Timeless IT Blog

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Logan Paul: Outrage over YouTuber’s dead body video

The video was posted to his 15 million subscribers

An American YouTube star has prompted a barrage of criticism after he posted a video which showed the body of an apparent suicide victim in Japan.

The video showed Logan Paul and friends at the Aokigahara forest at the base of Mt Fuji, known to be a frequent site of suicides.

Going in to film the “haunted” forest, they come across a dead body and are shocked, but also make jokes.

Online comments have called the video “disrespectful” and “disgusting”.

The video was uploaded on Sunday and had millions of views on Youtube before it was taken down.

Logan Paul, who has more than 15 million subscribers on Youtube, has since posted an apology on Twitter, saying he had been “misguided by shock and awe”.

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WIRED Awake December 19: USA blames North Korea for WannaCry ransomware attack

The USA’s homeland security advisor has blamed the North Korean government for the global WannaCry cyberattack, Twitter has shut down accounts belonging to British far-right extremists

Today, the USA’s homeland security advisor has blamed the North Korean government for the global WannaCry cyberattack, Twitter has shut down accounts belonging to British far-right extremists, new Android malware can do physical damage to phone batteries and more.

1. US government officially blames North Korea for WannaCry

US homeland security advisor Tom Bossert – an aide to president Donald Trump – has publicly accused the North Korean government of being behind the WannaCry malware that affected computers around the world earlier this year (Gizmodo). Writing in The Wall Street Journal, Bossert said: “The attack was widespread and cost billions, and North Korea is directly responsible.” His comments echo findings by the UK’s National Cyber Security Centre, which earlier this year said the ransomware originated in North Korea, but Bossert’s statements that the country must be held “accountable” and that “we will continue to use our maximum pressure strategy to curb Pyongyang’s ability to mount attacks, cyber or otherwise” add to an already tense and hawkish geopolitical atmosphere.

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Google faces mass legal action in UK over data snooping

iPhone

Google faces its first mass legal action in the UK over the iPhone-related claims

Google is being taken to court, accused of collecting the personal data of millions of users, in the first mass legal action of its kind in the UK.

It focuses on allegations that Google unlawfully harvested information from 5.4 million UK users by bypassing privacy settings on their iPhones.

The group taking action – Google You Owe Us – is led by ex-Which director Richard Lloyd.

He estimates the users could get as much as “several hundred pounds each”.

The case centres on how Google used cookies – small pieces of computer text that are used to collect information from devices in order to deliver targeted ads.

The complaint is that for several months in 2011 and 2012 Google placed ad-tracking cookies on the devices of Safari users which is set by default to block such cookies.

‘Abuse of trust’

The Safari workaround, as it became known, affected a variety of devices but the UK case will focus on iPhone users.

Mr Lloyd said: “In all my years speaking up for consumers, I’ve rarely seen such a massive abuse of trust where so many people have no way to seek redress on their own.”

He added: “Through this action, we will send a strong message to Google and other tech giants in Silicon Valley that we’re not afraid to fight back.”

Mr Lloyd said Google had told him that he must “come to California” if he wanted to pursue legal action against the firm.

“It is disappointing that they are trying to hide behind procedural and jurisdictional issues rather than being held to account for their actions,” he said.

Google told the BBC: “This is not new – we have defended similar cases before. We don’t believe it has any merit and we will contest it.”

US precedent

Those affected do not have to pay any legal fees or contact any lawyers as they will automatically be part of the claim, unless they wish to opt out.

The case is being supported by law firm Mishcon de Reya, which specialises in large-scale litigation.

Although there is no precedent for such a mass legal action in the UK, there is in the US.

Google agreed to pay a record $22.5m (£16.8m) in a case brought by the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) on the same issue in 2012.

The firm also settled out of court with a small number of British consumers.

The case will be heard in the High Court, probably in spring 2018.

Cash Converters reveals customer data breach

Cash Converters

High Street pawnbroker Cash Converters has warned customers about a data breach on its website.

The company said customer usernames, passwords and addresses had potentially been accessed by a third party.

The data breach exposed accounts on the company’s old UK website, which was replaced in September 2017.

The company told the BBC it was taking the breach “extremely seriously” and had reported it to the information commissioner.

Cash Converters lets people trade in items such as jewellery and electronics for cash, and then sells the items on to others.

It operates an online store that lets people buy items traded in at Cash Converters shops around the UK.

The online store was relaunched in September 2017, and the data breach affected only people with an account on the old website.

Cash Converters said no credit card information had been breached, and people who visited its stores but did not use the website had not been affected.

“Our customers truly are at the heart of everything we do, and we are disappointed that they may have been affected,” the company said in a statement.

“We apologise for this situation and are taking immediate action to address it.”


 

Twitter halts ‘broken’ verified-profile system

Twitter verified

Twitter has suspended its verified-profile scheme and described it as “broken”, following complaints over the type of accounts being verified.

Typically, prominent people, including musicians, journalists and company executives, get a blue icon on their profile after proving their identity.

