HubKX – nice concept – a bit swanky, but hey!

The ground floor of the new HubKX in York Way is a cafe space, on the next floor up there are three meeting rooms and on top there is a “library” space with room for people to hunker down and do some work.

Sound familiar? Yup, it’s very close to what I suggested here. Err.. except it’s real, it’s happening and it’s opening on 1st October.

Oh and it’s a bit more exclusive. The intention though is to focus on social interaction among members and light-work rather than providing an alternative workspace – that’s what the Hub Islington continues to provide. I went along for a preview visit yesterday. It’s very nice, a bit swankier than I would like my own place to be, but will suit a wide range of people. The full membership rate is £40 per month or £400 for a year in advance. This membership gets you in the door and able to use the cafe and library facilities subject to a fair use clause. Let’s hope fair use in this context turns out to be fairer than some mobile operators ideas in association with ‘unlimited’ data tariffs!

Hire of the whole space will be possible for some evenings and weekends. Friday night will be social night with a licensed bar from 6pm. The meeting rooms are on an hourly fee depending on size. There are discounts on this and on membership fr charities and businesses whose turnover is below the VAT threshold.

No. This isn’t Tuttle Phase 2 (you’ll hear about that soon enough) but it might well play a part in Tuttle Phase 2.5…

If you go along (especially if you sign up for membership) do let them know you heard about it from me – I’m trying to build some real-world link-love.

Plotting the trip to Berlin

Steve Lawson blurted this idea out to me and we had a chat about this last week at CCC.

So, as we all (and it does seem like an awful lot of people in my immediate network are going to be there) head for Berlin in October wouldn’t it be neat to see a map of people converging from all over Europe – especially those coming by rail or road. Y’know a central place that we can all ping our geo-location to through the journey which gets displayed on a google map. Might even be useful for when we’re there to be able to see where the party hotspots are 🙂

This is your task, oh lazyweb. Just don’t make it look like the opening titles to Dad’s Army.

And if you haven’t booked already, don’t forget you can get 35% off by using my SuperUltimateDiscountScheme code (accept no substitutes) webeu08gr43 on the registration page and remember that early bird registration ends on 25th Sept.

Nomadic Blogging

08092008203OK, this is going to be a bit messy. I’m going to have a stab at a series of posts looking at how to best make use of the 1MSME-L kit. The more I look at it, the more there is so I thought I’d get started with something simple. This is a full blogpost with links and a photo from my flickr stream – bog standard blogging, from a table in Starbucks.

This is my basic workflow – plan, compose, edit, publish. I think that goes for pretty much anything although when it comes to twitter all of it goes on very quickly and only in my head and the screen. So here I am writing this, I already did some planning and right now I’m going to take a picture. *kch* there – and while I carry on writing, I’m just sending that up to flickr via Shozu (I’m using the mobile web though rather than forking out to *$s & tmobile.

So the next thing is to finish writing this – oh dear, it’s getting a bit recursive isn’t it? clearly didn’t plan it as well as I thought I had.

So once I’ve done that, I’ll fire up scribe and type up what I’ve got and add links to my previous post and insert the flickr photo.
The text link is siimple-ish I just need the url of the post, though the copying of a url with this keyboard needs a bit of a hack – at worst I can write down the url on my notepad and then type it in later. and then the flickr photo – I think that saving a bookmark and then copying and pasting it in is the way, but I’m also going to look at copying & pasting from the normal non-mobile flickr page. Then save and publish and there you are. no “real” computers involved (at least on the client side!)

Later… much later…
OK So that was an interesting experiment – the stuff above has sat in draft for a week since I wrote it. I can’t be bothered to do what I intended, which was to tidy it up and put some links in. But it got me started. The main thing I learned was to make sure that scribe had the mobile connection set as default – it kept failing because it was trying to connect to my home wifi, which was kind of out of range ‘cos I was in a Starbucks on Oxford St.

The post I did on Oli’s trip yesterday though was entirely written and posted from the field (to be precise, but not precise enough to spoil it for everyone, a public place with a mains connection, next door to a hotel with an open wifi spot) The video was also edited and posted from the phone at the same time.

It takes time. The Oli post took me *three* hours, not including shooting the video but including editing it down and lots of faffing about learning stuff. So what did I learn?

