Elliott Burford, Art Director and Designer has some rather brilliant stuff, including this little piece on how to turn spam nonsense into art.
Mayday mayday – Google down
It may well survive thermonuclear annihilation, but against the powerful subversion of Google, the Internet doesn’t stand a chance. Google did this by nomming the whole internet, one juicy piece at the time, and upgrading itself to a massive, global single point of failure. The single point of failure seems to have been a fat-fingered ASN change, as Google moves towards IPv6. I will head over to NANOG shortly to read what actually happened. — Google down
XT takes off, sort of
Wednesday was Telecom’s big day out here in Auckland, with the new XT mobile network being launched. The lighting up of Auckland Town Hall was totally impressive, but it’s fair to say the assembled crowd was a bit disappointed in the lack of a demo of the XT network. No Richard Hammond from Top Gear either, but here are some gorgeous pictures of the launch, courtesy of Telecom’s new media embracing types. Next week, fingers crossed, we’ll see the network in action for real, kebab-bob-a-loo-lah at midnight boom. It is complicated stuff though, building cellular networks. That point was pressed home yesterday, when Nokia was demoing its E75 email phone at the Hilton in Auckland. One of the execs had huge problems connecting to the Ovi portal and when asked what network he was using, answered “Comms something” – that’s NZ Comms, which is what Optus customers roam on apparently. - Telecom launch festive despite delay
Yes, Windows 7 is rather nice in release candidate (RC) form, despite the 32-bit version coming with an ACL bug that’ll cause a few reinstalls around the world. Oh well, such is life in the beta tester lane. The new wallpapers and themes in Windows 7 are a sight to behold, stunning not just potential customers but Microsofties as well, and the whole OS is just much nicer to use overall. I feel that Microsoft should’ve taken the knife to some of the window garnish and simplified it for a sleeker look, but that’ll probably be possible with some custom skins later on. As for bugs, it looks like Windows Mobile Device Centre is screwed up on Windows 7. I have installed the updated 6.1 version, tried running it as Administrator, but… it dies instantly. Hope there’s a workaround for this soon. Windows Internet Connection Sharing has been hidden extremely well too. Nobody that I’ve asked, and I’ve queried some pretty knowledgeable people, have been able to point me in the right direction. ICS is actually quite handy to have in certain situations, so I want it back. Bridging two network interfaces kind of works, but not completely, as only some traffic is passed. Windows 7 is also a big push towards 64-bit. I’m very happy with the way Win7 x64 performs on an Intel i965 box with 6GB of OCZ triple-channel RAM, and note that Microsoft’s coming out with a 64-bit version of Office 2010, which is very cool. Annoyingly enough though, the web is stuck in 32-bit mode. There’s little point in using the 64-bit version of Internet Explorer in x64, as you’re frustrated by browser add-ons like Adobe Flash Player etc being 32-bit only. Give it a go, if Microsoftware rocks your world. It’s worth it.
Robert X Cringely Not that there's anything wrong with that
NPR is in the hot seat after censoring a movie review that named allegedly gay politicians. Cringely asks, why is it OK to call people alleged murderers, but not homosexuals?
The new documentary "Outrage" has provoked a small bit of outrage itself, after editors at NPR.org censored a review of the film, which aspires to "out" conservative politicians who are allegedly closeted gays. Yes, that NPR. The home of Terry Gross, Click and Clack, and "Wait Wait... Don't Tell Me." The cherished radio respite of croissant-munching, Volvo-driving, double-soy-mocha-latte lovers everywhere. It's like finding out Mr. Rogers strangled puppies or that Oprah is really a man. Filmmaker Kirby Dick's "Outrage" aims to point out the hypocrisy of politicians who consistently vote against gay rights legislation and funding for AIDS research while secretly enjoying the forbidden fruit, so to speak. The film names several allegedly gay politicians, and so did NPR film reviewer Nathan Lee — until his editors neutered it, removing the references to all not-solidly-confirmed-as-homosexual politicos featured in the film. Strangely, however, the review continues to feature the mug shot of Senator Larry Craig, esteemed Republican from the great state of Idaho and the third bathroom stall on the left in the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport, even after excising his name from the story. Lee asked that his byline be removed from the piece, which the editors did. He then posted a comment to the review explaining why he asked his name be removed, in which he again identifies the three politicians who got cut out. NPR sent his comment into the ether as well (but not before IndieWire captured a barely legible screenshot of it). There is enough irony here for everyone to get a second helping. For example, here's how the edited review handles this dicey subject: "Although Outrage tries to be mindful of the right to privacy, one of Dick's main objectives is to expose the queasy reluctance of the mainstream media when it comes to investigating, reporting on or simply acknowledging the homosexuality of prominent figures who haven't declared themselves. (I'm proscribed from naming names right now, for example, by longstanding NPR policy on the subject.)" The "I'm" in that sentence isn't Lee, by the way, it's whatever editor made those changes. Queasy reluctance, anyone? So who did Lee name? Let's see if you can guess. According to the review, one is "the former mayor of a major US city — a Democrat whose homosexuality has long been an open secret in his metropolis." Another is a "major swing-state governor ... with aspirations to be the 2012 Republican presidential candidate." (Thus giving new meaning to the phrase, "swing state governor.") Here's a hint: He just announced he's running for the US Senate. Got it yet? The third, of course, is that toe-tapping frequent flier who put the "ho" in Idaho. NPR exec Dick Meyer responded to IndieWire, which broke the story earlier this week: "NPR has a long-held policy of trying to respect the privacy of public figures and of not airing or publishing rumours, allegations and reports about their private lives unless there is a compelling reason to do so." Unlike many politicians in DC, I believe someone's personal sexual preferences are just that — personal. On the other hand, exposing political hypocrisy is one of the things good documentaries (and news gathering organisations like NPR) are supposed to do. Whether you consider that "compelling" depends on your perspective, I suppose. What NPR really does is prove filmmaker Kirby Dick's point about the media. It's apparently fine to repeat allegations that someone is a criminal or even a murderer; just don't say he swings from both sides of the plate. For example: An NPR review of the docu-drama "Il Divo," about former Italian prime minister Giulo Andreotti, has no problems linking the politician to several murders, the Mafia, the Vatican, and "a notorious Masonic lodge that caters to unrepentant fascists." Good thing nobody said Andreotti was gay. Maybe NPR should change the name of "All Things Considered" to "All Things Considered, Unless They're Still in the Closet."