Oct 31

Holiday Greetings

Although I think Debenhams is just slightly too early for me…let’s get Hallowe’en and Bonfire Night out the way first. The decorations were going up all over the street today, with much of the pavement roped off to allow the men access to the trees along the street in complete safety. Of course, the people who will remove the big golden baubles over the next few months probacly won’t use the same safety precautions.


Oct 31

Add your own commentary for posters

Adrants points to the fact that posters of 50Cents which were part of the Bubble Project seems to have scared people off. The project puts little speech bubbles on posters to encourage people to add their own commentary. Mexx (a clothing store) appear to have been trying to do the same thing with their recent posters in Bond Street Tube station, with speech bubbles on the posters already. Maybe the the agency expected people to add their own stuff, in a cool, ‘consumer generated content’ way, but in the week they have been there, none of them appear to have been added to. Maybe I should take a pen with me tomorrow


Oct 31

Another Bohemian Rhapsody

I’ve seen a Royal Navy version, a cartoon version, now the funniest yet, the Lost version. Safe for work even if your version of the websence blocker bans it. (then again ours I have no idea what ours it up to given some of the things it blocks). Via YbNbY PS – love the nod to Terry Pratchett

Posted in fun
Oct 31

Blackberry Women and Technology Awards

There’s a definite theme to today’s posts. In a far more serious vein, the Blackberry Women and Technology Awards were announced last week. The overall winner, Jackie Edwards, is a lecturer at De Montfort University and her award was focused on her work in opening up technology to other women through a Women’s Access to Information Technology course. In 2005, only 21% of the IT workforce was female (via silicon.com), a reduction since 1997 as “work-life balance, ‘old-boys’ male-dominated environment and industry culture are the core reasons why the IT sector is unattractive to women”. Although in my company, the department I work in would be regarded as technical my many, it is not really, we just work with people who work with technology; that could be the reason why we have a 50/50 ratio.

Oct 31

Women and Conferences

Whilst on the subject of the increasing female interest in all things geek, Danah Boyd posts about a Long Tail Camp. In keeping with an open-souce camp, there’s a page asking for topics to be discussed. Somehow I think this particular topic may not be that popular in open forum…

Long-Tail Camp Requests
How to get laid at these damned camps.
Having only two girls at each camp isn’t helping. -NeilDrumm
Well, this is Long-Tail camp, in aggregate we’re gonna have way more girls than is usual. -EranGloben

Update: according to a Eran, the first comment was added by a woman…which for some reason doesn’t surprise me

Oct 31

Women and Sci-Fi

Interesting little snippet in the Telegraph today, about how women now make up 51% of viewers on the SciFi channel. Adam Roberts, a professor in English gave an insight into his reasoning about women watching The Matrix..

More women are tuning in to see the relationships develop between wittily-written, complex central characters they can identify with. A film like The Matrix attracted female viewers partly because it was about complicated concepts of life and death. It also had Keanu Reeves running around in leather, which helped.

The other person quoted was Ann, whose take on the whole interviewing and editing down of speech can be found in her post

My heart sank when I read the article yesterday, and I knew I’d have to write a rebuttal, but this became particularly urgent this morning since it seems to have (if I’m honest, probably justifiably) upset some of the lovely denizens of slashdot

So, the actual article seems to have been rather too heavily pruned at the sub-editing stage, because given that Elizabeth was a previous winner of the young journalist of the year award, I’d really hope that the standards for that were a lot higher than the quality of the resulting article, entitled “Adventures of Buffy and Lara see female sci-fi viewers outnumber males”.

She then proceeds with her take on the story, concluding:

So the lesson for today is – just because it’s a “quality” newspaper doesn’t lessen the likelihood of being misquoted, taken out of context or otherwise misrepresented.

Oct 31

Smashing Ipods

Via Engadget, a group of guys requested donations in order to buy an iPod and then proceed to smash the gadget instore. The video of the act can be found on their site smashmyipod.com. Pity they’re in Canada instead of the UK; they could have called it a protest against capatalism or DRM or something and entered it into the Turner Prize. Which, by the way, has podcasts for you to download, with the artist and the judges commenting on the works. It also allows you to submit your own ‘casts about the pieces and these may be put up.

Oct 31

Old Palace of Westminster gets blown up

In a complete waste of advertisers’ money*, to ‘celebrate’ the 400th anniversay, an ITV programme made an accurate reconstruction of the Palace of Westminster as it was in 1605 and then proceeded to blow it up, using the same amount of gunpowder that was packed into the cellar in that failed plot. Somewhat predictably, the 36 barrels of gunpowder did indeed destroy most of the building.

If it had succeeded, the celebrations that take place on 5th November every would probably be different. But the significance of the date reduces, as burning old Guido is no longer PC (and is probably against most clean air legislation), bonfire parties become more organised and less ‘throw a few things together in the back yard and burn a big hole in the lawn’ variety. Growing up, it was interesting to realise that some of the plotters, including the leader Robert Catesby, had met their end at Holbeche House, which is only about a mile from where I grew up. It’s a nursing home now, but I recall thinking about the plot this time every year as we drove past it.

