The comments published on this page reflect the balance of views we received. (March - July 2008)
I have recently started to receive "fair use policy warning" e-mails from my ISP because of my excessive downloads. But I say the product I bought was, and still is, advertised as "unlimited". It's all very stressful and I feel I have been conned. I did not buy the cheapest service and paid extra for the unlimited service as I wanted to make full use of the recent increase of video downloads, such as the BBC's iPlayer, but now I find if I do I will have my 8Mbps max download speed cut to 128K as I use too much bandwidth. My ISP don't even provide a download monitor so I have no way of knowing if I have 2Kb or 20Gb of download left. As the household has 2PCs, 2 laptops and several games consoles all using bandwidth there is no way I can monitor usage from my end.
I did a search of the top 6 ISPs as rated by a price comparison site. All were advertising "unlimited" downloads. All monitor usage and apply putative action if you use more than what the ISP deem fair in their FUP (fair use policy). Now come on! Either it's unlimited or it isn't!
Nev Young, Norwich, Norfolk
The UK is so far behind countries in the Far East such as Hong Kong and Korea where 50+ Mb has been the norm for many years and 100Mb is the target for most. We're left struggling to get the lucky 8Mb! And as for 4G - not on your life until 3G is paid for!
George Kearse, Hong Kong
Cheap laptops will, in my opinion, change the world forever, just like calculators are now given away with petrol, I expect the same to eventually be true for laptops. All of us will use them in our normal everyday lives. In education every student will log on to the school's local network and off we go. I believe that this will be a massive leap forward in the technical evolution of mankind.
Vernon Collis, Derby
I've actually decided to switch provider after the recent agreements between ISPs and the music industry. I don't even pirate games/music or movies and I don't want them monitoring my activities. Why? Because it's an insult to my civil rights, and I know enough about technology to know that they are going to find it difficult to differentiate between legal and illegal P2P services.
Sam, York, UK
The latest move by the BPI (British Phonographic Industry) to try to reduce the amount of illegal downloads on the net, will give the ISPs yet another opportunity to reduce the amount of bandwidth that we actually get. Piracy is wrong, it's theft after all, but using the ISPs to police and censor internet traffic is the thin end of a very nasty wedge.
Northener, Oldham UK
Love the programme. The reason "How The West Was Won" had the vertical stripes was that it was shot in Cinerama, which was basically three cameras strapped together side by side. It was then projected with three machines so giving a very wide screen but the lines as well. Glad to be of assistance.
Keith Blake, Rickmansworth
I don't think the Pirate Bay should be shut down due to the fact that it's a torrent search engine which in turn you can search for illegal, cracked, or pirated programs. The Pirate Bay is like Google it can be used for good legal purposes or bad illegal purposes but that is people using the site's discretion no one else....
Alex, Houston, TX
The threat to the internet is still privacy - sure, sites always collected something about you, but with cheaper storage it can all be kept endlessly. Oh, and ISPs doubling up as law enforcement officers, operating systems as copyright lawyers, search engines as government censors. Without some trustworthy developers championing the privacy cause, we will all be looking over our shoulders too much to enjoy the net in future.
Robert, Bangkok, Thailand
With regards to the one button switch off comment. I have found that keyboards often have power buttons to control a PC. I myself use a small keyboard at work that means I press the power button once and it logs me out of my profile and turns off my machine. Unfortunately, I still have to turn my screen off myself.
Rob , London
Filtering web results always seems to be a problem. Search engines don't seem to help. I have a personal website. If I type in my own name on Google, Yahoo, Ask or any of the browsers, it is never offered to me. I assume the order is prioritised by the number of strikes or be the advertising they carry, but it must be fairly obvious that if you are searching for a specific item, a website carrying the name must be high on your list.
David Gibbings, Yeovil, UK
The Filter is a great idea and I really admire Peter Gabriel. But after trying it, I would have to say it's very poorly designed. After entering in some initial preferences, it decided I was a classic jazz fan and nothing else. I searched and searched for ways to tell it I looked other songs and styles. I rated one song after another of different styles. It kept showing me jazz only. I finally gave up in disgust. I have really eclectic tastes (not surprising for a Peter Gabriel fan) but The Filter seems to have no way of understanding that. I won't be going back.
