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The Museum of Just Not Getting It

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Moving! [Sep. 10th, 2007|07:03 am]
The Museum of Just Not Getting It
I have moved this blog to my home page at http://www.webindexing.biz. At the moment there is no provision for comments there, but if you desperately need to comment let me know.

The existing pages will remain here but will not be added to.

Jon.
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How to make reading really difficult... [May. 24th, 2007|07:50 am]
The Museum of Just Not Getting It
DailyLit logoWhat are the advantages of eBooks? They don't take up space. They don't weigh anything. You can carry lots of them around at once. You can back them up really easily. Take all those away and you have DailyLit, a bizarre advertising-funded website that sends its subscribers public domain e-books in chunks, as email messages or RSS feeds. Those are 2-page chunks, so if you want to read Crime and Punishment, say, it will take you from May 24, 2007 to mid-January 2008. And if you then want to go back and check what happened on page 15 you'll need to dig out your email archives from last year,

DailyLit is free and currently boasts 50,000 subscribers. How many people are still going to be reading in six months' time, I wonder?
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How DARE they? [May. 15th, 2007|06:44 am]
The Museum of Just Not Getting It
I went to bed last Wednesday night leaving my computer on and connected to the Internet. The reason? Every week I record a streaming audio show off Internet Radio. The show is on at 5:30 AM, so rather than getting up for it I leave the PC running with a timed recording program ready to start up and pick up the show when it begins.

But not this time. Because this time Microsoft decided to send me an upgrade to Windows. And having done so, they took it on themselves to reboot my computer! Goodby timed recording program! Goodbye any other programs that I happen to have been running at the time! How dare they?

As it was I lost a radio show. But someone else in the same situation could have lost a mission-critical fax, or an important instant message. They could have been running the last phase of a two-week data analysis for their PhD thesis. Whatever they were doing, it had to be a damn sight more important than Microsoft's daft impulse to get this upgrade out right now.

What can I say about Microsoft's staggering, overwhelming arrogance in assuming that their stupid upgrade is more important than whatever I happen to have running on my PC at the time? Words fail me.

Yes, it's my fault. I should turn off the automatic upgrades -- as should anyone who wants to retain some autonomy. And I have now, too late. But until last Wednesday I wasn't quite cynical enough to realise how low in the Microsoft pecking order the actual user comes.

Well, I already have Linux in mind for the next PC. One day in the not too distant future this will be a Microsoft-free zone. And not a minute too soon.

Jon.
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Internet Radio Devices [Feb. 26th, 2007|06:40 am]
The Museum of Just Not Getting It
Are these as daft as I think they are? Let me quote from the Dick Smith store advertisement:

Portable Internet Radio

Allows access to Internet radio from anywhere in the world without the need for a computer.

1. Make sure you're in range of a Wi-Fi network or public Hot Spot. (If you're at home you may need a Broadband connection)

2. Turn your radio on and scan for networks by using the select button.

3. Enter your code (if you have a security-enabled network).

4. Choose your station...and away you go

So 'anywhere in the world' means 'anywhere in the world within Wi-fi range of a system that you have access to', and 'without the need for a computer' means 'without the need for a computer within ten metres'. And the price of $AU399 is getting up to the cost of a laptop anyway.

I enjoy the idea of Internet radio, but any time I'm in Wi-fi range of a computer I'm working at it. And how 'portable' is something that you have to re-tune every ten metres or so? That's going to make for an awfully slow jog.

Maybe when this becomes standard equipment on MP3 players I'll reconsider. In the meantime, what's wrong with plugging a $40 FM transmitter into the speaker jack of your PC and using good old $5 FM receivers?

Roll up and see these latest miracles of science here and here!

Jon.
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You May Already Have Won The Most Clueless Spam Prize!!! [Feb. 11th, 2007|11:47 am]
The Museum of Just Not Getting It
Spammers are smart, sophisticated operators who know every trick in the book, right? Well, not always. Today I received a spam email with the following properties:


From: %FROM_NAME
Subject: %SUBJECT
Message text: %MESSAGE_BODY


Kind of pathetic, isn't it?

And it helps to remind us that most of the spammers are victims too. The real bad guys are the address list vendors - they're the only ones making real money out of this.

Jon.
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You've got to turn off to turn on... [Jan. 14th, 2007|07:30 am]
The Museum of Just Not Getting It
This is a weird one. We recently bought a new DVD recorder (turned off the region coding straight away, of course). Checked it out and everything worked fine except the timed recording. I set it up to record in a few minutes, sat back and waited, and nothing happened. Wasted an hour fiddling with it. Wrote to the company and received the reply: "Timed recording will only work when the device is switched off".

