Breakfast briefing: SkyDrive updated, RealPlayer’s back
The top stories today in the tech world include the return of RealPlayer, a Canon camera recall, SkyDrive update and an intriguing look at Microsoft’s Metro naming problems.
Microsoft updates SkyDrive, adds Android app
Microsoft has updated SkyDrive, giving it a Metro-style look (yes, we know it’s not called that anymore) and integrating it into Outlook.com, the webmail replacement for Hotmail. It now features a search tool to make it easier to find files, a “contextual toolbar” with common commands depending on what type of file you’re working with, and new sorting options – something that users have apparently been demanding. “We believe that your files are not just bits to be synced — and they’re certainly not to be scanned to serve advertising,” Microsoft added, taking a dig at rival Google.
The Windows and OS X versions will update this week, while an Android app will arrive in a few weeks. Microsoft added that Outlook.com had already won 10m users.
RealPlayer makes a comeback
In the least welcome comeback since Status Quo’s eighth farewell tour, RealPlayer has landed on Android. Yes, that’s auto box-ticking, impossible to remove RealPlayer, scourge of Windows PCs circa 1998.
The press release promises a player that “eliminates the need for multiple players and apps to browse your music; play your videos; get your photos; and connect and share on Facebook, Twitter and other social media,” from “one of the most recognised media player brands in the world”. Which is an interesting use of the word “recognised”.
Canon recalls more EOS 650D cameras
Canon has expanded a recall of EOS 650D cameras due to a chemical fault in the rubber grips that can cause a rash. The company said the presence of “zinc bis” that turns rubber grips white was caused by using higher quality chemicals in the production process, and Canon said camera owners should check their serial numbers to see whether their equipment was affected. “It is possible for zinc bis, in the small amount found in the camera grips, to cause allergic reactions, such as a rash, when it comes in contact with skin of sensitive persons,” the company said.
Steve Jobs’ home burgled – but it was “totally random”
A thief stole $60,000 in “computers and personal items” from the home of Steve Jobs, but doesn’t appear to have realised whose gadgets he was stealing, with police saying: “the best we can tell is it was totally random.” A 35-year-old was arrested for the crime, a Californian newspaper reported.
EU wants 85% of ewaste recycled by 2019
New EU ewaste rules have come into force, requiring 45% of electronic equipment to be recycled by 2016, and 85% by 2019 – an improvement on the third of gadgets currently recycled. The regulations will require retailers to take back small electrical equipment to be recycled.
Dumping ‘Metro’ marks Microsoft’s descent into Newspeak
What’s Windows 8’s touch interface called today? Who knows, but we’re not the only ones worried that the lack of a firm name will make it difficult for consumers to get to grips with. Over at The Guardian, Matthew Baxter-Reynolds – who’s had to make numerous changes to a book he’s writing on the subject thanks to Microsoft’s indecision – argues that Microsoft has created an Orwellian nightmare. “At the end of all of this, people who want Microsoft to succeed are hamstrung because we can’t go out there and evangelise the technology. The lack of a name is killing us.”