Monday, August 31, 2009

Disqus V3: Conversations And Communities

forked roadImage by docman via Flickr

Disqus the comment system I use for this site recently received its biggest upgrade since the service launched. With the aim being to change the way people think about discussion on the web, the upgrade concentrates on the conversations and communities that form on sites.

I was concerned that the improvements may change core features and disrupt the service but I'm really impressed with the enhancements. I rate the profiles because I have expressed several times that this was an aspect that needed to be introduced. Another feature requested was to integrate the login systems, Disqus now identifies comments you’ve left using Twitter and Facebook Connect and merges them into your profile. I'm impressed and will continue to use Disqus because the service is reliable and continues to improve -
# For Publishers

Disqus Comments is a comment system and moderation tool for your site. This service lets you add next-gen community management and social web integrations to any site on any platform. Hundreds of thousands of sites, from small blogs to large publications, rely on Disqus Comments for their discussion communities.

# For Commenters

Disqus Profile lets you get the most out of the comments you post on sites all around the web. Take back control of what you've written by tracking and managing your comments all in one place. You can also use Disqus Profile to effortless follow and reply to what people are talking about, on and across sites.
Disqus Comments: Guide on Using the New Moderation Panel

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Sunday, August 30, 2009

The Third Place..

? (Lost)Image via Wikipedia

Travelling to Paris and being without 3G/WiFi for a week made me realise how dependant I have become on the Internet.

Since returning it's made me reluctant to really commit to the constant searching for relevance within social media because there is a lot that I neglect in the real world.

I have wrote a lot about the real-time web and how we consume information, analytics, communicate through different mediums and networks. I'm connected with many influencial and thought provoking people but I don't often mention those most important. My friends and family who have been amazing these last few weeks, providing support and perspective that has been invaluable and massively appreciated. Although the majority of them will neither see this post or comprehend how much they have helped, thank you :)

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Saturday, August 29, 2009

When The Dust Settles...

The Arctic MonkeysImage by Frida Borjeson Photography via Flickr

I am watching the Arctic Monkeys perform at Reading on BBC3 and we definitely choose the wrong festival. Not only did Oasis, the headline act for Sunday cancel their performance but there was also a regrettable situation that could have been avoided.

Disneyland Resort® Paris would have made sure that we saved the last dance. The pictures from Disneyland are now online, I used Picasa 3 to organize and upload the photos from the hard drive. I'm still divided between Flickr and Picasa although I had reasons for choosing the Picasa service for the Disney album.

I'm feeling better today, yesterday was difficult, probably one of the hardest I have faced but friends and family have helped. The children impressed at their activities earlier, they both performed really well and I was full of pride. I'm slowly catching up with the feeds/news I have missed over the last few days. Been using Facebook for iPhone 3.0 which was released this week. It has a few issues that have been noted by the developer but these bugs will be fixed when the updated version is approved by Apple. What are your views on the application? Have you experienced any issues?!

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Friday, August 28, 2009

I Know This Because Tyler Knows This...

The Voice of a broken heartImage by WolfS♡ul via Flickr
I don't feel compelled to write about anything at the moment because of my current situaton. Instead I'm going to summarise a few posts from January that I feel are relevant.

I feel embarrassed, confused and betrayed and although I won't write the full extent of what has taken place I feel that a combination of personal issues, social networking sites and immaturity have ultimately led to the end of my relationship. The Facebook platform has become a stage for our friends audience to observe as our relationship comes apart at the seams. The post - It is naive to think our online lives are not connected to real-life - raises many of my concerns:

There seems to be a strange disconnect between our online and offline lives. Different rules, norms and values seem to apply. It is as if our online personality is not connected to our real life. We act differently and feel a sense of freedom online that seems to compensate for the restrains we might feel in real life.
The divide is affecting our judgement as the freedom we are granted begs the question where we draw the line in what's considered acceptable? I wouldn't feel comfortable having a disagreement in public but online we don't consider the consequences.

We are all actors in this massive online play and it allows us to do things we wouldn’t consider doing in real life.
Any person that changes their relationship status to 'It's complicated...' seriously has issues. Why announce that to the World? If you value your relationship then disconnect. Walk away from your online identity and address what's important in your life! I'm sure that your 'friends' will understand and respect you more for being responsible and doing what's right.

