I've just been reading this article from The Register about how badly the BBC have messed up the iPlayer . The author writes about how the "iPlayer is of a multi-million pound failure that took years to complete, and was designed for a world that never arrived". I first wrote about the iPlayer back in July, two days before its launch. Soon after the launch I signed up to the beta and was accepted however my username and password never worked. After a couple of un-responded emails to the BBC I gave up. The press coverage since July had been minimum until The Register's article was featured on the front page of Slashdot yesterday.
I thought it would be worth giving the iPlayer another chance to see if it was really as bad as The Register said it was.
After visiting the iPlayer website for the first time you need to install some software - note you have to be in Microsoft Windows XP using Internet Explorer - if you are using a Mac or Firefox it wont work (also it wont work if you are one of the 600 Linux users out there either ;-)).
Installation doesn't take long and you can select what you want to watch through your browser.
Once finding something to watch and clicking download the application launches and the TV show starts to download. This took forever, I only have a 1mb connection but this 46% (125mb) took two hours before I got bored and just decided to finish this article. Whether this is the BBC's fault or BT's aggressive traffic filtering at peak times I don't know.
Anything downloaded in the iPlayer will only last for 30 days, this is because the DRM (digital rights management) attached to each TV show disables the video after this time (and stops you from doing other stuff like copying it to DVD). Why the BBC have done this I'm not sure, with the current backlash to DRM in the music industry at the moment it seems odd to do the same to video.
Broadcasters like Channel 4 are paid for advertising they sell in between shows, the BBC on the other hand is funded by UK license payers. Why would then the BBC need to protect something that has already been paid for by license payers? This makes the BBC's decision to restrict access to TV shows seem bizarre. Whether a technology sales man has sold DRM to the BBC or its poor management I don't know.
The iPlayer is not a bad application, it works and albeit a bit slow you do get to watch shows for up to 30 days after broadcast. The problem however ultimately is not the program but the reason for its existence in the first place. There are plenty of other easy ways to watch video online - Flash (YouTube, Google Video etc) and Bit Torrent (The Pirate Bay, Mininova etc) being the main two delivery methods. So why would the BBC invent their own content delivery method when there are perfectly good/better already available?
This leads to the only reason for the BBC iPlayer and that's DRM - a reason we have already pointed out is irrelevant because of the unique way the BBC is funded by license payers. It annoys me as a license payer because it seems the BBC have invented a problem, then spent almost
You’ve worked hard your whole life. You’ve saved up, you’re ready to settle down and retire, but you don’t exactly know what’s in store with your state pension. Before you get to retirement age, you should know exactly what’s happening with your pension funds!
When it comes to UK pensions, the triple lock guarantee is what’s currently in the news. The triple lock was created to make sure you could buy what you needed with your pension once your reach retirement age. But what exactly is the triple lock program, and what is going on with it right now?
Pensions are set aside so that you can pay into state funds during your working years, and take from them when it’s time to retire. It’s not exactly playing the stock market, which can actually take longer than you think to hit it big, it’s more like a government run foundation for your retirement funds.
The current pension plan, known as the triple lock pension plan, will make sure that pensioners get a certain amount of money for their retirement based on inflation rates. The amount paid to retirees will then grow with the rate of inflation over time.
The Triple Lock Pension
Created by the Coalition government in 2010 and 2011, this pension plan was a guarantee to increase the pension payments at a steady rate. The Conservative-Liberal Democrat government from nearly a decade ago decided that the idea was to keep pensioners from suffering from the random increases in pensions that happened in the early 2000’s.
- The triple lock keeps your pension growing at the same rate as inflation.
- This makes is so you can get the same amount of food, goods, services for your money as the year before.
- This leaves the 75p a week rise in state pensions at the door!
- This pension plan makes it so your income isn’t deteriorated by the increasing cost of living in the UK.
The triple lock pension is great on paper, but the reason it’s in the news lately is because the overall price it costs to make this guarantee a reality.
The State of Your State Pension
Because the Triple Lock will cost tax payers an estimated £45 billion in a little over a decade, there is a huge debate over whether it should stick around! Knowing whether you can rely on the triple lock for your retirement income should be priority if you’re at the age of retirement right now.
