world picture service.

November 18, 2007

Ok, so I’m really bad at this. I just never post, I don’t get regular… never mind.


So today (cue fanfare), let’s share something. Something I meant to share a long time ago. This website (err… the big picture) is the World Picture Service.


World Picture Service




It’s an amazing set of pictures taken by a guy who travelled round in a car, as he drove from Amsterdam to India and Nepal and back again. They restore my faith in life somehow. All the images were taken in 1976 to 1977. Amazing images.






August 9, 2007

The most bizzare thing has started to happen.

See on wordpress, you can check your blog stats and see how many people look at your typings etc. Now, I like this, it’s good. I mean, I’ve never really tried to get readers by publicity or anything but it’s so interesting.

See, you can also see how people find your blog; what they type in a search engine in order to find my pages.

Recently, more and more people seem to be finding my blog through searching for Jade Goody. I mentioned her in a post ages ago and now people, hungry for their latest dose of meaningless celebrity bullshit are finding my blog through their love and obsession for Jade.

But there’s something else.

The top search engine referral is not ‘Jade Goody’.

It’s ‘Jade Goody nude’ or ‘Jade Goody naked’ or, if you want, the masterblaster… ‘Jade Goody naked topless’.

What the fuck?

But you want to know what’s better, now I’ve written those words together, back-to-back, I’m even more likely to come up.

It’s a hit I’ll have to take. They just want the kebab shot.


Ok… so I know Nine Inch Nails isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but I think this is very interesting from a marketing POV and use of the Internet.

Their forthcoming album, Year Zero, is going to be concept album set in the future about the end of the world, with a bleak vision of the United States, its military and the way in which it treats citizens – drugging the population on two substances, dependent on who they are.

Trent Reznor (who is Nine Inch Nails and controls musical and artistic direction) has always been involved with the Internet, running a detailed blog for registered users of, the band’s website.

Currently on tour, Reznor has started deliberately leaking a few of the new album’s tracks, leaving them on Flash Drives in the venue’s toilets. So far this has happened in Lisbon and Madrid. Naturally, these tracks have appeared on the Internet to fans. This is not all.

Parallel to this, fans on the website discovered that the latest range NIN merchandise had highlighted or marked letters on it, spelling out “IAMTRYINGTOBELIEVE”. Someone then tried this as a website…

You need to highlight the text in order to read it on the sites.

The fan section of the official website then discovered further related sites to the original…  (which features a faked forum and audio clips) – highlight the picture and draw over it, more will be revealed

These websites suck the reader into this world, there is even the mention of a hand – known on the album as ‘the Presence’ – that comes down to earth from above.

This “alternate reality game” (as it’s called on Wikipedia) was designed by the same group who make the computer game, ‘Halo’.

It’s definitely a unique marketing campaign that’s attracted a good amount of interest in America.

Reznor says this will be the first of two concept albums, so wait and see what the next viral marketing campaign will be.

Much much more on the details of this in this MTV article (very well researched…


policing the Internet?

February 7, 2007

I posted this on my work blog yesterday but it’s not open to general IPs yet… so I’m thieving it to my blog…

Yesterday, three paedophiles were sentenced Southwark Crown Court for planning to rape two teenage girls and more than 50 other related charges between them. Then planned their crimes over the Internet. The three, who met via a website chatroom and never met in person, even intended to do a “Holly and Jess” – a reference to infamous Soham murders of Holly Wells and Jessica Chapman. The case is only the second set of prosecutions regarding the use of the Internet to conspire to rape.

It’s a story that’s been covered by the media a lot today so I don’t feel we need to relay all the details of the court case – the story can be read via the following links…

Times Online story Guardian Unlimited story story

However, it does bring up some interesting issues about the Internet and responsibility of those companies that host websites. An investigation into the website at the centre of the plot (which shall remain nameless due to its content) by Channel Four News yesterday found that the host was shared by huge multinational organisations and their different factions, including Disney and Fox.

As was relayed by an expert (who’s name escapes me, apologies) to Jon Snow in last night’s broadcast, he stated that due to an EU directive and legislation in this country, hosters cannot be held legally responsible for the content of their websites unless they have looked at them. It is the same in the US. Whilst legislation holds a host responsible, it only kicks in if they have seen the content. Understandably hosters avoid doing this as it leaves them open to legal action.

Is this really the way to police the Internet? Surely companies will continue to use this procedure and ‘unacceptable’ sites will never be subject to moderation?

But should the Internet even be policed at all? In theory, the Internet is a horizontal model of communication, unique to other media, as a user can communicate direct without the need of a ‘middleman’ or additional layers of communication. This is what defines the essence of the Internet. Would policing the Internet represent an infringement on freedom of speech? Is the Internet even a representation of freedom of speech? After all, there are still millions all over the world people who are yet to go online for the first time.

