Dial R for Scandal


A couple of news stories that I wanted to share with you. Firstly another jolt to the Bush government, more powerful than the best cup of hot java. Seymour Hersh, the journalist who broke the Abu Ghriab prisoner abuse story has published a new story that links the abuse far beyond a few bad apples to secretary of defence Donald Rumsfeld. Whilst Pentagon spokespeople have denied the allegations made, it will still encourage the senate to look harder at the whole area of defence oversight. Another Watergate or Church Commission in the making?

Secondly in this edition of Good Morning Silicon Valley, RIAA accounting figures are shown to be partly responsible for decling music sales figures. Basically this has to do with the way the RIAA measures a sale, modernisation in music retailing for JIT (just-in-time) ordering systems, has been misinterpreted as piracy. Expect no apologies the war against consumers will continue to be waged with undiminished vigor and a large budget for politicos to anniliate ‘fair use’ provisions in copyright laws worldwide.

Blogging & Mesh


No not some sort of record of a fetish of fishnet tights, but the two main subjects for this entry.

First off, a bit of history. The first film based on a weblog is in the pipeline. Many of you may have read in the news last year about Salam Pax, apparently someone blogging in Baghdad during the last gulf war. The blog despite doubts over its authenticity was turned into a book. Now the film rights of the book have been taken up. Coverage here from the BBC Online.

Friends and journalists who went to Network+InterOp the networking and communications show in Las Vegas have provided some mixed feedback.

– Vendors dwarved the amount of customers at the show. This is being touted as an indication that business customers are not there to buy. I am inclined to think that it is much more of a cultural shift in organisations, when your job could disappear abroad, how can you justify a week long company shopping trip in Las Vegas when you can get the information off the web or by reading journals? Shows have been more of the business culture in the US than in Europe, with the exception of a few events like drupa and CeBIT in Germany

– Lots of people where showing cool technology that will never see the light of day because computer users are in business and the home move at a slower basis than technology advances

– Mesh networks had a higher profile. Mesh is one of them buzzwords that many people have been kicking around for a good while. One way of looking at it is that it allows a number of wireless devices be they a laptop with a wireless card or an airport hub to act as one network. This would allow wireless hotspots to be grown and managed more easily in businesses or in the home. I expect more of a push around this in the next few years, though it would struggle to be used with present technology to distribute high quality video around the home.

European Elections: All about bread and circuses?

With European elections nearly upon us once again pundits are siting a new low in voter apathy. In addition, opinion polls in the UK show that many UK voters don’t even want to be in Europe. No one has asked them where else they would like to be?

In sharp contrast to this voter apathy is the interest lavished on the Eurovision song contest. It has grown so big they have had to hold a qualifier round. Terry Wogan’s witty commentary and a strong element of schaedenfraude at some truly dreadful performances have made it compelling television. The European parliament should get a committee to learn lessons on how the song contest has managed to move from Eurovulsion to big business, the Eurovision website is sponsored by Tiscali and audiences from all over Europe can vote for their favourite artist by premium rate SMS.

What a bunch of hypocrites we are! Whilst you are waiting for the Eurovision results why not have a go at the Terryisms generator here.

Apologies and Connection

 

First of all, an apology – I have not been contributing here much because I am in the middle of selling my house and moving closer in to London. Any of you who have dealt with British estate agents will have felt my pain. More news on the woes of house buying in the future.

Since my last post there have been lots of interesting things happening like the media being surprised that systematic torture has been occuring in Iraq. I’ve got some news for you its war, that means that its dirty, bloody and thoroughly unpleasant – try reading the works of Wilfred Owen or watching the Battle of Algiers to get a sense of how nasty it can get.

On RTE radio one this morning, they had an expert comment about some CIA torture manuals that had been found. The main themes were that you used peoples fear against themselves – rather than torturing them, use the threat of torture because people had a greater capacity to withstand pain than they realised. Nice.

Sony has launched its Connect service, a rival to Apple’s iTunes Music Service. According to the Washington Post the service is ‘unworthy’ of the corporation who gave us the Walkman(TM). If it gets the kiss of death from Walter Mossberg at the Wall Street Journal you can bet your bottom dollar that there will be more salarymen falling on their swords than a Kurosawa samurai film.

Think your week is bad?

Spare a thought for the ‘performers’ in the adult entertainment industry. According to the Sydney Morning Herald and Reuters, two of the industry’s stars have been found to be HIV+; the first since 1999. Although the mainstream American porn industry has a rigorous testing regime orchestrated by the AIM Foundation where 1,200 stars get tested every three weeks the two people had managed to have sex with 48 other performers since their last test three weeks earlier. A 60-day halt has been called to filming so that anyone who has been in contact with these performers during this time (and their partners etc) can be tested to keep the outbreak under control.

The HIV has been blamed on a non-condom shoot one of the performers was involved in held in Brazil. The industry has been especially conscious of HIV since John Holmes the ‘Elvis of porn’ died of AIDS in the late 1980’s, bringing to an end what many view as the industry’s golden era. What I think is more frightening is the trend towards gonzo, low rent amateur material that is the rising star in the industry since the advent of the web. This part of the business does not undergo the same rigorous regime as its mainstream counterpart is a health timebomb waiting to go off.

While we are on about things of an industrious nature Rainier PR have launched the Cambridge Confidence Index. According to them this will cover both business and quality-of-life issues.