Archive for the ‘Technology’ Category

Macbook Air

Wednesday, January 16th, 2008

I like the thinness of it, I *love* Mac OSX. I’m not bothered that there isn’t a slot for optical media.

But it is missing a few things like Firewire and a smaller footprint that I would have liked to see in preference to the thinness.

So, for what I would use it for (writing on the move), I’d rather have an Asus EEEPC, it’s much cheaper so I wouldn’t feel worried about throwing it around in the back of an ambulance and I think I can live with the smaller keyboard.

Or I may just wait until a fold-out keyboard for the iPhone turns up…

As for Time Capsule – the price seems right and as I run much of my life off my Macbook (hoping one day to be able to get a Macbook Pro) wireless, seamless backups seems like a dream come true. Of course, if I could get Time machine working with my three NAS drives I could save that money as well.

I was surprised to see the Maps location update working in the UK. And I won’t be holding my breath waiting for the video rentals to make their way over here.

(Well, if iTunes managed to stop me hitting P2P sites for music, I’m sure it can do the same for *ahem* the sort of people who download movies).

Actually the biggest and most surprising announcement wasn’t made by jobs – it was the Fox announcement that they would be putting ‘digital copies’ on their DVDs. The devil is no doubt in the details, but it’s an interesting move.

What To Do When Someone Torrents You

Saturday, November 3rd, 2007

Try asking for donations. It’d be interesting to see how this works out.

The Dildo In The Room

Thursday, October 25th, 2007

Two interesting bits of news from the Virtual Worlds Forum.

First off, Peter Edwards, the director of the upcoming ‘Home‘ platform for the PS3 stated that they were very interested in consumer created content and that, as soon as it was possible, they would be including the tools for users to make their own objects.

And that there would be an economy where you would be able to sell them.

I would imagine that they would have to employ moderators clearing the content before it becomes public in order to avoid the ‘Dildo in the room*’ problem. Especially as I doubt that there will be an age restriction on using Home.

I have a few ideas how the Economy might work, but that is a subject for an upcoming post

The second rumour is just that, a rumour (and to be honest I don’t hold out much hope for it being true), but a person who works for told me that there would be a Mac client ‘sometime next year’.

This person didn’t know what Boot Camp was, so I’m not too hopeful about this.

UPDATE: I’ve just had it confirmed from two other sources, is working on a Mac client and are hiring people to work on it at the moment. There is joy in my heart, because I consider much more social than Second Life.

*The ‘Dildo In The Room’ problem is that no matter the intended audience, if you allow user generated content, someone will make sex toys in your virtual world. Like the elephant in the room, people try not to talk about it. This is related to the ‘Time until penis” measurement*

‘*’Time Until Penis’ – The amount of time from software release until some bright spark crafts a giant penis out of whatever tools are available. (In World of Warcraft I think it was created out of gnome corpses…)

[tags]Dildointheroom, Timeuntilpenis,, PlaystationHome, PS3, User-generatedcontent, VirtualWorldsForum, Mac client [/tags]

“You Are A Criminal By Default” Government Suggests

Wednesday, October 24th, 2007

The UK government could legislate to crack down on illegal file-sharers, a senior official has told the BBC’s iPM programme.
Lord Triesman, the parliamentary Under Secretary for Innovation, Universities and Skills, said intellectual property theft would not be tolerated.
“If we can’t get voluntary arrangements we will legislate,” he said.
The comments could prove controversial with privacy advocates and internet service providers.
Lord Triesman called on internet service providers to take a “more activist role” in the problem of illegal file-sharing.

I heard Lord Triesman talk at the Virtual Worlds Forum earlier today – you can hear an MP3 of what he said here.

It would appear that the government has fully implemented some of the aspects of the Gowers report which involve educating and empowering the Trading Standards officers (just look at the recent TV Links takedown). Unfortunately they haven’t been so quick to look at some of the points that make IP more flexible, like the recommendations for format shifting or parody.

It’s something I’d liked to have asked him about but he seemed to disappear quite sharpish. I need to learn to run quicker if I want to get my journalism badge.  Chris must be a faster runner.

(And kudos to Sasha for mentioning after his talk that there are such things as Open Source Software and Creative Commons).

Going back to the idea that ISPs could be forced to deal with illegal content I’d ask why we should stop there? Shouldn’t we make the Post office liable for illegal pictures and documents sent through the mail system? How about making the telephone companies liable for offensive phone calls? Next we could make the roads agency liable for drunk drivers…

I love arguing like this, it’s cheap and easy like me.

This is without getting into the technical problems of determining infringing traffic over the internet without blocking legal traffic.

I have a horrible fear, after hearing Lord Triesman talk about P2P networks ‘often’ being used illegally, that the government will try to bring in a complete ban on all P2P software.

I also find it amusing that in the talk, he calls the default position for users of the internet to be ‘I want stuff for free’. You know – he’s insinuating that we are all criminals.

One for the fearsome Open Rights Group methinks.

[tags]copyright, ISP, Triesman, P2P, infringement, iPM, Gowers, VirtualWorldsForum, VWF, ORG, OpenRightsGroup [/tags]

Oi! Winer! Keep Your Hands Off My Twitter

Sunday, September 30th, 2007

Dave Winer on adding ‘payloads’ to twitter.

