Where the Web is going

The big hitters were in San Francisco for the latest Web 2.0 bash – though apparently we have to call it a ‘Summit’ these days – to what Nicholas Carr rather gloatingly describes as ‘tepid reviews‘.

Meanwhile I was at Bath University giving a well-received talk to the Computer Science Society, and having a far better time of it.

You can read the paper I prepared on my main talks page and I’ll put up the audio on the billcast later this week.

Digital Identity Forum

I was on a panel at the Digital Identity Forum yesterday, organised as usual by David Birch from Consult Hyperion. Much fun was had, and Will Davies gave an excellent talk as usual.

I was more succinct and less interesting – here’s the talk I wrote and, as an experiment, I recorded it and have made a pocast for your listening pleasure, online at the BillCast. And the movie I refer to half way through the talk is up on YouTube.

Continue reading “Digital Identity Forum”

ippr IP report

The Institute for Public Policy Research (ippr) has just published its report into Public Innovation: Intellectual property in a digital age. I was a member of the steering group which helped on the report, written by Will Davies and Kay Withers.

It’s worth reading as a contribution to the ongoing debate, and has some nice press-friendly recommendations, like a call to legalise ripping CDs onto iPods. The full report is a lot more detailed than the press release would lead you to think.

According to the ippr free copies are available to journalists on request from the ippr press office, but since all the other papers we’ve produced are available to download from the project website this one should be there real soon now… or there will be trouble!

Update: November 3rd.  Well, the ippr seems to want to sell copies, but the BBC has put a link to a PDF on their site, so I know where I’d go.

IT and Modernisation: New Statesman roundtable

Last month I chaired one of the New Statesman’s regular roundtable debates where they get a group of people together to talk for a couple of hours about an issue of the day, record the results and print an edited transcript as a supplement.

The topic we discussed was IT and Modernisation, looking particularly at public sector IT. Stephen Timms, Chief Secretary to the Treasury, was there, as was Richard Granger, who is charge of the NHS IT programme. And my old boss from The Guardian, Tony Ageh – now at the BBC – had some interesting things to say about public sector constraints.

You can download the PDF from the Stateman website, and it isn’t behind the paywall.

How long has Ofcom got?

John Naughton’s column in today’s Observer is, as usual, elegantly constructed and convincing, in this case on the problems facing Ed Richards as he inherits (and it was surely an inheritance) stewardship of the organisation he did so much to create.

John doubts that Ofcom has a future, a point I made in an essay on the future of television published earlier this year in a book commissioned by ids, the advertising arm of Flextech. Speculating about the TV world in 2020 I wrote: Continue reading “How long has Ofcom got?”

Unbounded Freedom?

Last night I had a fun time chairing a debate to mark the launch of Unbounded Freedom, a publication from the British Council’s Counterpoint think-tank that offers a guide to Creative Commons thinking for cultural organisations.

Christian Ahlert from CC UK and Caroline Michel, MD of the William Morris Agency. It was a lively debate, and a podcast should be available soon.
The book was written by a friend, Rosemary Bechler, and it’s well worth reading if perhaps a liitle too proselytising for the publishing audience that came along last night, many of whom seem to believe that CC is about replacing copyright and giving everything away for free. It reminded me of one of my favourite scenes from Ghostbusters

This city is headed for a disaster of biblical proportions.
Mayor: What do you mean, “biblical”?
What he means is Old Testament, Mr. Mayor, real wrath-of-God type stuff.
Fire and brimstone coming down from the skies. Rivers and seas boiling.
Forty years of darkness. Earthquakes, volcanoes…
The dead rising from the grave.
Human sacrifice, dogs and cats living together – mass hysteria.

There’s also a blog for continuing discussion, and Ian Brown has given his usual entertaining take on the proceedings. Oh, and Andrew Orlowski takes a flaming sword to the whole endeavour…

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Fame at last…

Since my spat with Jimmy Wales I try to keep an eye on my Wikipedia entry, and was gratified to see that someone had decided I was worthy of vandalism..

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Speaking Truthiness to Wikiality

[truthiness: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Truthiness]

My article [available here on the blog or here on the BBC] about Wikipedia and the plans by the German edition to put new editorial controls in place on their edition on the site seems to have been taken by some of those involved as an attack on the site and its philosophy, at least if the postings to the English-language mailing list WikiEN-l are typical. This is a shame, since I’m on their side and thought that what I’d written was supportive, although definitely not sycophantic. Unfortunately it seems that anything less than complete approval of whatever happens inside the Wikimedia Foundation is an act of treachery, so you’d better mark me down as an apostate and draft the fatwa…
Continue reading “Speaking Truthiness to Wikiality”

What can you say in one hundred words?

For the last three months I’ve been working as tame geek and online advisor for two friends who have a fantastic project built around writing and producing plays with one hundred words, and doing them in English and Chinese (Mandarin) as part of a wider cross-cultural programme.

The site – and blog – is at http://www.100wordplay.com/, and this week the first UK-based events take place at London’s Soho Theatre, in conjunction with the National Youth Theatre. So if you happen to be around Soho this evening and are looking for something to stimulate the palate, let me recommend this:

From 28th August to 2nd September, at 8.30pm in the Studio, writers
from Soho Theatre and the National Youth Theatre will create and
perform a 100 word play that captures the essence and speed of youth.

wordplay » Blog Archive » Working with the National Youth Theatre

(and while I may eventually get some money for my work on the site and general advice, so far it’s been pro bono, so I won’t make anything from ticket sales!)

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