Jun 30


Scoble says that comments are broken and he gets more work done. David Weinberger says he’s stopped reading blogs. Jeanne Sessum says she can’t keep up. There’s too much information. The ‘important’ or ‘interesting’ stuff will repeat itself, will stay buoyant in the sea of the blogospehre, but you’ll only see it if you are looking. And the informations’s status is determined by the interest of the readers; whether there is enough interest to pass it on. At BARC, Suw Charman talked about subjectivity, how we are reflect our values and perceptions in what we read, write and say.

And my subjectivity, my background, meant that the themes I picked during Tuesday afternoon reflect my interests. Blogging and the role of gossip in the evolution of lanquage. The role of reciprical altruism and the alpha blogger. Information hubs and a matriarchal society. These are the themes that are floating in my head – hopefully I can pull them together into a whole.

Jun 30

More Google stuff

They’ve been busy. Google have released 2 further applications this week. The first is Google video. THois has been coming for a while, as they have been requesting video submissions. Now they release a search method for them. Each video appears to have documented metadata and transcripts (as far as possible) which are searchable. To watch the videos you need to download a plug in (which has already been hacked).

On a more ‘traditional’ route, Google Print is also in beta. Google print searches the text of books that have been provided from publishers and libraries. In many cases, the search results link to online publishers/sellers. so you can purchase there and then.

Jun 30

Earth maps

I’ve been playing with NASA’s WorldWind for a while. It uses the LandSat images and Radar Topography to give you 3D images of the big features. The information is good, you can switch views with ease, but performance has always been a problem for me. I fail to finish most sessions as server connection usually drops. Now Google has bought out a similar service, using the Keyhole Satellite images. From first appearances, it appears to have less data than the NASA service, but functionality is very similar. Where it wins is with performance and ease of use. The interface for Google Earth is far more friendly, designed for a more massive audience than WorldWind, which definitely has a scientific focus. All I need now is more time to play…whilst waiting for Microsoft’s entry into this space.

Jun 27

Traffic Cameras

The AA today have released a road atlas detailing around 3000 speed cameras and known positions for up to 3000 mobile cameras. They are releasing this information for ‘safety purposes’ as the cameras are ‘usually’ placed in accident blackspots. But Transport 2000 have a problem with this, in that it will allow people to speed between cameras.

So, I could be really smart, plan my route, mark all the cameras and remember where they all are. Alternatively, I could download the £40 extension for the TomTom system and have the system tell me where they are!

Jun 27


Or Political Uncorrectness. In amongst stories about graffiti artists turned fashion designers and Porn Stars mkving into clothes modelling Adrants have a story about a new T-shirt company whose designs will probably shock anyone with an politically-correct streak. Read the Adrants story first – then go to the site.

Jun 27

P2P loses

The US Supreme Court vote unaminously against Grokster and Streamcast with a ruling that means P2P software developers can be held liable for users actions. Via The Register, CNN, BBC and loads of other places.

Jun 26


As I left NYC this morning, the city had got barricades all down 5th Avenue in preparation for all the viewers for today’s Gay Pride parade (lots of pictures of the event over on Fickr). Yesterday, there was a smaller event, a lesbian march which appeared to be a far more serious affair. Except for one women, who’d dressed in red dominatrix gear and was tied up to a post on a small trolley on tiny castors/wheels. Good idea – execpt for the potholes; she kept getting stuck and having to be dragged over the lumps, before unceremoniously tumbling to the floor. I’m sure it wasn;t the first nor the last time – she’ll have some bruise to show for it!