I met my recent partner of two/three years through MySpace with our introduction in the form of a Sneezing Panda. Drawn together as we both had children and were compelled to support each other through the difficulties we had to confront as single parents. The bond was strong and I never felt happier than when I was in her company. So where did it all go wrong?

Love is strong yet delicate. It can be broken. To truly love is to understand this. To be in love is to respect this. - Stephen Packer
To understand how another person truly feels is always difficult, maybe at times we take too much for granted and don't really feel that we're hurting someone. I know that if I were given the choice there are many aspects of the last few months that I would definitely change. I hope that's the same perspective from both sides but it doesn't seem that way!

Personally I feel that Facebook has been a factor in our problems. MySpace is reminiscent of a high school with all the different social cliques,
music industry culture and - back when I contributed anyway - you are protected to an extent by your alias but on Facebook you are represented by your name. Facebook has positioned itself as the essential form of interaction for our generation. Everyone you know is on Facebook and if you aren't available on the site then who are you?

As real-life and online behavior become more and more connected, entangled, you will find that it is less easy to separate them. Online and offline become the same life. While we see our online behavior as play now I doubt it will still be play in a few years.
The amount of exposure we're allowing of our lives for basically anyone to follow intently is a worry.

There are no boundaries anymore, what happened to privacy? Admittedly we're responsible for our actions and we're only using features available but there is still a line that is crossed so frequently! Behind a computer screen people change and it's not attractive. I'm disappointed and feel like I have my Back Against The Wall 'stuck here in between the shadows of my yesterday'.

Do you die a hero or live long enough to see yourself become a villain? [Dark Knight]
My events from the last two/three years are displayed through Facebook like a timeline covering every aspect of our relationship. Which makes it all the more harder in the current situation. It's ironic that everything that has occurred has now travelled full cycle!

What happens next only Tyler knows..

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Thursday, August 27, 2009

The New Adventures Of...

The New Adventures of Huckleberry FinnImage via Wikipedia

It's been an eventful week, I'm exhausted if I'm honest because I haven't had much sleep these last few days and I have done too much thinking. What's strange is that the music I have been listening to whilst driving sounds completely different. Have I changed or do I need to replace the collection?!

Travelled to V Festival on Sunday, I hadn't experienced a festival before and it was incredible. I spent the majority of the afternoon alone though because I lost my friends and was unable to contact them due to the network being overwhelmed. Caught Joe Lean & The Jing, Jang, Jong which I enjoyed; MGMT, Katy Perry, Lady Gaga and Ocean Colour Scene were all good with The Streets being the highlight. The main disappointment though was the actions of a 'friend' that tainted the afternoon but that's irrelevant as it opened my eyes more than anything.

Straight after V Festival, I travelled across the Channel to Disneyland Paris with my children. I drove the majority of the way, crossing the Channel on the Ferry and then travelling by car towards Paris. The drive was longer than I had anticipated but it was worth it as we had a truly magical time there. My daughter told me at one point that her face was hurting where she had been smiling so much. My son on the other hand was more concerned about hedgehogs jumping through the windows. I will upload some photos shortly, just getting up to speed with what I have missed, filling in the blanks for people and also making arrangements for Reading!!
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Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Welcome Back To Earth

MIAMI - MAY 22: An American Airlines Boeing 7...Image by Getty Images via Daylife

My daughter returns from America tomorrow, this summer break has seen her spend a month in Florida and we're travelling to Paris next week. The jet-setting glamour schedule is reminiscent of a celebrity or catwalk model.

I'm looking forward to her return as I have really missed the inquisitivite and affectionate conversation these last few weeks! Summer holidays are great for children, not so much if you are in an air conditioned building, away from the sunshine for the majority of the day. Although leaving the office this evening was like walking into a pre-heated oven. Paris remains the only destination on my calendar, considering New York around Christmas but nothing is confirmed.

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Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Disqus V3 Coming Next Week

Disqus ProfileImage by joedawson via Flickr

Disqus the third party commenting system that I use for this site, continues to enhance the functionality of the service.

