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Saturday 31 October 2009

Stephen Fry & Twitter.

Being one of Stephen Fry's 900,000+ followers on Twitter, i was very surprised to see the following Tweet, from the man hinself, appear on my Twitter feed this afternoon:

"Think I may have to give up on Twitter. Too much aggression and unkindness around. Pity. Well, it's been fun"

I'm sure that, like many of his other followers who read this, my initial thoughts were "what on earth has brought this on & why so suddenly?"

Thankfully, that Tweet was followed by another not long afterwards:

"Well maybe I'll see how I feel in a few days. Very low and depressed at the moment and any drop of meanness makes it so much worse. Sorry"

Now this might not mean a lot to many people & a lot of others may think "so what". But, this threat, if ultimately carried out, could have a big effect on Twitter & it's Internet standing.

One of the main selling points about Twitter & one of the reasons for it's huge success, is that anyone can follow anyone. Unlike some other social networking sites, no invitations, or friend requests are needed to follow a person. No matter who they are. Whether that be me, Stephen Fry, or even Barack Obama.
Now, i have only 300+ followers on Twitter & not the hundreds of thousands that some celebrities have. But, my Tweets are as visible as anyone elses.

This, of course, brings it's own problems. As with any Internet site, users have to invent a username to join the site. Now, this might be your real name. Or, you could make one up & be completely anonymous & herein lies the big problem with all such sites. Anonymity quite often breeds abuse & allows those who have such tendencies, to spread hatred.

I have no idea what has made Stephen Fry think about leaving Twitter. But, i would be a very surprised if that wasn't at the heart of it.
I'm sure that anyone with any history on the Internet has seen examples of such behaviour somewhere or other.

An Internet friend of mine did suggest that, if you join & participate in social networking sites, you can expect at least some sort of abuse at times, as it pretty much goes with the territory. Whilst i tend to agree with him & have suffered some of this abuse & hatred myself at times, that doesn't make it alright.

So, will anything come out of this?

I have a feeling that Twitter will be doing all that they can, behind the scenes at least, to persuade Stephen fry to stay on Twitter. After all, in the UK anyway, he has been a huge champion of the site & has created a lot of free publicity for Twitter, throughout his time there.

Maybe this will also create a debate about anonymity on the Internet & the issues that are raised by it? In some ways i hope that it does. It is a debate that is long overdue.
But.... we need to be very careful.
Not everybody, including myself, is happy for the whole world to know my true identity & for very good reasons too.
Our Internet anonynmity allows us to say certain things & give certain opinions that we might not be able to give, if we were forced to divulge our real names.
I totally accept that abuse & hatred, under the cloak of that anonymity, should be rooted out & stopped. But, who is to say what is abuse & what is hatred? We all have varying opinions on that, i'm sure.
After all, all social networking sites, including Twitter, have a facility for you to block anyone you wish to & to stop them following you. So, is that the answer?

As with all situations like this. Often more questions are rasied, than answered.

Personally, i hope that Stephen Fry stays on Twitter, as i enjoy his thoughts & humour.
I have a feeling that the owners of Twitter will be hoping the same thing.

Thursday 29 October 2009

Halloween - Yes. or No?

In recent years in the UK, Halloween has become big business, literally.

Although i remember "celebrating" Halloween as a child. What passes for Halloween in the UK these days, doesn't really bear much resemblance to the Halloween of my youth. But, then again, which of the traditional festivals & celebrations do?
As with most of these festivals that have their roots in ancient rituals & celebrations. What we see now is an amalgamation of different elements of several of these festivals. Christmas in another good example of this.

What bothers me the most about the Halloween of recent years, is the rise of the American influence on the way the UK "celebrates" it. Until a few years ago, very few British children would go around Trick Or Treating. Now it seems that they all do it & increasingly so every year.
I suspect that this is partly due to the spate of American Halloween horror movies & TV shows which are now shown in the UK. This has created interest in the way that the USA celebrates October 31st.

Now, i have absolutely no problem with the way that Halloween is celebrated in the USA. They seem to have turned it into an artform. I was lucky enough to be in rural Kentucky & suburban Chicago during the run up to their 2008 festivities & the house decorations were amazing. They really get into the spirit of it & it seems to be very well arranged & organised. For example, i saw whole houses decorated in huge cobwebs!

