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Robin Williams' daughter quits Twitter

Written By andika jamanta on Rabu, 13 Agustus 2014 | 23.59

By Jasmine Coleman Newsbeat reporter

13 August 2014 Last updated at 12:33

Robin Williams and his daughter Zelda pictured together in November 2011
Zelda, 25, had posted a tribute to her father saying: "I love you. I miss you. I'll try to keep looking up."

Robin Williams' daughter Zelda says she is leaving Twitter because of social media abuse after her father's death.

The 25-year-old posted that she was deleting Twitter from her devices "maybe forever".

It appears at least two people sent her "photoshopped" images claiming to show her father's body.

Robin Williams, 63, was found dead at his California home on Monday after taking his own life.

Police said the actor and comedian had been treated for depression and killed himself by hanging.

Zelda, 25, initially posted a tribute to her father on Twitter saying: "I love you. I miss you. I'll try to keep looking up."

Later, she asked for two Twitter users to be reported for abuse, before deleting her message.

She said on Tuesday she had now decided to leave the site.

Image from Zelda Williams' Twitter account

Earlier she posted a statement on Tumblr thanking people for support but also sending a message to "those sending negativity".

"Know that some small, giggling part of him is sending a flock of pigeons to your house to poop on your car. Right after you've had it washed," she said.

Image from statement posted on Twitter by Zelda Williams

British comedian Russell Kane told Newsbeat that he was "offended" by some comments made after the death of Williams.

"People's comments saying how selfish Robin Williams is for doing this, people just don't understand what depression is like," he said.

Fox News TV anchor Shepard Smith sparked criticism after suggesting the actor was a "coward" to kill himself.

Smith has now said he regrets using the word while speculating on air what Williams may have been feeling at the time, according to the Associated Press.

Meanwhile TalkSport has apologised after its radio presenter Alan Brazil said he had "no sympathy" for suicide.

Follow @BBCNewsbeat on Twitter and Radio1Newsbeat on YouTube


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Fugitive juggler caught by face tech

13 August 2014 Last updated at 13:13

A US juggler facing child sex abuse charges, who jumped bail 14 years ago, has been arrested in Nepal, after the use of facial-recognition technology.

Street performer Neil Stammer travelled to Nepal eight years ago using a fake passport under the name Kevin Hodges.

New facial-recognition software matched his passport picture with a wanted poster the FBI released in January.

Mr Stammer, who had owned magic shop in New Mexico, has now been returned to the US state to face trial.

The Diplomatic Security Service, which protects US embassies and checks the validity of US visas and passports, had been using FBI wanted posters to test the facial-recognition software, designed to uncover passport fraud.

Deputy assistant secretary for domestic operations Barry Moore said: "With over 100 specially trained passport and visa fraud investigators in more than 65 countries around the world, Diplomatic Security works with our international and federal law enforcement partners to bring fugitives like Stammer home to face justice."

The FBI has been developing its own facial-recognition database as part of the bureau's Next Generation Identification (NGI) programme.

As well as facial-recognition images, the database will store fingerprints, iris scans and palm prints.

Civil liberties group Electronic Frontier Foundation, which is concerned about its use of data from people with no criminal convictions, said the database contained 16 million images in 2013 and had the capability to contain as many as 52 million by 2015.

The FBI said the database would reduce crime and terrorism.


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Google builds cable under Pacific

12 August 2014 Last updated at 12:54

Google and five other large companies are teaming up to build a cable under the Pacific Ocean that will deliver incredibly fast internet speeds.

The cable, dubbed Faster, will connect the US with Japan and cost about $300m (£179m; 225m euros), the consortium said.

The trans-Pacific fibre cable would be capable of handling 60 terabytes per second - enough to send more than 2,000 uncompressed HD films a second.

The cable will be operational by 2016.

Google is working with a host of Asian telecoms giants - China Mobile, China Telecom, Global Transit, KDDI, and SingTel.

