BT scrambles to fix second major outage on its network
BT customers are experiencing outages for a second day in a row. The firm put an update on its status page acknowledging the problems, but did not give a specific reason for the fault, instead listing potential causes.
"A small number of our customers in the areas shown below may experience a loss of telephone and/or broadband services. We hope to have service restored as quickly as possible and apologise for any inconvenience this may be causing," it said.
"Services can be affected by a variety of reasons such as damage caused by third parties or cable theft."
Several areas in London are affected, along with York, Nantwich and Totnes among others.
The outages are the second day in a row that customers have had to contend with poor to non-existent services.
BT released a statement on Wednesday blaming "power issues" for the outage. "We're sorry that some BT and Plusnet customers are experiencing problems accessing some internet services this morning," said the firm.
"This is due to power issues at one of our internet peering partners' sites in London. Engineers are working to fix things as fast as possible."
Release date for the new A10-powered iPhone may have been revealed
The iPhone 7 release is just over a month away and rumours about the new device's features are coming thick and fast.
We've compiled everything we know so far about the forthcoming iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus into one handy article.
Prominent tipster Evleaks believes the next iPhone will be released the week beginning 12 September 2016. Apple is nothing if not predictable when it comes to release dates, and its hardware releases usually fall on a Friday. If this is the case we should be able to get our hands on it come 16 September.
Apple won't buck the trend and make the next iPhone any cheaper than the last. We expect the iPhone 7 32GB model to cost £539 (in place of the current iPhone 6S), rising to £619 and £699 for the 64GB and 128GB variants.
Specs and rumours Pokémon Go fans should join the hunt for the elusive black and blue iPhone 7. New pictures have emerged of the iPhone 7 in every colour but the new ones - that means Silver, Space Grey, Gold and Rose Gold. The photo shows dummy units and is believed to have originated from a third-party company that builds iPhone accessories.
It has long been assumed that the Apple A10 processor will feature in the upcoming iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus. Benchmark scores for the processor have now appeared on Geekbench and show that the new chip will offer a 20 per cent performance boost over the A9.
Although impressive, the A9 saw a 50 per cent bump over the A8 so it appears things have been dialled down this time. The resulting scores put it more on a par with the A9X chip in the iPad Pro.
Elsewhere, a fresh leak courtesy of Weibo has shone a light on the larger iPhone 7 Plus, along with some of the purported changes coming to the device.
The Plus is believed to have a 5.5in frame and, in the new images, commentators have pointed out the addition of a Smart Connector, as well as a new capacitive Home Button.
A touch-sensitive Home button has long been on the cards, but these new images don't corroborate previous rumours that the newly designed button will sit flush with the chassis. Instead, there appears to be an outline that draws a boundary around the pressable area.
To add further mystery, the mute switch (something of an iPhone staple) appears to have disappeared.
An image of the back of the phone shows the long-rumoured dual camera setup, suggesting that the iPhone 7 Plus at least will introduce this new hardware.
A mere few days before, NowhereElse.fr provided us with the first clear picture of Apple's next smartphone.
The picture is believed to show us the smaller of the two new devices, complete with a larger camera, clean design and its antenna lines clearly visible.
According to supply chain research, analysts believe that Apple will drop the 16GB storage option and instead offer a larger 32GB by default. Analysts from IHS boast a decent track record in terms of accurate Apple rumours, and let's not forget that it was supply chain sources that first hinted at a smaller 4in iPhone. That device would later break ground as the iPhone SE.
The base 16GB has endured since the iPhone's inception in 2008.
A further leak comes courtesy of the infamous Twitter personality known as The Malignant who reposted an image supposedly from an internal meeting held with Foxconn. If true the next iPhone could very well have an IP68 water and dust resistance rating, as well as support for wireless charging.
An image has also appeared on China's Weibo social network purporting to show the new device in Rose Gold. If true it points to the phone lacking the much rumoured dual rear camera.
Previous rumours suggested that the iPhone 7 will have an improved camera. The above image, via 9to5Mac.com, shows the back of the device with a camera lens in the top left that's notably larger than on the iPhone 6S.
