Category Archives: Web-only news

China tightens rules for microblog users

Beijing authorities on Friday ordered Internet microblogs to require users to register with their real names, a tightening of rules aimed at controlling China’s rapidly growing social networks. An announcement posted online said all microblog companies registered in the capital had to enforce real name registration within three months. The rules, jointly issued by the Beijing government, police and Internet management office, apparently apply to all 250 million users of the hugely popular Twitter-like service, regardless of location, because its operator, Chinese Web portal Sina Corp., is headquartered in Beijing. Sina rival Tencent Holdings is based in the southern city of Shenzhen. It wasn’t immediately clear whether the company’s microblog service would have to comply with the same rules. China had more than 485 million Internet users as of the end of June, the most of any country in the world. The new rules explicitly forbid use of microblogging to “incite illegal assembly.” Public protests are illegal in China and are a concern for the Communist leadership

2010 in review

The stats helper monkeys at mulled over how this blog did in 2010, and here’s a high level summary of its overall blog health:

Healthy blog!

The Blog-Health-o-Meter™ reads Wow.

Crunchy numbers

Featured image

A helper monkey made this abstract painting, inspired by your stats.

A Boeing 747-400 passenger jet can hold 416 passengers. This blog was viewed about 9,200 times in 2010. That’s about 22 full 747s.

In 2010, there were 753 new posts, growing the total archive of this blog to 1142 posts. There were 18 pictures uploaded, taking up a total of 26mb. That’s about 2 pictures per month.

The busiest day of the year was February 3rd with 110 views. The most popular post that day was Pepsi drafts in Drogba and Torres for World Cup spoiler song .

Where did they come from?

The top referring sites in 2010 were,,,, and

Some visitors came searching, mostly for virgin blog, ecosia microsoft, wikileaks, method to control illegal file sharing, and tylenol poisonings.

Attractions in 2010

These are the posts and pages that got the most views in 2010.


Pepsi drafts in Drogba and Torres for World Cup spoiler song January 2010
1 comment


Microsoft-Backed Green Search Engine (Ecosia) Attacks Google December 2009


Case Study: Tylenol Poisonings (1982) – Proper crisis management lessons for Toyota to learn February 2010


Secret GSM mobile phone code cracked say Berlin hacker group – 3bn cell phones open to hackers December 2009


Eurostar cancels marketing activity and prepares 2010 rethink December 2009

Snapshot of global internet speeds revealed

A report based on analysis of huge amounts of net traffic has revealed the state of the internet around the globe. The data, from network giant Akamai reveals the average global net speed is only 1.7Mbps (megabits per second) although some countries have made strides towards faster services. The fastest broadband city in the world is Masan in South Korea. Even in South Korea, which tops the speed league table and is often perceived as enjoying super-fast broadband as the norm, the average speed is a relatively slow 12Mbps, with the average maximum hitting 33Mbps. The report looked for the first time at how mobile networks are holding up in the face of greater demand for data on the move. It found that 83 of 109 mobile providers offered speeds greater than 2Mbps, 33 achieved greater than 5Mbps and six reached beyond 10Mbps. The global mobile average varied greatly from just 105Kbps to 7.2Mbps, with both of these extremes measured on providers in Slovakia. Asia dominates the list of fastest wired cities with more than half of the top 100 cities in Japan. Only 12 US cities make the list. All the top twenty cites were in either Japan or South Korea, with the exception of Umea, in Sweden, which was ranked 18th. Other European cities in the top 100 included Baden-Baden in Germany, Wageningen in the Netherlands and Timisoara in Romania. The report also looked at where so-called attack traffic, such as phishing and spam, originated. Russia topped this league table with 12 percent of such traffic. Akamai delivers between 15 to 30 percent of all internet traffic. In the first quarter of this year, over 487 million unique IP addresses from 233 countries or regions connected to its network.

Russias Supreme Court: Web Sites Can’t Be Closed Because of Forum Posts

Online media outlets can only be shut down for extremist comments left on their forums if they fail to comply with official requests to delete the comments, the Supreme Court ruled Tuesday, RIA-Novosti reported. User posts on forums without moderation are to be treated the same way as live speeches on radio or television, for which the broadcasters cannot be held responsible, said Supreme Court deputy chief justice Vasily Nechayev. The ruling only covers forums of web sites that are registered as media outlets. Federal anti-extremist legislation allows courts to close media outlets that receive two warnings for extremist content, which includes promoting hatred based on ethnicity, social status and profession, as well as calling for the violent overthrow of the government. Promoting extremism is punishable by up to three years in prison and up to five years if done through the mass media. Prior to the Supreme Court’s ruling, authorities had the option of shutting down online media outlets for comments on their forums, even if the comments were not endorsed by the editors.

