Feb 28

It’s Cold

It is so very very cold here, as the weathermen keep saying a wind chill factor down into the teens, whic I translate as far too many digits below zero and just cold. I need to walk 5 blocks to the office and I suffer.

On the way I stopped off in Barnes and Noble and pondered over the difference between UK and US book covers. Put 2 piles of books together, one from each country and it would be so easy to tell them apart without getting close. There’s a cdertain set of colours that are used, a certain set of typefaces that just scream US books. Just look at these 2 images, for the Da Vinci code – US and UK version. You can spot the country from a fair distance. Of course, these preference have evolved and there are unlikely to be in seismic shifts from either country to make the covers the same. They work – people buy books with those covers, so each new book has to have the same type of cover. It would take a different kind of publisher to challenge the excepted market trend here.

Feb 27

Feb Geek Dinner

I forgot to post this! Went to the Paul Boag Geek dinner last Thursday and had a really good time. THe venue and food were good, and the speach was well worth listening too – Paul did a very good job of answering some challenging questions about web 2.0. The key thing from his speach that stuck with me was his confession about making it up as he went along..and that he thought that many people were in the same boat when it came to standards and accessibility. Good write ups over on Ian’s blog and on Simon;s…who won the trip to SXSW where we made plans to meet up.

Feb 27

What Real women want

The discussion between Gia and Anina has been interesting, as both try to explain their position to the other. Gia has now posted a list of what she thinks women shold do…

I have no time for women who think that the be all and end all of existence is looking pretty and being nice.

Here is what I think:

1. Girls should grow up valuing their Brains over their Looks.
2. Boys should grow up valuing women’s Brains over their Looks. (yes, yes, I understand genetics… but your boys will have much better relationships if they desire a woman they can fondle AND talk to…)
3. Girls should grow up understanding they have control over their bodies.
4. Girls should NOT grow up believing that menstruating is a curse and something to be ashamed of (without going into a big long explanation, I believe that deep seated shame and revulsion because of a natural bodily function is at the heart of a lot of women’s emotional and psychological problems… but that is for another day…)
5. Girls and women should not define themselves exclusively by their relationships with and to other people (ie to put being a mother, wife, daughter, sister, friend before being an independent person)
5. Smart women should be proud to be smart.
6. Women should show off their intelligence at every opportunity. Flaunt it.
7. Smart women need to take their place in public eye rather than ‘just pretty women’.
8. Women should never feel they have to put up or shut up.
9. Women should always use their gender if it will get them ahead (I mean, if wearing a low-cut shirt at the interview will actually get you the job, then go right ahead. You’ll only really *keep* the job if you can actually do it… )
10. Women and girls should always remember, ‘Well-behaved women seldom make history.”

Agreement all round from here

Feb 26


Finally arrived…a good trip, just marred by the longest wait and lines I’ve had at JFK. SItting in a very cool hotel in Manhattan where at least the wifi is free in the lobby bar- where a drink is just marginally cheaper than paying for the connection in the room. Seems like Nicole is also travelling. However, it looks like she lost her luggage and got stopped in customs for bringing in some dangerous merchandise – apples and bananas. I thought we may have been crossing paths at some point, but she’s off to different things.

Once I get back from this work trip, I turn around in 24 hours and fly back to the US, this time San Francisco, then Austin, Las Vegas and Seattle and back to San Fran for a final few days. A nice little holiday before I need to look for some paying work

Feb 26



Originally uploaded by RachelC.

Waiting on the tarmac to board my flight to new york. Only took forty minutes from leaving the house to be sitting in the lounge..But nearly did not make it as i frantically searched for a passport. I thought for a moment i had left it at work but finally found it.

Feb 25



Originally uploaded by RachelC.

Last night I had a small party at work to celebrate my leaving. At the end of the night. just the 4 of us were left. With the remains of the tab, we celebrated with Dom Perignon champagne and Johnnie Walker Blue Label. There are more photos here and here.

Feb 23

Google Page Creator

This did not get off to a good start…having default purple layout is enough to make me quit the screen very quickly.


And when I went to change the colour scheme, it decided to throw a wobbly.


