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Tragic Irony: The Lost Opportunity In Blocking Newzbin

July 31, 2011 by  
Filed under Features & Editorials

As copyright holders and politicians celebrate censoring the Internet, they have missed a glorious opportunity for progress. Read an extract from my thoughts for TrustedReviews below.

Tragic Irony: The Lost Opportunity In Blocking Newzbin

  • By Gordon Kelly
  • 29 July 2011

“I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.” Voltaire’s famous quote attacking censorship is well known, but would you believe it was once preached by the RIAA? “The Founding Fathers knew what they were doing,” it argued. “They believed in the power of ideas and debate, not censorship… In the world of music, the censorship effort repeats itself virtually every generation. Music is an especially easy target when legislators are looking for cultural scapegoats. In the tempest of the times, it’s easy to condemn that which shocks.”

These extracts come from an article published on the RIAA’s website in 2002. Unsurprisingly it has since been deleted, but The Wayback Machine keeps a copy which gives remarkable and damning insight into how the attitude of copyright holders has since changed. This week the u-turn was complete. Under pressure from the Motion Picture Association (MPA), the RIAA’s Hollywood cousin, the English High Court ruled British Telecom must block access to Newzbin 2 – a pre-eminent Usenet aggregation site. It was achieved under section 97A of the Copyright Act and in doing so swept away key safeguards. It ruled ISPs are not actually ‘service providers’, that unlike Royal Mail they are not merely a conduit and they have a duty to monitor users surfing to enforce censorship where appropriate.

de09e0%7Ce088 newzbin Tragic Irony: The Lost Opportunity In Blocking Newzbin

“[BT] knows that the users of Newzbin 2 include BT subscribers, and it knows those users use its service to receive infringing copies of copyright works made available to them by Newzbin 2,” concluded Mr Justice Arnold. BT accepted the verdict and the MPAA is expected to use the landmark decision to now pressure smaller ISPs and draw up a long list of sites. Presumably that would include Newzbin 3 (v3.newzbin.com), which has been in service for well over a year.

“Almost every ‘infringing’ search result found on Newzbin2 can be had from Google, we just do it much much better,” said Newzbin in a blog post which claims it was not invited to attend the case. It also promised to break any blocking technology BT imposed. “[Copyright holders] regard anything new as a threat, when it always eventually turns out to be their greatest and most profitable opportunity: the VCR, DVD, CD, cassette tape, pianola-roll, Caxton printing press etc.” Its argument has unnerving similarities to the now deleted proclamations of the RIAA. FOR FULL ARTICLE READ ON

 Copyright for all reviews, editorials and features on this site belong to their respective publishers. All samples published on this website are via prior agreement with those publishers and serve to act as a portfolio and centralised location for all my work. Contact me at gordon@gordonkelly.com should you wish to commission me or supply review samples, press releases or arrange meetings. 

 

Necessities of Evil: The Changing Face of Google

July 27, 2011 by  
Filed under Features & Editorials

How the search giant lost its innocence to become one of the most powerful companies in the world…

 

The Changing Face of Google

  • By Gordon Kelly
  • 22 July 2011
Google, it’s kerrrazy. The wacky primary colours in its logo, the eccentric doodles, the constant beta products, the new age offices, the informal “don’t be evil” company motto. Google is a breath of fresh air across a stagnant corporate landscape, a business determined to do things differently. Or is it?

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On Thursday Google announced it is shutting down Labs. “While we’ve learned a huge amount by launching very early prototypes in Labs, we believe that greater focus is crucial if we’re to make the most of the extraordinary opportunities ahead,” said Google SVP for Research and Systems Infrastructure Bill Coughran. He justified the decision saying the company was now “prioritizing our product efforts” wanting “more wood behind fewer arrows”.

Dodgy metaphors aside Labs’ experimental features will remain in Gmail and Maps, but the wider closure is just the latest example of a sea change going on at the company. An evolution from the fun loving, trend setting, hippy business that started its life in a friend’s garage and down a path determined to emphasise corporate accountability and responsibility. The change has been coming for some time.
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The hints first came with Chrome. Google’s browser had been on the market for just 100 days when it was launched out of beta in December 2008. Contrast that with Gmail which took five years and three months to toss its beta tags – some seven months afterChrome. The intention was clear: corporations don’t like beta products and their approval was now paramount. Google VP Marissa Mayer admitted as much speaking to Le Web in 2008. She confirmed the motivation was to enable OEMs to ship Chrome preinstalled on PCs. If Google was to appeal to corporations it needed to behave more like them. READ ON

 

 Copyright for all reviews, editorials and features on this site belong to their respective publishers. All samples published on this website are via prior agreement with those publishers and serve to act as a portfolio and centralised location for all my work. Contact me at gordon@gordonkelly.com should you wish to commission me or supply review samples, press releases or arrange meetings. 

