As the police request for media of the blasts…

No to terrorism

…bloggers, grassroot journalist and the cameraphone carrying public can be proud of the great work they have done. Not only some of the best pictures and videos of the tragedy could also be used for evidence in capturing the actual people who took part. Like Dan Gillmor, I turned to the BBC then the guardian then to the blogosphere, wikinews and google news.

Some of the highlights of the terriable tragedy,

Flickr: Photos on day of bombing in London – Flickr becomes a great resource for the latest pictures.

Wikinews: Coordinated terrorist attack in London – Collaborative news finally starting to work

LA Times on cameraphone coverage of London bombings, indeed the watershed moment in the history of media journalism.

Forbes interviewing Adam Stacey about his natrual reaction to film and take pictures from the choas underground.

Some signs, large media is starting to get the future picture of breaking news and the longevity of such terriable stories.Public provides new dimension to media coverage by the guardian.Mobiles capture blast aftermath and lots more by Jo Twist of the BBC.

Missing persons groups, although the BBC one will get more views flickr really allows for the interaction which could in the end be that life changing result.

The infinite space of the internet allows for voices which are sometimes hard to swallow and sometimes unvalued voices which the mainstream media wouldnt be interested in. For another example of this, I recieved a Spanish Trackback on my blog entry (sarah tried to translate, but found her spanish tougue a little missing). Its really intereting to hear from other countries besides america what they thought of the attacks. And it would be great to hear what the people of madrid (or even spain) thought of the attacks in light of there own attacks last year.

Everyone can take the opportunity read and write no matter how small there involvement but not only that do it on there own terms. My wife gave an telephone interview to her local paper back in Racine (near chicago) where her parents still live. However the Journal times misquoted and screwed my wife over for the story they wanted to write. Nothing new, I hear you say but in this new world Sarah can have her say and call them on the crap there writing it in a way publicly which was never heard of. And even if things do kinda of work out but not quite Sarah can keep them on there toes.

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In Case of Emergency, call ICE

A Cambridge-based paramedic has launched a national campaign with Vodafone to encourage people to store emergency contact details in their mobile phones. Titled the “In Case of Emergency (ICE)” campaign.

The idea is that you store the word “ICE” in your mobile phone address book, and against it enter the number of the person you would want to be contacted “In Case of Emergency”. In an emergency situation ambulance and hospital staff will then be able to quickly find out who your next of kin are and be able to contact them. It’s so simple that everyone can do it. For more than one contact name ICE1, ICE2, ICE3 etc.

Simple and effective… but I decided to added 3 ice's with a combination of home and mobile telephone numbers (defaults set to mobile). Then add how there related to me in the last name section of the contact. So for example ICE1:wife, ICE2:parents, etc…

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Windows Software Ugly, Boring & Uninspired?

An anonymous reader writes “CPU magazine has written a very straight-to-the-point editorial on the lack of quality and innovation in software for the mainstream OS. They compare it to the Mac, which is found in a much different light. Where has all the innovation gone?” From the article: “There's too much coal and not enough diamonds within the sphere of downloads. The greatest pieces of software are plagued by unintelligent design, and very few rise to the level of ubiquity. Windows users don't have a strong sense of belonging; there's no user community rallying around the platform. We use the computer, certainly, or is the computer using us?”

You are damm right! I dont totally agree with the article but generally most of the newer software out there are just that, ugly, boring and uninspiring. Some examples…

Blogging applications: Show me a really good blogging application for Windows which was not a port of one on the mac platform? The best one I've seen and used is Ecto which was for the mac and then got ported over the pc later. Wbloggar is good, stable and works but wheres the Atom api support? Yes I know Atom is still in that unstable state but come on! Wbloggar is also a pain to use if you got multiple blogs and blog alot. I actually use Blojsom's bookmarklet because wbloggar is a pain when inserting trackbacks and technorati tags. Its good for quickly bashing out thoughts or a post but nothing else really. Compare it to Ecto and you got something very different.

