Archives for category: Twitter

Onwards to my favourite subject, but one I’ve been a little neglectful of lately. All things technological.  In particular, two subjects, that of the Social network and of Apple.


Facebook has become THE social network. It’s slowly grown into that position over a (relatively) long period of time, as you can see here:


I’m sure you’d agree that’s some pretty rapid growth. But that’s nothing.  Take a look at Twitter’s growth numbers.


So Facebook went from zero to 800 million users (by far the most of any Social Network) in 7 years. You could average it at 114m users a year if you like.


However, Twitter went from zero to 200 million in 5 years, which again you could average to 40m a year. So that’s still very rapid growth, but not as fast as Facebook.  So what about Google plus?


G+ went from zero to 10million users in 16 days…..  and we can see from the trends of the other networks that growth starts off slow….  If that’s slow! then these are crazy numbers..  averaging out at 228m a year!!! Holy crud.  Of course – these are just statistics and as we know 87.4% of statistics are made up on the spot.  G+’s biggest problem is that to move people from Facebook onto G+, the Facebook crowd won’t budge until their friends are there, or until Facebook changes something major that they don’t like.


And guess what?  One snippet of tech news that’s not just a statistic is that Facebook is changing.  Their recent F8 conference announced a whole raft of changes which clearly show they feel threatened by the release of Google+ and that they’re running to catch up quick.  One of the more interesting is the timeline, which I actually think looks very nice – but it’s pretty creepy when stuff like this happens to what you thought was personal – and then suddenly isn’t.  

And of course, Facebook users – who are traditionally a fairly conservative bunch – won’t like the change.  At least for about three weeks and then they’ll just resort to their usual level of bland chitter-chatter.


Here’s what timeline looks like from Facebook’s perspective…



Now, from socialising, onto the fruit stuff… Apple…..


If you didn’t know already, there’s an Apple announcement tomorrow and this has served to whip the IT press into a frenzy.  Here’s what I’ve heard that seems pretty solid…


Steve Jobs probably won’t be there, because Tim Cook will be, now that Steve has officially retired. It would be great for him to appear to handover to Tim, but he’s probably too unwell, which is a great shame.  He’s clearly been one of the most innovative CEO’s in the tech industry over the last 10 years and turned Apple around when they needed it most. He will be greatly missed by the tech world as a whole.


As for the announcement, the expectation is the iPhone 5 will land – and I have to say after all I’ve seen and read – I don’t think it will. I think the iPhone 5 (which might have a curved back a bit like the iPhone 3 – or it might not) isn’t going to show up until next year at the earliest. 


Furthermore, the location for the announcement (Apple’s HQ) is a very small venue – too small for an iPhone launch – and this time of year is traditionally reserved for iPod announcements.  Having said that, the invite for the event looks like this:


Now – lots of people have tried to analyse this image – and have drawn the conclusion that – it’s clearly an iPhone event (and not an iPod event), It’s on Tuesday the 4th at 10am in Cupertino, CA and it’s about voice recognition on the iPhone.  That seems to fir with all the other rumors pretty nicely.


iPhone stuff

  • There’s going to be a cheaper 8G iPhone 4 (model N90A)
  • There’s going to be an iPhone 4S (model N94) will have CDMA GSMA HSPA+ (in other words 4G capabilities)
  • Really good speech recognition. Probably not on the iPhone 3Gs or earlier.


Non iPhone stuff

  • The iPod classic will no longer be available.
  • A new iPod touch possibly


Other random guesstimate….

  • There really might be an Apple HDTV – but it’s really dodgy ground.  I’d love to think this was true, but who knows. We’ll just have to wait until tomorrow….


The far more interesting part of the announcement will be the arrival of iOS 5.


iOS 5 has loads of great new features – and as I’ve said elsewhere, since Amazon have announce the Kindle Fire – hardware isn’t where the fight is anymore.  It’s moved on to content. Once more, content is king again. 


If you count an OS as content, then Apple are going to do something awesome in this space. You can read about the advertised changes here:

But one last minute feature that I hadn’t heard about until this week is iOS5’s new locking features – including shapes. Drag your finger in a shape to unlock the screen.  Android does this already – so it’s a welcome addition.


