May 13

Growing my vegetables

Here’s my veggies on April 13

Garden Plants

And here they are on May 13.

The Garden in May

They’ve all survived, although I needed to put slug killer down, and are growing well. I’ve had a lot of rocket and lettuce todate, the rest I need to wait for.

I feel really proud of my little veggies 😉

May 09

The Future of Newspapers

Kevin Anderson was speaking on a panel the other day about The Future of Newspapers. Regardless of what else is happening in the industry, if they keep doing things like this, I’m not sure they deserve a future.

NML had a conversation with a Daily Mail reporter, which turned into an article about how she, and many other women, are turning to ‘e-venge’ to get their own back on men. From her perspective, that is not what she was interviewed about, furthermore, they proceeded to make a lot of mistakes in what they did write.

But Natalie does have her own blog and in this case, can correct the 26 inaccuracies she sees in the article. Zoe also wrote about the Daily Mail in a Guardian piece and their attitude to content on the web:

“We generally take the view that blogs published on the internet have already been placed in the public domain by their authors and, in case of amateur writers, most people are happy to have their work recognised and displayed to a wider audience.”

Jounalists need to understand copyright, when they can use stuff and how they can use it. They also need to realise that people can challenge what they are doing using the same tools they are misquoting.

May 06

Classic Books I’ve not read

Maryam has a list of books from Library Thing – the list of the most unread books on people’s shelves. It’s actually a dynamic list based on tags, so the current list is not necessarily what she has recorded – but here’s my take on the current list.

Bold are the ones I’ve read, italics the ones I’ve started. Asterisks are ones I really liked.

# The ultimate hitchhiker’s guide by Douglas Adams*
# Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrellby Susanna Clarke
# The kite runner by Khaled Hosseini*
# Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
# The illearth war by Stephen R. Donaldson
# Life of Pi : a novel by Yann Martel*
# Don Quixote by Miguel De Cervantes Saavedra
# Crime and punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky
# One hundred years of solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
# Vanity fair by William Makepeace Thackeray
# The Silmarillion by J.R.R. Tolkien
# Ulysses by James Joyce
# War and peace by Leo Tolstoy
# Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert
# Elantris by Brandon Sanderson
# The brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoyevsky
# Catch-22 a novel by Joseph Heller
# Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte
# The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood
# Quicksilver (The Baroque Cycle I) by Neal Stephenson
# A tale of two cities by Charles Dickens
# The satanic verses by Salman Rushdie
# Middlemarch by George Eliot
# Reading Lolita in Tehran : a memoir in books by Azar Nafisi
# The name of the rose by Umberto Eco
# The Kor’an by Anonymous
# Moby Dick by Herman Melville
# The Odyssey by Homer
# The Canterbury tales by Geoffrey Chaucer
# Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
# The hunchback of Notre Dame by Victor Hugo
# The historian : a novel by Elizabeth Kostova
# Foucault’s pendulum by Umberto Eco
# Atlas shrugged by Ayn Rand
# The history of Tom Jones, a foundling by Henry Fielding
# The three musketeers by Alexandre Dumas
# The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas
# The Iliad by Homer
# The sound and the fury by William Faulkner
# Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf
# Emma by Jane Austen
# Doctor Zhivago by Boris Pasternak
# Sons and lovers by D.H. Lawrence
# Gulliver’s travels by Jonathan Swift
# The house of the seven gables by Nathaniel Hawthorne
# Guns, Germs, and Steel: the fates of human societies by Jared Diamond*
# Dracula by Bram Stoker
# Lady Chatterley’s lover by D.H. Lawrence
# A heartbreaking work of staggering genius by Dave Eggers
# Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens
# The once and future king by T. H. White*
# Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe
# To the lighthouse by Virginia Woolf
# Mansfield Park by Jane Austen
# Oryx and Crake : a novel by Margaret Atwood
# Great Expectations by Charles Dickens
# Labyrinth by Kate Mosse*
# Tess of the D’Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy
# Collapse : how societies choose to fail or succeed by Jared Diamond*
# The corrections by Jonathan Franzen
# Moll Flanders by Daniel Defoe
# Underworld by Don DeLillo
# Ivanhoe by Sir Walter Scott
# The grapes of wrath by John Steinbeck
# Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
# Count Brass by Michael Moorcock
# The Gormenghast trilogy by Mervyn Peake
# The War of the Worlds by H. G. Wells
# Jude the obscure by Thomas Hardy
# The Origin of Species by Charles Darwin
# Tender is the night by F. Scott Fitzgerald
# A portrait of the artist as a young man by James Joyce
# A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court by Mark Twain
# The divine comedy by Dante Alighieri
# The inferno by Dante Alighieri
# Gravity’s rainbow by Thomas Pynchon
# The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand
# Swann’s way by Marcel Proust
# The poisonwood Bible : a novel by Barbara Kingsolver
# The amazing adventures of Kavalier and Clay : a novel by Michael Chabon
# The portrait of a lady by Henry James
# Sense and sensibility by Jane Austen
# Silas Marner by George Eliot
# The picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde
# The man in the iron mask by Alexandre Dumas
# The god of small things by Arundhati Roy
# The confusion by Neal Stephenson
# One flew over the cuckoo’s nest by Ken Kesey
# The book thief by Markus Zusak
# Frankenstein by Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley
# The system of the world by Neal Stephenson
# Bleak House by Charles Dickens
# The elegant universe : superstrings, hidden dimensions, and… by Brian Greene
# Cryptonomicon by Neal Stephenson
# The known world by Edward P. Jones
# The time traveler’s wife by Audrey Niffenegger
# The mill on the Floss by George Eliot
# The English patient by Michael Ondaatje
# Mason & Dixon by Thomas Pynchon
# Dubliners by James Joyce
# The bonesetter’s daughter by Amy Tan
# Les misérables by Victor Hugo
# Infinite jest : a novel by David Foster Wallace
# Lord Jim by Joseph Conrad
# Beloved : a novel by Toni Morrison
# Persuasion by Jane Austen

