Category: Internet

Republican steals Google’s typeface

Screen Shot 2016-05-10 at 11.28.22 AMThe US senatorial race might end up seeing some Google on Googe court case action.

Sue Googe (centre) is a 2016 Republican candidate who hopes to represent the 4th Congressional District of North Carolina in United States Congress. Also, her surname looks like the Google logo — especially as it’s written on her campaign signs, which use a font that’s identical to Google’s bespoke sans-serif typeface.

This was Google’s logo as of its September 2015 redesign. It looks like Googe is the Google logo with the “l” removed.

It appears that she might have lifted the Google logo to give her political campaign a certain familiarity.  But what is interesting is if her campaign will have to see off a writ or two from the search engine’s mighty briefs. It could mean her having to redo all her printing and leaflets.

The world is waiting for a quote from Google.


Spotify grows after rival Apple Music starts-up

97334cab7b3dc626b77b25cb6f686dacThe creation of Apple’s Music streaming business has accidently given a leg up to its rivals.

Spotify has noted that it has seen a faster pace of growth since the launch in June last year of rival Apple Music. Spotify, which was created in Stockholm 10 years ago, now boasts of having close to 100 million users in more than 59 markets, despite increasing competition and, so far, a lack of profits.

Jonathan Forster, a vice president said the arrival of Apple in the market has been good for business by helping to raise the profile of the industry.

“Since Apple Music started we’ve been growing quicker and adding more users than before. It would be terrible if we were just taking each other’s users or to learn there was just a ceiling of 100 million users – I don’t think that is the case,” Forster said.

Spotify now has 30 million paying users, making it the market leader in music streaming, while Apple Music has reported having 13 million paying subscribers since its launch last year in over 100 countries.

But Forster said that there will be some downsizing in the market soon.  There is competition from Pandora, SoundCloud, Tidal, YouTube and Google Play Music.

Forster said having multiple streaming services was not sustainable in the long run.

“My Internet history would tell me that there’s probably not going to be that many significant players, and then maybe smaller niche cases … maybe there could be a classical music streaming service. It’s a hard business.”

Volvo engineer rubbishes Telsa’s unsafe automatic driving

vintage-car-crash-2An engineer for the outfit which gave the world the seat-belt is claiming that Tesla’s self driving car mechanism is unsafe.

Volvo engineer Trent Victor, senior technical leader of crash avoidance for Volvo, claims Tesla’s Autopilot system was being pushed as being far more capable than it actually is.

Victor said that the Autopilot “gives you the impression that it’s doing more than it is.” and said Tesla’s system was  an “unsupervised wannabe”.

Volvo is working on a Level 4 autonomous car, whereas Tesla’s Autopilot is considered a Level 3. The distinction is that a Level 3 autonomous system still relinquishes the controls back to the driver in the event of extreme conditions the computer can no longer manage, which Victor (and Volvo) finds extremely dangerous. A Level 4 car doesn’t require the “driver” to be in control at any time.
For now Tesla’s Autopilot system is widely considered to be the most advanced technology on the market, though Volvo’s argument that its inability to handle complicated driving conditions and rely on a driver that may be distracted due to a false impression of supervision deserves credence.


EU brings in tough data control guidelines

European flagNew EU data protection rules which aim to give citizens back control of their personal data and create a high, uniform level of data protection across the EU was given the final nod by MEPs.

The reform also sets minimum standards on use of data for policing and judicial purposes.

The reform will replace the current data protection directive, dating back to 1995 when the internet was still a baby.

Jan Philipp Albrecht (Greens, DE), who steered the legislation through Parliament said that the general data protection regulation makes a high, uniform level of data protection throughout the EU a reality.

“This is a great success for the European Parliament and a fierce European ‘yes’ to strong consumer rights and competition in the digital age. Citizens will be able to decide for themselves which personal information they want to share”, said
“The regulation will also create clarity for businesses by establishing a single law across the EU. The new law creates confidence, legal certainty and fairer competition”, he added.
The new rules include provisions on:

  • a right to be forgotten.
  • “clear and affirmative consent” to the processing of private data by the person concerned.
  • a right to transfer your data to another service provider.
  • the right to know when your data has been hacked.
  • ensuring that privacy policies are explained in clear and understandable language.
  • stronger enforcement and fines up to 4 per cent of firms’ total worldwide annual turnover, as a deterrent to breaking the rules.

