Right to Bear Arms

Be very afraid link to the Something Awful forum where Roland Tower has made a flame thrower from everyday parts available from a B&Q. The only thing stopping being as good as military one is that it uses too light a fuel and does not have a heavier sticky base (though a quick trip to the kitchen or returning to B&Q would do the trick).

About five minutes thinking about alternative materials and you have a dummy’s guide to hardcore weaponry.

The Shiznitz on Social Networking

Fantastic overview on the overhyped technology trend of the moment social networking. Don’t get me wrong I am a member of some of them, its just that the net is not paved with gold and there are only a finite number of opportunities. By the time you get around to organise a high-level conference about them or Wired do an eight-page spread to explore the issues it’s over.

Ged Carroll’s guide to the new-new thing:

Info-imaging: digital is the new film, but there still hasn’t been a truly easy way to manipulate and store pictures online that is as easy as a photo album, why? Also people like Fuji, Kodak etc are used to having continuing revenue from film sales, how do they adapt for the 21st century when the market for cameras that are good enough for you and I saturates in the next few years, whats the sticky app. How can business take advantage of this technological change in a risk-free, cost effective manner and still take home the benjamins

Communities for broadband: Question why was AOL so successful? Not because of its content, nor its direct marketing technique learned from the Luftwaffe. It was two things ease-of-use and communities. With broadband network providers are obsessing about content, in reality they don’t have too much of a clue they are using a fast failure model to try and find out what works. I know because I promoted a survey done at the end of 2000 by Capgemini with Ernst & Young that reached out to about 100 CEOs in telecoms and media. The survey concluded that everyone knew that broadband was needed but not the why. If we look at what has driven net adoption so far is communication and being a part of a community. Email was the killer app. The question to be answered is how can a community be enhanced and made more engaging to sell broadband services and differentate the next AOL from just another pipe-merchant. VoIP won’t do it because its a commodity product and need to be ‘open’ in order to allow it to become useful through gaining ubiquity.

I’ll leave it to David Hornik to put the hype in prospective with a summary of a Churchill Club event Social Networking Who Cares?

“Welcome blah blah blah relationship capital blah blah blah social contracts blah blah blah media businesses blah blah blah identify the rabid fans of the iPod blah blah blah utility media blah blah blah this is the future of the web blah blah blah RSS blah blah blah Spam blah blah blah killer app blah blah blah social networking is blogging dumbed down for the masses blah blah blah tribecaster blah blah blah widget blah blah blah what is the connection between social networks and blogs blah blah blah the most efficient media platform ever blah blah blah read-write, not read-only blah blah blah all software is about people blah blah blah put this stuff in context blah blah blah monetizing relationships blah blah blah a new dimension to the web blah blah blah I met my wife on Match.com blah blah blah wiki-based community blah blah blah collective action, common good … blah blah blah I’ve been monetizing my social relationships since my bar mitzvah blah blah blah blah blah it’s group voice blah blah blah social context blah blah blah the entire web is a social network blah blah blah join me in thanking tonight’s moderators blah blah blah goodnight.”

V to the A

On Saturday, I continued my sporadic tour of London’s cultural highpoints: Fabric, Smith of Smithfields, The End, Flying Records, Phonica, The Science Museum and now the Victoria & Albert Museum.

The museum is very disorientating despite the map that they provide you with on the way in. In fact the map was an offence against design to my co-explorer Steve, a design agency owner who came along. The exhibits on Japan were very interesting and made Europe look like a bunch of savages. The Victorian silverware looked crass and tasteless, the plunder of robber barons from an empire that spanned a third of the world (sort of like Kenneth Noye on a grand scale).

There were lots of activity areas and it should get a high rating for being child friendly. It was way cool and both Steve and myself took some time out for learning activities. The café wasn’t as swish as I had thought that it would be, however it is still very good. My expectations had been distorted by the ‘V&A café with museum attached’ descriptions of it in the media. (Their 1 1/2 cup pot of coffee is actually good for two cups).

In addition, they had The Other Flower Show art exhibition and Tracy Emin’s work in particular had a very dark sense of humour in it with a ouija board and knife in the centre of a children’s wendy house.

One of the things I found out was that it was Architecture Week, judging by their materials and handouts both RIBA and the Arts Council had invested heavily in it. However beyond mentions in the design press about activity in Clerkenwell to celebrate the event we had not seen any press coverage. If you were involved in Architecture Week and want to get more publicity give me a call :-))

The V&A area suffered from a dearth of fast food suppliers so Steve and myself had to decamp by foot to Leicester Square in order to support a heinous global corporation that tears down the rainforest and provides gainful employment to sociology graduates in the fast-food industry.

Viral Craic-er

Southwark Council reinvents Frogger with an anti-drug abuse message here courtesy of my colleague Lucy

Gates Courts Blogger

Bill Gates wrote to me regarding the latest thinking by Microsoft (ok so its a Microsoft marketing ploy to make me think that Chairman Bill cares even for heretics like me) and some of their partners to curb spam. The mail is interesting, however I have a few concerns:

– the industry initative lacked networking manufacturers like Nokia, Juniper or Extreme Networks

– no computing powerhouses like Sun Microsystems, Oracle, IBM, Apple

– there was no reference to non-windows PC users (Mac, Unix, Linux, Symbian smartphones, PalmOS etc)

– there is no independent experts on the panel like Phil Zimmerman

From: billgates at chairman.microsoft.com

Subject: Preserving and Enhancing the Benefits of Email – A Progress Report

Date: 28 June 2004 21:47:34 BST

To: gedcarroll at mac.com

During the past year, Microsoft has taken a number of important steps to help curb the epidemic of junk email, which is a major headache for computer users worldwide. We’ve made significant progress, including blocking more than 95 per cent of all incoming junk email – an average of 3 billion messages a day – on Hotmail. But more work remains to be done. We’re committed to finding additional ways to counter this costly nuisance.

Over the next 12 months, we will begin to introduce several additional innovative technologies and processes that should further reduce the volume of junk email reaching customers’ inboxes. Because you’ve subscribed to receive executive emails from us, I’d like to update you on what we’re doing in this area. On the Web at www.microsoft.com/execmail, I’ve posted an in-depth explanation of Microsoft’s technology vision and strategy for ending the junk email epidemic as a major problem. I hope you’ll take a few minutes to read it.

Thank you.

Bill Gates