FutureFive NZ - The Techday Weekender - Mar 3rd 2012

Warning: This story was published more than a year ago.

The Techday Weekender - Mar 3rd 2012

Apple issued invitations for what is expected by most to be the unveiling of the new iPad, in the process stifling the attention give to Google chairman Eric Schmidt.  Schmidt received next to no attention in the Twittersphere thanks to the bombing and demonstrated Apple sees the Google, not Microsoft, as its main competitor.

The invitation, reading simply ‘We have something you really have to see. And touch', led to speculation the new device will be entirely touch-based.

Everything will be revealed on March 7, at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco.

Despite the ambush of Apple’s invitation, Google’s senior vice president of mobile and digital content, Andy Rubin was able to reveal the company’s Android platform has surpassed 300 million activations.

Posting on the Google Mobileblog, Rubin also said 850,000 new Android devices are activated daily - 250% year-on-year growth

Apple is unlikely to be too worried just yet. With the 25 billionth app download due to occur shortly, over 250 million iOS activations reached in October 2011, 15 million iPads sold and around 37 million iPhones sold in the fourth quarter last year.

Meanwhile Microsoft has released a preview version of Windows 8. The company admits Consumer Preview testers need to be okay with a little troubleshooting. However, testers will be able to try out the new shortcuts for tasks like searching and sharing, accessible by moving the mouse to the upper right hand corner of the screen, or swiping from the right for touch screen users. On show for the first time is the Window’s App Store presenting all its current apps for free, no doubt in an attempt to carve its place competing with the Mac App Store.

A preview of Internet Explorer 10 was included with the Windows 8 preview.

Meanwhile, Facebook announced the roll out of its Timeline to all brand pages, aligning the layout of business and organisation pages with those of consumers. Page owners have the option of trialling the new look before the March 31 kick-off.

The new look will allow businesses to polish their image on the social networking platform.

The New York Times, for example, is using Timeline to cash in on its long history, filling in its page with information dating right back to the paper’s first issue – as the ‘New-York Daily Times’ – in September, 1851. Milestones such as the first Sunday edition, in 1861, and the first use of the slogan ‘All the news that’s fit to print’, in 1897, have also been added.

Facebook has created a help page to assist businesses that aren’t so sure. There are FAQs, and advice for tasks such as selecting a cover image and customising the ‘views and apps’ menu.

Google’s privacy policy came into effect during the week meaning the search company will be collating information on users of sites like Gmail, YouTube, Google Maps and others in order to better understand where users’ interests lie.

The privacy plicy has also been condensed, turfing out 60 different policies for its various sites and replacing them with one unifying document.

Labelling the changes as the creation of a simple and intuitive user experience, Google says it will allow ads to be more effectively targeted to consumers, leading to debate as to whether the an appropriate ad is better than an inappropriate one or whether it further erodes consumer privacy.

Google has gone out of its way to make sure the online public are well informed, posting links all over its sites to pages that explain the changesand answer frequently asked questions.

There are guidelines for reducing the amount of data shared under the new scheme, such as switching Gmail chat to ‘off the record’, turning on ‘incognito mode’ in Chrome, and using Google Dashboard to manage the data that’s being made available from each different Google site.

The New Zealand Computer Society is calling for contributions to drive its ICT-Connect In Schools career guidance project.

Having already completed a successful pilot of the programme promoting ICT as a career option for anyone, not just those with a technical mindset.

NZCS CEO Paul Matthews has said the programme could see hundreds of New Zealand IT professionals ‘visit schools and talk to students about future options in the IT sector’.

"It’s designed to permanently change the perception of IT as a sector in the minds of the next generation,” Matthews says, "and to open their eyes to what a future in ICT actually means.

"We’re absolutely confident this will lead to more kiwi kids choosing a bright future in IT and internet-related fields.”

The programme consists of four or five school visits by IT professionals, tertiary providers, and NZCS representatives, explaining how the industry works and what the education pathways are to get there.

Industry contributions will help pay for staff to co-ordinate the project, as well as resources such as brochures, posters, videos, and a website.

Former directory publisher Yellow has moved closer to its goal of becoming a digital marketing services provider by announcing the pending ‘letting go’ of around 125 employees.

Scott Pomeroy, CEO of Yellow, says the company’s print directories are still well used, but the company needs to improve its 25% market share of New Zealand’s online search and directory advertising spend.

"Our customers have told us that they really want complete year-round marketing solutions rather than ad-hoc products like the old print-based model offered in the past,” Pomeroy says.

"We are now responding to this need, but this has required a major refocus and considerable changes, particularly amongst our sales force.”

Telecom has announced that Telecom Rentals has been contracted to act as a distribution agent for the MoE on the TELA (Laptops for Teachers and Principals) scheme.

The laptops in the scheme – 45,000 in all, across 2500 schools – will help teachers take advantage of the government’s Ultra Fast Broadband (UFB) network.

Telecom Rentals provides telco and IT asset financing for business customers. The project will be supported by Gen-i, which will deliver a fully managed end-to-end supply model, co-ordinate warranty repairs, and provide a dedicated service desk.

Geoff Hamilton, general manager of Telecom Rentals, says the deal is a reliable and cost-effective way for schools to employ UFB.

"Ultra-fast broadband opens up a new way of learning,” Hamilton says, "where lessons could be streamed online for distance learners and classrooms from opposite sides of the world can share lessons.”

And amidst all the seriousness of the week, visiting British actor Stephen Fry provided a little levity when he pointed out social network platform Twitter was in fact for … twittering.

The actor was writing on his blog about the furore caused when he complained about New Zealand’s slow broadband.

"Mostly I think it fair to say a majority of New Zealanders have agreed with me,” Fry writes before going on to say

"Twitter is called, in case you hadn’t noticed, Twitter. Not Earnest Debate, not Focus, not Forum or World Crisis. Just Twitter. And that’s what I do, I twitter away.

Good to know some celebrities don’t take themselves too seriously.

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