Oct 24

BBC Baloon

I love how even an august organisation such as the BBC can sometime have typos (yes, I know I have no leg to stand on with the frequency of mine)

BBC Baloon

BBC Baloon

Oct 12

Guardian Gagged

According to the Guardian they have been prevented from reporting on a story concerning a question that is going to be asked in Parliament this week. They say:

The only fact the Guardian can report is that the case involves the London solicitors Carter-Ruck, who specialise in suing the media for clients, who include individuals or global corporations.

According to Guido Fawkes at Order-Order, this falls foul of the 1689 Bill of Rights. According to Wikipedia, the right is:

Freedom of speech and debates; or proceedings in Parliament ought not to be impeached or questioned in any court or place out of Parliament.

As the Guardian says:

The right to report parliament was the subject of many struggles in the 18th century, with the MP and journalist John Wilkes fighting every authority – up to the king – over the right to keep the public informed. After Wilkes’s battle, wrote the historian Robert Hargreaves, “it gradually became accepted that the public had a constitutional right to know what their elected representatives were up to”.

Accordingly, the UK Parliament site shows what appears to be the question in question.

Paul Farrelly (Newcastle-under-Lyme): To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of legislation to protect (a) whistleblowers and (b) press freedom following the injunctions obtained in the High Court by (i) Barclays and Freshfields solicitors on 19 March 2009 on the publication of internal Barclays reports documenting alleged tax avoidance schemes and (ii) Trafigura and Carter-Ruck solicitors on 11 September 2009 on the publication of the Minton report on the alleged dumping of toxic waste in the Ivory Coast, commissioned by Trafigura.

Yes, a gagging order really works when the government website publishes the story, It just makes me want to know what else the Guardian know

Update: Here’s the Minton Report (pdf) that Carter-Ruck don’t appear to like people seeing. It’s on Wikileaks

Oct 10

Augmented Reality – the History application

I like the idea of augmented reality, the idea that using a device (usually a mobile) I can get more out of the world. For someone who sits watching TV with the laptop, so I can dig into more information about what I’m watching, being able to do that on the move would be great. Yes, I can look it up via the web, but it can be easier to have it all pulled together.

Whenever I talk about the subject, I bring up my most desired application. Tube stations and restaurants tourist places and all that are fun and useful but I want something with a bit of depth, and that depth is time. I want a history tool. I want to be able to walk around London and know that Marble Arch used to be Tyburn. That this is the path of the Fleet. That Trafalgar Square used to be the Royal Mews. Point my phone at something and it would offer me the chance to move back and forward in time, giving me information about what it was. In some places, where the images are there, I want to see what it looked like. A perfect example is the paintings on the walls of one of the Tube tunnels at Charing Cross, which gives you street plans and drawings of buildings of the area. Let’s put that on the phone.

This isn’t a simple mash-up, it’s not pulling ready-made data together, because as far as I know, it’s not there. We’ll have to build the database, turn into historians to pull it together. I think that Layer is a possibility, with the ability to create data sets. This is what I want, but I have no idea how to build it..anyone out there doing it already?

Update: I went along to Mobile Monday London yesterday and ended up chatting about this app. A few more ideas got developed.

  • The database element and app itself appears to be fairly simple. It needs to use the location and retrieve the data for that location, and then be able to move through the different time layers.
  • Collecting content is more difficult. There could be ways of partnering with museums, ie Museum of London, or other local museums. A great source would be local history groups, that often have specialised archives. It should be possible to allow users to develop the content, around a specific location.
Oct 08

Twitter Broken

Twitter is currently broken, it’s stopped sending out updates. But the search is still working, so you can see that everyone is still using Twitter to tweet that it’s broken!

Twitter Broken

Twitter Broken