Jim Philips, Atlanta, GA USA
I liked this week's episode of Click, especially the discussion of whether the internet has made people in our society more self-centred. As Siegel was saying, people have the need to be approved, but the question is to what extent has the mass media created this need in the first place? There's all these programs now about losing weight, looking "right", speaking "right" and its no wonder that people have become low in self esteem. But then again, it might be that people have always had the need to be approved by others, and the internet fulfils this need by introducing us to a global village. More than anything though, our need to feel approved by others certainly brings in a lot of advertising revenue to companies such as YouTube, Bebo, Facebook etc. It's a market in itself.
Federico Tak, Oxford
I have been cyber-bullied more times than I have been bullied in real life, whether it be direct or indirect, whether they know it or not, it hurts. Often people make fun of me just because of how I act or react about certain things. I really wish that there were more admins or moderators to ban or report people speaking inappropriately or bullying others.
Nathan, TX, USA
The "cloud" concept won't work for at least a generation and it's not the technology to blame. The phrase "Don't put all your eggs into one basket" is a sensible one and it's even truer if the basket is owned by someone else. Who is going to give all their critical information, private and commercial, to a third party for it to be stored somewhere, without even knowing where that somewhere actually is? Even if the chance of not getting access to the data is remote, it is still a possibility. Added to that are problems of security from external as well as internal intrusions and data damage. The next generation may well trust the technology enough to overcome these fears, but I suspect basic human nature will prevent it. Oh yes the concept of remote data storage is not new, it's been around ever since the mainframe, it's just that the method of transport has changed.
Ian Pearson, Arlesey, UK
The biggest threat to freedom of expression online is harassment and cyber-attacks by obsessives. Even when a crime is committed, there is no one who will do anything about it. In 2001, I set up a website to set out my ideas about how to revive the Irish language and started engaging in newsgroup discussions on the subject. As a result one nut-case tried to hack into my website and started e-mailing me viruses and other malware. It's been going on ever since. When I complained to my ISP they traced one e-mail back to an open relay in Norway and then gave up. The Irish police refuse to do anything unless I can prove it is someone in the 26 Counties. Hampshire police have not responded to my complaints, although I went to the police station to fill out an official complaint.
R.A.McCartney, Farnborough, Hants, UK
In the past few days I was watching some YouTube videos warning about the end of the internet, freedom of speech on it and something called "net neutrality". I first dismissed them as an attempt to scare people, but after viewing your interview with Jonathan Zittrain I have started thinking if there is any truth in their claims. Could you investigate this matter further and find out more?
Robert Stark, Scunthorpe
In your show next week, I notice, you will be talking about how the web can be taken over by the loudest voices. You should study your own Have Your Say site as proof positive that this is so. I have used political forums for years, and have often been driven away by extreme left or right (mostly right it seems) posters who post often, and support each other. Technology helps them. Your "recommend" button allows the more extreme views to be pushed up the list, while more moderate posters get shoved down the bottom. Having an "unrecommend" button would redress this slightly, but at the end of the day, the WWW has become the cesspit of the few, drowning out the middle of the road many. Will it implode? Of course not. But outside of e-mails, commercially run social networking sites and shopping, there will be little left for the curious. Actually, it has already become that. A great big boring electronic Mall.
Joss, Stony Stratford
All this about "new" electronic cash - Belgium has had it for a long time. A "wallet" for buying newspapers etc and direct debit - both with a pin. Cheques are no longer used at all. Unfortunately the direct debit is deducted before I get home!
Colin, Manila, Philippines
Somebody gets it! How revolutionary to read that Uefa believes that the best way to combat piracy is to offer consumers the best quality product at a reasonable price! Perhaps the music and film industry could pay attention - the most objectionable thing in the world is to go to a cinema and spend the first two minutes being almost accused of wanting to make an illegal copy. 1) I am paying to watch this, and paying a significantly higher price than a few years ago. 2) When I last saw an illegal copy of a film, that someone had downloaded off the internet, it was clearly a promotional copy, not one that had been recorded in a cinema but a direct rip from a DVD. Consequently, sitting through an advert that tells me that illegal copying is bad, and that illegal copies are poor quality, is both unnecessary rudeness to paying customers and plain wrong! Time for the industry to wake up and make me feel welcome in the cinema and the record shop and when watching films on my legally purchased DVDs, which also have unskippable copyright notices on them to infuriate and annoy when you paid 20 euros for the pleasure.
