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Showing posts from May, 2011

Weezer - Paranoid Android

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Here's the rather excellent Paranoid Android being covered by the rather good Weezer...

Now That's What I Call Well-used!

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Some people do everything possible to keep their phones in pristine condition, wrapping them up in cases and screen protectors from new. Here's an example of a different philosophy, a device that has weathered well and looks better aged than it did new.

Of course the credit for this has to go to Apple for the choice of materials in the original iPhone, I suspect the current iPhone 4 would suffer this kind of treatment somewhat less well...

Now, where can I get my hands on a cheap, first generation iPhone?

Wired Does Digital Subscriptions - Properly!

Wired Magazine will start offering users electronic options for subscribing to it's monthly publication and it appears that Conde Nast, the magazine's owners actually understand the concept of digital delivery. Let's hope they pass that message on to the rest of the publishing industry.

If you're already a subscriber to Wired's print magazine then you'll now receive the digital edition too, at no extra charge. Fantastic!

Furthermore, if you aren't currently a subscriber, you can subscribe to the digital edition only for slightly more than half of the cost of the print edition. Again, fantastic.

If this model takes off then I have no doubts that the publishing industry can survive the current sales crisis, which particularly affects magazines.

Let's hope that the US pricing model is followed in the UK, which would mean that a digital subscription would cost approximately £15 a year.

How Much Phone Is Your Smartphone?

Do you still use voice on your smartphone? I ask because its becoming more and more apparent that I don't.

Some of this is down to location (my office is in the middle of a hospital site with no coverage) and mostly down to other communication methods. Text messages and Twitter now make up most of my communications, with a side helping of instant messaging on Microsoft's Live Messenger platform. Anything that isn't included there is covered by email (although less and less of that) and I find that I'm using Xbox video chat more than calling too.

In effect the phone part of my smartphone has become the hopping on point for my data connection and little else.

Would I swap my smartphone for a data only device with no voice capability? Absolutely not, but next time I replace my phone I'll be a lot less concerned about its voice performance...

Lance Armstrong: All American Hero Or Drug Boosted Cheat

Cycling's ongoing struggles with doping continue to tarnish the image
of the sport. Credibility is one thing that cycling is seriously
lacking - can you really believe in a sport when even it's greatest
champions have been exposed as steroid munching cheats?The one exception to this rule has been America's Lance Armstrong, the
Michael Schumacher of cycling, multiple Tour de France winner and
cancer survivor.Now, though, Armstrong's former colleagues are cropping up from
everywhere claiming that those victories were the result of doping.
It's looking like a compelling argument with so many voices added to
the clamour.And yet Armstrong has never tested positive for banned substances
despite undergoing over 500 tests.Which leaves us with two very conflicting and equally powerful
positions. Either Armstrong found a way to beat the doping panel time
after time, never slipped up once in all those years and cheated his
way to all those titles; or he was good enough to win those title…

The Super Injunction Doesn't Work

Here's a thing. Any number of alleged celebrities have taken out Injunctions against the publication of information about themselves and something they may or may not have done which, if reported, would show them in a less than positive light.

All well and good for the big media who must have some indication from said celebrities that they can't publish the information or, indeed, release the fact that they have a super injunction in place.

What about the rest of us?

We have no idea who the injunctions are about and what information they pertain to. So I as a blogger of the lowest order can quite happily say that I have heard from several sources of unknown reliability that Ryan Giggs is the married footballer that Imogen Thomas claims to have had an affair with. Is that covered under a super injunction? I don't know. And neither do you. Perhaps it is, in which case Giggs has been very foolish in dragging out the process of unmasking and leaving himself open to all sorts o…

Apple Malware Should End Complacency

The discovery that many Mac owners have been infected by a piece of malware called Mac Defender should serve as a warning to those (including Apple) who repeat the mantra that Macs don't get virii.

They certainly do.

Now there may be many magnitudes less variety in the types and nature of Mac malware when compared to Windows, but constantly telling new users that such things don't exist leads to complacency when installing software.

Mac Defender sounds like a particularly unpleasant way of extracting cash from Mac users and I expect those who have been caught out will be less than happy to hear it at this late stage, but even your Mac isn't immune and a degree of common sense and attention needs to be employed when using any computer on the internet.

Android Phones Guilty Of Shocking Data Security Fail

News is breaking today of a potentially very dangerous weakness in the Android token authentication for gmail calendars. On the face of it not a major risk, however if you scratch a little deeper there are some real dangers here.

This problems occur because Android phones and the Gmail calendars are exchanging tokens for access in plain text, meaning that they can be intercepted and re-used for other purposes. The vulnerability means that a stolen token can be used to access a Google account's calendar, contacts and photos.

A clued up criminal will therefore be able to access your contacts and potentially re-direct your outgoing email; use the information in your calendar to establish when your home is empty (or worse) and use your photos and tagging information to identify your children and create a plausible story for accessing them.

I'm sure those of a more devious mind will find more ways of exploiting this vulnerability.

