Category Archives: notes from JK

Transport that just works

I've just hopped off a tram in East Croydon and now I'm on a slam door train which is crawling towards London. The tram was cheap, quick, clean and reliable. The train is none of those. I'm going to be late to a Voxpolitics do at Westninster grrrr. Bring on the trams!

Bonus thought In Lublin, Poland they have electric buses powered by tethers just like trams are. They look odd but there's no need to lay track. Why do we need track for trams? Isn't road enough?

So busy

Well I haven't been posting as often as I would have liked to recently. But I notice that many other of the blogs I enjoy are in a similar situation. It's that pre-Christmas crazy period when we all try and cram as many projects in as possible.

I spent three days in Antwerp last week and found the city to be quite wonderful, way above my rather low expectations. It's a beautiful place and I was struck by how well old and new buildings were integrated. I kept turning the corner and thinking “why can't we do that in the UK???” Our lack of wide avenues is a major problem but somehow architecturally we don't get 'there' very often. For example on the station development in Brighton they are proposing the most massively inappropriate 42 storey tower… more on Keith's site. It's all wrong, on the top of a hill, very unimaginative design. Pants.

I'm trying to a squeeze an article on e-voting out. It's looking at the US election and I'm surprised at how little there really is to grab a hold of, some glitches and cock-ups but nothing concrete. Did it all run so smoothly? We have no way of telling, which is the point really. I'm very keen to move on from e-voting so once I file the article it will be my last for a while unless something very dramatic happens.

Online community consultancy – finally!

I've been working with online communities since I first started using and running bulletin board systems in 1993. We've come a long way since the days of dial-up, ASCII-based systems with bundles of modems screeching as callers tried to connect. Nowadays communities are far more accessible, powerful and easy to set up. Where before it was a thrill if there was one other person online with you, today thanks to instant messaging I can chat with hundreds of people at the same time. So, in spite of all the changes, I'm still building online communities for businesses, associations and non-profit groups.

A few conversations led me to realise that online communities is what I do every day. A few 'aha!' discussions later with my fellow directors and Swing Digital was being reformulated to make our new-found (old) focus clear. It's incredible to think that we've been going since 2000. We've built communities for extreme skiers, software users, alumni associations, political groups; and it's been great fun. So what do you want to build?

All that to say… we've got a new website: http://www.swingdigital.com

Shatner’s new album

Music and Shatner do not mix well, as anyone who has had the misfortunate to experience Kirk’s previous forays into singing will know.

But… I was tooling around on the iTunes Music Store and came across his new album, “Has Been”, whilst trying to track down Blondie and Outkast. I did a double take. My mouse pointer hovered… and I clicked.

£7.99 later and I now actually own (if you can own AAC rights-managed files) some of Shatner’s music. It’s bizarre but very strangely compelling. Ben Folds is in charge of the musical bits, Shatner talks through songs with a touching clarity and honesty which is hard to explain. Some of the tracks also have singing from artists like Aimee Mann and Joe Jackson. As a huge Mann fan (thanks to Magnolia) I had no trouble taking the plunge. Plus the first track is Pulp’s “Common People”… superb!

You may just like it… Has Been

At the Brighton & Hove Web Awards

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At the Brighton & Hove Web Awards on Thursday night. I got an invite because I was one of the judges. A fun event and I think the right people won. It was amazing how similar the shortlists each judge came up with were.

The editor of The Argus, our local paper, didn't ingratiate himself when he presented award. He began by saying he hadn't been listening as he'd been chatting at the bar. It went downhill from there. Oh well.

Posting via email

Email content editing has an incredible future. Sounds retro but when you think that email from mobile phones/devices is much more viable than editing text in a web form on a 3 inch screen it becomes clear that email remains the Internet's killer app.

(And yes, I just finished developing our own email posting system hence the pre-occupation.)

No more ‘Internet’, it’s just ‘internet’ now…

Wired News the excellent online news source have always led the way with their style guide when it came to digital terminology. Was it 'email or 'e-mail'? They decided 'e-mail' and that was that.

For many years they always referred to the 'Internet'. I have always done the same and when people have tried to edit my capital Is down to i they have been pointed to Wired News. The Internet is a place for me and thus deserving of the capitalisation. But internet technologies are different and a capital is not needed.

The good times are over though, Wired News no longer capitalise the i in Internet. Perhaps this is only important to pedants, but for Wired News the Internet is now just another medium for communicating information, not a place. Well j-dom.org is one place where the Internet will remain lovingly capitalised.

Easter Hols

I’m off to Poland for a week to see my partner’s family. I’ll be offline during that time so have a peaceful Easter break and I’ll see you once I emerge from the email backlog at the end of next week.