Freetimers Blog » 2012 » September

Rural business can’t flourish without broadband access

Economic development in rural communities cannot happen without proper access to the Internet the Country Land and Business Association (CLA) warned recently. Currently 1/5 of people in rural areas do not have access to broadband which is adequate for business needs.

The CLA has criticised government plans to provide broadband coverage at speeds of at least 2MB per second to all areas of the UK by 2015 saying that progress has been too slow. The organisation has also predicted that the government will fail to meet their target date.

The CLA has historically campaigned for improved rural broadband provision, stating that all operators should be legally obliged to provide coverage to remote rural areas.

Minister for Culture, Media and Sport Ed Vaizey has said that the broadband programme is on track and he is confident that the government’s targets can be achieved.

Here at Freetimers we remain more than a little skeptical, particularly after the previous phase of rural broadband development, of which Freetimers was a participant with our DSB – Distributed Satellite Broadband – development (see, was basically undermined by government encouragment of BT to do just enough to undermine the rural broadband marketplace for other prospective providers.

Facebook to remove photo tag tool

Following recommendations from the Data Protection Commissioner of Ireland, facebook has suspended the facial recognition feature on the website.  The feature recognised faces in the background of images and allowed people to be tagged.

The Data Protection Commissioner (DPC) gave Facebook six months to comply with its recommendations in December.  DPC Mr Hawkes was encouraged by the decision to switch the feature off for European users by 15th October 2012.  The facility is no longer unavailable to new users.

He said that Facebook “is sending a clear signal of its wish to demonstrate its commitment to best practice in data protection compliance.”

The xx new album goes viral after they released it to just one fan

The xx, who became a word of mouth phenomenon when they produced their first album in 2009, recreated their past viral triumph by releasing a stream to their second album Coexist to one superfan on Facebook days before its official release date.

Just 24 hours later the site crashed due to the millions of streams. XL Recordings and Microsoft worked together to create a visual map of how the stream was shared, inspired from the maps used to track flight paths. The map has a burst of lights and lines showing how the stream moved from one computer in London across the globe.

Tory minister in ‘fake’ Twitter followers row

Investigations into Conservative chairman Grant Shapps’ Twitter account reveals that he regularly follows large numbers of accounts and unfollows them if they do not follow back in order to have a perceived large following.

Analysis of his account shows that a large increase in followers is shortly followed by a large decrease. The former UK housing minister has a list of unusual followers from distant counties, which include a bee keeping  project in Morocco, sparking debate about the authenticity of his account.

There are some Twitter users who use software that automatically follows a set number in the hope that they will follow back and boost the number of followers. Shapps, who has over 55,000 followers said that he “Generally, thought it polite to follow folks back.”

One third of the UK fall victim to PC viruses

From October-December 2010, 31% of UK internet users caught a computer virus figures from Eurostat reveal.  Disturbingly, 7% of those suffered a financial loss due to the virus. This is despite 88% of users stating that they had security software in place.

The survey of 200,000 computer users across 27 countries in Europe also found that attacks on mobile phones had risen by 46%.

Users in Bulgaria (58%) and Malta (50%) were the worst off whilst  Austria had the lowest figure with just 14%.