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Posted by Damien Biddulph on Tue 25th Sep 2012

By Jennifer LeClaire-September 20, 2012 02:12PM - www.newsfactor.com 

The Financial Services Information Sharing and Analysis Center has raised its cyber threat levels to "high" this week after several financial institutions -- including titans Bank of America and JP Morgan Chase -- fell victim to intermittent Web site outages.
"Issues of concern include the recent credible intelligence regarding the potential for [Distributed Denial of Service] and other cyber attacks against financial institutions," the group said on its Web site. "Additionally, Microsoft is aware of targeted attacks via active exploitation of a zero-day remote code execution vulnerability in Internet Explorer."

Microsoft has issued a quick fix for the IE flaw and plans to issue a full patch on Friday. Meanwhile, Bank of America said its Web site was back up and running normally. Chase.com appeared to be up and running as of the time of this writing.

Hardening Browsers

We turned to Bill Morrow, CEO of Quarri Technologies, to get his take on some of the fallout from the IE zero-day flaw. He told us the latest IE bug is an exploit that allows a Web site -- malicious or compromised -- to download and execute arbitrary code to the end user. He also pointed to the incident as evidence that endpoints today still remain afterthoughts in the security landscape.

"While Microsoft works on a patch for this new bug, industry experts are suggesting that users install new software and/or reconfigure network browser settings," Morrow said. "While the right idea in theory, in reality there is a high probability that many end users wouldn't perform the necessary mitigation or configuration steps to stop the attack."

Beyond the immediate issue with IE, Morrow also noted that the incident is yet another example of enterprise Web applications being at the mercy of the end user's skills at being a security administrator.

"To minimize their exposure to malware, it is critical for organizations to provide and enforce the use of a secure, hardened browser session to protect their most sensitive information and prevent unauthorized use and replication of confidential data," Morrow said.

Aggressive Cyber Criminals Rising

We also asked Chris Petersen, CTO of LogRhythm, for his take on the incident. He told us the latest security headline is a reminder of the increasing aggressiveness of cyber criminals.

"This aggressiveness combined with browser-based vulnerabilities like the one recently announced by Microsoft IE pose a real challenge to banks," Petersen said. "Targeted spear-phishing campaigns have a very high success rate and help cyber criminals easily bypass bank firewalls."

From his research, zero-day attacks are increasingly bypassing point security solutions designed to protect online banking Web sites. To defend against these advanced threats coming from multiple vectors, he said, banks should adopt a posture of continuous and automated analysis across all internal network and system activity to recognize abnormal and concerning behavior.

"For banks and most organizations, the unfortunate reality is that if targeted, they will most likely be breached," Petersen said. "The question then becomes how capable and quickly can the breach be detected, contained, and eventually eradicated."
 

 
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Posted by Damien Biddulph on Tue 25th Sep 2012


An artist works on a wax figure of Steve Jobs that will soon go on display at Madame Tussauds Hong Kong. (Madame Tussauds Hong Kong / September 19, 2012)

By Deborah Netburn - September 19, 2012, 1:27 p.m. - /www.latimes.com


Steve Jobs is about to join Barack Obama, Jackie Chan, Nicole Kidman and Mozart at Madame Tussauds Hong Kong.

The tourist attraction famous for creating hauntingly lifelike sculptures of famous people will unveil a Jobs wax figure Sept. 27.

The model is based on pictures taken of the tech innovator during a 2006 Fortune magazine shoot, Madame Tussauds said. It shows the Apple Inc. cofounder in a relaxed position, arms crossed loosely over his chest, with a pair of silver-rimmed Lunor glasses perched on his face.

(The black turtleneck, Levis 501 jeans and New Balance sneakers are a given).

The rush to immortalize Jobs by recreating his likeness began just days after his death in October 2011. The first Steve Jobs bronze statue was commissioned by Gabor Bojar, the founder of Graphisoft, a Hungarian company that develops software for architects. Bojar said Jobs had given his company much needed support in its early days.

The statue, featuring Jobs in his trademark outfit and one creepy claw-hand raised in the air, was unveiled in an office park in Budapest just 2½ months after his death.

