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Tech News

Huawei to be stripped of role in UK's 5G network by 2027, Dowden confirms
Posted on Tuesday July 14, 2020

U-turn puts Boris Johnson on collision course with Tory rebels on timing of ban

Huawei is to be stripped out of Britain’s 5G phone networks by 2027, a date that puts Boris Johnson on collision course with a group of Conservative rebels who want the Chinese company eliminated quicker and more comprehensively.

Oliver Dowden, the UK culture secretary, also announced that no new Huawei 5G kit can be bought after 31 December this year – but disappointed the rebels by saying that older 2G, 3G and 4G kit can remain until it is no longer needed.

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Real change or symbolism? What Silicon Valley is – and isn't – doing to support Black Lives Matter
Posted on Sunday July 12, 2020

Platforms from Facebook to Reddit have responded to the national uprising. Here’s what they’ve done so far

Major technology platforms are re-examining how they interact with police forces and regulate hate speech online following the death of George Floyd and the weeks of protests that ensued.

From avatars and hashtags to policy changes and donations, here is what technology companies are saying about #BlackLivesMatter – and what they are actually doing to back up those statements of support.

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'Too big to fail': why even a historic ad boycott won’t change Facebook
Posted on Saturday July 11, 2020

The company has survived previous seemingly existential crises with little damage to its monarchical structure

On the evening of 13 July 2013, a few hours after George Zimmerman was acquitted over the fatal shooting of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin, Alicia Garza logged on to her Facebook account and typed a phrase that would change the world: “#blacklivesmatter”. A few minutes later, she posted again: “Black people. I love you. I love us. Our lives matter.”

That Facebook played a small role in the inception of a movement that may have become the largest in US history is the kind of story that the embattled company likes to point to when it makes its case that it does more good than harm. CEO Mark Zuckerberg boasted of the hashtag’s origin on Facebook in October 2019, when he delivered a speech about his view of free expression at Georgetown University.

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Dell XPS 13 2020 review: a fantastic but flawed laptop
Posted on Thursday July 09, 2020

Latest top-of-the-line Dell is a brilliant machine with a great screen in a tiny body, but is let down badly by software problems

Dell’s XPS 13 squeezes more screen, more power and even Windows Hello face recognition into a tiny frame, but trips up over software issues.

The XPS 13 is Dell’s top-of-the-line compact laptop and starts at £1,349. Various models with different processors, storage and screen resolutions are available.

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Huawei believes it can supply 5G kit to UK despite US sanctions
Posted on Saturday July 11, 2020

Chinese telecom firm stockpiles 500,000 pieces of equipment but fears wider ban

Huawei believes it can supply 5G hardware unaffected by White House sanctions to the UK for the next five years, sidestepping the expected conclusion of an emergency review on Tuesday next week.

The company has stockpiled 500,000 pieces of kit but fears a wider ban on its equipment will be unveiled to placate Conservative rebel MPs, who say the Chinese supplier represents a national security risk.

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Apple under pressure to act after TikTok pulls out of Hong Kong
Posted on Tuesday July 07, 2020

Social media firms react to sweeping new national security legislation imposed by China

TikTok is to withdraw from Hong Kong app stores and Zoom will stop complying with city authorities’ data requests as technology companies react to the sweeping new national security laws imposed on the city by Beijing.

Facebook, Microsoft, Twitter, Google and Telegram have already said they are “pausing” cooperation with requests for user information, putting pressure on Apple, which says it is “assessing” the new law, to do the same.

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The five: robots helping to tackle coronavirus
Posted on Sunday May 31, 2020

Automatons have been chipping in with the effort to beat Covid, from disinfecting hospitals to delivering groceries

Singapore park-goers have been reminded of their social distancing obligations by Boston Dynamics’ yellow “dog”. The robot hound is equipped with numerous cameras and sensors, which it can use to detect transgressors and broadcast pre-recorded warnings. The authorities have reassured locals it is not a quadruped data-collection device.

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When there’s an app that can save lives, there will be no need to download it out of a sense of duty
Posted on Sunday May 31, 2020

The NHS test and trace app fails on several counts; no wonder ministers are resorting to peer pressure to encourage uptake

The NHS Covid-19 alert app will be available nationwide in June. It’s voluntary, so those of us with smartphones must decide: should we download the app?

The health secretary, Matt Hancock, thinks we should, claiming that we would be “doing our duty and helping to save lives”.

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How did the Covidsafe app go from being vital to almost irrelevant?
Posted on Saturday May 23, 2020

The PM told Australians in April the contact tracing app was key to getting back to normal but just one person has been identified using its data

It was sold as the key to unlocking restrictions – like sunscreen to protect Australians from Covid-19 – but as the country begins to open up, the role of the Covidsafe app in the recovery seems to have dropped to marginal at best.

