Tag Archives: Technology

Illegal file sharing in the UK – Three strikes and you’re out

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The Phillies have just won the fifth game of this year’s World Series against the Yankees and people in the UK couldn’t care less. They prefer the more gentlemanly version of the game called cricket. Only when it comes to combating illegal file sharing do UK lawmakers borrow a bit of baseball terminology (the author apologizes for such a sleazy introduction). A “three-strike” policy will soon be rolled out, which may lead to offenders’ Internet connections being cut in 2011. But is that gonna help? Continue reading

The file vision

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As I may have mentioned before, I’m working in the broadcasting industry at the moment. The broadcasting industry is changing. Everybody tries to get rid of those good old tapes and do everything with digital files. But why? I know this sounds like a funny question. But when you think about it, it’s a bit puzzling. Why do computer files appear so much more appealing than videocassettes? We may immediately think of reduced costs, efficiencies, platform convergence and other ready-at-hand business phrases. Ultimately, however, we should look at the people in and around broadcasting and how they chat amongst each other. Continue reading

“A spaceship plunges out of the night sky”

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Right at this moment, I feel very intrigued by NASA’s approach to selling today’s moon mission action to the wider public. They must have hired some serious PR guys to put some exciting spin to their techy science stuff. At the end of the day (or rather at about 12:30 GMT), it’s about intentionally crashing two satellites into the moon to discover whether the mess this makes contains any traces of water. That’s not how NASA tells the story on their website though. Continue reading

Net Neutrality – Is all data created equal?

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In principal, the bits of information required to display this blog should reach you as fast as any other information accessed on the Internet. It shouldn’t have to wait in line while your Skype call is coming through and it also shouldn’t be privileged over, let’s say, other (not so interesting) blogs. That’s what they call “net neutrality”. Continue reading

The wanna-be museum of communication

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It was a bit of a let down, really. My dad and I agreed that today’s visit to Berlin’s “Museum of Communication” was properly disappointing. Upon entering the rather impressive (can’t think of a more eloquent word to describe architecture) building, we found ourselves surrounded by old telephones and telegraphs – lots of them, too, in roughly chronological order.

In the circular open space in the middle of the impressive building, two robots were bored to death kicking around an orange-colored plastic ball. For no immediately obvious reason, the curators then skipped over the invention of radio and television, guiding us visitors quickly to the 21st century. The new media age was represented by roughly 10 stationary personal computers, which my dad and I used to check our emails real quick.

The special of the day was a temporary exposition entitled “From diaries to blogs” (or something in that direction… I threw away lost the leaflet), which provided a non-exhaustive list of historical and contemporary figures (Goebbels, Anne Frank, and some other non-Nazi related figures as well) who wrote diaries, arriving promptly at the conclusion that both diaries and blogs can be written for all sorts of purposes. Thank you.

Now, let me wrap it up with some balance-striking words. Admittedly, the whole “Museum of Communication” started of as and is still part of a foundation for “Post and Telecommunication”, with a clear emphasis on the former. In fact, if they call the whole thing “Museum of the German Postal Service (and free internet access on the 2nd floor)”, I wouldn’t have been so disappointed. Expectation management, hello?!

And on an intellectual note, that was also the only take-home-massage from that museum: Long-distance communication in the form of letters, telegraphs, and later telephone was for a long time considered a responsibility of the German state(s). Hence, it was placed in the hands of a public body run by efficient, mainly Prussian, terribly orderly, German civil servants. No guys in flip-flops from Silicon Valley to provide email services or some foreign invaders buying up German cell phone networks. No, it had to be die Deutsche Bundespost, ja.

In times like these, when we’re about to liberalize and privatize every last bit of telecommunication, this glimpse into the past was rather instructive… Not that instructive though. After all, it was just a bunch of old telephones and telegraphs in roughly chronological order.