The next geekdinner with Chris ‘Longtail’ Anderson

The long tail

The next geekdinner will be on Friday 7th July 2006 with the Chris “the long tail” Anderson. If your not familar with the long tail, please do check out The Long Tail, in a nutshell which covers everything in excellent detail.

Chris Anderson is the current editor-in-chief of Wired Magazine, which has been around before many of us were tangled up in the web. Chris first coined the phrase “The Long Tail” in the 2004 Wired article by the same name. And has expanded his thoughts into a book titled The Long Tail: Why the Future of Business Is Selling Less of More (2006). Which you can buy on Amazon or any other good book seller. Before Wired he worked at The Economist, in London, Hong Kong and New York, where he launched there coverage of the internet, while Technology Editor.

Chris will talk about the big-picture consequence of the long tail and detail how our economy and culture is shifting from mass markets to million of niches. He will happily debate about the effect of the technologies that have made it easier for consumers to find and buy niche products, thanks to the “infinite shelf-space effect.” And touch on new distribution mechanisms, from digital downloading to peer-to-peer markets, that break through the bottlenecks of broadcast and traditional bricks and mortar retail.

Certainly not to be missed.
The venue is still to be confirmed, but the date will certainly be Friday July 7thThe venue will be The Bottlescrue, 53-60 Holburn Viaduct, London, EC1A 2FD.. Maybe Chris will even sign or give away a couple of his new books? Don't forget to sign up on the geekdinner site

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Ultra Wifi is coming

11.99 pounds unlimited wifi

This arrived in my inbox today.

Thank you for registering your interest in Ultra WiFi. We've been thrilled by the response to the offer and we are pleased to announce that Ultra WiFi will go on sale July 4th. It's a big step forward for WiFi in the UK as Ultra WiFi will finally bring people the great value, always on, internet access on the move they have been asking for.

Ultra WiFi is unlimited low-cost WiFi for just £11.99 per month. You commit to a 12 month contract and we commit to bring you low cost all-you-can-eat WiFi at Cloud hotspots and Hotzones across the UK.

With over 7,000 Cloud hotspots across the UK, including 9 city centre hotzones and hundreds of new sites every month, we are confident that no other WiFi provider can match this offer in terms of price and coverage.

We will email you next week so you can sign up for Ultra WiFi directly from The Cloud website.

Kind Regards

The Cloud Networks
Your wireless route to the Internet

Please see for details.

Well like I said previously, its tempting. I mean its far off most broadband costs and everything mobile device I own, supports wifi including my phone. I like the idea of running Skype on my phone, specially now I know it works thanks to David. Yes I understand the cloud isn't everywhere and there are others like Fon arriving on the scene everyday. But to be honest, everywhere I tend to go has the cloud. Hummm, I might wait this one out a little and see what happens.

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The endless hassle of the Sanyo HD1 Camcorder

Sanyo Xacti HD1

This long and complex tale starts when I was in America and looking for a camcorder. I wrote a blog entry from America talking about the differences in Camcorders and asking for which one I should go for. I was actually not looking at the High Defination (HD) cameras at the time because of the sheer price but did like the look of the Sanyo Xacti HD1. So after the blog post I got a couple of emails and comments. One suggested looking at because they seem to have lots of them on sale there. So I did while me and Sarah were staying with Birch in Minneapolis. I also looked at a few other places like,, bensbargins, froogle,, etc etc. And of course Ebay was the best price by a long way. So I thought hummm, maybe this would be a good time to use ebay. Specially being in America and able to get things delivered to my in-laws address, plus of course the great conversion rate of the pound at the time (1.85 dollars to the pound). This is where the tale goes sour….

So me and Sarah decided to look at Ebay for the Sanyo HD1 Camera, we find a seller called Trading Circuit. It turns out that Trading Circuit is actually the online ebay arm of Circuit City (Like Comet in the UK). So basiclly if they can't shift something which has been returned in store, they will sell it on ebay instead. Makes sense and I'm not against this at all. Actually it would be great if Curry's Digital and Comet did the same thing in the UK. Anyway, so me and Sarah are thinking hey there feedback is pretty good and there not going to rip us off, so were looking through the closing auctions. We find one very close to this one (which ends in 2hours), but it only had 23mins remaining on it. I read very carefully thought the information and start bidding. Find out that I can't bid because my ebay account is based in the UK and trading circuit will only sell to the states. Which is stupid because I'm going to use an American credit card (Sarahs) and it will be sent to an America address. So in the end I rope Sarah into buying it because her ebay account is American. We finally finish and look at the bidding, well we lost out on that camera by about 2mins. So we look at the promo box at the bottom which reads See more great items from this seller. And come across this auction for a Sanyo HD1. Scanning quickly across the text, everything looks pretty much the same. Well I was just about to make a huge mistake.