*If the BBC had done this, you can guarantee that many of the papers would have called it a waste of licence payers’ money.

Oct 30

Forbes get hot under collar about Blogger

According to Forbes’ cover story – Attack of the Blogs (signin required, or use bugmenot login/password ‘forbesdontbug’) I’m an “ultimate vehicle for brand-bashing, personal attacks, political extremism and smear campaigns”, or at least my blog is. For a repected publication, I find this story particularly one sided. There’s no balance in the writing and the advice to ‘get your own back’ is encouraging the same type of behaviour the article disparages:

BASH BACK. If you get attacked, dig up dirt on your assailant and feed it to sympathetic bloggers. Discredit him.

Whilst there are some elements of truth in that the lynch mob attitude has and does happen, there’s a lot more than the world painted in this article, which comes across as one man’s crusade against a single issue, without considering other sides. So far better off in a blog than a respected jounalistic article then.

Shel Israel’s open letter to Forbes today, challenges the journalism of the article, in stereotyping such a group though the activities of a minority.

Oct 28

Conversation Gap

Via Steve Rubel, a nice – if obvious in hindsight – method of tracking conversation about your brands in amongst the category. Comparing category vs brand conversations using a tracking tool such as IceRocket allows you to see the percentage of the conversation. And Hills and Knowlton have provided an interface so that you don’t to work out any inclusive or exclusive search terms.

The example shown looks at comparing two brands against category.


Oct 27

Flickr Printing

You can now print from Flickr (or you can if in the US, other markets to follow). But even though I can’t print my photos, any contact I have in the US can. good extension to the service – reduces the activity required to get things done.

Oct 27

Marketing and Blogs

Shel Israel comments about the approach of marketing executives to blogs, how “they want to use blogs to extend their integrated marketing solutions, thus extending the brand.” By integrated marketing, they mean another method to push the message. If all they do is push the message, they are not a blog as commonly perceived, but just another marketing website that uses a particular toolset to manage the message. And for some companies, that may be the right approach for the corporate environments they operate in. For others, the real benefits come from really turnign it into a one-to-many communication tool, allowing relationships to develop and the readers understanding the people behind the blog, not just the message.

Oct 27

Marketing Tea

I met up lat night with some friends who have set up Jing Tea, a tea import business. There’s an obvious passion for the tea, which, in some ways, is similar to the the wine or malt whisky business. There’s a whole range of flavours and tastes to explore. So we’ve got some plans to help this exploration process.

Oct 26

Scott Adams’ Blog

Scott Adams, the creator of Dilbert, has a blog. The tone os being set by his call for people to advise him of spelling and grammatical mistakes:

1. Research the Native American method for sending smoke signals.
2. Set your couch on fire.
3. Stand on the roof and use your “good shirt” to control the signal as it comes out of the chimney.

Oct 26

Linkage and searches

For most of the life of this blog, my most popular search terms appear to have been related to tropical beaches, Daydream Island and things holiday related. This month, for some reason, it appears to be formula1. Which may explain why one of my most common referrers appears to a polish Formula 1 message board. What that most likely means is that some poster has ‘borrrowed’ the image I posted here of my trip to Silverstone, although I can’t find it on the forum yet. Then again, it;s in Polish, so I have no idea even where to start.

Oct 25

Online spending

Whilst the Advertising Association is predicting less than expected growth in total advertising spend in 2005 (2.3% vs 3.9%) on line advertising is expected to grow by just over 39%. Great – for me, it’s always easier to ignore the online stuff, it has to be really good to make me want to look. But when it’s good, I’m far more likely to pay attention. So the quality bar gets raised.

Oct 25

UK Gov encourages Remix culture

A new site from the Royal Schools of Music, backed by the UK Government has been lauched to provide teenagers to learn more about music, according to the BBC. I tried to give it a go, but unfortunately could not get the sound on any browser and it seemed to completely crash Firefox – so looks an interesting idea, pity about the execution.

Oct 25

A Tale of Hope

I’ve been following Clayton Cubbitt’s Operation Eden blog, about his family’s life after Hurricane Katrina destroyed their home. Today, he posts about an act of generosity

I received the email from a guy named Kenny…In it, he told me how his “sweetie”, Elizabeth, had stumbled upon Operation Eden, and how she related to my mom’s life, and to her plight, and had been moved to tears by this post. He told me about how they had been aching to reach out and help someone that had been displaced by Katrina since the storm first hit, and had, like many others, been rebuffed by bureaucrats. He told me Elizabeth’s daughter, Toni Marie, had just purchased a rental property, and wanted to offer it to my mom and little brother for a year, rent free, until we could rebuild my mom’s Eden.

With officialdom’s failure to get to grips with the problems, hope can come from unexpected sources. Read Rachel’s story about the group that has formed post the London bombings to see the same kind of support.