Category Archives: concept

Why You Should Pick France for your Next Holiday

So you’ve decided on a European vacation, you’ve checked the flights and booked a few weeks off.  But the choice is huge, Europe is packed full of fantastic places to visit especially for those seeking history, art and a gastronomic experience.  So with all this choice, why should you consider choosing to visit one of the most popular European destinations – France? The answer to this question is as varied as the nation. Why visit France? Go to for the culture, the food, the wine, the art, the architecture, the celebrations, the activities, the atmosphere, the scenery, the chateaus, and all the other wonderful things found in France and belonging to this fabulous country. There is genuinely something for everyone here, no matter what your personal interest.

The majority of those who fly into Paris invest a few days or a week seeing the popular museums and travelers sights. There’s enough to see that would fill a go to enduring years. Beyond the Eiffel Tower, Musée de Louvre, the Arc de Triomphe and the Champs Elysées, the Musée d’Orsay, Notre Dame Cathedral, Centre Pompidou, Sacré Cœur and Montmartre are gardens, parks, monuments, and restaurants galore. And when the weather conditions allow, there’s no more desirable place to walk and explore.

Don’t worry about feeling disconnected, all the major cities in France have wonderful internet access indeed normally much better than US ones.  If you take with you a mobile device, then you can keep in touch wherever you go with fast access usually free or a few Euros at most.  Personally I always use a British VPN service so I can keep watch the BBC when in France like this post illustrates,

However many individuals who check out France never ever get beyond Paris. That would be a big error. Although Paris is an amazing, vibrant city with lots to see and do, by getting outside the capital and into the countryside, you’ll see a totally different side to France. The little rural towns have a special character reflected in the region where they lie. From the coast of Brittany to the pebble beaches of the Côte d’Azur to the sunflowers and lavender fields of Provence and the hills and mountains of the Rhône-Alpes, each area has something unique to provide.

No matter size, each town has a weekly market, where farmers bring their products for sale. Driving numerous hours south of Paris, you’ll discover the Loire Valley, house of a few of the most exceptional chateaux in France. Here you can discover Chambord, Amboise, Chaumont, Chenonceau, and many other grand chateaux.

Continuing further south are the lavish fields of Provence. And beyond this is the French Riviera. Here you’ll find water sports, beach activities, painting, museums and galleries of every description, fantastic fresh food, and marvelous wines. Living is luxurious and costly here – there are sophisticated rental properties along the coast at Cap Ferrat, just down the coast from Monaco, and in the cliffs above. Pebble beaches extend from Good past Saint-Tropez, Cannes, and Antibes, and throughout the summer season they can be crowded.

Nice has something for everyone, no matter exactly what you may searching for. There’s an opera house, a wealth of museums, gardens, hiking tracks, cycling, horseback riding, sailing, wind browsing, gourmet dining, and the list goes on.

Beyond Nice are the towns of Arles, Aix, Avignon – all worth a see, particularly if you enjoy art and painting. This is where Van Gogh and Cézanne painted their landscapes. Lavender fields and sunflowers can be seen everywhere. The surroundings is particularly stunning.

Driving to the Dordogne, there are a variety of lovely towns to explore, consisting of Sarlat. Close-by are the well-known caves of Lascaux and Lascaux II, and the Roman ruins of Périgueux.

And naturally there are the wines of Bordeaux and the Champagne area, and the apples and Calvados of Normandy. France has so much to provide, regardless of where in the country you occur to be. So if you’re planning to have an amazing time and a great adventure, you’ll understand why to go to France. Check out for the good life. And you’ll be rewarded with a fantastic experience.

Further Reading – How to Watch British TV Abroad

The Bizarre Sneaker Wars

If you’re of a certain age, i.e younger than me then you’re probably aware one of the hottest fashion items are sneakers (or trainers in the UK). The big sports firms routinely release ‘special edition’ sneakers and they are extremely difficult to obtain. Although they’re supposedly available online, it takes a huge amount of luck and persistence to actually get a pair.

