Friday, July 31, 2009

Up The Creek

Up The Creek Comedy Club, Greenwich, London.Image by Jim Linwood via Flickr

Up the Creek is oneof the longest established comedy clubs in London and is recognised as one of the top clubs in the UK. Situated in the heart of historic Maritime Greenwich, the venue is considered to be a London landmark.

This evening we travelled to Up the Creek with a group of friends to celebrate a birthday. The night featured Craig Campbell, Robert White, Ian Moore and MC Rob Collins. It was enjoyable although I had anticipated (previous Comedy Club) tables and a cocktail menu although neither were available.

There was the expected crowd participation, great punchlines and even an innovative musical showpiece which provided great entertainment. After the comedy acts had performed, significant quantities of alcohol consumed, the seating area was cleared and the focus shifted towards the disco! It definitely became interesting at this point but we didn't stay until the end, instead we made our way home to relax..
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Thursday, July 30, 2009

Zemanta Launches Balloons

No AccessImage by mortimer? via Flickr

Zemanta the Firefox add-on I use frequently to enhance blog entries with relevant images, videos, links and tags have released "Balloons", although not literally. Balloons are dynamic overlays that allow any blogger or online publisher to integrate multimedia content into their pages.

Balloons give bloggers and publishers access to the openly licensed Freebase database and content from YouTube, Google Maps and MusicBrainz.
If you are using Zemanta on your blog, you can turn on balloons by selecting Preferences in your Zemanta widget and check the box that says "More Info". -, A VC, Jul 2009
The tools available already I find really useful, Balloons will enhance the experience further by linking to other content without actually forcing people to leave this site. If you are a blogger and want to add more to what you publish I rate Zemanta highly!

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Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Pinch Me

Michael Schumacher at a press conference at th...Image via Wikipedia

It's been an exciting 24 hours, with several developing stories dominating the headlines today. Firstly the announcement that Microsoft had finally persuaded Yahoo! to commit seppuku join forces in taking on the overwhelming dominance of Google. The search deal that has been rumoured, speculated and drawn out for over two years has finally reached a conclusion. Microsoft will now power Yahoo! search while Yahoo! will become the exclusive worldwide relationship sales force for both companies’ premium search advertisers.

On the subject of search; Twitter's homepage has received a makeover to make the site more accessible for new users. Repositioning the product to focus more on discovery, search results and trend analysis is a positive move. Co-founder Biz Stone admits that they will likely continue to make changes to the Twitter home page as they respond to feedback and ideas.

The furor surrounding AT&T and Apple continues to simmer, with the official Google Voice app and compatible apps being blocked from the App Store and without an explanation this doesn't appear to be closer to a resolution..

Finally onto Motorsport and obviously I was shocked by the events from the weekend when Felipe Massa suffered a skull fracture in a freak accident during qualifying for the Hungarian grand prix -
The Brazilian was knocked unconscious when a spring, which had become detached from the rear suspension of Rubens Barrichello's Brawn, struck Massa on the head as he reached 175mph on one of the fastest sections of the Hungaroring.(
With Felipe Massa injured, seven-time Formula 1 champion Michael Schumacher has opted to return to race for the Ferrari team. Although there are only seven races remaining the return of the Formula 1 legend will definitely add another element to the grid. Ferrari have become increasingly competitive recently, could Schumacher influence the outcome of the Championship and maybe earn a podium?

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Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Where's My Voice?

No AccessImage by Sweet One via Flickr

On Friday I wrote that Apple had requested Google release Latitude as a web application in order to avoid confusion with Maps on the iPhone. Today it was reported that Apple were removing GV Mobile from the App Store due to it duplicating features that the iPhone comes with (Dialer, SMS, etc). Apple followed that by then removing VoiceCentral from the App Store and now they have blocked Google’s official Google Voice application itself from the App Store.

According to a Google spokesperson:
We work hard to bring Google applications to a number of mobile platforms, including the iPhone. Apple did not approve the Google Voice application we submitted six weeks ago to the Apple App Store. We will continue to work to bring our services to iPhone users — for example, by taking advantage of advances in mobile browsers.
Across the blogosphere is was suggested that AT&T were responsible and this was later confirmed by John Gruber. He was informed that it was indeed AT&T that objected to Google Voice apps for the iPhone. Maybe Google Voice does interfere with the business models of both Apple and AT&T but what about international carriers? As an O2 customer does it mean that because it was rejected in the US that it won't be released here in the UK?

