Tuesday, March 31, 2009

URL Shorterners

Image representing bit.ly as depicted in Crunc...Image via CrunchBase

Twitter provides a great way to interact with influential people and the service is an excellent source for raising your own profile. Milo Yiannopoulos a blogger for the Telegraph I was first introduced to through Twitter after Twestival. He writes about the internet, social media, Twitter, start-ups, civil liberties, climate change, Catholicism, literature, politics and anything else he finds interesting. The following post is available on the Telegraph and is titled 'A beginner's guide to... URL shorteners!' The reason I have also submitted here is because I assisted Milo by providing the relevent details -

Posted By: Milo Yiannopoulos at Mar 30, 2009 at 21:57:00

You've probably seen those weird "short" URLs before. They normally look something like this: tinyurl.com/aj4c6h. When you click on them - try it! - they "expand" in your browser's address bar to the "full" URL. How does it work? You don't need to know. (Really, it's not that interesting. Leave it to the geeks.) What you do need to know is where to find the shorteners. Are you safely strapped in? Then off we go.


is.gd is my personal favourite. I just think it's cool. "is.gd", "is good", get it? No? Here are some of the things you can do with it:
- shorten web addresses for emails, forum posts, blogs etc. which cannot handle long URLs and might wrap them, making them unclickable
- lower the character count when texting web addresses to a mobile phone
- hide the real URLs of affiliate links from visitors to your site
- obscure your real email address from bots which harvest them to spam (enter an address like mailto:myaddress@myisp.com). Note that this feature does appear to be browser-dependent, so such links may not work in every browser
- circumvent protections on sites which don't allow direct links to a competitor's site (if you are violating a site's terms you do so at your own risk)
- clean up bookmarks for social bookmarking sites or sites with low character limits like Twitter

Just roll up to the home page, paste in the URL you want shortened, hit "Compress That Address!" and you're good to go.


bit.ly is like the King of Shorteners. It does a whole bunch of amazing stuff that you'll never need or know about. Stuff like "analytics". It's kind of a pretentious choice. By using bit.ly, you're saying to the world: "It matters to me who clicks on my links and how many times, what their hair colour is and where they buy their groceries. These things matter to me because I am your Geek Overlord." So, yeah. Give it a miss, unless you really need all the fancy stuff.


TinyURL is absolutely rubbish and you should never use it.


When you click a BurnURL, you get a "ShareBar" that allows you to share the link you've created on various social networks. That's helpful. You also get a few basic stats - nothing like bit.ly, but still more than you need. And you can vote links up or down. A solid, respectable option.


Ah, tinyarro.ws. The connoisseur's choice. This site uses Unicode to display the shortest URL possible. Very, very cool. This is the 911 of URL shorteners. (Sorry if that's not a connoisseur's car; I know nothing about automobiles.)

Okay, those should do you. (If you're still not happy, here's an old post from Mashable that features over 90 services, including some that support password protection (groovy!). There are some other big ones I haven't included here.) Hopefully by now you are equipped to shorten those URLs.

But that's not all! There are even more brilliant and exciting ways you can use URL shorteners, including browser plugins. But I'm going to leave those as an exercise for the reader, except to mention Puffing Bear's cool little Mac app, Shrinker (pictured above), that does all THIS incredibly amazing stuff:

- detects URLs on the clipboard or in Safari and shrinks them with one key combo
- runs in the Dock, Menu Bar or both
- has Growl integration for super-slinky notifications
- supports is.gd (win!), TinyURL, bit.ly and tr.im
- has this nifty bookmarklet thing for one-click shrinking in any Mac browser

I use it Shrinker every day. If you have a Mac, you should check it out.

And there you have it! URL shorteners. Enjoy.

With thanks to Joe Dawson (@joedawson).