Looks like I have some reading to do. What about you?

May 04

Game Camp London

GameCamp London 2008

Yesterday, the Guardian ran a GameCamp in London, helped a lot by Sony who provided the venue at their 3Rooms building in Shoreditch. By shear co-incidence, there was a Gamecamp in Toronto on the same day, the difference being that the London one was based on the BarCamp premise of a self organising day for sessions whereas the Toronto one was a more traditional planned conference. I helped organise this, insofar I input a lot of advice on running BarCamps and not so much the running around finding venues and sponsors which was all down to Bobbie Johnson.

After a few false starts, we ended up at the Sony 3Rooms as a venue. This is not an ideal place, being open plan so sessions could overpower each other, but even so, it provided a perfect backdrop to the day. Decorated with all sorts of stuff and full of Sony products, they provided the venue, the wifi and the food, often the most difficult things to organise for an event like this, so many thanks to them. We also got some consoles from Nintendo (I saw lots of bowling taking place) and Microsoft but the most popular by far was Rock Band, provided by fellow organisers Dan and Adrian from Six to Start, which kept people playing all day. I even had my first go on the drums.

GameCamp London 2008

About 100 people turned up and after a brief introduction the grid was opened and the sessions started to fill up. Even though many people had not been to a barcamp type event before, the format was embraced. Sessions ranged from how to kill someone (really) to religion in games. As with all such events, the sessions were of mixed quality and attendance but what made the day for many was just the chance to connect and interact in an informal environment. I never made any sessions on the morning, running around checking all was fine, but went to a few in the afternoon, such as ones on future of ARGS, hacking hardware, designing a game based on Jane Austen novels. Interestingly I never got my laptop out, but did take photos.

GameCamp London 2008

The feedback in the pub later seemed to indicate that the day was well enjoyed – now we need to arrange another one!

Apr 28

Sony and We7

Do we praise Sony for their brave move in making 250000 songs available for free listening on the We7 music site or condemn for making you listen to a 10 second ad before every song? I’m not sure, my first instinct is annoyance and frustration that they still don’t get it. The ratio seems a lot, say 10 seconds every 3 minutes, (so at 5.5%) but it’s not as much of your time as commercial TV in the US, at 18 mins in every 60, at 30%. But I think the frequency will get annoying very quickly and will probably the variety, or lack of it when it comes to the types of ads. This is a broadcast mechanism only, so it’s commercial radio without the presenters and only one companies songs, but the ad frequency is far higher than radio – so why listen? You can only listen on your computer and not placeshift to your mobile device. I wonder how many listeners they will get?

Apr 17

Forgetting Sarah Marshall

I went to a blogger screening last night of Forgetting Sarah Marshall. This was arranged via Twitter by Sizemore, with about 30 people turning up for the show. The film is made by the same people who did The 40 Year Old Virgin and Knocked Up, 2 films I’ve not seen nor really had the desire to see, so I was not sure what to expect.

What I did get was a fun film that had me and the rest of the watchers laughing from the start. The basic plot is that Sarah Marshall (Kristen Bell), a TV star of the hit show Crime Scene (which means some funny parodies of CSI), breaks up with Peter (Jason Segal). Peter goes off to Hawaii to try and get over he, only to end up at the same hotel as Sarah and her new boyfriend Aldous Snow (Russell Brand). The story was nothing new, but it was delivered in a great way – and I so want to see the Dracula Puppet Rock Opera 😉 I loved it and if you want a laugh, go see the film. There’s a far better review over at Going Underground

One other great aspect of the night was getting a chance to have a good chat with people I’d only briefly met before, primarily londonfilmgeek and Imajes. I also met a lot of new people, such as Mecca and LJ (well, those are the people I have cards from – there were a lot more than that!)

