Sunday, 12 December 2010

My Top Ten Netcasts*

Leo Laporte brings industry gurus together - different ones each week drawn from all sides and sexes of the Internet : VCs, Bloggers, CEOs, geeks, politicians, developers, lawyers, journalists......any and all (including the odd Brit) who are impacting the Net and how it develops. Although there is inevitably a strong US bias - net neutrality, the poor ATT network , the high cost of Internet access- nevertheless this is not to be missed as it without fail puts the weeks tech news into considered , informed focus.

A review of the week 's mobile news in the UK , not as dynamic as TWIT as it has the same two (well informed and witty) commentators each week but it has British focus so is always relevant. Always down to earth, practical and on the (mobile) money.

Another Netcast from Leo Laporte , the format is Leo talking to Windows expert, guru, most knowledgeable Windows guy in the world (!) Paul Thurott. A really good listen if only for the rapport between the two but also the deep insight that Paul has as to what 's going on in the world of Microsoft , for nothing else his Tip of The Week is worth listening to this excellent Netcast.

Leo Laporte talks to a Gina Tripani (developer) and Jeff Jarvis (prof of journalism and commentator) with the odd expert brought in from time to time about not just Google but the Cloud wants going on what going on , what's changing and why in the world of Cloud computing and and in the Googlesphere - listen out for the app and tip of the week always useful.

Hard to describe what this show is all about so, can only use it's own description - A podcast of interesting things - never fails to delight and entertain with odd , interesting , revealing views on life, times , science and politics in the UK.

If you want to know the hot issues right now on the web and have an informed view on them these are two great podcasts. Hard to pick them apart. Both great shows with informed, knowledgeable, engaging, witty presenters.

The Law and how it impacts the Web covers things like who owns your email, how to use a brand's name , copyright, privacy......always topical, very relevant.

A UK blending of TWIT and BOL formats which works well witty informed entertaining could do with being a bit more controversial and heavyweight.

If you have any spare money this show tells you how to use it to make more, informed, straight talking with a bit of wit.

*All available for free subscription from iTunes. I call them Netcasts not Podcasts as most are in dual format voice or video format. Podcast is too restrictive as soon many of these shows will be broadcast TV channels in their own right which are accessed via an app 24 by 7. - narrow casting to a specialist audience rather than the broadcasting to the masses. Have a look at the TWIT app on the iStore to see what's possible.

Friday, 16 July 2010

Presentation's Fun Combo - iPad and Keynote

I ‘ve done a number of presentations - personal and business - with iPad using Apple’s £5.99 app Keynote and without hesitation or reservation I can say after almost twenty years of using Microsoft’s PowerPoint on the PC – iPad/Keynote is the future of presentation.
Why? – iPad’s user interface and Keynote’s features and functions .

iPad’s user interface.

Much has been said and written about the iPad good and bad - a big iPod touch , a new computing device , a pointless device which I’m sending back. I understand all of these comments , for me the most apposite comment was from the Steve Woznaik – the technical genius that created the revolutionary Apple’s I and II – he said the iPad takes us back to computing year zero – “a restart” .

Gone are the key board and the mouse: your fingers are actually ,literally and physically in control – Tap, Touch, Touch and Hold, Drag, Flick, Pinch – start, stop programs; move, expand, decrease rotate, cut, paste, copy, text and images.

The keyboard and mice mediate between the user and information doing away with them creates a whole new way of viewing, exploring and reacting to information. The iPad disintermediates as the Internet did for example to travel agents and book sellers, putting users in charge of purchasing holidays for themselves – and buying books at better prices books –

Just as the Internet’s disinmtermedatison changed fundamentally the way holidays are organised and purchased equally the way a reader chooses and pays for books so, the iPad changes how we interact with information, giving new ways of accessing and in turn new insights to information by doing away with the keyboard and presenting the information –literally - at your fingertips.