What i do increasingly object to though, is the creeping commercialisation of Halloween in the UK & the American influence in how we celebrate it. Whilst i fully realise that a lot of it is done for purely commercial reasons, i do object to seeing whole supermarket aisles devoted to costumes etc. Another thing i've noticed is the way that the emphasis in the UK seems to have shifted from the witches & broomsticks of my youth, to more of a "horror" theme.
Is that just me?

I guess that this is just me being slightly old fashioned & harking back to how things used to be done when i was a lot younger? But, things did seem to be so much simpler then. With more emphasis on fun & less on spending loads of money. There is also that feeling now of seemingly having to celebrate these festivals, or feeling left out. Especially for the children.
Personally, i don't think that's a good thing.

So, if you're going to celebrate Halloween this Saturday, have fun. But, don't be surprised if we don't all want to get into the spirit of All Hallows Eve.


Monday 26 October 2009

U2 + YT = ?

Well, i've just finished watching the video of U2's gig in Pasadena, Los Angeles last night. Which was streamed live across the world, via the YouTube video sharing website. All 2 hours & 20 minutes of it.

Here is the link:

So, what was it like?

Well, watching a "live"event several hours it originally happened, doesn't have quite the same effect does it? But, that's the trouble with International times zones i suppose? Whilst half the world is asleep. The other half is rocking.

As for the gig itself. Well, i didn't think it was an especially good one (i wonder if U2 would agree with me?). For me, it took at least an hour for the band to really get into their stride. Once they did though, i thought the second half of the show was actually very good.

I was lucky enough to see U2, in London, during this 360 tour & have been a big fan of the band since their very first album, way back in 1980. So, i was interested to see what, if any, differences there might be to that show.
The first thing i noticed was the sound. What an echo there was in that stadium! That did get a little better. But, it was still noticable throughout.
The stage set & the lighting though did look as impressive as i remembered it. Especially during the second half of the set.

Having said all of that. I certainly don't want to criticise too much, as i think that this was a very innovative move by both U2 & YouTube. I can't think of many, if any, other bands who would be brave enough to allow a prestige gig like that be streamed live across the Internet & the world.

U2 have always been a forward thinking band. Both with their music & also their ground breaking tours. This was just another great example of that.

I believe that this live streaming was a first for both U2 & YouTube. They should both be congratulated for trying something new. Let's hope there are many more shows like this to come.

Space age stage. Space age technology. Space age idea.
It's the future you know.

Sunday 25 October 2009

Drawing A Blank.

A week ago i posted a blog all about my quest for film footage of bands playing on Hastings Pier:

"HastingsPier & The BBC"

Since then, i've contacted several people in my search for live footage. Including those people suggested to me, gig promoters & even somebody who is researching a book about the live music scene here in Hastings.
So far i've drawn a complete blank. I've even had no luck with photo's, or old gig posters. I'm still hopeful that some film etc will turn up & i still have a few "irons in the fire". So, here's hoping...

But, this got me thinking about whether we will ever have this kind of problem in the future? After all, these days everybody seems to have a digital camera, a video canera, or a mobile/cell phone capable of taking video, or at least photo's.

If you go to a gig these days it seems that everybody is taking photo's, or video of the event. I even did it myself when i went to see U2 at Wembley in August & i posted that footage & photo's on the Internet for all to see.

With the advent of MySpace & then YouTube, every band, whether they be an ambitious upcoming band, or whether they just want to post gig footage for their friends, are posting & sharing it on the Internet.
In years to come, you will be able to do a Google search, or the equivalent & find footage from even the most obscure bands & from every venue you care to search for.

I just wish this option was available for me now. To see footage of Jimi Hendrix & all those other great bands playing on Hastings Pier would bring a huge smile to my face.

Just think what a huge treasure trove of digital memories we are leaving for future generations.
Nothing is lost.
This, of course, opens up a whole different debate. But, that's a topic for another blog, or vlog.

Keep on filming guys & gals.

Saturday 24 October 2009

Race For The Poppy.

It's that time of year again. Well, here in the UK anyway.
The annual race to be the first person to wear a poppy is now well underway.
Now, don't get me wrong, i always buy at least one poppy myself & fully support the cause.

