Breakfast Briefing: Kindle ebook row, Microsoft’s heir apparent, Windows for toddlers
In this morning’s technology round-up, how Amazon threw the book at a customer, a profile of Microsoft’s heir apparent, how a three year old mastered Windows 8 and the scientists planning on using email to distribute vaccines.
Amazon removes books from customer’s Kindle
A Kindle user has allegedly had her ebook reader wiped clean, after Amazon accused her of breaking its terms. In a series of emails, the company didn’t specify what her crime was, saying: “We have found your account is directly related to another which has been previously closed for abuse of our policies”. The company didn’t only close her account, it revoked all Kindle books, too.
In the final email, the customer service rep from Amazon says: “We wish you luck in locating a retailer better able to meet your needs and will not be able to offer any additional insight or action on these matters.”
The whole tale is recounted on the blog of Martin Bekkelund, a Norwegian IT worker.
In a statement sent to PC Pro, Amazon suggested that it wasn’t to blame for the missing books, claiming that “account status should not affect any customer’s ability to access their library”.
Sinofsky: Microsoft’s heir apparent?
CNet has a fascinating – and not entirely flattering – profile of Microsoft’s Windows chief Steven Sinofsky. The Steve Jobs lookalike is portrayed as a man who shouldn’t be crossed. His power struggle with former chief software architect Ray Ozzie resulted in Ozzie’s resignation, and he’s taken corporate in-fighting to “a new level, thriving by marginalising rivals while running the company’s most profitable businesses, Windows and Office”.
CNet concludes that he’s now in prime position to succeed Steve Ballmer – not only for the impressive way he’s revived the Office and Windows product lines (although Windows 8 may yet blot his CV), but because he’s outlasted most of the other internal contenders: namely Ozzie, Jeff Raikes, Robbie Bach, Kevin Johnson and J Allard.
Three year old finds Windows Start screen
Admins might be worried about how easy it will be for switchers to get to grips with Windows 8 and its new interface, but if you’re starting from scratch it’s easy enough for a toddler. Business Insider has a video showing a three year old putting the new OS through its paces – turns out all IT teams will need is a patronising attitude and staff without any former knowledge of Windows.
Meanwhile, Ars Technica has a more sober look at Windows RT, with a feature highlighting the OS’s roots in older version of Windows while highlighting the changes, especially from a developer’s point of view.
The Pirate Bay goes green by moving to the cloud
We’re used to enterprise IT firms espousing the benefits cloud computing, but now The Pirate Bay has become an unlikely advocate. The controversial site has moved its servers to the cloud, slashing its energy use – it now claims to be the “greenest” site in the Alexa top 100 ranking. Cloud hosting has other benefits, TPB told TorrentFreak: by keeping the site “portable” it’s harder to take it offline.
Windows 8 gets midnight launch at PC World
Microsoft and Dixons are trying to capture a little of Apple’s retail magic – and by that we mean desperate customers lining up at midnight to be the first to get a product and take part in the “launch experience”. If you’re so inclined, the PC World/Currys – we’re not sure which it is anymore, either – on Tottenham Court Road in London will be open until midnight on Thursday to celebrate the arrival of Windows 8. There will be a magician, a 60in touchscreen, prizes, and free cups of tea. Now that’s a party. A children’s party, but a party all the same.
Blame Twitter for expensive desktop clients
Tweetbot for iOS has many fans here in the office, and we were eagerly awaiting the desktop client for the Mac. It finally arrived last week with a startling $19.99 price tag. The makers have been speaking to Ars Technica to explain that a) it’s not actually a lot for desktop software, and b) it’s Twitter’s fault. There are some interesting points made, but the send-off sums up a lot of people’s feelings on the issue: “From what they said it sounds like they feel a consistent user experience is of paramount importance. We and many others disagree, unfortunately it’s their network and they can do whatever they want.”
Ebola by email
The man who sequenced the human genome has turned his sights towards spreading vaccines using 3D biological printers. The New Scientist dreams of emailing vaccines around the world, “as long as you have a printer that can deposit a repertoire of nucleotides, sugars and/or amino acids where they belong, and link them up chemically.”
It goes on to paint the picture: “If everyone, or maybe every local clinic, had a bio-printer, a mass email of the vaccine specs should take care of a novel pandemic, or bioterror attack – or maybe even measles – in minutes. Simply print, and inject.”
If that sounds wonderful, bear in mind it could also be used in the opposite way. “Antivirus software takes on a whole new meaning when you can spam-email Ebola or the 1918 flu.”
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