After spending six months in beta, where it was tested by 500 companies, Skype in the workspace (SITW) is now available for public use. The platform enables small businesses and entrepreneurs to promote their services on a global scale. After signing up through a regular Skype account, SITW users can join Skype’s business hub, a place where they can connect with experts and consultants, as well as existing and potential customers and business partners. Businesses can arrange appointments, invite people to product demonstrations, deliver proposals, offer feedback and even write testimonials directly through the platform. The freshly released service is free to use.
In more Microsoft news, the firm has recently shown off an interesting bit of software that allows its users to instantly translate English to Chinese whilst retaining the speaker’s real voice. The prototype was exhibited at a recent event held in Tainjin, China, with Microsoft’s chief research officer, Rick Rashid, giving a stage demonstration. The translator is still at the prototype stage and probably won’t be market-ready for a few years, but the innovation involved in its design deserves attention.
With German security firm Steganos spreading the availability of its OkayFreedom privacy software, ITProPortal this week met its managing director and co-founder, Gabriel Yoran. OkayFreedom enables users to establish a VPN with Steganos’ servers disguising their IP address and allowing them to access restricted web content regardless of what country they are in. Yoran told ITProPortal that fighting for Internet freedom has always been at the core of the company’s approach, but highlighted how OkayFreedom can also come in useful for the everyday users in less restricted countries like the UK, with the encryption software helping to secure online activity over unprotected public Wi-Fi networks. For more on Steganos and its new product, follow the link.
The US State Department has announced sanctions against Iranian officials responsible for creating an “electronic curtain” on the Internet, censoring its citizens from the rest of the world. Iran’s Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance and its Press Supervisory Board have been sanctioned for reportedly shutting several newspapers and torturing journalists. In September, the Iranian government blocked YouTube indefinitely. "Such abuses demonstrate the Iranian Government's ongoing campaign to censor its own citizens,” said State Depart spokesperson, Victoria Nuland.
It doesn't exactly come as the shock of the century, but shoppers are set to spurn purchases of traditional PC devices in favour of more interactive toys this holiday season, according to the latest research. A PriceGrabber survey has revealed that Apple devices in particular are being earmarked by many as their festive gift of choice, with the iPad mini leading its rivals in the ultra-competitive 7in tablet category with a 45 per cent of respondents giving it a top desirability rating. The Amazon Kindle Fire HD and Google Nexus 7 aren't far behind, mind, and the mobile computing market as a whole is still booming to say the least - at the obvious expense of traditional PC units, which witnessed yet another difficult fiscal period in Q3 2012 with shipments falling by over 8 per cent globally, additional research indicates.