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Jonathan Frewin | 17:02 UK time, Thursday, 1 July 2010

Live map of London Underground network, without trainsOn Tech Brief today: the London Underground live data service is knocked out by demand from live map and similar services, Apple comes under more pressure over its new iPhone, and Internet Explorer climbs back up the popularity charts.

• Visitors to the London Underground live map, which should show the location of all London trains in real time, and which we mentioned on Tech Brief last week are being greeted with a message that the Transport for London feed is not currently working, so the map does not have any trains to show. The London DataStore blog confirms that the feed has been knocked out by the sheer volume of people looking at the map and other apps that use the data:

"Owing to overwhelming demand by apps that use the service, the London Underground feed has had to be temporarily suspended. We hope to restore the service as soon as possible but this may take some days. We will keep everyone informed of progress..."

Depending on your perspective, it's either a massive sign of success for open data, or a signal that the London data store has not got powerful enough computers.

• Another day, another dig at Apple over its iPhone that can sometimes lose reception when you hold it a certain way. After Nokia published a blog entry earlier this week with suggestions on how to hold its phones (all of which, it said, do not deteriorate your phone signal), The Register points out that Motorola has been taking out full page adverts in US newspapers for its Droid phones, with a similar message:

"In the advert -- underneath a photo of Motorola's upcoming Droid X, complete with the obligatory comely lass -- is a paragraph of advertising copy extolling the Android phone's features. One part of that exaltation is this sentence: 'And most importantly, it comes with a double antenna design. The kind that allows you to hold the phone any way you like and use it just about anywhere to make crystal clear calls.'"

• More seriously for Apple perhaps, though, is the news that class action, or group lawsuits are beginning to roll in against the company and service provider AT&T over the problems with phone signal quality:

"The lawsuit accuses Apple of Defect in Design, Manufacture and Assembly, as well as Breach of Express Warranty. It also makes several claims against both Apple and AT&T, including General Negligence, Deceptive Trade Practices, Intentional Misrepresentation, Negligent Misrepresentation and Fraud by Concealment."

Stan Schroeder reckons it's difficult to predict which way any such case might go:

"Due to the complexity of the issue, and the fact that some other phones exhibit a similar behavior, it's hard to guess what the outcome of this lawsuit will be. However, it might spur Apple to start working on this problem quickly -- before it escalates into something far more serious."

• Microsoft had begun to get used to the fact that its Internet Explorer browser, whilst still the world's favourite, was steadily falling down the popularity charts. That was until last month, when as CNet points out, according to analytics company Net Applications, all of a sudden it picked up from 59.8% to 60.3%, seemingly at the expense of rival Firefox:

"The change in fortunes was significant enough that Microsoft couldn't resist crowing about IE's progress in a blog post Thursday. 'We certainly don't judge our business on just two months of data, but the direction here is encouraging,' said Ryan Gavin, senior director of business and marketing for Internet Explorer ... Some of IE8's gains probably can be ascribed to the growing use of Windows 7, which ships with that browser and is showing some signs of finally being a successor to Windows XP that people actually are embracing."

• To round things off for today, a brief mention of a new monthly podcast bringing together, we hope, the best that the BBC Tech team has to offer, with Public Radio International's Clark Boyd. It's not a BBC programme, but we at the BBC are taking part. Hope that's clear.

"For a while now, I've wanted to start a monthly round-up of interesting tech stories. I finally managed to strong-arm BBC Technology Reporter Jonathan Fildes into helping me out. He went the extra mile by giving me the perfect podcast opening: 'Crikey, have we rambled enough now, Clark?'"

So, have I rambled on enough yet? I think so.

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

Lisa Price| London DataStore blog | Tube Feed Update
Rik Myslewski | The Register | Motorola advert revels in anti-iPhone schadenfreude
Stan Schroeder | Mashable | Apple and AT&T Slapped With an iPhone 4 Class-Action Lawsuit
Stephen Shankland | CNet DeepTech | IE reverses usage share slide; Microsoft gloats
Clark Boyd | The World Tech Podcast | Our new monthly tech round-up

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