On the digital marketing perpective, compare the US and the UK sites. The front page is different, with the UK site pushing Russell Brand to the front, but once inside it’s the same. Down to the fact that to see the 18+ version of the trailer, they still expect you to have a US driving licence!!!!

Apr 12

Rick Astley Fans?

The BBC reports from Liverpool St station, where there was a live Rick Mob yesterday. For those who have not seen it, a Rick Roll is where you send someone a link and it goes to Rick Astley’s Never Going to Give You Up. It hit the peak (and maybe jumped the shark) with You Tube’s appropriation of the meme, where every video link on their home page went to the video.

It was only a matter of time before this was done live and yesterday it happened on a mass scale. Around 400 people turned up all bursting into song at 6pm. But the BBC report is too simplistic, not able to grasp that these are not ‘fans’ of Rick Astley, they are fans of the meme, of the collective action, of coming together with no organisation beyond public websites, performing and going away. The Station Freeze falls into the same bracket. It’s about doing stuff not about being fans of some artist. The BBC article completely fails to grasp that.

Bad video:

Feb 23

Win a trip to martinque

Please read this on Behind the Buzz and vote here (I was on page 2).

Way back before Christmas, I got invited to write about one of my favourite holiday places as part of a promotion for Martinique, to get more US visitors considering the island as somewhere for a holiday. 25 bloggers writing about holiday trips open for you to vote about for your favourite story. The winning story gets a holiday to the island as does one of the voters. There’s a catch though, you need to be based in the US to be eligible – which was not explained in the initial email; it is a group that do targeted marketing and they had correct information at the time. But now as I’m now back in the UK, I could not sign the release paperwork they sent through. However, they used my story anyway!!!! Which I’m not too happy with.

Jan 14

Ewan predicting MacWorld Coverage

Instead of predicting what Steve Jobs is going to say tomorrow, Ewan is just predicting what he is going to write about it

Ditto on the iPhone. You’ve sold a lot, that’s nice, but the point is that the majority of these are in the US. Look to any other territory where there’s even the modicum of competition in the functionality of handsets available and you’ve not got a hit. You’ve got the equivalent of the Nokia Communicator – an impressive device but in no way a mainstream success. Undercutting the US networks was easy, they’re in dire straights. But the likes of Vodafone, T-Mobile and others seem to have avoided you

So how much of the post will he have to change after the show?

Jan 10

Josh and Melie



Josh and Melie, originally uploaded by RachelC.

I love this photo. Also great blackmail material when they reach awkward teen years.

Jan 05

Eight for 2008

Keith is the latest person to tag me with the 8 for 2008, tell me some things, meme. I’ve done this a few times before, back in August with 8 things. As with the last time, I’m not tagging anyone, but would be interested in hearing stuff in the comments or on your own blog. But I will add one more thing.

For quite a few years I’ve been studying my family geneology, (that link goes to the latest version, not quite all sorted yet). It started with my mom looking up things and I’ve taken it a bit further. It normally amounts to one or 2 days a year focusing on it, but this year, with the time off, I’ve been doing a lot of trawling of censuses and church records. The latest breakthrough was linking to someone who has done a lot of study and managed to trace back a line to 1583. I’ve found coal miners, ironworkers, publicans, rugby players and the occasional workhouse resident. No one famous, no one titled, just a long line of workers.

Nov 16

FOE2 – Mobile Media

Mobile Media

Panelists: Marc Davis, Yahoo!; Bob Schukai, Turner Broadcasting; Alice Kim, MTV Networks (I missed one name – he’s ??.  To be filled in later)

Beyond the launch of shiny new devices, the mobile market has been dominated by data services and re-formatted content. Wifi connections and the expansion of 3G phone networks enable pushing more data to wireless devices faster, yet we still seem to be waiting for the arrival of mobile’s "killer app". This panel muses on the future of mobile services as devices for convergence culture. What role can mobile services play in remix culture? What makes successful mobile gaming work? What are the stumbling blocks to making the technological promise of convergence devices match the realities of the market? Is podcasting the first and last genre of content? What is the significance of geotagging and place-awareness?

JG: so why ss the US so far behind the rest of the world in mobile

BS: I love phones…(proceeds to pull out about 6 phones).  Why do I bring out this stuff?   In the 90s when cell launched in the US, we did not agree on a standard.  We had a FCC that said let the best tech win – we had 7 standards and a patchwork network.   Skype is going onto mobile…this is disruptive.  We dropped the ball on standard setting.   We are a nation of creators, we will never agree on it.   Everyone is doing everything on the assumption the tech will be fixed

MD: the cost of data is a barrier and the US is ahead on this.  It’s the bundling that helps this in the US.   OS and openness is another barrier, it is a nightmare to do development.  One of the things that are driving it is that we are all interested in advertising..the ability to get data back from phone to drive advertising.

