DigitalOutbox Episode 44

DigitalOutbox Episode 44
In this episode the team discuss Politics and the Regime.

Playback
Listen via iTunes
Listen via M4A
Listen via MP3

Shownotes
1:43 – Bye Bye Broadband tax
– a 50p-a-month broadband tax, which would have been applied to all households with a landline telephone, has been shelved.
– The Conservatives said they also forced the government to backtrack on the plans to levy a charge on landline phone bills – due to come into force in October – to pay for the universal roll-out of broadband.
– They declared the reversal of the two tax rises – as well as another on the taxation of holiday rental homes – as a “major victory for businesses and consumers across Britain”.
– Labour has said all the tax measures will be re-introduced should Labour be re-elected.
3:07 – Digital Bill passed in Wash Up Session
– The government forced through the controversial digital economy bill with the aid of the Conservative party last night, attaining a crucial third reading – which means it will get royal assent and become law – after just two hours of debate in the Commons.
– Clause 43 dropped a proposal on orphan works which had been opposed by photographers.
– Clause 43 was to allow orphan works
– Clause 43 says that if someone finds your photograph, wants to use it and decides that they can’t trace you, they can do whatever they like with it after paying an arbitrary fee to a UK Government-appointed “licensing body”. You’ll never know unless you happen to find it being used in this way, in which case you should be able to claim some money.
– lause 43 also introduces “Extended Collective Licensing”. This means that if someone finds your photograph and can trace you, they still don’t have to contact you for permission to use it. They can go to a UK Government-appointed “collecting society” and ask them instead. They’ll pay an arbitrary fee and be able to do whatever they like with the photograph. Your photograph. Again, without asking you first or paying what you would have charged.
– Full list of all measures – http://paidcontent.co.uk/article/419-digital-economy-bill-quick-guide-to-all-45-measures/
– Tom Watson, the former Cabinet Office minister who resigned in mid-2009, voted against the government for the first time in the final vote to take the bill to a third reading. However the vote was overwhelmingly in the government’s favour, which it won by 189 votes to 47. 20 MP’s debated the bill.
– Earlier the government removed its proposed clause 18, which could have given it sweeping powers to block sites, but replaced it with an amendment to clause 8 of the bill. The new clause allows the secretary of state for business to order the blocking of “a location on the internet which the court is satisfied has been, is being or is likely to be used for or in connection with an activity that infringes copyright”.
– Example was given that Wikileaks could be blocked as it hosts copyrighted material
– Dropbox, Windows Live, Xmarks, Google, MobileMe – all could be construed as being used to infringe copyright. Youtube, Vimeo, Flickr – where could this stop? Or start.
– The third reading on Wednesday followed the second reading on Tuesday – around 40 MP’s debated it
– 1 Bill, 20,000 letters, 40 MP’s turn up to debate – http://debillitated.heroku.com/
– The Digital Economy Bill passed: The internet watched live as a handful of MPs ignored democracy in their attempts to control that they don’t understand. – http://www.skeptobot.com/2010/04/digital-economy-bill-passed-internet.html
– The third reading has been just as bad. Almost Empty. 2 hours given to debate amendments to 50 clauses. The first clause took 1hr. The last 49 were glossed over in the last hour. Ten minutes before the vote labour MPs put down their drinks, pulled themselves out of the bar and stumbled in to vote for the Bill. Having listened to nothing. Disgusting.
– 6-9 months scrutiny first, then potentially first letters could go out
– However the law that has been passed requires a years gap between letter and disconnection – so end of 2011 before we see any impact on home users – much sooner for websites to be disconnected though
– internet service providers will be obliged to send letters to any of their subscribers linked to alleged infringements.
– Copyright holders will be able to apply for a court order to gain access to the names and addresses of serious infringers and take action against them while ISPs would be able to suspend accounts of offenders.
– Can’t believe how quickly such important laws got voted through – one last trip to the lords and then it’s in place
– Letters to the house, websites taken down. Can’t believe this is the UK and it was brought in by a Labour government
– Stephen Timms who led the digital economy bill thought that IP address meant Intellectual property
– http://i.imgur.com/1pXlO.jpg
– Copyright is hard – http://ceedee.co.uk/copyright-is-hard
– Big business owns the government – this proves it
– Talk Talk not happy – http://www.talktalkblog.co.uk/2010/04/08/digital-economy-bill-its-a-wash-up/
– O2 – don’t know what they are – http://blog.o2.co.uk/home/2010/04/o2-comments-on-the-digital-economy-act.html
– Annoyed – visit Open Rights Group – http://www.openrightsgroup.org/ although I’m not overly convinced by this group
– Annoyed – what did your MP vote – http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm/cmtoday/cmdebate/32.htm#hddr_2
– Annoyed – vote for someone that will at least respond to your letters
34:48 – Apple vs Adobe
– Dev changes – cross compilers no longer allowed i.e. Flash-to-iPhone compiler from Adobe due next week
– Applications may only use Documented APIs in the manner prescribed by Apple and must not use or call any private APIs. Applications must be originally written in Objective-C, C, C++, or JavaScript as executed by the iPhone OS WebKit engine, and only code written in C, C++, and Objective-C may compile and directly link against the Documented APIs (e.g., Applications that link to Documented APIs through an intermediary translation or compatibility layer or tool are prohibited)
– Could affect Wired apps? Built using Adobe Air.
– Be in no doubt – numerous times during this keynote, Steve Jobs showed Adobe the middle finger.
– http://www.engadget.com/2010/04/09/adobe-says-iphone-ipad-adoption-and-alternative-technologies/
– If you were in any doubt, Adobes filings to Securities and Exchange Commission on Friday:
– it flatly says that “to the extent new releases of operating systems or other third-party products, platforms or devices, such as the Apple iPhone or iPad, make it more difficult for our products to perform, and our customers are persuaded to use alternative technologies, our business could be harmed
– Friday nights – Flash Blog – Platform Evangelist speaks
– http://theflashblog.com/?p=1888
– I am positive that there are a large number of Apple employees that strongly disagree with this latest move. Any real developer would not in good conscience be able to support this. The trouble is that we will never hear their discontent because Apple employees are forbidden from blogging, posting to social networks, or other things that we at companies with an open culture take for granted.
– Many of Adobe’s supporters have mentioned that we should discontinue the Creative Suite products on OS X as a form of retaliation. Again, this is something that Adobe would never consider in a million years. We are not looking to abuse our loyal users and make them pawns for the sake of trying to hurt another company. What is clear is that Apple most definitely would do that sort of thing as is evidenced by their recent behavior.
– Now let me put aside my role as an official representative of Adobe for a moment as I would look to make it clear what is going through my mind at the moment. Go screw yourself Apple. Comments disabled as I’m not interested in hearing from the Cupertino Comment SPAM bots.
– Adobe CTO speaks – http://blogs.adobe.com/conversations/2010/04/cs5_countdown_is_on.html
– CS5 is bigger than this one block from Apple
– There’s plenty of healthy competition that we can work with
– Developer talks to Steve – http://mashable.com/2010/04/10/steve-jobs-adobe
– We’ve been there before, and intermediate layers between the platform and the developer ultimately produces sub-standard apps and hinders the progress of the platform.
– Calm, reasoned response – http://www.mobilecrunch.com/2010/04/11/gruber-a-voice-of-calm-in-a-mobile-world-gone-out-of-control/
– Good article summing up points form either side
– Did Adobe screw themselves – http://innerdaemon.wordpress.com/2010/04/10/sorry-adobe-you-screwed-yourself/
– 10 years ago dropped Apple and didn’t develop for OS X despite Apple reaching out several times to Adobe for support
– Payback?
– REGIME!!!!
46:12 – CS5 Launched
– Flash
– Player 10.1
– Mmm, nothing
– Our ActionScript toting contact says player 10.1 offers some snazzy features – including peer-2-peer functionality that’s quite exciting.
– Unprecedented access to 98% of desktop computers an lots of other connected devices
– Photoshop CS5
– 64 bit on Mac and PC
– HDR Pro
– Saving presents for single and multiple exposures
– Noise tools looking strong – reduction in demo looked really good
– Automatic Lens correction – looked very nice
– Online location for sharing lens profiles
– Content aware fill!
– Brushes
– Puppet Warp – drop points on body and make changes
– CS5 – empowers the digital artist
– Pricing – http://www.macworld.co.uk/procreative/news/index.cfm?newsid=3219980&pagtype=allchandate
– http://thomashawk.com/2010/04/adobe-photoshop-cs5-boldly-empowers-the-digital-artist.html
– The new version has lots of cool new toys and tools for photographers, which I’ll get into, but for me by far the most significant achievement in this new version is that it has for the first time made painting available to the photographer.

