Tag Archives: Shame

1984? The Nanny State? I’m All For It

The UK is taking its network of 4.2 million CCTV cameras a step further: disembodied recorded voices haranguing errant citizens via loudspeaker. It sounds awful, I know, but every time I visit my home town (one of the 20 towns where the system will be installed) I’m horrified at the behaviour and disregard for public facilities. So while the idea of children’s voices barking out instructions across Abington Street might seem more like Orwell or Pol Pot than tranquil England, if it stops people behaving badly in public, so be it.

clipped from news.bbc.co.uk

The home secretary said competitions were being held at schools in many of the areas for children to become the voice of the cameras.


“By funding and supporting these local schemes, the government is encouraging children to send this clear message to grown ups – act anti-socially and you will face the shame of being publicly embarrassed,” Mr Reid added.

A Beautiful Challenger To Outlook

Out today, here’s something for those of you who like the idea of Outlook, but can’t stand the reality: Barca, a new PIM/email program.

From Canada-based Poco Systems, the makers of the excellent PocoMail, Barca has the makings of a great program. Easy to install, graceful and light in feel, it starts working for you very quickly. There’s a feature list that makes your mouth water and your tears well up at the effort and ingenuity that has gone into this product. It’s truly wonderful to see people really care about the software they create.

But. Sadly there’s a but. Maybe I’m wrong, but at $60 a pop (I’m assuming it’s US$ here), I’m not convinced it’s going to sweep the board. The main problem: Poor synchronisation with your PDA and/or cellphone. While you can sync some calendar items, it’s fiddly and not the kind of thing you can do while you’re running out the door to lunch. I suspect most people really need this feature, and, at least, in this spanking new release, it’s not there. That’s a shame. Otherwise I think Poco could really give Outlook and others a run for their money.

Still, give it a shot. You might be tempted.

Another Popup Blocker, But This Time From Minsk

Here’s a new version of another program designed to block popup ads, but which also performs the (admittedly increasingly common) trick of opening multiple browser windows at once. It’s called AdsCleaner.

I haven’t tried it, but I do like the honest PR release, just out, so I am going to quote: “New version features optimized process of ads blocking that has greatly influenced the operating speed. In opinion of AdsCleaner users, deceleration during the process of ad blocking was, perhaps, the main inconvenience peculiar to the early versions of the application. Now this inconvenience is eliminated.” I wish other companies were so honest.

AdsCleaner 2.0 cost $20. It is developed by SoftInform, which sounds like a computer division of the KGB. Which turns out not to be too far from the truth: As with a lot of these smaller software companies, it’s dang hard to find out where they’re based, which is a shame, because there’s nothing wrong with coming from places like Minsk in Belarus. Which is where I think SoftInform comes from.