JG: anything to make the content better?

AK" barrier is being able to provide content and make the content the accessible.   Looking at usage, the behaviour is not quite there yet.  Not at critical mass yet.  A lot of it comes down to the pricing plans.  So is there a way to spread the cost – it’s on the carriers and the users – can we extend the cost to the brands

BS: networks are being built for coverage not services.  Biggest margins are on texts not video.  People are using more to this model in the US..look at UK – 4000/sec message  sent

MD: IM on phone will impact text.  

JG: can we push to a user level?

??: the carriers control the devices…putting stuff on top of it is hard.   Interoperatibility is bad,  you lock people out of innovation. 

JG: no fan of the walled network.  We have hardware and network walls, it’s a single channel

MD: text has to be across networks,voice is across networks.  Any sociual graph has to be portable across.  At yahoo, we think of social as core infrastruicture that services are built on top of it.  I think mobile will shift that way

JG: so how does a mobile walled garden make sense?  why not open at the start? why not web access?

BS: there were tech issues, browsers could not handle it.  They are not really all that evil, they get it that off-deck plays are where it is going.  When the handset could not deal with web content it made sense, now it does not

??: the changes will come from some guy, from somewhere unexpected.  THe carriers are missing the point

MD: another barriers is that most phones do not have the equivalent of a mouse.  You can’t get most of the web on the phone.  The UI us changing, more mobile sites, OS are getting better, browsers are getting better.  IT is just about to happen and get excited.  It’s also about producing content

AK: we liked the walled content for a while.  It was an easy way for us to understand how to make money in this media.  Disagree a little with the openness.  We are doing a lot of content exclusively for mobile.   YOu have to treat it as an extension AND a unique environment

JG: what are the challenges?

AK: still experimenting. Shorts, mini dramas.  We are waiting for interactivity to come to fruition.  same with iTV…tv has interaction through mobile.

JG: bringing together challenges of content production and sharing.  Discoverability and socialness is an opportunity

MD: it is important to know what a phone is? (asked questions about use and production of media).  The phone gives you a production tool all the time..a socially aware, programmable video camera.  The opps have to do with leveraging the phone as a productions device.  We build systems that are aware, that know who, where when.  The London bombings was a moment when people really grasped the ability to be there and then and share content.   We built Zonetag, with Motorola, that adds lots of metatagging.    Stories that happen in the real world are going to be possible with these phones. News will be the first frontier, but entertainment will follow.

BS: there are also privacy issues to consider, I think there will be a backlash at some point

??: they are starting to become behaviour recognition devices.  We are just at the start.  

JG: so how can we respond to the challenge? How do we interact with business models, how do we deal with privacy

MD: they are all combined.  Advertising moves from interruption to a gift.  I can see where my friends have been in Cambridge and get recommendations and ads from there.  You will see models where users own their data.  Rights to it and then the ability to exchange that data for something useful.

BS: there is a generational gap.  Older are reticent to get ads.  The younger sort of expect it.   Doing tests, people were worried about the services knowing where they were.

AK: the demo that is used to being bombarded is also the demo that is anti-commercial.  They bypass the traditional forms.  There are new types of advertising, sponsored content, that is more acceptable.   The new audience are far more savvy and are far more innovative when it comes to production.  We encourage this creativity and create environments for people to do things.  We create programming around it.   We are seeing so much innovative production…and the costs are coming down.  We acquired Adam Shoickwave..and we have a budget to reach out to the prosumer audience to get content

JG: Is some of the unease lifted if we start delivering place aware entertainment?

MD: we are launching FireEagle and privacy is built in. You control the granularity, you can say places or areas or countries.  You can set detail and who to disclose it to.  When you have a permissioning context and control it becomes for acceptable.

BS: in Japan, you can follow your friends on maps via the mobile.  Some will do it, others won’t

MD: there are 31million photos on Flickr with geo data – most not from phones.  It will change and increase.   You start to see a map of what is interesting in the world  -adding photos from many!  Look at the connections between upcoming, and flickr and maps to track this event.  We can look at the tag map, (tagmaps).  Mobile makes a collective map of human attention. 

BS:  i love it when people break the business model.  The X series product, you take your data with you when roaming.  Get flatrate data whereever.  Putting Skype on the phone is great.   Innovation is generally least of our problems. it has to break down the business model and move it forwards.  

MD: in Japan all phones have GPS this year.  Carriers have a diff model in the US than elsewhere.   Blik is interesting.., does ad supported service.  the best platform to understand intentions is the phone.  That’s why we will break these barriers.  Mobile will be the dominant way the web works

JG: Google and Apple etc?  Does the arrival of these players have a significance?

