22 February 2008

Eeet'll have to wait

Unfortunately, the way my pay has worked out (And because I hate filling out forms so I still haven't reeived my £50 tax rebate), the Eee is going to have to wait until next month. Think Good Friday sort of time.

In the meantime, I've ordered Medal of Honor Heroes 2 on Wii and F1 06 on PSP. Regular readers will know I think Heroes 2 is all the way awesome and most of you will have worked out that I love Formula 1.

Originally, I was going to play F1 06 on my brother's PSP. Under that arrangement, the only motivation to get the PSP version rather than the PS2 version was simple: we do not currently have a single PS2 operational in the house. Even though there's one 2 feet away from me right now.

It has no power cable. Seriously, we have no idea where it went.

Anyway, the plan now is to buy myself a white PSP Slim and Lite. Partially as something to play with until I get the Eee, partially because there's some PSP stuff I want to get into. Certain games and features, you know.

It's hardly going to be a major PMP for me though, my iPod touch does an awesome job of that as it stands.

I also just bought Sugar Tunes Numa Numa, a version of Numa Numa by Balan. And it's awesome. So awesome.

Oh by the way, remember my intention to exploit the US's shitty economy when I got there this year? My main purchase is probably going to be a MacBook Air. The way I'm expecting things to go down, I'll still have at least $190 left over for other stuff. Probably more once I ramp up the amount of overtime I do because I'm no longer at school full time or at all (Afetr the exams basically).

I think I can push it up to $1000 of spare cash.

One thing I'm excited to do on the America trip is put full coverage of it up here. I aim to video and photograph what we get up to, sharing those pics and videos with people here and at This is Interesting as well as recording a video diary for you on the Eee.

I'm going to try and find soemthing to test the whole using the Eee to do a multimedia report on something remote from my desk between getting it and heading Stateside. I think it'll be good at it.

Yes, I know I'll need a USB HDD. I'll get one.

Anywho, I think that's enough for now.

If anyone's still reading this, please leave more comments...I'm getting awfully lonely on here.

Jens Out

21 February 2008

Preparing for Eee

Hmm. I'm expecting to go grab my Eee tomorrow. For that reason, I've been thinking about the stuff I need t get done to prepare for it. First thing I've decided I need to do is take a cross-section of my daily bookmarks to put on it.

Actually, that's a half-truth. First I looked for a good game to run on it. OpenArena fits the bill nicely.

Anyway, my first factor for choosing sites is width. This blog will work fine on the Eee, but some sites are simply too wide. GameSpot.Com is an example of another workable site, which is cool because I want to watch their videos on the Eee.

Well that's done now...What's next?

Ah, move documents onto the Flash drive. Done.

I think that might cover it. I don't really need to scrounge around for many apps, it comes with apps for doing most of what I want to do anyway.

Of course, all this assumes I get my tax rebate.

In other news, I've joined the team at This is Interesting, so you can check out some of my stuff over there - I'm a bi-weekly contributor. Yeah, that's right, a posting schedule.

Bet you wish there was one here.

Dream on.

Jens Out

19 February 2008

Only the inevitable

The trend in computing recently spells the end for the humble desktop, the old king of the personal computing world. Usually running Windows, it is a familiar sight.

But users increasingly need more customisation, better asset management and are more and more taking their computer on the road. In the coming years, OS X/Darwin and Linux are going to lead notebook and handheld computers on a charge into dominance at the expense of Windows and its natural habitat, the desktop.

These are the beginnings of a sea change for computers, and the poster children are two radically different solutions to the same problem.

Apple answered changing user needs in the portability market with MacBook Air, the device which aims to be to the notebook what the iMac was to the desktop a decade ago.

Asus answered cries for more portability and customisation with the Linux-focused Eee PC. They further addressed the need for the cost of computing to plummet and the difficulty of it to decrease rapidly.

Apple and Asus are just two companies who are seeing a new way forward.

In the year 2015, the desktop will be relegated to the realms of the pros and a role as a base. In the home, users will freely roam around the house wielding notebooks tailor made to their needs, running Wi-Fi at speeds unthinkable at present to connect to internet up to 30 times as fast as it is now.

