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Posted by Damien Biddulph on Fri 28th Sep 2012

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-19741350

Missing children are to be sought via the error pages websites display when people reach deleted webpages.

A European initiative is putting pictures and biographical details of missing children on the well-known 404 Not Found pages.

Hosting firms, ISPs and media companies have signed up to put the information on what would otherwise be empty pages.

Anyone who runs a website is being encouraged to join the initiative to raise the profile of missing children.

Snippet of code

The NotFound project has been created by Missing Children Europe, Child Focus, the European Federation for Missing and Sexually Exploited Children and several other European organisations.

While there are standard ways of setting up a 404 Not Found page, increasing numbers of websites are customising the error page to redirect web users who go astray or who visit an old page.

NotFound wants sites to add a snippet of code to those customised pages so they display data about missing youngsters.

So far, about 480 sites have signed up to the NotFound initiative and reconfigured their 404 page to help.

Maryse Roland, a spokeswoman for Child Focus, said a random process governed which missing child would be highlighted.

"It could be a recent disappearance, or on the contrary, a child that has been missing for a long time," she said.

"This project will allow us to once again concentrate the attention on children whom we haven't heard of for many years," said Ms Roland. "These children risk falling into oblivion."

Once sites have signed up and added the code supplied by the NotFound project, every time the page is displayed it will contain information about a missing child.

Francis Herbert, secretary general of Missing Children Europe, said: "We are always looking for new communication channels to distribute missing children messages and increase the chances to bring them home."
 

 
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Posted by Damien Biddulph on Wed 26th Sep 2012

By Barry Levine
September 21, 2012 2:20PM


 

The GPS shoes, designed by Dominic Wilcox and created with interactive technology expert Becky Stewart and Stamp Shoes, show one red LED light in the tip of the toes when the journey has begun. The journey ends when a green light appears in its place. The direction to proceed is indicated by which part of a circle of LEDs on the shoetip is lit. 

"Shoes that guide you home." That could be the advertising slogan for a pair of GPS -embedded shoes made in England.
The shoes were designed by British designer Dominic Wilcox, and are called, appropriately enough, the "No Place Like Home GPS Shoes" because they are designed to help direct you "no matter where you are in the world."

Bespoke Pair

Given the name, no surprise that the footwear were inspired by Dorothy Gale, the famous Kansan in The Wizard of Oz who found herself lost and wished herself home by clicking her shoes. In this real-world homage, a magnet in the right shoe and a sensor in the left detects when the magnet is near -- indicating a click has occurred. This activates the GPS.

The bespoke -- British for "custom-made" -- shoes were commissioned by Global Footprint, a visual arts and living heritage program in Northamptonshire, England. On his Web site, Wilcox noted that the town is "famous for shoe making," part of the reason he decided to make "a pair of shoes that can navigate you to anywhere you wish to travel to."

The wearer uploads the required destination to the shoes via some bespoke mapping software and a USB cable. The shoes communicate to the owner through LED lights that point in the direction you should go to reach the destination. A bar of progress lights shows how close you are to your destination.

The shoes, which were created with interactive arts and technology expert Becky Stewart and Stamp Shoes, a Northamptonshire shoemaker, show one red LED light in the tip of the toes when the journey has begun. The journey ends when a green light appears in its place. The correct direction to proceed is indicated by which part of a circle of LEDs on the shoetip is lit.

Gender Inconsistency

The shoes use a battery similar to one found in mobile phones, and the in-shoe software plots a preferred route to the destination. The GPS is located in the left shoe, and it communicates wirelessly with its right shoe brother. A red tag sticking out of the heel of the left shoe contains the GPS antenna, which is positioned in an upward position, and each shoe contains an Arduinos microcontroller.

In keeping with the shoes' orienting nature, the artist etched illustrations on the bottom sole that depict a series of landmarks, a dotted path, and the shoes' title. In a reference to Dorothy's red shoes, the inside of the shoe is lined with red calf leather.

The only inconsistency with the Dorothy theme, however, is that the bespoke pair are men's shoes. The artist has not indicated when a pair designed for women will be made.

