Normal service has, perhaps inevitably, been interrupted owing to the birth of Gigantababy. He has his own site at artley.net, which at least keeps his mother entertained during those lonely night feeds. And when she emerges from the baby dungeon normal service will resume here…
Archive for the 'Journalism' Category
Beautifully well-written feature on a foot fetishist in Saturday’s Guardian magazine. It’s an extract from Daniel Bergner’s The Other Side of Desire, about a man sexually obsessed with feet.
“For three years, his palms and fingers and lips and tongue travelled from her feet to her breasts and back again, the care of the trip upward masking the urgency of the trip down…”
I’m sorry to inform you that your petition has been rejected.
Your petition was classed as being in the following categories:
* Intended to be humorous, or has no point about government policy
You have four weeks to resubmit your petition, after which your petition will appear in the list of rejected petitions.
Your petition reads: “We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to: ‘formally register Stephen Fry as a national treasure.’
He’s an eloquent and brilliant man. Let’s show him how special he is.”
– the ePetitions team
I just wanted to record a few minutes of the start of DiggNation’s recording in London last night for the benefit of my non-techie friends. You think it’s all geekery, but no. It’s all a bit rock’n'roll!
I’m sitting in an obscure corner of Islington demonstrating Ecto. I love it, But RIP.
Twitter made it to the hallowed halls of the Today programme this morning, and I managed to get a word in. These kind of ‘Twitter for the masses’ explainers can only ever really skim the surface, but one day some form of grown-up Twitter will be ubiquitous and then we’ll have the last laugh.
As I’ve said before, the two main barriers to Twitter take-up are 1) that it is hard to explain what it is and 2) that it takes along time to curate a manageable and useful group of friends. If you’re into technology it’s much easier because that’s where most of the users are now, but it is opening out slowly.
My tips for starting out are:
- Get an account at twitter.com, dig around a bit to see who looks interesting and follow a few people. Others will come and follow you eventually, but persuade a friend to start at the same time. You can’t just sign up and wait for Twitter to happen – you have to push it forward, as Salt’n'Pepa once sort of said.
- Think of Twitter messages in three ways: functional messages (‘Does anyone know a good site for cheap flights?’), discussion (‘Can someone give me feedback on these photos?’) or, for the more poetically inclined, haiku-style notes about your day or observations on life. These are fascinating mini-insights into fleeting moments in our life that we may not remember otherwise and become quite special, in retrospect. (‘Beautiful day, and walking with Mum by the river. Hoping the apple crumble doesn’t burn while we’re out!’)
- Having to pop back to a web page every time you want to check Twitter or send a message is a bit of a pain – hence some lovely techies setting up services like Twhirl or Twitterrific that you can download and use just like an instant messenger service. It will make all the difference. I’d advise that you set up your mobile with Twitter (see the instructions under the settings tab) but set it to only receive direct messages. These are private messages between you and other people, sort of a Twitter back channel. That way when you’re out you can skip the ambient chatter but still get direct messages. I was stuck in a cab once and neither the driver or me had the correct address – Twitterers came to the rescue!
- There are so many possible uses for Twitter. It’s a very functional group messaging service – if your ten closest mates were signed up you could say ‘I’m in the pub’ and would only have to send one message instead of paying for ten. And you could also use it for more creative projects, something I’d like to explore when I clone myself and have some time to do ‘art’ outside of all-consuming work time.
The real point, though, is that we should all be a little more willing to explore these tools without feeling the need to classify it or nail it down to some definite function when it is still so young. So many inventions were born out of a completely different idea; vinyl records were a spin-off (no pun intended) from a project for talking dolls or some such… It’s far easier to dismiss something out of hand than to be open-minded, creative and playful.
See you on Twitter!
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I’m in a Guardian digital training awareness workshop (it was a three-line whip thing) where we’re learning about bookmarking, blogging and social networking, and then later today we’ll do photos and audio interviews. We’ve already had a rallying introductory video featuring all our glorious leaders. Maybe that will be shared with the world one day…
I’m still buzzing from the Richard Dawkins appearance at our news conference this morning. I confess I haven’t read either the Selfish Gene or the God Delusion but have already tracked down the audio version of the latter. Free interview taster here.
