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The Scam Potential of Presence Messages

David Weinberger as ever hits nail upon head with dose of humor, but his point to me opens the gates to all sorts of thoughts, some of them Web 2.0ish: Often, on the back of a ‘Do Not Disturb’ sign is a ‘Make Up My Room Now’ message of some sort. But, now matter how they phrase it, isn’t it the same as an “I’m Out, So This Would Be a Good to Rob Me, Especially If You Are Squeamish about Violence” sign? My question is this: When will Web 2.0 presence tools start to create the same informational hazard? Whether it’s twitter, saying you’veContinue readingThe Scam Potential of Presence Messages

Demise of Contemplative Space

Demise of Contemplative Space Originally uploaded by Loose Wire. Now there are TVs on buses, in lifts, in waiting rooms, is there any room left for contemplation? In tandem with my earlier musings about the demise of downtime, we’re seeing those places that once, by accident or design, encouraged pondering, mulling, whatever you want to call, shrink in number. In this case, it was a Singapore bus where passengers are assaulted by strategically placed screens and ubiquitous noise (playing a three minute opera based on the word ‘miaow’) . I used to love sitting on a bus and looking at the world outside, generally speakingContinue readingDemise of Contemplative Space

Bald-headed Britney and the Lost Art of Linking

I think we’ve missed a big trick with links. You know, those underlined words on a web page that take us somewhere else. They’ve been around a while now, so you’d think we’d have explored them a bit, built a little etiquette around them, what to do, what not to do when you link to something else. After all, by turning a word, an image or a button into a link you’re building a door into another world, sort of. Links are great, it’s just we don’t know how to use them. When we come across a link like this, we’re automatically thrown into confusion:Continue readingBald-headed Britney and the Lost Art of Linking

Crying Out for Clarity

Interesting post and thread at Signal vs Noise on the overuse of buzzwords, particularly on job applications. One thing caught my eye, though: the assumption that shorter, briefer is better. One commenter wrote: “I’ve always noticed that the shortest emails come from those with the most power in the organization.” That’s probably because they’re using a BlackBerry. Shorter isn’t necessarily better, although it might be. Clarity is better. Not always the same thing. (Having just read through a dozen award applications I see a crying need for clarity.) Anyway some horrible buzzwords that crop up in the comments or my head: anything with 2.0 inContinue readingCrying Out for Clarity

Revisiting the Kryptonite Affair

Remember the Kryptonite Affair? It was back in September 2004 when a company that sold bicycle locks crashed into the power of forums and blogs and came away battered and bleeding when it failed to respond in Internet time to complaints that some of its bicycle locks could be opened with a Bic pen. Here was my take at the time (well, not exactly at the time; I was only a couple of months late). Kryptonite became a poster boy of how not to handle adverse PR when it comes via the Internet. (A Google search for BIC Kryptonite throws up more than 51,000 hits.) But nowContinue readingRevisiting the Kryptonite Affair

It’s Not Always About Online

Software developers used to write programs that looked and worked great on their big-monitored, big-powered, big-hard drived computers, forgetting that most of us have small screens, weak computers and no disk space. Now, with Web 2.0, they’re writing programs that assume we’re always online. Well, we’re not. Cameron Reilly of The Podcast Network, trying to retrieve his flight booking in a hurry, highlights the dangers of relying on something like Gmail when either you, or it, isn’t always online:   Pull up Gmail to check my booking. Gmail down. GMAIL DOWN??!??!?!?! Get a message saying “sorry, gmail is down. we’re trying to fix it. pleaseContinue readingIt’s Not Always About Online

Podcast: The Technology of Hotels

I’ve been recording pieces, usually derived from my WSJ.com and WSJ Asia Loose Wire columns, for the BBC World Service’s World Business Report for more than a year now, and they’re a lovely bunch of guys. (Here’s a link to Jonathan’s recent house move. As someone who hasn’t live in London for nearly 20 years I’m jealous.) Anyway, some listeners have requested a podcast type repeat here, and the BBC have kindly agreed to allow it, so here’s the first podcast of my BBC pieces for now: on hotels. Download Hotels.mp3 Hopefully, if I’ve done my sums right, this will appear as a podcast inContinue readingPodcast: The Technology of Hotels

The TiddlyWiki Report, Part I: Jonny LeRoy

This week’s WSJ.com/AWSJ column is about the TiddlyWiki (here, when it appears Friday), which I reckon is a wonderful tool and a quiet but major leap forward for interfaces, outliners and general coolness. I had a chance to chat with some of the folk most closely involved in TiddlyWikis, but sadly couldn’t use much of their material directly, so here is some of the stuff that didn’t fit. First off, an edited chat with Jonny LeRoy, a British tech consultant who offered his view on TiddlyWikis over IM: Loose Wire: ok, thanks… i’m doing a little piece on tiddlywikis, and was intrigued to hear howContinue readingThe TiddlyWiki Report, Part I: Jonny LeRoy

When A Food Critic Goes Bad

Forget Jayson Blair, Jack Kelley and Stephen Glass. What happens when you can’t even trust the words of a food critic? Bart Ripp, restaurant critic of the Tacoma News Tribune, has quit ”after 32 years in the newspaper business, 15 of them here as a features writer, historian, postcard savant and restaurant critic.” Now, according to Komo TV and other sites, his former bosses accuse him of taking food for free and making up at least 25 interviews. He resigned early this year and, according to Komo News, is now a sales representative for an advertising firm. What’s interesting about this, from a tech and journalism point ofContinue readingWhen A Food Critic Goes Bad

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