Dave, if you read this – Twitter is not email. This is the beauty of it. The need to sum up something in 140 characters or less is a strength, not a weakness.

If you want to start attaching sound or pictures to it you break the beauty of it, the immediacy and the poetry.

Turning twitter into a multimedia extravaganza would break it. If you want to do that sort of thing then mobile post to your blog, then people with RSS readers on their phone can follow you.

It’s like trying to improve a screwdriver by sticking a laser beam and a jet engine on it.

I’m not convinced that it even needs tagging.

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Music players ‘in lightning risk’

Friday, July 13th, 2007

From the BBC News reporting on a letter from a Canadian doctor.

I would have thought that being struck by lightning was his main problem rather than him wearing a music player…

The End Of Yesterday

Sunday, February 18th, 2007

The reporting yesterday had to stop I’m afraid – I was so sleep deprived that not only was I barely able to string two words together I was starting to go colour-blind.

But I’m back today, and with no 40 hour sleep deprivation my sentence structure and grammar will be as good as ever.

I’m still trying to parse some of the things that I heard yesterday, I’ll be honest and admit that some of it just went over my head or seemed to be repeating the conversations I’ve been following on the internet.

Tom Coates gave a good talk though, bringing a sort of melding between evolutionary social theory and social networking. It was a chance for us to hear the talk that he gave at ‘The Future of WebApps’ in San Francisco. Explaining some of the reasons why people share he had some interesting thoughts on why certain social networking webapps fail and on why some are huge successes. Very thought provoking and I would love to see some of these ideas applied to the MMORPG market. On thinking back Tom could have entitled his talk ‘It’s not all about sex and death’.

He believes that Wikipedia is unique in being so successful, but didn’t mention any of those webapps that have failed in the past, something that I would have found interesting.

Thanks to the magic of the interweb you can see his slideshow here.

The other talk that I can remember is someone talking about digital comics – His name I’m afraid is lost to my sleep-deprived brain porridge. The talk was not hugely groundbreaking, part of it was an advertisement for his ComicBookLover application, something that acts as an iTunes for scanned comics, and relies I think a bit too much on illegally downloaded scans. He also spoke about how digital distribution could enable independent comics producers to break the near monopoly of Diamond. I guess that as someone who takes a great interest in this subject (even thought I don’t work in the field) I was hoping for something a little more… crunchy. But I suppose that he’d need to target his talk to a wider audience.

So far today I have broken a knife trying to spread butter on a fake beigel and admitted that I want to be Patricia Hewitt.

…Oh dear.

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The Coolest Thing Ever (For Now)

Saturday, February 17th, 2007

I have just been completely blown away by the presentation by Matthew Somerville of

It is called Neighbourhood fix-it. It is an incredibly simple way of letting your local council know of street furniture that needs fixing, graffiti, or fly tipping – you know, all that really anti social stuff that makes living in London a pain. The two councils that took it up were Newham and Lewisham, but the developers realised that by changing one line of the code it could work for almost the entire country.

So the website mainly consists of Ordinance Survey maps using the Yahoo Maps API Yahoo! javascript library to scroll around. If you click on a location a form comes up that you fill in and it gets sent off to the relevant council email.

As it’s all Open Source you can go and have a look and maybe scrape it for data like ‘How quickly do councils fix things’, or ‘what is the dirtiest part of town to live in?’. The best thing is that it was all financed by a government department for innovation.

The presentation really sold it, go and have a play with it and see how easy it is to use.

I know that it’ll be a bookmark on my system so that as I cruise around town in my big white taxi I can ‘tag’ all the crap that I see.

There is a broken traffic light that I’m looking forward to reporting…

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Semantic Web

Saturday, February 17th, 2007

Tom Morris is up next with a talk on the Semantic web.

Which is a talk I barely understood.

And my feet hurt.

And I’m tired, tired does not make for good brain work.

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Saturday, February 17th, 2007

29 hours without sleep.

At the start of the day the icebreaker was a microphone passed around the room of 200 people, each to introduce themselves and to name three ‘tags’ that applied to them*.

There are a lot of people here who own startups, I’m not sure if that is just the audience that these sorts of events draw, or if it has become incredibly easy to begin a startup. A couple of people used the chance to mention that they were looking for jobs and the one venture capitalist (a nice bloke) almost whispered his job. People have come from all over the world, Denmark, Italy, Germany and even someone from New Zealand. It seems that in the UK Brighton is the place to watch for startups although it would be interesting to have actual data rather than impressions on that score.

The first session that I took part in was Ian Forrester giving us an overview on the new Pipeline type services. He liked touchstonelive (which sadly is Windows only and is an invite only beta) and touched on the new Yahoo Pipes. He then put forward a couple of ideas as to where pipelines could be heading. An example which he gave was using multiple APIs (Preloadr and Moo) on Flickr. Another example was which is a video sharing site, it gives options to pass the file and metadata onto other applications and sites like – with more pipeline implementation you could do all this without logging into, instead using as a pipeline.

What Ian is asking for is more controllable pipelines that cold automate a lot of the web stuff that we do each day – consider it a filter on steroids.

*For those that are interested my tags were ‘Neophile’, ‘Creative Commons’, and ’101 interesting things to do to an unconscious drunk’ (which got a laugh).

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