Sony is trying again with a new e-book thingammy along the lines of it's last disaster, I mean beautiful product, the Librie - read all about it at BusinessWeek online, here. Sounds promising but wait, is that the sound of DRMs (DRMs - drums - geddit?? Oh never mind). Anyway, if it works, if it is reasonably priced, and if the "books" you get are yours to keep, it might be worth a punt.... In fact, I'd love it to work as something like this would, I'm sure, be beautiful if done well, and Sony, despite their ever-growing list of cock-ups (DRM, rootkits, any of their music software packages, mp3 incompatibilities....), do give good product.
A counterpunch to those predicting things for 2006 (see below), Blake Ross includes in his list of ten the thought that:
Yahoo, accelerating its bid to dominate the social space, will announce that it is buying the actual societies of 32 cash-strapped governments. Citizens will be allowed to link their existing names to their Yahoo accounts.
"Buy someone a specific song through an online music store the way you might buy someone a CD?"
And how, "down the road, when there are no more CDs and all music is bought online, [do you] pass your life's music collection onto someone else when you die (the way you can pass on LPs and CDs today)?"
Of course, you know the answer already - you can't. EMI, Sony et al working on a solution? I'd posit not.
Is the Scobleizer about to explode? Not only is he very upfront with his opinions about what MSFT should be buying next (and we're not, of course, talking about a stationery order), but at one stage he was posting ever few minutes on pretty much everything he was reading elsewhere - all good and exciting stuff.
While not helping to jail Chinese journalists, Yahoo news is reporting that Saudi telecom has prevented SMS voting for a popular talent show because it is (wait for it - OK, all together now): "a crime against Islam" (anyone with any ideas on anything popular and fun that isn't against Islam and doesn't come from the 12th century, please write in). Wahey. Right, now, please could we import the show from Lebanon, air it on British tv / cable / whatever, and then get prosecuted under the proposed insitement to religious hatred law? I so so want the government to see the error of their ways but this appears increasingly unlikely. BTW, check out the nails on the guy on Yahoo's photo - ugh.
Inspired in part by this and this, here are my 10 predictions for (mainly UK-centric) digital happenings in 2006: 1. Google will buy into satellites. 2. Downloading music will continue to boom, both legal and illegal, but illegal will be on the upswing again. Music companies will continue to diversivy - there may be a leaked memo or two indicating that, near the top, they realise the game is up. 3. The internet and your mobile still won't mix owing to high charges for the combination - business use will grow but individual consumers will be nonplussed. 4. TV on your mobile will grow but very slowly - the hopes of the giant telecomms for a big uptake for the world cup will be dashed. 5. Riya will finally launch ... to mixed reviews. 6. Your granny will work out how to use a mobile. 7. None of the big tech companies will stand up against China's human rights abuses - plus ca change... 8. Interest in blogging will peak. 9. A small search startup will badly dent confidence in Googl…
Blogging lite over the next few days as Chrimbo kicks in hard. Back when time allows with a slew of new stories and more commentary than you can shake a stick at. In the meantime, Happy Holidays to both my readers.
Would it be easy to make this for London you think? An interactive subway map for NYC, you click on one point of the map as your starting place, another for your destination. Quick as a flash animation (actually a whole lot quicker), a route springs up showing timings, subway lines and walking directions. Fab.
Nine police officers disguised themselves as Victorian carol singers to carry out a drugs raid.
The Dorset Police officers were dressed in cloaks and top hats and were carrying lanterns when they arrived at their intended target in Weymouth.Apparently they made a number of arrests. As I have always said, when it comes to Victorian carol singers, shoot first and ask questions later.
The little device that indicates how many people are on the page isn't working still and may have gone into permanent meltdown - again, apologies if this page isn't finishing loading. I'll see what I can do to fix it / find out what's gone wrong. In the meantime, more credit to Performancing for Firefox - a great extension.
Sacre bleu (has anyone in France ever said that btw?), the French are trying to "legalise downloading" according to Bloomberg.com europe (link busted - sorry). Apparently a group of ministers has reacted against a proposal to make filesharing a crime similar to counterfeiting and has come up with an....
