As we hurtle towards the new year which seems to arrive sooner each time (although I am reliably informed its a 'good twelve months since the last one'). My mind is split between looking back to what has gone and forward to the new year.
I'm obviously not alone. For every civilisation, there is a day which marks the last and another which marks the first, the numbers may be different but the sentiment is the same.
So I look back on a year which included too many things to list here but more importantly I look forward to a year of opportunity and promise. It's this optimism which I want to end on for 2007. I want to encourage all my readers to begin 2008 with renewed hope and vigour. New beginnings offer us all a fresh start and if we take a leaf from the book of the Roman god Janus, we can look both into the past to learn from our mistakes but also into the future to make 2008 the best year of our lives! Its easy to remember too as we name the first month of the year after this two headed god.
So, may I offer everyone my warmest wishes for a healthy and prosperous new year! Have a good 'un!
Monday, December 31, 2007
Thursday, December 27, 2007
I've been using my holiday time to think about work (hmmmm) and I've decided how I can combine my main hobby with my job.
You won't be surprised to hear it means the launch of yet another web based platform but I'm pretty sure that as the content gets added, it will be worth a visit on more than one occasion.
I have decided to dedicate some time to recording and presenting a series of photographs based around the concept of social documentaries. This means that I will be recording photosets centred around people, places and events.
The website is already online and I'd be very grateful if you would consider adding it to your bookmarks and checking it out every now and again.
Thanks a lot and enjoy the rest of the holidays!
Monday, December 10, 2007
The wonderful thing about flickr is that it shows your work to a much wider audience than those who may flick through your photo album on your coffee table. I had first hand experience of this after one of my photographs was published by a Japanese fashion/art magazine.
Ing Magazine featured my photograph of Antony Gormley's 'Angel of the North' across a double page spread and they also sent me a copy so I could see the results for myself.
This new web 2.0 age in which we live opens up a much wider marketplace for people such as myself, however if you'd of told me as I set up my camera in Tyneside that my photograph would feature in Japan, I still would of had a hard time believing you.
Sunday, December 09, 2007
A week ago I was able to spend some time in Shropshire.
I was visiting Emma's Auntie and Uncle who live half way up a hill in some of the most beautiful countryside I have seen in the UK.
I have posted one of my photos which I took and even as I look at it again now, I am remembering what a fantastic time I had and what a wonderful place it is to visit.
I'd just like to thank Sue and Richard for their hospitality and hopefully I'll see you both again sometime. To anyone else reading this, if you get the chance to spend some time in this wonderful county, don't pass the chance up!
Sunday, November 25, 2007
I've been busy searching through some of my favourite photographs from the past three and a half years and here's the result.
www.paulhurstphotography.com features some of my most popular work along with some of my personal favourites. Let me know what you think, and if you have your own photoblog or photowebsite then why not post a link here for other visitors to check out too.
Friday, November 09, 2007
Today I have launched my latest political initiative which combines my interest in politics with my work in journalism.
Over the next few months, I will be interviewing various politicians and MP's to find out more about them and their policies too.
You can watch the first one below and the videos will feature both here on my blog and also on the 18 Doughty St website too.
Coffee with a Councillor from pthurst on Vimeo.
Tuesday, November 06, 2007
Ever wondered what happens when you put Tony Smith in charge of highly explosive fireworks? Well, have a look!
Tony L Smith's Firework Extravaganza from pthurst on Vimeo.
Now obviously, I would never condone irresponsible behavior as far as fireworks are concerned so I don't want anyone doing anything silly! And Tony, you may want to be EXTRA careful if you end up doing this job again!
Thursday, October 11, 2007
According to a press release pre-dated for this Saturday (presumably not under embargo though?), McDonalds burger joints in conjunction with 'the cloud' will soon offer free Wifi hotspots for fast food junkies all over the UK.
This comes on the back of an announcement that Wifi enabled devices such as apple's new iPod 'Touch' are becoming very popular indeed.
Many people have now bought, by accident or design, devices that can access WiFi networks to access online information and emails and the rise in popularity is starting to force more providers to offer a free service. Announcements like this will start to break the subscription or pre-pay mould, something which is long overdue in this country and might actually see users switch the Wifi capabilities of their mobiles or PDA's on!
Talking of mobiles, Apple's much sought after mobile phone may lack the HSDPA or 3G, broadband support, but it will apparently allow free access to 'the cloud' and not just in McDonalds either. So bloggers, techno-geeks or even just the curious will soon be able to enjoy the internet on the go, without paying the exorbitant prices that cripple everyday usage in the same way that telephone charges used to, before the introduction of flat-rate and broadband services.
I look forward to seeing more of this kind of thing on the menu in the future.
Monday, September 17, 2007
Most Modays are boring but not this one! Tony Smith decided to dine 'al fresco' last night but got a bit more than he bargained for. As someone who's allergic to mushrooms once said "surely I can have the chicken and cashew nuts?"... Wrong!
***You can actually see him barfing in this vid so you have been warned!***
Wednesday, September 05, 2007
Weeks of speculation have come to an end with Apple's announcement that the entire range of it's iconic iPod are to be revamped.
More interestingly, the Apple CEO also unveiled a completely new model which will be called the 'iPod touch'. Essentially the brand new model looks and operates identically to the new iPhone which has proved to be a phenomenal success since its launch a few months ago. The new iPod features many of the same functions and is operated in an identical fashion.
Apples latest 'must have' gadget also features an inbuilt web browser and WiFi connection which will allow users to access the internet on their iPod and also make purchases from iTunes.
The device looks very promising indeed and the huge display and battery life improvements will also make video playback both practical and realistic, something which had previously eluded the 5th generation players.
The new 'iPod touch' will be available by the end of the month and will come in 8gb and 16gb sizes.
