Martin Empson

Electric Reading

Issue section: 
Author: 

Free downloads benefit artists and the public.

Charles Stross could be described as the latest in a new wave of science fiction writers coming out of Britain, though his first short story was published in 1987. His books Singularity Sky and Iron Sunrise have had rave reviews, and the latter was nominated for the Hugo award for best novel. With his latest novel Accelerando, however, he has taken the unusual step of releasing it for free internet download at the same time as it has been published.

It's Good to Talk

Issue section: 
Issue: 
Author: 

Communication via the internet could one day replace that by the phone.

For a long time instant messaging has allowed computer users to communicate over the internet using a text-based chat service. Both Yahoo! and Microsoft's messenger services are used by millions of people - one report from last year in Wired News said that over 250 million users sent over 7 billion messages every year.

We Know Where You Live

Issue section: 
Author: 

Google's new software makes the world smaller.

Just like any other industry, the computing world is continually on the lookout for the next big thing - whenever you get geeks, programmers and industry watchers together you will hear them talk about the 'killer app' - 'app' being the 'cool' shorthand term for application. The idea is that those behind the next such 'app' will take the world by storm and get bucketfuls of cash. What it means is that every new programme, however limited its innovation, is hailed as the 'killer app'.

Rich Pickings to Combat Poverty

Issue section: 
Issue: 
Author: 

Edinburgh gears up for the protests against the G8.

There is no doubt that the G8 meeting next month in Gleneagles will be marked by huge protests. The Make Poverty History (MPH) campaign has brought together a huge number of people and organisations dedicated to exposing and ending the vast inequality suffered by millions around the world.

Blogging Off

Issue section: 
Author: 

Be careful what you reveal about your workplace.

Readers may remember at the beginning of the year the media coverage of Joe Gordon, an employee of Waterstones in Edinburgh, who was sacked because of comments he made on his blog. Joe's 'crime', in the eyes of his Waterstones managers, was that his comments online brought the company into disrepute. His supporters pointed out that Joe's website hardly mentioned his job, just an occasional moan about his boss. Such cases are going to become more of an issue.

Are You Sitting Comfortably?

Issue section: 
Issue: 
Author: 

The web has a selective view of the election.

During last year's US election the two main parties put massive resources into 'new media' - websites, blogs and email. While the forthcoming general election in Britain will not have anywhere near the same amount of resources poured into the internet side of the campaign, there are some interesting plans afoot.

Both sides in the US election attempted to get voters to upload their films, debates and questions. For instance both sides put huge amounts of time and resources into short films to be downloaded and forwarded.

Start the Engine

Issue section: 
Issue: 
Author: 

Corporations are finding new ways to dominate search indexes.

How big is the internet? How many websites are there? According to the online encyclopedia Wikipedia, Google's search index searched over 4 billion pages in early 2004. By the end of last year the number of pages had doubled to over 8 billion. Given such a vast amount of information, successfully searching the internet becomes a task in itself - and the search engines allowing you to do this have become hotly contested areas for business and other websites.

That's Entertainment

Issue section: 
Author: 

The battle for the future has begun.

There is a major battle going on in the technology industry. On one side, we have companies like Sony and Philips siding with movie studios like Fox and Disney. On the other, NEC and Toshiba have joined forces with Warner Home Video.

The battle is about the future for DVD technology. Basically there are two competing technologies - Blu-Ray, backed by the Sony side of the argument, and HD DVD backed by the others. Both offer massive increases on storage volume - approximately five times the size of current DVDs in the former case.

A Novel Solution

Issue section: 
Issue: 
Author: 

The burgeoning world of ebooks

'Socialism', we're told, 'will never work. Everyone's too greedy to work together for the common good.' It's a common argument and we've probably all had it thrown at us numerous times. So it's pleasing that there are a good number of examples of people working collectively to help disprove it.

Aside from the examples of solidarity and struggle that we would all answer this argument with, there are also examples of collective work on the internet that show people doing huge amounts of work for no personal gain, purely in the interests of other internet users.

Pages

Subscribe to RSS - Martin Empson