On the road, uses will take their computers with them and connect to fifth generation mobile networks, true mobile broadband, at speeds up to half of that available over fixed lines, blitzing current-spec third and conceptual fourth generation networks by an order of magnitude.

When a computer is unnecessary, phones like Apple's iPhone Air or any one of the millions of phones running Google's dominant Android will connect to those same networks and provide users with speedy, intuitive access to communication and information.

Social networks like MySpace and Facebook will have given way to more tailored content sharing communities, linking users with content and its creators based on interest.

Microsoft, its monopolies long forgotten as the once dominant computer company sells its operating system and becomes a solutions and consultancy firm.

The buyer? A bit player looking for the fast track to marketshare in the OS space.

They're still working the dead weight out of Windows 9.

These have been visions of the future,
With Jensonb

18 February 2008

Eeek

Well, what a difference a day makes. It turns out I'm not going to need to buy a PS3, my dad's getting us one. Which saves me basically £300 hard cash. Some of you might expect me to go back to buying the Xbox, but I decided not to.

Instead, I decided to get a hold of a computer. The geek in me was getting antsy. Of course you've guessed, the computer I'm getting is the Asus Eee PC. I'm getting the white one with 4GB of Flash and a webcam. It probably has a specific name, but I can't really be bothered to find out what it is.

Does this mean I'm not getting the Air? Not necessarily. What it does mean is whether I get the Air or a different Mac, I will still have a nice, light notebook for writing in bed and so on.

In other news, I got some really great news today, between moving operations from Petrograd (Peterborough), the heartland of English mediocrity to somewhere in Scotland, which by the way kicks ass, we're taking a slight detour for 2 or 3 weeks.

To the Everglades.

Yeah, Florida. It's awesome. I've been waiting to go to America for years. Finally I'm going to get to go to Disney World, see the awesome American food and purchase consumer goods at rock bottom prices (AKA exploiting the USA's shitty economy).

We intend to rent a villa over there and take in all the stuff we want at a leisurely pace. As a geek, I'll be taking at least one computer and my camera(s) and updating the blog on what we're up to as we go. As a part of that, I expect I'll be taking a fat USB HDD and several big SD cards.

Then we'll return, not to a house but to a boat. My dad really wants a boat. We were going to get a smaller boat and a camper van, then decided that was stupid and merged the two into a bigger boat.

Then we'll redo the house we buy to have it just the way we want it.

Well that's the future for me.

Live free or Die Hard,
Jens

16 February 2008

This is an entertainment box

Here's one that'll surprise you. I'm not buying an Xbox 360 anymore. Yes, it's a cool system. But since we already have one, I've decided it's probably more important to broaden our platform set.

So I'm going to buy a PS3.

Alright, you got me, that's not the only reason. Sony has been showing off a DVB tuner for the PS3 called PlayTV. With it, the console becomes a full-blown FreeView PVR. That's rad.

Currently, my PC serves as my TV and PVR. It's far from a perfect setup. For one thing, the software the Dazzle Stick which forms my tuner came with is kind of crap. For another, with it being a single tuner setup, I can only record one channel at a time and if I want to watch while recording, it has to be the channel I'm recording.

Worst part is, if I schedule a recording (Which is not easy with the software's sub-par EPG), it will strt up and basically high-jack all my system resources, making the PC unresponsive. This usually necesitates stopping what I'm doing and going off to do something else.

PlayTV has two tuners, eliminating the first problems. It would be a PVR seperate from my PC, so it couldn't highjack my resources. And Sony has plans to update the software down the line so that you can play a game whilst recording a show. That is cool.

What makes it supersweet is all of these features (Live and recorded TV) can be accessed remotely from any Wi-Fi connection by a PSP. So I could be in a Starbucks in London watching TV. Badass? I think so.

I, of course, also need the PS3 for some of the games it has as exclusives (Metal Gear, the last F1 game - though I expect new ones will be made by EA cross-platform, Warhawk, a timed exclusve in the form of UT3 and I'm sure there are others).

