May 16

Uncertainty continues

Great. I’ve not had a job for the last few weeks, or rather, I should say, the whole company has been re-organising, it’s finally got to our section and since the middle of April everyone has been in limbo in that all roles are being opened up and you have to re-apply for your job. The uncertainty was supposed to close down last week at the end of the consultation period, but not yet it seems. Just came into work to see a bulletin that for the level above me it is complete and they can now go put names into the roles. For my level and all there others, the unions and employee groups have requested another 2 weeks. Oh well….

May 15

Podshows revisited

I received a comment today regarding an older post I made about www.podshows.com. Now, this isn’t Adam Curry’s podshow.com, but a UK based site providing shows by well-known DJs for payment and for free.

Phyllis commented about the commercialisation of ‘casting, whatever the flavour, especially when combined with the government’s agreement that the licence fee may be replaced with a PC fee, perhaps when the current licence agreement stops in 2017. One thing she says is:

I’ve heard it proposed that, as more and more material is going to be delivered via the internet, the licence fee might be replaced with an internet charge. Does this statement mean that this is a move in a direction which would INCLUDE a charge for radio as well as TV? Radio is currently free and do not want to see charges levied via the back door.

I think a saturation point is going to be reached about charging for entertainment. We already pay to receive every TV channel except those on freeview, on top of paying for books, films and music.

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Paying for entertainment is not new, and it’s not going to go away. Although we don’t need a TV Licence to listen to Radio, it still funds the BBC stations, as well as funding the 6 BBC freeview channels. For satellite and cable we pay twice, once for the service and again through all the commercials. Even the multitude of free entertainment on the net I pay for – around 4 times the licence fee in connection fees.

But I do hold a different view. I would far rather pay a single licence fee and receive commercial free entertainment than get things “free” and be subject to advertising every 10 minutes. The BBC continue to fulfil their remit towards public broadcasting; such things like the recent announcment of BBC backstage are definitely great ways to use content. When I do watch commercial channels, I watch via Tivo, so if watching “live”, i tend to watch 10-15 minutes behind and forward through the ads. Often, only ads I see are those that are commented on via the web.

If they do charge a PC fee instead of TV fee, then it would not bother me too much (as long as instead rather that as well). However, I understand Phyllis; point – at the moment you do not pay to receive radio. But I do not see all radio being delivered via the internet – anologue is stillthere, digital broadcastng is growing, it’s available over freeview. And although you may not pay a licence for having a radio, if you have a TV, or buy or use anything that has a marketing budget you’re still paying for the service

May 15

Store Wars Geeks

Go take a look at Store Wars, from the Organic Trade Organisation. A short parody (or should that be piss-take) of Star Wars with all the characters played by puppet vegetables, so we have Obi Wan Cannoli, a cucumber as Cuke Skywalker, Lord Tader and, my personal favourite, Chewbroccoli. There does appear to be a purpose to this (sort of) in trying to advise people the advantages of organic food, but just ignore the message adn enjoy the fun! I’m not a fan of flash websites when they are trying to provide information, but for this kind of fun, it’s pretty useful.

May 15

Anglosphere Blogger Bash

Last night I went to a Bloggers Bash run by Adriana and Perry, some of the people behind The Big Blog Company and Samizdata. A great night that went on well into the morning. There were lots of new people to meet for me, unfortunately many of whom I only got their first names and never got to working out URLS! (although many do contribute to the previous two blogs.) such as Tom, Brian, Scott, David, Jessica etc etc, But I did work out Elena’s. There were guests from the US, Stephen Green from Vodkapundit and Megan from Asymetrical Information. I’ve posted a picture on Flickr, waiting for the Martinis to be poured.

May 14

Feed overload

It’s taken me a week to finally get through all the blog feeds that had built up from my holiday…but finally done. Hooray. All I have to do now is wait another 5 minutes and there’ll be more there.

May 14

Geotagging

More fun stuff with Flickrand GoogleMaps. Dan Catt on geobloggers is providing an interface place Flickr place images on Google maps, using appropriate tags, along with lattitude nad longitude. And to save the effort of trying to work out the lat/long and then adding the tags yourself to Flickr, Steeve has written a GreaseMonkey Script, the wonderful Firefox extension, to automate adding the tags.

