January 11th, 2012
09:16 PM GMT
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London (CNN) – I am a simple man at heart, one who is usually three steps behind the latest technologies and battles hard to try to keep up. So I didn’t really understand the full thrust of Google’s latest news when I first heard it.

Google has changed its algorithm to add social media results to our searches. Users of Google+ will now find information from their friends, pictures from Picasa and all sorts of things that I have no idea about but which are lurking mysteriously on the web.

Google says this makes searches more personal, and gives information which is relevant to you. Surely, if social media is the future, this is all reasonable? So why is everyone up in arms about it?


January 6th, 2012
07:50 PM GMT
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London (CNN) – Shock! Horror! Crisis! Apple’s iPhone was not the top selling phone at Christmas – Samsung’s Galaxy S II was. Can this be? What has gone wrong? Surely some mistake?

OK – I need to declare I am not an Apple worshipper. Yes, I have an iPad, which I l love, and an old iPod which I use when travelling, but otherwise I am a PC person through and through.

I tell you this in advance because there is nothing more polarizing that the subject of Apple versus the rest of the world.

Apple users believe they have seen the light and are messianic about the company. Everyone else thinks the Appleites have drunk the Kool-Aid, probably need therapy and gleefully look forward to when the Apple empire’s cool veneer starts to wear thin. FULL POST

January 4th, 2012
08:57 PM GMT
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London (CNN) – The decision by China’s airlines to snub Europe’s carbon emissions tax opens a new front in the battle of European Union versus the Rest of the World.

From this year, airlines which use EU airports must pay a carbon tax, regardless of the carrier’s nationality. They pay for the emissions of the whole flight - not just the bit in European air space.

Carbon credits are issued for up to 80% of emissions, meaning airlines are left with hefty bills to cover the balance.

What has enraged the Americans, Chinese, Latin Americans - in fact just about everyone - is that the EU imposed a blanket scheme.

December 29th, 2011
07:11 PM GMT
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London (CNN) – I have always been fascinated by the international date line; The arbitrary line where one day gives way to the next. When flying across the Pacific I often try to stay awake for that moment when you gain or lose a day as you cross this artificial barrier. So Samoa’s decision to shift its dateline has enthralled me.

Samoa is slap-bang in the middle of the Pacific, just 20 miles from the U.S. side of the line. Currently, Los Angeles is two hours ahead, and Sydney, Australia - on the other side - a whopping 21 hours ahead. (Ed's note: Many thanks to everyone who pointed out our own time zone slip, which is now corrected.) According to the country, most business is done with Australia and New Zealand, so Samoans are losing out on two days of business, because of the timings of work weeks and weekends.

So on Thursday, at the stroke of midnight, Samoa will shift the line. And it will instantly be Saturday morning, just after midnight.

Friday would never have existed for those who live in Samoa. Vamooshed. (I know how it works, but I still can’t get my head around it).

December 28th, 2011
06:28 PM GMT
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London (CNN) – Who owns a Twitter name and the followers that go with it? Such an obvious question, but suddenly one that has companies and lawyers scratching around to reach an answer.

It seems obvious if it's just your own name and you use it for purely personal purposes but what about if the account is also used to help promote your employer’s business?

Noah Kravitz posted tweets under the name @phoneDog_Noah but changed when he left the employ of PhoneDog which is now suing him for damages for the 17,000 followers, claiming they belong to the company. They are claiming $2.50 per month for every follower.

This has every one of us who tweets as part of our personal and working life scratching our heads and thinking about it. Who does have the right to benefit from my Twitter followers' names?


December 27th, 2011
05:45 PM GMT
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London (CNN) – Most of us have an idea of what we want to buy in the January sales - and maybe have budgeted the money in our holiday spending. I know I want to pick up a pair of jeans and some new brogue shoes. I would also like to buy a new espresso maker and maybe some towels. BUT - and this it the big point - ONLY if the price is right. I think I am not alone.

Christmas has been and gone and now in its wake we see a last-minute rush to sell before the end of the year. In the post-Christmas retailing blizzard the shoppers are there and some of them are even spending….. sales are expected to be up by up to 5% on last year’s. In London the shops were exceptionally busy with some stores seeing record numbers. (The day was marred by two high street stabbings that left one man dead).

When I went into the Gap store and saw them selling sweaters for £10 ($15), I realized that this was going to be a much harder time for the retailers - desperate to get rid of inventory, raise revenue and try to re-balance what has been a lackluster holiday season.

