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Podcast: The Computer Weekly Downtime Upload – Episode 23

In this week’s episode of the Computer Weekly Downtime Upload podcast, Ryan Priest rejoins the show to help this week’s co-hosts, Caroline Donnelly and Clare McDonald, take a light-hearted look at the past week in tech

In this week’s episode of the Computer Weekly Downtime Upload, Caroline Donnelly and Clare McDonald take over presenting duties, in Brian McKenna’s absence, and are joined by senior sub-editor Ryan Priest to help make sense of the tech stories that have caught their eye this week.

  • The discussion starts with a whistle-stop look at some of the biggest and most noteworthy stories to have graced this week, including Bill Goodwin and Sebastian Klovig-Skelton’s exhaustive investigation into Facebook’s privacy practices.
  • This leads on to a discussion about two separate, yet sizeable, outages that left web users across the globe unable to access some of their favourite websites and apps last week, and the marked differences in how the firms involved handled them, from a user communications perspective.
  • The Cloudflare outage took a number of websites across the globe offline for a brief period, and both during and after the event, its senior leadership team went to great lengths to keep users informed about what caused it and when and how it would be resolved.
  • However, when several Facebook-owned web entities, including WhatsApp, Instagram and Facebook, ran into technical difficulties, the firm was a lot less forthcoming about what had caused it.
  • The CW team then go on to discuss several seasonal events in the tech news calendar, including the annual IBM-Wimbledon tech showcase that sees Big Blue invite technology journalists to the tennis tournament each year to see how its products and services underpin the event.
  • Ryan also reveals details of how the technology underpinning the stage visuals used by Neneh Cherry as her backdrop during her Glastonbury set this year failed, which, in turn, revealed her (or at least her production team) to be (what the podcast team assumes) is one of the world’s last Windows XP users.
  • Clare kicks off a discussion about Christmas in July events, whereby retailers and big brands provide journalists with a sneak peek of the products they predict will be adorning people’s Christmas lists in five to six months’ time.
  • This leads on to a discussion led by Caroline about the forthcoming Amazon Prime Day event on 15-16 July, and some of the curious pitches this event sees the magazine receiving from the PR community, which this year includes one for DNA testing kits.
  • Sticking with the retail theme, Clare talks about her recent trip to Westfield, where she was treated to a walking tour around the Trending Store pop-up initiative that sees its operator process tens of thousands of data points from social media sites across the globe to decide which products it should stock.
  • Clare rounds off the discussion with an update on how Computer Weekly’s annual search for the UK’s most influential woman in tech is progressing, prompting Ryan to enthuse about TechUK president Jacqueline De Rojas’ recent appearance on BBC Radio 4’s Desert Island Discs.

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