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The Linux-based Raspberry Pi computer is tiny, cheap, and very popular. But while plenty of adults adore the $35 device, designer Eben Upton hopes it will also spark a new wave of interest in programming for children. In an interview with Wired, Upton discusses his own experience with programming and what he sees as the failure of current computer education programs and "intuitive" computers. Earlier machines, he says, "were programmable. When you first turned them on, they booted into Basic and before loading a program, you had to program them. That meant that quite a lot of us were beguiled into learning to program, and I think that’s where my generation of hobbyist programmers came from."

He's had similar success taking the Raspberry Pi into classrooms and getting kids to work with games like Snake, where "by the end of the session, you have to pry the boards out of the children’s hands." Go through and read the whole thing for more about computer education and why everyone should learn to code.


 
 
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Today is a big day for OnLive. Just this morning, we made our instant-play, on-demand gaming service available to gamers across the UK, heralding our first expansion outside the American continent. And today marks an even bigger day for UK gamers, who have awoken to amazing new gameplay possibilities—and some pretty impressive deals.

For the first time ever, UK gamers can take advantage of OnLive’s powerful cloud gaming technology to play the latest top-tier games on demand, with gameplay delivered instantly over the Internet wherever and whenever they want. For the cost of a single-platform game purchase, UK gamers can play on their HDTV, PC, Mac or any combination of the above, regardless of performance capabilities, and soon they will even be able to play on iPad® and Android® tablets. No console, no high-end computer, no discs and no huge downloads. Gaming with OnLive is as simple as streaming video: just click and play.

We’re excited to be launching with a robust library of about 150 premium games to choose from, with titles for every kind of gamer from more than 50 different publishers. Gamers can instantly play new and recent releases such as Deus Ex: Human Revolution, DiRT 3, Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood, Homefront and F.E.A.R. 3, or explore classic and indie titles like Batman: Arkham Asylum, Braid and LEGO Harry Potter Years 1-4. They can buy the games they want individually, with prices starting at £1.99, or subscribe to our PlayPack Bundle, which now offers access to more than 100 games for just £6.99/month.

To prove how excited we are, we’re also offering our new UK members all kinds of launch promotions to welcome them onto the service. First-time game purchasers get their first OnLive PlayPass Game for just £1 in addition to the following promotions:

  • Eurogamer Expo attendees get a FREE OnLive Game System (while supplies last)
  • BT customers get 100+ PlayPack Games for FREE for 3 months
  • PC Gamer Magazine readers get 1 month of 100+ PlayPack Games for FREE
(promotions subject to terms, conditions and limitations)

We’re also incredibly excited to announce fantastic strategic partnerships in the UK:

BT is the first internet service provider in the UK to offer cloud-based gaming to customers through its exclusive partnership with OnLive.  BT is the UK’s leading high-speed, low latency broadband provider with relationships with 11 million households. To mark the launch, BT is giving its 5 million broadband customers three months free access to 100+ games when customers sign up at: www.bt.com/onlive.   OnLive traffic will not count towards BT broadband customers usage allowances until the New Year, regardless of their broadband option. BT looks forward to announcing more exciting initiatives with OnLive in the near future.

GAME Group plc is OnLive’s first strategic retail partner. As UK’s leading videogame retailer, GAME will introduce the OnLive® Game Service to millions of customers in the UK and eventually across Europe and elsewhere, starting with their ecommerce sites game.co.uk and gamestation.co.uk later this year. The OnLive Game System, OnLive Universal Wireless Controller and OnLive Game Service digital offerings will soon be available through the Group’s 615 UK stores and integrated with the Group’s GAME Reward Card and gamestation Elite card, allowing customers to use GAME rewards to make purchases on the OnLive Game Service.

Gamespot.co.uk, one of the top game review sites in the UK, will be incorporating links to free instant-launch demos of OnLive games from its game review pages, empowering players to test-drive games from anywhere with a few simple clicks.

And, as always, anyone can access OnLive’s instant demos and social features at no charge at all by creating a free OnLive account at onlive.co.uk and checking out OnLive’s rapidly expanding library of games.

We’re incredibly excited to see the OnLive community expand across the globe, bringing OnLive’s unprecedented live instant gaming experience to Europe. UK and US members can now play live in our massive spectating Arena and chat with players and spectators across the Atlantic. They can capture Brag Clip™ videos of their best and funniest gameplay moments to share internationally both within the OnLive community and with Facebook friends—along with achievements, status notifications and more. And with new parental controls, younger gamers also can be a part of the unique OnLive cloud gaming experience.

