Numerous commitments have meant fewer updates on OpenBytes.  Today, I am collecting a few articles of interest which will hopefully be at least touched upon on the next TechBytes show.

As we march into 2011, amid the noise and the haste, one thing is clear – Android is everywhere, whilst the year of the Linux desktop is hoped for by many users already switched from a Microsoft dependency, Linux has been quietly spreading onto many other devices, devices which have been taken for granted because they are shown to perform time and time again, offering the end user a solid, reliable experience.

A personal testament to the functionality is shown to me now, as I write this article sitting in Luton train station on a device no bigger than a box of cigarettes.

Enough Linux/Android advocacy though, on with todays articles.

Google “censors” Bittorrent?

It’s being reported that Google is now censoring certain words which allegedly pertain to unlawful file sharing.

Before the internet world unites under a banner of unfairness and anti-censorship, let’s actually just take a step back for a minute and consider what Google is, how this censorship is implemented and why it really isn’t that big a deal.

The total sum of what Google has allegedly done is no longer autocomplete/predict the word torrent or any word which it has deemed to be associated with unlawful file sharing.  It’s not saying all Bittorrent searches are unlawful it’s merely removing the word from its predictive feature.  Wow.  Search results remain unaffected once return has been pressed and I’d suggest that for any user that doesn’t know what Bittorrent is, complaining about its absence is rather pointless.

I think many people forget, Google offers a service.  It’s not a government, it’s not a charity and it’s certainly allowed to make its own decisions.  If users don’t like that then there’s always the option to go elsewhere.   Will Goggles actions lead onto a more aggressive form of censorship in the future? Who knows, but I’d suggest the rumblings of its current actions are little more than a storm in a tea-cup.

It should also be noted that at time of writing this, I cannot see anything being censored – everything seems fine.  Its being suggested that the changes will be occurring worldwide over the next few days.  I will have to wait and see.

ACS:Law – Heroes of “speculative invoicing”?

There has been numerous reports on the attempts by ACS:Law to drop its 26 outstanding cases whilst they are still under scrutiny by Judge Birss.  Andrew Crossley appears to have more than a few issues to deal with after perusing what many call “speculative invoicing” in respect of alleged unlawful file sharing.  Firstly he has to contend with a reported group action of harassment in respect of the letters he sent out to those alleged to be sharing copyrighted material, secondly he has Judge Birss scrutinizing the cases he is trying to drop, making some rather damning comments on how both Andrew Crossley and Media-cat have conducted these cases.  Next he has the information commissioner looking at the ACS:Law email leak, that whilst Mr Crossley claims was as a result of hacking, its reported that whilst a Ddos attack brought his site down, it was incompetence of an admin that exposed the ACS:law emails to the world.  All this and Mr Crossley has to yet again answer to the SRA at a later date as a result of numerous complaints he has received.   Let’s not also forget any other cases that may be brought against him by disgruntled recipients of his letter campaign.

Some say the SRA will ban him from practicing law, come his disciplinary tribunal.   I personally believe it won’t matter as id be very surprised if he could attract clients after this little lot.

So why could ACS:law be heroes? Well if judge Birss comments stand, then I think Mr Crossley has not only destroyed any chance that IP data alone is evidence enough to proceed with a file sharing case, but the whole practice of speculative invoicing would lose any chance of being seen as viable in the future.

There are so many articles on this and the story is far from over, one link which stands out is a timeline of events which you can read here.

PSN on Android

I’ve been looking at Sony’s Playstation app for a couple of weeks now and for those of you with a PSP or Playstation, it may be of interest.  Since it’s in an early version, the features it currently offers are run of the mill, you can view your PSN profile, see your friends list whilst also checking out the latest Playstation news (albeit from an official source).   Initial impressions have been good, although I’m not yet sure of a benefit of being able to view my gamer profile “on the go” except to show my gaming prowess to people who probably wouldn’t be very interested.

You can also view the Playstation game catalogue although again this comes from an official source, so don’t expect any damning reviews of any rotten tomatoes.

Quite why a user would not merely be happy with a shortcut in their browser to access this information does beg the question if it really does require an independent app, but then not installing it would probably make you feel less of the community and “any real ps user would have this on their phone”😉

I would hope that Sony extend the functionality of this app in the future.  Theres plenty of scope to say have extra trophy awards with some form of phone/console integration.  – That though will remain to be seen and rightly or wrongly the Playstation app is shamelessly on my Android phone.

Goblin – bytes4free@googlemail.com / TwitterIdenti.ca

You can also contact me on Skype: tim.openbytes

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