The current pension was to increase to 6.6% of GDP (gross domestic product) two years ago in 2016 and expected to rise to 8.5% of GDP by the year 2060. However, after 2060, it is predicted that the Triple Lock plan will go down to 8.1% if a cheaper pension is put in place.
However, if retirement isn’t in the cards in the next few years, there are other alternatives that are on the table for state pension plans.
There are plenty of private alternatives for saving for your retirement, but when it comes to the state pension plan, there are tons of options up for discussion. Discussions for reducing it to a double lock, or moving it from a 2.5% minimum growth per year to a smaller growth per year, is being heavily considered
However, trying to predict the rates of inflation can be extremely tricky! Although there are lots of benefits of online gaming, and you can hit it big on the jackpots, you shouldn’t rush out the door to gamble your pension away!
Keep an Eye Out
With a growing society, and many people living for longer, the UK’s elected officials have a lot to consider. From the overall cost, to all of the technicalities of predicting inflation, you should look out for your future by keeping an eye out on what is happening with your pension!
You can check on your pension now, or you can watch the news to see what your future income will be like when you retire. Either way, a lot of changes may be on the horizon for your gold year financials!
Winamp for most people is a must have program for playing all sorts or audio including the popular MP3. Winamp is one of the first good mp3 players after the likes of windows media player so when I heard Winamp 3 was released I quickly wanted to have a look. By reading the Winamp site I had heard high hopes for Winamp 3 in the ways or being able to completely change the shape of Winamp 3 and by being able to watch video files as well as listen to music. Winamp it seemed was finally becoming a more full media player like its competition ? the likes of windows media player and real one player.
Once installing Winamp3 the first thing you notice is the change in design, other components now join the main window and play list editor, components like the ?thinger? and the media library are to name a few. The new features to Winamp 3 are clearly quite vast. I liked on the media library how you could search for songs on your hard drive easily then add them to your play list a feature you could only get from another plugin for Winamp 2. The thinger also made it easier to add and remove components on screen without getting things too cluttered or having to find them on a menu every time you want to open them. So far everything looks a good improvement on Winamp 2*.
However I decided to checkout the new cool skins I had seen on the site and heard all about, so I downloaded one but Winamp came up with an error when the download had finished. So I restarted Winamp to find that when starting Winamp I got an insertion error, I had to reinstall Winamp before I could use the skin I downloaded. Its annoying having to reinstall every time I want to try another skin. I checked with a few other people and they hadn?t been having this error but had been receiving just as annoying other errors.
Overall I think Winamp 3 is a good start for what could be a great follow up to Winamp 2*. Winamp 3 is suffering from the same sort of bugs that came up just after Winamp 2 was launched which should all be sorted out in subsequent releases. For now I?m sticking with Winamp 2.8, once Winamp 3 is a bit more stable and I maybe have a faster computer I will upgrade.
For now I?m giving Winamp 3 6/10 simply because the program is a bit too buggy for my liking at the momment.
?Darling, I?m just popping down to the gas station to top up the laptop?
Well maybe that?s a bit far fetched but by the end of 2004 we could be seeing gas powered laptops in the shops. As laptop components such as processors and graphics cards become more powerful they also require more electricity, in desktops this isn?t a problem as you have the mains supply but in laptops, where battery power is essential on the move trying to use as little power is important. This and the increasing sales in the laptop market has led to design changes in laptops. You could in theory either try to save more power in the laptop or put more power into it.
Various companies have tried different ways of improving power supplies, one of these has to fit laptops with small methanol powered system, you can extract the power needed out of the methanol without going over the flammability point of methanol. This meaning that the gas substitute for a battery is still a safe alternative. The advantages are that the laptop will be usable for up to 10 times longer however charging isn?t as simple as plugging it into the mains, its more likely you will have to pay for cartridges of gas.
Other companies have been looking at fitting laptops with super capacitors that can hold a lot more charge and can be charged a lot faster. Results have shown up to a 200% improvement. The advantages to this are that it can be charged by the mains and won?t cost you too much in electricity to charge it.
Intel has decided to invest in both companies to continue development in better technology for the future.