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Sunday, March 29, 2009

On The Button

Button celebrating his first win on the podium...Image via Wikipedia

Enjoyed an evening in the company of friends yesterday that spanned several locations as I celebrated a house warming party and a couple of birthdays. Watching the Australian GP this morning was definitely a chore as I didn't get much sleep due to losing an hour with the British summer time starting. The night started in Blackheath and progressed onto Bexleyheath where I joined up with my friends birthday celebrations.

It was a good night and I'm surprised I managed to surface this morning for the start of the F1 season. Thankfully I did as it was a race full of incidents which saw two safety-car periods, finishing with Brawn GP securing the first debut 1-2 finish in 55 years. Jenson Button led from start to finish in Melbourne with team mate Rubens Barrichello in second place. Defending champion Lewis Hamilton who started from the back of the grid managed to work his way through the positions and was awarded third place after Jarno Trulli incurred a time penalty. Malaysia next week and already lots to get excited about!!

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Saturday, March 28, 2009

In The Area

OysterImage by Ti.mo via Flickr

Finally have my car problems resolved now which is a relief although using public transport has made me realise how much I rely on my vehicle. For short journeys I have decided that I'm not going to use it as frequently now and instead use my Oyster card.

The majority of my wages is spent on travel expenses for the month when you consider petrol, insurance, road tax and the Oyster card. So it makes sense to be practical and the children enjoy travelling on London Transport as it's like an adventure.

As usual Saturday morning started with my son's football training although this week my daughter didn't attend as her Grandfather took her horse riding. My son continues to improve and he managed to score a couple of goals which were well taken. I was joined at the end of the training session by my daughter and her Grandfather. They were impressed with the elaborate goal celebrations from the children which were anything but low key. This evening I'm going to be making an appearance around Bexleyheath so if you're around join me for a few drinks!
Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Friday, March 27, 2009

Last Night a DJ...

Topman CtrlImage by joedawson via Flickr

On Wednesday 25th March I went to Hoxton Square Bar & Kitchen to the Metronomy hosted Topman CTRL event. CTRL is the brand new music series from Topman. Each month they invite a new band to take charge of Topman CTRL. The controller programs the gig and gives complete access to their musical world through a dedicated blog.

Originally I had intended to attend with my partner but unfortunately she was unable to accompany me for the evening so I decided to venture over alone to experience the night. Metronomy have a very addictive sound to their music so I was intrigued to experience them live.

Whilst I queued to enter the live area in Hoxton Square Bar & Kitchen I ran into a work colleague which meant I wasn't going to be alone for the gig. He was there with his flat mate, a writer for a music magazine who was there with the band. Result!! I only managed to listen through the sets from Koko Von Napoo, Your Twenties and Kamerakino so missed out on the Metronomy DJ Set. This was largely due to work the next morning and because I was worried I would miss the final train home which I managed to anyway! I really enjoyed what I saw and will definitely make sure to attend future CTRL events in London. Next time hopefully the event will take place at the weekend and also enable my partner to attend as well :)
Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Reshare and Care

SAN FRANCISCO - MARCH 10:  Twitter co-founder ...Image by Getty Images via Daylife

The Internet enables us to share information along multiple channels, I actively interact and share content through social media and networking sites. Social media refers to activities that integrate technology, telecommunications and social interaction, and the construction of words, pictures, videos and audio. Through my social graph I distribute my online activity through multiple channels and website which creates a steady flow of information.

There needs to be a balance though as the negative side of sharing/resharing everything is the noise that is created. I have noticed that on Facebook since the homepage update I have actually lost friends which I expect is due to the information/feeds I share through the social networking site. Recently I experimented by resharing my Google Reader shared items from Friendfeed back to Twitter and noticed the negative effect there as well. I have now removed this feature as I don't want to create too much unnecessary noise on Twitter!

This is why I don't rate the retweet culture that is dominating the Twitter service at the moment. It's lazy and reminds me of the chain emails that I used to receive, the emails informing that if I forward I will receive good fortune or I will receive a phone call. You get the picture so I don't need to provide multiple examples! People are even prompting for the retweet in their messages which I also don't agree with as it should be down to the reader to decide.