-All very good and I’m sure impressive (voodoo even with the content aware fill) but they GONE AND DONE IT AGAIN – f*****s
– Ignoring VAT: US FULL = £1235 – UK £1509
US UPGRADE (CS3 Design Prem) – £519.52 – UK £714
1:02:11 – Twitter buys Tweetie
– Twitter buys Tweetie
– Renamed Twitter for iPhone and made free (instead of £1.59)
– Loren Brichter will become a key member of Twitters mobile team that is already having huge impact with device makers and service providers around the world.
– Loren’s work won the 2009 Apple Design Award and we will eventually launch Twitter for iPad with his help.
– No word on the Mac version of Tweetie
– One week before Chirp – is this Twitter wanting to take better control of user experience?
– I’d be concerned if I had a paid for Twitter app right now as part of my core business – http://www.loiclemeur.com/english/2010/04/of-course-were-hole-fillers-and-why-no-one-should-depend-on-only-one-platform.html
1:05:47 – Palm up for Sale
– Palm Inc., creator of the Pre smartphone, is seeking bids for the company as early as this week, according to three people familiar with the situation.
– HTC, Lenovo, Dell rumoured
– HTC favourite
– Still a good brand
1:06:59 – iPad Sales
– Sat only
– Over 300,000 iPads, by Thursday, 450,000
– iPad owners downloaded over 1,000,000 apps, by Thursday 3.5 million apps
– iPad owners downloaded over 250,000 books from iBooks, by Thursday 600,000 books
– 30,000 devices more than iPhones were purchased when they first went on sale
1:08:12 – Google Docs Updated
– Adds Google Drawings
– more of an online whiteboard. The app is designed to help people visualize ideas through flow charts, diagrams, and stencils.
– There is a chat window where participants can chime in. Images can be imported and moved around.
– no freehand drawing option.
– Google Drawings requires an HTML5 browser
– The real news, though, is that Google Docs and Spreadsheets is getting more realtime. There has always been a noticeable delay when new edits get saved and synced up, especially when more than one person is working on the same document. Google is addressing this delay with an entirely new architecture built from the ground up.
– Realtime collaboration – see what others are typing
– Commenting
– Rulers, tab stops, better image handling
– Spreadsheets – faster, move columns, auto fill
1:10:57 – Site Speed affects search ranking
– Matt Cutts talked about this last year
– A slow site could affect your Google rank
– There are 200 other ranking factors though – relevance still more important
– While site speed is a new signal, it doesn’t carry as much weight as the relevance of a page.
– Currently, fewer than 1% of search queries are affected by the site speed signal in our implementation and the signal for site speed only applies for visitors searching in English on Google.com at this point
– Need to get our site updated :-)
1:15:33 – MI5 Makes Non IT Literate Staff Redundant
– MI5 is ditching staff who lack computer skills in a programme of compulsory and voluntary redundancies.
– or if you read the Daily Mail…
– MI5 is making dozens of its older staff redundant as they do not have the computer skills to use social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter.
– “Our enemies use every available method to attack including using technology.
– “We have to be aware of the imminent threats of cyber attacks and the old generation of MI5 have to be completely comfortable using computers and the latest technology.”
– Mr Mercer added: “There is no room now for the ‘old school tie’ or recruitment from just certain Oxbridge colleges. “We need people from all walks of life who can speak a range of languages and possess certain technical skill

