While the BBC Covers the phone hacking hearings …

November 26, 2011

US and Russian carriers sail to Syria …

Bundled, Buried, and Behind Closed Doors

November 16, 2011

I find I don’t watch too many internet videos. Compared to reading, takes too long to absorb the same information.

Here’s a video worth watching (noticed via Boing Boing), called “Bundled, Buried, and Behind Closed Doors”, which reminds people that the Internet is a physically and geographically anchored “thing”.

Bundled, Buried & Behind Closed Doors from Ben Mendelsohn on Vimeo.

Mac Now Working!

November 12, 2011

As I reported here, last week I upgraded to Lion. I was not a happy camper. Performance was awful. The specs for the MacBook I have says that 4 gb is the maximum possible memory. I decided to ignore that advice and try running it with 2×4 gb = 8 gb and see what happens.

It appears to work just find. The apps are smooth. The fan doesn’t hardly run. The battery life seems to be longer–probably because the fan isn’t running and perhaps the disk is working less.

I’m going to knock on wood that the good performance continues. I can postpone thinking about buying a new computer.

Lion is Apple’s Vista?

November 9, 2011

I upgraded to to Apple Lion (10.7.2) over the weekend. Since then 4gb MacBook crawls. The CPU is right now consumed 110% with the Dock. Further the Dock application is consuming well over a GB in memory. Sigh.

BBC on “The Cost of Petrol and Oil: How it Breaks Down”

November 8, 2011

The BBC web site published an article today on “The Cost of Petrol and Oil: How it Breaks Down“.

They make the point that the “it’s immediately obvious who the primary beneficiary is: the government” with this graph:

They then focus on the price of oil which is a big part of the petrol cost and show the variation in price from about $30 a bbl in 2000 to about $100 a bbl currently (with the wild fluctuations in 2008 and 2009 where the peak price was about $135 to as low as $50 (estimates from their graph).

From then on it’s a bit speculation of what makes up the mysterious price of oil and what it pays for. They do go in to describe how oil price also includes significant portions of tax that goes to governments.

I was struck by some emotive sentences in the report:

However, even with such high rates of tax, this year oil companies are looking at margins of about 25% of the total cost of oil, which is pretty spectacular by most industries’ standards, although this figure does not include financing costs. UK gas and electricity companies, for example, work to margins of about 9%, according to the regulator Ofgem.

and, their last statement:

But whether it’s speculators, investors, governments or oil companies benefiting from high costs of petrol and oil, one thing is certain – consumers invariably end up losing out.

The concept of “losing out” is puzzling. Everyone wants to and needs to be paid, including all readers of this article. Everything we spend goes to someone’s pocket, which in turns goes to someone’s pocket, which in turn … Isn’t that how the world works?

Apple Lion is Underwhelming

November 7, 2011

I upgraded to Apple Lion over the weekend. I felt I needed to do this so that I could migrate from MobileMe to iCloud, to facilitate automatic synching between the laptop and iPhone. Apple made iCloud to work only with the Lion version of OS/X.

I prefer the previous version of the operating system:

: The Address Book now mimics (apparently) the iPad and has become, as a result, mostly un-usable. I think I have found a bug where it is impossible to send an email to a group. I am hesitating to call Apple about this as it will take too much phone hang time.

: Mail has received an over-haul and until I figure out the changes, it’s only 80% of what it used to be.

: Performance when memory starts to get full (which for me on my 4 gb Macbook), is often, is worse than with the previous operating system version.

: There must be a firewall setting that I can’t find, but the machine and network resources are no longer visible from other machines on the local network.

: It cost £20 for no added benefit (other than to allow me to use iCloud).

Climate Change Denial Season

November 7, 2011

It guess that’s it, then? NY Times on “Happy Climate change Denial Season“.

Clearly, the message is that it’s all our fault.

This is how Ice Ages Start

November 5, 2011

Fascinating and simple idea. See http://iceagenow.info/2011/11/ice-ages/. They start with snow. It’s snowing now.

New Google Layout for Reader

November 5, 2011

Over the last few years, 80% of my internet reading is initiated by Google Reader. I have hundreds of RSS feeds setup in numerous groups. I filter on reading only “favourites”, but sometimes dip into reading “All Items”.

I recently discovered Reeder for desktop reading of Google Reader but despite it being offline/desktop, I still rely on Google Reader. Reeder tells me there are 19,981 unread items!

Google resfreshed Google Reader this week. At first glance it’s looks “prettier”. But they’ve added a lot of extra space and the information density is considerably reduced. When viewed on a monitor it’s somewhat OK, but on the laptop (13″) even he top entry is not displayed in full. The top entry fills the bottom 60% of the screen. The top 40% is filled with fluff and empty space.

Call me old fashioned, but I found the previous design much better simply because more information was displayed at one time, allowing more effective reading.