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26 June 2008

Interesting site watch tool

Follow the link and see in real time what people are doing on this site.

Internet top level domain for Scotland

Following the news today that Internet overhaul wins approval, perhaps now is the time to move ahead with a campaign for a top level domain for Scotland.

11 June 2008

BBC's Scottish reports criticised

A BBC news review shows the corporation has been failing to satisfactorily report Scottish issues, according to the Scottish Broadcasting Commission.

A report by the BBC Trust said the BBC was failing to meet its core purpose of helping inform democracy.

Research found that 45% of people in Scotland believed BBC news reports were often not relevant to where they lived.

How is this news? I told you the same info in 1996 and again in 2000

Dear BBC, please pay attention.

Here's the article from 2000, too good to not republish here!

Is a bolt from the blue our only hope?
By Colin Campbell in the January 2000 "Scots Independent"

Just suppose that a millennium meteorite landed on the Greenwich dome and caused and electronic storm so powerful that London, as a centre of communications, was completely paralysed.

And just suppose that the BBC decided it was best to move lock, stock and barrel to Scotland to reorganise its operations under a new Scottish based regime. What would our UK audiences make of having their schedules turned on their heads?

In Scotland, there would be a massive increase in all forms of broadcasting activity and connected industries; and Scottish viewers and listeners would be spoilt for choice with four or five indigenous television and radio stations with which to choose their fare.

In England, the story would be very different. Audiences there would have to get accustomed to merely nominal English output; and to news, analysis and current affairs programmes, being dubbed with the tag "BBC England" when broadcast south of the border. But the real draught would be felt on the radio scene. England's "home service" - Radio Four, would be lost to Scotland - together with their own light, classical and pop channels. In their place they would have one single "national regional" Radio England (probably produced from Manchester when London was disabled). Worse is to come.

Radio England would be set to appeal to the lowest common denominator of the cultural spread. Its morning flagship would be hosted by a comedian and interspersed with reports of England's national weather and national traffic problems. There would be lengthy sports bulletins every half-hour and sport would completely take over the station at week-ends under the slogan "We are the only people who dare to broadcast sport all day long up to the limit that the law allows". The evenings would be dominated by an eclectic mix of pop, rock, funk and jazz music with a strong North American influence. Those listeners not courageous to have switched to the other five Scottish based channels would be greeted with such programmes as the "English Connection" and on Saturday nights "Anglo Saxon connections" with musical contributions from equatorial Africa, the Red Army choir and the Amazon basin. On Sundays they will be spared any religious observance. At every pause between programmes there will be banal and repetitive programme trailers. Their impact will be enhanced by an in house sense of humour redolent of a Primary One pantomime skit. Meantime, back on the tellies, sports reporting will carry detailed Scottish results first followed by a brief "round up" of English ones. Whole selections may be altered to cover shinty cup finals.

The English would soon learn that to complain, with any persistence, to the BBC about any of the contents of their national regional TV or Radio England would result in their being placed on a black list of those deemed unworthy of further communication.

There would be one concession for English viewers. A select panel, chosen by the broadcasters themselves would form the "Broadcasting Council for England". This would at least lend the appearance of some form of consultation with the public over what they require; but, of course, it would have no executive remit - and it would be subject to being over-ruled in such fundamental areas as news provision and political coverage.

It was the English who put up the stiffest fight against Margaret Thatcher's fatal poll tax, although Scotland had tholed it for a full year first. Perhaps if our southern neighbours were to be given a dose of Scotland's broadcasting regime, they might show us how best to dispose of that too. But do we really have to wait for a bolt from the blue to obtain broadcasting in Scotland fit for embarking on the third millennium?

[article ends]

(You missed off a few points - CC)

1. England would be told about going back to work on January 3, the Scottish return to work even though England goes back a day early. On the Scottish August holiday, England would receive children's programmes even though their children are not on holiday. During the summer, the schedules would observe the Scottish summer holiday and articles about "back to school" would be broadcast before English schools have even broken up.

2. Any article about England, particularly ones about high technology would be prefixed with a tired old cliché, an attempt at a joke and some faint Anglo Saxon tune drifting through the mist with battle cries in the background before opening the article with "You wouldn't think that this remote part of England could be hi-tech, but ..."

