I was going to post this as a comment to Mike Arringtons post on TechCrunch about BBC Jam, however as it started to get a little longer than would be sensible for a comment I’ve put it here instead (trackbacks are great!)
As far as BBC Jam goes, I don’t agree with the decision to suspend the service, the cost of it so far hasÃ‚Â been too high, however, suspending or axing the service will meanÃ‚Â this money which has been spent thus far has not benefitted the British public. There are many public services in most countries which could surely in the same manner be construde as potentially damaging for commerce. In the UK the NHS for instance could be seen as damaging to the potential income of private hospitals etc.
As averse as many are to the idea of the BBC/PSB in general, the content the BBC produce is on the whole excellent when they don’t pander to the reality television market. I believe it is quite difficult for an american commentator as Mike Arrington is to judge the organisation on the small amount of their content which makes it across the pond. Certainly his comments in London recently were far from accurate or well informed and certainly the BBC Backstage mailing list(Mailing list RSS feed) was consumed for a while afterwards with numerous rebutals on the subject.
The BBC gives hugh benefit to many and a great number of its divisions have excellent reputations in different fields the world over. BBC Research and Development among others have been leading technological innovation in many areas of broadcast/television for some time and their work has benefitted other organisations in many ways. It is however quite sad at the way in which the BBC board seem keen to disband and/or sell off some of these well performing divisions, BBC Technology was recently made part of Siemens in a major outsourcing move. The BBC claim this is cost saving, however while Siemens may promise to save the BBC Ã‚Â£30m, they at the same time (sources say) aim to increase the BBC’s overall spending in other ways.
I’ve found a couple of apps in the last week which have in different ways changed the way I use my computer (these are Windows only, sorry others!):
I have three computers on my desk when I’m at home, my laptop and two desktops (one recent aquisition which I’m not entirely sure what to do with at the moment). I’m writing this on the screen connected to the second desktop, however the mouse and keyboard are connected to the first desktop. If I want to control the laptop or the other desktop I just move the mouse over from one screen to the other. Maxivista does two things, it either allows you to turn any spare PC into a second monitor for the first or to remote control the second computer by simply moving the mouse to that screen as I am at the moment.
Its easily the coolest program I’ve found this year and has changed the way I use the computers, no more messing around with KVM’s, Maxivista only needs the network connection, wireless or wired it working fine for me over both. I found this via Stefan Didak’s website, a guy who has a comupter setup which rivals anything I’ve seen anywhere else and is well worth a look at.
There is also an open source version of this called Synergy2 which will work across platforms, I discovered this after finding and purchasing Maxivista, however after both myself and Tom used it we both found it to be a bit buggy but it might work for you.
Not as interesting as the above one but non the less very useful. Novell Netdrive can connect to HTTP and FTP servers, Webdav and iFolder’s and add these as drives in My Computer. Fairly simple in many ways but very useful for website editing etc when having multple files open simultaneously and live on the website can be useful. This is unfortunatly something which isn’t available on the Novell website for copyright reasons, but a look around on Google will find you a download site. And no, this is not the same as mapping a drive in Windows XP as was mentioned when engadget covered this a couple of years ago (yup its not a new app by any means), the functionality it offers especially for doing backups is much improved on what Windows can do on its own.
On another note I’ve removed Lifehacker from my bloglist, it got rather boring to read their ‘inside tips’ etc which I read a few hours earlier off the actual authors blog whether it be Google’s, TechCrunch or any of the many others, also incredibly annoying to find a blog which doesn’t allow people to comment unless they’re a member.