Is Ghost Blogging Ethical?

This post was inspired by @steveology ‘s discussion at whereby a number of people agreed to share their views on the subject. As agreed in advance I have not read the other posts though am looking forward to doing so after I’ve published.

The short answer is “No – Ghost Blogging is not ethical” though I’d like to explore the subject a little further.

“Ghost Writing” of books and newspaper/magazine articles seems to be commonplace. I wonder how many readers consider this when reflecting upon the content.

Some public figures both in commerce and the civil service rely upon “Professional Speech Writers”.

I gather that even “The Queen’s speech” is written by her government though that’s perhaps a special case given steeped in tradition that I’m not familiar with.

Is Ghost writing acceptable in these cases? The more I hear of these cases the less comfortable I feel about it.

Given the choice I’d rather listen to music written by the band than something created by a third party. That said I’m sure there are many cases where acknowledge third parties wrote the music that I thought had been written by the band – the difference is it’s easy to find out as the accrediatations are published.

In a social media context transparency is a core tenant – it’s one of the attributes that makes it so interesting. Being able to exchange ideas and points of view with individuals is very rewarding.

Imagine hearing an incredible speech and then finding that live questions afterwards yeilded uninformed answers. Clearly Q&A would not be offered for those who had relied entirely on a speech writer.

Speaking to “the messenger” is rarely as interesting as “the source of the message”.

Social Media is a great leveller for those with something interesting to contribute regardless of their social, political or fiscal standing. Ideas count. Contributing counts. Being useful counts. Hiding behind others is foolish.

How to change the license key for Win7

If you have already installed Windows 7 and wish to change the license (or enter one for the first time) then simply log in to the administrator (or equivalent) account and navigate to the following part of the control panel:

Now all you have to do is to hit “change product key” and enter the new license

Note: you need to be signed in (logged on) as an administrator to be able to carry out the task described above.

Why are car showrooms open during the daytime?

Thanks to Telstar Logistics for the image above

I was recently considering leasing a new company car and hence I visited several main dealer show rooms to crawl around and test drive my short listed vehicles. I visited a couple of¬†showrooms at lunchtime and others either at the weekend or after work. I couldn’t fathom out why on Earth it was near impossible to arrange a test drive for the times I (as a potential customer) could easily fit around my work commitments.

Upon a couple of occasions I took time out of work to visit a dealership during the daytime (in the week) and found the place full of staff and almost empty of customers.

Like many of you I’d researched my vehicle options by reading both reviews and specifications on the vendors websites – all I needed from the showrooms was the opportunity to explore the physical aspects of each and to drive them – the staff in the showrooms added very little value.

From where I’m sat it seems that the way car showrooms (in the UK at least) operate is a hangover from their past and if they were invented from scratch today the entire focus of the service provided would be would be to make it as easy and appealing as possible to select vehicles based on their physical characteristics and driving experience.

Surely dealerships should cater for test drives in the evenings and during the day on both Sundays and Saturdays – currently they’re closed soon after normal working hours and only have a skeleton staff on Sundays.

I wonder how many businesses are long over due for significant re-engineering of the way they interact with prospective customers – making the most of the opportunities provided by the Internet and social media.

Estate agencies face similar challenges and opportunities to re-invent themselves.

BTW: I can’t see a Cadillac being a sensible choice for me in the UK – I just liked the picture ūüôā In the end I purchased a second hand car.

Win7 cold boot took just 28 seconds on my netbook

Windows 7’s Release Candidate has surprised me once again – on my Samsung NC10 netbook it took just 28 seconds to display the logon screen from hitting the power button – that’s for a cold (machine turned off) boot – resuming from sleep is almost instantaneous!

Just 15 seconds later I was logged in (that includes the time for me to enter my password) and running an application.

While running Windows 7 Beta I very rarely turned my machine off – instead opting to use “sleep” due to the tiny power use and reliable “go to sleep”/”wake up” – I expect I’ll find the same with the Release Candidate.

How much disk space is required to install Win7?

Windows 7 Ultimate 32-bit edition takes 8.3Gb following a clean install without any additional applications or data.

I recommend going for a minimum partition size of 15Gb plus whatever you think you’ll need for applications and data.

Windows 7 is very good at making it easy for you to expand or contract the partition sizes post install – there’s no need to re-install or mess about with third party utilities ūüôā

To resize a partition simply do the following:

  • type “Computer Management” at what used to be the “Start” menu
  • select “Disk management”
  • select the partition you’d like to resize
  • Click the right mouse button to reveal the menu and pick the appropriate option – “extend” or “shrink”.

Note: the image below has “extend volume” greyed out simply because the area after this partition is fully occupied by another partition.

Amazing – a bare metal Win7 RC install took just 21 mins on Samsung NC10 netbook

Thanks to geognerd for the image

At 9pm this evening I powered up a brand new Samsung NC10 netbook (I subsequently¬†wrote this post from the machine in question) for the first time. I hit “F2” as the power light blinked into life to change the boot device order – making my USB memory stick(thumb drive) the primary.

I didn’t even both letting the machine boot it’s pre-installed Windows XP Home operating system – I simply booted into a ¬†Windows 7 installation, removed the existing partitions and pretty much took the defaults.

At 9:21pm the shiney new NC10 was fully up and running in Windows 7 RC Ultimate edition with aero glass and sound working perfectly.

At 9:25pm I’d connected the machine to the Internet for the first time via my Vodafone 3G card – I have the “pebble” modem which (like most 3G cards these days) automatically provides the associated software and device drivers.

Where did I get the bootable Win7 USB stick?

I build it myself by doing the following:

  • I download the Windows 7 Release¬†Candidate (RC) from here. The resulting file¬†was 2.35Gb in size.¬†
  • I configured the target USB memory stick to be bootable following the instructions on Jeff’s blog
  • The Windows 7 RC installation kit download was a “.iso” file – I used undisker¬†to extract all of the files (and folders) from the “.iso” and place them on the (now bootable) memory stick

Note: I wrote an earlier post with some guidance that you may find useful

BTW the filename for the Win7 RC installation kit following the 2.35Gb download was “7100.0.090421-1700_x86fre_client_en-us_retail_ultimate-grc1culfrer_en_dvd.iso”

I’m delighted with the result – a fast, lightweight system with a beautiful user interface.

Microsoft Pants Man!

If you’ve been watching the BBC’s “The Apprentice” then you may enjoy the following image that I took at last week’s InfoSec – Ed was given a pair of pants¬†by Graham from Sophos – I politely declined his kind offer!