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Our blog, about stories and business-focused news from the IT sector

WannaCry, Ransomware and Bitcoin

 

The recent "WannaCry" ransomware attack that hit the NHS (and more than 200,000 other victims across 150 countries) has focused attention on the CryptoCurrency called Bitcoin.

There have been numerous calls to outlaw Bitcoin and other CryptoCurrencies but there's a lot of misunderstanding, and a mistaken belief that they are only used to fund criminal activities.

Bitcoin, Crypto Virtual Currency

Articles in the mainstream media about Bitcoin have focused on its use by criminals, whether for the payment of ransom demands, or "laundering" normal money, or direct trading in illegal weapons and drugs on the "Dark Web."

"The Silk Road", for example was one notorious dark web site, using bitcoin to trade in drugs, weapons and other illegal services in a similar but secret way to normal on-line shopping. It was taken down by the FBI in 2014. But Bitcoin and other digital currencies were always intended for normal, legitimate purposes, and they are now experiencing a significant uplift in their (legal) use.

Read more...

OK Google, get ready for Voice Search

 

Amazon Echo driven by Alexa

"OK Google", "Siri", "Alexa" "Cortana" and soon "Bixby" are all commands that wake your devices up and prime them to expect a voice command.

The reality is that your Android phone, Google Home, Windows 10/X-Box, Apple iDevice, Samsung Galaxy and Amazon Echo are always listening. The commands only alert them that an instruction is incoming.

And, because phone keyboards are harder to use than those of their desktop and laptop cousins, more and more people are turning to voice control and voice search, purely for ease and convenience.

It's vitally important that, as web site owners, we understand what we need to do to make sure that our sites are easy to find when the search is through voice recognition.

Read more...

How technology could solve the housing crisis

 

Apis Cor's newly-printed house

We all know that in the UK we are in the grip of a housing crisis. Too many people chasing too few houses has a major impact on a market experiencing restricted supply. Prices go up, which makes it harder for first time buyers and reduces the supply of buyers further up the ladder.

According to the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) 142,890 new builds were completed in 2015 (the last full year that data is available for) which is about half of the 300,000 new homes that the cross-party House of Lords Economic Affairs Committee decided were required.

Not only is house building expensive, it’s time consuming too. If only houses could be built in days, or even hours, the supply problem could be rapidly alleviated. Using technology might be the way forward.

Read more...

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