Welcome to the Weekly Tech Update with me, Mike Walmsley. It’s a look at everything that has happened in the world of technology, the Internet, Search Engines and social media over the last week. This week I have stories about smartphones for less than £100, superfast broadband coming to twelve cities in the UK, a search engine for books, the Pope on Twitter and Vice City is back.
There are about 25 million people who do not have a smartphone yet and this Christmas the Carphone Warehouse are looking to reduce that number by offering five prepay handsets for less than £100 each. The phones are from Blackberry, LG, Samsung, Nokia and Alcatel.
If you own a Nintendo Wii then you can now use the Lovefilm Instant streaming service. The same service is due to be released on the new Wii U shortly. Though if you do want to stream content on your Wii U you can always use Netflix.
George Osborne announced in his Autumn Statement that £50 million would be used to build the infrastructure to bring 100Mbps fibre broadband to twelve cities with the hope that it will help to stimulate the local economy of each city. The twelve cities are Aberdeen, Brighton and Hove, Cambridge, Coventry, Derry, Derby, Newport, Oxford, Perth, Portsmouth, Salford, and York. While this is great news for these locations I hope that it does not lead to a two tiered internet in the UK with some areas having superfast broadband and other effectively becoming online ghettos with slow connection speeds and a more limited range of services than their speedier cousins.
The International Telecommunications Union (ITU) is currently meeting in Dubai to discuss a possible communications treaty that could regulate the Internet. Google has already said that they are against the move as it will lead to a less open Internet. At the moment the Internet pretty much works and a lot of the proposals seem to be around either censoring material or increasing charges. Do you think either censoring or increasing charges are generally a good thing?
Google is rolling out a new feature for when you search for a medication online. When you search for a medicine you will be given details such as any side effects, brand names for the medicine, what it may treat etc. It sounds perfect for all the self diagnosing cyberchondriacs out there.
If you are a bookworm then you might want to try a new search engine that aims to catalogue information about books. It does not just give you publishing details but also allows you to ask questions around books. The site can be found at www.smalldemons.com
The Pope is now on Twitter. You can follow him on @pontifex. He’s not tweeted anything as yet but has already gained over half a million followers. He’s going to have to learn to shorten his Christmas message to less than 140 characters.
Instagram users are finding that their images are no longer displaying properly on Twitter. This is because Instagram have withdrawn support for a piece of software called “Twitter cards” that enables the images to display correctly. Instagram say that this is because they now want to drive traffic to their own website since they improved the way that their own website works. Of course a cynic might say that this is as much to do with Facebook owning Instagram and not wanting to add features to a competitors network, but then I’m not a cynic.
And finally, I have to go now as I have a very important meeting to attend in Vice City. Yes, the 10th Anniversary Edition of Grand Theft Auto’s Vice City has just been launched today on iPad, iPhone and select Android devices. Vice City has always been my favourite location of all the GTA cities, plus I love the 80’s soundtrack. So if I am nowhere to be seen for the next couple of weeks you will know why!