December 14th, 2011
04:26 PM GMT
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London (CNN) – The latest developments in the euro crisis are just like the holiday parties we go to at this time of the year. We make merry, binge - and then suffer horrible hangovers in the days after. It hasn’t taken long for the euro-hangover to arrive. The bonhomie of the euro-deal has evaporated.

I decided to wait a few days before writing about the agreement in Brussels. It is easy to succumb to the enthusiasm of a late-night deal, believing that it will bring “peace in our time” and a “chicken in every pot.” To hear the EZ17+ leaders on Friday it was surely just a matter of dotting the Is and crossing the Ts. Only with the reflection of a few days can you see what works, what doesn’t - and who will change their mind.

Rise and fall of euro

The “fiscal compact”was a fine piece of German-French engineering, in the best traditions of euro-fudge. It establishes the “fiscal rule” requiring balanced budgets for all signatories to the new treaty, followed by automatic sanctions for those that fall foul.

December 2nd, 2011
04:34 AM GMT
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London (CNN) – We are now on Day Two of Olli Rehn’s 10 days to save the euro and the tempo is heating up.

Mario Draghi, the new European Central Bank president, has tantalizingly hinted he will do more to help out provided euro-member countries start the process of economic unification. As he put it, the sequence of events matters. In our language: Don’t put the horse before the cart.

For Europe’s leaders the promise that the ECB will ride to the rescue is sweet music, perhaps even for Germany’s Merkel and the Bundesbank who are demanding a move to fiscal union as the only preferred long-term solution.

If we needed any reminder of how messy this is getting, the Governor of the Bank of England, Sir Mervyn King gave us a hefty dose of reality. He said the euro crises was an “extraordinarily serious and threatening situation” and that Banks should be prepared to withstand the crises. He admitted the Bank of England was preparing contingency plans for what might happen to the euro. (Gulp)

As Day Two comes to an end I paraphrase the famous quote attributed to Otto Von Bismarck: “Saving the Euro is like making sausages. it is best not to watch them being made."

December 1st, 2011
07:36 PM GMT
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London (CNN) - Sir Mervyn King’s words today are chilling. The eurozone crisis is “extraordinarily serious and threatening” the Governor of the Bank of England said, and the UK’s central bank was drawing up contingency plans in case the zone breaks up.

This is the icing on the cake that has seen more and more politicians and commentators postulate the unthinkable: a breakup of the zone and the currency. The Economist starts this week’s lead article “even as the eurozone hurtles towards a crash.”

For some weeks now I have believed that such an event was nigh on impossible - surely, I reasoned, politicians would do what is necessary. The Economist says the “consequences are so catastrophic that no sensible policy maker could stand by and let it happen." With such ringing words I think it is worth distinguishing exactly what we are talking about.

October 26th, 2011
05:49 PM GMT
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Editor’s note: These are edited highlights of a speech CNN’s Richard Quest gave at Nokia World, October 26.

London (CNN) – It is now almost one hundred years since RMS Titanic hit an iceberg, and sank, on its maiden voyage to New York. Just imagine how the news might break if it was happening now, in the age of the almighty mobile.

The tweets might look something like this:

(11.40pm) @passenger1 OMG! Massive bang onboard Titanic. Think we've hit something.

(11.41pm) @passenger2 Titanic under attack. Sirens and staff running everywhere.

(11.41pm) @boatengineer1 Just seen water surging through lower deck.

All hands on deck sirens blaring.

(11.45pm) @WhiteStarPR RMS Titanic on course for record crossing, says captain. For pics and live updates click http://titan.ic/hubris

And on they would go...

(00.51am) @WhiteHouse President briefed on attack against ship bound for New York. Initial reports suggest Al Qaeda involved.

That's all in the land, or should I say sea, of the 'eternal subjunctive' – how it might have been.

And here's how it actually was on January 15, 2009, when U.S. Airways Flight 1549 took off from La Guardia with 150 passengers and five crew on board, en route Charlotte, North Carolina.

Just three minutes after take-off the Airbus flew into a flock of Canadian geese and three minutes after that, it came down in the Hudson River.

It's been described as the "Miracle of the Hudson" and "the most successful ditching in aviation history."

Not one of the 155 souls on board suffered any serious injuries – and the news was broken by people using their mobile phones.

This is truly is the age of the almighty mobile, and the citizen journalist.

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