Picks
Ian
Hipstamatic
– Good photo tool for iOS
– Lots of filters and borders – you too can make your shiny new iPhone take photo’s from the 70’s

Ian
Online password generator
– Online password generator. It’s in here because it’s a tool I constantly come back to.
– Creates secure passwords. Plenty of options for type of letter / punctuation / avoid similar letters/cars

What I want from iPhone OS 4.0

So it’s Thursday for the details on iPhone OS 4.0. What I’d like to see, not what I expect to see:

  • Multitasking. Let me run programs in the background. Make it easy to swap between running programs. Let me kill the battery life if i want to. To be fair, there’s probably only a handful of times that I’d find this useful for things like 1Password. In fact, it’s probably of more benefit on the iPad.
  • Unified Inbox. I connect to 9 different accounts and nothing annoys me more than Mail telling me I’ve new mail and I need to go back to accounts to see which one has the new mail. So frustrating. Unified Inbox, similar to Mail on the Mac would solve this problem.
  • Notification App. Notifications are a fudge to get around lack of multitasking. It works for one app but doesn’t scale. All notifications look the same, can’t recall old ones and if you get a few in a short timescale it just doesn’t work. One other thing – let me switch off notifications across all app’s, like during the night for example. So frustrating when you get pinged during the night.
  • Springboard improvements. Current front end doesn’t scale. Adding search helped but feels a work around. Gesture support to launch app’s or some sort of Expose would certainly help.

As ever with Apple, rumour doesn’t always lead to actual features and they are masters at delivering just enough, which to be fair as a strategy has consistently paid off. However competition is hotting up. Their iPhone/iPod hardware is starting to look/feel behind the competition. Hopefully Thursday will demonstrate a step change for iphone OS 4.0

DigitalOutbox Episode 43

DigitalOutbox Episode 43
In this episode the team discuss iPad, iPad, iPad.

