EU to vote on controversial Acta law

hackerLater the European Union (EU) is to vote on the controversial Acta law which some have said if implemented will stifle free speech and potentially cause some internet users to be drawn into legal issues through no fault of their own.

By drawn into legal issues for internet users I mean that in some instances a user could be blamed for downloading an illegal copy-writed film or music, when in fact they are innocent, as the IP address could be same as other users or their PC has malware or their Wi-Fi if not secure could be used by others.

 

“A controversial anti-piracy agreement is back under scrutiny as the European Parliament prepares to carry out a series of key votes.

The Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (Acta) seeks to curb the spread of illegally downloaded copyrighted material online.

However, critics say it is a potential threat to freedom of speech online.

To date 22 member states, including the UK, have signed the treaty – but it is yet to be formally ratified by the EU.

While the agreement covers the counterfeiting of physical items, such as pharmaceuticals, it is the measures relating to pirated material on the internet that have caused most concern among campaigners.”

It will be interesting to read the final results on the vote and you know that whatever the result some of the main hacking groups will target some sites with DDoS attacks as they have done in the past.

Read the full article at BBC Technology News HERE

Will the UK Gov meet broadband targets

164ASP21704517Reading this article today I’m reminded of a few things one is that companies like 30 seconds of fame in an article and that random think tanks are just that, random as they cannot predict the future any better then you or I.

The UK has really bad broadband by the standards I would set and this is due to us actually being a major developer of the modern internet (see Tim Berners-Lee) so its beggars belief that we are so behind many other countries in regard to our internet hubs.

“A £1.1bn funding gap means the government’s targets for broadband are unlikely to be met, says a report by the London School of Economics.

The government wants 100% access to fast broadband services and 90% access to superfast services by 2015.

The report says the government should do more to ensure that underinvestment does not harm the UK economy.

A rise in broadband penetration of 10% can lead to a 0.9%-1.5% boost in GDP per capita, the report adds.

The cost of meeting the targets will be £2.4bn but funding for broadband from all public sources amounts to a total of £1.3bn, according to the LSE report, which was sponsored by customer management software company Convergys. That leaves an estimated £1.1bn gap that private investors will be expected to fill, it says.”

I have to say WHY do the taxpayer need to fund this expansion of internet and “superfast” broadband, when in the end its the ISP that will reap the rewards and our cash!? The internet companies need to step up to the plate and invest, only through investment in the infrastructure will they gain rewards. 

Read the full article at BBC Technology news HERE

Website Blocking Law to be dumped by UK Government

164ASP21704517Well this is one bit of news that I’m really happy with as for me when you introduce website blocking you are entering the realms of creating a nanny censorship state and the amount of legitimate website that would be blocked by this due to the gatekeepers of this system not knowing what is good from bad.

“Plans to block websites that host copyright infringing material are to be dumped by the government.

Business secretary Vince Cable announced the change following a review of the policy by telecoms regulator Ofcom.

Website blocking was one of the key provision contained in the Digital Economy Act.

Internet Service Providers had objected to the idea that copyright owners could compel them to cut-off some sites”.

I do not condone illegal downloads of music and video, but you do run the risk of  potentially cause disruption or harming to legitimate businesses.

One of the most anticipated areas of this new information from Vince Cable is the Hargreaves Review and the information on Legal Ripping or “Format Shifting” of your media be that Music or Video. This I would non scientifically say that virtually everyone has done this at some point in “shifting” a CD to digital format such as MP3, or for many years copying a TV show or film off TV to a CD/DVD or nowadays HDD, as in theory you have shifted the original format to another format.

“Mr Cable also announced a raft of measures intended to update the UK’s copyright laws.

The changes are based on the Hargreaves Review which was set-up to examine current legislation’s fitness for purpose in the digital age.

One of the most significant recommendations that the government plans to implement is the legalisation of “format shifting” – where users rip content from CDs or DVDs to for their own personal use.

“We are talking about big changes,” said Mr Cable.

“Bringing the laws more up-to- date to have a proper balance which allows consumers and businesses to operate more freely, but at the same time protect genuinely creative artists and penalise pirates.”

The business secretary said the economy would benefit by £8bn over the next few years by updating the legislation.”

Full Article at BBC Technology News HERE

Microsoft profits jump 31%

microsoft_logo_basic_smallProfits at Microsoft have sored in the past quarter and in part mostly to the great sales in the Business Division of which the flagship software is Office, Office 2010 has been a great success. Other areas of growth have been in XBox and buoyed by the take up of Kinect in which the Entertainments Division had a 60% growth in the past year , to Bing the search engine growing 14% in revenue. 

“We delivered strong financial results despite a mixed PC environment, which demonstrates the strength and breadth of our businesses,” said Peter Klein, chief financial officer at Microsoft. “Consumers are purchasing Office 2010, Xbox and Kinect at tremendous rates, and businesses of all sizes are purchasing Microsoft platforms and applications.”

Read the full press statement HERE

Microsoft Wave

Microsoft_WaveMicrosoft Wave is a website developed by Microsoft UK for showcasing new technologies and developments that are coming out of Microsoft. The site is not about selling you anything but showing you what is available, topics such as Surface 2, Kinect, Windows Mobile 7 etc.