To date, Apple have sold in excess of 110,000,000 iPods and iTunes has been downloaded over 600,000,000 times. Todays announcement will only go to increase the rate at which Apple is taking over the music distribution industry.
Monday, August 27, 2007
One of my photographs has made it into the top-twenty photographs which will form an exhibition at the National Museum of Media and Photography in Bradford.
The photograph was taken on the road to Buxton in Derbyshire and was taken after two previous visits to the same location.
The twenty images which will be exhibited were originally uploaded to flickr and then included in a 'britain in pictures' group. The exhibition itself runs at the museum until January 2008.
It goes without saying that I'm honoured that my picture has been chosen, especially given the quality of some of the other photographs in the group.
Friday, August 10, 2007
Well, it's that time of year and this year its of to Cornwall for nine days of sun (?), sand and surfing!
I'll be having a break from the blog too but I will be maintaining my photoblog so you can still see what I'm up to.
The link for my photoblog is here.
Wednesday, August 08, 2007
Ok with a slight improvement in the weather, I finally got hold of some new golf clubs.
Its amazing how much 'tat' you come across on the internet too. I was doing my research but aside from some excellent instructional videos on videojug, I was amazed how difficult is was to find useful information that wasn't trying to sell me something.
I couldn't finish my post here without including the best example. Basically US presenter, Kenny Mayne decided to tackle the issue of 'wuss golf'. Men not playing as 'men' on the golf course. Any golfer is used to it, half hearted club selection and blokes playing from ladies tees.
Anyway take a look at this video . It may not have been useful, but it was funny!
Wednesday, August 01, 2007
A local Staffordshire town has been disrupted with road closures and police cordons after a bomb disposal unit was called in to take a closer look at one or possibly two suspect items.
The team were called in to Biddulph near Congleton at around 5pm today and although details are still sketchy, the authorities were clearly not taking any chances as they blocked off roads and and called in army experts to take a closer look.
In this day and age, this obviously goes to show how city-wide fears of bomb attacks have now moved into the suburbs. Nothing can be left to chance, no matter how trivial an incident may seem.
Fortunately occurrences like this are rare and although the exact details are not known by myself at this time, it is still reassuring to see that there is obviously a high degree of vigilance here in the UK at the moment.
As some people may know, I don't live in Biddulph but as soon as my girlfriend notified me of the police cordon and rumours of two suspect devices in a loft, I was quick to advise her to take pictures of the scene and also video footage too.
The photographs and video footage where taken by Emma Barlow who lives in Biddulph and via this blog, they have also been passed onto the BBC local news teams for Staffordshire.
Not often that this blog is first for breaking news, however as more and more people become 'citizen journalists', the headlines will increasingly hit the RSS feeds before they hit the more traditional forms of broadcast media.
Bomb scare in Biddulph? from pthurst and Vimeo.
Sunday, July 22, 2007
One of the hottest phones of the year is about to get even hotter. One of the hottest features of the phone can now be used for free.
Nokia's groundbreaking handset features GPS 'sat nav' although this feature has been 'crippled' until the end user signs up to a subscription service. Now there is a viable alternative.
offers free sat nav for any handset with either an internal sat nav receiver or one attached via bluetooth. Users can search for addresses in a few countries and although the software is still in developlment, it is quite usable.
One note of caution, if you leave your handset to display sat photos for the landscape, the handset will download the data over your connection which may incur a charge so read the setup documents properly.
Here's a flash demo of the app in action.
Tuesday, July 17, 2007
It's a well known fact within media circles that the age of user generated content is well and truly upon us. I experienced this first hand today thanks to a digital camera and flickr.
As part of my work with the BBC, I have taken a number of photographs from central Manchester and today I saw one of them, in widescreen, on BBC One, after the national news.
In itself, that's not surprising. The picture was taken for the BBC in the first place however what is great to see is how web 2.0 apps are helping people like myself, share information via web services and get it out to a wider audience. In this case a much wider audience...
From flickr to BBC One... from pthurst and Vimeo.
Thursday, July 12, 2007
Just when you thought it was safe to go back onto the internet. Paul Hurst strikes with yet ANOTHER blog!
Mediawatchblog.tv is my latest pet project which is pretty self explanatory. For those who may need a bit more info, its a blog dedicated to cataloguing and commenting stories from the media perspective.
The blog may sit uncomfortably close to mediawatchblog.com however I thing that I'm offering something quite different than my fellow bloggers and hope they don't mind their new Tuvaluan neighbour too much!
You can check out the new blog at www.mediawatchblog.tv and please let me know what you think and throw me the odd-link or two if your a fellow blogger. I'd be very grateful.
Friday, July 06, 2007
Today has seen the official launch of a school blog after six weeks of training with sixteen students.
Pupils from St Peter's High School in Orrell have been finding out all about blogs as part of their english coursework and ICT across the curriculum. They have had lessons in Creative writing, journalism skills and of course web safety and security.
You can have a look at their school blog and their write-up of the course here and as the team continues to create more content, I'll be back in the school to work with more students and staff in this exciting area of creative education.
As most of you may know already, a lot of my work centres around the use of podcasting, blogging and photojournalsm in education and I set up the Rock FM bus blog as part of my vision for journalistic skills such as research and presentation to be featured more prominently within our schools.
Students love the challenge of creating podcasts and school blogs, especially when they can work alongside creative professionals and broadcast partners such as Rock FM so if you're connected with a school in the North-West of England and you'd like more information or maybe like to meet for advice then feel free to email me.
Tuesday, July 03, 2007
Monday, July 02, 2007
This video, which demonstrates Microsoft's new technology called 'Photosynth' shows that with a bit of lateral thinking, some amazing things are still possible with computers. Things that haven't been thought of before.
The video shows how sites like flickr, which host millions of pictures online, can be used to join millions of photos from millions of photographers together to create a 'seamless' 3D photo, where users can navigate around a space and examine the scene in minute detail.
