In the online world, natural disasters can bring out the worst in people. Whether it's troll comments, scam campaigns or bogus fundraisers, major storms and events often bring no shortage of bad news to report.
But they also bring about some remarkable stories of communities banding together and looking to help those on the other side of the world. One such story has arisen in the aftermath of the deadly Oklahoma tornadoes as one families courage to stand up for their convictions has united thousands of people around the globe.
Rebecca Vitsmun was one of countless people in the Oklahoma City area to see her family's home ravaged by the tornado. Grateful to be alive along with her young child, Vitsmun recounted her story to CNN reporter Wolf Blitzer.
Towards the end of the report, Vitsmun was prodded by the reporter as to whether she “thanked the Lord” for her survival. The woman was quick, but gracious to note that she was an atheist, leaving Blitzer somewhat dumfounded and caught off guard.
While Atheism is gaining acceptance in much of the western world, in the extremely religious Bible Belt region of the south, where Vitsmun lives, such views can be few and far between. That the mother would assert her stance at such an emotional and vulnerable moment touched home with many atheists around the globe.
In response, they kicked off a fundraising campaign to help recoup the family's losses and get them into a new or rebuilt home. Backers include comedian Doug Stanhope, who jokingly offered to send atheist “prayers” on behalf of donors.
The result has been nothing short of stunning. As of the end of the week, a campaign that had orignially set its target at $50,000, had raised more than $100,000 with more than 50 days remaining in the donation window.
In such a time of devastation, it is great to see communities of all religions, beliefs and convictions band together to help those in need.
Feature phones died in the developed world years ago. With telecoms offering smartphones for free on contract, nobody was really buying a smartphone in places like the US and UK.
However, smartphones were not as common in developing nations until recently. In places like China and Brazil feature phones still served a slice of the handset market. In fact, until 2013 feature phones still outsold smartphones globally.
That changed in Q1 of this year. According to the IDC, smartphones outsold feature phones for the first time ever last quarter. The report is another reminder that the world has moved passed just phone calls and the developing world is now a lucrative market.
In some developing countries, smartphones are many people's primary internet access point. The ease of a 3G network connection in your pocket makes it possible for millions of new users to have access to the web.
While in developed countries phone calls are not even the primary use of smartphones. With text and data, the need for mobile voice communication has decreased.
Now with the growth of smartphone use those numbers should continue to rise. Smartphones have continued to become cheaper and cheaper. Gone are the days of only expensive smartphones.
Today, a person can get a clever handset for free on contract or close to it off. The market has moved to build a paradagim full of low, mid, and high range smartphones. With the new paradagim, feature phones have become phased out.
The market for cheap smartphones in the developing world is now a huge industry. It's why Samsung leads the world in sales. It's also the reason why Apple keep's hearing rumors of a lower priced iPhone.
Apple is not in the cheap device industry. The firm lives off of big margins and high quality electronics. That somewhat changed with the release of the iPad Mini. The cheaper tiny iPad was the firm's first mobile foray into cheaper end devices.
It seems likely that Apple will have to continue to push its margins lower. Apple won't do it because they want to, they'll do it because they have to. The smartphone game is changing and the developing world is the new frontier.
The smartphone arena is just as much about software as hardware. Apple makes money from ads and apps featured on iOS. With more users on an iPhone, Apple stands to gain more money through software.
Google has always been about getting Android in as many paws as possible. Now, Apple has a chance to do something similar. If the firm builds its user base in the developing world it can get more people onboard with iOS.
With more users on-board it can gain in software what it might lose in hardware margin profits. The world is changing and Apple's current strategy just doesn't fit with it. Apple will have to offer a larger smartphone portfolio if it wants to keep its crown as a leader in the smartphone world.
Google had a pretty good quarter. The search giant saw decent revenue and continued success with its core products. Yet, investors still want more.
During the company's conference call with investors, many Google stock owners questioned the firm's significant investment in future technologies. Investors wondered why Google dollars were going towards things like self-driving cars and virtual reality glasses.
Analysts didn't understand why Google was putting money into products that only have the potential to make profit down the road, grilling company bosses on how they decide appropriate levels of investment for the blue-sky projects.
Google chief executive Larry Page reported that those types of projects are necessary for its future success. He said his responsibility as chief of Google was to make sure that the firm didn't get lazy and invest in only incremental upgrades.