UK gamers, we welcome you to OnLive. North American OnLive gamers, please extend a warm hello to your new friends across the pond, connect them into your chat groups and show them why OnLive is unlike any gaming experience in the world.

For gamers throughout the rest of the world, hang tight: Now that we’ve made our first major international expansion to the UK, we’ll be moving quickly to expand worldwide, we’ll be seeing you soon. OnLive is the future of gaming, everywhere.

—Steve Perlman, Founder and CEO


 
 
Household penetration of in-home connected TV devices will have reached nearly double that of broadband and pay-TV connections by 2016, according to new projections from Informa Telecoms & Media (publisher of IPTV News).

Writing in a blog post, Andrew Ladbrook, senior analyst for the connected home at Informa, states: "Finally, there are more screens capable of accessing both the internet and premium content than there are users in the home. Users will no longer have to worry about waiting for the PC to get to log-in on Facebook, or sit idly and watch a TV program they don’t like.

"Instead their entertainment needs –whether fulfilled by the internet or by Pay-TV – can be met instantly," adds Mr. Ladbrook. "The key question is can broadband and pay-TV providers find a way of taking this opportunity of personal screens and creating personal relationships?"
 
 
By Tim Worstall

Posted in The Register /Telecoms, 22nd September 2011 12:14 GMT


Analysis
British Telecom is, as a telecoms company, worth minus £30bn. Yes, that's a negative number there. And yet it is literally sitting on top of billions in assets.

It all starts with this point made in relation to cable theft:

BT’s network relies on more than 75 million miles of copper cable People are stealing the cable, as we all know, because the metal is incredibly valuable. Strip the sleeve off the cable, drop it off at an accommodating scrap yard and get paid in cash. And as BT themselves say, (and yes, I've checked that they really do mean this) they've 75 million miles of this stuff festooning the countryside.

Ten pairs of copper cabling weighs around 132kg per mile. Which by the miracle of multiplication can be seen to be about 10 million tonnes of copper. Which, at current LME prices of just over £5,000 a tonne, is £50bn.

BT's current market capitalisation is just north of £20bn. So, as an operating telecoms company they're worth £30bn less than the mountain of copper they're sitting upon: that is, they're worth less than the physical assets or they have, as a telecoms company not a mountain of scrap copper, a negative value.

OK, OK, yes, this isn't quite right. There's labour involved in digging up all that copper, not all of it will be 10 pair (some of it will be heavier, 25 pairs or 50 pairs), not all of a cable is copper and copper wire scrap doesn't get the LME price.

However, we are still in the right ballpark here: the value of the copper in the wires is of the same sort of order of magnitude as the value of the company as a whole. Which leads us to two useful conclusions.

Firstly, there is a good reason why no one is ever again going to wire an entire country with copper. Fibre makes more sense now, as does going entirely mobile and ditching a landline network. Developing countries certainly aren't going to want to buy that much copper.

Secondly, it's a shocking indictment of Britain's criminal classes. Really, why is anyone bothering to go and nick a few miles of the stuff when you could buy the company and take it all? Asset-strip BT and come out with more money after selling the copper than the company cost you in the first place.

That's the problem we've got with the young people of today: no ambition. ®

 
 
 
 
The use of power cables to transmit TV services around the home is now well-established in a number of countries including several in Europe and has been proven to work well in most cases for SD services. But questions are being raised again by some home networking system vendors over power line's ability to scale up to HD, and especially to multichannel HD, which will become a standard requirement over the next few years. This does not mean that vendors, and by implication their customers, including pay TV operators, will be giving up on power line, but it does mean they may reappraise its role. In countries where coax is already widely installed in homes, such as the U.S., there may be little room for power line, but given the antipathy among operators and their customers to unnecessary installation of new wires in the home, it will continue to appeal where there are no suitable existing wires for data. This then leaves two options, power cables, since they are always there, and Wi-Fi. The latter will certainly be used for video transmission within the home, driven by increased demand for access to content and services from tablets devices such as the iPad, which are predominantly wireless devices. But it looks unlikely that in the foreseeable future Wi-Fi will be able to provide guaranteed HD delivery within larger homes in particular, or those with walls that are thick or contain a substantial amount of metal.