The Royal British Legion do a wonderful job & those have that have given & are still giving their lives for this country need & fully deserve to be remembered.
But, what i do have a bit of a problem with though, is the apparent obligation to wear a poppy by all politicians, TV presenters & basically anyone in the public eye & the race to do so. I often wonder if there is some kind of instruction sent out to those i mentioned that they must wear a poppy.

Maybe i'm just a little cynical? But, this, apparent, annual race to wear a poppy before anyone else, or because they feel they have to, does a great disservice to the original reason for wearing one in the first place.

The slogan of the annual poppy appeal used to be "wear your poppy with pride". That's exactly how it should be. Wear your poppy with pride & because you want to, not because of obligation.

We will remember them.

Friday 23 October 2009


“If we don’t believe in freedom of expression for those we despise. We don’t believe in it at all”

Unless you’re not British, or have been living under a rock for the past few days, you can’t have escaped the impassioned debate that has been going on regarding the appearance of the leader of the British National Party, Nick Griffin, on the BBC’s “Question Time” programme.
Just about anybody with an opinion on this has been wheeled out to express it.
So, why should i be any different?

As you can see by the quote that I opened this blog with, which is from Noam Chomsky by the way, i, somewhat reluctantly, believe that it was right for Nick Griffin to be asked to appear on the BBC's Question Time.

I’ll state straight away though, that I find the views of the BNP to be, at best, misinformed & misguided & at worst, to be basically Fascist in nature. I abhor their attempts to stir up ethnic tension & racial hatred in Britain. They certainly don’t do so in my name.

But, as the quote suggests, just because you don’t agree with the views of the BNP, or their methods, doesn’t mean that they should not be heard. After all, the reason that Nick Griffin was invited onto Question Time in the first place, is because he is a democratically elected member of the European Parliament.
Therefore, he is entitled to air his views in public & who are the BBC, or anyone else for that matter, to deny him that right?
One of the great things about living in a democracy is the right to freedom of speech. If that is stopped, where does it end? You cannot pick & choose who has the right to freedom of speech, however unpalatable that may feel. Especially if they are an elected politician.

The people who should be blamed for this, are the people who voted for Nick Griffin & his BNP party in those elections. I suspect that many of those votes were cast as some kind of protest vote against all the other political parties.
I wonder what those people are thinking now & whether they will be voting BNP next time around?
Remember, be careful who you vote for, they might just get in.

I’ll admit that i didn’t watch Question Time myself. But, having heard the news & read the quotes, it appears that Mr Griffin didn’t exactly shine on the programme. Which, to me at least, is a big relief.
One of the good reasons for inviting him, or any other politician, onto a programme like Question Time, is to try & force them to say what they really think, to put them on the spot & to expose their shortcomings.

I’ll end this post by mentioning one of Nick Griffin’s quotes, which was about the “indigenous” people of Britain. Presumably Nick Griffin is one of those people who feel that only “true” British people should be allowed to live in the UK?
I find this very amusing, as it reminds me of my recent blog post “You’re not from around here are you?” which talked about exactly that point.
I wonder if Mr Griffin would subject himself to a DNA test? So that we can all see exactly where his ancestors come from.

Now, that would be worth televising.

Thursday 22 October 2009

Just Talking.

Recently, i've started listening to Podcasts. Either via my computer, or on my iPod, or iPhone. Why it's taken me so long to get to this point, i really have no idea.
But, anyway...

One of my favourite discoveries so far, is a podcast from a UK music magazine called "The Word". What this consists of is essentially three of the journalists sitting around a table & talking about music, or some other related topics. Now, to a lot of people this may seem like a recipe for disaster. But, i think it's absolutely brilliant & such a simple concept too.
I realise that the whole concept of the podcast is that it's audio only. Although i do understand you can get video podcasts as well. I've not tried them yet though & i'm not sure that i will either.

The audio podcast, although a product of the MP3 revolution, is in some ways a bit of a throwback to a bygone era. It harks back to the days when radio ruled the entertainment world. These days with TV, the Internet etc, so much of our entertainment is visual. This, naturally, changes the way that a program is delivered.

