without a Face and possibly also Alejandro Amenábar's Open Your Eyes from 1997. It is also conceivable that he wants us to think of Evelyn Waugh's story Love Among the Ruins.

Connect Two Laptops Using Bluetooth

Connect Two Laptops Using Bluetooth
Do you need to copy a heavy file from another laptop without using pen drive or connecting cables? Of course, this can be done by using electronic transfer methods like ftp or online data storage systems. However, these methods are not only time consuming, they often lead to increased data transfer costs. Moreover, what if there is no internet connectivity available in the immediate vicinity? Under such circumstances, you can connect two laptops through Bluetooth and exchange files seamlessly.

When two computers or devices are connected via Bluetooth, these devices are supposed to be in Personal Area Networks (PAN). In a PAN, one can connect multiple devices without facing the problem of synchronization. Though multiple laptops can be connected using Bluetooth, to understand the procedure perfectly, we will stick to the procedure of connecting two laptops only.

Bluetooth TechnologyHere is the step-by-step way to connect two laptops using Bluetooth.

Software and Hardware Requirements

* In-built Bluetooth device on laptop
* Bluetooth dongle (optional)
* Bluetooth drivers (optional)

Important - Since Bluetooth use short wave radio frequencies for data transfer, devices using radio waves should not be placed within 100 meter radius. Bluetooth signals weaken if the devices are placed more than 100 meters apart. Also before connecting the two laptops using Bluetooth, make sure that neither of the laptop is infected with any sort of virus or malicious program. They can easily get transferred from one laptop to another without your knowledge.

Step 1 – Determine the Type of Bluetooth

The first step is to determine the type of Bluetooth device your laptop has. Refer user’s manual of your laptop to determine this. If it has inbuilt Bluetooth, proceed to step 3, else, proceed as follows:

Step 2 – Install Bluetooth

Purchase a Bluetooth dongle from market (usually costs $10) and insert it in one of the USB ports. Windows XP or higher versions of Windows do not require any sort of driver installation, however, if it’s Windows 98, install the drivers. All types of Bluetooth also come bundled with control software, which should also be installed at this step.

Download Windows 7 PowerTools

Download Windows 7 PowerTools
Here are some Windows 7 PowerTools that will let you tweak your PC and make it more efficient.
Ultimate Windows Tweaker
Ultimate Windows Tweaker is a freeware Tweak UI Utility for tweaking and optimizing Windows 7 & Windows Vista, 32-bit & 64-bit.  This tweaker program does not require an install. You just run its .exe file.
The tweaker comes with IE9 support that adds some additional tweaks. Its runs on both 32-bit & 64-bit OS versions. It can simply be downloaded and used as a portable application to customize your Windows to meet your requirements. It can make your system faster, more stable, and more secure with just a few mouse clicks.
PowerTools1 300x202 Download Windows 7 PowerTools
Be aware though, it is always recommended that you create a system restore point before tweaking your system, and hence an easily accessible button that will let you for creating the same is available in the tweaker. Should you wish or need to, you can always restore your system to the Windows Vista default settings using the Restore Defaults button and applying them.
Note: don’t detach the Empty Icon from the executable’s root, the Empty Icon is copied to system directory and referred in runtime.
Download Link

Fast Shut Down Icon in XP

Fast Shut Down Icon in XP
Buried deep inside Windows XP lurks a little-known program called shutdown that shuts down your system in a very fast — but orderly — way.

Here's how to put an icon on your desktop that'll shut down your machine quickly:

1. Right-click any empty location on your desktop.

2. Click New, Shortcut.

The Create Shortcut Wizard appears.

3. In the Type the Location of the Item box, type shutdown -s -t 0.

It's important that you put spaces before each hyphen, that you have no spaces after each hyphen, and that you use a zero at the end.

Controlling Your System with Task Manager

Controlling Your System with Task Manager
Back in the days of MS-DOS, if you wanted to reboot your computer you either pressed the reset button on your computer case or, as many people quickly discovered, you gave your PC the "three fingered salute". This term, oddly enough never officially adopted by Microsoft despite its widespread use, referred to the Ctrl+Alt+Delete combination that resulted in a restart (called a warm reboot) of the operating system. Ctrl+Alt+Delete was used, quite Simply, when you could do nothing else but start over.

