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Thursday, July 16, 2009
 

Introducing Tweets of Yore!

One of the best things about Twitter is the ability to quickly share info from your life with a wide network of friends. Rather than just letting everyone know what you had for lunch - or were deciding to have for lunch, in extreme cases - you can share stuff you've learned, tell jokes and much more. I'm a fan of useless but funny bits of trivia myself:


But Twitter has only been around for a few years, and many of us have been around a lot longer than that. How great would it have been to have had access to Twittering during our most formative years?

Tweets of Yore is a partial response to that. To make use of this fun new tool all you need do is write up a suitable tweet covering something that's happened in the past and add the hashtag #yore at the end. Hashtags allow for related tweets to be grouped together when searching the vast Twittersphere.

To get started Historical Tweets has some great ideas. I especially liked William Shakespeare complaining about having to read Chaucer at a young age.

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Sunday, December 14, 2008
 

Dream It and List It All Out

I took the 43 Things Personality Quiz and found out I'm an
Extroverted Money Managing Tree Hugger

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Sunday, August 24, 2008
 
Who's Texting Whom at 3am?


The original plan of getting Obama supporters to hand over their cellphone number in return for the promise of being the first to learn the official VP choice -by SMS, was an inspired one. This was also a vote-catching tool targeted to younger voters, especially those who believe that politicians don't get it and therefore don't deserve their vote. In this election cycle, younger voters could control the outcome on a historic scale.

Marketing by cellphone is an idea whose time has come. Not only do you get instant access to your supporters, but it's also a convenient means of determining geographic identity and other important demographic clues.

That's important when compared to the minimal info gained from an email address, especially as email addresses turn bad quickly. A 20% annual churn rate is considered normal for most large email lists. So an opted-in cellphone number provides an instant, reliable and probably long-term means of disseminating messages. This was the biggest marketing benefit of the "VP by SMS" campaign.

However one of the first things I did after receiving this message was to send a reply to the Obama camp saying "STOP." Meaning they don't have my permission to text me again. I was annoyed with the execution of this campaign. Clearly the intent was there to give a first heads-up to loyal supporters of this important news announcement, but the way it dragged on after Obama himself announced that he had made his choice, was intolerable.

I understand the need to milk the waiting game for as long as possible, but obviously the tenacity of the mainstream media in undermining the official announcement by any means was all but ignored. At a minimum there should have been a backup plan in place for the (inevitable) moment when the news got leaked to the press. The reality became, the SMS went out at least 12 hours too late and five hours after CNN and ABC News had "officially" announced Biden's appointment based on "informed" sources.

Given the provocative undertones of Hillary Clinton's infamous 3am attack ad "It's 3am and the phone in the White House is ringing..." It's doubly ironic that in this new world of interactive Presidential marketing, this particular SMS text message was received by most people around 3am, when most people were not available to hear what their President-in-waiting had to say.

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Sunday, May 25, 2008
 
Live From Mars!

The Phoenix Mars Lander has broadcast a more-or-less constant stream of messages
since landing 2 hours ago. These can be read at http://twitter.com/MarsPhoenix

This is the first instance of a NASA mission maintaining its own blog in near real time. Now that's Science Fiction!

Twitter for those of you not in the know is a micro-blogging service that allows you to post SMS or Instant Messenger messages to a central service that allows your friends to follow what you are up to. A perfect tool for an exciting extra-planetary event like this.

Happy Memorial Holiday everyone!

Nigel

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Saturday, May 10, 2008
 
Fast-Tracked Council Legislation Would Close Popular Chicago Music Venues

This is an important issue which I have only just become aware of. The Chicago city council is proposing an onerous series of changes to the legislation that governs all venues under 500 seats in Chicago. Essentially the changes are to prevent "illegal promoters" from doing business without proper licence's, background checks and insurance certification. In reality this will generate more revenue for a Council budget that has a big deficit, and has little to do with its stated aims.

A blog to collect public comments and serve as a focal point has started at http://savechicagoculture.wordpress.com/

Visit today and voice your concern as well as become acquainted about the key issues.

