TechBytes Audiocast – Episode 46 – 15/05/11 – “Lady Gaga, Doctor Who, Skype, Google and much more!”

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Intro music: “I fought the troll” by Tom Smith.  You can find more of his work here.

Hosts: Tim (OpenBytes) Roy (Techrights) Gordon (ThistleWeb) Rusty (TheShowThatSux)

Rusty is here again for episode 46, hot on the heels of 45 which was recorded with myself and Roy on Saturday.

Today’s topics covered:

* Skype – We get Rusty’s take on the purchase, with his usual energetic input!

* Lady Gaga gets 10m Twitter followers – Two of them are not Rusty or Tim… Who is Lady Gaga anyway? ;)

* Google Music – Rusty brings a story to the attention of TechBytes about the Google music service.

* Copyrights, licencing fees & Dr Who – A look at the BBC and its overseas marketing strategy.

Gordon was unavailable for the first part but managed to get back after one of the music breaks peppered throughout the show.  – All this and much more from the TechBytes team – the heartthrob Boyband of the Gnu/Linux/FOSS World!

You can download the latest episode here.


If you are new to this blog (or have not yet read it) please take time to view the OpenBytes statement, here.

Skype: tim.openbytes
I can also be found in #techrights, #techbytes on

“Bricking it” – WP7 and its continuing tale of woe.

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We now look at the latest story in “Carry on SmartPhone”[1]

If lackluster sales (reportedly) and missing features were not enough to have most overlooking the Windows Phone 7, then there is a new player in town.

It is reported that certain models of Samsung WP7 phones are being bricked by the “update to prepare for a update”…update (I hope you follow that!)

Whilst I find the physical Windows 7 Phone about as exciting or innovative as Mayleen Klass,  it certainly does make an interesting tale of woe to follow, especially since when the first details of the thing emerged, I predicted a flop…so far I’m proving right am I not?

Mary Jo Foley is hardly showering praise on it either:

My biggest qualm about buying a WP7, as I stated last fall, was that the device — in spite of the “7″ in its branding — is a version 1 product. Four-plus months after the phones began shipping, Microsoft is getting around to releasing its first updates for them. There are two “major” updates slated for calendar 2011 for the devices — “NoDo” and “Mango.” As Windows Phone Secrets author Paul Thurrott said, if the first update is any indication, I don’t have a lot of faith in what’s going to happen with the later ones.

Source: ZDNet

Dr Roy Schestowitz of Techrights says (in respect of WP7):

At the moment, it’s somewhat of a joke almost comparable with the KIN. But with so much money spent on advertising it may be hard to notice that advocacy of the platform is largely fake.


And I’d agree.

Even the BBC couldn’t manage to get a positive angle on Microsoft’s woes, with its best effort being:

The update problem comes at a bad time for Microsoft, as it attempts to grow its share of the lucrative smartphone market.


And to end on a lighter note (whilst on the subject of the BBC) It was reported by them (earlier this month) that:

Mr Lees told the BBC’s Rory Cellan-Jones that compatibility with Microsoft’s Xbox and Internet Explorer web browsing software will give their phones an advantage.


So if we can get over the mission critical must have Xbox integration – please note sarcasm here. Whats this about Internet Explorer web browsing that will give WP7 phones an advantage?  What advantage?  What will it do that Android or Apple users can’t already achieve?  Certainly it won’t be cut and paste, WP7 is just catching up with that one.  What about tethering? Nope I think they are slow out of the gate with that one too.  So come on Microsoft advocates, whats this advantage?

Keeping on the subject of Microsoft advocates and Windows Phone 7, after giving parties concerned more than a fair amount of time to respond properly to my requests for disclosure/clarity, I will revealing shortly one of the advocates of Windows Phone 7, where we will ask the question: Who exactly is “advocating” Microsoft products?

The whole WP7 would be very comical if it was not for the fact that there are innocent users parting with cash for these products.  Just like the Kin before it there are some who buy into the PR, the advertising, the “advocacy” and end up getting burnt. To those people, theyhave my pity.


[1] The “carry on” films were a series of UK comedy films.  You can read the Wikipedia entry here.

Goblin – /

You can also contact me on Skype: tim.openbytes

If you are new to this blog (or have not yet read it) please take time to view the OpenBytes statement, here.

Lost in the post? – Hotmail goes missing.