There are options though and with a little investment in some technology tools you can either grab the latest pairs for your own enjoyment or make a few bucks reselling them. Now it sounds a lot of trouble to go to but these sneakers are really hard to obtain and without software your chance are limited. There are actually quite a few software programs or ‘sneaker bots’ which you can buy and all they do is repeatedly try and buy the latest pairs until they land in your shopping basket at which point you can check out. Unfortunately there are complications as because they simulate multiple buyers, then they tend to get blocked if you do it all using the same internet connection.

Lots of people devote literally 1000s of dollars a month on using proxies, a reality which surprises many. Anyway if you perform a quick google search you’ll spot lots of lists of absolutely free proxies everywhere. Many are actually listed as being super safe and secure and elite, so why in the world do people invest lots of money on them.

Well firstly, it’s important to remember in which any person who has the vaguest idea regarding online privacy, anonymity and the dangers of cyber crime would never go anywhere near a free proxy server. At best there poorly managed proxies unintentionally left available by some overworked on-line admin someplace, which in turn means that you are actually essentially stealing bandwidth in the event that you use them. At worst, and also it’s an increasingly likely scenario the proxy has actually been exposed consciously in order to rip off user credentials such as emails, accounts and security passwords. It’s not much of an option actually, so you ‘d be encouraged to stay well clear of them.

There is a big market for safe and genuine proxies for a variety of uses and one of the more popular is actually buying sneakers from online website retailers. You see all the big retailers of sneakers (trainers in parts of Europe) release limited edition versions of their sneakers which are very much in demand. You can try and buy them online but it’s very difficult to do and you ‘d have to be very quick and luck to even grab even a  single pair.

Obviously because they’re scarce and useful then some people want to obtain lots of these– there’s an obvious revenue opportunity there even if you usually do not prefer to use them. Therefore exactly how do individuals get to buy loads of these sneakers on-line from places like Supreme, Footlocker and Nike well these guys pretty much use software.

There are lots of automated tools and bots which anyone can configure to attempt to purchase these sneakers the moment they become available. If you get the right set up you can buy loads of these for whatever function you like. The software acts like a human customer but with infinite patience repeatedly trying to buy the specified sneakers up until they achieve success. Considerable amounts of people buy up loads of these and certainly run successful businesses simply re-selling these sneakers at inflated costs.

TO maximise their opportunities they set up the software programs on high availability hosting servers with considerable amounts of bandwidth. These could be programmed remotely to jump into action as soon as a new release becomes available.

The problem is that naturally the sellers really don’t like this and try and block out access to all automated efforts to buy the sneakers. They identify things like multiple connections from the exact same IP addresses and prohibit these instantly. Which implies even in the event that you possess your own server if it attempts to frequently to purchase the sneakers then it will certainly get banned and the server and software program will be simply of no use.

The solution is to incorporate another level of protection by employing sneaker proxies to hide your geographic location and permit the software or Bot to rotate it’s identity in order to keep operating. It’s not actually difficult to do but the important requirement is that these are sneaker proxies with a specific configuration.

The first important component which you’ll never get with free proxies is actually to make sure it has lots of residential IP addresses. These are actually rather hard to obtain since these types of addresses are actually only normally handed out by ISPs to home users. Most online retailers understand that people try to hide their geographic locations and typically block all non-residential IP addresses by default. Typical commercial VPN and proxies will certainly have commercial IP addresses so won’t work in this situation – you need a residential proxy in order to succeed.

This is what makes sneaker proxies so unique, they need to definitely have residential IP addresses that makes them virtually undetectable from typical home users. It’s also what makes them so expensive as obtaining, supporting and running these sorts of residential proxies is pretty costly.



Will Computer Referees Control Football

For any sporting fan, the referee is rarely a popular figure.  When they make decisions that benefit our team we’re happy but suggest it was obvious.  However when they make other decisions, there’s normally a torrent of abuse or criticism.  Basically it’s a very difficult job and one where you really can’t win.  If anyone has sat on the touchline of any football game and listed to the comments a referee or assistant gets then you’d be amazed that anyone actually wanted to do  the job.

