Mar 31

More stuff

A few other things I’ve had sitting in tabs.

Cadbury’s Creme Eggs are launching a talent contest; entries are discussed and broadcast as podcasts. The prize – a free consultation with a talent agent. I’m with Adverblog on this – looks like a ‘what’s hot’ moment.

TechCrunch has reviewed Online Feedreaders. I think I may try out Rojo and take a look at it.

Some good analysis of .com Domain Name registrations from Dennis Forbes.

April Fool stuff from ask.com (can’t be much else, despite them soliciting feedback from readers whether to wait ’til Monday):


This will go down as the day the momentum in the search wars shifted to Ask.com,” said Jim Lanzone, General Manager of Ask U.S. “When combined with our site’s already-powerful “Narrow Your Search” and “Expand Your Search” capabilities, “Rhyme Your Search” sets Ask.com apart with the unprecedented ability to suggest phat new ideas for your search.”

RhymeRank was developed at a top-secret laboratory near Ask’s headquarters in Oakland, California. It is based upon the educational theory that people commit information to memory more effectively when it is phonetically consistent. Understanding this, Ask hired dozens of experts to develop algorithms capable of producing the best and most irrelevant rhymes.

Mar 31

London Events

There’s a few events in London this week.

Monday: First is Mobile Monday, the local chapter of what appears to a growing global series of meetings. There’s another get together as well, the London 2.0 Meetup

Tuesday: another mobile meetup – Swedish Beers. This is less formal than Monday, with no panel or Q&A; a good networking event.

Wednesday: There’s a geek dinner with Dave Teton. There’s also a Blogging Demystified event with some of London’s top bloggers being run at the Apple Store.

Thursday seems to be quiet and then Friday has a talk by Ciarán O’Riordan on Software Patents, Copyright Laws, and Open Source Software

Before all of that, this weekend there’s the annual Boat Race, which usually brings out some interesting advertisements…such as this one in today’s Evening Standard. Regardless of the ads, there’s good photo ops along the banks.

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Mar 31

Marketing RoI

I’ve been following the back and forth between Amazon’s CTO Werner Vogels, Robert Scoble and Shel Israel. An interesting challenge – provide hard numbers about the benefits of blogging. It’s far easier with websites to understand traffic, how many people have seen it, than any of the other methods of indirect marketing (ie those that are not experiential when you actually count people), but understanding monetary value of an any marketing can be a challenge, especially when it is one part in many. Teasing out the effect of one part of marketing from another, when you are trying to change people’s perceptions, is a difficult art. So providing hard numbers for blogging, especially when it is part of the marketing and communication effort, may not be possible. Or needs to be taken with a pinch of salt. I’ve developed pretty comprehensible, logical, spreadsheet based calculations for the RoI on consumer-facing, product based websites (had to follow the process, don’t you know). But I know that the accuracy was suspect – but I had numbers and a great RoI!

You may not be able to get detailed numbers, and in a lot of cases I think it is too soon to tell, but there is a definite need for some more rigorous case studies to to supplement the change stories (which is to me the greatest benefit of opening up companies) (Update: Shel’s posted more here)

PS – see Hugh’s cartoon for one take on it.

Mar 30

Web 2.0 or just the internet

Newsweek has an article about the new web, or Web 2.0 or the living web. Whatever you want to call it. It’s just the ongoing development of the web, forever changing, always arriving with newthings. Paul Boutin on Slate takes this article and pulls out the various meaings of Web 2.0:

  • a mishmash of tools and sites that foster collaboration and participation.
  • the software and languages used to build the gee-whiz features of these sites.
  • s a bid to make money by funding a bring-your-own-content site.

But in the end, it’s the same as it was..some of is just use it differently and call it different things. To the rest of the world, as Paul say, it’s just the internet.

Mar 30

Gmail delete

I’ve finally received a Delete Button in my email . At some point the Gtalk will turn up in the Inbox – it’s been in my other account for weeks!

gmaildel

Update: As Ray says in the comments..change the setting to US English and suddenly I get the Talk option on the mail page, plus the web clips feed on the same page. Looking in the options I see I can also set From addresses as well as out of office notices. Some nice improvements there.

