Sunday, March 25, 2007

Virtual Blogger

I've finally found time to update the welcome character at the top-left corner of this blog with a virtual me! - all courtesy of the team over at at

Let me know what you think of it.

P.S. - anybody who thinks it's funny to leave a comment along the lines of 'so why do we still need the real John' may find they don't get a Christmas card next year...;)

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

How many Tyrannosaurs in a gallon of petrol?

...and other such questions can be asked at Google answers. The way it works is that you type in a question, pay a little money ($2.50) and the answer comes back within 24 hours.

I've heard of a similar text message service in the UK which will find out answers to questions for about a £1 (I can't remember the name of the company right now - maybe I should ask Google answers?).

In case you were wondering, the answer is that the carbon content of one tyrannosaur is equivalent to that in about 460 gallons of petrol. (You can build 1/460th of a tyrannosaur using the carbon in 1 gallon of petrol.)

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Disruptive Influences is taking off!

Today sees the launch of two new Disruptive Influences sites!

Disruptive Influences: Tesco and Technology looks at one of Britain's most successful companies and their focus on technology as a key enabler for growth and profits.
For those less commercially-inclined it also includes the exclusive video 'Dance of the Melons'.

Disruptive Influences: Jackanory - 'Crossing the Chasm' presents a review of Geoffrey Moore's seminal guide to marketing and selling technology products to mainstream customers. It also helps explain this blogsite's occasional references to Jackanory (the long-running BBC childrens television series designed to stimulate an interest in reading).

Saturday, November 18, 2006

i-Pod saves man's life!

Well, almost...

A lost mushroom picker in the USA was found by rescuers after they managed to see the glow of his i-Pod Nano.

i-Pods. Is there anything they can't do?

'Hostile' blogs threaten voter / politician relationship?

Matthew Taylor, Tony Blair's outgoing chief strategy adviser, spoke on Friday of fears that the internet could be fuelling a 'crisis' in the relationship between politicians and voters.

Speaking on the same day that Tony Blair carried out an online interview Mr Taylor expressed concerns that the internet was adding to the growing demands being made on government.

In particular he spoke out against blogs saying, "What is the big breakthrough, in terms of politics, on the web in the last few years? It's basically blogs which are, generally speaking, hostile and, generally speaking, basically see their job as every day exposing how venal, stupid, mendacious politicians are".

He went on to say that part of the problem was the culture associated with 'net-heads' which was rooted in libertarianism and "anti-establishment" attitudes (I think the same criticism was levelled at satirical TV shows such as 'That was he week that was' in the 1960s - or you could go further back to Hogarth's drawings in the early 1700s, and no doubt many more examples besides...).

Mr Taylor (who was speaking at an e-democracy conference in London) is missing the point.

Bloggers aren't usually saying anything on the internet they wouldn't say to their friends or family in ordinary face to face conversations. The difference the internet makes is that those once relatively private thoughts and opinions are now visible to everyone - including politicians.

The message to politicians should really be 'deal with it!'. To be fair (and just to prove that not all bloggers are hostile to politicians), many politicians have embraced the internet in a far more positive way than Mr Taylor - and I don't just mean the well publicised blog 'webcameron' by the leader of Her Majesty's Opposition in the UK, David Cameron.

David Miliband, the UK Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA), has been experimenting with a departmental blog. Of course this blog can be accused of political bias - this is politics we're talking about after all - but, from what I can see, it allows comments to be posted that express a whole range of views and opinions - not all supportive of either him or his department. Which is as it should be.

To finish, I'd like to return to Mr Taylor's comment that blogging culture is rooted in anti-establishment attitudes.
If you were ever asked to describe the antithesis of an anti-establishment character in the UK - a typical 'middle englander' - then you'd probably at some point mention BBC Radio 2, that cosy, cardigan-wearing radio station loved by the middle-aged middle-classes of Britain.

Yet Radio 2 listeners would appear to be some of the most avid bloggers there are, examples being the hundreds of comments on the Chris Evans show blogsite (not to mention the wierd and wonderful postings to the Terry Wogan show message board!).

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Google prepares for YouTube lawsuits

Wow, it feels like weeks now since I last posted anything about Google's purchase of YouTube!

Thinking back I have a hazy memory about mentioning the possibility that Google might face a stream of lawsuits from parties whose copyright may have been infringed by YouTube. Basically, who would have ever sued YouTube when they had no money to speak of? But Google is a different story...

Well there appeared to be proof today that Google at least is taking the threat from lawsuits seriously. In completing the purchase of YouTube for $1.65 billion Google set aside $200 million in escrow for a year to "secure certain indemnification obligations".

You don't get to be as successful as Google without a degree of prudent planning!

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Guide to using

Following on from his excellent 'Cocktail Party blogging' piece a couple of weeks ago Charlie O'Donnell is back with Part II of his series "Getting into this online stuff".

Having looked at business blogging last time out this article explores better ways to manage bookmarks and favourite links on the web using a tool called (which is actually at the "" domain) is the web 2.0 way to remember, discover, and share URLs.

The article covers similar ground to one of the early lectures of the Manchester Business School MBA MIS course, but I'd recommend it to anyone who wasn't at that particular lecture (that'll be the whole world, minus 15 people...) - or even those who were there but fancy a refresher!
(By the way, in the intro to Part II Charlie positions the article as perhaps being better suited to those who might not be as tech savvy as others - I guess that'll be me then....).