Friday roundup: A week in tech | News

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The Innovation and Technology Network

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Friday roundup: A week in tech

After the seemingly indestructible Matt Hancock’s squalid fall from grace, his replacement as health secretary isn’t taking any chances.

Fresh from the political wilderness, Sajid Javid has tackled the myriad abysmal problems facing the UK without delay: cure the sick, defeat Covid, disable the cameras in his office.

His predecessor’s laughable, corona-rule-breaking (some would add grotesque, nauseating etc.) activities were brought to the consciousness of the unfortunate public via leaked CCTV images, enthusing Javid MP to state that it’s “common sense” that ministers shouldn’t be scrutinised by cameras in their private lairs.

The application of insidious surveillance tech in ministers’ classified sanctums has also discomposed justice secretary Robert Buckland, who spoke firmly to Sky News: “I’m sure that many of my colleagues will be asking the same question and making sure that the offices are swept, just in case there are unauthorised devices in there that could be a national security breach.”

And talking of the insidious use of technology, handy gripman Hancock once again demands our gaze, as he’s had yet another note of suggested malfeasance added to his bulging/bungling rap sheet.

The Don Juan of uselessness used private email accounts to conduct government business, thus cunningly avoiding pesky disclosure rules. You can read the whole sordid, diabolical thing here.

Justice’s Buckland tried to be firm, but fell short into an equivocal thicket: “If other emails were used perhaps in an emergency or in a rush, then there should be a way of collecting that information. I think it’s much simpler to just use the government system, and then everybody knows where the data is stored. I think it’s really important not just from a historical point of view but from a public accountability point of view that all data appropriately disclosable is available, and that’s why I think it’s wise to use government systems.”

Thanks, Bucks, make sure them cameras are sorted though, won’t ya?

Where will all this end? What will happen next? Will anyone go to prison? Tune in next week.

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A man who’s as much famous for his repeated failed attempts to fly to space as for anything else has announced plans to imminently fly to space.

Bearded tycoon Richard Branson has declared he’ll escape earth’s evil gravity for a new life amongst the stars on 11 July…or at some point after that!

Possibly driven by a desire to beat the astral aspirations of fellow, but notably drastically less hirsute, billionaire Jeff Bezos, the Virgin boss hopes to travel in his rocket plane, Unity, to the ‘edge of space’ for a few minutes, experience weightlessness, then come back for his tea.

And those fearful that the mission’s motive is to plant a Branson-branded flag in the airless vacuum that surrounds our planet, thus claiming it for himself at the expense of rival Bezos, would be mistaken.

According to the cosmological buccaneer "I truly believe that space belongs to all of us”, which is good of him seeing as the universe is unimaginably huge, indeed believed by many to be endless.

What arrangements can be agreed with HMRC regarding selected regions of the cosmos remain to be seen. Watch this space.

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And now it’s roundup roundup time!

More than 2,000 of earth’s women have put their names to an open letter for the attention of the world’s social media firms, demanding action on the never-ending stream of depraved abuse that writhes manifest on their frenzied networks. This, by my estimation, marks attempt #800,000 to galvanise Facebook et al into seriously tackling the hate they facilitate. So, good luck with that.

Exciting Windows 11 news – Microsoft’s latest edition of its popular operating system series will replace its popular blue screen of death with a black screen of death. The BBC has contacted Microsoft for comment, though it’s a struggle to imagine what the firm could add. ‘It was blue, now it’s black, thanks for calling.’

A flying car has successfully travelled from airport to another – no, not on the back of a pickup truck. AirCar flew for 35 minutes in the skies above Slovakia, which is an impressive achievement. Watch the flying car here.

If you like TikTok, you’ll no doubt be pleased (or maybe not, I dunno) to learn that the maximum length of videos users can post is being increased from one minute to three. I still don’t really know what TikTok is. YouTube for people with even shorter attention spans? I know, I know, and they let me write the tech blog! Anyway, read things about it here.