Lily Cole Fronts BBC “CEO Secrets” Series After Running Company Into Ground

lily cole

Who have the BBC got to front their new “CEO Secrets” series? Model, actor, and “entrepreneur” Lily Cole has been offering her “tips for business success”:

“Believe in what you’re doing and know why you’re doing it, so it’s very hard to run a business, and there’s going to be up and down moments, and in those down moments what pulls you through is, you know, inner conviction of knowing why you’re doing what you’re doing and believing in it.” 

Inspiring stuff.

In other news, Lily’s taxpayer-subsidised social network Impossible.com has reported losses of £256,000 in 2015 and £250,000 in 2014. That’s despite taking a huge £200,000 grant from the Cabinet Office in 2013. The site achieved just 45,000 visitors last month. Please, Lily, tell us your secret…

Before You Go Incognito…

It’s gone midnight and before readers, er, go incognito, they might be interested to learn the government is going to make it harder. DCMS today launch a public consultation to require porn websites to ensure all their viewers are over 18. The plan is that Jack Dromey et al will have to sign in to an identify provider such as their bank or mobile operator before they open up the “private browsing” section. Sites that do not abide by the new law will face civil action or even be blocked, Chinese-style, which seems unworkable at best and draconian censorship at worst. No technology has been or ever will be invented that can stop teenage boys looking at pictures of naked girls…

Engineers Move Objects Using ‘The Force’

Star Wars fans will be pleased to hear that they are one step closer to being able to use ‘the force’. The BBC has revealed that a team of engineers have designed a mechanism that can move and hold pea-sized objects from 30cm to 40cm away through the power of “holograms” made of sound waves. The pretty cool video above shows how the holograms manipulate objects, finishing with a “cardboard UFO” circling the speaker grid to show its “tractor beam” capability. A development most interesting it is…

Boris’ Broadband Scoreboard

boris-st-george

Boris has launched a programme that will rank buildings in London by their connectivity and help businesses understand whether offices will meet their internet needs. Any building that signs up to the Connectivity Ratings Scheme will receive a technical assessment from WiredScore, who run similar programmes across major US cities, and will be ranked against other London buildings in a searchable database.

There is staggering variability in the the quality of broadband connections across London and a culture of property owners not being upfront about just how bad the connectivity in their building is. By creating a voluntary database, Boris hopes to force landlords to compete against each other to make their properties more attractive to tenants. Now to rank them by proximity to Nandos…

Taxpayers 1-0 Microsoft

Office-2013-vs-LibreOffice-4-featured

The Crown Commercial Service has signed a deal with an open source software company called Collabora Productivity that will make the Libre Office software available across all government departments. Libre Office is a free version of Microsoft Office, a software package that the government spends millions in license fees to use. Collabora will provide a specially tailored version of Libre Office for free and will provide technical assistance and support.

The CCS deal is their latest move in a long running campaign to stamp out the public sector culture of mindlessly funnelling taxpayer money to big software companies and comes on the back of Government Digital Service’s victory in forcing Microsoft into supporting Open Document Formats. Libre Office uses the ODF standard and by making Microsoft support the format, CCS have opened the door for a seamless switch to free opensource software such as Libre Office. Don’t expect Microsoft to go down without a fight…

Uber Victory: High Court Rules App Not Illegal

The ruling clarifies that Uber’s smartphone app isn’t breaking the law as it isn’t operating in the same way as the regulated meters used  by black cabs to calculate fares. The cabbies will be furious…

UPDATE: The luddites have already appealed

UPDATE II: Uber have responded

“This is great news for Londoners and a victory for common sense. Now the High Court has ruled in favour of new technology, we hope Transport for London will think again on their bureaucratic proposals for apps like Uber. Compulsory five-minute waits and banning ride-sharing would be bad for riders and drivers. These plans make no sense. That’s why 130,000 people have already signed our petition against these proposals. We hope TfL will listen to Londoners and let Uber keep London moving.”

