Sunday, March 29, 2009

Eggs Benedict, House Special Omelette at LAX

Brunch at KJ's, LAX On the surface, this may appear to be just another food blog but it isn't. Honest Guv. It's about the power of the internet, obviously.

So, we'd got in to LAX the night before, googled using the Radisson's free internet for a nearby sushi place, found one that was well-reviewed and had some nice rolls before crashing at a sensible hour. Next morning, I had the hankering for a proper diner breakfast in the vicinity of the hotel. A quick search for "LAX breakfast" turned up a shortlist and after a quick peruse of the reviews we settled on KJ's Diner. And what a great choice it was too! Somewhat hidden away at the end of a block, we were greeted seated quickly and armed with coffee. We ordered the eggies and the omeletties and mighty fine they were too. The pancakes were something else, so light and fluffy. The coffee was constantly topped up.

Brunch at KJ's, LAX

This set me thinking about the internet. There would have been no way we'd have found this place without it. And had there been no decent reviews we certainly wouldn't have gone. Maybe now, "location! location! location!" is about internet location. Being found and then having good reviews corresponds to location. With satnav, physical location, the act of being stumbled upon, is much less relevant than it used to be. Overall, I think this bodes well. Places will get away less often with being rubbish and places that deserve to do well will do so with the power of "word of internet". We're going back on the way home for menudo, apparently. Well, she will. Chinese crispy tripe was adventurous enough for me, thank you.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

BBC created botnet from pwned PC's

From the Register. Clicky thingy it to read:

BBC zombie caper slammed by security pros

This is a really interesting one. A few points:

1. Clearance for this programme went all the way up. It was cleared by the lawyers and compliance.

2. Journalists, unlike Gary McKinnon, can hide behind "public interest". If it's an investigation that can be shown to be of benefit to the great unwashed, they're probably in the clear.

And the big ones for me:

3. Mircrosoft are SO culpable in this whole sorry mess. There is no reason to use such broken, compromised software. They broke NT to lever Windows on it and it's been broken ever since. Class action time. Anyone who has suffered a loss through Windows brokenness should sue.

4. Why isn't there an agency in the country allowed, no, mandated, to do what the BBC did? If a PC is compromised, then pwn it, disable it and load up a screensaver telling people to get it to a techie to get it cleaned. We're letting drunk, stoned drivers loose on the information superhighway.

More Linux and more Macs.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Evil Scarecrow

Evil Scarecrow
Originally uploaded by davehodg
Oh yes. Bloodstained keyboard players. The best kind.

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Whither the BBC

The BBC has an interesting problem.

As a "corporation", it is bound by its charter to perform certain functions ranging from providing a certain proportion of religious programming at one end of the spectrum through to creating a certain kind of ratings-chasing rubbish. In between it is expected to inform, enlightenment and entertain.

The flip side of this is our expectations of the BBC as part of the British public. We all have a soft spot for Auntie. The slightly patrician, worthy, wholesome aura that the BBC used to be known for is as comforting as toast and Marmite for breakfast. We want the BBC to take a stand, to be a moral authority. The recent kerfuffle about the DEC Gaza appeal is a case in point. Be assured, that most people in the BBC would have wanted to broadcast such an important humanitarian appeal. However, such a broadcast has to be measured against the charter and as such exercised minds both legal and editorial. In the end, the risk of breaching the charter was judged too high a price to pay.

The problem is that our tenner a month towards the maintenance of what is fundamentally a great institution has been hobbled by successive governments of various shades. The BBC is now unable to take a lead, to take significant risks.

There are thousands of very talented people trying their very best to produce programmes and other content that engage and inform, that make sixty years of historic programming accessible. After all, you, your parents and grandparents paid for it. These talented people are trying to do what they can within bounds set, creating new channels for their content and engaging with the audience.

I'm sure that casting the BBC adrift as a commercial entity is the wrong thing. Look at Sky. Certainly, the quest for value for money is a good one, but not all expenditure necessarily has an immediate payback. How do we know what of what we produce today will be of value in another fifty years time? How do we know what BBC pure research and development will be in our pockets in a few years time?

I'm not entirely sure I'm making a great point here. I love the BBC, I was practically raised by it and have huge respect for its achievements. What I want from it I guess, is just a little more boldness; not to be constrained by fear of offending the authorities.

Is that practical?