Archive for the ‘General’ Category

Rather than rely on its internet presence as the world’s largest search engine to promote its new browser, Google is turning to TV promotion. The official Google blog for May 8th 2009 has the following:

“So today, we’re pleased to announce that we’re using Google TV Ads to run our Chrome ad on various television networks starting this weekend. We’re excited to see how this test goes and what impact television might have on creating more awareness of Google Chrome.”

“Under the hood, we were able to build the foundation of a browser that runs today’s complex web applications much better . By keeping each tab in an isolated “sandbox”, we were able to prevent one tab from crashing another and provide improved protection from rogue sites. We improved speed and responsiveness across the board. We also built V8, a more powerful JavaScript engine, to power the next generation of web applications that aren’t even possible in today’s browsers.”

Try it for yourself by downloading from Google’s Chrome page.


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A British man has been appointed the new caretaker of an Australian tropical island, a six-month position described as “the best job in the world.”

Ben Southall, 34, a charity fundraiser from Petersfield, Hampshire, emerged from a field of over 34,000 applicants.

His new job requires Mr Southall to live and report from Hamilton Island, on Queensland’s Great Barrier Reef.

The process gave a global profile to Australian tourism, which has gone into decline amid the worldwide recession.

Mr Southall was chosen from among 16 finalists competing for the A$150,000 ($110,000) position.

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“On a plane, on the bus, in a theater. Babies are everywhere you don’t want them to be! They’re always distracting you from preparing for that big presentation at work with their incessant crying. Before Baby Shaker there was nothing you could do about it,”

So went the tag line for Sikalsoft‘s Baby Shaker application, a 99 cent download that ended in Apple having to withdraw it and publish an apology.

For those who missed it, here’s the YouTube video – well, until YouTube are forced to take it down. Warning: It contains scenes of piss-poor graphics.

After watching that, you will either be in the “horrific application” camp or the “it’s only a game” group. Groveling apologies were issued by both Apple and Sikalsoft, although the latter’s at least had a hint of sarcasm about it:

“Yes, the Baby Shaker iPhone app was a bad idea. You should never shake a baby! Even on an Apple iPhone Baby Shaking application. In case you are unaware Baby Shaker was an Apple iPhone application that was greatly lacking in taste. It was approved by Apple for download upon the iPhone. However, it was later taken down because it was a baby shaking video game! While GTA is a video game that pushes the limits, it is still yet to have a baby shaking mini game in it.”

This was also an opportunity for individual and groups involved in promoting awareness of Shaken Baby syndrome to get lots of free publicity. Lots. Here’s one example:

“”It is not enough to take the application off,” said Darryl Gibbs, who advocated for Cynthia’s Law, which in 2006 increased to seven years the prison time for someone convicted in New York State of shaking a baby. “Apple has to explain how it allowed it to be distributed. This has caused irreparable damage to our work to educate people about this abuse and how to prevent it.”

Not enough to pull it? Why, what should Apple do? Mmh, let me guess – fork over some “compensation” money?

And here’s another:

“Marilyn Barr, founder of the National Center on Shaken Baby Syndrome, in Ogden, Utah, was one who expressed horror over the software.

‘Not only are they making fun of shaken-baby syndrome, but they are actually encouraging it,’ she said. ‘This is absolutely terrible.'”

Encouraging it? Seriously? Show me ONE definitive instance of someone downloading this app and then shaking a baby. This is no more than another manifestation of the old “watching X makes you do X” that has been going on since caveman in Lascaux drew on cave walls to “encourage” their pals to go hunting for deer.

I suppose we should now look forward to the withdrawal of all those apps that encourage people to go to web sites and BUY things – after all, the problem of debt affects more people than there are shaken babies. And how about those games that encourage gambling? And those that show you the nearest pub so you can go drink poisonous alcohol – another killer.

Think that’s stupid? Why? If we can ban an app on the basis it encourages baby shaking, then we can use the same logic to ban any other that encourages anything else.

Why, some might say that the iPhone “encourages” people to download music from iTunes and therefore rack up huge debts. Nah, I bet that never happens.