What’s Really Wrong With UK 3G Broadband

July 22, 2011 by  
Filed under Features & Editorials

The BBC this week launches an investigation into the problems of UK mobile phone coverage. In my latest feature for TrustedReviews I explain why it is looking in the wrong place. Find a sample below and a link to the full article at the end.

 

What’s Really Wrong With UK 3G Broadband

  • By Gordon Kelly
  • 21 July 2011
97.5 per cent. 92.5 per cent. 96 per cent. 81 per cent. 84 per cent. After several phone calls we discovered these are the current figures for the 3G network coverage in the UK of 3, Orange,T-Mobile, Vodafone and O2 respectively. So what’s the problem?If you have been paying close attention to the tech news this week you will see the BBC has launched an ambitious project to map the state of mobile phone coverage in the UK. The Beeb will ask Android smartphone owners to download the UK 3G survey app (QR code below) which will run in the background to measure signal strength around the country and whether a 2G or 3G signal is available.6b47cf%7Cf923 app 1 Whats Really Wrong With UK 3G Broadband

“Coverage is the number one issue for consumers,” said Gavin Johns, chief executive of Epitiro – the developer behind the app. “Our coverage app will provide the information consumers need to see if 3G services are available and from which mobile operator. As mobile broadband is important to many of us, we hope people volunteer and make the project a success.”

The argument behind the project, which is funded by the taxpayer, is no independent survey has ever been carried out into signal strength – something networks admit. “There is no common standard for measuring coverage and some operators tend to grossly exaggerate,” said Phil Sheppard, director of network strategy at 3. “We like to manage people’s expectations.” This confusion can easily be seen when comparing carrier figures with those of Ofcom. The regulator claims the UK has just 76 per cent 3G coverage and 91 per cent 2G coverage (no UK carrier claims less than 99 per cent 2G UK coverage). It all sounds very noble, but there is a problem: the BBC is asking the wrong questionREAD ON

 Copyright for all reviews, editorials and features on this site belong to their respective publishers. All samples published on this website are via prior agreement with those publishers and serve to act as a portfolio and centralised location for all my work. Contact me at gordon@gordonkelly.com should you wish to commission me or supply review samples, press releases or arrange meetings. 

 

 

 

Who Is ZTE & Why Are Rivals Running Scared?

July 16, 2011 by  
Filed under Features & Editorials

The patient rise of the Chinese telecoms company is now putting the squeeze on its rivals. Read the extract from my latest feature for TrustedReviews and find a link to the full article at the bottom.

 

Who Is ZTE & Why Are Rivals Running Scared?

  • By Gordon Kelly
  • 15 July 2011
Who on earth is ZTE? Tech fans may have some idea, but to the general public the company remains just another random acronym. It soon won’t be…On Thursday ZTE started revealing its master plan. The Chinese telecoms giant announced its first self branded products would be sold in the UK. It followed this up in proclaiming that by 2015 it will be the world’s third largest phone maker. In 3 ½ years it believes only Nokia and Samsung will be selling more handsets.  For a company most people haven’t heard of that’s a big claim, yet for its rivals it is also a hugely concerning one.

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To understand why requires a small history lesson. ZTE was founded in Shenzhen (HQ pictured) back in 1985 by Hou Weigui. It rose from a group of state-owned enterprises with ties to the government’s Ministry of Aerospace and specialised in telecoms. In 1997 it had its first IPO on the Shenzhen stock exchange with a second on the Hong Kong stock exchange in 2004. By this point it was the second largest telecoms equipment vendor in China, selling base stations, switches, software, broadband networking gear and handsets.

That year sales grew 35 per cent to $4.1bn, but more importantly it took advantage of China’s growing relations with the West to begin exporting heavily around the world. By the end of 2004 exports had skyrocketed 170 per cent. And you still hadn’t heard of them. The reason why is… READ ON

 Copyright for all reviews, editorials and features on this site belong to their respective publishers. All samples published on this website are via prior agreement with those publishers and serve to act as a portfolio and centralised location for all my work. Contact me at gordon@gordonkelly.com should you wish to commission me or supply review samples, press releases or arrange meetings. 