This evening I came across a post by Steven Hodson, the self proclaimed cranky old fart, social media un-expert and blogger (Shooting at Bubbles/Inquistr). In the post he mentions that Disqus have geared up to release of V3 of their platform. The new version promises the same type of integration with social media as well as a re-vamped commenting system.

I love what the service offers as both a blogger and contributor to discussion on other websites. I'm hopeful that this latest release will consolidate the profiles, I'm currently able to login with Disqus, Facebook Connect and Twitter OAuth but the activity isn't centralised. Instead each login operates independently, I would like the ability to view comments on Disqus but also publish activity to the Facebook newsfeed and Twitter stream.

I'm intrigued about Disqus V3, the service is definitely a true system for powering real discussion. Looking forward to next week, please check out the presentation below for a preview..

DISQUS V3 from Giannii on Vimeo.

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Monday, August 17, 2009

Augmented Reality Takes Visuals To The Next Level

Open Handset AllianceImage by dannysullivan via Flickr

Augmented reality is the combination of real-world and computer-generated data (virtual reality), where computer graphic objects overlap real footage in real-time.

I first read about this a few months ago and acknowledged the potential. Obviously the hype for this is going to increase considerably over the next few months but that has to be expected as this is going to provide jaw-dropping innovation..

Today Layar, which was first launched in June 2009 in The Netherlands, announces that it’s second generation Reality Browser is now available globally on Android devices. Many new content layers are available in the Reality Browser which vary from Wikipedia, Twitter and Brightkite to local services like Yelp, Trulia, store locator’s, nearby bus stops, mobile coupons, Mazda dealers and tourist, nature and cultural guides.

Check out the full Press Release..

Brightkite a location-based social network - that I have used - already lets you see what your friends are doing in two dimensions – in a customizable real-time stream and in a map view. Through Layar they are now able to add a third dimension, which enables users of the app to view posts, photos and locations through the handsets camera. Below is a video presentation which also highlights what can be achieved through Augmented Reality -

Brightkite Augmented Reality from Brightkite on Vimeo.

With the iPhone expected to offer official support for Augmented Reality apps as soon as next month, this space is going to get very interesting. This is another reason to upgrade to the iPhone 3GS :)

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Saturday, August 15, 2009


A single frame of the sixty-second commercial ...Image via Wikipedia

Yesterday presented the end of another era at my company. I have worked alongside my colleague and built up a good relationship so it's sad to see him leaving. I expect Monday that my workload is going to increase considerably because he was a valuable member of the team.

Thankfully with the Internet and social networking we will stay in touch and I aim to see him regularly. To celebrate his time at the company we gathered in the local bar to share drinks and stories. Lately with the fitness programme I'm finding that when I consume alcohol that I am having cheaper nights!! Eventful is an understatement because it's been an interesting few weeks.

This weekend we welcome back football and the start of the Premiership campaign, already I'm excited and full of optimism because Chelsea should be challenging for silverware. The day started with my son's football and he played well and adapted to the playing habits of his team! I then enjoyed Chelsea making hard work of their opening fixture and relying on an injury time cross winner to beat Hull City. My daughter returns from Florida Wednesday/Thursday, I have really missed her because she has been away for a month. Next weekend then will see the return of horse riding before travelling to Paris for a few days :)
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Friday, August 14, 2009

Retweeting Is Cheating, Thread The Conversation

RetweetImage by Rosaura Ochoa via Flickr
Retweeting has emerged as a popular method of sharing with your followers, to retweet is to repeat/quote someones tweet. Although popular it's not something that I participate, largely because I feel it's lazy, doesn't extend conversation and it's like an alternative form of Chinese whispers.

I know there are arguments for/against retweeting and I acknowledge that there are limitations with the 140 character format. Introducing Phase one of project retweet which is Twitter's attempt to make retweeting part of the infrastructure. I understand the principle, displaying the original tweet in the timeline; provides the source, original (unedited) tweet and our @username as the retweet.

I just feel that Twitter should concentrate on other aspects, threaded conversation is what I want introduced as I want to be a part of a global discussion not an empty echo chamber. The conversation on Twitter isn't threaded, Friendfeed became popular as it fixed this, grouping discussion around tweets and the community identified the rich content. Robert Scoble recently started favouriting tweets to share with his followers and it's clear that the community are looking for better tools to filter the value but can Twitter provide the solution? Answers in 140 characters and no retweeting..