This suggests that it will be a notable improvement on the 12MP lens. However, the fact that it still protrudes from the back of the phone may not please everyone, as this is one element of the iPhone design that many dislike.
It's not clear from the image whether the device will contain dual-camera technology, although prior rumours have said it will, also requiring a hefty 3GB of RAM to power the function, according to widespread rumours.
Another notable potential feature was raised by the above image from Bastille Postthat raised questions about the inclusion of Apple's Smart Connector (indicated here by the three dots). The Connector was first seen on the iPad Pro and will be used to provide keyboard support if the latest rumours are to be believed.
We can expect two new iPhone models: the 4.7in iPhone 7 and the 5.5in iPhone 7 Plus.Macworld reckons that both handsets will see a substantial redesign after the near identical iPhone 6S Plus.
Handsets from other manufacturers have screen resolutions that have stayed the same between generations (most recently with the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge) and Apple is likely to stick with the resolution found on the 6S and 6S Plus.
Forums in China are ablaze with images taken from a video that appears to show a longer, larger camera slot. The video, courtesy of Unbox Therapy, explores a couple of 'leaked' third-party cases designed to fit the iPhone 7 and iPhone SE.
Previous rumours suggested that Apple will introduce a dual-lens setup on the iPhone 7 Plus. This could still be the case, but going on the design shown in this video,MacRumors claimed that it is "more likely designed for a larger single-lens camera than a dual-lens camera".
The earlier video from Unbox Therapy seemed to corroborate the removal of the headphone jack and also suggested that the Lightning cable will provide music and charging functionality.
However, new rumours suggest that the headphone jack will be in the device, contradicting earlier reports.
Japanese site Mac Otakara believes that the new handset will use Bluetooth-enabled EarPods that will share a similar charging function with the Apple Pencil on the iPad Pro. Mac Otakara denied suggestions that the iPhone 7 will use dual stereo speakers.
It is widely assumed that the A10 chip will power the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus. However, an earthquake in Taiwan earlier this year cast doubt over the chip manufacturer's ability to produce enough. Digitimes reported that the factory owned by TSMC is ramping up production to meet Apple's demands.
In the iPhone 7 Plus rumour camp, Italy's HDblog has published pictures purporting to show a high-capacity 256GB SanDisk NAND flash memory chip. SanDisk flash memory has been used in the iPhone 5, iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, but a 256GB chip would be the first in iPhone history.
A report in China's Commercial Times claimed that the iPhone 7 could be built from something different entirely, shunning the traditional metal body in favour of a new "compound material". The mystery material will provide the iPhone 7 with a water-resistant finish and do away with the antenna lines that span the phone's rear.
Business Korea reported that the new phones might offer wireless charging using a ceramic material.
Apple delivers increased power and battery efficiency with every iteration of iOS, and we expect iOS 10 to be no different.
The handsets will incorporate the 3D Touch technology that made its debut on the iPhone 6S. This leads us to wonder whether Apple could do away with the Home button for good.
When it comes to colour options we can expect the Silver, Gold, Space Grey and Rose Gold offered with the iPhone 6S.
Digital rights group the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) is attempting to overturn parts of US copyright law which, it says, are unconstitutional.
The Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) makes it illegal to bypass software that prevents the copying of protected work in many situations.
But the EFF says that violates the right to freedom of expression by limiting what people can do with things they have purchased.
It is now suing the US government.
What is the DMCA?
The DMCA was introduced in 1998, designed to address copyright for media such as film, music and photography in the digital age.
Section 1201 of the law makes it illegal to circumvent "access controls" known as digital rights management (DRM) - a provision designed to stop people doing things such as copying films from a DVD and sharing them on the internet.
But it has wider-reaching consequences, restricting people from doing things such as:
modifying a DVD player so that it will play discs bought anywhere in the world, rather than just the local region
deconstructing a medical device's software to look for vulnerabilities to report to the manufacturer
The maximum penalties for violating the law are a $500,000 fine or a five-year prison sentence.
What does the lawsuit say?