Ctrl+Alt+Delete lives on in Windows, albeit with a somewhat different function. These days, the three-fingered salute results in the Windows Task Manager appearing on screen, one of whose functions remains, indeed, to shut down the system when you can't do so through the Start menu. Rather than initiating a brute-force, all-or-nothing shutdown, however, the Task Manager lets you shut down each program individually, indeed even some open windows within a particular program individually Because it interacts directly with the Windows XP system, Task Manager has the ability to close programs and windows you cannot close through the usual methods, such as clicking the Exit button or choosing Close or Exit from the File menu.

Death of HP TouchPad Is Prime Opportunity for RIM PlayBook

Perhaps you've heard that the HP TouchPad tablet has suffered an untimely demise? There are a lot of lessons that rival tablet vendors can learn from the death of the TouchPad (and the feeding frenzy it created in its wake). More importantly, though, the loss of the TouchPad creates a prime opportunity for a tablet like the BlackBerry PlayBook.

Watching the demand for the HP TouchPad spike to Black Friday--or even iPad launch day--levels following a dramatic price cut, some believe that the path to tablet glory is paved in pennies. I don't agree that tablets need to be $100 in order to compete with the iPad, but I do think that the TouchPad frenzy illustrates the potential to use a deep discount as a marketing loss leader just to build a base that can fuel app development and sustain the device in the long run.

Perfume Tips: Why Perfumes And Colognes Smell Different

Perfume Tips: Why Perfumes And Colognes Smell Different
Different makes of colognes and perfumes all smell different, depending on their odor
classification and if they are made for men or women. The smell of fragrances can also depend on the perfume maker or brand. For instance, some brands might focus on specific niches like fruity and youthful blends and others on the more mature oriental type perfumes.

Moreover, the market place is big enough to accommodate many branches of the perfume industry. There is plenty of room for the type of creativity that allows the famous perfume houses to keep coming up with new fragrances and continue to add to their line of best selling perfumes. Now let's take a look at the factors that determines the differences in the smells of perfumes and colognes.

The Concentration
The smell of perfumes and colognes are determined by the concentration level of the
aromatic compounds used in the scent. As a rule, colognes are made at a lower concentration than eau de toilette, eau de perfume and perfume. This means that, the lower the concentration, the lighter the scent, and the higher the concentration; the stronger the scent.  Perhaps the easiest way to work out the strength of a fragrance is to see if it's one created for men or women. Perfumes for men are generally made to be lighter in strength than those made for women.

The Perfume Ingredients
The selection process of deciding what goes in a blend is not a definite art. It is
a system that is still being continuously improved, right from the early days of perfume making till today. The perfume ingredients used in a fragrance play a key role in the end result of the scent. In the early days, manufacturers mostly used natural ingredients in their perfumes such as flowers, leaves, spices, fruits, nuts, resins and animal secretions. It is estimated that only 2,000 of the 250,000 known flowering plant species contain these essential oils and therefore the use of synthetic chemicals is needed in order to create more scents.

Blending
How to blend the different aromatic compounds that make up a fragrance plays a big role in
the finished perfumes. A perfume that is well balanced and contain the three perfume notes commonly required to create great blends will obviously have a more rounded result than one composed of just one perfume note.  In the same manner, it is fair to say that a fragrance made up with 800 different ingredients will obviously be more complex than that of one made with 3 ingredients.  As a result, the perfume ingredients used in a fragrance are vital to the process of creating best selling perfumes. Ultimately, although a perfume and cologne might contain the same perfume ingredients, it is the difference in the concentration added to each blend that will make them smell different.


Tips for Protecting Your Computer and Network System From Viruses

Tips for Protecting Your Computer and Network System From Viruses
If you've ever had to deal with the aftermath of having a particularly nasty computer virus, you know that it's a good idea to try and prevent any further infiltrations of your system. At the very best, computer viruses can be annoying and can cause you some difficult in accessing files on your computer. At the very worst, computer viruses can hack into your system and steal your identity, or cause a complete crash of your computer system.

While almost no system is completely foolproof when it comes to avoiding computer viruses, there are things that you can do on your home system or your office system to help make sure that you greatly reduce the risk of picking up a computer virus.