So there it is, I'm buying a PS3 in late March. Flame if you will.

Jens Out

14 February 2008

She's a looker at least

Following Honda Racing F1 can be awfully difficult and wonderful (Hmm, probably could have reused my totally badass Tale of Two Cities thing agan here. Instead, I shall link to it several times as it was totally badass). For you see, we as Honda F1 fans spend a lot of time crying silently as we see Jenson Button listed next to the number 15 (Or indeed, a higher number like 17) and Rubens as having had some kind of mechanical failure or been smashed into by one of the kids driving for the backmarkers.

We hear that the new car resembles "a sexy lady" or is a definite improvement, but are treated to, at best, one good year in every two. Jenson has the potential to be a superstar hotshot fighting it out at the front with his contemporaries Raikkonen, Massa, Alonso and so on.

And at least on the face of it, Honda should be building a car to allow him to do it. What keeps going wrong? I have no idea. But if this is not the last year of Honda failing to give Jenson the car to prove he can win the championship and Rubens one to show the kids what expereince can do, then Jenson should probably find a new home for 2010.


The signs do look good for 2009. Ross Brawn is the Team Principal and he's amogst the best personnel ever to grace Formula One. Honda have spent the money on a new Aero department, full of talents from other quick teams. It should be enough.

But this year looks to be another write-off. Once again, Honda's times are circling the drains, so consistent points are probably a pipe dream for us. Roll on 2009.

At least the car's another pretty one.



Jens Out

10 February 2008

My Screw Up (Wikipedia Episode)

Remember when everyone started to use Wikipedia? It was the promised land. The Fountain of All Knowledge. Everything was going to be on it. It was to be an encyclopedia with some modern real world significance. And we, the people, were to build and maintain it.

It sounded an awful lot like democratic or organised communism. Which is cool, because true communism works. Indeed, it's my firm belief that Total Democracy is the only workable form of governance. But that's a story for another time.

Something has gone wrong at Wikipedia. It's been simmering below the surface for a while. The often joked-about rivalry between the vast majority of users (The casual ones) and the die-hard Admins, the Wikipedians. You know the type.

Ever heard the phrase "This article is a candidate for speedy deletion"? How about "This article requires cleanup to meet Wikipedia's guidelines" (Or some variation thereof)? Or the now infamous "This article includes a trivia section. Trivia sections are disallowed under Wikipedia's Article Guidelines. Consider integrating the contents of this list into the rest of the article or deleting it entirely." (I forget the exact wording, it's an overly long message).

That's Wikipedian handiwork. It's annoying and distracting. And frankly, I'm sick of it. Wikipedia has ceased to be the democratic Fountain of All Knowledge, built and maintained by we the people. Now it's just another encyclopedia, except it's run by an elite club sitting around coughing up guidelines left and right, enforcing them as law and begrudgingly letting us discuss perhaps maybe editing an article in its Talk Page.

This feeling has been boiling beneath me for a year - in fact I did not once edit an article on Wikipedia in 2007, nor did I consider it - but it came to head earlier today.

Whilst watching an Episode of Scrubs, I got thinking about another episode which had a song I wanted to hear in it. Unfortunately, I did not know the song's title (Scrubs is a major way I discover new songs. Such as Light & Day / Reach for the Sun). No problem, I got the songs I wanted from Scrubs episodes previously ina very simple way. I set my Firefox Search Box to Wikipedia and typed the title of the episode in.

So that's what I did. And what do I discover? The Scrubs episode pages have been deleted. Long story short, this argument has been going back and forth for about 2 months with the articles being deleted and un-deleted.

And why? The higher-ups have deigned that articles which do not do certain things must go. TV Episode pages have to meet ludicrously stringent regulations which actually effectively limit the information they provide. Scrubs seems to be the testing bed for an all-new and highly draconian interpretation of Wikipedia's regulations.

Wikipedia has ceased to be a fountain of knowledge. Never mind all knowledge. Anything which limits what I can learn from Wikipedia in anyway is, in my book, not cool. It is against the spirit of the site.