Image captionThe DMCA is designed to deter copyright theft
Matthew Green, a computer researcher, could be punished for investigating software vulnerabilities if he had to bypass a copy protection system to do so.
"Despite this work being vital for all of our safety, Green had to seek an exemption from the Library of Congress last year for his security research," said the EFF.
Andrew Huang, an inventor, has designed software that lets people easily record and manipulate online video.
"Those products would enable people to make innovative uses of their paid video content, such as captioning a presidential debate with a running Twitter comment field," said the EFF. "But using or offering this technology could run afoul of Section 1201."
Are there exemptions?
Every few years, the Librarian of Congress grants some exemptions to Section 1201.
Some of the current exemptions allow people to:
modify or "jailbreak" mobile phone software to allow unauthorised apps to run
take film clips from a DVD to use in an otherwise legal way, such as producing a review or criticism
However, the exemptions are temporary and are not always renewed.
The EFF said: "The law imposes a legal cloud over our rights to tinker with or repair the devices we own, to convert videos so that they can play on multiple platforms, remix a video, or conduct independent security research that would reveal dangerous security flaws in our computers, cars, and medical devices."
It's believed the legal action could go on for years before reaching a conclusion.
Image captionOf course - here is a picture of people eating an ice cream - mmmm ice cream
A white cotton top and shorts is obviously the best thing to wear, right? Sort of.
Natural fabrics like linen and cotton absorb sweat and allow it to breathe. They're much better than man-made fibres like polyester, which can trap the moisture against your skin, leaving you hot and uncomfortable.
White is good if you're out in direct sunlight a lot - it will reflect the heat better than any other colour. But if you're spending time in the shade, black is a more effective colour to wear as it radiates out heat into your environment, cooling you down.
Drinking hot drinks actually lowers your body temperature
Image captionAnother mandatory photograph of people sunbathing
Staying hydrated is key. According to the NHS, if you don't drink lots of water and beverages like fruit juice, you can start to become unwell, with symptoms of headache and tiredness. It can lead to heat exhaustion and heatstroke, which in the worst cases can be fatal.
But what about hot drinks? Can they help cool you down? Well, it comes back to sweat again.
The thinking is, drinking a hot drink raises your body temperature, causing you to sweat. Sweating cools you down because as the moisture evaporates it takes away some of the heat of your body.
But sweating also means that you are losing liquid from your body, meaning you need to take on more to stay hydrated.
Keep the curtains closed - block out the sun
Image captionYeah, you guessed it, teenagers playing in a fountain
This is another one where there is no precise answer.
If you have thick dark curtains then keep them open, otherwise the fabric can keep the heat trapped in the room.
Lighter curtains can help reflect the sun's rays back out of the room, so keep them closed.
Putting something reflective on the outside of the glass can bounce the heat away, keeping the room cool - like the screens that go on the windshield of your car.
I never shut the windows during summer - you need to circulate the air
Image captionJust in case you forgot, it's hot right now, really hot, just like the desert
Sorry - this is another one where there is no hard and fast rule. And you should always consider home security and safety when it comes to leaving windows and doors open.
If the room you are in is actually cooler than the temperature outside then keep the windows closed, otherwise all you are doing is letting hot air in.
But if the room is warmer - and this is much more likely to be the case at night - then opening the windows will help cool your home down.
For better or worse, Pokemon Go has become an enormous international phenomenon in a very short time.
The augmented reality game is causing many players to venture out to places they would not normally go in search of their onscreen prey. But it's also making some non-believers wish they could escape to another planet to get away from all the hype.
Players in the US, Australia and Germany have already been making the most of their free time and now more gamers can get involved following its UK release.
Many of them have been using the hashtag #PokemonGoMadeMe to reveal where the quest to populate their Pokedex has taken them.
But others sigh that if so many grown adults are spending so much time running around with their phones chasing Pidgies, Squirtles and Weedles, then human civilisation may well have peaked.
Even some enthusiasts themselves admit they have lost track of everything else. Jobs are at risk.
As are relationships.
There's a sense that some important things are being left to slide.
