UK ISPs set to block access to The Pirate Bay

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Xavier Voigt-Hill:

A new High Court ruling is requestin that UK ISPs block access to The Pirate Bay, but how long can measures like this last in the battle against piracy, especially since the ISPs do not legally have an obligation to block sites?

Originally posted on TechCrunch:

The British Phonographic Industry (BPI) finally got its will today. According to a ruling by Britain’s High Court, UK Internet providers must now block access to Swedish file-sharing site The Pirate Bay. The BBC reports that the BPI had asked British ISPs to voluntarily block access to the site in November 2011. At that time, though, the ISPs said they wouldn’t do so unless ordered by a court. That court order has now arrived. Five UK ISPs (Sky, Everything Everywhere, TalkTalk, O2 and Virgin Media) have already announced that they will comply with this order. BT asked the court for more time to consider its position.

According to the BPI’s chief executive Geoff Taylor, “the High Court has confirmed that The Pirate Bay infringes copyright on a massive scale. Its operators line their pockets by commercially exploiting music and other creative works without paying a penny to the people…

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Birdwatching: A bite out of the Apple

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Bird Watching is a column by Eddie King. Views expressed are not necessarily those of Digixav.

The Angry Bird has landed! I seem to be the latest contributor to this acclaimed site, and my specialty is getting very angry very quickly about the things that we all get bugged by. I rant and rage for your entertainment and interest so be bloody grateful. For a time I have been flying high, watching, waiting and searching. At last I have chosen a worthy target to reign down my feathery wroth upon: the enigma of the technological world that is Apple.

I first got passionate about Apple when my uncle bought an original iPod Touch back when America still thought it was a good idea to vote for a piece of shrubbery with a particular low IQ for their President. He would taunt me and only let me use it for limited amounts of time (this was back when I was very young as I say) and it was then I decided to prove that Apple as ineffective as a hammock full of cheese. Unfortunately it didn’t work. No matter what I tried or researched, Apple was seemingly brilliant in every way. At this point the rest of my close family had started believing my uncle and I found myself using Apple products loads. Despite this, Apple is still second to Microsoft and, to tell you the truth, it probably will stay that way for a very long time. This is why.

Firstly there is the price. The biggest complaint about Apple internationally is that you have to own several oil fields to be able to afford the parking space outside an Apple Store before actually trying to buy anything, which means at this point only Bill Gates could contemplate this without bankrupting himself. Usually I take the view that price is no object because if something is worth the quality then save a little and buy something that will serve better and for longer, but that is based on the idea that the other product will fall apart soon after you get it home. But let’s be honest – if you wanted to buy a 15” MacBook Pro for normal laptopping purposes you would have to spend at least a thousand pounds. Yes, you get a lump of beautiful aluminium and some impressive specs, but the same money could get you a Dell XPS, an HP Envy that is almost identical in appearance or even a highly customised Alienware M14x with a wallet-melting solid state drive, all of which certainly aren’t going to fall apart the moment you get them home.

The next problem is when you get it home and you start using it you will find that the entire world has a vendetta against your every wish. Compatibility is lots better than it was a few years ago, but even still you will have to get Windows programs such as Microsoft Office and you will have to re-learn most of what you know about computers because, despite OS X Lion (and the upcoming Mountain Lion) being awesome, being raised in a society that uses Windows means that the ropes once again need learning. It will add up. Then there are the over-stylised looks. In the beginning, they were just arrogant, and in the modern day they may be unique, but they are no longer the only good looking laptops out there as other companies are discovering the revolution of ‘metal’. They still look great but not for the excessive price.

To cap it all off, there is the lack of any gaming opportunities. The only games which you can play will cost too much, be out of date and won’t work online. Boot Camp is a convenient solution for running Windows software, but you still have to buy your own copy of Windows and experience torrid battery life, while additionally losing some of the awesome smoothness that has become Apple’s signature.

