1. UK’s T-Mobile and Orange mobile operators may merge
Two of Britain’s mobile network operators have announced their intention to merge into a single company, which would then become the largest in the UK.
If the T-Mobile and Orange deal is allowed to continue, it could be signed in November. The new company would then control over one-third of the UK market.
2. Shop staff call gadget shoppers “stupid”
In a sure case of the pot calling the kettle black, staff in some of the UK’s largest consumer electronics chain of stores have been caught out calling shoppers stupid.
Naturally, there’s a Facebook group for DSG (Dixons Store Group) employees (it blows the “Facebook improves intelligence” theory, eh?) where stories can be left about the inane customers they had to serve because it’s their job.
This is despite previous reports which suggest that many shop staff are badly trained and give poor advice to customers (in other words, they’re stupid.)
It’s another clear reason why high street tech stores are a dying breed, and the savvy tech shoppers do so online, saving time, money, and irritating staff.
I’d advise British shoppers to avoid PC World, Currys.digital, or whatever else the company has decided to all itself this year.
3. Spotify makes it to iPhone and Android
The moment that Spotify lovers have been waiting for has arrived, as Apple approves a version of the music streaming service for the iPhone, and it also turns up on Android-based cellphones.
Mobile users will have to pay (£10 per month in the UK) to stream music to their mobile phone, and may well incur the wrath of unforgiving mobile operators (even those who claim to offer unlimited data).
Streaming services are often expressly forbidden in the terms and conditions, and I can’t see mobile operators backing down on that any time soon — remember that they already charge a premium for tethering services and I can well imagine them getting rather irked by customers streaming media, particularly when the subscription is going to Spotify and not to them.
Time will tell how popular it becomes. Spotify as a service has tended to be much more popular in the UK and Europe than in the States, yet a version is expected to hit the US before the end of the year.
4. Britain’s oldest computer to be restored
Harwell, Britain’s oldest original computer, is to be restored to working order by the National Museum of Computing at Bletchley.
Designed in 1946, and first run in 1951, it was designed to perform complex mathematical calculations for the Atomic Energy Research Estabishment and named after the town in Oxfordshire where it was based. It was used until 1973.
5. Apple Store robbed in half a minute
Have you ever looked at the clean, minimal design of an Apple Store and thought “that would be easy to rob”?
Seems that some have, with a smash and grab operation at a New Jersey Apple Store taking just 31 seconds to accomplish.
I went to an Apple Store last week and saw a member of staff jiggling the unibody MacBook Pro to prove how strong they are. Seems that this fact, coupled with the easily detachable Magsafe power adapter, made them an easy grab for the thieves.
Watch out if you’re offered a MacBook Pro without an adapter.
6. Asus planning dual screen eBook reader
Asus has announced that it is to launch the world’s cheapest eBook reader. Not only that, but it will be a dual-screen affair, setting it apart from the Kindle.
Exact timing and pricing isn’t known.
7. Final Fantasy XIII
The latest instalment of Final Fantasy is to be launched in Japan on December 17, according to its creator.
In Japan it will be available exclusively for the PlayStation 3, while in other markets it will be playable on both PS3 and Xbox, with availability from Spring 2010.
8. Firefox 4 coming end 2010
Version four of the increasingly popular Firefox web browser could be available towards the end of next year, according to Mozilla’s draft product roadmap.
New features will include an improved user interface and multi-touch gesture support.
9. C64 iPhone app comes then goes
The long-awaited Commodore 64 emulator app was finally approved last week, allowing users to enjoy classic 8-bit games.
However, an “Easter egg” which allowed the BASIC language to be accessed and used to create and execute code was spotted by Apple’s approval team, ensuring the app was pulled days later.
Initially the BASIC emulator had been an upfront part of the app. However, this broke Apple’s application conditions which state that no app can include its own code interpreter.
The app is due to re rejigged and resubmitted.
10. Old WordPress versions at risk from sloppy worm
Outdated versions of the WordPress open source blogging platform have been put at risk by a worm which takes advantage of an exploit to run malicious code, create an admin user, and insert links to malware and spam web sites on a blog.
It is eventually caught because of its own sloppy coding which means that links become broken and it doesn’t hide itself properly. However, by this stage the damage has already been done.
Users are advised to update their WordPress-powered blogs to the latest stable version (2.8.4).