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Getting Paid for Doing Bad Things (12″ version)

This is the extended version of my earlier blog post. The BBC finally ran my commentary so for those of you who want more info, here it is: Think of it as product placement for the Internet. It’s been around a while, but I just figured out how it works, and it made me realise that the early dreams of a blogging utopia on the web are pretty much dead. Here’s how this kind of product placement works. On the Internet Google is like a benevolent dictator: it creates great stuff we love, and with which most of the net wouldn’t work. But it alsoContinue readingGetting Paid for Doing Bad Things (12″ version)

Flying Cheapskates

A few weeks back I wrote in WSJ.com about Bezurk.com, a great travel website that’s on a par, if not better, than Kayak, Sidestep, Zuji and Yahoo! FareChase. Here’s what I wrote: What I like about Bezurk’s site is that it follows what I think are the best unwritten rules of Web 2.0, the new, more social and interactive generation of Internet services: It’s simple, intuitive and does its best not to bother you. It doesn’t require lots of hitting the refresh or back buttons. It doesn’t include deals that aren’t available or seats that are already sold. Bezurk also doesn’t require you to clickContinue readingFlying Cheapskates

The Message Behind Instant Messaging

Be careful what you wish for. For nearly a decade I, and a lot of people like me, have been dreaming of the day when we could send an instant message to someone who wasn’t on the network as us. An instant messaging program is one that sits on your computer and allows you to send short text messages to other Internet users in real time — if they are online they see the message as soon as you’ve sent it. it’s faster than email because they get it straightaway, and it has the added bonus of letting you know whether the other person isContinue readingThe Message Behind Instant Messaging

The End of Airport WiFi?

An interesting battle is going on in Boston over airport WiFi. If one side wins it may spell the end to WiFi in airports — at least those not operated by the airport itself. The Boston Globe reports that Logan International Airport officials’ ongoing quest to ban airline lounges from offering passengers free WiFi Internet services is angering a growing array of powerful Capitol Hill lobbying groups, who say Logan could set a dangerous nationwide precedent for squelching wireless services: Soon after activating its own $8-a-day WiFi service in the summer of 2004, the Massachusetts Port Authority, which runs Logan, ordered Continental and American Airlines toContinue readingThe End of Airport WiFi?

The Fate Of The Home Productivity Suite

I was asked by a PR firm on behalf of Corel to give my thoughts about office productiviy suites used in the home. I don’t always do that sort of thing, but I thought why not turn it into a blog posting, thereby avoiding any danger of being perceived as aiding and abetting a company I write about (hard to imagine that my ramblings might be seen as helpful, but you never know). Here, for what they’re worth (and I don’t think they’re worth very much) are my thoughts, post-long day at the office, post-chicken tikka and a Heineken, or, cough, two: 1. What isContinue readingThe Fate Of The Home Productivity Suite

Photo Printing — Not The Scam We Thought It Was

This is all a bit late, I know, but it’s probably worth pointing folk to if they’re not habitual readers of the excellent British computer magazine PCPro. Their cover story on photo-printing (registration required to read full reviews) in the February issue is a very sound, thorough and and detailed piece which makes some surprising conclusions: Getting your photos printed on the high street is not always cheaper than printing them yourself; It’s also not always better, in terms of quality and durability; Inkjet cartridges and their contents are not always complete rip-offs (and ink is only the fifth most expensive liquid on earth, notContinue readingPhoto Printing — Not The Scam We Thought It Was

Smelly Emails

From the Really Silly Ideas That May Catch On So I Better Not Be Too Rude About It Dept, here’s word of a device that will deliver you scented emails. Sort of. The BBC (via the USC Annenberg Online Journalism Review) reports that British Internet provider Telewest Broadband is testing an air freshener that is designed to spray the smell linked to a email message. So you plug the “scent dome” (no, really) which will contain 20 basic smells that can combine to give 60 scents (no, really) and hey presto! the email will trigger the odor.  Chad Raube, director of Internet services at TelewestContinue readingSmelly Emails

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