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Showing posts from May, 2008

Windows Seven: Much ado about nothing

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Paul Thurrott on Wininfo Daily News 27/05/08:Microsoft has been very cagey about Windows 7, the successor to Windows Vista that's set for a 2010 release. Theories about the company's silence on Windows 7 are numerous, but most point to Microsoft Senior Vice President Steven Sinofsky, the man most directly responsible for Windows development. That's because Sinofsky is close-lipped and calculating, in direct contrast to his predecessor, Jim Allchin. This week, however, Sinofsky and company opened the doors and offered a brief peek at Windows 7 for the first time. A very brief peek.Both [Sinofsky and Flores] claimed that Windows 7 would be a "major" or "significant" version of Windows, but both then went to great lengths to describe how the technical underpinnings of Windows 7 are based on Vista and will thus not incur any additional compatibility headaches. That, dear reader, is how Microsoft typically defines a minor, or R2 ("release 2") versi…

Mosley’s sexual antics, no reason to remove him

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Being an avid F1 fan, I’ve been following closely the most recent scandal to afflict Formula One. Way back in March, the News of the World released an expose of FIA president Max Mosley’s sexual shenanigans with 4 prostitutes in which he was filmed participating in an array of sadomasochistic capers. Alleged by the News of the World, although fervently denied by Mosley, was that role-playing scenes based on a Nazi concentration camp setting were acted out in the course of the activities.Given the highly sensitive and contentious nature of Mosley’s alleged activities, many in the F1 paddock have been keen to distance themselves as far as possible from the beleaguered FIA president. Many consider Mosley’s continuance in the role as untenable. In April, even F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone turned against his tacitly acknowledged right-hand-man.With Mosley up to face a vote of confidence in an extraordinary general meeting he called of the FIA, scheduled for 3rd June, time may well be runni…

Wii Fit calls girl fat

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From vnunet.com 21/05/08:"Nintendo has admitted that its Wii Fit game may not be suitable for children as its calculations of body mass index are designed for adults.A row erupted after 11 year-old Tabea Paul was told by the game that she was overweight.The girl's parents were angered by the suggestion, and have said that the game could have given the child an eating disorder."What I loved, though, was the response to this story in an email from vnunet.com weekly news report:"An offhand prediction based on a very 'rule-of-thumb' calculation would not cause an eating disorder in a young girl unless she already had a range of much more deep seated psychological issues, probably brought on by years of smothering by over-protective parents.That the game might have been wrong in this case is secondary. In any person's life they are going to be confronted by things they don't like and sometimes they aren't going to be true. That's life and people …

Blogging - a bit 'last year'

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Have web technologies evolved far beyond the blog already? Are bloggers a bit 'last year'?  Granted, blogs aren't exactly the newest thing on the web these days and the style and purpose of blogs continue to evolve into something more community-oriented.  But is being a blogger something to be ashamed of?According to Leo Laporte and Amber MacArthur in this week's Net @ Night podcast the blog is far from the cutting edge.
Leo
: "it just feels to me that it's sooooo nineties" ...."the term 'blog' just seems diminutive". "Blogs are big but they're a little bit mainstream"... [they] "seem a bit old-fashioned".Amber: [the term blogger] "almost seems like an insult".  And her response to people who introduce her as a blogger? "You know what, I don't actually blog that much".

When social networking goes too far

All regular visitors to Law Actually know of my dislike of the more popular social networking sites out there.  This video, I think, neatly encapsulates everything I hate about the highly pervasive and over-powering nature of these Facebook, My Space, Bebo etc. etc. and their perceiving importance on the web and in people's lives right now.  On seeing this video it really drives home exactly how 'social' and 'communitised' the web has become and how such platforms think they know what people want to see, read and do on the web.Quite frankly, I find the whole concept of them something akin to being overrun by poison ivy.In the video the social networking sites try to make 'My Space' wake up and realise the dream is over, and how he is already sliding into obscurity.  After initially holding his nerve, poor My Space is forced to admit defeat, firstly to Facebook.  "You've been dying for this to happen with your 'superpokes' and your 'mega…

The Mobile Phone has come a long way

I've never been a massive mobile phone user and generally find  'txting' a massive annoyance.  That said, I have possessed a fair few mobile handsets over the last 8 years - some good, some not quite so and one downright awful.  This amusing little number that I found via Windows Secrets documents exactly how far the mobile phone has come.

New judicial robes - get over it

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From The Times 15.05.08“Debate rages on the new Betty Jackson-designed robe. Verdicts are mixed, although in The Times' letters page today, Professor Sir John Baker expresses alarm to find “our judges wanting to look like warlords from outer space”, while one Times Online contributor says the new garb is “a cross between a Star Trek costume and a fascist storm-trooper's uniform”. I’ve read a lot of opinion arguing both ways for the new robes. Some say it will add to costs, at least in the short term and that’s even before you get to the fact judges wearing the new garb will resemble something between Captain Kirk and a walking pause button. Others recognise the fact that dressing judges as if they were from the 17th Century doesn't make a whole lot of sense any more.  Whatever your personal opinion, concerns undoubtedly remain over the new robes, particularly as regards the expected durability, and ease of identification for the public.  It's difficult to completely a…

