Zoom tops the 2020 mobile app charts

Zoom tops the 2020 mobile app charts

Both Apple and Google have un veiled their app ‘awards’, but since the criteria for these are opaque and presumably have a commercial element, they’re fairly meaningless. Of much more interest are the simple charts showing which were downloaded the most. Apple has published these for 2020, but Google just has its standard charts, which presumably cover the past few weeks.

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What’s Your Work From Home DR Plan?

What’s Your Work From Home DR Plan?

It’s almost December and the signs are pointing to a continuation of the current state of working from home for a lot of people out there. Whether it’s a surge in cases that is causing businesses to close again or a change in the way your company looks at offices and remote work, you’re likely going to ring in the new year at your home keyboard in your pajamas with a cup of something steaming next to your desk.

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UK review urges mandatory transparency on use of algorithms in public sector

UK review urges mandatory transparency on use of algorithms in public sector

There should be a “mandatory transparency obligation” for UK public sector organisations that use algorithms to make decisions affecting people’s lives, an independent review has advised.

The Centre for Data Ethics and Innovation (CDEI), a panel that advises the UK government on artificial intelligence and data-driven technology, said public bodies should be required to publish information on how the decision to use an algorithm was made, the type of algorithm used, how it was used, and the steps taken to ensure fair treatment.

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The Race To Crack Battery Recycling—Before It’s Too Late

The Race To Crack Battery Recycling—Before It’s Too Late

Gigafactory in Sparks, Nevada. These cells, produced on site by Panasonic, are destined to be bundled together by the thousands in the battery packs of new Teslas. But not all the batteries are cut out for a life on the road. Panasonic ships truckloads of cells that don’t pass their qualification tests to a facility in Carson City, about a half hour’s drive south. This is the home of Redwood Materials, a small company founded in 2017 with an ambition to become the anti-Gigafactory, a place where batteries are cooked down into raw materials that will serve as the grist for new cells.

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Union calls for rethink on Civil Service pay freeze after 100,000 sign petition

Union calls for rethink on Civil Service pay freeze after 100,000 sign petition

A petition calling on the Government to reverse a pay freeze on civil servants has been signed by more than 100,000 people.

The Public and Commercial Services (PCS) union called for a parliamentary debate following support for its campaign to reward civil servants with a decent wage rise after a “decade of pay restraint”.

The union said Civil Service pay has fallen in value by around 20% over 10 years while government workers have been “overpaying“ to their pension contributions.

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The Treasury must release more money – and relinquish more control

The Treasury must release more money – and relinquish more control

Rishi Sunak has spent billions of pounds rescuing the economy during the year of Covid, but he needs to go further.

To start with, the chancellor, who set out his 2021-22 spending plans last week, needs to make permanent the £20-a-week increase in universal credit which is due to expire in the spring. Without that increase, about 6 million households, many of them the most vulnerable to financial shocks, will lose £1,000 a year of vital funds just as the unemployment rate is expected to hit its post-pandemic peak.

He also needs to reverse the £10bn of cuts to Whitehall departments due to take effect next year. These are spending reductions that will hammer the budgets of those areas left unprotected by his guarantees to boost spending for health, schools and the military.

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Matt Hancock’s temporary NHSX chief still in charge, a year on

Matt Hancock’s temporary NHSX chief still in charge, a year on

The chief executive of an organisation championed by Matt Hancock to promote a “digital transformation” in the NHS remains in post a year after the health secretary appointed him, without interview, on a temporary basis.

NHSX has been heavily promoted by Hancock, who created it in 2019 to spur digital change in the health service. During the pandemic he has assigned it high-priority projects as part of the UK’s coronavirus response.

Excerpts from a draft Deloitte audit, compiled in January and seen by the Guardian, state that Matthew Gould, a former diplomat and civil servant, was appointed chief executive of NHSX by the health secretary on a “temporary” basis.

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