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June news round up

Posted by Joe McNamara on 2nd July 2013

UK infrastructure needs better security controls on suppliers, says ISC – 6th June

An investigation by Intelligence and Security Committee (ISC) revealed a number of weaknesses in the UK’s approach to investment in critical national infrastructure (CNI). In light of months of debate over the safety of its equipment, the investigation sought to confirm the potential risks posed by Huawei, Chinese telecoms equipment maker. Huawei was forced to neutralise its interests in the US, the world’s largest IT security market, after a congressional report ruled that the company posed a threat to national security. The ultimate finding of the ISC investigation was that a number of weaknesses undermine the UK’s approach to deploying CNI equipment and reviewing overseas suppliers. The report demanded an established risk assessment procedure and clearer lines of responsibility and accountability.

Apple announces iOS7 at WWDC – 10th June

After a cynical start, our resident gadget geek Sam Golden got his head around the goings on at WWDC 2013, Apple’s World Wide Developer’s Conference. We gleaned that one of the highlights was the launch of OS X Mavericks, a new operating system aimed at all the bohemians out there that just can’t stand clutter on their desktops. Apple has also given the MacBook Pro a bit of a re-skin, made some necessary updates to iCloud and, most importantly, announced iOS7. Yes, iOS6 was a disaster, and didn’t all the people who don’t like Apple because they make good products have a field day, deliberating getting lost in areas they knew well and taking to Twitter to moan about the maps. Well iOS7 looks like a decent upgrade and maps is one word that’s been avoided like the plague. A few words that have been banded around are: combined search and address bar for mobile Safari and Android-esque multitasking (Ooh they wouldn’t like that!). Basically, Apple and Android are becoming a bit like Labour and Conservative – both better than anything else, you’ll do well to find an awful lot between them (if that annoyed you, leave a comment, we like getting comments.)

Sony unveils PS4 at E3 – 10th June

Sony unveiled the PS4, announcing that the console will undercut the recently launched Xbox One by around $100. The notable differences, at the time, didn’t end there. Sony also pointedly mentioned that the PS4 would fully support second hand games, as opposed to Xbox’s proposed online authentication system that some commentators felt were restrictive. These selling points made it a successful launch for Sony, and the PS4, despite the Japanese company later backtracking somewhat on their promise that DRM would be fully supported. Actually, the decision to support game reuse is still at the discretion of the people that make them, which is fair enough.

Microsoft U-turn on Xbox One DRM plan – 19th June

And then Microsoft changes its mind. It’s cruel to laugh, but I work in tech PR; this is as good as when Newcastle got relegated. Basically, Microsoft realised that it had alienated some of its noisier customers with the proposed restrictions to be placed on second hand games for the Xbox One. I admit to being one of the people that they, for some strange reason, bothered to listen to. But, even Ian McKee, my gaming nemesis, and I agreed on one thing. Just because Microsoft made a bit of a mess of the Xbox One launch and started the cycle of people looking for problems rather than seeing the advantages of the new console, this was unnecessary. The new updates weren’t that ‘out there’, they were pretty similar to Steam. Most of us admit that’s the future, some of us just aren’t ready for it yet. Last time I checked, innovation wasn’t a process arrived at by clever people with clever ideas being overruled by a bloodthirsty mob of retro gaming enthusiasts that will fight the death of the disc to its inevitable, but regretful end.

Instagram Video: Facebook aims to cut back Twitter’s Vine – 21st June

Instagram’s photo-sharing service was enough to woo Facebook into parting with $1 billion to buy the rights last year, and it’s hard to believe that the social networking giant hasn’t backed this latest innovation all the way. Instagram has launched a video-sharing tool, which as The Guardian noted becomes a direct competitor for Vine. Well we don’t care about that, we’re just happy that there’s another neat way of sharing videos on Facebook, for all our clients that want to build Facebook communities. After all, video is one of the most shared and engaging types of rich media content flying across the cables and we all carry video cameras (smartphones) around with us nowadays, so why not?

Joe McNamara