— blending the mix

July, 2006 Monthly archive

First its flickr
Then its myspace
What’s next…

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Is this company EVER going to “get” blogging and its implications?
 La Petite Anglaise author, Catherine has been sacked for blogging and “bringing the company into disrepute”. She writes about her exploits in Paris with the occasional descriptions of her office and some of the people there. Now that is some serious disrepute…
I presume the same disrepute conditions apply when an individual talks about colleagues at coffee breaks, cigarette breaks, lunchtime, sitting on the bus, train…with friends….you get the point. Dixon Wilson clearly don’t.
No doubt the whole blogoshpere will be attempting to get here reinstated (yeah, right!) but are they right to do so?
It is one thing to set out guidelines about how to blog safely, but if your employer doesn’t even understand the concept of what you are doing, he certainly isn’t going to listen to the subtleties of descriptions about themselves. You are taking a risk.

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  So, a friend of mine (no, this IS true!) joins Second Life on my recommendation, even though my laptop hasn’t got enough graphics capability to run it (!) and tells me some interesting things.
Upon joining, the first thing he does is get invited to spend money via stores that, conveniently, the two people he meets own.
Ten minutes later he has spent a small fortune on some new hair, some new clothes, a penis (normal one apparently) and became a pole dancer working for tips! (I guess there is a chicken and egg scenario going on with the body features/dancing situation!).
Does this sort of hijacking happen all the time to new recruits? Are there people that spend their time roaming Second Life looking for ways of taking money off people?
Does it remind anone of the 1989’s timeshare scam where unsuspecting holiday-makers were duped into signing-up for timeshare villa’s and didn’t actually get any benefit from it?
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Steve Rubel reports on a ZDnet article which elaborates on a personalised ad delivery system for commercial radio!

By monitoring conditions at the outlets of the source (temperature and demographics are the two quoted conditions), the ads can be changed in accordance with the changes on the shop floor. They cite the example of Mcdonalds being able to change the type of ad they run, if for example, the temperature exceeds a certain point. Rather than run a burger ad, they might roll with a drinks one.

Cool (in every sense of the word!).

This seems to tie in with the advances they are making on audio search I posted a few weeks back where Google will/should/can (!!) be able to place targeted and relevant browser ads based on the background noise it can pick up.

With RF tags being put into store cards and on food packaging, maybe the Minority Report ad world is not too far away.

Is that a good thing?

Ask yourself this question. Even if an ad was relevant and targeted in a way you like, would you still welcome the interruption?

Maybe advertising is a joke. It’s all about………timing!

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A word of warning to all those wiki owners who are doing for free what other copmanies charge for…you are being hunted down!

Yellowiki, is a twist on the craig’s list theme where people create their own directories and business links. Yell.com, the directory people who charge companies for doing the same things are now suing [tag]yellowiki[/tag], claiming infringement of copyright.

But, all is not what it seems. The main basis for the claim is the use of the yellow logo, and NOT the content that it is creating.

So here is my question. Why aren’t they just asking the “owners” of the wiki to change the logo instead of trying to close the site down?

Is this turning into another David & Goliath “negative publicity for the big brand, driving people away from the big brand” story or what?!

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Those lovely people at paypal are so kind.

Within 2 days of me launching my new blog, PayPal sent me an email asking me to verify my personal details because they thought there had been a security breach. How nice. Shame it landed in my spam filter!

What other multinational company would take sure care of its customers so as to ensure their customers’ safety on an almost 10-minutely basis?

What other multinational company would allow such continual and widespread abuse of their integrity that they do absolutely NOTHING about it until they have to?

What other multinational company whose business is handling other people’s money do absolutely NOTHING to keep its fraud-concerned customer up to date with the latest scams and tricks?

What other multinational company whose business is based on trust and security only say something abut a scam until IT becomes worried about ITSELF?

What other multinational company whose business is as widely known for scams as its business does nothing about it?

What…OK, you get the point!

How can a company whose customers are attacked every minute of every day NOT have anything other than a developers blog? And even HIDE their phone number from you, whose money they are holding.

It defies belief

The ability of Paypal to allow secure transactions easily is probably its most important asset yet it does NOTHING to alert/warn/advise its customers on what to do in ANY sort of daily/weekly conversation.

How long does it take you to find out about the latest threats to YOUR security on the Symantec website? Seconds.

And that is only your computer.

Imagine how much more you would trust PayPal with YOUR money if you felt that they at least had a handle on the problems and commuinicated them to you.

PayPal….blogging can be as cheap or as expensive as you want but the value is indeterminable.

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Something struck me as really odd this morning. As much as RSS readers are incredibly useful resources, I find that they are actually, really, really dull things to look at and use.

I use Newsgator and have (only) about 145 blogs/news sources I draw my news from. But whilst I use Newsgator much more than I ever used Google Reader, one thing struck me  – I much prefer (nay, find it easier) to use the websites/blog of the news source than read the feed-reader.

Why? The colours, the layout, the font style, the additional titbits of extra information you gather along the page, the comments you pick up, the additional links, the ads, the images…are all features which (in additional to the critical content) go towards giving a blog a personality and therefore influence my decision to want to read it (you will notice I have removed my picture for this very purpose!).