If you look at the Item Specifics. It has 3 ticks, but if you read carefully (which I didn't) it says on the 2nd one AS-IS (Primary function does not work – see description). Then if you look down a little more you will also see this…

Unit will not capture/save pictures or video onto memory card (primary function) – LCD and viewfinder are black during recording.

Well obviously I didn't full read this and you can't really blame me when you look at the other Sanyo HD1 auctions which look exactly the same. Anyhow, me and Sarah did bid on the broken Camera and won the auction at just over a 100 pounds. I was thinking wow were really got a great deal. Then we went off explorering Minneapolis with Birch.

That night, I was up really late and decided to look around at some of the forums about the Sanyo HD1 camera. See I had looked around before, when deciding which camera to get, hence the Samsung and Panasonics didn't stand a chance really. So I found this one called and they had a forum just for the Sanyo HD1. It was very useful because it had shots and videos from a HD1, hence I know what the quality is like of the HD camera, etc. So I came across this sticky topic titled Black Screen on my brand new HD1 Help!!!!!!!!! I start reading and guess what……QQcmdZViewItem

I found two HD1 items of ebay with the blackscreen problem. Being sold as a spare parts. I guess it's not completely uncommon.

one of the links points almost directly to the auction I had just won that morning. How do I know without clicking? Because the link was Purple not default blue. I honestly couldn't click it for a minute. In the darkness of Minneapolis at 4am, I could feel the blood just chilling all over me. Then I started to sweat, as my head got really hot thinking about the morning and how we had one the 2nd auction not the first one. The first one I had read really hard while the 2nd one I just scanned quickly. Then I finally clicked the link and bang there it was, except this time I could see all the flaws like unit will not capture. Trust me, I couldn't sleep that night and the fear of telling Sarah the next morning that we had just lost over 100 pounds on a camera which is used for spare bits. In the moment of disbelief, I wrote a email to trading circuit saying it was all a mistake and please don't send the package.

The next morning I did tell Sarah and we contacted Trading Circuit again but through Sarahs ebay account and offical means. Hoping they wouldn't ship the package and understand its all a big mistake. They did write back saying many people say this after an auction they won. We wrote back saying its honestly the truth and that we had bought the model below (Sanyo VPC-C6) at a Circuit City in Madison because we really did want the camera, but one which worked. Would they like to see the recept? We had left Minneapolis and ended up in Madison, so the email back and forth took about 3-4 days. Finally they asked us to fill out some form to claim back some of the money excluding a restocking fee of 10% (I believe). I hope to have all the emails available soon.

After we sent back the form, nothing. We did get the goods, and yes the Camera did turn on, but did not record of show anything on screen (which was not mentioned in the Auction only the forum). We decided to leave the camera and its almost useless accessories in the states, just in case Trading Circuit say yes, ok we'll have it back. I did buy the Sanyo C6 like I said in this blog post. And am happy with it except I had my heart set on the HD version with Widescreen video and external microphone port. So when I got back, I did bid on a few cameras which were just the cameras and no accessories, hoping to make up the complete package. But in the end got sick of the idea of buying another thing from Trading Circuit and decided to bid on this Refurbished one which includes the Manufacturer Warranty. So I shouldn't have the grey import problem which others have described in the same forum. The auction didn't have all the package of a new HD1, so those accessories will be useful after all. I'm still down on Trading Circuit and am choosing what to stick in there ebay feedback but at least I should have everything. Its cost me and Sarah over 700 dollars which is the same price as I could have got it for on Amazon or BestBuy but hopefully we will sell the Sanyo C6 in the UK and maybe beable to get the broken HD1 fixed or sold for parts.

I would love to say this will be the end, but I don't think it is. First it I'm not counting any chickens till both boxes are in my hands in the UK and it does work correctly. Second, I've been reading this blank screen of death or black screen disease is maybe common across all Sanyo HD1's! Which means at some point in the future everyone will have this problem? Geez, maybe the C6 was the best idea after all.

