Kate at the crossroads, the dilemma of the royal mum

Kate, Duchess of Cambridge, holds the Prince of Cambridge as she and Prince William pose for photographers outside St. Mary's Hospital in London on Tuesday

When she married Prince William in the spring of 2011, Kate was seen as a dynamic young royal who was doing much to breathe new life into the sometimes-fusty House of Windsor.

But it didn't take long — beginning earlier this year — before whispered criticism of the Duchess of Cambridge began making the rounds. Some of that was just silly snipings about her wardrobe, but other remarks were of a more serious vein, touching on the role of the monarchy itself.

Now, with the birth of her first child, the 31-year-old Kate is at another crossroad in her life, facing the delicate balance between launching into parenthood and devoting time to her son, while also appearing to be a relevant and engaged royal.

"Kate's biggest challenge will be balancing motherhood with her royal duties," says Carolyn Harris, a Toronto-based royal historian and blogger.

"Certainly, if she decides to spend all her time with her child and doesn't do public engagements and charity work, there will be criticism."

But there will also likely be criticism if there's a sense the child is being raised by nannies and royal helpers, rather than mom and dad, as was more acceptable for royal children in decades past."It's a very difficult line to walk," says Harris.

To date, Kate has avoided the kinds of controversy or ill-chosen adventures that have haunted other members of the House of Windsor like, for example, brother-in-law Prince Harry with his nude romps in a Las Vegas hotel room last year.

While she was the target of long-lensed photographers who found her topless on a private patio in the south of France last September, that's been the extent of her unscripted public moments.Largely that may be because Kate's emergence as a working royal has been carefully stage-managed. While she has taken on several charities and done numerous public engagements, she has spoken little in public. Perhaps there were hints Tuesday of a growing comfort with the media, though, as she talked easily — if briefly — and more than she has in the past with reporters before she and William left the hospital with their baby.

Kate does seem to revel in the many walkabouts she's done, meeting and greeting people of all ages and backgrounds, and being warmly welcomed anywhere she goes. But overall, the result has been that there is little significant sense yet of the views or thoughts of a woman whose husband is in line to be king one day.

A lifetime job

That's not to say, of course, that she has no serious thoughts.

"I'm sure some nights when Kate Middleton goes to bed she probably has to sit back for a moment and realize who she is and where she is, and, now, what she has to do moving forward in life," says CBC royal commentator Bonnie Brownlee.

The hardest part of that is not making a mistake. "Every day you just never know what might come your way that might try to knock you down. She is on such a pedestal," says Brownlee."That's why they're being so careful and taking her slowly. Let her do her events, let her cut ribbons, don't talk too much yet … it's a lifetime job."

Still, while there is time for Kate to learn the ropes and no need to be in the limelight every day, Brownlee acknowledges that the young duchess's next problem will be figuring out how to have a serious royal role that is more than just being maternal.

People will say Kate looks great and the baby is cute, but the question for her becomes: "Is the stuff you're doing real, and does it make a difference and is it measureable," says Brownlee. So much more is expected of someone in that kind of royal position.Kate's approach to all this will likely emerge over time, and some of what she does may well be a reaction to public expectations.

"Royal mothers retreat and reappear at different times depending on how they adapt to pregnancy and motherhood," Ingrid Seward, the editor-in-chief of Majesty magazine, wrote recently in the Daily Telegraph.
Clearing the calendar

Palace officials have kept Kate's calendar clear for the rest of the year, although it's expected she will take on some engagements in the fall.

Harris looks to William's and Kate's decision earlier this year to hire a housekeeper, whose several jobs include helping with child care, as a hint toward how their public and private lives may unfold.

"That indicates William and Kate intend to be their child's primary caregivers but also to have part-time help needed for royal engagements, so clearly they're trying to balance these two aspects of their lives."But no matter what they do, the public scrutiny will be intense.

"There's a tremendous amount of interest in the baby and, as with [Prince William's mother] Diana, this will affect how the public interacts with Kate," says Harris.

