Subscriptions

June 23, 2007

Due to a technical error, readers were unable to subscribe to the feed for tinyplanetblog.com. If you’ve been affected by this, I’ve fixed things. The feed can also be found here.

Thanks for your patience.

David


On the move

June 15, 2007

Dear reader,

Tinyplanet has packed its bags and its moving to a new domain. Come and visit at www.tinyplanetblog.com.


Slightly sick ad

June 12, 2007

I’ve just seen an ad on UKTV for Oasis, a fruity soft drink produced by Coca-Cola.

It sees a herd of wildebeest stampede across the plains for the watering hole. When they arrive, one sniffs at the mucky liquid and the voice-over/interior monologue goes something like: “What? We came all this way across Africa to drink this muck? How could it possibly get any worse?”

At which point a crocodile leaps from the water and sinks its teeth into one of the wildebeest.

As the herd flees, the weird little man who seems to be the main figure in the ad campaign appears and starts chugging down a bottle of Oasis. While the slogan “Oasis: for people who don’t like water” comes on screen, the croc drags the kicking animal into the water while the dying wildebeest says “This is exactly what happened to Alan last year”.

I don’t like it.

The narration is mildly amusing I suppose, but the fact that some goofball is messing around on screen swigging from a bottle of juice while an animal is dragged to its death is wrong.

That’s right. I like animals more than most people.


Chocolate guilt

June 12, 2007

Not only do chocoholics have to worry about their health and weight, now they have ethical reasons to fret.

According to Nina Brenjo of Alertnet, cocoa exports from the Ivory Coast are funding both the nation’s government and rebels.

Alright, it was Brenjo quoting the Financial Times. But her blog’s where I found the story.


Get outta my data, Google

June 12, 2007

Google is to limit the amount of time it retains users’ search data to 18 months from 18-24 months.

The Financial Times sees this as a concession to the EU, which wrote to the internet giant last month asking Google to justify its policy.

Google’s move relates to terms entered in the search engine and the address of various servers, but not more personal information it has collected with users’ express permission.

However, company’s privacy counsel Peter Fleischer said future data retention laws may obligate the firm to keep the data for 24 months after all. But hey, at least they’re not keeping it indefinitely any more.

Fleischer wrote on the official Google blog:

“The internet is a global medium, and the principles at stake – privacy, security, innovation and legal obligations to retain data – have an impact beyond Europe, and outside of the realm of privacy. These principles sometimes conflict: while shorter retention periods are good for privacy, longer retention periods are needed for security, innovation and compliance reasons. We believe we’ve struck a reasonable balance between these various factors.”

You can read his full post here, where he also outlines the reasons why Google believes it should retain search data.

At least it’s movement on the company’s part to tackle concerns over how it uses data — a British watchdog at the weekend branded the firm among the worst on the web when it came to users’ privacy.

I’d rather they keep my search data for no longer than six months, but there you go. I enjoy my privacy and have been known to defend it fiercely — surely I’m not the only one?


Big Brother is watching…

June 11, 2007

The local government in Terengganu state, Malaysia, recently installed 16 CCTV cameras in a bid to improve security. However, they have a secondary use: spying on employees.

Surprisingly, state secretary Mokhtar Nong confirmed this to a local newspaper, saying the system would keep tabs on the 1,000 or so workers in the government’s administrative complex.

“We would know if they are adhering to office etiquette or playing truant, and we can also gauge if they are disciplined at work,” said Mokhtar, who will have access to the tapes.

There are plans to set up another 26 cameras in the near future.

What made me laugh about the story were the following passages, as scribed by Associated Press:

Officials and workers interviewed by the newspaper praised the measure.

State Communications Unit deputy director Ruslan Abdul Rahman was quoted as saying the decision was “a brilliant idea,” stressing that workers should “accept the move in a positive manner as this will actually encourage them to excel further.”

Abdul Mubin Ismail, who works in the youth and sports department, told The Star that the move was “not to pinpoint our errors but to mold us into becoming more responsible.” He added that the surveillance could also curb office politics and sexual harassment.

I wonder if these individuals are angling for promotion?


God frickin’ damn it

June 7, 2007

Sean Connery has announced he will not be in the long-awaited Indiana Jones IV. The veteran Scot apparently told the Lucasfilm website (although I can’t find the interview):

“I thought long and hard about it, and if anything could have pulled me out of retirement it would have been an Indiana Jones film. I love working with Steven and George, and it goes without saying that it is an honour to have Harrison as my son. But in the end, retirement is just too damned much fun.”

You bastard, Sean.

The film begins shooting this month and should be out in May 2008. It’ll star Cate Blanchett and John Hurt as well as the whip-cracking 64-year-old Harrison Ford.