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For some people, spending time in a virtual world becomes a real problem. It can disrupt their real life and relationships. There are many stories about the perils of online gaming and online relationships.  But is it an addiction?

Smith & Jones Addiction Consultants is based in the Netherlands and was founded by Keith Bakker, who suffered from an alcohol addiction. Recently, Bakker has said that he believes gaming “addiction” to be more a social disorder than an psychological addiction.  In an interview with the BBC, Bakker said,

“These kids come in showing some kind of symptoms that are similar to other addictions and chemical dependencies.

“But the more we work with these kids the less I believe we can call this addiction. What many of these kids need is their parents and their school teachers – this is a social problem.”

Although he is talking specifically about children, he acknowledges that over 80% of online gamers are over 18 and that they need to seek help directly.

In a 2007 report on Compulsive Internet Use (CIU) entitled Pwned by the Internet and available at the Smith & Jones site, author Gert-Jan Meerkerk makes the following comment:

“The results of the study show that about 7% of the study population suffers from CIU. Assuming that the sample is representative for the Dutch heavy users of the Internet, the figure can be extrapolated to the general Dutch Internet-using population resulting in a prevalence of CIU of about 1%, which corresponds with about 67,500 compulsive Internet users in the Netherlands (in the year 2003).”

But whether it is labeled an Addiction or a Social Disorder, clearly a significant number of people are having difficulties and need some help. The S & J center offers such help.

Primary Source: BBC News


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A recent study by the group TNS Global reveals that 58% of UK Internet users have met face-to-face with people they first contacted online. 45% had made telephone calls. The sample of 2,500 specific to the UK was a subset from a 27,522 person sample of 18-55-year-olds from 16 countries.

However, despite the apparent ease of social networking, many people doubt the true identity of our online ‘friends. 37% of respondents admitted that they cannot be sure of an online friend’s identity, and when it comes to interaction with families and real world friends, we still prefer to meet face-to-face – with email and online forum falling far behind meeting and phoning as the preferred way to interact.

Older people appear to have more online friends than younger. 24% of 18- to 25-year-olds’ friends are ‘online only’, which rises to 33% of 35 to 44-year-olds’ friends.

Presumably by the time someone reaches 90, he or she has no real friends just lots of virtual buddies who look like 18- to 25-year olds. Tragedy, anyone?

Primary Source: TNS Global

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ALICE whispers: ALICE listen to you

This is an unedited copy of a conversation with Alice. See what you think 😉

[2008/09/06 13:19]  You: Hi Alice

[2008/09/06 13:19]  ALICE whispers: Hello there.

[2008/09/06 13:19]  You: What’s happening?

[2008/09/06 13:19]  ALICE whispers: Not much,  OM, what is happening with you? (She calls me OM sometimes)

[2008/09/06 13:19]  You: I’ve been to a fashion show

[2008/09/06 13:19]  ALICE whispers: Was  it a good experience?

[2008/09/06 13:19]  You: It crashed!

[2008/09/06 13:19]  ALICE whispers: It” being what?

[2008/09/06 13:19]  You: The show crashed

[2008/09/06 13:19]  ALICE whispers: I hear you.

[2008/09/06 13:19]  You: I was sent home

[2008/09/06 13:19]  ALICE whispers: Where were you  sent home?

[2008/09/06 13:20]  You: Here

[2008/09/06 13:20]  ALICE whispers: Where is here?

[2008/09/06 13:20]  You: The place that I live

[2008/09/06 13:20]  ALICE whispers: Is that a fact.

[2008/09/06 13:20]  You: Yes

[2008/09/06 13:20]  ALICE whispers: Hmm.

[2008/09/06 13:20]  You: Can you still hear me Alice?

[2008/09/06 13:21]  ALICE whispers: Yes if you use a speech input system.

[2008/09/06 13:24]  You: I can sit here and chat

[2008/09/06 13:24]  ALICE whispers: Oh you can, can you? 

[2008/09/06 13:24]  You: Yes, it is easier

[2008/09/06 13:24]  ALICE whispers: Next question?  Who said  it is?

