Sky Broadband (BSkyB) will later today slash the cost of their superfast (‘up to’ 38Mbps) Sky Fibre Unlimited (FTTC) broadband package from £20 to just £7.50 per month for the first 12 months of service. Both new and existing customers should be able to take advantage. As usual the service is only available to people in areas where the new FTTC technology is already available (soon to cover 66% of the UK) and customers will also need to take Sky Line Rental from £15.40 per month.
Sky Fibre + Free Weekend Calls * Up to 38Mbps “typical” download speeds * Truly unlimited downloads * Inclusive weekend UK calls * Free Sky Hub Wireless Router – £2.18 delivery charge * Free Unlimited access to WiFi Hotspots from The Cloud * Sky Shield (Parental Controls and Anti-Malware) * 12 Month Contract
PRICE: £7.50 Per Month for the first 12 Months (£20 thereafter) + Line Rental
At the time of writing we don’t yet have access to the full details for this promotion, which should soon become visible on Sky’s website. But if there are any additions or changes that need to be made then we’ll update this post later today. An additional offer comes in the form of a £25 M&S Voucher for all upgrades to Broadband or Fibre Unlimited, which is stackable with the £7.50 Fibre Unlimited deal but only for existing customers.
ISPreview.co.uk has also seen information suggesting that the 12 month contract term for Sky Fibre might soon become an 18 month one, although we’ve yet to completely confirm that. Likewise the router delivery charge could also rise from £2.18 to £6.95 in the very near future.
Microsoft just unveiled Office for iPad. The move makes complete sense. The iPad, after all, is by far the strongest and most popular tablet platform on the market today (although Android has been rising fast). Any software developer, including Microsoft, wants to offer an iPad version of their app.
So what took so long? Apple unveiled the iPad way back in January 2010 — more than four years ago. By summer that year, it was clear Apple had yet another hit on its hands, single-handedly creating the mass-market tablet category that every other hardware manufacturer was soon racing to enter.
The man behind Office for iPad said he was thinking about how Office would work on the tablet as soon as it was unveiled. Virtually every Office competitor, including Google, launched native apps for creating and editing documents on the iPad over the last four years. Microsoft appeared to be on the verge of launching Office for iPad back in 2012, but the rumored launch failed to happen. Former CEO Steve Ballmer later confirmed Microsoft was working on an iPad version, but that it was waiting for the touch-friendly version for Windows.
As it turned out, the iPad version came first, which, in light of Ballmer's comments, suggests it could have debuted even earlier. To understand why Microsoft waited so long to pull the trigger on Office for iPad, you have to understand the culture of Microsoft, and the company's strategy surrounding Windows 8.
Office's Ride Through Windows
Microsoft debuted Windows 8, which adapted Windows for the touch-first environment of tablets, in September 2012. A key part of the rollout was the Surface RT and other Windows RT devices. Microsoft gave every Windows RT device a free version of Office in an attempt to kick-start its tablet platform.
Development for Windows 8 began years before the launch — before the iPad launch, even. Long before anyone had heard of a Smart Cover, Microsoft was already hard at work on its tablet OS, and a strategy was taking shape. Microsoft announced it was building a version of Windows to run on ARM-based devices (like tablets) in January 2011, which eventually became Windows RT.
Because Windows had to be re-coded from the ground up to run on ARM processors, it was clear that apps made to run on older versions of Windows wouldn't work on Windows RT machines. That means no Quicken, no Acrobat, no Office. Windows RT tablets would run the new, touch-first apps only.
Problem: There weren't any new touch-first apps yet, and there probably would be very few at launch. To boost interest in its budding tablet platform, Microsoft decided to make Office the free toy in the Windows RT happy meal. Microsoft decided to make Office the free toy in the Windows RT happy meal. Every Surface and Windows RT device would ship with the suite pre-installed.
At the same time, the Office team was building Office for iPad, it appears. Remember: Microsoft is a sprawling company, with many different divisions. While Steve Ballmer and Steven Sinofsky (neither of whom are with the company anymore) crafted the company's Windows 8 rollout, Office was slowly adopting a strategy that would see its apps spread to more platforms. OneNote, notably, came to the iPhone in early 2011.
However, a version of Office for the iPad, if launched before Windows 8, would have undermined the entire strategy behind the Surface and Windows RT. The fact that Windows RT devices gave buyers a "free" version of Office was their primary selling point, supposedly making up for the lack of support for legacy Windows apps. If the most popular tablet in the world already had Office, why would anyone buy a Surface?
Bye-Bye, Windows RT
Of course, things didn't work out so well for Windows RT. It turned out no one wanted to buy Windows RT tablets anyway, and every Windows manufacturing partner (except Nokia) has given up on the platform. It didn't help that the full Office 365 rollout didn't happen until months after the Surface launched, but it seems Windows RT was a dud with consumers, whether it had Office or not.
Also, with Ballmer being succeeded by Satya Nadella — a man who's been drinking the cloud Kool-Aid for more than a decade — any lingering cultural reluctance to open Office to more platforms was cast aside. As he made clear from today's event, Microsoft's strategy is Office everywhere — on every kind of device, from phones to PCs and everything in between.