In days gone by, i can remember watching TV shows starring people like Peter Cook with Dudley Moore & Mel Smith with Griff Rhys Jones, who were basically just talking & often talking what appeared to be complete rubbish as well. I realise that both of these duo's were comedians & therefore a lot of what they were saying was scripted & acted out as well. Although you were never quite sure how much was ad-libbed & improvised.
The point being that this was very entertaining & for a great many people too. I'm not sure if anyone does anything like this anymore, on TV at least. These days we seem to need & expect as many bells & whistles as we can lay our hands on to make a much more visual experience. This, supposedly, is what the public demand.
But is it?

What i've found by listening to "The Word" podcast is that listening to people just talking, is really very enteratining. Especially when those people are knowledgeable & passionate about their chosen subject. There is no way that they can resort to visual stimuli to boost the entertainment quota. They have to rely on their voices, opinions, knowledge & the stories that they tell to do the entertaining.
What a novel idea eh?

It suddenly struck me earlier, whilst thinking about this topic. That maybe this is the reason that i like to watch & listen to vloggers on YouTube & elsewhere. As opposed to most of the other content on the site? It's just one person talking.

Maybe the audio podcast & the vlog are taking us back & reminding us all about the art of conversation, which so many people think is now a dead art form. It may be a one way conversation. But, the listener is quite probably participating in this "conversation" by laughing along, nodding their head. or talking back.
The art of conversation may well be very much alive & well. It's just found a new medium.

So, maybe going backwards is the new going forwards?

Just thinking.

Sunday 18 October 2009

Hastings Pier & the BBC

Yesterday i attended a protest march to Save Hastings Pier.

The pier in Hastings has been in a state of neglect for a few years now. This is partly due to absentee owners. Because of this, approx 3 years ago the pier was closed, with immediate effect, due to its unstable state. It has been closed to vistors ever since.
It's in such a bad state of repair that there are notices posted advising people not to walk under it!

Hastings Pier was designed by Eugenius Birch. a famous Victorian pier builder & opened in 1872. He also designed the West Pier at Brighton, also in East Sussex. Ironically, the West Pier has also fallen into disrepair. It has since suffered a bad fire & is now in two parts & derelict.

Whilst at the protest march, i got talking to Natalie Graham a reporter for the BBC. You may have seen her on BBC South East Today. She was there to report on the march.

I asked her whether they were going to report anything about the musical history of Hastings Pier & all the great acts that have played there. Throughout the 1960's, '70's, 80's & even the 90's Hastings Pier played host to many great bands. These include Jimi Hendrix, Pink Floyd (with Syd Barrett), Genesis, Rolling Stones, The Who, Sex Pistols etc etc. You name a band, especially a British band & there's a pretty good chance that they played there.
I just happened to be wearing a t.shirt commemorating Jimi Hendrix's gig on the pier in October 1967 at the time.

She said that they didn't have time to put that side of the story into a brief news item. But, they would be very interested in doing a proper report on the pier's musical history. This need not be confined to just the rock music angle. But, also the raves that were held in the 80's & anything else musical for that matter.
Personally, i'd like any report to concentrate on the rock music angle. But, that is not set in stone.

So, this is where you come in.
I have done some research into the musical history of the pier in the past. But, as Natalie rightly pointed out. Just reeling off the names of the acts who have played there would not work very well on TV.

What we need is film footage, or photo's of bands/acts playing on Hastings Pier.
Do you have any? Or, do you know anyone who has?

If you do, please get in touch with me.
You can email me at

I'd love to get this story broadcast, as there is a very rich musical history to Hastings Pier & it would be great to see that recoginsed. It's all part of the heritage of Hastings Pier after all.
Whether the pier itself is saved & i hope it is. This is an aspect that should not be overlooked.
I hope you all agree.

So, please spread the word & let's see if we can get the rock n roll history of Hastings Pier onto the BBC. Thanks.

By the way. here's a link to a video i made for YouTube of the Save Hastings Pier protest march:

Friday 16 October 2009

This Blogging Lark

When i first started writing blogs back in May (?), i said then that i had no idea where this might lead & how often i might post.
Well, it has been a bit of a hit & miss affair. But, i'm now really starting to get into writing these blogs. I find that they compliment the videos i make at YouTube & give me yet another avenue for my thoughts. That was always the intention. But, as i said, you're never sure how these things will work out are you?