3. Any article about London would be prefixed with "And now from our England correspondent down in London, what's the weather like down there".

4. In celebration of England's main cultural icons a combined national event would be instigated on St George's day (also the day Shakespeare was born on and died on). To reflect the cultural significance which England has had worldwide, this event will be covered worldwide with English descendants around the globe joining in the fun. This event would be broadcast from Edinburgh with particular emphasis on a new building by the shore in Leith. The main events would of course all take place in Edinburgh as it is the capital (naturally enough). We would go "around the regions" to see how English people in Scotland were commemorating this event and during this regional interlude would receive token input from London, Manchester, Birmingham and in the bard's birthplace there would be traditional morris dancing to anglo-saxon instruments in a small back room.

10 June 2008

PRINCE2 Practitioner

I am a certified PRINCE2 Practitioner if anyone knows of any current jobs (pref contracts) on the go just now in the UK.

Alternatively, if you want commission for referring me, you can do so via Zubka

See also the PRINCE2 group on LinkedIn.


08 June 2008

Government CIO demands Green best practice

Government CIO, John Suffolk, demands Green best practice for IT.

That being the case, why is it that all the government jobs I go for, not one has suggested that the interview is held via webcam (which I could do from my house) or even via hi-def video link (which you think I ought to be able to do from a government office in Edinburgh for an interview in London.

Come to think of it, why have none of the companies I've interviewed for suggested this either? OK to be a trendy dot com Web2.0 company using people on the Internet from all over the world to make your company a success, but still stuck in the mindset that employees all need to be in the same room?

Is it acceptable to have a day trip in a plane to physically attend an interview when the technology is adequate to see what I look like?

Besides the environmental impact, it would save me approx £200 in costs. I'm sure if the government were paying these costs for a permanent position, the tax payer would save in terms of reduced government costs and the environment would also benefit.

So why does noone seem to want to offer video interviews? Surely this is an easy first step to Green IT as the technology has already been around for years.


02 June 2008

The crowdsourcing revolution, users get paid?

In a recent evaluation of some social networking sites, we find that many sites are valued in the $20-$25 per user range for a one off purchase.

On that basis, and the traffic from this site based on unique users, that's me back to being a dot com (dollar) millionaire again then. However, finding a buyer is another matter.

Seriously though, I am rather surprised at the economic model at work here.

1. Clever programmers write some website software. If you're in the UK you're unlikely to get stock options for this.

2. Said website goes onto become hugely successful, clever programmers don't usually get to become millionaires based on this (bebo being one of the few UK exceptions).

3. Said website is then based on active users, who contribute content. This content then drives further user activity fostering a community some of which has commercial value in the form of advertising. Millions of users contributing content = crowdsourcing. Users build up the site "for free" rather than the pre Web 2.0 days of a company having to pay a 3rd party to do it.

We've moved from the Web1.0 days when you needed to pay content editors to have good content on your site ( to Web2.0 when with a decent site site owners get this content for free. So what's next? I would suggest the next economic revolution on the net is that rather than taking the users for a free ride, they should be paid back in shares based on a proportion of the advertising revenue that their content generates. Then when the company is sold, they get cash for those shares and a reward for having built the site up rather than nothing in the way of a financial thank-you for making the site a success.

There's no such thing as a free lunch and personally I am rather surprised at the hundreds of hours people spend on social networking sites, building up value in those sites for a tiny number of shareholders who walk away with 9 figure payouts and the users who created that wealth getting nothing in return.

Crowdsourcing isn't that new, Adam Smith wrote in 1776 in the founding work of economics the wealth of nations that "the division of labour is the source of economic growth". So what about a fair day's wage for a fair day's work in 2008 then? Profit sharing plans for employees are nothing new in the US although still something of a novelty in the UK, is it such a stretch to extend this concept of profit sharing out to crowdsourced content creators?

People aren't slaves. They shouldn't expect to work for nothing. If the contributors to these sites simply downed tools and said "no more contributions until I get paid for them", the Internet would perhaps turn into a different place with more money being distributed out to the original content creators and less of it being sucked into the middle and the search engines that serve up advertising.

Who do you think is more worthy of being paid?

Is this the new economy?

Craig (posting to his own site).

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