Friday, 28 November 2008

Iraq advice 'should stay secret'

"BBC NEWS | Politics | Iraq advice 'should stay secret'
Releasing records of the cabinet's Iraq war meetings would do 'serious harm' to war planning, says a government lawyer."

You mean, it might make government ministers feel responsible for their actions? Well, we can't have that, can we?

"Addressing the final day of a three-day Information Tribunal hearing in south London, the Cabinet Office's counsel Jonathan Swift appealed for minutes from cabinet meetings on 13 March and 17 March 2003 not to be disclosed to the public. He said 'a general risk of disclosure would do serious harm' to the decision-making process. He argued that if the minutes were published 'cabinets are likely to be more cautious how they approach the matter in the cabinet setting' when it came to 'war and peace decisions'."

Well, all previous enquiries have ended in a whitewash - might as well have another one do the very same. Perhaps cabinets should be more cautious when it comes to sending our soldiers to fight politically-motivated, illegal wars?

BBC NEWS | Politics | Iraq advice 'should stay secret'

Thursday, 27 November 2008

My iPod continued

Just remembered that another thing I use the iPod for is keeping a mobile copy of my work calendar - via iTunes it sychronises with iCal - excellent integration and far better than anything Outlook and my Windows Mobile PDA can manage. I also use BusySync to publish free/busy data to Google Calendar, so anyone, anywhere can see something of where I am and what I'm doing.

Wednesday, 26 November 2008

My iPod Touch

iPod photoNever thought I'd own an iPod. The few times I'd tried them, I could never get on with that wheel-like interface. But as I'm part of the OU's iTunes U/Podcasting project (I am currently building the website, backend database and XML creation system) I've now become the posessor of an iPod Touch.

"Designed by Apple in California" they proudly state on the iPod's box - but where are they made? And why don't they say?

Apple's iPod now takes about 40% of the world's solid-state music player market and it is by far their biggest money spinner. To cut manufacturing costs, they are of course made in China in factories owned and operated by Foxconn. A bit old now, but here's some links to articles on "iPod City":

Inside Apple's iPod factories - Mac - Macworld UK
Apple responds to iPod factory claims - Mac - Macworld UK
BBC NEWS | Business | iPod 'slave' claims investigated

What of the iPod itself? We'll, its a very impressive bit of kit. The wireless functionality means that its much more than just a music player - I have a Sudoku game on it, plus I use it to read web forums, to keep up with Facebook (although its only partically functional) and to post messages to Twitter. The touch screen is easy to use and the predictive text typing works very well. I'm subscribed to the SkyNext podcast, plus I can play movies on it. Battery life is good and even the standard earpiece headphones do a reasonable job.

But then for £210 (16Gb model) it should be impressive - you can get a fully-functional Windows laptop for that money.

Tuesday, 25 November 2008

Lexar Launch SD WiFi card

Lexar have now launched an SD card with built-in 802.11 wireless so you can send images directly from any SD-equipped digital camera via a wireless network. How do they get it all in such a tiny package - when it was introduced for Compact Flash, it was surprising enough!

Whether they just took over the company that developed this approach or have simply licensed the technology from them, I don't know. Unfortunately its only available in the USA at the moment, but I'm sure it will be here soon.

Lexar – Shoot-n-Sync Wi-Fi Memory Card

Wednesday, 5 November 2008

Obama wins historic US election

"BBC NEWS | World | Americas | US Elections 2008 | Obama wins historic US election
Democratic Senator Barack Obama has been elected the first black president of the United States. 'It's been a long time coming, but tonight... change has come to America,' the president-elect told a jubilant crowd at a victory rally in Chicago."

Very surprised that Obama managed to win in Florida - I thought the voting machine there wouldn't allow you to select Democrat...

"But he added: 'Even as we celebrate tonight, we know the challenges that tomorrow will bring are the greatest of our lifetime - two wars, a planet in peril, the worst financial crisis in a century.'"

Glad to see mention of planetary issues so soon, but please don't let his concerns end here - this is just the start. I'm sure that over the next few years, we'll hear more about how the Bush administration suppressed evidence on climate change.

BBC NEWS | World | Americas | US Elections 2008 | Obama wins historic US election

UK energy bill rises 'double' EU

"BBC NEWS | UK | UK energy bill rises 'double' EU
Energy prices in the UK have increased twice as fast as the European Union average, according to latest figures. Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development statistics showed gas and electricity bills rose 29.7% in the past year compared with 15% in the EU."

More evidence of "rip-off Britain".

BBC NEWS | UK | UK energy bill rises 'double' EU