Ok taking things up a notch, wheres the innovation in this area? Yes you guessed right on the mac side. Flow which Miles showed me a while ago seems to be one example of this innovation on the mac platform. Not only is it a well thought-out application but its not bad looking either (dont have a mac to try it out sorry). The nearest thing to Flow is Blogwave which is far too complex and somewhat ugly compared to Flow, but to be fair there not quite the same. Blogbridge seems to be the only cross platform aggregator which does much more than just read news.

Look at the instant messenger client field, I wasnt exactly impressed with iChat then iChatAV came out and I was unimpressed with the unknown protocal used for video and audio. But saying that, iChatAV, Proteus and Adium all work well and look good. Compare it to GAIM which Adium is actually based upon. PSI which works well but looks pretty poor (interestingly works on the mac too). Only Pandion and Neos MT looks good. However I'm starting to use Grush which I'm sure I will write more about soon.

The other area where the windows platform is so far behind is in the widget area. Konfabulator has been out for ages and the widgets on the site are pretty good and useful till Apple launched Dashboard in OSX 10.4. Now look at the differences between Dashboard widgets and Konfabulator widgets. For example, a search for google map on konfabulator and dashboard returns 1 for konfabulator and 9 for dashboard. A search for flickr returns 1 for konfabulator and 5 for dashboard. Do you see a pattern emerging here? I still wonder how hard it would be to convert between konfabulator and dashboard widgets. But honestly at this very moment Dashboard widgets are way better than Konfabulator widgets and the innovation in them are amazing when compared. I'm sure Konfabulator can do the same but konfabulator widgets are smply uninspired.

So generally Chris is so right about Windows, I dont know how this can be fixed but it seems a lot more software is going cross platform now.

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London in choas after early morning blasts

London underground sign

Just one day after London winning the Olympic bid for 2012, London is in choas from power surges and explosives on buses and its still only 1030. The underground has been shutdown and there are reports of more explosions on other buses.

The aftermath of a bus bomb

Its now 1112 and another bus bomb has been confirmed. Almost everyone is saying this is a terriost attack of some kind. Blair is going to make a live announcement at noon from the gleneagle, Scotland. No one quite knows whats happening but its certain people are quite calm and walking around trying to call friends and family on a well congested mobile network. Theres also talk that some mobile phone operators shuting down normal calls. The police reckon there have been in total 6 blasts and there may be more to come. Theres also now talk about Train stations in Swindon, Bristol, Brighton being closed and cleared just in case. All bus in central London have been stopped and doubled checked.

map of blasts in London

Ok at 1129, a BBC security journalist (Frank Gardner?) is claiming they have evidance to say Al Qaida are to blame for these attacks on London. I believe just around this time Cobra came into effect.
Its 1202, and a shocked Tony Blair is on. Blair will be making his way to London within 2 hours. Talks about it being a terroist attack to go with the G8 summit, and how we will be defeating terroism. Back in London, all major buildings are in lock down.
1241 and its lots of talk and nothing much else – thank goodness! Flickr is doing a good job of displaying images of the media coverage. Tag bomb and Bigdaddymerk. Google news is also doing quite well when the BBC news site was over flooded with traffic.

Technorati Screenshot

Its now late in the night and the nightmare day is almost over for now. For a complete review its best to look at the BBC's great coverage of all the attacks. I had a look around the web and the screen shot of technorati says it all. 9 out of 10 searches have been on the same terriable event. Interestingly enough BBC tried to cover a bit of what was going on online here.
I really hope someone is saving the screenshots of the indexes on some of the major news websites. MSNBC and CNN have gone so far over the top till I saw Fox news. Compare these indexes to the guardian, nytimes, washingtonpost and of the bbc. I'm glad to see Wikinews is actually creating a very good page about the London blasts.

