The slow but sure move to logo

Guys I live twitter, its been amazing. Most of the people I know are on it and in time we may look back at it like the start of email. But thats the problem, its not email its one network email, its like texting way back in 1996, when you and your friends all had to be on the same network to be sure you would get the text message (sms). I'm sure others older that me will tell stories of when email use to be the same, but luckily I've never known that restriction.

Identi,ca is microblogging done correct, its Affero GPL licence, as API friendly as Twitter (same API really) and supports federation remarkable well. Now this isn't the 1st time I've talked about this service, you may have heard me talk about la.conica and many times. But whats interesting about is I'm starting to see it being put in next to Twitter in clients. So for example I use Twhirl most of the time and now support is there and its not just a add on, its all there. I've started noticing that's clients list is also growing. But whats also getting me really excited is seeing la.conica being put into Drupal and other places. So not only can you have your community blog but you can also have communal microblogging.

I'm personally starting to actively use more and more. I'm sure at some point i'll start looking up friends on and other systems and add them. Hey I may even start saying different things on them. I can certainly see one day when my default is and it posts on to twitter via some bot or service like Unless of course Jaiku gets going again.

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Oh yes they did… Lessig sent DMCA Takedown

Found in Ars Technica, Lawrence Lessig was sent one of those DMCA takedown notices by Warner Music recently. And out of all the people you want to send one of those takedown notices, Lessig is the very bottom of the list.

Oh no you didn't: Warner hits Lessig vid with DMCA takedown

Legal scholar and copyright reform advocate Lawrence Lessig was unhappy to discover that one of his presentations on YouTube was hit with a bogus DMCA takedown notice from Warner Music. Lessig intends to fight back and give Warner some schooling on fair use.

When will they learn?

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Tethering on Ubuntu with a Windows Mobile phone

Been meaning to write this one for a while, specially now Sam helped me solve both connection problems I was having in one go without even knowing it. So if you follow this guide and you should be able to do most of what you want with the windows mobile phone.

However there is a problem with some phones like my TouchHD. They have the wrong MTU setting and this sometimes depending on how you got your machine setup can make it unresponsive when trying to access the web. So if you have the problem of being able to ping but not access the web correctly now check the MTU size. I also got everything working with Bluetooth too instead of USB but its a lot more complex and battery life becomes a problem when you got Bluetooth on for 3 hours straight during a train journey.

Tethering on a Windows mobile phone is pretty simple and as far as I know its pretty much the same on Windows and the Mac. I know you can get those USB dongles but do I really want another contract? Not really thanks. Its a shame that Microsoft didn't give this platform much more attention because its actually pretty good in parts. I mean I couldn't imagine buying a phone which can not be tethered for internet access and mass storage.

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Free dj mixes generate more downloads?

I was listening on the train to Marcel Woods at Trance Energy 2009. Popped the title into Google and came up with this excellent site called the Liveset Database with the mix I was listening to and I quickly identified the tune I was banging my head to (Art of Trance – Madagascar (Richard Durand remix)) and went to Audiojelly typed in the song title and found it to download and buy right there. Not only did I find that one but I also found many other remixes.

I made reference to the maybe unique ecosystem of Trance music in a previous blog post. I actually thought I heard Armin Van Buuren give a shout out to a large Torrent site called Trancetraffic the other day but I think after hearing it again, it didn't quite sound like that. But I can't work out if trance has come so far that its done away with the idea of selling mixes or just let the tapers just take over. And why not? I mean, like all music, dance music included, it sounds better and more heart felt in a club, rave or outdoors over a heavy driving sound system. Some of the cynical in you will say it sounds better with the drugs, but I wouldn't know anything about that. So generally Live and loud. There's always been this idea of mixtapes being quite disposable but back in the mid 90's gready promoters started to sell tapes and cds of the mixes. However generally most made copies and no one got sued that I know. There's also something about owning the original tune, be it on vinyl or something else, maybe because somewhere deep down everyone liked dance music had a dj inside of them? Funny enough, i've also never heard anyone call someone else a pirate even when another artist does a bootleg remix.

Is sharing mixes one of the cornerstones of trance music? And through the mix, the meme of the music is widely distributed? Interesting….

