November 2006 Archives

November 30, 2006

The compassionate heart of Middle England

In the news in the UK has been the story that the son of finance minister (as that is how he is described in Greece and no doubt Austria as well if I ever saw TV here) Gordon Brown's son has been diagnosed with cystic fibrosis. Over on the Daily Mail's site it has sparked much comment on their pre-moderated boards: Let's hope Brown leaves the Government and spends time with his family. - Andrew, Yorkshire As much as I...
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"MySpace has had a better effect on music in the last 20 years than John Peel"

"MySpace has had a better effect on music in the last 20 years than John Peel" - well, nobody has claimed that yet, but I guess it might be turning up in a press release soon, after I recently completed a survey for download site eMusic. Whilst claiming to take the temperature of the UK music scene, (like I'd know, I live in Austria), it looked like a set of questions fishing for the kind of survey headline that generates...
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November 29, 2006

Michael Grades's new salary - not half bad if you can get the work

The media-will-eat-itself feeding frenzy of the last couple of days in the UK has been the news of Michael Grade's sudden defection from the BBC to ITV. I can't say that when I was there I was ever particularly enamoured of his appointment in the first place. For one thing, to this day I am still annoyed that the Hutton report meant that one ill-worded news broadcast before 7am in the morning cost the BBC the resignations of both Chairman...
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November 28, 2006

Video blogging isn't safe for work for me

Words are dead. The future lies instead in sound and pictures. And that's bad news for blogs like mine which rely on words. People can't be bothered to read words any more, not when they can be spoonfed moving images with an accompanying soundtrack instead. Could be a music video, could be a film trailer, could be a TV snippet, could be two spotty teenagers shouting into a webcam in their bedroom. Whatever the content, sitting back and soaking in...
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November 27, 2006

Doug (U1564650)

Bad news travels fast, and thanks to the internet it is now able to travel faster. Last week I was saddened to learn via email correspondence of the death of one of my friends and ex-colleagues from the BBC, Doug. I worked with Doug for the best part of two years, and just before leaving the UK I interviewed and hired him as an Assistant Development Producer to join my own team. He had worked for some time prior to...
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November 24, 2006

"Booze Cruise" ruling exposes Europhobe ignorance in the UK

There are some stories that are virtually guaranteed to bring out the worst of Europhobia in the British, and depriving them of their divine right to cheap booze'n'fags is one of them. However, the reaction in the forums on the BBC and the Daily Mail to the news that the European Court had not ruled in favour of Brits being able to buy cheap mail order ciggies from elsewhere in the EU was as ignorant as it was savage. Typical...
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November 23, 2006

Listening to The Beatles "Love" online

Dave's post about The Beatles "new" album, reminded me to head over to The Beatles site to have a listen myself. Having worked in the record retail industry myself I can only imagine the frenzy there has been around the promotional items made available to support the release. The online listening experience was very smooth once I had completed the obligatory registration. One thing that struck me as a great little feature was the map of who else was listening...
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November 22, 2006

The spamosphere already have their eyes on Number 10's E-Petition site

In the last week or so the British have had the ability to petition their Prime Minister via the internet, using a beta site developed in partnership by mySociety with the the civil servants at the 10 Downing Street site. Despite it being a 'beta', it was prominently linked to from the homepage of the 10 Downing Street site - although to be honest the thing that caught my eye was trying to sell to children the concept that Government...
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November 21, 2006

Christmas arrives at Connect

Of course one consequence of working with a digital music site these days is that I am partially responsible for the Xmas music sales frenzy, and I noticed that Christmas arrived today on the UK version of Sony's Connect store, with one of the main promo items on the homepage being "Merry Christmas from Stateside". At least I could console myself with the fact that this offering featuring Jimmy McGriff, Amos Milburn, Lou Rawls, Charles Brown and Baby Washington is...
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November 20, 2006

More of my photographs included in Schmap's European travel guides

I mentioned the downloadable travel guides Schmap earlier this year, when they included some of my Flickr photographs of Zaragoza in their information on the city. Well, they've just issued a whole series of second editions of some of their European guides, and it looks like it is going to be pretty hard to use them without bumping into some of the Creative Commons licensed photographs of my recent travels through Europe. I don't think that a couple of the...
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November 17, 2006

Media coverage of a shocking sex attack in Greece

One story that hasn't been making me homesick for Greece has been a terrible tale that has emerged there of the gang-rape of a 16 year old schoolgirl by her classmates. It is alleged that four boys took it in turns to rape the girl in the school toilets. As far as I am aware only one British newspaper has reported on it, but the more that emerges of the story in the Greek press and on blogs, the more...
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November 16, 2006