In January a company called In Icons created a controversy when it put images of a hyper-realistic Steve Jobs action figure on its website. The figure, which was so detailed that even the wrinkles on Jobs' forehead were carefully drawn in, was 12 inches high and the company said it would sell for $99.

However, a few days later, In Icons pulled the figure, citing "immense pressure" from lawyers from Apple and Jobs' family.

Madame Tussauds promises that its lifesize Steve Jobs will have similar details. The company said a team of artists spent three months working on the wax figure, inserting each strand of hair one by one into the wax head using a forked needle, and using fine silk threads to recreate the subtle veining in the whites of his eyes.

 

 
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Posted by Damien Biddulph on Tue 25th Sep 2012

Kasia Cieplak-Mayr von Baldegg | Sep 19, 2012


Lost Memories, a sci-fi short set in Paris in the year 2020, imagines a world where we pay a price for our obsession with social media. A young man, played by Luka Kellou, neglects his girlfriend, Magali Heu, compulsively sharing digital images of a romantic moment together. Wordlessly, she snaps an analogue Polaroid photo of him, as if to teach him a lesson, and disappears.

 


Francois Ferracci, the writer and director of the short, talks about the project in an interview with One Small Window, explaining, "I wanted the audience to think about digital information flow, and also about how our memories will remain if one day everything disappears. I think it’s a very important question we have to ask to ourselves." Check out the rest of the interview for a fascinating look at the footage before and after special effects were added. Just under three minutes long, the short feels like it could be the beginning of something longer, but Ferracci just says "we'll see."

For more work by Francois Ferracci, visit http://www.francoisferracci.com/.

 

 
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Posted by Damien Biddulph on Tue 25th Sep 2012

Sky News HD - 12:56pm UK, Tuesday 18 September 2012

Germany's Federal Office For Information Security says it has identified a security issue with the Internet Explorer web browser.12:56pm UK, Tuesday 18 September 2012
Firefox and Google Chrome are being touted as possible alternatives
EmailPeople using Microsoft's Internet Explorer should use another browser until a security breach has been resolved, a government agency has warned.

The Federal Office For Information Security (FOIS), which oversees IT safety in Germany, said the browser's "weak point is already being used for targeted attacks".

While it did not specify the exact nature of the threat, it said the code to attack computers running on Windows XP or Windows 7 operating systems through the browser was freely available online.

The agency warned the security breach might continue to be exploited and could therefore spread rapidly.

It said users of Internet Explorer versions 7, 8 or 9 should switch to alternative browsers such as Firefox or Google Chrome until Microsoft updates its browser's security features.

FOIS president Michael Hange said on the agency's website: "One basic human need must not be ignored: the need for security.

"It takes the knowledge and action of every person involved to maintain security in society.

"This applies especially to IT security since the threats to security often go unnoticed at first glance and are often underestimated."

Yunsun Wee, the director of Microsoft Trustworthy Computing, said users should apply a security update.

She said: "We're aware of targeted attacks potentially affecting some versions of Internet Explorer and have released Security Advisory 2757760 to help protect our customers.

"We'll take further actions as appropriate. Internet Explorer 10 (IE 10) is not affected."

IE 10 is the forthcoming version of Internet Explorer that will make its debut on Windows 8.

She added: "While attacks appear very limited, we recommend customers deploy Microsoft's Enhanced Mitigation Experience Toolkit (EMET) 3.0, which provides effective protections without affecting the web browsing experience."


 

 
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Posted by Damien Biddulph on Mon 24th Sep 2012

By Jack Wallen | September 22, 2012

If you’ve used Microsoft Outlook for a while, you know that it can slow down… way down. In fact, when not looked after, Outlook can become nearly useless. Fortunately, there are several things you can do to make Outlook not only usable, but significantly improved. And none of these techniques requires a single configuration change to your Exchange server (IMAP or POP3).

Of course, some of these suggestions might seem to have a bit more “‘duh” factor than others. But you never know what level of skills you’re dealing with, so we’ll cover all the bases. In the end, you should have a much faster Outlook experience.

1: Update Windows
Many people don’t realize that with Windows updates, the updates for Microsoft Office are also “hidden.” But it’s not just the Office updates that can help speed up Outlook. Make sure you allow the updates to happen. Why? There are times when Microsoft might update Exchange. In some cases, those updates can either break or cause problems with the communication between Outlook and Exchange. Or Microsoft might issue a patch to the application to resolve a speed issue or security hole.

