It's been just over a week now since all of England's pubs, clubs, bars, work places and shops went smoke free. You can hardly miss the millions of no smoking signs that have now gone up in our high streets and vehicles but how has the smoking ban effected the way we go about our lives?
I'm a non smoker so welcomed the ban though was concerned about the social effects it may have. It's hard not to see the health benefits and I think in general the ban was welcomed.
I went out for the first time on Friday night since the ban, we started in our local Weatherspoons - The Shrewsbury Hotel as it has cheap drinks. The place was as always rammed with people there for the same reason I was, bar waiting times were no difference however I felt along with my friends the youngest in there.
Apart from us everyone inside was old, let me clarify old as in forty plus. Outside was different with its usual mix of old and young. It could just be that I hadn't noticed the old people mixed with the young before but there certainly seemed more of them.
Our next stop was Yates, this place is normally chav infested however bar waiting and fighting time was significantly reduced. The nice bar maid informed us that we had missed the busy time. Finally we ended up in our local club - Liquid, it was again pretty dead.
Of course the smoking ban might not be the only reason places were less busy:
- It was rainin so perhaps no one fancied getting wet queueing for the club then waiting for the taxi or walking home.
- People may be more interested in Big Brother this year therefore did not want to come out - though I find this one unlikely.
- Wimbledon highlights are almost as enthralling as teletext pages though might have kept people at home.
- Interest rates went up a quarter of a percent, not that many young people have mortgages and Yates hadn't yet started supplying copies of the FT.
- Reading the thousands of iPhone reviews is taking longer than expected.
It was nice not going out stinking of smoke and a drunk friend I bumped into in Liquid even mentioned how nice it was with no smoke which I thought was an interested topic of conversation considering his state and the fact I hadn't seen him in months.
The taxi driver on the way home said that the weekend before when people could still smoke was equally as dead so it looks like more than just the smoking ban is having an effect of peoples drinking habits.
So has the no smoking ban effected the way we live our lives? Well for me so far no and it hasn't put my friends off going out but I think its too early to tell the fuller extent of the ban.
It's been a busy couple of months for me with moving house, moving office and launching two new websites (www.ipodhistory.com and www.scaryvideoclips.org). Apart from my big post on 10 useful OSX functions ImAFish has been relatively quiet.
I'm looking to expand my website portfolio over the coming months so if you have a website making a few dollars/day contact me through ImAFish and I might be interested in purchasing it.
ImAFish will be seven years old soon, I know its around this time of year we are due a birthday, if anyone can remember the exact date I will buy them a beer (and put it in my calendar!).
ImAFish.com has been following the progress of Internet Radio over the last few months, and earlier this month the US government released how much it is going to charge people to broadcast online. The fee structure in place for US-based broadcasters basically forces all broadcasters, hobbyist or not, to either move to content that is not label-owned, or pay the labels (via a company called SoundExchange) approximately $7 per month for each average listener maintained within that month.
What's more, broadcasters will also pay an additional 8.8% of those fees for the rights to store that content on a hard drive, and will be required to pay all fees that would have been owed retroactively, that is, since 1998. Most internet based radio stations do not make any money at all and even if they tried to make small amounts of profit from banner clicks they could clearly not make enough money to survive with these outragous fees. Not only will broadcasters have to pay so much per month per listener but they will also have to pay for all broadcasting back to 1998.
For example, Live365 now faces fees of upwards of $1.5 million from previous webcasts, and will have to come up with the money to pay the "instant fine" from webcastings since 1998 now that the US Copyright Office has set the royalty structure. On top of that, the company will have to figure out how it can afford to pay $200,000 per month in order to break even with it's webcasting service. Noncommercial broadcasters are not exempt from the fees as many thought they would be initially.
A noncommercial broadcaster now is required to purchase a $500 license to simply legally broadcast music for free and face almost certain fee's from service providers such as Live365 for the use of their service (which now costs Live365 quite a bit to simply technically provide). I talked to Simon from www.stationmax.co.uk who is having to close down his internet radio station because of the royality fees. Even though his station isn't American some of his servers are based in America, so he would have to pay. I can see over the next few months 80% of internet radio stations closing down as they can simply not pay the royality fees, others will be either forced abroad or to have adverts in the stream making internet radio more like commercial analogue radio, which upto now has been the one good thing to distinguish the 2 types of radio.
For instance i could have a party and leave digitiallyimported radio on all night with no one realising it was even a radio station. While the fees have been finalised some still think things can be changed, whatever the outcome we can expect big changes to internet radio and possibly having to pay so much a month like many other internet services have gone to. Pete
This Friday is System Administrator Appreciation Day, and your going to have to finally give some appreciation to all those system administrators that get grief every other day of the year! The event is in its third year now and is gaining support. The founder Ted Kekatos is hoping for people around the world to appreciate system admins for once! Kekatos, a system administrator in Chicago, was inspired to create the special day by a Hewlett-Packard ad he saw a few years ago. In the ad, a system administrator is bombarded with presents from employees as thanks for installing new printers.
I tore that ad out and showed it to some of my co-workers and said, 'Look at what this guy's getting. Where?s mine'?? Kekatos joked. Ketatos has even come up with his own list of geek like gifts for fellow system admins, these include GPS units and home theatre systems. Kekatos hopes System Administrator Appreciation Day will become a bigger holiday along the lines of Secretary's Day, and he's even considering sending a little reminder to the CEO at his own company.
The Internet being a big place has lots of acronyms this article should help you understand a lot of them.
LOL - laughing out loud
wb - welcome back
nn - night night
ofc - of course
nm - nevermind
gb - good bye
gg - good game
afk - away from keyboard
asl - age/sex/location
bbiab - be back in a bit
bbl - be back later
bbs - bulletin board system
bf - boyfriend
gf - girlfriend
bfn - bye for now
brb - be right back
btw - by the way
atm - at the moment
cya - see you later
fubar - ****** up beyond all recognition
gtg - got to go
hth - hope this helps
html - hypertext markup language (the basic computer language all webpages are made up of)
irc - internet relay chat
icq - I seek you
iow - in other words
isp - internet service provider
j/k - just kidding
l8r - later
m8 - mate
msg - message
newbie - a newcomer to the net, or a particular area of it.
Ppl - people
Re: - with reference to
Lo - hello
Rofl - rolling on the floor laughing
Ttfn - ta ta for now
Wb - welcome back
Wtf - wot the ****
www - world wide web
Of course this isn't a full list but should be helpful next time you try to have a conversation with someone you might be more aware about what they are going on about.