We have recently resuscitated the Free Press as we feel its time has come again. In future editions we’ll be looking at the tech developments you need to know about, helping to demystify the wonderful world of tech and revealing which technologies we’re testing. And we might permit ourselves a tiny bit of self-promotion with a run-down each month of one service we provide.
Google has quietly introduced a new algorithm, Hummingbird. It’s designed to work better with conversational search terms, such as ‘how do I make green tomato chutney’, rather than ‘green tomato chutney recipe’, a searching trend that has developed over the last decade. The new algorithm is designed to provide a response more in tune with the user’s intentions, rather than a set of results that might be rather sterile. This article from The Guardian explains the changes in more detail, and looks at the threat to regular search engine use from specific apps people use for specific functions.
Interestingly, just as this new algorithm is implemented, a class action on Gmail ‘wiretapping’ has just been given the go-ahead in America. Google claimed non-Gmail users gave ‘implied consent’ to their emails being scanned for keywords. Judge Lucy Koh described Google’s privacy laws as misleading and obscure. Read more about it here, and if you really want to scare yourself, take the privacy quiz.
Don’t forget to look at our blog, which keeps up commentary on developments in the tech world. Recently we’ve had a fair bit to say on cloud computing and security, picking a common sense path through the hype and hysteria.
Do you use Yahoo email, or have your ever used it? If so, make sure you log in to that account at least once every six months, unless you want someone else receiving your email. Yahoo has, in a moment of utter madness, decided to recycle dormant email addresses. Despite what Yahoo believes to be stringent efforts to protect individuals’ security (except keeping their email address just for them), inevitably emails are arriving with the wrong people. Read more about it here, then make sure nothing remotely sensitive ever goes through a Yahoo account ever again.
Zimbra merges with Telligent
Zimbra has split from VMWare and merged with Telligent to form a new independent company under the brand name of Zimbra. “Our goal is to return Zimbra to its roots as an independent collaboration software leader with a vibrant open source community,” says Patrick Brandt, CEO of Telligent, in a renewed declaration to extend the connections with the open source community and broaden the social media interactivity services that Tellingent will bring to the party.
We’re already working in related areas on such exciting services as WebRTC for direct point to point, browser based video and voice collaboration that need no additional software or plugins and neat social messaging. These will begin to be introduced in the next round of development after the imminent ‘Judas Priest’ release (Ubuntu has animals, Debian has Toy Story so Zimbra have rock musicians!).
In other news…
Flossie is the latest in 1960s computing. Weighing in at a mere 5 tons and taking up only 20′ x 23′ of desk space, Flossie was created in the 1960s to churn out University of London exam results. At the time she was innovative, using transistors instead of valves, which – believe it or not – made her smaller than previous computers and much less heat-generating. Her smaller size (!) made her much more viable for business. Eventually she ended up on a farm and was ultimately donated to the National Museum of Computing in Milton Keynes. Read the BBC article here.
What toys have we been playing with recently? As well as S5 Android phones (more to come on those as they are *fab* and we’re going to have some corking offers on phones and accessories), we’ve been testing messaging software and have recently implemented the Zimbra feature ZPush.
Getting email, contacts and calendars to sync to your phone is something we have offered for a while using open standards like secured IMAP, Caldav and Carddav. To add to the options for some clients we have recently begun offering activesync-style push services on some of our Zimbra Platforms.
Using open source Z-Push services we have been trialling services with some clients for over 10 months and will soon be inviting more users to apply to be enabled for the service to test its wider use.
It delivers your email to your mobile device using the same connector as some other services such as MS Exchange. It is a little more restrictive but for some users it does enough to meet their needs or the limits of devices they use. It can increase battery drain, but many find it a familiar way to use access services. Drop support a message to find out if you can access Z-Push for your service.
What We Do
If you’re a WordPress customer of ours, you’ll know we don’t give server space to just any old plugin, oh no. We test them, we review the support and we assess the functionality. When we’re satisfied that a plug-in isn’t buggy, is useful and isn’t going to have support withdrawn any time soon, then we’ll add it.
Once we’ve added it to our list of available plugins, we don’t forget all about it. We keep all offered plugins under review, and replace them if necessary. We’ll keep you up to date with the ups and downs of plugins, and of course be in touch directly if your site is affected. Don’t forget we offer premium plugins too, such as iLetter, the newsletter plugin we’re using to create this newsletter.
We’re looking for Android developers too. Both these skill sets will help us bring to fruition some exciting projects and, we hope, build some long-lasting relationships with trusted partners.
Megan Baker House wish list
Our charity for 2013 is Herefordshire’s own Megan Baker House, which provides FREE Conductive Education Services at its centre in Herefordshire for children, teenagers and adults with special educational needs and physical disabilities.
MBH has a wish list on its home page, listing all sorts of things from printer paper to screwdrivers. If you can help out please do. We recently donated a couple of SD cards, vital for recording the minute movements of children’s hands and feet as they undergo their therapy. A small donation on your part can make a huge difference.
If you have something nice to say…
Please say it! We’re gathering user comments, so if you like what we do, we’ve made a real difference or you just like us, please let us have a quote. We can credit you or not, your preference.