I'm sure that many of you are familiar with URL shorterner websites, I would like to see one introduced that references the retweet in a way that it credits the original tweet. Like BurnURL but
with the bar featuring source info, statistics (timespan of retweets) on who has retweeted and details on what's currently hot at the moment. Pat Hawks was proactive enough to provide this site and although it provides the ability to reshare to Twitter, Friendfeed and other services I'm looking for a site solely focused on the retweet. This then hopefully will cleanup the steady flow of Retweet, RT etc that regularly populate my Twitter feed and provide a method of tracking popularity!

Anyone have any further suggestions?

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Facebook Responds To Feedback

Facebook, Inc.Image via Wikipedia

Facebook have responded to feedback received over the recent changes to the homepage. The new look site puts more focus on status updates and has been likened to one of its rivals Twitter. They have taken their time to respond with some questioning whether they would when it was reported that CEO Mark Zuckerberg told employees that “the most disruptive companies don’t listen to their customers.”

Facebook's Director of Product Chris Cox however has acknowledged the feedback received and below I have highlight briefly what they are going to address from the Facebook blog:
  • Live updating: One of the most common requests is the ability to see your stream update automatically. We will be adding the ability to turn on auto updating in the near future so you no longer need to refresh the page.
  • Photo tags: In order to surface more photos you might like to see, we'll be adding photos tagged of your friends to the stream. This will happen in the coming weeks.
  • More choices for applications: We've heard feedback that there is a lot of application content appearing in the stream. We will be giving you tools to control and reduce application content that your friends share into your stream.
  • See more Highlights
    Right now, we're making improvements to the Highlights section on the right-hand side of your home page. Highlights will update more frequently and will show you more content throughout the day to mirror more closely the content that the earlier News Feed provided.
  • Easier way to create a Friends List filter: From the filters on the left, you will be able to create a new list of friends with which to filter the stream.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Monday, March 23, 2009

It's Over

LOS ANGELES, CA - DECEMBER 09:  Actress Jennif...Image by Getty Images via Daylife

I have wrote previously about the difficulties that are experienced with relationships and social networking sites. I find social networking sites to be a distraction and more often than not add to the issues being experienced. With mobile technology people are permanently connected and finding it more difficult than ever to disconnect between their online and offline lives.

Celebrities aren't immune to this either as today Jennifer Aniston has reportedly ended her relationship with musician boyfriend John Mayer because he is obsessed with Twitter.The Telegraph has the following information on this story -
A source claimed Aniston decided Mayer was not committed enough to her and called time on their romance having found hourly updates on his Twitter page.

The source said: "John suddenly stopped calling her or returning her emails and when she would finally catch up with him, he'd say: 'I've been so busy with work. I'm sorry I haven't had time to call you back."
I can relate to this as my relationship has been effected numerous times by similar distractions. Finding the right balance with anything is always going to be difficult in any relationship. Thankfully our relationship is built from social networking, we met through MySpace and it was my partner that introduced me to Facebook. In turn I have expanded into social media and she has adopted many of the services although admittedly not as active as my usage.

We're aiming to find the right balance eventually but it's all over for Jennifer Aniston and John Mayer. I would like to ask her whether she would have ended the relationship if she were still with Brad Pitt and he was preferring to tweet than to respond to her? :)

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]


ArtImage by joedawson via Flickr

This evening was the children's open evening and I managed to secure a convenient time slot which meant I didn't have to book a holiday.

Went to my son's teacher first and she was really encouraged by his development. She said that he was very practical, creative and was a great character in the classroom, he's handwriting was the main area where he needs to improve.

Largely due to the lack of spacing between words making his text look like one word sentences! :)

We discussed extra-curricular work and I also want to look into securing a keyboard for his classroom that features both upper/lowercase as his teacher said that would prove beneficial. Anyone have any suggestions?

