A letter from the Cuprohastes-in-Chief

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Gmail, Google+ and Google thoughts

Google’s rolling a lot of it’s flagship services into the one Google+ brand.

How will this affect you?

Well… if you use any of them, they’ll all get a unified interface (Probably) and it’ll be easier to put things into the services and then have them display elsewhere, and you’ll have more control over who sees what.

So… actually this is a good thing? Right?

Pretty much, except you now have even greater capacity for accidentally having your boss, mother, grandfather, kids etc. see those embarrassing photos or conversations because you forgot to lock them down, or one day you send an e-mail to someone and Google helpfully connects the two accounts and displays the user icon of a horse’s arse that you were using for them in your contact list.


More than ever, people need to have two accounts – One for public display, and one for having fun with.


Am I a hipster?


Hipsters by and large are drawn to things outside of the mainstream and use things because they’re counter culture. They refuse to use a PDA, and carry sheafs of paper secured by a bulldog clip and loudly declare it’s their ‘Hipster PDA’ and smugly show it off as ‘like an iPhone but the battery never runs out and the resolution is like, infinite’.

They write in Moleskine notebooks with blackwing 602 pencils because it’s the ‘Notebook of Hemmingway and Van Gogh’ and the ‘Best pencil in the world’ as used by Lennon and Steinway, as though trying to connect to greatness via some cargo cult sympathetic magic.

Never mind that Hemmingway and Lennon would have been great if they’d used a half chewed crayon and the back of an envelope to write.

So what’s my flimsy rationale for using a blackwing 602 and a moleskine notebook (Or 5)?

I like paper and pencil.

I type a lot. I read e-books and websites. I make notes in evernote and stash text files around. I use Photoshop to draw and sketch, but when it comes down to it, I need a little variety, and going old school, messing around with pencils and sharpeners, ink and paper is fun.

It’s a very different tactile sensation to typing, stroking one’s hand across paper. Listening to the nib of the pen catch, rolling a pencil, trying to keep the line thin enough to write before giving in and sharpening it.

The paper is cold, cool on my skin – smooth, but not the smoothness of glass.The ink flows onto the page a deep wet black and in seconds has become a solid, charcoal grey against the ivory paper (Moleskines don’t use white, they use ivory folio paper. It’s an aesthetic choice, it could be nearly any colour). My pencil glisdes, each stroke wearing the tip down, the line softening widening and becoming lighter. The letters loop and flow, here small and regular, almost printed, there swirling and undulating with fanciful strokes and relaxed sprawl. now a carefully considered phrase, and next to it, a quickly dashed quip.


For the fun of it! The enjoyment of playing with a book and taking a little time out to thrw down a thought or shopping list.

Warren Ellis buys Field notes Brand notebooks. In them he writes ideas and scenes for his books and comics and movies.

In mine I put shopping lists or write down the number of the support desk for the woefully inept ISP I have to ring up and slather in scorn, or any one of a number of little handy notes which if placed on post-it notes would hide my monitor from view. And it’s far more satisfying for me to scritch it out in pencil or pen than fire up my note-taking app on my android and wrestle with the bloody minded keyboard that changes every ‘and’ to ‘android’.

And that’s why I like paper notebooks.


My battle with the ISPs

Yesterday I called Virgin Media, who hadn’t gotten back to me within the 3 working days they’d promised to contact me within.

I called and indicated I was not, as the colloquialism has it, a happy camper. In fact I went on at some length about it, especially when I was told ‘Well normally this wouldn’t happen’ which is when I lost it a little and stated :

“I don’t care what normally happens. Normally isn’t good enough if you didn’t do it in this case. For an ISP and telecoms provider, you’re really incredibly bad at understanding basic use of a telephone or e-mail! Is this call being recorded? It is? Good – ahem. For the Record I wan the people responsible for this rolling FUBAR found and chastised most acerbically, and publically in an extremely sarcastic way! Further more, I demand compensation for the hassle and time wasting you’ve caused me! A box of chocolates or a puppy will do.”

Then made the person on the phone explain exactly what the problem was. Apparently they’d decided, without asking or notifying me, to install a new telephone line. I argued for five minutes and made them go  away and have a think and then agree to use my existing phone line, at which point they cancelled my order pending a ‘MAC code’ – which they were unable to acquire by themselves.

The very next day I called Talk-Talk at 09:05 and was put on hold for 20 minutes, after which time Talk-Talk hung up.

I called back, was told everyone was busy, left a number, was called back, told it was the wrong department, forwarded to someone who declared that it’d take 5 working days to generate a MAC Code apparently because of sigh mumble sight tch mutter and was I happy?

I indicated that I wasn’t particularly. Then they moaned a bit and finally explained that it was all down to paperwork and they, frankly, didn’t really care, so please go away, and also that they would cancel my demand to cancel my account because when the other ISP took the MAC code it’d automatically cancel my account.

I bet it doesn’t.


iOS 5 expected features

The new version of iOS 5 is being announced (Preseumably followed by a 3 month wait as it’s actually written and all the amazing features and tech demos that get show off on stage are quietly edited out).

But what’s int he new and’magical’ OS update?

  1. New notifications.

    From now on, Notifications will be handled in a ‘Magical’ and ‘Simply great’ way, or in other words, they still won’t be as good as Android’s but will in some way resemble the Android notification system, but be just different enough that Apple can claim to have ‘innovated’ it.

  2. Widgets.

    Rumor has it that Apple will allow widgets. In Apple’s case this means  allowing a running app to put some information on the lock screen, such as the number of unread e-mails you have, the weather or what the last notification was. See point 1.

  3. iWeb.

    After the success of the App Store, where apps must be submitted to Apple’s apparently drunken, homophobic testers before they can be downloaded, and the Game Center, which demands your real name and won’t et you log in with a pseudonym, Apple’s new feature will be a list of websites that are submitted to Apple, hosted on Apple’s iCloud server farm.
    Simply make sure your website contains no adult language or content, references to Microsoft, Android, or non apple products and uses iAd supported adverts, pay the $49.99 per month hosting fee, and you’ll get a handsome 30% of any advert revenue generated.
    You can still browse the web using Mobile Safari, but only if you pay a subscription, and if you access any adult content, Apple will phone your parents and ask them if they know you’ve been looking at

  4. iUpgrade helper.

    Apple will help you seamlessly transition to the iPhone 4s and iPad 2 by helpfully introducing code that makes your existing iPad or iPhone run at a quarter of the speed that it did when you bought it. iOS 5 will be a mandatory upgrade, and to make sure you run it, the killswitch on iOS 4.3 will be thrown, making your existing ‘sub 4’ hardware show a magical and innovative message telling you that the device is now obsolete.

  5. iCloud integration

    An Unbelievably Great service that in no way resembles DropBox or Carbonite, that lets you back up your files to the Apple Cloud and access them anywhere you take your registered Apple PC. Uses iTunes as a front end, doesn’t work on Windows, Linux, iPad (iOS 5.3 will be required), or OSX (excepting Lion… 0.2) – But it works on iPhone!
    You’ll be allowed to back up your music, but not play it and you’re only allowed to download your files once.
    Integrates your e-mail service, Facetime and iChat contacts, and ‘Find My…’ iPhone, iPad or Mac services, but only if you access it via Safari 4, from a registered OSX install running on your Mac, via your iTunes account.


This is what it looks like when I use a MU*



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