Inspired by Dawkins, I started at the Italian Catholic Church when I set out on my digital camera experiment and ended up at Leather Lane…
Capsule reviews of handsets I’ve demo’d:
Blackberry Perl - terrible design, poor navigation and illogical menu layout
Nokia W800 – impressive screen, but complicated to connect and ultimately pointless
Nokia N93 – ugly design, but impressive attempt at video/screen/phone combo
Lobster - glitchy TV reception but easy navigation and pleasing handset design
HTC Touch - great navigation and good design, but not enough ‘touch’
iPhone – where do I start?!
When I was ten, we did a project about newspapers in Mrs Beeston’s class and I was so excited by the whole experience that I went home to make my own newspaper. I made about eight copies and hand-wrote them all, and made a potato print logo that I stamped on each page.
Not sure my business acumen was quite there; It took me a whole weekend to make eight twelve-page copies and I only charged 2p each. I’d learnt about how big the New York Times was, so drew a Garfield-style cartoon of a small dog struggling to pick the enormous newspaper up off the doormat. And the headline story was about our new kitten.
If I’d been twenty years younger, I would have been an obsessive teeny-blogger no doubt. (A couple of years later I started a photocopying bonanza with the more ambitious ‘Bunny Times’ and then moved on to elaborate psychedelic cartoons for the Sixth Form magazine Jism. But those are not seeing the light of day!)
Probably the first in a long line of niggles.
I’m one of those people who likes to keep my text messages and flick through them occasionally, but it seems the iPhone’s SMS stash can’t really handle having a pile of messages to stored up because the SMS tool is really slow to load. Consequently I guess I’ll have to bin a bunch of useful and/or entertaining messages.
On the considerably plus side, last weekend I watched my technophobe mother make her iPhone-using debut. Astonishing. Like a duck to water.
That really is the litmus test for me (sorry Mum).
Technorati Tags: iPhone
I, of course, read the Guardian every day. But then I did that before I worked here. Marina Hyde has outdone herself again with these delicious lines that had me laughing out loud on the tube. (I don’t care.)
On Heather Mills: “Incidentally, it is the policy of Lost in Showbiz to force-feed any letters from animals rights activists to actual animals. So before you put pen to cruelly indigestible paper, work out whether you want to be part of the solution or part of the problem.”
On Paris Hilton: “Paris already has her hands full with Baby Luv, the kinkajou with behavioural problems that we will skate over out of respect for its privacy – other than to say that last year it did something selfish that made Mommy need a tetanus jab – Rascal the ferret, a goat called Billy, and 12 BlackBerry-proficient teacup chihuahuas.”
My brother has surpassed himself. I introduce CrawloftheDead.com. It’s fun.
So Tom, why?
“After organising Brighton’s second zombie pub crawl in October 2006, I spent some time looking online at similar events taking place around the world. It became clear that dressing up as a zombie is something that many people, um, enjoy. So this is a central self-facilitating media hub for zombie events…”
Sometimes you have a fleeting moment of delight from something you read in the paper. From today (and yes – from the Guardian) I loved these moments:
- A great line in the leader on the situation in Burma, and discussions at the UN security council: “Western efforts to stop the bloodshed are limited. One of the consequences of the Bush era, in which regime change is an explicit aim of foreign policy, is that the US and Britain have become tainted messengers of democratic values.”
- In G2′s private lives section, which I read religiously every Thursday, psychologist Linda Blair responds to a woman who says she feels guilty for deciding that her toddler would be better off staying with her ex-husband, the child’s full-tiem carer, when they divorced: “Even the most self-confident person placed in your circumstances would find it difficult not to doubt their original decision, because it challenges the assumed societal norm that all mothers will “naturally” fight to keep their children with them. But you made your decision unselfishly and in what you believed were your daughter’s best interests, despite the anguish this caused you. That is the hallmark of a good parent.”
