Bull photobomb extreme

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A man was photobombed trampled while trying to take a selfie of a raging bull at the Fetes de Bayonne festival. 

The bull was menacingly running around a few feet behind the man who was desperately trying to get a selfie shot of himself and the angry horned animal.

The best thing about this story is that it was caught on camera for all to see. Don't worry, there's no blood but the bloke in question is clearly caught off guard (how that is possible, I'm not sure) and trampled by the animal. 

All in the name of Instagram.

How to screw up your network

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Friday was probably one of the hottest days of the year in the Downtime office, so it was no surprise when the network went down (probably due to the heat). "Hello mate we've got a weird one here," said the network engineer who was called out to fix it.

English: Screwdriver Italiano: Cacciavite 
"It's like someone's stuck a screwdriver in the network socket." Own up. Who went to the pub early?

The importance of punctuation on Twitter, a lesson learnt by the Associated Press

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The Associated Press learnt an important lesson about using correct punctuation within a 140 character Tweet.

Yesterday the news wire sent out a Tweet to inform the world that a Dutch military plane, carrying the victims of the Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 crash, had landed in Eindhoven.

Sadly, AP's Twitter handle sent out the following:

Downtime_MH17_Associatedpress_tweet.png

This awfully phrased Tweet sparked a fear that the plane carrying the bodies from MH17 had crash landed in Eindhoven.

Sigh.

Twitter was sent into a temporary frenzy thanks to the missing comma between 'crash' and 'lands'.

It was quickly followed by a clarification tweet nine minutes later.

Come on AP, didn't you guys ever read Eats, Shoots & Leaves?

Security firm supports ovine CCTV

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Downtime always like to see technology put to good use, and in this case CCTV security firm AlertSystems agrees.

After a report in The Daily Record, AlertSystems has come out in support of a farmer in Scotland who has installed a high-quality CCTV system to protect his 11 Valais Blacknoses worth an estimated £55,000.

For the uninitiated, the Valais Blacknose is a rare breed of sheep native only to Switzerland that the farmer had shipped to Moray, Scotland to set up the first of its kind breeding programme in the UK. 

The CCTV is aimed at ensuring nothing untoward happens to the prize flock, especially the award-winning ram, named King Kong. 

A spokesperson for AlertSystems said that with such "heavy investment" in livestock, the time was right to install a CCTV security system. 

NOT available on the app store

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A new hashtag has been created as a campaign to point out things in life that are NOT available on the app store, because "there isn't an app for everything".

#Notavailableontheappstore encourages people to place modified App Store stickers on things in the real world that aren't available digitally, as a reminder that "the most important things in life are not on the app store."

Caroline and Kayleigh at Computer Weekly took part by sharing tweets of their morning treat as well as shoebox care parcels about to be posted out to the British Forces.

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Here are some more Tweets from the hashtag:

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The campaign has been created students from Hyper Island - an educational body which is shaking things up in the digital and tech world.

Hyper Island which was set up in Sweden and has offices in Manchester, immerses students in digital and data strategy, as well as art direction, e-commerce, self-leadership and problem solving.

Both post-grad and mature students are given real briefs from major brands so they can experience learning on the job, and 9 out of the 10 students get job within six months of graduating.







Microsoft targets crap programmers

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By tracking eye movement, researchers at Microsoft reckon they can identify if someone has accidentally introduced a bug in software they are developing.

Analysis-approach.jpg

Microsoft researcher Andrew Begel said: "My idea is that if the software developers are writing the code and causing the bugs, we should measure attributes of the developers themselves. If we can figure out what cognitive or emotional issues lead to buggy code or lowered productivity, we can try to intervene and stop them from causing developers to make mistakes in the first place."

Amichai Shulman, CTO Imperva reckons that the industry could take pieces of this research to understand better why mistakes are happening and when, and how to avoid them. "However, I don't think that this is by itself an effective approach to improving software in general and software security in particular," he said.

So for a complete solution, Downtime recommends inventing a way to zap the offending developer.

No sex please, we're commissioning a survey

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silly season bananastock.jpgSummer's here, and it's time for Downtime to bring out its favourite picture of a skateboarding tortoise. Yes, the silly season is closing in.

