One Man and His Blog: August 2006 Archives

August 2006 Archives

August 31, 2006

links for 2006-08-31

poor spam headlines #1

As spam headlines go "Never Clean Your Toilet Bowl Again" is probably the worst I've yet encountered.

While I know what they're trying to say, the immediate image conjured up is, well, horrible.

August 30, 2006

Mapping my photos the Flickr way

My Flickr MapYahoo's purchase of Flickr, the excellent photo hosting/community site, is starting to generate some interesting things. Finally. Flickr's been integrated with Yahoo Maps to allow you to "geotag" your photos - add information about where the pic was taken to the photo itself, and then display the results on a map. You can see mine here.

A colleague and I have been playing around with it today (you can see his thoughts on Flickr Maps on the Travolution Blog), and have come to the same conclusion: the quality of the maps outside the US sucks really, really badly. Happily, though, Flickr is aware of the issue:

There's been a lot of grumbling about the maps detail and coverage of Yahoo! maps outside the U.S. We definitely hear it, and the Yahoo! Local/Maps team, which happens to sit across from the Flickr team hears it (and feels it!) ... loud and clear. The maps in much of the world are not good enough yet. We agree.

But, fear not: maps are continually being upgraded and street-level detail for more countries has been in the works for a while already. Satellite imagery upgrades already happen a couple of times each month (the Earth is big, y'know) and in the months since the new Maps beta launched, they've already made significant improvements. More are coming.

So, with a bit of luck, we'll see some big improvements in a couple of months. I've long felt that map-based information was going to be a big thing going forwards. This might just prove my point for me.

links for 2006-08-30

the new age of photography

The barns at Le Taupanne

From a single week's holiday in France, I have come back with 253 photos, taken on three different devices, totaling over 1Gb of data.

This really is a new age of photography...

August 29, 2006

the truly online journalist

I notice, via Anil Dash, that Google has shifted Gmail for your domain to become Google Apps for your domain.

The more I look at this, the more I think we're only a couple of steps away from something that will be perfect for the roving reporter. All they need to do is add Writely, the online word processor, and you've got something much more efficient that VPNing into the company network and accessing your files and data that way, using applications on your laptop. You can work anywhere there's an internet connection and a web browser, and access your key files.

It'll be a while in coming, and it might not be Google that does it, but I think I just saw the future of journalism flash before my eyes.

physics is hard, and that's a good thing

While I was away in France, the annual fracas over improved A level results broke out. Now, I know where I stand on this; I know people who work and teach in Higher Education and they're seeing a decline in the educational quality of freshers, not an improvement.

Here's an article by Boris Johnson on the subject that I heartily agree with called Physics at A Level:

We must stop this flight from the crunchy subjects, not just because it is slowly denuding the country of scientists - it is hardly surprising that 30 per cent of university Physics departments have closed in the past eight years, when the number of Physics candidates at A-level has slumped from 46,606 in 1985 to 28,119 in 2005.

We must stop this disaster because we are cutting the roots of our civilisation: when I think what has happened to Latin and Greek and modern languages in the maintained sector, I alternate between rage and black depression.

His description of the difficulty of understanding a Physics class reminds me all too clearly of my time studying Physics at Imperial College. However. the principal point is that Cambridge is saying that potential students must have at least two A levels in "crunchy" (ie rigorous) subjects to be considered for entry. It's the first. Others will follow, and then employers will start to take the same approach. We'll soon see a two tier systems of A levels, with some considered serious and others, less so. It's much the same as already exists with degrees. People know that a 2:1 from Oxbridge or the bigger London colleges is superior to the same degree from a lesser university, even if there's nothing in the degree certificate to prove that. In fact, I've known editors who would point blank refuse to employ anyone with a media studies degree because they come in with a head full of irrelevant theory, a lack of intellectual rigour and a lack of any practical experience.

The reality is that you can pack as many people as possible into the grade A category, but both academia and business need a way to differentiate the very good from the good or average, and they'll find it if the A level fails to offer it.

blogging job opportunity

Know your pop culture? Want to make money from blogging?

Jackie Danicki wants to hear from you

[Update: Post and job long gone, obviously]

movable type update

If all went well, this site should be running on the latest version of Movable Type.

If you run into any problems, let me know in the comments.

on the absence of hoodies

Excitement! Thrills! Drama!

On my drive into work this morning, I saw a teenager being arrested for car-related nefarious activity. The coppers had him bang to rights, guv, and had handcuffed the blighter.

I was, however, deeply disappointed to note that he was wearing a tracksuit, not a hoodie. Doesn't he read the Daily Mail? Doesn't he know how these things are done? Still, I suppose it saves you from a David Cameron hug.

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August 28, 2006

naturists are just fine!

Ah, I love the fact that the almost daily press releases from the residential property firms still drop into my work inbox. Othewise I'd miss gems like this:

NUDE BRITANNIA

84% of Brits would buy a home next door to naturists

The great heatwave of 2006 may already seem like a distant memory, but as the summer draws to a close, a new survey by property website propertyfinder.com reveals that millions of Britons have been stripping off completely on terraces, balconies and in gardens all over the UK.

A startling 19.7% of respondents say they have got their kit off outside while at home on at least one occasion, equivalent to around 11 million people. The figures also suggest people are not going to great lengths to ensure nobody sees them, with 21% saying that they have caught their neighbours in the altogether at some point.

Thanks to Primelocation for that little insight into the great British public...

August 24, 2006

pluto stripped of title, inquiry to be held

The headline on a BBC news alert that just dropped into my in-box is:

Pluto stripped of planet status

Did it fail a drugs test?

what social networking is really about



Thanks to Andrew for the link.

August 23, 2006

about the new look

Well, I couldn't get the style I wanted to work, so I settled on this one instead. Truth be told, I'm rather pleased, because it makes it very easy for me to switch header graphics whenever I feel like it.