BS: we did a billion phones last year so Apple volume not huge.  But they dictated a business model to a carrier.   That was the difference.  Not sure about Google yet,   They have a similar opp to Apple, especially if they buy spectrum, to make a big impact and maybe more the industry

??: I love the people who are building the apps.  You can run a complete site on the iPhone.  Not sure how much of the SDK will be controlled.  From Android, they are solving a problem but holding off judgement until something happens.  A year down the line a better idea

MD: Scale and distribution is the question.  Both these small so far.  Scale matters, especially with adertising on the phone.  Things have to become more open, infrastructures open, then innovation can happen on top.  Google’s move is great, it is open up things.  Making mobile into a platform when services cann work is the change that is needed.  Distribution is an opp, for content production and UGC.  The future happens at different rates, that is truly truw with mobile.  Look to China, Korea, Japan, India.  Hopefully the US will get there are some point.  There will be a lot of inexpensive devices, eg text in India, which are another route

AK: the IPhone was a wake up phone.  The focus was on the user interface.  It is not a great phone experience, but it showed the carriers that consumers care about the user interface.   Since the iPhone, there has been an renewed interest in the interface, improve discoverability.  Move away from product silos, walls within walled gardens.  The carriers have a switched focus.  You are allowing users to speak for the first time.   In terms of Google, really excited that everyone is entering – it is about scale.  The carriers have been the aggregators and now the web companies, who have been content aggregators, are now entering.  It has to be game changing.  Until it progresses further though, open has a closed meaning to it!

JG: so what do you think will happen if Google get spectrum?

BS: it can be nothing but good news for US consumers.   The US market has been hamstrung…lockin is bad.   They have an opp to shake up the business.   But remember the interop stuff..we have to be aware of fragmentation. 

??: Got to be good for industry

MD: we are excited.  It is important to make the industry open.  But it is the scale function – owning part does not make it open.  There’s more stuff needed.  You will get OS consolidation.  The key thing is can you right software and apps that consumers can afford to access.  We are one of those major transitions.  The spectrum is going to be less disruptive than Android and we will see prices being driven down.  The challenge is to balance user privacy, trust will be essential.  Create openess and participation whilst creating trust   Search is crucial for discovery.  Ondeck search is like Prodigy…mobile search opens up the space.

AudQ: Openess is not all the same.  Apply to some networks, like Qualcomm, they charge and want perpetual rights to IP!  So some build companies could provide an umbrella.  I hear you say that it is a different platform..I see a lot of people doing this from information, eg mapping.  When does it become entertaining?

MD: we have seen some interesting experiments in augmented reality.  the concept of what is the story world.  A lot of research,  immersive gaming, connected to advertising as well.   Like MMORGs, in the real world.  

??: the networks effect adds to this – how many people are on it.

BS: I look at entertainment different.   Go to Korea, you watch proper TV on the phone.  In Japan.   Commutes are longer, there is more place to do it.  There’s time to do stuff and be entertained.  In the US it is a driving culture, it’s in the back-seat in the car.   Is it shortform – the pockets of microboredom are opps.  It depends on the day.  You will see people creating different ways of getting content.  As a content producer we do not care about the tech, just want to get you the content

AK: as long as we can monetise it!

AudQ: Search tools and software, but I work on metadata, needed for search. so how do you see user generated metadata progressing

BS: mobile is good for this.  Look at flickr image, with geolocations, and evetn tags etc.  Mobile will be the breakthrough media metadata. 

AudQ: but for other content, then we have to do it, or users have to do it.  So who owns the data, what are the content

AK; there is metadata that goes with files, optimise feeds for mobile search.  And then there is the tagging.  In the mobile space not that prevalent.  No good environment for it.  Users do tagging online and ports over to mobile space;  Still working through.  we want users to have tools but we have brand equity to manage as well.

JG: Aud Q – so what would the social effects of hyperconnectivity?

MD: it changes the nature  We see this in Flickr – it is broadcasting the day.  the nature of an image changes.  it is about the latest, what they are eating, who they are hanging out with.  it is a collective broadcast of social experience.  What you see on twitter is there as images and video as well – a social broadcast of self to the community

MS:  in London there are cameras everywhere, an exchange of privacy and security.  The mobile is challenged for knowing where you are, but you already do in London.  you have to be able to set the boundaries.

??: You have more media streams and more connected.  what does this mean for your attention span.  how do you figure out importance?

MD: FireEagle is sending out my location in real time.  I control the aspects of what and how it sends things out.  Other question is data ownership.  An ongoing, interesting negotiations

AK: the cultural trends, the social expectations, always changing.  People are expecting to know where you are and know what you are doing.  Privacy will always be an issue, but waht privacy is always changes.

MD: online you tend now to have relationships with people you know…people are living their lives online and are living as themselves.