2: Download complete items
When you connect Outlook with either IMAP or POP3, you should have Outlook set up to download the complete message (instead of just the header). If you do this, Outlook won’t have to sync with the server every time you click on a new item (as it will already be in the data file.) How you do this will depend upon which version of Outlook you’re using. But basically, you’re looking for the setting Download Complete Item Including Attachments.

3: Archive your Inbox
I can’t tell you how many times I see clients with thousands upon thousands (and in some cases tens of thousands) of emails in their Inbox. This can cause serious issues, especially when using PST files. Instead of just letting those Inbox folders grow to outrageous proportions, set up auto archiving so that your Inbox retains only a portion of those emails. I like to tell clients to keep the current and previous months’ email in the Inbox and archive everything else. When you archive, you effectively create a new data file, so Outlook doesn’t have to strain against the weight of an oversize PST or OST file

4: Use Cached Exchange Mode
If you use Cached Exchange Mode in Outlook, you effectively take the data file from the server (PST) and cache it on your local machine (OST). This can go a long way toward speeding up your Outlook experience because Outlook doesn’t have to read its data file across a network. Instead, all it has to do is read the locally stored data file. This option (obviously) is available only when connecting Outlook with an Exchange server.

5: Compact your PST file
When the Outlook PST file gets out of hand, a built-in tool can keep the size of that file under control. One of the issues is that even when you delete email from your Inbox, the size of the PST file may remain the same. If you’re using Outlook 2010, you can go to Account Settings | Data Files and select the data file to be compacted. Once you’ve selected the file click Settings | Advanced | Outlook Data File Settings and click Compact Now. Depending on the size of your data file, this process can take some time.

6: Repair your PST file
Scanpst is often my go-to tool when Outlook is acting off kilter. It will scan through your data file and look for data inconsistencies and errors. Here’s the thing about Scanpst — it’s not always the easiest tool to find. Do yourself a favor and search through your C drive to locate the Scanpst.exe file. Make note of its location (usually within the Office installation folder). But be forewarned: This tool can cause PST files to become unusable. Make sure you back up that data file before you start the repair tool. Fortunately, should Scanpst find errors, it will prompt you to make a backup before it attempts to fix the errors.

7: Cut down on the published and shared calendars
Yes, it’s easy to publish and share your calendars with others. The problem is, the more you do it, the more drag you’re putting on Outlook. The more data Outlook has to share and pull down from the Internet, the slower it will perform. Sure, it’s fine to have one or two shared calendars (and even more if you have a lightning-fast data pipe). Just know that the more data you have to push and pull, the slower your connection will be.

8: Disable RSS
By default, Outlook will sync RSS feeds from Internet Explorer to the RSS reader in Outlook. If you have a lot of RSS feeds bookmarked in IE, that syncing could easily bring Outlook to a crawl. Disable this feature (if you don’t use Outlook as an RSS reader) from within Outlook 2010 by going to Options | Advanced and then unchecking both options under RSS Feeds.

9: Disable add-ins
How many times have you installed some program only to find it installed something else behind your back? This can happen to Outlook as well as Internet Explorer. Sometimes those add-ins can cause major Outlook slowdowns. To find out what add-ins you have installed in Outlook 2010, go to Options | Add-ins. Select COM Add-ins from the drop-down and click the Go button. The resultant window will list all add-ins available to Outlook. Search through this list and uncheck any that might seem suspect.

10: Fix ShoreTel Windows 7 integration
If you use the ShoreTel Communicator, you might notice some issues when trying to open and use Outlook. The problem lies in an incompatibility issue between ShoreTel and Windows 7. The fix is simple. Open up the Task Manager and look for a process called Agent.exe. Right-click that entry and click Properties |Compatibility. Choose the Run This Program In Compatibility Mode For option and then select Windows XP (Service Pack 3).

Other tricks?
There’s no reason why anyone should have to struggle with a bogged down Outlook that will have you pulling your hair out strand by strand. These tips should help you enjoy a much speedier and reliable Outlook experience.