.... amendment, which is attached to a bill on intellectual property rights, [which] states that ``authors cannot forbid the reproduction of works that are made on any format from an online communications service when they are intended to be used privately'' and not for commercial use.
'Fraid I can't find who wrote this but it is an encouraging essay suggesting that you should blog. I have my doubts (see below - oh, about April I guess?) but this little essay suggests that it is worth persevering. The guy is called Steve and is a programmer (for Amazon?) - I can't find out more than this at the moment but do read it if you are blogging, thinking about blogging, or thinking about packing in blogging.
How much smarter are you than your job requires you to be? If you find you are in multiples of two or above, time to change. Even 1.5 and you should be looking around for something fresh. Moving at 1.0 is best of course, but may not look so hot on your CV.
Holy monkeys things are getting bad. I think I'm going to have to move to Canada while my cardiologist says I still can. Take a look over here at the Independent's story about all car journeys in the UK being recorded and kept (I guess that is just kept actually - they are already recorded) for 2 years. Nice.
I look and I look and I can't find the html code to remove from my template to get rid of that stoopid Site Surfer thingammyjig. Apologies again for the interminable loading of page. While I am here, may you learn something from me: never post when you have had more than one glass of Lachryma Christi.
OK, we all say something made us laugh out loud but we are often reaching for an effect. This, however, from The Sneeze (additional link right (and damn these parenthesis(e?)) really did. Now that books are being made out of blogs, I think Steve must be about due a contract.
Lovely little tool. Very lovely. Seems to work right out of the box. Do as the dude tells you here and away you go, instant blogging. Expect this blog to get much quicker and more up to date. And expect Microsoft to have to work doubly hard on that ie7 we keep hearing about. This, like Riya, makes me smile.
Update Sadly it has turned a bit panty and I am sometimes getting error messages (error #3 Object:object if you are listening guys). Still, it is a beta release so bugs are expected I guess. Watch this space - when it works (so far most of the time), it is beautiful.
Wonderful comment chain here on Margot Wallstrom's blog (she being Vice-President of the European Commission or some such - not exactly sure but I suspect there is a huge salary attached). Anyway, I wholeheartedly support her views re: business and it's immoral links with China, but the counter arguments about the EU falling over itself in its rush to sell arms and the like to the Chinese government are equally valid. A shame Margot doesn't rejoin the pigeons after she's put in the cat though - come on Marge, how about a response to the commentators?
19th December 2005 Rolf's Queen. One can't help liking Rolf can one? Not unpleasant but equally, of course, not startling. One wonders what Tracey Emin might have done, or that fule who made the boat out of a shed and then made it into a shed again.
Apologies to you, jj, if you happen to be someone who writes in exactly the same style as a spam bot. Otherwise, how about, in future, you look for some CONTEXT. Heard of that have you? For pity's sake - I hate cooking, I'm crap at it, and I would never in a million years join a cookery club. If I had brain damage I might go to your site and see what sort of viruses I could pick up there but, as it is before and not after christmas my brain is working reasonably well so no, I won't be going to cookery school.
Hi Patrick, I'm looking for a companion for a cookery school. I've joined this site (cookery school). Where else could I contact other people who may like to join a cookery school? Many thanks
if you are of a PC disposition. Otherwise, here is my contender for Funniest Opening Line to a Joke 2005: "A blind man walks into a lesbian bar..." Sadly the rest of the joke doesn't live up to this entrance and needs a rethink. Suggestions welcome.
eyes lphits, as someone once rather charmlessly said. "Tired" doesn't begin to describe how I feel today. You know the sort of thing - you can't string a sentence together and the thought of getting horizontal under the covers hangs eternally before you like a mirage. Hey hoo. BTW, this is for N&L who have a tom making their own cats' lives miserable - Cats International - your cat problems answered. Now, where is the Resolve?
This whole Dodds' blog thing - I'm not sure. I've been looking around and, well, the news ain't good. Someone out there, presumably a distant relative, blogs about time zones...? Early days, but I'm Concerned.
Quiet weekend for the blog coming up - expecting the chimney sweep tomorrow (apparently you have to provide your own small child these days), party in the evening and thus Sunday will be small and low key, if you know what I mean. And tonight? Well tonight has involved "going out" - blimey, remember that? Therefore, my apologies for the lack of fresh delectation. You could try this little oddity if you wish, but there are no guarantees it will be your bag.