Another unanticipated consequence of the game's popularity is that there has been a spike in searches for kilometre to mile conversions in the wake of the game's success, according to Google Trends. Units are measured in kilometres, which presents a challenge for those not raised in a metric world with no in-game setting which allows users to change measurements.
One thing looks certain for the time being: people can't get enough of Pikachu and friends - even if their phones can.
News that Cambridge technology darling ARM is being bought by a Japanese corporate for somewhere around £25bn leaves us with precious few businesses which have the potential to bully the likes of Apple, Amazon and Alphabet.
Most of us have ARM hardware in our pockets or bags
For a long time, US corporates with deep pockets and big ambitions have been pretty adept at hoovering up British entrepreneurial talent – either as a way of removing competition or effectively buying innovation off the shelf.
It’s commendable that a UK-based company has been sold for billions rather than millions, and ARM has made incredible progress in becoming the de-facto microchip choice for mobile phone makers globally, but it now joins the likes of fellow Cambridge enterprise Autonomy in becoming a “what if”.
What if ARM hadn’t signed on the dotted line with Softbank? Could it have gone on to diversify into new areas, close game-changing deals itself and become a bulging corporate worth more than £100bn. We'll never really know now – even if the company is not re-shored to Asia.
ARM’s history dates back to 1990, when it was set up as a joint venture between Apple, Acorn Computers and VLSI Technology. It then went on to float on the London Stock Exchange (LSE) in 1990 – becoming a member of the FTSE 100 a year later. In 2008, the business made history by shipping its 10bnth processor chip.
It’s a tour de force when it comes to homegrown talent, showcasing just what has come to exemplify the area in and around Cambridge – what has become know as “Silicon Fen”.
Its other Silicon Fen trailblazer, Autonomy, caused shockwaves in the market when it was bought by Hewlett-Packard for around £8bn in 2011. That deal has since gone down in history as one of the most poisonous in history – with Hewlett-Packard claiming that bosses at Autonomy over-inflated revenues to drive up the sale price.
So what do the experts thing? John Haynes, head of research at Investec Wealth & Investment, has commented: “The announcement of an agreed bid for ARM by Softbank of Japan is the clearest illustration possible of the consequences of the current global currency volatility. Assuming the bid price, Softbank is paying over 25 per cent less in yen terms compared to over a year ago to acquire this crown jewel of UK, and indeed global, intellectual property."
Dan Ridsdale, analyst at Edison Investment Research, added to this by saying: "An increase in inbound M&A was one of the obvious consequences of Brexit and weakened sterling, but few expected it to manifest itself so quickly or at so large a scale."
David Blacher, head of technology, media and telecommunications at business advisers RSM, was more chipper, and concluded: "There may be some shock in some quarters about the loss of ARM’s independence, and dismay that the UK is failing to establish its own tech giants to rival the likes of Google and Apple, but the mood music from the acquirer suggests they are committed to growing the UK business, and this could be good news for the wider UK tech scene in the longer term."
It's perhaps apt that one of ARM's early driving forces, Herman Hauser, came out and told the BBC he was pretty "sad" about the new development.
Speaking with the BBC, he said: "ARM has been the proudest achievement in my life, and this is a very sad day for me – and I think a sad day for technology in Britain.
"It is the loss of independence, ARM is really the last British company that has global reach. It is in 95 per cent of mobile phones and has 400 licences, which are all the semiconductor companies in the world.
"It gave Britain real strength and it was a British company that determined the next generation architecture that is going to be used in all the next generation phones and now, more importantly, in the next generation of the Internet of Things. That determination of what comes next for technology will not be decided in Britain anymore, but in Japan."
Japan's SoftBank has confirmed that it intends to acquire the British chip maker ARM Holdings for £24.3 billion ($32 billion).
ARM said its board would recommend the all-cash deal to shareholders.
SoftBank will pay £17 a share for ARM — 43% more than ARM's closing share price on Friday and 41% more than ARM's all-time-high closing share price.
The deal, first reported by the Financial Times, is believed to be the largest-ever acquisition of a European technology business. It comes just weeks after the UK voted to leave the European Union and will be seen by many as a sign that the UK is still a good place to do business.