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Over the Christmas period, many people felt let down by the numerous postal and parcel services in the UK.  To be fair though, in addition to it being a very busy period, the UK had been covered in a blanket of snow, which whilst it was predicted, as it always the case, the UK comes to a grinding halt almost before the first flake has hit the ground.

Microsoft (and its Hotmail service)  seems to be having similar problems, but unlike the UK where your post merely fails to get to you on time, this is more like its delivered to your house, then someone nicks it after its been read.  Let me explain:

Its being reported that some Hotmail users are complaining that their Hotmail has disappeared from their inbox.  As if people hadn’t already lost a little faith in cloud storage and Microsoft products (after Kin Studio is announced by Verizon to be shuting down) then disappearing mail may very be the final straw to have them looking to other providers.

The BBC reports that:

Users around the world say e-mails are missing from their inbox and from other folders within their Hotmail accounts……A spokeswoman for Microsoft said that the issue of missing e-mails was not a widespread problem.

So I suppose all is  ok then?  The majority of people won’t suffer any problems and that statement will appease the few “lucky” people it does?  I am sure the victims of whatever is at play here will merely put on a smile and think “Damn my rotten luck, at least though everyone else is ok

I wonder who/what Microsoft will blame this time? I wonder how isolated this really is?  The BBC (source for this article) doesn’t go into too much depth on this subject and we can probably expect the same few lines from Click, if it even gets a mention at all – afterall this is the BBC and the subject is Microsoft product shortcomings.

There are some other links coming in at time of writing:

Goblin – /

You can also contact me on Skype: tim.openbytes

If you are new to this blog (or have not yet read it) please take time to view the OpenBytes statement, here.

TechBytes Audiocast – Episode 18 – 11/12/10

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Intro music: “I fought the troll” by Tom Smith.  You can find more of his work here.

Hosts: Tim (OpenBytes) Roy (Techrights) Gordon (Thistleweb)

Featured Track: “Devil’s Best Dress” by Cord Lund

A diverse range of topics covered today, with certainly a copyright theme to them.

We talk about Chrome OS with mention to branding, Ubuntu and Fedora.  I also make reference to a very good article I had read which can be found here:

We move on to the subject of copyright with mention of ACS:Law’s latest trip out to court and how that ended, then move onto issues surrounding the LOIC and how as I warned months ago people involved with DDOS attacks could find themselves falling foul of a criminal offense.  I ask the question, if a chap who calls himself Goblin (me) and wears a cowboy hat can tell you that after a couple of seconds on Google, surely getting involved with ddos attacks is not what you want to be involved with.

Gordon also talks further on RightHaven and the recent press it has attracted.

Of course it appears the BBC are exempt from the Computer Misuse Act and we remind ourselves about the botnet which was “in the public interest” which seemed to excuse them.  Double standards?  You decide!

BBCclick is on fine form and we highlight how their comment implying Wikileaks were behind ddos attacks had to be corrected by a viewer.

Microsoft is brought up and whilst it is still being tight-lipped on how many WP7 sales it’s made, we look at advocacy in general and how it appears that advocacy for Microsoft products only comes as a result of gifts and enticements.  We mention the embarrassingly bad Windows 7 party adverts and mention that people host Linux parties without the need of gifts.

We briefly talk about why we advocate Linux/free software and then Gordon has an appeal to make to listeners.

Roy introduces our closing featured track, which we all hope you enjoy.

Techrights hosts the show currently, complete with show notes by Dr Roy Schestowitz.

Goblin – /

You can also contact me on Skype: tim.openbytes

If you are new to this blog (or have not yet read it) please take time to view the OpenBytes statement, here.

Andrew Marr – his thoughts on citizen journalism? (Bald bloggers beware!!)

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This article is a response to Andrew Marr’s recent comments at the Cheltenham Literature Festival.

The Telegraph reports that Andrew Marr a BBC Political Presenter has had some rather strong words about bloggers and citizen journalism as a whole, lets examine some of those:

A lot of bloggers seem to be socially inadequate, pimpled, single, slightly seedy, bald, cauliflower-nosed, young men sitting in their mother’s basements and ranting. They are very angry people.


OK – the country is full of very angry people. Many of us are angry people at times. Some of us are angry and drunk. But the so-called citizen journalism is the spewings and rantings of very drunk people late at night.

