Richard Thomas (solicitor)
Richard James Thomas is best known for his tenure as Information Commissioner of the United Kingdom, a post which he held from December 2002 to June 2009. During his time in office, he raised concerns over the increased use of closed-circuit television and the introduction of ID Cards in the UK. Thomas is Deputy chairman and co-opted Council Member of the Consumers' Association, Trustee / Director of Whitehall & Industry Group and was Chairman of the Administrative Justice and Tribunals Council from 1 September 2009 until its abolition in August 2013, he is a visiting professor of Law at Northumbria University. Born in June 1949, the son of a magistrate, Thomas attended public school and studied law at Southampton University in the late 1960s. In his early career, he worked as an articled clerk and solicitor with Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer and the Citizens Advice Bureau, Notting Hill, he went on to work in legal and public affairs positions with the National Consumer Council and the Office of Fair Trading.
While at the National Consumer Council he was involved with the Campaign for Freedom of Information and had a secondary involvement in the publishing of a book of essays entitled Consuming Secrets. Before appointment as Information Commissioner, he was the first Director of Public Policy at Clifford Chance, he has been married to Julia Clarke since 1974 and they have three adult children. He and his wife live in Surrey. Thomas was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire in the 2009 Birthday Honours "for public service". A document submitted to the Leveson Inquiry by witness Alec Owens indicates that Richard Thomas refused to prosecute perpetrators of phone hacking, despite receiving a recommendation that "all parties identified as being involved be jointly prosecuted for'conspiracy to breach the Data Protection Act 1998'."
A car phone is a mobile radio telephone designed for and fitted into an automobile. This service originated with the Bell System, was first used in St. Louis on June 17, 1946; the original equipment weighed 80 pounds, there were only 3 channels for all the users in the metropolitan area. More licenses were added, bringing the total to 32 channels across 3 bands; this service was used at least into the 1980s in large portions of North America. On October 2, 1946, Motorola communications equipment carried the first calls on Illinois Bell Telephone Company's new car radiotelephone service in Chicago. Due to the small number of radio frequencies available, the service reached capacity. In Finland, car phone service was first available in 1971 on the zero-generation ARP service; this was succeeded in 1982 by the 1G system NMT, used across Scandinavia and in other remote areas. In North America, car phones used the Mobile Telephone Service, first used in St. Louis, or Improved Mobile Telephone Service before giving way to analog cellular service in 1984.
AMPS technology was discontinued in the United States in 2008. Since a traditional car phone uses a high-power transmitter and external antenna, it is ideal for rural or undeveloped areas where mobile handsets may not work well or at all. However, due to current US Federal Communications Commission regulations, carriers must pay penalties for activating any equipment, not an E911 compliant device, such as analog. In the 1980s, the car phone was more popular than the regular mobile phone. However, as mobile phones became lighter and more affordable during the mobile phone boom in the 1990s, car phones became less common. By the 2000s, car phones had become uncommon due to the convenience of mobile phones along with in-car mobile phone integrative technologies such as Bluetooth. There were still some car phones available as as 2008, including the Nokia 810 and the Motorola VC6096 for use with GSM networks and a car phone made by NAL Research for the Iridium satellite network. Motorola provided US customers with the m800 and m900 car phones, for use with CDMA and GSM networks respectively.
