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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%.

Tesco open virtual store in Gatwick Airport

A new virtual grocery store has ‘opened’ in Gatwick airport this month. The virtual Tesco will mean that holidaymakers will no longer have to go home to an empty fridge as they can scan images of foods such as milk, bread and cheese and arrange a delivery time using their mobile phones.

This comes after the supermarket giant successfully launched a virtual store in South Korea last year using billboards in train stations and bus stops aimed at commuters.

Wikipedia will continue blackouts to protect the Internet

The founder of Wikipedia, Jimmy Wales, has said that he will be willing to ‘’turn off’’ the website again in future to protect the Internet from policies that will affect everyday users.

Following a 24 hour blackout of the site in January to protest against U.S anti piracy legislation, the Russian site was shut down in protest at a proposal from the government to block websites without a court order.

“It at least puts governments on notice that the Internet community cares about these things, and they care enough to actually do something about it,” Wales said.

Aware that getting into a political row would not be ideal for the site, Wales insists that he will make a stand if they interfere with his and ‘everyday’ people’s work online.

Microsoft takes on the iPad with new Surface tablet

Microsoft has launched its own t6ablet device in a bid to compete with Apple’s iPad. The tablet, named the Surface, works on the new Windows 8 operating system.

The move away from just software into hardware will place the company in direct competition with their close hardware partners such as Samsung and Hewlett Packard. The move is in response to Apple’s approach of producing  integrated software and hardware.

Heavier but thinner than the iPad, the Surface has a 10.6 inch screen and comes with either 32GB or 64GB  memory. Despite expectations, Microsoft has not integrated features from their Xbox console, Skype service or new Nook e book with partner Barnes & Noble.

“I don’t see this as an iPad killer, but it has a lot of potential,” said Sarah Rotman Epps, an analyst at tech research firm Forrester. “This raises more questions than answers. The story that Microsoft told today was incomplete. They focused on the hardware innovation but didn’t talk about the services, the unique Microsoft assets that could make this product amazing.”

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