Unfortunately, power line cannot provide guaranteed service throughout all homes either, also being subject to varying conditions. The fact that power cables were not installed with data transmission in mind means that the HomePlug AV consortium has had to come up with some clever algorithms to mitigate some of the effects. But there are still signs that interference can significantly reduce the effective bandwidth under certain conditions; unlike coaxial cable or Ethernet, performance cannot be guaranteed.

Out of concerns that power line cannot deliver that guaranteed performance, some vendors of home networking products like residential gateways, such as Turkey-based AirTies, are advocating systems that combine Wi-Fi and power line. This they hope will overcome the limitations of each and provide a robust high-performance "no new wires" system for multichannel HD delivery within the home. One possibility is to connect several Wi-Fi routers into outlets in different rooms, but without relying totally on power line for the backbone. In effect, each acts as cover for the other.
Whether this will gain ground remains to be seen, with one issue being to make such a combined system plug and play, given the need to plug coverage gaps and guarantee high bandwidth everywhere. Meanwhile, improvements in signal processing bring hope that power line can at least be made to work for HD in a large majority of homes, despite the fears over its ability to guarantee the required bit rates, up to say 500Mb/s. After all, the history of communications tells us that it is foolish to predict that a communications medium has hit an insurmountable performance barrier. Ethernet was once thought to be incapable of speeds above 10Mb/s over twisted-pair copper wires. Now it can reach 10Gb/s, 1000x as much, over short distances, through a combination of improved structured cabling and signal processing.

In the case of new homes, power cables could be installed in an optimal way for broadband communications, but in those cases it costs little extra to add coax or Ethernet Cat 5 wiring during construction, which will always perform better since they are dedicated and can be shielded against interference. The role of power line is likely to be confined therefore to existing homes lacking dedicated data cabling.


 
 
BT has been told to speed up the schedule for publishing the prices it intends to charge rival internet service providers (ISPs) for use of its infrastructure.

An Ofcom ruling means the telecoms giant must allow its competitors to utilise its network of underground ducts and telegraph poles to deploy fibre optic broadband cables.

In a speech at the Royal Television Society's Cambridge Convention, Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt hit out at BT for taking too long to reach a "satisfactory conclusion" on its pricing structure.

The matter "has to be sorted out - and quickly - in a way that allows fair competition with different providers able to invest in our broadband infrastructure", Mr Hunt insisted.

He went on to stress the importance of the UK having a "properly competitive" retail market for fibre optic broadband.

In April, rival ISPs TalkTalk and Virgin Media wrote to the government demanding "urgent intervention" on the prices BT intends to charge for infrastructure access.

The companies claimed it would be cheaper to construct their own networks than to take BT up on its proposed charges.


 
 

National Student Housing Survey reveals internet access most critical factor for student tenants whilst lack of fridge-space tops complaint list.  23rd Aug 2011
The internet generation is all grown up and ready to leave home. For the first time ever, students have rated good internet access above location when hunting for their perfect university accommodation.

From next year, students face a bill of thousands of pounds for the cost of a university education, and the discerning student knows what they want, how much it should cost them and they will accept nothing less.


Demand for university accommodation remains high, and more and more private property companies are branching out to offer accommodation solely targeted at the student population. Landlords and property investors need to start listening to these consumers, or risk losing out to bigger companies.


The National Student Housing Survey (NSHS) 2011 saw 15,490 students respond from more than 120 universities and colleges across the country, detailing what they look for in a property and what they expect to get for their money.


No longer can landlords get away with shoddy private rentals, or can universities house students in run down halls. Accommodation standards need to rise to meet the students’ demands, or they will simply go elsewhere.


The NSHS revealed that internet access is the number one priority for students, with 90 per cent rating it as a very important factor. Value for money came second (85 per cent) and location came in third, with only three-quarters of respondents rating it as "very important".



The top places to hunt for future accommodation were via the university housing or accommodation office, lettings agencies, and internet search engines.


The average rent paid by students in either halls or private rentals is £90 to £99 per week, although university halls are more likely to include "extras" within that fee such as internet access and cleaning.


Tim Daplyn, NSHS Project Director, said: "Going to university is no longer a right, but something students pay a lot of money to do. They know what they want and they are intelligent enough to make sure they get it. Student accommodation remains a thriving business, but those who will continue to succeed in this market will be those who listen to their tenants and respond effectively."