Mar 29

Wrong Runway

Runways are usually pretty big…and I assume that there are intruments involved in getting a plane down, plus radi etc. So how does this Ryanair jet miss a runway by 6 miles and land on an Army base instead of a commerical runway?

Mar 29

Second Life

I’ve finally gone and joined Second Life. I’ll probably spend time over the next few days trying to work out how to use it, with all the accompanying pain of having to work to learn new things. My character is called Chel Maladay, and currently has no assets beyond the clothes I’m, standing up in.

Mar 29

Ezine Tips

As part of the LinkedIn bloggers group, there’s a weekly focus on new blogs – looking at the blogs of our fellow group members. This week it’s Patsi Krakoff’s blog on worting great eZines. This is an advice blog on building audience, subscriptions and improving the quality of what you are writing, not only from Patsi but she also pulls together a lot of great useful reseouces.

As blogs become mainstream and move away from personal journals or technical topics, there are more and more ‘business blogs’ either promoting a business or being a business. Resources like this help improve the quality of them and leverage the latest tools. So if you are tryihg to do this profressionally (unlike my amateur ramblings) go take a look and pick up a few tips.

Mar 29

Predictive Markets – the wisdom of crowds

One of the talks I went to at SWSX was by James Surowiecki on the Wisdom of Crowds. Looking into The Boat Race this weekend, (more info on Wikipedia) i find that there is a website that is using some of these principles - Inklings Markets. Sign in, and you can bet on various challenges with the fake money in your account. But it is also being used as a research tool, to look more into predictive markets.

Mar 29

Globalising the BBC

With the BBC being funded by licence payers in the UK, it has restrictions on what it can and cannot do – which makes it frustrating if you are outside the country trying to watch things. But now, unsurprisingly, they are looking to offer a commercial website outside of the UK, funded by ads. This looks like it will offer the interactive programmes/downloads similar to what is provided in the UK now and the new planned features, such as the downloads. BBC Worldwide and America are already partly funded commercially, so it is in line with that area.

In other BBC news, eBay has finally caught up with Blue Peter badgeholders, Winners of such badges get free entry into many attractions around the country, but the auction of some badges has meant that the benefit has been suspended until additional security can be added. Here’s an idea – evryone gets a small clip of them being awared the badge they can play on their mobile phones ;-) Of course, the real solution will likely be far more boring.

Mar 28

Reboot 8

Reboot returns in it’s 8th version. After last time, I’d fully recommend it – and this time they are asking for far more input on what you want it to be.

Mar 28

Upgrades

Nice….sometimes, things are good – an upgrade to first class!. I’m going to have to come back to SF..it happened the last time I was there as well. I guess business was overbooked and I had the most points or something like that to get the upgrade

But what do you get for first class on BA? A bigger flatbed, far comfier than business. Better food and more choice. More ‘personalised service’. Choice of film over and above that of the entertainment system – but there appear to be only one copy of each. Virgin have a digital choice system which is far better. It’s twice the price of business…not sure it’s worth it if I actually had to pay for it -but ohh, to be able to afford it ;-)

Mar 28

Home Time

Time to go home. After 4 weeks on the road, time to get back to reality, which means getting a job, earning some money and being able to pay the mortgage. It’s been a fun few weeks, with New York, San Francisci, Austin, Las Vegas and back to San Francisco.

Things I’ve learnt?

  • even if you know you are going to about 3 different climates, you still pack too much…and internal flights charge you for the excess baggage even if I’ve only got half of what is allowed on the international fligh.
  • pick the right town and you would not need to pay for for web access…although the cost of the coffee you’d need to buy to justify sitting all day in a cafe may just make the home access cheaper. More free spots in London please.
  • Las Vegas is mad. I’d have to have a very good reason to go back and it would not be gambling. I never got round to it, despite watching people lose/win a few hundred or more. But the Bellagio fountains are the best show in town – avoid the pirate at Treasure Island as far too much crushing.
  • Helipcopters are cool. Loved my frist flight – need to work out how to go again.
  • Austin is weird..in a good way. Have to go back next year..and next time may try a car to get out and about a bit more.
  • Dodgeball and Upcoming appear essential for SanFran – not so much call for it in London currently, but I can see it growing.
  • it’s not nice being on the receiving end of Tall Poppy Syndrome . Watching 2 bloogers being hit this week, I’m glad I’m fairly low key
  • Although I could so easily live in San Francisco, I could not afford to – the prices look worse than London

I am so not looking forward to the jetlag that a 9 hour time difference is goign to bring..not goign to be a fun week

Mar 27

Chrissie Hynde Auction

Looking for Chrissie Hynde Stuff? Following up from my interview notes, here’s an auction that you may be interested in:

Chrissie has very kindly donated a pair of signed Giovanna sandals to a celebrity shoe auction which has just started on eBay.

