CultureTech index

gNews #1 : gMail

Despite the same service having been offered by a number of other webmail services for some time, we all got very excited this week when gMail finally enabled offline access to messages. Now you no longer need to be connected to use the service, the Google march into replacing your desktop software has moved up another significant gear.

gNews #2: gEarth

Wired is reporting that Swiss police "stumbled" across two acres of marijuana plantation whilst using Google Earth software. Further evidence, were it needed of Google's inability to do evil whilst organising (almost)all the information in the World.
Ah.. hang on...

gNews #3 : gCull

The Google Street view van had an unfortunate collision they had with a baby deer which was hit by the google maps truck out documenting the landscape in an attempt to organise all the information in the World. The drama of the up-market happy-slapping incident was captured by Google and posted up onto the map. However, as the punning Google Maps blog now reports, due to complaints from users the images of the affair have now been removed.

Amazon acquires, also innovates (probably)

The New York Times is reporting that Amazon are about to have another go at the e-reader market with the second iteration of their Kindle device. As alleged leaked pictures of the device shown on the Boy Genius Report site demonstrate, Amazon have addressed a number of the design flaws which marred the first device.
This product upgrade becomes more interesting when paired with Amazon's recent acquisition of Audible, the leading audio-book site and the further development of Amazon's DRM-free MP3 store. They need only move into digital video sales and the meaningfully connected trans-media retailer could be born. Soon we could all be enjoying the ebook of the film of the audiobook of the book.

Digital Britain

There's little to say about the crushingly disappointing Digital Britain report that hasn't already been ranted elsewhere, highlighting as it does the alarming lack of real understanding of the issues or their solutions and the tragic poverty of ambition in this area. As Tom Steinberg saliently pointed out in his 5-point advice, "..hire yourself some staff who know what the Internet really means for government..." Just keep telling yourself that it was just. an. interim. report.

How twitter was born

In the unlikely event of Tweet-fatigue not having fully bitten-in on you yet, new site 140 characters offers some history on the service, followed by advice on tweet-e-quette. It's all to the end of soliciting contributions for their crowd-sourced book project, a kind of style guide for the short-form writer. Follow them to keep up with progress.

Snowstorm causes Tweetstorm

Follow the #UKSNOW excitement here for short-form anecdotes about snow. In the UK.

Songsmith cover of the week:

Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band
Incase you're yet to catch on to the wonder that is Microsoft Songsmith, its adoption around the internet as rich source for vicious mocking continues to gather pace. Turn up, enjoy.

Iain Simons writes, talks and tweets about videogames and technology. His new book, Play Britannia, is to be published in 2009. He is the director of the GameCity festival at Nottingham Trent University.