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Sunday, 26 October 2003

Sony Ericsson T610 Usability, Redux

Phil Gyford on the T610's calendar:

However, now winter’s arrived I’ve noticed a little problem. This morning I went to set the T610 to cope with the end of British Summer Time. I went to Settings > Time and date > Advanced > Daylight-saving, and selected “Wintertime”. The time went back an hour and all was well.
Until I looked at the calendar. All the appointments had shifted forward an hour. The 12.41pm train from Bournemouth to London was now marked as leaving at 1.41pm. Once back home I synced everything. Twice. No effect. I switched the phone back to British Summer Time. No effect. So I’m stumped. The Palm and iCal both still list the correct times, thankfully. If I create a new appointment in iCal it gets transferred to the phone OK — only events created previously seem affected. [more]

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Sony Ericsson P900

Mobile Burn reviews the Sony Ericsson P900:

So, what do I think of the P900? I think it is a damn fine machine, just as the P800 was. While most all of the changes made to the P900 have been incremental, rather than outright new features (the ability to create video clips being a noteworthy exception), the sum total of the effort offers significantly more refined functionality than the P800 did. I'm not sure if it is worth the upgrade for existing P800 users on a logical level, but knowing as many P800 owners as I do, I'm sure that it is more than worth it on a more emotional level, what with the better outward looks, and slightly reduced weight and such things. [review]

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Saturday, 25 October 2003

Safari 1.1 and PowerBook Woe

Apparently Safari 1.1 is out for/in Panther, but isn't available for download yet if you're using 10.2 (Jaguar).

It might come out for download after the weekend, I suppose.

In other news, I got home from work yesterday, checked my mail and noticed that something about the way my right wrist was sitting on the laptop wasn't quite right.

I'm just assuming--because of its placement--that the crack is due to me using the trackpad. The thing is (paint flecks withstanding), I take very good care of my laptop. I love this laptop. I would be mortified if anything were to happen to it. I do not, for example, lean on it or, say, hit it with a hammer where the CDRW/DVD drive is.

Apple, unsurprisingly, isn't sure whether this is a warranty problem covered by AppleCare or not. That's not even taking into account the fact that if you press the case near the power button at the top right, it's just as if you've pressed it - the "Are you sure you want to shut down your computer now?" dialog pops up.

Because Apple aren't sure whether this is covered by warranty or not, I have to lug this to an Apple Authorised Service Provider, ask them nicely to see if they think it's covered and then get it fixed. Or pay for it.

Meanwhile, my home contents insurance is calling me back on Monday just in case this isn't covered.

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Wednesday, 15 October 2003

Pirates of the British TV Series: The curse of the Jack Davenport

US version of Coupling found to be crap. I call trout.

This isn't the first time something like this has happened to the US remake of a British show starring the floppily-haired-man.

(Aside: Is it just me, or is Richard Coyle doing the voiceover work for the new Microsoft Windows Server 2003 advert on TV? The one with the Active Directory rollout?)

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Monday, 13 October 2003

Open-Access Journal Launches

Via Reuters, new open-access biology journal to launch today:

PLoS Biology is the premier open-access journal published by the Public Library of Science.
All works published in the PLoS Biology are open access. Everything is immediately available without cost to anyone, anywhere — to read, download, redistribute, include in databases, and otherwise use — subject only to the condition that the original authorship is properly attributed. Copyright is retained by the author. For more information, please read the PLoS Open-Access License. [more]

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The ASA and email marketing

Via The Society for Computers and Law, news of an ASA ruling concerning e-mail marketing:

The Training Guild (TTG), a provider of seminar and training services, bought a list of e-mail addresses which it understood were all business addresses. However, the list contained a private e-mail address and the recipient complained. [more, SCL and ASA]

A list of previous rulings relating to e-mail marketing is available here.

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Friday, 10 October 2003

The same spurts of fire

The Independent on violence in films inevitably covers violent videogames:

A hundred years later, our children, my children, watch another kind of screen, the TV screen, and play computer games on it. They are games of combat. You can stop them playing these games in your house, but then they play them at their friends' houses. They are everywhere. Some people claim that they improve and heighten children's instincts and their ability to solve puzzles. Many people fear that they may give children the notion that violence is a game, and one free from damage or hurt.
In recent years, in Britain and America, children, or people below an age of legal responsibility, have killed other children. In some cases they killed many children. With guns they found in their parents' rooms. With guns that were so like the guns in video games that they made the same noises and gave the same spurts of fire, and the victim tumbled down in just the same way. [David Thomson]

I'll just highlight one sentence: with guns that were so like the guns in video games that they made the same noises and gave the same spurts of fire, and the victim tumbled down in just the same way before throwing phrases such as "well researched" or "opinion masquerading as fact" into the mix.

