Boot up: Chromebook impressions, Anonymous and Swartz, Twitter and TV, and more
(Guardian Web Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) A quick burst of 9 links for you to chew over, as picked by the Technology team
I used a Samsung Chromebook for two weeks - here's what I learned >> CITEworld
The machine is ideally suited to someone who uses a lot of Google services, which I do, so from that perspective it's a good choice for me. But you can use any cloud-based or browser-based app that works in Chrome. I have to say there are aspects of this diminutive laptop that I've really enjoyed, but the drawbacks were so many, and the hardware so cheap, and I can't see buying one of these as constructed.
The lightness and price are a plus; not being able to create a new spreadsheet or presentation while offline isn't.
How Anonymous got Westboro to back off Aaron Swartz's funeral >> The Atlantic Wire
The story doesn't really explain how it did, or why Westboro backed off; only that it did. But the conclusion makes a good point:
As we've seen with the ongoing impact of their involvement in the Steubenville rape case, Anonymous in 2013 is transforming from notorious to notable, and more than just the hacker community or close watchers of online controversies are starting to take notice on a wider scale. Perhaps Westboro didn't want to deal with that, especially after their plans to picket the death of some of the children murdered in Newtown, led to the hacking of Westboro spokesperson Shirley Phelps Roper's Twitter feed the leaking of personal information of its members. When Anonymous wins, it seems, their enemies just keep losing.
Apple's New Reality >> LinkedIn
My bottom line: As good as the iPhone is, the average consumer always wants something new and better. They don't just want the same car after three years. It had better look different or have better features inside. It's human nature. Phones and computers are at that point now. And what's hot, especially with teens and 20-somethings/trendsetters, can go old - no matter how good it is. Apple's saving grace is that it has created an eco-system of iMessage, music and photos that some people may be loathe to give up. Personally, I believe we're at a point that phone and computers are reaching the point of flat-screen TVs and old landline phones: Appliances that, for all but early adopters, we will increasingly keep longer than we used to. The moral of the story for Apple: As great as it may be, it's still merely mortal.
Post Office wants to get to bottom of IT system allegations >> Computer Weekly
A troublesome IT system that set out to modernise the Post Office in 1996 is under the spotlight as the Post Office investigates claims that its Horizon accounting system is error prone.
Over the years, dozens of postmasters have been charged and even jailed for accounting shortfalls, while others have had to make up cash discrepancies following prosecutions (see case studies below).
Despite years of allegations that the Horizon system - which was developed by ICL/Fujitsu Services - is at fault for many accounting shortfalls, the Post Office has unrelentingly defended it.
Stats: Twitter's relationship with TV revealed >> Econsultancy
There are more than 10m Twitter users in the UK, of which 80% access the platform using a mobile device.
60% of Twitter users access the social network while watching TV.
40% of all UK Twitter traffic around peak time is about TV.
More than 90% of online public conversations about TV are on Twitter.
Includes graphs showing relevant tweets about Homeland, and X Factor, and other shows. The tweets around Homeland follow a bathtub shape - start and end, almost silent in between. X-Factor, everyone's shouting all the time.
Google flags ad network isocket for alleged malware; Chrome blocks TechCrunch, Cult of Mac, others (Updated) >> The Next Web
Google blocked Chrome and Firefox users who were headed over to a number of big sites, including Techcrunch. The denouement:
"So far we have zero indications of malware actually being distributed by our ad server, and zero traces of any breaches to our industry-standard security," isocket Founder & CEO John Ramey told TNW in a statement. "Google's malware system is often contradictory and prone to false positives that inappropriately cripple good websites. We are vigorously investigating what the issue may have been and trying to get our publishers back online. It'd be nice if Google was as quick to fix a false positive as they were to cripple good businesses."
Here's why Surface Pro is less portable than an Ultrabook >> ZDNet
Matthew Bater-Reynolds points out that the Surface Pro, even though it runs full-fat Windows 8, points out that its design - heavy screen, light keyboard, stand stuck out the back. And then he looks at some use cases for that. They aren't promising. He sums up:
So at this point we have:
- Surface on a desk. Fine (but the screen is too small).
- Surface on a lap. If you're under 5'7", you will likely not be able to fit it on your lap. And if you are 5'7" or over, it really is a case of proactively balancing with a much higher risk of it falling to the ground than a laptop.
- Surface on a plane or train table. Your mileage may vary, but it's likely to be much less usable than an Ultrabook with a similarly-sized screen.
The benefits of the detachable keyboard on the Surface Pro might be outweighed by the problem of actually using it. Any Surface owners able to comment
Samsung smartphones gaining momentum while iPhone has levelled off >> Forbes
Chuck Jones, on a US-based survey:
While Apple still has almost a 2.5x higher purchase intention vs. Samsung (50% vs. 21%) Samsung's result was even greater in the December quarter than the June quarter when the Galaxy SIII became available (21% vs. 19%). Also the percentage of people who are planning on purchasing Samsung has increased over 4x from just 5% in the September 2011 quarter to 21% in the December 2012 quarter.
The more worrying thing, as he points out, is that when you combine the intent to buy an Apple or Samsung handset, it's around 70% - which doesn't leave much room for HTC, Motorola, RIM or Nokia to make any money. (Thanks @rquick for the link.)
Google sends invites for first Project Glass hackathons, coming January and February >> The Next Web
They're being held in San Francisco (natch) and New York:
Both events will include an introduction to the Glass product, the Mirror API and development, with a host of Google engineers present to help out with questions and details as the developers get to work building things. The second days will include demos and as-yet-unnamed guest judges will make appearances.
While developers won't be given a Project Glass device free of charge, they will get one to play with while they are at the events, Google's invitation explains.
Wearable is going to be big. (Thanks @modelportfolio2003 for the link.)
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