Another word for miscellaneous?

  • Just had a great week of work. Weather was glorious and I got a lot done around and outside the house. Also organised for the fireplace to be removed and replaced with something nicer and safer. It turns out our chimney is a bit defective and potentially dangerous so that needs a new lining. A horribly messy job awaits but needs must and it means I’ll need to decorate afterwards. Just hope the back gets a bit better as it’s very sore today. Too much straining this week.
  • Loving the Thunderbirds Specsavers advert.
  • GTA IV. Metacritic shows it’s the highest rated game. Ever. While reviews and scores are all pretty subjective it certainly is a must own title. The world simulation is so impressive. You can easily lose yourself in the game and forget about doing any missions. Driving around, phoning people, taxi runs, sight seeing, surfing the net etc. So much to do and it’s so enjoyable doing it. Mission have been pretty good so far although I’m only 15% into the game. Multiplayer is also starting to show some hidden depths. The free race modes are a great laug and very unpredictable. Cops n crooks is also a favourite with a lot of strategy required behind a seemingly simpe concept. This game has months of gameplay. Whenever I load it up I do a couple of missions and a little exploring – a great mix which is keeping the game very fresh.
  • Battlestar series 4 is a return to form so far. Certainly up there with series 1 & 2. Episode 3 is a highlight so far.
  • Summize is a nice way of searching for topics on Twitter. Also let’s you track tweets on topics you are interesed in – iPhone for example.
  • Scottish football – totally mismanaged. I hate the fact we still have the split in the SPL and no winter break. We also need more movement between the leagues. Having only one team drop from the SPL just isn’t enough. In fact, four leagues is too much. Two bigger leagues would be far more interesting and sustainable for Scotland. However the biggest joke has been the lack of support for Rangers in their Eufa Cup quest. Back in 2003 Cetic were given a free week before the final to help them prepare. Not so Rangers who have been forced to play two games against strong opposition the week before their final. Shame.
  • Can’t wait for the final on Wednesday night though. Changed flight so that I can get back to Glasgow from Bristol on Wednesday afternoon. I just hope there are no delays!!! Do not fail me Easyjet. Do not dare!
  • Not that it will be this year (and probably won’t be until end of next) but I’ll replace the desktop Mac and laptop Mac with…one laptop. Keeping data in sync between the two is easy with .Mac but it’s keeping software installed on both that’s a pain and to be honest the only thing I’d miss is the desktop real estate. A 24 inch screen is very nice and is far more productive than a laptop’s screen. One option to consider is a screen for the laptop but that’s way in the future. Resolution independent software and higher res screens may be a reality by the end of 2009.
  • Monotone is a photo theme for WordPress. It’s pretty simple but has nice archives and also colours each page by analysing the photo displayed on it. Very neat. I set up Crackle and Pop on and may use that to publish photo’s. Individual photo’s that is with links to Flickr sets. Time will tell – need to take mor ephoto’s first.
  • Gears of War 2 trailer. Looks very impressive. Roll on November.
  • Codemasters get the F1 licence. So yet again we’ll get an F1 game with great intro’s, great graphics but questionable handling (try the Race Driver demo to see what I mean). Maybe the 2009 rule changes will make for a better game…and a more exciting F1.

Over The Top

While death threats against bloggers aren’t to be condoned and the people who did it should be found and punished by law in the same way that I could be if I made death threats in person in the real world, the call for a Bloggers Code of Conduct is a real over reaction. Tim O’Reilly has put together a draft set of rules with friends that he hopes will be adopted by the blogging community. Blog’s are all about freedom of speech, and with freedom of speech you do get people with extreme and sometimes controversial/unpalatable views. I’m fine with that and if something I saw posted here was against what I wanted then it would be removed. However I don’t need someone else defining rules nor do I feel the need to wear a badge that reassures people I follow a certain code. I’m sure the graphics for the badges are temporary but the fact one is a sheriff’s badge just sets the wrong impression…as if the blogging world has lost control and it needs to be policed.

Hopefully this will all die down and turn into some guidelines that bloggers are free to copy to their own site if they wish. I personally don’t see the need.

*Update* – This blog has now been upgraded with the Airbag Department of Security Blog Advisory System – see bottom right of sidebar. The blogging world is now a safer place.

Flickr Disaster?

Flickr announced some changes to terms and conditions today.

1) All users must now use a Yahoo account to login to Flickr.

2) A limit in the amount of tags has been added – 75 per photo

3) The maximum amount of contacts a user can have is 3000

When I saw the hysterical headlines about Flickr today I thought some hard hitting changes had been implemented. It even made the BBC tech news pages. However dig a little deeper and it’s some changes blown well out of proportion.

