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iTunes Ping Sucks #Apple #fail October 20, 2010

Posted by Phil Groom in Music, Technology, Watching and Waiting.
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4 comments

Here’s why:

Ping: "You cannot like or post to Ping about an item that is not currently offered in the iTunes store"

iTunes says, "You cannot like or post to Ping about an item that is not currently offered in the iTunes store"

… to which I reply, up yours, Apple! No, it is NOT “OK” for you to tell me what I can or cannot like. The fact is, I like ATF’s Like the Power of a Jet — and all the data about the track and the album it’s from, Der Kommissar, is out there in the Gracenote database, to which you have access already built into iTunes and which you could readily integrate into Ping if you were actually interested in what your customers like instead of simply being obsessed by your own income stream (in case you’ve forgotten, you found all the track names from Gracenote for me when I ripped the CD into iTunes: thank you).

So please do yourselves and your customers a favour: if you want Ping to be a social network, stop telling us that we can only like things that you can sell. Strange but true, Mr Jobs: life is bigger than Apple’s bank balance.

Thank you for listening.

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10 Things You Can’t Do with an iPad January 28, 2010

Posted by Phil Groom in Frivolity, Technology.
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2 comments
  1. Swat flies
  2. Mop up spilt beer
  3. Protect your bum on the bus
  4. Train the dog
  5. Hail a cab (well OK, maybe some people would…)
  6. Leave it behind on the tube (but if you do, someone else will always pick it up)
  7. Use it as an umbrella
  8. Polish your shoes
  9. Package your ebay parcels
  10. Wrap your fish & chips

Over to you now, lovely people…

iPad iWant January 27, 2010

Posted by Phil Groom in Frivolity, Technology.
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cartoon from www.weblogcartoons.com

Cartoon by Dave Walker. Find more cartoons you can freely re-use on your blog at We Blog Cartoons. Or head this way if you want the real thing…

Christian Broadband: Censorship, a Sensible Precaution or a Cop Out? December 17, 2009

Posted by Phil Groom in Life Issues, Technology.
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4 comments

YESTERDAY EVENING I received an email from Christian Broadband, trying to persuade me to sign up to their protected internet service. At one level it seems like a good idea: there’s so much filth and other crud out here (I nearly said, “out there”…) — why not let someone else do the hard work of filtering it out? And let’s not pretend it isn’t a problem: millions of people, Christians included, find themselves ensnared by internet pornography. Christianity magazine ran a couple of features on the subject back in February this year and at LST that issue sold out in record time: as I said at the time, porn sells.

But is a service like Christian Broadband really the way to deal with the problem? To me the approach feels far too much like the thought police: allowing someone else to decide what I or anyone else on my network may or may not read or see, which sites we may or may not visit. Worse: that person is not even a legitimate authority but simply someone who claims to know best.

Here’s the Christian Broadband approach:

Do you know what your children are looking at whilst they are doing their homework?

Do you know what your husband is watching while he is checking his e-mail?

Or your wife when she is chatting with friends?

That, I find deeply disturbing. Fair enough, children need protecting: no child should have completely unfiltered content available to them — that’s why newsagents put the porn mags on the top shelves. Responsible parents should be using some sort of filtering technology.

But those next two questions seem to strike at the very heart of human relationships. No, I don’t know what my wife is browsing right now; and she doesn’t know what I’m working on right now. But we trust one another: that’s our starting point, that’s what our relationship is built upon. Mutual respect, mutual trust.

Yes, there may be some people whose relationships have broken down, who need the reassurance that a protected network can bring: but what’s left if we make fear and suspicion our starting point? I applaud the initiative: I am appalled at the implications.

I acknowledge that the vulnerable need protection, that some things should be censored, even banned. But for that, I want the legitimate authorities, the law of the land and international law, to be proactive. I don’t want my internet access restricted by someone whose only claim to legitimacy is a set of ‘Christian’ values that I may or may not agree with.

When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child; but when I grew up, I put childish ways behind me: I became responsible for my own thoughts and actions.

Christian Broadband: a sensible precaution for kids, I guess; but for adults capable of thinking for themselves? Looks like a cop out to me.

Is this spyware? WordPress introduce ‘geotags’ November 16, 2009

Posted by Phil Groom in Technology.
Tags: , , , , , , , ,
2 comments

Sometimes you need to say something anonymously or under a pseudonym, and until now it’s felt fairly safe to do that when blogging or commenting on blogs, secure in the knowledge that neither your name nor your location can be easily traced.

But now, it seems that those days are coming to an end as WordPress introduce ‘geotags’: see A Blog Near You and the Geotag Support Page to find out all about it. Thankfully they’ve made it an opt-in service, otherwise every time you posted or commented, you’d find not only the date and time but also your location neatly appended to your post.

Perhaps I’m being paranoid, but to me this seems a tag too far: it feels far too much like spyware and I’ll be leaving it turned off for all my blogs. Thanks, WordPress people, but no thanks.

Faster than Jesus: we got fibrefairy back on twitter! From #twitterfail to #twitterresult in under 4 hours! July 15, 2009

Posted by Phil Groom in Technology.
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3 comments

Discovered this evening that the twitter thought police had suspended fibrefairy‘s twitter account, @fibrefairy, and they weren’t telling us why.

