Google gaffes, Tories love Linux, no one loves road pricing

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Google gaffes

Google's reputation for flawless delivery of new products has always been helped by launching beta services on the quiet. But this week's move to an improved personal homepage, or iGoogle, left the search giant with a lot of angry users. Data and personal settings were lost when the updated service was introduced.

Tories promise open source

They might have stuffed up the local elections, but the Tories have identified open source software as the newest, new thing. George Osbourne, the shadow chancellor, reckons wider adoption of open source software for public projects will help create a local ecosystem of homegrown developers. That's a point of view Microsoft has spent some time and money disputing. Forgive our lack of excitement, but no one makes promises like an opposition politician.

Jowell falls into blogland

Talking of daft politicians, we really enjoyed Culture Secretary Tessa Jowell's belated entry into the discussion of whether the land of blogs needs a charter of good manners and etiquette. This was briefly raised several weeks ago, and just as quickly abandoned. But our Tessa thought The Guardian would be a good place to have a polite and well-mannered debate. You can see where this one is going can't you? Tessa gets shoeing from angry bloggers.

Hands off science teaching

Back in the Reg's day science lessons were all about over-loading the fume cabinet with sulphurous gases, but now the government is concerned that the subject is too prescriptive and not flexible enough. A group of actual white-coated scientists are making the point that science lessons need to be a bit prescriptive.

Panel panels Web 2.0

Having sat through more panel discussions than should be allowed under the Geneva Convention, it is always nice when one of these in no way staged talk fests goes off topic. A Microsoft panel to discuss the merits of Microsoft technology in reaching new consumers came unstuck thanks to the chief information officer at the Economist magazine. He disputed claims for much Web 2.0 marketing guff and banged the drum for content rather than whizzy technology.

Mobiles go mmeeh...

A survey of 3,000 mobile customers has found people are using their phones less than they did a year ago for the first time. While mobile companies do their best to get us all using data services, it seems the old bread and butter of phone calls is shrinking. Average number of calls is falling.

Orange eases data rates

Most people will tell you that the reason for slow takeup of mobile data services is high prices and confusion over charges. So good news from Orange which this week introduced a simpler data tariff. Just £5 a month for evenings and weekends.

Something new to stare at all day

If you are a CrackBerry user, you probably already got the email. RIM this week introduced a curvier version of its highly addictive pocket emailer. It's a bit more consumery than the last model and raises fears that one day we'll all be gazing at these things.

Gov suppliers top ten

Top suppliers have been named for public sector projects. The winners and losers for new public sector projects are named and in some instances shamed. Capgemini and HP gained the most ground in public sector places.

Green Apples greener

Apple's Steve Jobs has responded to allegations from Greenpeace that it's not doing enough to protect the environment. The firm has already taken action to remove some of the more noxious chemicals from its production process. Jobs also promised to be more open in future.

Dell does, doesn't it?

Dell's decision to offer Ubuntu Linux on some desktop and laptop machines was welcomed by many. But how deep the support is, and whether the machines will be available outside the US is still not clear. Our take on Dell's Linux dalliance is here, along with a healthy bunch of reader comments.

Spy in the sky for road pricing

As soon as technology companies see a hole they can claim to fill, you know you're in trouble. So the move to nationwide road pricing is increasingly being presented as inevitable rather than an expensive and privacy damaging scam to raise revenues for government. Here's a look at current arguments.

Dell disses direct sales

Dell's direct sales model revolutionised the PC industry, but hasn't been enough to insulate the firm from problems. A timely "leaked" memo reveals the computer maker is keen to move away from a total reliance on direct sales. There's more here on Michael Dell's world view.

Sir Alan's supercluster

Sir Alan Sugar might be more famous for his TV appearances than his technology nous these days, but this week he was showing off a high performance computer cluster made for the University of London. Sugar also looked forward to a future of prisons run by robots and computers which will allow pilots to drink. More Sugary musings here.

And in brief...

Two former Ferrari engineers have been convicted of stealing trade secrets - they were snooping on behalf of Toyota.

The BBC gave the go-ahead for putting its programmes online, and so did ITV.

Spiked magazine asked a bunch of top boffins, including six Nobel Laureates, to name their top gadgets. Revealing results are here.

That's it for this week. Enjoy the long weekend. ®

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