1) Yahoo integration with Flickr started a long time ago. I eventually merged my Flickr and Yahoo accounts last year with no problem. The Flickr page stills looks the same and I don’t need to do the ‘Yahoo dance’ when logging in. Is Yahoo a big horrible company – aren’t they all? If I had an issue with privacy at all I’d probably not be using many accounts on the net or indeed sharing my photo’s. I can understand there maybe some kudos with having an old Flickr ID instead of a Yahoo account but does that really matter? Did my photo’s or contacts disappear when I moved – no. In fact my user experience didn’t change at all – it’s something I don’t even think about now.

2) 75 tags is a limit? Who the hell wants 75 tags on one photo. Why? Who’s got the time to put 75 tags on a photo? How does that help to identify and manage photo’s. Some people have too much time on their hands.

3) 3000 contacts also seems a massive amount of contacts to have. Does anyone know 3000 people and want to share private photo’s with them? OK there is one guy on the Flickr forums that has 19000 contacts who he loves and respects. I’m sure they also love the private porn pictures he regularly posts. Not really the target audience for Flickr. I can’t see anyone realistically browsing 3000 users photo’s regularly. Is that not what Flickr groups are for?

Probably most annoying is the vocal minority that this affects and the influence of sites like Digg (I do love Digg but you’ve got to question some of it’s user base and their reporting). Firstly Flickr has around six million users. Don’t know how many are active but the Flickr group Flick Off which is against the forced usage of Yahoo accounts has 1447 members. Not much in the grand scheme of things. The mail that old school folk received today said 95% used a Yahoo account. Yet people in the main forum post that has all the complaints are making comments like 1 million pro folk may leave because they don’t want a Yahoo account. How bizarre. Seeing the Flickr staff respond frequently in these posts impresses me and reassures me all is well.

The Digg post with the most comments was submitted by Thomas Hawk. He didn’t point to the Flickr news page on these changes but to his own blog post. I guess there’s nothing wrong with self publicity or having an opinion as he has posted a lot of content on Flickr…but he is CEO for Zooomr, one of Flickr’s competitors. I’ve posted about Zooomr before and even have a pro account which I got via a give-away last year. The site however is so slow as to be unusable. It’s allegedly down to increased traffic today but I tried it last week to see if there were any improvements and I was disappointedly with it’s speed then. No fear – there’s an upgrade on the way sometime in March. Yeah, right.

I’ll be sticking with Flickr which offers a great service and since the Yahoo merger offers unlimited uploads. It’s also fast and they’ve now added an API which allows export of photo’s and tags if you so wish. Maybe long term there will be other changes which degrade the service as the doom bringers are predicting but something I’ve always felt hasn’t changed for me. Flickr isn’t Yahoo. Thankfully it isn’t Zooomr either.

Oh no….ReviewMe

The following is not a paid review

Time to get used to that (without the not) or the words sponsored review appearing on blog posts from now on. ReviewMe is a new pay per post venture for bloggers and advertisers. Bloggers register at the ReviewMe site and once they have added their blog to their account the site works out the price your site is worth depending on Technorati, Alexa ranks and subscriber numbers. Advertisers can then ask you to review a product on your site – review it (good or bad) and you’ll be paid half your site value. I registered and my site price is $40. So if asked to review a product and if I did so I would be paid $20 into my paypal account. Indeed I could be paid $20 from ReviewMe by linking this review to my account. I won’t.

The whole thing just stinks. For me paid reviews will always be devalued. For each blogger that reviews honestly there will be another ten that will review positively so that advertisers use them in the future. How many blogs will be set-up just to do paid reviews? For me it’s another form of viral marketing that will only devalue the usefulness of bloggers and their tech reviews. Ventures like ReviewMe only increase the value of forum sites – AVForums, Apple Discussions for example, where most people are reporting honestly about products and issues and helping other users. Would you trust a blog post that someone’s been paid to write?

Sunday Herald Talk

Just launched is Sunday Herald Talk where the journalists from the paper publish ‘blogs’ and invite comments from readers of the paper or around the globe – in fact it’s linked off their main site and described as it’s new discussion forum. It’s a fairly drab site but has a fair bit of content already and some chat. They are also inviting users to create their own blog on the site which is a great idea and they’ve also embraced linking to digg, etc although they’ve succumbed to Google adverts. Doh.

Has great potential especially if the keep the quality of the new blogs high.


Tragic. Appalling. On the face of it so easy to do as well. Plenty of news and proper content elsewhere – visit Binary Bonsai for links to good news sources. While the mobile network was down in London and news reports sketchy, blogs were the most up to date and quickest way of finding out what was happening, and from my point of view conveyed the fear that had gripped people far better than any other news site.