Weekend news roundup

28 Mar 2011

A roundup of some of the top tech stories in the weekend’s newspapers, including the impact of the iPad on working lives, tawdry tweets by celebrities and Google’s bloodied nose after a legal ruling on digitisation of books.

Has the iPad changed our working lives forever?

In The Observer, Charles Arthur penned an interesting piece on how the iPad revolution has transformed working lives.

Fifteen million iPads were sold last year. As iPad 2 launches, Arthur looks at the impact of tablet computers on the way we relate to technology, and five users tell us about how the iPad is feeding into the way they work.

A friend recently went to a business meeting. He prepared by pulling his laptop out of his bag. All of the clients responded by taking their iPads out of their briefcases.

These were not gadget freaks or latte-quaffing Hoxton-based web designers, as some imagine iPad users to be. They were a large group of senior civil servants and bankers, in a country well beyond Europe and the US. To them, the iPad wasn’t a status symbol; it was a device they had chosen to use because it enhanced their ability to do their jobs.

Tweet tale a bit of an anti-climax

Before celebrities and mainstream media discovered Twitter it was a less of a circus, a bit more serious and probably all the better for it. Now misguided tweets from well-known faces, not only politicians, seem to be big news.

According to The Sunday Independent, it was Síle Seoige’s turn. The RTÉ star has denied that an X-rated remark joking that she “came” at a Kylie Minogue concert was a publicity stunt.

The 31-year-old, who whipped fans into a frenzy when she tweeted that the pint-sized Australian singer had made her sexually aroused during her Dublin gig, said she had no idea her comments would provoke such a reaction.

“It was a biteen bold, yes,” she said this weekend, “but it was all tongue-in-cheek.”

Minogue contacted Seoige to say she was delighted the presenter enjoyed her show.

Time Warner at war with networks over iPad streaming app

The Financial Times reported that Time Warner Cable, the second-largest cable television provider in the US, is in a spat with networks over who controls the rights to stream live content to consumers’ mobile devices.

The feud broke out last week when Time Warner Cable, which delivers pay television to 14.5m homes in the US, unexpectedly released an application for Apple’s iPad that lets its customers watch live programming on the tablet device, including cable channels, such as MTV, Food Network and Discovery Channel.

Users can only watch the live channels so long as they are connected to the wireless internet in their home, which Time Warner Cable also provides.

Cable networks say Time Warner Cable has overstepped its bounds. Scripps, owner of HGTV, which was made available for streaming on the app, said it “has not granted iPad video-streaming rights to any distributor and is actively addressing any misunderstandings on this issue.”

But Time Warner Cable said it would not be backing down.

Google’s bloody nose

In The Observer, John Naughton opined that just for once, Google has been given a bloody nose. He was referring to the court ruling last week on the company’s digitisation plans which, he says, is welcome, but there’s a common-sense compromise.

Last week, a US judge in Manhattan made a landmark decision. As to what it means, opinions vary. Some see it as arresting the cultural progress that began with the Enlightenment; others are celebrating Judge Denny Chin’s ruling as the blocking of a predatory move by a giant corporation to control access to the world’s cultural heritage. The truth, as always, lies somewhere in between.

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years