Sep 16

One Note

I went to purchase OneNote today for my Tablet; I’ve been using the trial version for the last few months and decided i would buy it. But Microsoft won’t let me – because I am not in the US/Canada I cannot purchase on line direct from but have to a different vendor. And all I want is a 25 digit code to activate the version I downloaded from Microsoft. There’s no shipping, they don’t have to put overseas stamps on a parcel, they just need to send me an email. It’s very short sighted and adds a bbarrier; when there is code to download let me buy it.

Sep 16

Job Hunting

I’m currently looking for another job, which is interesting as I realise I have never had to do it properly before. The recent resolution of the long-running re-organisation in the company has been a catalyst in me taking a look at where I am. Given I have been in the same company for 14 years, I believe it is time for a new challenge.

When I first joined, it was straight from university and the recruitment was via the milkround – companies going out to universities and presenting a good show to attract graduates to apply to them. Since then, I think I have applied for one role externally (which was actually to a company that ended up being bought by my current one 12 months later!) but everything else has been internal.

So now I am in a busy period of understanding how the job market works, the best places to look for work and polishing my presentation, whilst applying for a number of roles. And then waiting. There’s definitely a black hole in recruitment companies; you can tell how systemised a company is by whether they have an automated ‘we’ve received your CV’ email, others have nothing. But they all appear to have enthusiastic screeners for the first ‘chat’! I’m not sure where I’m going to end up, but I’m going to make the most of the journey.

Sep 16

Interaction and Trust

Nicole Simon is over in London, visiting PodcastConUK. A little difficulty with a lost purse lead to her needing a small loan, so after she’d dried out from walking through the wonderful wet London autumnal weather we got together for a meal and a chat. Thinking about the situation in my half-asleep haze this morning, I reflected on the establishment of trust in a virtual world. Trust is usually established through a series of personal interactions; in this case I’d only met Nicole once before. But the online interactions, through Blog and emails facilitates the development of trust; as important is the ability to observe other people’s interactions with her, online and through the podcasts, as reputation is established and maintained.

So nothing new in that observation, but it is my brain getting working earlier tthan usual!

Sep 15

Search and Message

I tried out a couple of new tools the last 2 days. The first is Google Blog search and the second is an alpha of an online messenger client.

Google Blog Search has the same characteristics as the rest of the company’s products, a nice clean interface, simple to use, same presentation of results as the other searches. One of the biggest advatnages over its competitors is its speed, as it can leverage the existing assets for the searching. With an ego search, I like that this blog is recognised as being related (and how do they do that?) but thoroughly dislike that posts from here turn up in the search. I don’t see that happening in technorati/icerocket etc. If they can recognise that I’m related to this blog, surely they can strip out the results? One to watch.

The other product is Meebo, an online IM client that allows you work with AIM/Yahoo/MS/ICQ services at the same time. It’s still in alpha and is running on only a single server but first impressions are good. The first page is easy to use and once inside, the layout and usability is excellent. The only issue I’ve had so far is that it logs me out after a while if not in use. I’ve been looking for something like this as it is difficult to put all the clients I need on a work PC. (I hoping the single client for all networks comes sooner rather than later!) More playing around later. Via plaxoed.

Sep 14

Juicy Fruit Sucks

The Juicyfruit website epitomises everything I dislike about consumer sites. All flash based, poor navigation, unwanted sounds, no information and jumping on whatever bandwagon is currently hot, in this case blogs, a word that poorly describes the blurb that lists all the ways the the product ‘helps’ someones life. Finding out what the product is was my first challenge (i don’t usually use gum).

