Aug 21

More flash sites

A couple of flash sites coulght my eye today.

The first is from Gap. A dodgy idea poorly execited in this case. It comproses a virtual strip tease and the ‘model’, whom you have designed, removes their clothes. The file size is large enough to freeze my browser, the interface is clucky and the animation is poor. Like many flash files, the navigation is poor, difficult to move around unles son a set path. Not the best advert for the brand. Via ThreeMinds

The second is the Lost backstory, which is going to expand as the series progresses. Set up to give a lot more information to explain the histry of the characters, along with a mystery to solve via clues and other websites. The navigation s bad on this – if you want to repeat things you have to start at the beginning, but the presentation here is good.

Aug 21

Customer Feedback

Online feedback continues to be a way of responding to bad service from companies. Jeff Jarvis writes an open letter to Dell summarising his feeling todate. Meanwhile, Comcast gets slammed after one of its representatives forgot that certain fields in Customer databases get printed on correspondence; LaChania Govan got to find out what the call centre reps thought of her in a very unfortunate way.

Aug 21

London Flickr Meetup

One of the monthly London Flickr Meetups took place yesterday. The venue was Richmond, in particular Richmond Park. There were 8 people, which semes to be about average. The order of the day was pub, picnic, pub, with photos taken at many points along the way.

Aug 21


I followed one of the links through to Amazon’s Adult Toys and Games section (coy name for not so coy product section). In amongst the variably shaped pink and purple vibrators I came across this picture.


My initial reaction was along the lines of WTF…how do you use this? A closer look at the caption showed that it is a head massager; just with a classification of personal massage it got displayed on a rather different page..

Aug 20

Reporter accuracy

I wonder if the reporter I’ve just seen on Channel 5 news has ever used a search engine. He was demonstrating Google, looking for flower shops. From his commentary, he apparently was expecting the results to be in alphabetical order and also appeared to be put out that there were paid results at the top of the list.

Aug 20

Roundup 20 Aug

Lots of fun to be had with Ultimate Flash Face. Mix and match your favourite facial features in a myriad of ways. Far better than Mr Potatoe Face. Via Paradox1x

Virtual Life: a Chinese student has been arrested for carrying out muggings. In this case, all the muggings were virtual, in the game LineageII, but the virtual goods taken were sold in auctions for real money.

Sony Beans: I saw these in the paper yesterday and just wanted to get my hands on one. No idea how they will work, they just look pretty cool.

Blog for Sale: Jeremy Wright, selling his WealthyBlogger site, receives an offer of $2k. Not too bad for a 6month old site with ad revenue of $3-5 a day.

Aug 18

BA Service

When I eventually got on a plane back from New York, the BA catering issue had not been resolved. Luckily, the lounge was serving breakfast, but there was to be no food on the plane. We got handed a pack as we boarded, containing cheese and biscuits, chocolate, a brownie and some pretzels. Although they had plenty of water, there was no alcohol served (some foresighted people had bought their own bottles)

We all got handed complaint forms to complete and return; I was expecting to still have to go into a battle to get compensation for the delay and the lack of service. I still need to send my receipts in, but today, it seems I have recieved a whole load of additional airmiles to my account, the equivalent of a free business class trip back to the US. Now all I need to do now is plan where I’m going ;o)

Aug 18

A levels

It’s that time of year again – the release of the A level results. The media continue to spin two messages:

– the exams are getting easier, the grades are being inflated, the pass rate massaged
– don’t worry if you fial, they;re only exams and there are plenty of things you can do.

The mixed messages and the impact on people who don’t get the results is ignored; meanwhile the TV stations continue to embarass select pupils by making them open their results live on TV.

Aug 17

17 Aug Snippets

Been a bit busy over the last few days. The Gilry Geek Dinner yesterday was fun, Sarah did a great job of organising and has a round-up of the event. Today was interesting; most of it with no connectivity fromthe office due to a certain virus and then some noise on the job front that was not pleasing, so considering options.