Next was my daughter's teacher and straight away she spoke about how she was really impressed with her progress. She detailed that her class were a 'split' consisting of both third and fourth year students and that my daughter was developing well in this environment. Already she has reached her end of year targets for many of her key areas which is positive as we're only in March.

I'm really impressed with the progress that they are both making with their school work. The teachers provided positive feedback and detailed areas for improvement that can be worked on at home!
Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Sunday, March 22, 2009

The History of Robots

Big BenImage by joedawson via Flickr

The weather was nice today so I took the children to central London to experience the Tate Britain and walk along the River Thames. The original agenda for the day changed so it was just the children and I that made the short journey on the train.

They were really interested in the culture and history and kept me occupied with questions. I must admit my knowledge of our history isn't that great so there was a limit to what I could answer!

We arrived at the Tate Britain and browsed through the paintings, sculptures and exhibitions. I always feel really inspired when I walk through a gallery as some of the collections are incredible. Available in one of the exhibition rooms was an area for the children to create their own masterpiece. They created robots as a Mother's Day gift which they presented to her when they were collected later that evening. Their source of inspiration was Wall-E although not quite sure when we passed through that exhibition!
Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Potatoes & Plimsoles

BoyImage by joedawson via Flickr

Football today and my son managed to score another 'Patrick' albeit with an own goal which he celebrated with more passion than the other two he scored. Unfortunately being without transport this morning meant that we were unable to go horse riding which was frustrating.

The disappointment on my daughters face was there to see and provided even more of an urgency to resolving the problems affecting my vehicle. Monday this will be priority! It's been difficult making arrangements around work because of the increase in workload but if it requires taking a days leave then hopefully my company will understand!
Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Friday, March 20, 2009

If It's Not Broken...

Facebook's new homepage features a login form ...Image via Wikipedia

Not impressed with the new Facebook homepage, you're not alone as an application asking you to vote for or against the new layout is generating a lot of interest. Facebook users are very protective over changes to the design of the social networking site. The last update generated a lot of backlash and more recently the Terms of Service update received significant coverage before it was reverted to the previous version following widespread criticism.

The application is polling users on the updated homepage and currently 94% of users don't like the redesign. Although that's a significant number, coming from a Customer Service background I would say it's rare someone contacts us directly to state that they admire the service. Generally people only look to raise their opinion when there's a genuine problem, I really rate the improvements but that doesn't mean I'm going to install this application.

What's your view on the redesign?

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Google Street View Launches In The UK

Where's Waldo in Google Maps?Image by Si1very via Flickr

Google has launched the UK version of Street View, allowing users to browse pictures taken down city streets. Google Maps users can zoom in to any given location and drag the "Pegman" icon to the desired location and view the area.

The images are impressive and as you would expect from Google there are a few easter eggs hidden away. Where's Wally outside the O2 store on Putney High Street for example is already proving to be popular! And there's demonic happenings above the M16 building on Vauxhall Bridge Road.

Street View has arrived here in the UK at long last, and Google have given us imagery in many parts of Scotland, England, Wales and Northern Ireland. Additionally, Street View is now available in the Netherlands for the first time, and while they were at it, Google has added several new cities in France and Spain! - Google Sightseeing [Source]

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Packed With Goodness

A breakfast is set up on a blue and white stri...Image via Wikipedia

Preparing for the future and not knowing what's around the corner is difficult especially when you have a family. I have wrote many times about the economic downturn and count myself fortunate to be able to consider my position relatively secure. That said I still feel the pressure and worry when there are quiet periods at work.

Thankfully being a parent it's great because the children allow you to relax and disconnect from the 9 - 5. They're oblivious to the credit crunch as for all they know it could be a breakfast cereal or the latest yoghurt from Muller. Ideally I would love to spend every moment with them but I don't have that luxury so the time I get to spend with them I appreciate more.

