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Guy Kewney

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Blogging: made in England?

Column Here's a quote from an interesting time in the past: ten years ago. You know, a decade back, 1997, when (It says here) 'Jorn Barger, who started his Robot Wisdom weblog in 1997, is "regarded by many" as the "first blogger".' Was he heck. The first blogger was Rupert Goodwins. He started his blog in 1996 - and very popular it …
Guy Kewney, 31 Aug 2007
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Climate change: looking for a haystack, not a needle

Column Weather forecasting. It's the archetypal "science doesn't know jack!" cop-out for mystics who think climatology isn't a science. Amuse yourself. Google for "climate change" and "weather forecasts" together. Among the many rants with LOTS OF CAPITALS and many exclamation marks, you'll find over 1,000 comments to Heidi Cullen's …
Guy Kewney, 21 Aug 2007
BT

Silent bandwidth battles at BT

Column We could have a nice little fight building up (in a quasi military sense, too) between BT and the armed forces, because of BT's "secret" plans to close down its legacy ISDN digital network. The reason it's military, sort of, is that BT is still full of soldiers. OK, that's not literally true, but it's effectively the case: an …
Guy Kewney, 13 Aug 2007
Witch hat

Harry Potter and the Virus of Doom

Spoiler Alert A lot of people have been wondering what Harry Potter's future is really like. I have the answer: he's going to be an amateur detective. But nobody will know this, because he'll be working in a tech support call centre for Weasley Computers. The End of Harry Potter is really just the end of Potter the Schoolboy. The nice, …
Guy Kewney, 10 Aug 2007
Linux

Linux database becomes a browser

The fashion for "web mashups" just got a steroid boost with the release of a browser that is really a desktop database, with full SQL scripting and the ability to manipulate tabular data found on the Internet. The browser, Kirix Strata, started life two years ago as a Linux desktop database, said Kirix founder and president, …
Guy Kewney, 07 Aug 2007
SGI logo hardware close-up

I bumped into that Alan Sugar on memory lane...

Column Alan Sugar reminds me of Hugh Laurie. In the same way that you look at the star of Jeeves and Wooster and House and think: "What a remarkable actor - but he'd have made a brilliant musician!" I look at Sir Alan and think: there goes the man who could have been one of the best journalists in the country. Two of my wealthiest …
Guy Kewney, 02 Aug 2007
Google

Gmail: a short, sharp rant

First person Is arrogance a job requirement when trying to join Google? This story starts with me being furious. "I was bloody furious when my email provider suddenly, and without warning, started bouncing incoming messages." You would be, wouldn't you? Call me fussy, but I've been told this is the sort of thing which can give a small, …
Guy Kewney, 26 Jul 2007
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A handy guide to growing your own spaceship

Column If you were one of the SETI at home crowd - three million PC owners worldwide, all trying to scan radio signals from space to find alien transmissions - you may have missed the news that gives us (yes, I was one!) hope of really reaching the stars. I'm thinking of building a living starship. The news came from a report on The …
Guy Kewney, 26 Jul 2007
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Why the iPhone is a success

Column Two weeks after the iPhone virus started spreading, the verdict has to be that Steve Jobs has got it right. The trick with launching a new phone is "keep it simple". He's done that. No, this is not the phone I want, and neither is it the right MP3 player, but it will be a success, and that success will grow as new variants …
Guy Kewney, 12 Jul 2007
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eBay chokes on iPhones

Some were boasting from their camps outside Apple stores before the iPhone rush began, of how much money they would make on eBay auctions; and apparently, at least one optimist let it be known that $2,000 would be needed to buy a $600 iPhone. According to Katie Hafner, stringer for the New York Times, "Thousands of listings …
Guy Kewney, 09 Jul 2007

Euro iPhone launch will reveal 3G handset for Vodafone, T-Mobile

A new 3G (European) version of the iPhone will be launched Monday in the UK by Apple - in a joint promotion with Vodafone, T-Mobile of Germany, and Carphone Warehouse. It should answer the disappointment with the US version of the iPhone which has been widely slammed for its poor performance as a phone. Hints of the European …
Guy Kewney, 29 Jun 2007
chart

Fon VoIP network being disrupted by protest over Wi-Fi adverts

Why are people "moving" their FON routers into the lake? It's because of a clever idea - or so it seemed: let people "earn" 15 minutes of free Internet time on the FON Wi-Fi network by watching adverts. A FON user, Claudi, kicked off the protest on the FON discussion boards: I just realized that fon allows 15 minutes of free …
Guy Kewney, 29 Jun 2007
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Gartner reaps iPhone backlash after making business case

