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Archive for April, 2010

The Digital Economy Bill – or how to screw up free WiFi

The bill is an attempt by the government to crack down on internet copyright infringement, not a bad idea in itself, but as usual with this government, it is the implementation that’s totally screwed. By attempting to place the burden on the provider, the bill, which went through the house of Lords this week and looks set to fly unless someone DOES something,  is likely to affect, Internet Cafe, Hotels, service providers, trains and the PUBLIC.

Anyone offering WIFI access – how about the COUNTLESS FON USERS !!???!!

The bill could also affect any small business that allows for home working… the list goes on and on and on…  apart from anything else, why on EARTH should any hotel, faced with the possibility of having to police the use of their WIFI – which is WAY beyond the technical or managerial skills of your average hotel, why should they BOTHER to continue to offer free WIFI.

We’re still living in the DARK ages in the UK and this bill is about to make it a LOT WORSE. What about the free WIFI on TRAINS??!!??

If ever there was an example of the government trying to turn us all into willing participants in a POLICE STATE you are now looking at it!!!  

You may find these links useful…

http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2010/apr/08/internet-piracy-bill

http://www.fsb.org.uk/policy/assets/0310%20digital%20economy%20bill%20briefing.pdf

http://www.openrightsgroup.org/

http://computingblogs.typepad.com/peter_scargill/

and to gripe to your MP

http://www.38degrees.org.uk/page/speakout/extremeinternetl

The Digital Economy Bill

The bill is an attempt by the government to crack down on internet copyright infringement, not a bad idea in itself, but as usual with this government, it is the implementation that’s totally messed up. By attempting to place the burden on the provider, the bill, which went through the house of Lords this week and looks set to fly unless someone DOES something,  is likely to affect, Internet Cafe, Hotels, service providers, trains and the PUBLIC.

Anyone offering WIFI access – how about the COUNTLESS FON USERS !!???!!

The bill could also affect any small business that allows for home working… the list goes on and on and on…  apart from anything else, why on EARTH should any hotel, faced with the possibility of having to police the use of their WIFI – which is WAY beyond the technical or managerial skills of your average hotel, why should they BOTHER to continue to offer free WIFI.

We’re still living in the DARK ages in the UK and this bill is about to make it a LOT WORSE. What about the free WIFI on TRAINS??!!??

If ever there was an example of the government trying to turn us all into willing participants in a POLICE STATE you are now looking at it!!!  

You may find these links useful…

http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2010/apr/08/internet-piracy-bill

http://www.fsb.org.uk/policy/assets/0310%20digital%20economy%20bill%20briefing.pdf

http://www.openrightsgroup.org/

http://computingblogs.typepad.com/peter_scargill/

and to gripe to your MP

http://www.38degrees.org.uk/page/speakout/extremeinternetl

Finally a Decent Fuel Cell?

When I watched this I was thinking “total con artist” until I saw the customers… this actually looks like it might be real!??!?

Finally a Decent Media Centre

Amplifier, Sky box and laptop as media centreI’ve been playing around with media centres for years… I’ve always kept my music, pictures and more recently videos on the the computer and was using this for providing music to our parties LONG before the idea hit the general public.

We used to have a TIVO – marvellous device, let you record video onto it then via a Linux network you could offload to your PC – of course the Americans took Tivo to the next level while we went Media Centre showing music selectiondown the crappy SKY route  – which is STILL crappy – despite having a network connector and even USB – none of which have ever been pressed into service because Sky are control freaks, you can’t offload video and you can’t even KEEP videos for more than a few days in the case of some of the premium stuff – and their player – well, compared to the iPlayer there IS no comparison – I’ve always wanted a PC version of TIVO but improved to cover the rest of my media including my music, photos and of COURSE Shoutcast radio… what other radio is there?  Well, as the original Microsoft Media Centre was SO BAD I tried everything going Media Centre playing musicincluding the excellent  I’ve tried all manner of media centres including the excellent MEDIAPORTAL but this weekend I sat down with new hardware and Windows 7, determined to install the latest Mediaportal – and to be honest, they’ve really not moved on at all, I found it bombed out at times and was just not very good..

