Sunday, October 28, 2007

Gah! Why do they keep changing the clocks?

Twice a year, most countries in the world change all their clocks and confuse everybody. Why???? There are arguments about wanting to let people play cricket and tennis further into the summer evenings, but surely there are as many people with young families, cursing the lighter evenings because their little ones don't think it's night time and don't want to go to sleep?

So, we have this ridiculous situation where people turn up an hour early or an hour late for everything for up to a day, plus we have to change most of the clocks on most of our appliances, risk upsetting computer software and generally endure chaos. In the name of what, exactly? Sheer madness.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Vista = The Matrix?

Watching The Matrix Reloaded yesterday in the same week as I acquired a Windows Vista laptop was slightly surreal. After 4 days battle against 'helper' services and programs whose main purpose was to swallow processor cycles and RAM and generally get in the way, it was amusing to hear the 'Oracle' talking about programs that are written to do this and that and generally not be noticed. I'm sure Microsoft intended most Vista services to not be noticed, but in the real world on less than cutting edge hardware the constant hard disk access and processor/RAM hit is very noticeable.

And now I've ended up with a Vista laptop that's configured like XP and runs only 20% or slow slower. Why didn't I get a XP-running laptop in the first place? Because you can't buy these for love nor money.... Sigh.

On the bright side, Vista's device discovery and driver installation has been great. No printer driver CDs or trying to find CDs for every other accessory acquired in the last few years - everything was recognised immediately and silently installed. Pretty cool and how computers are supposed to work....

Friday, October 19, 2007

The way music SHOULD be bought in 2007

Like thousands of others, I've just paid a few pounds to download the new Radiohead album directly from the band at their In Rainbows site. Essentially they leave it up to you, the listener/fan to set the price for the music. Some people will opt to pay £2, some £5, some £10 perhaps. But the point is that it ALL goes to the band themselves. No record label, no PR agencies, no shops with pile carpets, no poster campaigns to fund, just music direct to the fans and with almost no overheads.

Isn't that the way bands SHOULD distribute their music in this Internet age?

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

iPhone hacks - why do the hackers bother?

Re: the latest iPhone hack. It's a serious question. I know you're going to say "Because they can, and to show that they're really cool and clever".

But Apple can update all iPhones remotely and there's certainly no shortage of functionality that they err... haven't got round to implementing yet. So with every update they're going to close the loopholes and exploits used by the current generation of hacks. And so the cycle will continue.

In the meantime, all the hackers have got to show for their efforts are a few bricked iPhones and lots of geek kudos and glory - maybe that's enough for them?

If you're a regular iPhone user, of course, just stay well away. Why risk bricking your iPhone for the chance to play with a few marginal third party applications for a few weeks until Apple closes the loop again?

Monday, October 08, 2007

Amplify that iPhone! Or just buy an N95...

Exemplary sound quality over its speakers is not an Apple iPhone trait, alas. But it seems that you can now build your own iPhone amplifier in 10 seconds and just for a few pence!

Or just buy a Nokia N95 of course, and have really loud stereo speakers. Oh, and games, extra apps, 5mp camera, DVD video recording, TV out, etc.

Don't strikes usually hurt the strikers more in the long run?

OK, so I'm probably hopelessly naive, but taking an overview of strikes (thinking of the Royal Mail here), isn't it usually counter productive in the long run? OK, a one day strike is a useful tool to get management's attention over something, but going on strike for, say, 2 weeks, can only have the effect of hugely harming the company's business, making it less profitable and less trustworthy to customers, making it more likely that management will have to cut jobs and restrict pay raises?

No company has infinite resources, so strikes do seem to be to be 'cutting off your nose to spite your face'. And an anachronism in 2007. What do you think?

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Pogue reviews the One Laptop Per Child

Such a cool device, optimised for countries with blinding sunlight, plenty of dust and infrequent power. Here's David Pogue's review - he's as impressed as I am. If you're in the USA this November, get one for yourself and the company gives another one to a poor child in the Third World.