"When Diana was in Canada over Prince William's first birthday in 1983, she had the crowds asking her about William and giving her birthday gifts to pass along to him throughout the tour.

"So certainly Kate's interactions with crowds on her public engagements will reflect the intense curiosity about the royal child."

Diana also came to be known as something of a revolutionary among royal mothers.

While nannies still had a significant role in William's and Harry's upbringing, Diana also tried to ensure they had experiences outside the palace walls that would have been unknown to previous royal generations.

Part of Diana's vision was to help her young boys understand that a royal upbringing is not normal and that most people live very differently, "and I think she did that well," says Brownlee.

Kate will undoubtedly face the same challenges and objectives, while also trying to figure out her own responsibilities as a national and even international role model.

The obvious comparisons with her husband's late mother, and her tragic, outsized memory, will not make these challenges easy. source : http://www.cbc.ca

Microsoft offers IE 11 preview for Windows 7, but not Windows 8

But you were probably running Windows 7 anyway

Microsoft has released a developer preview build of Internet Explorer 11 for Windows 7, breaking a pattern of dragging its feet when it comes to supporting the latest version of IE on the older OS.

After shipping IE10 with Windows 8, Redmond took over a year to release a preview version that ran on Windows 7, and another three months after that to ship the final version. This, despite the fact that most other software could run on either OS without a hitch.

This time, Microsoft has offered up a Windows 7–compatible version of IE11 before the browser has technically even been released. The only way to get IE11 so far has been to install the Windows 8.1 Preview, which itself is still around a month away from shipping to OEMs.

That won't be an acceptable solution for many developers, because Microsoft has warned that anyone who installed the Windows 8.1 Preview will need to re-install all of their applications after they upgrade to the final version.

In a blog post on Thursday, group program managers Sandeep Singhal and Rob Mauceri of Microsoft's Internet Explorer team said the Windows 7 version of the browser gives users of the older OS "all of the performance, security, and under-the-hood changes that enable a compatible Web experience," which is virtually a cut-and-paste of what they said about the Windows 7 version of IE10 last November.

The pair go on to extol the various virtues of Microsoft's latest browser, including improved JavaScript performance, hardware-accelerated graphics processing, support for new W3C standards, improved responsiveness on touch devices, and redesigned developer tools.

Coinciding with the release of the IE11 preview build, Microsoft has upgraded its modern.IE web developer tools to work with the new browser by expanding its gallery of free, downloadable virtual machine images with images of IE11 running on Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 Preview. In addition, Microsoft is offering 25 per cent off Parallels Desktop 8 for Mac, to make it easier for OS X users to test their sites on IE.

Your Reg hack couldn't help but notice one glaring omission, however. While Redmond seems intent on delivering a version of IE11 for Windows 7, Windows 8 is notably absent from any discussion of the new browser. In fact, attempting to install the IE11 preview on a stock Windows 8 machine without the Windows 8.1 Preview installed yields the following paradoxical error message:

From the look of it, the only way to get IE11 running on Windows 8 will be to install the Windows 8.1 update when it eventually ships. It seems that when Steve Ballmer announced Microsoft's new rapid release cadence, he really meant it, and we're all expected to come along for the ride if we want the latest versions of tools like Internet Explorer.

The IE11 preview for Windows 7 is available for download from Microsoft's Internet Explorer site beginning on Thursday. ® Source : http://www.theregister.co.uk

Gran Turismo movie confirmed

Sony confirmed a Gran Turismo movie is indeed in development. When approached about reports, a Sony Computer Entertainment UK spokesperson told Joystiq the Gran Turismo film is "being made," adding the company doesn't have any further comment.

Yesterday, The Wrap reported it had learned a Gran Turismo movie was in development, with The Social Network and Fifty Shades of Grey producers Michael de Luca and Dana Brunetti on board, and Sony Pictures executives Elizabeth Cantillon, Devon Franklin, and Hannah Minghella in charge. Those scant details remain unconfirmed.

