Breakfast Briefing: Google’s mystery event, iTunes Match data spike and sick hospital PCs

This morning’s top stories include a spoiler event from Google on the same day as the Windows Phone 8 launch, iTunes Match blamed for 3G data spike, a glossy look inside Google’s data centres and the mountain of unused Bitcoins.

Google’s spoiler for Windows Phone 8 launch

The next few days will be hectic enough, with major launches planned from Microsoft (Windows 8 and Surface) and Apple (iPad mini, possibly).

Now Google is getting in on the action after announcing an Android event on 29 October, the same day Microsoft is to launch Windows Phone 8 on devices from Samsung, HTC and Nokia.

There are few details on Google’s planned spoiler in New York, but Wired notes that it’s almost a year since the company announced the Galaxy Nexus, and an update could be in the offing.

iTunes Match causing iPhone 3G data spikes?

The Guardian claims that iPhone users who’ve upgraded to iOS 6 are suddenly getting a nasty surprise in their data bills.

The report claims that some users have seen their monthly data consumption rise from only a few hundred megabytes to several gigabytes since upgrading their iPhones, with iTunes Match fingered as the likely culprit. The service allows users to download copies of their own music from Apple’s cloud, but The Guardian claims “some users have found iTunes Match downloads continue if they have started in a Wi-Fi zone but then move away and get a mobile data connection”.

Expect Apple to announce this is a “feature” shortly…

Bitcoins stuffed under virtual mattress

ArsTechnica reports on a fascinating study of the Bitcoin virtual currency, finding that 78% of the currency is lying in dormant accounts.

“Mathematician Dorit Ron and Adi Shamir (the ‘S’ in the widely used RSA cryptography scheme) arrived at that finding by downloading the entire Bitcoin history and following the trail of some 180,000 transactions,” Ars reports. They found that just over 7 million Bitcoins were stashed in dormant user accounts, with an overall value in excess of $82 million.

We’re rooting down the back of the PC Pro sofa to see if there are any hidden Bitcoins in among the pizza crusts and SD cards…

Hospital computers sick with viruses

US hospital PCs are often riddled with viruses, MIT’s Technology Review reports. A US government study found hospital PCs were particularly vulnerable to viruses because the equipment manufacturers don’t allow them to be updated, even for security patches.

“In a typical example, at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, 664 pieces of medical equipment are running on older Windows operating systems that manufactures will not modify or allow the hospital to change – even to add antivirus software – because of disagreements over whether modifications could run afoul of U.S. Food and Drug Administration regulatory reviews,” the study found.

The infections can have serious implications for patient care. “At one point, [it] slowed down fetal monitors used on women with high-risk pregnancies being treated in intensive-care wards,” the report claims.

Microsoft extends Office 365 range

Microsoft is to release two additional versions of its Office 365 online work suite, bring the total number of flavours to six. The company has already revealed details of four packages, but will include additional packages for businesses with Office 365 Small Business and Office 365 Midsize Business. According to ZDNet, the services should be available from mid November, with the Midsize package aimed at companies with between 11 and 150 employees.

Pictures of the day

Google has published an inside look at its server locations and the technology and people that make the company’s data centres work. It might sound as dull as a roomful of servers, but the photos on Where the Internet Lives taken by Connie Zhou are actually worth the entrance fee alone. There are also Street View walk-throughs showing the inside and outside of the Lenoir data centre in North Carolina for those interested in energy-efficient cooling infrastructure.


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