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.

February 17

GOOG: 828.07

3.91
Stock Chart

Google has announced that it will cease allowing 30-second unskippable preroll ads on YouTube videos from next year, reports Campaign.

Google explained that its aim is to provide a better advertising experience for online users. “As part of that, we’ve decided to stop supporting 30-second unskippable ads as of 2018 and focus instead on formats that work well for both users and advertisers.”

While it’ll be great to lose the most unpopular ad format, it isn’t all good news …

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February 14

GOOG: 820.45

1.21
Stock Chart

There’s no shortage of options for virtual meetings these days, from Skype and WebEx through Facebook, WhatsApp and many others. But Amazon believes that there’s room for one more, aiming Chime specifically at businesses looking for an easier and more manageable way to host video meetings.

Meetings start on time because they’re easy to join – meetings call you and you can join with a single tap. Lengthy pins are a thing of the past. A visual roster shows who has joined the meeting and who is running late, and allows anyone to mute background noise. Amazon Chime offers rich apps for iOS, Android, Windows, and Mac, and your chats are always synchronized across your devices. You can switch seamlessly between devices anytime, even in the middle of a meeting … 

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February 13

GOOG: 819.24

5.57
Stock Chart
9to5mac 

February 2

GOOG: 798.53

2.84
Stock Chart

January 31

GOOG: 796.79

-5.53
Stock Chart

Executive chairman of Google parent Alphabet Eric Schmidt last week told employees that the Trump administration will do ‘evil things,’ reports Buzzfeed.

Schmidt’s remarks were made during the company’s weekly meeting at its headquarters in Mountain View, California, on January 26 [when he said the Trump administration] is “going to do these evil things as they’ve done in the immigration area and perhaps some others” …

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January 30

GOOG: 802.32

-20.99
Stock Chart
9to5toys 

On the same day that we learned of Google creating it’s largest ever crisis fund to deal with the ongoing impact of Friday’s immigration orderBloomberg suggests that Trump’s next move could be to target foreign workers employed by Google and other tech companies.

His administration has drafted an executive order aimed at overhauling the work-visa programs technology companies depend on to hire tens of thousands of employees each year … 

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January 26

GOOG: 832.15

-3.52
Stock Chart

January 25

GOOG: 835.67

11.80
Stock Chart

LG has announced that it lost KRW 258.80 billion ($223.98M) in Q4 of last year, its first loss in six years. The company admitted that poor sales of its modular G5 smartphone and subsequent marketing costs were a significant factor. The company restructured its mobile division last year as the company struggled to sell the handset.

Due to losses from mobile communications and vehicle components, LG reported a fourth-quarter net loss of KRW 258.80 billion (USD 223.98 million) […] Profitability was hampered by weak sales of the G5 smartphone and higher marketing investments.

One item in LG’s report was notable by its absence …

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electrek 

January 24

GOOG: 823.87

4.56
Stock Chart

Google has announced that of the 30+ teams who signed up for its Lunar XPrize competition to land a privately-funded robot on the moon, five teams have successfully met the requirement to have a verified launch contract in place by the end of last year.

Those five teams will now be competing for the main prize of $20M to be the first to land on the Moon and complete the two required tasks. There is also $5M on offer for the second team to succeed, and smaller prizes for such things as achieving distance targets and visiting historic sites …

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Samsung has achieved its highest profitability in three years as it announced Q4 2016 profits of 9.22T won ($7.93B), almost exactly in line with its earlier guidance. The profits were achieved despite a $5B hit from recall costs and lost earnings from the Note 7.

The company’s accounts show that the bulk of its profits were made from chip and component manufacturing, with the company expecting the growth of Internet of Things products, AI devices and automotive tech to further boost demand for its components. However, it warned that the future looked uncertain …

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January 17

GOOG: 804.61

-3.27
Stock Chart
9to5mac 

January 16

GOOG: 807.88

0.00
Stock Chart
Lee Jae-yong, center, arriving for questioning at the office of the independent prosecutor in Seoul last week
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With Samsung still reeling from the Note 7 disaster, the the acting head of the company now faces the prospect of arrest as part of a high-profile investigation into possible bribery and corruption.

The WSJ reports that special prosecutors are today seeking an arrest warrant for Lee Jae-yong, vice-chairman of the company and heir to the business. Lee Jae-yong has been acting head of the company during his father’s continuing illness, so his arrest would risk a leadership vacuum at Samsung…

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January 13

GOOG: 807.88

1.52
Stock Chart

Update: Updated with a response from WhatsApp, below.

A security researcher has found a backdoor in the end-to-end encryption system used by the WhatsApp messaging service. The vulnerability would allow Facebook to read messages sent through the supposedly secure system, as well as making it possible for the company to comply with court orders to make messages available to governments and law enforcement.

While end-to-end encryption would normally mean that not even the company operating the service can decrypt messages, only the intended recipient, the specific implementation used in WhatsApp includes a major security hole …

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January 6

GOOG: 806.15

12.13
Stock Chart
9to5toys 

January 4

GOOG: 786.90

0.76
Stock Chart

Garmin has announced new versions of its Garmin Drive range of in-car satellite navigation devices, using Bluetooth connectivity to an Android phone or iPhone to provide additional functionality. Most are available in a choice of 5- and 6.95-inch models, somewhat confusingly indicated by 51 and 61 suffixes.

 

The entry-level Garmin Drive 51/61 adds free real-time services, such as live traffic, for select models when wirelessly paired with a Bluetooth-enabled smartphone. After pairing to a smartphone, drivers can also enjoy live parking information from Parkopedia, the world’s leading parking service provider. Parkopedia conveniently provides pricing and availability trends for on-street public parking as drivers approach a destination. Other real-time services such as LiveTrack allow drivers to share their location with friends – a useful feature to track family members or loved ones during a road trip.

Three additional models add further functionality and design features …

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December 21, 2016

GOOG: 794.56

-1.86
Stock Chart

Almost a year after adding Live Video to its app, Facebook has announced that it is introducing a Live Audio feature that allows live broadcasts of audio-only content. Or, as CNET wryly described it, radio.

Initially, the company will be testing the feature with a small number of established broadcasters – including the BBC World Service and LBC – though publishers and authors will also be getting in on the action … 

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December 20, 2016

GOOG: 796.42

2.22
Stock Chart
electrek 

December 16, 2016

GOOG: 790.80

-7.05
Stock Chart

Evernote has now reversed a controversial change to its privacy policy after an earlier attempt at reassurance failed. In a new blog post, Evernote said that allowing engineers to read notes as part of its machine-learning efforts will now be on an opt-in basis.

An updated privacy policy caused concern when the company stated that machine-learning efforts would be checked by allowing engineers to read notes. The company said that customers would be able to opt-out of this if they wished, but it would otherwise assume permission …

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December 15, 2016

GOOG: 797.85

0.78
Stock Chart

If you’ve ever had trouble trying to identify your Uber car at a busy location at night, the company has a plan to make it easier for driver and rider to spot each other. You select a color in the Android app and hold your phone up as the vehicle approaches, looking out for the same color in the car’s windshield …

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