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Monday, July 27, 2009

Spotify: It Just Got Interesting

spotifyImage by linkalicante via Flickr

Spotify the downloadable client for Windows and Mac users that lets you search, browse and stream an extensive collection of music has generated a lot of buzz lately. My friend at work has recommended the service for a few months but until recently I have relented expressing any significant interest in what's available. has been the service I have used for streaming, discovering and monitoring music for a while and it's provided a consistent experience. What has caught my attention - and many influential bloggers - is that the music streaming service have released a video of the iPhone application they have submitted to Apple.

What's generating interest is that the iPhone application has offline playlists: making it possible to store up to 3,333 songs in offline mode. The offline functionality isn't available through the app, which operates as a recommendation based radio station (I use for this purpose). On demand access to an extensive 6million+ tracks and the ability to sync with the desktop client are also worth acknowledging. Spotify acts like a jukebox, bringing up exactly the song and artist you want with one click.

The question raised is whether Apple will reject the Spotify app, mainly as it will compete directly with iTunes so preventing this being available through the AppStore will eliminate competition. Hopefully it will be approved as this does have a lot of potential!

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Sunday, July 26, 2009


Forever (Chris Brown song)Image via Wikipedia

Every wedding should be a celebration and watching the Kevin Heinz and Jill Peterson wedding entrance dance to Chris Brown Forever it looks like they had too much fun. The wedding took place at a Church in Saint Paul, Minnesota and has gone viral to become the latest Internet phenomenon. After a sustained period of negative publicity this was just what the troubled singer needed as Forever is experiencing a revival in the iTunes charts.

After watching the video I browsed through alternative wedding footage on YouTube that have also become popular. Maybe it's just my view but these clips are inspirational, personally I would be reluctant to attempt anything due to the potential for something going wayward and remembered for the wrong reasons. Anyway for those of you that have yet to watch the footage, enjoy..

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Saturday, July 25, 2009

Caution To The Wind..

Tequilla ShotsImage by nigeljohnwade via Flickr

Eventful few days, probably spent too much money but needed to be done. Met my partner and some friends in Brick Lane, Thursday evening, the motivation was shopping for clothing but instead we let the alcohol dictate the evening. Disappointing that it was midweek because we had the distraction of work the following morning!

Friday I had a performance review, the objective was to raise concerns and discuss the agenda over the coming months but still remain constructive. I didn't exactly achieve what I had originally wanted but I hope that I provided at the least an insight into areas of improvement. Disappointed that I failed when trying to highlight and identify the potential of Twitter but I acknowledge that there's too much red tape for the service to be widely accepted in the corporate environment. Attempted to disconnect in the evening, consumed too much alcohol but still managed to arrive home earlier than anticipated. Today without the early activities, I spent the morning at the gym before meeting my partner in the afternoon. We were invited to a friends for a birthday celebration so have enjoyed today but need to recharge now!!
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Friday, July 24, 2009

Location, Location, Where Am I Again?!

Google Latitude tracking where you are, on a b...Image by playerx via Flickr

Google announced this week that its location based social network Latitude was available on the iPhone. I have been interested in this since it was first announced so was eager to check out the functionality through the handset.

To try Google Latitude, type into your iPhone's browser. You can also add a bookmark to the home screen by opening Latitude in Safari and tapping the + icon > Add to Home Screen > Add. Google worked closely with Apple to bring Latitude to the iPhone, although they developed a Latitude application Apple requested they release Latitude as a web application in order to avoid confusion with Maps on the iPhone.

My initial impressions mirror Marshall Kirkpatrick from ReadWriteWeb who states that It's Terrible, Try Brightkite. Yesterday I enjoyed an evening in Brick Lane, I wanted to share my location with friends but due to limitations of the web app I opted to update using Brightkite. Through the Brightkite app I was able to upload a photo, short status update and provide details of my exact location. Another example is that we were trying to locate a suitable restaurant but there's no history, context or relevance through the web app. The aim was to release a Latitude application so it's hard to be critical on Google, hopefully we will see improvements to the service although there's a lot to be done to rival Brightkite!