 

 
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Posted by Damien Biddulph on Fri 21st Sep 2012

It may seem a bit old fashioned, but we’ve found that some people just prefer to contact a business on a landline. But how do you answer a landline if you’re out and about? Introducing Pocket Landline – a landline number of your choice that rings straight through to your mobile.

who's it for?
Sole traders and small businesses with less than 5 employees.
 

what are the benefits?

  • generate more calls - by offering customers a landline number. A landline looks more professional –it’s local and reassuring – it says: 'I work in your area'
  • answer more calls - you can take landline calls on your mobile when you’re out and about 
  • increase productivity - spend more time with customers, less time tied to the office
  • spend less - fixed low price from just £10 a month, so no nasty billing surprises
  • be fair - your customers only pay standard landline charges when they call you
  • make it yours - our web management tool lets you manage/customise how you’re contacted
  • don’t miss out - voicemails are forwarded by email
  • see how you’re doing - online call stats show how the business rolls in

What are the details?
Callers pay the standard landline rate and the receiver will pay a flat monthly fee. Choose from these four great tariffs:
 
 
Connection process
Point of acquisition, upgrade and in-life. Connection is supported either by Orange Business Customer Services or by calling your dedicated Orange support line.

FAQ:
The local area code I want is not available
Orange is able to supply Orange Pocket Landline numbers in line with the Ofcom published defined areas ensuring your business number gives the right impression to your customers in the location you operate.
Dialling codes (STD codes) explained:
For the Orange Pocket Landline numbers we supply usually consists of the first 3 or 4 digits for major cities/population centres defining the area but not specific suburbs e.g. 020 xxxxxxxx for London and 0117 xxxxxxx for Bristol. Smaller towns and rural areas have longer 5 and even 6 digit dialling codes (STD codes) with mostly 5 or 6 digits local numbers e.g.01200 xxxxx/x for Clithero.
The Ofcom controlled UK National Telephone Numbering Plan is a complex and evolving system that covers the assigning of geographic numbers. Increases in population and the demand for more phone numbers have meant a number of plan revisions over the years.

Sometimes the public have got use to a previous legacy number range believing them to be the STD code for their area. For instance people living in Nottingham may have the impression that the city has STD codes 01157, 01158 and 01159. However, Nottingham’s STD code is 0115 and Ofcom will release the following designated number ranges when required to expand the available phone numbers:
o 0115 2xxxxxx
o 0115 3xxxxxx
o 0115 4xxxxxx
o 0115 5xxxxxx
o 0115 6xxxxxx

In cities such as Nottingham Orange Pocket Landline will always be available with Nottingham’s 0115 STD code with at least one or more of the in-use designated number ranges e.g. 0115 7xxxxxx, 0115 8xxxxxx or 0115 9xxxxxx.

 
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Posted by Damien Biddulph on Thu 20th Sep 2012

EVERYTHING EVERYWHERE LAUNCHES EE A new company, a new network, a new brand

• EE to become the UK’s most advanced digital communications company


• EE network switched on today


• EE’s new customer brand to launch in the coming weeks with pioneering superfast 4G LTE mobile services and fibre broadband


• EE’s superfast 4G service to launch in 16 cities by Christmas, covering 20 million people – a third of the population. Nationwide 4G roll out to accelerate through 2013 with 98% of UK population covered in 2014


• EE’s superfast fibre broadband service to reach more than 11 million households and businesses by end of year


• Over 700 EE-branded stores to open – more than any other operator


• Orange and T-Mobile customers to benefit from the UK’s biggest and best mobile network, and more stores than ever before

11th September 2012. London. Everything Everywhere today announced the launch of EE - the UK’s most advanced digital communications company.

EE will become the new name of the Everything Everywhere business and its network.

EE will also be launched as a new superfast customer brand in the coming weeks. It is a brand born in the digital age, designed to serve both consumers and businesses, offering the UK’s only 4G mobile service and complemented by fixed-line fibre broadband.

The new EE brand will stand alongside Orange and T-Mobile. Together they will
provide mobile services to 27 million people, now served by the UK’s biggest and best network.

Olaf Swantee, CEO of EE said: “Today we launch a new company, a new network and a new brand for Britain.

