Recent entries

Recent blog entries on currybetdotnet

February 1, 2013

“It’s the end…but the moment has been prepared for…”

After ten years, this is the last blog post on currybetdotnet.

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January 29, 2013

What can news organisations like learn from the BBC’s approach to online voting fraud?

When systems fail and embarrass a news organisation, the temptation is always to blame the technology or the programmers. But no computer forces editors to commission content based on flawed sources.

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January 28, 2013

Vine - social networking’s newest “Minimum Viable Product”?

Is video-loop sharing app Vine the most high-profile experiment yet with the concept of the “Minimum Viable Product”?

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If you can’t see the point of Vine, maybe that’s because you only see the output?

There is already a lot of grumbling on the net that new video-loop sharing app Vine is ‘pointless’. Perhpas the point isn’t necessarily the output alone…?

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January 25, 2013

You can’t please all the commenters all of the time

The Guardian swapped flat comment threads for ‘nested’ ones. The Manchester Evening News swapped ‘nested’ for flat. Guess what happened next…

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January 24, 2013

How Facebook comments do/don’t increase/decrease* trolling for news websites [*Delete as applicable]

Whether news sites should or shouldn’t use the Facebook comment plug-in or Facebook identity seems to have been a recurring theme in the last few days.

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January 23, 2013

In “censoring” Fawlty Towers, the BBC is only following Ofcom’s lead on what viewers find unacceptable

The BBC is under fire for editing an episode of “Fawlty Towers” to remove racist language. Given the proximity of the BBC finding itself on the front pages of the tabloids for not editing a ten year old episode of the Tweenies that they had broadcast loads of times before without comment or criticism, you can see why there might have been heightened awareness of potential offence embedded in repeat showings. Especially if audience research has only recently said that this language was unacceptable when broadcast.

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“If we don’t understand the financial system, we aren’t doing our jobs as journalists” - Chris Taggart of OpenCorporates at Hack/Hacks London

The latest Hacks/Hackers London meet-up was crammed with talks from people at Bloomberg, Thomson Reuters and the Financial Times. Striking a rather different organisational note at the end of the evening was Chris Taggart. I’ve previously seen Chris talk about OpenlyLocal, but this talk was about another open data project — OpenCorporates. Here are my notes…

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“Data Journalism: not the job of one department” - Emily Cadman & Martin Stabe at Hacks/Hackers London

I’ve been publishing my notes from the talks at the newly revived Hacks/Hackers London meet-up. Representing the Financial Times on the evening were Emily Cadman & Martin Stabe. Here are my notes…

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January 20, 2013

Will the BBC’s Tweenies Jimmy Savile blunder usher in a new, expensive, era of ‘repeats compliance’?

The BBC’s blunder in repeating an episode of the Tweenies this morning that featured a Jimmy Savile reference will no doubt usher in a review of the controls around selecting which children’s programmes to repeat. Was it avoidable?

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January 19, 2013

The Times survey their subscribers. Digital only subscribers need not apply.

The Times is surveying subscribers in order to “improve the products and services we offer to our customers”. They’ve designed the survey in a way that excludes digital customers.

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January 18, 2013

“Data + Other data + People = Readable story” - Himanshu Ojha at Hacks/Hackers London

Hacks/Hackers London returned this week, with an evening of talks about financial and data journalism. Himanshu Ojha is a data journalist at Thomson Reuters, and was talking about the story behind “The Unequal State of America”. Here are my notes…

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January 17, 2013

“Financial Graphics at Thomson Reuters” - Sam Arnold-Forster at Hacks/Hackers London

Last night was the first Hacks/Hackers London after a break, and it was jam-packed with talks about financial and data journalism. The second slot was taken by people from Thomson Reuters, opening with Sam Arnold-Forster talking about “Financial graphics”. Here, as ever, are my notes…

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“All Bloomberg journalism is data journalism” - Marianne Bouchart at Hacks/Hackers London

After a lengthy hiatus, Hacks/Hackers London was back this week with a data journalism themed evening. First up was Marianne Bouchart from hosts Bloomberg, whose plush offices gave the whole evening a rather different feel to the usual dingy pub basement. Here are my notes…

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Was the Guardian right to open comments on their Vauxhall helicopter crash live blog?

The Guardian’s website has been no stranger to controversy over the last couple of weeks, and yesterday was no exception, with the decision to have comments open on the live blog of the unfolding reporting of the helicopter crash in London.

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January 14, 2013

To the memory hole with Julie Burchill!

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January 10, 2013

The word “click” will become a generational marker

Rather like grandparents fondly referring to the wireless, my generation are going to carry that word “click” in our vocabulary to describe interactions long after anybody last used a mouse.

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January 9, 2013

Things you might have missed...

Sadly/luckily* for the rest of the world wide web at large I don’t confine my writing just to here. No, sirree. Here are three things I’ve recently had published on other sites…

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January 8, 2013

“Maybe if you’re here, you’re already dead.” - AP’s sponsored tweets and the long slow death of our industry

Is it just me? Or does it sometimes feel like the whole of the internet is screaming at the news industry: “Jeez, you guys really need to innovate more and hurry up and get yourself a new business model”. And then the response to any attempt at a new model is “But not that one.”

