28 posts • joined 9 Jan 2008
BT has fewest miscategorisation requests, because almost impossible to report
According to Blocked.org.uk, my personal website is blocked by BT, as is a friend's.
Neither of us were able to find a mechanism to report mis-classification, and its not like we're newbies. I used to be in charge of Parental Controls product management for AOL UK, and my friend is a respected technology journalist. Sky should be given some credit for having relatively accessible tools to report a problem.
*Update, BT now have information for site owners, but there was none when Blocked.org.uk launched. Obviously stung into action.
Now TV hack closed now
As to the £9.99 Now TV box being hackable, it looks like Sky have closed that loophole now. I got one last week and followed instructions found on the net and the latest firmware looks different and does not seem to allow the user to go into developer mode, which was the basis of side-loading Plex onto the box.
If anyone knows of a up-to-date hack, I'd love to give it a try, but I wouldn't buy a Now TV box if you're after a cheap hackable Roku box.
Deleted after 7 days?
I'm not sure Theresa May would be very happy having all that communications data deleted before MI5 have a chance to look for any funny business.
ask about parental controls during sign up
Here's an idea - instead of forcing ISPs to turn on a mandatory opt-out nanny-filter for the entire country, why not make it a part of the signup process online or by phone:
"So, now we've got you through the sign-up for your new ISP service, we've got one last question for you. Do you have any children in the household?
"Would you like us to turn on the nanny-filter for you? You can turn it off at any time by going to your account control panel. Equally, if you don't want it now, you can turn it on at your account control panel..."
not another Granadaland retune??
Granadaland has already had two DTT retunes. The first one I was able to talk my 80-year old parents through on the phone. The second screwed things up royally and my mother was left with the Welsh channels in one part of the house - the bit she actually uses. The house is big, so calling out an aerial engineer is a complete pain and an unwanted expense. My poor old Mum had to wait for me to come visit (from That London) and even as a reasonably techie person, looking up the correct channel groupings for Granada TV as opposed to Welsh was annoying and confusing. Add into this the Chinglish inspired set-top box UI for manually changing the channels and it was a nightmare. As it turned out, there was a problem with the box as well, but the process was so confusing that I didn't know if it was a mistake I'd made, or if the aerial was completely incapable of picking up Winter Hill.
With a new set-top box, we worked out that it wasn't the aerial at fault, but then with the new Humax I had yet another designed-by-autistic-engineers-in-another-language interface to wrestle with in order to tell the stupid box to tune into Granada and not S4C.
If they're going to screw around with the retuning again, I may as well save myself the £100 train fare back to Liverpool and get a satellite dish installed. Oh wait, I can't because they live in a conservation area...
OpenDNS free for home use
Its not as if you even have to sign up for a subscription service in order to put some safeguards in place. OpenDNS is free for home users and has the upside of usually being faster than your own ISP's DNS servers.
I get pretty tired of my friends who are parents coming up for excuses as to why thet can't keep their under-13's off Facebook and seem to have no spine when it comes to unfettered use of tech in kids bedrooms.
BT Openzone and BT Openzone
My main gripe with BT Openzone is that not all hotspots called BT Openzone behave in the same way. With my O₂ iPhone package, there's supposed to be free access to both BTO and The Cloud. And for a while, BTO access was great - once I was authenticated once, my iPhone seemed to be fine across multiple hotspot locations and yea, the browsing was good.
Then BTO launched their FON boxes all across London. They use BT Openzone as their SSID, so the iPhone happily joins it. But the Fon versions do not seem to be part of the free access deal for O₂ - so if you're using Safari you end up trying to use the authentication pages, which don't work. If you're using an app, you don't see the authentication pages and your connection seems to be broken. You have to tell the iPhone to not auto-join BTO hotspots. I pretty much never get a working BTO connection now.
I'm fine with BT deciding that their deal with O₂ only extends to their BT Openzone operated hotspots rather than their Fon network - but FFS, don't call them the same thing if they are not.
blocks apps too
I've been having trouble using a popular gay dating app on the iPhone for the last day or so (when did the block come on?). The app kept just hanging and I thought it was the app's fault. When I tried accessing the dating site using Mobile Safari, I got the age verification messaging for the first time.
So you'll have a chunk of users who are using apps rather than phone browsers who can't see the messaging from O2 at all.
I just asked for my PUK - I've had problems with pre-paying for international data where they credit the add-on the *following billing cycle*, ending up with me being charges extoritionate rates for mobile roaming in the US when I thought I was covered, and having a useless bundle of pre-paid data a month after my trip. Add in crap mobile reception and many dropped calls, this is the last straw for me.
Clam X AV free anti-virus for Mac
Clam AV has a version available for free for Mac OS X. As you mentioned, there are paid products such as Kaspersky out there if you don't trust the open source freebie. The core Clam software is used in a number of server based anti-virus solutions and usually holds its own against paid packages.
Clam is included as standard in Mac OS X Server editions.
Photography banned in the security screening areas and... everywhere!
One place where photography and videoing is banned is the security areas.