Here are some of the latest and greatest masterpieces that were presented to me this week:

Tuesday evening I arrived home from work and this is a perfect representation of my average day. Dressed completely in blue and standing proud I can only imagine that the pink ribbons represent my journey to work on the train as it's usually a blur :)


With Mothering Sunday approaching my son decided to design me a special card featuring flowers on the front and inside. Whether that's an indication of how he perceives his father I don't know but it's really appreciated. With assistance from the eldest the message indicates that no matter how long we play football he always has the energy to keep on playing "Like to play"


Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

The Third Coming

iPhone OS 3.0Image by Dekuwa via Flickr

The third coming as it was billed and today Apple presented the blueprint for iPhone OS 3.0, the next version of the world’s most advanced mobile platform.

The iPhone has definitely proved to be a popular handset and has changed the way that I communicate through the Internet. An evening with my partner consists with us regularly checking online with the handset for the latest news and updates. The functionality available assists with many daily tasks, with the App Store providing access to many useful and productive tools.

So what's next on the agenda?

The Inquisitr have a quick and simple list of the most noteworthy new features which include:

• Full landscape keyboard support across all key applications.

• Cut, copy, and paste! Works between applications.

• MMS support, along with added ability to forward and delete individual or groups of messages.

• Push notification support.

• Integrated option to mail multiple photos straight from a photo album.

• Note synchronization. iPhone notes will be able to be synched up with Macs or PCs through iTunes.

• Shake-to-shuffle music playing support (a la iPod Nano).

• Wi-Fi auto login.

• Stereo Bluetooth support.

• Overall enhanced Bluetooth capability. Will now be able to connect to someone else via Bluetooth and transmit contact info, play games, or share any other kind of information.

• YouTube account support.

• Auto-fill support.

• New global phone search, called Spotlight. Located to the left of the first page (you’ll finger-flick left to find it). Will allow you to search everything on your phone.

• Expanded Stocks app with news headlines and detailed market info.

• Added support for CalDAV and .ics subscriptions with Calendar app.

• New Voice Memos application that lets you easily record and share voice notes to yourself.

• Native Meebo IM support.

• A thousand updates to the developer SDK, including support for in-app e-mail, proximity sensor, streaming audio and video, shake API, and more. Details for programmers here.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Monday, March 16, 2009

TweetDeck Facebook Integration

A pre-release version of popular Twitter desktop client TweetDeck has been made available which includes the first elements of Facebook integration. TweetDeck v0.24.1 is not being pushed out to everyone right now since it is still being tested but it can be installed directly from http://tweetdeck.com/beta/TweetDeck_0_24_1.air. This is still very beta software so the developer advises caution. The new features include -
  • See your friends’ status updates right there in a TweetDeck column, auto-updating, just like your other TweetDeck columns
  • View your Facebook friends’ profiles on the web with one click
  • Post your status update to Twitter and/or Facebook at the same time
  • See which of your Facebook friends are available for Facebook chat
  • Start a FaceBook chat session from direct inside TweetDeck
To see your friends’ Facebook status updates in TweetDeck, you need to add a Facebook column.

To do this, click the new FaceBook button on the top-left toolbar.

Login to Facebook through TweetDeck to access the full functionality and “Allow” access to your Profile information, photos, friends information and other content required.

You will now have a Facebook column available and the ability to update both Facebook and Twitter. Further information is available from Richard Barley who details what's available in his post: Facebook updates, posting and chat come to TweetDeck.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Excellent Customer Service

Loic at his workspace (Seesmic) - 4132.jpgImage by David Sifry via Flickr

Maintaining a good relationship with customers can be a difficult task and increasingly brands are turning to Twitter to listen and interact. The microblogging service provides the opportunity to listen to what customers are saying about their brands, and to respond.