This auction is to raise money for the Mines Advisory Group which helps provide safer futures for lives affected by conflict and has destroyed close to two million landmines and unexploded bombs since 1992.

The link is:

http://search.ebay.co.uk/_W0QQsassZgivelandminestheboot

Mar 27

The Mac Hotel, Vegas

After 4 days in Vegas, we think there are opportunities for a Scottish themed casino…so welcome The Mac!

As all of these hotels have particular themes and gimmicks, here’some of the things that could be present. Blame Ewan for most of these ;-)

  • a lone piper on the top of the hotel playing everyone in, with it relayed by camera to a big multi-screen outside the hotel
  • twin tower design…massive space in the middle..a Glasgow side and an Edinburgh side. All the wifi is in Glasgow, all the money in Edinburgh. The casino is in the middle..then the scottish complex and the Experience behind
  • between the towers would be the biggest Scottsh flag you have ever seen with the Lion Rampart underneath it
  • all the men in kilts, all the women in fancy highland dressy things with massive push up bars and corsets
  • decor is red on botton, green on top, with mini bannister in the middle..with lots of pictures of the English getting slaughtered.
  • Bonnie Prince Charlie will be selling shortbread…
  • there are suites named after English men the scots have built..(RC – it’ll be a very small hotel then!)
  • there’ss be a distillery, a massive selection of whiskies
  • proper ale on handpumps (therefore served at room temp…)alcopops a plenty and dandelion and burdock instead of rootbear
  • a fake Loch Ness, with sightings of Nessie every 15 minutes. Next to it, a hillside, with haggi running around (both varieties, so running both ways)
  • the other side of the loch would be similar to the bottom half of the Royal Mile,
  • the food court would have to have the chippies only, run by Italians, dodgy kebab places and Greggs the Baker…
  • random tramps would wander round, drinking Special Brew and Buckfast
  • the roof would not be painted with a fake blue sky, but would be grey..with the sprinkers turning on every now and then.
  • there would be a River Clyde, with motor boats, and neds on the bridges throwing stuff occasionally
  • Billy Connelley would MC the evening show, which would include Gerry Rafferty, Lulu, Bay City Rollers, Rod Stewart, the Proclaimers, Annie Lennox,

At that point…we had enough!

Posted in fun
Mar 27

Grand Canyon Visit


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Originally uploaded by RachelC.

HTe last thing I did before leaving Vegas was go on a helicopter trip to the Grand Canyon. YOu have to do this – a brilliant few hours. I’d advising booking on the internet as opposed to through the hotel as my trip was $100 less than many of the others on the trip who had booked through their concierge.

Seven of us, plus pilot were loaded up in to small helicopter and flew out with lots of commentary to the Canyon, where we landed and wondered around for about 25 minutes before being transported back. Make sure you’re not scared of flying, or heights, and take lots of pictures.

Mar 27

Break Over

Over the last few days I’ve not been blogging…other things to do or not do. But today is the last full day in the US before I travel back tomorrow so it’s time to round things up a little.

I’ve been staying with Tara Hunt over the last few days and it’s been an intersting time, watching the reaction to the comments made on her recent series of posts about Pinko Marketing. There is a visceral reaction to the name and some of the political quotes that surprise me – but I’m not American and don’t have the same cultural background. A fine series of ideas, so go and read them all on the wiki, make up your own mind and contribute to the ideas.

It was one of the subjects bought up at today’s brunch, along with Barcamp, WineCamp and the odd Microssoft issue;, triggered by Ernie (the Attorney) and his partner Adriana being into town. Chris Messina, Robert Scoble and Patrick were all there as well.