Recently, i've been posting one blog a day & it's becoming a bit of a habit.
If you've read any of the blog posts i've put up this week, you may have noticed that they are not exactly short! Now anyone who has seen my YouTube videos will know that i do have a bit of a reputation for making long videos & for talking at length. So, that will come as no surprise to them.
Also, the blogs i have posted recently could have been a lot longer & i've found myself having to edit myself, or stopping myself writing. I've also surprised myself with the amount that i've been able to write about these topics. A bit like my talking, when i start i find it hard to stop!

But, being new to this, i've been wondering what the "norm" is for the length of a blog post & whether that really matters? After all, this is supposed to be a personal way of expressing yourself. So, why should you have to edit yourself.

I'm sure that there is some kind of blogging etiquette that i'm not currently aware of. Maybe i should check? Not that i wish to be bound by what others tell me. Except for the rules of common decency, of course.
Another question is how often do people normally post? Is more than one post a day considered too much? And, once again, does it really matter?

So, do i let my thoughts & fingers run riot, or do i plan the blogs a little more & keep myself in check?
I guess that in the end i'll just treat every post as it comes & see where that takes me?

Thursday 15 October 2009

Blog Action Day 2009: Climate Change

Written as part of the online blogging action day.
Visit for more details.

One of the aspects of climate change that affects us all, even those who don't believe that climate change is real, is the issue of power & the future generating of power.
We all use power, in one form or another & we are using more all the time. Even though we are switching to low energy light bulbs, or turning down that heating thermostat a nottch, or two. The consumption of power, across the world, is growing. This situation will only get worse as the countries of the so called Third World become more prosperous. Just look at China, which is currently still opening a new coal fired power station every week!

Whilst this may make you feel that whatever we do in the West is futile, it isn't. If you make the effort to fit those low enerfy light bulbs, or turn down the heating, you will actually save yourself some money. What better incentive is there than that?

Having said that, we do need to find new ways of producing our power & for a number of reasons.
- Our commitments to reduce CO2 emmisions in future years.
- The fact that, for a lot of us, our reserves of oil & gas are running out.
- To prevent us being held to ransom by other countries, whose resources we want.
- Our current power stations are nearing the end of their natural lives.
And i'm sure you can think of your own.

So, where will all this power come from? There are obviously a number of options.

- We can expand & replace our nuclear power stations.
This, as we know, has never been a very popular way of generating power. I lived through both the Three Mile Island & Chernobyl incidents & was always very wary of nuclear power. Now, i'm not so sure. The technology has come a long way & those incidents might have actually done us some good & taught us some very valuable lessons.
Although i'm still a little sceptical, i'm coming round to the nuclear power option.

- We can build new coal burning power stations.
We keep being promised a new method of burning coal & one that is more environmentally friendly. I admit, i'm very sceptical about this option.

- Then there are the renewable energy sources. Which are surely the best way to go, if possible.
So far, in the UK at least, nearly all our resources for renewable energy have been poured into wind turbines. Whilst this is a good option, there are problems with wind power, in my opinion.
Although i like the look of the turbines, so many others find them unsightly. especially if they are living next to them? By their very nature they have to be built in prominent places, to catch the wind, which only increases this problem.
They also need the wind to blow...

Other renewable options are often talked about, like wave power etc. But, the one option which is so often overlooked is solar power. Why is this?
I am constantly amazed that solar power is hardly given the time of day when it comes to discussing our future options. Is their some kind of bias against it? And if so, why?
After all, unlike wind power, we don't need the sun to shine to generate power. Daylight will do.
I know that solar power is used more widely in other countries. but, even there, i don't think it's used as much as it could be. I'm happy to be corrected by the way.
What i'd like to see, as a start, is for the UK Government to ensure that all new houses are built with at least an element of solar power generation within them. This would drive down the cost of the technology & maybe even start up a thriving new business in the process & we could certainly do with that at the moment!
Then we can start on older properties. They could also give tax breaks to businesses to introduce solar power into their company buildings.

Yes, i know that some parts of the country/world have less daylight hours than others. But, here is where a mixture of technolgies can be used.