Wilcox is a designer of objects, drawings and installations, and he said on his Web site that his time is spent "attempting to reveal the hidden surprises which are embedded within the banal, everyday things that surround us."
 

 


 


 

 
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Posted by Damien Biddulph on Wed 26th Sep 2012

www.bbc.co.uk - 26 September 2012

TalkTalk tops Ofcom broadband and landline complaints list
TalkTalk says that complaints are down but there is more to do

It has topped the chart since Ofcom began publishing it in October 2010.

Complaints about its broadband service often related to line faults while landline quibbles focused on billing and customer service, Ofcom said.

For mobiles, Ofcom received the most complaints about 3, while BT Vision was the most complained about pay-TV service.

The regulator said that generally complaints were falling, with all broadband and landline providers generating fewer issues between April and June 2012, compared to previous periods.

Above average

This is Ofcom's sixth quarterly report on the state of complaints in the mobile, broadband and landline markets. It aims to help consumers make informed choices when choosing new services.

During the second quarter of 2012, it received 0.53 complaints per 1,000 of TalkTalk's customers.

TalkTalk was the only provider whose complaint levels were above average for landline services, although Ofcom pointed out that this quarter saw the fewest number of complaints since it had begun publishing the data.

In the same period, Virgin Media was the least complained about with 0.14 per 1,000 customers.

In broadband, TalkTalk generated 0.42 complaints per 1,000 customers, again above the industry average. BT Retail also had above average levels of complaints during the last quarter.

Sky's broadband service attracted the least complaints - 0.10 per 1,000.

TalkTalk acknowledged it could do better.

"We recognise that there is still work to do and we are continually pushing through improvements," it said in a statement.

"Technical faults are fixed faster, more support is being offered when customers move house, and our online support system, which now accounts for 70% of customer contacts, is being further enhanced."

Despite TalkTalk topping the charts again, Ofcom said it was not planning to take any action at present. In the past TalkTalk has been fined £3m for incorrectly billing customers for services they had not received.

It is also currently under investigation about the number of silent calls received by its customers.

Ofcom said it had seen a rise in complaints about this type of call - which occur when automatic dialer systems used by call centres make more calls than they have people to take them.

Mobile complaints

For the first time, Ofcom has divided mobile complaints into two categories - pay-as-you-go and contract customers.

About 95% of mobile complaints came from contract customers, it said.

Providers received less than 30 complaints per month from pay-as-you-go users, too few for Ofcom to provide data on.

Topping the mobile phone complaints chart was 3, with 0.19 complaints per 1,000 customers, mainly driven by disputes over charges and issues with customer service.

O2 was the least complained about provider with 0.05 complaints per 1,000 customers.

In the area of pay TV, Ofcom received the most complaints from BT Vision customers, with 0.25 per 1,000 customers. Niggles tended to focus on sales processes and billing problems.

Virgin Media also generated above average complaints, with 0.07 per 1,000 customers.

Sky had the fewest unhappy customers, according to Ofcom.
 

 
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Posted by Damien Biddulph on Wed 26th Sep 2012

Written by Juniper Research  - Tuesday, 25 September 2012 symbianone.com

The report forecasts that both corporate and personal users will begin to recognise the need to protect their data and the demand for mobile security products will increase over the next five years to a point where 1 in 5 mobile devices will be protected by third party security software.


Hampshire, UK – 25th September 2012: A new report from Juniper Research finds that only 5% of global smartphones and tablet devices have security software installed, despite a steadily increasing threat from malware, fraud and device theft.

Device Loss or Theft Remains a Key Issue

In addition, the report found that, apart from headline grabbing malware attacks on phones, the risk of crimes such as identity theft will be a strong motivator for users to adopt mobile security software. Device loss or theft affects both consumer and corporate markets and hence demand for security solutions in both sectors will increase.

Opportunity for Mobile Operators

The new report, Mobile Security Strategies: Threats, Solutions & Market Forecasts 2012-2017 found that, as the security threat increases, and users become more aware of these issues, mobile operators and device vendors need to recognise the potential value that can be achieved by integrating key security features such as ‘Track the Device' or 'Lock and Wipe’ into their product offerings for customers.

