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Friday TechMunch: Will the EU Restriction on Vacuum Wattage End Civilisation as We Know It?

This week marked the end of the 1600-watts-plus super vacuum. By 2017, you won’t be able to buy a vacuum with more than 900-watts of power. We’re concerned that without our super vacuums Britain will return to the Dark Ages, so should we move our savings into gold and buy survival kits?

Probably not, no.

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The Ten Political Impacts of Douglas Carswell’s Defection

Following Douglas Carswell’s defection to UKIP and the announcement that there will be a by-election, FleishmanHillard has analysed the top ten political impacts:

1. In Conservative Home’s own words, this is “undoubtedly a blow to the Prime Minister.”

2. Having managed to move the political narrative away from divisions on Europe (and from an issue that only UKIP will benefit from), the Conservative election campaign has been seriously knocked off course and negative headlines will replace positive ones concerning the economy. This is the last thing Lynton Crosby would want.

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The Campaign for Scotland’s Future

This week’s second debate on Scottish Independence between the Scottish First Minister, Alex Salmond; and the leader of the pro-union Better Together Campaign, the former Chancellor of the Exchequer Alistair Darling saw Mr Salmond dominate. The previous debate had left the pro-independence campaign with numerous questions to answer, most notably on the currency.

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Friday TechMunch: Welcome to the App World?

Have you ever tried online banking on your mobile phone and gave up as the whole process is too complicated? Or deleted apps too difficult to start? Often we download apps in order to make our lives easier and more productive: buying a ticket for your local theatre, grabbing a deal at your favourite retailer or checking how many steps we walked on that day. Yet, once the app is up and running, sometimes all we can see is a jungle of menus and options tricky to access. And when your phone runs out of space, those not-so-user friendly apps are the first ones we delete .

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Friday TechMunch: Are We Really Ready For Iris Recognition Technology?

Contributed by Niamh Kinsella

This month we saw news of the Fidelys iris recognition device entering the market – the first of its kind to reach the level of sophistication, and at a price point low enough to be a viable prospect for the commercial market.

This is a major milestone for iris recognition in the drive towards biometrics working their way into everyday life. Along with wearable tech, biometrics are set to replace passwords and mobile as the next step forward in technology for consumers and businesses, and organisations are already scrambling to establish prototypes and develop systems that will see this trend enter our lives sooner than we think.

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Friday TechMunch: Driverless Cars Steer Automotive Industry Into New Era

Contributed by Jeremy Vickerman

By January 2015, the cars that you pass as you drive to the shops, pick the kids up and struggle to find a parking space may be piloted by nothing more than an on-board computer. To call it simply an on-board computer may be an understatement – the sheer complexity involved in accurately controlling 1.5 tonnes of speeding metal is tough to quantify – and how close you come to one will depend on whether you live in a city that volunteers to the testing of these vehicles on its streets.

While you may indeed see these cars on the M6 in the next few years, the chances are that they won’t be navigating Britain’s roundabouts any time soon. The UK has been far slower off the mark in terms of testing than several states in the US and Japan, where the futuristic vehicles have already been let loose on their streets. Google’s driverless car has already covered 300,000 miles on Californian public roads, while Nissan’s driverless dynasty has been busy clocking up the miles on Japanese motorways since early 2013.

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Friday TechMunch: The Future of Parenting?

Contributed by Libby Reynolds

Last week LG unveiled a new tracking device for children. While apps and gadgets to keep tabs on kids are nothing new, LG’s device stands out because of its remarkably friendly, mass-market appeal – pink and blue wristwatches; complete with their own cartoon animated face which transmits signals to a parent’s tablet or smartphone.

But should we pay attention to the renewed Orwellian warnings about these devices, or embrace what some see as a really positive benefit of 21st century technology? And can we even completely trust this new technology in practical terms?

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Friday TechMunch: The Facebook Experiment

Contributed by Libby Reynolds

For one week in January 2012, Facebook altered the newsfeeds of 700,000 people. Some people were deliberately shown “happy” content; others were shown more negative posts. It was found that these users were more likely to post either especially positive or negative words themselves.

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Is Technology Ruining Sport?

Contributed by Libby Reynolds

With goal-line technology already causing controversy in the World Cup, is technology really improving sport?

Advances in technology have dramatically altered sport in recent years; from Hawk-Eye in Wimbledon to video-refereeing in the Rugby League. For the first time, technology is having a real effect on our global sporting competitions. It has even been suggested that Hawk-Eye significantly contributed to Andy Murray’s victory at Wimbledon, when Novak Djokovic lost his cool over a Hawk-Eye decision. So should we really be relying this much on technology? Is it harming the character of our sporting competitions, or ensuring their accuracy?

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Friday TechMunch: A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words

Contributed by Libby Reynolds

If you thought 140 characters was strict, try Snapchat. The user has only 10 seconds to view an image. After that, it’s gone. For good.

Snapchat is the latest social media phenomenon. 400 million “snaps” are sent everyday – making the 40 million images captured by Instagram seem paltry in comparison. Much like Instagram and Pinterest, Snapchat’s core audience is women; but while the two older photo sharing channels are favoured by women aged 18-35, Snapchat’s demographic is younger still, beloved of 13-25 year olds.

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