This is not a problem that is going to go away either. But, it is something that the UK Government has shied away from in recent years. Something needs to be done & it needs to be done now.

So, to paraphrase an old anti-nuclear slogan.
Solar power, yes please.

Wednesday 14 October 2009

You're Not From Around Here Are You?

Today is the 943rd anniversary of one of the most famous dates in history. Well British history anyway.
On 14th October 1066, approx 6 miles from where i'm sitting typing this blog, the invading Norman army of William (the Conqueror) defeated the Saxon army commanded by King Harold.
It is on days like this when you realise the true scale of history. Especially when it is so close at hand.

Now the point of this blog is not to give a history lesson. But, to point out another aspect of this battle. Who were the people involved in this pivotal battle, the last time that the British Isles were invaded & where did they come from?
Most of us are probably aware that the Normans came from Northern France. But, the name Norman is actually a corruption of North Men, meaning men from the north. Vikings in other words.
The Saxons, as the name suggests, originated from Saxony in Germany.
So the Battle Of Hastings was actually between the Germans, the French & some Scandinavians. I'm sure there were some other nationalities thrown in there as well to complete the mix. Maybe even some natives of Britain. But, the questions is, "what is a native Britain, or Briton". I'm not sure that anyone really knows.

Recently i've had a number of conversations, often very one sided & often with older people, who spend their whole time moaning & complaining about immigration & how this country is being ruined by the "seemingly constant flow of immigrants into our country".
I will state here, as i've said to these people, that immigration needs to have some controls. That is only sensible. No country can afford to open its borders & allow just anyone to come in.
But, i've come to realise that, ultimately, we're actually all immigrants.

I watched a TV program over here in the UK a couple of years ago, which set out to, more or less, prove this point.
They asked a selection of volunteers to take part in a DNA test. The collected DNA was then analysed & it was then calculated from which parts of the world the persons ancestors originated from. This was done on a percentage basis. So, for example, you might be 40% African, 20% Asian & 30% North European etc.
All of the people asked thought that to be classed as truly British you needed to have ancestors in Britain going back at least 5 to 10 (?) generations. They were then asked how many generations they thought that their ancestors went back. They all replied that they would conform to their own "British" classification. One person even thought they they were descended from Saxon stock, from the time of King Harold.
Needless to say, they were all very much mistaken. Most of the people originated from Eastern Europe, or Asia &, if memory serves me correctly, none of them conformed to their own "British" classification.

While this was just a TV program & a limited experiment. It just goes to show that, as i said earlier, we are all immigrants.

Britain has been invaded on several occasions during its history & has also accepted waves of immigrants from around the world at other times. All of these people have contributed to the cultural & racial melting pot that is modern day Britain.
Britain is a nation of immigrants.
And Britain is by no means the exception. Many, if not most other countries, have the same history of immigration.

It would do us good to remember that sometimes.

Tuesday 13 October 2009

No Hiding Place

Today, in Britain, we had another one of those reminders that the the world & the nature of news has changed forever.
Although i can't pretend to know the full story, this is a basic synopsis of the story.

A Member of Parliament wanted to ask a question in the House of Commons. The question concerned the oil traders Trafigura and it's involvement with toxic waste in the Ivory Coast & a report about this involvement.
As is normal in these matters a national newspaper, The Guardian, planned to report this. But, then a law firm, Carter-Ruck, got an injunction preventing The Guardian from reporting the question. It was also prevented from naming the MP asking the question, what the question was & why the injunction had been granted in the first place.

This in itself seems to be against everything that Parliament stands for & against the freedom of speech. Usually procedings in Parliament are reported without any problems.

What, of course, Trafigura & Carter-Ruck had forgotten about & not bargained for, was the power of the Internet & especially the power of Twitter.

Word of what had happened soon got out & exploded onto Twitter. Both Trafigura & Carter-Ruck became top trending topics on Twitter & links & Tweets were flying around all over the Internet. I can vouch for this, as when i checked my Twitter feed first thing this morning, it was awash with Tweets about this subject. I wondered what was going on &, of course, followed some of the links. This is exactly what everyone else was doing. Especially as some of the Tweets were coming from some very popular Twitter users, like Stephen Fry.

