OTOH: On the other hand

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Every day, Richi Jennings pricks the self-important bubbles of people who think technology is life's be-all and end-all. In On The Other Hand, he also brings us useful insights and loads of laughs from around the Web.

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GSM now wide open to eavesdropping and tracking

OTOH: Disable 2G if you can?

The widely-used 2G GSM system for mobile phones is horribly insecure. This is not exactly news, but it's now worryingly easy for criminals to intercept your calls, texts, or voicemail. A presentation at today's Berlin CCC meeting revealed all. On the one hand, the sky is falling. On The Other Hand, perhaps your phone allows you to only use 3G cells?

Tags: mobile & wireless, networking, security

Stop 3-strikes shenanigans, say Irish data protectors

OTOH: ODPC slaps ROI ISP for IRMA SOP

Ireland's Office of the Data Protection Commissioner (ODPC) has told the country's biggest ISP to cut out its three-strikes-and-you're-out policy. The ODCP reportedly told Eircom that relying on IP addresses is unlawful, despite a court order to do so gained by the Irish Recorded Music Association (IRMA). On the one hand, where there's three columns of smoke, there's probably fire. On The Other Hand, Internet access is still a fundamental human right in Europe.

Tags: eircom, ireland, irma, networking, odpc, public sector, security

Nokia Lumia 900 Ace release date rumour: February

OTOH: and Microsoft is buying Nokia, we're told

Nokia (BIT:NOK1V) (NYSE:NOK) is readying a new Windows Phone flagship device: the Nokia Lumia 900 'Ace' release date is said to be February 2012. It's supposedly bigger, brighter, and bonnier than the 800. Meanwhile, rumours of a Microsoft merger resurface. On the one hand, cue excited squeals from diehard Nokia fans everywhere. On The Other Hand, they're only rumours, not hard facts; but what did you expect in mid-December?

Tags: microsoft, mobile & wireless, networking, nok, nok1v, nokia, operating systems, windows

BT grows plans for 'super-fast' fibre broadband

OTOH: Openreach adds 178 exchanges, but how many cabinets?

BT (LON:BT.A) Openreach will upgrade 178 more exchanges to fibre by 2014. That means more businesses and consumers will be able to get headline speeds of 40, 80, or even 300 Mb/s. On the one hand, it's good to see plenty of plans for FTTC and FTTP outside of built-up areas. On The Other Hand, there are still far too many premises not served by fibre-enabled cabinets, even though their exchange is enabled: as ever, the Devil is in the detail.

Tags: adsl, bt, fttc, fttp, infrastructure, it business, networking, public sector, vdsl

Windows 8 beta download release date, app store

OTOH: Metro a-gogo

Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) has confirmed the release date of the Windows 8 beta download -- or, at least, the approximate date. It's also unveiled more details on its new app store. On the one hand, it's good to see Microsoft making progress on its tablet OS. On The Other Hand, assuming the final release is in Autumn 2012, will it be a case of too little, too late?

Tags: applications, beta, metro, microsoft, mobile & wireless, msft, operating systems, windows, windows 8

Apple loses in Oz; Samsung to sell Galaxy Tab again

OTOH: Apple vs. Samsung, round 94

Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) seems to have lost its battle to block Samsung (SEO:005930) (LON:SMSN) from selling its Galaxy Tab Android tablets in Australia. The pomaceous protagonist has until Friday to change the Federal Court's mind. On the one hand, Apple is smarting that its popular products are being "blatantly copied" by competitors. On The Other Hand, the court says there's insufficient evidence to prove that case, so it was perhaps unreasonable to block Samsung's sales in the first place.

Tags: 005930, aapl, apple, australia, galaxy tab, ipad, mobile & wireless, samsung, smsn

Nokia Lumia 800 battery life bug fix

OTOH: A better response than Apple's

The Nokia Lumia 800 is getting a battery life bug fix. Nokia (HEL:NOK1V) (NYSE:NOK) says it's fixing the problem with a couple of patches. Please stand by for updates. On the one hand, the two patches, in December and January, can't come soon enough. On The Other Hand, full marks to Nokia for publicly acknowledging the problem, in stark contrast to Apple.

Tags: apple, microsoft, mobile & wireless, nok, nok1v, nokia, operating systems, windows

Pay-by-mobile ahoy, say Forrester and ABI

OTOH: Wave your phone to empty bank, RSN

Two research reports say that mobile payments will be commonplace in the UK in the next few years. The Forrester/PayPal study says 2016, but Allied Business Intelligence says the tipping point could come even earlier -- 2014. On the one hand, I for one welcome our new payment-technology overlords. On The Other Hand, people in Finland, Japan and the Philippines have had m-commerce since the late-90s.

Tags: apple, applications, cloud computing, infrastructure, it business, m-commerce, mobile & wireless, security

US-Finnish HUD contact lens shows promise

OTOH: Head-up display tested on drugged bunnies

Collaborative research by Aalto University in Finland and the University of Washington in the NW USA, has produced a contact lens that can show simple images, controlled and powered wirelessly. On the one hand, cue a rash of pundits predicting Terminator-style personal-imagery applications. On The Other Hand, the test lens contained the grand total of one pixel, so it's early days.

Tags: mobile & wireless, networking

Rabbi vs. Steve Jobs: iThis & iThat cause sadness

OTOH: Lord Sacks' criticisms of Apple lust

Jonathan Henry Sacks, Baron Sacks, Kt, has publicly criticised the late Steve Jobs and his Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) company, for services to consumerism. The Chief Rabbi of the United Hebrew Congregations of the Commonwealth thinks people should spend less time worrying that they've not yet upgraded to an iPhone 4S, and spend more time with their families. On the one hand, Yaakov Zvi probably has a point. On The Other Hand, his many other anti-consumerism pronouncements don't seem to have blunted our greed for new pomaceous shinyness.

Tags: aapl, apple, it business, mobile & wireless