Bad news for Android, good news for BlackBerry: Top 10 IT news stories of the week

By John Leonard
22 Aug 2014 View Comments
Bad news for Android good news for BlackBerry

Bad news for Android, good news for BlackBerry (sort of). Linux spurned and the Apocalypse postponed. Here are the ten most read stories on Computing this week.

10. Open-source electronic patient records in the NHS

Further reading

NHS IT enjoys a 'mixed' reputation, to be kind, with monolithic solutions often imposed from above under the old National Programme for IT. Malcolm Senior, director of informatics at Taunton and Somerset NHS Foundation Trust, believes that with the demise of NPfIT there is an opportunity for open-source software to be used to get away from the one-size-fits-all approach for electronic patient records (EPR).

9. Big rise in PC sales behind surprise HP revenue increase

Meg's looking positively chipper these days. What's she smiling about? A surprise upturn in the sales of PCs and laptops, that's what. A closer look at the figures and the facts behind them may paint a gloomier picture, but if you sell PCs for a living you need to learn to look on the bright side. 

8. US Nuclear Regulatory Commission hacked three times

Note to self: If you're ever in a position of responsibility for the safety of a nation's nuclear infrastructure and someone sends you an email promising pictures of cute cats, just ignore it.

7. Munich considers dumping Linux to return to Windows - after just one year

Microsoft's monopolising tendencies and ongoing licensing charges have long been a thorn in the side of many a large organisation. However the pain of wrenching desktop users away from the comfortable surroundings of Windows and Office has meant that it takes a brave organisation to cut the ties completely.

One such courageous group was The City of Munich, which a decade ago began moving desktop users onto a custom version of Ubuntu Linux called LiMux. However, after just a year in the brave new Microsoft-free world of Linux, Munich may be thinking of running back to Redmond. The problem? Complaints about a lack of integration of contact, calendar and email software, among other things...

6. Hacking back - tempting, but is it legal?

Been hacked? Want to get your own back on those cowardly weasels that hide behind proxy servers in their balaclavas? (Hackers always wear balaclavas, don't you know?) Of course you do. But before you strap on that virtual bandolier and become a fully fledged cyber-vigilante there are one or two things you should know. Fortunately Sarah Pearce and Jane Elphick of law firm Edwards Wildman Palmer LLP were on hand this week to keep you on the right side of justice.

5. UK government must pay Raytheon £220m in compensation after e-Borders cancellation

Fancy £220m? Simply get yourself a nice little government IT project by putting in a low initial bid. Make sure your lawyers (good ones mind, not the amateurs that governments typically employ) check over the T&Cs then sit back and let the politicians and civil servants tie themselves in knots. When they cancel the programme, you are free to go off and do something more interesting while your lawyers go to work on the small print. Four years later it's payback with interest. Nice.

4. Android smartphone and tablet Wi-Fi 'not great' for enterprise use

Bad news for Android as Barry Zubel, head of IT at RuneScape developer Jagex, said that in his opinion wireless internet on Android smartphones and tablets is not reliable enough for enterprise-grade use.

"Android needs someone to fix its Wi-Fi stuff. Its Wi-Fi is great for consumer use, but for enterprise-grade wireless it's not great," Zubel said, setting a cat among the fanboy pigeons by adding: "It's something Apple's very good at."

3. Tesco Hudl and other Android devices contain ‘factory reset' data retention flaw

And the downer on Android continued in the shape of a report from the BBC, whose engineers, along with security experts at Pen Test Partners, experimented with 10 factory-wiped Tesco Hudl tablets purchased from eBay to see if they could recover data from them.

Thanks to a vulnerability in the processor firmware, it was possible to recover usernames and passwords, Wi-Fi keys, device PINs, browsing history and cookies. That may not sound much, but for the resourceful cyber criminal every little helps.

2. BlackBerry crumble stops abruptly as smartphone sales bounce

By way of contrast there was some rare good news at last from Waterloo, Ontario, as BlackBerry announced an unexpected bounce in sales in its second quarter, growing sequentially from the first quarter by 15 per cent.

Sales are still down 78 per cent year-on-year so this change in fortunes must be put into context, but there are many fans of BlackBerry's smartphones who will be fervently hoping that new CEO John Chen's turnaround plan is at last bearing fruit and that the awful pudding-related puns will stop.

1. Microsoft to release Windows 9 technology preview next month

Windows may not enjoy the monopoly that it once did. Nevertheless more readers clicked on this story than on any other this week, and by some margin.

There are just four weeks left to hold our collective breath before the secrets of the brand spanking new version of Windows are unveiled by those teases at Microsoft.

Will this spell the end of the much-derided "charms" toolbar? Will Metro applications be able to be run on the desktop? Will Windows 9 offer virtual desktops for the first time? Will Mick Jagger be wheeled out again for the launch party?

We'll all be able to breath out in September.



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