Founded in 1990, the Cambridge-based company designs microchips for a variety of smartphones including Apple's iPhone. But its chips also have the potential to be used in an increasing range of other devices that are starting to come online, from cars and kettles to TVs and fridges.
Shares in ARM jumped as much as 44% on Monday morning in the UK after the announcement.
While the multibillion-dollar acquisition deal sounds impressive, many will most likely see it as another UK tech champion taken out by overseas competition.
SoftBank said it intended to "preserve" the ARM organisation, including ARM's existing senior management team, brand, partnership-based business model, and culture.
It added that ARM would remain headquartered in Cambridge after the deal, saying it expected ARM's 3,000-strong workforce to at least double in size over the next five years.
Masayoshi Son, chairman and CEO of SoftBank, said in a statement:
"We have long admired ARM as a world renowned and highly respected technology company that is by some distance the market-leader in its field. ARM will be an excellent strategic fit within the SoftBank group as we invest to capture the very significant opportunities provided by the 'Internet of Things.'
"This investment also marks our strong commitment to the UK and the competitive advantage provided by the deep pool of science and technology talent in Cambridge. As an integral part of the transaction, we intend to at least double the number of employees employed by ARM in the UK over the next five years.
"SoftBank intends to invest in ARM, support its management team, accelerate its strategy and allow it to fully realise its potential beyond what is possible as a publicly listed company. It is also intended that ARM will remain an independent business within SoftBank, and continue to be headquartered in Cambridge, UK.
"This is one of the most important acquisitions we have ever made, and I expect ARM to be a key pillar of SoftBank's growth strategy going forward."
Stuart Chambers, the chairman of ARM, said: "This is a compelling offer for ARM shareholders, which secures the delivery of future value today and in cash. The board of ARM is reassured that ARM will remain a very significant UK business and will continue to play a key role in the development of new technology."
It was unclear whether the new government would endorse the deal or try to block it on Monday morning.
But Philip Hammond, the UK's new chancellor, welcomed the news, hailing it as the "largest ever investment from Asia into the UK."
"Just three weeks after the referendum decision, it shows that Britain has lost none of its allure to international investors," he said. "Britain is open for business — and open to foreign investment."
He added: "Softbank's decision confirms that Britain remains one of the most attractive destinations globally for investors to create jobs and wealth. And as ARM's founders will testify, this is the greatest place in the world to start and grow a technology business."
Dan Ridsdale, analyst at Edison Investment Research, said: "An increase in inbound M&A was one of the obvious consequences of Brexit and weakened sterling but few expected it to manifest itself so quickly or at so large a scale.
"ARM has always traded at a significant premium rating because it's competitive position in its core market is so secure and because growth is locked in as the company's IP penetrates new domains — such as Automotive and IOT. The company's dominant position and IP business model also mean that there is no obvious cap on how far margins can expand. However there is a psychological limit on how far the multiple can expand on the public markets. There may be some cost synergies, but In paying this multiple, SoftBank is, primarily pricing-in much more of the growth from these new applications that the markets have ever been prepared to do."
Terrorism, like Europe, is an issue that has dominated British politics for decades. I woke up on Friday morning expecting to hear the seismic fallout from Brexit monopolising the headlines yet again. I was shocked when I heard the latest news from Nice - that so many men, women and children had been horrifically mowed down by a terrorist driving a lorry.
I was shocked but not surprised, given that the so-called Islamic State has encouraged such attacks by individuals, who don't need a bomb or a gun to carry out slaughter on such a scale. Here in the UK the killers of Fusilier Lee Rigby heeded the same call using a knife. The difference is that one of Lee Rigby's attackers was on MI5's radar while the Nice lorry driver was not on France's equivalent - its "S" list of suspects.
Mass casualty attacks, as France, Belgium and the UK know only too well, are the perpetual nightmare that governments fear - a nightmare that becomes all too real when intelligence fails to detect them.
Since the London bombings of a decade ago, Britain has managed to avoid such a mass attack. But statistics show it has been a close-run thing. Forty terrorist plots have been disrupted since 2005 - including seven in the past 18 months.