 

Sapphire Edge HD2 Mini PC (Nettop)

July 14, 2011 by  
Filed under Reviews

Sometimes good products only need small tweaks to make them excellent ones… read an extract below from my TrustedReviews’ review of Sapphire’s excellent (and tiny) PC to see why the future of computing is no bigger than the palm of your hand.

 

Our full review of the Sapphire Edge HD2 Mini PC (Nettop)

  • Reviewed by Gordon Kelly
  • 14 July 2011
Technology moves fast, but even for those well versed in the speed of technological advance the timing of this upgrade from Sapphire is likely to catch many off guard. Just four months after we reviewed the Edge HD Mini PC we now have its successor: the HD2. Can it fix our grievances with the promising, if flawed original?

For those less familiar with the original, the Sapphire Edge HD2 is a tiny Atom powered PC (or nettop) with a sizeable hard drive and the power of Nvidia’s ION2 chip to ensure this diddy desktop can keep up with most multimedia and general computing tasks. As you might expect, in following so soon after the HD, the HD2 is primarily about tweaks. Out goes the Atom D510 1.66GHz CPU to be replaced by a speedier Atom D525 1.8GHz dual core CPU. The hard drive is boosted from 250GB to 320GB and a new ION2 bios promises even smoother playback of Full HD video.

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In addition Sapphire has responded to user feedback in offering a version of the HD2 with Windows 7 pre-installed whereas the original came simply with FreeDOS prompting you to install your own OS via USB key or using your own external drive (with no internal optical drives, these are your only options). Lastly Sapphire has bundled a VESA mount to fix the HD2 directly to the back of your TV or monitor (should it be freestanding) and also thrown in an HDMI cable and HDMI-DVI adaptor for good measure. When you couple this with the 2GB RAM (DDR2-800MHz), 802.11n WiFi, Gigabit Ethernet, four USB ports (two front, two back), audio-in, line-out, DVI and HDMI ports it all adds up to one comprehensive product offering.

It is comprehensive, yet remarkably compact too. Sapphire suggests the HD2 is the smallest PC in the world: it uses the same 193 x 148 x 22mm case (plus stand) as the original and has the same 530g weight… READ ON

 

 

 

 

Samsung Chromebook

July 11, 2011 by  
Filed under Reviews

 

Can the first Chrome OS laptop successfully move us to the Cloud, lock, stock and barrel? Find out by reading the extract on my full review for TrustedReviews below then clicking on the ‘Read On’ link below.

 

Samsung Chromebook

Price as reviewed: £350.00

  • Reviewed by Gordon Kelly
  • 09 July 2011

Our Rating

  • 6/10

Scores in detail

  • Battery Life
    9/10
  • Design
    8/10
  • Features
    4/10
  • Performance
    5/10
  • Value
    6/10
How do you use your computer? This may seem a silly question, but you need to think about it long and hard because every pro and every con in this review will return to this one question. We’ll show you want we mean…
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As you are no doubt aware, the Samsung Chromebook is the first commercially available, mass market computer based on Google’s Chrome OS. As such expectations are different. With most modern PCs users pick Mac OS, Windows or Linux. The software is a known quantity and the challenge is choosing the right hardware to go with it. Conversely for Samsung it has the brief luxury of being the only major Chrome OS device on the market, but it will be judged as a package, both on its hardware and for Google’s software.

Consequently while we wouldn’t spend a great deal of time speaking about the operating system in a typical laptop review here it is a cornerstone. As such we’ll tackle the Samsung Chromebook in two parts: 1. How well Samsung has managed to build hardware around Chrome OS, and 2. Regardless is Chrome OS worth using?

First, point one… READ ON


Why Google Must Get Google+ Right

July 4, 2011 by  
Filed under Features & Editorials

The launch of Google+ is more than an attempt to catch Facebook, it is central to the company’s future. Read an extract from my editorial for TrustedReviews below.

 

Why Google Must Get Google+ Right

  • By Gordon Kelly
  • 04 July 2011

Add a profile picture, write a short introduction about yourself, start posting status updates and start looking up your friends. Can you really find the motivation to join another social network? Google is counting on it…

This week the search giant, Android and Chrome creator unveiled Google+. It is the latest attempt to rectify Google’s biggest and most pressing Achilles heel: social networking. Previous attempts have ranged from the unappealing to the outright offensive, but this time it seems Google is no longer dabbling, it has jumped in with both feet and will stake a significant portion of its future against it.