With little to go on currently, we'll refer you to Dreamworks' Need for Speed movie for a point of comparison. Imagine that, but maybe with less crashes and more jazz. source : http://www.joystiq.com

BlackBerry lays off 250 in product testing office

BlackBerry Ltd. is laying off more employees as Canada’s once-dominant smartphone maker continues to look for ways to trim costs amid its turnaround efforts.

A total of 250 employees at the company’s New Product Testing Facility in Waterloo were given notice earlier this week, in a move that was first reported by CTV News. The facility supports BlackBerry’s manufacturing, research and development efforts.

For BlackBerry, the layoffs are simply the latest attempt by the embattled smartphone maker to reduce its workforce — the company has slashed more than 7,000 jobs since 2011 — as it seeks to restructure itself in order to better compete with rivals Apple Inc. and Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd.

Last year, BlackBerry cut 5,000 jobs as part of the company’s CORE (cost optimization and resource efficiency) program, which was implemented by chief executive Thorsten Heins and was designed to cut US$1-billion in costs from the company’s balance sheet.

“This is part of the next stage of our turnaround plan to increase efficiencies and scale our company correctly for new opportunities in mobile computing,” a spokesperson for BlackBerry said in an email to the Financial Post.

“We will be as transparent as possible as those plans evolve.”

Shares of BlackBerry rose 0.33%, or $0.03, Thursday afternoon to $9.03.

Investors sent shares of BlackBerry into a tailspin late last month after the Waterloo, Ont.-based company revealed that it had swung to a loss in the most recent quarter, amid slow sales of its new BlackBerry smartphones.

Despite launching the new BlackBerry 10 operating system earlier this year, BlackBerry is still struggling to compete with Apple’s iPhone and devices running on Google Inc.’s Android software.

Even Microsoft Corp. and Nokia Corp., responsible for the also struggling Windows Phone platform, have managed to keep BlackBerry’s latest phones at bay.

“They expected certain revenue level, they got a lower revenue level, and now they have to adjust,” said Jefferies & Co. analyst Peter Misek.

“Unfortunately it means people are going to lose their jobs, and pain for the Kitchener-Waterloo area.”

Last June, BlackBerry laid off 5,000 employees as part of the CORE restructuring efforts – the largest single round of layoffs in the company’s history, and even deeper than the 2,000 employees that were cut in July 2011.

At the company’s annual general meeting earlier this month, CEO Thorsten Heins told shareholders that BlackBerry is in the midst of a “complex transition.”

Mr. Heins told the crowd at the AGM that despite recent challenges BlackBerry has moved beyond the first phase of its comeback plan, and is entering a phase that will see fiscal 2014 as a year of investment and growth for the company.

Mr. Heins added that even though BlackBerry is likely to experience bumps along the way — including a projected loss for the current quarter — he is looking to position the company for growth by the end of fiscal 2015.

He encouraged investors to remain patient while the company navigates its plan to become profitable again. source : http://business.financialpost.com

Fibre broadband plans extended in Tyne and Wear

BT has announced plans to roll-out fibre broadband to Jarrow and Kenton, as part of a £2.5bn UK plan.

The firm estimate more than 27,000 businesses and households in the two towns will have access to the service, that will be in place by the end of Spring 2014.

Cllr Joyce McCarty, deputy leader of Newcastle City Council, who has responsibility for Information Technology, said: “This is great news for the people and businesses of Kenton.

“We want to get every home and business in the City connected to broadband and ideally more than 95 per cent to super-fast broadband.

“BT’s investment in this exchange complements our spending in fibre infrastructure further afield than would otherwise have been possible which means more people will have broadband, bringing them a wide range of benefits.“

BT’s local network business, Openreach, is using fibre-to-cabinet (FTTC) technology, where the fibre runs from the exchange to a local roadside cabinet.