Keeping customers happy ensures that they will come back in the future and encourages them to sell the merits to their friends, relations and colleagues. Providing an excellent customer service is the most effective way to strengthen your brand.

For example today Seesmic launched their Facebook desktop client and I was interested to see the potential so decided to install the application. Based on the technology behind Twhirl, Seesmic for Facebook lets you keep track of your friend's Facebook status and easily update your own.

I installed the application and logged in with my Facebook account and was impressed with the functionality. I have been trying to convince my partner of the benefits available using a desktop client for a while and considered this to be the ideal opportunity. Due to the Seesmic client being a preview version though the ability to log out wasn't available. Through Twitter I was able to reach out to Loic Le Meur the Seesmic.com founder and he responded to my query from SXSW:

Twitter makes it easy for customers to get in touch with brands and
being friendly and polite in dealings with customers builds a strong relationship. Ensuring they feel valued by the business and that their complaints or views are genuinely taken into consideration. Transparency is definitely the future for business and Twitter can play a key role!

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Facebook Connect for iPhone Launches

Image representing Facebook Connect as depicte...Image via CrunchBase

Facebook Connect which provides users the ability to use their Facebook accounts to sign in and interact with websites is an impressive evolution of the Facebook Platform. Providing users the ability to login to a partner site with their Facebook account, interact and publish the activity back to the newsfeed. Providing trusted authentication, real identity, friend linking and dynamic privacy, Facebook Connect has real potential and is in a strong position to control the Open space.

Today speaking from the SXSW Interactive event, Dave Morin, Facebook's senior platform manager spoke about The Search for a More Social Web -
The Web is not just about information; its about people. In this presentation, Facebook's Dave Morin will discuss the industry's efforts to move toward a more social Web, and how openness can create a better experience for users sharing and connecting across the Web
At the conference he said that computers have largely been antisocial - it was only with the advent of the computer that we've been playing games with ourselves. He spoke about the recent updates to the social networking site and then introduced a wide-ranging integration of the company's Facebook Connect platform with iPhone applications, aiming to connect friends, using their true identities, through popular mobile apps.
Facebook Connect, with more than 6,000 websites already taping into user data, has come to the iPhone. Now all iPhone developers can use Facebook Connect to have their apps leverage the profile, friends, and feed data available for users via Facebook. The glorious advantage for all of us users is that now we can connect with our Facebook network while playing or using our favorite apps and games. - Jennifer Van Grove [Source]
People count on Facebook to stay connected to their friends and family. With Facebook Connect, they can take their friends with them wherever they take their iPhone. Developers can add rich social experiences to their apps, from playing games with friends, to seeing their movie recommendations, chatting during live sports games, and many more.
If you've used Facebook Connect on the Web, this will seem pretty familiar. You can now use Facebook Connect on your iPhone in the same way you can for a website. Simply download any application featuring Facebook Connect and log in using your Facebook account from your iPhone. Then, you'll be able to easily find your Facebook friends. They will be able to see the same profile information as they can on the site, controlled by your privacy settings. You can also share what you're doing with your iPhone applications with all of your Facebook friends by publishing stories back to your profile. - Joe Hewitt [Source]
For instance, you can use Facebook Connect with the Urban Spoon application. Urbanspoon on the iPhone is part Magic 8 Ball, part slot machine. You shake your phone and it finds a good nearby restaurant for you. Keep shaking it until it comes back with something you want to try. With the Facebook Connect integration you can check what restaurants your friends have tried and also their ratings.


Another application I tested using Facebook Connect was Flixster which allows you to share movie reviews and ratings with friends. This appears to already be a popular service with my friends as there were many reviews available from them. I will be definitely checking this iPhone application when I next have to make a decision on what movie to watch.


