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Sunday, 10 August 2008

Scrapbook clips catch up

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lastfm has a new design which I'm slowly getting used to. It appears to have a couple - that's all - new features, but they're useful. Techcrunch thinks it's buggy. The Times nails the business model, which is rather good, boasting the "'smartest' ads on the web".
An example of the new "smart" adverts displays an image of a mobile phone handset which changes according to what the user is doing. For instance, if someone is listening to Bon Jovi, the phone would appear to start playing a Bon Jovi track, showing off its MP3 player.

Hotel chains will be able to tap into a user's list of favourite artists and display adverts for hotels in cities where those artists have upcoming gigs. Train companies, similarly, will be able to advertise services running to other music-based events that may be of interest to the user.
iphonic madness? Behold: "I Am Rich," a $999.99 app from Armin Heinrich, which just displays a red gem on the phone's screen — nothing else.

directgov is soon to launch a tellmeonce tool, which has some designs leaking out here. PSF has the story noting that it's the much-anticipated 'Citizens Account'.
Here we see the Citizen's Account is split into two sections, the first showing an inbox of messages from government departments, and a second listing the user's relationships with given individuals.

A further page shows how the user manages these relationships. An explanatory states: 'Please note that most relationships need to be created by having a face-to-face interview with an officer at the Department for Work and Pensions'.
North East Connects, a consortium of local councils, has raised urgent and serious concerns about councils' readiness for NI 14 (measuring avoidable contact). It says:
Avoidable contact' figure which councils need to report to CLG [Whitehall], and which will be published nationally, is 'relatively meaningless', despite it underpinning one of the Government's two key progress measures for service transformation.
When parliament wanted "improved design and navigation" and "simpler presentation" of bills and a "greatly improved" search engine it cost £3,644,000. But to show us our MPs speaking in the house cost virtually nothing, because MySociety volunteers did it. Sheesh.

The Tiananmen Massacre Map (PDF)

Smart of China to parade an earthquake victim in the opening ceremony. In Schezuan, parents whose kids died in collapsed, shoddily built government schools (where schools for kids of officials didn't collape) are being repressed from protesting.

Yu Tingyun, left, lost his daughter, Yang, in the May earthquake in southwest China, and Huang Lianfen, right, lost a nephew. Ms. Huang holds an agreement that Chinese officials want parents to sign, saying they will not hold protests about collapsed schools.'s latest campaign is the Olympic Handshake.
The handshake began with the Dalai Lama, passing through the streets of London, now it's gone online where all of us can join in -- help the handshake travel toward Beijing, where our message will be delivered through a big Olympic media campaign before the closing ceremonies. Join the handshake, and see yourself and others as it goes around the globe! has a set of stunning exhibits. Here's one, a kinetic sculpture, which seems terribly early 80s to me ...

Anyone using a filter, created by US technology company SonicWall, which gives employers the option to block access to websites simply because they “promote or cater to gay and lesbian lifestyles” could be breaking the law. Here's one UK school using them.
SonicWall’s Anna Wright declined to say if the company would warn its UK customers they could be unwittingly breaking the law by using the gay-blocking setting.
Wired's great take on those photoshopped Iranian missiles.

Matthew Inman's great take on the 'state of the web, summer 2008'.

Quote of the week:
"These brainstorming meetings at Guantanamo produced animated discussion," writes Sands. "'Who has the glassy eyes?" Beaver asked herself as she surveyed the men around the room, thirty or more of them. She was invariably the only woman in the room, keeping control of the boys. The younger men would get excited, agitated, even: "You could almost see their dicks getting hard as they got new ideas" [reported Beaver]. A wan smile crossed Beaver's face: "And I said to myself, you know what, I don't have a dick to get hard, I can stay detached."' [Sands, p 63]
From Naomi Wolf, Sex Crimes in the White House.

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