Category Archives: News

Not Bad, Just Crazy

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Taylor Jones’s Free Album Love2Dream Available For Download

The artist Taylor Jones (check here and here for featured articles) has released his first EP which is available for FREE from his website! (http://www.taylorjonesmusic.co.uk/)

Help support young artists by downloading and sharing their materials, and sharing the link through your Twitter and Facebook feeds. 🙂


Investigation: Is it legal to jailbreak a UK iPhone?

Earlier this week, the Library of Congress in the United States ruled that it’s entirely legal to jailbreak your iPhone. But what about the UK? Is it legal for us Brits to jailbreak our iPhones?

An investigation by Duncan Geere

Since the device’s earliest days, users who chafed at Apple’s draconian device restrictions have hacked their handsets to enable extra functionality, like access to 3rd party app stores with content that Apple refused to approve. Apple had claimed the process was illegal under copyright law.

But now an exemption has been created in the US that allows the legal breaking of DRM for: “Computer programs that enable wireless telephone handsets to execute software applications, where circumvention is accomplished for the sole purpose of enabling interoperability of such applications, when they have been lawfully obtained, with computer programs on the telephone handset.”

The US Copyright Office explained the ruling by adding: “The user is not engaging in any commercial exploitation of the firmware. At least not when the jail-breaking is done for the user’s own private use of the device.”

Apple, for its part, has sniffily responded to Cult of Mac, saying: “Apple’s goal has always been to insure that our customers have a great experience with their iPhone and we know that jailbreaking can severely degrade the experience. As we’ve said before, the vast majority of customers do not jailbreak their iPhones as this can violate the warranty and can cause the iPhone to become unstable and not work reliably.”

So what about Britain? Over here we have a far more tangled set of rules and regulations, thanks to the intervention of the European Union. The relevant EU directive essentially says that breaking “technical protection” (i.e. DRM) on software is fine, as long as you’re not doing it for the purposes of infringing copyright (i.e. playing pirated games).

But that’s Europe. In the UK, we have to ratify all of these EU directives before they become law, so the British lawmakers transposed the EU directive into British law, in the “Copyright and Related Rights Regulations 2003“. That says essentially the same thing — that it’s okay to break these “technical measures” for interoperability reasons, but not for the purposes of infringing copyright.

The difficult bit comes when you try and interpret “interoperability”. I spoke to Andres Guadamuz, a lecturer in IT law at the University of Edinburgh, who pointed out that there haven’t been any test cases to set any legal precedent in the UK.

While there have been two cases of a ruling against people selling the tools to hack videogame consoles, these were predicated on the basis that the primary motivation to do so is to play pirated games. A similar, more recent, ruling outlawed so-called “R4 cards” in Britain, which are frequently used to play pirated Nintendo DS games.

But while piracy can be accomplished by jailbreaking an iPhone, the majority of people don’t jailbreak for that reason. They jailbreak so they can get access to software created by third parties that Apple hasn’t, or won’t, put in its own app store. They jailbreak so they get more access to the device’s hardware, and use it in different ways. They jailbreak because they don’t want Apple’s controlling hands on everything that they do on their device.

That’s where the interoperability aspect of the law comes in. “The interoperation is between (third party) software and the iPhone’s hardware,” says Guadamuz. That’s the very argument that the US bought into when it was ruled acceptable, and while US law doesn’t set legal precedence in Britain, there have been a few cases of complex technical software law where US rulings could have been said to have influenced the result.

Guadamuz added the example of a company who reverse-engineered their competitors’ products, breaking “technical measures” in the process, being found not guilty of copyright infringement because they didn’t copy the code verbatim into their products. Unfortunately, Guadamuz said, they also copied several pages of their competitors product manuals, so they were found guilty of that instead.

So while the matter can’t be totally settled until there’s a test case — something Apple has long avoided — Guadamuz says he’d be very surprised if hacker went down for jailbreaking an iPhone. “Although you might be breaking Apple’s terms and conditions and voiding your warranty, I just can’t see how a judge would rule against it.”

(wired.co.uk)


The Liebster Blog Awards

Chunkee2na has kindly nominated Thursday Night Rants for the the Liebster Blog Award.

The Liebster blog award is for websites with a following of less than 200 people, and is used to highlight to best start-up sites on the web.

The award has most definitely been accepted. I’m going to nominate three new blogs which you should all definitely check out!