Mobile phone comparison site TigerMobiles.com recently commissioned polling agency Carter Digby - to conduct a 'survey' that has allegedly found that the smartphone is killing off everybody's sex life... yours, mine, even Mrs Henderson at number 37's.

The rigorous 'survey', with a sample stretching to hundreds of thousands, conducted over many years, employing double blind techniques that was then extensively peer reviewed in leading academic journals ...

Wait, it was 1,500 people? Fair enough. Carry on.

The 'survey' found that 75% of couples sit in silence browsing social networks "on a night" ... whatever that means, whilst a "shocking" 40% turned down the "advancements" of their partner in favour of playing on their phone.

Even more horrifying, 74% said they got angry when someone interrupted them while using a smartphone, and the vast majority of dining room tables have achieved sentience and set up social media accounts.

No, you're not misreading, for I quote...

"85% admitted to texting or social networking the dinner table."

Coming soon, Terminator IKEA: the Rise of the Wobble.

Sorry, where were we? Oh yes, shagging. The 'survey' also found that 18% had checked their phone during sex, cause for panic, according to TigerMobiles marketing director Rob Myers.

"More couples are sacrificing their sex lives for addictive apps and the materialistic world of Facebook and Twitter. Fun between the sheets is disappearing down the drain for something that didn't even exist 10 years ago and the figures are shocking."

Cthulhu_and_R'lyeh.jpgDowntime would argue that when the human race is down to its last few hundred people, either through disease, war, climate change, our imminent subjugation by Cthulhu (pictured left) or whatever, you can worry about fun between the sheets disappearing down the drain.

Look, there are seven billion of us and rising. I'm not worried about a few bored people whose relationships were doomed anyway texting.

Maybe they were on Tinder, setting up their next casual fling. Did you think of that?

Help is at hand, thankfully, for the survey provided some tips for taking back control of your sex life from those terrible smartphones.

The tips basically amounted to:

1.       Use your phone as a sex toy (no not in that way) by sending cheeky texts or Snapchat messages. Super fun, and excellent blackmail leverage for later.

2.       Exercise some self-control and put the blooming phone away.

 Simple when you think about it.

Who cares about bytes when bites are all the news?

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Downtime received press releases last week about the volume of data that had been created online by the World Cup. They'll try anything to get a story those pesky PR peeps.

false teeth.JPGApparently first ten days of World Cup saw 32 terabytes of data generated. Press releases with the details followed by commentary from networking suppliers clogged up inboxes everywhere.

Downtime thinks PRs are barking up the wrong tree with that one. It is clear the real news was about 1 mega bite.


A grand for Google Glass? Gosh, movie piracy is getting expensive

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Google Glass was finally made available in the UK last week. Early adopters, or "explorers" to Google, will have to fork out £1,000 for the privilege of looking like a bit of a prat.

Predictably, the accompanying panic over privacy - that has already seen Google Glass banned in a number of bars in downtown San Francisco - has also swept across the Atlantic, with the news that the Cinema Exhibitors' Association has taken the decision to ban Google Glass from all cinemas because it is worried that the devices could be used to pirate films. Most pirated films sold come from recordings made in cinemas, by the way.

CEA chief exec Phil Clapp told the Independent that customers would be requested "not to wear" Glass into cinemas, "whether the film is playing or not".

The Vue cinema chain added that it would instruct patrons to remove Glass "as soon as the lights dim". Others are expected to follow suit.

But are the cinema owners making a lot of fuss over something that probably isn't that big of a deal?

A Google spokesperson spoke up in support of the glassy gizmo, saying the fact that its screen lights up like a Christmas tree when it is activated makes it a "fairly lousy" device for secretly recording movies.

That's a Google spokesperson. Calling their device functionality "lousy". On record. Teehee.

Anyway, it looks like it'd be fair to say that in this case, if the person sat next to you was set on piracy you'd probably know about it pretty quickly.

The other thing about Google Glass is that it can't record for longer than 45 minutes.

Now, with current blockbusters such as Captain America: the Winter Soldier clocking in at a bottom-numbing 136 minutes, we estimate that the Google Glass-wearing pirate would need to fork out £3,000 on equipment before he or she even got into the auditorium, and that's before the obscene mark up on popcorn, nachos, a bucket of cola and an actual ticket.