Watch a Tesla Drive Itself

Tesla have rolled out an “Autopilot” update to its Model S cars today; watch as the new software drives by itself through New York traffic:

It’s not quite a fully driverless car yet, but it’s not far off. The cabbies must be quaking in their boots…

Generous Whitto Plugs Hilariously Bad ‘Electric Jukebox’

whittingdale

John Whittingdale turned up at BAFTA’s HQ to help plug the launch of a music streaming device called “Electric Jukebox“. The Jukebox is an ugly oversized remote and dongle that plugs into the back of your TV, and has quickly become the butt of jokes. It is basically the same as a Google Chromecast or Amazon Fire Stick, except with a fraction of the functionality. The Chromecast and Fire Stick cost £30 or £35 respectively. The Electric Jukebox costs £179…

Rob Lewis, chairman of Electric Jukebox, then popped up to tell everyone that the world needs the £180 remote control because it’s “almost like you need a degree in engineering” to use services like Spotify. Lewis has two failed music streaming services under his belt…

Electric Jukebox perks include curated mixtapes from Stephen Fry and Robbie Williams’ wife:

fry

And if you want to keep streaming music after a year? It’ll cost you £60…

GCHQ Can Snoop on Politicians

gchq-always-listening-to-our-customers

The Investigatory Powers Tribunal, the only judicial body with the power to investigate MI5, MI6 and GCHQ, has ruled today that it’s completely fine for spooks to snoop on the communications of MPs. The ruling lays firmly to rest any pretence that the Wilson Doctrine – the principle that MPs’ and peers’ phones should not be tapped, holds any water with GCHQ. If it ever really did…

“We do not accept that the Wilson Doctrine was ever absolute. The policy or general policy of which Mr Wilson spoke was one of not tapping the telephones of Members of Parliament. It seems unlikely to us that such policy, particularly once RIPA was passed by Parliament, with its statutory justification for warrants by reference to the necessity for the interests of national security or the purpose of preventing or detecting serious crime etc , was intended to rule out any tapping of such telephones or other similar direct surveillance and certainly not any incidental interception. It is difficult to see how there could be an absolute policy which would rule out interception of any communications with parliamentarians, as opposed to a policy relating to those involving confidential communications with constituents etc.”

Maybe MPs will be more interested now they know all their calls, texts and emails are being logged…

Twitter Fires Staff Over Twitter

Twitter fired 8% of their staff today and it appears the unlucky 336 employees in for the chop first found out when they tried to log into their Twitter accounts. This is how Bart Teeuwisse, one of Twitter’s Senior Software Engineers, found out he had been culled this morning:

The layoffs are the first major move made by Jack Dorsey since he was made chief executive of Twitter last week. Looks like the social network is in big twubble...

Government Plan to “Hack” Unemployment

cabinet office

The Cabinet Office think they might have found the solution to long-term youth unemployment in the UK: they’re going to “hack” it. Later this month they are are hosting a “Job Hack” where a “diverse group of talented and creative people who will collaborate to find solutions” to youth unemployment.

It’s not clear exactly what the government expects the crack team of “solution architects” and “creative people” they are inviting to a “Digital Catapult Centre” to do, with the Cabinet Office vaguely saying only they are hoping for “new ideas“.  Good luck with that…

Uber Appoint Ex-Balls Spad as Head of Comms

Uber have appointed former Ed Balls SpAd Alex Belardinelli as their new Head of Communications for UK and Ireland. Wonder if he turned on surge pricing during the contract negotiations…

Let’s hope their drivers don’t go too far, too fast…

GCHQ Overfill Their Doughnut

gchq-always-listening-to-our-customers

There are so many new spooks flooding into GCHQ’s iconic doughnut building in Cheltenham that the intelligence agency is applying to build a new temporary block to put them in. It’s only 12 years since GCHQ moved into their shiny headquarters, yet they are applying to lump a 4,500 square meter building on their car park and to tarmac over a nearby field in order to lay down hundreds of parking spaces.

