Building public spaces online

[As ever, this is also published on the BBC News website]

Tila Tequila has over one and a half million contacts on MySpace and a profile filled with pages of her scantily-clad form draped over chairs, cars and poles. Visit her page and you get some audio bubblegum to entertain you – apparently a track from her eagerly awaited debut album, for the multi-skilled Tila is a singer as well as a model.

Now she has become the latest online celebrity to come into conflict with a social network site after MySpace asked her to remove a link that let visitors buy songs from a competing service, pointing out that ‘we retain the right to block or remove content that violates our terms of use, including unauthorized commercial transactions’.

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Get a (Second) Life

On Thursday I’m taking part in a workshop at Anglia Ruskin University in Cambridge, organised as part of the ENTER_UNKNOWN TERRITORIES festival/conference.  Working with a team from Bedford Creative Arts  we are going to be giving those attending hands-on experience with a range of Web 2.0 tools.  The blurb says:

Don’t let the Kids monopolise online social spaces. Come and learn how you too can hang out at Habbo, share tags and create your own avatar. Learn how online tools can be used to collaborate in creative, inspiring ways.

Get Web 2.0 Savvy! Hands on activities are planned : *Flickr & Photosharing *Wikis *Myspace & social networks *Video sharing *Blog This & blogging platforms *Pocasting *Second Life & Virtual Worlds

Please join us for drinks and informal networking

and there are more details on the ENTER_ website

It’s on Thursday March 29th, arrive 6.30 for 6.45 start / finish 9pm, at the Ruskin Gallery, Anglia Ruskin University, Cambridge, and it’s free. RSVP to by March 28th

I don’t know what time it is..

Woke up this morning and I’ve come downstairs to two computers, a digital radio and a phone, all of which say 0840.  I think that they have all automatically skipped forward an hour because DST kicked in this morning, but I can’t be sure. Perhaps it’s 0940 by the clock – I don’t seem to have any analogue devices or anything that isn’t connected to a network any more – no clocks to adjust, nothing to check.  Even the TV automatically adjusts itself via the teletext time signal.

Welcome to the networked world. Now that the systems are telling me what time it is, I wonder how long before they are telling me what to do with that time…

Wherever I lay my laptop…

[As ever,  you can also read this on the BBC News website]

I am, it seems, a neo-nomad.  Or perhaps a ‘digital bedouin’, if you prefer something that makes the computing connection more obvious.

Writing in the San Francisco Chronicle recently reporter Dan Fost claims that a new generation of IT workers has grown up, people who turn a laptop, a wireless connection and a café into an office and work wherever they happen to be.

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I’m a ‘neo-nomad’

or perhaps you prefer ‘digital Bedouin’ – both terms used in this San Francisco Chronicle article which claims that

A new breed of worker, fueled by caffeine and using the tools of modern technology, is flourishing in the coffeehouses of San Francisco. 

And Cambridge. And Venice. And Delhi.  Over the last few years I’ve moved more and more of my working life onto my laptop and filed copy, taken meetings and even done broadcasts from wherever I find myself.  It’s nice to know that we now have a name 🙂

Who stands to gain from Wikileaks?

[As ever, you can find this on the BBC News website too]

Wikis, or user-editable websites, are one of the most interesting and potentially empowering technologies available on today’s Internet.

Wikipedia, whatever its flaws, has demonstrated that giving people the freedom to add and update material from within a web browser can provide them with an outlet for self-expression in the interests of the wider community, and many organisations use private wikis to enhance communications and planning.

It has become a joke in the tech world that if you’re planning a conference or any sort of meeting you have to start with a wiki, even if you’re working on your own.

And we even have our own private wiki for planning Digital Planet, the World Service technology programme I appear on each week.

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Beermat podcast

Mike Southon is an old friend of mine – I used to work at The Instruction Set, the training company he co-founded back in the 1980’s, and we’ve stayed in touch since. These days he spends less time as Mike Fab Gere and more as The Beermat Entrepreneur, and he recently interviewed me for one of their regular podcasts.

You can listen to a ten-minute version of the interview from the Beermat site, or sign up with them and get the full version – also available to buy as a one-off download.


Talking out loud

I was interviewed a couple of weeks ago by Gaurav Sood, who blogs as spincycle, and he’s posted the result – edited to make me sound less rambling and more coherent, I’m pleased to say – for your delectation, delight and mocking commentary…

While technology has become an important part of our social, economic and political life, most analysis about technology remains woefully inadequate, limited to singing paeans about Apple and Google, and occasional rote articles about security and privacy issues. It is to this news market full of haberdasher opionating that Mr. Bill Thompson brings his considerable intellect and analytical skills every week for his column on technology for the BBC.

Read the rest….

My mum

My mum

Originally uploaded by BillT.

My mum died today in Manchester. She’d been ill and infirm for a while, but it is always a shock. I’ll miss her.

Won’t be online very much for the next few days, so phone if you need me urgently.