Look, it's not like movie piracy isn't a problem, and it's true that pirates are coming up with ever more creative ways to illegally record from cinema screens without detection, which we won't go into here because you might get ideas.

Moreover, just as we can all definitely agree that people who use smartphones in crowded cinemas should be subjected to cruel and unusual punishment, so there can surely be no argument that Google Glass is just another anti-social device that should be banned in cinemas.

But in light of Google Glass' technical limitations, concerns over piracy seem a tad misplaced, don't they?

Well, I guess it's not as if the movie industry has ever bothered to let logic stand in the way of a good old moral panic.

Inject some Britishness into your life

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English: A Union jack jacket.

English: A Union jack jacket. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

David Cameron recently said he wants us to be less "bashful" about our Britishness. 

So, despite Britishness being a largely subjective notion that embodies different characteristics for different people - which are constantly changing and evolving, alongside our societal norms and values (get to the point, Ed.) - Downtime decided to compile a few thoughts on how technology enthusiasts might display a bit of Britishness in their own lives.

To get the ball rolling, we suggest you kidnap Stephen Fry, Duct-tape him to a chair and force him to record a quintessentially British answer phone greeting on your mobile in his mellifluous, trademark received pronunciation. 

If he co-operates, give him a cup of Earl Grey and a rich tea biscuit. If he refuses, why not utilise a British-themed method of torture? Threaten to smear Marmite over his eyeballs and shoot Lea & Perrins up his nostrils, while playing the GoCompare jingle full-blast on a stereo.

If he's still reluctant, tweet "Millwall fans are POO POO HEADS!" from his Twitter account, throw him on the front lawn and run - fast. Then, film the ensuing assault on your iPhone before uploading the footage to Facebook as a nod to the charmingly British phenomenon of happy slapping.

Since you're now complicit in several high-profile crimes, you've no choice but to follow in the footsteps of eminent Brits Ronnie Biggs and Lord Lucan by scarpering abroad ASAP. The good news is that, once you've reached Puerto Rico and written your best-selling Penguin Guide to Kidnapping Stephen Fry, it'll be easy for you to dodge tax in true British style, like fellow Englishmen Gary Barlow and Jimmy Carr.

Now sit back in the sun, take a swig of Pimms and know that you've done Cameron and dear old Blighty proud - ideally to the sound of Elgar's Nimrod.








Hundreds of reasons for unique Twitter handle

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There are literally hundreds of reasons for ensuring a unique, slightly anonymous Twitter handle, a 60 year old radiator salesman has discovered.

He was reportedly bombarded with hundreds of abusive tweets after the Italy vs England football match in the opening round of the World Cup in Brazil.

Footie fans angered by former football player Phil Neville's commentary for the BBC, launched a barrage of complaints at the Twitter account @philneville.

Unfortunately, the recipient was Phil Neville the radiator salesman, and not Phil Neville the commentator, who was partly protected by his less obvious Twitter handle of @fizzer18. 

But the other Phil Neville, who has also been on the receiving end of messages from fans of the former footballer, felt sorry for his commentating namesake and tweeted a good luck message. 

Despite the complaints, the BBC has confirmed that Neville will remain in the commentator's chair, but Downtime suggests that he stays away from Twitter for a while. 

Canadian spammers politely request consent to spam

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Across the ocean in Canada, folks are getting ready for the implementation of a major new anti-spam law, which comes into effect from 1 July this year.

Under the terms of the law, Canadian companies who have already got your consent to email you have a 36 month grace period in which continued consent to email is implied.

But if they can get you to consent to receiving commercial emails before 1 July, the 36 month grace period no longer applies, and you will receive email until you choose to opt out.

To this end, businesses that happen to operate in Canada have begun sending a tide of emails requesting reconfirmation that it is okay to email, and it is starting to look, well, a bit like spam.

I really don't think the Canadians have thought this one through. But typically, they are being very polite about the whole thing.

Technology de-addiction centre opens on India

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The use of technology by youngsters in India has reached alarming rates.

A year-long study funded by the Indian Council for Medical Research last year on thousands of people between 18 and 40 years old in select urban communities across India showed an alarming rate of technology dependence.