New rules on data transfers to ensure smoother police cooperation

The data protection package also includes a directive on data transfers for policing and judicial purposes. It will apply to data transfers across borders within the EU as well as, for the first time, setting minimum standards for data processing for policing purposes within each member state.

The new rules aim to protect individuals, whether victims, criminals or witnesses, by setting out clear rights and limitations on data transfers for the purpose of prevention, investigation, detection or prosecution of criminal offences or the execution of criminal penalties, including safeguarding against and preventing threats to public security, while at the same time facilitating smoother and more effective cooperation among law enforcement authorities.

Parliament’s lead MEP on the directive Marju Lauristin said that the main problem concerning terrorist attacks and other transnational crimes is that member states’ law enforcement authorities are reluctant to exchange valuable information.

“By setting European standards for information exchange between law enforcement authorities, the data protection directive will become a powerful and useful tool which will help authorities transfer personal data easily and efficiently, at the same time respecting the fundamental right to privacy”, she concluded.

The regulation will enter into force 20 days after its publication in the EU Official Journal. Its provisions will be directly applicable in all member states two years after this date.

Member states will have two years to transpose the provisions of the directive into national law.

Of coure it does not apply to the UK and Ireland’s special status regarding justice and home affairs legislation, the directive’s provisions will only apply in these countries to a limited extent.

Denmark will be able to decide within six months after the final adoption of the directive whether it wants to implement it in its national law.

All roads lead to Chrome

firefox-on-chromeThe big cheeses at the Mozzarella Foundation appear to think that the rival Chrome is the future.

Senior VP Mark Mayo has announced that the Firefox team is working on a next-generation browser that will run on the same technology as Google’s Chrome browser.

Writing in his bog, he said that his team were working on browser prototypes that look and feel almost nothing like the current Firefox.

“The premise for these experiments couldn’t be simpler: what we need a browser to do for us – both on PCs and mobile devices – has changed a lot since Firefox 1.0, and we’re long overdue for some fresh approaches.”

Dubbed Tofino, the project will not use Firefox’s core Gecko technology in favour of Electron, which is built on the technology behind Google’s rival Chrome browser, called Chromium.

Since he posted his blog Mozzarella Foundation has blocked the project for a year. Possibly because punters were mortified that Google’s Chrome could end up powering Firefox.

Mayo said that he should have been clearer that Project Tofino is wholly focused on UX explorations and not the technology platform. We said that he was working with the Platform team on technology platform futures too, and was excited about the Gecko and Servo-based futures being discussed.

However it seems that Electron might not be going away.  Mozilla has announced a new project called Positron which takes the Electron API and “wrap it around Gecko.”  The idea is that it takes the guts out of Chromium and gives it to Gecko, of course this is not the same thing at all.


Daily Mail wants to buy Yahoo

130103mailBritish Tabloid the Daily Mail, which is famous for its inclusive left-wing approach to immigration, is interested in turning its skills to the internet and wants to buy Yahoo.

Daily Mail & General Trust is sounding out several bankers to buy Yahoo’s core web business, with the Mail taking over the news and media properties.

Another possibility is that the private-equity firm would acquire Yahoo’s core web business and merge its media and news properties with the Mail’s online operations.

The merged units would form a new company that would be run by the Mail and give a larger equity stake to the Mail’s parent company than under the first scenario.

It is not clear what the Daily Wail, whose readers were described as “small-minded, curtain-twitching misers” and which publishes misanthropic and racist views will bring to the Internet.


Liberal blogger killed in machete attack

1370Islamic militants are seeking out liberal bloggers for attacks in a desperate attempt to shut them up.

The latest attempt happened in Bangladesh where conservatives wielding machetes hunted down and killed a liberal blogger.  Coppers say that it is the latest in series of murders of secular activists by Islamist militants.

Postgraduate law student Nazimuddin Samad, 28, was attacked as he was returning from a class at his university in the capital, Dhaka, late on Wednesday.

Last year, suspected militants killed five secular writers and a publisher, including a Bangladeshi-American activist. A banned Islamist militant group, Ansarullah Bangla Team, claimed responsibility for some of the attacks.