The Way of Virus Removal

The Way of Virus Removal
2010, the year of the virus. Or was it? It seems like now a days, the year of the virus is every year, and it just keeps getting worse. Over the past couple of years, the main strings of viruses going around people's computers have been the infamous fake antivirus viruses.

These viruses will display messages on your computer, telling you that you have a virus, and asking you to take some kind of action to remove them. Shortly after, the program normally prompts you to input your credit card information, which obviously is a total scam.

Security tools like Malware Bytes and SuperAntiSpyware have been known to seek out and find these vicious viruses and neutralize them where they stand but lately, with the spread of newer more effective viruses, those two programs just aren't enough anymore which is why you need the entire shebang, the whole arsenal.
First thing is first, download the 2011 version of the Kaspersky Virus Removal tool (Google Kaspersky Virus Removal Tool 2011). After downloading and installing the tool, look through the settings and try to find where you can select which places on your computer to scan. Ensure that "computer" is checked so that the tool scans your entire machine.

Manual Directory Submissions to PR0-PR8 Directories

Manual Directory Submissions to PR0-PR8 Directories
Here is a list Manual Directory Submissions to PR0 - PR8 Directories-Quality & Fast Results that was provided to me after everything was complete.

http://www.altis.ac.uk
http://www.dmoz.org/
http://www.lanic.utexas.edu
http://www.321webmaster.com
http://www.gogreece.com
http://www.sacentral.sa.gov.au/site/page.cfm
http://www.2rss.com
http://www.aardvark.co.za
http://www.anybrowser.com/directory/
http://www.bible-history.com
http://www.femina.com
http://www.infotiger.com/
http://www.kinderstart.com
http://www.nzs.com/
http://www.phantis.com/
http://www.scrubtheweb.com/
http://www.surfsafely.com/
http://www.1000websitetools.com
http://www.ampede.com/
http://www.bazsites.com/

HP Tablet Dissapointed

I'm still kind of shocked by the decision of Hewlett-Packard Co. 's to leave your smartphone and arena of paper. It is unclear what will happen to his computer business, as independent consideration for the staff. Thus the focus will be on helping clients manage information, with printing, servers, storage, and some other services. But even the forward-looking statement is a bit cloudy.

HP's announcement came a lot of big words are tossed, as "strategic alternatives" and "ecosystem of applications." As you read more in the ad, you run across "the exploration of separation." One thing that I understand that all transactions should be completed in approximately 12-18 months. As with other explanations, the best I can understand is that when things got tough in the market for smart phones and paper, the drives are lost.

Tips For Data Recovery

Tips For Data Recovery
Anytime yоur hard drive crashes оr yоu lose yоur data, you’ll nееd tо turn tо data recovery tо properly restore yоur information. Data recovery iѕ sоmethіng moѕt computer users arе familiar with, aѕ а majority оf uѕ havе hаd tо turn tо data recovery аt sоme pоіnt іn time. Even thоugh hard drives arе bеcоming bеtter аnd better, thеy arе stіll mechanical аnd wіll alwаyѕ encounter prоblеms.

The firѕt thіng tо do, befоrе аny prоblеms happen, iѕ tо alwаyѕ bаck up yоur data. If yоu create backups оf yоur information, you’ll bе wеll prepared іn thе event оf а disaster. This way, evеn if yоur hard drive cаnnot bе repaired аnd thе data iѕ lost forever, you’ll havе thе bаck ups tо continue gоіng aѕ normal. If yоu didn’t mаkе bаck ups, you’ll fіnd thе situation vеry traumatic whеn yоu discover thаt yоur data cаnnot bе recovered.

Computer Viruses

Computer Viruses
Over rеcent years, computers havе becomе synonymous wіth viruses аnd viruses don't shоw аny signs оf disappearing аny time sоon. In rеcent news, LiveScience.com reported thаt "Before thе month iѕ evеn done, April hаѕ set а record fоr virus e-mails."1 In thе past, wе wоuld bе comfortable іn telling nеw computer users nоt tо worry abоut viruses аnd thаt catching а computer virus iѕ rare. Today, thаt wоuld bе somе оf thе worst advice wе cоuld gіve anyоnе. As reported іn countless news reports, computer viruses arе rampant аnd they're extremely worrisome. This article wіll describe whаt viruses arе аnd thеn pоint yоu іn thе direction оf somе rathеr unique protection аnd prevention.

