Dec 22

Station Freebie

At Waterloo this morning there was a scrummage around the small team that were handing out free gifts. Joining in, I found that BT were giving away headsets, promoting their VOIP system, BT Communicator. Useful in that you can easily make calls to phones far cheaper than using the ‘landline’ and then it all comes in on one bill. They’re pushing it pretty heavily this Christmas, with a Christmas offer of free calls to 30 countries No mention of other products though ;o)

One set of people who did not seem pleased about the free offer were the station cleaners. The headsets came in largish boxes, which were left scattered around the elevators and were being rapidly cleaned up by a squad of 3.

Dec 21


I’ve set up Performancing for Firefox;  an extension to the browser that enables you to publish to multiple blogs form a single interface.   As I publish only to the one, it’s not going to add that much to what I usually do, ecxept for the note saving which is a far more flexible method than how I save draft posts.  The WYSIWYG interface is clear and easy to use, although one drawback at the moment is that I can’t add images directly.

So I publish and then come to the usual interface to upload the image.


Dec 20

Google Zeitgeist

Google releases its review of the year, looking at the trends in searches. In the top gainers of the year, there are 2 cultural references which stand out from the other web/media terms. The first is Leonardo de Vinci, I’m guessing driven from the Dan Bown book and the Spielberg film. The other is Green Day – of course, the increases interest in that band could not have been driven from the mashup album American Edit 😉

They’ve picked a number of different items to highligh… just look at the increase in searches for wiki.


Dec 18

Snippets 18 Dec

I’ve got all these open tabs that I need to close…posting them is the best way.

Scott Adams wants to adopt – an embryo. Does not need a lot of space (keep. it in the freezer), cheap (no toys or clothes) and no issue with a terror toddler or a truculent teen. It may just catch on.

Seth Godin puts some thought into why companies should be on the web – or why not

Q: Should every business use the internet to communicate? What are the basics of an internet communications strategy? A: You should only use the internet if you want your communications to be FAST and you want to reach LARGE NUMBERS with no intermediaries. If you can’t handle that, though, you shouldn’t try.

The decision to use the web as a communications tool can be seen as an obvious one – yourcompetitiors are doing it, so you should. But like all methods – it needs thought and resources behind it. It’s should not be done just becuase it’s perceived as quick and simple, but because it is the right thing to do.

In the same vein, Market Sherpa has 5 steps for corporates who want to blog. Although it misses out Robert Scoble’s first preferred step – read blogs – it’s a pretty accurate representation of what has been going on in a company I know, looking at doing a blog. It’s not always possible to just do things, however good the idea. A corporate has politics and lots of statekholders whose needs have to be addressed.

I see Typepad was down for a loooonnnng time. Niall Kennedy has a great podcast/interview transcript with Anil Dash about what happened. Jay Allen says what most of the operational guys were probably thinking “I’m looking forward to never having another day like that for the rest of the time I work at Six Apart.” Technology is not a panacea, it always goes wrong at the worst time. I’m convinced that some of the applications I work on know when I’m going to give a demonstration – because that is when they break.

Sad to see that John Spencer has died at the young age of 58. One of my favourite actors in the West Wing

Sir Tim Berners-Lee has a blog. After a week, it has one post and 258 comments.

Conferences: Mix06 looks like it would be an excuse to get to Vegas, a town that is on my list of places to visit at least once. I’m going to be in the US in March anyway, for SXSW. But it’s only going to happen if I get a very large windfall. The Future of Web Apps in London in Feb is far more in my price range.

Dec 14

Web 2.0 Validator

Are you really getting into the Web 2.0 vibe? This fun Validator allows you to assess your choice of sites against the Web 2.0 meme. I currently score 9 out of 35, but figure that if I just link to the page, mention Dave Legg and Rocketboom, and refer to lots of cool words such as start-up, VCs , Rocketboom Not sure how accurate it is though, as I appear to be get a point for being web 3.0 and only scores 6 out of 35. Via Nancy

Dec 14

Flickring Expectations

Last night was another of the Christmas functions at work, this time with the IT function. After dressing up and loading onto a coach, we arrived at our venue for the night – the Hard Rock Cafe – to take part in plenty of food, drink and karaoke. Scattered around the venue were dressing up accessories, such as hats, funny glasses and wigs, plus lots of cameras.