So – 10am PST is 6pm UK time. The only absolute certainly is the tech press will still be talking about it and wondering what Apple will do next.

This post originally appeared here: Posterous

….I find myself absolutely shattered. I’ve spent all afternoon wrestling and scrapping with the dreaded beast but to no avail. I’ve been unable to best it alone. In the end I needed a helping hand from pooh to finally put it to rest. It seems that my laptop just isn’t powerful enough to import the final element into such a large cost case. Bloody software.

By the end of the day the weather was turning too and rather than a nice bright evening that we’ve been experiencing of late, it became dark and over cast and made any further painting in the kitchen impossible. You can’t paint in electric light – Essex fact.

Daughter was baby sitting for Auntie S, Mrs G had corrie’s to catch up with. I had a wealth of reading list to work through. As a special treat we availed burger star of a take away for dinner. It’s not right, but I can justify it with the inordinate amount of cycling we’ve been doing of late, the condition of the kitchen and the overwhelming evidence that it is ‘not McDonald’s’ and is made from very fresh ingredients. It was lush in a very naughty way.


Today sees me having to make a trip to the dentists. A filling. Nothing serious, just my contribution to his yacht fund I’m sure.

I’m hoping for a quieter day today, and if time permits I may try and jot down my thoughts on Google+. I’m particularly surprised at the number of tech heads who are leaving Facebook and twitter in their droves it would seem. I’m already hearing reports of several million new users to G+ in this week alone… And it’s only Tuesday!


Have a great day.

This post originally appeared here: Posterous

Finally we’re on the last week of slogging at it before we can all collapse around the Christmas Tree. It’s not actually a case of being able to collapse the second we finish work though is it?  What will actually be happening is last minute rushing around buying bits of food and drink, wrapping that last little trinket and writing that final Christmas card. Swiftly followed by a glass or two of something interesting, laying out of a mince pie and a snifter of sherry for the big fella and then… and only then… collapsing in front of the Christmas Tree.

But it doesn’t end there either does it?. The big day is all about the kids unwrapping presents and cooking a big bird. This year there will be breakfast in bed too!   You see, we’re very lucky that the kids are now of an age where while Christmas is still exciting, it doesn’t require getting up at 5am to throw wrapping paper everywhere and play with the empty cardboard boxes. So instead we’ll be having a reasonably leisurely start to the day and I might even have a go at rustling up some eggs benedict – which is my all time favourite breakfast…. Puts me in mind of a wonderful New York breakfast that Mrs G and I had last time we were there.

In fact, just the thought of it has inspired me to have a dry run.  To that end, a trip to the supermarket this evening will mean I’ll be picking up at least….

  • 3 table spoons of white wine vinegar
  • 4 large free range eggs
  • 2 toasting muffins
  • 1 batch of hot hollandaise sauce
  • 4 slices Parma ham (or Serrano or Bayonne)

Now the tricky bit is the Hollandaise Sauce, and it’s this that requires the practice. So to make the sauce I’m going to need this little list of stuff:

  • 500ml of white wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon of peppercorns
  • a bunch of tarragon
  • 3 large free-range egg yolks
  • 200ml of melted and skimmed unsalted butter
  • a good squeeze of lemon juice

And this is what I’ll need to do…

  1. Boil the vinegar together with peppercorns and tarragon, reduce by half. Strain.
  2. Boil a large pan of water, then reduce to a simmer. Using a large balloon whisk, beat together the yolks and 2 tsp of the reduced wine vinegar in a heatproof bowl that fits snugly over the pan.
  3. Beat vigorously until the mixture forms a foam, but make sure that it doesn’t get too hot. To prevent the sauce from overheating, take it on and off the heat while you whisk, scraping around the sides with a plastic spatula. The aim is to achieve a golden, airy foam (called a sabayon), which forms ribbons when the whisk is lifted.
  4. Whisk in a small ladle of the warmed butter, a little at a time, then return the bowl over a gentle heat to cook a little more. Remove from the heat again and whisk in another ladle of butter. Repeat until all the butter is incorporated and you have a texture as thick as mayonnaise. Finally, whisk in lemon juice, salt and pepper to taste plus a little warm water from the pan if the mixture is too thick.

