I’ve finally succumbed to youtube. I tried not to, I really did. But. Last week I watched Later with Jools Holland and the show ended with The Flaming Lips covering War Pigs – Wayne draped in the Stars and Stripes and everything. I tried to blog about it at the time, but ended up with little to say. It would be different, I thought, if you could see it for yourselves. God bless the Internet and a rabid disregard for Intellectual Property.

You gotta love it

I’m such an anorak… I just love this page over at It’s like staring at the shelf next to the stereo, but on the internet.

I know, I should get out more…

Seriously though, if anything has shown me what my music taste really is, rather than what I thought it was. Which is weird. But good.

Allan Weisbecker

As you (should) know, I am an enormous fan of Allan Weisbecker. Since first reading the remaindered copy of Cosmic Banditos (now reprinted for a second time) lent to me by a friend through the awesome power of In Search of Captain Zero and on to the strangely altered state we currently find him on over at his website and newsletter he never fails to either make me laugh or stop my breath. Or both.

And he’s got a new book, coming soon. Entitled Can’t you get along with anyone? a writer’s memoir it sounds rather like it will be the story of how he got himself in to the aforementioned strangely altered state. Part of it at least is the story of how he fell out with the American media establishment over the filming of Captain Zero….

Which leads us on to a whole new problem. By falling out with US media publicising the new book is going to be very hard. Publishing it at all is going to be very hard, in fact. So. In a very web 2.0 kind of way (or should we call it publishing 2.0?) he and his UK publishers are running a promotion challenge to get us to buy pre-release copies of the book and to promote it on their behalf.

Will word of mouth do enough? I surely hope so, ‘cos I’ve paid my �13 and bought my pre-release copy! If you buy yours, mention me when you order. I want to win that lettered hardback.

Censorship as well as selling out

Hmm.. I think selling to AOL many moons ago was the point that NullSoft sold out, not when they started pimping corporate sponsored skins. That said, this review of the HP Winamp skin does reflect a growing trend of review censorship being discovered. More power the social revolution, I guess.

Um. I’m not really sure how to answer that

As I have doubtless banged on often enough about I do Plone for a living. Of all the questions I’ve been asked by customers (potential or actual) I’ve never before today been asked “is it legal?” I was today. Has Microsoft done such a good job that the idea of free software is so alien to the uninitiated that they think I must be giving them hooky software? Or is Plone so good that it can’t be free? Or do I look like the kind of person who would be likely to do that? Don’t answer the last one.

Stalking the social revolution

After Carson’s “Future of web apps” I and a few friends were sat in a West London pub musing on all things web 2.0 when one (he shall remain nameless) commented on how he used certain social tools (like, flickr and so on) to keep track of other people’s habits. Interestingly (he’s a sales focused kind of guy) many of these people were not friends, but business contacts. His knowledge of one of his customers’ mountain biking hobby (what equipment he’d bought on ebay, which components he had bookmarked at, which trips he had posted photos of on Flickr) was horrifying.

This got me to thinking about how much we actually publish about ourselves online, deliberately or not. I use the username ‘offmessage’ wherever I can. You can see what I’ve just been listening to here, see my ebay habits here and here (ebay account required for the second one), view my current areas of research here and if I actually used flickr you could see my photos here. I’m not a great social networking application user, but already that’s probably more about me than I’m 100% comfortable with if I think about it.

In a fit of perversion this led me to start designing, the ultimate sales tool. Farm news feeds, blog posts, ebay feedback, and a whole host of other services to build a clear picture of your current sales targets or key account representatives. Which sport do they like and who do they support (and how are they doing)? Which albums have they just bought, or listen to all the time? Flickr produces a serious amount of information about family and friends and time outside work. All of this can be pieced together in such a way as to make your small talk perfect, regardless of your own personal interests.

I’d like to point out that I never had any intention of building this. Nor do I like it as an idea. It was my intention to point out exactly how much we publish without thinking about it. What’s surprised me is the reaction. While a few have recoiled in horror as I expected them to, a fair few have thought it a fine idea, and a few more have asked me when I will be launching it.

It seems I’m not the only person who’s seen the benefits of the social revolution, either. While I knew that the UK Honeynet guys were interested in using similar approaches in profiling attackers through IRC and blogs, it seems that the NSA is having very similar ideas too. And then of course there’s using this sort of thing for playing with Paul Daniels’ mind.