Google have apparently fixed the problem in 2.3.4, but…

Asus EeePad Transformer Screams Along

The Android Honeycomb market is starting to grow with a number of new devices hitting the shelves.

Primary amongst them have been the Motorola Xoom and Acer Iconia A500, both impressive devices. However the arrival of the Asus EeePad Transformer so completely changes the game that they are both rendered redundant within weeks of launch.

The Transformer is a whole magnitude of faster, slicker and more responsive. It also has a far superior screen and what promises to be class leading battery life. And that's without the addition of the ever so clever keyboard slice.

The Transformer is even a nicer device to hold than the Iconia, which was the previous king of the hill for those of a touchy feel disposition.

Looking at the Transformer's screen is a real pleasure too as it packs an IPS screen which is almost the equal of that on the iPad 2, the benchmark in these matters. Side by side the two are well matched for viewing angle with the Transformers's higher resolution trading of…

Can You Trust The Cloud?

Almost as if providence had decided to intervene after me last post, Blogger and several other Google cloud services suffered a network outage - self inflicted apparently - changing the question from 'can you live in the cloud?' to 'will the cloud still be there when you need it?'

Following on from the downtime suffered by Amazon's S3 service, the Playstation Network and now Google's own problems some people have questioned whether the use of the cloud for services is wise.

Well I've used Google's services for the best part of seven years now and this is the first time I've experienced any downtime. That's outstanding uptime in anyone's book and certainly comparable to the risks involved with locally held data on hard drives.

So yes, you'll need to consider availability when thinking about moving your personal (or business) computing into the cloud, but realistically the risks are no greater than for local storage.

Could You Live Your Life In The Cloud?

Google's other big announcement at IO was the availability of Chrome OS based laptops from Acer and Samsung.

The important thing about these machines is their complete reliance on the presence of a network connection which means that they both ship with 3G capabilities as standard. However the proposed contract for these devices doesn't really fit for a device with always connected pretensions. Verizon, the US launch partner will be including a data allowance of just 100mb for the monthly fee of $28 per month, nothing like enough to support the use model.

I would guess that our more generous data allowances - usually in the 500mb per month range - will make this a more attractive deal here, but even that's of questionable use for a device of this type.

That's without even considering the implications of having everything in the cloud and at the mercy of flaky network coverage and often sub-par data transmission rates that could make this kind of deal almost useless.

For no…

Google Plans For Domination

Google introduced some interesting products, updated others and generally wowed the crowd at its IO event this week. But the most interesting innovations seem to have slipped under the radar.

First off the commitment, with several hardware partners, to deliver system updates for a minimum of 18 months of a new devices life. That deals without the major complaint that (mainly non-Android) users make about the platform: fragmentation.

Secondly the introduction of a hardware standard for the interfacing of devices to the Android platform, a genius that matches the Apple iPod/iPhone certification program and promises to go much further.

With these two changes the still burgeoning Android market can only grow and grow. Google announced that new Android devices are being activated at a rate of 400,000 per day - meaning that by this time next year Android phones will outnumber smartphones from every other platform put together...

F1: DRS At Monaco? What Madness Is This?

It appears that the FIA have told F1 teams thay DRS will be used at Monaco, somewhat against expectations. Which begs one question, whereabouts on the circuit is it going to be safe to use?

The only real overtaking spot on the streets of Monaco is on the short run down from Casino Square to the Tip Top bar... and that's surely not long enough for the stalled wing to make a difference.

It's use in qualifying however offers plenty of opportunity for disaster... especially in the tunnel and on the start 'straight' down to Ste. Devote.

Not a brilliant decision on the part of the FIA I'd say.

Someone Has It In For Sony!

After the chaos and negative publicity generated by the Playstation Network and Qriocity breach and downtime over the last couple of weeks the last thing Sony needed was another problem.

So when it's Online Entertainment site went down yesterday it didn't look like a good sign. Turns out it was a very bad sign indeed. Sony has been the victim of another breach, this time leading to the release of over twelve thousand credit card numbers.

I wonder how many people are going to entrust Sony with their purchases and details after the last couple of weeks of chaos?

Football: Well Done Norwich City

It's good to see Norwich City back in the Premier League after what seems like much more than six years away. Hopefully we'll be treated to some more moments of Delia madness!

Norwich become the first team to score back-to-back promotions to the Premier League since Man City, 11 years ago. A quite remarkable achievement when you consider thay they started last season by getting thumped 7-1 at home to Colchester...

That's some turnaround by Paul Lambert and his team, let's hope the board keep confidence in him if the going gets tough next season...

White iPhone Thickness Nonsense

There seems to be some disagreement as to whether the white iPhone 4 is thicker than the black one or not. The difference has been measured to be as much as 0.2mm.

Seriously, who gives a stuff?

Try and measure 0.2mm... it's a ridiculously small number and as a proportion of the iPhone's 9.3mm thickness amounts to an insignificance...

I've seen some people trying to categorise it as a problem when buying a case, in my experience manufacturing tolerances in most cases will more than account for such a small difference.

If it even exists...