Reporting on terrorism and political violence as I have done for more than 40 years has few silver linings. "Don't you ever get depressed?" is a question I'm often asked. The honest answer is "yes" - and Nice only underlines it - however, I still try to make sense of what invariably seems senseless. But there is some good news, although I hate to tempt fate by saying so.
Image captionFrench police search the lorry driven by the Nice killer
It's no accident that this country has not yet endured a Paris, Brussels or Nice. Britain's defences against terrorist attack depend not just on the watery buffer of the English Channel and our non-membership of Schengen - Europe's border-free area. Crucially they also rely on the way in which intelligence is now intimately shared between all the agencies: the Security Service (MI5), MI6, GCHQ - and the police. This is the key to keeping Britain safe - although it's by no means guaranteed.
In stark contrast, the situation across the Channel is very different. France has six intelligence agencies - and they're decidedly not joined up, as the failures to detect the Paris attacks in January and November last year clearly illustrate. As I discovered when I investigated the November attacks, there was a fatal lack of communication and co-ordination both before and during those attacks. As a result, this month's French Parliamentary inquiry recommends the establishment of a single overarching agency to improve intelligence sharing - similar to America's National Terrorism Centre, or the UK's Joint Terrorism Assessment Centre (JTAC). The inquiry concludes: "The multi-layered, cumbersome intelligence apparatus was like an army of soldiers wearing lead boots."
But effective intelligence-sharing in the UK didn't happen overnight - as the history of combating Irish and Islamist terrorism shows. In many years of covering the conflict in Northern Ireland, I lost count of the number of times I was assured that intelligence-sharing had never been closer and the IRA was on the run. Both were fictions. In the mid-1970s, I remember one Northern Ireland Secretary, Roy Mason, boasting that he would squeeze out the IRA like a tube of toothpaste. Martin McGuinness and some of his former IRA comrades now at Stormont bear testimony to the fiction.
In the aftermath of 9/11, I was still hearing that intelligence-sharing between the police and MI5 had never been closer - but it wasn't. Take this example.
Early in 2004, MI5 surveillance officers were monitoring a cell that was plotting to attack targets in London and the south-east of England. They followed suspects on the fringes of their investigation nearly 200 miles up the M1 to West Yorkshire - and noted the addresses in the Leeds area where they ended up.
To my great surprise, I discovered that MI5 didn't immediately notify West Yorkshire Police Special Branch that the suspects were on their patch. I was subsequently told by two senior West Yorkshire officers - independently and on different occasions - that this was common. The Security Service did not routinely share such detailed operational intelligence with the police. I later had sight of the MI5 officers' log that recorded the journey and confirmed what I'd been told.
The omission was a fatal error. Two of the suspects turned out to be Mohammed Saddique Khan and Shehzad Tanweer. They were the leaders of the four suicide bombers who murdered 52 people when they attacked London's transport network on 7 July 2005 - known as 7/7. To be fair, MI5 was monitoring dozens of cases and several thousand potential suspects at the time and had to prioritise targets and resources.
Image captionA policeman stands at the memorial to 7/7 in Hyde Park in 2015
7/7 was a tragic wake-up call. In its aftermath, structures were put in place to ensure that intelligence was properly shared. Five Regional Counter Terrorist Units were set up across the country. But the change in attitude was as important as the change in structure. Previously, I had been told by my sources in West Yorkshire that its officers were never allowed inside MI5's inner sanctum. Its door was permanently locked.
All that has dramatically changed. The Security Service and local counter-terrorism police officers now work closely together and share all intelligence. The barriers are down. MI5's door is open. This shared intelligence is then passed upwards to the pinnacle of Britain's counter-terrorist pyramid where it's sifted and analysed by MI5, MI6, GCHQ and the police at their weekly meetings in MI5's London headquarters. A further benefit of shared intelligence is that the agencies and police - both at home and abroad - now all work from a single list of targets - the contents and length of which are a closely guarded national secret.
These are the hard-learned lessons that have kept Britain relatively safe for the past decade. But, as the intelligence services and the police here are at pains to point out, there is no guarantee that it will always be so.