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Ubuntu 9.04 release and first impressions

Wow who would thought Geeks could drink so much? So The Ubuntu launch party in Manchester supported by BBC Backstage went very well. We had about 60+ people turn up and enjoy the night. Thanks to Lucy for arranging most of the event. There's quite a few photos around the place including Flickr.

ubuntu cake

I decided not to upgrade my laptop at the party, instead I decided to upgrade it when I got back from the party. Upgrading was very straight forward and within one hour I had new Ubuntu login prompt. Unfortunately thats where the start of the problems started.

I've been having problems with the firewall on my machine for a while now but in 9.04 it broke and thankfully got fixed by flushing all iptables. But then I noticed my Dell's wireless isn't connecting to my wireless point, correctly. So its connected but there's no signal for some reason. Interestingly enough, it gives me a 10.x.x.x address while my actual network is based on the simple 192.x.x.x class of addresses.

Finally Compiz Fusion isn't working at the moment, once again this wasn't actually a upgrade issue. It wasn't work a while ago due to a display driver update. For all the moaning and problems, ubuntu 9.04 is faster. Startup times are quicker, login time is quicker and i've noticed Ubuntu is making more use of my vast amount of laptop memory that 8.10. The growl like notifications are very nice and I look forward to seeing applications like Twirl taking advantage of them soon. I've yet to convert the hard drive to the new Filesystem EXT4 but I've already had some experience with it via my brief time with Fedora 10.

I fixed the Wireless problem, I worked it out from a comment left on the picture. Daemon.log.0 pointed out that the wireless was set in Adhoc mode for some reason. So I switched it and its all good now.

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Redbull now in XL 473ml cans

Found in the supermarket the other day, Redbull in 473ml cans. Its noteworthy in my mind because the original can of 250ml can was superseded by the 355ml can which you now find Redbull Cola in. While the other energy drinks companies have moved to 500ml cans which are easily mistaken for Beer Cans, Redbull has stuck to its guns and kept the tall can to hold the new size Redbull. Interestingly the supermarkets have copied the Redbull cans instead of going for the Beer Can style.

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My roaming data bill from Orange

I expected a bill of about 120 pounds but not 220 pounds. The killer part is the roaming costs for data while in Las Vegas. I spoke to Orange about this bill and in the end grudgly they dropped 60 pounds off my next bill. Some would say I should have pushed for more but I couldn't prove I had not used the phone for data myself because I had installed and used a certain amount of data.

Be careful when roaming, I only used it to grab a couple of maps and twitter. Cory write a comment about his bill from India which was 1200 pounds.

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Wired UK, a coffee table magazine for men?

So I've finally read through most of Wired UK's launch issue and as you can see its sitting on my coffee table along with some other bits and pieces. Rather that going into a detailed review about the magazine I thought I'd pull up a couple of other blogs which sum up my thoughts.

Maz Hardey of the girlygeekdom blog makes a really good point that Wired UK is made for men. What is up with that? The adverts are all very much like you'd see in GQ magazine and there's little to no input from woman writers.

Skip to the front of Wired (P.15) and the 05.09 Contributors Page, of the six main contributors, one, Susan Greeenfield (Baroness no less), is the pioneer of content contributed by women. I am not suggesting that Wired is all male-to-male content. Far from it. UK Wired is, in my opinion, far better than its US counterpart in the publication of balanced, interesting and satisfyingly technology divulgent coverage. But then I flick back again through the magazine and the if the masculine led written word doesn't hit you, the masculine emphasis of marketing and advertisement will. TagHeur watch here, Sony Bravia with football coverage there, Jaguar where 'the thrill lasts much longer' and Tom Ford 'for men' set the tone for the First Edition.

A lot of wired UK is republished american articles with some bits and pieces from its UK editors. And you can tell, for example the review of folding backs without the most popular folding bike in the UK? Whoops!? Simon Waldman's lid lifting is points out mistakes like this one is generally a very interesting and worthy read, even if its slightly bias being from the guardian and all that. Simons's point about iplayer is well…. interesting. Obviously it would be foolish for me to comment.

The front cover carries the strapline “How the iPlayer saved the BBC”. Sounds interesting. The headline to what is flagged a “Wired investigation” is “The man who saved the BBC” (that's a big difference) with a picture of Anthony Rose “the renegade South African licensed to upgrade the BBC”. Now, I happen to know that Rose is the BBC's head of digital media technology (because I looked it up on Google), but I've read the piece three times now, and asked someone sitting next to me to read it, and I'm 99% certain they don't actually mention his job title in the piece.