Farooq Hakim, BT regional director for the North East, said: “We’re pleased to announce further investment in fibre broadband as part of our continuing commitment to make the technology as widely available as possible. Fast, sophisticated connections are the cornerstone of a successful community, impacting on many aspects of modern life and providing a platform for new businesses and jobs.

“Future-proofed fibre broadband transforms the way people use online services – from entertainment and education to shopping and social networking. It can also enhance the competitiveness of local firms, speeding up the way they do business and giving them access to cost-saving ‘cloud computing’ services.“ source : http://bdaily.co.uk

EE's double-speed 4G goes live in Belfast, Newcastle and Southampton

Standard 4G arrives in 10 additional towns

UK MOBILE OPERATOR EE announced on Wednesday that its double-speed 4G has gone live in three more cities, as it continues to push for one million customers.

EE announced plans to double the speed of its 4G network in April, and has since rolled out the service that is capable of reaching speeds up to 80Mbps in 12 cities across the UK including London, Birmingham and Cardiff.

Today the mobile network announced plans to extend this rollout, and has switched on double-speed 4G in the cities of Belfast, Newcastle and Southampton. While speeds can reach up to 80Mbps, EE said that average speeds will be between 24Mbps and 30Mbps.

EE CEO Olaf Swantee said, "It has been a busy summer with the launch of next generation services including Cash on Tap and new Shared 4GEE plans, and we're continuing to keep up the pace of our 4G rollout.

"The arrival of double speed 4G in a further three cities means we remain one step ahead, and on track to provide our customers with a world leading mobile experience."

As well as pushing out super-fast 4G in three new cities, EE also announced on Tuesday that its standard LTE service is now available in 10 additional towns across the UK. This is good news for people living in Altrincham, Bedford, Camberley, Crawley, Farnborough, Farnham , Maidstone, Rochdale, Tonbridge and Welwyn Garden City.

The rollout comes at a good time, too, as EE earlier this month increased the size of its data packages without increasing the cost. For example, the operator increased its 500MB plan to 1GB, its 3GB plan to 10GB and its 5GB plan to 20GB.
Source : http://www.theinquirer.net

Citroen reveals Sebastien Loeb's C-Elysee WTCC car

Citroen has revealed the C-Elysee WTCC with which Sebastien Loeb will compete in next year's World Touring Car Championship.

The 380bhp front-wheel drive machine is the first Citroen has produced for circuit racing, Citroen's first track car, and the first of the new wave of vehicles produced to the series' upgraded 2014 regulations.

The car uses the same 1.6-litre engine as the DS3 WRC machine.

Having only unveiled the road version of the C-Elysee in September last year, Citroen said it was the obvious choice to use in the WTCC.

"Choosing the C-Elysee as the basis for our WTCC car reflects very clearly our determination to use racing as an active means of supporting our commercial development," Citroen CEO Frederic Banzet said.

"With rounds in Latin America, Morocco, China and Russia, the WTCC race calendar is genuinely global, and it will be a real advantage to run a C-Elysee, a key driver of our growth, in front of large crowds of enthusiastic motorsport fans."

"From a strictly technical perspective, the choice of a three-box saloon body was ideal in terms of aerodynamics," Citroen Racing technical director Xavier Mestelan-Pinon added.

"Apart from this aspect, we were able to install the various components fairly easily.

"Insofar as this is our first track racing car, we constantly had to ask ourselves questions about the relevance of our choices, but that's what makes this a particularly exciting challenge."

While nine-time World Rally champion Loeb will spearhead Citroen's 2014 attack, the firm has not yet made a decision on who will partner him in the likely three-car line-up.

Citroen Racing team principal Yves Matton confirmed to AUTOSPORT that Yvan Muller, Rob Huff and Alain Menu are all frontrunners for a drive alongside Loeb.

He also said he hoped to tempt Robert Kubica into a limited programme.

Honda and Lada are understood to be developing their own models under the new 2014 regulations, while SEAT's concept 'Leon Cup racer' could be adapted and ready for use in the latter stages of 2014. source : http://www.autosport.com