- A nod to Mrs Merton’s interview with Paul Daniels and Debbie Magee on page three with the story about Lord Goldsmith’s new legal post headlined: “So Lord Goldsmith, what first attracted you to the Â£1m-a-year job at a US law firm?”
- Lastly, page 12 has a photo of Gordon Brown sitting with Mariella Frostrup during their interview yesterday in which he doesn’t seem to have noticed her trying to shake his hand. I think she was on his blind side, mais non?
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So, so sorry for anyone who was spammed by Quechup this morning because of me. I didn’t even select an address book so have no idea who was contacted. See my post about this earlier.
Anne Robinson being interviewed by Piers Morgan tonight: When she started at the Daily Mail in 1967, the subs were “a lot of middle aged blokes from Surrey” who would call over to her when subbing her copy.
“Is this yours?” they’d say, and then drop the paper on the floor so she had to bend over in her mini-skirt to pick it up.
I need your help.
My mobile needs replacing. I need:
- A big juicy web screen for viewing websites properly. I have a Nokia N800 on trial at the moment which is lovely, apart from it’s not actually a phone. It’s a “wireless device”.
- A qwerty keyboard so I can email.
- A camera, preferably.
- Something compatible that won’t cock up all my several hundred numbers when i switch handsets.
- Something that’s on Orange. I can’t be bothered to change, however much they keep fleecing me. Shocking but true. And I have it on good authority that every network is as bad as each other but even so, introducing a charge for an itemised statements was really stooping to a new low, even for Orange.
- Preferably a Sony Ericsson device as I still find their UI the most intuitive, although I could be persuaded to go Nokia.
Quite clearly, my specs are mostly an iPhone. I already have all my contacts in the Mac address book, synced between home and work and on my iPod so I always have all my contacts with me. Ditto calendars. Lovely.
The actual phone device is where things mess up. The numbers on my Sony Ericsson are totally separate and need syncing up… I was in the process of sorting out a web back up at least with Myloko or Mookodo or whatever that site is that backs up your mobile numbers.
Anyways… do I hold out for an iPhone in October? Or can anyone recommend anything else?
There’s a Meo device (I think it’s called) and a biggish Sony handset that looked OK, but the bird in the shop was a bit too busy sorting out her weave with her mate to give me any proper advice.
Does anyone know if I can use a US phone over here by sticking my SIM card in it? I strongly suspect that won’t work but hey – I’m getting desperate…
Courtesy of Mr Hammers.
So according to gay best friend, who works in an office next door to the Guardian, their fire alarms went off this morning, resulting in (and I quote) “200-odd fit young intellectuals milling about outside – all of them totally hot. Best coffee break I’ve had in ages”.
So a) can I have a job please, and b) was it the brilliance of this blog that set the Guardian on fire?
Posted by Hfactor on April 26, 2007 12:34 PM
There must be 2 guardian offices then. the majority of the people I’ve met there are right munters. Lovely people, obviously, but munters all the same.
Posted by Ambush on April 26, 2007 12:43 PM.
I was one of the judges at Channel 4′s Germ viral video awards today. This one stood out, mostly because it’s someone doing something entertaining. Ad agencies take note: slapping a TV ad on the web does not mean you are “doing a viral”. Viral is a verb, not a noun.
There was a major company briefing at the Guardian on Tuesday during which the Guardian editor Alan Rusbridger, Observer editor Roger Alton, GMG chief executive Carolyn McCall and Guardian MD Tim Brookes gave a detailed presentation on the future for the group.
That pesky Jeff Jarvis was there and has written about what was said in some detail. I think I’m far too “internet” to have been shocked by anything from this session, but I imagine some people were rather alarmed. Mostly, as Jeff points out, because Alan Rusbridger said the web is now “pre-emminent” for the Guardian. Bring it on, I say.
He also said the Guardian is the biggest mainstream media title in the world for comment and blogs.
The newsy version of this was written up by the delightful Chris Tryhorn. He didn’t mention that Roger Alton compared himself to sea bass ice cream, but I’ll leave that to you. After all, “there has never been a better time to think for a living”, as we were told.
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