'One of longest routes in world'

"Faster is one of a few hundred submarine telecommunications cables connecting various parts of the world," said Woohyong Choi, chairman of the consortium's executive committee. "These cables collectively form an important infrastructure that helps run global internet and communications.

"The Faster cable system has the largest design capacity ever built on the trans-Pacific route, which is one of the longest routes in the world."

The cable will connect Chikura and Shima in Japan to the major hubs on the west coast of the US - Los Angeles, San Francisco, Portland, and Seattle.

It is made up of six fibre-pairs, each capable of transmitting 100 wavelengths, each at 100 gigabits per second.

Submarine cables are integral to the structure of how the world wide web works. In 2008, communications between Europe, the Middle East, and Asia were seriously disrupted after submarine cables were severed near the Alexandria cable station in Egypt. Sixty-five percent of net traffic to India was down at the time.

And KDDI, Japan's second-largest telecoms operator, had to do extensive work to repair undersea cables damaged in the massive 2011 earthquake and tsunami.

Google already offers high-speed internet access directly in the US through its Fiber service, with customers being offered speeds of 1Gbps in cities like Austin, Texas, and Kansas City, Kansas.

But the speeds from the new Faster cable far surpass anything consumers can access in most of the US and Europe, though internet speeds are generally much faster in Asia - South Korea wants to see citizens equipped with 1Gbps connections by 2017, for example.

The fastest widely-available speed of broadband to home users in the UK is 152Mbps. There are 1,000 megabits in one gigabit - and 1,000 gigabits in one terabit - of data transmitted.


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Xbox gets Tomb Raider as exclusive

12 August 2014 Last updated at 15:23 By Leo Kelion Technology desk editor

Microsoft has announced that the next flagship game in its Tomb Raider series is to be an Xbox "exclusive".

The previous title had also been released for Sony's PlayStation platform in addition to a version for PCs and Macs.

The title's developer, Crystal Dynamics, said it believed the tie-up would help it advance the action-adventure game's brand.

But the studio acknowledged some people would have "concerns".

The original Tomb Raider game was closely associated with the original PlayStation, which it helped make a success.

One industry watcher described the news as a "decent coup" for Microsoft.

"If you look at the third-party titles that come to market, Tomb Raider is up there as one of the most anticipated third-person action titles," said Piers Harding-Rolls, head of games at the consultancy IHS.

The announcement was made during the Xbox press conference at the Gamescom trade fair in Cologne, Germany.

"We're incredibly excited to have Rise of the Tomb Raider come to our platform in 2015," said Microsoft corporate vice-president Phil Harrison at the event.

"It's a franchise I've admired for over 18 years, and I can't wait for Xbox One gamers to play the game next year."

A spokesman for Square Enix, Crystal Dynamic's owner, was unable to say whether the exclusivity deal had an expiration date.

Weaker sales

Although Microsoft had shown a teaser trailer of the title during its E3 expo press conference in June, there had been no indication that it had secured the title as an exclusive until now.

The last game - known simply as Tomb Raider - had rebooted the series by taking its lead character Lara Croft back to her first treasure hunting adventure, and had been well reviewed.

The new game may help Microsoft tempt gamers to buy its system rather than Sony's.

Financial reports from the two firms in July indicated that the PS4 and PS3 were outselling the Xbox One and Xbox 360 by a factor of three to one.

Sony says 10 million copies of the PS4 have been bought by consumers worldwide, but Microsoft has not released a comparable figure for the Xbox One.

The research firm IDC indicates the PS4 has remained the stronger seller in North America over recent months despite Microsoft unbundling its Kinect sensor from the Xbox One to match Sony's price tag.

Mr Harding-Rolls said the Tomb Raider deal should act as a counterbalance to Sony's forthcoming in-house exclusive, Uncharted 4: A Thief's End.

"They have similar dynamics, and are both third-person adventure-style action titles," he commented.

"Uncharted is probably the most anticipated game out of Sony's exclusive, so I think Tomb Raider is a good defensive play."

