SOPA & PIPA – A Day Of BlackOuts

As has been reported all over the world and internet today the english pages of wikipedia have gone black in protest of SOPA and PIPA . You can see just an  example of the coverage by following these links  BBC , SKY , CNN.

Now wikipedia is far from the only site to go black and the BBC has a slide show that shows many more and how the sites are supporting the cause, its well worth a view as once again there are some really interesting ways of showing their support. You can view it Here

Now you might be wondering what SOPA and PIPA actually are and why are people making such a big fuss about it, you may also be wondering why a law that is essentially american should affect us and the net as a whole.

SOPA stands for Stop Online Piracy Act and PIPA Is short for Protect Interlectual Property Act.

They are basically both trying to do the same kind of things which as you can see from their names is to crack down on copyright infringement and illegal sharing. The problem lies in the ambiguous way in which these acts are going about doing this and in part whether the us government can be trusted to use the legislation in the way that it is meant for, Which as has been shown in the past with various governments in many different countries is unlikely. It will also give a lot of power  to an industry that again in the past has shown itself to be unscrupulous in the way it deals with people and the people who it accuses of violating even the current laws.

Now im not going to claim that i understand everything about these to acts but fortunately people cleverer than me have gone through the acts and places like the BBC have tried to explain them.

BBC Explanation – Here

EFF – Here

CNN – Here

Wikipedia – Here

There is also this video Which is currently on the Rock Paper Shotgun Blackout page

The reason that its important that people outside of the USA also take note of these ACTS is that not only will it affect websites such as Facebook, YouTube and Wikipedia  other sites that are based in the US, it will also affect funding for sites that are outside of the US and whats more where the us leads the rest of the world will follow.

You can’t think that the company’s that support these acts such as Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), News Corp and Walt Disney among many others some of which you can view in this google doc file HERE will not turn their gaze like Sauron to Europe and the rest of the world.

Mobile Phone Directory – Remove Yourself

Some of you may of heard of the Mobile phone directory going live next week well here’s a way that you can remover your self and in effect make your mobile ex directory.

Removal is recommended by the BBC – see link below.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/programmes/working_lunch/8091621.stm

The Directory of Mobile Phone numbers goes live next week in the uk
All numbers including those belonging to children will be open to cold calling and the general abuse that less scrupulous telesales people subject us too.

To remove your number you can go here. (you need your mobile phone with you to do this, they text you a code)

http://www.118800.co.uk/removeme/remove-me.html

You can remove your number from this list, and tell all your friends – especially those with children who have mobile phones.

Hope this helps some of you out.

UPDATE

Looks like they have taken it down for the moment. I will update as soon as I notice that its back.

UPDATE 2

The site is still down

http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/rss/-/1/hi/programmes/working_lunch/8148463.stm

Looks like its to make things work better.

I do wonder if it will actually get launched.

Mac Iplayer

Ok this isnt the post that i had in mind and i certainly didnt expect to be posting again so soon but i thought this news was rather important.

I like many people love to use the bbc iplayer it is simply a great thing to have installed on your pc. When it first came out it was windows pc only its certainly moved on since then expanding on to the wii and recently officaly the playstation 3.

The bbc announced to day in a news item on there news webpage [link] that the iplayer is now available on both mac and linux operting systems.

The new version of the iPlayer has been written with Adobe’s AIR technology which aims to make it possible to create applications that can be downloaded to your computer, rather than just embedded in browser web pages as is possible with the widely used Flash software.

Those who want to try the new version can get a trial version from the Labs section of the iPlayer site.

A beta version of the BBC iPlayer Desktop that uses the Adobe AIR technology was made available on 18 December with a finished version likely to be released in February 2009.

I certainly will be checking out the linux version and i hope that it will be just as good as the pc one.

check out the bbc iplayer Here

If you do try out the new versions of the iplayer tell me how it goes in the comments below.

Grand Theft Auto IV

Ah yes its that time again Grand Theft Auto perhaps one of the most controversial gaming series as of this Tuesday has been released to the general populace I got my copy [and thats why this hasn’t been done earlier] and i have to say it is sublime.

I am no where near the only person that thinks so either Metacritic which takes the review score of many many reviews and gives an average has at time of writing the Playstation 3 version with the max 100 out of 100 from 19 reviews [Here] and the Xbox 360 at 99 out of 100 from 31 reviews [Here].