Some car phones had color screens and supported high speed data connections as well as the ability to access SIM cards stored in other phones via Bluetooth. Since 2008, most automobiles have featured integrated, "hands-free" systems to utilize a consumer's cellular phone, via a Bluetooth wireless link or use an integrated transceiver; the systems use an internally mounted microphone, the car's audio system, may feature voice activation and control. In many countries, restricting cell phone use while driving is on an upward trend. Teleaid, automatic emergency call system OnStar, emergency notification system Media related to Automobile telephones at Wikimedia Commons
North Acton is a place in London, UK, within the London Borough of Ealing. It runs adjacent to the industrial district of Park Royal. Part of the Municipal Borough of Acton in the county of Middlesex, it has formed part of the London Borough of Ealing since 1965, it is within the London W3 postal district, although the northern industrial part of the area is covered by NW10 and overlaps with neighbouring Park Royal as a satellite region. Park Royal, associated with North Acton, forms part of the same ecclesiastical parish, falls under the NW10 postcode area, its Church of England parish church is St Gabriel's Church, North Acton. The commercial district of Park Royal overspills into North Acton, several facilities are located on the edge of North Acton Playing Fields, including the Black Island Film Studios. North Acton is the home to the Boden clothes brand. In recent years there has been new commercial and high-rise residential redevelopment to the south of North Acton tube station, including extensive provision of student accommodation for the University of the Arts and Imperial College London.
The BBC has been associated with North Acton for many decades, with its main television rehearsal studios and its costume collection located in North Acton for many years in the late 20th century, adjacent to the railway station. There is a short and easy journey of just two stops on the Central line to reach White City and the BBC Television Centre there. Many famous actors and producers have utilised the rehearsal studios, North Acton public house'The Castle' opposite, where actors gathered for lunch and refreshments. Following a decision by the BBC to relocate services, the rehearsal studios have closed, the Television Centre itself closed in 2013; the costume collection building has closed and been demolished with a new tower block of student accommodation opening on the site late in 2012. The student block has been named "The Costume Store" in tribute to the former BBC activity on the site; the last remaining BBC facility in North Acton today is the "BBC Park Western" studios and office block, located on Kendall Avenue, beside the Central line, midway between North Acton and West Acton tube stations.
Once the headquarters of the BBC TV Outside Broadcasting Department, half the site has now been sold and redeveloped, with the remaining BBC Park Western used as the operating base, standing set, production offices for popular television series Silent Witness, much of, filmed around Acton and Park Royal. North Acton Playing Fields is a large open space for public recreation, its facilities include several football and cricket pitches, multiple hard-surfaced and grass tennis courts, a basketball court, exercise machines forming a public'outside gym', a pavilion, a children's playground, hard surfaced paths for walking in inclement weather, a picnic area with metal picnic tables, designated dog-walking areas. The main tube station is North Acton Station, although several others are within easy walking distance of the community; the Piccadilly line passes through the parish of North Acton, although with no station stop. North Acton station is on the border of fare zones 2 and 3, it is the location of a junction where the Central line splits between its main line and the Ealing Broadway branch.
London Buses serving North Acton are: Park Royal Acton Ealing Shepherds Bush Harlesden South Acton East Acton West Acton
The X Factor (UK TV series)
The X Factor is a British reality television music competition to find new singing talent. The contestants are aspiring singers drawn from public auditions. Created by Simon Cowell, the show began in 2004 and has since aired annually from August/September until December; the show is produced by Cowell's production company Syco Entertainment. It is simulcast on Virgin Media One in Ireland. "X Factor" refers to the undefinable "something". The series consists of auditions, judges' houses, several weeks of live shows, semi-finals and the final; the series had a spin-off behind-the-scenes show called The Xtra Factor, which aired directly after the main show on ITV2. This lasted for the first thirteen series, when it was cancelled by ITV in January 2017, it is replaced by an online spin-off show Xtra Bites on the ITV Hub. The first three series were presented by Kate Thornton from series four to eleven, the show was presented by Dermot O'Leary. Series 12 was presented by Caroline Flack and Olly Murs with O'Leary returning for series 13 onwards.