The Heathrow website claims that ALL photography requires permits and written permission, so it would seem that the press bunny who said that photography was OK is misinformed. Of course, trying to enforce no-photo rules in a world of camera phones and 14x zoom super-compacts is stupid, but that's BAA for you.
Difficult to measure on a new machine, but in general, Macs seem to last longer because they are better built - especially with the aluminium unibody construction.
I'm still running the very first Intel MacBook Pro from 2006 and its been around the world several times with me.
My female friend - possibly the clumsiest person I've ever known - used to get through a Sony Vaio a year. She also trashed a plastic MacBook, but is in love with her aluminium MacBook Pro - which has survived her and her 6-month old baby. So far.
I've not used a netbook myself - as they're generally made as cheaply as possble, how does that affect their durability compared to the very solid construction of the alu-Macs?
Indoors signal atrocious here, "Good" according to the map
Does anyone see a "report a flagrant lie in our reporting" link on the status pages?
No corporation tax in the UK
Being an "Irish" company, Google pays no taxes on revenues generated from the sale of advertising by UK companies, to UK consumers on searches performed within the UK. The UK represents 12% of all of Google's revenues according to the last earnings release. This is perfectly legal.
The Americans have particular reason to be upset at this arrangement as Brin & Page's research which gave rise to the technology behind Google was funded by the US taxpayer bankrolled National Science Foundation.
O2 More says nothing about constant location snooping
The Placecast technology uses cell tower triangulation at the carrier network level. So Placecast will have a stream of your movements AT ALL TIMES.
People are used to location apps being about checking-in - the O2 More faqs make no mention of the fact that a 3rd party will constantly be following them around to see if they go anywhere near a Starbucks.
How many digital engagement czars do we need?
I thought Martha Lane Fox was in charge of pressing a new MacBook into every granny's hands?
Mine borked too
After a number of attempts to restore, I now have my stuff back. Deffo not as smooth as previous upgrades.
wil they pay for my Experian?
When my employer lost a disk with my details on it, the company paid for me to get Experian credit watch. Will the Guardian cough up for Experian/CIFAS subscriptions for all affected users?
PS3 not talking to Lacie either
When my housemate had a PS3, it would only see some music and the images on my Lacie 1TB NAS. Almost none of the movie files would play. The same movies being served via a Windows box to the PS3 were fine. The Sony PS3 would also only see some of the content being served up by the various versions of iTunes on the network. I blame Sony - in fact, I blame Sony for most of the world's ills...
Why no torrents?
Perhaps if they had posted some torrents of the files, they wouldn't have fally over servers. I'm pretty sure they used to encourage you to download via Torrent before, but this time around they seem to offer only HTTP and FTP links.
Even now - with their super small emergency homepage - they are pushing you to HTTP/FTP.
Doesn't even have to be an IP camera
My oldsters have a camera pointing out from their front door that plugs in to their TV via the composite video in - even simpler (and probably cheaper) than an IP camera.
You get what you pay for
When I worked for a large ISP with a three letter name, we had a rolling programme where staff would go out to punters homes to talk about their experience using the intertubes.
As well as current and ex members, we talked to competitor members too. All the NTL (i.e. Virgin) people universally said that they hated the poor customer service and poor quality of service - but the killer was that none of them would switch. Cheap and all bundled together with their telephone and TV, none of them could be bothered to switch to a better provider.
My personal opinion (and I may not have a typical attitude to saving money) is that my Internet access is really quite important to me, so its worth spending a little more for better service. I can heartily recommend a smaller ISP like Zen - who seem to win customer satisfaction awards every year.
One positive outcome for BT and Virgin is that by getting all pally with the BPI and acting as copyright vigilantes for them, many of their heaviest downloaders will take their BitTorrents to another ISP like TalkTalk. "Bad" customers go away of their own accord, plus, they get gold stars from the music biz and Andy "eyeliner" Burnham. They may never get to the point of having to kick downloaders off their network - neato!
photography *not* banned at Canary Wharf
Living close to CW, and having seen the plastic police harrassing photographers myself, I thought I would look at the Canary Wharf website to see if there was a list of the dos and don't of the estate - it being private property and all that. I was hoping they might have them on the web as I certainly have never seen a sign with them listed on the estate itself.
www.canarywharf.co.uk has no information about what is and isn't allowed on its private land - no information even of the fact that you will be stopped by their plastic police and inexpertly swabbed for explosives if you drive in.
Google however provided this gem from a Flickr user questioning the CW Estate Security Manager on this very topic:
[snip] "Photography is not banned on the Estate and therefore there are no signs advising of its prohibition. However, professional photography is only permitted with our permission and when granted, a permit is issued. Amateur photography is welcomed but, in the light of the current extremely high threat from terrorism, photographers may be questioned by security staff. Once satisfied with their legitimacy, security personnel will permit the photography to continue and I am very disappointed at your comments about the threats to confiscate the memory card or delete the photos. " [snip]
This is between the artists and the labels
Part of the problem is that musicians sell their "intellectual property" to large evil corporations. Said evil corporations then screw up the marketing of product - trying to sell formats and products that punters don't want. (Case in point, I quite like the French artist Camille. She has a new single out according to her website. This morning I tried to buy it from the iTunes store and couldn't because it was only available in the French iTunes store. This isn't my fault, its between EMI and iTunes - and I suspect its down to EMI only licensing their precious acquired "intellectual property" for sale in France. They have just lost a completely free sale - no marketing required. Free money for more coke - I mean, candles and flowers!)