Playback
Listen via iTunes
Listen via M4A
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Shownotes
0:37 – Digital Britain
– Drafted on Tuesday, Clause 18 will allow courts to grant injunctions against websites that aid copyright infringement. That sounds fine, I hear you say – well not when a website can be targeted based on “a location on the internet which the court is satisfied has been, is being or is likely to be [italics mine] used for or in connection with an activity that infringes copyright”.
– Yes people, Clause 18 proposes does indeed propose that courts should be allowed to bring injunctions against websites that do not, but that may in the future be used for copyright infringement. So that’s innocent until proven, oh hang on…
– Bloody Mandelson
8:28 – OS Data now Free
– After months of public consultation, OS OpenData was launched on 1 April by Communities Secretary John Denham.
– OS OpenData exists alongside an earlier data sharing scheme called OS OpenSpace, which is also available for free but operates with limitations.
– Doesn’t include paper maps much to the disappointment of ramblers
– http://opendata.ordnancesurvey.co.uk/
13:44 – Flash bundled with Google Chrome
– Adobe has announced that its Flash Player will be included with future versions of Google Chrome right out the gate
– Furthermore, updates to Flash Player will be delivered directly via Google Chrome’s updating system, ultimately minimizing security risks that tend to surface when using outdated software and components
– In addition, Adobe says it is working with Mozilla and Google and the “broader community” to create a new API for browser plugins.
– This new API, which will build off Mozilla’s NPAPI, which has been designed from the start to be both operating system and browser neutral.
– In essence, the goal of the new API is to allow plugins to more tightly integrate with host browsers, which in turn should benefit users in terms of performance and security.
– Is this a setback for HTML5?
– Seems to fly in the face of latest Google developments – is it to slapdown Apple and the growing movement against Flash with Apple products?
– Also part of Chrome OS – We plan to bring these benefits to Chrome users across all platforms, including Windows, Mac, Linux, and Google Chrome OS
19:59 – Wolfram Alpha Backtracks
– Mobile site is back
– iPhone app from $50 to $1.99
– Issues a refund to everyone who has bought the app at the dearer price
22:20 – iPad
– Reviews
– http://ptech.allthingsd.com/20100331/apple-ipad-review/
– http://www.nytimes.com/2010/04/01/technology/personaltech/01pogue.html
– http://www.time.com/time/business/article/0,8599,1976935,00.html
– Steven Fry meets Steve Jobs
– I have met five British Prime Ministers, two American Presidents, Nelson Mandela, Michael Jackson and the Queen. My hour with Steve Jobs certainly made me more nervous than any of those encounters.
– In the design department, Jobs saw the work of a young Briton called Jonathan Ive and asked for a meeting. Ive, underused and ignored for a year, turned up with a resignation letter tucked into the back pocket of his jeans. He left with instructions to unleash his talent. The result was the iMac
– [On leaving Apple:] Is this then the curtain dropping on your third act?” I ask. “Will you perhaps leave Apple on this high, a fitting end to your career here?” “I don’t think of my life as a career,” he says. “I do stuff. I respond to stuff. That’s not a career — it’s a life!
– http://www.suntimes.com/technology/ihnatko/2134139,ihnatko-ipad-apple-review-033110.article
– Overall – extremely positive with no flash support and camera being biggest complaints. Battery life – 10 hours +- 30 mins for amost all reviewers which is great
– http://www.comicsalliance.com/2010/04/01/marvel-teams-with-comixology-for-ipad-app/
– Who needs flash – http://www.apple.com/ipad/ready-for-ipad/
– Flickr latest to offer html5 videos for ipad users
– Free netflix app for iPad this weekend
– Hulu iPad app in development
– Popular Science – http://berglondon.com/blog/2010/04/02/popularscienceplus/
– iPad worldwide – April 24th?
– iPad apps in iTunes
– Ian likes – Flight COntrol HD, Instapaper Pro, Articles, Things for iPad, Nat Geo World Atlas, Elements a visual exploration, Civ Revoluiton, Wall Street Journal, Geometry Wars Touch, Weather HD
– VNC and a few printing apps as well
– http://gizmodo.com/5507569/gizmodos-essential-ipad-apps – great round up
– gMail for iPad – http://googlemobile.blogspot.com/2010/04/google-services-on-ipad-and-tablet.html
– iDisplay – http://www.shapeservices.com/en/products/details.php?product=idisplay&platform=iphone
– Use your ipad as an extended display! Fantastic

Picks
Ian
Screen Sharing Menulet
– Nice free tool to easily connect and screen share with all Macs on your network

Chris
Google Reader Play
– Google Reader Play a new way to browse interesting stuff on the web. It’s super easy to use – after you’ve read an item, just click the next arrow to move to the next one. Let us know which stuff you enjoy by clicking the “like” button, and we’ll use that info to show you more stuff that you’ll like.
– What kind of stuff do we include in Reader Play?
– The most popular items on the web
– Items that several of your friends have shared
– Other great stuff we think you’ll enjoy, based on your Reader Play history

Henry
Focus Booster
– For implementing the Pomodro technique time management – http://www.pomodorotechnique.com/faq.html

DigitalOutbox Episode 42

DigitalOutbox Episode 42
In this episode the team discuss iPad, politics, paywalls and the 3DS.

