Who is this?

Technology Editor of Times of London until July 2010. Now swimming in the freelance shark pool, with abiding interest in games, gadgets and what it all means. If you're looking for product reviews, head elsewhere. Unless it's a really nice product. This is more of an attempt to sift out what matters from what doesn't. With a bit of gossip thrown in for good measure. I'm also learning to use Blogger as I go along, so please bear with me.

Thursday, 14 April 2011

The Cloud, it's up there, innit?

First post for bloody ages, owing to fatal combination of work commitments and general indolence, and I still haven't made this blog look pretty. Ah well.

Anyway, this press release came in and I wanted to share it in its entirety. It's pushing an event, of course, though the fact that the survey was carried out just round the corner from Google and Microsoft HQ in London adds a nice piquancy.

Here you go:

Is cloud computing a data centre in the sky?
People have head in clouds when it comes to smart phone security

London, April 14th 2011 - Research by Infosecurity Europe of 1000 commuters which aimed to find out if office workers understand geek speak has discovered that many are not as tech or security aware as they could be. When asked what cloud computing meant, a quarter thought it was a data centre in the sky. A fifth thought it was something that Microsoft advertises, 10% global warming caused by overheating computers and 10% guessed it was a trendy club in SoHo. Only 35% thought it was a new way to access IT services over the internet. The survey was conducted in the run up to Infosecurity Europe the number one dedicated Information security event which takes place next week on 19th – 21st April 2011 at Earls Court, London.

In answer to the question ‘What makes Smartphones smart?’ a third of commuters thought it was because they look really cool, 46% correctly said it was because they can run applications and also email and web browsers, 9% said it was because they use artificial intelligence. A small minority said it was because smartphones can tell the time in 137 languages or contain nanobots.

When asked what android is, a third said a new Science Fiction film, 10% a new robot invention and 17% said it was Darth Vader’s father! A miserable 4 out of 10 people correctly said it was an operating system for mobile phones.

Claire Sellick, Event Director for Infosecurity Europe said, “It was surprising that when asked what a computer cracker was, a fifth thought it was a new food for technology freaks, a third a powerful new computer chip, and a few said it was slang for a cocaine user. Only 46% gave the correct answer of someone who breaks into computer systems illegally. Those on the dark side of IT often prey on peoples ignorance.“

Many commuters also did not have a clue about malware either as a third thought it was a new form of advertising on mobile phones, and a fifth Clothes made from recycled materials. Only 30% said it was Software designed to harm their computer, and the rest said it was a viral infection.”

Sellick continued, “ A visit to the Infosecurity Europe next week will help business leaders and IT professionals gain a deeper understanding of information security issues and brush up on their geek speak as we have over 100 speakers in the free education program, 300 exhibitors and expect over 12,000 visitors to attend.”

When asked about how they use phones for work, 90% of people said they now have work related information, saved on their home computer or personal mobile and 81% said they kept sensitive information from their employers on their personal mobiles. Only 4 out of 10 said the data was protected by encryption. Half of people knew the password for their phone, whilst a third did not use one and 17% could not remember what it was.

When asked whose data they thought was most important to protect, four fifths said their own data and only 16% said sensitive customer data, and 5% their employer’s data.

Many found defining “Consumerisation of IT” tricky, the majority thought it was buying too many computers, iPhones, iPods, games, televisions and gadgets. A fifth were nearly correct in answering it was consumers who make their own IT. A few thought it was using up all their computers disk space. Just 22% gave the correct answer of “People using their own IT at work as it is better than their employers”.

A third thought ‘Virtualisation’, was a 3D game, 22% a new way of problem solving and 12% a form of hypnosis. A third correctly identified ‘Virtualisation’ as the creation of a virtual version of hardware, software or an operating system.

The survey of multi choice questions was carried out with 1000 business commuters at London Victoria, Kings Cross, Liverpool Street train stations in April 2011.

About Infosecurity Europe

Infosecurity Europe, celebrating 16 years at the heart of the industry in 2011, is Europe’s number one Information Security event. Featuring over 300 exhibitors, the most diverse range of new products and services, an unrivalled education programme and visitors from every segment of the industry, it is the most important date in the calendar for Information Security professionals across Europe. Organised by Reed Exhibitions, the world’s largest tradeshow organiser, Infosecurity Europe is one of five Infosecurity events around the world with events also running in Belgium, Netherlands and Russia. Infosecurity Europe runs from the 19th – 21st April 2011, in Earls Court, London. For further information please visit www.infosec.co.uk

Wednesday, 10 November 2010

Fable 3: does new update kill the bugs?

Lionhead Studios today issued a software update in response to hundreds of user complaints about bugs and glitches in the hit game Fable III. The 4MB download is available to all connected Xbox 360s, though it is not clear whether this will cure all the problems.

In the ten days since the game's release, hundreds of disgruntled Xbox 360 owners have flooded forums and review sites to air their grievances about software flaws in the game.

The most common complaint is that the game's save data becomes corrupt, forcing users to start all over again. For many players this means 13 or more hours wasted, and the frustration is boiling over.

On Amazon's UK website, a Mr Wetherall of Manchester, writes:
"The bugs I have experienced include buttons remapping on the face of the joypad... my butler's dialogue ceasing never to return... having to reset the game because the 'back' button ceased to appear on the map screen and when inside the games central 'sanctuary' hub, the dog disappearing and the breadcrumb trail disappearing."

Another Fable player describes on a forum how his character was stripped of all clothing and weapons and left naked in a village after 10 hours of play. "My character is naked, and bald, and all his abilities are gone except for fire."

So widespread are the complaints that Lionhead Studios, the developer of the game, has set up a special web form for users to log the bugs they discover.

One week ago, Lionhead's own development team posted:

"The team is currently working franticly [sic] on resolving most of these issues in the upcoming update. There is currently a fair number of items that will be addressed, although the number is very likely to increase more in the next few days as we wrap things up.

"Bugs reported by players out in the real world are being captured and entered into our database now. These issues, along with those from our internal test departments have been triaged & assigned out for fixing. We then hope to have this out of the door in approximately a few weeks."