1) MozBAR – An amazing blog featuring just about everything! A really good read to pass to the time. Everything is well written, detailed and entertaining.

2) Classroom as Microcosm – An educational, frequently updated blog that delves into the life of a modern English teacher. From teaching techniques to the problems teachers are forced to face; it can all be found here.

3) Ande Ke Funde – This guy’s knowledge and understanding of the world itself is amazing. For any philosophical , religious or existentialistic reads, you can’t go wrong with Ande’s blog.

Check these websites out, and feel free to comment on their posts!


Sexualisation Of Children – Who Is To Blame? (Via The Guardian)

Music, magazines or merchandise? Tell us who you think bears most responsibility for exposing children to sexualised images

Are children too exposed to overtly sexualised images? Flesh and flirting are cheap but ever more common currencies with which to try to flog anything from push-up bras to magazines. It’s an easy decision to make a quick buck, but far harder to question the ethics of feeding children’s natural curiosity for things that make them feel grown up, a curiosity that is instinctively moderated by attentive parents.

Men's magazines

Celebrity and entertainment arguably have more responsibility than retailers for desensitising parents to the sexualisation of music, magazines, television and merchandise, and perhaps our own benchmarks have shifted as a consequence.

There is an understandable tendency to reject any attempt to restrict or impede our access to content, or even our experience of access to that content. But it is not about prudishness, English sexual inhibition orcensorship. It’s about sensitivity, restoring some level of dignity, of rationality, and a space where the images of women that children see every day are not semi-naked or prone.

In Hamley’s not so long ago I was horrified to see the role-playing toyssection: the boys’ shelf has a doctor’s kit and a builder’s kit while the girls’ shelf had what I can best describe as a Paris Hilton kit, with a tiara, mobile phone and stilettos. If we set our children up with such shallow expectations, can we really be surprised when they follow them?

The July edition of GQ is the latest of the mainstream men’s magazines to push the boundaries of acceptability with its choice of cover photo, showing a reclining Rosie Huntington-Whiteley in a slit dress that just about covers her crotch, though not without revealing the inner curve of her buttock. For adult males, that kind of titillation is so commonplace it probably doesn’t even feel like titillation anymore. But it’s not just men’s magazines; I still boycott T3 gadget magazine, which insists on putting a chick in a bikini on the cover with some token gadget. Or is that a token chick? Once when I described Page 3 as “soft porn”, a Sun editor phoned to complain.

Are magazines the biggest culprit or is it the popstars? Have you found bizarrely inappropriate clothing in children’s stores? And what about mainstream TV? Tell us all your horror stories…


Hip-Hop’s Not To Blame For Cultural Violence!

After reading an article entitled ‘London riots: Is rap music to blame for encouraging this culture of violence?’, I personally felt deeply angered by the fact that The Daily Mirror’s Paul Routledge could write an article which is – quite frankly – one of the most unjust and one-sided arguments that I’ve ever read.

In the article, Routledge states that –

“rap music.. glorifies violence and loathing of authority (especially the police) [whilst] exalting trashy materialism and raves about drugs.”

I couldn’t believe how someone with such high-standing and power could abuse his status – as well as being so narrow-minded – in an attempt to indoctrinate society into a ‘hate campaign’ against both youths and Hip-Hop /Rap music. The article finishes with how society should stigmatise and ‘ban the broadcasting of poisonous rap,’ which further suggests that action should be taken to cleanse the United Kingdom of it; he ”urges – requires, even – schools to teach that the world is a much better place without pointless rage.”

..and from the 2,608 people who have recommended this on social networking sites, there seems to be a shared following that have bought into this ideology.

Although I do agree that society must be resolved – and education / learning vocational skills must become a leading, pushing factor for youths, in an effort at keeping unemployment down – I refuse to accept that it’s the fault of modern music that has caused the recent riots across the country; it is being used as a scapegoat for our broken society, in the way which is reminiscent of Punk Rock in the 70’s; the claim that violent lyrics cause violent behaviour is neither convincing, nor conclusive.

“Rap music has become a lightning rod for those politicians and law-and-order officials who are hell-bent on scapegoating it as a major source of violence instead of attending to the much more difficult work of transforming the brutally unjust institutions that shape the lives of poor people.” – T. Rose

“Rap music is an art form that reflects life.”

