Jun 19

Accents

Looking at the UK home page for YouTube I see this video has been featured..a run through of a few of the regional accents from the UK. My home accent is close but not quite to the Brummie one, being from west of the city in the Black Country.

This guy’s pretty good at doing generalised version and throws in some jokes along the way. Just for those non-UK friends who’ve heard me talk about accents and words.

Jun 13

There’s no local

I was listening to local radio this morning. Local radio in this case being Leith FM and the lunchtime show provided by Ewan Spence. Through the power of the internet streaming the show and through the connections Ewan has around the world, he had listeners from San Francisco, New York, New Zealand and London. What do the ‘locals’ make of that, when requests for songs are global? ( I had my first radio request played. Woot!)

I’m also earwigging on the NMK forum, through Twitter and Jaiku and blog posts, finding enough content to have a pretty good idea of what is going on and the announcements that are made. For example, Jason Calacanis’s announcement of his ‘publically’ driven Mahalo Greenhouse came via Twitter and Suw Kevin. Not through any press release or traditional media method. (Corrected as I’m getting my Strange Attractors messed up. Not enough coffee when I was reading things)

Although one thing I remind people constantly is that the rise of a global connectivity is still only for the minority – a growing minority sure, but confirmed to people in certain countries of certain ages or inclination. Very few of the people I know ‘before web’ are connected in the same way; in fact very few of the people I’ve met where the meeting was not facilitated through the web, are connected in that way. So whilst a lot of us are all busy globalising the local, still remember the people who are local only.

Jun 11

MySpace Stalking

I had an interesting if slightly worrying experience last week with MySpace. A case of mistaken identity, I received 11 MySpace mails over 2 days from someone I had no recollection of ever meeting. Not of reporting him to the cops, which the first email accused me of doing. I got cajoled to phone him, threatened because I did not add him as a friend, questioned about who all my friends were, accused of being glam and then finally

woops: my bad thought u were another

For a moment, I did question how easily it would be to find me if someone wanted to. The abuse was reported – even if I was the person he thought I was, it was still abuse, but there has been no response, not even an automated one, from MySpace which does not fill me with confidence about their support service.

May 29

Dan Hon looking for work

Dan Hon, who I met at SXSW when he was talking on a panel about ARGs, is leaving Mind Candy, the company behind Perplex City. He’s been involved in building some of the more interesting online experiences that I’ve seen and is now looking for the next big thing. Anyone need somebody like that?

May 29

Brummie Girls

The most read BBC article at the moment is a piece entitled Brummie girls ‘not pretty enough’. Despite the local antipathy that I should be exhibiting to my Midlands’ neighbours (I’m a Black Country girl), I think it should really read ‘Brummie girls too intelligent to enter beauty contest’ 😉

May 29

Brain Hacking

Frisbee 26 May

After Frisbee on Saturday, it was back to Bre’s loft for barbeque, a pretty quiet affair with the holidays and people being away. Between burgers and beers, I did get to try out the Brain Machine, “It flashes LEDs into your eyes and beeps sounds into your ears to make your brain waves sync up into beta, alpha, theta, and delta brainwaves!”.

You come away from the experience feeling pretty relaxed, after staring at a kaleidoscope of shapes and colours for 14 minutes. Interestingly, everyone had seen different things and saw different predominate colours. Mine was yellow, others had pinks or reds or greens.

May 22

Resource hunt heating up

It looks like there is an hot market for digital advertising people; I’ve had 3 calls already this week for various roles, although none of them are much use to me as they don’t come with a visa. Anyone looking for media director, online account directors, worldwide directors of online strategy etc who can work in the US, let me know and I can point the cold callers to you next!

May 21

Wifi fears

There’s a little bit of a kerfuffle in the UK at the moment over stories that wifi may be harmful to you; Panorama, usually a serious programme appears to be running a story about a study they did to asses radiation levels of wifi in schools. Some calmer voices are entering the story and stating a more factual set of numbers but the classic comeback has to come from Phillip on the ORG mailing list, who brings our attention to the electromagnetic waves that emits at 100,000 times the frequency of wifi and at typically 60-100x the energy usage of wifi. So when are we challenging the electric lightbulb?