Sep 13

Annoying Milestone

This blog is passed a milestone today; only 10 months old and it’s had over 10000 spam trackbacks and comments blocked by MT Blacklist. (and that doesn’t count the ones that get through before I ban them) I hate them all

Sep 13

Round up 13 Sept

The news over the last few days has been about some nice large purchases. From a corporate PoV, Siebel being bought by Oracle is big news, a consolidation of CRM services. In other web stuff, eBay buying Skype is not something I read anywhere, but I can see the synergy – the market comes to life and online bartering takeas a new dimension. I can see the conference call auctions now….’ and it’s not going for 50 pounds, not even for 30 pounds, but all of this for 20 pounds only. Buy it now and I’ll throw this special edition widget for free’ ;o)

on the 37Signals Blog, a post about the complexity that is signing up with Flickr now they are with Yahoo; the sign up has changed from 3 questions to 16. Read the (long) list of comments for good stuff. My accounts are still demerged and I have no intention of rejoining them in the near future until the mess is sorted. But I don’t get why the Yahoo email requirement always causes an issue – still don’t have one, don’t need one. All my Yahoo service emails go to gmail. At the bottom of the current list of comments is the following from Bryan:

But what companies need to realize is that that information is utterly and completely useless. Users put in false information wherever they can. They’ll check any checkbox, hit any submit button, and gleefully ignore any TOS because they know everyone else does the same. The only thing you can trust is what the user cares about, which is damn little. Everything else is a WOMBAT – a Waste Of Money, Brains And Time. While the corporate types imagine they’re collecting lucrative information it’s really a false metric of success that only encourages harmful policies.

This is completely true – I very very rarely put real info in any of the ‘marketing questions’ in any form I fill in. A conversation today demonstrated this – we were discussing the information we had received from a web sign-up form on one of the sites that I work on, that asked people how they had heard of the site. The most common answer (over 80%) was something that had a very low percentage of responses in offline surveys. Looking at the list of possible answers on the website, you could see that the response was near the top of the list – obviously the easiest one to pick. But surprisingly, you do get good info from such signups – people don’t always think to the next level – why you are giving info and what people do with it.

Another blog entry that provides a great conversation in the comments is from Shelley, commenting on the recent UK conference Our Social World. There was concern about the usual suspects speaking, the lack of women speakers, the lack of diversity in the speakers and a whole load of arguments for and against the list/conference in the comments. There’s still some chicken/egg syndrome taking palce here – the ‘regulars’ can attract an audience, in that people can find out about their previous gigs and peoples reactions to them. A conference like Blogher can attract people for a different reason, but I coud guarantee there was still the ‘I read this person’s blog and want to see them’ reaction for some signups. It slowly looks like it is getting to the point where a mixed bag (regulars/new people) will be able to attract the wider audience without losing the selling point. In a follow up post, Shelley comments

Either one enters an online discussion to debate the merits of whatever topic is the focus, or we enter a conversation to defend or support a friend. When we mix the two, we put those who have not met others, personally, at a disadvantage. This, also, becomes a failure in social software.

To me, that’s a ‘flaw’ in social humans; we are far more likely to read, comment and discourse with people we know or have met and will always mix the two – pure objectivity is rare.

Whilst on the usual suspects, there’s a Geek Dinner in London in December for the return of Robert Scoble. So far, the list is growing at a faster rate than it did the last time, and the signees are pretty similar to the first ones the last time. I’ve watched a few of these grow, and you can see a long tail effect as the information ripples out from a core set of people who read certain blogs and then widens the audience to different people, depending on the attaction.

Sep 13

Web on TV

Often TV shows have accompanying websites; of they are good they add value to the show, a good exmaple being the Lost site that I looked at hte other week. In some cases, a brand puts up a site that supports their sponsorship of a TV programme; my emplyer has done this is the US and the UK with Baileys and Smirnoff.. But P&G are now turning it round in launching a TV show of the website. their Home Made Simple site is being turned into a Lifestyle TV programme on the Discover Channel. Content can come from many sources, nice to see that the traffic is goign the other way as well. Via Big Picture.

Sep 13

Young Ones meet Casualty

OK, slight worrying moment when I realised that Adrian Edmundson, who is fixed in my mind as an ‘alternative commedian’ from the Eighties, from The Young Ones, Bottom and the Comic Strip and other such progammes is playing a serious role on Holby City. I’m sure he’s done serious stuff over the last few years, but I obviously missed it. The mind must be going.