I like this - you visit a site and the code spins into action and tells you what bloggers have been saying about said site. Not always the most up to date (try it on here and you will see what I mean though thanks for the kind comment) but entertaining nonetheless - increases the ability to procrastinate in a manner similar to StumbleUpon and you surely know how bad that is for you....
The government came under renewed pressure in the Commons today amid "widespread public disquiet" about allegations that the US is using UK airports to transfer prisoners to be tortured abroad.
As members of the all-party parliamentary group on extraordinary rendition put a series of detailed questions to the foreign secretary, Jack Straw, Liberal Democrat and Tory MPs launched fresh challenges on the issue.
At question time yesterday Tony Blair said it would be "completely absurd" to investigate every US government plane which flew into the country.
Which is nice. It wouldn't be "completely absurd" to look for non-existent WMD for months on end though. He really has got to go what with the torture- goodbye Tone - we have had enough of you.
Can I suggest you get down here immediately so as to hear some new music you may like? Honest, what's not to enjoy? Currently Europap is the thing for me. (BTW, have not been back to that music locker thingammy in a while - will update you if I try it again or leave a comment if you have some experience of it). (Parenthases - do you think I have a problem?).
So, the London Evening Standard (no link - they are hateful. If you live in the South East of England you will know them as the paper that encapsulates the Little Englander mentality and hypocrisy better than any other - think a parochial Daily Mail but with a special slant that enables taxi drivers to agree with their editorial line. If you don't live in the UK count yourself lucky you have never had to read the paper - hardly anyone here does except commuters desperate for anything to amuse them on South West Training to be a Train Network or, occasionally, by those who forget that the teaser headline "TV Star Dies" actually refers to an ex-Eurovision band member from Albania or "My Drug Shame" covers the time Kirk Douglas' second-cousin-once-removed took more than the recommended dose of paracetamol) had a headline tonight saying that some research somewhere showed that one in three drivers drinks and drives. This is either (a) complete and utter b*****k…
I'm not sure it would be strictly necessary, but I would LOVE one of these - a 39 megapixel camera. Sure, why not? (via Gizmodo - check out this for an idea of what you might be able to achieve, then look at your own pictures, or mine for that matter, and weep).
Quelle surprise (for South West Train employees, that is French for “what a surprise”. It is generally used in an ironic way. If you have trouble with the word “ironic”, speak to your timetable composers). Since stopping giving the rebates on ticket prices owing to their exceptional performance over the last five years (if your definition of the term “exceptional” means hitting targets about 90% of the time – try telling that to a manufacturer of brake units for cars, let's say, or traffic lights, boilers, aeroplane engines...), guess what has happened to the trains on the SWT network? Of course, that’s right, they have improved their efficiency….. Actually, no. Since they stopped it has, of course, all gone to hell. It must be great working for a company where no one gives a flying shite about anything but when they can knock off and go home, although I suspect in the long run employees might, just occasionally, feel a nagging sense of …
So, you get a txt from yr mstrss and someone interrupts you when you are reading it. Don't worry - you won't be found out if you employ this technology from Staellium that "destroys" (I like it - it doesn't delete it, it annihilates it) the message after 40 seconds or so. You may not think you need it but by goodness one day you will be glad of it.
Further to my earlier post, seems that the noise from the fuel going up could be heard in the Netherlands. The BBC has some amazing pictures including an aerial shot of the pollution caused - this won't, of course, do much to help the situation viz global warming.
This has to be one of the most amazing things I've seen since beginning Mrs Lemon's. A video of a Russian (?) guy climbing, running and jumping over a series of decaying and destroyed urban landscapes to a rap soundtrack. Doesn't sound much? Don't believe it - and don't give up when the picture quality dips after a couple of minutes - keep going and you will see something amazing. If you don't click on any other link here, do click on this one. I hope he is signed up by someone soon. BTW, if you are struggling to see the video when you get there because your connection is too slow, now really is the time to upgrade your connection - developments over the coming months are likely to further enhance what is already a wonderful medium. Go here for information about broadband providers. Go on - honestly - now is the time!
and asks for a double entendre so the barman gives her one. Ha ha. Happy Sunday. (BTW, woken by an explosion about 50 miles away this morning - not often in your life you can say that - more about it here).
