Disturbing to see a Chinook hovering over the City as I approach Liverpool Street.

I like the Spark iOS email client, and the new drag & drop between it and the Documents app is great. But it can never be my full-time client until it lets me order the mail properly (oldest to newest, that is).

Losing the War on Terror

The front page of today’s Guardian has a picture of what it looks like when you let the terrorists win:

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Armed police used to be almost unknown on British streets. Now they’re becoming alarmingly commonplace. I saw two outside Liverpool Street Station yesterday; armed, like the two above, not just with pistols, but with big, two handed things that most people would call “machine guns.” This increasing militarisation of the police was taken a step further this week when the Maybot ordered actual troops onto the streets. And I read that armoured vehicles were going to be deployed at the FA Cup final.

Armed police on a beach: why? Was there a reasonable expectation of some sort of attack on Scarborough beach? And if there was: would weapons have helped? Armed police would not have stopped the tragedy in Manchester.

The aim of the terrorist is to cause terror. All this escalation does is make ordinary people feel more worried, more scared. Worry and low-grade fear aren’t terror, but they’re on the same axis. Overreacting like this is playing into the terrorists’ hands. As well, of course, as being a cynical political move in the runup to an election whose calling was, itself, a cynical political move.

Meanwhile Jeremy Corbyn gave speech making reasonable, uncontentious points about the links between foreign policy and terrorism. Predictably the right-wing press and Tory politicians went ape.

BBC Close Their Store Without Explaining Why

I got an email from the BBC today, telling me that the BBC Store is closing in November. Oddly, they don’t explain why. This Engadget article says it’s because “people prefer streaming.”

At least, that’s what the headline says. The article actually says the decision comes “following poor sales and tough competition from streaming services like Netflix and Amazon Video.”

Which is plausible enough, I suppose. Though I doubt that most people could explain the difference between a streaming service and one in which you have to download the file first. And in any case, Netflix and I think Amazon also allow you to download now.

In fact my guess would be more that people prefer subscriptions. Amazon and Netflix are compelling because once your monthly fee is paid you can always watch anything they have. With the Store you had to buy specific titles, and there’s always that hesitation about paying before you watch something.

I only ever used it to watch a couple of episodes of something I had left too late to see on iPlayer. specifically, one episode of Undercover. Apparently I spent £1.89, and I’ll be getting a £2.50 Amazon voucher to make up for it. Whee, an investment.

So I guess I was part of the poor sales.

On the other hand, there is the opinion of some — and it would be of many in Britain, I imagine — that BBC programmes should just be available. We shouldn’t have to pay for them again. “We’re not just listeners and viewers, it belongs to us,” as a great man once sang.

Maybe that’s the solution to the arguments over funding: treat the licence fee as a subscription charge. Increase it, make it optional, but include access to the BBC’s entire back catalogue.

But the Engadget article goes on to say:

If the rumours are true, BritBox — the BBC- and ITV-owned streaming service that launched in the US earlier this year — could be expanded to host more of the BBC’s back catalogue and eventually launch in the UK.

BBC and ITV? Together? Well I never.

At Glasgow Airport, heading home after an excellent weekend seeing family and friends.

You’re probably wondering what has happened to my daily posts. Good question. I’m in Glasgow this weekend, so that has slowed things down. And also I’m working on a big piece. So big that I may have to split it in two, just to make it digestible.

Both the BBC and Twitter updating their privacy policies within a couple of days? What can it all mean?

The Sound of Audio Formats

Amusing that in the same week that I post a criticism of software patents, the final patents on the MP3 format expired. Some people are characterising this as the “death” of MP3, which is just nuts.

In fact, far from being dead, it can finally come to life, as Marco Arment makes clear.

Software patents: they’re what needs to die.

In other software-and-the-law news, here’s a story about a case of alleged GPL violation coming to court. The judge so far seems to have made a good decision, by stating that the existence of the GPL and the defendant company’s use of the software does mean there was a contract in place.

Landmark European Court Case Could Curtail Freedoms of British Dual Nationals

The Home Office refused his application on the grounds that she could not rely on her EU freedom of movement rights, which include the right to bring in a family member, as she was a British national as well as an EU national.

Does this legal case mean that British citizens automatically have fewer rights than EU citizens in general?  If that’s the case then we should be leaving the UK, not the EU.