The principal works on the basis that millions of pictures may be taken of one object, some on purpose, but also some by chance. These pictures can be analysed and then 'mapped' together to create a navigable environment. This is because each photo may capture the same building or scene but from a slightly different angle. By overlapping these pictures and by skewing or distorting them to include distance information, it's possible to create a navigable virtual world which is overlayed with real-world photographs. Even though The pictures may have been taken on all kinds of different cameras and for all kinds of different reasons.
The technology is new and slightly 'gimmicky' at the moment but in the future, it could offer invaluable evidence at crime scene locations where members of the public have recorded material on their mobiles which when joined together spatially, could offer a new insight into events as they actually occurred. The basis being that although one picture may lie, tens, hundreds or even thousands will not. If only this technology had been around in 1963 with the Kennedy Assassination?
The technology video is included in its entirety below although the 'Photosyth' section starts from about 2-3 mins in.
Saturday, June 30, 2007
This screengrab from BBC News 24 could possibly show the moment when the UK came under terrorist attack for the second time in 24 hours.
Taken at Glasgow Airport at around 3.15pm, the picture shows the moment that a 4x4 vehicle appears to have been driven into the terminal building.
Now obviously I'm not here to report on matters of fact, however I am writing to express my fear that once again, innocent civilians are being targeted by terrorist groups who seem intent to bring violence and evil into the streets and homes of everyday people.
As I watch these pictures I am both saddened and frustrated. Saddened that anyone would try to kill and injure members of the public. Frustrated that I cannot see the situation changing any time soon.
Thursday, June 21, 2007
How about taking the concept of blogging and citizen journalism and teaching it in the classroom? Well that's exactly what I've done in one of the local high schools near to where I live.
Most of you will already be well aware of my interest in blogging and its uses and I am very interested indeed in looking at new ways in which blogging can be used by everyday people to promote or produce their work or interests. Fortunately with my own work as a media producer within education, I have been able to draw up a six-week series of lessons which introduces the concept and technology behind blogging into a classroom setting.
The result so far has been excellent. The school in question, has decided to replace the good ol' term newspaper with a new blog and they also identified sixteen students from across the yeargroups who will produce and edit the content.
You can keep your eye on their blog by clicking here and if you'd like to see a short video (shot and edited on the N95 mobile) then check out this post on my moblog.
If you work in a school and would like more information about setting up and teaching blogging skills to your students, please get in touch.
Tuesday, June 19, 2007
Used by millions and responsible for all kinds of questionable content videos, YouTube today announced the launch of dedicated sites for a wide range of countries. The UK was included and although the service does not change, the speed of the servers and the relevance of the featured content should improve for international visitors.
One of the famous 'YouTubers' here in the UK has recorded his comments. Geriatric1927 Has been featured by the BBC and other news organisations as being a blogger with a difference... He's over 60...
Have a look at the clip below and listen to his words of wisdom.
Every blogger wants the hits to be high and there's quite a few ways of making sure that your content ranks highly in Google too. A good post can see a massive spike in passing traffic but also repeat visits as well so imagine my interest when I came across this post.
The blog claims that by adding a few lines of text to your blog, the traffic and linkbacks will increase thanks to the laws of mathematics.
I couldn't resist giving it a go although I wonder firstly if it will work or not, and secondly, whats the pont in having artificially high figures if it does work?
I ended up justifying it by arguing that if your blog is more popular, then your material can be seen by a wider audience. In fact, you're doing everyone a favour!
Anyway here's the bit that's needed and if you'd like to include this on your blog, then simply copy the text below and paste it into your blog. Needless to say I will keep you posted.
Below is a matrix of 120 stars, I have already added a link to my blog onto one of the stars, all you need to do is copy and paste the grid into your blog and add your own link to one of the other spare stars, and tell others to do the same!
When I receive a ping back once you have added the Viralink to your site I will add your link to this grid, and each person who copies the grid from here will also link to your site!
Only 1 link per person (i.e don't hog the viralink!)
Please don't tamper with other peoples url's
I have been reliably informed that this isn't working on my site so please DON'T try to use it from here, you will be wasting your time.
Instead, Here's a site with all you need to know about this post, hopefully you will have more luck with it than I did :-)
Tuesday, June 12, 2007
Now the N95 may be the best mobile on the market at the moment, but many people are struggling with sluggish GPS fixes. It seems that the phone doesn't lock onto the sats as quick as people would like and although I experienced a slightly different problem related to the GPS setup, I did come across an interesting post which seems to offer some advice as to speeding up acquisition time on the handset.
If you'd like to check it out, you may do so on Ed Parson's blog which is here. Good luck and by disabling the network lock option under GPS settings, my phone does seem a little quicker...
Monday, June 11, 2007
Today has been one of the busiest days for techno-geeks the world over. The initials WWDC may not mean much to most, but to Apple aficionados, it one of the most important days in the diary.
If Apple corp were to release an 'on this day in history' The World Wide Developers Conference keynote speech from CEO Steve Jobs would include such delights as the original iMac (WWDC 1998), the PowerMac G5 (WWDC 2003) and of course the various versions of Apple's crowning glory, the iPod.
It based on this kind of hype and cult-brand-status that anyone who is remotely interested in Apple products can be forgiven for holding out high hopes for the day as far as gadgets and gizmo's go. In previous years, Steve's near-evangelical keynote has hit my credit card hard and I was expecting the same this year. Maybe an update to the iLife software and the aging iMac desktop? As the lights dimmed, I pulled up my laptop and prepared to want...
As it turns out, I was left wanting. Steve's keynote didn't lack enthusiasm or even the odd 'boom' here and there (I counted over 40 back in '03), what it did lack though was err... products. In fact I basically counted 2, the iPhone which isn't out here in the UK for ages (and isn't HSDPA compliant) and the upcoming operating system 'Leopard' which looks OK but doesn't flick my switches like laptops and desktop computers.