I realise details such as job titles can probably be filed under “Tired” – but it matters, if you are telling a story about how something happened in a business. It's one thing if the chief executive makes it happen, another if it's the marketing director and another if it's the security guard.

And anyway, at least half of the piece is about Ashley Highfield. Why not chuck in Erik Huggers and call it the men who saved the BBC. And while we're at it – please could you specify exactly how it has saved the BBC? Like, it would have had to shut down without it?

So with all my moaning about the magazine, will I be buying the next one? Well yes, its a neat coffee table magazine. Full of super styled graphics, overblown photos and enough substance to pick up and read for 5mins.or so. Everyone whos come over so far has picked it up off the coffee table and had a flick through it. So between buying some gadget mag like T3/Stuff, a men's fashion mag like GQ or a lads mag like Nuts, Zoo or whatever else. I do pick Wired UK. But there is a question of do I really need to buy a magazine at all?

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Important to not take our eyes off the ball

Tim Wu on Network Neutrality. I have a lot of time for Tim Wu although I don't actually read his blog. I first discovered him when he took over from Lawrence Lessig on his blog while Lessig was on Holiday. The points he makes in the video are well crafted but it also reminds us not to take our eyes off the ball. For example I do use Twitter (of course) but I'm very aware its on borrowed time. I'm a big fan of and now Jaiku, and will be on it and promoting them when ever I can.

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Hacking the wii?

I sold mine a while back but the wii has been totally hacked. When I say totally hacked, I mean not only can you copy games (which is really lame) you can also run unsigned code, which means theres already some homebrew software ready to run on the device. Emulators for the Wii have also moved along really quickly and now you can play Wii games at a higher resolution that the Wii's hardware. Aka you can play some Wii games at 720p resolution rather that 480p. It really feels like the days of hacking the Xbox but with the console online, and it coming out of the box with SD, USB and Bluetooth, I can't wait to see what interesting things get built. Might have to end up buying another one if things get really interesting. XBMC for wii anyone?

There's a ton of links but the best place to start is simply Wii Brew and Dolphin-emu. I found out about the whole thing by watching the video podcast Hak.5 ep's 508, 509 and 510. The show is also now in available in HD which is actually pretty cool for seeing code samples clearly. This is also why I download Coop in HD.

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They have not got a clue

Most of the mainstream press are some what happy with the outcome. But in actual fact they have cut the tail off something much deeper that they will ever admit to…You only have to listen to what Paul McCartney says to understand how out of touch not himself but the industry around him really are.

The former Beatle told BBC Newsbeat that he believed that music should be paid for.

Speaking about the case, he said, “If you get on a bus you've got to pay. And I think it's fair, you should pay your ticket.”

He suggested that websites such as The Pirate Bay were harmful to young bands.

“The problem is you get a lot of young bands coming up and some of them aren't going to last forever,” he said. “So if they have a massive hit that's going to pay their mortgage forever.

“They're going to feed the children on that and if they don't get that money, if they don't see that money, I think it's a bit of a pity.”

Thankfully there are some people trying to get a hold on all of this. I would obviously point to the project we just launched called R&DTV but also this interview with Trent Reznor by Kevin Rose..

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Its all about attention to detail Puma

I've been on holiday recently, yep totally breaking myself off from work stuff for a short period. I actually been doing the boring stuff like shopping, cleaning and arranging. For the first time I've visited the Trafford Centre (outskirts of Manchester) and actually spent a good amount of time in the Arndale (central Manchester). Usually I'm in and out as fast as my legs can take me, but I did a proper look around last week.

Anyway I ended up in the Puma Store because I am looking for new trainers (sneakers, tennis shoes, whatever) and tried on a T-shirt. The T-shirt in question is a special edition which has the name of the city it was bought in on it. So as you can see above he's the Manchester one. I tried it on and thought it was a little too loud but what bugged me the most was the label.

MCN? Where's that then? The thing across the T-shirt is meant to be a airport sticker thing. So why has it got MCN on it instead of MAN which is Manchester's International and only Airport shortcode. So where on earth did they get MCN from? Me thinks someone was making this stuff up and screwed up. And for that reason I decided not to buy the T-shirt. Attention to detail Puma!