Avoid airport hassle by hiding your data

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From The Guardian 15.5.08:“Last month a US court ruled that border agents can search your laptop, or any other electronic device, when you're entering the country. They can take your computer and download its entire contents, or keep it for several days. Customs and Border Patrol has not published any rules regarding this practice, and I and others have written a letter to Congress urging it to investigate and regulate this practice.But the US is not alone. British customs agents search laptops for pornography. And there are reports on the internet of this sort of thing happening at other borders, too.”What puzzles me is exactly what the criteria border officials use to decide which laptops to search and which to wave through. How exactly do you identify someone who is likely to have child pornography on their computers or otherwise got something to hide in the real world?  Are those searches performed purely at random?  Or, if you're of a more cynical disposition, you might …

Gamer Girls

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I was kind of interested to read earlier this week that females made up 41% of the video gaming market in Australia. That, actually, was a little higher than I had expected. Slowly, it seems, the industry is shrugging off the stubborn stereotype that gaming is solely the preserve of teenage boys and socially inept middle-aged men who still live with their parents.While I haven’t looked that closely into the statistics in the UK, from what I’ve read the situation over here isn’t that dissimilar to that in Australia. Also, from a worldwide perspective, there can be little doubt that gaming amongst females is on the rise. Whatever your view of gaming, that trend isn’t necessarily a bad thing; there’s a lot to be said for gaming and it can prove a great way of reliving stress and relaxing. While negative arguments can also be made out involving the perceived uselessness of gaming and its perceived tendency to incite violence and copy-catting, let’s face it: there are a lot worse things th…

10 ways the Chinese internet is different from yours

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The fact the Chinese government are vetting internet access is hardly news these days but it’s still an interesting topic and reason to be thankful it remains the exception rather the norm. I ran across an interesting article on Networked World about ’10 ways the Chinese internet is different from yours’.#5 It's censored[obviously]The Chinese government is believed to employ tens of thousands of censors who monitor bloggers and delete offensive or subversive material. These censors require ISPs and other Internet companies to stop posting articles, forums and blogs about controversial subjects.#1 It's slower[oh!?]Due to congestion on China's backbone networks and the time it takes for communications to travel across undersea cables to the United States and Europe, travelers find a noticeable difference in the responsiveness of the Internet in China compared to the rest of the world.#4 Blackouts are common [oh boy]If the Chinese government finds that a user has downloaded f…

Facebook... again

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I feel I’ve been giving Facebook a bit of an easy time recently; I’ve hardly mentioned it on Law Actually at all. So what the hell, let’s make up for it now. But don’t worry – I’m not just going to berate them for the fun of it – there’s actually genuine news developments going on here.From Wininfo Short-takes for 12.5.08:Facebook [finally] Protects the Kids
"Social networking service Facebook has agreed to institute a broad set of policies aimed at protecting young users from online predators and offensive content. The change, which comes at the request of 49 US state attorneys, will require a bit of behavioral technology to weed out those who really are 18 years old from those who are clearly 49." It’s not entirely clear whether this policy will be rolled out to all countries in time or whether it’s going to remain solely a ‘US thing’. While I sincerely hope it proves to be the former, either way, this development is at least two years too late. I’ve been clamouring for thi…

Micro-hoo dead in the water

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From Paul Thurrott on the Supersite for Windows Blog 04.05.08:Well, it looks like Microsoft's attempt at a hostile takeover of Yahoo! is over. And really, thank God for  that one: Yahoo! is the tech equivalent of a bad loan, something that would have come back to bite Microsoft sooner rather than later. So while it's unclear what the future holds--I'm looking for other Microsoft investments and purchases in the Facebook/MySpace area--I thought it might be interesting to look back at my coverage of this event in chronological order. In compiling these excerpts, I'm struck by how much press this generated over the past few months. And I'm so happy to put this behind us.Given how long, protracted and eventually bitter this merger-come-takeover bid became, I'm of the same opinion as Paul on this.  It would never have worked as Microsoft had intended and the best thing they could do was to drop it like the hot brick that it is.  I've also heard on the grapevine…

Speed camera captures 'full moon'

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From BBC News 1.5.08:A front seat car passenger was photographed baring his backside at a speed camera in Northumberland.The "mooning" man was snapped by the mobile camera as the black BMW X5 drove past on the A1171 Dudley Lane in Cramlington last month. His behaviour has been labelled as "dangerous and offensive" by road safety campaigners. Police may take action against the man for public order offences and not wearing a seat belt. Officers have the registration of the car, which was not breaking the speed limit, and intend to contact its owner. It is understood the driver will not face prosecution as no driving offence was being committed.I guess it brings a new meaning to those cheesy car-window stickers, 'smile for the speed camera'.  This story reminded me of the time when someone from my secondary school mooned at the bus driver after the journey home, as schoolboys - well, prefects in this instance - are wont to do.  What I immediately wondered was…

Thursday check-in

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I've been pretty busy of late and not blogging that much.  To make matters worse, I've also been on the road quite a bit in the last week or so, house-hunting, preparing for my impending move.  Thankfully I can report it's been fairly productive so far and there are a lot of suitable properties about.  In other words, then, it's the antithesis of my experiences last time I was looking about 9 months ago.  Note to self: never, ever, leave things so last-minute again.  I think I've learnt my lesson on that score.I've been somewhat amazed at the amount of traffic my blogging about the new OGC logo has generated in the last week.  I keep a fairly regular check on the traffic on Law Actually and it's sky-rocketed in the last 7 days.  Now it's back to reality I suppose.  Sigh.I swung by the Rix FM site earlier today, mainly to check out the picture gallery from Rix Morron Zoo.  I first discovered the Swedish radio station Rix FM  when I was studying in Swede…