Second time round, it behaves…and so I produce this. Very bad, no thougth what so ever, but in 5 minutes I have a website that I could, if I had the time, put some real content on..although it appears only if the content were words and pictures. But for that, it could not be easier. I can add text and images and drag them around. I can switch styles and layouts with a click of a button. This is a simple way of getting someone their first website up and running. What it won’t do of course is let people learn how a website is put together…but I can see my family loving this.

Feb 22

Edgeio listings

Edgeio is an interesting idea. A start up from Mike Arrington from TechCrunch it utilises the increasing spread of tags to drive a listing service. Posting information on your own blog and tagging the post with listing will cause it to be picked up by the service and added to the lists.


Having the web2.0 essentials of rounded corners and graded fills it’s a nice looking site. Still in it’s early days, it only has around 600 listings and still has a lot of test posts…brain for sale anyone? On that post you can also see the ‘acknowledgement; process, with the trackback showing the post has been listed.

Search is by text or by categories, with a geographical filter thrown in as well. Once within a category, you can drill down further by increasing the number of tags that are being looked for, to narrow down the search.

On the face of it, a very simple idea. However, digging down into the FAQs (which I think need to be a lot more prominent) shows that to get the most of it you need to manage your tags very carefully, to prevent listings or to close listings. This may be a barrier to entry, being more complicated than a listing service ‘admin form’. Edgeio has its own ping server but also works with blo.gs and pubsub, so any tag or category labled listing is picked up, this menas that stuff can be listed unintentionally without ever being cleared off the system. They say they work actively to prevent spam and have a moderating team to add the human touch; the service is also self-policing, with users beign able to flag suspicious posts.

Overall, I like it. Now, all I need is something to sell…so see the next post.

Feb 21

Children’s Tales

At work, a few of the team have children and recently they’ve hit the web generation gap. The team all remember LBW, Life Before Web, and have embraced the new world to various degrees. Not so the kids – they know nothing else. Two dads in the team have recently come in with tales of their 11 year-olds, who are both in the middle of setting up websites – and asking Dad for help. One of them is obviously a budding entrepeneur and has set up an agony aunt website, and is receiving plees for adolescent advice. Now she’s off setting up her own domain and expanding the empire; leaving poor Dad a little flabberghasted and wondering what next!

Feb 19

4 Generations

4 Generations

Originally uploaded by RachelC.

A family gathering – 4 generations of the family, with the youngest being 2 week old Joshua. He’s the first boy born in the direct family for 60 years.

My mother immeidately wished she’d cleaned up – but this is what you get with a 5 year old and a toddler running around.

Feb 16

Guinness Great Britain Starts Blogging

Disclaimer: I still work for this company (but only for the next 2 weeks…) so this is little bit of an ad for a site, but thought it would be interesting to share some of the process behind the scenes and the challenges of digital marketing in an alcohol company.

Over at guinnessblog.co.uk you’ll find a slightly different departure for the company from its usual consumer marketing websites. The team responsible for marketing Guinness in Great Britain have started a blog to explore and explain all the work that goes on behind the scenes in marketing the beer. It’s been a long journey from idea to reality for this site; long and varied conversations with the legal teams to ensure that a site would comply with our Marketing Code and allow the brand team to have a conversation with their consumers that would follow the principles in the document.

So you’ll find a few things different on this site. The first, and most obvious, is a gateway page that asks you for your age and country. This is done on all the company sites (you’ll even find it on the corporate site to access examples of advertising) to ensure visitors are old enough to view alcohol advertising (and that they come from a country where it is allowed). You can save a cookie to ensure you don’t get it the next time you visit.

The moderation will be quite controlled as well. It’ll only be during working hours and won’t be immediate – the brand team are doing this themselves, not the agency, and they have lots more marketing to do as well. There’s also a fair few guidelines about what is acceptable – the comments will still have to comply with the marketing code. But the team have committed to do their best to get all comments submitted onto the blog and answer them.

It’s a new step for the team – I hope it works for them.



Feb 16

Women In Technology Network

Last night I attended a networking event run by Women In Technology, with the topic of Flexibility in the workplace. There were 2 very different keynote speakers, a panel debate and then a chance to eat and drink and chat.

