South Korea wants to abandon coins

coinTo encourage people to move to a cashless society and buy everything electronically, South Korea is to abandon coins.

The authorities see stage one as getting rid of the metal money by 2020. The Bank of Korea on Thursday announced it will step up its efforts to reduce the circulation of coins, the highest denomination of which is worth less than $0.50.

Instead it wants consumers to deposit loose change on to Korea’s ubiquitous “T Money” cards — electronic travel passes that can be used to pay for metro fares, taxi rides and purchases.

South Korea is technically savvy with mobile payments and online shopping pretty much being the norm. It is already one of the world’s least cash-dependent nations and has the highest rates of credit card ownership.  Only 20 percent of Korean payments are made using paper money.

Coins are expensive. Korea spends $40 million annually minting them. Banks spend a fortune collecting, managing and circulating them.

The government also hopes that the shift towards electronic payments will help shrink the informal economy, boost the state’s coffers and boost overall growth.

Globally, Scandinavian countries are leading the charge towards cashless societies. More than half of Sweden’s 1,600 bank branches neither hold cash nor take cash deposits. Norway’s biggest bank, meanwhile, this year also called for a cashless society.

Apple drones on

orvillecopter-bart-jansen-cat-droneThe fruity tax-dodging cargo-cult Apple is considering drones as a possible money spinner to help it improve its rather disappointing maps product.

Apple is putting together a team of robotics and data-collection experts who will use drones, and “new indoor navigation features”. The big idea is to try catch up with Google, the long-time leader in the mapping field.

The drones can capture and update Apple Maps at a far quicker rate than Apple’s collection of GPS data-collecting minivans, which began appearing in the United States in early 2015. That is, of course, if they are not bought down by US citizens demonstrating their right to arm bears to protect their property. [Are you sure you have got that right? Ed]

Apple wants to bring in a new feature which will let users view the insides of buildings, thanks to its Indoor.io and WifiSLAM acquisitions, and overall improvements will be made to navigation within the app.

Apple wants to fly drones around to do things like examine street signs, track changes to roads and monitor if areas are under construction, the person said. The data collected would be sent to Apple teams that rapidly update the Maps app to provide fresh information to users, the person added.

Apple already filed for an exemption from the Federal Aviation Administration to be able to fly drones for commercial purposes, and was granted approval to “operate an unmanned aircraft system to conduct data collection, photography, and videography”.

Under current rules, Apple’s drone fleet would be restricted from flying over people and buildings, would be designated to operate only in daytime, and could only be flown by licensed pilots.

Talktalk hit by hack

_86340980_talkmoreA hacker managed to bring down “a small number of customer routers” belonging to Britain’s Talktalk Telecom’s broadband.

Talktalk said that it was hit with the Mirai worm which is a malware which in October cut off access to some of the world’s best known websites, including Twitter and Spotify.

The phone outfit said that it was teaming up with several other ISPs in the UK and abroad, to try and tackle the worm.

It added that it had already made several changes to its own operations to prevent the worm’s return.

A cyberattack affecting some types of routers hit around 100,000 of Britain’s Post Office broadband customers on Sunday, the Post Office said in a statement on Thursday.

The company added: “Although this did result in service problems… no personal data or devices have been compromised. We have identified the source of the problem and implemented a resolution.”

On Tuesday, the German government and commercial security experts said hundreds of thousands of Deutsche Telekom AG customers suffered internet outages because of a worldwide attempt to hijack routing devices.

Lenovo Moto gives up on smartwatches

WatchOnce touted by the Tame Apple Press as the next big thing in technology, the smartwatch has been a huge disappointment, and now Lenovo Moto has announced that it is throwing in the towel.

Lenovo Moto confirmed that it will not be releasing a new smartwatch for the launch of Android Wear 2.0, due early next year. It had previously said it was not going to bother with another smartwatch in 2016, but it is now saying that it doesn’t plan to put out a new device timed to the arrival of Google’s newest wearable platform.

Shakil Barkat, head of global product development at Moto, said the company doesn’t “see enough pull in the market to put a new smartwatch out now”.

It has not discounted ever making another smartwatch but it will take improvements to the existing technologies before it is considered worthwhile.

“Wearables do not have broad enough appeal for us to continue to build on it year after year,” Barkat said, and indicated that smartwatches and other wearable devices will not be in Moto’s annual device roadmap.

Few companies have updated their smartwatches. Google itself delayed the launch of Android Wear 2 from this autumn to next year. The Moto 360 released in 2015 is expected to receive an update to the new software, but the original model launched in 2014 will not.

Barkat said that wristwatches still have value and there will be a point where they provide value to consumers more than they do today.

Whitman claims IoT will be a new world order

Meg WhitmanHPE supreme dalek Meg Whitman claims that the technology industry is witnessing the start of a new world led by the Internet of Things.