But at Google they're making sure they don't get blindsided by the future. Page and co-founder Sergey Brin have always been looking to find the cutting edge of technology. From cloud computing to Google Fiber, the search giant has always made crazy bets on crazier technology.
That's why it must be so frustrating for Page to hear investors wonder why Google spends so much money on currently unprofitable technology. Google has made a lot of people a ton of cash. Yet, some still wonder if the powers that be know what they are doing.
It's smart to ask questions, but Page and company clearly have a plan that's been working. Most of the time, you'd complain if a company decided to rest on their laurels. But investors are worried about Google taking measured risks.
Investors absolutely have a right to question what Google is doing. Even the company's supporters must be starting to question its Motorola purchase. However, investors should be more trusting of Google in one category: R&D.
Google knows how to make things and even if those things won't always make money right away they are still good products.
So, maybe, the time has come for Google investors to have a little bit of faith. Googlers know what it takes to make money in the internet age and by investing in the future they'll make sure they make money on whatever comes next.
What would anger you more? A few phone calls that were silent when you answered and then went dead or your medical records being leaked online, or left in a skip, or stored on an unencrypted CD that disappears, never to be recovered?
Fair to say it is probably the latter, the type of incidents that regularly force the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) to issue fines of anywhere between £70,000 and £375,000 to NHS Trusts, police forces, councils, and the occasional private sector firms.
On many, many occasions it has been argued that while, obviously, no organisation wants to lose money for data protection lapses, the fines on offer are just not high enough to really act as a strong enough incentive to force the issues to the top of the agenda.
This argument took on further merit when communications regulator Ofcom was able to levy a fine of a staggering £750,000 against telecoms firm TalkTalk for making a few nuisance calls.
Ok, not a few, actually 9,000, but while this is no doubt annoying for those affected, it is clearly ridiculous that bugging a few people with some cold calls should land you with a bigger fine than losing personal, sensitive data entrusted by a customers or patient.
No doubt Christopher Graham, huddled in newspaper and warming his hands over a bin of burning debris, watched on in despair as he learnt the folks at Ofcom, in their glass-fronted waterside offices were issuing such a large fine for, by comparison, such a menial offences.
If businesses are to take data protection seriously they are going to have to fear the wrath of the ICO far more. The ability for higher fines – as set out in the draft Data Protection Directive that’s currently being debated, and watered down, in Europe – is a must.
The road to privatisation was never going to be an easy one. Michael Dell was going to face a slew of investors wanting top dollar for an under ,,performing company, even if he didn't have other bidders.
Dell intended to pay $24bn for the company he's run since day one. That price just got raised by two other investors with deeper pockets. Blackstone and Carl Ichan have the potential to offer better packages for investors by way of a public equity stub, a way to keep them invested while being a private company.
Following the offers, Michael Dell and his investment group will most likely have to up their bid for Dell. They'll also need to offer a stub, which is something they don't want to do.
Nothing quite worked out like it was suppose to. Dell investors were suppose to take their measly $24bn, so Michael Dell could ride off into the sunset and get his company right. That hasn't yet happened.
Instead, the infighting and business politics have won out. Investors want to get paid and don't care about Dell's future strategies. Yet, despite not caring some investors still want a piece of Dell's future.
One theory is that Dell won't be private forever. Once Dell gets its business in order it's possible that the firm will reopen to Wall Street. Current investors know this and they don't want to be left out in the cold when it happens.
They want to hitch their dollars to the private Dell and let things shake out as they may. They could do it with Michael Dell, Carl Ichan, or Blackstone. It doesn't really matter to investors who has the company, just that they have a piece of the action.
It's the type of motivation that Michael Dell was hoping to avoid by going private. Dell had hoped to get his company doing things that were good for the company. He wanted a brief reprieve from quarterly progress reports so he could allow his company to play the long game.
Unfortunately, for Dell that seems unlikely. With the stub that's expected to be included in any deal for the company, a truly private Dell seems out of reach.
Dell was aiming to go private and turn itself into an enterprise solutions powerhouse. The company knows their options in the PC market are inconsequential and it wanted to get prepped for the future by removing quarter-obsessed investors.
Now, instead of a private Dell, the company will have to answer to some sort of investor. Whether a private or public one.
The government appears unmoved by the petition calling for Alan Turing to be included on a future version of the £10 bank note but the petition’s creator believes the campaign was a success.