“Our plans to revolutionise the UK communications market with a faster network and an exciting new brand for the digital age are built on solid investment and a simple belief that customers deserve better.

“We look forward to connecting the country with superfast mobile speeds in the coming weeks, months and years.

“And it starts today, with the announcement of our new business, our new brand and a new digital infrastructure that our company, our customers and the country can be proud of.”

EE – superfast 4G and fibre

The EE customer brand will launch with 4G services for consumers and businesses in the coming weeks.

It will be the first brand in the country to offer a mobile 4G service – the pioneering new technology that offers superfast mobile internet at speeds typically five times faster than 3G speeds today.

EE will also launch a fibre broadband service to homes and businesses with fixed- line internet speeds typically ten times faster than today’s average broadband speeds.

It means that EE’s 4G customers will be the first in the UK to enjoy superfast speeds on their mobile and at home or at work.

With superfast 4G mobile, customers will be able to:

• Access the web on the go without waiting

• Download high-definition movies in minutes

• Watch live TV on the move without buffering

• Play live multiplayer games on the go

• Download large email attachments quicker than ever

• Make high quality video calls on the move

 

Four cities – London, Bristol, Cardiff and Birmingham – are switched on today for the company’s engineers to begin live testing and systems integration, in readiness for the customer launch.

EE’s 4G network will cover a third of the UK population in 2012 – over 20 million people – and customers on the EE brand will also have access to the largest 3G network in the UK outside of the 4G cities. Further towns, cities and rural areas, will follow rapidly with 2013 population coverage to reach 70%, with 98% covered by
2014.

EE’s 2012 launch schedule will see 16 areas of the country connected to 4G by Christmas – the UK’s four capitals and twelve other major cities. The 16 cities are London, Edinburgh, Cardiff, Belfast, Birmingham, Bristol, Derby, Glasgow, Hull, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle, Nottingham, Sheffield and Southampton.

EE will offer a range of state-of-the-art devices alongside its superfast 4G mobile network with more to be announced shortly. Today, EE confirmed it is to launch the following 4G devices:

Samsung Galaxy SIII LTE – with a 4.8 inch HD Super AMOLED display, you can watch videos on your mobile like never before. Innovative Smart Stay automatically recognises when you are looking at the phone, maintaining a bright display for continued viewing pleasure.

Nokia Lumia 920 – flagship Nokia Windows Phone 8 smartphone. Take bright, blur- free photos and videos in any light conditions with PureView technology – Optical Image Stabilisation and Carl Zeiss lens and view on a 4.5'' PureMotion HD+ capacitive display.

Nokia Lumia 820 – colourful, stylish, innovative design, with a 4.3 OLED WVGA screen. Capture great photos and movies with an 8MP Auto Focus camera, with Carl Zeiss optics and dual LED flash. Charge wirelessly without plugging in using a Wireless Charging Shell.

The HTC One XL – high quality entertainment and precision navigation combine in this handset, thanks to a large 4.7” HD touchscreen display. Full HD video, and front and rear facing camera let you capture crisp, vivid photos and movies in high quality wherever you are.

Huawei Ascend P1 LTE – a powerhouse dual-core processor is packed in to this handset’s slim design. Take stunningly clear images or HD videos on an 8MP autofocus camera with LED flash and playback on the 4.3” high-res touchscreen.

Huawei E589 Mobile WiFi – hook up to five devices to the EE 4G network, making your existing phone, laptop or digital screen superfast even if they’re not 4G. Long battery life of up to 10 hours, enjoy 4G wireless broadband anytime, anywhere.

Huawei E392 Mobile Broadband stick – download and upload documents and files in super quick time on the go with this device. Make your laptop mobile and
superfast, by hooking it up to the EE network. You’ll stay compatible with 3G too and seamlessly switch to the optimal connection.

EE’s superfast fibre broadband service will launch at the same time to complement
the company’s superfast 4G mobile service. It will be available to 11 million households and businesses by the end of the year reaching two thirds of UK households and businesses by the end of 2014.

Service, everywhere

The company also announced it is to open EE-branded stores with more than 700 being unveiled across Britain’s high streets in line with its customer brand launch.