And that was about it... I was shocked and saddened (now there's two words you don't see together often!) with the lack of any 'real' products or upgrades. No iMac upgrades, no iPod upgrades, instead news that the beta software development is going ahead as planned and that the iPhone will also launch in the US in two weeks, where it will undoubtedly do well.
It also looks like I wasn't the only one to find this keynote 'lacking', as Steve bowed out, Apple's share price also seemed to be exiting-stage-left, with a 3.45% drop in value. It seems that the markets were also hoping that Steve would have more than a mobile phone and a CD up his sleeve. Alas! He didn't!
So as the dust settles, my hopes that the last poor keynote from Jobs was a one off were dashed and to add insult to injury, he even used his "one more thing" section to announce that apple are now coding software for PC'! What is the world coming to?
Thursday, May 31, 2007
***Click the title to go to http://paulhurst.vox.xom***
As past of a blogging experiment into both methods and equipment used for the modern day bloggers, I have just started a new moblog.
rather than another place to write about things, this new blog concentrates on the world through the lens of my mobile phone. There's little to read but lots of pictures and videos to watch instead.
I suppose its a reflection on blogging technology and practice itself. As it stands, there are blogs out there that read like a personal journal and other that read more like a newspaper column and they are both largely centred around text. This is because visual media generally requires more effort to produce and upload.
As in my last post though, thats all about to change. the new handsets from Nokia at least, allow blogging integration straight from the camera app which means with an extra button press, your content is uploaded to your blog or flickr account. Couple this with more flexible data tariffs on mobiles and an ever widening internet 'hotspot' in our towns and cities and the result is a much more integrated lifestyle between people and their online blogs or second lifes, or whatever.
Its this kind of thing which has driven me to experiment. I wonder how my life will change if I am able to maintain a moblog without carrying a laptop round to coffee shops. I wonder what impact this record will have on my own understanding of who I am and what I do and even how I interpret events and emotions around me.
If a picture is worth a thousand words, how many must a constantly developing and evolving online journal be worth? I'm about to find out.
Wednesday, May 30, 2007
This post may look no different to you than any other but the way in which it has been written is a first for me.
I am writing this on my laptop while connected to a high speed 3.5g T-Mobile line via my mobile phone. This offers near-broadband speeds over the same network that carries mobile phone calls.
In turn, the phone is then 'bluetoothed' to my laptop and 'hey-presto' full internet access anywhere where there is a mobile phone signal.
Now this technology isn't really that new but what is new is the way in which mobile companies are opening their networks to flat-rate data pricing rather than per-megabyte pricing. This means that for a flat rate, you can use the internet sevices on your phone handset (or laptop computer), as much as you like.
This is all very similar to the dial up revolution when the cost became fixed rather than per minute pricing. Some analysts cite this as the 'tipping point' for internet uptake, even above broadband introduction.
In any case, this type of service will become more and more popular and it won't be long before all of the mobile providers have a similar flat-rate scheme. At the moment its T-Mobile and 3 that are leading the way with this here in the UK, in fact an Orange rep freely admitted to me yesterday that no-one could touch these networks for data price plans at the moment.
It stands to reason when you think about it, that as the handsets become more and more capable, then the cost for fast,reliable internet via mobile platforms must contine to improve and become cheaper too. My new Nokia N95 handset takes full advantage of internet access by offering a sophisticated browser, media service and even GPS map download service, all of which is done automatically via the mobile network.
And for bloggers such as myself, all this is very good news indeed. Not only is it getting easier and cheaper to blog on the move, the technology is getting more sophisticated too. Take Flickr for example, When I take a pic on my phone handset now, I can instantly upload it to flickr for inclusion on this blog, I don't even need to bluetooth files anymore.
To be fair, We shouldn't be surprised when things like this improve on a consistent basis and I don't usually bat an eyelid myself. Occasionally though, something comes along which radically alters the way in which we work and operate though and for me, This flat rate service from T-Mobile is quite a defining moment.
Ps. for any users who use mac laptops, you'll be pleased to hear that its fairly easy to get everything working with the N95. Even though the mac isn't officially supported,you'll find everything here that you need to get up and running. My thanks to the blog author for writing such a great set of instructions.
Sunday, May 27, 2007
it was around this time, some 1975 years ago that a smallish group of people, around 120, were gathered together and the Christian Church was born.
On the very first Pentecost day, the followers of Jesus were gathered together, upstairs. Meeting to consider the recent events surrounding their teacher and saviour, when they were inspired, even anointed by the Spirit of God himself. The story goes that the building in which they were meeting was shook and the Spirit of God rushed through like a mighty wind. Whatever happened, in that one moment a spark turned into a flame and this group of people would go on to change the religious tapestry of the whole world, Forever.
Fast forward to today. As the Church celebrates its 'birthday' I will shortly be leaving to meet with the 'faithful' myself. To sum up, I am wondering what the Church needs to do to survive another hundred years here in the UK. Its only ever one generation away from extinction and as fewer and fewer young people connect with the organised churches, which themselves seem determined to resist change, I find myself wondering what happened to the worldwind church that changed peoples lives all over the planet? How much longer will it live for?
I know that there are exceptions to the rule, but here in the UK at least. The church may be celebrating another birthday but it looks terminally ill to me.
Image: The Pentecost by Alexander Sadoyan.
Tuesday, May 22, 2007
What do you do when you want to arrange an exhibition which includes work from all over a city? Well, why not arrange it via a blog app?
That's Exactly whats going on over on Flickr at the moment. This group of people are gearing up towards a public exhibition which will be based at a Manchester venue, yet to be decided. I came across the idea while placating my flickr addiction and I'm sensing that this brilliant idea is something which could really work well.