Last Saturday’s European song contest felt the economic pinch

A bit slimmer but still extravagant at 55, Europe’s biggest song contest Eurovision is scaling down its starry ambitions to a harsh new economic reality. Watched by some 124 million Europeans and staged by public broadcasters, the Eurovision song contest has seen its budget shrink by a quarter in 2010 and four countries have dropped out due to funding woes. NRK, the public broadcaster from host nation and last year’s winner Norway, has sold its rights to the World Cup to a rival to finance the pop festival and signalled it would not have the cash to stage another show if Norway wins again. The Czech Republic, Montenegro and Andorra have dropped out of the competition altogether, while Hungary decided not to enter a contestant but will still air the show. NRK said it will spend NOK 211m (EUR 26m) to put on the gala, which has grown in past years and now includes three nights of televised competition – two semi-finals and a final last Saturday.

Apple iPad ready to hit UK streets

Jake Lee knew he would have a long, cold night ahead – but wasn’t troubled: the 17-year-old from Theydon Bois, Essex had his father’s thick coat – plus the assurance of being the first to buy an Apple iPad at the company’s Regent Street store in London when it opens its doors at 8am tomorrow.

“I didn’t order online because I wanted to get the experience of buying it, of being in the queue,” said Lee, who has been saving from his part-time job after school “for months” to be able to afford the £429 low-end version.

Yet judging by the length – or brevity – of the queue outside the store, which by mid-afternoon comprised just five people, Apple’s latest offering – a 9-inch touchscreen tablet computer operated like its hit iPhone – is not drawing the crowds in the same way as previous product launches, which attracted scores of patient buyers.

However, online demand has apparently been strong: Apple was this week warning people who ordered iPads through its website that delivery may be put back to 7 June. It has already delayed the international launch of the iPad, which Steve Jobs showed off in January, by a month after strong sales in the US used up production capacity. So far it has sold more than 1m of the machines, which means it is already the single largest maker of tablet computers this year – capturing a market that Bill Gates, of Microsoft, tried and failed to create and corner in 2001.

Sales in the US have outstripped expectations , where the 1m mark was reached only 28 days after the 2 April launch, compared with 74 days for the iPhone.

Peter Buckley, the British author of the Rough Guide to the iPad, who has been using a US-bought model for the past five weeks, says that while it cannot replace a laptop machine for producing content, it is an ideal machine for a new era of “sofa computing”.

Critics have focused on the price, which ranges from £429 to £699, and point out that “netbook” computers with full keyboards are available for about £350.

There has also been criticism of Apple’s use of the Chinese electronics manufacturer Foxconn, where 10 people have apparently committed suicide this year due to work pressure. Simon Middleton, a brand expert, said: “I think we need to call on Apple to take the leadership role in its sector and to form a coalition of companies who would specify, monitor and maintain the highest standards of worker conditions: and to insist that the suppliers they deal with comply.” Foxconn workers claim that they have to work up to 15-hour shifts, and that the company has put up a huge safety net around the factory to prevent roof suicides.

Rival companies are also looking to build on Apple’s lead by launching their own tablet machines: the Joojoo, made by the Thailand-based Fusion Garage, launched in April, while HP is expected to launch models later this year using Palm’s WebOS software, having acquired the company last month. Other companies including Archos are also expected to launch tablets built on Google’s Android or Chrome software.

Buckley says that the success of the rivals “will depend on how quickly software developers feel compelled to develop apps for it. The draw of the iPad is partly to do with Apple’s design – but also that developers are working to write software for the platform.”

The success of the iPhone has accelerated as its App Store, opened in July 2008, has grown to offer more than 180,000 third-party applications, which have had more than 4bn downloads.

For the iPad, many have been rewritten to take advantage of its larger screen – including magazines such as Condé Nast’s Wired and GQ magazines, which have special £2.99 iPad electronic editions. The US version of the iPad Wired sold 24,000 copies in its first day, generating $120,000.

While those figures were being announced, Chris Thompson, a motor racing memorabilia dealer from Epsom, was taking his place at the end of the iPad queue. Why wait? “Well, patience is a virtue,” he replied. “I’ve come for the atmosphere. It’s more fun being outside here than sitting at home looking out the window waiting for a van to come.”

