Tuesday, 28 September 2010

Food, Weather and the BBC

Another month away. This last week characterized by heavy weather. I was pretty dismissive of the warnings earlier and, to be fair, the initial storm was not up to mush. The rainfall was about right for this time of year: its when Waihekians fill their tanks for Summer after all. However, the wind was a bit of a killer, even down in the bush. I now have a power line with a tree resting on one span and the other span has dropped almost to the ground ... still attached at both ends so it looks like it stretched. Still have power though.

I'll try for the end-of-month Hangi tomorrow, but I usually have to get in earlier than this. Also have another go trying to get Auckland Libraries to notice that people who don't have IE cannot seem to use their web portals. I presume it works with Safari - not having an Apple I cannot tell. But it don't go with Firefox (time out at login) or Chrome (login page not available) so I have no idea. Even W3M, text only, has the same issue as firefox.

Saw Click on the BBC (bbc.com/click) - bit disappointing really: more of a series of uncritical advertisments than journalism. Observe:

Viewers were encouraged to check out gist.com to manage their contacts in one place. Trouble is you (a) have to register to use the service, and (b) you store your contacts online. What will they do with them? Well, it is likely your contacts will be mined for demographics - don't be surprised if you start receiving more ads later. Gist will even mine your emails for contact data. The privacy policy is hard to find from their site, but it is there. The jurisdiction is USA, unspecified state, and data is collected for unspecifies "services" to unspecified people. They certainly have a service for you, but they also warn that non-identifying aggregate data may be disclosed to third parties and that other gist members can view your personal information. The trouble is that this is not very binding. The USA does not have statute protections for privacy which binds corporations like NZ does. The service rings alarm bells because it asks you to provide access to the sorts of files that malware typically targets. What is wrong with managing contacts on your own machine?

Sight impaired Windows users were encouraged to try ZoomText, an ex-DOS magnifier. "Magnify up to 32 times" which is better than Windows built-in magnifier, but it is outstripped by Compiz built-in ... I zoom by hitting the logo key and scrolling. Whats more, doesn't cost a cent. Want more features, Orca has them all under the accessability options in Ubuntu, also gratis as well as free. So this bit was just a product plug, I hope they got paid. Some sort of comparison of different software would have been more in-line with what we expect from the BBC.

An Android meta-app called "eyes-free" got a plug too. This is not so objectionable and it makes android phones a little easier to use, particularly if you want to read text on the wee screen thing smart-phones have. Android is the #2 smart-phone OS, second to Blackberry, and climbing. It is, therefore, the single most popular gnu/linux distro. However, it tends to be a bit locked down ... something the FSF would like to see stopped. It is more likely we will see developer versions of smart phones that the geeks can hack. Even with this, it would be useful to compare with other phone OSs ... is this really an innovation?

yetisports.com collects viral games in one place - the games are small and addictive, and available elsewhere. The interface is worth checking out if you are a web designer though. The company puts ads around the games but is otherwise not a bad find. Even so, the games are available elsewhere.

BBC Click show could provide a quickee snapshot of ITC but instead just hypes whatever looks shiny at the time. I still don't think that's journalism.

Outside the weather is now sunny. I have a fault lodged with Vector about the powerline ... but they did not come so I have to get back to them. Last time I called them about that line they claimed it was not their problem ... even though it is an unmetered length. Oh well, better luck this time.

1 comment:

  1. Simon -

    Thanks for your feedback on Gist.

    I wanted to point you to our web site, where you can learn more about how we use (and don't use data).

    Read the @Gist Promise: http://bit.ly/ahJCtK


    Greg Meyer
    Customer Experience Manager, Gist