Speaking at HPE Discover 2016 in London, Whitman said we are heading to a world where  “everything computes” and that HPE’s vision is to be the leader in this hybrid IT market.

“We are living through the birth of a whole new world, where everything computes… From cars to stadiums, train tracks to windmills and solar panels, to much, much more. We are seeing a whole new world come into being, and it will change everything.”

Quoting Gartner, Whitman said that the number of intercommunicated devices will more than triple from 6.4 billion this year to nearly 21 billion in 2020. By 2021 there will be one billion new intercommunicated devices sold every hour.

“Harnessing this new world is what HPE is all about. Our vision is to be the leader of hybrid IT, built on secure next-generation software-defined infrastructure that will run datacentres today and bridge to multi-cloud platforms tomorrow.”

Whitman also added that HPE was not “getting out of software”.

“Earlier this year we made the decision to spin off and merge our non-core software assets with Micro Focus. We are not getting out of the software business. In fact, we are doubling down on software and infrastructure that is critical for businesses systems,” she said.

Reddit finally to crack down on Trump trolls

Donald-Trump-funny

The social notworking site Reddit is finally going to crack down on Orangemen carrying out online harassment campaigns against those who fail to support Donald “Prince of Orange” Trump.

The problem has been ongoing for a while based around a collection of trolls who inhabit a couple of groups dedicated to Trump the biggest being r/The_Donald. The attacks are often racist, sexist and bullying, but Reddit has been attempting to negotiate treaties with the main participants. After all the site is supposed to be about free speech.

However, all that changed when the trolls, empowered by their election win, decided to attack the Reddit Chief Executive Steve Huffman. Suddenly the gloves are coming off.

Huffman said that Reddit’s content policy prohibits harassment, but that it had not been adequately enforced.

“Personal message harassment is the most cut and dry. Right now we are in an interesting position where my inbox is full of them, it’s easy to start with me.”

Reddit will also  monitor user reports, add greater filtering capacity, and be more proactive role in policing its platform rather than relying on community moderators.

Last week, Reddit banned Pizzagate, a community devoted to a conspiracy theory, with no evidence to back it up, that links Clinton to a pedophile ring at a Washington, DC pizza parlour.

Reddit has a more permissive attitude than Facebook and Twitter when it comes to what it allows on its site, but r/The_Donald users frequently crossed a line, Huffman said, including by trying to manipulate voting to ensure their posts appear on prominent Reddit pages.

Reddit has stepped up its efforts to combat abuse on the site over the past year, creating what it called an “anti-evil” team of engineers dedicated to fighting harassment.

“The fact I was saying that combating harassment was important and then letting that openly happen to me, the CEO, there’s a disconnect there,” Huffman said.

In the past, Reddit has worked with moderators of communities to try to enforce its rules.

With r/The_Donald in particular, “we haven’t found that to be particularly effective. We might see flashes of success, but things kind of revert,” Huffman said.

Huffman said he had been asked by many Reddit users “to ban r/The_Donald outright, but he had rejected that idea, because “if there is anything about this election that we have learned, it is that there are communities that feel alienated and just want to be heard, and Reddit has always been a place where those voices can be heard”.

 

 

Microsoft shareholders give Nadella a Chinese burn

nadellaMicrosoft shareholders are getting rather rattled that Vole does not appear to be paying enough attention to its mobile phones.

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella was grilled by shareholders over the matter of Windows phones.

Microsoft shareholder Dana Vance, owner of a Windows Phone and a Microsoft Band, was furious that he received an email about the Microsoft Pix app but was surprised to learn that it was available for iPhone and Android but not Windows Phone.

Microsoft Outlook has the same problems. Already he was cross that Vole had put the Band on the back burner. It seems that Microsoft has given up on consumer devices.

As part of his response, Nadella said Microsoft’s Windows camera and mail apps will include the same features as in Microsoft’s apps for other platforms.

“When we control things silicon-up, that’s how we will integrate those experiences. We will “build devices that are unique and differentiated with our software capability on top of it — whether it’s Surface or Surface Studio or HoloLens or the phone — and also make our software applications available on Android and iOS and other platforms. That’s what I think is needed for Microsoft to help you as a user get the most out of our innovation.”

Another shareholder said that he uses his Windows Phone “18 hours a day” and yet Vole is stepping away from mobile. “Can you calm me down … and tell me what your vision is for mobile?”

Nadella fudged: “We think about mobility broadly. In other words, we think about the mobility of the human being across all the devices, not just the mobility of a single device.”

However he did say that Vole was not stepping away or back from its focus on mobile devices.

“What we are going to do is focus that effort on places where we have differentiation. If you take Windows Phone, where we are differentiated on Windows Phone is on manageability. It’s security, it’s Continuum capability — that is, the ability to have a phone that can act like a PC. So we’re going to double-down on those points of differentiation.”

He cited the HP Elite x3 device as an example of a Windows 10 phone that follows this strategy.