Eileen Brown was up first, talking about how technology helps her be flexibile in the workplace. With a 130 mile each way commute, she relies on being always connected – the phone is her friend. She’s helped by a culture at Microsoft that has set up all the tech required to be able to work anywhere. She did more in a 15 minute speach to explain the benefits of the anytime/anyplace MS office than any of the poor dinosaur ads. Some great numbers in explaining the reach of devices – MS apparently have just over 5 PCs for each employee.

Second speach was from Ray Testa of Lehman brothers. A lot, lot drier, looking at the policies and procedures the company has. Not too much that I could take from that. The following panel answered pre-submitted questions from the audience (no interaction, no chance to reflect and challenge the speakers in the public forum). The general theme was about strategies to convince the companies to do flexible working, about the change management required to adopt to a culture where there is less command and control and more trust.

One very annoying thing, picked up in later conversations was a few of the assumptions of the panel. On being asked about balancing career and child care, the answers were along the lines of get a nanny or get your partner to stay at home. One of the women from Accenture mentioned a survey of successful female Partners in the firm – the one thing they all had in common was a stay at home husband. But very few people have the salary to support a family on one income or to employ a nanny, or have a partner that would be prepared to stay at home.

This event was a completely different event from the Girl Geek Dinners. Both women-focused, both opportunities to network. But the WiT is the corporate, seminar style, controlled panel, looking at bigger business, looking at supporting in a formal way; organised through a paid team Girl Geek Dinner is your small web start up, flexible, changing organisers, locations, M.O’s. There’s very little cross over between the 2 events in terms of attendees. I definitely prefer the later way.

Feb 15

Microsoft Office Stickers

Talking about Microsoft (well, sort of) they had a particularly lame attempt yesterday at marketing the new Office Suite in Waterloo Station. The station has been decked out in banners and posters and great big floor stickers with the Dinosaur campaign all over it. (It’s big in the papers as well) And to bring this home, some experiential ad agency decided that having people with big dino masks wandering round the station handing out cards full of stickers. Yes, little stickers of people with dino heads on and the various slogans. All I need the the picture book with scenes in that you just stick the stickers into.

Of course, the campaign is working in one way – I’m talking about it. But I’m thinking about why, if it is as good a product as they are trying to say, isn’t the marketing better? And I won’t get to try the features either – won’t work on the set up we have here.

Feb 15

Measuremap bought by Google

Measuremap, my favourite blog measurement tool, has been sold to Google. No longer does the screen proclaim it’s being bought to you by Adapative Path, it’s Google all the way.

The email from Jeff Veen talking about the aquisition promises good things to come:

: I’m writing you to announce that Measure Map has been acquired by Google, effective today. For the near term, you will see no difference in its operations. In the not so distant future, you can expect great things from this acquisition. We couldn’t be happier to find such an ideal home for Measure Map, and are thrilled at the possibilities

For me, it’s a nice simple tool that gives me the information I need – it’s my little daily addiction to see where the traffic comes from. ; I use Google Analytics as well, but never need all the information. AP have been improving the data retention and trending available, so it’s was going the right way. The most immediate need for me would to put a few more hamsters under the hood to spin the wheels faster – it is a little slow sometimes.

Good luck to all the team – looking forward to see where it goes. There’s more information here

Feb 14

Women in Technology

I;ve read two great posts this week on Women in Technology.http://giagia.blogspot.com/2006/02/modelling-or-whoring-atoms-one-thing.html

The first, from Gia, addresses her feelings after watching Anina at Lift06. She was not impressed, feeling that Anina was there because of being a model:

I’m genuinely glad that Anina is excited about “technology”, but can’t we as people who are involved with moulding the future perhaps concentrate on women who are doing really cool stuff for geeks- not just because they are women, but cos they are simply doing cool stuff?

Tara rephrases the question “So, why aren’t there more women in technology? Or…to rephrase it…why aren’t there more prominent women in technology?” The question is not answered, but good challenges made about perceptions of women in geek space.

Feb 08

Feedburner Announcement

Feedflare…announcing an API to “extend the usefulness and reach of your syndicated content by integrating third party web services and offering them as linked actions users can take when viewing feed content, wherever it is displayed ” feedburner.com