An important thing to remember in all this, is that the recent big tragedies at music venues in Chicago (E2) and Rhode Island occurred at venues that supposedly met all the local ordinances.

In support of local alternative music venues, also, this is an issue that my friend the late great Sterno would have been extremely passionate about. In his absence I will help defend the Chicago music scene that he cared so much about.

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Wednesday, January 02, 2008
 

New years Eve type survey question thingy.....

Thanks to my friend Pauline, I was moved to pull together some thoughts at the dawning of this new age, I mean year.

Where are you spending your New Years this year?
A friend is hosting a five course dinner party for a small group of friends. Each couple/person attending has to bring a bottle of champagne.

How do you usually spend New Years?
With friends and wrapped up warm!

What do you drink on New Years?
Wine, Champers, and the odd beer or three. Plus lots of water (if I remember.)

Make a special New Years dinner?
No, because someone else is!

What New years traditions do you have?
Send out an SMS message to friends who are away. This year I am using Twitter to post the message. And it took 13 minutes at midnight to actually get it out thanks to cell network overload.

Do you kiss at midnight, if so whom?
Everyone and animal in reach.

Do you watch the ball drop?
No, not in real time. Although in the States Dick Clark's Rockin' New Eve is the TV show that is the most hyped. So inevitably that gets watched at some point. As New York is 1 hour ahead of Chicago we always see a delayed broadcast. Chicago has a great fireworks show along the waterfront, except it's always -10C outside, so no one lingers.

What do you like about New Years?
The passing of time into a more adventurous future - with aircars!

What do you dislike about New Years?
The passing of good times.

Do you dress up for New Years?
Depends on where we are going. This year it was casual.

If you could be anywhere in the world for New Years, where would you be?
Somewhere warm and always with friends.

Any resolutions this year?
Still working on the list, but I guess beating procrastination would be at the top ...

Resolutions from past years?
Yup, still working on those...

What few things does the holiday make you think about at first thought?
Nothing really. Although we just returned from spending Christmas in Miami, and I have a new job lined up for 2008 so life is good.

One song from the past year that will always remind you of that year:
"My kind of year, 2007 was ... It's my kind of year!"

Did you believe New Years Y2K was the be all, end all?
No, and I traveled all the way to New Zealand to be amongst the first in the world to experience widespread panic and looting when the ATM's failed.

What new people entered your life this past year?
Actually, I made several new friends during 2007 and reinvigorated many old friendships thanks to Facebook, MySpace and honest-to-goodness, real life encounters.

What new starts entered your life?
Could you rephrase the question please.

Any regrets?
I wish I had smiled more during my crime sprees. That closed circuit camera footage was just awful!

Any moments you'll miss forever?
Until the Alzheimer's kicks in they will live with me always.

What physical thing would you change if you could for the New Year?
My breasts.

What inner thing would you change if you could?
My inner child needs to grow up a little.

Any big plans or hopes for the upcoming year?
Succeed in my job and in life. Appreciate all my friends as much as possible and win the big one with Mega Millions.

What do you always remember most every year about the past New Years?
How I answered these questions the last time around.

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Monday, December 17, 2007
 

del.icio.us Redux

Some time back I discussed how the social bookmarking site del.icio.us has proven to be the best way to remember stuff found online. Saving a site is as easy as clicking on a "save to del.icio.us" toolbar link. Up pops a little window with the current website URL and after adding a few tags relevant to the particular content, the address is saved to your del.icio.us account. Finding it again is as easy as connecting to your del.icio.us account and searching for one of the tags.

The beauty of this approach is that all your saved bookmarks are freed from your computer and accessible anywhere you happen to be, along with being fully searchable. A huge additional side-benefit is that sharing "favourite sites" with friends and colleagues is as simple as including their del.icio.us username as a tag. The next time they visit del.icio.us they will see your recommendations and they get the opportunity to add them to their own account. Believe me, this approach is much easier than copying the address to an e-mail, composing a message and sending it out several times each day.

Online data guru Jon Udell shares some insights into why he thinks del.icio.us has (so far) failed to find a broader audience despite its purchase by Yahoo in late 2006.

