Weblog on the Internet and public policy, journalism, virtual community, and more from David Brake, a Canadian academic, consultant and journalist

Archive forJuly, 2002 | back to home

31 July 2002
Filed under:Useful web resources at10:30 pm

Sometime in the last few weeks, Transport for London’s web-based route planner just got a huge upgrade. It used to be you could only automatically plan your route by tube – if you were thinking of taking a combination of tube, bus, rail or other public transport, you still had to download maps and figure out fares and interconnections yourself.

The new site can estimate your journey practically door to door, if you give it the postcode of your destination (as long as you are in London), integrating estimated walking times, waiting times and giving costs. The only thing it doesn’t do is point out the most efficient way to pay your fare – for example a zone one tube journey is listed as costing £1.60 but if you have bought a “carnet” of ten the tickets will “only” cost £1.15 each.

In fact, the site seems almost to hide away some of the best fares – for full details you have to read a 21 page PDF.

It’s aggravating that Livingstone recently lost his battle to avoid having to use a “public private partnership” to fund tube improvements (not even The Economist thought this was a good idea!) but the £5 charge for bringing cars into the centre of London has just passed its last hurdle, so on the whole things are looking rather good for transport in London….

29 July 2002

For less than £500 per person, two thousand people in a high rise tower block in Melbourne, Australia are being provided with computers, training and broadband access to email and community services.

It’s too early to tell, but I would hope that with the right community software and appropriate help this could turn out to be a crucial tool to building social capital on the estate and improving both people’s skills and their environment.

The scheme is already up for the Stockholm Challenge Award. The award is interesting in itself as it helps to make prominent examples of good practice from around the world.

28 July 2002
Filed under:Humour & Entertainment at6:17 pm

I am entertained by the idea of the Ageless Project which lets you tell the world your birthday and check out weblogs by your own age cohort. I am registered there now. It’s reminiscent of Thomas Boutell’s World Birthday Web (now seemingly deceased due to excessive spamming, though it is still linked to from his homepage).

27 July 2002
Filed under:Online media at3:25 pm

In a further (and quite clever) attempt to find revenues, Salon is promoting Userland’s Radio weblog software by hosting user’s weblogs themselves and pledging to keep an eye on them, this holding out the tempting prospect of having your weblog made famous by Salon. The downside is that it promotes software that will cost you money over (correct me if I am wrong) software that is just as good and costs nothing like Moveabletype (which I use). The (British) Guardian’s approach is more interesting – they are producing a contest to find the best British weblogs (which doubtless will also dramatically increase the number of links from British weblogs to the Guardian).

24 July 2002
Filed under:Old media at11:16 pm

An interesting polemic by Malcolm “Tipping Point” Gladwell in the New Yorker about the dangers of valuing individual talent over a sound organizational structure in business. Enron provides him with plenty of good raw material…

Among other things, it mentions that, “…the link between I.Q. and job performance is distinctly underwhelming. On a scale where 0.1 or below means virtually no correlation and 0.7 or above implies a strong correlation … the correlation between I.Q. and occupational success is between 0.2 and 0.3.”

23 July 2002

A clever bit of lateral thinking to help close the digital divide in rural India – villagers request Internet information from a technician on a motorbike and a day or two later, he returns with the information that he has downloaded.porn 50aim sexporn amatervideo adriana lima sexa tape sex night paris in3d animal sexsex mpegs amateursex 101 great of nights Map

Filed under:Computer Games at9:11 am

Prolonged time playing video games could cause people to lose concentration, get angry easily and have trouble associating with others, a Japanese professor’s research has suggested.

The newspaper article doesn’t say what kinds of game were tested – my guess is that if there is an effect it is with shoot-em-up-type games rather than the more cerebral ones I normally prefer…

21 July 2002
Filed under:Wireless at11:06 am

Today’s Doonesbury cartoon suggests that people piggy-backing on others’ WiFi connections are perceived to be “stealing” from them. In fact, I imagine that in most cases the bandwidth “stolen” wouldn’t be missed – the Internet provider is the one with most to lose (though that is hard to put across in a cartoon!)pornography moviemovies pornstarsmovie preggo fuckingmovie quicktime previewporn movies quicktimemovies porn ratesex sample movies interracialexclusive sapphic moviesmovies juice sapphicmovies women sapphicpussy Behaarte afrikanischenDanny Sex Cartoon Phantomreifen Porno AsianInterrassisch Geschlecht betrügen Frauclits Reifeeating Männer CreampieAsian pics Schule Mädchenchaueffering BDSMalte Mutter Sex Kostenloslecken Lesben Video ersten Malporn amature movies homeconference 2007 analysis thermal 3rdanalog clock 24 hour18 nikki pornstar70 gay s pornalcohol abuse among teenagersteen video amatuer adult365 indian sex Map

20 July 2002
Filed under:Computer Games at12:34 pm

For those who don’t know, Game On is an exhibition in the Barbican in London covering the first 40 years of the computer gaming industry. I found it a little disappointing, but only because the field is so large that doubtless everyone has their own ideas of how such an exhibition should be run and what its emphasis should be.
This one had almost nothing about multiplayer or strategic games, which are what I play, tending instead to concentrate on consoles (which, admittedly, probably are the most widespread games). I wanted the opportunity to actually play SpaceWar on the PDP-1 they had there, or at least to see it running, but of course the machinery was too old. An early console that played a closely-related game had to substitute.
I did run into a very well informed exhibition guide, however, who was able to give some interesting insight into why the exhibition was done as it was and knew more of the early history than made it into the gallery itself.
There was not very much in the way of detailed commentary on the history or socio-economic context to the games on display – this was because the space was an art gallery not a museum space. I leave you with some things I learned about pong there:

  • When Pong was produced it cost $1000 for each cabinet… but could take in $300-400 a day.
  • 10,000 pong cabinets were made.
  • The main maintenance problem was that the coin tray jammed when it got full
  • It was based on Table Tennis on the Magnavox Odyssey (the first games console).

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18 July 2002

Spiked Online, the web descendant of Living Marxism magazine (which didn’t have a great deal to do with Marxism, to be honest, when it was around) publishes some interesting counter-intuitive UK political and health stuff. I just came across this interesting article which points out that,

  • “Britain’s HIV/AIDS epidemic remains highly concentrated in London”
  • “In the early 1990s, new cases passed 1000 a year, to reach a peak of 1853 in 1994; in 2001 some 558 new cases were recorded.”
  • “The total of deaths from AIDS follows a similar course, reaching a peak of 1531 in 1994 and declining to 221 in 2001.”

and most interestingly,

“The big untold story of AIDS in Britain is that the epidemic explosion among heterosexuals that was anticipated in the 1980s has never happened… If we look, for example, at the figures for heterosexually acquired HIV infection in 2001, we find a total of 2226. This has been widely quoted to illustrate the rising tide of heterosexual transmission at a time when spread among gay men is declining…

How many people became HIV positive as a result of heterosexual contact with a partner who became infected in Europe? This figure – the key statistic of the indigenous heterosexual epidemic – is 52 (2.3 percent of the total). It is noteworthy that this number has remained remarkably steady over the past decade.”

That isn’t to say, of course, that the authorities were necessarily wrong to emphasise the risks of unprotected sex to everyone – after all, there are lots of other STDs that need to be curbed, the warnings may have incidentally prevented un-wanted pregnancies and, of course, without the warnings an epidemic just might have occurred. But it is nonethless interesting to see just how far we are in the UK from a real heterosexual AIDS threat.

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