However, some far-right and white-supremacist accounts have now also been verified.

Twitter founder Jack Dorsey said the scheme would now be “reconsidered”.

BBC News Technology on Twitter

Verified profiles display a blue badge next to their name

In a statement, the company said: “Verification was meant to authenticate identity and voice, but it is interpreted as an endorsement or an indicator of importance.

“We recognise that we have created this confusion and need to resolve it.”

The company said no further “general” accounts would be verified, while it worked on a fix.

Twitter has been making a series of changes to address abuse and harassment on the social network.

Last week, it published a rewritten version of its rules, which it said would make them easier to understand.

 

Self-driving shuttle bus in crash on first day

The technology was first tested in Vegas at the start of this year

The technology was first tested in Vegas at the start of this year

A self-driving shuttle bus in Las Vegas was involved in a crash on its first day of service.

The vehicle – carrying “several” passengers – was hit by a lorry driving at slow speed.

Nobody was injured in the incident which city officials say was the fault of the human driver of the lorry. The man was subsequently given a ticket by police.

The shuttle is the first of its kind to be used on public roads in the US.

The collision comes a day after Waymo – owned by Google’s parent company Alphabet – announced it is launching a fully self-driving fleet of taxis in Phoenix, Arizona.

The Las Vegas shuttle, designed to ferry passengers to the famous strip, uses a system developed by Navya, a French company also testing its technology in London.

The shuttle carries up to 15 people and has a maximum speed of 45km/h, but typically travels at around 25km/h.

A spokesman for the City of Las Vegas told the BBC the crash was a “fender bender” – a minor collision – and that the shuttle would likely be back out on the road on Thursday after some routine diagnostics tests.

“A delivery truck was coming out of an alley,” public information officer Jace Radke said.

“The shuttle did what it was supposed to do and stopped. Unfortunately the human element, the driver of the truck, didn’t stop.”

Self-driving technology has been involved in crashes before, but almost all reported incidents have been due to human error.

Earlier this year an autonomous vehicle being tested by ride-sharing company Uber in Arizona rolled over after another driver on the road failed to give way.

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Branson’s Virgin Group invests in Hyperloop One

Hyperloop One

Hyperloop One claims its pod-based system is more “sustainable” than current transport options

The Virgin investment group has taken an undisclosed stake in Hyperloop One, one of several companies trying to create a pod-based transport system.

The terms of the deal have not been disclosed.

Virgin’s founder, Sir Richard Branson, is joining the Los Angeles-based firm’s board as part of the deal, and it is rebranding itself as Virgin Hyperloop One.

One expert suggested the tie-up would help raise the company’s profile.

“This is unproven technology and there’s a long way to go before it ever finds itself in use in the real world,” commented Prof David Bailey from Aston Business School.

“But this deal will certainly help in terms of marketing and potentially attract further investors to come into the operation.”

Richard Branson

Sir Richard is joining Hyperloop One’s board

Hyperloop One recently tested a prototype pod in the Nevada desert, which reached a speed of 310km/h (192mph) within a 500m (1,600ft) low air-pressured tube.

Its eventual goal is to reach 1,046km/h (650mph).

The system uses magnetic levitation and electric propulsion to cause pods to glide, and is pitched as a more eco-friendly mode of transportation than many of today’s alternatives.

The firm says it is working on several projects to bring the technology to the Middle East, Europe, India, Canada and the US.

In a press release, Virgin suggested the system could eventually cut journey times from Edinburgh to London to 50 minutes.

Hyperloop’s inventor, Elon Musk, has previously signalled his intention to build a separate Hyperloop system via his tunnel-digging Boring Company.

Hyperloop Transportation Technologies, TransPod Hyperloop and Dinclix GroundWorks are among other companies to have announced rival projects.

‘Complicated tech’

“The combination of our proven technology and Virgin’s expertise in transportation, operations, safety and passenger experience will accelerate the commercialisation phase of our company’s development,” said Hyperloop One’s co-founder Josh Giegel in a written statement.

Virgin already has investments in rail companies, cruise liners, airlines and a nascent space tourism operation.

However, Prof Bailey questioned its potential.

“I remain sceptical about using Hyperloop technology in places where there are high land values or dense population,” he explained.

“But it may be more appropriate in places like the United Arab Emirates.

“It’s a complicated technology and there’s a long way to go.”

Staines-Upon-Thames Day Winners!

We were proud sponsors of Staines upon Thames Day, which is a summer community event that brings the public and businesses together for the love of the local area and entertainment. We took part in the annual duck race with our duck taking home first place and wining us a donation of £500 to a charity of our choice! We have donated to two local charities, Cross Roads Care Surrey and Englefield Green Infant School and Nurseries. Thank you to everyone invloved each year and every year,

Kind regards
Michael Ramlakhan

Timeless IT

Juicero and 2017’s other failed start-ups

Juicero machine

Juicero promised drinks from fruit and veg pouches.