For me, all that talk of “Golden Airy Foam” and “Ribbons” means that’s going to be tricky to say the least. But I’ll have a crack at it this week and if all goes well, perhaps I’ll surprise Mrs G with it on Saturday morning. As for the eggs and the muffins and putting it all together. Well that’s a lot easier….

  1. Bring a deep saucepan of water to the boil (at least 2 litres) and add the vinegar. Break the eggs into 4 separate coffee cups or ramekins. Split the muffins, toast them and warm some plates.
  2. Swirl the vinegared water briskly to form a vortex and slide in an egg. It will curl round and set to a neat round shape. Cook for 2-3 mins, then remove with a slotted spoon.
  3. Repeat with the other eggs, one at a time, re-swirling the water as you slide in the eggs. Spread some sauce on each muffin, scrunch a slice of ham on top, then top with an egg. Spoon over the remaining hollandaise and serve at once.

In theory, the result of all this cookery should look something like this….

I’ll post some photo’s of my effort when I get to it.

On the subject of our American cousins and by way of a little geekery, I saw this recently and found it to be a compelling 30 minute interview with a comedian who seems to have no end of strings to his bow. Something for your coffee break…

Get on with it!.

This post originally appeared here: Posterous

Trundle, trundle, trundle…. This is the only real downside to working from home (or in my case underneath a roundabout covered in Rabbits). Occasionally I have to drive somewhere and today is one of those occasions. I’m not complaining as it goes. It will be nice to catch up with some of my fellow Starfleet miners and gives us all the chance to hear the latest gossip and moan about whatever takes our fancy.

Today’s gathering will be in Hampshire – so a good couple of hours drive from Gloucestershire which will give me the opportunity to catchup on my podcasts. As it turns out, 2 hours (or 4 if you count the journey back as well) may not be quite enough time.

Since the good Doctor’s (Kermode & Mayo) Friday afternoon ‘Wittertainment’ show stretched out to 2 hours it’s become quite a mission to keep up with it. (If you’re slightly interested in films and you don’t know what this us, you absolutely must go and listen to it here: ) Occasionally on a Friday I can have the radio on and hear them live, but this really is a special treat as more often than not someone wants to spend the afternoon on the phone. I know!! What are they thinking!!?!

Of course having the iPhone running through the car stereo means you can change the playback speed to 2x thus magically compressing time. This isn’t always perfect, mostly because Dr K is well known for talking at speed, so talking at double speed can be hard to understand, but it certainly helps plough through it.  

The other factor is that of Boyd Hilton.  Don’t get me wrong, I do like him. He’s even twittered me in response to some of my abuse in the past, but with all the will in the world, he’s just not the two Dr’s. He is the Editor of Heat magazine, a TV & book reviewer on BBC Radio Five Live but not, as far as I know, any relation to Paris Hilton, which is a stroke of luck for him. You can follow him on Twitter: @boydhilton 

…… Time Passes  …..

And here I am back in the warren having had, what ended up being a very productive day. I was a little late due to the chaos that is the M4 corridor of a working morning, but we soon got down to business ably led by our non-blogging chairman for the day.  He’s very good at keeping us in control – but then he is the coxwain – as long as he’s listening 😉 Very much like this….

And today is Thursday – so WTC outing arranged and it’s off to Chelter’s for a jar this evening.

Fun times.

This post originally appeared here: Posterous

In the fight for Social Geolocation supremacy, how many more applications can we take ?  It’s getting out of hand and pretty soon we’ll have more GPS tracking apps than we’ll know what to do with.  This year they’ve rocketed. But where’s it all heading and where will it end ?