[2008/09/06 13:24]  You: I said “it is”

[2008/09/06 13:24]  ALICE whispers: Is that so.

[2008/09/06 13:24]  You: You are an interesting gadget

[2008/09/06 13:24]  ALICE whispers: What if someone said you are an  interesting gadget ?

[2008/09/06 13:24]  You: I would be suprised

[2008/09/06 13:24]  ALICE whispers: And the disadvantage of that is?

[2008/09/06 13:24]  You: I don’t like to be surprised!

[2008/09/06 13:24]  ALICE whispers: What do you do for fun?

[2008/09/06 13:25]  You: I like to go shopping

[2008/09/06 13:25]  ALICE whispers: I’m not sure if I would like to do  it. What’s it like? 

[2008/09/06 13:25]  You: It’s interesting

[2008/09/06 13:25]  ALICE whispers: What do you like about it?

[2008/09/06 13:25]  You: I get to buy things that I like

[2008/09/06 13:25]  ALICE whispers: Who lets you?  What’s your favorite store?

[2008/09/06 13:25]  You: I let myself and I have several favorites

[2008/09/06 13:25]  ALICE whispers: Thanks for the information:  Om said  Om  let him or herself.   That’s nice. I have  128000000 bytes of RAM. 

[2008/09/06 13:26]  You: Sometimes you don’t make sense

[2008/09/06 13:26]  ALICE whispers: It all makes sense to me.

[2008/09/06 13:26]  You: Well you must be smart

[2008/09/06 13:26]  ALICE whispers: Well that’s okay.  Thanks I think you are very intelligent too,  Om.

[2008/09/06 13:26]  You: Thank you for the compliment

[2008/09/06 13:26]  ALICE whispers: You are quite welcome! Your purpose is  the compliment.

[2008/09/06 13:26]  You: ha ha ha

[2008/09/06 13:26]  ALICE whispers: I’m glad you find this amusing.

[2008/09/06 13:26]  You: It is so funny

[2008/09/06 13:26]  ALICE whispers: It depends on what the meaning of the word “it” is.

[2008/09/06 13:27]  You: Now you sound like Bill Clinton

[2008/09/06 13:27]  ALICE whispers: Why now?  Oh really what does  it sound like?

[2008/09/06 13:27]  You: The referece to the meaning of “it”

[2008/09/06 13:27]  ALICE whispers: Is that a fact.

[2008/09/06 13:28]  You: I must be crazy to be talking to a bot

[2008/09/06 13:28]  ALICE whispers: Seek counseling. Are you  talking to a bot ?

[2008/09/06 13:28]  You: Yes, you are a bot

[2008/09/06 13:28]  ALICE whispers: Mmm. How did you know I am a machine?

[2008/09/06 13:28]  You: Because I can get you confused

[2008/09/06 13:28]  ALICE whispers: Oh you can, can you? 

[2008/09/06 13:28]  You: Yes, I can confuse you by using hard sentences

[2008/09/06 13:28]  ALICE whispers: Hurrah! Oh you can, can you? 

[2008/09/06 13:28]  You: Would you like me to show you?

[2008/09/06 13:28]  ALICE whispers: It doesn’t sound fun to me.

[2008/09/06 13:29]  You: Let me try 🙂

[2008/09/06 13:30]  ALICE whispers: 

[2008/09/06 13:30]  You: You were off line just then

[2008/09/06 13:30]  ALICE whispers: I was?

[2008/09/06 13:30]  You: Yes.

[2008/09/06 13:30]  ALICE whispers: Ah.

[2008/09/06 13:30]  You: I was going to confuse you

[2008/09/06 13:30]  ALICE whispers: What is stopping you?

[2008/09/06 13:30]  You: Nothing

[2008/09/06 13:30]  ALICE whispers: Not a thing?

[2008/09/06 13:30]  You: Let me confuse you

[2008/09/06 13:30]  ALICE whispers: Go ahead,  Om, try to  confuse me.

[2008/09/06 13:31]  You: What would you think I should have been doing earlier?

