August 2006 Archives

August 31, 2006

The New York Times and geo-location of internet users - what I might have said on Radio 4 yesterday

So you very nearly heard me on Radio 4 yesterday talking about the attempt by the New York Times to block UK readers from accessing a story published on their website about the recent terrorist arrests in my home town of Walthamstow - "best known for its faded greyhound track" as the article states. Sadly we couldn't get a good enough line on either of my phones out here in Greece to put me on air in the end. They...
Read the full post.

August 30, 2006

Migrationwatch UK demonstrate that 4 out of 5 native British adult workers 'take more from economy than they put back'

I've written a piece on 'A lemon tree of our own' - "Flying the flag" - about some of the changes I noticed when I went back to the UK. One of the principle ones was the way in which the debate surrounding immigration to the UK from EU citizens from Eastern Europe has reached a hysterical crescendo in the tabloid press. It seems that everything from hospital waiting lists, low wages, rising employment, rising unemployment, the pensions crisis, England's...
Read the full post.

August 28, 2006

Search across photo-sharing sites from Kodak, Shutterfly, Snapfish and PictureTrail

I've been surveying search across some of the most popular photosharing sites on the web, chiefly to find out whether the tagged 'folksonomy' of Flickr that everybody raves about is really very helpful in trying to find different types of pictures using search. What I didn't realise when I set out on this little study, was how few of the top photo sharing sites actually allow any kind of public sharing. A site like the Kodak EasyShare Gallery seems more...
Read the full post.

August 23, 2006

There's just no messin' with the kids

When I was around Euston to look at the exhibition of new Victoria Line rolling stock, I also noticed a big promotional display for No Messin'! No Messin'! is, in their own words: Network Rail's youth safety brand created to reach an audience that is cynical of authority, media savvy and hard to influence. No Messin'! rejects the traditional 'just say no' approach and gives kids positive alternatives to hanging out on the railway Trespassing on the railway is a...
Read the full post.

August 21, 2006

Evening Standard using Muslim anger to sell newspapers in Walthamstow

In the West End on Friday Evening Standard billboards were leading on the Heather Mills divorce saga. In Walthamstow it was a different story. The fact that Jack Lefley's "Community leaders blame foreign policy for anger" article was only ~250 words long, and was buried on page 10 of the paper, didn't stop the Evening Standard using it as their main sales thrust in E17....
Read the full post.

August 18, 2006

Do boys even take A-Levels these days?

Time for my annual A-Level joust with the British media. There was a shot across the bows last week, but over the last couple of days I’ve been keeping a watchful eye on the way the press portrays the results process. Across print and the web it was pretty much the same old, same old - lots of pictures of very successful girls, and not a hint that boys can achieve academic success. The Guardian, The Daily Telegraph, The Daily...
Read the full post.

August 17, 2006

Being in Walthamstow during the "terror raids"

With a week gone since Britain was put on a high state of terror alert, it is quite odd to reflect that I flew back to Walthamstow just as it became the centre of what was, briefly, the world's biggest news story. In my wanderings around the borough I pass several of the houses that were raided, and there is still a large police presence and frequent over-flying by police helicopters in the area. The equally large media presence, whether...
Read the full post.

August 16, 2006

New media pensioner and president in the old media

Yesterday's old media seemed to have a surfeit of "drop the dead donkey" style stories about the internet - you know the type. YouTube's geriatric1927 made the transition from viral internet success to print marvel in a Daily Mail article by Nick Craven and Liz Hill: On paper. he makes an unlikely celebrity for the 21st Century But on the computer screen, Peter the pensioner is the latest big thing. The Daily Mail even printed an appeal for Peter to...
Read the full post.

August 15, 2006

Front Page at the British Library

Last week I had the opportunity to visit the British Library's exhibition on the history of newspapers - "Front Page". I have to say that being a geeky devotee of old media as well as new media, I thoroughly enjoyed it. If you've got any interest at all in the history of printed media in the UK, then it is well worth a visit. In many respects the choice of what went on the front pages of newspapers illustrates social...
Read the full post.

August 14, 2006

The release of AOL search data risks demonising search log analysis as a tool

The biggest kerfuffle in the search world last week has been the furore surrounding the release of search log information by AOL. Although in theory they felt they had anonymised the data, because it was possible to extract from the data all of the search queries an individual user had made, it didn't taken long for journalists to track real people down via their search terms. It is interesting that a lot of media outlets are terming it a data...
Read the full post.

August 11, 2006

It must be nearly A-Level time again

As luck would have it I am back in the UK for one of my favourite British events of the year - the mainstream media A-Level results frenzy. Or as I've come to think of it - a load of journalists who haven't had to sit an academic exam for years denigrating the hard efforts of a load of children who are emotionally at the age where they are probably least equipped to deal with failure in front of their...
Read the full post.

