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Friday Five: February First

Elliot Bentley
blackberry10

This week: BlackBerry’s rebirth, the right to root (and party), and a clip from the Steve Jobs biography. Oh, and a mini pig.

This week on the Friday Five, we go only half-way off-topic: on BlackBerry’s rebirth, the right to root (and party), and a clip from the Steve Jobs biography. Oh, and a mini pig.


1. BlackBerry’s final stand

The launch of the BlackBerry 10 operating system by BlackBerry – née RIM – has generated considerable attention as the once-powerful phone manufacturer attempts to claw back its lost market share. The new touchscreen-optimised OS has been launched alongside two new phones, and has received faintly positive reviews.

However, while BlackBerry’s new phone appears to have caught up with the times, the company’s PR could still do with some work. In an interview on BBC Radio 5 Live (embedded below), managing director Stephen Bates spent a whole three minutes ignoring the presenters’ simple question – what did BlackBerry learn from the iPhone?

2. The Right to Root (or not)

Sir Tim Berners-Lee, inventor of the Word Wide Web and Olympic star, has continued to promote the universal nature of the web since its creation. His latest comments, uttered onstage at Linux.conf.au 2013 are a bit more controversial than usual, however.

“The right to have root on your machine,” he was quoted as saying by ZDNet, “is the right to store things which operate on your behalf.” That is, when ordinary users have root access, they are put at danger of allowing malicious software to operate on their behalf.

Berners-Lee, as you might expect, believes that the web is a safer model: “The JavaScript security models, the containment of cross-site access, are the best we can do at the moment.” Presumably he hasn’t read HTML5 Security, published by our sister publishing arm Developer.Press, which lists just a few of the horrors waiting to be unleashed by unscrupulous web developers.


3. And speaking of rights management…

YouTube is known for its video content, but most of us use it to listen to music too thanks to its enormous catalogue. Until Google worked things out with the major record companies, these were frequently being pulled down until a deal was worked out.

In Germany, though, a majority of the top 1000 videos on YouTube remain blocked – as illustrated in this interactive infographic. The German equivalent of the RIAA, GEMA, takes a “guilty until proved innocent” approach to YouTube, blocking videos that “may contain music for which GEMA has not granted the respective music rights”.

Of the top 1000 – which, as you might expect, is mostly cheesy pop hits – blocked videos include ‘White & Nerdy’ by Weird Al Yankovich, ‘Sweet Child of Mine’ by Guns ‘n’ Roses, and ‘Gangnam Style’.
 

4. Spinning in his iGrave?

He may have only passed away just over a year ago, but the Steve Jobs’ biography movie jOBS is already well underway. An early promotional clip of the film released shows a young Jobs, played by Ashton Kutcher, telling Steve Wozniak how revolutionary his new computer is.

Woz himself has weighed in on the trailer, initially commenting on a Gizmodo post that it was “not close” and adding in a longer statement that it was “totally wrong”. He says he was inspired not by Jobs, but by “liberal humanist academics from Berkeley and Stanford”, and that Jobs’ “lofty talk came much further down the line”.


5. Hamlet the mini pig

And finally… let’s wrap up an uncharacteristically techy Friday Five with an equally unusual choice of adorable animal: a mini pig!



Ps… the boss insists that the latest Dizzee Rascal tune be included. Be advised: there’s lots of swearing.

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