Report author Nitin Bhas notes: “Bundling mobile security apps along with other managed services will not only provide incremental revenue for the service providers, but will also help them guarantee better customer satisfaction and churn”.

Other Key Findings Include:

The number of protected consumer devices will overtake protected enterprise devices by 2015, driven by BYOD trends
Employee owned smartphones and tablets used in the enterprise will reach almost 350 million by 2014
The ‘Mobile Security ~ Safe and Secure Devices’ whitepaper is available to download from the Juniper website together with further details of the full report.

Juniper Research provides research and analytical services to the global hi-tech communications sector, providing consultancy, analyst reports and industry commentary.

 

 
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Posted by Damien Biddulph on Wed 26th Sep 2012

By Gus G. Sentementes, The Baltimore Sun - 8:07 p.m. EDT, September 25, 2012
 

Shawnice Singletary was driving in Northeast Baltimore in May when someone pulled up next to her car at an intersection and fired a gun at her. Bullets slammed into her face and neck.

At the Johns Hopkins Hospital emergency department, doctors saved Singletary's life. But she couldn't breathe on her own. A doctor broke the news to her that the mother of three was paralyzed from the neck down: a quadriplegic.

But on Tuesday, Singletary was set on a path to regaining at least some independence. A team of people and organizations who have helped care for her donated a $16,500 mobile computer that Singletary can control with her eyes.

She can use it to send email and text messages, make phone and video calls, listen to music, take photos and surf the Web.

"I'm still getting used to it," said Singletary with a smile during a small ceremony at Hopkins. "You can do a lot on here."

The 36-year-old clinical assistant said she's been devastated but is still hopeful for a better life. Still, life as she knew it — driving, hugging her children, earning a paycheck — irrevocably changed with a bullet in her neck, fragments of which are still inside her.

The shooting has echoes of the sudden death 18 years ago of her younger brother, a third-grader named Tito, in an accidental shooting on a Baltimore street by a teenager playing with a gun.

"It's still very hard for me to believe that this happened to me," Singletary said.

Her shooting remains under investigation, and no one has been arrested.

Singletary is benefiting from the rapidly evolving field of computer assistive devices, which crosses the latest in cutting-edge communications technology with therapeutic and rehabilitative care in hospital settings. Doctors and manufacturers are bringing assistive devices into hospitals earlier in patient care, to help them better communicate with medical staff and their friends and family.

Patients can use these devices at home or in hospitals, to communicate with those around them, and lessen their reliance on others for basic tasks. And the technology for eye-gazing software and hardware is becoming more ubiquitous and cheaper.

This field of augmentative and alternative communication devices has been around for a while but as advanced quickly in recent years with faster and smaller computer processors, and the rise of smartphones.

The assistive technology market is growing fast, thanks in part to the growth of populations of older and disabled people in the United States. The U.S. market for assistive technologies, which includes low- and high-tech vision, auditory and speaking aids, is projected to grow from $41.1 billion last year to $55 billion in 2016, according to London-based Vertical Edge Ltd., a market research firm.

Some technology companies are using simple Web cameras to incorporate eye-tracking in their software. More robust software and hardware, such as what Singletary is using, applies infrared camera technology that was once prohibitively expensive for most commercial applications.

Singletary's doctor, Albert Chi, researched eye-tracking software on the Web and cobbled together a way for her to browse the Internet through a webcam that tracked her eyes.

"She got online right away and started getting on Netflix," Chi said. "She was so amazing."

Then Chi stumbled upon the Tobii, made by a Massachusetts-based company called Tobii ATI. The Tobii is a touchscreen monitor with two built-in infrared eye-tracking cameras mounted below the screen.

This computer tracks the user's eye gaze patterns, allowing the person to use his or her eyes like a computer mouse. Such hands-free operation enables Singletary to type out words on a screen or speak commands through a computerized voice, and much more. She can even control her home's air conditioning from the device.

Text-to-speech is important for Singletary, who only recently regained the ability to speak after having to re-learn to breathe on her own, without a ventilator.

The Tobii C12 model that Singletary received and other similar devices typically are covered by insurance plans, and Medicare and Medicaid.

Tara Rudnicki, president of Tobii ATI, said patients like the device because it returns some semblance of privacy. They can browse the Web and make phone calls without someone's help. They can have private conversations. They can watch a movie without asking for help.

