“London has access to government through Westminster, you have the creative industries [and] you have the financial sector. You almost have Washington with government, New York with financial and advertising and creative and Los Angeles with creative all in one city and within a few square miles.
“This is the gateway to the world. It should not be a stepchild to other cities. It should be in its rightful place as the centre for innovation, the digital industries. The time has come.”
I think she has a big challenge on her hands, but she has the right pedigree and attitude.
Well, that's the Olympics in London all but over. Hazel made me miss the opening ceremony by choosing to be born just after it, and she's made me miss the closing ceremony by dint of being reluctant to sleep.
Ah, well. Sometimes living your own life has to take precedence over watching fit people do sporty things.
Expect exactly no commentary at all on the media coverage of this Olympics... ;-)
Last night, in the downstairs of a pub on the fringes of the city, two groups of people met. One group builds tools, the other uses them. They came to learn from one another, to swap and ideas and secrets, and to help define the way we see the world...
They came from many different organisations, some of them notionally competitive. Some were old hands at this, meeting regularly over the course of the last year. Others were taking their first steps into a new world. One key organiser works for an organisation that has come under considerable public scrutiny in recent months for its illicit activities. Another, a speaker, in fact, was from the very organisation that has done so much to expose those activities. With a crowd like this, the talk was bound to be of paranoia, of safety and privacy, and of wresting control from the moribund hands of those who fail to understand the reality of today.
Who were these shadowy denizens of London? What brought them together?
So, yes, it was just a bunch of journos and coders sat together in the downstairs bar of a pub, drinking painfully expensive beer and talking about security and the perpetual digital revolution we're in right now. But you know what? They all had something in common: a desire to learn, and an excitement about the future. (And slightly lighter wallets by the end of the evening)
The hackers are the real techies. They are the people who play with code and consider it fun. The journalists? They're just users of tools, not builders of them, looking for new ways of plying their trades with those new tools the hackers are creating. Most people in that room who are working journalists can't code their way out of a wet paper bag - myself included. But they are the sort of people who want journalism to keep moving forward, to keep pace with the digital revolution and find new ways of expressing itself.
In fact, this gathering was the the antithesis of the kerfuffle about what editors think about web skills that we've seen over the last couple of days. Too much of the commentary around that much-discussed report reflected the attitudes of people who are unwilling to move out of their comfort zone, who like things very much they way they are thankyouverymuch, and who are quite willing to denigrate anyone with a more open mind as "techies" or, as the editor of Press Gazette quite memorably tweeted "new media blowhards". Thanks, Dominic. Nice to know that our trade title is so respectful of its whole constituency. This was a gathering of people who care enough about their profession to give up their evening to learn new things, and to share with others. I know which group I'd rather be part of.
And it wasn't an exercise in starry-eyed optimism, either. This was not a gathering of true believers, come to hear a familiar sermon and sign familiar hymns. No, the first presentation was exploring the idea that protecting the identities of sources gets ever harder in the digital age. Stick your head in the sand about digital skills, and you run the risk of failing to protect your sources.
Mary Hamilton and Sarah Booker have both already published detailed accounts of the night:
A rough night in London, as looters smashed up and burnt high streets all over the capital.
Morning has dawned, with the #riotcleanup hashtag, promoted early on by Dan Thompson, helping people co-ordinate themselves to clean up the damage of the night before. Proof, if you want it, that social media is inherently neutral, and that people can use it for good or ill.
Almost inevitably, while I was sat on a train crawling its way into London in this morning's snow, the one meeting I had today was cancelled. Bah.
However, I decided to take the opportunity afforded by the weather and give my new Kodak Zi8 a bit more of a workout in the snowy conditions. Here's the result:
Shot at 720p at 60fps.
The camera has, as one might expect, somewhat underexposed the footage, but that's pretty common with snowy situations. I could have fixed most of that in iMovie, but I decided not to, for testing purposes. The camera shake isn't too bad, given that the footage is hand-held in cold conditions, and could be stabilised even more in iMovie, if I'd wanted.
That all said, I'm reasonably pleased with the results. It's that bit more complex than the Flip HD models, and that does slow you down on occasions, but the results are usually worth it.
I need to give it a test run with an external microphone next.
Oh, OK. Misleading headline. More actually, London's mayor went to Westfield's new Stratford shopping centre to celebrate the topping out of the John Lewis store there. And an EG journalist was there with a Flip Video camera in hand to record Boris Johnson giving a speech at Stratford:
Another way journalists can get more value out of these junkets without much additional effort or cost. Carry the audience with you into the event.
The London Evening Standard: free for one day only!
Yes, from lunchtime today onwards, distributors in lurid orange t-shirts were distributing free copies of the new-look Evening Standard to Londoners.
Well, all it did for me was convince me not to shell out for the Standard ever again. Why? Well, take a look at the lead story - a city "tycoon" in a divorce case has revealed that he was keeping two families. And this is the biggest story in one of the greatest cities in the world?
If I'd had my MacBook with me, I'd still have used iMovie and edited it much more tightly. Trimming clips isn't that easy in the Flip's own software. But in terms of getting good stuff up quickly, the Flip hits the spot...
Here, as close as possible, is the same shot I took on Sunday night, showing the view from where my car is parked. The big melt is starting to make the street passable again, and the actual hill down to the main road (just out of shot) is pretty clear.
Looks like I'll be gracing the office with my presence tomorrow...