Gamer backlash

Darrell Gallagher, head of studios at Crystal Dynamics, said he thought the move was the "very best thing" possible for his title.

"Today's announcement with Microsoft is one step to help us put Tomb Raider on top of action adventure gaming," he wrote.

"Our friends at Microsoft have always seen huge potential in Tomb Raider and have believed in our vision since our first unveil with them on their stage at E3 2011.

"We know they will get behind this game more than any support we have had from them in the past - we believe this will be a step to really forging the Tomb Raider brand as one of the biggest in gaming, with the help, belief and backing of a major partner like Microsoft."

He added that the deal would not prevent a franchise spin-off coming to other platforms.

Lara Croft and The Temple of Osiris - a dungeon-crawling title with top-down views of its gameplay - will still be published for PlayStation and PCs in addition to Xbox consoles when it is released in December.

Even so, there is evidence of a backlash against the decision.

"I played every Tomb Raider since Tomb Raider 2 on PC. This announcement doesn't mean I'll be playing it on Xbox One. It means I just won't be playing it all," posted a user named John in one of the comments below the firm's blog.

And on Twitter Colin Jones tweeted: "I have just lost every bit of respect & love I had for Square Enix, a game like Rise of the Tomb Raider should not be an exclusive!!!", while Jason Schreier added: "Microsoft literally paid Square Enix to deny their game to people."


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Vodafone 'worst for rural calls'

12 August 2014 Last updated at 17:13

Vodafone has the worst quality of calls for mobile phone customers in rural areas, according to research by Ofcom.

The regulator looked at data from EE, O2, Three, and Vodafone on the performance of their networks.

EE had the best service across the whole of the UK, with O2 leading in cities.

Ofcom said that research showed the consumers in urban areas were happier with their mobile phone service than those in rural areas.

Some 78% of people in urban areas were satisfied with their mobile network, compared with 67% in rural parts of the UK and 70% in remote areas, Ofcom said.

The research measured the quality of calls in areas with coverage, looking at the numbers that failed to connect or unexpectedly cut out.

Six months of data

Ofcom used data from RootMetrics, a company that measures network performance on mobile handsets, which showed the proportion of UK mobile phone calls connected successfully during the second half of 2013.

It said that overall:

  • 97% of all calls on the EE network were successfully connected
  • 95.3% on O2,
  • 94.5% on Three,
  • and 92.6% on Vodafone.
Continue reading the main story

We should all be able to get mobile reception, whether we're in the heart of the city or out in the sticks"

End Quote Ernest Doku uSwitch

In terms of rural calls:

  • 93.7% on the EE network were successfully completed
  • 87.4% on O2,
  • 86% on Three,
  • and only 79.9% on Vodafone.

"Regular independent testing of our network shows that we're the market leader for call set-up," Vodafone said. It also said that it recently launched a scheme called Rural Open Sure Signal to "extend coverage in hard-to-reach rural locations".

Ofcom said that all four networks have agreed to work with it to develop a common methodology for measuring the rates of successful mobile phone calls.

Dropped calls hit 20%

EE said: "It's great to see our ongoing investment in phone calls reflected in Ofcom's report, confirming that we continue to provide the best call experience across the UK, particularly in rural areas.

"We're investing hundreds of millions each year in expanding the reach of our network so that more people can make phone calls in more places," it added.

Three said that the data looks at "one measure of network performance but YouGov's surveys of iPhone, smartphone, tablet and mobile broadband users consistently suggest our customers are the most satisfied across a number of measures".

And O2 said: ""We are pleased to see that we are the best network in urban areas across England and the UK, where the majority of our customers are."

Ofcom also said that the majority of people it surveyed never or hardly ever had a blocked call or dropped calls. "However, a fifth of people said they experienced blocked calls and dropped calls at least once a week, and this increases in rural areas," it said.

"In this day and age, we should all be able to get mobile reception, whether we're in the heart of the city or out in the sticks," said Ernest Doku, of consumer tariffs comparison site uSwitch.