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Friendfeed Recommendations

Abe and some Mudokons sneak past a sleeping Slig.Image via Wikipedia

Friendfeed usually the service to introduce innovative and fresh features has borrowed from their rivals by rolling out a new Recommend friends feature. Now you can recommend subscriptions to any of your friends, filtering those that you feel add value and introduce new users to people that will enhance their experience.

When you send friend recommendations, your friend will get an email with all of your recommendations, including a link to subscribe to all your recommendations with a single click.

Friendfeed usually ahead of the other social networks with functionality should consider introducing further enhanced popular features. Especially considering that the service has been imitated many times in the past. So what next, what other functionality could Friendfeed introduce to widen the appeal of the Web-based aggregator?

Here are a few suggestions -
  • Direct Message: Considering that Paul Buchheit was the creator and lead developer of Gmail and that Facebook, Twitter and other social networks offer such a poor email application.
  • Events: It's well known that organising an event through Facebook is the preferred method but with the ability to see updates in real-time this has potential.
  • Photo Tagging: Not sure how this could be introduced (on-site perhaps?) but considering that many services are aggregated through Friendfeed this would surely be popular for photographers.
  • Profile Wall/@Username: If I want to approach an individual and ask a question I'm still seeking them through Facebook and Twitter.
  • Birthdays: We all want to be acknowledged on our special day.
Anything that you would also like to see implemented?

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Thursday, July 23, 2009

Living In The Dark

Field of Dreams 2Image by Adam Sutton via Flickr

In case you have been living in the dark, residents of South-east London have been literally living in the dark for the last few days. Vandals attacked cables in Dartford which resulted in thousands of people living without power since Monday afternoon.

Apparently the last of the 100,000 homes affected were reconnected at 6am this morning, residents have been asked to only use power “for essential purposes only" over the coming days while the grid stabilises.

Although it's been disruptive, it's provided an eventful few days across the region. I first realised this was widespread when details emerged on Facebook as many of my friends were affected by the blackout. Arriving home that evening was like returning to an apocalyptic scene with no street lights, traffic signals, houses illuminated by candlelight and no indication when this would be resolved. My children stayed in the evening, spending the final night with me before travelling to Florida and they were as intrigued as I was about the situation.

For the majority of the last few days it's brought everyone together in my family, without access to the Internet, high-def television and videogames the emphasis has been on communication. We have been playing board games and catching up with my sister and boyfriend who returned from their latest holiday. The blackout provided a brief insight into how much we take the comforts and luxuries in our lifestyles for granted, with an iPhone and 3G connection though it was only a minor distraction. Haven't heard anything from my children yet but I'm sure they were tired yesterday from the travelling and being in a different time zone!

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Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Google Voice Invitation

Field of Dreams 2Image by marcopako  via Flickr

If you haven't already heard about it, Google Voice is a service that makes using your current phones much better!

Providing one personal phone number that rings all of your existing phones when people call, all of your voicemail in one inbox with unlimited online storage and free voicemail transcripts sent to your phone and email.

There are low-priced international calling to over 200 countries and free SMS, plus other powerful features like the first phone spam filter to protect you from unwanted callers, the ability to ListenInTM on your voicemail messages while they are being left, conference calling and more. I personally like the option to record calls and store them online and the ability to switch phones during a call.

Yesterday I received an email notification that I had been invited to open a free Google Voice account. Having followed this since it was announced in March I was excited about experiencing what's available through the service. I accepted the invitation only to be informed that Google Voice is not available in my country. It's not yet open for users outside the US, but they are planning to expand the service to additional countries in the future.


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    Monday, July 20, 2009

    Friendfeed: If You Build It They Will Come..

    Field of Dreams 2Image by jadedturtle via Flickr

    Imitation may be the sincerest form of flattery, although I'm sure that not everyone shares that view, especially those that inspired the original innovation. Friendfeed the popular aggregation service that allows users to build a customised feed made up of content shared from other collaborative sites, has experienced it's fair share of imitation from rivals.

    The popular startup offers the best way to find out what early adopters and social media enthusiasts are saying about any topic across the many shared blogs and services. These innovative features introduced on Friendfeed often find themselves integrated across the other social networks, most recently Google Reader introduced the 'Like' capability. I share the opinion of Rob Diana who wrote about Friendfeed getting ripped off and I have also touched on this subject several times previously on this blog. The lifestreaming service is definitely ahead of the curve with it's vision, although the features imitated must surely reduce the attraction for potential new users.

