Archive for September, 2005

Do we rely too much on computers?

Friday, September 30th, 2005

Here's a question for you. Do we rely too much on computers and the data they hold? I don't mean on a personal, small scale, but on a larger scale.

Just who are you? What do people know about you? Who told them what they know and how accurate is their information? Who has access to that information? What is it worth to others?

I've often think that the tech-ladened world that we currently live in has been built haphazardly and without an overall plan. Take the notion that we are who and what computers say we are. Many of us are defined in so many different ways on a myriad of computer systems and we have little to no control over who has access to that data, and, more importantly, who has power to change it. Go back a couple of decades and out identities would have been defined by things like our physical features (face, fingerprints, signatures, etc) and physical documents that we or others have (passports, driving licenses, copy of out signature at the bank, etc). Nowadays we are defined by data that we don't get to see or verify and that can be altered or deleted at the will of others. either maliciously or accidentally.

Such poorly designed systems with so few checks and balances are a direct result of computers infiltrating businesses and being used to cut costs and increase margins - security was the last thing on the minds of the businesses adopting them. Now it had to take back control of our information and force companies to take better care of it.

Scoble on crappy formats

Friday, September 30th, 2005

I think that many might be quite surprised by what Robert Scoble just said in his latest post:

"The crappy format is good enough until someone comes up with something better. And that's what you're all missing."

Ain't that the truth. Pretty much everything that we're surrounded by started life as an earlier, "crappy", inferior product or specification.

The one aspect that really irritates me about many tech journalists and a whole heap of bloggers is that they naively expect that any product, service or specification should roll out perfect and ready to use. It should have all the functionality that everyone wants and be 100% efficient and reliable.

Welcome to the real world folks. It doesn't work that way. You might want it to be 100% perfect and in an ideal world maybe it should be but it ain't and a lot of the people spreading such notions really should know better.

Care and Feeding Tip 15 – Labeling CDs/DVDs

Friday, September 30th, 2005

Always use a proper CD labeling pen to label CDs and DVD discs - using other kinds of pen can damage the disc and make then unreadable over time.

Also, never stick any label on the disc that's not designed for the job as this will unbalance the disc and can cause it to be noisy when in the drive. Using poor labels with unsuitable adhesive can also render discs unreadable.

A possible iTunes fix … from WinAmp

Friday, September 30th, 2005

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LATEST EDIT

A reader has offered a possible solution to some [tag]iTunes problems[/tag]. This is well worth having a look at if you are having problems.

Check it out!
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EDIT

Apple have now released [tag]iTunes 6[/tag] which may fix previous problems with the software ... check out this link for details.
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If you are a Windows user if you are having problems with [tag]iTunes 5.0[/tag] or [tag]iTunes 5.0.1[/tag] then [tag]ml_ipod[/tag] might have a solution - a [tag]Winamp[/tag] iPod plugin.

If you want to switch completely from iTunes then you're also going to need to download WinAmp and the [tag]iTunes[/tag] database importer and the M4P input plugin. These will let you import your library from iTunes (so you don't lose any playcounts, ratings or anything) and play back music purchased with the iTunes Music Store.

If you're stuck (and from the emails I'm getting, there are a LOT of you who are!), then this might get you up and running again.

Media hype – Why does every new product have to kill something else?

Friday, September 30th, 2005

Sheesh, I'm so sick of reading headlines about how one thing is going to kill something else.

  • [tag]Firefox[/tag] is going to kill [tag]Internet Explorer[/tag].
  • [tag]Sparkle[/tag] is going to kill [tag]Flash[/tag].
  • [tag]Linux[/tag] is going to kill [tag]Windows[/tag].
  • [tag]StarOffice[/tag] is going to kill [tag]Office[/tag].

It seems that the media is convinced that applications that are either not out yet or have single digit market share at present are going to leap ahead in a matter of days. From looking back at history I'd say that 99% of the time, when you read that X is going to kill Y, X usually falls off the face of the earth and you never hear about it again, at least until the next version.

History is littered with the corpses of products that were going to be "killer".