Sep 12

A week in Scotland

A lot of photos were taken last week; they’re all up on Flickr and also photoblogged with comments over on this blog. I found it easier to load them up to Flickr and then blog directly from there instead of loading up the images to the server direct, especially as I had little software on the laptop to reduce the size of the images.

Sep 12


Finally back. Benbg outside for most of the day and working longer hours than usual means I’m really tired. Just marked over 2000 posts as read on the aggregator (no chance to catch up with those) and need to admin for the rest of the day.

Sep 06

Round up 6 Sept

Yesterday was pretty much a write off with connectivity; to day a little better in that I have time to be in the pub and get connected. Far better than Starbucks! And tomorrow, it should get better at the rowing site. Currently, I need to hardwire connect and finding somewhere to sit that is close to a wire is too hard at times. But because of the need to broadcast video from the race startline to the spectators, to a place that is not networked, we’re getting wireless set up tomorrow. I got to go spend someone else’s money on kit, being despatched to the shop as one of the few people in the team who had time, and would recognise, what they need.

When I first started coming to this rowing loch, there were no hotels on site. By the time I left Scotland 5 years ago, one had been built at the top of the park; today, there’s a second hotel and a third just been built next to the pub. And the all appear to do pretty good business.

I go away for a week and Hugh and Ross Mayfield have a Wiki Wednesday. But there is an IRC channel that can be used. (link takes you straight there….) to link across the multiple cities.

Pete Blackshaw has 10 Simple Rules for dating a Blogger – although it can be also be read about dating a blog. There are such pearls as:
– be prepared to address addictions and tempatations
– don’t ignore the blogger’s buds.
Via BL Ochman

Jeff Clavier writes about Southern Comfort geting into some bother about online ads, with a tagline of “Born in New Orleans, where anything can happen”. Although this is an obvious issue, the globalisation of sites and the net make ensuring that your ads are appropriate for the market and for current worldwide situations makes monitoring more inportant. In my compnay, all ads are subject to a standard global check of content and then strciter local ones can be applied. A line that could be used in a UK version of the ad has to be cut from a US one. But ads that may typically appeal to a Latam market (which does use a *lot* of sex, we don’t use anywhere. YOu have to make an assumption that an ad in one market – whatever the format – can be seen anywhere.

An Australian court has ruled that Kazaa is urging its users to break copyright and orders them to put in place modifications to reduce pairacy. As with the US Grokster case, this ruling is geograpically limited, but points to a legal tendency – its not the ability to share in itself that is percieved as ‘wrong’ but any encouragement to break the law. However, any restriction put in place will also impact those who use such technology for legitimate sharing.

Sep 04

Scotland Again

Well, I’m going to be in Scotland for the week. Unfortunately the hotel does not have conenction from the rooms. But the pub next door does! So guess where I may be spending a little of my time ;o)

I’m here working (sort of) and will be blogging the rowing stuff over a the other blog.

Sep 04

Looking for bad news

Instead of celebrating the success of ebay, the BBC interview, of an ebay employee and a women who makes a fair bit of her living from the site, did nothing except focus on the negatives. Every question I heard asked about problems, about fraud, about stolen good. The interviewees did a very good job of setting it straight every time. I wish the reporters would remember that good news is news as well. (I’d have got names if I’d known I was going to be so annoyed.)

Sep 03

Round up 3 Sept

The BBC have an article about the recent Flick and Yahoo identify spat. This one has a long way to go; I’m not going to switch again until they have eased the login issues and ensured any changes to ToS are not disadvantageous.

Via, hackdiary has an article about a new tool that can take text lists and produce a map of how they interconnect. It uses wikipedia and seach engines to make the connections.