May 13

Tourist Week

My parents have been here since Wednesday, so for the last few days I’ve been a bit busy doing tourist stuff. Here’s some of the stuff we got up to.

  • Empire State Building. Turned up early just as the clouds were clearing. We walked straight through, were warned of no visibility, but we could see far enough to have fun. The viewing platform was practically empty, so there was not problem in getting a view without getting in peoples way.
    north east to the met life
  • went on three tours with Gray Line, uptown, downtown and Night tour. Well worth the $44 we paid, gave a great overview of the city.
  • Visited Liberty and Ellis Islands. There was a 90 minute wait for the ferry by the time we got there around 11.30 on a Saturday, so early planning is a must. Furthermore, there were no tickets left for the museum at the Statue of Liberty – you really need to book these online 48hours in advance. No matter, the wonder round the two islands was fun.
    crown
  • Went to see Spamalot. Very, very funny. Lots of injokes and you rally do need to have seen Monty Python to get some of the references. One funny line was heard on the way out, where the couple behind us were suggesting that they ought to send the musical to England as the English would really like the humour 😉
  • A day in the park. Started off one the rowing boats, then a couple of glasses of champaign, a picnic, a snooze and a stroll. I had fun on the boats; I’ve spent a lot of time coxing racing boats and the lingo has stuck, so much so that I tended to give instructions without thinking but not everyone understands terms such as ‘hard on stroke side’. In order to not use the language I had to think instead of just reacting.

The end a a full few days, we’re all tired, but a great introduction to the city, allowing more focused touristing the next time!

May 09

Barcamp in Business Week

Good to see a piece in Business Week about the *camp movement but not surprised at Tara’s reaction. The article explains what happened at Web2Open:

“Chris Messina, 26, and two fellow Web2Open organizers stood on chairs in one of the Moscone Center’s alcoves, addressing a crowd of about 80. Speaking without microphones, they asked everyone to introduce themselves and offer three “tags,” or one-word descriptions, to give a sense of their topics of interest.”

So Tara is feeling rightly aggrieved (and see Chris’s response as well):

Seriously…months of hard work and being the ‘lead’ on the project, I get reduced to a chair perched by-stander? Luckily Chris has piped up on the subject before me, but wtf?! This ain’t the first time. And I’m not imagining things.

From what I saw, Tara did a remarkable job in organising and pushing this event and the many others she gets involved in; not getting the recognition for that role does not help her nor does it help the general attitude towards such events, whcih can be self perpetuating. I look at the London Geek Dinners – the ‘open’ ones which tended to be typically male dominated (or were, I’ve not attended any for a year) and the Girl Geek Dinners that had an entry criteria for men – you had to be invited by a woman. Given the number of women who go to the latter, self-declared geeks, it’s not a lack of numbers that skews the ration but the perception of the event. Articles like this do no help open up that perception, do not make the events inviting to women in general.

However, as an aside, the recent Podcamp NYC was the most diverse ‘tech’ event I’d ever attended; I wonder if because the media moves more towards art than pure tech.

May 09

Lunch with Hugh and Charles

A last minute phone call from Hugh on Monday led to us meeting up for a drink which segued into lunch on Monday. The original plan was to have a quick catch-up, but it turned out that Charles was the lunch date… so I ended up staying around for a good natter.

May 03

Watching the Daily Show recording

On Tuesday, I went along to a recording of The Daily Show, thanks to Sarah Forrester who arranged tickets for Ian and her’s trip over. The overall process is tiring but thankfully well organised. You can get the free tickets online.

First of all, you have to get there early. They advise you to get there between 3.30 and 4.30; we were there are 3.50 and only just made it, there were only about 20 people behind us who got in. Just because you have tickets does not guarantee you a spot. The you sit and wait. And wait. They did not start to move us until about 5,30, where we snaked round the corner to the next waiting spot. Then they give you the speech about what you can do and not do – cheer loudly, enjoy it, no cameras, no getting up, no eating or drinking. The next step is to invite you to use the bathroom, then it’s through the metal detector (where Sarah and I were both surprised to be asked ‘any guns, knives or pepper spray’? If we had, do you think we’d say yes?).