Technology addiction is said to be the propensity to excessively engage in activities involving the smartphone, internet and social networking sites to the detriment of health, social life or mental state.
So mental health hospital, the National Institute of Mental Health & Neuro Sciences is opening a technology de-addiction center in Bangalore.

Downtime thinks that's a bit like holding a gamblers anonymous meeting in Vegas.

If you like this article please share it on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Reddit, StumbleUpon, Google plus, Instagram, Myspace, Pintrest, Whatsapp, Skype, Viber. No, on second thoughts don't.

Hodor! Hodor app lets you hodor while you hodor

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Through a heady combination of online piracy and softcore pornography, Game of Thrones recently became the most popular show in the history of HBO.

And alongside the diet of violence, zombies, softcore porn, violence, softcore porn, dragons and softcore porn served up by the show, many fans of the series have come to love Hodor, the gentle giant portrayed by Northern Irish actor Kristian Nairn, who is only capable of saying one word: "Hodor."

So much, so, it now emerges, that Hodor now has an app dedicated to him.

That's right, viewers who can't or won't cough up for Sky, but want to show their support in other ways, can now spend 59p (99 cents) on Hodor Keyboard, a keyboard-replacement app for Android devices that guarantees to render all the text you enter into hodor.

As a bonus, it supports all languages. Yes, I suppose it would. Anyway, Android fans are already describing it as the best dollar they've spent all week.

This blogger confessed to slight bemusement at first, but after a quick road test, delivered a stunning verdict: Hodor, hodor. Hodor hodor hodor; hodor hodor 59p hodor. Hodor! Hodor?

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Eat, sleep, breathe, order grub, repeat

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Not content with the spiralling levels of apathy and agoraphobia Amazon has propagated among a mass of torpid, troglodyte consumers in recent years, the company has released a grocery-purchasing app that lets you add items without having to prod the screen or type - because using opposable thumbs to make a grocery list is, like, so 2013.

Instead, Amazon Dash allows you to make a shopping list by shouting the required groceries into a phone like a gluttonous hermit suffering from Tourette's syndrome.

450576915.jpg

Alternatively, if that level of slothfulness makes you feel physically sick - or you just don't want your neighbours to hear you shouting "oranges" repeatedly at an ever-increasing volume when the app crashes seven times (which said neighbours construe as a weird, potentially fatal, fruit-based sex game) - you can also add items by walking around the kitchen and scanning them with a phone. Haven't you always wanted to simulate the brain-achingly sisyphean job of a supermarket cashier in your own home, only without getting paid? Well, here's your chance.

Just make sure you add a heavy coconut to the list. When you're too overweight to fit through the door, and scanning food has lost its edge, you'll need something solid to crack your skull in half and put an end to your miserable Howard Hughes-like existence.

Happy shopping!
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American government seeks sarcasm-busting software. That'll work

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Downtime spies an opportunity for British software developers. Our American cousins want help telling when we're taking the mickey on Twitter, the poor things.

According to the Washington Post a tender from the US secret service went out earlier this week on the Federal Business Opportunities website, looking for a software system to analyse social media.

A small part of this program, says the Post, must include the ability to detect sarcasm and false positives.

There are many, including a good number of us at Computer Weekly, who baulk at the very thought of giving American intelligence services even more power than they already abuse.

But, all thoughts of sarcasm aside, we can see an upside to this.

Consider the case of the accountant who lost his job and was forced through a lengthy and farcical trial after he posted a joke on Twitter in which he threatened to take out his frustrations on a small airport.

Or the Irishman who was held at Los Angeles airport for 12 hours and deported after agents read the term 'destroy America'  in the sense of 'get very drunk in America' to mean 'actually destroy America.'

Sarcastic software saves time, money and embarrassing PR screw ups.

The Post reports that the effort is unlikely to get off the ground as software systems are not yet advanced enough to fully grasp the various nuances of language or rapidly evolving slang terms, not to mention the sometimes yawning gaps between British and American English.

So we can rest easy knowing that for the time being, the security services probably won't be subjecting our finely-crafted online quips to the Sarcasmotron 3000, and nor will we be dragged from our beds in the dead of night by elite Navy SEALs after drunkenly live-tweeting Question Time [Speak for yourself! Ed.]