Well all I personally can say is, tomorrow I will be returning to work and will happily ride the train, tube or a bus. This terriable event points to the fact we helped America in the unjust war were still involved in, although a majority of people here were against it. I do worry that there maybe more attacks like this, but I wont let the fear take over my life in this wonderful multicultural city. The people who planed and excuted the bombs are nut jobs and can claim to be of what ever religious background they want. But the fact remains that people who were killed and injured were of all faiths, religions, colour and background. Tomorrow we shall see both sides using the London blasts for there own means but also tomorrow we shall also see a city going back to work with its head up high. Yes I do sometimes love London.

Tomorrow has come and its already started. From a Fox news reporter, talking about yesterdays blasts.

…these people are, If necessary, prepared to spill Arab blood in addition to the blood of regular — of nonarab people living in London

This is not creepy, its truly wrong, twisted and sick! via Boingboing

Boing Boing pal Danny O Brien says, “Fox News doesn't think some Londoners are real Londoners. Here, an overexcited Fox News reporter catches himself dividing beleaguered Londoners into 'Arab' and 'regular' people. Creepy.” Link to video.

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PocketRSS v2.1.5 faster than ever…

Just recently I upgraded my PocketRSS software. Wow the speed difference is amazing! Honestly my 235 RSS feeds are a pain in the ass to load in the old version and it would sometimes take up to 2mins to load. Now it takes seconds and navigating around is quick and easy. If your using PocketRSS, honestly upgrade you will thank the guys at Happyjackroad for the move to opensource SQLlite.
Even I when first read that, I thought no way is it going to be that much faster? But honestly it feels like 10-15x faster is an under-estimate on there behalf. Good work guys! I've actually run out of features and bugs for them to consider.

About the Database: Previously, PocketRSS was using Microsoft Pocket Access and ADOCE as its database solution. However, it was not an ideal solution for all devices and is not support with the new WM 5.0 OS. As a result we have switched to the open source sqlite database format. Our low-level testing has shown this to be 10x-15x faster than Pocket Access and is working so much better on storage cards than Pocket Access does.

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Julie Howell recognise for her great work

Julie Howell

This is great to see, Julie Howell who is well known for her accessability work at the RNIB. Was awarded a NMA award just recently. I was suprised because usually awards like this dont go to people like Julie. I think she deserves this award and whole lot more. No one works harder than Julie in this area…

Howell, who has been in the job since 2003, is a tireless campaigner for Web site accessibility. She's keen to point out the business benefits of accessibility, as well as the legal requirements, but she's intolerant of companies that want to do the bare minimum to keep their Web sites on the right side of the law.

Julie honestly works so hard in the area of accessability. A while ago I convinced her to give a lecture to Ravensbourne College, and I really got a chance to talk to this amazing woman. Good on you Julie and this is great news for web accessability.

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Doug Kaye’s next venture, world dommination?

I was reading Blogarithms just today and came across Dougs new venture. Generally this explains most of it.

My new project is to capture (record) all of these presentations, post-produce them, and make them available worldwide for free.

To record tens of thousands of events each year, we will appeal to the social conscience of the worldwide army of podcasters 10,000 today, and 25,000-50,000 within a year who I believe will be enthusiastic about the opportunity to give back to their communities and to the world. As a side benefit, these podcaster stringers will hone and extend their skills and build their reputations in ways that could benefit them financially and otherwise.

We will build an online “dating service” that will match podcasters with events in their communities. Likewise, we will recruit volunteer writers and producers to create and edit the metadata and descriptions that accompany the recordings. Content will be managed, and quality will be maintained, by a Wikipedia-like system and community. High-volume content will be delivered by a combination of BitTorrent and partners such as the Internet Archive.

We will cover not just IT or even technology, but literally every topic about which someone speaks and another person finds it valuable enough to capture.

Wow! Now I have no idea of how he's going to drive this forward but it sounds like something well worth following and backing, specially if Doug is seriously considering the vital elements of cooperation, community and emergence.

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