Spotify: Why it's high time we all stopped being cheapskates and started paying for it

Gerald Lynch Digital Music, Features, Spotify, Tech Digest news 6 Comments

Spotify have today announced a raft of major changes to their free-to-listen music streaming service that quite drastically cuts back the amount of tracks people will be able to listen to without signing up for a premium price plan. Free…

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British Gas ready EnergySmart meter-reading iPhone app

Gerald Lynch Apple, Energy & Efficiency, iPhone apps, Tech Digest news Leave a Comment

British Gas are set to release Energy Smart, an iPhone app designed to help customers avoid estimated bills. Rather than have a meter-man visit your home, Energy Smart lets users submit gas and electricity meter readings straight to British Gas…

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Mobile roaming charges slashed

Paul Lamkin Mobile phones Leave a Comment

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There’s good news coming out of Brussels (don’t say this to anyone who voted UKIP) regarding mobile phone roaming charges. From July the cost of using your mobile phone abroad could be slashed by a whopping 60%.

Rules drawn up by the EU mean that the costs of a text will be cut to around 10p (€0.11 to be precise) down from the usual 25p – although I know from experience O2 charges 35p.

The costs of calls has been reduced too, although the ridiculous practice that you pay for calls received as well as those made still applies – albeit with price reductions. The cost of a call made will be cut to €0.46 a minute (work it out in pence yourselves, you lazy so-and-sos) and calls received will be €0.22 a minute. These prices will be further reduced in 2010 and 2011.

The cost of web browsing is still astronomical whilst abroad though so unless you’ve got plenty of dosh, avoid this. Prices have been reduced, but only to €1 a MB, meaning a song streamed from last.fm or a video watched via YouTube is still going to cost you a few quid.

Alternatively, sign up with Vodafone’s Passport scheme and receive free roaming for three months this summer. You simply pay the usual UK charges – have a read of this post from last month for more details. Or go direct to Vodafone.

(via Digital Lifestyles)

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Half the charges against the Pirate Bay abruptly dropped

Duncan Geere Intellectual Property 4 Comments

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In a shock development this morning at the “Spectrial” of the Pirate Bay’s four administrators, half the charges against the site have been dropped. It’s a massive blow for the prosecutors, who will now only be able to try the defendants for “assisting making available”.

This happens on only the second day of the trial, and came about because the prosecutor has no way of proving that the .torrent files that he’s using as evidence were actually tracked by The Pirate Bay at any point. In fact, many of the screenshots submitted clearly state that there’s no connection to the tracker.

This is significant because, as I pointed out on Channel 4 News yesterday, the Pirate Bay only acts as a signpost for the files shared over it. It’s like a matchmaking service – uniting people who have content with the people who want it. It takes no part in the actual transaction. As a result, the Pirate Bay likens the trial to a car manufacturer being prosecuted for making cars that can exceed the speed limit.

In the meantime, the site itself has seen a surge in popularity thanks to the publicity from the trial. 150,000 more torrents are currently being shared than at the same time last week. Swedish web traffic is also up 10Gbs over previous weeks, and TPB claim that upto 80% of web traffic is bittorrent.

Of course, this won’t stop the prosecutors attempting to being the site to justice once more, with stronger evidence, but given that the trial’s been two years in the making already, it’s not going to be soon. Given the inevitable appeals the the four promise following any successful prosecution, by the time any action is taken on the site, there’ll almost certainly be a new king of the hill in the filesharing world.

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