Jun 26

Survey results

Some preliminary results for the MIT survey have been posted here – or they wil be once the demand issue is sorted out. See what happens when things let loose…

Jun 26


MIT are runnning a survey of bloggers and blogging and are looking for a large sample. If you have a spare 15 mins, here’s the link:

Take the MIT Weblog Survey

Jun 25

Doing It

The Register has a good piece about getting things done by just getting things done. By ‘Doctor John’, it details working in IT support for foreign language teachers in Inner Mongolia. An well written account of working sonewhere where rules can be broken, if they exist at all,

Jun 25

Wiki trials

Last week LA Times stopped an experiment that had only been running for a few days – a wiki driven online editorial page which was meant to give its readers a voice and allow the paper to have some real community driven content. But the site quickly got vandalised and the paper pulled it down before the community could correct itself, leaving this message up:

Unfortunately, we have had to remove this feature, at least temporarily, because a few readers were flooding the site with inappropriate material.
Thanks and apologies to the thousands of people who logged on in the right spirit.

In many places, the LA Times attempts have been greeted with open arms as the ‘right’ thing to do in opening up its pages to reader contributions but a little surprised that a wiki was chosen. Wikis are notorious for the freedom they have, the freedom that can lead to random vandalism which can only be kept in check by the development of a community that self polices. The Observer, a newspaper that runs its own blog for reader contributions was not all surprised at the outcome.

But could it have worked? Ross Mayfield has published an open letter to the paper that covers some of the steps that may have ensured the continued existence of the wiki. Could these stpes have prevented the vandalism – no, you are always going to have people who enjoy doing such things and whose sense of netiquette is so stunted that they do not care about the consequences. But they could allow the community to do something and manage such vandalism if the LA Times opens their virtual doors again.

Update: Rafael Behr, who authored the Observer blog piece referred to above has a longer piece in the online paper

Jun 25

Tourists and Security

In my effort to be a tourist I decided I would go up the Empire State Building. Having heard nightmare stories about the queues, I decided I would be there nice and early, so I got to the doors at 8.05 (I’m only one block away from it) to find around 100 people already in front of me. But the queue mobed quickly to the first barrier, the security check. Bags went though the xray machine, but all other things were meant to go in a box before you went through the metal detector. Before you got to the screening, one person was going up and down the line telling people nopt to take jackets off or anything like that, just put the bag through. So they didn’t..and went through the detector with keys,phones etc in pockets and were then yelled at by a women who did nothing but yell. One guy in front of me tried to take off his jacket to put through the machine as he obviously had lots of things in the multitude of pockets; he got told to put it back on, then got repeatedly sent back and forth through the detector until he found every single thing that was setting it off. At no point did the guard stop and tlak to him, see what he had or run over him with one of the personal detectors, just kept yelling. I;ve siad it before – what is it with the guards here, did they all go to the same school of discourtesy?

After security, everything went very smoothly and I got to the top with no more waiting. The view was superb and i took lots of photos. Somehow the numbers were controlled so that there was always ‘just enough’ people up there, I could always find somewhere to stand and stare. I hired one of the audio tour sets they have – I guess if I had looked hard enough I could have foind the whole thing as a podcast for free.

For the rest of the day I visited Times Square, had brunch in Bryant Square and took a 3 hour open-topped bus tour around the lower half of Manhattan. So now I’m dehydrated and slight burnt, as it is very hot here – time to rest, top up the liquid and think if I want to do anything else this visit.

Jun 24

Wireless in Manhattan

Sitting here in a friend’s apartment smack bang in the centre of Manhattan I find 6 open wireless networks,all for the taking. Beats anywhere I’ve been in London.

Jun 24

Time Zones

I’m definitely in the wrong timezone. The day started with a 7.30am work call. I’m not too bad on doing late calls with the US when I’m in the UK but early calls with the UK is just difficult. I;ve then spent 4 hours with an agency in an assessment, to see if they are going to be doing one of our websites. Finally got a chance to relax and prepare for my all-on day of sightseeing tomorrow!

Jun 23


With the death of the Philipine’s Cardinal Jaime Sin, there has been some interesting comments about his name. The best one I’ve seen is here, but I’m goig to paraphrase it anyway…

A certain Irish cleric had obviously had a crisis of faith earlier in his vocation and had had an affair which resulted in a son. When this came out in the press (as these things tend to do) he resigned his post. He then travelled abroad to the Phillipines to seek forgiveness from the Cardinal, with these immortal words: “Forgive me Sin, for I have fathered”.