“We will keep looking at different forms and different functions that we can bring to mobile devices, while also supporting our software across a variety of devices. So that’s the approach you will see us take. We are not stepping away from supporting our Windows Phone users. But at the same time we are recognizing that there are other platforms in mobile that have higher share, and we want to make sure that our software is available to them.”

Sage doing rather well

bunch-of-sage-leavesThe number crunching software outfit named after something which ends up in a turkey at Christmas is doing rather well and announced that it has posted strong annual numbers.

Sage announced it had achieved its fastest rate of recurring revenue growth for a decade in its financial year ending 30 September 2016. Total revenues rose 9.3 percent to £1.57 billion, with growth of 6.1 percent. The UK and Ireland more than pulled their weight, with seven percent organic growth.

Recurring revenue growth hit 10.4 percent. Organic operating profit, meanwhile, rose 9.2 percent to £427 million.

Sage talked up its Sage Marketplace, a distribution platform that allows ISVs to showcase add-ons for its products, including Sage One and Sage Live, which it launched in February. More than 215 ISV apps have signed to Sage Marketplace during the year.

Sage Live, a cloud accounting solution based on Salesforce hardware was launched in the USA and UK in February, now has 600 customers, with over 400 added in the past 90 days, Sage boasted.

Pegg, which Sage bills as “the world’s first accounting chatbot”, has amassed 9,000 users for Sage in 125 countries since its launch in July, the LSE-listed vendor added.

Phase one of a transformation programme saw Sage cut general and administrative expenses as a proportion of revenue from 18.7 to 16.5 percent year on year and renew its senior management team, and is now complete, the vendor said.

Sage CEO Stephen Kelly said: “FY16 saw Sage continue to deliver on the commitment made at our June 2015 Capital Markets Day to perform and transform. The organic revenue growth of six per cent is driven by higher-quality recurring revenue, which grew at the fastest rate in a decade. The strategy is working – with customers embracing closer relationships with Sage, evidenced by a 46 percent increase in the number of subscription contracts and a contract retention rate of 86 percent.

Phase two of the transformation effort will focus on “driving more technology innovation and increasing focus on new customer acquisition”.

Internet Archive fears Trump library burnings

library-alexandria-destructionThe Internet Archive is building a backup archive in Canada after the election of Donald “Prince of Orange” Trump because it fears it is too vulnerable to court orders and destruction.

The archive is a digital library nonprofit unit that preserves billions of webpages for the historical record, Today, it began collecting donations for the Internet Archive of Canada, intended to create a copy of the archive outside the United States.

Brewster Kahle said that the election of Trump was a wake up call for institutions like his, built for the long-term, and needs to design for change.

“For us, it means keeping our cultural materials safe, private and perpetually accessible. It means preparing for a web that may face greater restrictions. It means serving patrons in a world in which government surveillance is not going away; indeed it looks like it will increase,” he said.

The San Francisco-based Internet Archive is comprised of several different preservation efforts, spanning nearly every medium. As of 2012, the entire archive held 10 petabytes of data – for reference, Facebook’s entire photo and video collection totaled 100 petabytes around the same time. Alongside films and books, the archive holds thousands of early software programs and video games that can be emulated on modern systems. It’s particularly known for the Wayback Machine, which continuously crawls the web to archive pages over the course of decades.

Kahle estimates it will cost “millions” of dollars to host a copy of the Internet Archive in Canada, but it would shield its data from some American legal action.

Trump has shown support for greater law enforcement surveillance powers and legal censorship, including “closing that internet up in some ways” to fight terrorism”.

Kahle said that  moving the internet archive would both insulate it from efforts to take down specific content, and make it harder to request data on user activity — something that more traditional librarians fought when American surveillance powers expanded under George W. Bush.   The Internet Archive  sees it as a big libary which is vulnerable to the same sort of book burning craze that flattened the Libary in Alexandria.

Putin likes Sailfish

Vladimir Putin - Wikimedia CommonsJolla’s Sailfish OS appears to have interested Tsar Putin’s Russian Kingdom.

The mobile OS is made by a Finnish company and is being touted as a rival to Android. The open saucy code appears to have attracted the all-seeing eye of Putin who is rather keen to get his nation off its addiction to decadent western technology which is often made by homosexuals.

The government has said it wants to radically reduce its reliance on foreign mobile OSes by half in 2025 vs the 95 percent of the market garnered by Android in 2015. Two OSes were being considered – Sailfish and Tizen. Now Sailfish has achieved domestic certification in Russia for government and corporate use it looks like it has sent its rival Tizen packing.

Sailfish’s local certification in Russia also follows an announcement earlier this year that a new Russian company, Open Mobile Platform (OMP), had licensed the OS with the intention of developing a custom version of the platform for use in the domestic market.

This means that a Russian, strategic ‘Android alternative’ is currently being built on Sailfish.