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Dec 26, 2014

Tech tales…

When Jelly wobbles, Twitter founder launches new Super app

Twitter co-founder and multi-millionaire, Biz Stone, announced last month that he was giving up on Jelly, his Q&A mobile app that was failing to achieve the hoped for take-up. Instead, Stone is focusing on a new app, idealistically named ‘Super’, which allows users to send each other photos with a caption – a way to express an opinion, say something funny, or just send a message. Jelly will remain available for the time being for those who like posing and answering questions. Whether Super will be able to cut through the app store forest and garner the public’s interest remains to be seen.

After all the hype..

Sony’s ‘The Interview’ released online

After all the media attention following North Korea’s alleged hack on Sony Media’s corporate computer network, Sony announced yesterday (24th) with just one hours notice that they were putting the movie online, available to rent or buy for $5.99 or $14.99, via YouTube, Google Play and Xbox -

The move is newsworthy for several reasons, aside from it’s a total U-turn on Sony’s earlier decision to not release it at all, but this is also the first time a mainstream movie has been released online at the same time (or before) being screened in theatres. Film studios normally allow movie theatres an initial period to show the film, before it goes online, much the same way as films always used to go to theatres sometime before later being released to DVD rental outlets and retail.

Initial reports suggest the public is eager to watch the film, putting plenty of moolah in Sony’s pockets, and rather less in those of the movie theatres who were originally scheduled to screen the movie.

Tech experts still maintain that there’s been no actual proof that North Korea was behind the hacking, the touted evidence being that similar methods and tools were used to previous North Korean hacks.

Either way, the incident has provided an amazing amount of publicity for a film that pundits suggest wasn’t destined for top billing. Some might even suggest Sony engineered the whole thing as a publicity stunt – but then will top execs ever be able to live down the embarrassing content of some of the revealed emails.

The wheels are rollin…

Hornby Trains up and leave

Hornby, the famous name behind a generation of model trains, is moving it’s base from the seaside town of Margate, where it’s been for the past 60 years, to an industrial estate in Hersden, just outside of Canterbury. Hornby, who also make Airfix kits and Corgi cars, intends to keep their visitor center, which entertains 35,000 each year, open and in Margate, but possibly at a different site, so they can sell their current Margate premises. Hornby’s business has suffered with problems with their Chinese manufacturing partner, but the last six months have seen sales rise 8% to £24.2m.

Ebola no cause for celebration…

No Christmas for Sierra Leone

The northern part of Sierra Leone is now in almost total lock-down with all public gatherings and events, including public Christmas celebrations, banned for the next few days, while the Government seeks to get a handle on the Ebola outbreak. Sierra Leone has been the country worst affected by the outbreak that started in Guinea.

Ebola shows no sign yet of going away with the World Health Organisation announcing that more than 7,500 people have died from the recent outbreak, mostly in West Africa.

Pricing priorities…

Russia to curb rising vodka prices

As prices of vodka in Russia rise, President Vladimir Putin has stepped in and ordered prices to be curbed. In Russia, prices on most goods have been rising due to the falling value of the rouble caused by the drop in oil prices and international sanctions. Although vodka is a cause of ill health in Russia, where it’s reported that 25% of men die before reaching their mid-50’s, Putin’s move is apparently to stop an increase in the production of bootleg spirits. The rouble is currently trading at little more than a penny, and vodka has gone up more than 30% in the last year, to around £2.70 ($4.10) for half a litre (70 oz). Annual inflation now stands at 9.4%.

Christmas treats

US family short on presents when delivery driver hands them to a thief

A homeowner in King County (Washington, USA) reported that a UPS delivery driver delivered boxes containing Christmas gifts to his home, but he didn’t receive them. Wondering why the expected delivery hadn’t arrived, he checked his home security surveillance footage, where he saw the driver arrive with the packages, have a brief chat with a man in the porch of the house, and leave the packages in the porch. Sadly, the man in the porch wasn’t the homeowner, but was a stranger who had just walked up the driveway and appeared to be anticipating the delivery. As soon as the driver had left, the man calmly picked up all the presents and made off with them. Ironically, the wife was in the house and would have taken delivery of the presents of the driver had knocked at the door.

The victim says he rang UPS to complain but was told the driver did nothing wrong.

and then…

“The trouble with having an open mind, of course, is that people will insist on coming along and trying to put things in it.”

… as said by Terry Pratchett


About this…

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