For years now though technology has been creeping into all sorts of sports, primarily aimed at assisting the officials in particularly difficult or crucial decisions.  No major sport really relies completely on humans currently although some sports use computers and technology more than others.

Football has always been one of the front runners in utilizing technology partly because it is one of the richest sports in the world of course.  The latest development is the Video Assistant Referee system (also known as VAR) which is being trialed in various leagues across Europe at the moment.

My first encounter was watching the Tottenham Vs Rochdale FA Cup final which was broadcast last month.  However watching it on Match of the Day online, here’s how to from abroad, It did little to reduce controversy during the match in fact it did quite the opposite.

It’s first appearance was when Spurs took an early lead, yet after consulting the VAR the goal was ruled out. The reason was rather unclear but it appears a foul was committed in the build up to the goal.  However a few minutes later VAR was consulted again and confirmed a penalty which was duly scored. Again the decision looked fairly dubious after the event and it certainly lead to some long delays in the game.

The VAR operates on three stages – incident, review and decision.  It is supposed to be used in only four specific category of decisions which are deemed ‘game changing’. It’s not designed to be used frequently and VAR should only be used to check serious omissions and only in match changing situations.  All the officials involved in the game can recommend consulting VAR but only  the referee can initiate the process.

The referee is the only person who can decide whether the original decision should be altered by the VAR system or ignored.  Indeed the referee can also use the option to review television footage themselves on a pitch side monitor.  This is usually a last resort though as it obviously causes substantial delays to the game and it’s flow.

The sort of areas that the VAR is designed for are things like goals, penalties and serious incidents which could lead to red cards. All these can lead to the result being directly affected

Jon Williams

The Ninja Proxy

Fraunhofer Diffraction Means You Can’t See Properly

It’s depressing as you get older and your vision seems to get worse with every passing year.  But in reality the human vision is pretty poor anyway.  You might be able to see a passing ship on the horizon but you won’t be able to read the name on the side at any distance.  Our eyes have pretty useless resolution so images get blurred the further the distance you are.  Of course we can use binoculars to magnify an image but why can’t we see this stuff with the naked eye?

The reason is basically down to the size of our pupils also known as their apertures.  Our eyes need to be open wide enough to let through enough light to make sure that the sensors in the eyes start working.  However the more open the aperture is the more the light entering the pupil will blur.  The reason is that  all the light arriving into our eyes comes from a variety of directions, again the wider open the more directions the light will come from.


Most of the light waves come in parallel and form a bright clear central spot.  But the width of this ’clear spot’ is blurred at the edges by light waves arriving in different phases and hence cancelling each other out.  The result is that the edges have a series of light and dark alternating bands but looks very much blurred.    The width of the clear spot is actually what regulates the finest level of detail that our eyes are able to pick up.

Fraunhofer diffraction describes the blurred images that will be observed when the light rays arrive on a lens or aperture like the eye in parallel routes.  It is also known as Far-field diffraction and is easiest seen when we pass a light source from a long way away (perhaps the Sun) through a lens.  It doesn’t matter if the lens is in our eyes or a telescope the effect is the same.  The diffraction effect will also smear the final image for a camera, eye or telescope.  The limit of clarity is imposed when the light is passed through any sort of optical lens.  To learn more about science subjects like this, make a habit of watching the best science programmes.  I’d particularly recommend some of the superb ones being shown on the BBC recently, you can watch on the Iplayer.

If you’re outside the UK you’ll need to change your IP address to view the Iplayer – try this site for downloading from the BBC –   It’s quite easy to do, routing your web connection through a British server takes minutes and gives you full access to all the wonderful BBC Iplayer programmes.

