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Date: 28 October 2010

A month in the IT world is very a long time and so much happens so quickly that it can be difficult to keep up to speed. With that in mind, here is a selection of the technology news stories that have caught my attention in recent weeks.

1. It’s (not) hip to be Square There was a time when Jack Dorsey, the much-loved co-founder of Twitter, could do no wrong. Sadly things seem to be heading a little ‘south’ for his latest venture. Square, if you missed it, is a small device you plug into your iPhone that enables you to swipe credit card magnetic strips and process payment. It’s a neat idea, especially in its target market of US consumers who are without such luxuries as chip and PIN. However, it emerged in mid October that Square isn’t compatible with the iPhone 4. With more than 14 million new iPhones shipped last quarter, this is a major flaw with Square. The current solution seems to be to stuff a piece of paper into the aerial socket. Good luck with that one, Jack.

2. Revenge of the slow, cheap laptop? Having owned a netbook for a few years there was a certain amount of agreement in the Dyer household when Steve Jobs announced to the world that netbooks are just slow, low-quality, cheap laptops. This particular revelation was during the iPad keynote – yes, as far back as April 2010. However it’s clear Steve has a short memory, he unveiled the beautiful looking 11.6” Macbook Air this month (October). I’ll have to wait to comment on its performance because I haven’t used one, but the one thing it isn’t is cheap, with prices starting at £849. I suspect the ‘Hackingtosh’ community is smirking.

3. Slate(d) The much maligned HP Slate – a proper iPad competitor – has finally surfaced. After months of news, followed by complete radio silence, Palm takeovers and more, this much anticipated piece of tech became official. Running Windows 7 Professional, this beautiful piece of hardware is firmly aimed at the enterprise and business market, with a fairly hefty $800 (£500) price point. HP’s recent acquisition of Palm clearly means they are looking at something a little different for the consumer market, but judging by the delays to the Slate, don’t expect anything soon.

4. Mini-me PayPal this month confirmed what we in the industry have suspected for a long time – micro payments are coming to its platform. The idea is simple; the micro payments portal will enable small value payments to be made quickly and easily. Expect to be seeing this embedded into your favourite Facebook game or mobile app very soon.

5. Wagner rocks Last one from me, and it’s a fun one. If you haven’t seen it already you must check out the brilliant ‘mash-up’ between leading Twitterati member Stephen Fry and the moustachioed musical genius that is the X Factor’s Wagner. Enjoy…

Ben Dyer is the CEO at SellerDeck

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