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Videos from the @media Social now online

At the @media Social, there were some talks given by some of the speakers of the @media conference. And I managed to stick slightly smaller versions on my server. There in Mpeg4 format because thats what my new Sanyo shoots in and VLC compresses nicely into. I've tested them with Quicktime and VLC but nothing much else sorry. I may try compressing to Xvid at some point in the future if people ask for it. Enjoy… and I'm sorry the Javascript one is slightly cut, my camera battery died near the end.

CSS get together

Molly quizes Andy about moving on the CSS discussion
With Molly Holzschlag and Andy Clarke

Have I got Accessbility for you?

Have I got accessbility for you
With Andy Clarke, Patrick Lauke and others

Javascript get together

Javascript get together
With Jeremy Keith, Dean Edwards, PPK and Chris Heilmann

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The Roaming GPRS and EDGE bill comes


So following on from my earlier blog post about EDGE coverage in London, where I wondered how much my next phone bill would be. So I finally got my Orange Bill and its a total of 68 pounds, which to be honest isn't as bad as bills I use to get 3 years ago. The interesting part of the bill is my Data charges.

Originating Network Place Called Call Class Megabytes Cost
Orange Orange WAP Data 5.3058 5.895
AT&T Wireless #Orange WAP EDGEdata 1.7179 17.180
Roaming Call #Orange WAP GPRSdata 0.751 0.751
Orange Orange Internet data 0.0031 0.000

Total exc. VAT 5.90 pounds (# incidicates that an item is non-VAT applicable)
Total non-VAT 24.69 pounds

Well how about that then? Talk about steep charges. To be fair I setup my phone to check for emails every hour plus I was on online all the time and I did do a little bit of IM and browsing on it. I'm somewhat suprised I only used about 5meg while I was out there in the Midwest. Its not all bad though, I just got a new contract which pretty much covers everything else I do including 500 texts a month and 200 minutes of Calls. Also now I'm riding around again, I'll be using GRPS a lot less again. So from now on, I'm expecting much cheaper bills of less that 30 pounds a month.

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The @media Social

Only the best for @media

Well what can I say, the event was successful and unsucessful in the same day. The event attracted its fair share of @media attendies plus a whole range of people who didn't go to the conference. We also had quite a few speakers from the conference including Molly, Andy Clarke, Tantek and Dave Shea. But thats not all, also in attendies during the event were, Cameron Adams, Rachel Andrew, Andy Budd, Jeremy Keith, Peter Paul Koch, Patrick Lauke and Dan Webb.

I got to the venue (thelivery) around 12:30pm and there was already someone there waiting for everything to start. By 1pm, there was a crowd of at least 20 people waiting outside the door looking in. My plan of projecting images uploaded to Flickr with the tag atmedia was flushed away, when the venue manager showed me the wet vga cable which had been hanging in the water from the boiler breakdown 2am last night. I have to say, I was so very suprised by 2pm when Molly and Andy Clarke had also joined a quite crowded bar now. I thought most of the people would come between 7-11pm rather than 1-4pm. But took it as a good sign that the evening would be very busy. The only event which I found out which was on via Tom, was Om Malik or was in London. Someone had arranged a event on the same day in Holburn. So I was still feeling very confident, yes even with the World Cup going on. I later found out via Sheila and Paul that Foofighters had a concert in Hyde Park also on the same day. All this I guess had a effect on the turn out later. I think at the peak of the event, sometime around 4pm, I counted close to 120 people. Unfortually, the peak was too early and as 7pm came and went, we started looking at about 40 people in total.

But on the plus side, everyone I spoke to had a great time and for those who stuck around till the very end, was a expensive champagne suprise. I don't believe I've ever seen a grand plus worth of drink go in less that 45mins. Even I had to take glass (i don't usually drink) and toast Patrick on running such a great @media conference this year.

I have videos of three of the Get togethers (CSS, Accessability and Javascript/Dom scripting). So I will put those up online soon. I just need to compress them down a little bit. The Sanyo did a great job but I should have recorded at QuarterVGA instead of VGA so I could have put them straight up.

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@media social is still happening today

@media 2006

@Media 06 Conference is supposedly happening
The @Media 06 Conference (second day) is supposedly happening today. But it’s funny, I’ve seen very little mention of it on the blogosphere. If you ignore the Flickr photos that have crept into Technorati, a search for the tag atmedia returns just 3 posts from the last few days.

I have to agree its been pretty quiet in the blogosphere but Flickr does have a good collection of pictures from the days including the social events. I've been collecting a good range of pictures so I can project them around tomorrow at the social. But it would have been nice to have seen some podcasts too, maybe a special boagworld?

