We’re heading to the UK for Christmas. I’ve been meaning to try out this online video/picture tool at Animoto for…
ICANN released the fourth version of its Applicant Guidebook this week. The process has been going on for so long with so many endless controversies and scandals, that those that actually want to apply for a new Internet extension have developed an amusing gallows humour.
I’ve just been sent a doctored version of a slide purporting to show the timeline for new gTLDs. It comes from a long-suffering wannabe applicant who has developed a new “Big Night Out, Morning After” model to explain ICANN’s policy and implementation processes.
Enjoy. (Click for larger version.)
I think Apple really needs to rethink about how it launches products. The Steve Jobs super-secret wham-bam thing is all well and good when something really new comes out – like the iPod with video or the iPhone – but in between the super-hype is just tedious.
I recall a number of jazzed-up keynotes that simply announced improved versions of the iPod and years before that, super exciting launches that basically just improved iMacs. But this time there was a whole new product – The Tablet!
From the over-the-top reactions, especially considering no-one has any real information, it might as well have been the Ten Commandments tablets, except this time God felt we only needed one and he use Steve Jobs to deliver them to the world.
The Tablet – renamed a quite dodgy iPad – is basically a great big iPhone (without the phone). It’s sort-of like the giant cricket bat that was banned back in 1800-and-something for being too wide and covering all the stumps. Worse that producing a huge product that is already being mocked as the iTampon, Apple failed to launch the one thing that did seem interesting about the iPad – its use as a new medium for ebooks.
I posted the video of the United Nations’ representative Sha Zukang losing it about a week ago but forgot to stick up a blog post about it.
It was a remarkable thing: Egypt’s first lady had inserted her own agenda into the Internet Governance Forum’s schedule – which caused no end of problems as everything had to be reshuffled. But also her visit brought with it some over-the-top security precautions: no mobile phones; extra invites to be allowed into the building; restricted access; and – the big issue – everyone being locked down in the main room, unable to leave, while she wandered around in the “village” of booths outside.
Anyway, after the First Lady’s little segment about protecting kids online and a panel of “experts” forced to find some way of tying the IGF into the youth of today and protecting kids online — which was a complete waste of everyone’s time, to be frank — she wandered off but left everyone stuck in the main room.
Not everyone was happy about this. Many people wanted to just go to the toilet having been in the room for several hours. The UN’s head honcho – a very prickly Chinese man called Sha Zukang – was also unhappy as he had trouble getting back into the room to chair the next session on the future of the IGF itself.
As you can see from the video below, Sha was annoyed with the fact that lots of people were standing at the back waiting to be allowed to leave. But even when the situation was explained to him, he was already too wound up to care and came out with an extraordinary outburst.
Considering this has only been one or two minutes, it was really too much – and everyone commented as such. Of the many comments I heard at the back of the room, and that evening, the most common description of the short-fused Zukang was “prick”. The event also sparked a few UN old hands to recall other similar outbursts.
Anyway, here for your viewing pleasure is what happened:
I’ve always thought Eddie Izzard was supremely funny but I didn’t realise that he’d be a really nice bloke just to know and have a conversation with until today.
I embarked on some rather silly Twitter-following very early this morning (all sparked off by Stephen Fry tweeting about Trafigura) and ended up discovering that Eddie Izzard was in Los Angeles for a documentary about his life. I missed a Q&A he gave earlier this week at a screening (bloody shame) but he tweeted that he’d be on some chatshow I’ve never heard of – Kevin Pollak.
As it turns out this is a low-budget, Internet-only chatshow that makes me want to call a few mates, drive up to Hollywood and completely overhaul because there have been some interesting guests but the format is painful. Kevin, bless him, needs an audience to be funny (plus there is a reason canned laughter tracks exist) and he is a truly dreadful interviewer, but if you press play on the show (embedded above) and come back 17 minutes and 20 seconds later you’ll find Eddie Izzard giving a really interesting interview.
Far from going off on his surreal semi-structured humour bursts, Eddie Izzard was actually in a relaxed and chatty frame of mind. I’ve no doubt that having watched a documentary about his rise he had been pondering about his life and existence and clearly had some thoughts running through his head.
Purely by accident I just came across a “technobile” column piece that I wrote for the Guardian a few years ago. I have to say I amused myself. Posted below but grabbed from the Guardian site:
Concerns grow about internet users who are dangerously addicted to Google. Quick, read it now!
I can’t believe Google gives no results for “Internet Derived Lethargic Episode”, because the search engine is a major cause of IDLE. It is a particularly destructive illness where the victim, having spent days working at their computer, awakens to discover they can barely recall a single event, save a joke about the Lib Dems.
Bombarded by stimuli, the victim ends up in a state of highly excited lethargy where any activity taking longer than 30 seconds is too tiring to tackle. The brain, fizzing with chemicals, produces an effect similar to a caffeine overdose but combined with dangerously high levels of pathos. Overfilled with trivia, the sufferer can often be found transfixed in front of his computer.
It makes me proud to be British when I see something as simultaneously wonderful and hilarious as a middle-aged woman brow-beating a government minister into changing government policy.
Joanna Lumley is a treasured British asset – a ludicrously posh but much-loved and fearless actress – and she has been spearheading a campaign against the government for its treatment of Nepalese “Gurkha” British Army fighters.
Just look at this video in which Lumley speaks and then stares at immigration minister Phil Woolas just daring him to contradict her. The finest traditions of a British Battleaxe. He cowers under her summary and then embarks on a droney, bureaucratic explanation of how it all works and why the government hasn’t just made a complete arse of itself. I think Woolas’ political career is effectively over.
So what was it all about?
Well, Gurkhas are a throwback to the British Empire days but they have a strange kind of symbolism because they are renowned for fighting incredibly hard in extremely difficult situations for a country that has never really done much for them.
There was a poll last year in which some disturbing number of Americans said that their main news source was The Daily Show – a nightly satirical show on the Comedy Channel hosted by Jon Stewart.
Having been in the US for over a year now, I have to confess that, unbelievably, I now add myself to that statistic – and I’m a professional journalist for chrissake. But this isn’t just an indication of how bad US news is – and it is really, unbelievably bad – it is also how increasingly sophisticated and journalistic Stewart has become.
He is really starting to get up there with the best journalists through his incisive, powerful questions and his articulate and fierce questioning. It just so happens that whenever it reaches an uncomfortable point, he also throws in a joke.
Never has this point been so clear as the painful-to-watch destruction of TV financial advisor Jim Cramer last night. Cramer hosts an extremely daft show called Fast Money on CNBC. Last week, Stewart was laying into all these dreadful “fun” financial shows on US TV at the moment when people are really suffering financially and Jim Cramer unfortunately got upset about it.
This led to a peculiar and equally appalling US TV trait – obsessive personality fake-fight nonsense masquerading as news – which has consumed American TV and fallen over into printed newspapers for the past week. So with appalling inevitability, Cramer appeared on Stewart’s show last night. And my god, did he get a roasting.
It seems that the Internet is catching on with the most powerful men in the world. Both the Pope and the new US president Barack Obama have this week announced new web strategies and told anyone that would listen how much they love this Internet.
The conversion is hardly surprising – both men derive most of their enormous power from being able to communicate directly to millions. And if there’s one thing the Internet does well, it is mass communication. Here the question though: who loves the Internet more – Obama or the Pope?
Let’s find out in a head-to-head competition…