It has a great list of bloggers from Microsoft UK (Ben Nunney, Rob Margel and Steve Clayton) as well as  videos that showcase the new technologies. As this is a new site, content will expand as time goes on, but its a nice distraction and a great bookmark to keep.

Microsoft_Wave 002

Microsoft Wave

Last.FM’s free mobile service to end

Last.FM is to end its free mobile service for smartphone users as soon as next week, it’s a pity as I liked the service, even with the ads. I can see where they are coming from as Spotify paid £10 a month for an ad free mobile based service and is a main rival, to Last.FM.

“Users of online music site Last.fm will have to pay for its mobile phone service starting from next week.

Until now, the site has provided its personalised radio for free for mobiles, making money by placing adverts between songs instead.

However, it now says this is “not practical” and is instead asking users to pay for an ad-free service.”

The service for mobile customers will be £3 a month so not too bad if you like your on the move radio, however you will not be able to pick your tracks. The website version is still free and if you are a user of Windows Mobile 7 and an XBox360 then seems your still ok for free music. The BBC article alludes to Microsoft pickup up that tab.

Read full article at BBC Technology News HERE and the Last.FM blog HERE

HTCHome

My current mobile phone is a HTC HD2 (Windows Mobile 6.5) and the main HTC Sense screen is a superb animated clock plus weather, which is a bit of an eye catching thing. HTCHome is a great clone of this for Microsoft Windows based PCs.

     HTCHome 001     HTCHome 002

You can customise the weather stations used from Foreca, MSN or FreeMeteo or change the size of the weather/clock to pinning it in a specific location.

HTC Home 2 is first of all a widget with a clock, weather forecast and realistic animation. You can watch clouds floating across your desktop, rain drops slide down your screen and even lightning striking here and there. The quality and accuracy of weather forecast are guaranteed by The Weather Channel and MSN and others.

You can get new themes if you do not like the original HTC Sense look, as well as add-on’s like a Calendar, Music or Bookmark widgets.

Also from the same developers is a clone of the Windows Mobile 7 front screen in Metro, which is very clean and simple looking, although the Metro one does not have an installer and in Windows 7 I had to unblock all of the DLL files, so may not be for everyone yet, but it looks good and the tiles do animate.

Meteo oo1

Download both HERE

Note: The download and installer are the web based installer so you will need internet access to install this application. I tested it on Windows 7 x64 and works fine.

Hello world!

Hi all

Well as Windows Live Spaces is migrating to WordPress, I accidently created the wrong user title, so have created a new site that reflects the Gobble D Geek name and will be the normal place I will be posting any updates from now on.

Gobble D Geek

Many thanks for your continued readership.
David

Windows 2000/XP SP2 and Vista End of Life Support

 

A number of Windows versions are due their end of life cycle and as such all support for them will end soon, which means that there will be no more security updates. This means that the best option is to make sure you have the very latest Service Pack installed, or if possible migrate to the next newest version of Windows.

Windows 2000 Professional and Windows 2000 Server are approaching 10 years since their launch and both products will go out of support on July 13, 2010.

Windows XP was launched back in 2001. While support for the product will continue, Service Pack 2 will go out of support on July 13, 2010. From that date onwards, Microsoft will no longer support or provide free security updates for Windows XP SP2.  Please install the free Service Pack 3 for Windows XP to have the most secure and supported Windows XP platform.

Finally, Windows Vista with no Service Packs installed will end support on April 13 2010.  Please install the free Service Pack 2 for Windows Vista to have the most secure and supported Windows Vista platform.

For more information:
http://blogs.technet.com/lifecycle/archive/2010/02/24/end-of-support-for-windows-xp-sp2-and-windows-vista-with-no-service-packs-installed.aspx

Resources:
Service Pack 3 for Windows XP:
http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyID=68C48DAD-BC34-40BE-8D85-6BB4F56F5110&displaylang=en

Service Pack 2 for Windows Vista:
http://www.microsoft.com/windows/windows-vista/default.aspx

Windows 7 is now released

 

Well Windows 7 is finally with us and is available to all and not like me users of MSDN, TechNet, MVPs and Technical Beta Testers. I have to say that Windows 7 in the past 3 months I have been using the release version its not coughed or spluttered once, the install is a smooth one and much much quicker than that of Vista and more so XPs lengthy install.

I would though if you are to install Windows 7 on your PC make sure than your PC and its hardware is compatible with Windows 7 and the Windows 7 Upgrade Advisor is good for this, but also check with your PC manufacturer for up to date drivers for Windows 7, plus also check for updates to your favourite software.

Some news on the release of Windows 7 from BBC Technology News.

Microsoft is hoping that its newly-launched operating system will be one that "doesn’t let you down".

Early sales figures indicate that consumers do not feel let down at all. More than 500 people queued outside PC World in central London to be the first to get a copy when the store opened at midnight on October 21. A spokesperson for the store said Windows 7 packages were selling at a rate of three per minute between midnight and 0100BST.

"Across the group, within the first hour of trading this morning we were up 180% on sales," said Anina Castle from DSGi group – an electrical retailer which includes Dixons, Currys and PC World.

The figure was set against a standard day of Vista sales. DSGi’s top selling upgrade was the home premium family pack, which contains licences for up to three users.

"The early signs are that customers appreciate the new operating system," added Ms Castle. "The sales so far are above our expectations.

Rest of article HERE