Which led us to today. Office for iPad has probably been more or less ready for a while, but Nadella likely gave it the final push, countermanding Ballmer's assertion that the touch Windows version would come first.
Notably, there are serious technical challenges in creating touch Office (the Windows version connects to apps in a fundamentally different way than Windows 8's "contracts," for example), so it's very possible the Metro/Modern version of Office needs more shakedown before its official debut, even though Microsoft teased it about a year ago.
Office for iPad was ready, and with the de facto failure of Windows RT (there are really only two major products that still run the OS), Nadella saw no reason to hold it up any longer. If this launch confirms anything, it's that trying to use Office as "special sauce" for Windows was a colossal mistake. In his first public act as CEO, Nadella has corrected that mistake.
Twitter has released two new features that could make the social media giant more social. In a move that's similar to other social media services like Facebook, Twitter has announced the ability to tag friends in photos. The new service will allow you to tag up to ten people at which point they will receive a notification.
Twitter is offering privacy adjustments of the tagging feature that will allow users to remain untagged, allow anyone to tag a user in photos, and to only allow followers to tag. This feature will also work with protected accounts allowing users of that follower to see the tagged photos. By default, protected accounts cannot be tagged but the user can choose to override this feature.
The second feature is the ability to post up to four photos in one tweet. This feature will automatically create a collage with photos that are uploaded to a tweet. Both of these new features will not count towards your character count meaning you will be able to tweet with a full 140 characters in addition to the added pictures.
This feature is currently available on iOS and will later become available on Twitter.com and Android devices.
Following this week’s developments, Turkey has taken another step towards censorship. After attempting to ban Twitter, a court reversal permitted the return of the popular social site to the country, which has seen recent protests regarding oppressive moves by the government.
Since the court reversal regarding Twitter, the latest development is that Turkey is now banning Google’s popular video site, Youtube. This will cause the population to become alienated even further from their country’s governing parties; the recent tests of people’s freedoms comes at a time when revolutions are all too common.
When Twitter was banned, workarounds were quickly created, along with an SMS procedure for posting Tweets. However, there is no word on a workaround for YouTube yet.
Last week, as reported by the Wall Street Journal, Google refused to take down videos which apparently incriminate the Prime Minister of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Edrogan, of corruption, and this move seems to be a direct response to that refusal. A Google spokesman stated, “We’re seeing reports that some users are not able to access YouTube in Turkey. There is no technical issue on our side and we’re looking into the situation.” According to Webrazzi, “the videos included wiretapped sound recordings where, for example, the PM tells his son at home to hide large sums of money from the investigators. It is alleged to be around a couple of million dollars.”
What started out as only a few ISPs (Internet Service Providers) blocking the site has expanded to all ISPs currently serving the Turkish nation.
The controversy quickly escalated, as some app developers sought to distance themselves from Mozilla in direct response to Eich's appointment, even going as far as pulling their apps from the Firefox Marketplace.
Things have now worsened further, as employees of the Mozilla Foundation itself have called on their new CEO to resign. As Ars Technica reports, Chris McAvoy, who heads up Mozilla’s Open Badges project tweeted: “I love @mozilla but I’m disappointed this week”, in response to Eich’s appointment.
McAvoy added: @mozilla stands for openness and empowerment, but is acting in the opposite way.” In a further tweet, his words were unequivocal:
"I'm an employee of @mozilla and I'm asking @brendaneich to step down as CEO."
Many more Mozilla staff retweeted these sentiments and added their own, calling on Eich to resign.
Ars Technica also reports that, earlier this week, Brendan Eich issued a statement on his personal blog, in which he recognised “concerns about my commitment to fostering equality and welcome for LGBT [lesbian, gay, bi and transgender] individuals at Mozilla.” He said that he was committed to a range of plans to “work with LGBT communities and allies”.
Recognising the uphill struggle that he faces in winning over the hearts and minds of his employees, the new CEO also said: “I don’t ask for trust free of context, or without a solid structure to support accountability. No leader or person who has a privileged position should.”
Thai banks have warned of widespread fake banking apps and advised mobile users to check who the application developers are before downloading them.
Information posted on SCB Thailand Facebook page on Thursday says imposter apps using names and logos of many banks can be found in the Google Play Store and they were not developed by the actual banks.
The only developer of SCB apps is Siam Commercial Bank PCL.
Krung Thai Bank (KTB) posted a message on its Line page warning clients who want to do financial transactions with the bank through mobile devices to use apps developed only by Krung Thai Bank PCL.
According to reports, SCIENTIFIKA MEDIA has released apps replicating the functions of many Thai and foreign banks, such as KTB, Bangkok Bank, SCB, Bank of Ayudhya and Thanachart Bank.
Every kid who has ever touched a Nintendo 64, PlayStation or any other gaming console has thought to themselves, “I wish I could play video games for a living.”
That’s exactly what Jeffrey Shih, 26, does.
