November 2006 Archives
November 24, 2006
November 23, 2006
Last night, I wrote an application which I imaginatively call KidBrowser. ...
Basically, it's an ultra-simple web browser for our Primary 1 children (age 5-6). It has a row of buttons along the top, which can be configured by a teacher to point to different sites. It takes over the entire screen and, well, that's it really.
He just whipped up a quick browser overnight? Good Lord, if Lorna and I are blessed with kids, I'm only going to accept a school which has a successful software developer teaching the kids.
November 22, 2006
Potentially useful "blog first aid" guide.
More and more serious economists are predicting a downturn in the housing market. A serious one at that. I remember seeing people trapped with negative equity in the mid-90s. I shudder at the thought of those days returning.
Burglars have stolen laptop computers containing the payroll details of half of the Metropolitan Police staff, Scotland Yard has said.
The computers were taken in a raid last Thursday on offices used by the firm responsible for the Met's pay and pension services.
I bet they'll be more interested in investigating that than the criminal damage to my car.
November 20, 2006
I'm not having a good time of it right now, and I'd like to thank one individual in particular for making things worse. Yes, I'd like to thank the lackwit that rammed my parked car with his sometime last night, doing this damage to it. I think the failure to leave any insurance details behind. That was a nice touch.
I'd also like to thank Lewisham police for welcoming me into a locked glass box, where a bored young man gave me a form to fill in while informing that they intended to do absolutely nothing about it. You see, unless somebody inflicts criminal damage on your car under the watchful eye of the CCTV, they're not interested. Too much like hard work, I presume.
Today has not been a good day. And what, do you think, are the odds of the insurance company deciding to write the car off?
November 14, 2006
Now look round the average British newsroom. How many hacks have a Flickr account or a MySpace profile? How many sub-editors have ever uploaded a video to YouTube? How many editors have used BitTorrent? (How many know what BitTorrent is?)
And while some of our teenagers' interests coincide with ours, many do not. Here, for example, are the top blog tags on Technorati last night: Bush, careers, college, comedy, Congress, death, Democrats, elections, Flickr, gay, Halloween, Iraq, Microsoft, money, Republicans, Saddam, Ted Haggard, vote, war, breaking-news, tagshare, YouTube. Some you'll recognise. But you won't see much about many of these in the papers.
It's not only an accurate view of the way things are in many media businesses, it's also a roadmap as to where they should be...
November 13, 2006
November 12, 2006
November 8, 2006
I was browsing my RSS feeds this morning, and I spotted a story about Microsoft's new 3D Virtual Earth. "Ah-ha," I thought, "I spotted that on Sky News last night and it looked interesting."
So, I clicked on the link, read the story, and then looked for a link through to the service itself.
And there wasn't one.
This is really shoddy. As a journalist, you should always be thinking about what your readers want. If you're not providing them with a blindingly obvious through link, you're not. What makes this more insulting is that there are link to other stories that the title has published on the topic, and to social bookmarking sites, so you can promote the story for the title, but not through to the subject of the story.
A very poor show from a technology-focused title. You can find Virtual Earth here.
November 6, 2006
It's my birthday today and, thanks to my lovely family, I've been far too busy playing with my brand new iPod and going out for lunch (unsuccessfully, but that's a story for tomorrow) to blog.
But here's a handful of links, handily filtered with the aid of red wine, to end the day:
November 5, 2006
Things are about to get even more "interesting" in Iraq.
In a recent interview with the Guardian, alas, my attempt to explain this was turned upside down into a "blogging is one of the biggest perils" message. Sigh. I think they took their lead from an unfortunate BBC article, which for some reason stressed concerns about the web rather than excitement, failure modes rather than opportunities. (This happens, because when you launch a Web Science Research Initiative, people ask what the opportunities are and what the dangers are for the future. And some editors are tempted to just edit out the opportunities and headline the fears to get the eyeballs, which is old and boring newspaper practice. We expect better from the Guardian and BBC, generally very reputable sources)
His answer? Blogs!
And, fortunately, we have blogs. We can publish what we actually think, even when misreported.
He's right, of course, and we're only just beginning to feel the impact of that. For the last century or so, editors and journalists have been the ultimate arbiters of how people's opinions appeared in print. The best a person who felt he had been misrepresented could do was write a letter to the editor and hope he designed to publish it. Or, if he had money, to sue for libel.
Now, an interview subject of any significance can correct the error on his own blog and have the results seen by nearly as many people as read the original. And, in the process, undermine the credibility of the original reporting. Is there an upsurge in journalistic standards coming? I hope so, for the industry's sake.
- Free Exchange - an economics blog (no surprises there)
- Democracy in America - which does what it says on the tin
The Good: Both comments and trackbacks on, nice writing style, loads of links. Oh, and intelligent comments in the debate.
The Bad: Register-to-comment. Boo.
November 4, 2006
I can't remember if I've made this explicit here or not but, at the moment, I'm working full time on helping my employer roll out blogs for certain of its magazines. I certainly remember mentioning the Hairdressers Journal Blog.
Well, yesterday another one went live, this time for the travel industry magazine, Travel Weekly. And what a lovely looking thing it is. The blog launch co-incinced with an almost complete revamp of the magazine and website, including a new logo and a new look. And, although I am biased by associated, I think the new look makes the blog looks fantastic.
This will be an interesting blog to follow, I think, and not just because there are some very good journalists on the title. The travel industry has gone through huge changes in recent years, squeezed by the twin forces of the internet and terrorism. If the blog managed to give us the inside track on the way the industry moves (alongside its sister title Travolution), it'll be a great read.
Overhead on TV this morning:
I've left the onions sweating off in the pan.
Somehow the word "off" makes a perfectly innocent statement sound, well, dirty.
November 2, 2006
More useful blogging hints from a husband and wife with very different blogging areas of expertise
Something I must get around to sticking on my blog
How did I miss this? The FT is blogging
I spend time adding bookmarking links to my blog - and now I find it's all a waste of time. Great
November 1, 2006
This is the problem with things like wikis: give people the power to be arbitrator on things they know nothing about, and it will be abused. This story is a great argument for niche wikis.
An alternative to the problematic Alexa for measuring web stats?
Some really good ideas about shaping your blog here
Beware, print journalists. Make sure you're aware of internet precedents for you story, and that what you do is different enough that posts like this can't be written.