Archive for July, 2008 meets twitter meets IM at

It’s a real-time with IM, Google Notebook and Twitter built in. No, really. That’s what feels like. It’s a browser within a browser, in which you do your everyday surfing, but round the outside you see what your friends and the public are browsing. And they see yours. You get lists of the most popular sites (which you can vote thumbs-up and thumbs-down on), you can clip a site to your personal notebook, and leave comments against a site. There’s an IM facility to send real-time messages to fellow browsers, too.

What’s it for? Well I’ve found a few interesting sites already, been reminded about some that have dropped off my radar, and generally had fun following other people around the web.

You’d probably not use it for visiting stuff that you don’t want the world to know about – but for formal or informal collaboration it’s a great new way to approach the same kind of sharing that, Google Reader and Twitter provide.

Go on, have a go. And add me as a friend so I can see what you’re up to.


July 30, 2008 at 8:07 pm Leave a comment

Twitter Deficiency Syndrome

I’ve got all the symptoms. Sweaty palms, fidgeting, increased caffeine consumption. Feeling of isolation, fear of rejection.

Why? Because everyone’s favourite corporate time-waster of the moment, Twitter, is undergoing unscheduled maintenance (= something broke badly) this morning.

There’s nothing for it. I’ve caught up on my RSS feeds, arranged my social calendar for the next few weeks, even phoned my Mum.

I’ll just have to do some work!

Happy Friday.

July 18, 2008 at 9:24 am Leave a comment

BT announces high-fibre diet

It’s been a while coming, but BT has finally responded to industry, press and regulator calls to share its plans for higher-speed broadband. In a press release dated 15th July 2008, the company revealed that it plans to invest ¬£1.5bn in fibre infrastructure to reach up to 10 million homes by 2012, enabling broadband speeds of ‘up to 100mbit/s’.

That super-fast figure, though, will only available in those areas where BT elects to deliver FTTH (Fibre to the Home), which will primarily be in new-build areas, such as the lucky pathfinder community at Ebbsfleet, Kent, where BT has already commenced FTTH trials. FTTH is expensive, and requires new distribution plant and a new connection to every served premises – which is unlikely to make economic sense in the general case.

The alternative approach that BT has announced is FTTC – Fibre to the Cabinet (or Curb if you like). This relies on a single fibre connection from the local exchange to the end-of-street cabinets or distribution points (DP – the green boxes that Openreach engineers set their tents up at). A home’s existing copper connection to the DP will be driven from a mini-DSLAM installed in the green box. Since the copper length is small, new technologies such as VDSL can be deployed instead of the more common ADSL or ADSL2+, allowing real-world speeds of up to 40Mbit/s to be achieved. FTTC provides an attractive compromise between cost and speed, and needs minimal disruption at the customer premises – an upgraded xDSL modem or router will be needed to take advantage of the higher speed, but the phone line and other connections remain the same. FTTC, then, is an attractive option to upgrade existing residential areas.

BT is careful to emphasise that the fibre investment is dependent on Ofcom coming up with a suitably supportive regulatory environment in order for the company to get an acceptable return on its £1.5bn. The commercial model must depend on BT having price-setting flexibility, and not be constrained in how it plans to offer access to the fibre network to other communications providers. Expect to see much deliberation behind closed doors at Riverside House on that aspect.

So the lucky BT-supplied consumers who are currently starting to enjoy the first BT ADSL2+ up-to-24Mbps service, along with those C&W and Be Unlimited users who’ve had it for a while, will only enjoy their position at the top of the speed charts until BT comes along and fibre-enables their exchange – then it’s upgrade time again.

July 17, 2008 at 11:17 am Leave a comment

Google browser sync lives!

One of the things I really missed when I upgraded to Firefox 3 was the Google Browser Sync plug-in. I share my life around a number of computers, and Browser Sync allowed me to syncronise my favourites, cookies, stored passswords etc across all of my computers. Until, that is, Google decided not to upgrade the plug-in for Firefox 3.

Good news, though – Ostatic¬†reports that Google has released the Browser Sync code as an open source project. Lets’ hope someone more Javascript-skilled than me (wouldn’t be hard) picks it up and releases it for FF3.

July 14, 2008 at 8:43 am Leave a comment

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