OK, so, just before bed, a quick prediction: tomorrow's Observer will have Christmas cookery by the bucketload and an article telling us mortals where various Actors will be spending their hols OR their bestest Chrimbos ever ("Well, you know, we were like in the foothills of the Himalayas staying in this gorgeous little hut darling - no facilities at all and we had to wait for the servants to boil the bathwater - can you imagine?! But it was postively fantastic for my skin darling, I mean, I'd never looked so good. Anyway, thank God your readers wouldn't be able to find it / afford it / have the necessary connections to get invited."). Then there will be the present lists, something about where to go to get away from it all, how rampant consumerism is making us all sad, and what you should be drinking at office party / cocktails do / Christmas morning drinks..... Aaggh. Update: Sunday Big xmas food supplement and David Tennant (who?) in the magazine... I rest my ca…
The Moral Maze on BBC R4 tonight looked at torture and whether it is ever justifiable. Towards the end of the programme someone came out with that hoary old chestnut "if you knew that by torturing someone you would get information that would save X number of lives, would you be justified in using it?" Seems to me that the answer to this question is, of course, yes, BUT, equally obviously, these circumstances cannot ever be proven to exist in real life. Therefore, the attempt to justify torture fails in this instance since the circumstances under which it is being considered cannot ever, a priori, be known to exist. It also follows that if these are the only circumstances under which torture is justifiable, torture cannot ever be justified. Clear? OK, as you were - off you pop in your never-ending search for diversion.I'll be along in a minute myself.
More news of the disappearing old media and their renaissance in the new, the Daily Mail group is apparently selling their interests in local papers and buying up web companies, at least according to the Guardian.
Mmm George could be in trouble over this one you think? Americans don't take kindly to their flag or their constitution being traduced in any way and yet the Shrub has apparently been calling the Constitution a "goddamned bit of paper". Allegedly. Watch this space....
So, farewell then, Routemaster buses. We will miss you. We were not persuaded by the nonsense we have heard this week such as that on Radio London when it was suggested that 1 in 10 people couldn't get on or off you safely. [Erm, right, that would be because a large part of the population is under 7, another part can't travel on any form of public transport safely, and another part are the sort who won't go in a car unless it has 18 airbags and doesn't go over 9 mph. Rant safety rant everywhere rant bicycle helmets rant non-opening windows rant go and live in a rubber room rant rant rant. Clearly I'm going to have to go and lie down].
10th December 2005 It is, of course, always a good idea to carry your AK when Christmas shopping in London. Perhaps the kid is worried they won't have any Jarlsberg and he'll have to get to waving his Persuader around so as to sort it out.
According to a story at the BBC, more than 5% of net domain names are taken by dubious and shadey characters who may use said sites for nefarious purposes. So Be Careful Out There! In light of the recent conference in Tunisia, however, what is even more interesting is the following:
As well as looking into owner information, the GAO [Government Accountability Board] also investigated the procedures for correcting fake data.
The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (Icann) has the role of overseeing the net's domains and recently attempted to tighten up the policing of owner data.
However, the GAO found of the 45 reports on dodgy domain data that it submitted to Icann, 33 were unchanged after 30 days.
Makes you wonder if ICANN want the Chinese and Iranians to take over the web as they have indicated they are inclined to so do. Dear non-existent please save us from that eventuality.
Lee Gomes at the wall street journal seems to be getting worried about his job, dismissing tech blogs as so much puffery. Interesting that he doesn't care to link to any of them so that people could make their own minds up.
Ah me, I must apologise for the recent lack of pics on here. Unfortunately the weather has been a bit pants, other work has been keeping me busy, and I have been lacking in the Department of the Muse. However, I shall try and shake myself up a little and post some more of those 3meg curiosities that made yesteryear so fulfilling. Watch this space. In the meantime, what about popping over here for more serious photographics.