Readers to this blog may remember that I arranged a photography exhibition in nearby Wythenshawe after teaching photography basics to around 100 locals. I think that its when 'local' people get a chance to exhibit their handywork, we see art operate on a slightly different level than when its a 'traditional' artist whos work we are seeing. Its almost like we are glimpsing at life and our world through common eyes, not necessarily those of someone who represents their ideas in a different way. I suppose its everyday art, by everyday people.
I also think its great to see creative uses for new web apps such as flickr too. Ideas such as this take something from the virtual world and place it very much in the physical one. I know there are other social documentary projects underway on groups such as flickr and its common knowledge that groups such as the BBC are being encouraged to interact and engage through web platforms of their own and those from other providers too. Its encouraging and creating a network through services such as flickr and youtube where people can express themselves creatively and seamlessly, not just with others online, but those in their communities too.
And to cap it all off, I think flickr espeially can be quite inspirational. Even as it is, I see it very much like an online photography exhibition which centers around any topic of your choosing. You can find pictures from all around the world and from all levels of photographers, bloggers and artists. Again raw work from experts and everyday people, all in one place.
I will be paying close attention to the planned exhibition and if your reading this and you think you could help with a potential location, why not check out the group over on flickr.
These photographs (excluding the first) are currently being voted on for inclusion in the final exhibition. Please see the flickr group for further information.
Photo Credits in order of apperance:
B-of-the-Bang: Paul Hurst
CJC angle: 'Jonwild'
Wednesday, May 16, 2007
The BBC News website is reporting that Prince Harry will not be serving in Iraq after all. The website claims that sources close to the BBC have indicated that the British General Sir Richard Dannatt has confirmed the decision not to send the prince into battle.
According to Paul Adams, who is one of the BBC's defence correspondents, the decision will have been made in light of the reports that insurgents had planned to target the Prince.
Now is it only me or does this not state the obvious? Of course the Prince would be targeted! Just like every other soldier who wears the British uniform.
If this story turns out to be true then, like the Prince probably would be himself, I would be disgusted. How can we send our soldiers into harms way then not afford the same 'privilege' to the Prince, who is a serving soldier?
This level of duplicity once again shows that when it comes to decisions such as these, our country's leadership seems to lack backbone. We dither and lack the common sense to follow through the actions which are needed as consequence of earlier decisions.
One in, all in. One out, all out. Thats what I would say and what kind of message does this send to families of those who have been killed in Iraq. For that matter, what kind of message does this send to families of those who are yet to be killed in Iraq also?
Why don't we send Tony Blair instead? I believe he's free after June the 27th.
Tuesday, May 15, 2007
It would seem from Saturdays result that either the UK is consistently bad at making good music or that for some reason, we have become a pariah state in Europe.
Scooch's 'noble' effort only garnered accolades from two nations, namely Ireland and surprise surprise, Malta. Now I wouldn't mind if I genuinely thought that we were only ever capable of making cheesy 90's digital tunes with slightly sexual undertones but its only when I considered our entry in comparison to some of the others that I found myself asking: Why bother?
Why bother taking part in a competition that's outcome can largely be predicted by Sir Terry who, quite frankly, still manages to mess up the selection night even when the results are dictated to him by the producer. Isn't it just a bit shocking that long before the hostesses have declared the results, we can fairly accurately ascertain where the points will, and will not be going. Are we Europeans that predictable?
Apparently not, yes you've guessed it, the nation which bucks the trend and plays by the rules is little ol' us. We may not be able to arrange most TV phone in competitions but we certainly know a good song when we hear one.
I was dismayed and disappointed that in this 'new-labour' age where everyone's pro-europe, someone forgot to tell our neighbours who despite what's on the officcial script, seem to hate us with a passion or hate our music anyway.
I decided that from here on in, there will be no eurovision parties with outlandish costumes, neither will their be obscenities hurled at the telly. Instead of Eurovision, I'll stick to singstar on the playstation, which just has the edge.
Wednesday, May 09, 2007
They may sell millions of burgers every hour and they may even believe their food can be healthy as part of a balanced diet but it seems that someone has been busy programming an online game which won't be flavour of the month in the McDonalds boardroom.
The tutorial section of this new online game seems to include some rather unusual dialogue which probably isn't quite what the fast food chain would like to see on their menu.
Here's some of the text which will be making the marketing boys sick:
If we had to rear all the cattle we need in our part of the world, our cities would drown in an ocean of cow shit. Pastures and soy culture need a lot of land and South America is one of the best places for it. Obviously you have to conquer your land as our forefathers did. Remember the old saying: \under every forest there is a lawn".
You can increase terrain productivity using genetically modified plants. GMOs allow us to use more aggressive pesticides to minimize insect damage.
Every good American wants a fat and greasy burger. Unfortunately, the cows coming from the pastures are slim and won't yield fat meat. So we must keep them here for some months and overindulge them with hyperchaloric soy-based fodder. Make sure there is sufficient fodder for all the cows and avoid the epidemics.
You can fill the cows with hormones to make them fatten more quickly. This could have some risks to consumer health, but make no mistake: in love and war everything is licit.
People live fast and want to eat quickly. Fast food restaurants are the cathedrals of our age and everything must be efficient and optimized. Avoid customer queues by supplying hamburger for the kitchen and making human resources prompt and motivated.
Managing the crew is an art: to keep your employees motivated you can reward them with an "employee of the week" badge or reproach them. For the most ungrateful the best solution is firing. Eliminate the weak links!
The website closely mirrors the McDonalds style on their worldwide site and the McDonalds logo also seems to make an appearance, unlicensed I suspect?
I can't imagine this website will be around for too long as it stands, not without the McLawyers getting involved so be sure to check it out while you can!
I'm Lovin' it!