Once we got into the studio, we were lucky to be on the front row, a great view as long as the cameras were not directly in front of you. The warm up guy was Paul Mecurio, a really funny comic who got us all laughing whilst plugging his tour and taking the complete piss out of the audience. Once the show started it all went pretty smoothly; everything looked tightly scripted and there was only one small retake, whilst filming this clip. Toby Maguire was the guest – I’d hate to have his schedule at the moment, from what he said, he did not know which show he was on until he turned the corner to see Jon Stewart.

Apr 18

A Day of Silence

Ewan is blogging his response to the proposed One Day of Blogging silence

In the Great War (1914-18), over nine million people died. To remember them, those who have fallen in the Second World War, and others who have fallen in battle, an annual silence for two minutes is held on the eleventh day of the eleventh month; Rememberance Day.

I therefore find the initial campaign idea of the ‘One Day Blog Silence,’ where people will fall silent for twenty four hours to honour the thirty three victims of the Virginia Tech shootings to be both out of proportion and, quite frankly, wrong. Yes there is a huge personal tragedy here, but that’s life. That’s what it means to be human. I don’t see us stopping for thirty three people run over in a major city every day. Or (to go to the extreme scale) the hundreds of thousands of dead in Iraq.

So I went to the page and found this:

On April 30th 2007, the Blogosphere will hold a One-Day Blog Silence in honor of the victims at Virginia Tech. More then 30 died at the US college massacre.

And my first response – annoyance. Who was this person who was talking for me, controlling what I can and cannot do; trying to control what people can say through their own platforms. Following the links from Technorati, I find similar sentiments, for many reasons. Bonnie at cribchronicles.com

i have no problem with you choosing to be silent on April 30th to honour the VT dead. i know your intentions are good. but to try to co-opt the blogosphere en masse to accord with your intent by making a declaration of silence, you leave some of us in the terrible position of appearing to disrespect the deaths at VT by honouring our own dead with words. words are all i have to give my son. and that date – or any other – is not yours, nor mine, to own. invite people to join in your campaign, sure. but do not dictate others’ speech or silence at will.

The idea came from Steli Efti, who found he could not write about how he felt about the tragedy that happened on Monday. The proposal comes from the heart, a feeling that they have to show their support. And whilst I fully understand that, co-opting every single blog writer is not necessarily the right way.

Read Lorrelle’s story of being in Israel on Holocaust Memorial Day, when the whole country grinds to a halt and what that time means to her. I’ve stood on the streets of London the week after the July Tube bombings for 2 minutes and watched Oxford street still as the buses halted. As Ewan says, the UK (and much of the Commonwealth, holds 2mins silence for Remembrance Sunday. I have a choice to remember the dead that way or to do so in another manner. And that will not include a whole day not expressing myself.

Virginia Tech suffered an unimaginable tragedy for an educational establishment in the US, a relatively safe country compared to many around the world, where war or random acts of violence happen every day. The VT killings happened in one of the most media-intense countries, where there was nothing but the story on the news. It’s also one of the more connected countries, and first person accounts through video, through live streaming, blogging, memorial pages and everything else let you watch and read multiple viewpoints on the day’s happening. (and the good and bad of the collision of those 2 worlds is a completely different story). The victims of this crime will be remembered in multiple ways – so spare some time to think of those who will not be given the same focus.

Apr 16

Ultimate Frisbee

Eric’s being twittering about Saturday Frisbee for a few weeks now so on Saturday I decided to join in. About a dozen people turned up and had a great game before retiring for celebratory drinks. Bill has a great set which includes some in-action shots as well as just the drinking ones. Here’s on of my favourites from the night, from Grace.

Post Frisbee MEal

Apr 12

WordPress Meetup

Matt and Toni are in town at the moment and had proposed a meetup. After a bit of a mix up (they were late, the attendees all want to the pub, but the long way round) it all sorted itself out and 14 of us sat down at the Heartland Brewery (who gave us a private room at the back and treated us very well) for a few drinks, food and a lot of nattering. A great night, culminating in the the last 4 returning to our respective domiciles via a late night walk in Central Park. Hopefully John will post his photos soon.