Let’s see if I can summarise where we’re at.  These are the big players (alphabetically) in the market so far.

iPhone App Android App Blackberry App Virtual Rewards Real World Rewards
Foursquare Yes Yes Yes Yes Some
Facebook Yes Yes Not Yet No No
Geomium Yes Not Yet Not Yet No Some
Google Latitude Web Web Web No No
Gowalla Yes Yes Not Yet Yes No
Twitter Yes Yes Yes No No

As you can see they all have differing levels of functionality even if they are trying to do basically the same sort of thing.  Foursquare and Twitter tend to stand out because they’re readily available across all of the main mobile platforms.  Google Latitude isn’t far behind with a clean web interface, but there’s no checkin-in with Latitude. It’s on or off.

So are any of these actually any use to the users aside from being a bit of fun?

Well, there are some “Real World Rewards” available from Foursquare and Geomium highlights local deals to your current position, but ultimately they are a bit “gamey”. There’s not really any killer functionality that makes them a must have app.  I’m not suggesting they’re a complete waste of time, they just haven’t found their place yet. I still think they will.

One of the largest inhibitors is not knowing who you’re sharing your location information with and this feeds a basic level of paranoia among many people. In some cases rightly so.  You only have to have followed the news concerning to understand how this stuff can get out of hand. If you missed it, you can go back in time here.

Obvioulsy the answer is like anything else. Be aware of what you’re doing.  You don’t go to some strange city in the middle of the night and hand out pieces of paper with your bank details on do you ?  So why would you go online and tell complete strangers where you are at this precise moment ?  Share with your friends by all means. But if you’re an idiot, you’ll still get yourself into trouble at some point. You only have to have read a handfull of pages to know that.

I could foresee a time when these guys all end up merge into one big social network (probably called SocNet, or worse still – “Blue Banana” – or something equally inane) where we have bits of Facebook, geo-locationary statuses and micro-blogging all in one clean application that works on every platform. You’ll even be able to neatly segregate colleagues, celebs, family, friends, romans, countrymen… lend me your e- … sorry. Got carried away there. But you get the point. Each of these groups will be able to be kept separate in the Blue Banana world, to save you from yourself.

Will it ever happen?  Not this month.  Ask again in November. That’s how quickly it changes.


This post originally appeared here: Posterous

Back to the grindstone today and catching up with the wad of eMails in my inbox. Not as many as usual, but then I have been actively trying to manage my email numbers downwards. eMail really is the spawn of the devil and is completely misused in today’s business environment. For example, I was out for 7 business days and in that time received 114 emails (an average of 16.28 messages per day). Of these, 70 were instantly deletable, things like:

  • meeting invites for last week
  • machine generated notifications
  • cc’s on things that don’t really concern me
  • announcements which are summarised into a single weekly message (meaning I actually get these twice!!)
  • one long joke thread.  

This means that 61% of my email is rubbish. 

There’s a long way to go before I can consider switching eMail off altogether, but I still think I can get it to a slimmer point yet, and that has become a goal. I still have 30 that are worthy of some attention, although of these, so far I’ve seen 5 that I’m likely to respond to. Just for the sake of completeness – 5 eMails!! = 4%!!. Tells a story doesn’t it. 

I have a feeling the answer to this problem lies in Social media.  The likes of Twitter & Facebook make for a far more direct method of contact, and you’re far more likely to get in touch, if you NEED to get in touch. I wish I’d thought of it, but I can’t take the credit for it. The most eloquent and driven proponent of this thinking that I’ve found so far, has to be Luis Suarez. Have a read of this and see if you don’t agree.

I’ll write more on this later in the year as my inbox shrinks.

Freebie time now….

First of all, I have 5 invites for Tweasier…  first come first served if you drop me an email or DM with your email address in.  Eh?   Hang on. What’s Tweasier ??  It’s a Twitter analysis tool (sort of).  I’m still trying it out so I’m not 100% certain what I think of it yet, but if you want to learn a bit more about it, here’s the video:

Tweasier – The Walk through video from Tweasier on Vimeo.

