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Posts Tagged ‘internet’

Is this payback for the legal bullies?

December 10, 2008 Leave a comment

Following my recent rant about the state of UK copyright infringement persecution I was delighted to read at ArsTechnica that consumer organisation Which? has filed a complaint with the Solicitors Regulatory Authority. The target of the complaint is law firm Davenport Lyons, those fine caring citizens who are making a habit of targeting alleged online copyright infringers with offers of pre court settlements for several hundred pounds. Which? accuses Davenport Lyons of ‘excessive bullying’ following repeated threatening letters to innocent internet users.

Davenport Lyons have hit the news several times this year, for a range of actions against owners of open WiFi networks, alleged game pirates and even  gay pornography downloading pensioners (alleged). It’s about time these legal bullies were called to answer for their ‘victories’ against those hardcore criminals, especially the single Polish mother of two who ended up with a bill of £16,000 after failing to appear in court for a civil case. Is common sense making a comeback?

The moral crossroads

December 2, 2008 Leave a comment

There are two kinds of government. One kind cares about it’s people, and the other treats them as cattle, little more than a resource. I know there are lots of terms for different systems of running everything from a community to a continent, but they all either care or they don’t.

Things have been changing in the UK for a while now, and I’m talking here about the mostly overlooked battle that’s being fought between content providers and anyone with a shred of care for the public. It surfaces occasionally with a sensationalist headline in the media, but the majority of UK citizens don’t realise what the Media corporations are up to. America already has the RIAA pursuing college file sharers and others for ridiculous sums of money using suspect evidence, and just like in many other ways the UK is becoming increasingly like the USA.

I remember having Disco’s and a Headmaster at my senior school, but it now has Prom’s and a Principal. Small changes I would happily live with if we didn’t have to suffer the same shift of power towards big business and the criminalisation of its customers. An article at Ars Technica got my attention and really brings together what’s happening at the moment. It’s a complicated issue that I won’t repeat here, but none of it benefits anyone but the Music corporations and shareholders. Will the artists who create the product see a big improvement in royalties and treatment? By the time the executives and lawyers take their share I doubt there will be much left for those that generate the money.

As the Ars article points out, there are opponents of the Media interests, such as the Open Rights Group. It’s reasuring that someone is fighting for the rights of the public, even if it isn’t our Government. And the question is, why not? Why are ISP’s, Media companies and civil rights groups being left to fight it out? I could almost think ministers don’t want to get involved in an argument that will eventually anger big money or the general public. Or maybe it’s because they don’t really understand this ‘internet’ thing and don’t realise that current teenagers grew up with file sharing an accepted part of social networking.

The thing is, it’s not just the British government that don’t seem to understand the internet. Media companies still try to restrict us with DRM crippled products that are limited to compatible devices and frequently in working life. Some are embracing DRM free media as the way forward, while others desperately cling to the old business models that worked so well before the world got connected. There are new ways of selling content being dreamed up all the time, and some are promising. I’ve written about the subscription model before, where we would all pay a set fee each month and download (and keep) whatever we want from authorised servers of high quality media. Ars mentions the survey where the University of Hertfordshire asked P2P users if they would pay for a legal file sharing service, and 80% said yes. That’s a huge amount of extra legal money for the artists.

The question here isn’t would it work, it’s why isn’t it being worked on now. The UK has the BBC, a corporation that takes our license fee for what now amounts to a much smaller proportion of the total available content. I’m not disputing the quality of content, but if we have an infrastructure to collect and monitor the paying of this fee to one body, why can’t we have one that monitors all content and dishes out the money as appropriate? Would it have anything to do with a loss of power for the few big Media Corporations?

This all comes back to my opening statement that Governments either care or they don’t. They should care enough to stop us becoming a resource for the Big Money’s legal departments. They should care enough to stop our children’s mistakes and habits become obscene legal bills. And they should care enough about the artists to give them a fair deal.

America has a new President Elect who promises a fairer, people centric future. Maybe we could have one of those in the UK.

And a final though. The Federation Against Software Theft is calling for ten years imprisonment if convicted of online commercial piracy. A longer prison sentence for software piracy than rape and murder? Aren’t the priorities getting mixed up here?

Google Chrome first impressions

September 3, 2008 2 comments

So who would have thought Google would launch a web browser? Just about everyone, and the puzzle is why it took so long. Now that Google’s Chrome is here I took a few minutes to reboot and have a play. It’s a Windows only experience for now, with the promise of Mac and Linux versions to follow.

