Ditch online news sites & step outside the outrage bubble

Newspaper & Coffee

For the last few months I’ve gone through a bit of a regression. As a born & bred internet nerd, I’ve always thought that online content was king. I’d pour over articles, blogs, forums & personal websites absorbing information. For the most part I still do enjoy all of those outlets, but one website genre has been sapping too much of my attention, News sites!

During the run up to the 2016 EU referendum in the U.K and the presidential elections in the U.S my news consumption increased at an exponential rate. My drug of choice was The Guardian online. After all, I’m a liberal academic raised on the internet. I’m well versed in most sexualities, fetishes, niches & sub cultures. Growing up online not a lot slips under the radar. The guardian was a perfect fit for my political views, my environmental views and my social outlook. Growing up I was exposed to newspapers from across the political spectrum. From right-wing news like The Daily Mail & Telegraph, right through to The Guardian & The Observer. The general trend being, the younger adults in the family bought into the liberal press & the older members into the conservative press. Read More....

I’ve cancelled my Netflix account – and that’s just the beginning of the cull

Put the laptop away & read a newspaper

This has been a long time coming but I’ve finally cancelled my Netflix account. I’ve had a Netflix account off and on for years, almost since they started rolling out online streaming and on the whole, it has been mediocre at best. I did enjoy having access to older TV shows such as Bottom and Red Dwarf, which I grew up watching & always enjoy putting on for nostalgia, but I finally decided to end my subscription.

Netflix on the whole is a good service. It is relatively cheap & does have some good content. The problem stems from the one reason for Netflix existence, and that again is content. Read More....

Three Must Watch TED talks for 2018

Must Watch Ted Talks of 2018

I’m a huge fan of TED talks. I tend to watch them when I’m doing something mundane in the home office such as organising a drawer or waiting for a task to complete on my servers. As an academic & everlasting university student (I’m still planning on going back to finish my PhD) I find lecturers and talks on just about any topic both fascinating and interesting.

I use the curated playlists on TED a lot, but sometimes I just select an interesting video & see where it takes me. Below are the three videos I believe you must watch in 2018. Read More....

Fighting for a fairer internet

A fairer Internet

I’ve been thinking a lot recently about the internet and more importantly the business model of the internet. It is becoming more apparent that the current business model of the internet is broken. A handful of adverting companies now control all advertising revenues online & this has led to companies like Google & Facebook monopolizing both the revenue streams and the access to content.

Google & Facebook are now seen as the major sources of online traffic. Google monopolises search, while Facebook monopolises information aggregation and links. Google’s business model is one of algorithms and control of search, with a natural bias towards paid links through their AdWords advertising programme. Over at Facebook we have a similar issue with their latest algorithms and the promotion of paid content & burying of non-paid content. Read More....

Lenovo Thinkpad X200 laptop battery woes

Regular readers will know that I now use a Lenovo X200 for most of my computing needs. It has Libreboot installed and I run Trisquel 7 GNU linux on the laptop. This laptop is perfect for linux, all of the hardware including the updated Atheros wifi adaptor have open source & free drivers available & the machine is truly 100% my own.

The laptop itself is still fairly powerful for an older laptop with an Intel® Core™2 Duo CPU P8600 @ 2.40GHz dual core processor and upgraded ram to 4GB it really is a good mobile workhorse. I only paid £50 for the laptop in September & I installed 4GB of ram I had in my desk drawer from an old Macbook upgrade. I also updated the Intel wifi board to an Atheros to allow me to run Trisquel. Read More....

Downsizing & life changing – Update

Downsizing my cars

It’s been a while since I last did a downsizing post. I think it could be as long as a year since I did any kind of update. So here is a little recap. A little over a year ago I was living with my wife in a 4 bedroom town house with a  garage and all the trimmings. I was driving around in a lovely Mercedes-Benz C230 estate. We had more space than we could ever use & a car which felt far too flashy. The events that lead to this point essentially boil down to a major family trauma & long recovery (which is still ongoing). It was a very stressful time & made us both act out of character. Read More....

Everyday Carry – Tech geek

John Large Everyday Carry
John Large Everyday Carry
John Large Everyday Carry

1. The North Face e-tip lightweight gloves
2. 2000mAh Battery Bank
3. Mulberry Wallet
4. Oyster Card & Amsterdam OV-Chipkaart
5. Compact umbrella
6. Oakley (4+1)2 Polarized sunglasses
7. Notebook & Parker Jotter pen
8. Nixon – The Sentry watch
9. Multi-tool
10. Huawei E160 3G dongle
11. Sandisk 16GB Flash Drive
12. Apple iPhone 6
13. Apple iPod classic 5th Generation U2 Special Edition Black/Red (30 GB)
14. Keys on Element Lanyard
15. Apple EarBuds
16. Retractable iPod cable
17. Micro USB short lead
18. Apple lighting cable & power adaptor
19. Spare GiffGaff sims
20. Integral SD card reader Read More....

The Filter Bubble: What The Internet Is Hiding From You epub

I’m currently reading The Filter Bubble by Eli Pariser. I downloaded the book as a DRM free epub (I’m funny about where I buy my books from as I have a Kindle, an iPad & an iPhone so i tend to chop and change my reading device). I’m about 50% of the way through the book and it’s quite scary stuff. It’s so far prompted me to slim down my Facebook account, including removing extra information from the account. I’ve also taken steps to block tracking websites by disabling tracking in Firefox & ramping up my Adblock Pro. It’s really crazy how much money can be made from your information, you think you are benefiting from a great free service but the company behind it are normally profiting hugely from sharing your information.
It really is a great read, give it a look and grab a copy for your kindle or iPad. Read More....

Samsung n110 Netbook – 2 months in.

Samsung N110 In Use

Well I’m now in the second month of ownership and I still love the Samsung N110. This machine has completely changed the way I browse then Internet, and the fact that most of the things I do online are web based such as Twitter, Gmail, iPlayer and reading news and blogs, the Netbook is an ideal partner.

I was sceptical from the start with regards to quoted battery life, but I’ve got to admit, even with normal usage on battery with brightness adjusted to my lining and iTunes either playing music or downloading podcasts in the background, I still manage in excess of 8 hours battery life from a single charge. I now find that If I charge the netbook overnight, I can do all my computing on it the following day without the need for a power outlet. The powe consumption and battery life is amazing, and although the system may be limited from a processor power point of view, it is more than sufficient for editing photos in Picassa or Photoshop, and writing php in Dreamweaver. Read More....