Category Archives: Elgg

The BBC’s licence fee has no long-term future and could be replaced by subscriptions, say MPs

BBC2
The UK parliament’s Culture, Media and Sport Committee says the BBC licence fee has “no long-term future” and advocates the introduction of a broadcasting levy, in a new report. The Future of the BBC (PDF) will be presented in the House of Commons later today. It argues that there’s a need for major changes to the way the corporation is funded and governed. Everyone who owns a television in the UK is currently required to pay the licence fee which funds the majority of the BBC activities. The committee admits that the BBC makes “a valuable contribution to many people’s lives as the…

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Booking Now for iOS comes to Europe with the promise of simplifying last-minute accommodation booking

Booking.com has today announced the launch of its Booking Now app for iOS users in the UK, following its launch in the US and Canada in January. Available to download from the App Store now, the updated Booking Now app lets travelers book last-minute accommodation in just two taps. More than simplicity though, it also offers a tailored booking experience that personalizes real-time search to find properties that match the user’s “unique traveller profile,” the company said. More bookings equal more personalized matches. As you’re swiping your way around the available matches and options, any that particularly stand out can…

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Fleet of 40 ‘driverless pods’ to hit the UK’s footpaths later this year

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A trial run of 40 LUTZ Pathfinder driverless pods will take to the streets paths of Milton Keynes in the UK later this year, according to the ‘UK’s innovation center for Intelligent Mobility,’ better known (perhaps) as the Transport Systems Catapult. The first of the pods will be unveiled at a government launch event in London today, and when they arrive will be the first self-driving vehicles to work on public footpaths. Each pod can carry two passengers and will come equipped with routing and sensor technology from the University of Oxford’s Mobile Robotics Group. The info panel for a driverless pod showing the speed (left and…

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CoinJar launches Hedged Accounts to offset Bitcoin currency fluctuations for users

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CoinJar, a platform for buying, selling and managing your Bitcoin, has announced the launch of Hedged Accounts today in a bid to make the cryptocurrency attractive to more users by eliminating concerns about currency fluctuations. It’s no secret to anyone that since the currency’s rise to a valuation of over $1,000 per Bitcoin and subsequent fall to around $216 where it is today (correct at time of writing), it has been viewed as a somewhat unstable investment opportunity. CoinJar’s Hedged Accounts are hoping to fix that by allowing users to fix the price of Bitcoin against a currency of their choice…

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UK spy agency GCHQ unlawfully shared NSA internet surveillance data, rules court

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GCHQ, the UK intelligence agency, unlawfully accessed millions of personal communications collected by the NSA, the Investigatory Powers Tribunal (IPT) has ruled today. The Tribunal is the only UK court with the power to oversee GCHQ, Mi5 and Mi6. This is the first time it has ever ruled against one of the intelligence and security services. The court found that the intelligence sharing between the US and UK agencies prior to December 2014 was unlawful because the rules governing UK access to the NSA’s PRISM and UPSTREAM programmes were secret. The existence of both programmes was not known until the…

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Troubled local services site SkillPages has been acquired by Bark

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We last wrote about SkillPages, the Irish startup that connected people with local service providers, when it redesigned its iOS app in March last year. Since then the company had a troubled time. It shut abruptly before Christmas with $27 million (€24 million) in debts and a liquidator was appointed. But there’s now some good news – Bark, a British marketplace for service professionals, has acquired SkillPages for an undisclosed amount. Andrew Michael, Bark’s co-founder, a serial entrepreneur who sold his previous businesses, LiveDrive and FastHosts, for close to $230 million, told TNW that he is in discussions with SkillPages’ 36 employees.…

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The BBC’s Doctor Who coding game is launching for Android and iOS tablets today

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The BBC has updated its online game The Doctor and the Dalek with four new levels, and is launching free iPad and Android tablet versions of the Doctor Who-themed title. Developed as part of the BBC’s Make It Digital Initiative last October, the idea behind the game is to introduce players to the world of programming. The Doctor and the Dalek is based on a stand-alone story from franchise writer Phil Ford, and follows the newly regenerated Twelfth Doctor in a dangerous new quest. The Doctor will need several new abilities to overcome his enemies in the new levels, which can…

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BT promises 500Mbps broadband across the UK but it could take a decade to arrive

BT
UK telecoms provider, BT has announced plans to deliver broadband speeds of up to 500Mbps to homes and small business across the UK. It says it’ll achieve that by using G.fast, a standard for local loops shorter than 250 meters which can offer speeds of up to 1Gbps. The company will begin testing G.fast in two pilot locations this summer with broader deployments expected to start in 2016/17 if the trials are successful. The bad news is that BT says the plan could take up to a decade to complete. The pilot schemes will take place in Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire and Gosforth, Newcastle with…

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Sky plans to launch a mobile voice and data service in the UK through a partnership with Telefónica

Sky has today announced that it will begin offering mobile voice and data services to customers for the first time following an agreement with Telefónica UK. The partnership means that the service will run via wholesale access to Telefónica’s mobile infrastructure and services across the country. The first services aren’t due to be made available to customers until next year, though. The move itself makes a lot of sense; while Sky is primarily known for its TV services in the UK, it also offers broadband and landline telephone services, as well as a number of digital offerings available to its customers via…

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Sky to block online porn by default in the UK

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UK ISP Sky has announced in a blog post that it will block pornographic content on its broadband service by default, in an effort to protect children from visiting unsuitable sites. Going forward, Sky Broadband Shield, the company’s content permission tool, will be set to ‘on’ for all users, unless they opt out. Once the tool is activated, those who wish to view adult content will need to log in and adjust their Sky Broadband Shield protection settings or turn it off manually in order to view filtered sites. Users who don’t want to use Sky Broadband Shield can set…

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