The original judging panel consisted of Sharon Osbourne and Cowell. In 2005, Paula Abdul joined the show as a guest judge whilst Osbourne was away joined the panel in 2006 for three sets of auditions. Brian Friedman replaced Walsh in the fourth series, which saw Dannii Minogue join the panel. Friedman left during the auditions, Walsh replaced Friedman. Cheryl Cole replaced Osbourne in the fifth series. Gary Barlow, Kelly Rowland and Tulisa joined the panel in the eighth series as replacements for Cowell and Cole. Rowland was replaced by Nicole Scherzinger. Osbourne returned to the panel in the tenth series. Cowell and Cole returned to replace Barlow and Osbourne in eleventh series, while Mel B replaced Scherzinger. In the twelfth series, Mel B and Walsh were replaced by Nick Grimshaw. For the thirteenth and fourteenth series, Walsh and Scherzinger returned, replacing Grimshaw, Fernandez-Versini and Ora. Following the conclusion of the latter series and Scherzinger quit after thirteen and four years as a judge, Osbourne announced she would only return for the live shows.
Louis Tomlinson, Ayda Field and Robbie Williams joined Cowell for the fifteenth series. The show is split into different stages, following the contestants from auditions through to the final. In the original televised audition stage of the show, contestants sang in an audition room in front of just the judges, but from the sixth series onwards auditionees sing on a stage in front of the judges and a live audience. In series 10 and 11, both auditions formats were used. In series 12, the room auditions were scrapped; the room auditions were revived in series 13, no arena auditions followed. Successful auditionees go through to "bootcamp" and to "judges' houses", where judges narrow down the acts in their category down to three or four acts to mentor for the live shows, where the public vote for their favourite acts following weekly live performances by the contestants. There have been 15 winners of the show to date: Steve Brookstein, Shayne Ward, Leona Lewis, Leon Jackson, Alexandra Burke, Joe McElderry, Matt Cardle, Little Mix, James Arthur, Sam Bailey, Ben Haenow, Louisa Johnson, Matt Terry, Rak-Su and Dalton Harris.
Winners receive a recording contract with record label Syco Music with a stated value of £1 million. This includes a cash payment to the winner, but the majority is allocated to marketing and recording costs. From 2004 to 2010, again in 2013 and 2014, the winning contestant's single was released in time for the end-of-year chart battle for the UK's Christmas number one; as of November 2016, 41 number-one singles have been achieved by artists who have appeared on the show, such as Lewis, Burke, JLS, Diana Vickers, Olly Murs, Cher Lloyd, One Direction, Little Mix and Ella Henderson. The show is the originator of the international The X Factor franchise. A prominent show in British popular culture, The X Factor proved hugely popular with the public during its peak; the sixth series in 2009 peaked at 19.7 million UK viewers. At present, the programme is contracted to run until 2022; the X Factor was created by Sony Music A&R judge Simon Cowell as a replacement for Pop Idol. Cowell, a judge on Pop Idol, wished to launch a show to which he owned the television rights.
Pop Idol's first series was massively successful, while the second series was successful, the viewing figures for its finale dropped. Some – including Cowell's fellow Pop Idol judge Pete Waterman – considered Michelle McManus an unworthy winner. In 2004, ITV announced a new show created by Cowell, with no involvement from Pop Idol creator Simon Fuller – The X Factor; the perceived similarity between the two shows became the subject of a legal dispute. Unlike Pop Idol, The X Factor has no upper-age limit, groups can apply, contestants are split into categories. Cowell said, "We're trying to create a different competition. We're going to be able to appeal to somebody over the age of 35 who keeps saying to me'there aren't any artists I like in the competition'. It's amazing, but we haven't catered for older record buyers who want to buy into the new Cliff Richard or whatever."For series 1–3 the competition was split into three categories: 16–24s, Over 25s and Groups (incl
AOL is an American web portal and online service provider based in New York City. It is a brand marketed by Verizon Media; the service traces its history to an online service known as PlayNET, which hosted multi-player games for the Commodore 64. PlayNET licensed their software to a new service, Quantum Link, who went online in November 1985. PlayNET shut down shortly thereafter; the initial Q-Link service was similar to the original PlayNET, but over time Q-Link added many new services. When a new IBM PC client was released, the company focussed on the non-gaming services and launched it under the name America Online; the original Q-Link was shut down on November 1, 1995, while AOL grew to become the largest online service, displacing established players like CompuServe and The Source. By 1995, AOL had about 20 million active users. AOL was one of the early pioneers of the Internet in the mid-1990s, the most recognized brand on the web in the United States, it provided a dial-up service to millions of Americans, as well as providing a web portal, e-mail, instant messaging and a web browser following its purchase of Netscape.