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Thursday, August 13, 2009

Google Reader, Share, Discover And Consume

You got mail!Image by Carol^-^ via Flickr

Google Reader received new features this week, the focus was to help users better share, discover, and consume content in Reader. With the introduction of the "Send to" feature which makes it easy to share posts you like to Blogger, Twitter, Facebook, and more.

This feature, I have wanted to see introduced for a while, although it would be infinitely more useful through the iPhone. Through the feeds and information that I digest whilst browsing the iPhone version of Google Reader I would welcome the ability to reshare through to selected sites. To enable services, head to the settings page and there's also the ability to create customised "Send to" links with a URL template.

There's also a way for us to subscribe directly to the blogs, photos, or Twitter updates that anyone we're following has included on their Google profile. Can anyone say Friendfeed?! With the story this week that Friendfeed has been acquired by Facebook, Google Reader is well positioned to capitalise on the exodus from the web-based aggregator.To quickly subscribe to these sites, click the "From people you follow" tab on the "Browse for stuff" page. Finally also updated was the control over marking entries as read, the "Mark all as read" button now has a menu that lets you choose to only mark items as read if they're older than your specified time frame.

Google Reader continues to improve, possibly with the introduction of long polling, displaying what we share through Reader on our Google profile and maybe the ability to display our services (blogs, photos, or Twitter updates) there too, we might just have a winner!!

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Wednesday, August 12, 2009

We Don't Need No Education

The first sketch of Homer strangling Bart, dra...Image via Wikipedia

I could never be a teacher as I don't have the patience, tried teaching my son maths this evening but he was stubborn and uninterested. The technique I attempted was questionable as basically I said we were going to sit in the car until he was ready to provide the answer.

It was a straight forward question, how many days from Thursday to the following Thursday. He wasn't interested and even though I was reciting the days of the week constantly he had made his decision. Eventually, expecting that we would be in for a long night we headed on to participate in an activity that interests him. Football, I'm sure that he could play from morning to night as it's very rare that he doesn't have a ball at his feet. I can tell he is missing his sister but she returns next week and then we're going to DisneyLand Paris which I'm really looking forward to!

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Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Facebook Lite Temporarily Exposed

Facebook Lite!Image by Hammarstrand via Flickr

Facebook are having a prolific week, they acquired Friendfeed which has generated significant press across the blogosphere, then launched a revised search interface and details are now emerging about Facebook Lite which is a faster, simpler version of the social network.

The feature was briefly made available for select users for feedback although it was shortly removed. Facebook then stated that the test was temporarily exposed to a larger set of users by mistake. And they have not opened up access to to all users at this time. People who are not part of the test and are trying to access “Lite” will be directed to as usual.

They mention that they are currently testing Facebook Lite in countries where they are seeing lots of new users coming to Facebook for the first time. The similarities to Twitter/Friendfeed are obvious, providing the ability to @username would be the natural progression and likely make the Twitter development team uncomfortable. Twitter to be acquired by Google? I think that looks increasingly more likely all the time..

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Monday, August 10, 2009

Take Over The Breaks Over

Friendfeed & FacebookImage by Dekuwa via Flickr

Just like everybody else, I was shocked when I read the news that Facebook had acquired Friendfeed. It was obvious that Mark Zuckerberg admired the real-time feed aggregator, borrowing many of the popular features and introducing them to the mainstream.
Why FriendFeed? Because it’s fun, fast and conversational. And because everyone has something to share.
This quote is from the About Us section on Friendfeed and if I were Mark Zuckerberg they would be the core features of interes, especially considering the advances Facebook are making in the real-time space. Consolidating the updates from social media and social networking websites, social bookmarking websites, blogs and micro-blogging updates, as well as any other type of RSS/ Atom feed.
The FriendFeed team is extremely excited to become a part of the talented Facebook team. We've always been great admirers of Facebook, and our companies share a common vision. Now we have the opportunity to bring many of the innovations we've developed at FriendFeed to Facebook's 250 million users around the world and to work alongside Facebook's passionate engineers to create even more ways for you to easily share with your friends online. [Source]
The founders of Friendfeed are all former Google employees who were involved in the launch of such services as Gmail and Google Maps. They include Paul Buchheit, Jim Norris, Sanjeev Singh and Bret Taylor. Facebook are the clear winners of this acquisition, acquiring a popular startup and an intelligent team of people. I like the posts from Steve Rubel who feels Friendfeed should become Facebook Labs and Robert Scoble who believes FriendFeed is now Facebook’s “official” R&D department! Here is the official press release for more information..

