The Lost World of Yahoo

This piece was written for a commentary on the BBC World Service Business Daily about Jerry Yang’s decision to resign as CEO. Back in the early days of the World Wide Web there was really only one name. Yahoo. You could tell it was big because it was what you’d type in your browser to …

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Society’s Measure: Its Public Seating

The measure of a society should the simplest one: how it treats its foot-borne citizens. When I lived in Hong Kong a decade ago I remember the continual battle with security guards — Toytown Police, I’d call them — in the mall where my office was. There were precious few places to sit to have …

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Measured vs Spewed: The New Reviewers

(A podcast of this can be downloaded here.) The walls of elite reviewers come tumbling down, and it’s not pretty. But is it what we want? I belatedly stumbled upon this piece in The Observer by Rachel Cooke on a new spat between editors, reviewers and blogger reviewers, and not much of it is new. …

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Catering to the Uncommitted Diner

Here’s an idea for restaurants. It’s hard for us walk-in customers to get a good sense of what the restaurant’s food is like and whether it’s worth staying. Silly, really, because the people best positioned to help on this are sitting all around us actually eating the stuff: the other customers. So why not encourage …

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Stopping Terrorists With WordStar

A glimpse into Indonesia’s high-tech war on terrorism, crime and corruption, revealed in today’s Media Indonesia Online’s story (in Bahasa Indonesia) of the president’s visit to the airport immigration office at Jakarta Airport, where embarrassed officials try to access their database of those 5,000–odd people banned from leaving or entering the country. The files are …

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Hong Kong’s Unseen Icon

Hong Kong is a very practical city — you’ve got to be, with everyone living on top of each other — but sometimes I wonder whether it’s also an overly conservative one. For example, the other day I was very impressed at how one restaurant, which only accepts cash, brings the change in anticipation of …

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Bob’s Background

Am reading Griff Rhys-Jones’ To The Baltic With Bob which is not quite as hilarious as the blurb promises, but has its moments: Bob goes along to a London art school to apply as a mature student on a computer graphics course: ‘What’s your background?’ asked the professor who interviewed him. Bob swivelled in his chair …

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