With RSS readers this "personality" is 99% removed.

Maybe my experience is unfairly metered against the excellent bbc news website and great blogs like Tara’s or one from Mack’s empire. I guess in the case of the BBC to be fair, it is more of a visual news aggregator rather than either a blog OR RSS reader.

But what I miss in an RSS reader is the random nature of news articles to draw from,  "impulse reads", things I didn’t know, things I didn’t even know I would find interesting, CGC features (new to the BBC), things I wouldn’t normally even consider reading. I would LOVE to monitor the tracking of my usage from an interesting blog or news website!

It is a maze, but one in which I am beginning to find of much more enjoyable using than conventional RSS readers. And I think it is all down to the visual nature of sites/blogs versus the largely textual nature of readers that draws me to them.

OK, some might argue that the BBC is not an RSS Reader and I am not comparing like for like, and that it doesn’t aggregate an almost infinite number of different, wide-ranging and unique voices and that there are inevitably many things I would miss…and I’d agree. But what fun is the other option? An RSS reader that is simply a long list of names and text with growing numbers of unread posts?

I feel trapped.

The only person whose content is the same on the blog as it is in a reader is Hugh’s…but his is only an image of a cartoon.

Maybe I just haven’t found a style of RSS reader which suits what I want, but IS that the problem? With high-speed internet the norm, have I become too graphics-dependant? Are my demands compatible? As consumers, should we expect visually-strong RSS readers? Is there actually any need for them?! Can my demands of strong visual content (i.e. website) sit alongside the benefits of organised content such as the RSS reader?

Is there an RSS reader which will enable me to enjoy the visual aspects of the many blogs I read which helps me interpret the true meaning of the post with the organisation of a "conventional" reader?

Robert Scoble famously said that he would simply refuse to read partial feeds, and I can understand why, but my feeling is not because of partial feeds, but because it is ALL textual and dull and white backgrounds and no colours and no personalities…all of which can be found on the blogs themselves but not in the readers.

Maybe the Guardian has hit the nail on the head with the impending launch of G24. An RSS-fed pdf version of the latest news, coming from 5 different (Guardian) streams.

Now, if the Guardian can do it using THEIR RSS feeds, can anyone else do it using 20, 30 even 50 different streams?

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Being in the bathroom business I am always on the look out for signs of life online from other like-companies to see what they are up to. Similarly, tradesemen would benefit enormously from using the internet.

English Cut grew enormously when Thomas Mahon (a craftsman, rather than a tradesman!) decided to blog about his tailoring. The passion he put across in his blog, for the cut, the materials and the styles helped grow his brand enormously.

Why wouldn’t this work for ANY business, even tradesman?

Along comes Plumbingmarketing a blog designed to aid tradesmen understand and market their businesses better than ever.

That said, in the UK a plumber looking for work is like trying to find rocking horse…(you know the rest) so I would struggle to understand just how useful this would be.

BUT, nobody can earn TOO MUCH money so why not all you plumbers and ‘leccies out there give it a go?

Let people share your passion for what you do, help them with regular tips and updates on fitting skills, pointers in what to look for when buying a bathroom, contact details, retailers (who in turn may pay you for a referral!), home improvement tips, advice from electriciaqn friends, plumber friends, builder friends etc.

Get involved wiht local community groups, find online home improvement/diy groups – bcome the indisipensable voice of your profession.
Before long, people get to know you, trust you (more than a number in a book anyway) and you have suddenly got yourself a customer base who knows you even BEFORE they take you on!

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Seeing a picture of the lovely Amanda Congdon next to my ugly mug has really put me off the idea of having a picture on my blog!

So, unless I can create some magic, it is coming off!

It seems kinda wrong to spend time altering a picture of oneself just to look half decent, so I may just bin it anyway!

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After reading the news about Amanda leaving Rocketboom, I am struck by a few things:

1) There seems to be an awful lot of resentment or anger from uninvolved parties at what has happened.

[tag]Techcrunch[/tag] says: “The funny thing is, based on what looks like really happened, she’s full of crap. Or both of them are.”

Whilst Dave Winer is quite scathing about the whole mess.

Steve Rubel suggests “it might be easy to dismiss all the chatter around Amanda Congdon’s untimely departure from Rocketboom as “inside baseball.””

2) The alarming nature of 2 non-speaking partners fighting it out over the internet – haven’t we all risen above this level?

UPDATE: [tag]Amanda Congdon[/tag] has now posted a letter from Andrew in June on her new blog, in response to HIS announcement (thanks [tag]Dave Winer[/tag]) about Amanda leaving.

3) Is this just a “staged” drama to ensure [tag]Rocketboom[/tag] stays ahead of other video blogs?

4) It highlights just how vague the blogging / video blogging “business model” is.

Almost everyone blogging for over 12 months will no doubt have been doing it for purely personal reasons but these reasons are becoming increasingly financial, although nobody can really put a formula on it!!

So, when you start off, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed into the world of blogging, what do you do when you have hundreds of thousand of subscirbers and a full-time ad-supporting business to run?

Was that in the plans? Where do you go for help?

Is THIS the root of the problem?

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