EE phases out Orange brand in UK Orange stops signing up new customers online in Britain and, along with T-Mobile, closes its UK internet shopfront
The future is bright but it may not be Orange for much longer in the UK. One of the world's most successful brands after it was created on these shores 20 years ago, the mobile phone network is to phase out its distinctive presence in Britain.
Orange has stopped signing new customers online in the UK and, along with sister company T-Mobile, it has closed its British internet shopfront. Continue reading...
Doctors' surgeries to offer out-of-hours appointments and Skype checkups
One in 10 surgeries will take part in £50m scheme but Labour says things will continue to get worse for majority of patients
One in 10 surgeries are to offer patients the choice of seeing a GP at evenings and weekends, booking appointments online, receiving electronic prescriptions and having checkups over Skype, David Cameron will say on Monday.
The prime minister unveiled the £50m scheme in October amid fears that too many people are turning up to A&E when they cannot get appointments with their GP, putting too much pressure on emergency departments. Continue reading...
French president bans mobile phones from cabinet meetings François Hollande's government remains deeply unpopular as he struggles to revive France's stagnant economy
Keen to ensure his ministers are paying attention, the French president, François Hollande, has imposed a ban on mobile phones during cabinet sessions.
Ministers will now be forced to leave their portable devices at the door when they join the French government's weekly cabinet meeting, government spokesman Stéphane Le Foll told reporters. Continue reading...
Cashing in: why mobile banking is good for people and profit
Using digital finance to tackle development problems can improves lives, and offer innovative companies handsome rewards
Whether it is lack of access to water, energy or education, development professionals are well versed in the plethora of challenges facing billions of people. The traditional approach to solving these problems has been to think big in terms of the millennium development goals, government aid programmes, or huge fundraising campaigns.
But there are dozens of startups and larger companies with innovative ideas who are approaching these challenges in new ways using digital finance. The success of M-Pesa, which reaches 18.2m registered users in Kenya alone, shows (pdf) how digital finance can become rooted in a country's economy, but success stories aren't limited to Kenya. Digital finance has taken off in countries as diverse as Bangladesh, where BKash [development] serves 8m registered users with payments and remittances through a network of 76,000 agents, and Pakistan, where EasyPaisa, the third largest mobile money deployment in the world, reaches 7.4m users. Chidi Okpala, director and head of Airtel Money Africa, a mobile money service with an active base of 5m customers, sees mobile financial services "tapping in" to other areas like healthcare, agriculture, and education. Continue reading...
Time to dig out that long-lost dissertation A vast database of dissertations is making available texts that would otherwise remain buried in desk drawers or dead hard drives
Last week I resuscitated an old hard drive. I had to order some new screwdrivers, disassemble a bricked laptop on my kitchen table, gouge out its heart and load it into a new machine via a deeply dodgy, Shenzhen-built enclosure; but eventually I found what I was looking for: my dissertation. Written nearly 10 years ago, it's a hazy and outdated overview of artificially intelligent attempts at poetic creativity. Nevertheless, at 40,000 words it remains one of the most serious and lengthy things I've ever written, and worth saving from the e-waste stacks. At least for me, and at least for now, until the next crash.
There is so much text out there, and most of it remains forever unread. Joseph Stromberg, a science reporter for Vox.com, recently detailed his engagement with LAP Lambert Academic Publishing, an operation devoted to making available tens of thousands of theses and dissertations which would otherwise remain forever unread. They pay almost nothing, do no marketing, and ask the author to provide all legal and academic assurance. The book is simply added to a vast database, with pennies paid if anyone ever orders it. Which is unlikely. This is the reality of the long tail you're welcome to check out LAP Lambert, if you're looking for a copy of Contaminant Transport Modeling Through Saturated Porous Media or Manufacturing of a Rapid Solidification Materials and Fibers. Continue reading...
Public Wi-Fi is a risky connection to bank on: your tech questions answered
Encrypt to protect information, plus saving pictures from your phone, beating the hackers and having fun with Raspberry Pi
Q Someone told me that I shouldn't do my banking on public Wi-Fi. Why is that? Andy, via email
A Many people try to find free Wi-Fi when out and about, myself included, but public Wi-Fi networks have issues, mostly the inherent insecurity in having a network whereby you don't know the intentions of the connected parties and have no control over who can connect. Even if a Wi-Fi network has a password, that doesn't keep you safe from other people on the network. It's very simple for any of them to see what you're doing and, in some cases, steal personal information or passwords. However, you can do something about this. The easiest way to protect yourself would be to use a VPN (Virtual Private Network) to encrypt your connection. The easiest way to do this is to use a service like Cloak, Hotspot Shield, or StrongVPN. Continue reading...