IPhone vs Blackberry

Next time you find yourself in the pub arguing whether the iPhone or crackberry is better, here is the win…

iPhone users with unlimited text packages… Simply send all texts to the crackberry user one letter at a time i.e. ‘H E L L O’ – the iPhone user can fire off texts in this format nearly as quick as a normal text – the crackberry unfortunately is rendered useless until all the texts are received!

File downloading – when will they finally learn…

Commenting on: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/technology/8328820.stm

Yet again we get more suggestions that it should be down to the ISPs to do the policing for the content providers, and its down to us (the ISPs) to block users who file share.

I am interested to see how 3 strikes applies to a corporate environment, I don’t mean the big corporates with sensible IT teams, I am thinking of the 5-10 man company with one person sat in the corner quietly downloading the latest episode of the Simpsons while sharing it with the world… that’ll will be fun when they get cut off…

Anyway back to the point… the music, tv and film industries have an amazing luxury which they are still rejecting… i.e. they have an effectively FREE distribution medium, where anybody in the world (pretty much) can get any of their content without it costing them a penny….

Yet rather than investing their time and effort in how to achieve a revenue stream from this amazing advantage, they persist in trying to stop it happening falling back on all the traditional ‘approved ways’ of getting their content.

Take myself for example, I have a UK TV license and a UK Sky TV subscription. This in effect gives me access to pretty much legal acces to every TV programme I could wish for. I still however download/iplayer the key programmes I watch, why?

Well:

  • I definitely no longer want to watch TV at a prescribed time, those days are gone. TV is now when, where and how I want it, not when the broadcasters dictate.
  • I could of course PVR the content (Windows Media Centre enables me to do this easily) and watch it when I want, and where and how I want.
  • If I PVR it, it involves faff and hassle. Torrents are easy to get and come in a portable format that I play on any TV or PC in my house.

The problem is that not everyone is paying a subscription for TV, and of course they lose advertising revenue on downloads – saying that though Sky are clearly having a right giggle at their advertisers with Sky+, i.e. yes we encourage our customers to have a technology that means they can skip the adverts!

So media producers, yet again I encourage you to stop criminalising people before you have at least given them the chance to subscribe to content when, where and how they want it! i.e. via bittorrent, et al.

3 Very Good Things…

I am back! My blog is migrated to new servers, happy days.

To kick off 3 things which have very much impressed me in the last couple of months:

1) Windows 7 RC. Microsoft have an absolute win here, its faster and feels tidier than Vista, the search is lightening quick, the new combined launch/taskbar kicks ass, the XP fallback mode works, it multithreads properly, I haven’t found any kit I can’t make work with it, and its all incredibly stable. I don’t actually know why anyone currently slogging it out on Vista wouldn’t run as fast as they can to do an in place upgrade today.

2) GMail Apps. I dipped my toe in the water using GMail for benking.me.uk a few months ago, I have now migrated warwicknet.com lock stock and barrel. Having your email all in gmail is pure bliss. The labelling effectively gives ‘3D’ folders, and having the power of Google search on your email is awesome. No longer do I have to slog it out in Outlook/Exchange land sorting my inbox by ‘From’ to find that one email from the 17000 in my inbox (I don’t like filing stuff). Its fair to point out though that that new features in Windows 7, means that it can search your outlook email about as quick as well. The downside of GMail of course is Google owning you.

3) Solwise 3G router. This little toy is a work of  art. Basically its a plug in the wall router, that will do wireless, ethernet, and 3G routing (by plugging your existing USB 3G dongle into the provided USB port). It is a right swiss army knife and will do web cam server, file server, print server. The amazing thing is that my T-Mobile 3G connection is far faster via the solwise and then wireless to my laptop than when plugged directly in my laptop. To be honest I am not doing it justice here, read the full review on The Register here.

I would heartily recommend all of the above.

VM Server 2 and Vista Ultimate 64

I have just been trying to get VM Server 2 installed on my new Vista Ultimate 64 installation, and found I just couldn’t logon using either my own Vista username and password or the administrator one, lots of googling revealed all sorts of people having the same problem.

The error message you get when trying to logon is:

The VMware Infrastructure Web Service at “http://localhost:8222/sdk” is not responding (Connection Refused)

This happened regardless of how I was trying to access it i.e. https or http and by hostname or IP.

