For Immediate Release

FIRFor Immediate Release is one of my favourite podcasts, which has Shel Holtz, Neville Hobson and a host of other contributors talking social media, web 2.0 and how it affects public relations and business communications. It’s good stuff.

Yesterday, Neville needed someone to step in to fill a few minutes, so I stepped up to the plate and spoke about barcampukgovweb. Neville has been very sweet and praised my efforts, but I think he might just be trying to make me feel better 🙂 Seriously, though, it was real honour to be a part of the show.

Anyway, you can download the episode here. I come in at about 16 minutes. I’d really like some feedback, as online audio is something I would like to do more of in the future. In other words, see this as your chance to stop me.


mp3player_mount I like podcasts. I certainly hope the current developments in streamed video don’t mean the death of downloadable audio and video in the near future. Here’s the list of ones I am currently subscribed to and listen on a regular basis. There’s a lot of ’em, but not every episode gets listened to all the way through – with a couple of exceptions…

  • For Immediate Release – Neville Hobson and Shel Holtz talk social media, communications and PR, and discuss the latest fads and spats on the way. Indispensable listening for me
  • Guardian Unlimited Football Weekly – Great discussion of the week’s footy news
  • Guardian Unlimited MediaTalk – I love hearing about all the media gossip and scandals. This is a world I will never be a part of, but I delight in hearing about it
  • Mark Kermode’s film reviews – flawless. Has he ever been wrong about a film? And Simon Mayo is the perfect foil for him.
  • Scobleshow – Very interested in what he does next.
  • Rocketboom – OK, so I just subscribed to this to see how video worked on my iPod. It’s stayed in my subscription list, and serves as a distraction now and again
  • In Our Time – Marvelously eclectic. My personal favourite was the one on negative numbers, which left Melvyn Bragg thoroughly bewildered
  • Start the Week – Again, high quality, mixed up discussed, ably chaired by Andrew Marr – whose A History of Modern Britain I really need to get round to reading.

Am I missing anything amazing?

Richard Pope has been working on a new social website for MySociety, called Here’s how he explains it on his blog:

For all the talk of social networking people forget that for a whole host of internet users have been doing this kind of thing for years using really the really the < web 1.0 technology of email groups and phpBB forums (sw4people, Urban75 and Hern Hill Forum blog are just a few local to me).

They can make a real difference to the local community aspects of people’s lives – discussing crime, finding out about local restaurants, ganging up on their local council or whatever. Many of the people who run these groups (especially the email based ones) are often not that internet savvy, but have found simple tools that let them connect with people where they live that have a shared interest.

The problem is, unless someone tells you directly about one, they are all but invisible.

To this ends, I’ve been building a site for mySociety called (sticking to the “does what it says on the tin” naming convention) that is aiming to map the locations and details of these groups and, importantly, help people find ones relevant them.

At the moment the site is pretty sparsely populated, but I am sure that will change in the very near future. Making decent websites available to community groups is a topic I am greatly interested in, but equally important is making them accessible and easy to find. Great work, Richard!

Zoho Notebook

Zoho Notebook looks like yet another very cool web app – they don’t seem to be putting a step wrong at the moment. It’s in private alpha at the moment – Hopefully I will soon get in for a play and will post my thoughts over on hyprtext.

[tags]Zoho notebook[/tags]

Why I love WordPress 2.1

Visitors to my blog site, rather than just RSS readers, will have noticed a slight change on the right hand side of the site this evening – the archives and categories have just got a lot bigger! This is because I have managed to use the new import/export feature of WP 2.1 to pull together all the posts I have made since I started blogging. Yowza!

Basically, I have had 4 blogs. The first one was a terrible effort on Blogger. Then I got serious and installed WordPress and blogged at At some point I imported all my Blogger posts into that blog. Then I switched to this domain and started a new blog – but in a new set of database tables, so the old blog’s content still existed. Then, when this site went kaboom at the start of this month, I installed WordPress on a third set of tables.

All I had to do to get the blogs all in one place was to install another WordPress setup elsewhere on the server, make sure the wp-config file pointed to one of the old databases, run the upgrade script, run the export and then import it into this blog. I used the same install for the exporting, just changing the database table prefix each time.

It worked like a dream! Only…I know remember how bad some of my early blogging was. Please don’t go there!

[tags]wordpress 2.1, blogger[/tags]

Vecosys launches

Sam Sethi and Mike Butcher, erstwhile editors of Techcrunch UK have launched their own site covering ‘Web 2.0, mobile and new technology firms in Europe’ called Vecosys.

Not sure what I make of that name, and the domain forwarding thing they have got going there is pretty annoying – all the pages seem to be held on a Glaxstar server.

The incident which caused the two to leave Techcrunch was explained from TC head honcho Mike Arrington today. It sure is a mess.

Update: Sam Sethi has counterposted giving his version of events. It is difficult to know who to believe, but as much as I like reading TechCrunch, my instinct is to side with the underdogs…
[tags]TechCrunch, Vecosys, Sam Sethi, Mike Butcher[/tags]

DIY Declassification

This from John Naughton is priceless!

DIY declassification

Ho, ho! The Pentagon released a heavily-censored PDF version of its report into the shooting, by US troops, of the Italian secret agent who was escorting a freed hostage to safety. But it turns out that you could make the blacked-out paragraphs in the classified document, containing top-secret details (such as the name of the soldier who fired the deadly rounds of ammunition) reappear by cutting and pasting them from the site into a Word document! More exquisite details from Corriere della Sera here.