The plan is for a simple site, that'll be easy to read and show off photos well. What do you think?

New Look

All being well, the site should have, much like Chris Ecclestone turned into David Tennant, regenerated with a new look.

I Live

I'm back from my week in France (achieved via the EuroTunnel and a veeeery long drive through France). I've just cleared a few urgent projects from my business and personal desks (like an e-mail backlog and these photos).

Back to regular blogging later today...

August 13, 2006

Travel Sickness

Weapons of potential destruction


I should be in France right now. I really should. I should have taken off from London Stanstead yesterday afternoon and landed in Poitiers an hour or so later. Thanks to terrorism, a somewhat extreme reaction from the security forces and bottled drinks, I'm writing this in London.

And I'm not happy.Hand luggage

Yes, a serious reaction to a serious threat is warranted. But at what point does the reaction actually do the terrorists' work for them. As I tried to cram my camera equipment into my hold baggage and decide what not take, these questions were pretty high in my mind. Not books to distract me from the tedium of the flight. No iPod to ease me through takeoff with great music (I'm a nervous flyer). No basic set of clothes with me in case the bags have lost.

I understand the risk. But if, as we seem to be doing, we make travel so miserable for everyone that all we get to carry on board is a handful of belonging is a clear plastic bag, then we're doing the terrorists' work every time someone gets on a plane. We're allowing them to adversely affect every flight people take. We're letting them win.

Still, I've been spared the flight experience. My passport is out of its plastic bag. Our flights were cancelled. We're not going anywhere. The holiday is delayed, possibly cancelled.

Somehow, we've got this one wrong.

August 12, 2006

Slice of Life

My temporary workspaceSo, yes, I've been busy. I've been running Mum to the hospital for tests, clearing my desk in preparation for a short break, which I should be on by now and trying to do basic things like, say, get a haircut. And the car serviced. And my teeth checked.

Wow. What an amazing life I live. Still, I was very happy with the temporary workspace I was able to set up in my Mum's spare bedroom.

An orderly workspace is so important, don't you think?

August 10, 2006

links for 2006-08-10

August 9, 2006

links for 2006-08-09

August 3, 2006

The UK's Educational Death Spiral

A couple of things caught my eye in the papers over lunch (I know, I know. Dead tree papers. How very 20th century of me.)

The first up was this piece about the declining standard of UK graduates, found in the business section of the Telegraph:

The dismal standard of literacy and education in the UK is one of the key reasons that the economy's efficiency has plunged in recent years, according to the chief economist at the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.

That's absolutely no surprise to me. The media tends to get all worked up over education standards when the A-level results come out, and the teachers protest that improved results are all down to improved teaching. Then everything goes quiet again. Talk to most people working on the frontline of higher education, though, and they'll tell you of their despair at the quality of school-leavers coming into Universities. Eventually, the need to teach literacy and numeracy to undergraduates is going to impact on the quality at the end of the process and employers are going to see it.

Following that was a piece in The Guardian about inadequate nursery nurses harming the development of children:

Nursery nurses with few qualifications and poor social skills risk creating a generation of Vicky Pollards, teachers' leaders warned yesterday.

Too many illiterate students were starting childcare courses as an easy way to get government grants paid to encourage students to stay in education, the Professional Association of Teachers warned.

So, poor quality graduates are starting to return to the education system, and are undermining the next generation of kids to come through.

It's beginning to look a little like a death spiral isn't it? And when both the right wing and left wing newspapers are reporting on it, we should be getting really worried. Yet, it just doesn't seem to be on the political agenda. And that scares me.

links for 2006-08-03

Time to pay for Fast Car videos

New Fast Car website to pay readership for its videos:

Future Publishing is planning to re-launch its Fast Car website making user-generated content the core element.

The new site, which will launch next month following a re-launch of the magazine, will charge users 20 pence to view some of the uploaded video clips.

In turn those submitting clips will get two pence every time a paid-for clip is viewed. Other videos submitted by readers will be free to view.

Well, now, it was inevitable that somebody would try this model. It'll be interesting to see if people will pay for the clips, though.

Jeffrey Archer: Blogger

Good grief. Jeffrey Archer has a blog.

Words fail me. Sadly, they don't seem to be failing him

August 2, 2006

Comment is F***ed?

Trouble at t'Guardian blog mill, says Guido:

Guido hears a rumour that since Comment is Free has flopped (some geeky critical acclaim, but financial failure due to trivial advertising revenue) it is going to be "revamped". Ben Hammersly is, Guido understands, spearheading the new not-so-secret project.

Interesting if true. It's by far the most prominent blog launch from a UK newspaper, and if it's struggling we'd do well to understand why.

UPDATE: Officially denied by Ben Hammersley. That's good news.

Linking To Your Rivals

Telegraph | Money | American news sites create web links to rivals:

The Washington Post, among other publications, has hired Inform.com to scan thousands of sites to post relevant links, including audio and video content, beside their stories, regardless of the source.

One of the biggest mindset changes for journalists as we move into the online world is that the magazine is no longer the beginning and end of our readers' needs. Every story, feature or blog post we put online should be pointing people to other things, too. News sources outside our sites. Other wenpages. Blogs. Maybe even our competitors. And it seems that some of the big US papers are beginning to get the point.

(See? Actual content!)

OK, So I Lied

I really did intend to get more posts up yesterday, but Stuff Came Up.

Stuff does that, you know. It's an inherent quality of stuff.

I will try to be better today.

August 1, 2006

links for 2006-08-01

Car

Driving in my carI am really not used to spending this much time in my car.

Got some posts lined up for when things get quieter. Check back later!

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About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries from August 2006 listed from newest to oldest.

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