Without going into too much of my degree, the Internet can be argued to represent ‘the public sphere‘ – a concept that Jurgen Habermas, a German philosopher, tried to convey to the world. His idea – of a ‘place’ where public opinion is formed by the interaction of all society – can be discussed with a view to the Internet, surely unimaginable when he conceived his thesis.

This simple sentencing of the three offenders opens up a world of debate surrounding the Internet and how it can be managed – but who should decide how, what and of whom?

Would it be true to say that without testing boundaries, you’ll never find out what they are. Is it through public interaction that opinion is formed? How much should we restrict from general consumption? The things that we have already decided are wrong? And who decides what’s ‘moral’ in a society and what is not?

Either way, should the host of a website be forced to look at their customer’s content? After all, the responsibility must lie somewhere. I would lean towards a need for clarification- at least instead of keeping a legal loophole for companies to jump through…

times-front-page.jpgSo the Times relaunched their website this week. I think there are bugs as some of the pictures are missing etc. but I have other issues…

Two things, why have a lime green header if all the headlines are in blue? Surely that’s a bit estupido? It just looks crap.

Second of all… they have this new ‘Times Recommends’ banner… I kinda think they should be a bit careful what they put in there… or at least attempt to phrase it a bit better! What do you think?


Bit inappropriate?

However, they do have some respect with me (despite being Murdoch-ised) – I do like this from John Henley in the Guardian about the website’s launch…

“We just adore the new Times website! So lime-green, so unlikely! Also, for most of yesterday, so down, and, on Sunday night, so entertaining! “Sorry, Times Online has gone to the pub,” it said, above a picture of a pint of beer. “We have finished building our new-look website and are having a drink while our friendly geeks connect it to the internet.” Bless”

At least that’s a good sense of humour… shame about the website.


January 24, 2007

Happy happy joy joy! My domain name finally works and redirects to this blog.

Go on, test it, you know you wanna!

Must post about Pop Levi before I forget… and maybe a bit about Clap Your Hands Say Yeah and the Shins as I’ve been listening to their new albums lately.


I bought a domain name at the weekend, which I was hoping I could post about, but I’ve got to wait 48 hours for it to be sent up. I can’t believe it’s so cheap nowadays.

I guess it means that I’ll continue typing out rants on this blog, at least for the next two years. I was unsure whether I’d do enough on here, it started as a six-month experiment, but now, I guess I like it enough to keep going.

What I like is that it keeps me writing – whatever it is. You mention ‘blog’ to some people and they turn their nose up at it. Like it’s ‘uncool’ to do it or egotistical or whatever. The ‘uncool’ I take issue with. Frankly, who cares? Each unto their own.

The egotistical thing I can understand and pretty much agree with. Obviously I think I’ve got some things to say and I think they’re worth reading. But this is, I suppose, a way of communicating to people – maybe I’m just reaching out to people, trying to be noticed, trying to convey my small part of the world.

I’ve never really tried to get more readers as such, I’ve only given the address of this blog to a few people who (I hope) read it. Then I guess they’ve told other people. A few find it through wordpress, another few through searching the Internet typing in certain things. A number of people have found a post I did on the Rapture, purely through the title of the post, which was part of the lyrics. I love seeing that randoms have found it- it’s quite exciting in a way. Comments too, are awesome as you realise some people actually read this (thanks by the way)!

It’s amazing some of the people who’ve ended up finding this through knowing me. People have sent me emails from school that I haven’t seen for ages, which is awesome – the memories come flooding back. A girl that I fell for at uni even emailed me (she said she was too shy to post me a comment) and I hadn’t heard from her in a couple of years. That was cool. I suppose it’s just nice to think that someone reads now and again and thinks of (the actual) me.

I suppose more than anything though, it was an attempt to ensure that I carry on writing. Whilst I haven’t written any short stories for a while, I’ve been doing a lot of groundwork for the novel I want to write. My screenplays have all but dissolved into the ether but I have lots of jottings and even started a second first-person book which I’d like to continue

Ideally, I’d like to finish my novella about Morocco and put the rest up here, which hopefully, I may do tonight. But only after I’ve watched Hidden, which should be delivered by LoveFilm this morning – I’ve been waiting ages to see that movie, meant to be very, very good.

Anywho, I suppose after deciding I would give this site a six-month test – it’s passed and I will continue to write non-sensical, lengthy rants for the next two years. Ideally, I’d like to turn this into a ‘submissions’ site, so it’s not just me ranting, and have it more based on short stories,  retrospectives and and fiction but I’m not sure I’ve got the discipline to hunt things like that down.

And also, hopefully will redirect to this site very soon.

N.B. – The other thing I wanted to post about was Pop Levi, who I saw on Friday with my good friends Decanus, Neilus and Mikael. However, Neilus, I’m waiting on you to send me the picture… hopefully tomorrow.

Thanks for reading (if you made it this far),