"While it's good to see that the majority living in cities are satisfied with their networks, this doesn't help me if I'm in a field, in rural Wales, with a broken leg and unable to call for help."


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Sony reveals PlayStation TV launch

12 August 2014 Last updated at 21:09 By Kim Gittleson BBC business reporter, New York

Sony has revealed autumn launch dates for its PlayStation TV in the US, UK, and Europe.

Available in Japan since last year, the micro-console is the firm's efforts to take on other streaming television consoles like AppleTV and Roku.

Unlike those, Sony's offering will allow gamers access to PlayStation games.

Sony said consoles will go on sale in the US on 14 October and in the UK on 14 November.

They will cost $99 (£59) in the US and 99 euros (£78) in Europe, and will include three games. The UK price has not yet been announced.

The console will allow users access to Sony's games library via Remote Play, and it will also offer access to third-party applications like Netflix.

In the US, it will also offer access to Sony's game-streaming service, PlayStation Now, which will be coming to Europe and the UK in 2015.

'Enough of both'

Sony has previously announced the existence of the PlayStation TV at various events.

Many analysts seem optimistic about the device's prospects, despite earlier failed streaming games efforts, such as OnLive, which was forced to lay off all of its employees in 2012.

"This TV could be a proper streaming device, one that could compete well with the other ones that are out there - the Apple, Roku, even things like Amazon FireTV," Brian Blau, research director of consumer technology at Gartner, told the BBC.

"It's not the most robust streaming service and it's not the most robust gaming device but it's enough of both for the price," he added.

New markets

Analysts say that the device is not necessarily intended to appeal to serious gamers, but to those who are looking for a second-screen or the ability to play older PlayStation games.

"Sony is trying to introduce a broader audience to PlayStation, so with PlayStation TV, they can address a lower income or more casual market and provide access to a huge library of games," said Michael Pachter, research analyst at Wedbush Securities.

However, Mr Pachter cautioned that simply appealing to gamers would not make the device a runaway success.

"It's an odd device, and will be hard to explain to many people," he said.

The announcement was made during the PlayStation press conference at the Gamescom trade fair in Cologne in Germany, where Sony also announced it had sold 10 million PlayStation 4 consoles, better than rival Microsoft's Xbox One.


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Samsung reveals metal-framed phone

13 August 2014 Last updated at 11:35 By Leo Kelion Technology desk editor

Samsung has announced a new smartphone with a metal frame that is smaller and thinner than its flagship model.

The South Korean company describes the Galaxy Alpha as representing a "new design approach".

The firm has previously been criticised for the plastic feel of its handsets at a time when other firms have opted to use materials marketed as having a "premium" feel.

Samsung Electronics saw a 20% year-on-year drop in its last quarter's profit.

It blamed "slow global sales of smartphones".

The company recently lost its status as China's bestselling smartphone-maker to Xiaomi, a local rival, according to the research group Canalys.

Xiaomi's latest handset, the Mi 4, also features a metal-framed build.

"This is a clear acknowledgement by Samsung that it needed to address some of the criticism that it faced on the Galaxy S5 and deliver a more premium feel," Ben Wood, chief of research at the telecoms consultancy CCS Insight, told the BBC.

"To actually make these devices in the kind of volumes that Samsung needs to deliver them across all its markets is a real challenge, so it's quite remarkable that it's been able to turn this product around so quickly.

"The challenge will be marketing it without cannibalising sales of the S5."

'Missed opportunity'

The new handset has a 4.7in (11.9cm) screen, making it slightly smaller than the Galaxy S5.

Its camera also has a lower specification of 12 megapixels, but it benefits from being nearly a fifth slimmer, measuring 6.7mm (0.26in) deep, and is also lighter, weighing in at 114g (4oz).

Samsung replaced the head of its mobile design team in May, when Lee Min-hyouk took over the role from Chang Dong-hoon.