Phil, Cologne, Germany
Re: Euro 2008 takes on web pirates. Surely in this type of event piracy could be said to increase the value to advertisers due to increased exposure. I agree that good quality at a reasonable price is the way to go, however what is a reasonable price? I suggest cost plus a fair profit, rather than the "what the market will bear" model currently used.
I'm not sure that Rob Freeman's item on webmail back-up is as useful as it could have been. I've used webmail exclusively for years, mainly because of the minimal likelihood of it going wrong. Loosing your entire stash of PC-stored e-mails can happen all too easily, but the chances of a commercial server breaking down so badly that your webmail becomes irretrievable is minimal. How many instances of a terminal webmail crash has Rob witnessed? I know of only one such example, which involved a non-tech-savvy friend who has an AOL account. I'm still not sure whether the problem was with AOL or him.
Zax, Amersham, UK.
How secure will near field communications be? What protection will there be from e-pick-pocketing? Will banks employ the cheaper, less secure NFC technology as they have done with chip and pin? The very nature of the technology behind these devices hinders their security. Being radio based the signals can be intercepted, recorded analyzed and replayed. Since a bank card is little more than a computer powered by a crystal radio set there is very little power supplied to the NFC chip to support strong encryption. As for NFC on the phone, what protection will there be against a malicious URL being uploaded into my phone? Could I be unsuspectingly signed up to a premium rate ring tone service or worse? Is there any chance that I could go to Monte Carlo and putting these questions forward?
Much as I understand the need to inform the public about services "out there" - I felt the article on the technical support companies ended up little more than a free advert for the Geek squad.
Dave Asbury, UK
Why do I have to go through the same screen routine, every time to switch my PC off, Start - Turn off computer -Turn off - switch off monitor. Surely it is not outside the realms of technology to design a one button switch off?
Richard, Welshpool, Wales
Nothing like the feel of good old cash in your hand. All this technology has got one problem. It could break down. I also noticed that since we have had chip and pin, it takes longer at the checkouts. I love technology, but we sometime use it just for the sake of using it. I will stick with cash.
Using the term "maze of American cities" is quite misleading and quite misleading and funny coming from a European. American cities and roads in generally are quite well known for being extremely rectangular and simply in street geography, especially outside of the original 13 colonies. Perhaps the fact that such data is simpler, more recent and therefore better recorded and standardized by USGS and such institutions is why GPS navigation with maps started here, but it surly is not more complicated here.
Shawn, Bellingham, Washington, USA - 75 mi from Seattle
Re: the comment on cash, how about the electronic purse? It's been in action here for the last 10 years or so and is brilliant. It's accepted in small shops, vending machines, just about everywhere. It's incorporated into your normal debit (Maestro) smartcard chip, and most POS terminals give you the choice of directly debiting your account (using a PIN) or paying directly from the purse (no PIN). All you do is load the purse from an ATM then use it like normal cash, except that it's less messy and a lot faster - just check the amount on the display and press OK. If you lose your card you lose your money, but then that's how cash works.
Tony, Brussels, Belgium (via Oldham, Lancashire)
I have been drawn to Click through college and want to say what a great program I think it is, and how interesting so many of the covered topics are. I would just like to say, that as well as Fraps which you showed on your program, there is also Game Cam, which is free to use, and can record for as long as you want rather than just 30 seconds. The only drawbacks are that you cannot record sound, but adding music can reduce this lack of noise, and also like Fraps, there is an image put on all recorded videos, but if the video is good, no-one will notice. Hope someone benefits from this as I got a little frustrated when Fraps stopped after 30 seconds, just before I did something amazing in Halo.
James Burgess, Devon
I totally agree with Graham Lawrence that Click should be taken more seriously as a programme and be given a proper timeslot in the daytime, and maybe shown on a more accessible channel like BBC Three or BBC Two in the evening. You will only probably get to see the full version if you are already techy.
