All entries for September 2007

September 28, 2007

Apple owns you

It’s an adage of the internet world that if you compare something to the Nazis, then your argument is defeated.

So I won’t. But…

Apple have issued a compulsory update to their iPhones which means that anyone who’s tried using the device on a phone network other than AT&T, will now find the iPhone is basically dead. Permanently.

If this isn’t the most authoritarian technology company in the world, then who is?

“Microsoft” – I hear you shout!

Well, not really. I don’t think they’ve ever charged someone £900 per year for a product which you can’t mess around with.

Most companies have something called a ‘EULA’ – or End User Licensing Agreement – which most people have traditionally ignored.

These put restrictions on what people can do with a product, such as a computer game. They’re often disregarded by modders and people who play games on friends’ machines.

I can’t think of an example of a hardware company using the EULA in such a measly way as Apple are doing.

And as every device on the planet (including, maybe one day, your own body) becomes connected to the net, what other products could be shut down once you play around with them? Perhaps Olympic athletes should have a chip in them that injects them with lactic acid if it detects an illegal drug?

So do you own an iPod or iPhone? Or do they own you?

P.S. I don’t own an iPhone.


September 25, 2007

Foot in Mouth

I spent most of yesterday next to a field waiting to see if a herd of cattle had foot and mouth.

I kept a safe distance from the herd in question as a) I didn’t want to help spread the disease and b) cows are scary buggers.

Not everyone followed this idea though. I never thought I’d see a member of the Great British paparazzi running down a hill to snatch a close-up of a cow. But I did.

Unfortunately for the dippy girl, she was spotted by a farmer and did a quick run back up the hill towards her car, expensive camera in tow.

Despite being a fellow hack, I did kind of hope she’d be gently maimed by the farmer’s shotgun. The stupid woman deserved it.


The Booker Prize con?

I’ve noticed that charity shops’ bookshelves are disproportionately littered with former winners and nominees of the Booker Prize.

Is this because people are conned into buying them and then realise they’re a bit too ‘wordy’ and convoluted?

Or maybe dead people like Booker Prize winners. They die, the possessions go to Oxfam.

I’d wonder if there’s an unusual amount of CDs being sold second-hand which were nominated for the Mercury Prize. How many Nitin Sawnhey albums have you got that you don’t want?


September 24, 2007

Top–slicing

If, as the Guardian reports today, the BBC wants to produce 10% less content, does that mean a rebranding exercise for BBC News 21.6?


September 23, 2007

An Early Election… For and Against

If you had three years left of a cushy job, nice wage, and free houses dotted around the UK, you’d be considered barmy for gambling it all just for an extra two years, wouldn’t you?

Of course, Gordon Brown’s dilemma isn’t as simple as that, and there’s potentially more to gain.

For:
- A new mandate for him and his policies.
- A clean break from the Blair era
- A shortened political career for Mr Cameron
- He could be the PM during the London 2012 Olympics
- Make the most of his handling of recent crises
- Polls put him in the lead
- The Labour Party is united behind him
- Things can only get better worse© D:Ream
- Northern Rock might be the tip of the iceberg

Against:
- Northern Rock might be the tip of the iceberg (the rest might appear before November)
- The public might get restless about an unnecessary election
- Scotland and Wales – the nationalists are on the rise
- Polls might change in the next few weeks
- Another crisis might happen that he can’t handle
- Oh… he might lose.

If I was him… it might just be a gamble worth taking.


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