"It brings more independence back to the patient," she said.

People paralyzed by gunshots are not the company's most common customers. Its devices are used a lot by sufferers of a neuro-degenerative disease called amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, otherwise known as ALS, or Lou Gehrig's disease. Other users suffer from Rett syndrome, stroke, autism, repetitive stress and spinal cord injuries.

The long-term promise, Rudnicki said, is that such computers can help people ultimately regain employment.

The company's technology, for instance, is being used by animators and graphic artists who suffer from carpal tunnel syndrome. Instead of drawing with their hands, they can draw with their eye movements, she said.

Tobii ATI donated the device to Singletary. Meanwhile, Hopkins staffers and the Specialty Hospital of Washington, which helped Singletary re-learn how to breathe, each donated $8,440, to help her defray additional expenses.

Singletary is still receiving care at Hopkins.

gus.sentementes@baltsun.com

 

 
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Posted by Damien Biddulph on Wed 26th Sep 2012

by Dan Vergano, USA TODAY

Hubble space telescope scientists released the deepest view yet of the universe on Tuesday, a vista of galaxies more than 13.2 billion years old. Collecting 10 years of Hubble space telescope views of the constellation Fornax (the "furnace") in the southern sky, the view contains roughly 5,500 galaxies in a slice of the sky slimmer than the width of the moon.

"The faintest galaxies are one ten-billionth the brightness of what the human eye can see," says a NASA statement on the eXtreme Deep Field, or XDF, image. The view extends 13.2 billion light-years, where one light-year is about 5.9 trillion miles, to an era only 500 million years after the origin of the cosmos.

The XDF image will help astronomers study the oldest galaxies, and serve as a pointer for ones to study with NASA's James Webb Space Telescope, planned for a 2018 launch
 

 
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Posted by Damien Biddulph on Tue 25th Sep 2012

Discus provide a broad range of Mobile phones and Devices in conjunction with Orange and T-Mobile.
Everything Everywhere, the company behind Orange and T-Mobile, is about to launch a new brand called EE. - EE is the new brand for a digital age and will offer the UK’s first mobile 4G network and Fibre Broadband for the home, along with the UK’s biggest 3G network. 4G will give you superfast internet on your mobile, tablet or laptop, making things like downloads, Facebook and YouTube unbelievably quick.
 

 
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Posted by Damien Biddulph on Tue 25th Sep 2012

24th September 2012 - mobile.itnews.com.

 

Chinese may become the most popular language on the internet by 2015, surpassing English, the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) has predicted.

Data collated by the ITU (pdf) indicated that last year, there were an estimated 565 million English speaking internet users, or a 27 percent of the 2.1 billion total internet users, and the largest single group overall.

However, the number of Chinese language internet users has continued rapid growth, reaching a total 510 million users, or 24 percent of the total, last year. At current growth rates, the ITU said it believed those users would surpass the amount of English speakers on the internet in three years.

Despite the growing number of non-English speakers on the internet, the ITU voiced concerned popular web-based sites and services such as LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and even Google Translate are not sufficiently localised to cater for at least some of the 6000 available languages.

It counted 17 languages on LinkedIn, 21 on Twitter, with Google search leading the pack with 345 supported languages.

The ITU stressed that companies must embrace multiple languages in order to overcome language divides.
"Without appropriate efforts to bridge language divides in online content, returns on investment in infrastructure could be significantly reduced, due to more limited use of the Internet," the union argued in a 2012 report authored by the United Nations' Broadband Commission.

"Content and broadband-enabled services in local languages, as well as the capacities of local communities to create and share content, are important drivers of the use of broadband infrastructure by local population."

Multilingualism on the internet could also be encouraged through the use of Internationalised Domain Names, the ITU said.

Since their introduction in 2009, 31 IDN top-level domains have been introduced, representing 21 countries and 23 different languages.

However, the ITU noted there was still no consistent support for IDNs in web browsers, or email functionality. That meant registering and using IDNs "is not always a satisfactory experience for internet users in some countries," the ITU said.