  • Using the bluetooth keyboard is interesting – I had to keep switching between keyboard and buttons – would be fun to have some hotkeys set up to “Select Left Menu/Option” and “Select Right Menu/Option” Also need to play around more with selecting text. But I’m getting used to it.
  • Using a bluetooth keyboard with an N95 is also interesting to passing geeks, which doesn’t help in getting things done quickly 🙂
  • For simplicity I didn’t add any titles or credits to the video. Rupert has some smart way of doing this, I seem to remember, but it’s a long time since I had a tutorial. I got an inordinate amount of self-satisfaction from cutting a chunk of my waffling out of the middle and smoothing the cut with a cross-fade.
  • I’m very pleased with the sound quality given that we were in a very noisy lunch reception in a bookstore. I used the external mic set up as described in the 1MSME-L post. I’m quite sure that the internal mic would not have coped so well, but I need to do some comparison testing to show the difference.
  • Shozu has a 10MB limit but you can get round that by invoking it from the Video Editor (at least I think that’s how it happened) The video was a 44MB .mp4 file. I just realised I shot it at “TV High Quality” so I could have made life easier for myself.
  • Stealing wifi like this means that the connection was occasionally flaky and there wasn’t much I could do about it. Roll on ubiquitous free and reliable wifi in Central London.
  • Writing links in html is not as much of a faff as I remembered it to be.
  • The ajax interface for makes it hard to get the embed code for the video using the Nokia browser. But I made it in the end (about 60% of my entire faffing time was working this out). You need to select (for this blog anyway) Embed and just like you do normally and hit the “go” button but then you need to hit the “Newer” button in the sidebar element above to display the text box with the code in it. Now that I know it it’s not such a problem, but I’m guessing maybe a different browser or a video sharing site with a better mobile interface are both worth investigating.
  • Copying URLs for links is indeed tricky. I didn’t work out an easier way of getting the flickr photo embedded than to go to the non-mobile version of flickr and get the code just as you would normally. Saving a URL as a scratch bookmark ready for copying and pasting is a useful technique too.

So progress. I’d love to hear from others who are trying this stuff out. How am I doing? Have you found any time-saving hacks along the way?

Back to Berlin

South East Berlin WalkingI’m planning to go back to Berlin in October for the Web2.0 Expo and since I’m going to be there, I thought I might as well also slip along to the Berlin Barcamp which is happening in the weekend before. Alles gut!

Last year when I was there, I was talking about some bonkers idea that I’d had – a “social media cafe” whatever that is. Of course, it’s now become a fixture of my week (as it has for several other esteemed buddies). It’s very encouraging to find that I can still seem to make something happen. I intend to talk about it a lot, both at the Barcamp and, as I did last year, during the Web2Open sessions around the Expo. I suppose I should have a think about what it is that I want to say.

If you’re thinking of coming to Web2.0 too, I can make it cheaper for you. I have a discount code by virtue of being part of the blogging outreach programme (you may well have seen others offering this already – I’ve been a bit slow getting down to blog – but mine is best, because, well, because it’s mine) You can get 35% off the price of the Expo by using the code webeu08gr43 in the Discount Code field of the registration page which you can get to from here

Oli Barrett’s Whistlestop Tour 2008

One of Oli Barrett’s favourite things is to get that initial buzz and release of energy when you meet someone new. He’s also terrifically passionate about entrepreneurship, especially among young people – remember Make you Mark with a Tenner?

To give a kick start to Global Entrepreneurship Week, which starts on 17th November he’s off on a worldwhide Whistlestop tour over the next three weeks, running his famous speed networking events with his equally famous speednetworking whistle across 12 countries to talk entrepreneurship around the globe. By the way, if you’ve ever done a speed networking slot with me, you’ll know how much fun this can be – but Oli is the man who taught me everything I know.

I grabbed a few minutes with him this morning at his launch do in Covent Garden.

All the details are at the Unleashing Ideas site and I’ve given him strict instructions to blog and tweet as much as he can.

You’ll find pictures on the flickr stream for unleashingideas
Video will be on the unleashingideas YouTube account and Oli will be twittering as theWeek

Keep an eye out for his stuff as he bounds around the globe – and especially if you know anyone in Mexico City or Santiago, Chile that could help Oli out, give him a shout on

Social Media Empire – Lite

One Man Social Media Empire LiteSome time ago (yikes it was nearly 2 years ago!), I went through my One Man Social Media Empire bag and showed you the kinds of kit I could carry around with me for social reporting. I think it’s time for an update – because a lot has changed.

