Thursday, May 29, 2008

The start of Google rebranding

Have you found yourself tiring of the Google brand? I experienced this a couple of years ago and although I often use Google, I'm also not tied to it and regularly use Yahoo and to a lesser extent Ask, Live, Gigablast, Clusty and a few others as well.

To prevent users get bored with a few coloured letters and a grey button, Google often runs "doodles" which correlate to certain events during the year. I'm sure most users will have seen a few.

However it appears Google has taken a big leap today with the use of a new site icon (the one you see in the address bar) - and perhaps more changes will follow?


Sunday, May 25, 2008

Wikihow: advice for all

I've recently become rather impressed with the website Wikihow. It is based upon the simple idea that people from all over the internet can write advice for other people in the form of "how to" manuals. There are loads of excellent categories and the search function reveals all kinds of gems. For example try "write a book".

Some key points to remember are: 1) As the content is not necessarily from experts, not all the advice is good (some is even inaccurate or damaging) and 2) there may be more than one "Wikihow" that deals with a topic you are interested in from different authors.


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Thursday, May 22, 2008

Fun mysteries to solve

If you've ever wanted to try your hand at being a master detective, there is now an easy way to test your deductive powers and logical skills online. Simply head over to Mystery Net and there you can find daily and monthly mysteries, community mysteries and even some famous fictional mysteries to enjoy (under the mystery greats heading). Now if only someone could solve my mystery of where all my time seems to go lately! Until next time, happy solving!


Sunday, May 18, 2008

Original news in blogs and the dilemmas

When trawling across the "blogosphere" the majority of blogs that go beyond providing a daily diary of personal trivia tend to get their information from the mainstream news media such as the BBC. They then add a comment, spin or other fact, repost it and the world comes and reads it. Sites such as Digg and Slashdot have basically grown around this model.

The problem however seems to be that the end result is a concentration of power in few hands. When blogging began it was a revolution and a few eminent bloggers such as Iain Dale grew very popular this way. Increasingly now however blogs are simply just serving as link sites to media groups with the resources to research news.

How can this process be challenged? Should bloggers all try and find their own news? Perhaps the real role for bloggers is helping the world determine what is important rather than it all being controlled by the mass media?

One thing is clear though - it is still very hard for bloggers to be heard.


Thursday, May 15, 2008

The Hunger Site benefits Americans first.

As regular readers will know, I think The Hunger Site is an excellent website. It enables people to click on a link, view some adverts and the revenue generated goes towards charitable causes. It's a brilliant idea. However one of the problems I have with it (and the other charity causes the site operates) is that a large proportion of the donations go towards US poverty - US charities get the money, US children get the books, US animal welfare centres get the financing, US women get breast cancer mammograms. Now obviously poverty anywhere can be a very devastating force, however when I click I want my money to go to those most in need - people starving in Africa and Asia, books to go to schools where there are no resources available, medical help for those who otherwise wouldn't have access.

This is not because I am against Americans getting aid - of course not - I just believe that when a website makes money from people all over the world - the money should be spent on the most pressing global causes first and foremost. Otherwise why shouldn't a percentage go towards British poverty and British charities or our children getting new books? Otherwise surely it is unfair and not charitable after all?

What do you think? Should The Hunger Site be forced to give its money to the most deserving? Is it fair the US gets a proportion of all donations when it is the world's largest economy?

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Sunday, May 11, 2008

Boris as mayor

I know it is early in his premiership, but I have been very impressed with the actions of Boris Johnson since he has come into office. Already he has organised a team to run an audit regarding Ken Livingstone's expenses, instituted a ban of alcohol on public transport, held a meeting with the heads of the local boroughs and unlike most politicians has not backed down from his manifesto pledges, but reiterated them. I think therefore it only remains for Unlimited Jargon to wish Boris good luck in fulfilling his pledges and making London better.


Thursday, May 08, 2008

Linux dependencies make me hurt

In Windows when you decide to install something new, you look at the box/case/website of the software and read the system requirements, and if you've got those then 99% of the time things go smoothly when doing an installation.

However every time I try to install something on my Linux machine I get a dependency error - one or numerous small files are missing - and they have to be installed before I can add in the software I've been trying to get to use.

Unfortunately what the Linux advocates don't tell you is that because of the differing release schedules and different rates of development every program requires a different version of the programs which the program I am trying to install is dependent on.

If that is unclear let me also add that if you upgrade (or downgrade) the dependency program so that the software you are trying to install will work, this then registers to all the existing software on your computer using that dependency that it is no longer installed! GAH!

So basically to install one new program, I need to upgrade my entire operating system. It is because of issues like this that Linux is unnecessarily difficult to live with. Perhaps some clever genius could come up with a solution and save all Linux users a lot of time and stress!


Sunday, May 04, 2008

Taking Liberties on tv

The film "Taking Liberties" will be broadcast on More 4 this Tuesday at 10pm. I recommend it as essential viewing for anyone who needs a little convincing on why civil liberties matter.

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Thursday, May 01, 2008

Bush requests food aid from Congress

The US president has requested an increase in food aid to assist nations currently feeling the squeeze of high food prices. This is a most welcome, though somewhat unexpected move. Of course it may well be a publicity stunt by Bush - an attempt to repair the tarnished US image following its aggressive and unpopular foreign policy during his term in office - he certainly won't be around when the other candidates have to deal with the economic consequences and it's not an easy proposal for Congress to decline.

Nonetheless perhaps this shows that despite US belligerence and militarism they are genuinely interested in helping the African people and it's at times like this my respect for America increases. Good job!