Breakfast Briefing: Office RT for work, Apple’s hidden apology, how NYC coped without mobiles

To start the week, we have a shock for Office RT users wanting to work, Apple under fire for hiding its Samsung apology and tax issues, and the arrival of smartphone-controlled street lighting.

Breakfast Briefing: Office RT for work, Apple's hidden apology, how NYC coped without mobiles

How much is Office RT for work?

It may come as a wee shock to Surface RT owners that the Office 2013 suite bundled with their shiny new tablet isn’t actually licensed for use in the, ahem, office. As our own stable of writers have pointed out several times, the Office apps bundled with RT may not be used for “any non-profit, commercial, or other revenue generating activity”.

ZDNet’s resident Microsoft fanatic, Ed Bott, has thus delved into how much it will cost to use those apps for professional purposes. The good news is that, according to Bott, “If your organisation buys Office as part of a Volume License program, you are specifically exempted from that portion of the Office 2013 RT licence” and you can use your Office RT apps for whatever (legal) purpose you so choose.

“But what if you’re not a volume license customer?” Bott asks. “In that case, you need a commercial license to a version of Office 2013 – which isn’t on sale yet.” Ah.

Apple’s hidden apology

Eagle-eyed techies on the Reddit forums have noticed that Apple isn’t exactly playing ball with a court order that forced the company to carry an apology to Samsung on its website.

It seems no matter how tall your screen is, a piece of JavaScript added to the site will ensure that the main photo on the homepage is stretched sufficiently to push the Apple mea culpa off the screen, forcing users to scroll down to see it.

The statement is published here for anyone who remains curious.

How New Yorkers coped without smartphones

The New York Times’s Bits blog has a fascinating glimpse into how New Yorkers coped without their smartphones during the hurricane-induced blackouts last week. “On the scale of hardships suffered in the storm and its aftermath, these were more like minor annoyances,” the Times reports. “But the experience of being suddenly smartphoneless caused some to realise just how dependent on the technology they had become.”

The Times claims bars suddenly became the focal point for local communities. “They were crucial spots where neighbourhood residents could exchange bits of news and information gleaned from others and picked up on trips beyond the dark zone,” the paper reports.

Some queued patiently for payphones, trying to glean information from friends and relatives who were still connected. One New Yorker only found out that it would take another three days to restore the power from a French tourist in the payphone queue, who’d been given the details from their family in Paris.

Others took more drastic action. “We haven’t left each other in five days because we’re afraid of not being able to find each other again,” one New Yorker said. “Without cell service, who knows if we would?”

Dotcom: pay for broadband by suing US government

The self-publicist and alleged copyright abuse baron, Kim Dotcom, has called on New Zealand to fund a free broadband service for Kiwis by suing Hollywood and the US government. Since January, the German-born internet businessman has been fighting extradition to the US over the Megaupload file storage site, which industry officials say was a file-sharing service. The Guardian reports his claims that his arrest and detention was illegal and that by taking legal action against the US and New Zealand could fund additional fibre cabling.

Smartphone controlled street lights coming to London

That flickery street lamp bothering you? There’s an app for that. Well, sort of. The Verge reports how City of London officials are set to roll out 14,000 lamps that can be controlled by an iPad app to improve power efficiency, with options for adjusting output depending on the time of day.

The lights would also be able to report a fault or blown bulb, which is really the least you’d expect for a £3.25 million investment, but the lights are touted as saving £420,000 in electricity bills.

Apple pays 2% on overseas earnings

Apple is the latest tech company to come under scrutiny for its magical tax policies, after figures showed the company paid less than 2% tax on its earnings outside the US. Compared to the UK’s headline rate 24%, Apple’s 1.9% contribution is iTax mini, although there is no suggestion the company has broken any laws. The news from the BBC comes as Amazon and Google prepare to face a public accounts committee today to explain their own tax policies.

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