    So what can Friendfeed do to prevent this trend?

    Friendfeed needs to turn the tables and begin introducing revamped and improved features made popular by the other social networks. The foundations are in place, but to attract a wider audience they need to accomodate what's already accepted by the mainstream Internet user. This evening the Friendfeed blog announced version 2 of the FriendFeed API for beta testing which looks to provide an attractive alternative to the Twitter developers, disillusioned by the constant changes to the Twitter API, and who play a significant role in the microblogging services ecosystem.

    The features include -
    • Real-time APIs - utilize long polling to get feeds in real-time, including search!
    • Flexible sharing options - Direct message users. Share to multiple feeds.
    • File attachments - Attach images, pdfs, spreadsheets, etc.
    • OAuth support - Register your application now.
    • Simplified response format - Your application doesn't need to know the difference between users and groups, how "friend of friend" works, or deal with hidden entries until you want to. We provide the HTML for representing entries so you don't have to construct it. Authenticated responses include a list of possible commands on every feed, entry, and comment so you don't have to do the detective work.
    This announcement is exciting because the API provides so much potential to expand the experience beyond the Web interface. The possibilities for Friendfeed applications and mashups are huge considering the success developers have found through the Twitter API. Maybe a decent iPhone application will materialise now through innovation and find it's way onto the AppStore.

    If you build it they will come..

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    Sunday, July 19, 2009

    I'll Be There In A Flash!!

    SVG version of Media:Traffic_Camera.Image via Wikipedia

    I retired relatively early last night compared to the usual standards I apply to my sleeping routine. The sheep counting had already commenced but I was disturbed by the sound of Late of the Pier "Bathroom Gurgle". The sample is the ringtone I have applied for my partner when she calls through!

    Usually I switch to vibrate in the evening but with my partner and her friend attending the LoveBox festival I wanted to be available just in case! This was just that scenario as after staggering around East London trying to find a suitable form of transport she realised that she was stranded. Without any method of transportation home I was chosen to travel to their location and rescue them. Hurray!!

    I wouldn't have minded, and I didn't, but the return journey was a nightmare. The Blackwall Tunnel was closed and without any indication of a diversion I had to find an alternative route. The Rotherhithe Tunnel was the closest option which would allow us to cross beneath the River Thames from East London. Without a co-pilot, partner and friends were asleep, I was left to navigate the streets of London which proved difficult considering the lack of road sign assistance. Eventually I struck gold, but that wasn't before receiving a photo finish, from a speed camera in the Limehouse Link Tunnel which was mainly to avoid colliding with a Taxi. Ah well, these things happen and at least they were both home safe!!

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    Saturday, July 18, 2009

    And.. Action, Take Thirty...

    Feel The LoveImage by joedawson via Flickr

    Everyone has the collection of photos as children that they would rather forget, the photo album that makes an appearance when you least expect and eventually find their way onto Facebook.

    Most likely the school photograph with experimental haircut, missing teeth and beaming smile. My siblings and I have a best of collection buried in the garden away from visible access. I'm sure many of my readers are in exactly the same position with 'that' album out there somewhere..

    Our mother always appreciated receiving the family photo so for her birthday this year my brother arranged for everyone to surprise her with a 2009 limited edition. We all gathered around his apartment and you would expect this to be a simple procedure, clearly not the case as with everyone full of energy the session turned into an eventful evening.

    Eventually we managed to succeed in compiling enough photos for a full album as we were all posing, entertaining and turning the occasion into chaos. We were only able to select one of the many masterpieces, although there were several in contention. This afternoon at a family gathering to celebrate her birthday we presented her with the canvas print and she was really impressed. Same again next year then?!

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    Friday, July 17, 2009

    Be Here Now

    View West from on the beach, showing many of t...Image via Wikipedia

    My children are heading away shortly on their annual summer holiday with their mother and her family. The family have visited the same location in Florida for several years now and built a strong friendship with the owners so it's become a tradition. I think ideally they would like to emigrate there but not in the short term due to family commitments.