Analyst firm Gartner stuck its neck out in a raw bid for fame this week by writing to every comment-writer and saying: "Quote us!" - and then going on to slam the iPhone for not being a business tool. Quoting Gartner analyst Ken Dulaney saying: "This is basically a cellular iPod with some other capabilities, and it's important …
Guy Kewney, 29 Jun 2007
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Seeking common factors in the Web 2.0 bubble

Column Boy oh boy! - has Andrew Keen upset the world of Web 2.0. I'm tempted to tell him: "Things change. Deal with it." but instead, I'm going to suggest you watch a talking rabbit discuss the end of the world and American culture. Because he does have a point: the whole Web 2.0 crusade is based on the assumption that "reality" TV …
Guy Kewney, 29 Jun 2007
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Hotspot prices to fall after Boingo goes global with WiFi

WiFi pioneer Boingo is passing the 100,000 hotspot mark, with a new WiFi service "providing international business travellers with access to more than 100,000 locations around the world for one low monthly cost with no roaming charges and no per-minute fees." The key detail, however, will be the decision to go flat rate. The …
Guy Kewney, 27 Jun 2007
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Harry Potter and the Pedant of CIX

Column What's the worst thing you can say about Harry Potter? How about claiming that spells are rather like computer programs? Or how about saying that Slytherin, the school house for all the bad guys, is a "cliche of fantasy"? Or maybe, pointing out that the name of Alecto (the female half of the brother-and-sister Death Eater gang …
Guy Kewney, 21 Jun 2007
Microsoft

Why is Hotmail so bad at spam?

Column I'm trying very hard to be sympathetic towards Hotmail, and I'm failing, badly. It's not the Microsoft connection that makes me fed up, it's just Hotmail. Here's today's inbox: From my contacts: 2 (2) Marquita@viagra.com RE: Online Canadian Pharma... admin@speedtrader.co... RE: Daily News If you believe I have a …
Guy Kewney, 15 Jun 2007
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Sex.com: read it if you dare

Book review OK, I'm going to let you in on some of the secrets of how the internet was built. Kieren McCarthy No? OK. So, let's see: It's about the American legal system and how it can crush innocent...still not interested? How about the growth, and theft, of the pioneering porn site, SEX.COM? Yes, web porn, the inside dope. Ah, thought …
Guy Kewney, 31 May 2007
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Can we have a proper study of Wi-Fi, please?

Column Well done, Sir William Stewart. Only four weeks ago, we called for serious research into wireless radiation. The good news: Sir William Stewart - chair of the Health Protection Agency - has said that the time has come to do this research. My only problem with this is that I honestly doubt any useful information is going to …
Guy Kewney, 22 May 2007
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About that TV service, Mr Branson...

Column Dear Richard Branson, I don't know why on earth I'm writing this to you, because I happen to know it's got nothing to do with you. But the message may be of interest: "Virgin Media, farewell!" I'll be dropping my subscription to Virgin Media just as soon as my Virgin phone starts working again and I can contact customer …
Guy Kewney, 14 May 2007
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Latent problems with people, not networks

Column I have a useful hot air detector. It listens for two or three keywords and marks the output of anybody using them as suspect. For example, "video conferencing", or "artificial intelligence", or "cheap fusion power". So when the new managing director of BT Global started his presentation Q&A last week by waving his arms about …
Guy Kewney, 10 May 2007
channel

Corporate wireless and alphabet soup

Column It's always been a bit of a mystery to the average corporate PC user: why, if Wi-Fi runs at nearly 60 megabits per second, can you still plug several Wi-Fi access points into a 100 megabit Ethernet socket and drive it from your 8 megabit broadband ADSL router? Shouldn't you need several 100 megabit lines - one for each access …
Guy Kewney, 08 May 2007
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Orange boss walks out

Orange boss Sanjiv Ahuja has walked out of his "operational responsibilities" as CEO, remaining as chairman of the UK board. He's replaced by Olaf Swantee an ex-Compaq customer services VP with HP. "After four fabulous years with Orange, I want to let you know that I am stepping down from my role to take on new challenges …
Guy Kewney, 26 Apr 2007
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Dark mutterings on killer Wi-Fi in schools help no one

Column Dear Sir William, Please: either shit, or get off the pot. When it comes to Wi-Fi radiation, there's one comment from the anti-radiation lobby that I agree with: "We need another official inquiry - as authoritative as the Stewart reports on mobile phones." What we don't need is vague waffle of the sort which says that "Sir …
Guy Kewney, 24 Apr 2007

Missing the PowerPoint of public speaking

Column The oxymoron "interesting PowerPoint presentation" was offered as a small witticism a few months back. I thought it was good, and shared it with a friend, who reacted angrily: "Blame the workman, not the tools," he said. Frankly, (I told him) I disagree. Powerpoint inherently ruins a presentation in 95 per cent of cases. We've …
Guy Kewney, 16 Apr 2007