Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Net card fraud 'underestimated'

UK credit and debit card fraud on the internet is much greater than previous estimates, new figures suggest.
Banking industry data shows card losses from phone, internet or mail order crime totalled £290.5m in 2007. But a BBC investigation found £500m of fraud took place when failed attempts were taken into account. The Tories are urging the government to appoint a minister to deal with
internet crime. Ministers say they have invested £29m to fight online
fraud. Read on...

Monday, December 31, 2007

A nation online

Internet shopping signaled its growing domination of Britain’s consumer habits yesterday as millions began their annual sales hunt from their armchairs. More than 3.5 million shoppers – 770,000 more than attended Anglican church services – racked up total online sales of around £53 million in what was retailers’ busiest Christmas Day ever.
The maturing online market-place even prompted high street retailers, who year-on-year are losing a greater share of pre-Christmas sales to internet ventures, to join the festive fray. Dozens of the country’s largest chains sidestepped the legal ban preventing their outlets opening on Christmas Day by offering reductions of up to 70 per cent on products for sale on their own websites.

Powered by ScribeFire.

Bad connection ‘could unplug rural economy’

Rural England has worse coverage for mobile telephones and broadband than parts of India and Malawi, according to Stuart Burgess, chairman of the Rural Communities Commission and the Government’s Rural Advocate.
He is pressing Gordon Brown for urgent investment in new technologies in the countryside to secure future economic viability for the remotest regions.
One option may be to introduce new accessibility conditions in the contracts of telecommunications providers to guarantee universal coverage of the systems that urban dwellers take for granted. Another is to offer incentives to rural entrepreneurs.

Powered by ScribeFire.

Friday, December 14, 2007

BBC unveils new homepage

The BBC is relaunching its homepage to celebrate the 10th anniversary of BBC online. The new site - which has been launched in beta version today - allows users to customise the topics and features that appear on the front page, providing easier access to relevant information. The page is made of widgets that can be individually moved and customised, as in Google's personalised portal, iGoogle. Widgets are provided for sports, news, blogs and other site features and can be arranged in any way the reader sees fit. TV and radio listings are also included in separate widgets, which allow all BBC channels and stations to be browsed directly from the main site. Readers can also listen to radio stations without leaving the front page. "These exciting developments mark an important stage in the work the BBC is doing to aggregate content more effectively and give users more control over how they experience," says Tony Ageh, controller of internet at the BBC.
"Enabling users to organise components of the homepage around the subjects that are most important to them increases its value and relevance, while still remaining a powerful expression of the BBC on the internet."
(PC Pro News, 14 December 2007)

Powered by ScribeFire.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Laptop With a Mission Widens Its Audience

In November, you’ll be able to buy a new laptop that’s spillproof, rainproof, dustproof and drop-proof. It’s fanless, it’s silent and it weighs 3.2 pounds. One battery charge will power six hours of heavy activity, or 24 hours of reading. The laptop has a built-in video camera, microphone, memory-card slot, graphics tablet, game-pad controllers and a screen that rotates into a tablet configuration. And this laptop will cost $200. The computer, if you hadn’t already guessed, is the fabled “$100 laptop” that’s been igniting hype and controversy for three years. It’s an effort by One Laptop Per Child ( to develop a very low-cost, high-potential, extremely rugged computer for the two billion educationally underserved children in poor countries.

Powered by ScribeFire.

Friday, October 05, 2007

Court Victory For Music Labels Won’t Save Their Industry

The music industry won the first file-sharing case to go to trial yesterday when a jury found a Minnesota woman guilty of 24 counts of copyright infringement. The $222,000 verdict comes to $9,250 for each of the 24 songs at issue. Perhaps this is how the industry hopes to keep the price of music from going down to zero.
The music industry is hoping that this out-sized verdict will make song-sharers think twice before downloading that next free tune. If anything, though, this case tells music sharers what not to do if they want to avoid getting caught—like having the same username, “tereastarr,” on the file-sharing networks as you do on your e-mail, IM, and other online accounts

Powered by ScribeFire.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

In Burma, the revolution is being YouTube-d

Some 33 years ago, author and poet Gil Scott-Heron uttered his famous words, “the revolution will not be televised.” Well, here we are in 2007 and few if any “revolutions” are being televised. But as for being streamed and distributed over broadband connections and video sharing sites, you betcha. Most relevant current example is the growing collection of videos on YouTube showing the brave pro-democracy demonstrators on the streets of Yangun (Rangoon) Myanmar (Burma). Today, it is said that the military dictatorship’s troops pumped lethal, evil lead into the bodies of several gentle, sacred and defenseless Buddhist monks. I wonder what incidents like these- not to mention Darfur- says about the human race. As a species, we are so communicative, so social- but too many of the powerful among us prey on our weaker ones. But in numbers, and thanks to the force-multipliers of modern technologies, the weak can accumulate and use the Internet to let freedom ring. And that, at least to me, is the overarching social virtue of tech that I write about here- VoIP, messaging, video- and the networks to carry them.

Powered by ScribeFire.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Virtual worlds open up to blind

Online virtual worlds could soon be accessible to blind people thanks to research by students at IBM in Ireland. Some estimates predict that 80% of active internet users will be using a virtual world in four years' time.The company said that it is keen to ensure that blind people are not excluded from an environment that sighted people will take for granted. The students have designed an audio equivalent of the virtual world using 3D sound to create a sense of space.

Powered by ScribeFire.