Category Archives: Internet


Freely Distributed Research Data Coming Soon?
iPad Roaming with 3G or WiFi
Fibre Optical Broadband
Some things I can’t do on the ipad 2 yet.
Free UK Domain with Free Hosting
Location Independent Again
Free FTP Client Software – Using Filezilla to update Websites

Freely Distributed Research Data Coming Soon?

This is the problem: Academic research findings are currently distributed mainly in expensive journals and publications. These are hard to find with restricted access and either unavailable online or only accessible by subscription via another expensive paywall. Often the source data is omitted. This reduces the number and type of people who can benefit from scrutinising the research data and limits the progress of science to the detriment of all.

It isn’t totally clear who is mostly responsible for this state of affairs, but the most likely culprit seems to be a combination of academic publishing houses, university institutions and an elite of the most established academics themselves.

Recently a campaign has been born to try to free up the results of published research from out of the hands of the worst exploiters.

Elsevier — my part in its downfall.

Elsevier is not the only publisher to behave in an objectionable way. However, it seems to be the worst.

while other blame the University establishment:

it’s not publishers. It’s the universities themselves.

And now here comes news that none other than Jimmy Wales, the man who took the credit for Wikipedia and a well known Ayn Randian, is being drafted in by the libertarian Conservative/liberal British government to help “make all taxpayer-funded academic research in Britain available online to anyone who wants to read or use it.” And it’s not just the abstract, summary of findings or the written up research conclusions which are intended to be distributed in an accessible form either:

“One of the big opportunities is, right now, a journal article might be published but the underlying data isn’t and we want to move into a world where the data is published alongside an article in an open format, available free of charge”

There has also been a move by one of the big funders of research to back Open Access:

But science in general isn’t complete until it’s been published, and for the Wellcome Trust we want to maximise the impact of the research that we fund. That’s why open access is so important; research isn’t finished until it’s been published, and by publishing the results of the research that we fund in open access formats it means that as many people as possible are able to have access to the literature without any hindrance at all, and that of course will ultimately maximise the value and the outcomes of the research that we fund.

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iPad Roaming with 3G or WiFi

You do see a number of iPads or other tablets out and about on the tube and at meetups, but nowhere near so many as the smartphones which are everywhere. I wonder how many are tucked away in people’s bags though, and do come out when they reach their destination, or at various top off points for coffee etc. On the whole though the iPad is probably most at home semi permanently based either in the workplace or on the sofa. That’s when it’s getting hammered as a useful day to day tool for looking anything up or showing somebody something. It’s just that you get so used to being to do those two things whenever prompted, that being stuck somewhere without any connectivity starts to feel like having your ears cut off, or some other body part.

Luckily I opted for the 3G specification when I ordered my iPad a year or so ago, and it came with an O2 micro sim card which allows it to connect like a mobile phone wherever there is cellular network coverage, which basically means almost anywhere at all except my mum’s house, or places where I like to hide away on holiday sometimes, which is not necessarily a bad thing. That’s not a free service though, so you either have to sign up for a regular monthly contract, again like a phone, or else pay £10 or £15 for one month which I’ve ended up doing only for about one third of the past 12 months. Yes! I spend a lot of time staying at home.  Oh by the way, that’s a recurring monthly charge so you have to remember to cancel it again if you only want to take it out for one month. I forgot once. The data allowance sounds a bit low but it’s actually quite generous and I never exceeded it, it’s just badly worded so you can get confused between a daily or monthly allowance of 1Gb. You can watch a few youTube videos a day ( if the reception is good enough) without going over, perhaps not if it’s every day, but my pattern of usage tended to be to activate one month and then use it heavily for just one week.

The access speed with 3G can be frustratingly slow though, so it’s always better to connect the iPad to WiFi if you can. And that’s getting increasingly easy in population centres with many retail places and public service buildings providing some sort of free WiFi. Wetherspoons and Starbucks come to mind immediately, but more and more independent pubs and cafes have it too now. Businesses often provide a public wi-fi service for their visitors too, but one of the most convenient services is the BT FON system. This uses domestic homes broadband routers to grant access to each other when out and about. So if you have a BT broadband service at home, when you are out somewhere in a residential area, you can nearly always find a WiFi connection that you can log into using your own broadband account. How cool is that?

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Fibre Optical Broadband

I’ve had a new fibre optical broadband and telephone service installed.

The BT Openreach vans have been busy in our area for months. The fibre optic cables were laid under the streets and up the telegraph poles, ready for anybody who wants to take advantage of the higher data speeds available with fibre optics, and to future proof homes connectivity. I’ve always had a pretty good service through the copper wires though, and since reliability rather than speed is my most important criteria, I elected to remain with my current sluggish and expensive but very reliable broadband provider. Well I would have done if I could have, but they had been taken over by another company, and then another in turn. So I was left on a legacy system yet again.

