Apple iCloud unveiled (U.S. only)

Apple finally unveiled the much anticipated iCloud service this week claiming it’s newest addition aimed to demote the PC and MAC to simply another device. The biggest selling point of the service is the ability to automatically push new music, photos, contacts etc to all devices, negating the need to manually sync everything from one main source.

Anyone signing up to the free version gets 5GB of storage but the best bit is that this doesn’t include purchased music, apps, books or photo stream so you can save the space for your camera roll, files and everything else you want to use it for.

And despite rumours, the service is available to 3GS phones, although not 3G or anything before. As well as the free version there is also a subscription available for $24.99 in the US. UK prices have yet to be set. And unfortunately it doesn’t look like we will be able to access it in the UK for some time yet.

The service does require you to update to iOS 5 but that too comes with over 200 new features including a new notification centre which allows you to view all new emails, texts, facebook updates and more in one place. And one of my favourite updates is the ability to set tasks that are location based. So set a reminder to pick up an item the next time you visit a particular shop and you automatically get an alert on your next visit. Genius!

There’s also a handy new feature which allows you to access the camera from the lock screen, take pictures quickly with a single tap focus and using the volume up tab to take your photo. And even better you can edit your pictures including removing red-eye without even leaving the frame.

Mail and calendar have also had a facelift and you can now format emails to include bold, italics, underline and indents. And calendar now offers a week view on the iPhone and iPod touch and a month view on the iPad.

There are lots of other updates and features which you can find out more about on Apple’s website which includes a nice little video showing off the best bits.


IPv6 update

Yahoo, Google, Bing and Microsoft joined other industry experts this week in testing out the IPv6 version of their sites.  The testing is happening in preparation of the impending switchover from IPv4 due to the fact that the addresses are running out soon.

Those involved have been quick to reassure that it isn’t a big deal and are comparing it to London running out of phone numbers (for those of us who can remember pre 020 numbers for London) so there’s need to take action just yet.

And encouragingly, those that tested their IPv6 sites did not see any disturbances for users. Facebook in particular felt no adverse effects of the switchover and received the same amount of traffic to its help pages as normal. Google also felt encouraged by the test and its service carried on as normal without the need to disable access for any networks or services.

However the switchover, when it does happen, is likely to carry a fairly hefty pricetag given the need to upgrade to new networking systems. This is likely to be why many haven’t adopted the new address system despite it being approved in 1998.

It’s likely IPv4 will continue working for the next ten years but companies are being encouraged to consider upgrading sooner rather than later. Predictions are that we will most likely see a huge increase in the number of appliances and devices connected to the internet including the likes of TVs, fridges and heating systems. Now that I’d like to see!


Facebook apologies (again)

Facebooks new feature of suggesting friends to tag in photos hasn’t gone down well with everyone and the company were forced to apologise to users this week. The new feature scans your photos and uses facial recognition software to attempt to identify friends in your photos to make tagging quicker and easier.

The outcry came as a result of some misconceptions that the feature would identify people who weren’t friends and therefore identify strangers by name. Facebook have been quick to reassure people that this isn’t the case and will only suggest people you are already friends with.

I have to admit that I don’t see what all the fuss is about or why Facebook is apologising. I think it’s a great tool and shows just how advanced the technology is getting. Even if it does mean I’ll likely see an increase in the number of horrendous photos I end up being tagged in by friends who wouldn’t normally have bothered.


Social media at its best

For anyone who missed it, 15 year old Alice Pyne has become somewhat of a celebrity in the last few days following the release of her blog “Alice’s Bucket List”. Alice is living with terminal cancer and has written a list of everything she’d like to do or see before she loses the fight including meeting Take That and swimming with dolphins.

Alice’s inspirational story and heartwarming diary has sparked numerous conversations around the world between people who want to help her achieve some of her wishes and her blog was trending on Twitter yesterday.

But top of Alice’s list is the wish to encourage more people to donate bone marrow to help so many other people. Since the blog went live and was shared through Twitter, the bone marrow register has literally been inundated with enquiries from potential donors.

The response has been overwhelming and really goes to show how just one voice can really be heard and can make such a difference. This is social media at its best and reminds us all just how powerful one person’s story can be.