I’m lucky enough to be in Geneva today at the simply wonderful Lift09, where I’ve met lots of great people – old and new friends – and been stimulated, entertained and surprised.

I gave a short talk at lunchtime, and the video is here.  It was intended as a provocation – my own ‘Modest Proposal’, as someone said – so don’t hold me to all of it…

You can see all of the videos too.

Beware complacency, not cancer

[As ever, this on the BBC News website.  And as of this morning Facebook seems to have decided to open up some of its processes to user engagement, so the dangers I talk of may be avoided]

The fuss over Facebook’s attempt to modify the contract with its millions of users has died down for the moment, and I haven’t noticed any of my friends closing their account or even significantly changing their behaviour in protest despite the widespread coverage of the incident.

The problem started in early February when Facebook updated the section on its site which establshes the legal agreement with its users.  Like most people who use it I didn’t notice the change, and even though Facebook clearly knows who I am and how to contact me I didn’t get a message or see a notification in my news feed about it.

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I Link Therefore I Am

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

I had to send a fax to a US university recently on behalf of my daughter, and I realised that not only do I not own a fax machine, I have never owned a fax machine.  During the 1990’s I would occasionally approach one of these mysterious devices, a sheet of paper in hand ready to be fed into the slot and transmitted through some mysterious method to other parts of the world, but it was clearly the devil’s work.

I never wanted one of the infernal devices in my home, and it has been wonderful to see emailed attachments replace them for most uses, apart from the odd recalcitrant academic institution.

The recent advent of on-demand video streaming of the main terrestrial TV channels has made me realise that I may never get round to acquiring a PVR, a hard-drive based TV recorder, before they too are swept away in the flood of technological innovation. Farewell, then Sky+ box, I hardly knew thee.

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I’ve taught someone to microblog

My good friend Solana Larsen is Managing Editor at Global Voices and one of the more imaginative, creative and simply inspiring people I know. Last week she decided to something suitably bloggy to celebrate February 14:

Valentine’s Day (February 14) is a day of love, friendship and communication. What better way to mark the occasion than to teach someone you love to blog or micro-blog?

If you are a Global Voices contributor or reader, you know that blogging brings joy, happiness and new friends to millions of people. Bloggers in our community have already pledged to teach their friends and loved ones, and will be writing about it in their own blogs on Valentines Day. You can sign it too…

We’d like to invite you to join us in this meme!

Think for a moment about the people in your life. Share this gift with your family, friends, readers and sweethearts – and tell us how it went!

It’s a lovely idea, but my partner is already extremely technologically-competent and builds websites as well as blogging.

Fortunately she hadn’t ever seen the point of Twitter, so we sat down, installed Twhirl on her MacBook Air and went through the finer points of Twitter etiquette.

The world may not need another twitterer, but it’s got one now, and you can follow her at @annerooney

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

When I heard that full episodes of The Prisoner TV series were available online I immediately headed over to the AMC website to wallow in nostalgic enjoyment and remind myself just how cool Patrick McGoohan was as he stumbled around Portmeirion trying to avoid a big plastic ball.

I’m old enough to have watched it the first time around and remember the shock we all felt at the last episode, so I was looking forward to revisiting a few episodes without having to make the effort to borrow the full DVD box set from somewhere.

I would happily have watched online and let AMC advertise to me in return, but sadly it was not to be. When I got to The Prisoner page on its site I saw only an unfriendly message, shouting at me in uppercase that:


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Get Carter…

[As always, this can be read on the BBC News website. And thanks to Tony Hirst there’s a commentable version of the Digital Britain report, which we will draw to Carter’s attention..

Added 8/2/09: there’s a useful commentary on the Power of Information beta from the ‘other Tom Watson’ on TechPresident.


It may well be that Stephen Carter is pleased with the generally negative response to the Digital Britain report he has assembled over the last few months with help from people like psychologist Tanya Byron, Spectator editor Matthew d’Ancona and Channel 4 deputy chairman Barry Cox.

After all this interim report is intended to outline the policy challenges to be addressed in a final set of recommendations and proposals published later in the year, and so its primary purpose might simply be to stir things up and let all of the interested parties know that the issues that matter to them are in the frame.

In which case hearing that universal two megabit per second broadband is pathetically slow compared to other countries, that the idea of a rights agency to negotiate online copyrights shows no understanding of the reality of current download practice, and that the chief executive of Trinity Mirror, Sly Bailey, feels that the report shows a ‘crushing lack of understanding of the urgency required for changes to merger regulations in the local and regional media sector’ might simply reassure Lord Carter that at least everyone is taking notice.

Continue reading “Get Carter…”

Coke’s Superbowl Ad

Ok, so it’s cheesy and the idea that fizzy drinks are a bonding experience not one I entirely endorse… but well made with many grace notes (watch the avatar trying to get into the cafe walking like a SL newbie)

And, as Alice notes, good to see the WoW-style Orc is a woman 🙂

Presumably next year they’ll all be Twittering…