The Electronic Barriers of the Internet

The internet certainly has the capacity for change.  It has the potential for political change, to overthrow dictators, implement social improvements and a myriad of other benefits.  The problem as always is that many people are being put at a distinct advantage when using the web.  It used to be irrelevant where you lived when online, however that is certainly not the case now.  Many countries increasingly used filters or firewalls on their nations internet access. There are of course the extreme cases like North Korean and China where access is highly regulated and monitored.  Although these countries aren’t ideal examples as there is little pretense to providing much more than a glorified intranet.  The Chinese restrictions grow stronger every year and they also have a growing ability to restrict these workarounds including these VPNs and proxies too.  The Chinese want to control where people get their information and their news from – i.e. not from UK TV channels online but State controlled sources.

But on a lower level social sites like Facebook and Twitter are blocked in many other areas from time to time.

If it wasn’t bad enough now commercial barriers are being instigated in the form of geo-targeting.  This technology is used to deliver or restrict access dependent on where you are located. Companies like Hulu for example only want users based in America to access their content so if you try and watch from outside the USA you’ll get blocked.  Even less commercial organisations are doing like the BBC who restrict access to the wonderful iPlayer to the United Kingdom.

However it’s not just media companies either, any large business with and international presence is likely to do the same.  Usually this is down to profit maximization due to a method called price discrimination.  Basically a company needs to be able to offer it’s goods and services at different prices depending on location in order to make the most money.  The internet blasted away these barriers, but they are slowly being rebuilt.  A simple example is the online games retailer – Steam, which offers computer software but at vastly different prices depending on where you are physically located. However they obviously have to stop people from the expensive areas buying from the cheaper ones.

Of course there are ways around it – this post about a Euro VPN server for example illustrates a method to watch BBC Iplayer from anywhere.  But that method involved a subscription service which may well be un-affordable for a huge sector of the internet’s population.  These restrictions stop open access, allow companies to operate shady price discrimination mechanisms and basically just rip the heart out of the internet for many of us.

In the USA there are even more worrying actions – statutes being proposed like Protect IP act which would make web site owners liable for links and content put on their sites. Good luck on running a forum on free speech if that every gets though !  You’d spend more time at the local court defending yourself than running the site.

Greek Government Reallocates Research Funding

The Greek government is having to make some tough choices to survive with every penny spent being accountable to their Euro and IMF bailout partners. However it is a very short term and in many ways retrospective measure to start taking funds from educational and research budgets.

The money seizure was authorized in a crisis decree passed by the Parliament in a heated and intense session in Greece last week. The decree powers government as well as other state bodies that are local to transfer their cash reserves to the Bank of Greece to be able to cover pensions and wages of public sector workers. As Science went to press, it remained unclear when it will be taken and just how much cash will be targeted, but researchers expect the authorities to snatch resources set aside to buy overheads. These amount to as much as 20% of the worth of grants and purchase expenses which are not covered by research bureaus and temporary staff in addition to utility bills.

“We do expect a reasonable deal in the on-going discussions for the Greek debt is likely to be reached shortly, by the end of June,” he said in an email. “Subsequently this measure will likely be waived.”

To decrease the amount of confiscations, many research workers are anxiously changing or spending as much of the overhead reservations as they can, in a few instances by stocking on consumables and paying Ph.D. pupils’ wages for several months in advance or investing in such technology or software like this residential VPN system.   “I ‘ve little doubt that the substantial activity in concealing research funds in the authorities might be under way,” says Costas Synolakis, a marine scientist now in the University of Southern California in LA.

On another front, researchers and educational reform will also be fighting the authorities declared without public consultation on 17 out of the blue. The reform entails fighting universities’ governing boards, removing present rectors, and giving pupils a sizable share of the votes to name rectors that are new. As a result, it overrules many changes brought in by an 2011 law that sought to restrict the powers of administrative staff and pupils.