Terror plot kills local news on the BBC News homepage

Yesterday's immense security operations across the UK to foil a suspected bombing plot were no doubt one of the 'surge events' that I talked about the BBC's homepages having to cope with when I was writing on the competition blog. It was interesting to see how the BBC's new personalised web 2.0-ish panels on the UK edition homepage degrade - with a message that "Postcode options for local news temporarily removed from this page due to traffic load. Sorry...
Read the full post.

August 10, 2006's Megaphone Desktop Tool - the web turns their 'malware' against them

Thanks to Frankie who pointed me at Tom who had been pointed by Simon to the Megaphone software being used by GIYUS to direct people to online votes to register pro-Israeli opinions. I was immediately interested in it as I worked for about three years at the BBC on their online voting back-end systems. Whilst a lot of people have got rather hot under the collar about it, it doesn't seem to me to be as near to bringing about...
Read the full post.

New Victoria Line trains on display at Euston

Yesterday I visited the temporary exhibition outside Euston station of the new Victoria Line Underground rolling stock which is due to make a debut on the line in late 2009. The display was in a marquee at the front of Euston, and featured a prototype of half of one of the new style carriages. What is it about the marketing material for these kind of events that forces people to use puns all the time? We're on track to introduce...
Read the full post.

August 9, 2006

Incongruent sex advertising at Loftus Road

I was at Loftus Road last night for Leeds United vs QPR (which was funnily enough the same fixture as the last time I got to see Leeds, just before I went travelling) and I was struck by the incongruity of some of the advertising in the toilets. Yes, like most areas of modern life, even the gents toilets in football grounds have adverts, usually with a pretty crude humour about them. This was exemplified by one of the three...
Read the full post.

August 8, 2006

Searching for pictures on ImageShack and Yahoo! Photos

I've been looking at the search services offered by the top photo and image sharing services on the internet. So far I've looked at Photobucket and Slide, and today I want to look at two services that very much focus on the hosting of images rather than providing a sharing service....
Read the full post.

August 7, 2006

Using image search on Slide

I've been looking at the search services across a number of the most popular photo-sharing sites, with a view to understanding whether the much celebrated tag driven folksonomy really makes Flickr the easiest place to find images. Today I am looking at a service called Slide. Slide has seen a marked growth in popularity in the first half of this year, and, according to Hitwise in the USA, in June 2006 it was the ninth most popular photo sharing site,...
Read the full post.

August 4, 2006

ID Cards making the net a more dangerous place for kids

Easy to forge, lures child (and parents) into false sense of security. Stupid rip-off. Crystaltips sums it up pretty well on her link to a story from BBC News yesterday about a new online safety ID card being promoted for children. The ID scheme was set up by UK businessman Alex Hewitt after he discovered that his daughter could only verify the age and identity of a third of her 150 online friends. He said: "People want to feel...
Read the full post.

August 3, 2006

Using image search on Photobucket

Flickr is generally held up by the chattering blogosphere classes to be the epitome of Web 2.0 goodness in terms of the development, API, user interface and feature set it offers. It always comes as a shock then to remember that not only are there other photo-sharing services on the internet, but that there are quite a few who are more successful than Flickr in terms of the numbers of members and number of images stored. One of Flickr's great...
Read the full post.

UEFA web site fails to protect football's image from A.C. Milan

When I was writing my entries for the BBC's competition, one of the things I touched on was how the BBC had to be careful about an incongruent juxtaposition of news headlines and editorial content. UEFA's website faced just such a situation yesterday, when their puff piece on protecting the image of European football was immediately followed by a story saying that it was OK to be involved in match-fixing - a case of the Champions League literally allowing...
Read the full post.

August 2, 2006

Engineering parallels at the Science Museum

I was in London's Science Museum yesterday, and couldn't help noticing that there some parallels and lessons to be learnt for our own times and developments in new media technologies. Throughout the modern debate on computer software patents we have been assured by those in support of them that patents allow companies to innovate and help technological development. That view doesn't seem to be shared by the Science Museum's caption writer for their energy section. Talking about the rise of...
Read the full post.

August 1, 2006

Docking the iPod after a long gap

One of the things I was most looking forward to about arriving back in the UK was firstly setting my main computer back up again, and secondly, docking my iPod with iTunes for the first time in nearly nine months. I was worried that neither my or my wife's iPods would survive our trip with their data intact, and so before we left the UK I had copied onto the laptop we were taking with us around 15Gb of music...
Read the full post.

Read more about…