Apr 12

Cheezburger Cats

Sometimes you just have to go and see a site; with I can Has Cheezburger being mentioned twice yesterday, it was time to take a closer look. First of all it was being discussed as one of the extremely successful WordPress blogs at the WordPress meetup and then I got home to see that Tara has used an image from it in her round-up post of parties in SF next week. (which makes me want to pack up and visit for the week).

picture-2.png

Apr 10

Blogger Conduct

I’ve read Tim O’Reilly’s Blogger Code of Conduct and agree with a fair few other folk that it is not for me, although it may be perfectly useful for Tim’s sites. I assume these are group written sites, otherwise the use of the Royal ‘we’ is amusing.

However Kathy Sierra rightly adds to the comments that having such a policy on her site did nothing to stop what happened:

This Code of Conduct would have had no effect on what happened to me. I had a comment policy in place, and deleted the threats that came directly to my blog. But if people are determined to hate, harass, intimidate, or threaten you, it’s easy enough to do on other blogs.

And I far prefer the style of Johnnie Moore’s policy:

1 If you look at the entire content of this blog, you’ll get some notion of how I conduct myself. It varies a bit.

2 You’ll also see how visitors conduct themselves. It, too, seems to vary.

3 The past is not necessarily a guide to the future.

combined with a hefty dose of common sense that means it should apply equally to how I conduct myself elsewhere as well as how i expect people to behave around me.

Meanwhile, Kathy has written a post looking for ideas about where to go next. From what she says, it looks like she is going to stop public speaking, which is a shame as I’ve loved it everytime I’ve seen her. Hopefully she’ll continue to publish in some format going forward.

Apr 06

Good Friday

This is weird as it is the first Good Friday I’ve worked for years, there’s no 4 day weekends here for religious holidays, just the secular ones to go shopping. I’m going to point you over to Rachel North for a wonderful recollection of days gone by. No memories like that for me, just a blur of holidays and sitting on motorways going somewhere for the weekend or just general family gatherings.

Apr 02

Sierra and Locke update

Last week there were a lot of words written about the threats made to Kathy Sierra and her reaction to them. Unfortunately many of the word accused people behind the offending sites before allowing them to put their side of the story and they were subject to some of the same kind of behaviour, the mob mentality hiding behind an internet persona, that Kathy had complained about in the first place. But over the week, things have been looked at, more information discovered and today we have something that seemed unlikely a week ago. Kathy and Chris Locke jointly present statements after multiple conversations over the week and a CNN interview that aired today. Read both statements, but here are some key quotes for me. First from Kathy:

I do believe that Chris, Jeneane, and Frank did not make the specific posts and images that I found threatening, and I believe they were not responsible for the threatening comments on my own blog. However, Chris and I (and others) still strongly disagree about whether people who are respected and trusted in our industry (like the three of them) are giving tacit approval when they support (though ownership, authoring, and promoting) sites like meankids and unclebob. This is about trust and leadership in our community, and whether those who are looked up to have a (non-legal) responsibility to the community whose trust they’ve earned for the things they promote.

From Chris:

It’s true we laughed, but not at the core issues. No one was laughing about the offensive words and images that were posted to the blogs I was involved with. The material Kathy quoted on her site was hurtful and ugly. I do not excuse it or think it should be excused. Some of the things that were posted about her were admittedly frightening, and far beyond tasteless….
Misogyny is real — and vile. Violence against women is wrong. It must not be tolerated. This issue should be explored and discussed, not swept under the rug, not rationalized away

And both agree that this episode should not be used to as an excuse to curb free speech, to shutter the thoughts and expressions of millions online through legislation and ordered control but should be used a further open up the debate about behaviours and ethics and morals about what you should do online, not just doing things because you can. The fact that these two people, who were at the core of the storm that surrounding this issue, can talk and agree on some things whilst acknowledging where they disagree give me hope.