The move followed several reviews that had praised the Galaxy S5's capabilities while criticising its feel.

Other manufacturers that had already shifted to offering part or full-metal bodied phones at the time included HTC, Huawei, Apple and Sony.

One expert, who tested the Galaxy Alpha before it was formally announced, has doubts about the new device.

"The back is still a plastic cover and it doesn't do enough to compete with the look and feel of the HTC One, for instance," said Francisco Jeronimo, a mobile devices analyst at the research firm IDC.

"This was an opportunity for Samsung, and it's missed it again.

"Unless the Alpha is made very affordable and put in a mid-tier price band, it may have difficulty as the materials don't feel as premium as some of its competitors."

A spokeswoman for Samsung said it would announce the device's price and shipping date at a later stage.

The company is expected to unveil the Galaxy Note 4, its latest large "phablet" handset, in Berlin on 3 September ahead of the start of the Ifa tech show.


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Man United bans tablet computers

13 August 2014 Last updated at 12:33

Manchester United has banned fans from bringing tablets and laptops to football matches at its stadium.

The club said it was reacting to "security intelligence", adding the restriction was in line with new checks on electronic equipment at airports.

It said that unlike at airports, it would be "impractical" at the stadium to check the devices were genuine by asking for them to be powered up.

Greater Manchester Police said it was not involved with the ban "in any way".

A statement on the club's site says the ban extends to large and small tablets "including iPad minis", as well as larger electronic devices.

Smartphones are still permitted as long as their dimensions are smaller than 15cm by 10cm (5.9in by 3.9in).

"The regulations at each stadium are a matter for the relevant stadium management authorities, however, the scale of Old Trafford and profile of Manchester United mean that the risk at this venue is unique," it adds.

A spokesman for the club told the BBC it had made the move after receiving "advice", but would not say from whom this had come.

He added the action was unrelated to concerns about fans using tablets to record video of matches, potentially blocking the view of others, as had been reported elsewhere.

A spokesman for the Premier League said: "This is not something we are responsible for or involved in."

The Football Association was unable to provide comment at this time.

The government announced in July that passengers flying to the US or elsewhere who passed through UK airports needed to show that devices carried in their hand luggage were charged and could be powered on. The move followed a warning that US officials had become aware of a "credible" unnamed terrorist threat.

The airport restrictions cover phones, MP3 players and cameras in addition to larger kit.


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Amazon launches credit-card reader

13 August 2014 Last updated at 16:10

Amazon has released a smartphone and tablet add-on that can be used to swipe debit and credit cards to allow payments.

The Local Register device is targeted at small businesses as an alternative to a cash-register system.

The US firm plans to take a 2.5% cut of swiped transactions from next year, but is offering a discounted rate of 1.75% in the meantime.

Both charges undercut Square and PayPal, which offer similar gadgets.

Square Register charges 2.75% per swipe, while the PayPal Here service charges 2.7%.

All of the firms must deduct interchange and assessment fees imposed by the credit-card companies and banks involved, which account for the bulk of the cost passed on to the device owners.

According to analysis by Fast Company magazine, on a $100 (£59.86) transaction, Square passes on $1.82 in fees to other financial firms and keeps 94 cents itself.

One analyst suggested that Amazon's entry into the market would prove a serious challenge to the firm that had pioneered the idea.

"There is still a sizeable window for big brands to exploit in this space, and Amazon will be seeking to leverage the consumer trust it has to offer what is effectively a cash register to the small business market," said Windsor Holden, research director at the Juniper Research consultancy.

"Given the size and scale of the company relative to Square, Amazon is in an exceptionally strong financial position. Square may now find itself struggling to compete on an equal basis."

According to a report by the Wall Street Journal in April, five-year-old Square has yet to turn a profit and has used up more than half of the $340m (£203m) it had raised from investors.

At present the Amazon Local Register card reader is only being made available to customers whose billing addresses are in the US.