Thursday, May 03, 2007
Your vote counts blah blah blah... Todays the day when most people fail to exercise their democratic right to choose who runs their local councils. Tomorrow will be the day when those same people will complain about 'people in suits' who have no connection with everyday folk like themselves....
Well I voted today, I always do and I always will. I think that its really important for anyone who has the vote to use it, even if like me, your vote won't really alter much in your area.
For me, its not the power behind my vote that makes it so important. We all know that its only when public vote 'en masse' that people get elected. Rather I think, in some bizarre way its the same principle behind voting as singing in church.
I have an awful voice but imagine if everyone decided, just like I do, not to sing but to mime instead, after all their voice won't count or be heard so why not leave it to someone else? The fact is that church singing is a corporate activity. It only really works when lots of the attendees take part (take it froom me!). And it only gets better and better when more people join in. Isn't it the same with the vote?
No my vote won't change anything in and of itself but as part of a much larger number of people who can be bothered to take part, it contributes in some minuscule way to keep democracy alive and well.
Saturday, April 28, 2007
There's a 1 in 10 chance of an earthquake hitting the UK, and thats only once in 50 years but today was the day.
Residents in Folkstone, Kent reported the shake at around about 8.20am this morning and the Earthquake 'people' have just confirmed that a quake measuring about 5.0 on the Richter Scale has been recorded 6 miles underground off the south eastern tip off the UK.
The tremor lasted around ten seconds and although damage has been reported and the BBC and Sky are reporting this as a 'major event', there seems to be little more to say on the issue as earthquakes go.
Earthquakes in the UK aren't rare but ones of this magnitude are. If you'd like more information about quakes in the UK then check here.
***Did you experience the 'quake'? feel free to post your experiences here***
Tuesday, April 24, 2007
Imagine my shock, no horror! When I realised that in this world of 6,000,000,000 people, I am not the only, Paul Hurst.
We treat our names as our unique identifier and in most cases, they are sufficient for this purpose, although there was also another 'Paul Hurst' in my year at school. So how does the internet change our awareness of who we are?
The current buzzword may be social networking through sites like myspace and even blogs like mine. Each offer individuals a small slice of the web which we can call home, but have you ever done an image search in Google for your own name?
Here's what happens with 'Paul Hurst'
Aside from not being dead (which is always a relief!), It would appear as though I may be some kind of 'yokel' on the run...
And wait for it... How about Paul Hurst the world famous harp player...
And not just nimble with the fingers, but feet too! Lets not forget 'Paul Hurst' the full-back for Rotherham United Football club.
Go on, have a go yourself and please let me know if you can find other pictures of your namesakes from around the world, a bit like my mate George Bush.
Oh and if you'd like the official word on other people who share your name then pay a visit to 'how many of me.com'
Monday, April 23, 2007
I have started to post a few high res pics from my trip to Rome over here.
Forgive me for posting about my trip twice however I had a great time and got chance to grab some pictures that I wanted to take after my first visit last year.
Saturday, April 21, 2007
Tuesday, April 10, 2007
I was out and about today, making the most of the holiday and so I visited the National Museum of Photography and Media in Bradford.
The museum is one of the most popular in the country, probably due to the popularity of TV, film and photography and I had a great time having a good look around.
The museum includes lots of original 'props' and equipment from TV and film sets with some lovely exhibitions of Childrens TV memorabilia, some of which brought a tear to my eye and made me feel very old indeed (Chorlton and the Wheelies anyone?).
Aside from the exhibitions and a superb IMAX theatre, there are also a few 'hands-on' areas too and me being me, I just had to have a fiddle at editing an episode of Emmerdale and then breaking a live report into the ten o'clock news from the BBC.
Now just before you all head for the hills H.G Wells style, this report certainly wasn't true although with an autocue failure at the end of my report, conspiracy theorists my just have a few things to say about whats really going on...
Anyway, if you have a spare day and this kind of thing flicks your switch then you'd do well to pay the museum a visit.
Sunday, April 08, 2007
Its that time of year where the Pope stands on his balcony to address the worlds catholics with his 'Urbi et Orbi' message. From the city, to the world. Here's mine...
At this time where Christians consider new life and a fresh start, based upon the belief that Christ Jesus conquered death, maybe we should all look forward to a positive future rather than a troublesome past. Change for better has to start somewhere and with someone. Maybe at this time of year, everyone of any faith and none can at least draw some kind of inspiration from the easter story.
Our world is full of trouble which supposedly finds its source in religion. Maybe everyone who refuses to compromise their beliefs will look to what they have in common with other faith groups rather than what divides them. There's enough division in the world without religion adding to the issue.
The easter story finds its clmax in the moment when Christ's lifeless, crucified body was raised from the dead and glorified in an instant, life sprang forward from death, hope from despair.
My prayer this easter is that we will all work together to make this kind of hope, a reality in our suffering world.
Blessings to you all this easter, and may everyone have an excellent holiday!
by Paul Hurst at 10:19 am
Sunday, April 01, 2007
I recently joined the 18 Doughty Street panel of 100 citizen journalists from all over the UK. 18 Doughty Street is a politically based blog which also features television programmes, filmed on the premises exclusively for the website. Although the site is not 100% affiliated to any political party, it leans heavily towards the Conservatives. Largley due to the fact that its founders are members of the Conservative party.
The house is located in London and is a few hundred yards from the home of Charles Dickens. It was also the house where his daugher was born.
The property has been refitted internally to become a state-of-the art television studio, with seven cameras and a full-staff of journalists, technicians and even... bloggers.
you can see my first report for the website here: It concerns the popularity of politics in the North West of England.
Thursday, March 29, 2007
Hot on the heels of Gordon Brown's 'selective green policy' comes yet another golden moment of uncaptured politics.
Some may question our 'special relationship' between the UK and the USA but the proof is in...