“This is an important protection for a Covid-safe Australia,” the prime minister, Scott Morrison, said in late April. “I would liken it to the fact that if you want to go outside when the sun is shining, you have got to put sunscreen on.”

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'People still need to laugh': how lipsyncing spoofs saved lockdown
Posted on Saturday May 16, 2020

From a drunk Donald Trump to storytime with Boris Johnson, women are skewering the absurdity of Covid-19 life

In the TikTok videos going viral across social media, the voices are familiar: a rambling presidential whine, or a patronising prime minister. But the people apparently speaking are altogether – and hilariously – different.

In uncannily calibrated lipsyncs, Donald Trump is shown as a hectoring schoolteacher or drunken clubgoer, while Boris Johnson reads a bedtime story to a petulant Theresa May.

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Surface Earbuds review: Microsoft's AirPods rivals
Posted on Friday June 19, 2020

Novel design blends open-ear but secure fit with good sound, great controls and long battery life

Microsoft has finally launched a competitor to Apple’s AirPods and Samsung’s Galaxy Buds+ with its Surface Earbuds – and they are just a little bit different from the rest.

The Surface Earbuds cost £199.99 and only come in grey. Their distinctive design certainly stands out.

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PlayStation 5: the video games console is not dead yet
Posted on Friday June 12, 2020

As other video games companies move towards Netflix-style streaming and subscription services, Sony has doubled down on a new console. The company’s Simon Rutter explains what the PS5 brings to the table

Last night in a livestreamed broadcast, Sony showed its new video game console, the PlayStation 5, for the first time, along with 28 new games that will be out this year or next. It is a futuristic-looking thing, all white curves and black and blue-LED accents and a touch of mid-00s service robot about it. One version is digital-only, the other comes with a drive for people who prefer to buy games on disc.

As cloud-based and Netflix-like subscription services have gained traction in the video game world, the “end of the console” has become a popular conversation point. Two years ago at E3, the yearly video games conference, Microsoft’s Phil Spencer told the Guardian that “we pivoted about three or four years ago to thinking about the gamer first, not the device first … Our focus is on bringing console quality games that you see on TV or PC to any device.” But Sony is doubling down not only on the idea of the games console, of generational technology shifts that make new kinds of games possible, and on the idea of selling a new box by funding games that can only be played on PlayStation 5.

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Twitter taking on Trump's lies? About time too | John Naughton
Posted on Saturday May 30, 2020

The platform’s moves to counter the president’s disinformation may be too little, too late, but it’s something

In addition to washing your hands while singing the first two verses of The Internationale, it might be a good time also to clean out your Twitter feed. According to a recent report of a research study by Carnegie Mellon University’s Center for Computational Analysis of Social and Organizational Systems, about 45% of the false narratives about Covid-19 on Twitter are sent by bots.

The study examined more than 100 false Covid narratives (including the 5G conspiracy theories) pushed in over 200m tweets since January. If you’re a reader of this newspaper, the likelihood is that you never saw any of these. But that’s because you are – like me – cheerfully encased in your own filter bubble. I write with feeling on this matter, because on the morning after the Brexit referendum I went through the list of about 800 people whom I follow on Twitter, and I could not locate a single one who seemed to have been in favour of Brexit in the run-up to the vote. The shock felt by them after the vote was palpable. But it was also a salutary reminder that anyone who uses social media lives in a digital echo chamber.

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Apple 13in MacBook Pro review 2020: going out on a high?
Posted on Monday June 01, 2020

Apple perfects its current laptop design, with great power, battery life and now an excellent keyboard

The 2020 13in MacBook Pro is the last of Apple’s laptops to get its new and improved keyboard, banishing various issues to the rear view mirror and essentially perfecting this current design.

Despite both sharing the same name, the 2020 13in MacBook Pro is split into two lines: a cheaper version starting at £1,299 with two USB-C/Thunderbolt 3 ports and older eighth-generation Intel chips; and a more powerful version starting at £1,799 with four USB-C/Thunderbolt 3 ports and the latest 10th-generation Intel chips.

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Best UK streaming and pay-TV services 2020: Sky, Virgin, Netflix and Amazon Prime compared and ranked
Posted on Monday July 13, 2020

Our updated list of the best pay-TV and streaming services in the UK

The choice of how you get your TV and movies in the UK has exploded in recent years, with a growing number of premium pay-TV providers and streaming services available at a wide range of prices.

Many of them have long contracts, exclusive content and complicated bundled pricing. And that’s before you work out how to actually get it to your television, whether it is live broadcast TV via the traditional routes of aerial, satellite or cable, new offerings of streaming live TV over the internet, on-demand download or streaming services, or a mix of all three. All of which makes choosing the right one for you a bit of a minefield of information overload.

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Samsung Galaxy Z Flip review: four months with the folding phone
Posted on Friday June 05, 2020

After 70-plus folds a day for four months, the screen is pristine, the hinge is smooth, and it’s still the most interesting phone of the year

When Samsung released its Galaxy Z Flip, a phone with a screen that folds in half, the big question was whether the technology was really ready for use outside a lab. I spent the last four months with it to find out.

