Welcome to TechEye!

We hope you like TechEye, which launched at 11:15AM GMT, just when Mercury was hogging the midheaven. Not that you could see it anyway, it being midday. And being very small anyway.

TechEye is a magazine owned by JAM IT Media – that’s J(ames) Crowley, A(llan) Rutherford and M(ike) Magee.

James runs a developer site – developerfusion.com –  and is a whizz at technology and coding in general. Allan has worked in technology advertising for an impressive 14 years. I’m a grizzled hack that has been around since before the internet was a twinkle in the military’s eye.

We’ve an impressive team of journalists too – all striving to bring you straight news with a sense of humour, when that’s appropriate.

Hope you like the site, and that you stick around for the ride!

SourceThatJob stands up against exploiting hacks

Daryl Wilcox, top dog at Daryl Wilcox Publishing  – has announced his popular media job search tool SourceThatJob.com will be taking a stand with the National Union of Journalists against the exploitation of young media workers.

All too often, says Daryl, ‘internships’ are placed on prominent job sites for young professionals with an eye to get into the media. They’re mostly longer than three months, with only a vague idea of getting a job after the hard slog

Gorkana’s most recent regular journalist job alert features 15 unpaid internships, with the Daily Telegraph advertising a 12 week placement on its fashion desk. A generous £5 a day for travel expenses will be provided to see applicants through the intensive, 10am-6pm full days.

The NUJ warns against placements like these, saying the practice “exploits people starting out in the industry and in many cases it’s actually unlawful.” The NUJ work experience guidelines say unpaid work placements should “normally be for no more than four weeks.”

There is a guide for recent graduates and those green to media on the NUJ website here. You can check out Daryl’s blog here.

* EyeSee The editor of this publication sometimes worked alongside Daryl when they  were both freelancers. My dad tells me Ambrose McNevin’s nickname for him was Dayrate Wilcox.

Activision looks for raw talent

Activision will be keeping an eye out for fresh talent at this month’s MIDEM international music market for one unknown or up-and-comer to get a track featured in popular scratching-sim DJ Hero.

The show, runnng from the 24th to the 27th January in Cannes, shows off international bands and artists intending to be seen and claw their way to the top of the music biz. Activision will be keeping a close eye on ten finalists, much as it did last year when Attack! Attack! and The Answer were unearthed and had tracks plonked onto similar music rhythm games Guitar Hero 5 and Guitar Hero World Tour.

All sorts of music will be welcomed for the entrants, be it hip hop, dance or what have you – the single biggest factor is that it will be heavily mixable and make for good gameplay on a DJ Hero set.

The top dogs judging the finalist will be Tim Riley, VP of music affairs at Activision, joined by Brandon Young and Sergio Pimentel from the same lot. Ofei Sakyi, senior music producer at Freestyle will also be along for the ride as well as some ‘music industry professional’ bloke called TBC. Never heard of him.

Take a gander for more MIDEM stuff here

Apple founder says Google phone great

Apple founder Steve Wozniak has been branded a heretic and is about to be burnt at the stake by an inquisition of fanbois after he dared to say that the Google phone is his favourite gadget.

Apple fangirl Rosa Golijan penned in Gizmodo that the Dancing Queen had ‘broken her iPhone-powered  heart’ in making the claim that his favorite gadget is Google’s Nexus One.

Woz bought an iPhone right when it first came out and it’s perfectly OK that he picked up a Nexus One right on its release day, too. But apparently this is a different thing from proclaiming the Google device as his favourite gadget? Ouch. She said.

The fanbois at the site ripped into poor Woz claiming that it was all sour grapes because Apple had managed to be a success without him

Steve shot back a reply from his iPhone saying that while the Nexus One was his favourite gadget, the iPhone was his favourite phone. Just so everyone knows.

Herschel telescope brought back to life

Artist's impression of Herschel TelescopeThe Herschel Space Telescope is now operational again following a bug that’s suspected to be have been caused by space radiation.

The European Space Agency (ESA) telescope was launched into space in May 2009 but a glitch in its electronics made it non-operational after three months.

According to the BBC, scientists have switched the system to operate on a reserve electronics system. The same fault happening again isn’t possible.

The techies managed to fix the glitch online – they believe that a cosmic ray hit one of the microprocessors in the electronics unit. That in turn caused a cascade of software and hardware faults that brought the unit down.

The astronomer Herschel discovered the planet Uranus. The BBC story is here.