AK: we are bringing the real world online – virtual Lower East Side.

AudQ: Voice/Text, etc low end on texts or voices instead of images and video?  Where is the voice?

BS: speach/text there for ever.  People not too happy connecting with voice..eg ‘Call Ted’/  There are really cool companies doing things.  Can you take text and turn it into voice?   can you get the phone to give you audio news?  Voice is the most underused.  98% of the world will just talk and text and there is a massive opp.   Language is a huge barrier as well

MD: you can have great speech recognition but processing power is huge.  It will change…it is in the network, in the servers.  It will move to the phone at some point. 

AudQ: privacy..as these things filter out, most people will not open up the hood and understand what privacy they have.  many do not now.  so how do we encourage media literacy?

MD: we have a responsibility to make things that people will use and control.  We use credit cards because we get something for it despite the lack of privacy.  You have to design the social protectures.

AudQ: Is there research about content is being customised, use of content on commuting etc?  

BS: off deck creation of portals and sites is important.  We can see where people are coming from, what is being interacted with, that will help give a better solution.  It is both the systems and the measurement piece that is needed.

??: it is an active research area about how people are using the content.  when they share, what the interaction patterns

AudQ: but how can the content be enhanced for mobile use?

BS: we keep it short, create graphics that are designed for mobile, we optimise for devices. 

MD: the phone is not just a tv you carry with you.  But as a place things.  Your progamming can be based about what the phone knows who and where they are.  The delivery of content can be tailored

AK: we do research..but at the moment we just try a lot of things. We started thinking that people wanted longform but quickly changed to shortform.  We optimise all the time,  Original content, music, bitesize snacks of content, we take a slightly different tactic with social networks.  We created flux, your profile, it understands your passion points across the network.

AudQ: What are legislation impacts, surveillance, politics

MD: the mobile is perfect for surveillance.  It’s crucial that policies are created to protect data and privacy and so that they can use the phones for activism.   mobile phone can give co-ordination for all.  Disruptions in the service infrastructure can change the access. 

BS: see Europe..there is an active telecomms policy.   When you roamed in Eu is was horrible.  Vivian Redding changed things – stopped overcharging for roaming.  But costs for out of eu likely to go up.It pains me a little when regulators make things.  the UK have a light touch reg environment, the system is working together to determine where it is going. 

AudQ:  China, telecoms, privacy, the internet??

BS: it is a fascinating market.  but it is sort of shooting itself in the foot.  it is different standard.  they are trying to grow own tech  they would be further along if they had adopted an existing service. t here is a question of 3g services there for the olympics next year.  it is the largest network and growing huge. 

MD: could be the largest market,. but operating with the government is tricky.  China makes it very difficult to operate.   Yahoo actions were done by other companies as well.  If you do not operate there are all, from a business point of view, not an option.  Nor from a future trends person, you have to be there.  it is sticky and messy and painful but unavoidable.

BS: you have to see how fast it is changing.  It is trying to manage massive growth and changes.  Don’t agree what they do with many but you have to see what is happening.

AudQ: Zonetag….how are you as a content provider going to manage my expectations about what I can do with a phone

MD: we are engaged in making it possible to make services work across the phones.  Google goes to create an OS and get people to adopt..we go and work with phone people to get our stuff there.   Zonetag…users have done the mapping, have said this cell is in this zipcode.   Like with the CD database – built up by individuals.  This is what is happening with Zonetag.  We are trying to create market weight to get it to be more open.  

AUdQ: is it scaleable?

MD: there are major players – there is a long tail, but the vast proportion can be met.

?? It is hard for a startup todo.

AK: not just for startups.  If you have to port to many, how do you get an ROI on cost.

JG: can you give one trend? one thing to watch

AK: how portals are creating an user environment and the ability to get to a larger audience off deck

MD: location.  Developers getting direct to platform.  distribution platform.  creating an ecosystem

??: mining peoples behaviour to improve apps.  Location, speech, acceleromety,

BS: IMS – increase ease of access and connection.  Inproves sharing etc.

Nov 11

Remembrance 11th November 2007



Remembrance 11th November 2007, originally uploaded by johnthurm.

They shall not grow old as we that are left grow old
Age shall not weary them nor the years condemn them
At the going down of the sun, and in the morning
We shall remember them

Oct 28

Pumpkin Festival



Pumpkin Festival, originally uploaded by RachelC.

There was a Pumpkin Festival in Central Park at the weekend, there must have been thousands of them. When I was growing up, we never got pumpkins for Halloween – we used swedes. These pumpkins make it far too easy!

Oct 15

Halo3 goodies



Halo3 goodies, originally uploaded by RachelC.

I finally got my prize copy of Halo 3 today, which I won in a draw at the IAB MIXX conference a few weeks ago, along with a XBox360. I was expecting just the game but instead got this special edition, with extra DVDs and a helmet shaped game holder. Plus a little toy model of a Warthog vehicle thingie. Not quite sure where to put it, doesn’t really go with the rest of the place 😉 Now to try play the game!

