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Tech Brief

Zoe Kleinman | 17:41 UK time, Thursday, 20 May 2010

Teddy bearTech Brief is feeling sociable today... unlike some of the people we've been hearing about. Read the latest digital faux pas and meet Alan Turing's teddy - surely he is smarter than your average bear?

• Self-styled internet entrepreneur Jason Calacanis is planning to delete his Facebook profile live online today, reports Mike Butcher on the Techcrunch blog. Calacanis decided to announce his intentions via JasonNation, a daily e-mail brief with over 23,000 subscribers.

However, the e-mail distribution list somehow turned into a "reply all" free-for-all to the increasing annoyance of everybody on the receiving end, including Mr Calacanis himself. In a tweet, he blames a "newbie" for the error, which has now been resolved:

"wow.... this is not fun. i have so many bounces in my email I can't even diagnose the problem and it's 4am and the baby is awake... nice!"

• Speaking of Twitter, eagle-eyed Tim Ireland, AKA Bloggerheads spotted that the UK's new culture minister, Jeremy Hunt, has deleted all his tweets and cleared his blog history, essentially removing everything he wrote during the election campaign. An explanation has now popped up on his feed:

"For those of you 'concerned' about deleted tweets was just 'new job, new tweets' rather than to hide anything!!"

Whatever you say, Mr Hunt.

• Singer M.I.A has scored a bit of an own goal by giving her new album a name that completely foxes the search engines. Blogger Hipster Runoff reports that the only letter Google recognizes from the cunningly titled "/\/\/\Y/\" (a combination of forward- and back-slashes) is the "Y"... leading to over 2 million results about a certain web directory and search engine. Hipster speculates whether this was M.I.A.'s intention all along:

"Maybe her new album is some sort of marketing gimmick for Yahoo."

• Codebreaker extraordinaire Alan Turing practised his lectures in front of a teddy bear called Porgy. The practice of working through your dilemmas with an inanimate object rather than boring your friends, family or colleagues is known by some as "rubber ducking".

Fast forward to the 21st Century and Porgy has his own Facebook page, set up for him by Bletchley Park fan John Graham-Cumming:

"It's common in the computer industry, at least, to find that talking aloud your problem (even to a teddy) can help organize your thoughts. So, here's Porgy. If you've got a problem: talk to the teddy."

Tech Brief hopes that Porgy understands the privacy settings.

• Say goodbye to awkward meeting venues. Researchers at the University of Tsukuba have created a conference room that re-arranges itself, writes Josh Romero on IEEE Spectrum:

"Select the arrangement you want from a graphical interface, and the tables will move to their new locations. The movement is monitored by an overhead camera with a fish-eye lens, and the software uses a trial-and-error approach to determine the best sequence of motion."

It was designed to save time, but who could resist playing around with the seating arrangements during a particularly boring meeting?

If you want to suggest links or stories for Tech Brief, you can send them to @bbctechbrief on Twitter, tag them bbctechbrief on Delicious or e-mail them to

Links in full

Mike Butcher | Techcrunch | Jason Calacanis lets his JasonNation Army hit reply all
Tim Ireland | Bloggerheads | Jeremy Hunt: a minister and his memory hole
Hipster Runoff | Gewgle: the ultimate hype machine
John Graham-Cumming | Talking to Porgy
Josh Romero, | IEEE Spectrum | The conference that re-arranges itself

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