Weblog on the Internet and public policy, journalism, virtual community, and more from David Brake, a Canadian academic, consultant and journalist

Archive forNovember, 2003 | back to home

4 November 2003

I just ran across the website for “The Idea Channel”:http://www.ideachannel.com in the US which features wall to wall interviews with professors including several Nobel prize winners. As well as being able to download a few short interview excerpts you can access a transcript a month if you register on the site.

It’s a pity they have just two entries under Sociology but there are lots of economists, political scientists and historians to listen to as well. I don’t suppose my cable company will carry it though…

By a strange coincidence, “BBC4”:http://www.bbc.co.uk/bbcfour/ here in the UK is doing a “profile of Richard Rorty”:http://www.bbc.co.uk/bbcfour/listings/programme.shtml?day=today&filename=20031104/20031105_0140_4544_31367_30 tonight 1:40 – 2:10 AM. I’ll be programming my “recordable DVD player”:http://www.panasonic-europe.com/homecinema/main.asp?lang=en&nav=dvdrec …
Thanks to Follow Me Here for the Idea Channel link.

3 November 2003

I got talking recently to a guy who runs Internet hotel booking services for a living and naturally I had to ask him how to get cheap hotel rooms online. He suggested two services – Travelaxe (a downloadable app) and “SideStep”:http://www.sidestep.com/ which installs inside your browser (IE or Netscape only, apparently).

I tested these using London as an example over the weekend of Nov 15 to Nov 16 and trying to find the cheapest possible rooms. SideStep failed to find the “Atlantic Paddington”:http://www.newatlantic.co.uk/ hotel (really a hostel) which has some of the lowest prices and neither has many hostels or B & Bs – primarily because these are generally not yet ‘plugged in’ to the major reservation systems. As a result you may be better off going to (for example) “ase.net”:http://ase.net/servlet/HotelList?type=8%2C4&dist=2 and contacting the individual B & Bs and hostels listed individually.

Still, either may be worth a try if you travel on business and need/want to stay in hotels instead of B&Bs.

P.S. both apps are free of charge and the creators make their money via the commission they get from sending traffic to the hotels when you book through them. As far as I can tell this commission doesn’t raise the price to you…

2 November 2003

What a good idea from “Tom Steinberg”:http://www.tomsteinberg.co.uk/ – mySociety.org. His recent “piece in the Guardian”:http://www.guardian.co.uk/online/chatroom/story/0,12529,1073754,00.html explains the idea better than I could, but basically the idea is to provide a way for private funders to pay for inexpensive but useful websites that are not commercial but which the UK government doesn’t feel it is able or willing to produce.

There are already a few interesting ideas on the site including mobile phone-based “car sharing”:http://mysociety.blogs.com/mysociety/2003/10/mobile_phone_lo.html and websites to facilitate “local swapping of power tools, lawn mowers etc”:http://mysociety.blogs.com/mysociety/2003/10/local_swap_shop.html I hope it will go on to be the start of something big.

Already he has something which other sites of this kind usually don’t – he has some money he can offer to kick-start these projects. It’s only £10,000 so far but it’s enough to get people to put in bids…

(Title for this posting was shamelessly pinched from “Tom Loosemore”:http://www.tomski.com/)

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