In 2001, at the height of its popularity, it purchased the media conglomerate Time Warner in the largest merger in U. S. history. AOL declined thereafter due to the decline of dial-up and rise of broadband. AOL was spun off from Time Warner in 2009, with Tim Armstrong appointed the new CEO. Under his leadership, the company invested in media brands and advertising technologies. On June 23, 2015, AOL was acquired by Verizon Communications for $4.4 billion. In the following months, AOL made a deal with Microsoft. AOL began in 1983, as a short-lived venture called Control Video Corporation, founded by William von Meister, its sole product was an online service called GameLine for the Atari 2600 video game console, after von Meister's idea of buying music on demand was rejected by Warner Bros. Subscribers paid a one-time US$15 setup fee. GameLine permitted subscribers to temporarily download games and keep track of high scores, at a cost of US$1 per game; the telephone disconnected and the downloaded game would remain in GameLine's Master Module and playable until the user turned off the console or downloaded another game.
In January 1983, Steve Case was hired as a marketing consultant for Control Video on the recommendation of his brother, investment banker Dan Case. In May 1983, Jim Kimsey became a manufacturing consultant for Control Video, near bankruptcy. Kimsey was brought in by his West Point friend Frank Caufield, an investor in the company. In early 1985, von Meister left the company. On May 24, 1985, Quantum Computer Services, an online services company, was founded by Jim Kimsey from the remnants of Control Video, with Kimsey as Chief Executive Officer, Marc Seriff as Chief Technology Officer; the technical team consisted of Marc Seriff, Tom Ralston, Ray Heinrich, Steve Trus, Ken Huntsman, Janet Hunter, Dave Brown, Craig Dykstra, Doug Coward, Mike Ficco. In 1987, Case was promoted again to executive vice-president. Kimsey soon began to groom Case to take over the role of CEO, which he did when Kimsey retired in 1991. Kimsey changed the company's strategy, in 1985, launched a dedicated online service for Commodore 64 and 128 computers called Quantum Link.
The Quantum Link software was based on software licensed from Inc.. The service was different from other online services as it used the computing power of the Commodore 64 and the Apple II rather than just a "dumb" terminal, it provided a fixed price service tailored for home users. In May 1988, Quantum and Apple launched AppleLink Personal Edition for Apple II and Macintosh computers. In August 1988, Quantum launched PC Link, a service for IBM-compatible PCs developed in a joint venture with the Tandy Corporation. After the company parted ways with Apple in October 1989, Quantum changed the service's name to America Online. Case promoted and sold AOL as the online service for people unfamiliar with computers, in contrast to CompuServe, well established in the technical community. From the beginning, AOL included online games in its mix of products. In the early years of AOL the company introduced many innovative online interactive titles and games, including: Graphical chat environments Habitat and Club Caribe from LucasArts.
