From Trolls to Transformers
3rd Aug 2012 | 09:30
Online abuse, courtroom battles and top-end tablets
Twitter's been making the news for ages - it sometimes seems as if newspapers fill half their pages with stories about celeb X calling celeb Y a great big Z on the service - but this week Twitter itself was the story, and not for good reasons.
First of all it shut down a journalist's account after he slagged off Twitter's Official Olympics Partner NBC, and then the service was used by an idiot to abuse an Olympian.
The NBC story was a classic case of overreacting: Twitter pulled Guy Adams' account for posting a personal email address, something its rules prohibit, but the email address he posted wasn't a personal one: Adams' real offence was upsetting Twitter's pal. Adams' account has since been reinstated, but the story is a reminder that Twitter is a private media company, not a public service.
While Twitter was quick to kill Guy Adams' account, it isn't so quick to shut down abusive ones - as we discovered this week when a teenager tried to upset an Olympian. The user, rileyy_69, sent abuse to diver Tom Daley; Daley retweeted the abuse and things escalated. As our columnist Gary Marshall put it, "that RT unleashed the mob and ended with an arrest".
Marshall wasn't defending the abusive Tweeter, but "when someone's Twitter account rockets from a few hundred followers to more than 50,000 in a couple of hours", as rileyy_69's did, "and their behaviour gets worse, it's clear that they're being goaded... Rileyy_69 should have been blocked, not bullied." We're not in favour of people abusing anybody, but we're a bit scared of angry mobs too. "There's something of 1984's Two Minutes Hate to it," Marshall says.
Apple vs Samsung: bored yet?
Never mind two minutes of hate: thanks to Apple and Samsung, we've got four weeks of it to look forward to.
Court cases can be dull things, but the Samsung versus Apple battle turns out to be a gift that just keeps on giving: with Apple apparently determined to do whatever it takes to triumph, we've been treated to an unprecedented look at iPhone and iPad prototypes.
We've also seen the first of what will no doubt be many dirty tricks, with Samsung sending evidence to the gentlemen and women of the press after Judge Lucy Koh wouldn't allow it in court. Samsung says that its evidence, a Sony-style iPhone prototype mocked up by Apple, "established beyond doubt that Samsung did not copy the iPhone design". Apple, you'll be amazed to discover, begs to differ and wants Samsung punished for the leak.
While Samsung's taking Apple on in the courts, others are doing it in the shops - and after unexpected demand left Google without any 16GB Nexus 7s to sell, the good news is that the best version of Google's wee tablet is back in stock. The bad news is that the Google Q media streamer is now on ice so it can "do even more than it does today". We're all in favour of that: as our in-depth review discovered, the smoothly curved Google Q has a lot of rough edges.
The Nexus is a great little tablet, but Apple may be working on one of its own - and this week, the iPad mini rumours began to seem much more solid. Initial suggestions of a September release alongside the iPhone 5 have been superseded by predictions of a November event, just in time for Christmas.
Are you more interested in Asus tablets than Apple ones? Then we've got a treat for you: a side-by-side comparison of the Transformer Prime and Transformer Infinity:
While the devices are largely identical, they do have different screens: the Prime makes do with 1280x800, while the Infinity has a pixel-packed 1920x1200. Can you really tell the difference?