ENDS.


Notes to Editors

The National Student Housing Survey (NSHS) is an annual survey of students in higher education across the UK. The survey measures satisfaction levels in all types of accommodation and allows participating institutions to measure their performance against national and regional benchmarks. The 2011 survey attracted over 15,000 responses from more than 120 universities and colleges across the UK. This project is managed by Red Brick Research, an independent market research agency specialising in Higher Education. For further information please visit
http://www.nshs.co.uk/ or http://www.redbrickresearch.co.uk/.

For more information on this release, please contact:

Claire Daplyn
Red Brick Research Press and PR Representative

 
 

Author: Jeff Taylor
Translation While most pundits are pointing towards a stagnant or slowly falling housing market, there is a bit of good news out there for some.

ISPreview.co.uk conducted a
poll that elicited 733 respondents.

The questions they asked related to whether people thought that having a fast broadband connection was a valuable consideration when buying or owning a property.

When asked ‘Is broadband important to your home life?’, a whacking 73.9% said it was critically important, 24.2% said it was of average importance and only 1.7% said it was of no importance.

When asked to respond ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to the question ‘Would you pay more for a house with faster broadband?‘ it was very evenly matched with the noes taking it by a narrow whisker of 50.4% over 49.5%.

But it seems that new dream home must have fast broadband for the majority of us. In answer to ‘Would lack of fast broadband put you off buying a beautiful new house?’ the ayes had it with 68.8% over 31.1% (I know it doesn’t add up to exactly 100% but that’s their figures).

fibre optics


So it seems that people won’t necessarily pay more for a house with fast broadband but may well be put off of buying a house without it.

So it’s not all doom and gloom, if you live in a fast broadband area that is.

This of course is one thing you probably won’t find in the estate agents’ particulars on a house (property misdecriptions act and all that). But I wonder where the seller (and agent for that matter) would stand legally if they claimed that the local broadband was faster than it really was just to ensure a sale?

For hoteliers out there, one other question asked was whether people would pay more for a room with broadband. Only 37.2% said yes.


Read more: http://www.economicvoice.com/does-having-faster-broadband-increase-the-value-of-your-home/50016662#ixzz1Y7zvGliX
 
 
TGoogle takes on home automation with Android @ Home By Jose Vilches

On May 11, 2011, 9:00 AM EST

Comments 10
Google kicked off its I/O conference in San Francisco yesterday by announcing a new version of Honeycomb, its next-gen "Ice Cream Sandwich" Android release, and their much rumored music service. But the company also offered a glimpse at its ambitious plan to turn homes into one network of connected devices and appliances.

Powered by the Android @ Home framework, lighting systems could be controlled with an Android tablet, the thermostat adjusted presumably even while away from home, and multi-zone speaker systems fired up from a centralized point. In a sense all this is already possible through technologies like DLNA, and many companies are already building proprietary home automation systems around connected objects. But Google hopes Android @ Home will provide a unified client based on an open protocol for appliance makers to build on top of.

Google showed off a couple of examples during the conference and announced partnerships with a handful of companies to bring compatible appliances and devices to the market. The first demo involved a LED bulb from Lighting Sciences Group that can talk to Android. It uses a new mesh network wireless protocol rather than Wi-Fi, ZigBee, or the other proprietary home automation protocols and can be controlled from a tablet or respond to certain events.

"Lighting is very visible and prevalent so it made sense for it to be first foray for the platform," said a company spokesman. "Every one of the lights has a radio integrated inside the lamp so there's no additional equipment." The networked bulbs will be available by the end of the year priced roughly the same as general-purpose LEDs.

Google also showed off a preview of something called "Project Tungsten," in which wireless speakers running Android pull music directly from Google's new cloud based music service and stream it to locations in the home. It also demonstrated a concept of how it can rip songs from a CD and store them in the cloud just by swiping a near-field communication-enabled CD case in front of the "Project Tungsten" setup.

Wireless isn't the only way Google is expanding Android beyond mobile gadgets. Exercise equipment maker Life Fitness, for instance, developed a tool that allows Android devices to connect with treadmills, exercise bikes or other equipment via USB and download workout data to users' phones.

If the technology gets widely adopted by device makers the idea is to have Android as the operating system for your home. For now Google has unveiled the Android @ Home framework and the Android Open Accessory Development Kit (ADK) so developers can get a head start on building apps on top of the new protocols.