The official announcement itself was a radical departure for Google. “Among the most basic of human needs is the need to connect with others. With a smile, a laugh, a whisper or a cheer, we connect with others every single day,” said Google engineering senior VP Vic Gundotra. The language was a million miles from the mathematical, almost surgical precision with which Google is famed. It was speaking with emotion about emotion… READ ON

Copyright for all reviews, editorials and features on this site belong to their respective publishers. All samples published on this website are via prior agreement with those publishers and serve to act as a portfolio and centralised location for all my work. Contact me at gordon@gordonkelly.com should you wish to commission me or supply review samples, press releases or arrange meetings. 

ACS T2 In-Ear Dual Driver Monitor [Wired]

July 2, 2011 by  
Filed under Reviews

I take another look at ACS’ class leading T2 monitor for Wired. Find an extract below and a link to the full review at the bottom…

 

ACS T2 In-Ear Monitor headphone review

30 June 11

Wired Rating

9/10

Wired:

  • Class leading sound quality
  • Custom moulded for every customer
  • Bespoke designs
  • Superb noise isolation
  • Out of warranty repair service

Tired:

  • Premium pricing
  • 12 month warranty
  • Short wait for modular design,

Price: £499

How much money do you make?

This may seem an impertinent question, but it is relevant. Why? Because if you cannot afford to spend £500 on a pair ofearphones this review is not for you. Worst still, if you are the kind of person who wishes they could spend £500 on a pair of earphones stop now, because you’re going to wish you could even more.

It is hard to know where to start when reviewing a product that is at least 10x the price of what people typically pay. In fact that’s being generous. Typically people use the dirt-cheap earphones that come with their phone/MP3 player, which means the ACS T2 is closer to 200x their manufacturing cost. I’m sure you’ll concede that a £500 pair of earphones is likely to be better than what came in the box, but that much better? Yes, and I’ll tell you why.

When you buy a pair of ACS earphones the first thing you’ve bought is an appointment. READ ON

For my review at TrustedReviews click here

WiGig: Tech’s Most Exciting Wireless Technology?

July 2, 2011 by  
Filed under Features & Editorials

Will this ingenious new wireless technology get the industry adoption it so richly deserves? I interview WiGig’s Group Chair Mark Grodzinsky for TrustedReviews to find out more…

The Exciting Potential of WiGig

  • By Gordon Kelly
  • 30 June 2011
Wireless USBWireless HDMI,AirPlayWiDiWiHD. Chances are you have heard of some of these, chances are some are unfamiliar. The fact there are so many high speed wireless standards is a fundamental problem, but it is also symptomatic of the appeal in being the one to get this technology right. Now there is a new frontrunner to succeed where so others are struggling…It is called WiGig and on Tuesday the WiGig Alliance announced the publication of its certification-ready specification. In other words: the process for partners to build WiGig products and ensure they are fully interoperable with existing standards is nearly there. This is crucial for manufacturers so they can quickly and easily adapt new and existing products for WiGig.   Will this ingenious new wireless technology get the industry adoption it so richly deserves?

5eefc3%7C2523 WiGig Beamforming WiGig: Techs Most Exciting Wireless Technology?

“We’re getting beyond the technology development, specification writing and industry alignment phase,” explained WiGig Alliance Marketing Work Group Chair Mark Grodzinsky. “We are at the real product development, interoperability and deployment phase. Where WiGig is now more mature than Draft N wireless when it was certified [and products started to appear on shop shelves].”

More remarkable is WiGig has gotten to this stage in little more than two years (802.11n WiFi ratification took seven years) and at just version 1.1. In passing its latest IEEE vote it attained 93 per cent of the vote. Meanwhile the WiGig Alliance membership roster reads like a who’s who of the technology sector. Intel, Dell, VESA, NEC, Nokia, Panasonic, Samsung, Toshiba, Nvidia, AMD, Texas Instruments, Atheros, Marvell, Realtek and Broadcom are just some of the companies attached. The Alliance itself was only formed in May 2009.

So what has gotten everyone so excited? In short: speed, flexibility and compatibility. READ ON

Copyright for all reviews, editorials and features on this site belong to their respective publishers. All samples published on this website are via prior agreement with those publishers and serve to act as a portfolio and centralised location for all my work. Contact me at gordon@gordonkelly.com should you wish to commission me or supply review samples, press releases or arrange meetings. 

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