The cameras were all going to be collected and processed, with the photos shared round the office. There were a fair number of personal cameras being used, including mine. However, unlike Saturday night’s geek dinner, very few of those photos will end up on Flickr. In the one’s that I’ve put up, the people in them know I blog, know I put photos online and were aware I would be doing that. Looking at the photos from Saturday, I’m in some from people I don’t know, who never asked permission – but nor would I epxect them to. You can see the same thing from the Les Blogs conference last week – plenty of photos, no disclaimers ever signed. So I’ve been thinking about the type of photos I publish and in what circumstances I put them on the web.

The first type is usually of complete strangers, from events around London or at festivals or get togethers. They’re never identified, but by being in a public place their pictures are open to be taken.

The second type is the semi-private/invitational event. And for me here it is down to expectations. The geekdinner was organised online and many/most of the participants appear to have blogs and Flickr accounts which are not necessarily anomynous. My expectation would be that the people attending understand that they may be photographed, or linked or, or mentioned in a post, even if I’ve never met them before. It is part of an unwritten contract that comes from attending such events. I perceive no such agreement at a work event – it’s far more a private function.

Nov 25

Geek Dinners again – Molly Holzschlag

Lat night I attended a geek dinner where the guest of honour was Molly Holzschlag. A new venue for me, it has it’s advantages being only 200 yards from the office. Enjoyable night, unfortunately only got to hear part of the speach as the acoustics were not too good and there was no amplification. One idea that did come out of the evening was holding a London Geek dinner at SXSW in March, seeing the number of people that appear to be going along to that.

Nov 18

Women in Podcasting

Blogher comments on Wired’s piece about women and blogging, looking at the attendance of women of the recent Podcasting conference in the US. Mistakenly called the inaugral conference (I’m sure I attended one in the UK in September), only 15% of the attendees were women. It follows the trend of ‘new’ technology, as it attracted a certasin kind of person who could manage the early set up requirements. Again, barriers are getting lowered and we’ll get more women.

Meanwhile, go and listen to Nicole Simon who’s started podcasting interviews with the speakers from Les Blogs 2 being held in a couple of weeks.

Nov 17

Snippets 17 Nov

Marketing for dogs – Floor stickers and low level posters advertising Pedigree dog food provide experiential marketing for canines as they are scented with dog food smells to attract the target market.

Gnomenclature – Chris Pirillo’s new word defintitions. I particulary like:

  • WEB 2.0 – I don’t know, and I don’t care.
  • PODCASTING – Um… so I think… I’ll… uh… yeah. Ya know, I think… uh… yeah, so… um… where was I? Oh yeah. Ya know when, um… like, ya know when I was going to the… uh, yeah. Um… um… I think?
  • SKYPEE – The act of going to the restroom in the middle of a VoIP conversation without the other party knowing.

Scott Adam’s is in the middle of a flame war of sorts after he posted about the credibility of the participants in the debate between Evolution and Inteliigent Design. His key argument:

Both sides misrepresent the others’ position (either intentionally or because they don’t know better or because of bias) and then attack the misrepresentation. Therefore, neither side is credible (to me).

Nice to see my favourite creationary force the Flying Spaghetti Monster getting a good mention in the comments.

I’m still playing Resident Evil 4. I still suck. I managed to get killed about 10 times in the last section – and those women with chainsaws are mean; very, very mean. Do they have to keep chopping my head off?

Nov 16

Analytics vs Measuremap 1

So far Measuremap is a clear winner. As Ben has noted, the Google measurement tool has not started recording at all despite it being nearly 24 hours. It took about 8 hours before it decided to recognise I had the code on the site. t Measuremaps started giving me figures immediately after I had added the javascript code

Nov 15

Google Analytics

I’ve signed up for Google Analytics to see what it can do. Compared to Measuremap, the initial impression is definitely far more commercial, with reports being cut for marketing and content optimisation and the tie in with Adsense. It needs to run for a while longer to get some data in before I can assess what it does.