The firm behind Juicero, a wi-fi connected juicing machine, has announced that it is shutting down.

Juicero raised around $120m (£92m) in funding to develop the device, which retailed in the US at $399.

The firm said that it could not create an “effective manufacturing and distribution system” on its own.

The device was widely mocked when it was revealed that the pouches of fruit and veg which it turned into juice could easily be squeezed by hand.

Here are four other tech start-ups we have said goodbye to in 2017.

Jawbone

Jawbones are still available to buy.

Fitness tracker firm Jawbone began liquidation proceedings in June.

Its products were among the first fitness trackers on the market and it was once valued at more than $3bn.

The firm had been silent on social media for several months and customers with broken devices had contacted the BBC to say they could not get a response.

Jawbone trackers are still available to buy from websites including Amazon.

Yik Yak

Yik Yak logo

The anonymous messaging app had raised more than $73m in funding and was at one time valued at $400m.

The platform was hugely popular with college students but it was also plagued with incidents of online harassment and bullying. The firm attempted to enforce permanent log-ins but it proved unpopular.

Yik Yak announced that it would close at the start of the academic year.

Its website has now disappeared but in a blog post published at the time of the announcement, founders Brooks Buffington and Tyler Droll thanked Yik Yak users for being “the most passionate on the planet”.

Lily

 

Lily drone

Autonomous drone firm Lily shut down in January with $34m in pre-orderswhich it promised to refund.

Its product – a waterproof device with a camera onboard – was designed to be thrown into the air and could track users for up to 20 minutes via a wristband.

“We have been racing against a clock of ever-diminishing funds,” wrote the company’s co-founders, Henry Bradlow and Antoine Balaresque, to customers.

“Over the past few months, we have tried to secure financing in order to unlock our manufacturing line and ship our first units – but have been unable to do this.”

A drone called Lily Next-Gen is now available to order from the Mota Group, which bought the branding rights, but it does not have the same functionality.

Beepi

car going past oilseed rape plant field

Beepi was a digital used car marketplace that raised $150m and had at one time been valued at $560m.

It began selling off its assets in February 2017.

A report by news site TechCrunch suggested Beepi had faced organisational issues and had spent money unwisely. Its founders denied this and said it was a “sad time” for the firm.

“The Beepi spirit lives on. Down, but not out,” they wrote.

Its website now redirects to a car buying platform called Vroom.

 


 

Government names trial areas for ‘full-fibre’ broadband

Optical fibres

At present, many UK properties offered fibre connections still rely on copper cables for the “last leg” of the journey

Six areas in the UK will soon be trying out broadband technology that provides data at speeds approaching one gigabit per second (gbps).

Businesses, schools and hospitals will be the first to try out the “full-fibre” network technology.

The pilots will be run in Aberdeenshire, West Sussex, Coventry and Warwickshire, Bristol, West Yorkshire and Greater Manchester.

The government will spend about £10m getting the pilots up and running.

Speeding up

The technology involved is known as full-fibre because it takes high-speed cables directly to premises.

By contrast, much of the existing fibre services in the UK connect the fast cables to roadside cabinets and then rely on older, slower copper for the final link to homes and other buildings.

Currently full-fibre networks are only available to about 2% of premises in the UK.

The government hopes that the projects will significantly boost the availability of the technology.

Grey line

What is full fibre broadband?

The preferred technology of Openreach, the body that runs the UK’s fibre network, has to date been fibre to the cabinet.

That means that homes and businesses are connected by a slower copper-based connection to local street cabinets, before the fibre optic network takes over.

Full-fibre broadband uses fibre to the premises (FTTP) technology, which is widely regarded as the best way to deliver fast internet services.

Here, the fast-fibre optic cables run directly to homes and offices, providing a more stable, efficient and reliable connection than the hybrid copper and fibre systems.

They can also support broadband speeds of up to 1Gbps, enough to download an HD TV programme in five seconds.

Grey line

“How we live and work today is directly affected by how good our broadband connection is,” said Andrew Jones, Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury, in a statement.

Faster, more reliable connections would create jobs, help new industries to emerge and let people work more flexibly, he said.

House on a loch

Some remote homes have struggled to get decent broadband connections

Possible uses of full-fibre broadband would include hospitals sharing high-definition images to aid diagnosis, or schools using video more effectively during lessons.

However, broadband market analysts have pointed out that gigabit-capable cables would be shared with many different premises, suggesting that actual data download speeds would be much lower than the theoretical maximum.

The gigabit speeds that are possible with full-fibre are much faster than the 10 megabits per second (mbps) which the regulator Ofcom says modern families need to meet their requirements.

Last month, the government published information about the work being done on its broadband delivery programme, which aims to improve download speeds across the UK.

It claimed that 93% of premises in the UK can now get superfast broadband services, which run at speeds of about 24mbps.

Cash for the gigabit-speed broadband pilots comes from a £200m fund announced in the budget earlier this year.

The government said it aimed to spend the remaining balance of the fund by the end of 2021.