The new EE stores – formerly Orange and T-Mobile shops – will serve customers of all three brands, giving them access to service and sales in twice as many locations as before.

More than 10,000 EE staff have been trained, and will offer specialist advice in store, on the phone and on-line. The company has trained its Customer Team staff to become experts in mobile operating systems, meaning its customers will get a specialist service, regardless of which device they use. It is the only operator to offer dedicated expertise based around device operating systems.

The EE network

The EE network – which launches today – has been created by bringing together the former 3G and 2G networks of Orange and T-Mobile, coupled with a three-year
£1.5bn investment for upgrades and new 4G services.

With the Orange and T-Mobile networks now combined, from today customers will begin switching over to the new seamless EE network, the largest in the UK. By the end of the year, all 27 million customers will be using the EE network.

It means that Orange and T-Mobile customers can now get faster 3G service, with speeds of up to 21Mbps, and more coverage than ever before.

EE will also launch superfast 4G mobile and fixed-line fibre broadband services in the coming weeks. It will also offer standard broadband via ADSL in non-fibre areas.

Orange and T-Mobile customers

Orange and T-Mobile customers will continue to benefit from the best 3G and 2G
mobile network.

It means that from today – and over the coming months – customers using Orange and T-Mobile will begin to see their phone signal indicator change to EE, whether they are on 3G or 2G, showing that they are on the UK’s biggest and best network. This is at no extra cost and there are no changes to their existing price plans.

Orange and T-Mobile plans will continue to be offered to new and existing customers, and Orange and T-Mobile customers will also be among the first to have the opportunity to access 4G through a move to the new EE customer brand.

For more information, please contact the EE press team on:
ee@nelsonbostock.com
0845 373 7070

About EE

EE is the UK’s most advanced digital communications company, providing mobile and fixed line services to 27 million customers, and will soon become the first company in the UK to provide 4G mobile services alongside fibre broadband.

EE is the company that runs the Orange and T-Mobile brands in the UK, and will be launching its new superfast 4G brand – EE – in the coming weeks. Its 4G service will cover a third of the population by the end of 2012 and its fibre service will be available to more than 11 million households and businesses by the end of the year. EE’s mobile service currently provides coverage to 99% of the population with 2G and 98% of the population with 3G.
 

 
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Posted by Damien Biddulph on Thu 20th Sep 2012

FAQ

1. What is 4G?

4G can provide faster download speeds and more reliable data connections for mobile devices than existing mobile services, which will significantly improve the performance of demanding applications such as streaming video, videoconferencing, and cloud services.

4G can make everyday activities like ordering shopping or connecting with friends online via mobile devices quicker, smoother and more enjoyable. It will also provide a platform on which a new generation of mobile internet services can grow.

It’s huge news for business, huge news for consumers, and huge news for you.

2. What does this mean for my Orange/T-Mobile relationship? And how can I get 4G?

Our company name is EE. It will operate three brands: EE, Orange and T-Mobile.

We will continue to run all three brands. Any relationships you have within the business will not change.

Our superfast 4G service will only run on the EE brand. T-Mobile and Orange customers will be offered the opportunity to move – we’ll share details on how in due course. Those that don’t change will still benefit from access to the biggest and best mobile network in the UK, and benefit from
£1.5bn worth of network improvements.

3. Will Orange and T-Mobile customers automatically get 4G LTE when it launches in their community?

No, Orange and T-Mobile customers will need to move to our new superfast EE brand.


The 4 steps to 4G are:
1. 4G network coverage in your area
2. 4G compatible phone or tablet
3. 4G sim card
4. 4G price plan on our new brand, EE

4. When will you be coming to my city/town/rural area?

Our initial 2012 launch plans will cover the major metropolitan areas across 16 cities. We will then be rolling out 4G to other towns, cities and rural areas just as fast as we can. We have already
launched 4G trials in Cornwall and Cumbria and we will be using the data from those trials to ensure our launch brings the maximum benefit to rural communities.

5. When will 4G services launch?

We’re gearing up to launch EE as a customer brand in the coming weeks. What we are launching today is our new EE company name.

 


6. Does EE stand for Everything Everywhere?

Yes. EE stands for Everything Everywhere.

