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Under the Radar -- week ending August 9th

09 Aug 2009 | 14.38 Europe/London
Under the Radar brings you the news that could have slipped away from you over the past seven days. This week we've been mostly dreaming up a theme tune for Microsoft's first likeable search engine, newsworthy flavours of ice cream and new uses for Friends Reunited.

First up, some good news: if you're reading this, you could be on the way to being a "proper citizen" in Digital Britain. "I don't think you can be [one] in our society in the future if you're not online," says our Digital Inclusion Champion, Martha Lane Fox. Hopefully that'll get us out of having to get a national I.D. card then.

And in bad news, Microsoft have managed to open a portal to a doom-laden dimension with its competition to come up with a Bing jingle - or a "Bingle," if you will (I won't) - and this is what emerged. According to the Redmond firm, "Since everyone is having fun with the name, we thought it would be interesting to see what you can do with it." Apparently, the author awarded for his work - winning $500 worth of American Express vouchers. Bing goes the Internet, indeed.

But it turns out the net's not the only thing in danger from web 2.0 hijinks. "We have definitely noticed that the UK has exploded for us recently," said Twitter founder Evan Williams in an interview with the BBC. Twitter's servers also seemed to explode this week, when confronted with a Denial of Service attack that also temporarily affected Facebook and LiveJournal. "I didn't expect that it would be an attack on me, I'm not such a famous blogger," some bloke said.

Meanwhile, Rupert Murdock once again declared an end to free news on the net. He says that when News International has a "great scoop" he's "sure people would be very happy to pay for that" - presumably meaning his secretive new business model involves selling ice cream. (Well, if it worked for Fannie May, the stricken American mortgage institution that needed federal financial help, why not?)  "I believe that if we're successful, we'll be followed fast by other media," he adds - keep your eyes open for a strawberry-flavoured Financial Times cone in the future.

It's emerged that social networking could be falling out of fashion with 16-24 year olds; the percentage of people in that age bracket with profiles fell for the first time ever. That drop, from 55 to 50 per cent, isn't as hard-hitting as the fall in the value of Friends Reunited, though. While ITV bought it for £175 million, it could only to sell it this week for a seventh of the cost to D.C. Thomson, publishers of the Beano. No reports suggest that Bash Street Kids Reunited could be in the pipeline.

And, in a tale that brings a whole new meaning to finding pussy on the Internet, one Florida man's blaming his cat for downloading illegal material when he was out of the room. Keith Griffin claims he'd been looking for music, only to later find "strange images" on his PC when he returned. The 48-year-old is currently being held in jail on a $250,000 bail bond, charged with ten counts of possession of child pornography.
chrisdoyle says:
two other stories went under your radar... Two womenwhotech are knocking spots off BT... providing a service to rural people. http://tinyurl.com/nxzc26 digitaldales providing a satellite connection to Hannah Hauxwell's old house, and Helen Anderson of SWBB http://bit.ly/j1gUz using wireless and adsl - helping people get connected on long lines or with no phone access, and JFDI. Power to the ladies... Sam, you should get someone watching twitter to pick up these news items for you!
09 Aug 2009 | 20.42 Europe/London