Police officer Tapan Chandra Shaha said three or four men attacked Samad with machetes and then shot him after he fell to the ground.

People heard the attackers shouting “Allahu akbar” (God is Greatest) because God likes it when you gang up on people and kill them for going onto the internet to say that killing people is unjust.

Imran H Sarker, convener of the BOAN online activist group said Samad was a loud voice against all injustice and also a great supporter of secularism.

However the government has huge difficulties in arresting the militants. While Islamic State was claiming responsibility for some attacks, the Bangladesh government denied there was any IS operating in the country.

Hundreds of students from the Jagannath University where Samad studied protested against his murder and demanded the prompt arrest of the killers. They blocked roads in and around the university and told reporters that if those behind the earlier murders of bloggers had been punished then Samad would not have been attacked.


Microsoft not making adblocker for Edge

adblockSoftware giant Microsoft is not going to create an adblocker for its Edge browser.

Word leaked out that Vole was creating an adblocker when a slide tipped up and was duly posted on the world wide wibble. Such a move might anger Microsoft’s chums in the content industry who have been fighting in courts to get such software declared illegal.

Microsoft claims the slide is misleading, saying that it was simply referencing the fact the company is building extension support into Edge. In other words, ad blocking is still coming, but it will work exactly like in any other desktop browser – someone else will make an adblocker.

Edge has basically been crippled by the fact that the software cannot run extensions, which it was supposed to do by the end of 2015. Two weeks ago, Microsoft released a new Windows 10 preview build with Edge extension support, arguably the most important feature missing from the new browser. The company only released three extensions to testers – Mouse Gestures, Microsoft Translator, and Reddit Engagement Suite.

It is believed that the extensions will arrive in the next version of the software.


German courts back Adblock plus against publishers

history-of-print-16th-century-printing-companyCourts around Germany are starting to reject publishers’ demands and are finding in favour of Adblock.

A German regional court has ruled that it is perfectly legal to use AdBlock plus because there is no contract between the reader and the publisher.

This suit, brought by the company behind the leading German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung, is the fifth such case to be decided in favour of the German software makers.

A Munich court also ruled that the “Acceptable Ads initiative,” a scheme that requires larger companies to pay for their ads to be whitelisted by Adblock Plus, is acceptable under German law.

Writing in his bog, Adblock Plus’s Ben Williams said that without a contract between publishers and visitors to view all the ads a publisher serves there users have the right to block those or any ads.

“Additionally, the judge ruled that by offering publishers a way to serve ads that ad-blocking users will accept, the Acceptable Ad initiative provides them an avenue to monetise their content, and therefore is favourable, not disadvantageous, to them.”

The court went a bit further and told off the company behind Süddeutsche Zeitung saying that “the law does not exist to save or uphold publishers’ business models. Rather, according to the ruling, it is up to them to innovate.

Last September German publishing giant Axel Springer told the court that it was “the constitutional right of the press to advertise,” and that the Adblock Plus software was infringing on that right.

The court in Cologne was not impressed and ruled that both the adblocking software and the Acceptable Ads whitelist were legal.


Microsoft might finance a Yahoo take-over

marissa_new4Software king of the world Microsoft is chatting to equity firms considering bids for Yahoo.

Apparently Vole might be willing to offer “significant financing” for their efforts.  It is all up in the air at the moment as Microsoft is still chatting to the right people.

Microsoft’s partnerships and acquisition strategy head Peggy Johnson is also part of the effort to finance a possible Yahoo buyer.

Microsoft  does not want to buy Yahoo, however it does want a good relationship with Yahoo’s buyer – after all it has a lot ofits business tied up in the outfit.

Yahoo launched an auction of its core business in February after it shelved plans to spin off its stake in Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group.

In an interview with Reuters in February, Yahoo Chief Executive Officer Marissa Mayer said the company will entertain offers as they come but its first priority is a turnaround plan.

Yahoo faces increasing pressure from shareholders and investors to sell its core business instead of going through a spinoff that would separate the company from its multibillion-dollar stakes in Yahoo Japan and Alibaba Group

Activist hedge fund Starboard Value on Thursday said it would nominate nine candidates for the board in an attempt to overthrow the entire board of Yahoo including its chief executive.

Starboard has been pushing for changes at Yahoo since 2014 and owns about 1.7 percent of the company.