I'm sure you've heard this a thousand times already, but I thought I'd point it out too. Educating users about alternative (and often better) software is great, but I really think you need to mention the difference between no-cost and free software. i.e. that while some software is free as in beer other software is also free as in freedom. It's an important difference that your audience should be aware of, as it gives them extra rights and abilities (the ability to help their neighbour for example) and can say a lot about the program itself and its community. I feel that the recent coverage by Click about freely available software is misleading, because it uses the commonly accepted phrase "free software" for proprietary software which happens to be available at no-cost. This could potentially cause confusion with your listeners, especially when they delve a little deeper into free software, like Linux or Firefox.
Lucy B, Manchester, UK
I saw your piece on video blogs and I wanted to point out that there's a type of blog between text and video that you've skipped - illustrated blogs or sketchblogs. Mine is a completely drawn blog (at blogshank.com). Not many of us are doing it in blog form but there are also loads of webcomics out there. The beauty of them is that they can be wonderful little works of art in themselves, often much more considered than video or text ramblings. Anyway, just a thought.
Mike Smith, Cambridge UK
I'm a Linux user and I'm delighted that you managed to sneak in a few minutes about it. However, I'm disappointed that you haven't gone through some of the positives of Linux such as its security, gigantic amounts of software (for free, of course!), being perfect for power users and of course the amazing Compiz Fusion which lets you have 3D cubes, wobbly windows and much more. And if anybody says it's too hard to use, I'm a kid and am totally thrilled by it. I've even managed to set up my own web server. For me, the perfect world would be penguin powered. Please include more on the Tux powered OS.
I was quite surprised that Thunderbird (mail), VLC (media streamer), Audacity (wave editor), UltraVNC (remote desktop), Primopdf (pdf writer), Truecrypt (file encryption) and not forgetting the GIMP which beats most of the high-end photo editors hands down, all function very well and have good community support, and don't ever pester you to buy a commercial version every time you use them.
Crawford Neilson, Glasgow, UK
I have been watching Click now since it started. I thought it was about time I put my thoughts on paper. The program is brilliant, and always been worthy of its own dedicated screening schedule slot not just slipped in on BBC news programmes. I know the program is available on BBC iPlayer, but with its general coverage of all what's new /good/ bad/etc would be beneficial to novices, and experts alike. There is a much larger audience not aware of what they are missing. Good TV programs are sadly lacking these days. Keep up the good work.
Graham Lawrence, Sleaford, England
We love watching your programme in class at school and the challenge to the students is to enter the mobile phone competition! Looking forward to see what they come up with!
Sarah Musgrave, Bloemfontein, South Africa
Re: Phorm. It doesn't matter if the ads are targeted or not, if I don't want them then they are spam. I now take note of all ads from unsolicited sources and make sure I do not buy them or related products. Opting in is the only method of control - it should be a legal requirement.
John Walton, Erlangen, Germany
I'm a Facebook user and although I've not been skimmed (I can't even know yet until something flags it) it's really scary to hear that this is possible with the ever number of applications in the site. Everyday I get about 20 requests to join/add different applications onto my profile and this news makes me want to remove all of them. Problem is, if you do remove them, then what are you going to do on Facebook? Give us more security features Facebook.
Ralph Ofuyo, Nairobi, Kenya
The only data an application can "steal" is that which has already been posted to Facebook by the user themselves. Common sense dictates "anything" you put on the internet can be found by just about anyone.
Mark, Dallas, Texas, USA
Perhaps the problem lies not so much with Facebook than with our banking system. If your date of birth and address are enough to get a credit card or a mortgage, no wonder this is being abused. Isn't this yet another sign that we need a better way to prove one's identity? Surely a national identity card would go a long way towards this - other countries don't seem to have these problems.
This is why I lie to Facebook about things like date of birth, setting them to be roughly there but not accurate enough. I tend to do this to any site that insists on having this information but I don't see the need for.
Richard, Leeds, UK
I use Facebook on a daily basis to keep in touch with friends. I've gotten very tight with my security settings but it never occurred to me to worry about the applications that my friends and I have added. Thanks for the heads up!
Kate K, Washington DC, USA
I think the Click team are victimising Chris Long! Poor Chris! Having to be the "guinea pig" to demonstrate the whizzy technology on offer to help keep people fit. Just remember - you can be slim and STILL be unfit! I think that the next report that is a potentially humiliating one should be Spencer's - and I hope that Chris will have the opportunity to provide the commentary including a few "cutting "one liners - just in the name of balance! ;)
Jaki Brown, Southampton
There is talk all the time about game ratings. As a teenager myself I can say that they are pointless and should be scrapped. Anyone should be able to get any game they like from wherever they want. I will be getting GTA4 when it comes out, but I wouldn't call it the biggest release of the year, that is more likely to be MGS4 in June.