If you don't smile can I suggest someone checks your pulse? From today's Guardian comes a nice story about what men get up to whilst micturating, with Stuart Jeffries observing that he had recently seen a man on his mobile whilst at a urinal:
Aren't men amazing? Earlier this month - at the same urinal - another man was multitasking in an even more inventive manner. If you're in the middle of eating, look away now. He was urinating with one hand and brushing his teeth with the other. A colleague came in and the pair had a very long conversation about advertisement ratios before the colleague observed: "So. Brushing your teeth at the urinal?"
I like this, a mobile for your dog from Petsmobility. If you lose your dog you can both call him / her or, better yet, anyone who finds them has a hotline back to you. Indeed, if you train him well enough, maybe he'll call you to come fetch him.
An interesting piece here on the coming demise of the newspaper - Jeff Jarvis is on brilliant form. A short quote from a long post:
From a business perspective, we need to stop whining about readers moving online. If that’s what they want to do, then go with them, damnit! The biggest challenge is to train advertisers that online is more valuable than print because more people are there..... I believe we will, sooner than we know, start seeing print as an added cost burden maintained primarily becuase advertisers value it more than readers.
This is a story that needs the widest possible dissemination. From Craig Murray's weblog:
December 1: The British Guardian reports that over 300 CIA flights have landed at European airports and that CIA planes visited Germany and Britain over 200 times, if chartered flights are included. According to the NY Times, there were 94 flights in Germany, 76 in Britain, 33 in Ireland, 16 in Portugal, 15 in Spain and Czechoslovakia each and two chartered flights that made stopovers in France. French officials say they had no knowledge of the clandestine flights.
With them or against them?
If you fancy a bit of waterboarding, a bit of rendition, don't worry - your government probably already suppinely supports it. No wonder so many Muslims appear to hate the West and the hypocrisy found here.
MPs pay – does more money (they have asked for 22%) attract a better calibre of staff or just a greedier one? Would nursing attract a better calibre of staff if nurses were paid a starting salary of £43,000? What, I wonder, would it do for the profession if breadheads, to use some sixties argot that I really rather wish I hadn't, were the main applicants? Does this argument hold any water whatsoever? By logical extension, we would have the best government in the world if our MPs were getting hundreds of grand a year. I think we know that that wouldn't be the case. (While we are on the subject, I have an "angry from Surrey" scheme that I wish the BBC and others would implement but which they never will. Namely, that all persons on news and current affairs programmes, be they presenters or interviewees, should have their interviews prefaced by information about their annual salary / earnings / share dealings. Thus when Sir Digby bloody Jones comes on and bangs on about …
Saturday's Guardian ran a story about musicians wanting more from the cost of a download. No surprise there, but what was telling was this:
Composers and songwriters are arguing in the UK copyright tribunal that they should receive 7p to 9p from every track downloaded from the internet, instead of the current 5p. The demand, issued by the Music Alliance, which works on behalf of composers, is being made to counter steps by the record companies' association, the British Phonographic Industry, to cut their earnings to 2p per download. They want the record companies to disclose the amount of money made from downloads, arguing that their pay rise could be recovered from record company profits rather than customers.
So the record companies don't actually disclose how much they make from downloads? Marvellous. And they are saying that downloading is destroying their industry. Please, do get over to allofmp3.com as soon as you can and help with the mercy killing.
Andrea Bone, who was convicted of culpable homicide for not stopping her boyfriend from killing her 13-month-old daughter Carla-Nicole in 2002, has had her conviction quashed. The appeal judges accepted that Bone was too intimated by her violent boyfriend to intervene.
(1) Would a man ever get away with this? (2) I imagine Carla-Nicole wouldn't much care for the argument that her mother was "too intimidated" to intervene. (3) Did Andrea go to the police immediately afterwards?
Want to play Scrabble online? Then I'd recommend the ISC - not a very visually polished interface but the longer you play the more you appreciate the elegant design that has made the site so simple and satisfying to use.
Beautiful song and video here by Pepe Deluxe. Note - there are a couple of other videos on the same site but they are in Quicktime format so, losing the will to live, I gave up before the end of the 72 hour delay while they loaded. This one, Lying Peacefully, is in another format the name of which I know not but which seemed to perform admirably (i.e. genuinely quickly).