So I took the plunge, revisited Microsoft’s Media Centre for Windows 7 – and then went looking for plug-ins. I’m pleased to report that it all works a TREAT and given Shoutcast and Weather plug-ins – it’s also MARVELOUS.  Add to that the free TVERSITY Media Centre displaying Shoutcast stationsand AIR VIDEO programs so I can access my media when on the road on the mobile phone… and what I now have is a very nice setup!

If anyone is interesting in the same facilities, drop me a line with any questions. I’ve wasted a lot of time getting here and I’m happy to advise others to save them wasting the same amount of time… if ONLY the MUSIC 2 people hadn’t retracted their iPhone product…

 

When 24-hour is not 24-hour

At Tescos of course!

I got up somewhat after 3am this morning to take Maureen to the airport – she’s off to see her folks. On leaving Newcastle airport and aware that I’ve a quiet Easter weekend coming up I thought I’d take a trip to the supermarket.

So at 5am I popped into Tescos in Hexham. Figured I’d get everything I needed for the next 4 days – and a spot of wine for TV dinner tonight.

Got to the automated checkout and started firing items at it… SORRY said the machine, can’t sell you wine!! Well, last time I checked I was WAY past 18 years old… so I asked the attendant. It turns out that Tynedale council refused to let them have a 24-hour alcohol licence – and so they can only sell alcohol from 6am.

What kind of stupid-ass policy is THAT?? Does it help small shops? NO because they’re all closed at that time of the morning. Does it help the environment? FAR FROM IT because I now have to take ANOTHER trip from my village to the supermarket JUST to get the wine… who’s BRILLIANT idea was that. Half an hour after I left the store it would have been ok to sell me the wine!

Don’t you get sick of so many stupid regulations dreamed up by so many stupid people!

When UNLIMITED is not UNLIMITED

Check this out iPhone pricing on the ORANGE site. See at the top where it says “UNLIMITED MOBILE INTERNET and UNLIMITED WIFI”??

Then see at the bottom where it says “750MB/Month”

I could get a dictionary out for the meaning of “unlimited” – but I think you get the point. ORANGE WHO ARE YOU TRYING TO KID WITH THIS CRAP????

I contacted Orange on this subject and on 29/3/2010, Emma of online services confirmed my worse nightmare.

“May I confirm that there are Fair Usage policies of 750MB per month month applicable to both BT Openzone Wi-Fi and Mobile Internet Browsing included in the Orange iPhone tariffs.”

Orange Crap

Now, why would any of this matter… surely 750 meg is enough for ANYONE – as I was assured by Orange – “750MB typically allows you to access: 5 hours of video downloaded from YouTube , 75,000 mobile web pages or 30,000 normal web pages, 250 full music tracks downloaded over the air direct to the handset”

Yes, but that’s EXCLUSIVELY – if you have 5 hours of video downloaded from YouTube, THAT’S YOUR LOT.

Now think about this – just recently TED released a mobile version of their videos, there’s a FREEVIEW site which offers Freeview on mobile. More and more of us try to make use of our travel time by catching up with news. There are a THOUSAND REASONS why 750 meg a month is not good enough for enthusiasts today and why it won’t be good enough for the rest tomorrow.

And it is OUT AND OUT DECEITFUL to use the word “unlimited” then add a caveat that it’s not “unlimited”.  I don’t know what’s WORSE  – that or “up to 8 meg broadband” when 8 meg is the BEST you’ll ever get on a good day, with the wind – and while carefully avoiding mentioning that ADSL means that for applications such as video conferencing,  it’s the upload, not the download speed that is relevant.

It’s about time the government got to grips with the SLIGHT OF HAND that the large modern communications companies are using when dealing with the public.

The future’s grim – the future’s Orange.

Want to hear the audio version of this? Head on over to AudioBoo.

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