May 14

Buying kettles

Looks like I may have o go and buy me a new kettle. I may only need a new power cord, but not sure if I can but one on its own. Never having bought a kettle, I’m not sure what to look for. The one I own was a present when I left for university 17 years ago. It’s had a good life.

May 11

Airplane Announcements

On my recent plane trips, tbere were a couple of nice comments made by the stewards/hosts (or whatever I’m supposed to call them); one by accident, one on purpose.

On the way out, the announcer made an unfortunate anatomical mixup. Instead of asking us to tighten our seatbelts over out hips, we were supposed to contort ourselves and fasten them over our lips.

On the way back, the announcer was French, with a pronounced accent. In the regular plea to get the plane to actually listen to the safety announcement, he’d developed a tactic. “listen carefully, I shall say this only once”. The British onboard laughed… the rest of the plane looked at hte British and wondered what they were on, never having being subject to the cultural phenomenom that was ‘Allo ‘Allo

May 09

Army of Zombies

What does this say about Telewest customers? The BBC are reporting that nearly 1 million Telewest addresses have been blacklisted as the many of their customer machines have been utilised by spammers. Telewest are reported to be helping the customers gain back control of their machines.

May 09

PSP2 – screen changes colour by date

I mentioned earlier about the PSP having a pink screen. Apparently that was only an April issue – the screen changes colour based on month. Dave Taylor is listing the following colours:

May 2005: Dark Green
June 2005: Purple
July 2005: Aqua
August 2005: Sky Blue
September 2005: Violet
October 2005: Gold
November 2005: Light Brown
December 2005: Red

I’m glad – pink is definitely the wrong colour!

May 08

Holidays over

My week away is over. Spent a brilliant week in Barbados doing very little. It fulfilled the brief – diving, sleeping, eating, drinking. Little activity outside of the hotel. Which was probably a good idea since it rained every day except 2, and one of those was the day we came home. You can’t do too much sightseeing in torrential rain. I did get a few good photos and came back feeling refreshed.

Barbados Coast

Apr 28

Someone Who’ll Watch Over Me

Went to see this play last night at the Ambassadors’ theatre. Strong powerful script, great acting, leaving many with a tear in the eye. Definitely not for a light-hearted night out, with a subject matter of hostages being held in Beirut; however, there was a rich seam of wicked hunour running through it.

Apr 26

Too late

Day trip to Edinburgh and three hour delay in getting back. Stuck at the airport lounge with a laptop which has a battery life of about 20 seconds and not able to drink as had to drive when I get back to Heathrow. Long, boring evening.

Apr 25

or just too old

There’s a conference at Microsoft today on Social Computing. David Weinberger has posted notes about a presentation from 6 teenage girls and their use of technology.

It would be interesting to get a comparison with the UK usage. I’m not sure that they would necessarily believe text messaging is too expensive; the cross-network SMS has been around a lot longer here and texting is more the norm that in the US. When I work there, I have to change habits, and not assume that texts about being late to next meeting will get through!

“Blogging was big last year, but now it’s not”. As the media are picking up blogging, the week it makes the front cover of Business Week, the teenager has decided it is old hat, and no longer worth bothering about. I’d like to know what they were using – my bet is that it is primarily Livejournal and it was about sharing gossip and other teenage angst; the information sharing that is being talked about now is still gossip and opinion…but seen to be more adult 😉

“My attention span is just too short for email. I need a rapid response.” Fast response, via phone or IM, always there, no waiting, no anticipation. No patience. Indicative of the culture that wants everything now. Then agian, if I’m online I’m the same – looking for information, And if at work or at home, I’m generally on line. So I understand this..I’ve suffered when visting parents with a machine that takes about 5 mins to boots, sort itself out and then get conencted to a 56k dialup. Too slow..I need my email now. But at least with email or web there is some time to reflect on the content. With IM..never.

But the key thing throughout is connection and interactivity. They use what their friends use, whether IM client, blogs or other types of community software. So for the tech business, it gives a model – spot the trend leaders, the conenctors, get them using the software and others will follow.

Apr 25

Growing old gracefully

Here’s a link to a T-Mobile page that is a fun way of passing the time – if I could get it to work. You upload a picture and, through the wonders of technology, it ages the photo. SO you can predict how you may look with after the ravages of time. I go this via Blogdex…given it’s still an IP address and I can’t find the link on the main site, I wonder if it is supposed to be live?