    The children are both really looking forward to the holiday, although I can tell that their bothered about being away for a long period. They have been really affectionate towards me lately making sure that they interact more than usual. It's going to be difficult not having them around as we have a routine and I'm going to have a void with them being out of the country. Saturday mornings just won't be the same!

    I stayed at the same Florida resort several years ago and although it's a relaxing vacation it's not in the most prime location. I prefer travelling to different places, countries and experiencing different cultures. Maybe that outlook will change as I get older but the aim over the next few years is to travel to as many places as possible and take in the sights of our beautiful World!
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    Thursday, July 16, 2009

    Google Reader Now A Public Library

    Rathmines LibraryImage by Dublin City Public Libraries via Flickr

    Google Reader is a service that I rate highly and I've become dependant on the feed reader for the latest news and updates. It's through Google Reader that I am able to digest and understand what is happening in the world. The web-based aggregator was the service I recommended as #1 in the 2008 'Best of...' collection and continue to use daily to consume information.

    I noted earlier this year that Google Reader was Closer To A Social Destination with the introduction of friends trends that made it possible to view Friends' Sharing Statistics. Then the team made it possible for us to share our favourite feeds in bundles with our friends. Although these features were welcome additions to the functionality of Reader there was no easy method of locating friends shared items. I found this limited the improvements and instead I would interact with the shared content on services like Friendfeed and SocialMedian. The latest enhancements aim to give us more sharing control and help easily find other people's publicly shared items within Reader.

    The improvements include the ability to find people with public shared items and subscribe to their shared items with one click through the new search feature (powered by Google profiles). Those that have already customized their URL for their Google profile, can choose to use a similar URL for Reader shared items. Instead of 11120470674029441509 I'm now available under my human reference "Joe Dawson" with an option to subscribe available :)

    There's also better control, so while more socially available we can also protect Shared Items to allow only those we want to be able to see to view them. Also introduced is the ability to Like an item, Friendfeed introduced this and then Facebook implemented the feature and it's proved to be popular across those services. "Likes" are also public, so anyone who uses Reader will be able to view them.
    These features enhance the usability but to take the experience further I share the view of MG Siegler/Erick Schonfeld in regards to speeding up RSS. Especially new push protocol called pubsubhubub, which was shown off at the TechCrunch Real-Time Stream CrunchUp event.

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    Wednesday, July 15, 2009

    It Doesn't Rain, It Pours..

    Bad weather for birdsImage by Vanessa Pike-Russell via Flickr

    With Friendfeed introducing another theme which presents the ability to shoot cartoon ducks while you peruse the site. You could be forgiven for feeling that given the circumstances, it's not too different to the scenario at Twitter with the target firmly locked on the microblogging service, again!

    Evan Williams, the company CEO of Twitter, declared that he was "Having a bad night" and Michael Arrington announced that he had managed to obtain (In Our Inbox:) Hundreds Of Confidential Twitter Documents. There have been so many problems and security breaches over the past couple of months that it’s becoming ridiculous. That a company with so much potential continually finds themselves under the spotlight for negative reasons. Twitter has serious problems, these documents are out there and it's difficult to not feel that behind the scenes the company has been seriously compromised.

    TechCrunch have already begun releasing information including details from Through Eyes Productions that outlines the idea for a reality television show called Final Tweet. Twitter have since responded to state that user accounts have not been compromised and that this was not a hack on the Twitter service, it was a personal attack followed by the theft of private company documents -
    We are in touch with our legal counsel about what this theft means for Twitter, the hacker, and anyone who accepts and subsequently shares or publishes these stolen documents. We're not sure yet exactly what the implications are for folks who choose to get involved at this point but when we learn more and are able to share more, we will.
    Nothing is secure on the Internet, and this highlights that employees that communicate and send confidential/sensitive information on cloud-based e-mail need to be vigilant. Web applications and cloud computing services need to definitely embrace better security measures before they become more widely adopted!

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    Tuesday, July 14, 2009

    Wake Me Up When...

    Pandemic StudiosImage via Wikipedia

    It's difficult to predict the severity of the Swine flu pandemic especially with the worst yet to come with the seasonal flu season, which is just starting. My son was taken ill this weekend with mild symptoms, whether he had contracted the virus we're unable to confirm but it's circulating at his school.

    The GP advised to monitor his situation and if his condition were to worsen then he would need to be escalated to hospital. Thankfully he seems to be recovering well and when I visited earlier he was watching television and appeared well.