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Sunday, August 09, 2009

Me And You Dad..

BoyImage by joedawson via Flickr

With my daughter still enjoying her holiday in Florida, this weekend has been all about the boy. After Friday, Saturday morning began by providing a chance to spend some quality time with him at football practice and then swimming.

It's always difficult with him when I haven't seen him for any length of time and this weekend was no different. He appeared to be finding it difficult without his older sibling so I made sure I gave him plenty of attention.

Had a planned evening with friends so I ventured out for a few hours late Saturday. The night was eventful, any time you return home without underwear you know it's been a memorable night.

Today we were out early again, relaxing in the park was the planned activity and we were there for a while. After football we then headed home to watch the Community Shield before I returned him to his mothers and finished my weekend in the gym.
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Friday, August 07, 2009

What Happens In Room ...

The Best Party Ever album coverImage via Wikipedia

Today was our annual 'training day', these occasions are always memorable and I'm sure that reminiscing will provide many wonderful stories from across the years. What's guaranteed though is that no matter how much training we receive we always have a lot to learn.

We started at La Porchetta and the food here was divine, I enjoyed a Calzone Pollo which is a rolled pizza with the topping inside. There was variety of wine available to accompany the food so it felt wrong not to indulge. After eating we travelled to the Karaoke Rooms located in Smithfield Street, near Urban Golf which is a venue we visited for a previous function. On the journey to the Karaoke Rooms I made it clear that I would not be participating in any form of karaoke. Several Mojito's later and could anyone get the microphone from me? Good times, inevitable ending, delightful journey home, same place next week, bring on the trumpets..
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Thursday, August 06, 2009

Widespread Denial of Service Attacks

Twitter Acknowledges a Denial of Service Attac...Image by adria.richards via Flickr

Facebook, Twitter, LiveJournal, reportedly Google Sites and Blogger all experienced Distributed Denial of Service attacks today.

Twitter appeared to be most affected as the site was down for long periods. I experienced a few issues with Facebook when attempting to communicate with friends but nothing too significant. This wasn't your average cyber attack as this was brutal, widespread and caused substantial disruption. No one appears to know the source at the moment but I'm sure details will emerge in the next few days..

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Swimming In The Rain!

RainImage by joedawson via Flickr

Somerset House was supposed to be the main attraction this evening for the open-air cinema. The Film4 Summer Screen has returned to the Edmond J Safra Fountain Court at Somerset House and we were heading there to watch Alfred Hitchcock's Strangers on a Train.

As the showing wasn't until later in the evening we headed to the West End to see what was available over Oxford Street. As we arrived at Oxford Circus, the skies opened and the rain poured down, flooding the streets and made for a miserable night. Like cowards we found shelter in Uniqlo but the conditions were persistent so we headed to a restaurant to dry. We also had to decide whether an open-air cinema was ideal considering that there was no cover and that we were already soaked.

After much debate we decided that we would travel home, it was disappointing not to experience the Film4 Summer Screen but I'm sure we will get opportunities in future. The journey home was entertaining although not exactly straight forward!!!
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Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Eat Fresh

Doctor's Associates, Inc.Image via Wikipedia

Google have announced that Reader has begun adoption of the PubSubHubbub protocol, beginning with the publishing of our shared items.

I really rate the name of the protocol, it reminds me of the Sub-of-the-Day from the Subway Restaurant Menu. PubSubHubbub is definitely speeding up RSS. Eat fresh, speed in the feed, Google Reader adopting this protocol allows us to digest the latest shared stories in real time.
All shared item pages have feeds, and now all of those feeds will ping a hub (and there's a < link rel="hub" > element in them). This means that if you (as a web app developer) would like to more efficiently and quickly monitor Reader shares, you just have to subscribe at the hub to be notified of changes in real-time. If you want to learn more about PubSubHubbub and how it works, see the site and protocol definition.
Check out the embedded YouTube demonstration below which shows how fast updates are pulled into Friendfeed.