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The Verse, a wired 3D future

So I was blown away by a new game which revision3's Coop (ex 1upshow) previewed, according to the site, the description is this.

Eskil Steenberg is the sole developer of the game Love. He dropped by the week of GDC to give an extended demo of this 200-player, persistent, and uniquely beautiful game world in which players have complete control–even over the very landscape. Created with tools of his own making, including a 3D modeler and renderer, Love is an incredible example of just how far a solo project can go.

Its all highly impressive stuff, and so I hit the web to find out more about the game and the tools Eskil built to create the game. What I found was something very different from just a game. Eskil has a complete technical demo online which you can download and play with. The editor (Loq Airou) is also downloadable but the whole project seems to be a front for Verse. Verse being a real time network protocol that lets 3D apps talk to each other. Like a 3D aware XMPP? Blender3D already has Verse support and so does GIMP via a plugin. 3D studio max has a plug which has been built too, but thats about it for now. So back to Love, Love is a side project of Verse and so the Love engine is just a client using Verse? Its quite a bit to get your head around but currently the whole thing is freely available. Eskil has said he might make it either donation-ware or open source in the future, which is great news. I think I'm going to have a play tomorrow to see if I can get it working.

Verse sounds utterly amazing, and its good to read some of the thinking behind verse. Wired did cover this a while back but I missed it.

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Record Store day?

My flatmate happen to have on Channel4 news today and I saw a segment about Record Store day. The general concept is that the independent record stores are losing out to the big stores, supermarkets and ultimately the internet. They have a lot of support from the record labels including Warner Music and others.

Anyway I can't work out if this is,

  1. simply a idea thought up by the record industry
  2. A idea brought together by independent record shops and now jumped upon by record labels

I'm a fan of independent stores generally, Bristol doesn't even have a independent record shop anymore. How tragic is that, specially with its background in dance music. and there is a real threat which is shutting down the independent store. But its not that simple, I think there missing something.

  • The mass record chains are closing down or at least feeling the pitch from dropping sales
  • The supermarkets are eating the lunch of the record chains and they don't give a crap about independent music.
  • The internet is a threat but it depends how you look at it.
  • The internet isn't just about itunes, napster, amazon, hmv, etc.
  • There are tons of niche/independent online music stores such as Juno and my current number one Audiojelly.
  • Music discovery is still mainly a social thing. Last.FM, Pandora, Blip.FM,etc.

The above smells to me like a opportunity to claw back the music lovers. Supermarkets do the plain mass and independents can cater for the rest of the market. Its not a huge market but you don't need to make a killing. I'm never going to be able to buy the excellent tune Roundabout by Sam Sharp at HMV, but I can find it at AudioJelly.

One of the advantages independent shops tout is the music discovery, and they do have a slight point but in actual fact I remember queing for ages to listen to the stack of vinyl which I had picked out, when I use to be a vinyl dj. But on the other hand yes there is a nice selection of different music in one place plus you can speak to people for recommendations. Trance like a lot of dance music has embraced the digital world quicker that other types of music. A lot of the djs, make there own music, play there own music and own there own record labels, so they have become like a brand.

The perfect example is Armin Van Buuren (voted number one dj in 2008). He owns 2 or maybe 3 record labels including Armind, plays sets all over the world, creates many remixes and creates his own works. Not only all that but he also has a instanly popular radio show which is syndicated all over the planet and a weekly podcast. Yep he must be the original flying dutchman. Point is that he's filling in the gap of music discovery. Gareth Emery is a regular trance podcast I found by clicking podcasts in The link doesn't end there however. Every week after the podcast, creates a playlist for the mix. So I can identify tunes just by there running order and better still buy it right there.

If independant Record stores are to stick around, there going to have to stop thinking about themsleves as in the game selling pieces of vinyl. I can't quite put my finger on what exactly. But maybe a start is providing the ability to get digital downloads at high speeds in the store. Not because customers need high speed internet access (don't get me started on net cafes) but because they want advice, maybe?

Imagine a store so progressive that it has card readers, ipod docks and a bluetooth network. A place where the music matters and the format isn't important.

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