Why the Digital Economy bill is bound to fail.

During the last few weeks I picked up a new client, ARS Technica UK. I was asked to write about the Digital Economy Act and how it is doomed to fail at any significant scale.

Essentially the UK government is trying to stop porn being viewed by those under 18. To those internet savvy people reading this you know it is a trivial exercise to bypass government mandated filters.

The man from Virgin Media, he say no!
The man from Virgin Media, he say no!

The people passing this law may well not have a grip on this new fangled internet technology.

Those that want porn will still get it via VPN, TOR and newsgroups. Even the government admit that people will try to bypass it. As Ernesto at Torrent freak mentioned “It is just about making pornography that bit harder to access”. However to many, myself included this could be the thin end of the wedge of an assault on our civil liberties.

You can read the full article here.


Doing screencasts.. what I learnt

Recently I got asked to do some screencasting for a company (It’s all a bit secret squirrel at the moment). I had never tried screencasting before but I can tell you I have a new respect for those that do it all the time.

I would say the most difficult item to get over is listening to your own voice on playback. No one particularly seems to like it, even those who have recorded hundreds of screencasts. There is not much I can do to fix your voice but I can empart a couple of tips:

  1. Don’t do it on the fly. Having a script helps. I am not advocating recording every single word but having a script helps ensure you keep on track and can help avoid the “errs” and “umhhh’s”.
  2. Dont try and do it all in one take. In post production you can edit out quiet spaces and bloopers. Most casters seem to suggest five minute segments fit quite well.
  3. Inbuild microphones are crap. If you ever think about doing recording splash out on something USB and external. Any of the Blue brand are good enough for casting. You will be looking at around £100.
  4. Pop filters are highly recommended. They help filter out the pops of letters that start with P and other sounds that can get a bit distorted on the microphone. They are cheap enough.
  5. Post production will take a lot longer than actually recording the screencast. Get used to it.
  6. Lastly dont let desktop screen clutter get in the way of the message you’re delivering.

In short it is a lot more difficult to create good quality screencast than most people would think. It is a learning exercise for sure.


Using the Web interface.. that’s so last year

Recently I wrote an article over at SearchVMware about how the times in the VM world are changing and that everyone should know just how useful a few lines of Powershell can be and function as a nice easy on ramp to realising how useful Powershell and PowerCLI can be.

What is nice about this article is the fact that those few lines of code are easy to understand and it is so versatile that you can change it do things like report on VMS, Power On VMs as well as the create snapshot example. If you have been putting off getting into PowerCLI here is a real quick interest.