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Storm news roundup 13-01-12

Our favourite web(ish) stories from the week…


“The Raspberry Pi has started to be manufactured – in the Far East. The start of manufacturing is an achievement to be celebrated. The device, which will cost around £16-23, packs some serious punch:

‘HDMI for connection to a TV, USB for the keyboard, SD card for storage, and runs Linux on an ARM chip, with OpenGL ES 2.0 for the graphics. Its 700MHz ARM-11 processor is supported with 128MB of on-board memory.’


The more expensive Model B chip will also come with 10/100Mb/s Ethernet. However, the fact that a UK charity is having to build a UK designed piece of hardware outside of the UK is not to be celebrated. They tried, boy did they try, but there was one significant stumbling block:

‘Simply put, if we build the Raspberry Pi in Britain, we have to pay a lot more tax. If a British company imports components, it has to pay tax on those (and most components are not made in the UK). If, however, a completed device is made abroad and imported into the UK – with all of those components soldered onto it – it does not attract any import duty at all.’

Now to my mind, that is just about as backwards as a tax system can possibly be when you want to encourage a resurgence in manufacturing in the UK. If you agree, please sign this E-petition.


“The Education Secretary Michael Gove announced to broad acclaim (often from those of us unaccustomed to agreeing with him on anything much) from those in the software industry that the ICT curriculum is going to be overhauled, with a greater concentration on the fundamentals of computer science, logic and programming, rather than teaching people how to use products like Word and Powerpoint.

Gove summed it up pretty well: ‘Instead of children bored out of their minds being taught how to use Word and Excel by bored teachers, we could have 11-year-olds able to write simple 2D computer animations using an MIT tool called Scratch. By 16, they could have an understanding of formal logic previously covered only in University courses and be writing their own apps for smartphones.’ “


“The Google ‘Search, plus your world‘ feature (put simply: Google+ network activity pops up as search results) has dominated lots of tech headlines this week. One of the most interesting pieces about it was this one on The Daily Beast which suggests that Google is actually doing this to break into Facebook’s walled garden, albeit in a fairly spectacular roundabout route…”

Felix, Liam and Andrew all picked up on the SOPA blackout story:


“Reddit and I Can Has Cheezburger will be closing their sites on the 18th January in protest of the SOPA internet censorship bill, and Wikipedia editors are having a fierce debate whether to join in”


“Next Wednesday, the ‘front page of the internet’, Reddit, will be turning off for 12 hours, to protest the proposed US law known as SOPA. They hope to encourage more websites to join them, with a few names stepping up to make a stand.”


“In news that can only further galvanize the growing anti SOPA coalition, the latest internet juggernaut has chosen to side with the likes of Reddit and Mozilla to send a message of defiance to the proponents of the impending ‘Stop Online Piracy Act’.

In what is being hailed as one of the most monumental days in the internets history, internet comedy auteurs ‘I can haz cheezburger’ has allied itself to the anti SOPA cause, choosing to blackout all aspects of it’s hilarious meme-based original content on the 18th of this month.

I can only say i’m glad that i can one day say to my future children that I witnessed it – the day the Berlin wall fell, the day Nelson Mandela was freed from his years of incarceration, and the day went dark in protest to SOPA”