The first online interactive fiction series QuantumLink Serial by Tracy Reed. Quantum Space, the first automated play-by-mail game. In February 1991, AOL for DOS was launched using a GeoWorks interface followed a year by AOL for Windows; this coincided with growth in pay-based online services, like Prodigy, CompuServe, GEnie. 1991 saw the introduction of an original Dungeons & Dragons title called Neverwinter Nights from Stormfront Studios. During the early 1990s, the average subscription lasted for about 25 months and accounted for $350 in total revenue. Advertisements invited modem owners to "Try America Online FREE", promising free software and trial membership. AOL discontinued Q-Link and PC Link in late 1994. In September 1993, AOL added Usenet access to its features; this is referred to as the "Eternal September", as Usenet's cycle of new users was dominated by smaller numbers of college and university freshmen gaining access in September
Tandy Corporation was an American family-owned leather goods company based in Fort Worth, United States. Tandy Leather was founded in 1919 as a leather supply store and acquired a number of craft retail companies, including RadioShack in 1963. In 2000, the Tandy Corporation name was dropped and the entity became the RadioShack Corporation. Tandy began in 1919 when two friends, Norton Hinckley and Dave L. Tandy, decided to start the Hinckley-Tandy Leather Company and concentrated their efforts on selling sole leather and other supplies to shoe repair dealers in Texas. Hinckley and Tandy opened their first branch store in 1927 in Beaumont, Texas and in 1932, Dave Tandy moved the store from Beaumont to Houston, Texas. Tandy's business survived the economic storms of the Depression, gathered strength and developed a firm presence in the shoe findings business. Dave Tandy had a son, Charles Tandy, drafted into the business during his early twenties. Charles obtained a B. A degree at Texas Christian University began attending the Harvard Business School to further expand his education.
As World War II escalated Charles was called to serve his country in the military and relocated to Hawaii. He wrote to his father from overseas suggesting that leathercraft might offer new possibilities for growing the shoe finding business since the same supplies were used in Navy and Army hospitals and recreation centers. Leathercraft gave the men something useful to do and their handiwork, in addition to being therapeutic, had genuine value. Charles Tandy returned home from the service as a Lieutenant Commander in 1948 and negotiated to operate the fledgling leathercraft division himself, he had encouraged and followed the development of that venture through correspondence with his father. Within a short time Charles succeeded in opening the first of two retail stores in 1950 that specialized in leathercraft. Mr. Hinckley did not share the enthusiasm of Dave and Charles Tandy for the new leathercraft division; as a result, the two original founders came to an agreement in 1950 that Hinckley would continue to pursue the shoe findings business and the Tandy partners would specialize in promoting leathercrafts.
The first Tandy Catalog, only 8 pages long, was mailed to readers of Popular Science magazine who had responded to two-inch test ads that were placed by Tandy. From 1950 forward Tandy operated; this successful formula helped the company expand into a chain of some 150 leathercraft stores. A growing'do-it-yourself movement' prompted by a shortage of consumer goods and high labor costs continued to gather momentum; the fifteen leathercraft stores opened during this division's first two years of operation became quite successful. Tandy began expanding by gaining new product lines. Sixteen additional retail stores were opened in 1953, by 1955 Tandy Leather was a thriving company with leased sales sites in 75 cities across the United States. Tandy Leather became an attractive commodity and was purchased in 1955 by the American Hide and Leather Company of Boston. Charles continued to maintain control of managing the Tandy Leather division while owned by GAI. During 1956, General American Industries acquired three other companies unrelated to the leather industry and a struggle for control of the parent company began.
Charles saw the need to emancipate from the direction initiated by GAI. He used all his resources, raised additional money, exercised his right to purchase the 500,000 shares of stock that were included in the original settlement; when the votes were counted on the day of that pivotal stockholders meeting, the Tandy group took management control of General American Industries. In 1961 the company name was changed to Tandy Corporation and the corporate headquarters were moved to Fort Worth, Texas where Charles Tandy became the President and Chairman of the Board. Tandy Leather was operating 125 stores in 105 cities of the United States and Canada and expansion was the name of the game. Tandy acquired the assets of Merribee Art Embroidery Co. manufacturer and retailer of needlecraft items, as well as 5 other companies, including Cleveland Crafts Inc. and brought on the owner, Werner Magnus, to help run the newly acquired Merribee division. The first Tandy Mart had twenty-eight different shops all devoted to craft and hobby merchandise and included American Handicraft, Tandy Leather, Electronics Crafts and Merribee in an area of about 40,000 square feet.
