Customer Disservice

[As ever, this is also on the BBC News website]

I’m an indulgent father, as any of my friends will attest, and I’m also a bit of a gadget freak, so it is little surprise that my son was the lucky recipient of a cool black Xbox 360 Elite on his recent birthday.

He has been an Xbox user since the original console launched in 2002, moving to the much more powerful 360 when it came out last year, enjoying games like Oblivion and Halo 3 and spending a lot of time on the online service, Xbox Live.

Now that Microsoft has started offering full game and film downloads from the Live Marketplace it seemed like a good idea to upgrade, since the Elite sports a reasonably sized 120Gb hard drive compared to the frankly embarrassing 20Gb of the original.

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My bookmarks for December 16th through December 18th

Here’s what I tagged on between December 16th and December 18th:

Give me rice, but give me a laptop too

[Also available from the BBC News website – 10 years of shiny goodness!]

Update: there’s a discussion going on over on Dvorak’s blog.

One of the best things about being on the World Service radio programme Digital Planet each week is that I get to hear about interesting technologies from many different countries and explore the impact that computers and the internet are having in people’s daily lives.

We often follow stories as they develop, coming back to them from time to time to see if early promises have been kept or bold predictions have been borne out.

It’s been nearly three years since Nicholas Negroponte came onto the show to talk about his plan for a low-cost laptop for the developing world. He wanted to build it for under $100 and sell millions to governments who would then give them away to schoolchildren.

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My bookmarks for December 1st through December 9th

Here’s what I tagged on between December 1st and December 9th:

FYI: The new politics of personal information

I was pleased to be asked to speak at the launch of Demos’ new report on personal information on Friday.  The report’s authors, Peter Bradwell and Niamh Gallagher, gave a solid introduction to the issues and then Information Commissioner Richard Thomas, comedian Natalie Haynes and I got to respond.  You can download the report from the Demos website, and it’s well worth reading the whole thing.

These are the notes I spoke from, slightly tidied up.

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Who Pays the Paper?

[As ever, you can read this on the BBC News website]

If you live outside the United Kingdom then the BBC website at has a surprise for you, in the form of some prominent advertisements.

While the license-fee supported sites provided to the UK population remain free of ads, the BBC has started treating the web in the same way as it does the TV channels it broadcasts around the world by trying to generate revenue from them.

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