The new building will somewhat negate the raison d’être of the doughnut that was designed to facilitate talking among staff, with a circular walkway that means staff are never more than a 5 minute walk away from each other. They’ll have to start using the phone

Drunk Tory Delegate Accidentally Takes £311 Uber Back to London

tory uber ride

A Tory delegate woke up in London this morning with an epic conference story. He accidentally took a cross-country Uber ride back to London…

The delegate, who until recently worked as a researcher for a Conservative MP, told Guido the midnight ride was a costly accident:

“At the end of the day, drank too much with friends. Stupid. Got in an uber. And accidentally must have put in my home address. No money left now – thank god I worked over summer!”

Apparently he fell asleep and the driver didn’t wake him up to question the marathon journey home. No word on whether he took his suitcase with him. Lad.

Taxi Lobby Slapped Down on Newsnight

City AM editor Christian May gave the London Taxi Drivers Association’s Steve McNamara a schooling on Newsnight last night:

The cabbies’ spokesman finishing up with a pretty defamtory conspiracy theory. Taxi for Mr McNamara…

London Tories Tell Boris to “Think Again” on Uber

boris taxi

Seven London Tory councillors have written to Boris urging him to “please think again” about Transport for London’s proposed crack down on Uber:

“we are worried by Transport for London’s proposed regulations on Uber. Red tape will hit Londoners who want to get a taxi without paying the higher prices that black cab regulation generates… We are sympathetic to black cab drivers who feel TFL’s existing regulations are onerous. The answer is to cut black cab red tape and leave Uber alone.”

The councillors who signed the letter are Paul Church, Thomas Crockett, Peter Cuthbertson, Tony Devenish, JP Floru, Richard Holloway and Gotz Mohindra. Will Boris regret paying lip service to the cabbie lobby?

Boris Forcing Uber Drivers to Speak English

boris cab

Following the launch today of  Transport for London’s consultation on measures that would seriously damage Uber if implemented, Boris Johnson’s team are distancing the Mayor from some of the more draconian proposals. Boris is not keen on some of the crazier ideas. He is however sympathetic to drivers having to pass an English language test for drivers and a cap on the the maximum number of private hire vehicles because they are bringing congestion, circling and pollution. On the pollution point Uber is planning to go all-electric in the next few years.

Capping the number of cars is still very East Germany circa 1984…

60,000 Flock to Back Uber

uber prius

Following the news that Transport for London are launching a consultation today on proposals to kneecap Uber’s business, over 67,000 people have signed a petition to TFL demanding that they back down. If the proposals go ahead passengers would be forced to wait five minutes before they could get into a car and Uber would be banned from showing the available cars on their app.

Techno understands Number 10 are furious with Boris for allowing the consultation to go ahead and are actively seeking ways of forcing him to back down. You can sign the petition here

Leaked Documents: TFL Cracks Down on Uber

Documents obtained by Techno show Transport for London’s plans to crack down on taxi hire app Uber.

image1

uber 2

The proposed rule changes for minicabs specifically target Uber’s operation. The most damaging rules include a ban on showing available cars for hire on an app, a ban on drivers working for more than one company; devastating news for drivers working part time for Uber, and controls on “ridesharing” that would scuttle Uber’s plans to bring their ridesharing UberPool service to London. The most bizzare proposal stipulates that passengers must wait 5 minutes from booking a ride until they can get in car; a rule that could lead to vulnerable passengers being artificially forced to wait on street corners late at night before they could get a ride.

Why are TFL listening to the Taxi lobby Luddites?

GCHQ Failed to “Sway” Judges

judge gchq

GCHQ consider the judiciary rather than political and parliamentary oversight as the “main issue” they have to face when it comes to following the law according to a recently leaked internal slide show. In an indictment of the political class, GCHQ notes that judges are not “swayed by personal contact“.[…] Read the rest

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