Playback
Listen via iTunes
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Shownotes
1:50 – Google Shuts Down Chinese Search
– Chinese search shutdown, redirected to Google Hong Kong
– Users are being redirected for Google web, news and image search to the Hong Kong site, which sits outside of the Chinese firewall.
– Users are also being presented with simplified Chinese in addition to traditional Chinese and English results.
– Dashboard showing status – http://www.google.com/prc/report.html#hl=en
– China then blocks certain searches/results, so back to square one – Google is still censored as it was before, no?

– Gmail has that email attachment thingy! I.e. write “attached” in a document and don’t attach a file and it will warn you!
– It will also now warn you if it thinks you’ve been hacked. Bases this on if your account has been accessed in two different countries over a short time-period.
8:39 – Times and Sunday Times to charge from June online
– The Times and Sunday Times newspapers will start charging to access their websites in June,
– Users will pay £1 for a day’s access and £2 for a week’s subscription.
– Both titles will launch new websites in early May, separating their digital presence for the first time and replacing the existing, combined site, Times Online.
– The two new sites will be available for a free trial period to registered customers. And payment will give customers access to both sites.
– James Harding, editor of The Times, agreed that NI’s paywall strategy was a risk. “But it’s less of a risk than just throwing away our journalism and giving it away from free,” he told the BBC.
– Rebekah Brooks said the decision to charge came “at a defining moment for journalism… We are proud of our journalism and unashamed to say that we believe it has value”.
– Sun and News of the World next
– Privately they acknowledge they will lose 1000’s of regular readers and millions of casual readers but hope the cost is small enough to entice many
15:22 – Best Buy coming to UK
– Best Buy opens its first UK outlet, a superstore with with a 50,000 sqft shop floor, in Lakeside in May
– June for Southamption and Merry Hill, West Midlands, and later this year for Aintree, near Liverpool, and Croydon.
– 80 stores in UK over next 5 years
17:53 – iPad
– WSJ – $17.99 a month
– WSJ print is $29 a month
– But what about flash
– http://www.appleinsider.com/articles/10/03/29/brightcove_converts_time_nyt_flash_video_to_html5_for_ipad.html
– Brightcove’s partnerships with The New York Times and Time magazine will allow HTML5 to seamlessly replace Adobe Flash video content on the publications’ Web sites for compatibility with Apple’s iPad
– Brightcove Experience for HTML5, a framework for publishing and delivering interactive and advertising-supported Web video. The platform is available free to the more than 1,000 Brightcove customers in 42 countries.
– Monday’s announcement means it’s possible that video in the Adobe Flash format could be converted to HTML5 automatically for high-profile Web sites, perhaps as soon as the device’s April 3 U.S. launch. The company said its clients can now use the tool to build iPad-ready Web sites, and in the next year the platform will be expanded to support customization and branding of the player environment, advertising, analytics, social sharing and other capabilities.
– Magazines – same price as print version or cheaper – non add version of esquire for $2.99, $2 less than paper version
– http://www.macrumors.com/2010/03/26/ipad-app-store-reveals-launch-apps-top-seller-lists-app-details/
– iPad App Store shows many titles with ‘HD’ added or ‘for iPad’
– Also shows increased price point for many app’s – will that be an issue? $50 for omnigraffle for example
– http://www.tuaw.com/2010/03/29/first-look-kobo-for-ipad/ – nice book app for iPad
– http://www.apple.com/ipad/guided-tours/
– iTunes 9.1 this week?
– Just got 10.6.3 on Mac’s – support for iPads?
37:44 – BBC iPhone Apps Delayed
-BBC Trust asks for delay on BBC iPhone app after industry representation
– industry think it abuses BBC’s dominant position in news.
39:33 – Gifting iPhone Apps
– You can now gift app’s in iTunes
– Can only gift to people in same country but apart from that, same as gifting music
40:49 – A night at the Opera
– A lot of talk this week about whether Opera will get their browser approved into the App Store
– I would call the majority saying “No way”.
– Opera seem weirdly optimistic though.
– My call? Rejected – duplication of core functionality.
– We may well know by he time of the next cast!
43:47 – Nintendo 3DS
– New handheld system from Nintendo
– we know the system will use two screens, will have some sort of 3D, won’t require any sort of special glasses, and will be backwards compatible with current DS and DSi games.
– rumours are that the 3d will use camera’s to tracks your eyes position in relation to screen angle – very clever
– Maybe 720p screens, accelerometer for tile controls, possible 3g chip
– Released between now and March 2011
47:24 – Microsoft Game Room
– Now launched on Live for Xbox and PC
– Free download
– Design arcade rooms
– 30 games available now that cost – 260 points for game on one platform, 500 for game on pc and xbox
– Friends can visit your arcade
– Time warp facility to rewind back a game
– No better than mame really
48:48 – PS3 No More Linux
– April 1st update will remove ‘Install Other OS’ option form older PS3’s
– Newer slims can’t do this anyway, but will disappoint Linux fans surely…
– Security concerns is the reason, but it is optional…
– The consumer electronics giant said that the update will be optionally, but it cautioned that failure to upgrade will lock users out of the PlayStation Network. They will also be prevented from playing DRM-encumbered videos stored on a media server, and from viewing any Blu-ray Discs or PS3 games that require firmware 3.21.