Wednesday, March 28, 2007
It would appear that Gordon Brown might just be greener than we all thought.
Recently spotted 'dipping' into the twilight zone that is the ministerial hooter, our future PM didn't appear to be picking his cabinet ministers. Rather he seemed to be tackling some, apparently more stubborn, green issues.
This very topic was mentioned on tonights 'Newsnight' on BBC 2 where Jeremy Paxman seemed to criticise bloggers for not really being the 'citizen journalists' that we are sometimes labelled as. Paxo seemed to prefer the 'stiff upper lip' of traditional newsgathering and reporting as opposed to the bloggers who do, admittedly seem more content to focus on what may be resting at the top of the lips instead.
I think the answer, as always, does lie somewhat in the middle. Both journalist and blogger do fulfill similar roles in that both 'mirror' events or culture. We just do it in different ways and, on this occasion, I am more grateful to the bloggers. They remind us to think twice before shaking hands with Mr Brown, especially if he's just leaving the commons.
You can read guido fawkes blog post here.
Here's the BBC's Nick Robinson's take on the issue of Blogger v Journalist and finally, you can check out the BBC's newsnight blog post here, The BBC's site also includes Guido's interesting film on this topic too.
Friday, March 23, 2007
Last night saw me take my first tentative steps into politics. I attended my first ever local Conservative party meeting where my eyes were opened to a whole new world of politics.
Most of us grow somewhat weary of spin and manipulation from any of the 'big three' but down on the front line, there are some real issues which are being fought over.
Local politics centres around local issues and as I saw yesterday, there's no shortage of things to discuss, debate and hopefully change.
In my hometown of Wigan, a certain species of duck has sought sojurn. The 'Ruddy' duck (yes, thats its real name, not the wigan version!) has flown in and has ruffled a few feathers at local council level to say the least.
It seems that this poor, unassuming bird has a soft spot for any other female ducks in the vicinity and as such, some have requested the birds to be culled. Now you may think this sounds qwackers (sorry!) but according to some, this poor lowly bird is linked directly to the conflict in Iraq.
Yes, some claim that the Spanish government have requested this cull to take place as it was part of the deal which would see them support the Iraqi invasion. It would seem that the 'Ruddies' stop off here before flying on to Spain. They really do have a 'bird' in every port and the Spanish authorities looked over to us here for help.
Now personally I don't think this would be a deal breaker for me, I'm not sure that I'd support mass troop deployment at the ducks expense but I have also heard that this issue has also dragged in our very own MI5 and MI6 (James Pond maybe? License to Bill?)
A discussion about all of this took up most of a recent council meeting as it would appear that the councillors have to sign an order to allow the DEFRA sharpsooters onto the Wigan land in order to take out the 'randy Ruddies', restore balance in European politics and bring peace to the middle east. If only life was THAT simple eh!
Apparently DEFRA can deploy their WMD in a mere 45 minutes. Oh and that's Weapons of Mallard Destruction... What a start to my political journey! At the end of the meeting, I was asked would I be back... With tales like this... You bet!
Wednesday, March 21, 2007
Its a 400ft drop underneath the glass floor so whatever you do, don't look down!
There are three layers of toughened glass around three inches thick which separate you from a fate worse than the Coyote from road runner. It really is a long way down.
My own opinion though is one of confusion... I simply ask why?
Why is this eyesore needed? Doesn't it spoil one of the most picturesque areas on the face of the planet? and doesn't it look suspiciously like a toilet seat?
Wednesday, March 14, 2007
Its been a while since I posted last on the guestblogger site but there's extra material on there now.
Please head over to here to read the newest article and keep visiting as the frequency with which people post will be increasing.
On that note, why not email me firstname.lastname@example.org if you'd like to post something based on your professional work or experience. I am especially looking to post articles written by people who may not necessarily have their own blogs but if you'd just like to write an article for guestblogger then please do get in touch.
I am hoping that the community will grow into an interesting and useful resource for visitors to read about all kinds of different things.
Thursday, March 01, 2007
It would appear I'm not alone. My last post outlined some of my 'worries' regarding the supposed discovery of Christ's Tomb and an associated documentary by James Cameron. Take a look at this from the Jerusalem post.
Film on 'Jesus Family Burial Site' Is Just PR, Says Archeology Expert
New York, Feb 26, 2007 / 07:13 am (CNA).- An Israeli archeologist says a new documentary film, which claims that a burial cave uncovered 27 years ago in Talpiot, Jerusalem, is the tomb of Jesus of Nazareth and his family, is just hype.
Professor Amos Kloner, the internationally renowned archeologist who revealed the findings of the dig 10 years ago, criticized the filmmakers' marketing strategy and said it is not based on proof, reported the Jerusalem Post.
Kloner said a similar film was released 11 years ago, and the new film, The Lost Tomb of Jesus, is simply a renewed effort to create controversy in order to make a profit.
Kloner found 10 ossuaries in a cave in 1980 but only released his findings 10 years ago. Nine of the tombs remain. Six bear inscriptions identifying them as those of Jesus, his mother Mary, a second Mary, and relatives Matthew, Josa and Judah.
The names inscribed on the coffins were very common in the Second Temple era and are not sufficient proof that the cave was the burial site of Jesus' family, Kloner reportedly said. He added that "Jesus son of Joseph" inscriptions had been found on several other ossuaries over the years.
"There is no likelihood that Jesus and his relatives had a family tomb," Kloner told the Jerusalem Post. "They were a Galilee family with no ties in Jerusalem. The Talpiot tomb belonged to a middle-class family from the 1st century CE [AD]."
The film took three years to make and it is expected to premiere at a New York press conference today. The filmmaker is Israeli-born, Canadian-based filmmaker Simcha Jacobovici. Award-winning director James Cameron is the project’s executive producer.
