Ben Lovejoy

@benlovejoy

Ben Lovejoy is a British technology writer who started his career on PC World and has written for dozens of computer and technology magazines, as well as numerous national newspapers, business and in-flight magazines. He has also written two novels.

He thinks wires are evil and had a custom desk made to hide them, known as the OC Desk for obvious reasons.

He considers 1000 miles a good distance for a cycle ride, and Chernobyl a suitable tourist destination. What can we say, he’s that kind of chap.

He speaks fluent English but only broken American, so please forgive any Anglicised spelling in his posts.

May 25

GOOG: 725.27

5.18
Stock Chart

If you’re not yet tried Google Play Music, a deal with TripAdvisor lets you get two months of premium subscription free of charge. The offer is to promote a partnership between the two companies which allows you to play music relevant to the city you’re visiting …

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Ten months after Microsoft wrote-off its Nokia acquisition, the company has now announced that it is effectively out of the consumer phone business. It is cutting 1,850 jobs, and setting aside almost a billion dollars to cover the costs of exiting the business.

Microsoft on Wednesday announced plans to streamline the company’s smartphone hardware business, which will impact up to 1,850 jobs. As a result, the company will record an impairment and restructuring charge of approximately $950 million […]

“We are focusing our phone efforts where we have differentiation — with enterprises that value security, manageability and our Continuum capability, and consumers who value the same,” said Satya Nadella, chief executive officer of Microsoft.

The company recently saw its market share fall below 1%. While Microsoft is – for now – insistent that it has a future in the corporate smartphone business, the reality seems doubtful …

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May 19

GOOG: 700.32

-6.31
Stock Chart

While Google’s self-driving cars have an excellent safety record, that record isn’t quite perfect, and the company wants to do all it can to protect pedestrians should one be hit by a car.

A previous Google patent described a combination of foam bumpers and external airbags to minimize injuries to pedestrians in the event of a collision, but a new patent spotted by Mercury News swaps out the airbags for an adhesive coating intended to act as human flypaper …

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9to5mac 

May 18

GOOG: 706.63

0.40
Stock Chart

May 17

GOOG: 706.23

-10.26
Stock Chart

Fifteen former Google engineers, including long-time self-driving pioneer Anthony Levandowski, have left the company to create Otto, a start-up based on bringing partial autonomous driving to big-rig trucks.

As the NYT notes, the start-up has great creds: Levandowski designed a self-driving motorcycle while still a grad student, and his first start-up was acquired by Google. Co-founder Lior Ron was previously lead engineer on Google Maps.

Otto’s plan differs from Google’s self-driving car project in two ways …

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May 13

GOOG: 710.83

-2.48
Stock Chart
9to5toys 

May 11

GOOG: 715.29

-7.89
Stock Chart

Google Adwords will be banning ads for so-called ‘payday loans’ and other lending at very high interest rates. As of July 13th, Google will no longer accept ads for loans that have to be repaid within 60 days, or any loan with an APR exceeding 36%.

The change was announced on Google’s Public Policy Blog.

When reviewing our policies, research has shown that these loans can result in unaffordable payment and high default rates […] This change is designed to protect our users from deceptive or harmful financial products.

Google also shared a stat on action taken against harmful ads in general …

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May 9

GOOG: 712.90

1.78
Stock Chart

Noted music artist manager Irving Azoff has written an open letter to YouTube in which he accuses the video service of paying artists “a pittance” and failing to care about music. He says that Taylor Swift ought to choose whether or not her music is streamed for free.

If music matters to YouTube, then why not give musicians the same choice you give yourselves? Taylor Swift should be able to decide which of her songs are available for free, and which are part of a paid subscription service. Or she should be able to opt out of YouTube if you won’t give her this choice.

Azoff’s letter, posted on Re/code, carries a great deal of weight, his impressive client list encompassing Christina Aguilera, the Eagles, Van Halen, Steely Dan, Maroon 5, Bon Jovi and more …

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May 3

GOOG: 692.36

-5.85
Stock Chart

Many Nintendo fans were disappointed when the company chose to launch a new game Miitomo for its first move into mobile, rather than the popular Super Mario series. The company later revealed that it will be bringing existing Nintendo game franchises to iOS later this year, but again, no sign of Mario. Instead, we can expect Animal Crossing and Fire Emblem.

Engadget notes that Nintendo president Tatsumi Kimishima has offered some explanation for the decision.