And yet even though on paper Apple looks to be to Microsoft what the iPad is to the iPod Touch. But, like the iPad, once you try it you seem to feel as though your life will not be able to continue. Apple are here to stay and will continue to be the overpriced thorn that sticks in every sane person’s side; and why? Because, as I found out all those years ago, it just has an annoying habit of working like a dream. Simple smooth and care free, Apple appeals to everyone from technophobes and graphics designers to designer people who want it to look good and those who are convinced that the internet is a little black box kept safe by some super nerds on top of Big Ben. Yes, you can’t play anything except Minecraft on Macs and you have to pay three times as much for the privilege, but, when you are playing the one game that exists, it will be better than most others. What started as an angry rant has turned into a feeling of acceptance. For all their faults no one in their right minds would dare turn an Apple product away. So the choice is yours, respect, a car, a girlfriend and a life, or a super computer made of adamantium.

The Winklevii become venture capitalists

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Xavier Voigt-Hill:

Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss, the twins who claim they invented Facebook, won $200,000,000 from Mark Zuckerberg in court and now want 4 times more, are now venture capitalists, and Paul Carr of PandoDaily isn’t too happy about it. In other news, if you want money, I am now a VC. Introducing Fundxav.

The noise you hear is the death rattle of any meaning behind the notion of being a VC

Originally posted on PandoDaily:

Yesterday, I wrote about the unedifying spectacle of Departed Founders Who Won’t Let Go. That is, founders who try constantly to re-involve themselves with the company they sold, often to the determent of their new ventures.

This can be particularly damaging, I noted, when the Departed Founders have gone on to become VCs.

In the first draft of the piece, I included a joke about the Winklevoss twins (pictured above) and their never-ending obsession with Facebook. Imagine if they became VCs, I joked. All the time they should be spending with their portfolio companies would instead be channeled into obsessing about that one failed relationship in their past. But I deleted the line as a) it wasn’t a very funny joke b) the Winklevoss didn’t found Facebook and c) they’re not VCs.

And then today, according to CNBC and the Next Web, the Winklevoss Twins decided to become…

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Technophobia: The future of television

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Technophobia is a column by Rowan Dinwoodie. Views expressed are not necessarily those of Digixav.

Recently, as services such as Hulu and Netflix have taken off, and as consumers gradually move over to online TV services, is there a future for the television? Admittedly Hulu hasn’t yet hopped the pond to make the service available in the UK, but I’m sure it will only be a matter of time.

I live in Hastings, where a certain John Logie Baird lived, he being the one famed for creating television in 1925. Television has come a long way since then. We have colour TV, for starters, hundreds of channels, and many thousands of shows.

The television is still very popular. 50 million are sold each year. The average North American has three TVs in their house.

I have noticed that I don’t watch as much telly as I used to. One service I find fantastic is TVCatchup, a site where you can watch live TV, with around a ten second delay.

I do like American TV. For instance, in my opinion Community is the best, funniest show on TV right now. Bar none. But living in the UK, I can’t get access to it. So I may or may not allegedly possibly maybe download it a little bit illegally from sites such as isohunt and the now defunct btjunkie. Ahem. I won’t provide links to them due to laws which are trying to be pushed through by certain governments, but there is a thing called Google.

I do find services like iPlayer to be very useful. For instance, when I’ve missed the latest episode of The Apprentice, which seems to be most weeks. Side note – why does Match of the Day never go up on iPlayer? And 4oD is good, but why do they stop you seeing things after 30 days from when they are broadcast? I’m still not sure if I’ve seen the last episode of Peep Show! And as for Demand 5…

I personally don’t have an account to Hulu, Lovefilm or anything like that. I have tried out Netflix at someone else’s house, and I have to say, I like it. I like being able to watch that many shows and films whenever I want. Of course, Netflix also do a delivery service, though not in Britain, probably due to competition from Lovefilm, but I reckon that will die out quite soon.

It’s nice having shows whenever, because it is unbearable waiting til Thursday for the next Community episode (or Friday when I can download the thing). But at the same time that’s part of the fun. I think it just shows how lazy we humans are getting. We want everything whenever we feel like it, we don’t won’t to have to wait. Is that a good thing?

At the moment, in the US the rate of people moving from TV to internet services like Netflix is less than 1% per year. It isn’t a massive change. Yet.

I think Netflix and Hulu need to get bigger and better before they will become massive. They need a larger selection of films and TV shows, and they need them quicker – as the series is happening, for instance.

Recently companies have started to produce smart TVs, where you can connect to the internet and get apps through them, but for me while they’re trying to make a television that can also do more, I think it is more like a computer that doubles as a television. With a bigger screen.

I think the humble TV will go on fighting for a while yet. It will take time to completely kill it off.