Keynote for the iPad has a modern contemporary feel none of the bloated , overburdened feel of PowerPoint. Like Prezi - the online presentation tool - iPad’s Keynote goes for a much reduced set of everything – tools, fonts, actions – so one is not intimidated or overwhelmed by the range of options. Being an Apple product the UI is totally consistent and coherent: sticking rigidly to the iPAD’s UI feel. This makes learning the Keynote a joy as there’s nothing to learn, well almost nothing, as you know how to use it already from using the iPad/iPhone UI.

Keynote does have its draw backs which it shares with other iPad apps - file sharing. The absence of a visible file system leads to other way of sharing files such –via iTunes or iWorks or email for example. There is also no SAVE or SAVE AS command instead there is an auto save function which saves the file every 45s this can lead to files inadvertently being over written. Also the imported PowerPoint presentation are not one hundred percent replicas of the original, imported files still need adjustment


The file handling and sharing issues aside the iPad/Keynote combination is a powerful, flexible and entertaining way to create, present and share information – putting fun into creating and giving a presentation.

Thursday, 3 June 2010

Apps v Mobile Web ?

I've been to a number of conferences in the past few weeks in which there has been a recurrent question – Should I create an App or use the mobile Web site ?

I believe the question is totally pointless as they are one and the same. It’s all about content and presentation. Which you use – App or Web - depends on what you want to say and who you to want to say it to. They are your mediators between you , your user and the Internet.

The Internet’s like a city it has its pleasant side : secure air conditioned shopping malls like or equally it has its seedy side with crime ridden streets found in its porn sites or its email scams.

Allowing users to access the Web unmediated is leaving them open to that seedy side while an App can guide the customer to the pleasant side, your side.

Is it the Web or is it an App ?

At its most basic an App can be nothing more than a Web link, a URL. For example the option on the iPhone’s Safari browser to Add to Home Screen creates an icon on the home screen that looks for all intents and purposes no different from any other App yet its sole function is to direct the user to the Web site. See for example the BBC’s mobile home page bookmarked and accessed as an App like icon below....

Many so called Apps on the download sites like Getjar are no more than a book marked URL behind a branded icon for example the Yahoo! News Icon - Get One Click Access to Yahoo! News on your phone, Download here Yahoo! News

That icon App metaphor allows appropriately coded and presented Web pages to appear like Smartphone Home screens ready for touch screen navigation.

For example MIT Mobile Web - coded in HTML5 - has the look and feel of smart phone screen and when booked marked as an icon it can be accessed by an App like icon which gives access to a page that looks like the Apps on the desktop behind each ‘App’ are web pages. Making it hard to tell is it the mobile Web or an App.

Is it an App or is it the Web ?

The mobile web site can be coded to be an App. For example Card Flip -a memory test game - is a HTML5 coded applications that will run on iPhone, iPod Touch, Android, Firefox Mobile, Nokia Maemo. It has all the look and feel of a local application but needs the Web’s connectivity to run as the logic is held on the server not on the phone.

Card Flip App is a mobile site , the BBC Home App icon is also a mobile site thus to differentiate between an App and mobile Web is pointless as they can be one and the same.

Saturday, 1 May 2010

The One Million Congregation in Lagos

I’ve just finished watching the last ina series of three programs on BBC 2 about life in Lagos, Nigeria – Welcome to Lagos

The strap line was It’ll defy your expectations. It certainly did as my memories of Lagos come from the 1980’s, seen from the back of an air condition car travelling around Victoria Island – Lagos’s Chelsea - immune from Lagos’s Dickensian poverty and hardship. So I expected to be confronted by that poverty, hardship, deprivation in Welcome to Lagos but I was totally surprised. I found the programs totally spell binding, uplifting and touched me deeply how people can triumph in what seemed the most desperate circumstances.

The last episode particularly moved me. It told the story of Esther , she lived both physically and economically on the edge of Lagos and its society. Living in a beach shanty hut under the constant threat of either demolition by the authorities or being swept away by the sea, scratching out a living selling mobile phone cards. Her knowledge and use of phone cards helped her discover her husband was cheating on her , this led to her marriage breaking down leaving her alone and seemingly destitute.

Not a bit of it she kicked him out the hut and found comfort in her Bible.