The petition calling for Turing to be honoured gathered over 27,000 signatures but both the Treasury and Bank of England seemed unsure if anything would actually happen as a result when contacted by V3.
Each said the other was respsonsible for the next stage in any debates around future bank notes featuring Turing, and gave no indication as to whether the petition would in any way form the future decisions on this issue.
However, in spite of this the creator of the petition, programmer Thomas Thurman, said he was pleased with the response and hoped it would make more people aware of Turing’s vital work for the UK in the Second World War.
“I'm delighted with the response. The petition has succeeded in every way but one – whether we get Turing on the tenner still remains to be seen,” he told V3.
“Well before it reached even 20,000 signatures it was debated in Parliament, with members from all three major parties speaking in favour.
“Most importantly, it got the country talking: people are debating the work of Turing and discussing his legacy, and as long as that continues, he cannot be forgotten.”
A spokesperson for the Bletchley Park Trust told V3 it "would be delighted to see Alan Turing celebrated and highlighted in this way".
V3 would certainly be pleased to see this too, and will continue to see if we can generate any more momentum on the issue with the relevant government departments.
Broadband is often touted as the fourth utility and a vital piece of the UK's infrastructure. At present the market is a hive of activity as firms, government and local organisations work to get services live across the UK. Hopefully, in generations to come, people will look back at our work on broadband in the same way we look back with wonder at the rollout of railways and marvel at some of ingenious ways we set about getting broadband rolled out.
Last week we saw how BT was using dormant sea cables to get broadband to the remote islands of the Isles of Scilly (pictured above) - which involves avoiding shipwrecks - and then it announced an increase of its Cornish rollout coverage commitments to 95 percent of the county.
It said it was able to do this, in part, because of the money it has saved using innovative new rollout technologies like fibre from poles into people homes, rather than expensive road digging, as V3 saw during a visit to the region last year.
Clearly, with 21,000 connections now live in the county, the desire is there for these superfast services. Meanwhile BT is also involved in numerous rural rollouts, such as Lincolnshire which was announced on Wednesday, and no doubt those in these regions are keen to get online with faster speeds.
Elsewhere, the likes of Virgin Media has brought internet access to the London Underground and is using small cell technology in areas in Leeds and Bradford as it plays its part in this push to a superfast utopia.
There are also unique projects such as the B4RN carrying out their own rollouts to fill in the areas where the big boys have refused to play ball, proving that people aren't ready to sit around if they want services sooner rather than later.
This work was all neatly capped on Thursday when Ofcom announced average speeds had hit 12Mbit/s for the country.
Now, of course this is hardly the superfast utopia the government wants (of at least 24Mbit/s) but it is a notable improvement in the last few years and proves demand for faster speeds is there and the improvements being made are having a positive impact. What's more, you'd like to think that overtime this figure will rise rapidly, perhaps 24Mbit/s in two years, then maybe 50Mbit/s by 2020 and so forth.
It depends on the real demand people have for these speeds, but the chicken-and-egg race between speeds and applications that need faster connections (HD quality movie streaming services for example) could well force the demand higher.
Hopefully all of this will leave our future relatives with superfast access anywhere and everywhere and they can salute us for our, well, the internet provider's, hard work.
Microsoft is one of the wealthiest company's in the world, with billions in cash reserves. It's made this fortune on the back of software systems used the world over, by everyone from the largest multi-nationals to corner shops and kids in their bedrooms.
Indeed, this helped founder Bill Gates amass a personal fortune of some $67bn. As such, the fine levied by the European Commission today of £485m is probably not going to hurt the firm too much financially, although of course it will hurt its balance sheet.
However, the bigger issue for Microsoft is surely the sheer embarrassment the fine must cause as it was the result of a glaring software update oversight that meant it managed to remove a piece of code required under law after its first run in with the European authorities.
For a company to manage to ship an entire Service Pack update without anyone noticing it was missing a piece that really had to be there almost defies belief. For the firm to even report to the EC it was adhering to its obligations when it wasn't is just unfathomable.
For a firm that prides itself on its software and its chief executive famously proclaimed the company was all about "developers, developers, developers, developers" it's an utter egg-on-face-situation that must have its rivals rolling in the aisles.
It certainly doesn't help when it's trying to convince the world its Windows 8 system is worth a punt, and yet the headlines are dominated by news of massive fines for software failings.