my recent reads..

Rock till you

Bombshell announcement on 29-Oct: have .. struck a deal with Facebook.

What this means is that Facebook has bought most of’s technology and assets, and Sam Lessin is moving to Facebook. was widely acclaimed as the simple file sharing mechanisms we all needed. It resolutely solved the problem that everyone with a computer and a network connection has known at one time or another: how to share files too cumbersome for email, without resorting to techno-geekery like ftp and such. And it worked. Beautifully.

But it doesn't work anymore.

Goodbye! You were an amazing service. One of the best and brightest of the Class of Web 2.0. You made things simple. You solved a real, pressing problem.

Unfortunately, that's not what I'll remember you for now.

Instead, it will be for brewing a thunderstorm of concern over the very dependability of cloud services, as John C. Dvorak went to town on in his column.

And for teaching us that it's true - startup founders really don't give a toss for their customers if they can get a sweet deal and a plum job with one of the heavyweights instead.

And for once again propelling Facebook into the privacy-conspiracy-theory limelight. Sure, "no data will be transferred to Facebook", but they put you out of business and bought "most of [your] technology and assets", right? So will we be surprised when Facebook takes aim to lure it's unsuspecting users into sharing pretty much anything and everything - private, commercially confidential, and otherwise - using Facebook?

Well, I guess does really deserve our thanks for that last point, if anyone cares to notice.

The very best news—for anyone who can't imagine life without—is that there is another exceptional product out there called Dropbox that can handle most team sharing needs in addition to looking after your personal documents.

That's not a paid advertisement or anything. I simply use Dropbox everyday and just love it. I wouldn't be exaggerating to say it's probably improved the way I work more than anything even the folks in Redmond or Cupertino have shipped in recent memory.

Blogarhythm: Rock Rock (till you drop) .. Def Leppard
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The Ultimate Steampunk Project needs $10

I heard John Graham-Cumming on TWiT #269 talk about the project he has started to build - 173 years later - a full scale realization of Charles Babbage's Analytical Engine. Amazingly, it's never been done (only partial models exist).

Now, we are talking about a truck-sized, steam-powered machine that is Turing-complete and features (without silicon or electricity) "modern" ideas like instruction pipelining. The ultimate steampunk project. It also has a serious educational and academic aspect (including to digitize all of Babbage's plans and notes).

Due to significant private support coming forth, the pledge target has apparently been reduced from 50,000 to just 10,000 signatories. At the time of writing, John only needed another 6358 pledges of $10/£10/€10 each to get the project moving.

Now I don't often get behind fundraisers and campaigns, but this strikes me as one of those once-in-a-lifetime follies you cannot help but support. And all for about the price of the cheapest bottle of wine in the shop around the corner.

Sign my pledge at PledgeBank

Blogarhythm: L.O.V.E. Machine WASP
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What if? Journalists had to reference sources...

No matter how they're viewed at home, the BBC remains in my view the international gold standard for news, information, and entertainment. God bless'em. And could you imagine any other "news organisation" (a.k.a. pernicious purveyors of distracting deceits) going so far as to require ".. inline links must go to primary sources only– eg scientific journal article or policy report .. " in their new linking guidelines?

You can find a brilliant argument for why this might be a good idea in Ben Goldacre's book Bad Science: Quacks, Hacks, and Big Pharma Flacks which I've recently read and cannot recommend too highly for anyone with half a brain. And while you are reading, if you find yourself getting pretty angry and muttering curses under your breath, you will probably appreciate a regular media assassination courtesy Curry & Dvorak of the noagenda show.

Blogarhythm: Don't Lie - Black Eyed Peas Update 17-Oct-2011: Ben Goldacre had a good rant about Bad Science at TED this year:
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Blogarhythm: Top Jimmy - Mean Street (covering Van Halen)
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