To answer some questions ahead of the Social which will happen in less than 12 hours now. Ben is right, I'm not being paid. Like geekdinners, I don't earn any money from the social events I do. I mainly do it for the fun and enjoyment of seeing other people enjoying themselves. Although if you would like to buy me a drink tomorrow, mine would be either a Redbull, Cranberry Juice or Coke. Also not being paid has its advantages, like not taking any risk with my own money, aka @media are paying for the beautiful venue not myself.
Second question is the timing. Yes we have the venue for 10hours plus, that does not mean you need to be there 10 hours with us. You can come along in the afternoon, go shopping and come back if you like. Which leads nicely on to question three.
People keep asking me if its really a free event and do you need to have gone to the @media conference. The answer is yes its free and open to everyone. We have things setup for certain times during the 10hours but generally I will go with the flow and see whos around and what people would prefer to do during the afternoon. But during the night, I'm expecting to stick pretty closely to the geekdinner style of party. Just rememeber to get your food in early because the kitchen closes earlier that usual.

And on that note, I'll hopefully see you all there tomorrow, don't forget to invite your friends and tag your media atmedia, geekdinner or atmediasocial.

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Signs of brand loyality, or sadness?

My Adidas A3's

You know things are turning sad when you end up buying one of every Cushion technology by one brand. I seem to own one of every Adidas a3 cushion technology to date. This is totally by chance, it just seems the last 3 lot of trainers I have bought, have all been Adidas and they have all included A3 cushioning but are each slightly different.

The first type were the A3 Strike type (2005), then the ugly twin strikes followed. End A3 era 1. Then the A3 Torsions were made which one'tt come in twins, end of era 2 but you can still pick these up all over the place. Then era 3, with the megarides and twins named ultraride. Which seems to be nothing more than very strong modled plastic in a round hoola-hoop shaped cylinder with a joiner in the middle to make sure they don't break. I kind of prefer them to the Nike Shox, but not these crazy megaride things. Geez, i must be sad, but its been one of those things in my head for a while now – *grin* Don't worry I never bought any crazy trainers like the one linked. Why did I write this post? Well someone was asking me about my new trainers and it got me thinking about the whole A3 thing compared to the Nike Shox. Ah I remember the days when we use to go around popping peoples air bags on there trainers… No longer possible with these range of trainers.

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Blogosphere is more international than ever before

I've been meaning to blog this for weeks now. Dave Sifry's latest report on the state of the blogosphere. So generally the blogosphere has becaome a lot more international with english taking a step down in the most used language in the blogosphere. Its actually better that you think too, because english now count for less than 35% of the blogosphere. Theres lots of other interesting things in the report like the Chinese blogosphere growing a lot due to MSN Spaces and Chinese and Dave suggests that Japanese bloggers blog small posts from there phone, hence the huge jump. In the same post but not really realted Dave talks about how Tags and Categories are used by 47% of the blogosphere now.

Talking about languages and blogs, the BBC blogs has new additions to its own blognetwork. Spanish, Arabic and Persian blogs. The Chinese and new Urdu blog are just around the corner too. I guess this is perfectly fitting with the latest report. I have yet to try out Native text (a free web service that translates RSS feeds from blogs and podcasts into foreign languages) but it certainly sounds useful. I hear the Persian Blog already has a large audience visiting it.

Chinese just launched yesterday in simplfied chinese which causes it own problems because its all in UTF-8. It seems a lot of chinese reading people set there browsers to the encoding GB2312 or Traditional BIG5

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ARG’s and Education

I saw this in my aggregator today, Calling All ARG Academia.

With the Alternate Reality Gaming Special Interest Group whitepaper still in development, we have a request from our friend Christy Dena who writes extensively about ARG at her blog Cross-Media Entertainment.Needed: Academics who have investigated Alternate Reality Games
I'm writing a section on ARGs and Academia for the upcoming International Game Developers Association Alternate Reality Game Special Interest Group Whitepaper (IGDA ARG SIG). I'm after approaches from all fields using all sorts of methodologies, and by researchers at different levels of candidacy and postdoctoral status. Since there are many investigations in development around the world I'm including unpublished insights and findings along with published ones.

Well how very interesting, this is exactly what I was thinking quite sometime ago. Using ARG's in education seemed like a logical solution for teaching and meta teaching (teaching about how to teach someone else).