Meanwhile, here’s some news that I’ve caught up on. Still got about 100 feeds to read :o(

  • Google provide us with a new take on maps – full of photos taken at the map position. It’s still static – next steps have to be dynamic ‘stills’ and then add video – so who;ll be first?
  • Blogger provide a plugin to allow you to blog direct from microsft Word, online and offline.
  • Google may be building a national US network of wireless links. Via Om Malik.
  • In the non-google news, Firefox pull in mainstream media with a download theme from HBO to promote the new series Rome (joint withthe BBC, so we should get it at some point)
  • Feedster provide a top 500 of blogs.
  • Aug 14

    Too hot

    It’s been hot in the city today. Wandering around, slowly as there was no incentive to rush, I visited a street fair. It was called a UN fair, to celebration of difversity, but I guess it’s the same stalls that comeout every time for the large number of fairs this city has. For 10 blocks along Madison Avenue, the street was lined with stalls. There was little variation on offerings, with many stalls repeated about every 2 blocks. Some kind of cartel operating – you could tell by the signs. Only one kind of kebab stall, one kind of smoothy stall. Looking at the goods on offer as well, the same thing was happening here. The Chinese masseurs were the worst – they hung out in the middle of the street, trying to grab and manhandle you to have a ‘free trial’. Stern words were required to keep them off.

    Moving onwards, the best way to keep cool was to keep going into shops. The expensive ones, the ones that can afford to turn the air conditioning way up so that it can be felt 10 feet away through the dorr, across the pavement.

    Finally, back along to 6th Avenue, where there was a long parade for Dominica Day. Confusingly, the parade came along sporadically over a few hours, with something like 30 minutes between the first ones and later one. First up was Mike Bloomberg, the Mayor of NYC who is up for re-election. I’d like to know what he has to do with a Dominican Day parade, but he had a lot of support. At the top of the avenue, there were a set of TV interviewers and the politician came to the fore as he dived in for an interview, leaving the rest of the parade stranded, waiting for him.

    The first load of floats/groups all appeared to be politician running for various elections. They were all spaced out, guess they got separated along the long parade. What was really weird for me is that many appeared to be running for the same elections. The parade was still going on 2 hours later, the floats at this point separated by the sonic bubbles that surrounded the floats and their massive sound systems.

    I’ve got some great pictures, that will be up once I get the USB cable I left at home. One of them is of the police getting ready at the start of the day, probably around 100 lined up. I realised, watching them. that it’s more guns than I’ve ever seen in one place, which is quite scary. Armed police are unusual in the UK; let’s hope it stays that way.

    Aug 14

    Blogging and the Observer

    The Observer have an ar ticle about bloggers from the emergency services. A mainly positive piece, there’s a little bit about how ‘dangerous’ blogging is with a reference to Jo Gordon’s sacking from Waterstone’s, but no reference to the fact he got another job pretty quickly, which included blogging.

    There’s a glaringly obvious error in the report though

    Worldwide, there are now more than four million blogs – online diaries – where people post their thoughts about anything from politics to housework.

    The author, Jo Revill, either missed out the ‘teen’ on the word four or failed to find a key report from Technorati:

    As of the end of July 2005, Technorati was tracking over 14.2 Million weblogs, and over 1.3 billion links. Interestingly, this is just about double the number of blogs that we were tracking 5 months ago.

    It’s a pity there’s such an error, as The Observer definitely has one of the best news blogs around,

    Update: Suw also has a comment on the Observer article, regarding her quote and a clarification of what she said during the interview.

    Aug 14

    Advertising and Bias in BLogs.

    Dave Taylor has an analysis of ‘professional’ blogging or the steps towards it. Whether we like it or not, we’re likely to display bias for or against a product based on past history and personal values. If a company is either paying or just providing a product to review, subconciously you are more likely to pre-disposed to saying to something positive. Even if you end up negative, I’m pretty sure there would have been a moment of questioning.

    Look at the posts about the Stormhoek free wine offer. It looks like around 25-30% of people who received a bottle blogged about it (there was no compulsion to mention it) and they are postive about the wine and give good coverage. But did the fact we got it free mean that we had a unconscious expectation to like it?

    Dave concludes

    The question, then isn’t whether to do it, but whether to disclose, and I suggest that the answer to this supposed ethical dilemma is simply to state that bloggers should use their own judgment. If it is a relationship that’s going to compromise your own integrity, where you’re forced to say positive things about something that you don’t like or wouldn’t otherwise recommend, then you have a problem and you should disclose it to your readers in the interest of retaining your credibility. If not, though, if you’re a gadget freak and Sony or Nokia sending you a neato new toy just sidesteps you having to buy one, well, I suggest that’s not an ethical dilemma at all and doesn’t need to be disclosed.

    So instead of a rule or guideline at all, let’s just start talking about a best practice and let each blogger decide where along the disclosure continuum they feel most comfortable.

    It’s always going to be down to personal values and beliefs whether or not you blog about products that you may have received or be paid to dicuss. And it’s down to the reputation and trust your readers have in you to determine whether such posts are worth it

    Aug 13

    13 Aug snippets

    Interesting snippets.

