January, 2009

  • Steve Clayton

    Link To Public Download of Windows 7



    Go get it - http://www.microsoft.com/windows/windows-7/beta-download.aspx


    • You'll need some technical skills, like knowing how to:

      • Burn an ISO file to make an install DVD (A good example of what we mean by “technical”)

      • Install Windows (of course)

      • Backup and restore your PC (There's a chance of losing files, so it's a good idea to do a backup of anything you want to save.)

      • Set up a network

      It can be glitchy—so don't use a PC you need every day.

    • Minimum recommended specs call for:

      • 1 GHz 32-bit or 64-bit processor

      • 1 GB of system memory

      • 16 GB of available disk space

      • Support for DirectX 9 graphics with 128 MB memory (to enable the Aero theme)

      • DVD-R/W Drive

      • Internet access (to download the Beta and get updates)

      And yes, like anything tech-related, these specs could change.

    • Some product features of Windows 7, such as the ability to watch and record live TV or navigation through the use of "touch," may require advanced or additional hardware.

    • You'll need a system recovery disk (and know how to use it).

    • You're [almost] flying solo: you'll need to troubleshoot problems yourself and call on other Beta testers for their know-how.

    • It's a two-way thing—Beta testing is about feedback so our developers can fix bugs and hear what appeals to the people who use our products daily. Please tell us what you think.

    • Watch the calendar. The Beta expires on August 1, 2009. To continue using your PC, please be prepared to reinstall a prior version of Windows or a subsequent release of Windows 7 before the expiration date. (See installation instructions.)

  • Steve Clayton

    I’m A PC Stickers


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    I periodically review what search terms bring people to my blog and it continues to surprise me that a search for I’m A PC Stickers is pretty high up the list. I can only conclude people are looking for advice on ways to remove these things from their PC :)

    Seriously…for years I have said that stickers are one of the most effective and viral social objects so if you are looking for an I’m A PC sticker leave your name here in the comments. I’m trying to see if there really is demand for these things and if so, whether I can help get them dropped from helicopters or something similar.

    Oh and if you’re in London this Monday night (Feb 2nd) I may have a few of these things to hand out at The Burlington Arms

  • Steve Clayton

    1st Windows 7 Update



    I was checking the location for the Windows 7 public beta and no sign of it yet. I did find two updates already though for Windows Media Center issues so if you’re planning to test that, you may wanna grab these.

    I’ll post links to the Beta download as soon as I have them


    Install this update to resolve live and recorded TV issues in Windows Media Center, recorded TV playback issues in Windows Media Player, and MP3 file corruption issues in Windows.

    Update for Windows 7 Beta for x64 (KB961367)

    Update for Windows 7 Beta for 32 bit (KB961367)

  • Steve Clayton

    Twitter Domain Squatting in the UK



    Is the new domain squatting technique to grab a well known brand name and wait for them to come offering cash to give it up? Well, that’s a theory I wanted to look in to after reading Erik J. Heels notes that 93 of the top 100 global brands aren’t in control of their brand names on Twitter

    I decided to do some investigating using the UK Superbands list. I picked out the Top 50, worked on the most likely version of their name on Twitter (using the current brand domain name such as TheAA.com for AA).


    The result is below and I think we can draw some interesting thoughts from this but no hard conclusions

    • The vast majority of UK brand have no control of their brand name on Twitter. Should they care? I think so but they clearly don’t
    • Only two three brands appear to truly own their Twitter brand in this list – Tate Galleries and BA with the latter being a US owned account BA’s UK arm now has a Twitter feed. The BBC recently claimed theirs hence updated below
    • Though I have listed many that seemingly aren’t under ownership of the brand as having squatter status, that’s no slight against the owners most of who are legit
    • There are clear cases in here of Twitter domain squatting with email addresses should the brand owner be keen to secure the account
    • I’m not implying there is any financial gain for this process – though we have seen that in the past with web domain squatting.
    • Statistically, 94% of UK brands don’t own their Twitter account


    In an era where brand is increasingly important, can these household names afford to have their brand “owned” by someone else in the increasingly popular world of Twitter where Word of Mouth rules? Or is Twitter not the place for a brand to engage with it’s customers?

    Erik has done a lot more work on this than I have time for but check the list below to see how badly our so called UK top brands fare.