Sitemaps in search engine news

I'm always interested to see how search engines provide coverage of themselves when they are making the news, and so at around 3:30pm Austrian time today I had a look to see what searching for 'sitemap' or 'sitemaps' turned up, following today's announcement from Google, Microsoft and Yahoo! that they were converging on one standard. Yahoo! performed best, with an injected Yahoo! shortcut to a Search Engine Journal article about the news. Google, on the other hand, had no mention...
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November 15, 2006

The Co-operative Bank's odd re-directing behaviour

"Phishing" attacks on internet banking sites have become one of the modern scourges of the web, to the extent that the last two major internet browser releases for PCs both made a song and dance about their anti-phishing filters. One of the key battlegrounds in fighting this kind of crime is in educating users about the risks posed to them by phishing, teaching them how to recognise it, and how to protect themselves. For some time now I have been...
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November 14, 2006

5 reasons why the BBC's international news site shouldn't take advertising

The other day when I was writing about an auction on eBay for FTP access to a .gov site in the USA, I jokingly wondered how much FTP access to the BBC site might be worth. At some point before the end of this year, or at least early next year, we will probably find out, as the BBC will be taking a decision on whether it will accept advertising on the international versions of the BBC web site. I...
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November 13, 2006

Sony launches a new version of the Connect store in Europe

Last week Sony launched a new version of their European online download music store - Sony Connect. It is the first deployment of a project since I joined the company, although I didn't have anything to do with it up until the very end, when I was involved in some last minute user experience snagging. I understand that a common misconception amongst users is that they think a Sony music store will only have available tracks from Sony Music. This...
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November 11, 2006

Nostalgia for Airfix ain't what it used to be

The British toy business world had big news this week when Hornby (small models of trains) bought up the brand of Airfix (small models of planes). These is a lot of press coverage, although I haven't spotted anyone yet blaming Airfix's decision last year to move towards snap-together robotic kits as a reason for the company's final decline. Everyone is much keener to put the boot into computers, TV and the internet. There was a great paragraph in the Guardian's...
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November 10, 2006

Someone auctions FTP access to a .gov site on eBay

Thanks to the SEO Black Hat blog I've been tracking a really interesting auction on eBay this afternoon. Someone registered in the UK was offering for sale "SEO Parasitic Hosting" on a .gov domain in the USA. .gov domains are particularly valuable, as getting links from them to your site gives added credibility in the eyes of search engines. In this case the seller boasted that: The main domain has over 3 million links going into it over 80,000 of...
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November 9, 2006

currybetdotnet has a new home

This week I moved currybetdotnet to a new server, which marked the end of a very strange chapter in the site's existence. In April this year, whilst I was still travelling around Europe, I got a rather unexpected email confirming the cancellation of my regular payment to my hosting company. Well, I knew I hadn't been keeping the blog updated whilst I was away, but that seemed a little bit drastic. However, my subsequent attempts to contact my hosts were...
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November 8, 2006

The currybetdotnet Test Card

I've been very pleased that despite living in an almost-always-offline world during my stay in first Greece, and then Austria, that I have managed to keep up with making a new post to currybetdotnet virtually every weekday since I reactivated the site in April. However, updates have been sparse over the last few days, and I expect they will be for a few days to come. In part, this is because I have reached a crucial stage in one of...
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November 7, 2006

Where did hosting the IGF leave Greece on the internet?

It has been a few days to allow the dust to settle following the IGF meeting in Athens. I was pleased to see the case of Antonis Tsipropoulos and being referenced in the BBC News coverage of the IGF, and that Kieren McCarthy also ensured it was referenced in the meeting itself. The Greek minister, acting as chairman, was less than happy about the Greek blogger arrest being brought up, and I'm pleased to say I am completely to...
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November 3, 2006

A lesson from Ibis in making your email addresses un-marketing friendly

I was staying at an Ibis hotel in Linz this week, and at the moment they have an offline promotion running for the fact that they are gradually rolling out 100% smoke-free hotels throughout Europe. The breakfast place-mats were advertising the programme, and as I was in Austria the focus was on the 100% smoke-free hotel in Vienna. But look at the email address! might be a perfectly good internal email address within the parent Accor chain where it...
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November 2, 2006

Struggling to buy music from U-MYX

I wanted to buy the U-MYX format of the new Depeche Mode singe, "Martyr". U-MYX is a digital download that includes software allowing you to make your own remixes of tracks. Whilst it isn't quite the same as getting all of the original tracks, as Peter Gabriel recently made available for his track "Shock The Monkey", it does provide a pretty simple interface for mixing and is good fun to play around with. Actually getting to purchase it though was...
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