The union pointed to the figures as a background for key objectives to spread internet use throughout the world. It aimed, among other things, to ensure 40 percent of households in developing countries had access to broadband by 2015, up from a 2011 rate of 20.5 percent.

This, it said, would be achieved largely through supporting ongoing investment in mobile infrastructure in those countries.

Progress toward the goal was possible, the union said, as some six billion total mobile subscriptions were already in existence as of early 2012. Of those, three quarters were found to be in the developing world.

"As the price of handsets falls and their functionality increases, soon the vast majority of people on the planet will hold in their hand a device with higher processing power than the most powerful computers from the 1980s," the union said.

"By 2020, the number of connected devices may potentially outnumber connected people by six to one, transforming our concept of the Internet, and society, forever."

The ITU estimated the number of subscriptions would grow to eight billion mobile subscriptions and 15 billion machine-to-machine devices by 2015, while machine-to-machine use would explode exponentially to reach nearly 25 billion devices by 2020.

 

 

 
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Posted by Damien Biddulph on Tue 25th Sep 2012

By Alex Hern Published 24 September 2012 . - NewStatesman

2,000 workers were involved in riots at a Foxconn factory in China's Shanxi province, reportedly involved in manufacturing the new iPhone.

40 workers at a factory of electronics manufacturer Foxconn in Taiyuan, Shanxi province, China have been hospitalised after a fight broke out among as many as 2000 employees, according to reports from Bloomberg. The fight at the company, which assembles products from most major electronics corporations, including, notably, Apple, started between "rival worker groups" at 11pm last night, and escalated for the next four hours until security and police restored control.

Bloomberg's Tim Culpan writes:

The cause of the fight was not immediately clear, while Foxconn is assisting a police investigation of the matter, Woo said. Union representatives will be sent to the site today to discuss the situation with workers, he said.
Following the problems, the decision was made to temporarily shut the site:

“We want to give people time to cool down,” Louis Woo, spokesman for Taipei-based Foxconn said by phone. Chairman Terry Gou was informed of the incident at about 5 a.m. and agreed with the decision to halt production.
However, a rather different story was emerging on Sina Weibo, China's homespun Twitter. There, workers were sharing pictures that look less like a "fight between rival groups" and more like a full-blown riot – one which was reportedly triggered by security guards attacking a worker, reports Engadget's Richard Lai, who also throws some light on the background of the plant:

An undercover report from August mentioned that the Taiyuan plant processed the back casing of the iPhone 5. It also highlighted the company's harsh management as well as "practically compulsory" over-time work. We don't doubt that this riot escalated due to dissatisfaction over working conditions.
An official statement from the company is expected today, but with the Chinese censorship machine already kicking into action on Sina Weibo, expect a watered-down version of the truth at best.
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Posted by Damien Biddulph on Tue 25th Sep 2012

by Graham Cluley on September 21, 2012 | - Naked Security

Microsoft has released an out-of-cycle security update to protect Internet Explorer users against a vulnerability that was being exploited by malicious hackers.

Earlier this week Microsoft announced it would be issuing Security Update MS12-063, following the discovery last weekend by researcher Eric Romang that the previously unknown vulnerability was being used by a hacking gang to infect computers with the Poison Ivy Trojan.

Normally Microsoft releases security updates on a monthly schedule (known as "Patch Tuesday"), but as the heat rose with exploits using the attack and the likes of the German government urging users to stop using Internet Explorer, the software giant rightly moved to release an out-of-band emergency patch.

As well as defending against the zero-day vulnerability in versions of Internet Explorer, Microsoft's security patch reportedly resolves four other remote code execution vulnerabilities that Microsoft says are not currently being exploited.

 

In my opinion, computer users should be grateful for Microsoft's response. They managed to create, test and roll out a patch for the Internet Explorer security vulnerabilty Romang discovered being exploited by malicious hackers within a week.

That's not just good news for those who love Internet Explorer. All of us on the net reap the benefits when vulnerabilities are patched, as it gives malicious attacks less opportunities to spread.

Now it's the turn of businesses to roll out the patch across their computers, and for home users to install the security update (hopefully most of them have automatic updates enabled).

The SophosLabs analysis of the latest Microsoft security patch can be read here.

 

 
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