Technorati have released into beta a new listing service; blogs are classified, either via their categories or via a self-classification method and then can be searched for and listed. So currently, I’m number 40 on a list such as London, but the rnakings will all change as more blogs get listed and get classified. this is the niche listings that I was thinking about before. However, it still uses the parameter of number of links/sources, so does not move towards a move community/respect type of ranking that has been talked about.

Great British Football team – we don’t have one. The individual nations seem to be quite happy palying as England, Ireland, Scotand and Wales. But it looks like we are going to have to have one for the Olympics, with Fifa declaring that we must.

After his experimental marketing of The Big Moo, Seth Godin now has his next book, Knock Knock, available on line to read for free. The sequal (which has to be called Who’s There…) will follow shortly.

The winners of Simply Fired have been announced. The winner’s story was about being fired for finishing off a piece of pizza leftover from colleague’s lunch. He wins a Caribbean cruise – hopefully all inclusive so he waon;t be inclined to ‘borrow’ someone elses food!

Sep 03


New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin gave an interview with WWL-AM, which can be found a HREF=”″>here. He gives a passionate plea for help and slams into the different levels of government he sees as not helping; it ends with both Nagin and hte interview lost for words, sounding as if they are in tears. Even in the midst of his anger and frustration, Nagin remembered he was on air, and his expletives were restricted to the odd dammed and frickin. But apparently even these are being bleeped out when the interview is being rebroadcast.

Via Boing Boing, there is another tale of self-censorship. Kanye West strayed from script when presenting an NBC telethon, declaring “George Bush doesn’t care about black people!”. It seems that his outburst is being broadcast on CNN, but censored by Comcast who carry it.

Sep 03

Disasters and Katrina

One of the more compelling blogs about Katrian is Interdictors, who has been blogging from a data centre all week. What was a faily mundane livejournal has been turned into a must read account of the hurricane and the aftermath. Somehow they are geting fuel and supplies though to keep the generator going. The writer is ex-Special Forces and gives a special viewpoint on the troop and police movements he can see. Looking at the webcam they have just now, I could see buses convoying through the town.

From the reports coming out of the city, you can see how thin a veneer civilisation is. Without the basics, without access to water, food, shelter, people do what htey have to do to survice. They will loot and break into places to get the essentials. There’ll always be an element who take advantage of chaos though – TVs and the such like are not essentials.

With all the accounts of people who have lost everything they ever owned apart from what they could carry with them, it made me think about which of my posessions are essential. And there;s not many – they’re all replaceable, with few exceptions. So the ‘luxuries’ in aa survival bag I had to pack? Some pictures and a teddy bear; all with great sentimental value.

Sep 02


I run feed searches on various work related subjects, such as the company and Brand names. The company announced i’s annual results yesterday so I expected something to pop up in the aggregator, with some comments about the compnay fortune. Well, plenty of things did, got around 16 links and the average is about 2 a day. However, all but two of these were spam. The others linked me to all kinds of random stuff, who must be grabbing content from some business feeds. So I had mentions from Home Insurance, Payroll, Debt help, Scandanavian Discount hotels and Alcoholism ‘resources’. At least I had the momentary pleasure that came from flagging all the Blogger ones as ‘objectional!

Sep 01

London 2012 again

After the announcement that London had got the 2012 Olympics, a series of celebrations were planned. They never happened; we were bombed and things had to change. But today, there was a little get together in Trafalgar Square. Speeches by Ken Livingston, Tessa Jowell and Seb Coe were followed by Heather Small giving a live performance of Proud. The budget for bits of coloured paper had not been exhausted and bits were blown everywhere.


After the song, there was the obligatory interviews and photocall. Here’s one of my efforts of the three speakers..


More photos over on Flickr

At the moment on the telly, there’s a Channel 4 programme about the London Bombings. But these are the bombs of 1974 and 1975, when the IRA exploded 40 bombs in a year, when the city felt under siege and bag checks and high security were constant. They were using grenades and machine guns as well. Nothing Changes, there’s always someone.