The Firefox browser has integrated del.icio.us functionality directly into the browser. This allows saved del.icio.us bookmarks to be accessed as easily as if they had been saved as traditional bookmarks. A Facebook addon application allows your "public" bookmarks to automagically be included in your Facebook Profile. Because new additions and updates are reflected as well, you never have to worry about maintaining shared lists.

If you aren't using del.icio.us already, you should consider doing so.

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Tuesday, November 27, 2007
 

Onward and Upward with the Arts: Digitization and its discontents

I have a personal dream, that is, to digitize my life. Words, images and audio video of everything surrounding myself and my family. At first glance it seems doable, I have copies of almost every letter I've written and received. Copies of over 28 years of writing, fanzines, articles, books, pithy little letters of comment to other publications are all filed away in semi-archival states. Photos and videos I've taken and those of my parents are faithfully stored away and are close to being digitally scanned. I think I crossed the 50% mark recently. I also have kept cassette and video tapes of nearly every appearance I have made on the radio or on TV. Lots of embarrassing moments preserved for all posterity. Finding film and video remnants of the rest of my family is proving more difficult. Apparently I'm the only person (so far) interested in preserving this stuff.

A few years back I started cataloguing and sorting all my father's and late mother's possessions prior to him moving into a retirement home. This provided a clear insight into where I had acquired my habits from. My mother and father had kept over 50 years worth of family correspondence, including their letters of courtship and my father's professional letters of reference from the mid-nineteen 30's. Combined with my deceased grandparents saved letters from our family I had both sides of a 25 year conversation after my parents immigrated from London in the mid 60's to distant New Zealand.

This veritable treasure trove of detail into the smallest details of my family's life is invaluable in supplementing my patchy (and growing patchier) memory. And there's the rub of this digital desire, is it better to recollect the past through direct memories? Or to replace and layer on top the actual as-it-happened detail from these easily accessed digital records? As the onset of my late father's Alzheimer's made painfully clear, a memory backup is always useful.

In an exhaustive review of the history of libraries and the rise of aids to quickly locating items stored within them, the New Yorker tackles the issue of the joys of handling (and smelling) original books versus - some would say, the sterile environment of an always reachable digital library containing everything ever published.

Putting aside the obvious benefits of bringing literacy and knowledge to the poorest parts of the world without access to libraries, there's some merit to the argument of maybe rethinking some parts of say Google's desire to scan and digitize the world's knowledge. However on balance I say scan, scan, scan and sort out the aesthetics of interacting with digital materials later. There's always scratch and sniff technology still to be embedded into printed-on-demand 500 year old books right?

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Wednesday, November 21, 2007
 

Sweet Potato Is Everybody's Friend, But a Fleeting One - WSJ.com

The sweet potato, or is that potatoe? is high on the list of holiday dishes at this time of year. But as we shopped today to buy all the items for our imminent Turkey Day celebration I thought about all the other vegetables I love so much. Here for all posterity is my Top 10 List:

1. Sweet Potato (kumera in New Zealand)
2. Regular potato
3. Brussels Sprouts (am I their only fan?)
4. Spinach
5. Red cabbage (sometimes known as Captain Cook's cabbage)
6. Zucchini (sometimes courgette)
7. Asparagus
8. Cauliflower
9. Pumpkin
10. Sweetcorn (grew it as a kid, what can I say!)

Runners-up: Leek, parsnip, turnip (basically all the *nips*), radishes, peas, cabbage and baked beans.

My apologies to all the carrots and broccoli of the world. Maybe next year?

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Wednesday, November 07, 2007
 
The Biggest Problems I see With Facebook's Social Ads Program:

1. Anyone can publish a Facebook *Page* claiming your brand identity
2. Getting your Facebook identity to the top of the Search Results
3. Controlling the level of personal user details shared with advertisers (on/off/restricted)
4. The "You have to put up with ads because Facebook is provided free" argument
5. Stupid users and stupid advertisers will ruin the Facebook experience for the rest of us.

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