    Brand by UK Rank Status on Twitter Comments Squatter Status
    Google registered has employees Tweeting under their own name undetermined
    Microsoft registered has employees Tweeting under their own name undetermined
    Mercedes Benz registered no tweets undetermined
    BBC active claimed by BBC – thanks to @RobAshton for update owned
    British Airways active The official Twitterstream of British Airways North America. Neville Hobson since pointed me to the UK BA twitterfeed owned
    Royal Doulton registered no tweets, no contact details squatter
    BMW active Brian M. Westbrook – no relation to BMW squatters
    Bosch active no relation to Bosch squatters
    Nike active protected updates, suspected squatter based on follower squatters
    Sony active protected updates undetermined
    Apple active no tweets but has some employees Tweeting under their own name undetermined
    Duracell active 2 tweets, suspected squatter squatter
    Jaguar active 2 tweets, suspected squatter, protected updates squatter
    Coca Cola suspended suspended due to strange activity squatter
    AA registered TheAA is registered but not resolving undetermined
    Lego active no relation to BMW squatters
    Marks and Spencer active no tweets undetermined
    Thorntons active no relation to Thorntons chocolatiers squatters
    Cadbury active no relation to Cadbury squatter
    Hilton active no relation to Hilton squatter
    Wedgewood active has Wedgewood background so potentially owned undetermined
    Dulux active no relation to Dulux squatter
    Guinness active no relation to Guinness squatter
    Kellogg’s active no relation to Kellogg's squatter
    Dyson active no relation to Dyson squatter
    Royal Albert Hall active 1 tweet, undetermined ownership undetermined
    Ordnance Survey active no tweets undetermined
    Fisher-Price active 3 tweets, all pointing to a fisher-price product undetermined
    Encyclopaedia Britannica not registered EncyclopaediaBr is best match and not active available
    Michelin registered available from twitterbrands@gmail.com squatter
    Fairy registered no relation to Fairy the liquid hand wash company squatter
    BP registered Bryan Pendleton - no relation to the oil company squatter
    Adidas registered available from flypig@gmail.com. squatter
    Parker not registered ParkerPens - their official domain - is not registered available
    Harrods registered no tweets, no contact details undetermined
    Heinz registered no relation to the beans company squatter
    Domestos registered no relation to the cleaner though last tweet did say Going to clean my House squatter
    Andrex registered no tweets, no contact details undetermined
    Dettol registered no tweets, no contact details, 1 follower undetermined
    Schweppes registered no relation to the fizzy drinks brand squatter
    Monopoly registered no relation to the board game squatter
    Sellotape not registered available available
    Nescafe registered no tweets, no contact details squatter
    Shell registered no relation to the oil company squatter
    Robinsons registered no relation to the fruit drinks company squatter
    Tate Galleries registered owned by the Tate Galleries brand! owned
    Eurostar registered no relation to the train company squatter
    Nokia registered no relation to the mobile phone company squatter
    Playstation registered available from pleasantcreature@gmail.com squatter
    Eden Project registered no tweets, no contact details undetermined
  • Steve Clayton

    Seriously Great TV


    I don’t watch much TV these days – my time is more likely spent surfing the web, monitoring Twitter and posting on this blog. I think I prefer two way mediums.

    However, the last 4 nights have offered some of the best TV I have watched in a long time. I’m referring to The Royal Institution Lectures that I mentioned earlier in the week. They have been showing each night this week on Channel 5 here in the UK and presented by Chris Bishop from Microsoft Research. I’ve bored anyone who is prepared to listen about them for the last 48 hours for their brilliance in making some of the complexities of computing both fun and interesting. 

    This is how computing and science really ought to be taught and I think Chris and the team just raised the bar significantly. I also love the fact that he has had the opportunity to show some of the smart work at Microsoft on products like Surface and SenseCam without it ever coming across as an advert for Microsoft. He’s also liberally referred to and show products from Apple and Sony amongst others.

    • Check out Lecture 1 for how microchips are made on silicon using rice as an example.
    • Check out Lecture 2 for some great demos of Surface that are met with gasps from the audience and if like me, you don’t really knew who LCD’s work a brilliant 5 minute practical example explains.
    • Lecture 3 has a great physics experiment where Chris risks his life in front of the audience.
    • Oh and Lecture 3 has a guest via satellite link – none other than Bill Gates.
    • Lecture 4 was all about untangling the web and though I enjoyed this one, it wasn’t as good as the first 3. Still worth a watch for some clever ways to discuss encryption on the web.

    Seriously great, great television that has me on the edge of me seat and smiling in wonderment like a child myself. Hats off to the team at MSR and RI along with Chris. Compelling and proud viewing which you can now get on demand from 5 with two more lectures to come.

    If you have time to watch this, you really ought to treat yourself. If you have kids and they have any interest in science or computing you owe it to them to have them watch it. Trust me, they’ll love it.

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