Week in review: Windows 8, China loves Gmail and mobile phone radiation

Week in review

With the weather getting steadily warmer this week, some companies are flaunting what they've got while others are wrapping up, hoping nobody notices what's going on underneath. It's been a sweaty, torrid week in the world of technology

Windows 8 gets all touchy-feely

Microsoft surprised everyone by showcasing a completely new interface for the next version of its flagship operating system, Windows 8. A touch-based interface, highly reminiscent of Windows Phone 7, sits on top of the standard windows and cursor. The video shows gestures reminiscent of the Blackberry Playbook's, as well as hits of a Microsoft app store and evolved versions of existing features, such as Aero Snap.

The timing of this revelation, just a few days before Steve Jobs' keynote showcasing MacOS X Lion and iOS 5 at Apple's World Wide Developers Conference, didn't surprise any of us here at IT PRO though.

There are still many unknowns about Windows 8 what other new features are there? What are the system requirements? Will Microsoft update Office and its other applications to take advantage of the new touch interface? When will it be released and how much will it cost? Why not release a separate version just for tablets? Just how worried is Microsoft about tablets in general and the iPad in particular? Will these questions never end?

Gentlemen, you can't fight in here! This is the War Room!

The timing couldn't be more delicious. Just a few weeks after American officials stated they would consider a cyber attack to be an act of war against the US, Google reveals Chinese hackers had infiltrated Gmail accounts belonging to Chinese dissidents and US officials, amongst others.

The prospect of full-blown military fisticuffs, however remote, sent the survivalists in the office rushing to their bunkers, while the more sensible among us donned tinfoil hats and headed down to the pub.

Someone wanted to send details of the rendezvous coordinates by email, but thought better of it. Speaking of tin foil hats

Unwarranted health panic of the decade no. 375

The UN's World Health Organisation (WHO) released a report looking at the current state of research about the possible health effects of mobile phone radiation, concluding that it could 'possibly' cause cancer in humans.

The problem is a lot of the existing research is flawed or incomplete, as this cogent and well-written blog post by Cancer Research UK details.

Still, that won't stop lots of hysterical hand-wringing by the red tops.