Am I missing something or is this just bizarre? You can't use the device to do something if it's turned on, only if it's turned off? Who dreamed that one up? I understand that timed recording can't start if the recorder is doing something else, but haven't they ever heard of error messages?

I'd be interested to hear from other DVD recorder owners. Are there newer, smarter models that get around this strange flaw? Or is it an entrenched part of industry thinking?

Jon.
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Microsoft Zune [Nov. 19th, 2006|05:58 am]
The Museum of Just Not Getting It
Microsoft ZuneThe wraps are off the Microsoft Zune and the results are profoundly underwhelming. One one side of the family:  Microsoft's naked desparation to get into the portable music market. On the other side: a determination to resist even the appearance of allowing people to enjoy what they didn't pay for. The result: a device that's deliberately been crippled in the only area where it had a remote chance of outshining the iPod - WiFi music transfer.

For the record, the Zune allows users to transfer the files to other Zunes via WiFi. But the transferred files can't be retransferred to someone else,. and they disappear after three days or three playings. Add this to the minor annoyance that the music on the Zune has to be turned off in order to transfer a file, and the ever-present threat of Microsoft imposing new restrictions under the guise of 'firmware upgrades', and you have something which Apple is not going to lose any sleep over. Until the first hacks come out, that is.

Which raises an interesting question: did Microsoft deliberately release a crippled device knowing that it could be easily uncrippled by hackers, thereby allowing them to reap the benefits of the hackers' labour without having to take any responsibility for violating copyright? Naw, a big corporation like Microsoft wouldn't do that.

Would they?

A thorough review by Lars Anderson can be found here.

Jon.
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Print-on-demand evangelism [Oct. 16th, 2006|08:45 pm]
The Museum of Just Not Getting It
This isn't an example of just not getting it, so much as an example of not quite getting it, but I'll be damned if I'm going to set up another blog just for that, so it goes in here anyway.

Bryan Appleyard, lamenting the decline of book sales and the increasing homogenisation of bookstores, has set out the standard Print-On-Demand predictions in the Times Online:

You will go into Starbucks, slip your credit card into a machine, order a book and grab a latte, which you will finish just as your book completes its printing and binding process.


There are, of course, lots of other people who say similar sorts of things. Most of them have a vested interest in selling paper with stuff on at exorbitant prices.

How are they wrong? Well, a) wild horses would never get me into a Starbucks again and b) why? Once the book is in electronic form, why should I have to go anywhere or get it printed at all? I will sit at home, download it through the Internet and read it on my mobile phone, or my PDA, or my computer, or my media player, or...

In short, everything that makes POD possible also makes it possible to bypass POD altogether. Bookstores have the same future as music CD stores.

That is, none.

Jon.
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"FORWARD!" he cried, from the rear, and the front rank died... [Oct. 8th, 2006|08:22 pm]
The Museum of Just Not Getting It
The subject heading today comes courtesy of Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon.

In the International Herald Tribune for October 8, 2006:

As books go online, publishers run for cover

By Carter Dougherty

....."Once we can be assured that there will be security for our authors, then we can move forward," said Arnoud de Kemp, spokesman for the digital publishing working group of the German Association of Publishers and Booksellers.
...
De Kemp said that in time, new techniques for restricting access to copyrighted books - like dicing a single work into many PDF files and using digital watermarks - could solve this problem....

Just remind me - which way is forward again...?

But it's nice to see them recycling the old mantra about protecting authors. It's weeks since we've heard that one.

Jon
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Microsoft abandons DRM system. For another DRM system [Sep. 21st, 2006|12:35 pm]
The Museum of Just Not Getting It
The much-hyped Microsoft Zune media player, due for release in late 2006, doesn't support Microsoft's own PlaysForSure DRM copy-protection system. According to Wikipedia, this means that "music purchased from one of MS's many PlaysForSure partners will not work on the Zune device, nor will Zune-DRMed music work on 3rd party devices using PlaysForSure". That's going to upset an awful lot of Microsoft 'partners'. In fact the more Zunes that Microsoft sells, the more it's going to PO its associates. Good move, Microsoft.

Disposable DRM. Set up a system, use it for a while, then abandon it. Not only can you overcharge for the protected content, you can actually sell it over and over again to the same customers.

In your dreams.

Jon.
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