When artists do better deals with labels - or cut them out completely - then they will find a way to make money out of their fanbase. But please stop blaming the fans. Fans don't sit on artsits' back catalogues preventing fans from buying material - that's the labels and their precious "intellectual property". The long tail should be a massive opportunity for the music business - and they have borked it completely.
Except of course for labels like 4AD. I can go to the 4AD website and buy pretty much every release they ever made. If I can't buy the CD because its out of print, I can buy high quality digital downloads. With David Sylvian's Samadhisound, I can buy all of his new releases while cutting out the middle-man.
change to notification reqs
Well yes, the whole idea is stupid to think that a determined child abuser is going to be stopped from joining a social network by this regulation.
But what it will do is make it an offence for people on the sex offenders register to NOT disclose all their email addresses. So if it is found out that they have created a new Gmail account - guilt is presumed and they can be banged up for an extra five years. Regardless of whether or not any grooming or abuse has taken place - the failure to disclose is the crime.
I wonder if the Goverment plans on using the CRB people to operate this email address blacklist? If so, I guess you can look at a 6 month waiting list before you can join Facebook successfully.
re: Toyota vs Lexus
Darryl - my point is more that to a significant section of the market, the cash money price differential is not so big that it will stop them buying the machine they want, rather than the Dell compromise.
People who have to lug around their computer up and down the country to meetings, given the choice, are likely to plump for the machine that is not going to turn them in to Quasimodo. Hence the popularity of the small form factor Vaios and their ilk. In particular, all the female execs I have worked with have always lusted after the Vaios and the small Toshibas because of the small weight. But with these machines the tradeoff is in screen size - escape the tyranny of backache only to end up with eye strain squinting at a tiny screen.
With MBA, you get the light weight, and a full size screen and keyboard. The tradeoff is that some of the connectivity options are not there - which as I've already pointed out, a chunk of people do not in practice use.
Will cost-conscious corporate IT departments flock to the MBA as a buffer against employee claims of back pain caused by lugging 2 kilos of Dell around in a badly designed freebie laptop bag? No. But someone who is self employed now has a choice as to whether or not they pay the extra few hundreds of pounds in order to get a balanced compromise laptop. Where the Lenovo X300 has gone before, I'm sure other Wintel manufacturers will follow - which can only be good for all of us.
MacBook Air naysayers - get over it
It is obvious from reading various forums, that there is a large body of people who just don't understand why anyone would want to shell out on a MacBook Air.
It has no optical drive! Only one USB! No user serviceable battery! No ethernet! I can get cheaper elsewhere, etc...
I, however, know plenty of people for whom the MBA makes perfect sense, and who don't care about the sins of omission listed above.
I'm part of a small IT/management consultancy, and I'm the responsible adult when it comes to making IT purchases for the group. All my colleagues want a laptop that is as light as can be. The majority of them have baby Sony Vaios and while they like the portability, they all hate the small screen real estate and the crappy keyboard (ah, the older Sony Vaios had nice keyboards...)
These people connect via wifi and have Vodafone 3G USB dongles for where there is no wifi. They don't install a lot of software from CD/DVD (I make sure they're too scared to!), plus for when they do there is the drive sharey thing bundled with MBA. We have networked printers. As far as I know, they don't watch DVDs on trains using their laptop. They think that laptops are just for doing MS Office and email on.
And they don't notice/care about the price difference. They don't care about the price difference between a Merc and a Ford Focus, why should they care about the difference between a Toshiba and a MacBook Air?
When it next comes around to laptop shopping in my company, my colleagues will probably be looking at the MBA and the new Lenovo X300 (or its equivalents). As a Mac user, I can show them how they can do everything they do now using either the Mac version of MS Office, or using Parallels/Boot Camp. They have a choice.
So, to all those people who say that anyone who buys a MBA has more money than sense, I say "does exactly what I want it to, thanks very much". Apple are quite good at finding out what the market really wants, you know.
Finally, let's not forget, the iPod Shuffle would never sell because it had no display, no FM receiver and too few buttons.
Service is Windoze/IE only - uses ActiveX
Well, their FAQ seems to completely ignore the fact that there are people out there who choose not to have a Windows PC, but as they rely on ActiveX, that locks out Macs, Linux and any Internet Exploder refuseniks.
So their soopa-secure service relies on a technology that lots of people really don't trust.
Pandora's withdrawal from the UK market can be looked at in another way - unable to get a royalty deal as cushy as the one they have in the US, Pandora threw its toys out of the pram and went back to the US. Last.fm has always operated under the UK licensing regime, and was able to get major backing.