The post goes on…

Alternate Reality Games have captured the imagination of players and academics from its beginning. Academics have analysed the form through comparative analysis with other arts types both contemporary and historical; have employed the aesthetics of ARGs as illustrations of cultural phenomena; have utilised ARGs to interrogate the nature of reality and fiction; utilised ARGs design for pedagogical applications and have also proposed reframings of methodologies in light of the unconventional form. Consistently, however, they have tried to understand the emergence of thisform. Some of these academics are players, some are not. Some are independent scholars, some have made ARGs a subject of a PhD, the PhD or a post-doctoral investigation. Papers have been given at conferences, in journals and articles offered online. Their investigations into what an ARGis, the implications of the form on entertainment, the design of ARGs and the creative heritage of this form provide well researched and measured considerations that offer unique contributions for the benefit of players, designers, researchers, industry and media.

I'm going to subscribe to the Cross media blog for sure, its one of those areas I would like to keep my eyes on in the near future. Maybe a trend for the near future? Talking about ARGs for a moment, I've also been emailing a guy who commented on the runaway success of Perplex City (a ARG from a couple of great and clever english guys). He was talking about the need for Grassroots ARG's. So we've emailed back and forth a couple of times so far. TJ is his name and he's wrote a couple of interesting things.

Many of the staples of immersion have been done before, but just aren't commonly done, such as the pay phone calls, dead drop of items, having characters in the game contacting players directly instead of vice-versa.

I would like to see a greater emphasis on roleplayers acting as the characters, responding to emails, noticing players in the community and reaching out to them.

However, the step I am going farther is to branch out with factions. A couple games have promised an open-end to the game that players can change. We want to do the same, but go farther. Instead of a simple, direct puzzle hunt, what if the players are asked to step inside, investigate and then choose sides?

This is a real neat idea, kind of build the landscape and let people choose which sides they would like to be on in the landscape. The push and pull of each side would work to build up the narriative of the ARG.

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Why is there no EDGE coverage in London

When I was in America. I was suprised when my little data service icon on my SPV M500, changed from G (gprs) to E (edge). Generally GPRS delivers ISDN type speeds while EDGE delivers closer to slow Cable Speeds. In actual life, I was getting about analogue modem speeds (33.6k) on GPRS and single channel ISDN speeds (64k) on EDGE. Which isn't bad, because that's about the same as I got on 3G with my Sanyo S750. But what I don't get is why there is no EDGE coverage in London? I've been around and never noticed the icon change ever. While on Cingular in America I was always on EDGE and even out here in Bristol, EDGE is available once you get closer to central Bristol. Maybe it is the 3G networks pushing out inbetween technologies like EDGE? I do kind of miss having 3G (UMTS) on my phone but having Wifi is a huge plus and I'm honestly finding more use for Wifi than 3G recently.

Talking about EDGE and America, I'm a little worried about my next Orange bill. See I didn't use the phone much for phoning but I did use the data services a lot. I was trying to arrange the @media Social venue from outside the country and needed to email back and forth. When I looked at the Cingular roaming call charges on the Orange site, it seemed to be about 10 for a meg which is a super con but I'm hoping that I never touched that 1meg limit. I mean the phone was on EDGE a lot but wasn't actually transfering any data, so it should be ok. Anyway, I'll find out within the next 2 weeks exactly how much it all come up to. I'm expecting a large one but mainly because of calls from here to the America, ironically.

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Next geekdinner is the @media Social

@media 2006: Europe's Premier Web Design Conference. London, 15th - 16th June.

Something I've been working on for the last few months now, has now finally become reality. The next geekdinner will be part of the post @media social event. And the whole event is FREE for anyone to enter enjoy. Unlike most geekdinners, we are going to be open for 10 hours. Right off the bat, between 1pm – 2pm will be the @media lunch. Which will be a chance to have lunch with some fine designers while discussing the previous nights at the conference or webdesign generally. Then we dive into some key webdesign issues like CSS, Accessibility, Javascript and Design generally. These get togther sessions will quite adhoc and may contain a small panel of people if we get enough people interested. This is also a good time to relax with some beers or wines with likeminded people in the different areas of the Livery. Just before 6pm its a good idea to put your order in for dinner, because from 6pm we will be having a tradional sit down geekdinner with maybe some entertainment or discussion before the party at the end of the night.

So the date for your diary is Saturday 17th June from 1pm onwards at the Livery. Which is 130 Wood Street, just off Cheapside or a short walk from St Pauls Station which is on the central line. I hope to see you all there.

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