Breakfast Briefing: Last call for £14.99 Windows 8 upgrade, illegal downloads fall, Yahoo’s home-working ban

Today’s top technology stories include a final call for cheap Windows 8 upgrades, how streaming services mean big changes for shared music, Yahoo criticised for banning teleworkers and Linux’s latest Windows spat.

Breakfast Briefing: Last call for £14.99 Windows 8 upgrade, illegal downloads fall, Yahoo's home-working ban

Last orders for £14.99 Windows 8 upgrade

Neowin has a timely reminder for anyone that bought a PC with Windows 7 installed between 2 June last year and 31 January this year: if they want to get the bargain basement upgrade to Windows 8 Pro they need to do it by tomorrow. Anyone who bought a Windows 7 machine in the run-up to Windows 8’s launch and beyond is entitled to a £14.99 version of the latest OS’s Pro upgrade – otherwise they’ll have to pay £189.99 for the privilege.

Illegal downloads decline 17%

Illegal downloads tumbled in 2012, with music fans switching to legal, albeit free, streaming alternatives. According to an annual report from market watcher NPD – covered by The Next Web – dodgy downloads declined 17% and sharing is going out of fashion. Files ripped from CDs owned by friends and family were down 44%, files swapped from hard drives down 25%, while digital locker downloads fell 28%.

Yahoo’s teleworking ban angers parents

Yahoo has come under fire for banning home working, with critics suggesting working mother and company boss Marissa Mayer is harming working parents – even after she had a nursery for her newborn child installed in her office.

“To become the absolute best place to work, communication and collaboration will be important, so we need to be working side by side,” a Yahoo memo on the subject stated. “That is why it is critical we are all present in our offices.” As The Independent reports, it’s a kick in teeth for home workers and parents trying to juggle careers and childcare.

Torvalds rants over Linux kernel changes

Just in case you’re ever tempted to suggest to Linux founder Linus Torvalds that it might be a good idea to add binary code into the Linux kernel so that it could run in secure boot mode more simply, think again. It’s likely to earn a tirade of abuse. ZDNet reports on a spat surrounding the UEFI keys required to make Linux work in Windows 8’s secure boot mode, and it’s safe to say that Torvalds isn’t playing ball.

Microwave – your 358m miles an hour time machine

The Register covers a new speed record for data transmission, with microwave technology beating fibre into a cocked hat. Low-latency data firm McKay Brothers has shown off a connection for financial services that can send a signal between suburban Chicago and New Jersey in only 8.23 milliseconds, compared with 12.98ms over a fibre-optic connection.

“Translating this to human terms, travelling the 816 miles in 8.23ms is equivalent to speeding along at a little over 358 million miles per hour,” the Register notes. However, the technology has downtime issues, which could worry time-is-money traders.

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