Oct 11

BIF and Clayton Christensen

Clayton Christensen  Professor of Business Administration, Harvard Business School

Christensen is the Robert and Jane Cizik Professor of Business Administration at the Harvard Business School. His research and teaching interests center on managing innovation and creating new growth markets. A seasoned entrepreneur, Christensen founded three successful companies: CPS Corporation, Innosign, and Innosign Capital. Christensen is also author or co-author of five books and is presently completing two books concerning the problems of our health care and public education systems.  Books: The Innovator’s Dilemma, The Innovator’s Solution, Seeing What’s Next

  • WM: I thought I’d start by getting a few reactions.   So, you’re Balmer, what would you do?
  • CC: the dilemma is that the business unit was not built to evolve. A profit model, processes were designed to do the same thing, better and better, over and over.  The org owns those intangibles.  The way that IBM evolved, the mainframe business unit died and others changed,  The corporate stayed, the unit dies.  If someone gets out of the gate ahead of you and you try and do the same the odds favour the first  you have to disrupt them by coming in underneath.  Sony and Nintendo are ahead and the xbox may not work, you have to disrupt them,  Looking at Google, that game is defined, so you cannot beat them, you have to disrupt?
  • WM Google?
  • CC: can’t think of a way now?
  • WM: and you are Apple, what are they doing?
  • CC I had student tell me I was like the Jewish mother in business there is always something going wrong.  what is disrupting Apple is the cell phones, the music, here you see the phones saying you can get the music on the phone
  • WM: I’m sitting here with an apple phone that can download music without going to the computer
  • CC: the handheld product platform is the one that is disrupting the computer.  Apple jumped right ahead of Nokia…but the research predicts that you will put in place massive creative energy in the others.  It is a sustaining innovation, they have stuck themselves right n the path of Nokia, my research would put the money on Nokia.
  • WM: you are working on 2 new books, they are about fixing public education and the other is about healthcare
  • CC: these are 2 very sick industries.  Those that have studied have only studied in the field education in education,  We have been looking at innovation and other things and are looking at the 2 industries from the outside.  On Healthcare, if you look at business history, in a lot of cases the first products were expensive and complicated,  healthcare is in the realm of a mainframe, very expensive and complex.  For a disruption there has been 2 things, one is a technological enabler and a distribution,  In computing the tech enabler was the microprocessor.  DEC did not create a process innovation and could not change the model, IBM did.   IN health, the tech enabler is precise diagnostics.  Molecular medicine is just opening up, what we called type 2 diabetes is looking to be 20 different things.  At the level of our genes, it is very precise.  Over the next 20 years, it will change, being able to say you have this gives you the ability to treat effectively.  And then we need a new business model.  There are 3 generic types of a model; the first is a value shop, this is like consultants or advertising agencies.  The 2nd is a value chain and the 3rd is a value network,  In a hospital it is a value shop, for the diagnosis.  Then you move into the chain activities, to get an operations etc.  a chain works well for a standard process.  As everything is in a hospital the value chain gets overpriced and the value shop gets underpriced.  We need to break the connection.   You would still have to have therapy in the diagnosis, because you still have to test things is diagnosis not there,.
  • WM: ie baby ear infections – they happen enough to make it pretty standard
  • CC: we have not allowed business innovation in hospitals to change things.  to make it happen, by analogy, if IBM wanted to rethink the mainframe they could have, they had the whole system,  If someone wanted to do the PC now, then it is impossible, no one owns it all.  The system is disintegrated that way.  For heath care, the system needs to be re-integrated to fix it.    People can work on their pieces and what is really required is a whole re-architecture.  The most innovative are the Veterans administration,  They use state of art electronic records, they are the most innovative in pushing things.
  • WM: education?
  • CC: the model of my research is about modular architecture or dependent architecture.  To customise something like windows is very difficult.  Modular make sit easy to change,   like a computer, or Linux.  In education, the teaching side is very interdependent.  You have to do this in 7th grade before you do this in 8th.  The interdependence mandates standardisation in teaching and testing.  This buts up against the reality that there are multiple types of intelligence and we all learn differently.  
  • WM: so how do we do this?
  • CC: one of a teachers job is instruction.  if we can migrate instruction from a teacher center mode to a pupil centered mode, then options,  This is computer based learning.  so we could individualise.    You put the great teachers to design the courses.  The software should be tuned to the type of the intelligence. 
  • WM: does the pupil not have a interaction?
  • CC: yes, but spends time 1 on 1.
  • WM: my wide spent 10 years as a learning disabilites tutor.  These kids were often high intelligence, she had to reteach in the way the kid learnt. 
  • CC the teachers would spend time to ensure students were connecting.  A tale about a girl who could not learn to read, until 5th grade.  a teacher noticed that she was a dancer, a teacher talked to her and asked her to choreograph the alphabet.  Asked her to dance a sentence and a paragraph,  her brain was wired differently, so in 8 months she learnt to read
  • WM: do we have to bust up schools for different models, or is it a tech thing that can change it
  • CC: we need to have schools within schools, like setting up different business units. Need flexibility to create new business modules. 
Oct 11