That earlier law activated tremendous student demonstrations and proved highly contentious. Nevertheless, parliamentarians approved it by a big bulk and it was seen by professors as a confident part of lessening the ability of political parties. “Since the 1980s, university managements are voted, not on merit or administrative art, but on party qualifications,” Synolakis says. In effect, he maintains, the most recent reform–expected to be voted on by Parliament inside the the next couple of weeks–will “transfer Greek higher education back about 30 years.” Other scientists are likewise essential. He adds that it also fights electronic voting in university elections, which, he says, may enable pupils intimidate voters and to steal ballot boxes, as they’ve done before.

The brand new law also seeks to alter functions and the makeup of the National Council for Technology and Research, an 11-member panel that advises the authorities on financing and the business of research.

Further Reading:
James Addams – How to Get a Netflix IP Address

Academic Research and Web 2.0 Opportunities

Regular as clockwork, every year brings about a rite in Research Universities that is dreaded by certain Assistant Professors on the Tenure Track. Welcome to the Tenure Review process, a rite wanting to gain the ‘Holy Grail’ of tenure and the associated permanence at their universities of the employment contract. Originally conceived as a way of guaranteeing academic freedom, the advantages and disadvantages of the tenure system are endlessly debated by both academics and non-academics alike.

Regardless of one’s perspective of tenure, the critical success factor for the tenure process in most schools is research. Most universities aspiring to the more lofty strata of the rankings system put a massive emphasis on research-all kinds of research, whether funded or released.

A recent BusinessWeek interview with Drew Faust, President of Harvard University (Businessweek, 12/10/07) along with a follow-up public letter by several eleven public university provosts testify to the strength of emotions that research evokes in academia and also the competition which exists between universities. In 2006, over $47 billion was spent by universities on research and development (NSF, 2007), while competition for top journals was more extreme than before. If you want to access these reports, they are available to US readers free of charge or internationally by using a US proxy service like this.

In this competitive research climate and culture, there’s a marked contrast between high-flown research ideals and also the actions of research itself. Despite progress and computerization of the tools and increasingly advanced methodologies, there have not been comparable advances in the organization, reach, and range of research collaborations.

One would find his/her collaborations to be mainly local, upon scanning the curriculum vitae of a professor that is typical. Quite simply, most research professors compose grant proposals and articles with other professors who they already know. Included in these are graduate students and their colleagues down the hall, and previous co-workers or professors from their own doctoral program. Just in rare cases does the set of collaborators expand to incorporate other research workers they may have encountered at seminars.

Thus, when there is a researcher midway throughout the planet with strikingly similar research interests, regrettably, there is scant hope of the research professor ever actually working with her or him. Even if the initial researcher is not unaware of the other researcher through bibliographies, there is no simple ‘social’ means of connecting, short of directly e-mailing or calling. Of course, few professors initiate contact in this manner. Maybe they think the other researcher might not be amenable to work with them, or perhaps they need extra information about the researcher and getting this could be too boring. Most commonly therefore, it is only better to go with the ‘known’ quantities of reachable colleagues in what could be called “cooperation of benefit”.

So the obvious questions to ask are: can the action that is Web 2.0 toolset for academic research what are the tools that might facilitate this transformation? and what it’s done for social and business networking, Millions of previously unlikely business and social relationships and opportunities are created through such tools as Facebook and MySpace (social relationships), and LinkedIn and Ryze (business networking). Thus the question of the potential of Web 2.0 technologies is a useful one not only for universities looking to add to their arsenals in the research “arms race”.

What would a Web 2.0 portal look like? What tools might be on offer? What changes will be required in the mindset and practices of today’s academic research workers? Is there appearing tools in this class that may foretell the future for the actions of university research in the long run?

Web 2.0 portals for academic research workers must contain elements from the sphere of social networking. These would contain searchable professional profiles, newsgroups, and assorted way of communication, like instant messaging. Business networking tools might also contribute meaningfully through their approaches to contact management, referrals, and communication, to portals for research collaboration. In addition, while their knowledge taxonomies for classification of businesses and are somewhat rudimentary, these concepts may be useful in arranging the much more profound knowledge taxonomies crucial for the research communities. Maybe afterward, instead of collaborations of convenience, researchers might transition to global “cooperation of chance”.