    As a parent you have to be concerned especially with the stories circulating in the mainstream press at the moment. It's disappointing that we haven't been informed about any mass vaccination but I'm sure that announcement will come eventually as important decisions surely loom.

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    Monday, July 13, 2009

    If There Weren't Such A Thing As Blogging, We'd All Be Frustrated Bloggers..

    The end is nighImage by roland via Flickr

    The term arms race, in its original usage, describes a competition between two or more parties for real or apparent military supremacy. Each party competes to produce larger numbers of weapons, greater armies, or superior military technology in a technological escalation. Nowadays the term is commonly used to describe any competition where there is no absolute goal, only the relative goal of staying ahead of the other competitors.

    The blogosphere lately has resembled an arms race, it's apparantly clear that being dismissive of technology and platforms that have been the foundation for many years has become a popular trend. The push towards real-time has changed the map considerably, Louis Gray asks "What Is This Real-Time Thing, And Where Is It Going?" What's certain is that the shift towards real-time is reverberating through the industry, change has come to the blogosphere!

    He questions whether many of the names we consider household names today may be gone, replaced with others. Other sources claim that blogging is dead, RSS is on borrowed time and this week the announcement from JS-KIT of the "death of comments". Lets introduce some perspective, basically then we're removing all forms of reviews, opinion, debate and discussion? Anything perceived as a non value added service will become irrelevant and ignored in favour of real-time, on demand and easily consumed content.
    "If there weren't such a thing as football, we'd all be frustrated footballers." ~ Mick Lyons
    I'm not prepared to contribute to the blogging arbitrary, I feel that blogging provides a platform for expressing views on a subject. For when I have more to say than 140 characters and when sharing a picture just isn't enough. RSS may not meet expectations but it's manageable, admittedly the amount of feeds I subscribe to can be overwhelming at times but I wouldn't be subscribed if I wasn't interested in the content.

    Forms of communication are evolving but to declare the "death of comments" seems a statement to provoke a reaction and the opportunity to introduce Echo. It's true that comments are fragmented, that social networking channels have become the destination and the aim is to bring that back to the blog which is the original source.
    Comments are not dead. Encouraging a real community on your site to have real conversations has always been important. It’s still important today and is only becoming increasingly more relevant. It’s very true that people have choices on where to react to a topic; they can tweet about it, discuss it on Reddit, or share it on FriendFeed. Conversations are happening outside of sites and it’s important to bring that value back to the source content. ~ Daniel Ha (Disqus)
    As reactions evolve and blogging continues to be reincarnated in the same form, I'm intrigued about the future of the blogosphere and whether we're truly on the verge of reinventing the wheel?

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    Sunday, July 12, 2009

    Just Add Water..

    Disney - Main Street Balloons & Cinderella Cas...Image by Joe Penniston via Flickr

    Finally booked Disneyland® Resort Paris for August, still undecided whether to continue onwards to Southern France and Spain/Barcelona. All depends on the financial circumstance as it's inevitable that something will require a substantial contribution beforehand. Wasn't exactly a straight forward booking as due to the purchase being international Barclays blocked the transaction. This meant that Saturday morning I had to travel from football to the local branch and contact their fraud department.

    They rectified the issue promptly and I was able to return to watch the remainder of my sons football. It was the quarterly presentation today, similar to the Personal Development Plan, he was awarded with a certificate for his efforts and he was impressed. Haven't been as consistant attending football these last few weeks but can't be helped and it's not like he isn't playing as he practically has a football attached to his foot.

    Horse riding provided an innovative twist as the riders were tasked to hold a bottle of water limiting the amount spilt. My daughters smile beamed as she followed the instructions and even though her horse resisted at times she made sure to remain composed.

    That afternoon I utilised the gym membership again by taking the children swimming, it highlighted the difficulties faced being a single parent as both wanted my attention but I had to try and spread time evenly. My daughter can swim, my son on the otherhand isn't the most competent in the water so I had to make sure that I was always in close proximity. He's confidence is building but I can tell he still has a reluctance which is slowly fading.