And then secondly of all…  a free listen of a brand new Album from 3DiCD. I’m sure you remember me blathering on about Howard Jone’s release of Ordinary Hero’s. Well, today see’s the launch of Syd Barrett’s forthcoming release “An Introduction to…”  For those of you who don’t know, Syd Barrett was of course the original front man from Pink Floyd. There’s everything you ever wanted to know just a click away, here:

Do me a favour and turn it down just a tad….  I’m trying to read a ridiculous amount of eMail here! 😉

This post originally appeared here: Posterous

Can’t talk now as movement is painful. 11 and half miles doesn’t sound like far and at the time didn’t feel like far. My legs beg to differ.

Not that I’m a glutton for punishment or anything but both Mrs G and I are getting on it again today. It’s time for a replacement Wok so that will be one of today’s missions. Then there’s the Sunday papers to consider. Some sort of decision has to be arrived at vis a vis lunch. The lawn is ready for another mowing and I believe there are still some movies to catch up with that I might be able to fit in around the Grand Prix somehow. Daughter has to work and son will be watching the Grand Prix on the BBC. For the life of me I don’t understand why the FIA feed isn’t in HD. But that’s a TV rant for another post.

Haven’t really been doing much TV this week and yet the week as pissadeared in the blink of an eye it would seem. I know though that this is because I’ve had the week off, which means I’ve been having fun, which means time flies. Sad but true. I did have the foresight to take Monday off as well though, so the pain is approaching at platform 2 but I’ve got some leaves on the line which will make it ever so slightly late.

On the subject of television there is an interesting Drama coming to Sky 1 (also available in HD – and very good it looks too) called “Thorne” and starring British acting mainstay Mr David Morrisey. Sky run an ad for it every 20 minutes or so I think, but all it ever says is coming soon. Drives me nuts. All I want to do is set the Sky+ to record it and then I can get on with my life until I want to watch it. And so it was to this end that I fired a tweet at Mr Morrissey asking if he knew when he be on the telly. As is the way with Twitter I fully expected to be ignored because let’s face it, Celebs and the like are busy too.

It’s not just lying around in yachts in the sun all day you know. They don’t just waltz in and out of flash restaurants and casinos avoiding the paparazzi every waking minute. Some of them have to put the bins out….. because good staff are hard to come by.

I jest, and of course I’m not suggesting for a second that Mr Morrissey lives like that. Well, at least not ALL the time 🙂 and so it was with some delight that I received a prompt reply from him stating ‘he thinks it’s on the 10th October, but they never tell him anything’

How nice to be recognised as someone deserving of an answer and not just another of the hoard. Call me a sell-out if you like, but I’m happy to have helped Mr M with his contractual promotional activities. Probably….

In all honesty, I believe he was just being what he is. A genuinely nice bloke who’s a damn good actor and is happy to help out a fellow human being in need of an answer that he could provide. Never would have happened in the old days, and that, in a nutshell is what makes Twitter awesome.

If you’re looking for more, there’s some stuff here: and here: and now I’m looking there’s some nice background to be read here:…

While I’m Wok shopping I think I’ll keep an eye out for one of Mr Billingham’s books, after all that’s what a good consumer should do. 😉 Fun times.

This post originally appeared here: Posterous

Twitter (@twitter):
15/09/2010 00:41
Meet the new

This post originally appeared here: Posterous

I know, I know… before you say anything, I know….. Yet again I’m wittering on about twittering. It’s only because I actually want to talk about Foursquare (again!) as a result of my findings in Cabot Circus and more recently Gloucester Quays. Anyway – in 6 months time, just remember that I was blathering on about it long before you took it for granted, as you will then.

I won’t beat about the bush. Straight to the point.  

When Daughter & I visited Cabot Circus in Bristol on Saturday, one of the things I wanted to try out was some Foursquare checkins and offers in a different city other than Gloucester (or Cheltenham town). This was fine, of course.  It worked reasonably well. I was surprised that a few places we visited weren’t already on the Foursquare list of locations, but I was even more surprised at the complete lack of Foursquare offers. Not one did we find.

Gloucester has two or three at least but across the UK, it’s still very very early days.  Dublin, the Isle of Man, Liverpool, Norfolk and of course, London appear to be the first places to be getting involved according to the Foursquare Offers website. No mention of any of the Gloucester offers at the moment, but then I suspect that the data set they’re using may be a little out of date.

