Media Influencer

helping people break out of pigeonholes since 2003

The real story behind numbers

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A wise statistician’s approach to data:

plane_armour.jpg

…if you were the military and looking to reinforce your planes, where would you put the armor?

The solution is obvious.

Sad truth of business

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Nine times out of ten, regardless of the industry, strategy is a by product of a series of tactics.

Found here.

Shirley of Knightsbridge

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OK, this is a silly day as you can see from my previous postings. Here is another item to the collection. Last night walking from Soho to Chelsea, I captured this beaut of a shop. It sells exclusive (read expensive) and horrifyingly tacky lingerie. It has to be seen to be believed

Shirley of Knightsbridge

The things that go through my mind every time I go past are: Who? Why? How? and Oh my God!

Mr. Lee CatCam

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This is wonderful in several ways. First the child-like curiosity about where the cat’s been. Then the geekiness of the idea of putting a camera on its neck and setting it up so it takes pictures every few minutes. And then the social thing of sharing the pictures with us. Some of the photos are rather groovy – photographers beware. :)

Mrleecatcam

via Alec

Out of this world?

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Another photo from Ethiopia that came out rather interestingly…

Out of this world?

Flight patterns

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Who says science cannot be art? Especially with groovy music playing along… :-)

via JP, originally found here.

Why censorship does’nt work – reason #1,340,998

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Clever ‘publishing’ of the HD-DVD AACS key and another reason why trying to control information or content online is not a good idea:

Magic_numbers_crp

via Boing Boing

Instead of cease and desist permission granted

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This is simply wonderful. From Linden Lab:

We do not believe that reasonable people would argue as to whether
the website located at http://www.getafirstlife.com/ constitutes parody
– it clearly is. Linden Lab is well known among its customers and in
the general business community as a company with enlightened and
well-informed views regarding intellectual property rights, including
the fair use doctrine, open source licensing, and other principles that
support creativity and self-expression. We know parody when we see it.

Moreover, Linden Lab objects to any implication that it would employ
lawyers incapable of distinguishing such obvious parody. Indeed, any
competent attorney is well aware that the outcome of sending a
cease-and-desist letter regarding a parody is only to draw more
attention to such parody, and to invite public scorn and ridicule of
the humor-impaired legal counsel. Linden Lab is well-known for having
strict hiring standards, including a requirement for having a sense of
humor, from which our lawyers receive no exception.

JP has the whole thing.

Update:

Compare to this:

Skype lawyer Seema Sharma emailed blogger Jan Geirnaert Friday afternoon. She told him his popular skype-watch.com and skype-gadgets.com blogs put him in legal jeopardy.

Skype didn’t talk to Geirnaert like a human being, picking up the
phone (or Skype) and talking with him, appreciating his business and
marketing value in the blogosphere and and his past and ongoing
contributions to Skype’s ecosystem.

Instead, they brought in heavy guns. In a few short emails, Skype’s blown goodwill and a hard-won media asset.

Absolutely.

via Scoble.

Profound insight or sad truth

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This is too good to pass:

[W]hen you work with assholes, you don’t change them for the better, they change you into an asshole.

via Jackie

Thank you Joel Johnson…

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…the former editor of Gizmodo for stating the obvious and for having one of the most marvellous (and justified) rants I have ever come across. [h]e scolds you, the Giz writers, the gadget makers, and you, dear readers, for supporting the disgusting cycle of gadget whoring. This is potent stuff:

And you guys just ate it up. Kept buying shitty phones and broken media
devices green and dripping with DRM. You broke the site, clogging up
the pipe like retarded salmon, to read the latest announcements of the
most trivial jerk-off products, completely ignoring the stories about
technology actually making a difference to real human beings, because
you wanted a new chromed robot turd to put in your pocket to impress
your friends and make you forget for just a few minutes, blood coursing
as you tremblingly cut through the blister pack, that your life is
utterly void of any lasting purpose.

This is as good a paragraph as any in this piece, so read the whole thing. I will be forwarding this to any PR people touting ‘consumer electronics’ I meet and to anyone who gets too excited about the latest ‘glossy thing that uses electricity’.

I have tried to get into mobile technology and devices – through i-Mate to Nokia E61 to Blackberry 8100 Of the three I definitely prefer Blackberry but the bottom line is that they don’t do what they promise, they don’t give me anywhere near the control I am used to online. They are shiny expensive toys whose technology, interface and functionality wouldn’t survive a day in the online wilderness. I have given up on mobile devices and indeed any kind of offline consumer electronics. The ‘user experience’ is far from the kind of fun a self-proclaimed geek can have online. I decided to wait until online geeks create mobile devices that break through the barriers network operators have created for phonesets, operating systems and applications. iPhone, don’t think so, but MyPhone looks promising. It’s got the kind of ubergeek credentials I am looking for.

To be or not to be formal

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Which would you prefer to listen to–a dry formal lecture or a stimulating dinner party conversation?  Which would you prefer to read–a formal academic text book or an engaging novel?

…your brain wants to pay more attention to the party conversation than the formal lecture regardless of your personal interest in the topic.

Because it’s a conversation.

In other words, if you use conversational language, the
listener/reader’s brain still thinks it has to hold up its end, so it
pays more attention. It really is that simple, and that powerful (at
least if you really want to help users pay attention and remember your
message).

I was alerted to a great post by Kathy Sierra arguing for conversational style in educational material/books rather than formal. I couldn’t agree more. It amazes me that anyone would propose otherwise, what with the number of hours (and years!) people have to sit/read through boring lectures, speeches, webcasts, powerpoints, statements, documents, manuals, etc. etc. Kathy goes into great lengths deconstructing arguments against conversational style, which she defines thusly :)

  1. It’s professional. Formal language == professional. Conversational tone == unprofessional.
  2. It’s easier to localize.
  3. It’s more appropriate (whatever "appropriate" meant… we never knew for sure.)

Well, bullshit is what I say. Professionalism is not communicated by formality of the language. It is communicated by the content, which is much easier conveyed in a simple and clear style. Brevity and succinctness have always been worthy aspirations for most writers although only few succeed. Writers most admired and imitated – Hemingway, Greene, Orwell – are men of short sentences and few adjectives. 

Aesthetic considerations aside, it is a sign of mastery of the subject when the writer/speaker can express complex concepts in a simple manner. The ability to do that means the speaker can focus on the audience and the delivery. Interestingly, Kathy offers a simple rule:

If you’re using formal language in a lecture, learning book (or
marketing message, for that matter), you’re worrying about how people
perceive YOU. If you’re thinking only about the USERS, on the other
hand, you’re probably using more conversational language.

Finally, think of Cluetrain, a highly influential book that captured and moved forward the Zeitgeist of the late-90s. Its impact would have been negligible had the style been formal. In fact, the book would not have been written at all as its point was that conversations are the natural way for us to interact. Especially in business. And that the internet has driven the point home even to the suits and people with penchant for the formal.

The power of direct and informal human expression can be immense as blogging has demonstrated.  Pithy and short is the flavour of the day and I hope that formal style will go the way of corsets… mostly used in historical drama or to push matters up where nature had not intended them. So throw away the yoke of formality, you have nothing to lose but your clauses and multi-syllable words that no-one understands.

A flash of cool

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This is one cool site. The best use of 5 minutes whilst behind a computer screen.

found here via here.

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