Watching it I recalled a Thinking Aloud episode which discussed how religion flourished most in those countries where their inhabitants experienced the most personal insecurity – where there the greatest inequalities of income and equality.

Esther puts on her finest and goes to Church but not just any church a huge sprawling church on the outskirts of Lagos with a congregation over one million.. One million souls seeking the Lord wanting to be born again, sprit filled . The queue to be touch by the sprit seemed to go on for ever. The church was truly biblical – vast!

This I believe was where those in Lagos living on the edge of society economically and politically, deprived and alienated turned to religion for comfort. Answering the question Dr Tom Ress discussed with Laurie Taylor in Thinking Aloud:

Is Personal Insecurity a Cause of Cross-National Differences in the Intensity of Religious Belief?

He produced a chart which correlates the frequency of prayer against income inequality. African countries dominate the large income inequality and high frequency of praying end of his chart will modern western countries UK, Germany are found at the opposite end low income inequality and low frequency of prayer.

Below is a simplified version of the chart with Nigeria speculatively added based on Esther and her church with its congregation of one million.

So for religion to succeed drivers appear to be income inequality and personal insecurity. And I can see how important it is for Esther and that million congregation living life on the edge of modern city like Lagos, without relgion they would have no hope.

Sunday, 25 April 2010

The Leader's Debate

A friend sent me this post from the Independent who head line was:

'Sun' censored poll that showed support for Lib Dems

She rasised the issue tongue in cheek as a tutorial/essay question :

Does the state of the "free" press in the UK help or hinder democracy?

I would say it does both - the inverted commas on the clue to the answer you have to know what side of the political debate the"free" press in question is coming from.

I read the piece and the YouGov report must have had the champagne corks popping in Liberal Democratic HQ as they now seem to be a real party with possibility of having a say in Government. And all because of one TV debate.

I understand that for sometime the two main parties fought against the TV debate as the party in power would always be the loser: in this country Governments lose election - Oppositions don’t win them. Governments run out of steam, of favour, of credibility - all the Opposition need do is wait…….

So why should the Government in power have a TV debate to hasten their demise?

And there is certainly no reason to include a third, smaller party as putting them on the same stage as the big two would only increase their stature disproportionatel to their actual poltical power , thus the Liberals never got a look in, it has always been a stitch-up between Labour and Tory so, there was no debate.

When the TV debate did eventaully happen as it has in this current election it for filled the worse night mares of both Tory and Labour. They now have another adversary to contend with. In the past they could work on the principle my enemy’s enemy is my friend and block the Liberals, the TV debate opened the curtains on this cosy cartel and the Liberal leader was able to take centre stage along with Labour and Conservative leaders – creating a visual level playing field despite the fact the Liberal had only 63 MPs compared to Labour’s 345 and Conservative’s 193.

Maybe if their screen size allocated to each Leader was proportionate to their the number of MPs they had perhaps this might have been fairer, like Jonathan Yoe’s picture of the Leaders in the 2001 election Proportional Representation

The debate is a great step forward for Democracy in the UK this is the “free media” helping Democracy….the next step is for the Politicians and the Public to embrace the Internet – bypassing the “free media” - and make it the powerful instrument of change as has in America, where the individual thru the Internet is personally politically inspired and empowered…perhaps at the next election?

Friday, 9 April 2010

Do Twitter Follwer Figures mean anything?

I signed up to aka with in hours I had four more followers:

Sandy Shaw (betteragain)
1 tweet
following 3695 people

Theodore Hall (TwitToGrowth)
4 tweets
following 5730 people

Lynette Asmar (whymeditate)
92 tweets
following 5545 people

Greg Price (PersuasionPower)
0 tweets
following 4516 people

ALL with common traits : thousands of followers and following about the same number BUT they've only sent a few tweets, a very few tweets.

So how can so many people be attracted to these folk (BTW I've never heard of them) when they seem to be saying next to nothing - one PersuasionPower - has actually tweeted NOTHING yet has 4,676 followers!?

What is going on , who is cheating who...and why ? Could aka be to blame ?

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