Turns out that in my Vista Ultimate 64 installation the host file entry for localhost has been reduced to  the IPV6 lookup only:

::1             localhost

Adding back the usual:

127.0.0.1     localhost

Fixed the problem! It is always the little things!!!

www.splityourticket.co.uk – excellent

I am sure I am (as usual) the last person on the planet to know about this, but www.splityourticket.co.uk basically works out for you the cheapest way to buy a train ticket.

So in a nutshell on our standard Virgin trains Coventry to London peak return, which if you buy on the day (and I always do) is in excess of £100, www.splityourticket.co.uk advises to go for:

  • Coventry <-> Rugby (£4.90)
  • Rugby <-> Milton Keynes (£11.50)
  • Milton Keynes <-> Euston (£32.40)

Total price £48.80, saving £58.20… I suppose its prudent to check that your train is actually going via those stations though!

PS Steve Glen found this not me, but I thought it was so great, I had better blog about it!

£30 license to download music – you saw it here first…

So finally the dense powers that be have realised that a fixed annual license to download whatever you want is a good idea:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/connected/main.jhtml?xml=/connected/2008/07/24/dldownloads124.xml

Really they should put me in charge, as I first suggested it here – http://www.benking.me.uk/2008/01/11/drm-copyright-the-saga-goes-on/

 Even so it is still being reported as a ‘bad thing’ i.e. naughty people will get taxed/fined £30… Get it into your thick heads, I want the flexibility to download what I want from wherever I want, whenever I want, I don’t mind paying for that privilege.

So wheres the form, where do I sign up?! I tell you what call it £60 per year and throw in movies and TV…

Has your Hotmail and Live Messenger been hacked?

I have in the past posted about my experience when I got my Hotmail account hacked and how I subsequently recovered it. To save everyone the hassle of wading through my blog for the answer (and earn me a few quid hopefully), I have now written a handy document that helps you understand:

1) Why and how your Hotmail/Live Messenger was compromised in the first place.
2) How to go about getting it back.
3) How to stop it happening again.

All for a mere $10… you can buy it here.

P.S. I appreciate the irony that if you have had your Hotmail account compromised you have probably lost your Paypal account as well, so can’t actually pay me! Unfortunately its a chicken and egg problem you will have to sort out, as I can’t be arsed to set up another payment mechanism – sorry!

Shanghai – Life behind the great firewall of China…

When you connect to the Internet in China you don’t get the real Internet you get a government controlled version, which limits access to sites that are offensive to/or go against the political views of the Chinese government. This is known as the Golden Shield Project or by its lovable nickname, ‘The Great Firewall of China’.

The Golden Shield Project is an estimated $800m project of the Chinese government to not only control online content but use modern technology to monitor the movements and activities of their people.

In simple terms as a visitor this means that they block a bunch of websites, for anything about human rights for example Amnesty International (www.amnesty.org), anything that mentions Tiananmen Square, the Dalai Lama and a whole bunch of other stuff, they particularly don’t like anything with user generated content that allows their people to express their views to the world or for their people to see what the rest of the world is up to.

In practical terms this was annoying for me because, it meant all the following are blocked

If you want to see a more thorough list (and you aren’t inside China), then there is a nice article on Wikipedia here.

In truth though the firewall represents little or no challenge to circumvent, not only due to the amount of proxying sites available, but also if you have access to machines outside of China you can easily VPN or SSH your traffic via them circumventing the problem.

The blocking isn’t just IP based either, they also do some nasty DNS poisoning, which causes you to be misdirected to another site rather than the one you intended, again this wasn’t a problem for me as I run my own DNS server on my laptop, but in general a little irritating.

You can’t help but feel then that the Chinese efforts to control Internet access are more than a little futile…

World of Warcraft hits 10 million players

So Blizzard must be delighted, WOW finally hits 10 million paying subscribers, is there no stopping it…

I find myself wondering why, after the initial excitement, the last expansion (The Burning Crusade) took a lot of shine off the game.

The unrelenting need to grind for rep and better items eventually takes its toll and to add to that our guild, Go Rin No Sho, (www.gorinnosho.co.uk), despite having arguably some of the best and most committed players on our server (Bronzebeard) , we still struggle with the higher level content. The curve is just too steep, other than for people who really have no life whatsoever.

With the next expansion (World of Warcraft: The Wrath of the Lich King Expansion Pack (PC)), still sometime away (Amazon are listing it as September 2008), it seems likely that some of us will get bored and fall away before then.

Having said that I still have 3 level 70 characters and another one on the way!  🙂