Source: The Telegraph

So now you probably see why I (and probably any other writer) would be offended.  Ironically though, this rant from Andrew Marr and in particular the comment of rantings of very drunk people late at night” to me is more befitting of his own comments rather than the citizen journalists I read.

socially inadequate, pimpled, single, slightly seedy, bald, cauliflower-nosed” – of course many people could take offense at that remark (and Mr Marr, please check my profile to see like most, I do not fit into your stereotype)  I think Mr Marr needs to be very careful when he insults, lest his own “faults” get highlighted…thats quite an aggressive example of a receding hair-line on his photo and I don’t think it will be long before he will be fitting the bald criteria himself.

Talking of inadequate, I would like to ask of Mr Marr, is your doctorate studied or was it honorary from Staffordshire University? Mr Marr should maybe also take a look at the 2009 State of the Blogosphere which doesn’t really have any resemblance to Mr Marr’s stereotypes of bloggers.  Whilst on the subject of inadequate, lets not forget past critism that Mr Marr has, where his questioning style was refered to as “haphazard and clumsily phrased” you can read more about that here.

Terrible things are said on line because they are anonymous. People say things on line that they wouldn’t dream of saying in person.

Source: The Telegraph

Whereas he insults people under his own name?  Ok.  I’m pleased to see then like me he stands behind his words and will take responsibility for his actions and I’m sure theres a rule somewhere which says its ok to offend people if you use your real name.!?!?

Am I angry? – I don’t think so, I just resent the implication that I’m bald by a man whose hair is receding far quicker than mine.

The so-called “citizen journalists” will never offer a real replacement to newspapers and television news

Source: The Telegraph

Really Mr Marr?  Maybe he should consider that many people perceive the papers and off the shelf press to be far too generic and bland to be that interesting, maybe the average reader actually WANTS to read the news with a personal opinion, maybe that’s why news sales are down and even the free papers around the stations I pass through, can’t seem to give away their wares for free.  There is a need to have generic news, but if by “angry” he means that personal feeling and emotion should be absent from journalism, then I’d suggest the future of mainstream press will be 140 character statements on Twitter.   I put it to you that the vast majority of those who consume news on the net, enjoy the personal view and emotion displayed in a citizens way of reporting.

Since Mr Marr has obviously given this subject alot of thought, why doesn’t he comment on the various trials that have been conducted into paid for news on the net?  After all Mr Marr thinks he knows whats best, so I’m sure he will be able to tell us how successful those trials have been:

I am spending a lot of money on my iTunes account, I am already buying journalism on line, I am buying information on line, I am buying books on line……..Even if you are not going it, your children and your grandchildren will be doing it.

Buying journalism online?  Oh dear Mr Marr, maybe you haven’t learnt about the free news, RSS feeds and even Twitter announcements?  I thought being a journalist meant you kept on top on the current tech?  Drop me an email, I’ll bring you up to speed and save you some money.

“young men sitting in their mother’s basements” – Well I’m not young, I am married and haven’t lived with my parents in the last 20 ish years (and they never had a basement when I did).  I’ll skip over that childish name calling of his, since it’s a stereotype that we see used often when people really don’t have anything intelligent to argue with.

Mr Marr, I suggest you consider that the day of the citizen being led blindly by the press is over.  There is certainly a demand for mainstream news, but don’t ever think that the citizen journalist is not a big player.  Remember we were the ones posting in Usenet when you mainstream journalists had only started using computers as word processors, you “mainstream” journalists jumped on the bandwagon of the Net long after us “citizen writers” had already established ourselves.  If the future of the press is online, remember whose playground it is and even now just hours after the Telegraph wrote that story, you can start to see how many people you have insulted with your thoughtless remarks.

I find my suspicious mind telling me that maybe Andrew Marr was after a little publicity and thought this was the best way to do it.  If that’s the case, well done and I hope he is pleased with the coverage the citizen journalist is giving him.  I also get the feeling that Mr Marr might see a danger to his own future career as more people stop listening to what is force fed to them and want a more “real” view, one which I add is found in the realm of the blogger.

Can a “bald, basement dwelling” blogger please tell me, is there a strange planetary alignment at the moment affecting people in the public eye? First we had Cherie Blair and Hilary Clinton saving the developing world with mobile phones and now we have a receding BBC presenter suggesting bloggers are mostly bald.  What’s going on here?