The article is saying that we should use the game ratings to protect the children? How about the parents be parents ... I've been playing a huge range of games since I was about 11. I've played violent gory ones to fantasy role play games. The ratings on these games mean nothing, yet my parents stopped me from playing different games if they felt it effected my education or stopped me doing my work. People are ALWAYS quick on blaming a 3rd party for problems with kids, why don't they open their eyes and blame the parents?
David Robertson, Hartlepool
When it comes to games certification why can't the people who sell the 18 rated games in the shops put these games on the top shelves or put these games in an 18 rated games section? Now I really love computer games but what really gets me upset is to walk into a games store in London where I always see parents buy 18 rated games like GTA Vice City on the PSP. I think that parents need to get information about computer games and also the managers in the games store should be more responsible when their are selling games like GTA IV to 10-12 year olds.
Sesan, North London
Thanks for your advice about the paperless office, it has helped my business go completely paperless.
Steve Grindley, London
We should pay the ISPs based on what speed broadband we can actually receive. If we can get a full 8MB connection, then we pay the full amount each month, if we get a reduced speed service, then we pay whatever percentage speed we get. I very much doubt the ISPs would agree to that, as many of us don't get anywhere near the full speed advertised.
Steve Hopps, Kings Lynn
What I have noticed over the last year or two is the growth of online beat and offbeat litzines such as The Beat and 3am Magazine. Has the internet replaced the old paper based underground litzines? Write a story in the UK and the world can read it - who needs publishers and agents!
Karen Welsh, London
Mobyko.com, which was reviewed on Webscape recently is brilliant. I've been longing for a way to store my photos and contacts where I can access them around the world, this site is so easy to use and a great idea considering I have an amazing knack at losing mobile phones.
Peter Sellen, Leatherhead
I listened with interest to your report from New York about slow broadband. You could have done a very similar story here, don't you think? What percentage of us actually get the 10mb unlimited broadband offered and with only one company offering fibre optics how many years will it be before we get the 100mb offered in the Far East?
Garry Stevens, Sunbury, UK
Where have all the legal film download sites gone? I am English and very fortunately live in Italy so am trying to buy or rent a film in English to download to my TV. I haven't succeeded. Maybe Kate can help? Thanks to all for the show. It is clever and witty.
Susan Hughf, Sardinia, Italy
The Emporia Life mobile phone which was on the programme has an emergency large red panic button on the back of the phone which, when pressed, will scroll through up to five numbers until answered. You can get it at emporialife.co.uk. I am profoundly deaf and have one.
Patrick Weir, Plymouth, Devon
I already look forward to a cashless future, the only reason I carry cash is for those occasions where you want a drink from a vending machine or something quick. I tend to use my cards for purchasing everything, but often hate going into Tesco and paying £1.50 for a quick snack on my card. I'd welcome such a system as "touch to pay" that's quick and easy. I'm one of those people that hate being in a row of people waiting because we're waiting for someone to enter there pin details for a pack of crisps. The sooner cash is gone the better for me.
Adam Beasley, Shepshed, Leicestershire
I don't think cash will ever truly die - for example you will NEVER get local market traders to sell fruit and veg electronically - they all want "ready folding"!
Janis Goldring, Pedreguer, Spain
If you get rid of the use for cash, how will you pay for cash in hand work? PS just love PicLens, let's have more like this.
Nigel Smith, United Kingdom
I totally agree with the positive reports about PicLens. I have never been so impressed by a computer programme. It does actually transform your web experience. How many over-complicated programs say they would do just that, and fail. Thank you Click for coming up with the goods yet again. Also another gem was Weebly. I would have never got a website going with out it. Thanks again.
I notice in your review of the Apple Mac Air that you didn't mention the fact that the user cannot change the battery. You have to send the laptop back to Apple for "repair" (which will cost you!), which takes some 5 days, instead of the 5 seconds it would take if the battery was user-changeable. Who wants to lose their laptop for 5 days just for a battery change? For this reason alone, I wouldn't buy one!