Finally, BT made me an offer I couldn’t refuse. Six months totally free broadband and landline phone usage, including up to £5 worth per month calls to mobiles, no setup fee, no line rental, no charge for the modem, free to opt out again at any time. Supposedly it’s a trial to test the new voice over fibre service. Whatever. I notice Sky TV are offering similar broadband deals so it’s probably more of an enticement, because we all know how powerful the force of inertia can be, once you’ve plumped for one service or another.

Fibre Optical Broadband

Fibre Optical Broadband

I’m happy to have my house cabled up with fibre optics, all the way to the modem. The old copper wire system is still there, and working as I type, so I have a choice of two broadband connections, luxury. The fibre optic system is about two or three times as fast for downloads and browsing, but more like six or ten times as fast for uploads, which is great when I have a series of half a gigabyte music videos to upload to YouTube for example. Even running in the background, the three or four hour uploads used to degrade the general internet access quality for everybody else on the network, but that’s no longer the case. And I can watch live streaming HD TV channels such as the BBC iPlayer at the same time as uploads and other stuff going on simultaneously.

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Some things I can’t do on the ipad 2 yet.

So this is an experimental blog post feeding the output from a mind map directly via email to the blog. The mind map software is ithoughtsHD as recommended by Ed Dale and MacSparky, and it’s an addition to one I made early in order to accumulate some tasks I needed to do when I get back on my iMac again. So the first one was a kind of to do list, which is against the spirit of action logging I know, but sometimes I need the memory aid in special circumstances.

I’ve had an intense unplanned two weeks or so learning curve with my new iPad 2, and it’s been enlightening and fun on the whole, but occasionally frustrating as well.
In theory there are only about 20-30% of activities which cannot be done easily on the iPad, but in practice they can soon mount up into a bit of a backlog. I’ve tried to avoid getting involved in really complicated workflows which are basically workarounds to make up for the deliberately isolated structure of the IOS apps system.

Other things I haven’t mentioned are native OSX apps such as Market Samurai, or Firefox plugins, which haven’t been ported to iPad yet, if at all.

The iThoughtsHD output to email process includes a number of different formats and here they are:

  • cant do on ipad
  • adding autolinks into wordpress blog posts
  • of course this is a bit like thinks to do on the iMac
  • the difference being here I might try to find ways to do them on the iPad eventually
  • podcasts
    • broadcast with livestream
    • edit sound files in audacity
  • facebook
    • leave groups
    • manage pages on 2nd page
  • Google Reader
    • add subscriptions
    • unsubscribe
  • gmail
    • add filters
  • WordPress
    • edit longer posts
    • add categories after the first few in the list
    • reorganise categories?

    cant do on ipad.itm Download this file

    cant do on ipad.itmz Download this file

    cant do on ipad.opml Download this file


    cant do on ipad.pdf Download this file

    via posterous

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    Free UK Domain with Free Hosting

    A free domain name with free web hosting and website building tools

    Does that sound too good to be true?

    The site is called “Getting British Business Online” and is run by a collaboration between Enterprise UK, Google, BT and e-skills UK, with the support of the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills.

    So it’s like the British Government giving away free websites to local businesses, but paid for by BT and Google. All you need is an address in the UK and a mobile phone and they register a domain name for you and hook it up with Google sites. Then it’s yours for free for two years to promote your business, and after that you can renew the domain through BT or possibly transfer it out. In fact it looks as if you can transfer out after only 60 days if you don’t want BT to administer the domain, but you don’t have to redirect it to free Google Sites, you can redirect it to the web hosting of your choice by dialling a freephone number listed at the terms and conditions.

    Getting British Business Online

    Getting British Business Online

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    Location Independent Again

    So I’m trying to do some blogging and so on from a location away from home again. The mobile dongle is kind of working intermittently here by the harbour, and I haven’t tried driving to higher land in search of a stronger signal yet. I did find a pub with wi-fi in the next village and we tried that one afternoon. I couldn’t help thinking that it would be a bit of a shame if this becomes the future of pubs – people sitting down by themselves staring at laptops while nursing half a pint.

    Another possibility for the future of pubs is as a local community service where you can go to collect your parcels and other deliveries.


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    Free FTP Client Software – Using Filezilla to update Websites

    Free FTP Client Software for Windows

    Filezilla is a free and open source FTP client software program used for connnecting to a webserver to update websites. Here’s a short tutorial video which deals with downloading, setting up and connecting Filezilla FTP to a website. I describe the twin pane approach, and show you how to download a website file, edit it , test and then re-upload so the new version is live on your website.

    This Filezilla video can be watched from right here below as an embedded YouTube video, do try the HD (High Definition) and full screen options:

    Or you can download the full original 84Mb video file onto your computer using the free file hosting service at divshare: Download Filezilla FTP Video Tutorial

    Filezilla FTP client software is available in Windows, Mac OS X and Linux versions.


    Good alternative FTP clients apart from Filezilla are Cute FTP for Windows and Mac (small charge) , and on a Mac there are also Fetch and Cyberduck.

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    Thanks for reading Andy Roberts articles about Internet on the DARnet Blog