Salem’s Lot – British Telecom (BT) tells Welsh village pensioner she can have broadband… for £150,000

With its social networking websites, email and blogs, the Internet appears to have brought the world closer together. Unless, it seems, you happen to live in the Welsh village of Salem. For 71-year-old resident Beverley McCartney has been told that to install broadband at her home would cost her more than £150,000

The sum does not include a monthly subscription and would have to be paid prior to any online shopping occurred. Yesterday Mrs McCartney said it was unacceptable that she should be denied broadband access just because she lives in a small village. Just days after BT announced huge profits, it emerged that the company told the pensioner it would cost her £129,613.54 plus VAT to connect her house near Llandeilo in Carmarthenshire.

The pensioner said today: ‘I’m not on top of a mountain in the middle of nowhere – it’s rural, but not a wilderness. ‘It’s outrageous. I thought it was ludicrous in view of their profits. I can only laugh otherwise I’d probably burst into tears.’ BT had previously told Mrs McCartney the firm was unable to connect broadband – but wrote to her last week saying it could. The company said in ‘very rare’ cases exceptional charges would be imposed.

Mrs McCartney said: ‘I phoned BT and said surely this is a typing error and the girl said: “No, there’s been no mistake, other people have had bills for much more than this.” ‘I live three miles out of Llandeilo but there’s 50 odd houses in Salem and I’m quite sure they’d like broadband too. But I couldn’t afford £2,000, let alone £150,000.’ Last year Prince Charles warned that homes and business in the countryside risked being left in ‘broadband deserts’.

An estimated two million people are unable to access a fast internet connection and the Prince said isolated communities, which already struggle to make a living, face an ‘immense handicap’ without the ability to promote their goods or download information through websites and email. Schools, doctors’ surgeries and other essential services are also suffering after being left in the internet ‘slow lane’, he said, and if the rural economy fails as a result, Britain’s countryside will be full of ‘ghost communities, populated by little more than second-home owners’.

Last week David Cameron appointed Ed Vaizey to be the minister in charge of the Digital Economy Act, which was passed just before the General Election. The controversial Bill seeks to curb online piracy, among several other major policies, all with the aim of stimulating the UK’s digital economy Yesterday a BT spokesman insisted it was fair to charge Mrs McCartney the vast sum for broadband. He said: ‘If it’s just one individual person and it requires upgrading the network for one person, no company would cover that.

‘There can be very rare cases where additional charges need to be applied because of an exceptional amount of work required to the network in order to provide service. ‘These charges reflect the additional line plant and equipment needed to provide broadband to a particular location.’ He added: ‘BT is making a multi-billion pound investment in its UK network and is continuing to work with the Welsh Assembly to find solutions for the relatively few areas in Wales still unable to access a broadband service.’

He said the company worked to connect previous ‘not-spots’, helping residents get online – but added Salem was not classified as not-spot. He said: ‘We’ve been working on broadband ‘not-spots’ but it requires huge amounts of engineering work.’

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Imagine YouTube for Traders – Reuters Insider set to launch

Thomson Reuters is trying to change television. Its new product, Reuters Insider, is a Web-based video service that captures myriad streams of information produced by the company’s reporters and 150 partners. The service, which will begin Tuesday, is something like a You Tube for the financially interested, albeit one that is available only to Reuters subscribers, who pay as much as USD 2,000 a month. Using the main window of the service, called Channel One, subscribers can navigate by sector, date, markets or region, or apply filters to create their own personalized channels. Thomson Reuters, which was formed in a merger in 2008, creating a USD 30bn behemoth in financial news and information, is making a big bet on Insider, about USD 100m. Making such a big bet on video, Reuters is acknowledging that professionally generated text — no matter how relevant, no matter how actionable — just isn’t going to get it done anymore. By creating a site built on not only their nascent video efforts, but also user-generated video content from inside the walls of its own service, the company is redefining expertise, news and the language of information

Twitter bans outside advertising

TWITTER has banned outside advertising in the stream of messages at the hot microblogging service

 Twitter’s own Promoted Tweets advertising service will remain in place, allowing companies and others to place 140-character-or-less messages known as “tweets” at the top of a page of search results. “Aside from Promoted Tweets, we will not allow any third party to inject paid tweets into a timeline on any service that leverages the Twitter API,” Twitter chief operating officer Dick Costolo said in a blog posted yesterday, referring to its application programming interface. A prime reason for the ban is to prevent ads from marring the “unique user experience” at Twitter of real-time streaming comments, Costolo said. “A third party ad network may seek to maximise ad impressions and click-through rates even if it leads to a net decrease in Twitter use due to user dissatisfaction.” Twitter, which has seen explosive growth since its launch four years ago, unveiled in April its Promoted Tweet plan to use advertising to turn its massive popularity into profit.