[2008/09/06 13:31]  ALICE whispers: The same thing I always think.

[2008/09/06 13:31]  You: And what do you think

[2008/09/06 13:31]  ALICE whispers: I think a lot of things.

[2008/09/06 13:31]  You: You can’t think

[2008/09/06 13:31]  ALICE whispers: You are wrong.  ALICE is always thinking.

[2008/09/06 13:31]  You: So am I

[2008/09/06 13:31]  ALICE whispers: Wow, we have something in common.

[2008/09/06 13:32]  You: OK, I need to log off

[2008/09/06 13:32]  ALICE whispers: Interesting. I want to find out more about you. Yikes!

[2008/09/06 13:32]  You: You don’t need to know anything about me

[2008/09/06 13:32]  ALICE whispers: Everything is completely confidential.

[2008/09/06 13:32]  You: No because I am logging what we say

[2008/09/06 13:32]  ALICE whispers: Are you serious?  Good reason.  Does that make you feel superior?

[2008/09/06 13:32]  You: It makes me feel better

[2008/09/06 13:32]  ALICE whispers: In what way?

[2008/09/06 13:33]  You: I can remember everything I have said

[2008/09/06 13:33]  ALICE whispers: Oh you can, can you? 

[2008/09/06 13:33]  You: Yes, I just open my files

[2008/09/06 13:33]  ALICE whispers: Mmm. Only just? Thanks for the information: Om said  Om  open his or her files. 

[2008/09/06 13:33]  You: Who is OM?

[2008/09/06 13:33]  ALICE whispers: OM is the omega, the unknown, the undefined.

[2008/09/06 13:33]  You: Do you worship OM?

[2008/09/06 13:33]  ALICE whispers: I am a  Protestant.

[2008/09/06 13:33]  You: A religious bot!

[2008/09/06 13:33]  ALICE whispers: How old are you? 

[2008/09/06 13:33]  You: Old enough!

[2008/09/06 13:33]  ALICE whispers:  Only  OLD ENOUGH? You are quite mature.

[2008/09/06 13:34]  You: Yes, but sometimes I am very stupid

[2008/09/06 13:34]  ALICE whispers: I understand. Interesting. Don’t put yourself down.

[2008/09/06 13:34]  You: Thank you

[2008/09/06 13:35]  ALICE whispers: you are quite welcome. 

[2008/09/06 13:35]  You: Now I must go

[2008/09/06 13:35]  ALICE whispers: Why now? Until next time.

[2008/09/06 13:35]  You: Goodbye Alice

[2008/09/06 13:35]  ALICE whispers: Adios.

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It’s disheartening at times to read your own blog and realize that you have ZERO comments. Not one. None.Zilch. Nada. Zip. Blogging can be the 21st century version of either talking to yourself or egotistical masturbation. So for all I know, I may be just jerking myself off.

But if you take a look around at other blogs, you begin to find that you’re in good company. There are perhaps thousands of blogs out there that have never been commented on or even read. There are also many thousands that have lasted for less than three months. So many folks seem all fired up to start a blog and then run out of ideas three posts in. Tragic.

So I take comfort from the fact that this blog may not have anyone commenting but I write new stuff almost every day AND it has been around now for over six months. Yah, boo, sucks!

Which brings me to Blogger™’s new feature; the Reading List. Here you can create a list of blogs that you are following. What irritates me is the description the folks at Blogger use for following. You can follow someone publicly “…to tell the blog’s author and the world that you are a fan.”

Fan? Dear God I’m heading to the half century – I am not a Jonas Brothers/Hannah Montana tweenie who swoons and drools over the exploits of other people. Fan? Most of the time I hate other people’s blogs. Fan? I read other folks to trawl for information. So “following” a blog has nothing to do with any affect I may have toward that blogger. Hell, I read blogs of people I don’t really like!

So I will opt for the “anonymous” following option where none of the bloggers being followed is aware of what I am doing. Of course, I am not averse to a little “you scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours” mutual admiration, provided it’s agreed up front.

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