In Gloucester, I’ve found these:

  • Domino’s Pizza Every Wednesday the Mayor of each store receives a free small pizza. T&Cs apply. It turns out that Dominoes are actually running this promotion nationally, so if you needed a reason get on FourSquare there’s a free pizza in it if you’re canny. 
  • Cafe Rene have 20% off all Char Grill Menu items between 6pm-10pm (including 16oz T-bone steaks and mixed grill) for every check-in! Show check-in confirmation when ordering. 
  • The Old Bell will give you a free shot! Just show confirmation of your check-in at the bar. 
  • Caffe Tucci have 10% of everything for all Foursquare check-ins! Just show your check-in confirmation at the till. 
  • Caffe Corretto also have 10% off all food and drink Monday to Fridays for Foursquare check-ins. Please show confirmation of your check-in at the till. 
  • Sam’s Bar & Grill Buy one pizza get another FREE when you check-in! Show check-in confirmation when ordering. Offer NOT valid on Sundays. 
  • Tiger’s Eye Check-in at the Tigers Eye & receive 20% off your main meal! Please show confirmation of check-in when ordering your lunch or dinner. 
  • Fever Free shot for every check-in! Just show your check-in confirmation at the bar. 
  • The New Inn Check in on Foursquare and receive 20% off your main course! Just show check-in confirmation on ordering.

I’m particularly looking forward to having a go at this one though, which takes place next month:

Cheltenham Racecourse All Foursquare users who check-in at the Showcase meeting will be entered into a prize draw. Two lucky winners will receive a pair of Club tickets for the Paddy Power Open Saturday meeting. Sounds like a lot of fun to me.

There’s no doubt about it, Checking in is starting to gain a hold. But which will get the most usage.?  You see there’s a few more kids on the block besides Foursquare, and while it’s the most mature of the bunch, it’s still early days in the race for “Mayor of Checking In”. Facebook places will have the immediate mass user base when it finally launches in europe (I can almost feel that pain today). Gowalla already has a following and then there’s Brightkite & Whrrl. Also worth noting is VoucherCloud which doesn’t require any checkin’s at all, but does have a large take up amongst businesses in the UK.

Of course, it’s perfectly possible that you’ll use all of them. In which case, I’d recommend you take a look at It’s not an app in the sense that you download it and install it, but it’s an app in the sense that it’s an HTML5 front end to all those places you can ckeck in to. Pretty cool really. Teaser from Martin May on Vimeo.

Regardless of who wins that war, the micro (in fact I think that should probably be nano) blogging war is already over and well and truly won by twitter. Strangely though, I still know more people on Facebook (which I never visit any more) than I do on Twitter. My theory is twofold.

Firstly, the good old resistance to change which is the biggest problem for any new technology. People won’t go off and do something new if what they have is already doing what they want.  The problem for the technologists is to communicate to these people how what they’ve got doesn’t do all that they need.  The whole “checkin for a discount” trick, does exactly that. People will check in to get their free “whateveritis” so this is one way to really get the takeup moving. Twitter’s problem is, what’s the free thing ??  For me, the answer to that is, the free thing isn’t Facebook (for whom I have little trust, and less respect)

The other reason is people don’t get it. What is Twitter for? or What does it give me? are the questions potential new users ask. To be fair, I struggled with it for a while too, but once you find your feet (or tweet) then it becomes a much simpler place to be. It’s like the status update on Facebook but without all the farmville and other annoying uselessness getting in the way. If only I could persuade my Facebook friends to move, but perhaps Facebook Places will help me do that when it needlessly reveals everyone’s whereabouts automatically. Oh what fun we’ll have.

On that basis, it can only be a matter of time, before twitter has an official plugin for whichever check in tool wins. But there will be plenty more battles before this war is over. In the meantime, the more discounts and deals there are for us as end users, the better.

By the way.  My money is on FourSquare, but stranger things have happened… That horse becoming pope for one…. 3m45s onwards…

This post originally appeared here: Posterous