    After watching Mark Webber win the German Formula 1 Grand Prix today, we travelled to meet my partner and baby so that we could watch Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs in 3D at the cinema. Although slightly more expensive than usual it was worth it for the experience and the children really enjoyed the movie as well. With the weekend reaching it's conclusion I returned the children to their mother, usually energetic my son finished the weekend feeling poorly so it was sad to say goodbye but I will visit him tomorrow. We continued onwards for a meal before also retiring for the evening!
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    Saturday, July 11, 2009

    Please Don't Stop The Music

    Circumaural headphones have large pads that su...Image via Wikipedia

    Listening to music is something that I really enjoy, a combination of iTunes,, Hype Machine and the Pirate Bay provide my listening fix. I have been prompted to join many services but none have presented themselves as ideal candidates to break into the 'big four'.

    I have sounded out Hype Machine to many people as an ideal source for discovering new music. So it was good to see the site getting exposure from the main blogs I follow regularly. It will come as no surprise that the attention was primarily Twitter related as the service introduced an interactive Twitter music chart -
    How does it work?
    We monitor Twitter for links pointing to tracks on the Hype Machine. We then give each of those tweets a number of points based on the number of followers (and the ratio of friends & followers) that person has. Finally, we add up all the points and figure out which tracks are tweeted by either the most influential twitter users, or by the largest group. Simple.
    ~ The Hype Machine Blog
    Although Hype Machine is a site that I enjoy using for discovering new music, I do share Fred Wilson's concerns about the increasing trend of new services that include the social (and viral) element of spamming our followers. I know at times my sports related conversations have created noise but I try to remain consistant and also aim to follow his rule: "four to six a day or you'll send your followers away". I'm sure that this will be aspect of Twitter we will all be confronted with over the coming weeks and months. In much the same way as Facebook experienced similar growth through viral applications this is sure to be a popular method for developers to generate interest.

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    Friday, July 10, 2009

    Where Is This Going, What Is This All About, This Real-Time?

    Full "Wolf" Moon - January 22, 2008Image by Rick Leche via Flickr

    Real-Time has got many influential figures in the industry howling at the moon over the last few months.

    This afternoon many of these people were present at the TechCrunch Real-Time CrunchUp conference to discuss where is this going, what is this all about, this real-time?

    They're all scratching their heads trying to find the answers, relevance and value. The aim to not only scratch the surface but how to consume real-time data.

    Robert Scoble, who is currently in London, was a notable absentee although he participated (via web) in a panel with Michael Arrington and Bret Taylor about the "mob mentality" perceived on Friendfeed. Unfortunately he experienced sound problems trying to communicate but the outcome from the panel was that Arrington is prepared to return to the service. He deleted his account after an exchange with Leo Laporte during a taping of the Gillmor Gang last month which resulted in a lot of negativity.

    Louis Gray who covered many of the main developments at the conference exceptionally well provided a threaded conversation of this panel on Friendfeed. Basically Bret states that one of the main things the Friendfeed team are going to do is give the option to turn off comments in specific entries. You can turn off comments in your entries and feeds. That's a practical thing that they can do. There are other ideas, but they are being tested. Just as Louis states it shouldn't be long until these are implemented considering the speed of feature improvements thus far as an indication.

    There were several panels and announcements that took place at the Real-Time CrunchUp. Those that interested me were; Brizzly from the creators of Google Reader which sounds intriguing, referred to as a Twitter Reader "fast, simple, and enhances reading and creation.” Anything that's compared to Google Reader warrants attention which is why I was interested in LazyFeed after reading Louis Gray's post earlier in the week which spoke highly of the functionality provided. I was able to secure an Invitation Code and I must admit I'm impressed.

    I also managed to secure an Invitation Code to a new online video startup that looks to help surface interesting new videos in real-time. I briefly used this service and I feel that video that doesn't allow embedding will be a problem for the startup. Finally Seesmic announced it's launching a browser-based Twitter client, I haven't tried this yet so welcome any views.

    We're still a distance from realising the real-time vision but with everyone working together it does seem to be on the horizon..

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    Thursday, July 09, 2009

    The Finishing Line

    200 metres sprintImage via Wikipedia

    Wasn't optimistic about sports day taking place this morning, largely due to my daughters being cancelled previously as the country being battered with three months' worth of rain Tuesday. With some areas suffering the heaviest downpours on record, the school field didn't escape and became waterlogged preventing the sports activities taking place. I travelled to the school this morning and although it was overcast, there were breaks of sunshine and no indication of the earlier storms. This meant that the sports day was given the all clear, thankfully!