Sales reports

The device plugs into a tablet or phone's headphone socket and costs $10, but buyers are reimbursed the sum in processing fees when they first use it.

It works with recent iPhones, iPads, Samsung Galaxy S handsets and Kindle Fire tablets. However, Amazon's recently launched Fire phone is not listed among the compatible devices.

Rather than credit the user's bank directly, the company instead adds the sum to their Amazon Payments account - a system originally created for third-party merchants to receive payments for goods sold via the firm's various websites.

Local Register also offers the ability to create reports about sales trends, allowing users to see how specific product categories performed over a designated period.

The card reader is the latest in a series of recent hardware launches from the firm, including the Fire TV set top box and Dash grocery-ordering gadget that scans barcodes and accepts voice commands.

Some analysts have expressed concern at the pace of that new services are being rolled out, bearing in mind the company posted a $126m loss in its last quarter.

The firm's stock is trading about 18% lower than where it started the year.


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Michael J Fox charity turns to tech

13 August 2014 Last updated at 17:26 By Leo Kelion Technology desk editor

The Michael J Fox Foundation is attempting to use wearable sensors to monitor the symptoms of Parkinson's disease.

The charity has teamed up with Intel to equip patients with smartwatches made by the tech firm's Basis division.

The organisations carried out tests earlier in the year and now plan to release an app to help doctors study the effects of different medications.

The effort has been given a cautious welcome by other researchers.

The actor Michael J Fox created his New York-based foundation in 2000 after being diagnosed with the degenerative neurological disorder.

It is believed that Parkinson's is brought on by a mixture of genetic and environmental factors, but the exact cause is still unknown.

Its symptoms can include tremors and other uncontrollable movements, impaired balance and co-ordination, stiffness, slowness of movement, loss of smell, a decline in intellectual functioning, and speech and swallowing problems.

It is estimated to affect about five million people worldwide and usually, but not always, occurs in old age.

The link up between with Intel came about through the tech firm's former chief executive Andy Grove, who serves as a senior advisor to the foundation and has been diagnosed with Parkinson's himself.

"This opportunity really will allow us the chance to uncover novel breakthroughs in Parkinson's disease by truly understanding how people are living with the disease today, how are they responding to treatments, what are their unmet needs," said chief executive of the Michael J Fox Foundation.

Record-keeping app

The wearables study is intended to provide researchers with more accurate data than can be obtained via traditional, subjective methods.

A preliminary test was funded by the two organisations earlier this year that equipped 16 Parkinson's patients and nine control volunteers with the devices for four days.

The watches allowed more than 300 data points to be recorded every second, translating to one gigabyte of data per patient a day. The information was then uploaded to Intel's system by a smartphone carried by those involved.

Over the period the participants kept paper-and-pen diaries and attended two clinical visits where they engaged in tests designed for the disease.

Intel data scientists are still processing the findings.

In addition to checking that the wearable tech's records correlate with those taken by the parties involved, they aim to develop algorithms that will allow body movement symptoms and sleep patterns to be automatically measured and made available for review in real time.

The next phase of the study involves releasing an app that allows patients to record how they are feeling and to report their medication intake, to help scientists measure the efficacy of the drugs and inform medics when they are deciding prescriptions.

This stage of the trial will be carried out in Boston, New York and Israel.

Diane Bryant, general manager of the Intel's data centre group, said that the data was encrypted and anonymised to safeguard patients' privacy.

She added that the intention was for the platform to be eventually opened up to others so that further research centres could contribute to the study.

Parkinson's UK welcomed the development, but cautioned that it was too soon to know how useful the results would be.

"The potential of using new technology to aid clinical decision making and help people with Parkinson's to get the right treatment is exciting," Suma Surendranath, professional engagement manger at the charity, told the BBC.

"However, it would be crucial that any device should demonstrate its effectiveness in robust clinical trials before becoming more widely available.

"New technology that has been proven to accurately represent the complexity of symptoms of people with Parkinson's could be a very useful addition to the tools currently available to professionals."


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