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What is wrong with this country? May 31, 2006

Posted by jbwan in General.
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In recent days we have seen the controversy over the statutory rape legislation in Ireland. Yesterday a man sentenced for the rape of a 12-year-old girl was set free because somebody had exposed a loophole in the legislation. What kind of person goes looking for loopholes in such legislation and what kind of person defends somebody wanting to appeal a sentence based on this legislation. It would certainly appear that the law community in this country has completely lost its morals and indeed human decency.

We often look at other less serious cases in the public eye such as X sues Y because they were depressed in their job or they fell on their property (even if it wasn’t Y’s fault). The people who help these claims get through the courts should be outlawed. Setting precedents for no reason other than their cut of the winnings. How could we have become a nation of chancers and loophole exploiters when we started in such humble beginnings? This is my opinion but I know that it is shared by many others and something should be done about it by those who govern what is legal and what is not. Sadly I fear that may be the same group who take these controversal cases. source: Irish Times

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When did images become incompatible? May 30, 2006

Posted by jbwan in Technology.
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Today I was knee deep in meetings and documentation – neither of which is a joy to partake in but must be done in order to get to the fun coding stuff. While coining my Machiavellian masterpiece of documentation I tried to source some rather funky images from a co-worker; a presentation that they had given many moons ago held the graphical treasures that I sought. Well behold! I took the presentation and opened it upon my Mac and after it has converted the metafiles they no longer resembled the tasty morsels that they once were. For future reference, nice vector-based Visio icons and drawings do not transfer well to the Mac platform. Sad but true.

Taxing Times for Childminders May 30, 2006

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A story in the Times today covers how only 170 out of an estimated 37,000 childminders in the country have applied for a tax exemption brought in by the last budget. The article reflects, much like I did after reading the headline, that many childminders probably don’t want to register as they are already living tax free in this respect. Registering for the exemption would merely draw attention to them and possibly incur a loss in earnings due to being registered for tax. Nice try Gov… source: Irish Times

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DRM May 26, 2006

Posted by jbwan in Technology.
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I have given up on the pursuit of unattainable web pages and instead have just started to research/investigate the various aspects of DRM with respect to the sharing of video content. Naturally the first stop for such things would be MPEG-21 and possibly the Open Mobile Alliance who have their own DRM solution currently on version 2.0 from what I understand.

Learning in this domain has so far been tiresome and consists of far too many whitepapers and abstract overviews without any real hands on exempli gratia to guide a bewildered newcommer through the maze. I did manage to find one SDK for such objectives (ContentGuard) but as I am working away on a Mac their selection of .bat files for running sample applications did not ease my journey from novice to confused.

The big problem at the moment with DRM (apart from the lack of concrete SDKs out there) is that many organisations just don’t have a single platform solution. Many content vendors have their own proprietary standards and readers but this isn’t going a long way to resolving the bigger issues associated with content super-distribution. What is really needed is a one-stop shop for standards-based content protection and authorisation. Perhaps I’ll find a solution out there in the depths of my research…

Yahoo on eBay May 26, 2006

Posted by jbwan in Technology.
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Yahoo and eBay have just announced that they are going to collaborate on several initiatives in the near future. Expect to see plenty of eBay links in Yahoo! search results and so forth. It will be interesting to see what effect this has on Yahoo usage. Hopefully the indexing will be conducted in a sensible fashion – I for one rarely use a search engine to find things to purchase. source: WebProWorld

Google – Leader of the Pack May 25, 2006

Posted by jbwan in Technology.
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Today I just happened upon Google Pack – a bundle of wonderful, free utilities and applications. The Google Pack installer helps you to keep track of all these applications, makes sure you have the most up-to-date versions and everything else. Not sure how out of date I am with this post as I have been offline for so long but it seems like a great idea to me. While Google desktop busily indexes my local machine I can relax and browse the other applications that I just downloaded and installed with confidence.

Where have all the websites gone? May 25, 2006

Posted by jbwan in Technology.
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A couple of days ago I was looking to purchase a new mobile phone and as I am currently a customer of O2 in Ireland I went to their website to pick out my new handset. However, when I got there the cupboard was certainly bare. The website was down for maintenance for a period of about 3 days. Who ever heard of taking a major website offline while you put the new one into action? Surely the old one could have been left in place?

Anyway the torment continues as today I start for the first time into J2ME development. No prior experience of MIDlet development or anything like that so it should be interesting to say the least. So I did the usual google search on J2ME tutorial and went to the first link that looked someway decent. From there I followed a link pointing me to Sun’s J2ME Wireless Toolkit only to be greeted by a message informing me that the site would be down for upgrade today and please call back. Another major website taken offline when all I wanted to do was to download a toolkit to start developing. Au Français “zut! et zut alors!”

The Duality of Blogging May 25, 2006

Posted by jbwan in General.
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My poor old weblog has suffered recently at the hands of focussed thought. As such I have decided to split my ramblings into two and try to divide my publishing practice into both my typical rambling zone but also a new tech-related ramble zone. A vain attempt to produce two blogs out of no time on two unrelated subjects. My second blog will be hosted on Blogger, called DevLife and accessible through http://jbwan.blogspot.com for anyone that may be interested.

Make a killing in your retirement May 25, 2006

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Hollywood hath no inspiration like real life: A story I heard on the Last Word (Today FM) yesterday seemed so bizarre I could hardly believe what I was hearing. Seemingly two old ladies in the US took it upon themselves to seek an active retirement fund. How did they manage this? Well they befriended homeless people and took out life assurance policies in their names. As soon as the policy was active, they ran over the unsuspecting person in their car and claimed the policy monies for accidental death. Utterly morbid but frightfully true. I’m sure that the podcast of yesterday’s show is available from the Today FM website if anyone wants to listen to it (it was the 1800-1900 part of the show).

Oh Lord(i) May 22, 2006

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A phrase that surely sums up the weekend; a weekend that saw Munster finally claim the European cup after so long trying. Hats off to Peter Stringer, who by all accounts played out of his skin as he always does for Ireland anyway. Congrats to the lads on a great victory – I’m sure that Limerick will not sleep for a month.

The other “oh Lord”, probably moreso “oh Lordi”, goes to the Eurovision and possibly the best entry and contest in years. The Finland entry, Lordi, may have looked like a death metal group but they added a much needed je ne sais quoi to the contest. I thouroughly enjoyed this years event coupled with the comedic narration of Terry Wogan. The contest may never be the same but at least it’s sparking interest again.