1. Portability of kit & device convergence
2. Mobile data connections
3. Social Media Friendly Web apps

all of these add up to me carrying a very different (and less physically stressful) set of essentials.

The kit

I still use the famous one man social media empire canvas bag (although I now have two, thanks to Helen) But now the stuff that I have to have for blogging on the road or at events has shrunk down to what you see in the picture plus the N95 that I used to take the picture, naturally.

1. Nokia N95 – this is the powerhouse – it replaces the laptop, minidisk, DV camera and stills camera in the original kit bag. Wow. For once the advertising copy undersells the product – “This is what cameras have become” and this is what computers, and audio recorders have become too.

2. Notebook and pen – I still need to scrawl – it’s still the most efficient method of data capture, regardless of the seeming redundancy of retyping – you don’t retype everything and somethings you only look up once – also sometimes you’re only writing something down in order to keep someone else happy. All that and what I wrote on Creative Choices the other day about longhand.

3. IGO portable bluetooth keyboard – for those times when my thumbs run out of juice – ie anything more than a caption or bunch of tags. If I have to write a paragraph in the field, it’s worth cracking this baby open. It took a little configuration love (and double-checking by @whatleydude) to get it talking to the N95 but it was well worth it. I wish I could say that this whole post was written with it but it wasn’t, because I’m sitting on a comfy chair at home – the post I pointed to above was typed on it though – in Starbucks.

4. Power lead – still need this. Will be augmented with a spare battery and charger for serious gigs where power’s harder to come by. Would like to try a solar powered charger, but suspect I wouldn’t get much out of it in the UK given our current climate 🙂

5. External mic and gubbins to connect it to the N95. Unfortunately you can’t just plug a mic straight into the phone and use it. Fortunately, you can buy a couple of adapters for a few quid from Maplin that will connect a mic to the TV-out cable that came with it. A bit cumbersome but very useful in the noisy circumstances in which a social reporter often finds herself.

Mobile data connections

I’ve got an “unlimited” data tariff from O2 and somehow through loyalty and asking the right questions, I get that together with plenty of minutes and texts for £22 a month. Hurrah! I’m waiting for the letter telling me that the unlimited isn’t as unlimited as I thought because I’ve over done it, but it hasn’t come yet, despite some serious goes at it. One of the benefits of the N-series is the wifi which means that I actually don’t upload massive amounts very often – only when it’s vital to get something up immediately, and I’m finding that that’s less frequent than I thought. Although I vaguely understand the difference between EDGE and 3G when they pop up on my phone, it doesn’t bother me much – if I *need* to get online without wifi, then I need to do it regardless of the signal.

The other point about this is that it’s so much easier to see whether there’s wifi available with a phone than having to crack the laptop open.


So not only has everything got smaller, more portable and easier to use, but the apps on the phone and in the cloud are so much better too. For example, the video editor on the phone means that I can cut stuff, add titles and upload without transferring to a PC at all – for simple stuff this is great, it just cuts a huge amount out of my workload.

Using Shozu, I can easily upload to flickr, moblog, phreadz, and 12seconds and it handles auto-GPS tagging most of the time.

Tweeting through is fine regardless of connection. I have a bunch of bookmarks in the browser for search terms through as well as my facebook and flickr. I use the gmail app for mail – again, made even easier with the iGO keyboard.

For video that absolutely positively has to be streamed live I have lovely qik of course, though I’m finding that the times when I really need to do this are less than I thought – still for instant interaction it’s fantabulous.

Scribe means that I can now blog directly here from my phone (preferably mains powered and with the keyboard) a-may-zing.

Still to solve.

I need to work out the best way to make all of the content that ends up on the web fit together – what order do I need to do stuff in to make sure that it goes to blip, phreadz, twitter and flickr to get maximum exposure and opportunities for conversation? Also, (gulp) when I’ve managed to optimise that, how do I keep track of it all and take part in whatever conversation arises?

How do I get the most out of my battery and what’s the solution, is it spares or portable charging?

Scribe is a very early beta it can be a bit flaky – also I need to be able to easily pull in pictures from flickr and generally integrate with my web2.0 bits.

If I do need to take video onto the PC for editing, y’know complicated stuff, it still does take a while to deal with – is it time to get a mac? (ducks)