While still inside their infancy, Web 2.0 research portal sites are sure to become important tools in the never-ending research “arms race” that characterizes research universities. They provide the advantages of collaborative international research – more extensive and better -fitting international collaborations, better-quality information for researchers, improved content for research papers and grants, and increased quantity of publications and grant proposals. Put simply, Web 2.0 tools could bring about a complete transformation of the practice of research and with it, major productivity gains.

Modern Web 2.0 research portals such as this enable researchers to collaborate on the site itself, handle actual documents and also network with co-workers and other potential research workers. It enables powerful web-based the categorization of results as well as searches into personal taxonomies.

The portal site uses their research interests and abilities as well as complete knowledge categorizations for categorizing users, which translates into having the ability to find research collaborators that are ideal with truth. It employs skilled article postings, sites, forums, advanced project management and news feeds of the latest research news. Moreover, it integrates specialized research tools that professors use most frequently, including survey creation/deployment tools, citation tools, bibliography direction and others.

These brand new web portals seem to point to the way. As traditional as the academic research culture may be, it appears unavoidable that universities will ultimately embrace the sea change brought about by the Web 2.0 paradigm. The challenge for Vice Presidents, and Deans, Provosts of Research is rapidly embrace these tools for the substantial increases they are able to bring to university research output and the best way to alter the research customs that is present. The entire world is flat and new synergies from international collaborations can’t be discounted. Certainly the early adopters will have the potential to advance their research rankings by investing in Web 2.0 toolsets for their research workers. In any event, the influence of Web 2.0 on academic research will be exciting to watch over the next several years.

John Simmons

Author, Netflix Fan and IT Blogger

Can Alcohol Improve your Memory?

It sounds extremely improbable, after all when do ‘bad things’ ever have beneficial effects. Indeed even if you consider the typical post drunken experiences – a vivid and accurate recollection of events is rarely high up on the list. Yet the latest of those strange trivia type surveys that Universities seem to enjoy suggest that perhaps it’s the case that a few drinks makes you remember more.

The study has come from the University of Essex and the results suggest that drinking does help the human memory. It concluded that people who drink alcohol after studying specific information are more likely to remember what they have learnt. The study asked 88 people to try and complete a task involving learning words. They were then split into two groups, one being asked to drink as much alcohol as they wished – just over four units was the average. The other group were given no alcohol at all.

The next day, the tasks were repeated and it was found that those who had drunk alcohol performed much better than those who hadn’t. Furthermore those participants who had indulged in a few drinks were actually able to remember more of the lessons they learnt.

Is this a positive effect of drinking alcohol? Does this break some of the stereotypes that alcohol has negative effects on memory. Of course it’s difficult to say in such a small survey yet it has surprised the researchers. Obviously alcohol is rightly associated with all sorts of damage to physical and mental health but perhaps in moderate levels there are some benefits too.

It’s only right to look at the results objectively and there was no doubt the positive correlation present. Those who drank alcohol after the task definitely performed better and remembered more of the information than those who didn’t.

So did the researchers have any explanation for this unexpected benefit? Well not really, but one theory suggest that alcohol actually blocks the learning of information into short term memory. This then causes the brain to access other resources to try and complete the task including laying down information into their long term memory instead. This might explain why people who drink too much forget short term events due to over-consumption of alcohol.

There’s no doubt that alcohol has very real impacts and effects on the human brain, but these are often difficult to distinguish. Indeed one study has been looking at the powerful release of endorphins into the brain when alcohol has been consumed. Indeed many believe this may be the cause of alcoholism and medical tests have suggested a possible cure too. A drug called Selincro which you can read about here, is actually designed to block those endorphins being released when alcohol is consumed.

It is not known if this drug for example would have a different effect on the Exeter study. Perhaps these endorphins have an affect on the brain’s function and capacity for learning too. In the study, the test was actually repeated with images instead of words and with the task being performed after drinking alcohol. There was no discernable difference in the results in this case.