    As I travelled to the 'parents enclosure' to wait for the children to take their positions, I could hear my son informing all of his friends that I was there. When his turn came to race, forever competitive, he concentrated on the performances of those racing around him. Barely able to keep in a straight line for turning to the side to ensure that he wasn't falling behind. He didn't make the grade in the first race but in the 'assault course' he managed to secure third place.

    Then it was over to yours truly, I suppose you could say that going to the gym regularly I have been building for this moment. To prove to my son that Daddy is the fastest, he really wanted me to participate because even when the toddlers race started he was urging me to enter. After the expected poor start [ ;) ] I managed to build momentum towards the end and finished third.

    Like father like son...

    Also to note I received their school reports, both have made progress although I do have concerns and areas that I want them to focus on improving for next year. That allows me plenty of time to practise for the annual showpiece!!
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    Wednesday, July 08, 2009

    What About Bigfoot?!

    Frame 352 from the film, capturing an apparent...Image via Wikipedia

    Speculation has been persistant for some time about Google releasing a desktop operating system. I figured that it was always in the pipeline and that they would gradually develop Android and eventually release a desktop version!

    Today though they've announced a new project that's referred to as a natural extension of Google Chrome — the Google Chrome Operating System. See what they did there?!

    It's amazing to believe that Google Chrome was released only nine months ago and is being used regularly by 30 million people.
    Google Chrome OS is an open source, lightweight operating system that will initially be targeted at netbooks. Later this year we will open-source its code, and netbooks running Google Chrome OS will be available for consumers in the second half of 2010. [Official Google Blog]
    Edit: I likened this announcement yesterday to the Bigfoot story just in case that wasn't made clear [hit Publish]. I published the post without adding any real substance which is exactly what Google have done with the Chrome OS announcement. It's now emerged (via Rovert Scoble) that this was well timed to take some of the attention away from Microsoft’s expected Office-in-the-cloud announcement next week. I'm interested in what will be unveiled and will make sure to update with any significant developments :)

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    Tuesday, July 07, 2009

    One Of The Most Watched Web Events, Ever..

    There were many tributes at the Michael Jackson memorial but none were more poignant or surprising than when his daughter Paris Jackson took to the stage.

    Paris Katherine addressed mourners at the Staples Center on Tuesday, tearfully telling them -

    "Ever since I was born, daddy has been the best father you could ever imagine. And I just want to say I love him so much."

    The Michael Jackson memorial will go down as one of the most watched web events, ever. Many sources predicted that the service would severely cripple social networks and news sites but although they were strained they maintained the broadcast from the Staples Center. I followed the early stages via the CNN/Facebook integrated live stream but opted to watch the majority on television. Twitter struggled but despite the expected problems the trending topics were dominated with references to the memorial. Also worth acknowledging is that fans have flocked to the Michael Jackson fan page on Facebook and made it the most popular on the social networking site. With less than 100,000 fans before his death that has increased to more than 7 million today. I'm sure further statistics from today will emerge and I'll make sure to update to incorporate that information..

    Update: Here are some statistics from GigaOM that covered the event..

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    Sunday, July 05, 2009

    Somebody End This Already

    Amazing Roger FedererImage by toga via Flickr

    I admit I was one of the people that didn't give Andy Roddick a chance today, I wrote him off even before the first ball had been served. I dismissed his chances and went with the notion that Roger Federer would just play him off the court. That he would destroy him in three Sets and reach Championship point without breaking a sweat.

    Roddick having beaten Andy Murray in the Semi Final had other ideas and made this an epic final. Roger Federer eventually though claimed his record 15th grand slam crown and sixth Wimbledon title as he beat Andy Roddick 5-7 7-6 7-6 3-6 16-14.

    The match lasted four hours and 18 minutes, the fifth set was the climax with 30 games played before Federer was finally able to break serve. Andy Roddick was unfortunate as he had chances and his powerful serve controlled the match. Roger Federer now reclaims the world number one spot from Rafael Nadal and we now focus on the US Open which starts in August. It's becoming increasingly competitive at the top of the men's game and with Roddick looking strong, Nadal returning from injury and Andy Murray improving all the time we should witness some exciting tennis over the coming months!

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