Charles Tandy became intrigued with the potential for rapid growth that he saw in the electronics retail industry during 1962. He found RadioShack in Boston, a mail order company that had started in the twenties selling to ham operators and electronics buffs. By April 1963, the Tandy Corporation acquired management control of RadioShack Corporation and within two years, RadioShack's $4 million loss was turned into a profit under the leadership of Charles Tandy. Sales were going well for Tandy during this time; the "beads & fringe" days were in full swing with the hippy era and the "Nature-Tand" look was a big seller for belts, purses and wristbands. Under the leadership of Lloyd Redd and Al Patten, the company prospered; the number of Tandy store-fronts skyrocketed over the next five to six years by growing from 132 sites in 1969 to 269 sites in 1975. Ground broke in downtown Fort Worth for the construction of the Tandy Towers in 1975; the 18-story office building was initiated as Phase I of a m
Best Buy Europe
Best Buy Europe Distributions Ltd. was a retail joint venture owned by the United States based electronics retailer Best Buy Inc and United Kingdom based mobile phone retailer Carphone Warehouse. The company was formed by Best Buy's purchase of 50% of The Carphone Warehouse's retail division in May 2008. Best Buy branded superstores opened in the United Kingdom beginning in April 30, 2010, with a store in Thurrock, Essex. Best Buy was due to open its first stores in the United Kingdom in 2009, but in March 2009, the firm postponed this until 2010, with plans for up to two hundred stores eventually. Carphone intended to open up to two hundred Big Box stores in Europe by 2013, but this goal was reduced to one hundred. On 6 November 2011, Carphone Warehouse announced its intention to close the eleven Best Buy "big box" format stores. On 14 January 2012, the Best Buy Europe joint venture was discontinued, with all eleven stores and the transactional website closing on that day. Best Buy Co. Inc. is a Fortune 100 company, the largest speciality retailer of consumer electronics in the United States and Canada, accounting for 21% of the market.
The company's subsidiaries include Geek Squad, Magnolia Audio Video, Pacific Sales. Together, these operate more than 1,150 stores in the United States, Puerto Rico, China and Turkey; the company's corporate headquarters are located in Richfield, Minnesota, USA. On June 26, 2007, Best Buy announced a 40% increase in its operations, with plans to operate more than 1,800 stores worldwide, including 1,400 Best Buy stores in the U. S; the Carphone Warehouse was co founded in 1989, when most portable phones were too bulky to carry and called car phones, by current CEO Charles Dunstone from £6,000 savings. The two companies first began working together in 2006, creating Best Buy Mobile stores in the United States and introducing Geek Squad in the United Kingdom; the first Best Buy store in the United Kingdom opened at Junction Retail Park, near Lakeside Shopping Centre in Thurrock, Essex on 30 April 2010. Twenty locations were planned for in the coming year, all to be in the big box format; the company was looking for a flagship store in Central London, in a prominent area such as Piccadilly Circus, Oxford Street, or Regent Street.
For fiscal year 2011, Best Buy UK saw full year losses nearly triple to £62.2m, equivalent to just over £10m for each of its stores trading during the period. Growth had been slower; the company blamed the grim results on "impressive" investments in its new stores but it is "evaluating" the next step in its strategy. The company had been reported to be considering bidding for Comet Group; the company closed all of its stores in the United Kingdom on 14 January 2012, due to poor financial results. The Best Buy/Carphone Warehouse partnership ended in June 2013, with Carphone buying back their 50% share from the American retailer. Lakeside Shopping Centre, Thurrock Southampton, Hedge End Retail Park Dudley, Merry Hill Centre Aintree, Racecourse Retail Park Croydon, Trafalgar Way Retail Park Derby, Kingsway Retail Park Hayes, Lombardy Retail Park Cribbs Causeway, Bristol Rotherham, Retail World Shopping Park Enfield, Enfield Retail Park Nottingham, Castle Marina Retail Park