Our friends in the North

When we were up in Scotland recently Max was delighted to meet Merlin at Cybernaut, the excellent cybercafe in Ballater.It was great to meet Kevin, who runs the place – and who proved himself an absolute star when we managed to leave a camera in one of the cafes in the village as he found it for us and arranged for it to be returned.

If you’re ever that far north, don’t forget to visit!

From pages to pipes

[As ever, this is on the BBC News Website]

When the Web was young we were happy just to see words and pictures on the screen in front of us. All backgrounds were grey, all fonts were Times and anything other than a static image required a ‘helper application’ to be loaded and run, so that video clips and sounds played in separate windows on screen.

Compared to the text-based internet of the 1980’s it was heaven, but it was only the beginning.

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Apple and DRM

[This caused a bit of a stir when it was published on the BBC website – I was away in Scotland, and offline, so missed most of it… ah well, you can’t always be around.  And now Cory is saying the same about DRM in Salon.]

For a company with a tiny share of the computer market and an increasingly perilous first mover advantage selling portable music players Apple punches well above its weight in coverage of its every move.

In January CEO Steve Jobs single-handedly distracted the attention of the world’s technology press from the hundreds of announcements taking place at the Computer Electronics Show in Las Vegas by pulling out an iPhone on stage in San Francisco.

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Watching Vista

[As ever, this is on the BBC News website, and it was also picked up on Slashdot where the discussion has been extensive… and not entirely supportive!]

The launch of Window Vista last week was accompanied by widespread criticism from advocates of open systems, open networks and the free flow of information.

Particular attention was lavished on the digital rights management features of the new operating system, the tools that determine whether you can play or copy video or audio on your computer.

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How to annoy your customers

I have a Barclaycard, and registered for their online service as it’s useful to be able to check statements and such like.  When I moved house I forgot to tell them – my post is redirected so I didn’t notice – so today I thought I’d do something about it.

I couldn’t find an obvious way to notify them of change of address on the site, but the feedback section had a pull-down list of subjects and ‘Address Change’ was there. So I selected it, typed in my address, hit submit – and got this. 

Clearly they don’t actually bother to think about their customers.

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Let’s Lisp again

Lisp is one of the oldest and best-loved programming languages around, but it gets relatively little attention from programmers despite its flexibility and power. Now the organisers of the 2007 International Lisp Conference hope to raise the language’s profile by inviting entries for their latest programming contest.

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