Indian techies brought in to fix UK police IT system

A UK politician has asked for a parliamentary debate following the collapse of Avon and Somerset’s police computer system.

Ian Liddell-Grainger, Conservative MP for Bridgwater, told Harriet Harman, holder of the Lord Privy Seal and Labour MP for Camberwell & Peckham, that 30 Indians have been brought into the UK on temporary visas to try fix the problem.

He said: “Given the fact that they need total access to all the records held by Avon and Somerset police to do so and given the world that we live in, could we have time for a debate on the rights and wrongs of bringing in temporary workers in a very high security area?”

Harriet Harman referred Liddell-Grainger to the police authority itself.

She said: “If the hon. Gentleman cannot get a satisfactory answer on that matter from the police authorities in his area, he should raise it directly with the Home Secretary. However, I would hope and expect that proper security measures have been taken.”

Chinese may have dumped handsets over Christmas

Forget the iPhone, in two weeks over Christmas, Tesco shifted over 10,000 units of a ££18.99 handset called the VX1i Party Phone. That price is so near to the BOC (bill of costs) that Techeye thinks it may have been dumped.

In Britain, of course, everyone is used to subsidised handsets. Indeed, if you sign up for a 24 month contract with Tesco Mobile you can get a 16GB iPhone 3GS for free. Just don’t drop it uninsured into the bath.

The point about the VX1i, however, is that it is ‘SIM Free’. It will work on any UK network (and it will actually work in the USA too) except for 3. That’s because it isn’t 3G (W-CDMA) compatible. So it’s an absolute bargain.

Considering transportation costs, plus the distributor – Blue Chip World – and retailer’s (Tesco’s) margins, where’s the profit?

This raises the important issue of who actually made the handset. It seems to be a combination of two– Verixas  and the Shenzen based Chinese firm, Shenzhen Kosun Industrial Co.

The key component, Techeye suspects, is the GSM-on-a-chip component which provides an instant handset and is probably sourced from Mediatek. The fake iPhone which Techeye has seen appears to use one, too.

It was extremely difficult to obtain the specs for the VX1i as news reports regurgitated simply the press release. However, they are available here  when you look for VX1 – Mini Mobile Phone.

A Tesco spokesperson actually confirmed for us that the screen is a colour one. That needed confirming as the handset has disappeared from both the main Tesco and the Tesco Mobile  online shops.

Those with an eye for a bargain have been scouring their local stores – mostly to no avail, even though it is officially still on sale.

Techeye thinks a better name for this handset is the ‘trollied phone’. So you can quite happily lose it on the train back from an evening’s ‘networking’ and not worry. Especially if you backup your addressbook numbers up online.

Here’s some handset specs for the tech heads …

Specs

  • Talk time 100 minutes
  • Standby 90 hours
  • GSM 900/1800 or 850/1900
  • Battery 400mAh
  • Main LCD Backlight White
  • Keypad backlight Blue

AMD gets monkey to install graphics card

In a bid to convince you that it’s really really easy to install a graphics card in a desktop gaming machine, AMD has enlisted a monkey to show you how it’s done.

We’re not sure if AMD is taking the micky out of people or the micky out of monkeys with the video.

A lively discussion on Facebook, prompted by tech hack Sylvie Barak who posted the vid, ensued. Sylvie says she is “a little shocked that a certain company thinks people have nothing better to do than write up stupid videos of monkeys installing graphics cards”.

Damn it, we’ve just done it ourselves!

Net neutrality shouldn't stop RIAA snooping

A music industry lobby group famous for dragging the elderly, the sick  and the dead into court to face piracy charges wants a law which allows for net neutrality to help it bang more P2P users into jail.

The Recording Industry Association of America said it wants to make sure that when the US government brings in regulations on  Net neutrality it does not stop it sending letters blackmailing students demanding huge amounts of cash for downloading Coldplay and U2 singles.

The RIAA has asked the Federal Communications Commission to “adopt flexible rules” that free Internet service providers to fight copyright theft.

Actually what is saying is that it is fine to throttle the internet for P2P pirates as this will discourage the practice.  Of course if the FCC listened it would through net neutrality out the window.  All an ISP would have to do is claim that any bandwidth throttling it did was to prevent piracy.

According to a copy of comments submitted by the RIAA  the “Open Internet” principles should not protect unlawful content such as pirated songs.

It wants ISPs to adopt a “graduated response” when dealing with illegal file sharing and if it gets its way chronic offenders could lose Internet access.