Samsung’s second attempt at a smartphone with a folding screen, the Galaxy Z Flip promised one thing above all: a big, tall display that fits in a pocket.

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iPhone SE review: Apple's cut-price smartphone king
Posted on Friday May 01, 2020

Top performance, good camera, long support and manageable size make cheaper iPhone a bargain

Apple’s latest iPhone SE is a surprise cut-price marvel that revives a classic iPhone design and trounces every other mid-range phone in the process.

The £419 iPhone SE takes the important bits of the iPhone 11 – the processor and software – and shoehorns them into the body of an iPhone 8 from 2017. You get a phone design largely unchanged from the iPhone 6 of 2014, with traditional home button, but the performance and longevity of a brand new Apple phone for £310 less than an iPhone 11.

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Fairphone 3 review: the most ethical and repairable phone you can buy
Posted on Wednesday September 18, 2019

Dutch firm asks £200 above the norm for a smartphone that might help change the industry

What if you could buy a phone that will last five years, can be easily repaired and is made as ethically as possible? That’s the aim of the latest Fairphone 3 – and on many counts it succeeds.

Ethically creating a phone is a lot harder than it may sound, but you have to start somewhere. Amsterdam-based Fairphone turned from an awareness campaign about conflict minerals into a phone company in 2013, and aims to source as many materials as possible in both human and environmentally kind ways.

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OnePlus 8 Pro review: the Samsung killer
Posted on Thursday April 23, 2020

Stunning screen, serious speed, cracking camera, water resistance and wireless charging propels OnePlus to top of the pile

OnePlus’s latest range-topping 8 Pro phone puts Samsung on notice, featuring a slick design, 120Hz screen, 5G, improved cameras and even wireless charging.

Starting at £799, the 8 Pro builds on the success of last year’s £649 7 Pro and £699 7T Pro, but with a higher price on par with its premium rivals. In offering it, OnePlus has shifted from its self-proclaimed cut-price “flagship killer” roots to directly competing with the likes of Samsung and Apple without a massive price advantage.

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‘Being online has helped us survive’: how e-commerce can kickstart your small business in lockdown – and beyond
Posted on Friday June 12, 2020

Many SMEs have had to ramp up their digital activity in response to the challenges of Covid-19, learning as they go. Here, three businesses share what they’ve discovered

Starting a business and planning for its future once involved bricks and mortar, shelves, tills and customers walking through your door. Not so today. Even before the coronavirus lockdown limited people’s trips to retailers in the flesh, online shopping was flying high. According to the Global Ecommerce Market Ranking 2019, the UK has the world’s fourth largest e-commerce market in revenue terms, and the third highest percentage of online shoppers, at almost 80%. And it’s set to continue. Research by the analysts Retail Economics last year found that 53% of retail sales were expected to be online by 2028. In the wake of lockdown, it seems likely this trend will only accelerate.

Related: From promotions to gift cards: how a great website keeps customers coming back again and again

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Huawei 5G kit must be removed from UK by 2027
Posted on Tuesday July 14, 2020

The government is also banning telecoms firms from buying new Huawei 5G kit after 31 December.

Huawei: What does the ban mean for you?
Posted on Tuesday July 14, 2020

Restrictions on use of Huawei's kit are set to slow down the rollout of 5G and perhaps broadband too.

Rare Super Mario becomes highest-selling video game
Posted on Tuesday July 14, 2020

The auctioned game, still in its original 1985 packaging, sold to an anonymous bidder for $114,000.

Ocado says switch to online shopping is permanent
Posted on Tuesday July 14, 2020

The online grocer saw "years of growth in months" amid the lockdown and says the retail world has changed.

Amazon's hand-washing policy in spotlight
Posted on Tuesday July 14, 2020

As part of legal action brought by workers in New York, Amazon's policy on toilet breaks is debated.

UK's first e-scooter trial starts in Middlesbrough
Posted on Monday July 13, 2020

Middlesbrough is the first place to allow e-scooters in a bid to ease pressure on public transport.

Facebook 'scam hostage' freed after year in Nigeria
Posted on Monday July 13, 2020

The 46-year-old woman from Washington DC was held for more than a year and lost $48,000, police say.

Ubisoft: Sexual misconduct probe sees three senior heads resign
Posted on Monday July 13, 2020

Three more top executives at game-maker Ubisoft step down as the company investigates allegations.

Female gamers are on the rise in the 'world capital of gaming'
Posted on Monday July 13, 2020

Female gamers in Asia are growing at a faster rate than their male rivals in online video games.

Nicole Thea: Pregnant social media star dies with unborn son
Posted on Monday July 13, 2020

A statement says the 24-year-old had named her child Reign with her partner Boga.


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