Also available within the iPhone App Store confirmed with Facebook Connect integration, include apps and games from Playfish, SGN, Tapulous, Whrrl, Zynga, and Binary Game. I expect this number to increase considerably over the coming weeks as what iPhone developer isn't going to want to integrate with Facebook and their 190 million users.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Friday, March 13, 2009

Keep It Together

Holding HandsImage by WolfS♡ul via Flickr

Another working week concludes and it was a relief that today the call volume had eased following the problems experienced due to an apparent Microsoft Update. The resolution in place appears to have resolved the issue although unsure how this will be addressed going forward and whether we will release an update ourselves.

With the weekend upon us the chances are that more customers will identify the issue and these will escalate through to my department early Monday. Next week should be busier than usual anyway as we're running a succession of advertisement starting this Sunday.

Whether the adverts will prove to be successful remains to be seen especially as similar marketing campaigns have fallen short of expectations!

Was expecting to have my children stay at my parents this evening but that didn't materialise as instead they will be staying with their mother. I haven't seen them this week due to Wednesday their mother being unwell and because I'm still without a car. Have to make sure that next week we do something extra special!

The plan this weekend is to head into London to browse the shops for gadgets and clothing. With all the children staying with their Grandparents this will be our first weekend without them for a while so hopefully will be able to have some quality time together...

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Over Land and Sea

Champions' League logoImage via Wikipedia

I have really enjoyed the Champions League football over the last couple of days with English teams all progressing to the Quarter Finals. Both former Chelsea managers Ranieri [Juventus] and Mourinho [Inter Milan] were knocked out of the competition and Arsenal completed a miserable few days for Italian football by beating Roma on penalties.

I watched the full Chelsea match and with a slender one goal advantage we were cautious in the early staged. The Italians took a deserved lead through Vincenzo Iaquinta after 19 minutes before Michael Essien equalised for Chelsea. Juventus regained the lead in the second half through Alessandro del Piero who converted a penalty awarded for a handball from Belletti. Belletti then turned provider crossing for Drogba to score the decisive goal and put us into the draw next Friday for the Quarter Finals.

Manchester United and Liverpool both had impressive results but Arsenal required penalties to beat Roma in what was a nervous finale. Next Friday is the draw and will anyone be capable of preventing Manchester United retaining their crown?

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Look But Don't Touch

Image representing Google Reader as depicted i...Image via CrunchBase

Micro-blogging site Twitter updated recently to include trends and an integrated version of its search engine. Facebook have confirmed that users will start to see the new homepage today, designed to make it faster and easier to create multimedia updates and receive instantaneous feed items from your network. I still haven't seen either updated homepage yet but apparently they are available in some regions.

Anyway this evening Google announced an update for Google Reader introducing the ability to have conversations with friends about shared items. Thankfully here was an update that I could finally experience but alas due to comments only being visible to all friends of the original person who shared the item I'm in the dark. This is due to having a limited amount of friends using Google Reader so there goes the conversation. All the updates still look very impressive although personally it's look but don't touch :)

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Navigation To The Webpage Cancelled

Image representing Windows as depicted in Crun...Image via CrunchBase

Arrived into work this morning and set about the usual tasks; responding to tweets, checking feeds in Google Reader whilst the kettle boiled. All the important things that start my working day! Then as I returned to my workspace it was brought to my attention that there was a problem being experienced by our customers. All systems go...

Presumably a Microsoft Update had been released for Vista that disrupted how our software package communicates with our servers.

We refer to these instances as trends and from the moment it was identified the office began to resemble a scene from CSI. Analysing information from the calls received, troubleshooting and attempting to replicate whilst trying to identify the source. Where was Horatio Caine today? Even though we were unable to understand what had caused the problem we were able to provide a solution to our customers. The workaround was achieved by editing the hosts file:

In Windows, the default hosts file is often blank or it contains (inactive) comment lines followed by IPv4 or (starting with Windows Vista) IPv6 localhost entries.

On systems with default configurations the full path to this file is %SystemRoot%\System32\drivers\etc\hosts. localhost
::1 localhost

Customers experiencing the problem only had IPv6 localhost entries. Although we have a workaround it would be an advantage to understand what occurred.

