Tuesday, January 27, 2009

The Damned United Trailer

It's fair to say that ever since I read the greatest football novel ever written last March I've been waiting for this trailer and the subsequent movie. Having just watched it, a huge part of me wants to pretend I'm not disappointed with it. I really do. I really do.

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Monday, December 29, 2008

Twitter Ye Not - Why The A-List Should Start To Tweet.

So all the world is in a twitter at the moment. Mini updates of what people are doing appears to have really hit a tipping point with nods to the micro-blogging tool on both the BBC and The Guardian in recent days. With the Fail Whale seemingly sleeping at the bottom of the Web 2.0, presently Twitter is enjoying its day in the sun and rightly so.

This year I've learnt to use the free service in a fantastic variety of ways that has seen me juggle work, friends and entertainment . I'm not saying it is the be all and end all, but it has certainly helped to make my life a little more efficient.

  • At work, we use the twitter service to update users and followers on the status of the site and the service. In a tricky year of tech releases it has been a great tool turn to.
  • I've kept in touch with friends and colleagues that perhaps are not normally on my to-call list. That may sound mean but hey there is only so much time and so many people you can catch up with. Twitter has helped to fill the gaps.
  • I've got updates on various news events, sporting events (I love the Test Match Special feed that went out in the summer and expect great things of it come Ashes time) without having to rifle through various websites or RRS feeds. It has in that respect been a great time saver.
  • It's made me learn of new things, new web sites, new opportunities and new people. You can follow thought leaders in every sense without having to necessarily know them or connect with them. That is very useful and one of the more generous facets of Twitter.
  • I've laughed and cried at the various tweets that people leave. You can learn a lot more sometimes in 140 characters, where brevity is king, than you would from an elongated blog post.
Looking ahead 2009 will be the year where Twitter goes mainstream and where at some point it will have to start driving revenues. Like Facebook before it, it has the momentum, the fandom and the adoption, it now needs to prove itself in the big grown up business world. Us twitterers wait to see how the service unfolds. For me, its simplicity, is its core delight.

I do though have one hunch that I wanted to share. When I started to follow Stephen Fry recently I enjoyed the chance to "hang out" with a celebrity for a while. It was interesting to see what he was doing, where he was going, what projects he was working on. When he started to follow me in kind I have to admit I was rather stunned and it got me wondering if this was the tool that all celebrities should start to embrace. Given that they all have mobile phones and that there is a plethora of good Twitter applications for mobile use, it seems that perhaps this is the mode through which celebrities, politicians and the like can start to keep their fans or followers up to date whilst perhaps dilutting the demands of the papperazzi. Now for some (the god awful Jodie Marsh immeadiately pops into mind), the oxygen of publicity is what fuels their success, but I can see how for some fans, just knowing what their heroes and idols are up to is enough. If I look at it from a Watford supporting angle I would love to hear what some of the players do and think at certain points of the day (if only to confirm that its not all rounds of golf and playstation 3). If it gets too boring, simple, you just unfollow them.

It has worked for Stephen Fry, and I'd wager has helped him develop a new base of followers (read fans). Jonathan Ross appears to be convelessing his way through his recent trials and tribulations via Twitter and last week I was able to read what ex-England Rugby captain Will Carling thought of the Christmas presents he received. For the celebrity it keeps them alive, it keeps them active in their fanbase's mind and probably pleases their agent and publicists no end. It also goes someway to proving that we are all human and somewhat similar when you peel away that top veneer of global success. I quite like that aspect of it really.

You can of course follow me here

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

You Can Leave Your Light On!

Well knock me down with a feather and call me Martin Lewis! In these times of hardship and penny watching, I was delighted to see that at last one of the energy providers was helping their customers understand how their bill breaks down. Traditionally its all been presented to the consumer in kilo jewels and gigawatt's that only Doc Brown would be able to quantify. As a result it has always nagged away at me that I can't compare how my use of electricity and gas has compare year on year given that the cost per unit continues to grow.

Eon - when they are not sponsoring the FA Cup, have put their energy into (badda-boom!) a neat little tool called your Energy Tracker and lo and behold I'm an EON customer so its a bit of a result really.

Below is a graph charting my use of gas and electricity (combined) for 2008 (bar) against 2007's (line) and there are a few things I can excitedly draw:

  1. The chart follows the seasonal path one would expect with my consumption (and therefore cost) dropping through Spring and into Summer. I would have laid a bet on that happening but its nice to see it in pictorial form and reassuring to know that I didn't leave the lights on whilst I was away on holiday.
  2. Was February 2007 really that cold or did I spank more because it was a leap year? If so we should ditch the 29th Feb. Useless old date.
  3. Likewise what was going on in May 2007 for me to use nearly 100% more than the following year. Is that global warming? I don't recall seeing any exotic wildlife in the garden.
  4. We had a faulty hot water tank and boiler this time a year ago and had it removed in the first weekend of December which leads me to think that man it was on its last legs in the month before. I do recall it wheezing quite a bit as it tried to push water up three flights of stairs! Maybe these new boilers are as efficient as they say?
  5. Did we turn the Christmas Tree lights on early last year?
And so here endith the lecture, brought to you in association with those wonderful white coated people at EON.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Racists to the Left of Me, Racists to the Right

Some clever boffin has mashed up the leaked BMP membership list on to Google Maps which is rather handy for a number of reasons:

  1. I can now plan where I want to live and where I don't want to live safe in the knowledge that there are just about some enclaves of England that remain tolerant and full of understanding.
  2. London seems awfully racist. Awash you might say. I better be careful who I look at and what I say on the way home tonight.
  3. There is one mad racist person in Berkhamsted, my home town. I think it might be the guy that used to run my Cub pack.
  4. There are no frothing at the mouth racists in Aston Clinton. Phew. That means my parents do like my wife and her family after all.
  5. Racists seem to live on major roadways. Best taking the country option here on in.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Presidential Run In 2008: Bush Country

Interesting to see that just 4 years ago this was the lay of the land in the United States. That's a lot of red Republican votes I can see there.

As Obama keeps telling us, "its a time for change..."

Monday, October 27, 2008

The BBC & Oasis Go All The Way To Eleven...Man

A lovely little touch on the BBC iPlayer that I've only just noticed. Their volume bar goes all the way to 11 just like Spinal Tap said they should. I can only presume the BBC are "one louder."

See the original reason why all things should go to 11 here.