Read more…

Firefox 3 hits over 8 Million downloads on first day

June 19, 2008 Leave a comment

The world record attempt may have got off to a bit of a shaky start but it certainly went on to hot some impressive numbers. SpreadFirefox.com is reporting over 8 milion downloads in the first 24 hours of availability. The attempt at setting a world record is currently under review and a decision should be made in the next few days.

Firefox 3 is looking good so far and it’s now on all my computers. The only real limitation of installing the software was if Foxmarks was compatible, and it worked without issue. I no longer need session manager to save my open tabs at shutdown since Firefox does this itself. So is session manager redundant? That will have to wait until Firefox’s session restoring abilities have been proven.

In the past my browser of choice was Bon Echo, an Intel optimised build of firefox available from Beatnikpad.com. Once again thanks to the work of Mr Neil Bruce Lee we have Firefox 3 builds optimised for Intel and PPC G5, with G4 promised soon. I’m testing the Intel build at the moment, as there’s nothing wrong with a smaller footprint and more speed. And for anyone wondering, the optimised build of firefox is called Minefield, I changed the name in the screenshot to Firefox 3 Intel to make it easier to group them all together.

firefox 3 now available

June 17, 2008 Leave a comment

Firefox 3 was due to hit the download sites at 6pm UK time but it’s just appeared at mozilla.com. Download the version for your OS here or choose an OS and language here. Spreadfirefox.com appears to be down at the moment, so hopefully this won’t interfere with the world record attempt.

FCC adopts new broadband classifications

June 16, 2008 Leave a comment

The new system was proposed a while back, but the American Federal Communications Commission has now adopted its new definitions of Broadband speeds. Anything under 768 Kbps is now refered to as First Generation data, with Basic Broadband covering 768 Kbps to 1.5 Mbps, and several band above this.

This is just what the UK needs, so ISP’s can be brought to task for offering connections that perform at less than promised levels. Is there much chance of this happening?

Categories: internet Tags: , ,

Firefox 3 due 17th June

June 15, 2008 Leave a comment

It’s been a long time coming, but it looks like the wait will be worth it. Firefox 3 final is released on Tuesday 17th June, and the Mozilla team are looking to set a new world record for the most downloads in a 24 hour period. More details and the current pledge number at SpreadFirefox.com. If you just want to know what all the fuss is about there’s a nice video at Cnet.

Update More about this release and plans for version 3.1 here

Download Day - English

Is the Internet really struggling?

April 15, 2008 Leave a comment

If you listen to many ISP’s recently the future of the internet is pretty bleak. ‘Selfish’ p2p users are slowing the service for everyone else, and superfast 20Mbit connections with ‘no boring download limits’ are really hamstrung by speed caps. On top of the virus, spyware and trojan threat the internet might soon just fall over under the ever increasing traffic of Youtube and the countless other video services being unleashed each day.

To get a more honest opinion read the article posted at Ars Technica a couple of days ago. It makes a pleasant change to read an informed and intelligent assessment of what is really happening to internet traffic levels. The summary is that the internet is doing quite well and coping through ongoing upgrades and improvements, but the last mile connections to our homes are in need of upgrading. Our ISP’s control this part of the chain and they don’t seem too keen to spend the money to drag us into the 21st century. When legal video streaming is looking more like the next big thing it’s not going to be a case of if we all need high speed internet, but when.

Categories: internet Tags: , ,

Safari 3.1 released

March 18, 2008 Leave a comment

Apple has today released Safari 3.1, a far more impressive update than the .1 suggests. Apple promise  huge speed increases for this latest version for both page rendering times and javascript execution. Support for the latest web standards such as the new video and audio tags in HTML 5, CSS Animations and CSS Web Fonts has been added. I’ve been playing with the recent Webkit builds and can definitely see a speed improvement, so if Foxmarks can make a plugin to sync Safari to their service I might just have to switch back from Firefox,

Categories: apple, internet Tags: , , , , ,

Online banking security problems

March 11, 2008 Leave a comment

There’s a scary article at Tech.co.uk concerning the safety of online banking systems and new trojans. It appears the crooks are getting sneakier than ever to get their hands on your money. I’ve been fortunate so far having not been the victim of online fraud (and I buy a lot online), the only credit card fraud I suffered was after using my card to reserve a hotel room. When I reported the crime to my local Police station I was told I was the 21st person in my town to suffer credit card fraud in 20 days. It’s not a big town so this gives an idea of the massive scale of the problem. I never received any further information from the police so have no way of knowing if the perpetrator was caught. We in the UK can’t even report credit card fraud to the Police anymore, it’s now a problem for the Banks to deal with. If you’re worried about online security there’s some good advice at fraud.org.

Categories: internet Tags: , ,
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