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Tuesday, August 04, 2009

What Hangover?!

Get where you're going - google transitImage by Sable. via Flickr

A hangover describes the sum of unpleasant physiological effects following heavy consumption of alcoholic beverages. We have all been there right; headache, nausea, sensitivity to light and noise etc? Apparently if you travel to Las Vegas for a bachelor party (stag-do), the aftermath reaches another level of extreme.

I have experienced a fair share of wild nights and adventures but the comedy film directed by Todd Phillips has set a benchmark for waking the next morning and not remembering anything!

Not only can't they remember anything but the groom has disappeared, no one can remember the events of the last 12 hours, Mike Tyson wants his tiger back and they have a baby! I watched The Hangover this evening with friends from work and it was well received, consistently funny, unpredictable and defiantly male. With a sharp script and complimentary soundtrack, we really enjoyed the movie and although I have a reluctance to marriage (speech, speech) I'm intrigued by the cultural ritual of the bachelors party (stag-do). Now, onto the best man, who should I choose to arrange the most memorable proceedings?!

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Monday, August 03, 2009

Going Google: Going Everywhere..

Get where you're going - google transitImage by Steve Rhodes via Flickr

Google have a term for the moment a company realizes there's a better way and goes for it: "going Google." They state that 1.75 million businesses, schools and organizations have gone Google - and today they have gone on the offensive with a major promotional campaign to get the word out about organizations that switch to Google apps for their everday requirements.

Visit to get more information about the benefits of going Google. And if you have already made the switch you can tweet your story and there are additional tools to help spread the word.

Also announced today, Eric Schmidt, chief executive officer of Google, has resigned from Apple’s Board of Directors, a position he has held since August 2006. This was inevitable considering the recent Google Voice rejection from the AppStore and that the companies compete with each other across the Web, mobile and computer operating system spaces.

Google are definitely on the offensive, towards the beginning of the year I was mainly writing about the Twitter service. That shifted towards the real-time web, Search and onto the almost daily innovation, social interaction and advances from Google. They were already in a strong position but now they are competing on a much wider scale and with Google Wave and Google Chrome OS imminent, it's going to become increasingly competitive. Apple and Microsoft you have been warned!!

I for one welcome our Google overlords..

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Sunday, August 02, 2009

Nom, Nom, Nando's

Nando'sImage by Mikey White via Flickr

With the older children enjoying a vacation in Florida and the youngest away with family we've had the majority of the weekend to ourselves. It's been relaxing, even after the Friday night escapades which resulted in too much alcohol consumed and not enough sleep.

To recuperate we decided to eat out..

Nando's is our preferred restaurant of choice, the chain is spreading like wild fire around the country. Although in the office, the opinion on Nando's is divided between those that love and those that loathe peri-peri chicken, we can't get enough! Maybe it's a refined taste, either way we enjoyed the food available on two occasions this weekend and still managed to leave with more for dinner in the evening. What's your view on Nando's?

Do you love or loathe what the restaurant brings to the table?

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Saturday, August 01, 2009

Revolution: Will This Change Everything?

Los caminos tortuosos del Che: I Mito despegadoImage by Fortimbras via Flickr

There has been significant backlash and protests surrounding Apple rejecting the Google Voice and compatible applications from the AppStore. Yesterday, Mike Arrington quit the iPhone, writing on TechCrunch that he had to choose between the iPhone and Google Voice. He opted to go with the company that wasn’t forcing him to do things their way. And in this case, that’s Google!

The Federal Communications Commission have now launched an inquiry to AT&T and Apple over the rejection of Google's Voice application. They are interested in a more complete understanding of this situation and the day of reckoning is Friday, August 21. Whatever the outcome, Google benefits the most as they win either way!
Do the right thing, and everyone falls immediately back in love with all things Apple. Stay the inconsistent and illogical course and this issue could be the beginning of the end of Apple's golden era. You can't call yourself a hero and act like a villain. You can't be the people's choice if you don't choose the people. ~ Kent Newsome
The TechCrunch article has the letters available, what's intriguing is whether this - like the tagline from the Apple commercials - changes everything...

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