Stuck on Stuxnet

By Jeremy Wagstaff (this is my weekly Loose Wire Service column for newspaper syndication) We’ve reached one of those moments that I like: When we’ll look back at the time before and wonder how we were so naive about everything. In this case, we’ll think about when we thought computer viruses were just things that …

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Scan a Bed Time Story for Me, Daddy

This is up there among the lamest products of the year: a scanner that will convert a book to speech. Well actually, it sounds quite good. I’d imagined a device that could flip the pages over while you sit back nursing a Scotch. When everything’s done the scanner converts the text to “high quality speech …

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The End of the Reply All Button

I did a piece for the BBC World Service on the Reply All button the other day (MP3 to follow). I’m not saying there’s a causal link, but now Nielsen have issued a memo:  We have noticed that the “Reply to All” functionality results in unnecessary inbox clutter. Beginning Thursday we will eliminate this function, …

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Software, Slowly, Gets Better

Is it just me, or are software developers beginning to get their users? For a long time I’ve felt the only real innovation in software has been in online applications, Web 2.0 non-apps—simple services that exist in your browser—but now it seems that ordinary apps are getting better too. Evernote, I feel, is one that’s …

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links for 2008-09-13

Passionato Over 18,000 (classical) recordings in high-quality (320Kbps) DRM-FREE MP3 files. Seems to work out about $15 for an album, so not sure it’s a huge saving (tags: mp3 music download drm classical) Oblique Strategies Edition 3 (1979) Brian Eno’s inspiration pack (tags: strategies creativity brianeno inspiration) Kleptomania Kleptomania lets you select text anywhere on …

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Everyone Wants To Be a Player

Still the big players don’t get it. Still they drive people like me nuts, and confuse ordinary users, with their sly tactics that confound and bewilder. Above, for example, Microsoft’s Windows Media Player provides a list of files that it will play by default. All are checked automatically, including DVD video, midi files, WAV files …

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Songs for Suits

Things are never so weird they can’t get weirder. Techdirt posts on a legal firm’s corporate song “Everyone’s a Winner at Nixon Peabody” which really has to be heard to be believed. I don’t guarantee it’s a pleasant experience, but it’s the only way to know just how low companies can go to get their …

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The Slow Death of the iPod

Jupiter Research has come up with figures [BBC] suggesting that only 20% of the tracks found on an iPod will have been bought from iTunes. The conclusion: “Digital music purchasing has not yet fundamentally changed the way in which digital music customers buy music.” Paul Thurrot reckons that for Apple things are the other way …

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Portability Over Quality: The MP3 Scam

I happen to be a new fan of Alva Noto, whose minimalist bleeps and hisses may not be everyone’s cup of tea. (My wife thinks we have mice.) Anyway, I’m also testing headphones so I’m sitting outside by the communal pool taking in his second album with Ryuichi Sakamoto (my hero; I once interviewed him …

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If Your Computer Won’t Acknowledge Your iPod

For anyone who can’t get their computer to recognise an iPod plugged into a USB port, the likeliest solution is to reset the iPod. This won’t remove any files from the iPod, though some settings may be lost. Here from the Apple website is how to do it, although the title, Resetting iPod if it appears …

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