Picks
Henry
Scrivener
– The best app for writing books or long form material
– Great research options
– Track content via outliner, index cards
– Mac only

Ian
Auto Smiley
– A computer vision application that runs in the background while you work.
– The software analyzes your face while you are working and if it detects a smile it sends the the ascii smiley face letters “: )” as keyboard presses to the front most application.
– Auto Smiley has many uses from just straight up convenience to enforcing honesty in your online communication :)

DigitalOutbox Episode 41

DigitalOutbox Episode 41
In this episode the team discuss Digital Economy Bill, IE9, CashGordon and the iPad cometh.

Playback
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Shownotes
0:55 – Digital Economy Bill Rushed Through Lords
– What is this? Covers broadband, dig radio, spectrum etc
– Clause 17 – enable govt to change copyright law without parliamentary approval – now scrapped
– Ammedment 120a – Lib Dems – Gives high court ability to serve an injunction against web site or ISP to stop serving copyrighted material
– DMCA in America enables takedown of content – the UK amendment takes down the whole site!
– Now Lib Dems want to change it and govt also want to make their own changes to the amendment
– Next stop commons
– Being rushed through
– Labels already know that this won’t be debated in commons
– http://www.openrightsgroup.org/blog/2010/label-bosses-warn-debate-could-cost-the-disconnection
-[MPs] will have minimum input … from this point on. … John Whittingdate MP [DCMS committee] … has said this week it [the Bill] could be lost if enough MPs protest at not having the opportunity to scrutinise it. Whist true in constitutional terms, the hard politics of the situation makes it seem unlikely … Come the week of 29th March the main political focus is likely to be on the … Budget”
– This will allow all the decisions to be made in dirty last minute deals behind closed doors between the party whips in what they call “wash up”.
– This way, disconnection penalties could be agreed with no democratic scrutiny whatsoever.
– No debate.
– The memo, published by Cory Doctorow, shows BPI lobbyist Richard Mollett, who hopes to become a Labour MP at the next election, telling music bosses that if MPs do their job and debate the Bill, the BPI’s disconnection proposals may face defeat.
– E-petition – http://petitions.number10.gov.uk/dontdisconnectus/?
– Panorama this week – http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b00rl4dl/Panorama_Are_the_Net_Police_Coming_for_You/
6:19 – 02 condemns lawyers targeting alleged file sharers
– O2 condemned the attempts “by rights holders and their lawyers to bully or threaten our customers”.
– The row centres around UK law firm ACS:Law and its client DigiProtect, a anti-piracy firm which represents a series of content owners.
– The firm is in the process of contacting thousands of alleged UK pirates and offers them the chance to settle out of court for around £500 per infringement.
– 02’s broadband customers are among those sent letters. “Where we are legally obliged to provide information and the correct paperwork is presented, we will comply with the law,” said an O2 spokesman. “But we prefer the ‘win-win’ approach of encouraging the development of new business models that offer customers the content they want, how they want it, for a fair price,” he added.
– ACS: Law says it has so far identified around 60,000 different UK IP addresses, which reveal the identity of individual computers. Expects to get 400 actual physical addresses for every 1000
– Experts argue that an IP address cannot be used as evidence in court because it is not proof that the owner of the PC was actually responsible for the downloading.
– Hundreds of people have complained to consumer watchdog Which?, saying that they have been wrongly accused, including pensioners who claim they don’t know how to download content. It has caused distress to some of the accused, particularly as some of the content they are accused of downloading is hardcore pornography.
– Law firm declined to identify any of the clients represented by DigiProtect, beyond saying “there are a variety, some in music, some computer games and some in adult content movies”.
9:55 – CashGordon
– http://www.flickr.com/photos/meg/4453821027
– Tories launch a campaign – tweet with the tag ‘cashgordon’ and it will appear on our homepage
– Now, what could possibly go wrong…
– Flickr image tells the story…
– Now spinning that CashGordon was hacked by Labour stooges….in the Telegraph
– http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/willheaven/100030915/cashgordon-com-is-hacked-by-labour-stooges-the-online-election-gets-nasty/
– Wasn’t hacked, just poorly implemented as it didn’t block HTML or Javascript
14:29 – Windows Phone 7 Series
– Silverlight, XNA, Blend
– Developer tools available now
– Future looking really bright for MS with this updated platform
– But wait…….
– No copy and paste
– LOL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
– Suck it Windows fanboiz – http://blog.chrisgran.de/post/455131811/paul-thurrott-on-windows-phone-7-series