Some of her followers, self included, howled in protest at the injustice and cried out for reinstatement — and woosh, just like that, resurrection! Faster than Jesus — it took him three days!!

Twitter people: thank you. From #twitterfail to #twitterresult in under 4 hours: that’s class.

fibrefairy - faster than Jesus

fibrefairy - faster than Jesus

Going on (or off) Safari May 29, 2009

Posted by Phil Groom in Technology.
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2 comments

SafariSafari. If you’re not familiar with it, it’s Apple’s web browser, available for Mac or Windows. I’ve never used it on Windows so couldn’t possibly comment on it in a Windows environment. But on a Mac, it’s way cool and fast with it.

Until, that is, it comes to pdfs. If it’s a piffling small pdf it’s fine, no problem. But if it’s a big one, it struggles… and when Safari struggles with a pdf, it doesn’t let you get on with anything else. It seems Apple’s programmers have been unable to find a way for Safari to load a pdf in the background whilst you continue browsing in another tab or a new window: instead all the browser’s resources go into loading the pdf and you, the end user, are locked out. You can either wait… and wait… and carry on waiting… and hope that maybe, eventually, the pdf will load; or you can force quit Safari and conclude that maybe the pdf wasn’t important anyway.

So I’ve come up with my own Safari plug-in idea: the Safari PDF Warning:

Safari PDF WarningAs you can see, it introduces a new way of handling error messages: straight talking. The buttons — well, I’m kinda hoping that the ‘Cancel’ and ‘Press on regardless’  buttons are self-explanatory. The ‘Bugger’ button is multifunctional: it fires off a debug message to Apple’s Software Development Team, opens the page in Firefox, attempts to open it in Safari and launches the Force Quit dialogue box to make it easy for you to kill Safari when you eventually give up.

Unfortunately it’s only an idea rather than an actual plug-in. I’m living in hope that come the final version of Safari 4 — presently in Beta — Apple will have fixed the problem and my plug-in won’t be needed…

iBible: You know you want one! May 23, 2009

Posted by Phil Groom in Frivolity, Technology.
2 comments

Found this via Brian Wurzell: nice one, Brian! Wild or what?

Follow Brian on twitter: @brianwurzell

Dave Walker’s Blog Spanner March 18, 2009

Posted by Phil Groom in Frivolity, Technology.
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3 comments
Dave Walker's Blog Spanner

Dave Walker's Blog Spanner

Dave Walker has managed to get hold of one of the old blog spanners used by Google’s software engineers before they discovered the internet — quite an amazing find and it only cost him £1.49 on ebay.

I remember the one my grandfather had — used to attach it to his dustbin and whenever he lifted the lid (it was one of the old metal bins, not the big plastic wheelie-bin things they use today) his neighbours would gather round and go “ooh” and “ahh” over his garbage, then leave comments for the bin men (it was always men in those days). Great fun — the bin men would then pass the comments on around the neighbourhood and by the end of the weekly collection cycle they’d work out whose garbage had attracted the most comments and give out certificates that you could stick onto your bin.

Trouble with the original model was that it didn’t have the swivel head you can see in Dave’s, which meant the garbage would sometimes snag on it: could get quite messy and attracted all sorts of unmentionables.

Once they fitted the swivel heads, though, you could tighten things up more: the real garbage, the stuff people wanted to talk about, went straight in the bin whilst the boring stuff — well actually, nobody ever worked out what happened to that: it somehow got separated out and people could just get on with sharing their garbage properly. Eventually it all made its way to an incinerator or a landfill site, depending on where you lived, but then the internet was invented and someone came up with fibre-optic cable and it all finds its way there instead now, where quite a lot of it gets recycled via Google.

I’m not sure what Dave’s planning on doing with his spanner: I expect he’ll tell us before long; but I have a sneaking suspicion (and I’ve left him a comment to say so) that he’s going to try to use it to boost his technorati rankings. It won’t work, of course, because technorati have moved on from blog spanners, though I’m not sure what they’re using instead — probably some sort of algorithm that no one else can make sense of.

Apparently you can still use blog spanners on twitter, though, so if you manage to get hold of one, don’t bin it: share it. And whatever you do, don’t attach it to or use it to do anything with your bike. Some people on Dave’s blog are saying that’s what it’s for, which is absolute bunkum. You can trust me on this: I’m a blogger.

Twishop Index March 15, 2009

Posted by Phil Groom in Frivolity, News, Technology.
Tags: , ,
4 comments

We live in exciting times for the dear old Church of England with more and more (well OK, three that I know of so far, a Blessed Twinity perhaps?) Bishops joining the Twittersphere. Figured we’ll be needing a Twishop Index soon to keep twack of ’em, so I’ve created a dedicated page, Twishop Index, complete with its own Twitter ID @twishop.

Follow at your own risk:

H/T to the Church Mouse — @thechurchmouse — for @bpdt. If I was an ArchTwishop, Church Mouse, you’d get an honorary Twishopric for services to the Twurch.

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