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Tech. round-up 20/05/08

Tech. round-up 20/05/08

Tech. round-up 20/05/08

So, it's s been a busy couple of weeks in the tech. world with most of the big guns making the headlines, but what's actually happened? I'll give you a quick round-up of the stories that caught my eye over the last fortnight. Firstly Microsoft's Yahoo! bid hit complications. Now, one of my predictions earlier this year was that Microsoft would be successful in their bid to acquire Yahoo! but that it would take at least 6 months. Well, although I'm less confident in my prediction, I wouldn't rule out Microsoft taking a big chunk of Yahoo!, as speculated here. Talking of Microsoft, they have apparently put out feelers for the possibility of a full Facebook acquisition. This isn't so much of a surprise given that they already own a stake in the company. What they'll do with it is another thing. Microsoft Paint on your fun wall, maybe? Or full blown collaboration? Watch this space. And getting back to Yahoo! news, they are now jumping on the semantic web train and releasing their own semantic search engine named SearchMonkey. I've been following the semantic web movement with some interest and it really looks like it's finally starting to take shape now, with Powerset already offering a great proposition. Yahoo! are also now adding protection via its SearchScan product (well, McAfee's SiteAdviser) for its search users when it lists known rogue sites. Alerts will be shown against suspect websites. Security products have been a hot topic recently with Google announcing the launch of a security system aimed at corporates. It protects company networks from viruses and other undesired web traffic. It also adds greater protection if you have remote workers connecting to your network, especially if you allow them to use their own computers rather than company controlled ones. Maybe you thought the "MW" in BMW stood for Motor Works, but now you'd be forgiven if you thought it stood for Mobile Web. BMW have announced an iDrive system that will allow you to surf the web in your car. Understandably, full browsing will be limited to the passengers but quizzically the driver is allowed to surf the Web if they are travelling at 3 MPH or less. I can see the insurance companies getting a hold of that one! While we're on the subject of in-car technology, Panasonic have announced their Strada F-class product, which allows you to control your home from your car. You can lock your doors, turn on lights, view cameras and probably put your dinner on from your car. It's not really new technology per se, but it's certainly one of the first units specifically designed for using in cars. I just hope users don't get their car stolen! Sad news recently of QXL closing. I remember buying my first onDigital set-top box for a tenner through QXL - the boxes retailed at about £100 at the time. Still, as one door closes another one opens as Fididel readies for launch. The site allows buyers to haggle in real-time with sellers. I'm not sure how practical it is but I'll certainly be giving it a go. It definitely sounds like more fun than waiting for an auction to end. I'm not quite sure if there's going to be a real-time element to it, but Gordon Brown announced that he is going to be regularly taking part in an online version of Prime Minister's Question Time. More information can be found here. If you're a bit of a podcast lover then BT's new PodShow service could be of interest to you. It offers a massive network of podcasts in one place so you don't have to trawl the net for good content any more. Now if you like the idea of podcasts but don't have anything to play them on then maybe the latest phone from HTC will be of interest. The HTC Touch Diamond is without doubt their best offering to date and really gives the iPhone a run for its money. It has most of the multimedia and web capabilities of the iPhone but also has 3G (coming to the iPhone soon apparently) and GPS built in. It's camera is also much improved on previous HTC phones and has 4GB of storage for your music and photos. Most definitely it's my favourite HTC phone yet and hopefully with its VGA screen will not suffer from the display driver issues that its previous models have had. All these additional features on new phones are at the mercy of the battery, and it's quite common now for people to charge their phones on a daily basis now, or even keep them in a charging/syncing cradle by their side. However, Samsung are working on a kind of hydro-powered phone. Thankfully it doesn't require a waterfall but it uses water to start the battery's chemical reaction. An average user might expect 5 days of use in a single charge. Well, that's it for this round-up. In a week that reported we now have 15.6 million broadband connections in the UK, this is one of them disconnecting for a few days. Remember, if you know of any interesting stories (or you have something to say about the stories detailed above) then just add a comment to this blog post. Dan

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Grafter
I had to stop reading the HTC phone review at "Although the handset runs on Windows Mobile 6.1". I have vowed never to go there ever again... Nice round-up anyway, and first time I had seen the Google security product, which seems to bear more than a passing resemblance to what we are trying to do with the Aladdin Esafe trial. Definitely one to watch. Ian