Things that make you go…doh!

3 men went to mow

So I’m staying at the Chelsea Village Hotel tonight for an awayday that I’m running.

In the room is a card about the high speed internet access. At the bottom is a logo saying canovawireless and on the wall is a cable router/wireless access point thing.

The points on the card are:

1) Ensure your room key is inserted in the wall socket so that your room power is switched on.

Now this is the first thing – I didn’t read this bit at all, or at least I didn’t realise the implications – I’ve popped out of the room a couple of times and left my laptop on to charge after I’ve been using it on the go today. Each time, when I’ve come back my laptops gone into snooze mode and I’m starting to think there’s something wrong, but now I see that when I leave the room, the power goes off. Is it me or is that worthy of a “Durrrrr”?

2) Check that the wall modem is showing a steady light.

3) Locate the ethernet cable on your desk

4) Plug the ethernet cable into your laptop

5) Open your web browser on your laptop

6) On the screen that appears either login or sign up for an account.

You are now ready to use the high speed connection.

OK. So I think, well this is obviously old information as there’s a wireless point here now – but actually, the wireless doesn’t go on until after you’ve gone through the login by plugging in the ethernet. Again, “Durrrr!” Why do I have to plug my laptop in and login in order to then be able to unplug the ethernet use wireless (presumably so that I can carry my laptop over into bed with me, or something).

I see so many blogposts like this about clueless access providers in hotels – when are they going to ask people what they want and then give it to them, instead of this crazy mish-mash of services that are difficult to use, even for the technically (kinda) competent.

Too tired for tags.

Blogs starting to appear on British Civil Service radar

I’m in the middle of running an awayday for a team in a large Government department and suddenly the subject of conversation over dinner is blogs!

“What are they?” “Ooooh, do you have one” “I think I should have one.” “We should use them for sharing things that we’ve seen instead of photocopying one for everyone” “So you have to really like writing” “Do you sometimes pull back after writing a post and think nobody’s going to be interested in this” “What if nobody reads it?”

All questions I’ve heard reported by other people, but never actually experienced, especially when dining with clients – this is an important first for me (how sad).

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LesBlogs Lunch Chatter

Lunch at LesBlogsHere’s a podcast of some conversations (roughly 13MB, 28min) I had over lunch with people at LesBlogs in Paris yesterday (oops, Monday).

There are segments here with Lee Bryant and Liam Morrison, joined by Anu Gupta, then Loic LeMeur, Euan Semple (& Martin Dugage) finishing off with Doc Searls.

Do let me know what you think of this format as well as the content – just don’t tell me I laugh at my own jokes too much, I picked that up all by myself…


le soir de lesblogs

Well I’m shattered, so I don’t know how anyone who’s been more actively involved in today is feeling!

There were good bits in the afternoon, but it still felt like sitting in on someone else’s conversation.

In the nanopublishing (I don’t get it, why is it called nano, what’s nano about it?) session the panel (esp Jason Calacanis) engaged more with the backchannel which was projected onto the main screen with people calling them out as they spoke on what their business models were – clearly some old grudges being played out here and some business rivalry too. There was also some to-and-fro on the journalist v blogger argument – are bloggers wannabe journalists? Wouldn’t journalists like to taste some of the freedoms of blogging, and get paid for it?

Then the blogads user survey – I took the opportunity to nap through an advertisement for advertisement – sorry.

I didn’t wake up well for Traditional Media Strikes back (reps from the Guardian, Skyblogs, Le Monde & Jochen from Focus magazine – a lot of stick for Le Monde on the back channel and the poor guy Yann was obviously struggling with his spoken English and this experience of having crosstalk while you’re on stage.

Yossi Vardi came and went – I never was one for ICQ.

Then a thought-provoking piece from Yat Siu and Hoder on, well socio-political effects I guess – Hoder on the use of blogs in Iran and about Iranian affairs and Yat Siu having to sum up “everything about Asia” (!) in about 15 minutes. Good stuff, but could have come earlier when we were fresher.

Doc Searls gave a great finishing keynote, talking about why we shouldn’t talk about content, consumers, audiences – because blogs are “writing” and should be thought of as a form of speech (which can be free) rather than media (which needs to be managed).