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Wednesday, 08 October 2003

Microsoft's Longhorn

You may've noticed a hubub today, but Infoworld has ">reported Microsoft's announcement that Longhorn will feature the following technologies - Aero (3D UI); Avalon (graphics API); Indigo (web-services, e.g. .NET technologies); WinFS (new filesystem that borrows from SQL Server); IM, P2P and Speech APIs; Next-Generation Secure Computing Base (Palladium code); integrated workflow; rights management; .NET framework.

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VeriSign Cares

No, really, they do. On SiteFinder (of course):

ICANN committee member Ken Silva, vice president of networks and security at VeriSign, questioned if some of Schairer's concerns with Site Finder related to the security and stability focus of the ICANN meeting. "Is a 10 percent increase in spam a stability or security issue?" Silva asked. "Or is it an inconvenience to a small number of users?" [Infoworld]

Ooh, let me think about this for a while. Bitter? Angry? Me? Course not.

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Tuesday, 07 October 2003

The Direct Marketing Association (UK)

Tom wants to know (at least, he does in his linklog) if we can do in the UK what Dave Barry did [Miami Herald, Slashdot] in America. Far be it for me to suggest doing anything untoward, but a little simple research produces the Direct Marketing Association (UK) Ltd. In their own words, they are:

Europe's largest trade association in the marketing and communications sector. We were established in 1992, following the merger of various like-minded trade bodies, to form a single voice to protect the UK direct marketing industry from legislative threats and to promote its ongoing development. This is reflected in our mission statement: "To maximise value for our members, whilst maintaining and enhancing business and consumers' trust and confidence in the direct marketing industry" [DMA Background]

I feel bound to point out that the DMA operates a few services that are of interest (and, probably, use) to consumers which are listed on the consumer page. Whether or not you regard yourself as a consumer we'll leave to one side, but it's worth visiting just to sign up for the TPS (Telephone Preference Service, the UK's version of the Do Not Call Registry, and that's been around much longer), the MPS (Mailing Preference Service, TPS for mail - there's also a Baby MPS for baby-related mailings), the FPS (Fax Preference Service, likewise for facsimilies) and the E-MPS (Email Preference Service, likewise for email). It's probably worth signing up for each and every one of the above as is applicable unless, of course, you're more paranoid than most.

If you are going to contact them, please bear in mind the above services, don't do anything silly, and let it be on your head. You can find their contact details here.

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Monday, 06 October 2003

Digital TV Usability

As part of a UK government push to switch consumers over to digital television (whether terrestrial, satellite or cable), the DTI in association with The Generics Group produced a report on usability and accessible design. The report found that:

  • current designs make digital TV equipment more difficult to use than existing analogue equipment;
  • poor design and "non-intuitive" systems are the greatest barriers to using digital TV; and
  • 7.1% of the population (around 2 million people) would be unable to use on of today's set top boxes for simple everyday viewing, compared to only 2.7% with analogue TV.

The government's press release highlighted three "straightforward recommendations to address the challenges of accessibility" that could be put into place now:

  • making purchasing easier, including making remote controls visible at point of sale;
  • making instruction books and installation guides easier to understand; and
  • agreeing common design principles so that equipment is more intuitive to use.

The report and associated press releases are available here in PDF format.

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GSM in Iraq

The war for CDMA in Iraq has been won--by GSM. Three licences have been awarded [BBC News] to rebuild the mobile comms infrastructure in Iraq: to Orascom Telecom, Asia Cell and Atheer Tel. All three will be providing GSM-based networks.

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Friday, 03 October 2003

New game, Mr. Anderson?

Matrix alternate reality game, a la Microsoft/WB's Artificial Intelligence game, archived here. Start here, go here and here for help.

I can't play this time, but I can damn well watch. Oh, and they're using Movable Type (see if you can find it).

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