  • Delaware Supreme Court being asked to rule on identity disclosure of anonymous posters to a blog who allegedly defamed a local council man.
  • Google have stopped copying books for 4 months until they can sort out copyright issues. I’m surprised they could even think about doing this without getting specific OKs from the copyright holders, this definitely goes beyond fair use.
  • Microsoft have the best media reputation in the US. The survey from Delahaye looks at stakeholder relations, financial management, products and services, organizational integrity and organizational strength. Via Mike Torres
  • Aug 13


    I spent yesterday wandering round the Natural History Museum; obviously they have not yet cuaght up with prevailing trends in the US as evolution was the only thoery discussed throughout. It’s interesting seeing the different halls and stages in development of the museum. In the older section, it’s full of panoramas, stuffed animals displayed in ‘natural’ settings with painted landscapes. The newer sections have more opportunities to display good information and combine different exhibits to explain things. My favourite section was the Hall of Ocean Life, although golf-ball size sapphires are good to look at as well 😉

    The museum was full of parties of children, usually in matching T-Shirts displaying the name of the dayschool/scheme they wre from. Obviously this is so the carers can try and keep an eye on them, but given the number of missing/found children scares I heard going round it’s difficult to keep track. As RFID costs go down, I can see a use for it here – provide each party a bunch of specific tags and then you can keep rack of those kids who wander away, or get lost in contemplation of T. Rex.

    More museums and walking today (as long as the feet hold up) and I now have an extra 24 hours due to flight cancellations so not travelling back til Monday.

    Aug 12

    Round Up

    More stuff.

  • Blake Ross has an irony-laden take on Airport Secuity which rings some bells; especially with the the apparent lack of care I often see in various airports; there’s lot’s of people doing the job, just few looking like they care about it.

    The lady at the entrance to the security line asks to see my electronic ticket (“e-ticket”), which is printed on home computer paper. To ensure that I didn’t make my ticket in Microsoft Paint, the lady scans it with the barcode reader in her eye.


  • Mena Trott takes a look at bloggers through history
  • File sharers swap more video. CacheLogic have a report saying that two thirds of files being swapped in P2P networks are video. They used file extensions, which probably skews the results anyway, as many large files are swapped in a compressed state.
  • Donald Trump is apparently blogging. On first appearances it appears he can only manage single sentences; but click though, there’s more there. But somewhere in the mechanics it appears comments are being edited.
  • Aug 12

    Promise TV

    PromiseTV, as seen at OpenTech, is gathering steam and, in conjunction with the BBC, looking at open-sourcing the project.

    I’d love this – it means that I may have been able to watch Lost which premiered this week in the UK and by all accounts was brilliant.

    Aug 12

    Evolutionary Design

    I can’t help but notice the current education debate in the US regarding the teaching of evolutionary theory vs ‘intelligent design’; the first being development based primarily on small selection pressures with an element of randomisation and the second based on the premise that something, somewhere had a hand in guiding the development of life, because obviously humans are far too perfect to have got here by chance 😉 In Kansas, the Board of Education has formally voted to include alternative theories in their teaching of science, no doubt encouraged by President Bush’s enthusiasm for the idea.

    I thought that in the US the church could not influence the state (hence such things as removing school prayers), but what do you call this? And do other countries teach alternative views of evolution based on their religious preferences?

    Aug 12

    Stop and Think

    If today was your last day, did you do somethng you’d be happy with? A thoughtful post from Evelyn Rodriguez about making sure your life is worth living.

    Aug 12

    WiFi Service

    I read Doc Searls post about free wifi/connectivity the other day. I stayed at a Marriott with free connection but currently I’m in a W hotel which charges $17 dollars for 24 hours connection. Expensive, but the company is paying!

    However, this evening I got a call from the hotel Customer Services performing a satisfaction survey. Now, this is the first time I’ve been subject to this – a small annoyance but at least they are trying to establish what their customers think. I mentioned my annoyance over paying for connectivity and how many other hotels don’t, then thought nothing more of it. But then there was a follow up call 30 minutes later from another section of staff just to checkup on my complaint. After informing me there was free wi-fi in the ground floor public areas he then proceeded to remove the charges from the bill and promise to take up with the manager.

    So I can carry on reading feeds whilst watching TV…and numerous ads. WHich does lead to one observation – I’m surprised at the lack of URLS on US TV ads compared to waht I’ve experienced from UK ads.