Chatting to M today and we thought that perhaps the death of religion needs to sink in a bit before we as a society start looking around for something more fulfilling than a sale at Next. Maybe the increasing uptake of goats and midwives are the first stirrings of something better.
"Xbox 360 sells out in hours" the BBC tells us, which must rank up there with "sun due to set tonight" as one of the non-stories of the day / month / year. Of course it did - Microsoft will have under-supplied dramatically so as to create some buzz. It's the same old nonsense - news sites printing what the corporations want them to print.
So I've been fiddling with Pandora's box (ooer missus) and with that locker thingammy. The former is rather marvellous (like having a radio station that plays more than one song in a row that you like and without the same advert repeated 31 times an hour), the latter less so. It is early days of course and I'd love to see mp3tunes succeed as the concept is sound - the execution hasn't impressed yet though. Re: Pandora - do use Firefox so that once started you can go elsewhere via tabbed browsing and still listen (does anyone outside of an office still use IE?).
Still buying CDs? Well you could do worse than checking out this list from the EFF of CDs they believe have nasties installed by the manufacturer that you might want to avoid. Alternatively, do try allofmp3.com and see what you think.
2nd December 2005 Doesn't do him justice but here is a shot of the giant inflatable and frightening santa from the end of our road where he helps sell Christmas trees. Not sure what is going on with that 'tache....
Just signed up to Pandora (the freebie account - i am both a cheapskate and cautious - zonga may flow their way if it proves to be aurally amusing) and initial impressions are good - nice sound quality, no breaks in transmission, easy to use, simple interface, no mess. The idea is you choose a starter track you like (in my case Walk Into the Sun by Dirty Vegas, though I had to start again as this proved a bit of a false lemming) and similar songs are served up to you thereafter 'pon which you pronounce judgement, gradually freeing wheat from chaff and giving the programme an idea of what to play once it starts choosing music for you. All clear? No? Well head thee off to the site for a go yourselves you lazy b****rs. There have been other attempts at this but the ones I've tried haven't been wildly successful so here's hoping.
Update: Some hours later and it is still doing its job - keeping me ears happy and serving up a mixture of the tried and the novel. Favourite track…
What is it with Sony? They launch what sounds to be a very good service (read all about it at mobile whack)and then they go and ruin it, just as they did with their ebook, by making the data you watch and enjoy on your PSP self-destruct after a short while. Now of course h4ckers will find a way around this, but why are Sony doing it in the first place? Appears their new Welsh CEO isn't going to do much to change their gameplan that increasingly alienates even long-term fans of their products. It really shouldn't take anyone working there longer than five minutes to see that their DRMophilia is harming their image all over the world (and this before the rootkit scandal that is going to run and run). The first big multi-media company to break ranks and say "OK, it's over for traditional methods of copyrighting digital media - let's go a different route" are going to make a serious amount of cash and put themselves ahead of the field for years to come. Other com…
Things are getting out of hand in the States as the RIAA cripple, or attempt to cripple, more and more technology devices such as this device from Sirius which looks a beauty but which is being cut down to size by the media moguls (story via Engadget - link to right). As I wondered before, where were the UK music execs in the early 80s when the miners were on strike to protect their jobs as the industry and geopolitical realities changed? I imagine they were going to gigs and doing a bit of Kate just as they always had.... Well the days of reckoning are here for them now and while of course one has some sympathy for workers whose jobs are going down the swanney, one also has to suggest that they WAKE UP AND SMELL THE COFFEE and get on with working out how they are going to take advantage of the huge benefits digitalization is bringing. Everyone is having to change and Canute-like demonstrations still seem to be needed in the boardrooms of EMI, Sony and the like.
Interesting and perhaps unlikely story from the BBC about a pack of squirrels attacking and killing a large stray dog in Russia. Being in what sounds to be fairly isolated woodland, it doesn't appear that crack cocaine is the driving force this time. Maybe squirrels are getting rattled at the thought of going quietly as humankind destroys the planet? In fact they are probably practising for D-Day by jumping hospital employees (as noted below) and killing dogs - the real news begins with the death of the first human. We had a cat once.... oh never mind.