Since Mr Marr thinks its fine to engage in stereotypes, I’ll end in one of my own :

It seems to me when they talk in public, Political Presenters from the BBC tend to engage mouth then brain.

Goblin –

If you are new to this blog (or have not yet read it) please take time to view the OpenBytes statement, here.

Microsoft to charge UK TV License payers twice?

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You may be a UK license payer, but that means nothing to Microsoft. (IMO)

Xbox 360 owners who were hoping for a BBC iPlayer experience may have to hold off a little longer (or maybe even for good).

In my opinion the following comment made allegedly by a source close to the BBC shows exactly how Microsoft likes to operate.  How much money can it make out of a product?  As much as people will blindly shell out! (IMO)

Microsoft only wants to offer its users access to platforms it can charge for as this is the model it is pursuing. It wants to ensure that only those paying for Xbox Live Gold accounts can access its additional content services and even then there is usually a charge on top to get access to those. For example, to access the Sky Player on Xbox, you have to pay for a Gold subscription as well as a Sky subscription,

I think this type of attitude highlights perfectly why the proprietary model is so restrictive.  We see a menu of options that you can have with Windows 7 (at a price of course) and in my opinion if Microsoft’s dream of becoming the sole entertainment supplier in your home came to fruition, you could expect more of the above.  It doesnt matter if its MSoffice, Windows 7 or Xbox 360 theres always something to spend money on.

You can read the article here:

The BBC allegedly went on to say:

The BBC cannot charge the British public for access to the iPlayer as it is already included in the licence fee

Maybe not, but in my opinion Microsoft will be more than happy to.  So what do Nintendo and Sony do?  Well, they offer the iPlayer service for free on their respective consoles.

It could be said (and its my opinion) that Microsoft never really grasped the online TV market.  Since ITV and Channel 4 both dumped Silverlight, that must have been a cutting blow to them, Microsoft didn’t even seem to see the potential in the Bluray, opting instead for the HDvd and then getting burnt when it lost to Bluray.  Microsoft mainstay in the home?  I don’t think so.

Goblin –

File Sharers spend more! – Or so quotes the BBC

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The BBC is reporting that the results of a survey show that file sharers on average spend £77 compared to those who don’t whose spending comes in at £44.

People who download music illegally also spend an average of £77 a year buying it legitimately, a survey has found……Those who claimed not to use peer-to-peer filesharing sites such as The Pirate Bay spent a yearly average of just £44.


Ive been critical of the BBC and its tech reporting before, but this article in my opinion does not consider the implications of that survey.  Lets first of all look at the survey itself. To me this BBC article tries to present a £77 average as a justification for a file sharer.

This, in my opinion is typical BBC.  Im not sure if the aim is to jump on the bandwagon of the file sharing debate and thinks it can be “cool with the kids” or its simply a badly considered piece of journalism.

Lets look at the survey results and pretend that they are accurate.  What the BBC article fails to consider is that everyone of those £77 file sharers are helping to spread copyrighted material (the hints in the name BBC, file sharer) so any “benefit” of allegedly extra money being spent by them is offset by the fact that they are sharing material with others who as a result of receiving something for free WILL NOT go on to spend anything at all.

I am sure the message the BBC wants to put out is anti-piracy however are they really going to simply reprint surveys without any consideration of the results?    Who knows? and lets see if the BBC celebrates the £77 average when its Xmas shows are distributed through a BT tracker and hamper DVD sales in the new year.

Of course the BBC see it another way:

It also raises questions about the draft Digital Economy bill, which is due to be submitted to parliament later this month and proposes disconnecting file-sharers who repeatedly break the law.

Don’t be silly, the questions raised about the DEB come more from a policing and law/human rights point of view than they do any claimed £77 average .  Even if we believe these file sharers spend on average £77 (and keep in mind that they are committing IMO a dishonest act in the first place, so who’s to say they are being honest for the survey?) the act of downloading and sharing material which you do not have permission from the IP owner is surely wrong on a moral level at the very least.  If a friend asked you not to share their essay with others and you did, would that not be wrong? food for thought there.

I agree that prices are high, especially for new DVDs, thats why if there is a film that I really want to see but its too pricey, I wait until Blockbuster sells it ex-rental, I dont consider BT/NG/IRC/FTP or anything else because I can wait and I don’t believe in the “do as you please” view which seems all too common these days.

Goblin –