BIF and Irving Wladawsky-Berger by Walt Mossberg

Irving Wladawsky-Berger   Vice President, Technical Strategy and Innovation, IBM
www.research.ibm.com/  Blog: http://irvingwb.typepad.com/

Wladawsky-Berger is vice president of Technical Strategy and Innovation at IBM, responsible for identifying emerging technologies and marketplace developments that are critical to the future of the IT industry. He has led a number of companywide initiatives like Linux, Grid Computing and, in October 2002, IBM’s On Demand Business initiative. He is visiting professor of Engineering Systems at MIT and adjunct professor in the Innovation and Entrepreneurship Group at the Imperial College Business School. Wladawsky-Berger was born in Cuba and came to the US at the age of 15, in 2001 he was named Hispanic Engineer of the Year.

  • WM: how did you change the way IBM worked with research; 15 years ago there was little happening
  • IWB: IBM came very successful with mainframes, but companies that are great do not always stay.  As the environment changes the leadership may not adapt to it.   The mainframes were so profitable; there was all this innovation in the labs that was not been noticed.  Even the PC business was treated as a toy, the profits were so low it did not get the attention.  IN the early 80s we had a prototype of a multithread system, we wanted to do the OS but the message from MSFT was that Billy would be pissed. So we did not do it
  • WM: so how did it get well?
  • IWB: I went through that as I’m not sure that a company can reinvent it self without near death
  • WM: so apple were within 90 days of bankruptcy
  • IWB: so that may be why.  for us, we got a new leader, the internet was a lifeboat.  We had lost the franchise for the mainframes.  so we clutched the internet like a lifeboat and I do not know if you can do great in business without that fear
  • WM: I want tot talk about virtual worlds as a business environment,  but before, Steve Balmer was at my conference in spring and he said he had 2 main businesses, both gifts from IBM, one was the desktop software the other is the enterprise business and he had come to realise in the last 2 years, that the business model they had was not the model that could apply to all products, so needed a multiple one.  One new one was search and advertising and the other was consumer electronics., to go after Apple,\.  So here is the question, when you did not want to make MS unhappy, he had about 100 employees.  Balmer has 72k employees, he’s trying to go after the nimble..so how?
  • IWB: once the near death clears out the brain, we switched fro  being inward facing to be a much more market facing company.   MS does not Linux, have been fighting open documents.  I wonder if the real fight is in MS it self.   When you are doing this in the market you are setting culture, if your people see that your culture is to attach Linux or ODF then how can the people believe that you want to be this innovative company in other places.  I do not know if it can be done, IBM could not.
  • WM: Bill has bragged about the labs, researchers
  • IWB: the labs are the back office, but the game is won in the field not in the back office
  • WM: IBM embrace these things and the latest is virtual worlds, so how do these worlds got to do with business?
  • IWB: if you are smart in a company like IBM, you watch what your smart people are doing and see where we should move.  In 2006 there were ore and more people having meetings in Second Life, on their own.  No one had told them  they found the experience of dealing with each other than a conference call.  an in person meeting is better but if the are all over the world there are only so many meetings.  There’s more chit chat in the SL meetings.  We saw this as an evolution in the social networks, the killer apps are meetings and learnings and training.    We went to see what our clients are interested in.  So much of what people do in business is collaborative, this is becoming a major collaborative platform, these are complementary things
  • WM: there are other ways, with conference calls there are no visual queues, so Cisco and HP etc are working on these video conference
  • IWB: the are missing 2 things-  one their costs is really high, SL is cheap.   And their technology does not scale, 2-3 places only,  In IBM we have built classrooms in the worlds and it is more scaleable.
  • WM: so looking ahead, the number of gestures etc in SL is limited, you would not get the full set of gestures
  • IWB: did you see Happy Feet?  It is possible.
  • WM: in 5 years?
  • IWB: we need to do a lot of research, on what people do,.  At MIT the media lab is doing a lot of research on the digital world.  Hybrid real and digital world.  The tech is cheap, the innovation comes from looking how people are using it.  At IT we look at a global university, the courses are on the web that is the passive content but if they want me, then there is more to do.  Everyone in business can have meetings in virtual .  This is the evolution into a collaborative space.
  • WM: the web, is still mainly text
  • IWB: yes.  but as the visual things take over it will just be one more chance to collaborate and the potential is enormous.