echo chamber

31 March 2008

So as to prove him right, I give you Dave Winer. Bless him.  I’m tempted to start writing again but will need a pseudonym if work is to feature.  Tempting.


sloppy journalism, clever marketing

1 October 2006

The BBC reports that Tesco is about to set sail on the software high seas with an office package “it had developed” with software firm Formjet. Tesco, the report continues, will make this top notch software available to its millions of customers for £20 a throw. Gosh, you might think, what a bargin, how clever of Tesco to develop such cheap applications, Bill will be quaking in his boots.

30 seconds of high quality Google-based research later it turns out that Formjet’s business is software licencing and that the good people of Britain can already buy the Ability Office suite (in development since 1985) for £49 or individual applications such as Ability Write for, yes you’ve guess it, £19.99. So, not only have Tesco managed to get someone at the BBC to simply copy its press release onto the world’s favourite news site without any apparent thought, it will also be charging its customers an additional 1p for something already available.

Will the punters care? Of course not. After all, every little helps… doh! now I’m at it!

UPDATE: the Guardian also has a go at this one and also misses the backstory.

Englefield Road Hammerite

23 September 2006

My camera came back from its holiday in France, restored to full working order and back on the trail of interesting things. Is this one of them?

(no) goats

7 September 2006


worlds within worlds within…

7 September 2006

The internet started as a communication and dissemination tool, the information that it carried was about the ‘world outside’.  Now that it is part of the ‘world’ it can consider itself a subject for discussion in the same way that newspapers report what other newspapers are up to.  This self referential vein goes another step deeper when the story is about how other stories get highlighted and discussed on the internet.

Jesusphreak writes about the possibly un-democratic way stories get promoted to digg’s  frontpage (that a small cartel of diggers might be fixing what gets to the top), then some more about how his story hasn’t made it to that very same frontpage in spite of being well dugg.  Kevin Rose responds.

I like the fact that people seem to care so much about this stuff.  On one level you might wish that all this energy and hours of keyboard time was being directed at something useful, but then maybe forging these new means of interaction is ultimately as ‘useful’ as anything else people fill their days with?  I also like the interplay/competition between man and machine that these discussions highlight – the algorithm over at Techmeme vs. the user/algorithm mash-ups at digg et al.

This of course is a story about a story about which stories are being promoted and discussed.  Discuss.

Via Techmeme.  Love the algorithm.

stay funny

2 September 2006

In a more worrying development, Crazy Apple Rumors Site recently started almost covering an actual story in the shape of the MacBook-hack-that-probably-wasn’t.  Whilst this laudable endeavour was undertaken with their usual elan, I was pleased see a return to form with this post detailed a urinal conversation between Steve Jobs and Phil Schiller.  As Friday’s Helpdesk showed, Moltz and Co perform better by regularly changing scene rather than sticking with a single topic.

compare and contrast

2 September 2006

In his latest post, John Gruber seems to be following Robert Scoble in adding a personal strand to his tech-centric blog Daring Fireball. Both are full time tech bloggers but take a different approach to both stands of their writing.

Scoble usually posts many times a day, varying in length from short notes on something that has just occurred to him, to longer more journalistic pieces. Whilst the majority of his output is tech, this style applies also to his family-orientated observations, most movingly to his mother’s recent decline and death.

Gruber on the other hand is the king of the long, considered, journalistic piece, most recently his analysis of the wireless MacBook hack (or non-hack, depending on your view).  Concomitantly with this he tends to post more infrequently, dealing with particular issues that coincide with his tech interests, rather than a running commentary on bits and pieces.  This pattern changed however with this vacation post, well written in his usual considered style but dealing with parenthood rather than typographical standards or Mac OS developments.

I wonder what has prompted Gruber to branch out?  It raises an interesting question about why readers keep track of particular bloggers – is it for their insights into a particular field or for something akin to a newspaper columnist’s take on the world around them.  I think Scoble successfully combines the two and it will be interesting to see if Gruber can do the same in his own, more long winded way.

Wilton Way splodges

22 August 2006

My camera broke. It has gone back to France from whence it came; at least I hope it has. Buying consumer electronics over the internet seems like a good idea at the time – cheap, relatively quick if you can get the delivery sorted out. But then it brakes, and it all has to go back into the box, with all it’s accompanying bits and peices so as not to nullify the warranty, be safely packaged up and posted Special Delivery to Coventry from where it will hopefully make it to France. What they’ll do with it then… who knows? Whether it will ever come back… only Pixmania and Panasonic can decide that fate.

So in the meantime, I’ll try and log pictures that I would have taken if I had my camera. And so as to demonstrate the fallibility of the human mind over the 6 mega pixel chip, I’ve missed a ‘p’ when typing splodges.

tv or not tv

19 August 2006

I’m still feeling my way through all this, trying to work out whether it’s worthwhile or not, to which of course there is no answer, so keep on looking. I’d never really thought about video blogging or watching tailor made content until I caught wind of Rocketboom and Amanda Congdon parting company (an enormous and extremely short lived storm in a teeny tiny teacup). But Robert Scoble’s post musing on what to call his upcoming video blog got me thinking. When is TV not TV?And if it’s not TV, what is it? TV controlled by networks gets broadcast because it is considered of sufficient quality/content to attract viewers and along with them advertisers in the commercial sector or continued licence fees from the government in the case of the BBC. So there’s a model – “we think this is ‘good’ and hope you will too”. At worst, produced internet video content (as distinguished from YouTube fare) is bad TV that no one needing to attract advertisers would broadcast. At best it is cutting edge stuff too bloodied to justify the commerical or public interest tag, with all sorts of niche audiences in between.

At the end of the day though it’s still TV, the traditional form is still dominant.  Scoble makes a good point about duration – there is no network schedule on the internet, a piece can be as long as the content warrants rather than fitting a slot (often being stretched way beyond the limits of the material).  I’ve quite liked some of Scoble’s Channel 9 pieces and look forward to seeing what he comes up with for ScobleTV, or whatever he decides on in the end.

my brilliant career

16 August 2006

It’s over, I need never to post another word now that I have earned an algorithmic pingback from the Scobleizer. I’ve been A-listed and will never again pour scorn on those who crave the limelight. Now that I’ve had a taste of it I want more.

Update: and of course, I got more, more of myself pinging myself. Which kind of says it all really, an endless circle jerk. But so long as we’re enjoying it, why bitch about it?