John Harbinger

New .Art Domains Released

The world wide web is all about to have a little more crowded (and ethnic) domain options with the debut of a brand new .Art domain specializing in the creative business.

UK Creative Thoughts Small (UKCI) signed an agreement with ICANN, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, in late March, to start and function as the exclusive operator of this new . ART top-level domains (TLD).

Found in late fall 2016, . ART is brand new, undeveloped Internet property specializing in serving the culture and arts communities by supplying the infrastructure to improve and maintain the art industry’s internet presence. It’s expected that most famous brands in the arts and media sectors will invest in these new top level domains. So expect to see some famous new art domains on the web soon, perhaps even split domains for multinational maybe you won’t need a new IP address for American Netflix access anymore.

UKCI said benefits of this new domain comprise more title selection, shorter titles, precise match for searches, and instant identification with all the artwork.

“We are extremely fortunate to have secured . ART for its long term,” countries Ulvi Kasimov, Founder of UKCI. “We’re in the start of an exciting new stage of invention for artwork on the web, and . ART will be a significant facilitator for future and existing players in the culture and arts community”

“Our objectives are to encourage present museums, museums, galleries, auction houses as well as others at protecting and improving their own brands, to motivate new establishments to build on . ART property, and also to earn domains accessible to younger gamers into this art arena whose names are no more accessible in different TLDs and wish to instantly be identified together with the art world,” states John Matson, CEO of UKCI.

The practice of securing . ART started in 2012 once UKCI submitted a program to function . ART into ICANN, the worldwide nonprofit responsible for regulating and managing the Net’s domain name coverage.

At 2014, ICANN enlarged the amount of standardized top-level domains such as major cities like . nyc and . London, industry-specific domains like . Lavish and . Guru; and brands such as . axa, . bmw, and . google. Currently with this new arrangement set up, the release of this . ART domain will happen in late 2016.

James ‘Italian’ Joyce

Is the Web Getting Smaller?

When you talk about the growth of the internet, there’s one word that you don’t expect to use and that’s contraction. However although the web does continue to grow at an exponential rate, it can easily be argued that access to quality content is in fact doing just that – contracting.

If you look at this in a simple way, there’s little doubt that every day the web grows by millions of pages. However much of this is of limited value to most of us. On YouTube videos are added every second, but many barely gain anything in terms of audience. The same is true of the web, millions of pages in websites, blogs, e-commerce stores and so on appear every minute some of it barely ever looked at. There’s also the increased use of automated content generated or scraped by software simply to add pages to establish sites in lieu of the perceived SEO benefit (Search engine optimisation).

In short much of the content on the internet, is either ignored or pretty much junk. However where is this contraction? Surely if the web grows by millions of pages it all can’t be rubbish. Well this is true, but there is a problem with the increasing amount of filtering, censorship and restriction of access to web sites.

Take for example my favorite site on the internet, the BBC web sites. Packed full of up to date content, music, TV programmes, documentaries and radio shows – the list is huge. I use it every single day and yet if I was accessing the internet from outside the UK 99% of the site would be inaccessible. This is because it uses something called geo-blocking, restricting access to the site based on your physical location. It may be one the best websites on the planet but it’s not available outside the UK. The same is true for loads of other huge websites especially those in the media business.

Of course, there are workarounds, technology is available to change ip address online and bypass these blocks. However these generally cost money and is often a barrier to large parts of the world’s population. So there maybe thousands of these sites adding fantastic new content every day but if you’re in the wrong location none of it is accessible.

This combined with the increasing use of filtering on commercial, political or ideological grounds mean that the web is actually getting smaller for some people. The facility to spoof my ip is something that is available at a cost but not for everyone. It is unknown how long these technical ‘fixes’ will work though, as they tip the balance of control back to the user themself. Certainly commercial sites are always looking for ways to block these applications and certainly governments will be likely to use these too.

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