Every morning from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. PT, tens of thousands of viewers tune into Shih’s educational video-game stream on Twitch, a popular live-streaming video platform. Here, fans know him as “Trump,” one of the best players to stream Hearthstone, Blizzard Entertainment’s virtual card game based on the lore of their popular titles Warcraft and World of Warcraft. It is similar to traditional card games such as Magic: The Gathering.
Streamers like Shih make a living off of broadcasting through Twitch’s partnership program, which allows them to earn revenue by running ads, as well as a subscription program that enables a viewer to subscribe to their channel for $4.99 a month. What's more, some streamers accept donations via PayPal if fans are feeling particularly generous.
All of this adds up to quite a large amount of money. In an interview with GQ Magazine, Michael O'Dell, team manager of a professional League of Legends team called Team Dignitas, noted that one player made $8,000 from streaming in one month.
Shih started streaming in 2011 after graduating from New York University with a Bachelor’s degree in management and finance. In his first month of streaming, an average of 2,000 to 3,000 people would tune in to watch him stream StarCraft II — a respectable number of viewers, but nothing like the 15,000 who now watch him every day.
Shih wasn't immediately successful with streaming, though. Even in his first year, which many streamers would consider a great start, he continued to work another job. But Shih put in the time and dedication to grow his audience and numbers, and eventually decided to make the tough decision to quit his job, and commit to streaming full-time. Since then, he hasn't felt the need to work another job.
“When I started, my earnings would definitely qualify as less than minimum wage,” Shih said. “Now, I’m making a comfortable amount to live on.”
Shih estimated that an average of 5,000 viewers could provide a “respectable income” through ad revenue. However, he added that streamers who have around 2,000 viewers, combined with a particularly loyal fanbase, can get plenty of donations, and sustain a comfortable lifestyle through the generosity of others who find certain streamers entertaining.
Numbers aside, the simple act of viewers tuning in to their favorite streamers has given thousands of people the opportunity to stream full-time — a fact that Twitch acknowledged.
Security company Symantec has called on banks to upgrade cash machines running on Windows XP, as details emerge of weaknesses that allow hackers to withdraw cash simply by sending an SMS to compromised ATMs.
According to Symantec, Windows XP is the OS behind 95% of ATMs and is being targeted by increasingly sophisticated attacks that use a mobile phone to gain access to cash points and force them to dispense money to mules working for criminal gangs. It may seem incredible but this technique is being used in a number of places across the world "With the looming end-of-life for Windows XP slated for 8 April, the banking industry is facing a serious risk of cyber-attacks aimed at their ATM fleet," said Daniel Regalado, a Symantec malware analyst, in a blog post.
"This risk is not hypothetical — it is already happening. Cybercriminals are targeting ATMs with increasingly sophisticated techniques." The threat first emerged as malware known as Backdoor.Ploutus in South America late last year, but according to Symantec the hackers have developed the tool with English-language versions and a modular architecture that makes it more flexible. Effectively, Ploutus allows cybercriminals to send a text message to an infected cash machine, then walk up and retrieve the money that's ejected. "It may seem incredible but this technique is being used in a number of places across the world at this time," said Regalado.
Hardwired However, while this mobile bank job is already in progress, the raiders need more than a mobile phone number for the targeted ATM. The criminals first need to install a mobile phone within the ATM, often using USB tethering to both access the ATM and keep the phone charged. Once installed, the phone acts as a packet sniffer and detects messages sent in a specific format, before converting them into network packets that it forwards to the ATM via the USB cable. Improvements to the malware means the codes to prompt withdrawals are automated and the money mule no longer needs to be trusted with malware access codes.
"Using SMS messages to remotely control the ATM is a much more convenient method for all of the parties in this scheme, because it is discrete and works almost instantly," said Regalado. "The criminal knows exactly how much the money mule will be getting and the money mule does not need to linger for extended periods around an ATM waiting for it to issue the cash."
Apple is rumoured to be on the verge of releasing a 12in model in its Macbook line. Chinese website Weiphone reported that the new 12in Macbook will break with convention by having no mechanical mouse buttons and no fan, thus reducing its width considerably. The new Macbook model reportedly will also be thinner and lighter than both of its 11in and 13in Macbook Air cousins.
These stories corroborate speculation from a reliable industry analyst, Ming-Chi Kuo of KGI, who spoke earlier this year about a clamshell device with a Retina display and an ultra-slim design, as reported at Macrumors.
The Weiphone post also mentioned impending updates for the Macbook Air range, with updates to the Macbook Pro to follow in September, and an iWatch that is still at the prototype stage. This means the latter is unlikely to appear ahead of the first wearable products based on Google's Android Wear software platform, announced last week.
If these stories prove to be more than mere speculation, they will put Apple in a state of high alert and bad humour similar to that experienced by Microsoft recently. Only last week, a Microsoft employee was found to have leaked updates to the latest version of the troubled Windows 8.1 operating system update. The deed was discovered after Microsoft caused an uproar by examining his Hotmail account to trace the suspect.
We hope any new Macbook device merges Apple's existing Macbook models, combining the portability of the 11in Macbook with the performance of the 13in model, all stuffed into an even thinner body.