On signing up I found an telling little content error. You have to choose your country, so I scrolled down to the bottom of the list to find United Kingdom. It was not there this time, which usually means they’ve used the incorrect Great Britain (not a country, just an island). So up to the ‘g’s to find, sitting next to Gibraltar, the choice of United Kingdon. So some-one had changed the reference term, just not the alphabetical position ;o)


Nov 09

Flash Holding pages

A Brazilian agency(?) Academia de Filmes have produced a website holding page that is a little more interesting than the usual…some thought has gone into managing the waiting period for the file to download (only visible if you have a slower speed) and it does act as an introduction into their capabilities. Via ThreeMinds

Nov 07

Mechanical Turk

Along with many other people, I’ve been playing around with Amazon’s new tool Mechanical Turk, a mechanism to apply distributed human intelligence to mundane tasks that are still too complicated for comouters. I’m guessing I’m one of many given the poor availability of the service over the weekend – it was ‘unavailable’ for the majority of time I was trying it, stating it was too busy. Amazon seriously underestimated the desire for people to earn ‘free’ money.

However, I have managed to earn the grand total of 9c, which I could now apply as a discount to one of my next purchases (although I’m more likely to just leave it there). I’m waiting for another 60c to come through, waiting for someone to approve my choices. Which does beg the questions – I’m paid “… when your answer is approved by the person that listed the HIT”. So, if someone has to go in and approve all the HITs (‘Human Intelligence Task’ don’t you know), why don’t they just do the job in the first place? How much time is saved through the two stage process than just getting a single team to do it? Although I’m guessing this process may be better for the person’s snaity 😉 To do any serious earning on this, it will take a lot of tiome – and a lot more power on the Amazon side to keep the service up and running.

Nov 02

Microsoft OfficeLive

One of the other things announced yesterday by Microsoft was OfficeLive. This is still in development with it going into beta (to US residents only) in early 2006.

Looking at the domains, was first registered in 1994. I wonder how much Microsoft paid for it?

Nov 01

Microsoft announces

Microsoft are currently announcing some new services, one of which is errr….isn’t this, with added email? I can sign in with my Passprt so it recognises me. Iit currently only works in IE (although Firefox appears to be coming soon) I can add feeds (no mention of RSS) and a few widgets, such as weather, a clock and horoscopes. (Nothing different to MyYahoo yet then.) It appers to offer UK focused feeds only by default for me, based on my recorded location. However, we are also going to get Windows Live and Office Live, which make it far more interesting. Via Dave Winer. Crunch Notes has great notes onthe talk



Oct 25

Online spending

Whilst the Advertising Association is predicting less than expected growth in total advertising spend in 2005 (2.3% vs 3.9%) on line advertising is expected to grow by just over 39%. Great – for me, it’s always easier to ignore the online stuff, it has to be really good to make me want to look. But when it’s good, I’m far more likely to pay attention. So the quality bar gets raised.

Oct 25

UK Gov encourages Remix culture

A new site from the Royal Schools of Music, backed by the UK Government has been lauched to provide teenagers to learn more about music, according to the BBC. I tried to give it a go, but unfortunately could not get the sound on any browser and it seemed to completely crash Firefox – so looks an interesting idea, pity about the execution.

Oct 19

Gmail no More – now it’s Google Mail

Google are having to change their domain in the UK due to ongoing legal issues over the gmail name. They have FAQ page up, stating that they are no longer issuing gmail accounts, but have switched to The question about whether I will have to change domain remains open:

# What if I’m a UK user who already has a Gmail address? Will that address ever change?
Unfortunately, we don’t know. We would love to say that your address will always remain the same. But the trademark issue is still unsettled, and unfortunately, we cannot predict what the other party or the courts might do here. You can always use your same username with an address to avoid this issue later on. But trust that we will do the best we can to make sure your email address won’t ever have to change.

# What if I’m a UK user who already has a Gmail address? Will I also need to change that address?
No, this change doesn’t affect existing Gmail addresses. For now, our plan is only to issue addresses to new users. Trust that we will do the best we can to offer all our users a reliable and consistent email experience.