– Paul Thurrott on iPhone 1.0 on 2007 – And what’s up with the lack of cut/copy and paste? This is a basic OS feature that Apple included in the first Mac OS almost 25 years ago. It’s inexplicably missing from the iPhone, unavailable in any application or the wider system itself. Unreal.
– Windows Phone 7……There have been weird complaints this week, and you can almost feel the anti-Microsoft brigade chipping away at the patina of perfection that Microsoft has tried to erect around its new baby. The multitasking is limited. Users will only be able to get apps from the Marketplace, and not from third parties. Gasp! Is it true that there’s no copy and paste?
– No matter. Windows Phone combines those very few things that were right about Windows Mobile—primarily some business functionality—with a much wider set of new functionality that is exciting in both scope and possibility.
18:22 – IE9
– http://net.tutsplus.com/articles/news/ie9-may-actually-be-a-great-browser/
– Focus on performance and wait for it….HTML5
– Platform preview available today
– CSS3 features such as opacity, rounded corners, and selector APIs. SVG is now supported, something of a surprise given the company’s efforts to promote its Silverlight plug-in for rich graphics in the browser. It is not yet clear, however, whether the Canvas element is supported.
– Support for the audio and video tags is also promised, though it is not in the current preview. Microsoft showed H.264 720p video running directly in the browser.
– Same as chrome and safari – firefox video support of ogg theora only is looking like an isolated stance
– New javascript engine – better than Firefox, slightly behind other 2
– 6 times better than IE8
– IE9 also makes full use of hardware acceleration, speeding up HTML and graphics rendering, including that for the new SVG support.
– Throwing dev code, resource and testing behind JQuery
– MS supporting open source and open standards. Nice. Well played MS
– One more thing……
– No XP support
22:20 – Germans Running out of Browsers
– German government has issues warning that people shouldn’t be using Firefox…
– Browser security issue has come to light that Firefox are currently fixing.
– Following similar advice regarding IE, Germans are a little short of options for browsing!
24:05 – Opera Downloads Doubled
– Opera says their browser downloads have doubled since MS introduced the browser selection screen
– Not just Opera….
– http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE62L1KE20100322
– IE down 1% in UK, Italy by 1.3% and France 2.5% in March compared to Feb
25:25 – Google TV
– Google, Intel and Sony working on Google TV
– Bring web to living room through set top box
– The partners envision technology that will make it as easy for TV users to navigate Web applications
– Google intends to open its TV platform, which is based on its Android operating system for smartphones, to software developers.
– The three companies have tapped Logitech, which specializes in remote controls and computer speakers, for peripheral devices, including a remote with a tiny keyboard.
– Imagine a version of google TV setup to auto download, unpack and move to the correct folder TV and Films
29:03 – iPad is coming
– Kindle for iPad…exept it’s Kindle Apps for Tablet Computers including the ipad
– Won’t be ready for April 3rd
– Will allow for browsing/buying books from Kindle store
– Supports read on one device, continue on another
– Bookmarks, notes, annotations
– Customise screen fonts, brightness, layout etc to suit your needs
– Barnes & Noble also coming to iPad, and many magazines too
– http://www.readwriteweb.com/archives/first_looks_magazines_on_the_ipad.php
34:11 – Football Real Kick
– Plays football by blowing air out of the iPhone
– Hilarious!
35:28 – 17 Month Old baby using iPhone
– Even a 17 month old baby can use it

Picks
Ian
LastHistory
– visualizing last.fm listening history

Mac Mini Media Centre – What Else?

Our last few posts on using a Mac Mini as a Media Centre device have focussed on using Media Centre software like Plex and Boxee to playback locally stored content. While this is my main reason for buying a Mini there is a lot more you can do with it – listen to radio, stream audio and video and play games.

Radio
There are many way to listen to radio via the Mac. The most obvious is via iTunes which comes preloaded with hundred’s of stations. However searching is limited, the streams don’t contain many popular stations and it feels like a tacked on option. If you are serious about your radio there are two options that really stand out

Radioshift can be thought of as a PVR for radio. At the heart of the application is the Radio Guide. Using the guide you can search for stations or individual shows and subscribe to them in the application. The big plus is seeing individual radio shows. You can use Radioshift to subscribe to a show and listen to it live but more impressive is that the application can record the show just like Sky+ does for TV. Radioshift will record multiple shows at the same time and even wake the Mac form sleep so it never misses a show.

