Tuesday, 29 April 2008

Software as a Service (SaaS)

Saas is becoming more prominent. Use Google? You're using SaaS. What does SaaS rely on - Open Source software. Get the lowdown. Software should be treated as service - its not manufactured in the same way as desks for example, and 70/80% of the software life cycle is spent on implementation and maintenance. It would be like spending £10k on your nice BMW, only to find that your need to spend £80k to maintain it - give the BMW away and provide a service (note: this is an analogy).

A Spectre haunts Microsoft, The Spectre of Open Source

And propriety software as a whole of course. Some evidence. heh.

Monday, 28 April 2008


Now here's a nice example of music retrieval - MySong - matches chords to users singing a tune, a fairly fine grained example of music search, but a nice example none the less. Cool.

Resistance is futile, you will be assimilated

Google now drives a third of UK web traffic, watch out for the dodgy graph.

Microhoo (2)

Deadline from M$ has passed, Yahoo isn't buying it. What will M$'s next move be?

Monday Blues Cure

Here's a memorable song from the Clash, Clash City Rockers

Better Video, but poorer audio

Friday, 25 April 2008

Your Children are not Special

Saw and band called called Antisocialite on wednesday, in a dingy little music venue just near Highbury & Islington Tube station. They were really quite good, and included a wonderful song called 'Your children are not special, which tickled me pink. Also met a shortarse rock chic drummer who said I should do something unspeakable with this blog - anyway back to the topic.

Whats interesting is that MySpace are providing an interface for indie bands like Antisocialite, to play and download music. So much for DRM then?

AI and Art

This is quite a nice idea, using emotion expressed by a sitter to create painting based on that emotion e.g. happy, sad etc. They won the BCS machine intelligence prize, and I saw them demonstrate their programme on Wednesday - nice bit of work this!

Monday, 21 April 2008

Monday Blues Cure

Here's a 'video' of The Sixteen directed by Harry Christophers, with a rather nice picture in the background.

I've a number of CD's by them, they are simply wonderful. They were involved in a brilliant series on sacred music on BBC4 recently. Enjoy.

Monday, 14 April 2008

Monday Blues Cure

Saw Shine a light on Saturday, and one of the songs was Jumping Jack Flash:

Audio isn't very good, but its a great video none-the-less. Hope you enjoy it. Oh, and Shine a Light is well worth a look.

Sunday, 13 April 2008

How to disarm an atomic bomb

You can find some advise on how to do this here. Please read this very carefully - you may be tested on various aspects of this public service announcment later.

If that fails, turn you back to the bomb, adopt the brace position and kiss goodbye to your arse! (h/t David Thompson)

Generating Art from Analogue Computers

Nice bit of computing History this! Desmond Paul Henry (1921 to 2004) built a number of analogue bombsite computers , to create art. The art he created this way has its own symmetrical beauty. More about this fascinating man can be found here.

(h/t Ian Logan)

Friday, 11 April 2008

Computing History

David Thompson has posted some links on the history of storage and antique computers at RAL.

Large is the word. The earliest hard disk drive would practically take up all of my bedroom!

Thursday, 10 April 2008

Interesting Video on Wikipedia

Further to this post, I've just been watching a 48 minutes video on Wikipedia and its effect on society:

Its very interesting in that a number of very strong opinions are asserted by people such as Andrew Keen (author of the 'Cult of the amateur'), Charles Leadbeater (author of 'We Think') and Larry Sanger (co-founder of Wikipedia). Of course it also includes Jimmy Wales. How accurate his Wikipedia profile is, god only knows....

What the video and make your own mind, but I have several comments. At one point a question is put to Jimmy Wales about the difference in knowledge between a 17 year old and a professor with 40 odd years of subject knowledge. Jimmy's response is something along the lines of 'very often the 17 old will know more'. Erm, lets examine that statement - say Jimmy needs an operation to save his life. Would he prefer the 17 year old to operate on him or the professor with 40 years knowledge in the area. The answer to the question is pretty obvious.

I haven't had time to examine Andrew Keens argument in any detail, but needless to say he is on the other side of the argument to Jimmy Wales and Charles Leadbeather. Andrew Keen's argument if I understand it correctly is that truth is becoming fragmented, and the idea of subject knowledge and expertise is being diminished by Web 2.0. I agree to some extent, expertise is always going to be needed (good example above), but I don't buy it whole. Experts can publish on Web 2.0. It seems to me that 'truth' is being confused with 'facts' here - perhaps I'll return to this later.

With regard to Wikipedia and its use, a statement is made in the video (I can't remember who unfortunately) that Wikipedia is good to use as a first source of information, but you need to refer to other sources to check the reliability of the information you have found. I agree strongly with this, it's what I recommend to my students.

Charles Leadbeather makes an interesting comment on the potential of Web 2.0 to increase democracy, and points to the problems authoritarian regimes are having with this technology. I'd like to think so, but the jury's out just now.

Tuesday, 8 April 2008

Papa's got a brand new bag

Which has more zips on it than you can shake a stick at:

In honour of this I present Mr James Brown:

Actually pretty easy to find on YouTube: the title of the post did the trick nicely, video above was the first hit.

Extract from the new Russian Copyright Act (Translated)

"In cases of repeated or gross violation of intellectual property, a legal person committing such a violation may be liquidated."

This either a poor translation, or Stalinism is making a comeback in Russia. Both are possible.....

Somewhat reminds me of the famous "The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak" example of problems with translating language. Translated in to Russian, and then back to English, it came back with something like "The vodka is nice, but the meat is putrid"!

Anybody who disputes this will be subject to re-education. or is that real education (ED - warning, you're straying in to politics here!).

(H/T Charles Oppenhiem via Tamara)

Monday, 7 April 2008

Monday Blues Cure

This really is quite funny!

Sunday, 6 April 2008

Microhoo (1)

Been following this for quite a while now. Things might be getting a little nasty.
This is quite a threat to Google, but it remains to be seen if this move is a good idea - for Microsoft. Yahoo appear to have blown it big time. Watch this space.