Some flies are too awesome for the wall. (I know it doesn’t really make sense, I just wanted to end with a Community quote.)

This article was originally published on Stuff Things Rants

Things That Should Exist: Self-Ruling Rulers

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I’m back, and although I’m not exactly sure how many people actually care about this, I’m gonna say it anyway to pretend I have people who enjoy reading my posts. So yeah, I’m sorry for missing last week, but I really couldn’t be bothered. There. That is my excuse. If you don’t like it, then I apologise for my inappropriate and unreasonable reason.

Anyway, back to what this is really about – things that should exist – and this week we have the brilliant idea of self-ruling rulers. This comes from a wide range of people but the main source I have is myself. This idea came about because I’m sick and tired of misreading measurements and drawing incorrect lines. Also, if I happen to be working with someone else on a project, then this will save me always getting the blame for something either so minor or something that if not correct could end up in DIY disaster.

This ruler would be a lot thinner than a regular 30cm/12″ ruler, and have a small LCD screen. This would have a little sensor on the bottom that can detect lines drawn in either pen or pencil. A little message would appear on the screen telling you the length or thickness of the line or something along those lines. Of course you will be able to change what measurement appears, from such units as centimetres, metres, inches and even miles for the idiots. You could also have a premium model that comes with a little touch display, allowing you to punch in a measurement and a laser would pop out of the side showing you exactly what to draw.This would solve the petty little arguments that you have with your friend on whether it actually is a 9.2cm line and not a 9.25cm line.

This could obviously work along with tape measures, as they come out at a certain length and have a small reading given on the handle. It would prevent getting a wrong reading and then not being able to fit that sofa through the door and having to end up leaving it in the wrong room.

Don’t pretend you don’t think that this is a good idea though because, for once, this is actually something that could be useful in the future. Now feel free to do anything you like, so long as it isn’t world-changing or affects me. Have fun and be prepared for next week, where I will return.

Unless I don’t.

Boom.

Scientists begin building 3.2 billion pixel space camera

Is your life that sad and pathetic that you have resorted to reading PICTURE TITLES!
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Xavier Voigt-Hill:

Do you want a 3.2 billion pixel camera? While this one is designed to take pictures of space, I still want it.

Originally posted on Tech:

The 22.3-megapixel CMOS sensor on Canon’s new EOS 5D Mark III is no joke — except when compared to the hardware in the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope (LSST) camera. The 3.2 billion-pixel digital camera is meant to “capture the widest, fastest and deepest view of the night sky ever observed,” according to the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory.

When completed, the camera is supposed to record 6 million gigabytes of data each year, the equivalent of taking around 800,000 photos with an eight-megapixel camera every single night.

Its purpose? To look at totally awesome space stuff:

Its deep and frequent cosmic vistas will help answer critical questions about the nature of dark energy and dark matter and aid studies of near-Earth asteroids, Kuiper belt objects, the structure of our galaxy and many other areas of astronomy and fundamental physics.

The whole shebang will weigh around three tons and have 189…

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Google Drive launches with 5GB free and up to 16TB of storage at lower rates than Dropbox

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Xavier Voigt-Hill:

Need another cloud storage service? Google Drive is Google’s attempt at a Dropbox killer, with 5GB free storage, Google Docs integration and lower upgrade prices than Dropbox. At Digixav, however, we wholeheartedly recommend SkyDrive for your cloud needs, as it trumps its rivals with 7GB free (25GB if you had an account before Sunday), great apps on iOS and Windows Phone, and even lower upgrade costs after yesterday’s relaunch.

Originally posted on TechCrunch:

You can now try Google Drive, Google’s Dropbox competitor, at drive.google.com.

UPDATE – The app is now available for download and I installed it, creating a folder on my computer that acts as a GDrive sync area. All of my Google Docs appeared as “icons” in the folder.

And I was able to drag in files from my PC.

Files that I added to the local folder appeared in the web interface instantly.

As you can see, the functionality works as expected and was nearly seamless. Free accounts get 5GB of space and you can upgrade to 25GB for $2.49 a month. One hundred gigabytes of storage can be had for $4.99 a month, and 1TB will set you back $49.99 monthly. Upgrading to a paid account will also boost the available storage space on your GMail account to 25GB. The documents that appear in the computer’s folder are…

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