Anyone have any ideas or experienced similar problems?

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Monday, March 09, 2009

YouTube Blocks Premium Music Videos to UK Users

Image representing YouTube as depicted in Crun...Image via CrunchBase

YouTube in the UK is removing all premium music videos to UK users after the site failed to agree a new licensing deal with the Performing Rights Society for Music. Thousands of videos were made unavailable to YouTube UK this evening which is very disappointing for users of the site. YouTube said today that after the expiry of its former deal, PRS had proposed new payment terms that would be financially prohibitive for the site and would require YouTube to pay out more than it makes from the ads next to each video. Below are both statement released in full -

YouTube, the UK and the Performing Rights Society for Music

We have invested a lot of time and effort trying to ensure that our community can find and enjoy the music they love, and we have strong partnerships with three of the four largest record labels in the world, as well as many independent labels. But copyrights in music can get pretty complicated. For example, there may be several different copyrights in a single music video, controlled by different organisations with different interests. The visual elements and the sound recording of a music video are typically owned by a record label, while the music and lyrics of the song being performed are owned separately by one or more music publishers. These publishers often designate organisations called collecting societies to issue licences and collect royalties on their behalf. In the UK we've had a licence from the collecting society called PRS for Music to make music videos provided by our record label partners available to our users in the UK.

Our previous licence from PRS for Music has expired, and we've been unable so far to come to an agreement to renew it on terms that are economically sustainable for us. There are two obstacles in these negotiations: prohibitive licensing fees and lack of transparency. We value the creativity of musicians and songwriters and have worked hard with rights-holders to generate significant online revenue for them and to respect copyright. But PRS is now asking us to pay many, many times more for our licence than before. The costs are simply prohibitive for us - under PRS's proposed terms we would lose significant amounts of money with every playback. In addition, PRS is unwilling to tell us what songs are included in the license they can provide so that we can identify those works on YouTube -- that's like asking a consumer to buy an unmarked CD without knowing what musicians are on it.

We're still working with PRS for Music in an effort to reach mutually acceptable terms for a new licence, but until we do so we will be blocking premium music videos in the UK that have been supplied or claimed by record labels. This was a painful decision, and we know the significant disappointment it will cause within the UK. And to be clear, this is not an issue with the record labels, with most of whom we have strong relationships.

While negotiations continue, we'll still be working to create more ways to compensate musicians and other rights-holders on YouTube. In addition to various advertising options, we recently introduced a click-to-buy feature that enables fans to purchase downloads of their favourite songs. We're also proud of our Content ID tools that help rights owners identify their content and even use the power of our community to increase advertising and revenue potential.

We will continue to seek partnerships that benefit our community, music publishers, music labels and, of course, musicians and songwriters, and we will work hard with anybody who shares this commitment. We hope that professional music videos will soon be back on YouTube for our users in the UK to enjoy, and if and when that time comes, you can be sure that you'll be the first to know.

Patrick Walker
Director of Video Partnerships, Europe, Middle East and Africa

PRS for Music Statement in relation to Google/YouTube announcement

PRS for Music is outraged on behalf of consumers and songwriters that Google has chosen to close down access to music videos on YouTube in the UK.

Google has told us they are taking this step because they wish to pay significantly less than at present to the writers of the music on which their service relies, despite the massive increase in YouTube viewing.

This action has been taken without any consultation with PRS for Music and in the middle of negotiations between the two parties. PRS for Music has not requested Google to do this and urges them to reconsider their decision as a matter of urgency.

Steve Porter CEO PRS for Music said "We were shocked and disappointed to receive a call late this afternoon informing us of Google's drastic action which we believe only punishes British consumers and the songwriters whose interests we protect and represent."

Google had revenues of $5.7bn in the last quarter of 2008.
Reblog this post [with Zemanta]