And after a quick supper (I couldn’t wait till 9.00pm!!) I write this and then off to L’Alcazar for more mingling.


Lunch at Lesblogs

Great (if sparse) lunch here – lots of chances for stimulating conversations, I talked to Lee Bryant, Anu Gupta, Loic LeMeur, Euan Semple, Martin Dugage (briefly) and Doc Searls – got lots of audio for a podcast for later – will need editing down. Lots of talk about the format and how we could/should do something different in London – but also about the range of people and how difficult it is to pitch presentations. These are just my first impressions and I’m sure more mature reflection will show that it’s really not that bad at all – it’s a great opportunity to meet people I read everyday and even some who read me – and Loic has done a fantastic job here – wifi, backchannel, good control of the main screen during talk sessions, I don’t want to play that down at all, it just doesn’t feel bloggy enough – but as I said to Euan, you have to do it this way in order to know that you’d like to do it differently.

I think there’s also a huge diversity of experience and understanding here. There are guys who’d been blogging 4 years when I started. There are people who have no blog. There are people who weren’t quite sure what a blog is – let’s hope they are sure now.


morning from lesblogs

LoicLeMeur Wiki – Internet 2.0

Took us some time to get in, I arrived at 8.30 and there was already quite a line didn’t get seated until 9.15 and Joi Ito got started around 9.45 – you can see some of the people who arrived in the line before me and those after me on flickr.

so far we’ve had Joi, Caterina Fake, Meg Hourhan, Barak & Charlie, some corporate bloggers where I tuned out and now Ross, Lee and Euan are talking about social software.

my battery may die soon so don’t know how long I’ll manage. Also had no coffee since breakfast.

Lee is showing a slide saying traditional enterprise software bad, social software good. Nobody has mentioned yet the irony of the format – 3 smart guys talking to 200 smart guys and gals.

Et bonsoir mes amis

So I’m in Gay Purreee for LesBlogs. Arrived at Gare du Nord at 17h00 and took a far too leisurely stroll down to my hotel in the 6th – not too bad a distance in a city that you know well, but I’ve never walked around in Paris in my life. So ended up being late for dinner with my brother’s girlfriend but not too late for a delicious Roti de porc farci au duxellois (dunno what farci or duxellois are but it was delicious) and the company and conversation were lovely too.

Slight grrrs because the electric adapters I bought in London don’t work (they haven’t a requisite hole) and I told them specifically where I was going. Luckily the hotel reception is well stocked, but the chap looked a little shocked when I asked for two – one for my laptop, one for my minidisc of course.

Other grrr is that since my last trip abroad (shows how infrequently I travel) vodafone seem to have introduced a “roaming bar” that I didn’t know about and therefore did nothing about and so my mobile won’t connect.

Ahh well, a whole day of frogblogs tomorrow. Photos will be on flickr tagged lesblogs. I hope to be live blogging as long as my battery holds out/I can leech power and I shall be gathering audio for a conference podcast and also planning a podwalk for Tuesday morning.

Bath and sleep, registration starts at 08h00!!

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Fun with Google Maps UK

At least one cheer for the speed of delivery on the UK version of Google Maps – I thought it would take much longer. Viewing maps is fine, but some of the search results are still quirky to say the least and when I look for Whitehall I don’t expect either of these

Trouble is I’m having trouble thinking of serious test cases. All I’ve come up with is:

Lloyd’s House in Epsom
Guys with fat arses in London
Satan in Bromsgrove

Hooray Henry in Sloane Square

Please vote in the comments for the most accurate in your view.

1st prize – a haircut like Adam Curry’s

Not really ready for Dave Winer to find a hotel in London.

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From the sublime…

Baaaato, well not really the ridiculous – it was for charidee after all (and so naturally I don’t want to talk about it) – but it certainly was surreal.

After starting the day so well (see below), I popped over to South Kensington with my friend Helen to attend London’s first Sheep Race. There weren’t any real sheep in South Ken, natch, but we were treated to lunch and recorded highlights of a race that took place last week in the Welsh borders. We were reminded several times that this was London’s first Sheep Race, were spared too many jokes about sheep and randy Welshmen and happily got to give Children with Leukemia some money – overall the event raised just over £1,000.