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January 7, 2013

“Computing’s too important to be left to men”

A very short blog post about women in tech.

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January 4, 2013

Three things I thought were interesting about Menshn

At the risk of just turning into a linklog to Matt Andrews’s blog, he wrote a great post this week about trying to set aside the British curse of negativity. During the course of it he spoke about his own reaction to Menshn, and it has prompted me to dig this unfinished blog post out of the “drafts” folder.

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Irish newspapers issue statement clarifying that they really are being a bit silly

Over the last few days there has been some attention to a blog post claiming that Irish newspapers are trying to “destroy the web” by charging for the presence of hyperlinks to other sites.

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One day my daughter will ask me how we tolerated this

If my daughter grows up and wants to go into tech, and is still faced with events where organisers think it is OK to have 22 male speakers out of a possible 22 speakers, she’ll be entitled to turn around to me and ask why I didn’t make a fuss when I could.

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December 31, 2012

‘Assholes’ The Next Web ‘suck’ for stopping making an Android product that loses them money

The Next Web have announced they are stopping production of their Android magazine edition. Commenters are unhappy. But the post announcing the change raises some big questions about the economics of publishing editions aimed at the Android market.

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December 27, 2012

The Guardian publishes stats on the size of their commenting community

I don’t want to unnecessarily poke the hornet’s nest that is user reaction to the Guardian’s introduction of nested comments, but Chris Elliott’s recent column about it contains one fascinating stat, which I don’t think has been made public before. It has implications for the amount of time and effort you might care to expend on the community on your news sites.

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December 18, 2012

Thank you 2012

A thank you post — and list of the most popular items I’ve published this year.

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“Three approaches to making money from selling digital newspapers and magazines” - Eric Villemin at ‘Les Victoires de la Presse’

At yesterday’s “Les Victoires de la Presse” awards, digital media consultant Eric Villemin outlined three very different approaches to making money selling content on Apple devices.

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“Putting user experience at the heart of your tablet strategy” - Martin Belam at ‘Les Victoires de la Presse’

Yesterday I gave a talk in Lyon at WAN-IFRA’s ‘Les Victoires de la Presse’ event. Here is the essay version of a talk which looked at how user research and a focus on simplicity can help the news industry build better products for the tablet market.

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December 14, 2012

A culture hack for London’s schools

This week I got to participate in a day-long “Culture Hack” with a range of people representing some of London’s biggest cultural institutions. Here is what I made of the day.

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The rise and #fail of the Guardian Facebook app

This week the Guardian has announced they are changing the way that they integrate with Facebook, by closing the app that I helped design and launch. It is the perfect moment to reflect on why the app was designed as it was, and what did and didn’t work.

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December 13, 2012

“Live blogging breakfast at the Manchester Evening News” - Seb Ramsay at news:rewired

At news:rewired, Seb Ramsay of the Manchester Evening News explained how a rolling news live blog had brought them closer to their audience. Here are my notes from the session.

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December 12, 2012

“Live blogging the Hillsborough Independent Panel for a city” - Neil Macdonald at news:rewired

Billed as a workshop in live blogging, Neil Macdonald’s talk at news:rewired was an emotional look at how the Liverpool Echo had covered the publication of the Hillsborough Independent Panel report. Here are my notes from the session.

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December 11, 2012

“Rediscovering the ‘content experience’ for news” - Grig Davidovitz at news:rewired

At news:rewired, Grig Davidovitz argued that news organisations need to rediscover the art of designing the “content experience. Here are my notes.

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December 7, 2012

“The philosophy of” - Dave Wyllie at news:rewired

At news:rewired, Dave Wyllie of talked about the duty of care the service had to the citizen eye-witness sources it uses. Here are my notes

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December 6, 2012

“Curating social media during Hurricane Sandy for the Guardian” - Katie Rogers at news:rewired

At news:rewired the Guardian’s Katie Rogers was talking about how the US arm of the paper used social media to cover Hurricane Sandy as it landed on their New York doorstep. Here are my notes from her talk.

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“Matter: Long-form digital journalism that breaks all the rules” - Bobbie Johnson at news:rewired

Bobbie Johnson’s discussion of long-form journalism start-up Matter was the talk I was most looking forward to at news:rewired today. He didn’t disappoint. Here are my notes from the session.

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“The user experience of news” - Martin Belam at news:rewired

At news:rewired today I spoke as part of a panel talking about the importance of “user experience” for digital publishers. Here is the essay version of the talk.

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December 4, 2012

Training courses with Martin Belam for January and February 2013

I’ve confirmed a line-up of four different training courses that I’m teaching or taking part in early next year. All are open for booking now, and they cover a range of topics from blogging to digital journalism to the fundamentals of UX to the nitty-gritty of responsive IA.

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The Communications Data Bill and freedom of the press

The British press don’t seem to be treating the Communications Data Bill as a threat to their freedom. Perhaps they should be.

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November 30, 2012

Friday reading #31

Here is my weekly round-up of interesting long(-ish) reads about UX, journalism, product management, and other stuff that interests me. This week guaranteed to be 100% Leveson free.

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