Alan Hudson, Dalgety Bay, Scotland
Got to hand it to Mrs Webscape - PicLens rocks!!!! I always have a quick look and have adopted some of the programmes suggested over time but PicLens is the winner hands down. The richness of the programme, its ease of use, navigation and compatibility are superb. I've suggested it to all my friends and they are avid users as well.
Clayton Powers, Brighton
As a Web Designer I get most of all things new from this programme and website. No wonder the BBC is the best in the world. Keep up the good work and THANKS
Pat Collins, Dublin Ireland
My only problem with the hard drive movie is one of who owns the movie. If I buy a hi-def disc, I own that disc and can play it whenever I like, without extra cost. If I download a hi-def movie, can I watch it hundreds/thousands of times or do I pay each watch? I think there may always be a place for discs until the industry sorts this issue out (look at DRM and how long that has taken). Discs are here to stay in one format or another for a while until there is a plan in the industry on how to protect their rights and profits WITHOUT limiting those of us who want to actually own a thing we pay for.
Really peeved at the BBC and its treatment of Click. Every Saturday we sit down to receive the most interesting of programmes and, just as today, more often than not some unimportant news item that will be repeated endlessly throughout the day is taking its place. Why can't they put Click on at another time so that we can depend on the schedule? Really cannot emphasise enough how annoying this has become!!
David Mirylees, Charminster, Dorset
All these gee-wiz features that are now finding their way on to mobile phones are of no use if you can't use the phone because of poor design. The constant push for smaller phones make them increasingly of less use for those of us with problems with our hands or sight. I needed to change my phone recently and I had a choice of one. It was the only one that I could hold and that had buttons large enough to use. Even then moving about the options is tricky. Thankfully it was also one of the few that the screen was large enough and clear enough for me to see clearly.
Stewart Taylor, Chesterfield, UK
I hope the GPS facility works better for those 35 million customers than it does on my Nokia phone. It's hopeless.
David Boul, Woking
I've just watched your laptop comparison, where you talked about the Macbook Air's lack of connectivity, and how you can only plug one thing in at a time into the single USB port. Are we all in danger of missing something - isn't this what USB hubs are for?
Laptops, especially ultra portables, are designed to be as easy as possible to move around. In practice it's better to use a USB hub for connectivity than to plug in each thing separately because there's less to unplug and re-attach when you go walkabout. It's really annoying to fumble around trying to plug USB devices into tightly packed sockets - USB hubs make life so much easier!
Sacha Brostoff, London, UK
Please will someone write a short, event driven script to run a series of programs automatically? Yes I know about the task scheduler but that is restricted to certain events. I want the event to be "when the turn off computer icon is selected". This is when I want; a full virus scan, registry clean and various other tweaks and housekeeping tasks performed, including a defrag now and again, not when I am trying to use the thing!
John Gilbert, London
Spencer, Kate, Richard, Chris, Ian, David, Dan, Rob, Talia ... only a note of appreciation for your work. The programme is consistently of high quality, and I've come to depend upon it. That I next to never take the time and effort to write a note such as this speaks for itself. Thank you.
James Hocutt, London
Appreciated your article on "Pushing paper out of the office" but no mention was made of any program to manage the organisation of the PDF files. Are there any freeware/shareware programs available for the home user?
John Raper, Worthing
I have worked in for two companies and within departments that have actively sought to become paperless offices. It will never happen, the more paperless you try to become the more paper you produce. FACT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Mike Whitney, Brentwood
PicLens - wow what a program. That wall with all the pictures on it really looks great on my new 22" wide screen monitor. Thanks again Kate. Webscape is the part of Click I most look forward to.
I have recently upgraded to broadband, and decided to allow my son to use it and have it set up on his own PC login so that I could you parental controls. The PC has Vista Home premium as the operating system. Having gone to the trouble of setting everything up, with parental controls working and setting my administrator password I discovered that most of my sons games will only run on Vista when run with administrator privileges, meaning that he needs my password to be able to play his games which I am quite happy for him to do. Although now that he knows my password this means that he would be able to turn off parental controls himself. Am I missing something or has Microsoft totally messed up the way they have the security settings in Vista, or is there a way of allowing administrator rights for running games only. By the way, turning UAC off doesn't fully work for some of the games.
Alan Adams, Taunton