Defenders of the Mirth

Official Episode 1 – A talk of noughty tech

by on Jan.11, 2010, under Show

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Show notes:

The excellent Bryan Smyth, who will soon be composing our opening and closing themes, sells prints of some of his brilliant photo art here –

The TWiT (This Week in Tech) network is available at

Not the end of the decade? The Register article –

Will we link to Mark’s myspace page of niceness? If we get permission.

James’s old Bebo blog for your public perusal –

D’oh! Biz Stone was the co-founder of Twitter, not Facebook. Mark Zuckerberg is who I meant of course.

The man who sued, the American dating service –

A real Ironman suit? –

Whoops again, it seems Wikipedia was actually founded in 2001. Here is detail of a study comparing it to an existing encyclopedia (The Encyclopedia Britannica) –

A negative no no from the last decade, DRM –

The full uncut version of Watchmen, so far only available in America –

Rather than going “What the fuck?” Captain Picard sings you the alphabet –

Finally, remember you can contact us at and find us at and Facebook page ‘Defenders of the Mirth’.

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4 Comments for this entry

  • Bryan

    Hello Defenders.
    Well, where to begin. I’d say once I’ve rambled a bit, or a lot, you should select the most relevant portions if you’re going to read them out.
    In nine years of using msn’s multichat feature to connect people (whether they liked it or not) I never encountered anyone else with the passion and perhaps the arrogance to do the same. Many friendships and “irl” relationships began in there, perhaps what astounds me the most. The effect of utilising a technology for a purpose it may not have been designed for however is seemingly commonplace in humanity, nevertheless I was glad to be involved in it.
    Social networking is still suffering from a lack of being able to encorporate everything into a nice tidy package to keep everyone happy it seems. Myspace is a great community in terms of discussion groups, music (the auto-play can be turned off by the way) and personalised layouts (assuming you’re decent with html and like a nice old style 90s geocities look to your page, agrovating cursors to boot). However it has waned in popularity probably because of the persistent porn-bot spamming etc. Bebo has some nice features too, being able to see how many page views you get and a neat selection of backdrops and ability to design your own within a more controlled framework. The video box and artist sections are nice too. As for facebook, it seems to have been more of an effort to merge together a chat program and a social networking site. And that’s all it basically seemed to be until the application tidal wave hit. Still it lacks many of the qualities that made myspace and bebo enjoyable. I recently deleted my facebook after becoming generally sickened by looking at the never ending blue and white tithe of spam. What would be nice to see in future is either a new style of social network combining the best features of each past incarnation and discarding all the annoying crap, or some sort of social networking metasite, where you could have a bebo, facebook, twitter, myspace or whatever and it’d all be routed to a single hub rather than being separate communities. What can I say I like hubs.

    What I noticed you guys hadn’t mentioned was the more underground side of what happened after the whole napster thing. The advent of web-based music downloads with audiogalaxy. How programmers clamoured to make alternative free p2p network software, opennap, kazaa, morpheus, soulseek, bearshare (which was really shit) and such giants. Then the change from single user p2p downloads to a multiple source interface, eventually culminating in p2p being abandoned generally in the favour of torrent technology.
    Torrents, the pirate downloader’s wet dream. Oh so many movies and tv and music and software with cracks oh baby, at the touch of google. The magic word is TORRENT, and if you type it after anything you want in google, instantly there before you it shall be, depending on seeding users, available for a reasonably quick download wait.

    Anyway, No need for the heavy pimping of myself, as you say this is not my podcast. I have however as of this moment remembered I’m supposed to be your contributor and am playing with some audio files, and when daylight breaks I’ll play some guitar and maybe come up with something a bit more constructive that we can record in the near future. Bry

  • CosmicStresshead

    Hey Defenders,

    The technology marketplace of the twenty-first century was born from whole din of firsts heading for ubiquity by the end of the twentieth – nearly everyone already had a mobile phone, PCs dialling up in almost every home, writing your own CDs and DVDs no longer seemed like elite magic.

    From my point of view, the tech scene of the early noughties was characterised by the divide between two types of computer user.

    The first were the increasingly common users who, having now developed a taste for newness, clamoured to bear first-hand witness to the cutting edge of commercially available tech.

    The other side of the advancement of tech in the noughties – on which it won’t surprise you guys to learn that I sat – was the resistance of many people against investing in new machines, in stead squeezing every ounce of usefulness out of the existing machines in the tide of applications and devices that required exorbitantly more and more power.

    On the ‘cutting-edge’ side of things, there was, as now, a blurred line between hardware being brought to affordable prices to keep up with new demanding software and software written to fully exploit the power available in the latest computers. But what was more prominent then than now was users’ desire to use the latest software and games and their simultaneous inability or reluctance to fork out for the hardware necessary to run it.

    And so it fell to the software developers to extend a branch to the common low-end users.

    Among the software that sticks out more in my head are the ‘lite’ versions of common free apps like Kazaa and ICQ. Then there were the apps made especially to be run efficiently on older machines, such as Opera.

    Many users would refrain from upgrading to the latest versions of commercial Office suites more because of the associated necessary hardware upgrades, rather than the cost of the software itself.

    The hardware reached a stage soon after this where the basic packages everyone considered essential could be run without the need for major hardware upgrades. The presenting issue, as far as the average home-user was concerned, was now in the hands of the hardware manufacturers. By and large, users were now able to run what they wanted, but often they would have to limit themselves to a few applications at a time.

    The time came about midway though the decade, the naysayers’ objections notwithstanding, when it could be reasonably assumed that any PC you could buy new on the market would pretty much run any combination of applications you would need it to in common office and home situations, without encountering any appreciable slowdown for the load of it.

    Along all of this the games industry has been a constant to pushing the limitations of hardware available, and the graphics hardware industry pushing their own limits for the games industry to exploit, forming a symbiotic relationship in which each seems to afford the other a long lease of life.

    My original intention was to go briefly mention how the old tech of the late nineties remained in wide use for the first part of the noughties, but I have realised that there is far more to it and it deserves to be explored more fully.

    However, at the minute I’m in work, and have just gone outside my allotted lunch period.

    Adieu, Defenders!

    Ben “cosmicstresshead” Smylie

  • Ian

    Hey defenders,
    Enjoyed the show and am kind of keeping up the theme now as I’m composing this on my phone, having just downloaded and listened to the episode on it too. I’m quite surprised actually that development of phones didn’t explicitly get a mention as, although not conceived or introduced in the last decade, they went from large devices purely for phonecalls, to tiny devices mainly for texts with occasional calls, back to slightly larger devices where the last thing most people seem to want to do is make a call in between taking pictures, watching movies, recording videos, browsing online and whatever else anyone can think of.

    Anyhoo, just something that struck me when you were talking about Skype – the reason I feel it’s taken off so well is that it seems to be the only program of its type that has an image professional enough for businesses to find its use acceptable. A lot of professional companies seem to have a skype account listed on their website. I’ve never come accross a company that proudly proclaims “talk to us on MSN”, meh, maybe it’s just me.

    Also I feel it’s slightly unfair to blame a headache on blu-ray movies when the much more likely cause is in the leading role of the movie.

    All the best,
    Ian (LBJB)

    Damn now I have no excuse to not do my revision…

  • DaMofoArmadillo

    Hey defenders,
    i have nothing to add about noughties tech…


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