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A trade journal of a still-emerging field, written by Adam Tinworth.

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Lewisham at Rush HourSometimes a break can let you see things with new eyes. I haven’t commuted into or out of London by train for over three months now, and a blessed change it’s been. However, today an appointment in London in the morning and one in Sutton in the afternoon necessitated me abandoning the car and commuting by train once more.

My goodness, what an eye-opener it was. After nine years of train commuting, I’d got used to it. After a short break, I saw it with new eyes. I saw the utter filth of London Bridge station. I saw the people crushed into cattle trucks. I smelt the fast food and the perfume and the body odor all mingling in an unpleasant aroma cocktail. I saw people struggling to get though a tiny platform exit on Lewisham station.

London has been described as the heart of the country’s economy, pumping its fiscal blood around the nation. If that’s the case, then the country has heart disease. Its arteries are clogged, unable to cope with the demands placed on them.

No care is being taken of the heart’s health, and that lack of care is reflected in simple cleanliness. We Londoners are well known for our stiff upper lips, for putting up with things. But I do feel that that tolerant nature is being abused, and will continue to be abused unless we stand up and demand the sort of transport system we deserve.

I’ve had a rather large number of tabs open in Firefox for two days now, waiting for me to get around to blogging about them. You know what? It’s not going to happen. And so, inspired by the good Mr Micklethwait, I’m going to roll them into one big post and let you go away and enjoy them over the weekend.

First up is this rambling, but entertaining, review of the BBC’s Jane Eyre and Robin Hood by Andrew Rilstone. I spend hours telling people that blog posts should be short and frequent, and then Andrew goes and demonstrates that the opposite works too. Bah. And, indeed, humbug.

Wordblog takes a look at UK national newspaper blogs, and finds them wanting. He’s right in that there are some gems and clunkers out there, but how is that different from any other group of blogs you care to name? Perhaps the point is that, as they’re written by professional journalists, the average quality should be higher than it is. But changing someone’s working mindset is no easy task.

Robert Scoble proposes that we need to start measuring a website’s traffic in a new way: by their level of engagement. In many ways, the current system of measuring “hits” and “unique visitors” is mired in the print past, where we could measure how many copies were sold, but not how well read they were. TV has something approaching this, with its audience appreciation figures, but it’s even more important in an online
world where people are actively doing stuff on websites, nut just reading them.

I learn, via Jackie Danicki, of a list of the top 100 UK blogs. I’m surprised by how few I read, and even more so by how few I want to start reading, having perused the list in some depth.

Simom Robinson tears into the US subsidy of biofuels and the potential harm it’s doing to the environment over on the Big Biofuels Blog. [Full disclosure: this is one of the blogs I’m helping set up for my employer. I’m only plugging it because I found the story interesting, though. And the blog is very much in beta. Things like a blogroll and a nice design will come.]

Dave Winer’s idea for an Old Girlfriend Query tool shows more understanding of the way people actually use the web than I’ve seen in a long time.

Roy Greenslade’s report on Tunisia’s spat with Qatar over Al-Jazeera reminds me of the sheer level of fear of an Islamic revolution that many Tunisians seemed to have when we were over there on holiday last year.

And finally, I couldn’t resist this:

 
Mac vs. PC

What’s life like for British Bloggers in the early 21st Century? History Matters aims to find out tomorrow, by compiling a blog of posts by people all over the UK on one day: tomorrow. On October 17th, it’s inviting people to submit a blog post about their day, which will be stored in the British Library as part of an archive of British life called One Day in History. It’s an interesting idea, and I’ll be giving it a go. Anyone else?

[Hat tip: Ellee Seymour]