The guide is impressive and had a lot of UK content although some of the local stations didn’t have a show list. You also get to see what is popular now and filter stations by genre, location or by full text search. Playback is simple via the application which will also install any missing plugins to maximise the amount of stations it can support. There is no built in audio editor but Radioshift can hand off editing to any installed editor. You can also export audio into iTunes making it easy to listen to recordings on your iPod or iPhone.

Another option for radio is Snowtape. This is a very similar application to Radioshift but with a slightly slicker front end. Snowtape uses an online directory to make radio shows available although I’ve found it to be less complete than the guide in Radioshift. Also, Snowtape includes a built in editor unlike Radioshift. Either app will act as a great recorder for radio so you can’t really go wrong but despite Snowtape being a slightly stronger app I’d choose Radioshift for it’s greater guide.

Streaming
There are many streaming music options now available online. The most obvious one is Spotify. Download the client and over 6 million tracks are available for free. There is a premium option available that improves the audio quality and removes the adverts…which aren’t too obtrusive although the client has got very busy with the random adverts that appear on it. I look forward to the day that Remoteless, an iPhone app that offers full control of Spotify from the iphone, supports a Mac helper app as it’s Windows only at the moment. When that day comes I can switch off the TV and the front end of Spotify and use the iPhone to control my music. Bliss.

Another streaming option is last.fm. More well know for music scrobbling and keeping stat’s on what you and your friends listen to, you can also setup a custom radio station and stream music for free, or stream what your friends are listening to. Grooveshark is a more US centric streaming site which is Flash based and free as long as you don’t mind adverts. Similar to last.fm, you can build up playlists and it has a pretty comprehensive library.

AirVideo
AirVideo is an app for the iphone that will display streamed video from your Mac or PC. Once the server app is installed you can add local video sources which can then be accessed from the iPhone. The app will also access video content from iTunes meaning all video located on your Mac Mini will be accessible on your iPhone, no matter what size phone you have.

In practice I’ve found the streaming to work extremely well on video formatted for the iPhone. Playback is smooth and the application responds quickly. This is of course locally over wi-fi but if you setup your router correctly you can access your content from anywhere in the world. However playback is a little more pixelated with this method and buffering, as expected, takes longer too.

One other feature of Air Video is that it will convert video to an iPhone friendly format. Many formats are supported – mp4, m4v, mov, avi, wmv, asf, mpg, mpeg, mkv, 3gp, dmf, divx, flv – and conversion takes place live. Locally the converted video was quite pixelated but it was acceptable. It also took a while for playback to start but considering that I was converting an mkv then it was to be expected. This is a great add-on for the Mac Mini and makes your video content truly portable.

Gaming
One of the area’s I wanted to explore was game emulation, specifically MAME. MAME (Multiple Arcade Machine Emulator) is an application that tries to recreate the hardware of old arcade machines in software. Using MAME you can then use ROMS to play thousands of arcade games from yesteryear. I have a lot of ROMS so I was keen to setup MAME. There are two main versions of MAME for the Mac. Mame OSX is a port of MAME, is easy to install and run and presents games in it’s gui window. While this worked fine I found a better option in SDLMAME.

SDLMAME can be run as a 64 bit binary but what I like the most is it runs full screen, making the most of the ROMS and recreating more accurately the feel of the old arcade. The front end though needs a keyboard to search and find ROMS. The keyboard is also needed to play the old games. Thats whats let’s it all down – the lack of an old controller.

Well, there’s an app for that. More accurately, there’s a driver for that. If you’ve a wired 360 pad then installing this driver will allow the 360 pad to work and control the Mac. This is great and makes a big difference to MAME. The driver also has one more trick up it’s sleeve.

The driver has support for the Mad Catz Arcade FightStick. With this and SDLMame it feels like an arcade machine from yesteryear. What a great combination! Of course there are many other emulators out there including SNES, N64 and PS-X which all work well and support the 360 pad.

There are some good resources online for getting SDLMame up and running. I used the forums at ShoRyuKen to find out the best Mame options on the Mac. Brian also pointed out this Youtube tutorial for compiling SDLMame using Xcode. Finally there’s a board just for SDLMame on the Emuversal bulletin board that also has links to M+Gui which provides a GUI front end to many Mame tools and works well on the Mac.

Conclusion
I’ve covered a few other suggestions for making the most of your Mini but one obvious omission is broadcast TV. I’m not using the Mini for live TV but there are some great solutions from Elgato for watching, recording and also streaming content to your iPhone. If there is any other software that makes sense for the Mini then please leave a comment with your suggestions.

The next post will focus on content. How to make it from DVD’s and CD’s, where to find it on the internet and how to build your own low maintenance Tivo using your Mac Mini.