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Sunday 6 May 2007

Bytes · Belgians go backwards - unavailable - tech And guns

  • Yahoo! Pipes, the graphical, web-based RSS re-mixer, has significantly increased its geo support. They now provide a map output that plots your data on a Yahoo! supplied map. Pipes will also export geocontent in KML.

  • That group of Belgian newspapers that sued Google to be removed from its index are now back in.

    Their traffic went through the floor so they ended up having agreed to use the commonly-accepted blocking standards that they initially rejected as not being legal.

  • Michael Cross reports that the national police portal,, greeted visitors this week with: "services have been temporarily suspended."

    It still does:

    Bike stolen again? Don't try to report it through the web. This is a big comedown for a site which, three years ago, was supposed to put us at the forefront of e-government. Britain was one of only two countries in Europe letting citizens report non-urgent crimes on the web, should we so wish.

    We didn't, of course. User figures were derisory. As it wasn't in government's interest to make reporting crimes easier, the police portal had almost no promotion. The fact that it represented a nonexistent organisation, the UK police force, didn't help either.

    However Cross also claims that:

    The members of society most likely to need public services - as victims of crime, for example - are the least likely to be confident internet users.

    Er, the biggest group of crime victims are Youth, and they're the most confident users by some stretch...

    The above image (not just the unavailability but how it's dealt with) is a SCANDAL. The Guardian should have made much more of this.

  • In the wake of the latest US gun massacre, the BBC reports, tech tools are being more hastily investigated.

    Rave Guardian - invented after research found that phones are one of the primary tools students use to keep safe ... allows the student to set a timer - for perhaps half a hour, when they leave their friends' dorm room to go back to theirs. If they return safe they can simply turn off the alarm.

    "If something did happen, it would transmit their location every three minutes - including their profile - to campus safety," Rodger Desai, president and CEO of the New York based company Rave Wireless, told BBC World Service's Digital Planet programme.

    After I blogged about vampiric capitalists snapping up '' et al, I got comment and looked at some of the US blogosphere's debate, post-massacre.

    As a Brit, it's difficult not to see the solution as simple, and not requiring yet more sophisticated technology (especially ones with other more sinister uses) — ban guns.

    But it was good to see the blogosphere showing it's use as such solutions get debated.

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