Right. I'll just stick this column online. Hope those sub-editors get their act together, or I'm blowing their Macs sky high! [You're fired.]

Fake Google Street View attack initiates police cost cutting

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We all know Theresa May has got it in for the Police after the recent dressing down she gave them. So news of Google Street View solving a fake murder will give her the opportunity to cut the numbers of Bobbies on the beat.

Yes just for a laugh, a garage owner in Edinburgh faked an assault while a Google Street View camera was driving by, as you do.

The police got alerted to it and visited the jokers responsible and gave them a telling off.

So Google Street View is now being looked at street by street to see if there might be some other evidence for unsolved crime.

This will save the government millions of pounds and the other advantage is that although technology can be corrupted it is not corrupt.

Well at least Google blurred out the face of the potential murderer just to give the police something to do.

The internet of things is making everything smart, stupid

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So the latest thing to help users buy more things is Amazon Dash - a grocery tool that connects to users' home Wi-Fi network and allows them to add items to their shopping list by simply saying it or scanning it.

"Say or scan items into your Dash, and then view the list on your desktop or mobile device to purchase and schedule delivery," says Amazon on its website.

There's more. "Dash is made to withstand busy households, so go ahead and grab it with flour on your hands to order more supplies,"

A March 2014 Gartner report estimates that the Internet of Things will include some 26 billion Internet-connected physical devices by 2020. By then, IoT product and service providers will also generate revenues worth $300bn, according to Gartner. $300bn!

IoT is already coming pretty thick and fast. There already are endless wearable devices and there are tools such as Hive -- the British Gas project that helps you manage central heating remotely on your smartphone - or the connected egg tray that tells you how many eggs you've got left at home.

And driverless cars, connected washing machines, connected refrigerators are all not too far away.

Downtime can't wait for a day when it can read the newspaper on its morning toast or when the cheese curls up back in the pack because there's too much of it already in the lasagna or when it gets a Facebook friend request from a fridge.

But then again, when Downtime staff flew to the French Riviera for a tech event, their fit-bit read: "Today, you've run 1032 miles." Connected washing machines? No thanks.

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Google pushes forward with its driverless car

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Google says:
"Just imagine: You can take a trip downtown at lunchtime without a 20-minute buffer to find parking. Seniors can keep their freedom even if they can't keep their car keys. And drunk and distracted driving? History."

Google started its self-driving car project almost a half decade ago. And this week, the tech titan released a video of how far it had come along, showing willing participants driving around in a prototype (see video below.)

And the technology world erupted.

Google says it has capped its prototype at a speed of 25mph, no steering wheel, two seats (with seatbelts), start and stop buttons, and a screen to show the route. 

But will it just remain a prototype with a hundred or so being released to a handful of excited geeks - just like with Google Glass? And where the world's infrastructure, society and laws are pulled into question if this piece of kit was to go on sale?
The Jetsons

The Jetsons (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


But right now, it's a bubble car. A very ugly, round, cartoon-looking vehicle. You can imagine it taking off from the ground and flying into space like something from an episode of The Jetsons. 

Google still has a long way to go to make it look sleek and sexy even if they plan to commercialise as a fleet of taxis rather than personal cars... it's about as far away from a black Mercedes as you can get.






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Scramble the bomb squad, here be PRs

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The delivery of a beeping metal box led to the evacuation of a building in Sydney and the deployment of the Australian bomb squad.

The delivery was made to the offices of online news site Ninemsn, which is partly-owned by Microsoft.

Journalists become concerned when they called other newsrooms and found that none had received a similar delivery, according to the BBC.

After ensuring the building was empty, the bomb squad scanned the metal box before forcing it open to discover that it contained nothing more than a copy of the latest Watch Dogs computer game.

The game's publisher Ubisoft apologised after it was informed that its ill-advised publicity stunt had backfired.

Downtime can only wonder at the fact that loud alarm bells did not go off when some PR person suggested sending a package looking and sounding like a bomb to a new site that does not cover games.

Ubisoft later said it had taken precautions to avoid a similar situation in the future, which hopefully included firing the PR company.

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