If you didn't know about this issue before, you certainly knew about it after checking Twitter!
This had the complete opposite effect than what the lawyers & Trafigura wanted & expected. In fact, by suppressing the original story, they managed to create a completely new one.

Thankfully by early afternoon, the lawyers realised that the battle had been lost & the injunction was lifted. The story was then able to be reported quite legally. So, free specch won out in the end & hopefully, a big lesson has been learned by a lot of people.

In these days of world wide Internet access & social networking, nothing stays hidden for very long. In fact, the more you try to suppress a story, or incident, the more likely it is to explode in a way that could never have been imagined, even a few years ago.
Banning a story has the same effect as trying to ban a movie, or a piece of music. It just creates interest & provokes anger & angry people tell other people etc etc.

We have seen the power of Twitter, Facebook & social networking in general, when they have been the first to report news stories like the Hudson River plane crash & the death of Michael Jackson. We have also seen their effect when it came to reporting what was happening following the Iranian election.

The world has changed & maybe the power is starting to shift? Thankfully, in some ways anyway, the people in power seem to be the last to realise this.
Maybe they have been taught a valuable lesson today & one which they will need to learn from.

Power to the people?

Friday 9 October 2009

Barack Obama & the Nobel Peace Prize.

Ok, so i'm British & therefore some may say that i have no right to talk on this topic, or that i'm biased. But.... WTF?!
I can't see how it's possible for somebody to win the Nobel Peace Prize when they haven't really done anything yet. Yes, i agree & can see that Barack Obama is genuine in his aim to bring peace to troubled parts of the world. But, he hasn't done that yet. In fact he's barely touched the surface on this subject during his 11 months in office.
So far i've seen no real progress in bringing peace to the Middle East, or Afghanistan, have you? If anything, the problems in the Middle East have grown worse & the Israelis & Palestinians are further apart now than they were in November 2008.
You can't award a prize of this stature & standing on the promise of things to come. That just devalues what is, usually, a well respected prize. Yes, there have been some strange awards in the past & there will always be argumaents about the deserving nature of the recipients. But, for me at least, on this occasion the awarding committee have made a big mistake.
I truly hope that Barack Obama will one day be worthy of winning the Nobel Peace Prize. But, for me, that time is not now. Here's hoping that day will come.

Sunday 4 October 2009


Why is it that whenever a website, or application decides to "upgrade" their product, they usually manage to end up making a mess of things? It never ceases to amaze me how often this type of thing happens.
You would have thought that any site would fully test these so called "upgrades" thoroughly before unleashing them onto an often, unsuspecting, public.
I can think of numerous examples when this has happened to me in recent months. DailyBooth, Facebook & YouTube all spring to mind when i think of recent failed upgrades. DailyBooth has got so slow & unrealiable that i hardly ever bother using it anymore. I doubt that this is the kind of reaction they were looking for when they planned their "upgrade". But, it's a common effect of their errors. I am by no means the only person who is having these problems & complaining about them. I wonder how many others have voted with their mouse & gone over to another service?
Although i've mentioned DailyBooth as an example. Surely the king, queen & complete royal family of botched "upgrades" has to be YouTube. They win hands down.
Without fail, when they perform an "upgrade" the service afterwards is always worse. Recently this has meant that viewers are not seeing the videos of people they subscribe to. Some subscriptions seem to disappear completely, often without the viewer realising until some time afterwards & now the comment system seems to be broken, once again.
YouTube fail to realise, or fail to care, that the comment system is one of the best things about the site & is one of the features that got the site where it is now. It provides interaction amongst it's users & brings people back to the site, day after day. All of those repeated hits are more potential ad revenue for YouTube & by all accounts they could certainly do with the money!
Internet sites, especially Social Networking sites, really need to wake up & realise that without us, the users, they are dead in the water. If you were a supermarket, or somebody trying to sell a product would you treat people in the same way? I doubt it, because you know that they would just go elsewhere & tell all of their friends to do so as well.
Maybe this is one of the problems here? Is there really a realistic alternative to a site like YouTube, Facebook etc? Not really & not unless you want to go to a "lesser" site & start all over again & how many of us would really want to do that?
So, i guess our only hope is that these sites do actually wake up & realise what they are doing & the frustrations that this causes their users & customers.
You never know, one day somebody may come up with a viable alternative.