The story so far has been very interesting don’t worry I’m not going to give any spoilers. It looks amazing even if you like me are stuck with a standard def TV, and even with the upgraded graphics it still looks like GTA. I have played now for around 8 hours and have still not made it off the first island there is so much to do and see even on the first island. I spent around 40 mins just watching the in game tv in my apartment and that was only one channel. There as always is a wide selection of radio stations and anyone should be able to find something that they like. If you have an xbox or ps3 and don’t have this game and of course are over 18 you need it now!

As I said before the GTA Series has come a long long way in six years. Who would have thought that they would be where they are today, I came across an old BBC video from 1996 that the BBC have put on there website. Its of what was to become Rockstar North working on there very first GTA game. Its pretty Interesting and does go to show how far they really have come.

Take a look at the link below

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/technology/7372117.stm

Bet they never imagined that there little project would become the mammoth it is now.

See ya in the city!

Innocent photographer or terrorist?

The BBC has a very intresting article on its website discussion about this very thing its a very intresting read and I suggest that you all go Here to read it.

Misplaced fears about terror, privacy and child protection are preventing amateur photographers from enjoying their hobby, say campaigners.

Phil Smith thought ex-EastEnder Letitia Dean turning on the Christmas lights in Ipswich would make a good snap for his collection.

The 49-year-old started by firing off a few shots of the warm-up act on stage. But before the main attraction showed up, Mr Smith was challenged by a police officer who asked if he had a licence for the camera.

After explaining he didn’t need one, he was taken down a side-street for a formal “stop and search”, then asked to delete the photos and ordered not take any more. So he slunk home with his camera………

I dabble in a little bit of photography myself which any of you that have gone to my flickr account will know. As of yet I have never had any trouble but It doesn’t surprise me at all that some people are. It depresses me that this sort of thing happens as its exactly what the terrorists want they want us to live in fear.

Its good that this sort of thing is brought to people attention its also nice to know what your rights actually are.

Enjoy the article and tell me what you think!

Shake Rattle and Roll

Well i certainly just did and according to bbc radio 5 so did most of the uk.

At around 12.58 am an earthquake is something i have never experienced before. I wasn’t scared It was too quick for me to move on from what the hell is going on to arrrg we are all going to die.

It seems that the tremor lasted anywhere from a couple of seconds which is what I experienced to around 15 seconds and i have just herd that it hit 4.7 on the Richter scale 30 miles beneath south Kingston apon hull.

Also after shocks could be felt.

More later aka in the morning ¬_¬

UPDATE 1

The bbc has got an article up about it now Click Here

Slow coaches ¬_¬

UPDATE 2

Well it appears that it actually hit 5.3 initil reports of this sort of thing are normally not 100% correct so im not surprised.

It is apparently the the strongest since the 5.4 quake in 1984 that hit north wales.

The Death of HDDVD

Well it looks like the war of the formats has finally finished as of today. The bbc is reporting that toshiba one of major backers is dropping out. [BBC Article]

Toshiba have stated that they will stop production of HDDVD players and recorders so that they can concentrate there efforts in other areas. However they will still supply retailers with players and recorders till the end of march this year and will continue to give technical support to the millions of people that have gone with HDDVD. The death of HDDVD has been on the cards for sometime now with many of the larger movie studios supporting blueray and an ever decreasing presence at retail with major chains like Walmart either removing there HDDVD stock completely or Focusing more on the Bluray format.

Sony’s decision too include a bluray player in there gaming console the playstation 3 also gave blueray a huge advantage what ever the HDDVD camp also supported by Microsoft would like people to have believed.

I for one am glad that this war is over and not just because I am a playstation owner (although it helps :P) It makes things a lot easier for consumers and retailers, Don’t get me wrong in some respects the format war was a good thing. Competition is good as it means cheaper prices and more choice for the consumer and you can be certain that if there was only one of the formats Prices would not have reached the level they are now for a long time.

What i hope now is that the remainder of the film studios still supporting HDDVD will make a swift move to blueray And that prices for bluray players and films will continue to fall and not stagnate.

Oh and some buying advice for those that after seeing this news and wanting to buy a Bluray player. I really would suggest that you buy the playstation 3. Even if your not interested in the games or anything else It is by far one of the best bluray players on the market and is certainly the cheapest on the market.