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electrek 

May 2

GOOG: 698.21

5.20
Stock Chart

Update: Samsung has issued a statement to us, which just expands on its earlier response. You can read it below the video.

Computer science researchers from the University of Michigan have shown how malicious apps could take control of Internet of Things devices in Samsung’s SmartThings platform – including the ability of an attacker to unlock a front door to gain physical access to a home.

The main weakness identified is that way that the SmartThings platform grants apps more privileges than needed to perform their stated functions, reports The Verge.

The researchers demonstrated this finding with a proof of concept app promising to monitor battery life on various devices. If the user agreed to let the malicious — but seemingly innocuous — app access their smart lock, the researchers could then not only monitor its battery, but perform the lock’s other functions, including unlocking the door. The researchers found 42 percent of 499 analyzed SmartApps are currently over-privileged in a similar way … 

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April 29

GOOG: 693.01

1.99
Stock Chart

Google has in the past explored more than one type of electronic contact lens, but a patent published yesterday takes eye-based electronics to a whole new level. The company believes it can cure short-sightedness by removing the inferior biological lenses from your eyes and replacing them with motorized ones controlled by tiny computers.

The planned device […] contains a number of tiny components: storage, sensors, radio, battery and an electronic lens. The eyeball device gets power wirelessly from an “energy harvesting antenna.” The patent describes what looks like an external device to interface with the eyeball computer. The two will communicate through a radio and the ”interface device” contains the processor to do the necessary computing.

The description is not for the squeamish, especially when it comes to the insertion process …

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April 28

GOOG: 691.02

-14.82
Stock Chart

The latest figures from Strategy Analytics show that Chinese brands Huawei and Oppo were the main winners in a year that saw the first ever fall in global smartphone sales, with established brands Samsung and Apple both seeing falls in their share.

Linda Sui, Director at Strategy Analytics, said, “Global smartphone shipments fell 3 percent annually from 345.0 million units in Q1 2015 to 334.6 million in Q1 2016. It is the first time ever since the modern smartphone market began in 1996 that global shipments have shrunk on an annualized basis. Smartphone growth is slowing due to increasing penetration maturity in major markets like China and consumer caution about the future of the world economy.”

While Samsung held its number one place in the rankings, it saw its sales drop by 3.7M year-on-year, while Apple’s iPhone sales dropped by 10M in the same time-frame. It was Chinese brands which picked up these lost sales …

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9to5mac 

April 21

GOOG: 759.14

6.47
Stock Chart

April 20

GOOG: 752.67

-1.26
Stock Chart

April 18

GOOG: 766.61

7.61
Stock Chart
9to5toys 

April 14

GOOG: 753.20

1.48
Stock Chart

We heard earlier this month that Google was planning to offer Fiber customers the option of a wireless service within its existing coverage areas, but a Re/code interview suggests that the company also sees wireless as a way to extend its reach beyond cities.

In an interview with Re/code, Access CEO Craig Barratt, who oversees Fiber, said the company is working on connecting wireless towers to existing fiber lines, and that it is “experimenting with a number of different wireless technologies” to make that happen.

Barratt said that adding wireless into the mix was a way to extend Google’s high-speed broadband service to areas where laying down optical fiber wouldn’t be economic …

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April 13

GOOG: 751.72

8.63
Stock Chart

Google’s philanthropic arm, Google.org, has announced $20M in funding spread across 30 non-profits that are developing technology to assist disabled people. The projects range from 3D-printed prosthetic limbs through smartglasses for the blind to a low-cost way to convert standard wheelchairs into powered ones.

We’re supporting forward-thinking nonprofits with big ideas that use technology to expand opportunity and independence for people with disabilities. As part of the Google Impact Challenge: Disabilities, we awarded 29 amazing grantees with $20 million in grants to help address accessibility challenges all over the world—and now, we’re helping them bring their projects to life … 

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electrek 

April 7

GOOG: 740.28

-5.41
Stock Chart

We got our first hands-on with a beta version of Reddit’s official Android app back in January, and the app has now been formally launched in the Google Play store. Confusingly, it’s currently labelled as version 0.3.1 despite the company listing it as the launch week.

The app is the best way to enjoy Reddit on mobile.

  • Browse all of Reddit, wherever you are
  • Search and discover communities by topic or interest
  • Submit your own comments, images, links, and stories for others to view and discuss
  • Customize Reddit with themes (including night theme)
  • View in either compact view or card view
  • Stay up to date with your orangereds with Inbox: messages, comment replies, post replies, and mentions … 

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