The image of ‘Mac’ and ‘PC’ have become one of the most recognisable dichotomies imaginable; PC is unfashionable, old fashioned, straight-laced etc. while Mac is of course creative , cool and free-thinking. This advertising campaign has been so successful that many involved in creative fields think it impossible to edit images or audio on a PC. This is of course garbage and has been debated ad nauseam for longer than most of us care to remember. An operating system is an operating system and most software will work on most systems, regardless of the platform. If you want to pay twice the price for your system, go for a Mac; it may actually be marginally more reliable and you will of course have the added bonus of thinking how creative , cool and free-thinking you are. It is of course possible that you are a good less free-thinking than you imagine.
Long before the advent of the iconic Mac vs PC ads, over 90% of the world’s population took to wearing a uniform very similar to the guy on the right. Running shoes, jeans and T-shirts have become obligatory for almost everyone. This kind of outfit makes an undeniably bold fashion statement; I’m not trying too hard, I’m relaxed, I’m being myself, I’m not conforming to outmoded fashion trends.
The problem is of course that most of us are conforming very closely to a fashion trend which may not be outmoded but is undeniably highly unimaginative, non creative and really very boring.
Some time ago Facebook changed it’s image viewing feature. There was some discussion at the time around the social media traps, many commenting that they weren’t in love with the changes but eventually this died away and most seem to have accepted the changes without thinking too much about them. The problem is, sooner or later you realise that the changed layout means you can now only view images, you can’t actually download them. This may seem like no big deal but the implications are actually quite sinister.
I had noticed that for some time Flash had not been displaying properly in Firefox. In fact, not displaying at all, yet behaving absolutely absolutely normally in Internet Explorer. I had ignored this but when you have to design web pages that require some Flash content the problem becomes impossible to ignore. I tried the usual Mozilla support forums and came across helpful pages such as ‘Flash not working properly after update to Firefox 3.6.7‘, but of course, the problem remained. I tried numerous other trouble shooting fixes, some of which involved uninstalling then reinstalling the Flash plugin while others involved creating a new user profile within Firefox. I’ve lost count of how many solutions I tried but none of them worked. The problem seems to be quite widespread judging by the number of people reporting to Mozilla that they too have this problem.
The solution was incredibly simple as is usually the case…
In the aftermath of a succession of what must have been some of the most awful refereeing decisions in football history, FIFA President Sepp Blatter has issued a statement saying that FIFA will re-open the debate on the use of video technology later this year. Well, he had to respond in some way; the poor decisions have been highly embarrassing and have surely compromised what has otherwise been a very entertaining World Cup. In actual fact, FIFA remains resolutely opposed to introducing any kind of technology. FIFA has said it wants to maintain ‘the traditions of the game’. If the current mess is the outcome of staying with tradition, perhaps the tradition of the referee as absolute judge isn’t all it might be.
FIFA’s stubborn stance harks back to a time when people mostly accepted authority almost without exception. Once a decision has been made, referees obviously feel they have to stick to it whether right or wrong or risk having their authority undermined. This might have been easy to get around in the past, but with half the world watching on high definition TV, persisting with this position has become untenable and really, completely farcical.
The period known as ‘Golden Age of Piracy‘ lasted from the 1650s until the 1720s. Colourful characters such as Henry Morgan, Captain Kidd, Blackbeard, Sam Bellamy, Calico Jack Rackham and Anne Bonny (yes, there were even female pirates!) perpetrated outrageous deeds on the high seas with near impunity until the authorities finally cracked down using a divide and conquer approach. During the Golden Age, pirates posed a serious threat to shipping and even held whole towns to ransom. An increased Royal Navy presence in the Caribbean and the the offer of pardons for pirates seriously reduced their numbers and by 1725 pirates no longer posed a serious threat.
The early 21st century may well have seen the Golden Age of Computer Piracy come and go. Those that argue for a free internet have many supporters. Wasn’t the internet originally set up to allow a free exchange of ideas and information between individuals? Surely Tim Berners-Lee never envisioned the commercial juggernaut it has become.
Colourful organisations like The Pirate Bay and other file sharing sites have come and gone (remember Napster?). It’s interesting to note that even The Pirate Bay’s logo is not covered by copyright. Under ‘permission’ on Wikipedia Commons, the following is listed:
This work is labeled as Kopimi, meaning that the copyright holder of this work does not only release it, but specifically requests that this work be used and copied for any purpose, including unlimited commercial use and redistribution. It is believed in good faith that a work classified as Kopimi is free to use in any way, including modification and the creation of derivative works.
Given The Pirate Bay’s free internet position, they could hardly copyright their logo. Specifically requesting that the content be copied for any purpose might well be a novel and successful promotional strategy. Making your brand as visible as possible might well be enough of a benefit to offset all that illegal file sharing but this, of course, is never likely to happen.
The game is up for The Pirate Bay and their brethren, just as it was for Blackbeard and co. back in the 1720s. The stakes are simply just too high. The large content corporations are circling and pumping an ever increasing stream of financial and legal resources into crushing digital piracy. NEC has created a pirated film detection algorithm with a 96% success rate. More and more control will be taken from the user until any use of digital media will be strictly monitored and restricted. Using the internet will be subject to just the same level of control. If the odd 13 year old girl is dragged through the courts for downloading a few Justin Bebier tracks so be it; just collateral damage.
It has never been reasonable for corporations to target little people like this but it has happened often enough. Many have argued that corporations that make their content accessible via the internet for profit bear the responsibility for safe guarding their products. If products are not copy protected, should individuals be prosecuted for copying them? Before very long, copy protection technology will develop to the level that will only allow us to use digital media in the precise manner intended by the providers and will render all these arguments obsolete.
Brave idealists might try to oppose the corporations but it is a battle they can never win. Soon the golden age of the internet might well be nothing more than a dim memory.
At last! I have finally fixed the annoying indexing problem in Outlook 2007 that I’ve been obsessing about for the last few days. I must have trawled just about every site on the web with discussion on how to fix the problem including the automated Microsoft ‘Fixit‘ solutions with no success. Every time I tried to search in Outlook I got an indexing status message with thousands of entries to process and nothing happening. Going to the control panel > indexing options > advanced > rebuild index also had no effect. I got a message indicating indexing was not running due to user activity. I made sure I was doing absolutely nothing; still no success. Grrr. There are any number of solutions out there; going to control panel > administrative tasks > services > Windows Search , starting, stopping service, going to tools > instant search > search options in Outlook 07, selecting, deselecting folders to be indexed etc. etc. Still no effect. Grrrrrrrrrrrrr.
The solution turned out to be very simple:
If your problem persists, rebuilding the index might be the way to go. Try this:
Tags: Control Panel, index, Internet Explorer, Microsoft, Microsoft Outlook, Microsoft Windows, search, search error, Service pack, SP2, Windows Explorer, Windows Registry, Windows Search, Windows Vista, Windows XP