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Month: November 2002

Net: Who Owns What?

[Money and a couple of skyscrapers]I’ve had bookmarked/hot-listed for some time the Who Owns What page which details what other companies certain large megalomaniac companies own. Whilst it is mainly US Media orientated companies (and therefore doesn’t list the companies owned by Microsoft) – it does reveal some interesting things.

Did you know that AOL TimeWarner (the owners of Warner Brothers, New Line Cinema, Netscape, Mozilla and the Open Directory Project) also partially own Amazon (who, in turn, own Alexa Research who also own The Internet Archive). Or that News Corporation (aka “Fox”) owns such wide ranging companies as the book publishing company Harper Collins, the cosmetic “*ding dong* It’s Avon calling” company, The Sun and The Times UK newspapers, partially own the Electronic Arts games software company and, of course, Sky satellite broadcasters?

One entry I was quite surprised at was Viacom – I didn’t know they owned Paramount Studios, MTV, Nickelodeon (mainly with Fox/News Corp/BSkyB), VH1, BlockBuster video and the Star Trek franchise.

Wow! Combine that with the fact that the Daily Mail And General Trust (that own the Daily Mail newspaper and used to own UKPlus) also owns my local newspaper (via Northcliffe Newspapers) and, via their 29.97% controlled GWR subsidery, my local radio station – it’s quite scary how much of my ‘media input’ is controlled by just a few companies… [add: the DMGT also owns part of the Teletext company via Harmsworth Media and a 20% share in the ITN News corporation which provides news services to ITV and Five]

What about news organisations in your area? Are they owned by just the one company? Or can you list all the companies Microsoft own?

Blog: Validation and checking

[W3C logo]“Prodded” into action by Neil’s observation that the W3C Validation service now supports a wider range of DTDs and has a slightly-niftier looking interface AND David Brake blogging about the “Xenu’s Link Sleuth” (and, yep, the Xenu is a reference to a certain organisation which claims to be a religion), I’ve decided to just check my blog for validation and links….

Well, after correcting a couple of URLs (mainly escaping the & symbol in them so it was & instead), correcting a couple of minor typos (ww instead of www, onClick instead of onclick) – my blog’s index page now correctly validates as XHTML 1.0 Transitional. I’m working on trying to get it XHTML1.0 Strict though (there seems to be a niggling little fault which I can’t find at the moment), and once that’s done – I’ll try and ensure the other pages validate.

Oh – and I’ve also changed the category names slightly and added an internal webcam. At the moment (until I reboot my PC), both cameras are offline as the software I use for updating has semi-crashed and I don’t really want to reboot over such a minor matter.

Games: Pong and Pong and Pong

[Pong Screenshot]Wow! There seems to be quite a few sites about Pong out there! There’s the previously mentioned game of Radial Pong, this fancy Flash movie about Pong not just being a game (and how those bats are really controlled), a quite infuriating and difficult Shockwave game of 3D Pong (I managed a final “high” score of 121), a 3 slightly less high-tech looking versions are also available and there is even a nice text based version available (“The enemy, the Left Paddle, has managed to reflect your shot and send it back to you. It looks like it’s going to go below your paddle”).

Pong your heart out!

Life: Monday night drunkedness

[Lisa Scott-Lee from Steps]Right, I’ve been meaning to do this all week – but I’ve only now really just got the time and the inclination to blog about Monday night. It wasn’t anything spectacular, but since they don’t let me out much 😉 I thought I may as well write a little summary of that night.

Oh, I wasn’t sure if I was going to go out or not, but then the barman/owner text messaged me/SMSed me asking for recommendation of sources of Karaoke tracks. I texted him back with a couple of short recommendations and then burnt a couple of CDRs with a few tracks I had lying around. I was quite surprised as last time I tried burning anything, I just kept on getting failed CDs (after 8 of them, I gave up and put it down to a drive fault).

So I decided to go out. I went to catch the bus into town (why pay for a taxi if you can help it?): but I missed the bus by around 2 minutes. Yep, I still don’t know the late night bus time tables around here (the First Leicester website doesn’t help by just saying the bus is every 30 minutes) – so I ended up walking into town. Just as I got into town, the following bus passed me: so no time difference between me walking and catching the bus, I saved money (ok, 75p) AND I got some exercise…

Net: Slashdot dupes!

[Slashdot]Ok, I know today (well, November 28th) is the American Thanksgiving Day Holiday, but that is no reason for Slashdot to have so many duplicate stories. They’ve had “When Personalization Runs Amuck” (posted at 7:25pm) which was a repeat of “When Profiling Goes Wrong” from 4:36pm on November 26 (both about the same article on the Wall Street Journal about how the personalisation profiling services as used by TiVo‘s and Amazon can sometimes suggest things that make you have a ‘double-take’). Before that, at 4.55pm they ran “Face Transplants On The Way” which was a repeat from November 27th’s 05:07pm story “Getting More Face Time” (both about the same BBC news article that facial transplants could take place in the next six to nine months).

The Slashdot editors then round it off by posting “Hark! I Hear a Dropped Packet” at 3:15am, which – you’ve guessed it – is a repeat again. But this time from the same day, okay at 1:47pm when “Using Sound To Test Internet Connections” was still on the front page (so even the Slashdot editors looking at their own site would have seen it). Ok, it didn’t have so much “lead information” about the article on New Scientist but still…

You’d think if Slashdot really wanted to get people subscribing to them (instead of relying on advertisement revenue), they’ll make at least a little effort to run things professionally wouldn’t you? [end rant]

At least a few readers managed to make a couple of comments which made me laugh….