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

Archive forMay, 2006 | back to home

26 May 2006
Filed under:E-commerce,Personal,Weblogs at12:20 pm

In the spirit of Jeff Jarvis’ famous gripe I would like to offer my own beef with Dell. I bought a machine from them before without too much trouble but this time I have been having extreme difficulty just getting them to take an order from me. More details below (more…)

19 May 2006

According to a free online valuation by Leapfish (based on word length and other factors) this address, blog.org, is worth $202,000 or more. Offers in that region would receive careful consideration…

18 May 2006

I just found a handy page full of information on how to work at a computer without hurting yourself, including diagrams. The same site also offers a guide to setting up a home office which some might find useful.

16 May 2006

According to this press release from now until the end of the year anyone in (or merely passing through) Canada or the US will be able to use Skype on their computers – or their PDAs for that matter – to call any US or Canadian number.

I have my reservations about Skype – I would be much happier if I could find a VOIP solution that worked well, was open and cross platform but so far I have not found anything that fulfils all three criteria – Skype while not open at least fulfils the other two. I would certainly like it if my friends and family over in North America would all sign up (hint, hint) and let me know they had done so. As an additional incentive, if you have Windows you can even use the latest beta to look in on Adrien while we talk using our webcam…

11 May 2006

David Tebbutt, an old friend, posts hopefully that ‘social software’ (wikis, blogs etc) could reduce the amount of ‘occupational spam’* we get. Alas, groupware apps like Lotus Notes and intranet messageboards were also supposed to free us from corporate email spam and in theory they could. But simply introducing the software is only the beginning. The main problems are organizational and psychological. 1) it is much harder to change people’s habits than it is to add a bit of software 2) for better or worse people feel an email to someone will at least get glanced at while other means of electronic communication (internal wikis etc) because they are not “pushed” may never get looked at and 3) having lots of communication options can lead to confusion. People think “does this belong on the project’s wiki? On the intranet? On my blog? Oh sod it I will email it to the people who need to know.”
Organizations can cut down on email spam but they need to start with a change to the organizational culture and lead from the top (with bosses participating in the online spaces they want their employees to use) rather than installing software and hoping for the best. If I had had more space in my book – Dealing with Email – that is what I would have stressed. I am sure that David knows this as well of course but I am afraid that reading this article business leaders will just see ‘social software’ as a quick fix. Unfortunately, as I said, we have been down that road before…

* Emails cc:ed to lots of people who don’t need to see them, personal email like items for sale circulated around an organization, announcements of fire drills etc.

10 May 2006
Filed under:Current Affairs (UK),Personal at12:34 pm

I cannot understand how on the one hand the government through taxation seeks to help the worst off while liberalising the gambling laws with the other when the evidence suggests gambling addiction hits the worst off worst of all.

If you agree – and particularly if you live in the UK – please sign the Campaign Against Super-Casinos Expansion’s online petition.

I wrote a fairly extensive post about the gambling bill when it first came up in 2004 with some of the evidence against it.

7 May 2006
Filed under:London,Personal at2:04 pm

This art ‘event’ –The Sultan’s Elephant looks like it was a great event. It is exactly the kind of thing (along with fireworks and the Thames Festival which I like to see my tax money going towards.