And it gets worse. As a get out, the higher ups say we should look to http://scrubs.wikia.com as the new resource for Scrubs information. Firstly, that is impractical and ludicrous. Wikipedia is visited by millions more people than any Wikia Wiki. The Scrubs Wikia is essentially a fansite, limiting the number of people who will be aware of it and thus reducing the quality and use of its content.

Secondly, and I can't emphasise this enough: Wikia is a for-profit enterprise. I don't care if it is based on Wikipedia. It exists to make its owners money, which means it is far from being "The People's Encyclopedia" as Wikipedia is meant to be.

But here's the truly troubling part...Wikia is a for-profit entity containing many Wikis which are plastered in ads to make Wikia's boss, also Mr Wikipedia, money. And now Wikipedia is being managed in such a way as to promote visiting Mr Wikipedia's meal ticket, Wikia.

Do you see the problem yet?

Jens Out

02 February 2008

I wouldn't pay $30 Billion, never mind $44 Billion

What you'll have heard is that Microsoft, the lumbering dinosaur business of the 1980s, have finally stopped pussy-footing around and launched a hostile takeover bid for Yahoo!, AOL's contemporary from the infamous DotCom bubble.

AOL bought Time Warner in the heady days of the DotCom bubble using its inflated stock as currency. Ted Turner and his buddies fell for the false allure of the internet hook, line and sinker. Michael Eisner then Chairman and CEO of Disney, balked at the idea of AOL buying Disney or Warner even back then without the benefit of hindsight.

He might have been a flawed leader later in his tenure, and maybe he did lead Disney down another internet blind alley in the form of Go.com, but he can be commended for seeing that AOL was, in terms of core value, worthless.

The bottom fell out of the DotCom bubble shortly thereafter. AOL Time Warner's stocks plunged, AOL itself became increasingly a non-issue. Yahoo!, a major player in the key search market, also suffered.

And then, came the internet's pimp. Google went from strength to strength whilst Yahoo! floundered. A bewildered and confused Microsoft continued futile attempts to leverage its Windows dominance to sell users on their own internet services. Users turned over and yawned.

And so it has been ever since. Yahoo! continues to flounder, now valued at roughly $22 a share. Microsoft, increasingly aware that it is propped up by Office and Windows and even these products are facing problems, is using money to expand rather than innovation. The company is too big, too widely spread and ultimately too IBM to do anything else.

Microsoft lacks a true creative visionary, never mind leader. It's cash-rich and has many global brands it's failing to leverage. Somewhat like the beleaguered Apple of the mid-90s. And the newly empowered CEO is looking outside to plug the holes in the business.

When Apple bought NeXT from Steve Jobs and co., they did not just move NeXT's resources into Apple. What was Apple was removed. In a startling reverse take over, funded by Apple, the Old Apple gave way to what has been called The New Apple, the second Jobsian Apple.

But here's the thing, there already was a new Apple. It was called NeXT. All Apple had done was make the new Apple, Apple. What was in it for NeXT? After all, they already had the new Apple. Well it was the word "Apple". Steve Jobs made it clear, Apple's main asset is its brand.

So Ballmer is looking to acquire Yahoo!, Microsoft has lumbered down a blind alley and needs guidance out and Yahoo! needs a back door into more users to compete with Google.

So what's going to happen? I'll give you a hint: say good bye to Yahoo! and Microsoft. Oh sure, the names will stay. But Yahoo-Microsoft will see which management team has the best leadership vision and follow it. For both Microsoft's products and those of both Yahoo! and Microsoft.

Meanwhile, we hear that Amazon has bought Audible. Apple would have been well-advised to stop this. Audible would have been a good by for them too, allowing them to sell Audiobooks on iTunes in a more direct manner. It's not a huge loss for Apple, but Amazon is rapidly spreading outwards into new realms. Someone needs to worry.

Hey, maybe they can use their inflated stock to form Amazon-
Apple Yahoo!-Microsoft Time Warner (AOL Time Warner is seeking to divest itself of the worthless AOL, hence their name would be dropped).

Jens Out