Hip-hop is a distinct form of art and expression, just as any other type of music is; it is simply unjust to blame rap music’s lyrics for social violence. This condemnation of Hip-Hop is greatly due to a lack of perceptiveness. It is often misunderstood because of generational and cultural differences. Gangsta rap emerged in the late 80’s when crack and gangs ruled the West Coast. The origins of this new style came from Los Angeles, Long Beach, Compton, and Oakland. A form of music that mimicked the gangs and violence on the streets was bound to rise, and boomed throughout the 90’s worldwide. The older generation – Routledge’s – have failed to understand and comprehend what Rap & Hip-hop is really about; it’s an expression of life experiences, and the inner thoughts of lost youths; it’s an outlet for teenagers to harness skills that they have, and use them holistically to try and emulate an established art form which is accessible to everybody.

A prime example of this is Swindon’s Taylor Jones (who raps under the alias of TeeJay). The seventeen year old has hopped from strength to strength in recent months, due to his unique blend of Modern Pop, Hip-Hop and Rap. Noticing and acting on his innate passion for music, TeeJay left education to follow his music career, which has ultimately allowed him to merge meaningful lyrics to intricate beats, portraying messages that the youth culture – as well as the older generation – can relate to.

His debut single, ‘Fallen Out Of Love’ became a smash hit on launch; it flew into the Official Urban Charts at #4 after just one week on Channel AKA, and then peaked at #2 on the second week, remained in the top 5 for the following 8 weeks. There is no hatred, anti-social threats or references to violence in his work; instead, messages and encouragement to follow career paths and the dichotomy of relationship VS lifestyle surface – issues that the teenagers of today are constantly facing.

His sound is in no way ‘dirty’ or generic. In one song – ‘Dead End’ – a classic piano melody accompanies a Hip-Hop beat. The song itself sports messages of the impact of breaking up relationships – ‘..So if you wanna go then go / ..but you’ll be breaking a team’ – (as well as giving an incredibly personal account of his psyche, thoughts, and feelings whilst he was writing the song) in its chorus. The track is the epitome that ultimately shows how two mutually exclusive ideas – that of classical and contemporary – can be intertwined to create a stunning, eloquent track.

Another track- entitled ‘Hide & Seek’ – takes on a fierce, up-tempo Dub-Step beat, but still manages to convey a relevant message that I’m sure many teenagers will be able to link into, tackling the existentialistic and painful thoughts of youths who have been left fatherless. (Whether this is due to loss, or growing up without them.)

‘Let Me Be’ delves into the ideologies of the young rapper; throughout the song, we see the oppression that he faced at home before breaking into the music industry, which surfaced due to him not living up to the traditional status quo – ‘I’m studying at college, but I’m living a lie’ – as well as his need to push himself, and follow his dreams of being an artist; ‘I wanna prove myself so I can get a contract.’ Jones clearly shows confidence in his ability over literary metre, and fluently handles difficult phonology.

From just observing the comments that have been left on his YouTube videos, it’s clear that his lyrics are touching to a whole barrage of different ages and ethical communities.

  1. Do Jones’ songs attack authoritarianism and the ‘power of the police’?
  2. Is their a multitude of expletives and / or sexual undertones in his songs?
  3. Do they set negative examples to listeners, give off malicious messages?

For all of the above, the answer is no; if anything, his songs show of how there must be social convergence for society – like in relationships – to run adequately. In my opinion, I feel that rap and hip-hop are abstract genres of music that are versatile and ever-changing; it has moved away from the gangsta roots, and is gradually becoming synonymous with mainstream pop tracks. As with all abstract trends, new talent has pushed this genre to new heights.

Saying that such mindless violence is because of a new breed of music (this complementary blend of old and new that is still in its infancy) is an injustice. Personally, I feel that violence on TV through both video games or films is much more to blame for our recent ‘collapse of society’. The violence portrayed through these forms of visual media is likely to initiate copycat attacks, which I feel is much more likely to have caused the riots.This, coupled by the fact that youths have lost hope, and fear the future; without true guidance to young adults, how can a stable future be established?

If people weren’t as closed-minded as they seem to be – if the older generation submerged them selves within rap, and the music that their kids are listening to- the anxieties and fears of our youth culture wouldn’t be as prominent.

What are your opinions on Routledge’s comments?

Please share your thoughts and feelings!

To show support for TeeJay, please follow him on Twitter: @TaylorJonesTJ

Alternatively, view his videos on www.youtube.com/users/TaylorJonesTJ


Synopsis of Manchester’s Riots – The Collapse of Society

Manchester's Subway Store