In fact, Everything Everywhere will remain our legal company name (Everything Everywhere Ltd). However, EE will become the name we use to refer to our company, the name of our network, and the name of our new superfast customer brand.

7. Will EE only launch in your direct channels?

While we will be launching EE in all of our direct channels – on the high street, on the phone and online – we will also be launching with selected retailers. Those partners will be announced closer to launch.

8. How can I help?

We know that many of you will want to make a noise about this exciting announcement. We’d encourage support, and if you engage on social media we suggest the following message:

4G is on the way! Speedy downloading, video calls and live TV on the go – all coming later this year from new mobile brand EE: www.ee.co.uk

 
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Posted by Damien Biddulph on Wed 19th Sep 2012

 

The Week 25 August 2012

Bill Gates has committed £235m to reinventing the loo. The billionaire held a fair in Seattle, at which scientists presented their visions for ultra-cheap toilets that did not need to be connected to a sewer to flush; the UN estimates that 1.5 million children die each year owing to unsafe sanitation. The winning entry came from the California Institute of Technology, which produce a lavatory using solar power to break down waste, and turn it into hydrogen for fuel.

 
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Posted by Damien Biddulph on Tue 18th Sep 2012

independent.co.uk - Graeme Evans Tuesday 21 August 2012

Superfast mobile broadband is to be launched in the UK later this year after T-Mobile and Orange got the green light to run 4G services.

Everything Everywhere, which owns the brands in the UK, has gained a head-start on rivals because regulator Ofcom has ruled the firm can use some of its existing spectrum prior to an industry-wide auction of 4G airwaves in 2013.

Vodafone attacked the decision but Ofcom said allowing Everything's request to vary its existing licence for 4G was in the best interests of consumers.

Everything said: "Consumers will soon be able to benefit from the much greater mobile speeds that 4G will deliver. 4G will drive investment, employment and innovation and we look forward to making it available later this year, delivering superfast mobile broadband to the UK."

It is expected that 4G will allow users to download an album in as little as 60 seconds or a movie in 10 minutes, compared with an hour or more for 3G.

Everything, which is jointly owned by Deutsche Telekom and France Telecom, is the UK's largest operator with 27 million customers and employs more than 15,000 people, including through more than 720 retail stores.

The company will be allowed to offer 4G from September 11, but has not specified when it will start the service. It has been rewarded for installing the necessary equipment for 4G since the start of the year, even though the bidding phase for the auction was not due to start until 2013.

The auction will give 4G access to at least 98 per cent of people across the UK with the equivalent of three-quarters of the mobile spectrum currently in use - some 80 per cent more than released in the 3G auction which took place in 2000.

Vodafone said: "We are frankly shocked that Ofcom has reached this decision.

"The regulator has shown a careless disregard for the best interests of consumers, businesses and the wider economy through its refusal to properly regard the competitive distortion created by allowing one operator to run services before the ground has been laid for a fully competitive 4G market."

With Everything in talks to sell some of its spectrum to rival operator 3, Vodafone said the balance of the 4G auction will "fundamentally change".

Thomas Wehmeier, principal analyst at Informa Telecoms & Media, said Ofcom's decision was a "major milestone" for the UK mobile market and a vindication of Everything's decision to invest in readying the ground for 4G.

He added: "Everything now has a golden opportunity to establish an early lead in the UK's 4G market, but it will only be able to exploit this window if it is able to build a successful launch strategy.

"The most successful 4G operators globally, including in the world's most advanced 4G markets of the United States and Korea, have been those that came out of the traps quickly and built their networks out extensively."

He said a critical task will be to convince device manufacturers to build smartphones for Everything's network.

Mr Wehmeier said: "You can build the network, but without the right devices the customers cannot and will not come."

Meanwhile, Everything declined to confirm reports that it will replace the Orange and T-Mobile brands from next March.

A spokesman said: "It is well known that we ran a brand review last year. The outcome of that brand review is confidential.

"However, what we can say is that we remain committed to our hugely successful brands Orange and T-Mobile and continue to invest in them for the foreseeable future. Any suggestion otherwise is entirely speculative."

Everything later said it planned to launch a new brand to operate alongside Orange and T-Mobile before the end of this year.

 

 
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