Two apps I started using in the last month

I’ve always been a fan of staying flexible as regards to platform, but it’s especially true these days, since my desktop environment is heterogeneous - I still tend to use Windows most for work, but for personal use I’m most comfy in Mac OS X now. I do have Ubuntu around too although I generally only use it when I have to on the desktop (although I love it to death as a server OS since it takes everything that is great about Debian and updates it a bit).

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Random comedy

Comedy onion Tech

Apologies if you’ve already seen this (it’s 2 weeks old) but it made me laugh out loud today so I thought I’d share it. Warning: strong language and offensive to a certain brand you may have an attachment to if you’re the inexplicably loyal type. To fanboys: it’s not talking about the PS3, or indeed any real product. It’s just comedy. Put down the knife. 😉

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Process: no replacement for people and principles

Over my years in working in the IT business, one thing that’s a constant is that we’re never short of talk about the latest “Process” that we should be following. There have been a shedload of them over the years I’ve been doing this, and I’ve tried a load of them out and encountered them via third parties, and while some are interesting and useful when taken as a basis for adaption to individual circumstances, one thing I absolutely cannot stand is the kind of people that focus on this as a proof or guarantee that their projects are being run well.

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Good smartphone on the cheap

While I still consider a mobile phone to be an essential accessory to modern life, I hadn’t jumped on the smartphone bandwagon yet, for many reasons. Since I work from home most of the time, my need for a mobile is limited to when I’m out, and on occasional business trips and holidays. While I’d quite like an iPhone, I really can’t justify the price, particularly since over here we get totally ripped off on them (£500 handset-only price for the paltry 8Gb version, imported & unlocked since we don’t have O2 over here - and come on, O2 do the same thing for £350).

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I *heart* plain text configuration files

config Linux Tech Windows

A small bit of musing while I wait for another back-up to run… Reinstalling a server from scratch sucks. Obviously. Not being able to use direct dumps of the old system itself because of concerns of how far a malicious attack got, and how long ago (even though we’re running SELinux) means that everything has to be constructed afresh. How much fun I’m having. But if there’s one silver lining here, it’s that at least Linux stores every shred of its configuration in a simple, plain text format, and in one dedicated subtree of the file-system.

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Creep, as covered by Songsmith

Microsoft Songsmith is a research project that generates accompanying music to a singer’s voice (and optionally instruments), presumably using the same approach a chromatic tuner uses to identify notes. Some genius decided to feed Radiohead’s classic song “Creep” into it, to see what it would do. This is the simultaneously horrifying and incredibly funny result: Jump to 1:55 for the ultimate effect. Oh, the humanity. Edit: click here for more musical attrocities.

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25 years ago, this was impressive

Via TechCrunch, Steve Jobs’ first public presentation of the Mac on 24th Jan 1984. And the crowd goes wild 😉 I was 10 years old when this happened, and still using BBC Micros in school, so I guess I would have gone nuts over this too at the time, had I the chance to see one.

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Enough with the negative PR already

Games PR

After Kaz Hirai’s interview yesterday (only one part of which I felt merited comment), Microsoft’s Aaron Greenberg has returned fire. Can we stop this now please? Negative PR, just like negative political campaigning, just ends up making everyone look bad in the end. Let the products speak for themselves for goodness sakes.

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Bye-bye DRM on iTunes

DRM itunes macworld Music

The MacWorld Expo 2009 is on at the moment, and yesterday was the keynote, which was interesting despite the absence of the turtle-necked wonder (get well soon Steve). By far the best news was that the entire iTunes library is going DRM-free by the end of March 09. As of yesterday, 80% of the songs are DRM-free, and the remaining 20% will have their DRM removed in the next 3 months.

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2009 Predictions for the IT business

2009 economy predictions

So, 2008 is almost done and 2009 rapidly hoves into view. I thought I’d share a few of my predictions for the next 12 months, on the frankly dubious assumption that anyone on the Internet actually cares what I think. Specifically, I thought I’d talk about some IT business topics, since that’s what my mind is largely focused on when it comes to trying to figure out what’s going to happen next.

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