In short, а computer virus iѕ а software program designed tо destroy оr steal data. It attacks computers vіа distribution - oftеn unknowingly - thrоugh email attachments, software downloads, аnd evеn somе types оf advanced web scripting. Viruses thаt destroy data arе knоwn aѕ Trojan horses, viruses thаt explode thеіr attacks arе called bombs, аnd viruses thаt duplicate themselvеs arе called worms. Some viruses arе а combination оf each, howеvеr thеy cаn bе furthеr identified accоrding tо whеre they're located оn а computer.

Protecting Children Online

Protecting Children Online
Steps Toward Making Your Computer "Weirdo-Proof" It's аn unfortunate fаct оf reality, but children arе thе mоst victimized computer users оn thе Internet tоdаy. The gоod news iѕ thаt thеrе arе somе practical steps yоu cаn tаke tо protect yоur children frоm sexual predators, hackers, аnd othеr seedy individuals whо wаnt tо cauѕе harm. This article wіll describe а fеw оf thеm.

The firѕt step іn protecting yоur children аt thе computer iѕ tо prevent thеіr access tо passwords. This wіll keеp thеm frоm sharing passwords wіth othеrs аnd inadvertently enabling hacking intо yоur system. If yоu thіnk abоut it, there's nо reason why а five, seven, оr evеn twelve yеar old nееds tо knоw thе passwords tо sensitive arеаs оn thе computer unlеsѕ you've gіvеn thеm permission! In fact, children don't nеed tо knоw thе password usеd tо access thе Internet eіther. It mаy bе а hassle tо type it іn eаch time thеy wаnt tо gеt online, but it's bеttеr tо knоw thе times thаt thеy connect thаn tо hаve thеm sneak online withоut yоur permission аnd knowledge оf thеіr activities.

Networking Home Computers Increasing Productivity With thе Whole Family

Networking Home Computers Increasing Productivity With thе Whole Family
Have yоu evеr thоught abоut networking yоur computers аt home? If yоu hаvе а smаll collection оf computers arоund thе house (and а smаll collection оf computer users), yоu cаn connect eаch onе оf thoѕе computers tо onе anоthеr аnd share data, software, аnd hardware including а single Internet connection. There arе mаny creative ueѕ fоr home networking, howеvеr it's аn ideаl situation whеn upgrading eаch computer tо thе sаmе capability iѕ financially out оf thе question. On а home network, eаch computer hаѕ access tо thе equipment оf thе bettеr machine іn thе grоup aѕ if thаt equipment werе thеir own.

Connecting computers wіth eіthеr аn Ethernet cable оr а Wireless connection cаn create а home network. The easiest аnd cheapest method ueѕ аn Ethernet connection, whіch requires а series оf network cards, а cable fоr eаch computer, аnd а router. The network card iѕ similar tо thе old modems wе uѕеd іn thе pаst tо connect tо thе Internet, howеvеr іn а home network, it's uѕеd tо communicate wіth evеry computer that's connected tо it.

One Day


"One Day" tracks the crisscrossing fates of two good-looking people from 1988, when they are newly fledged, happily drunken university graduates, to a point just short of the present, which is to say middle age for them. The movie’s conceit, embedded in the title, is that all of the depicted action takes place, from one year to the next, on a single date, July 15.

Being British, the two main characters — their names are Emma and Dex, and they are played by Anne Hathaway and Jim Sturgess — identify that square on the calendar as St. Swithin’s Day, which their American Gen-X counterparts may be more likely to know from the lovely, lovelorn Billy Bragg song of the same name.

As the Gavels Fell: 240 Years at Old Bailey


For 240 years the grand parade of human greed, love, cruelty, longing, and foolishness was captured in the Proceedings, the published record of trials that took place at the Old Bailey, the central criminal court, in London.

Now, powerful digital tools developed by an international team of researchers to search these trial reports and summaries have begun to offer new insights into the evolution of the justice system, the institution of marriage and changing morals.

The Old Bailey offers a unique window into the criminal justice system and, by extension, British culture. The free searchable online archive, oldbaileyonline.org, contains accounts of nearly 198,000 trials between 1674 and 1913. “It’s the largest body of accurately transcribed historical texts online,” said Tim Hitchcock, a historian at the University of Hertfordshire in England and part of the team. "All of human life is here."