My personal opinions and rants about tech related matters

The Twitter Collective

By on Aug 12, 2009 in Editorial |

Last week, Twitter was brought down by a denial of service attack, and yes, shock horror, no one could post to Twitter. To be sarcastic about this, you could say oh no, we can’t post pointless information about our lives which nobody cares about anyway and that national productivity shot up. In a lot of cases, this was frankly true. Although, I think there was another effect which only regular participants of Twitter would understand. We were all suddenly disconnected. I noticed quite a few people either posting more to Facebook or forums, as a substitute for Twitter. I think this hints at the subconscious need we build on these web services. First of all, if you are so inclined to talk about yourself, then there was no where for you to share your thoughts during the day. No matter who answers you, you know that on Twitter there’s always at least someone out there, who’s going to see what you want to say, which is kind of comforting, if you are so inclined. Conversely, if you’re so into Twitter that you have a desktop or mobile application where you see a constant, automatically updated, stream of Tweets from those who you follow, you get used to seeing what other people are thinking, to which you may or may not react, or find useful. This is something I have started to think of as the hive mind, not unlike a “borg” from Star Trek being linked to The Collective. When I put it like this, Twitter sounds suddenly unhealthy, although last time I checked I didn’t have any metallic implants sicking out of me. I really do think that this is in fact a great show of how dependant we are on the internet, and that it is actually a good thing. The internet itself is just a thing, what we are in fact dependant upon is having connections to each other regardless of geographic distance. I don’t know about you, but I think that is an incredibly powerful idea, so long live the dependance, and let’s dissolve those national...

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Thoughts on the acquisition of Friendfeed by Facebook.

By on Aug 11, 2009 in Editorial |

On first impressions, I feel kind of sad about Friendfeed being swallowed up by Facebook, although let’s look past this. First – Friendfeed and Facebook overlap on an area that is at least of use to bloggers. That being a aggregation and resyndication for tonnes of social networks (and RSS feeds). The key thing here is that this is the core of Friendfeed’s site, and you’d have to be crazy to not think Friendfeed do this better than Facebook. They certainly support more sites. Second – Friendfeed can be private, but is like Twitter in that it is at its best when public. Whereas Facebook, imho, doesn’t work that well as a public profile site. I have always considered Facebook to be everyone’s own walled garden (have you checked your privacy settings lately?). So there is a dissonance here, assuming the two sites are going to eventually become one site. Now, it could justifiably be said that Facebook has just bought itself a big heap of talent, seeing as Friendfeed was founded by notable ex-Google employees. However, that’s not of a great deal of interest to me, what is of interest to me, is how this affects me as an end user. At this very moment, the whole thing seems very mixed up. On one hand, while I do resyndicate all of my content to Friendfeed, I don’t actively participate on the site (but it was on my list of things to learn). On the other hand, it would seem a great waste on Facebook’s part if they didn’t add the functionality of Friendfeed into their own site. However, doing the latter would suggest the powers that be at Facebook want more public facing profiles, so as to attract even more users. Well, I’m sure that would be great for the shareholders, but thta’s not why most of us are with Facebook. See the news stories of people getting fired from their jobs because of some off the cuff comment they made on Facebook. This strongly suggests that, apart from that some people are idiots, people come to Facebook with the expectation of a closed environment. In short, Facebook is not Myspace! A question which interests me, and only...

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Facebook search comes to Firefox!

By on Aug 1, 2009 in Editorial |

Minor tech news, but no one else has reported it, so here’s me hoping to get the scoop If you’re a Firefox user, you’ll be familiar with the search box in the top-right corner. Long-time users, probably know that the search box has a drop down list of search engines, other than Google, and that some websites offer a Firefox search for which you get an install option at the bottom of said list. Now, Facebook is one of these...

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Do you really need a TV any more?

By on Jul 6, 2009 in Editorial |

How much of a need is there for a TV these days? I’ve been thinking about what sort of electronics I’d want if I were setting up my own home (i.e. living alone). I know I watch virtually no TV series any more. What few things I do watch, I could easily watch on the internet (via such things as the BBC iPlayer). As time has gone on, much more of the video content I watch is only available on-line, via podcasts. I also just watch less content, I read more, either e-books or websites. I interact with people more and generally try to get more useful things done around the house. Although, I know that if you’re watching with someone else, watching things from a computer screen is not the best viewing experience. One solution would be to have a projector to plug into the computer as and when needed, but this is an expensive option. Some people also have games consoles (and I might do this in the future since gaming on Linux still comes with a certain amount of pain), which need some sort of screen too. So I’ve ended up at the uncomfortable conclusion that 99% of the time, I would not need or want a TV, but I’d probably still end up begrudgingly buying one, for the purpose of entertaining guests. What do you think about this? I have set up a twtPoll about this, which you can vote...

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Thinking about bookmarking the web

By on Mar 16, 2009 in Editorial |

Over the past few months I have been on journey with how I manage my bookmarks. Most of the time that I ran Firefox 2, I came up with the idea of having all of my bookmarks on the bookmark toolbar, via hierarchy of folders. This was fine, everything was well categorised and filed, but there were enclaves of bookmarks that I simply never dared delve into. Just for good measure, I had all my bookmarks backed up with the Foxmarks extension. Then two things happened; Firefox 3 came out with its tagging facility for bookmarks, and I started to use Delicious for social media reasons, namely supporting additional content for this blog. Eventually, I succumbed to the tagging method in Firefox 3. This lead to me having less, but still lots, of bookmarks filed on my toolbar, but then an much larger amount of tagged bookmarks inside Firefox’s “Unsorted Bookmarks” folder. Although, I was also building up a healthy repository of bookmarks in Delicious too. Over the past few months, I have been chipping away at tagging my filed bookmarks and dumping more and more of them into the unsorted folder. The idea being to forget about a hierachial structure and just use Firefox’s “Awesome Bar” to search for tags. I have also been trying to work out how to bring in my Delicious account, and how to bring together my two sets of bookmarks. Also, the last time I had tried the Delicious plugin for Firefox, it totally took over all of Firefox’s bookmarking system. I didn’t want this as I like to have a few folders on my toolbar. I gave the Delicious plugin another go a few days ago, and I’m pleased to say that it now happily works in parallel with Firefox’s on bookmarking system. In the end, what I came up with, was to do a mass import of all my “unsorted” (but tagged) Firefox bookmarks into Delicious, and then delete them locally. So now, the only bookmarks I have locally in Firefox are my quick access toolbar folders. Such as, links to my social networking profiles, frequently visited forums, etc. Everything else that I’ve bookmarked for a rainy day, now resides in...

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Favourite Video Podcast #3: CrankyGeeks

By on Mar 4, 2009 in Editorial |

This is a video podcast that will appeal to those who fit the following. You are an extreme geek who is interested in following the tech news, and you have a tendency towards cynicism and grumpiness. Great, I’ve just traced out a stereotype, but watch an episode of this, you’ll see what I mean! This is a weekly podcast, about 30 minutes long. Every week it is hosted by the infamous John C. Dvorak along with “co-crank” Sebastian Rupley as a permanent panel member, in addition to two guest panel members every week. If you are familiar with the “This Week in Tech” podcast, then you’ll like Cranky Geeks. In fact, I find Cranky Geeks a good substitute for TWiT simply because it packs in as much debate in half the time. Also, Cranky Geeks is supplied in a range of formats, which I may as well give you the links to now: The Cranky Geeks website H.264 feed iPod/PSP feed MPEG4 feed Windows Media feed MP3 Audio version feed Here’s a short clip of an old episode to give you a...

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