The Israel Antiquities Authority has loaned out two of the ossuaries, the ones the filmmakers claim belonged to Jesus and Mary Magdalene, for display at Monday's press conference. Kloner reportedly said the IAA was "very foolish" to agree to the loan.
“This has been a three-year journey that seems more incredible than fiction," said Jacobovici in a press release. "The idea of possibly finding the tomb of Jesus and several members of his family, with compelling scientific evidence, is beyond anything I could have imagined."
"It doesn't get bigger than this," said Cameron in the press statement. "We've done our homework; we've made the case; and now it's time for the debate to begin."
The film will be broadcast on the international Discovery Channel on March 4, as well as on Britain's Channel 4, Canada’s VisionTV and Israel’s Channel 8.
Monday, February 26, 2007
Brace yourself for a titanic struggle between film director James Cameron and 2,000 years of Church tradition.
The famous film director has set a course to sail some stormy waters which he thinks could sink the Christian faith once and for all and he's striking below the waterline by attacking the central belief of Christians: The resurrection.
Its been the staple diet of the Church since it began. The belief that three days after death, Jesus came back to life in order to prove that his message was true and that God could offer eternal life to mankind and its this account of resurrection which has proved to be surprisingly robust against 2,000 years worth of criticism.
We've had the 'swoon theory', the 'substitution theory' the 'theft theory' and even the 'alien abduction' theory but according to Cameron, these are all wrong, Jesus and his family were buried in a tomb before their bones were placed in a stone box, waiting for the Terminator (Cameron) to find them. Waiting for their judgement day.
Well it would appear that time is now as Cameron has made these claims (conveniently) just before his new documentary gets shown around the world.
I will watch with interest but incredibly I find the resurrection claim more credible than this inconclusive and massively presumptive claim, and even more incredibly, I'm not alone either.
Thursday, February 22, 2007
It's been on the cards for some time. With new technology on the rise in the classroom, I've been demonstrating how powerful it can be.
Helping students to embrace new technology such as blogging and podcastiong isn't difficult, in fact the concepts behind the technology don't bring anything new to the table at all, instead it changes the way in which young people engage in learning.
This post may have taken seconds to write but it does help demonstrate how technology is becoming easier and easier not only to use but also use in the classroom.
Anyone wanting more information, may be interested in this site which compiles some work from various schools around the north west of England.
Thursday, February 08, 2007
It seems like the national curriculum us set to be re-shuffled for students here in the UK. There will be a re-emphasis on personal learning and the expressive arts are also on the ascendancy.
As some of my regular readers will know, I am currently helping to run a media bus project which basically allows students to have a go at using media skills to create curriculum based content. The aim is to encourage students to use research, preparation and presentation skills to look at any given topic.
I've been reminded today of just how effective something like this can be. Over at one of our schools, we have just finished our second project in which we have taken a look at the schools work towards arts status accreditation.
Some of the pupils have given us some feedback which helps us to tweak what we are delivering in the schools.
Technologies such as blogging and podcasting have massive potential for use within our 21st century schools, but I am reminded that the technology in itself is only useful if it is used to re-enforce and develop personal skills at the heart of the students who we work with.
Monday, February 05, 2007
Need to see how healthy your lungs are? You can now check on the internet to find out!
Those good folks over at Lungster have devised an excellent web based test which will quite literally take your breath away.
Quite siply, this is viral advertising at its very best! I spotted it over at this top-blog site.
Wednesday, January 31, 2007
What a hectic day! We've had a series of arrests in Birmingham which seem to be spurring wall-to-wall news coverage live from the scene (there really is 'nothing to see here' though). Why couldn't this report be presented from the TVC studios?
We've had DC calling for TB to chuck in the towel and take early retirement (or possibly exile?) and we've had the shocking news that this January, the UK has seen the hottest average temperatures since 1914 (didn't realise global warming was a problem then, did you?). So even the seasons seem to be moving along too fast.
In all honesty, this kind of pace is far too quick for my little brain. How am I supposed to take all this in, even if it is presented by the lovely Joanna Gosling?
I am going to politely request world leaders, political groups, militants, football transfer window officials and overpaid pop stars to SLOW DOWN!!! Oh and if its hard for people like me to ponder on events like these, how hard must it be to report on them?...
Tuesday, January 30, 2007
The leader of the Conservative party in the UK has today been talking about 'building a cohesive society' and racial integration. I thought I'd take a few minutes to write down my thoughts for his blog and this one too.
So just how do we build a cohesive society? How do we tackle prejudice and racism in a way that is both realistic and robust?
It seems that hardly a day goes by these days without the word 'racist' being thrown around by one group or another. If its not in the Big Brother House then its in the even bigger House of Commons, but as I sat and watched a debate on TV tonight, I felt compelled to share some of my feelings. I hope you don't mind.
Despite all of our best efforts, todays society seems far from cohesive to me. In fact I'd say its adhesive.
Cohesive means to 'join things together', it takes effort on both parts, but our society seems to be quite different. In our adhesive society, groups and communities have merely been 'stuck onto' a wider base. Thanks to this one-sided effort, we have communities within communities and the less we understand about each other, the more everyone feels threatened.
So how do we go about fixing this? Well firstly I think it starts with you and me. Kindness, compassion and respect for those around us makes a huge difference. As a Christian, I believe that this 'love' isn't just about being nice, meek and mild. I think that this forms the basis of a coherent society, no matter what faith we practice, if any at all.
I care about people, I want to see those around me to be happy and to reach their full potential. That isn't a religious principle or a political mandate (although it makes an excellent basis for both), no its the desire to see our society join together to combat crime, to share in the arts and to build a positive hard-working economy. To improve life for all.
Now to some people reading this, you may see it as 'pie in the sky' politics. Surely this kind of principle can't make a difference in our 'asbo ridden' society. Well I think it can.
As part of my work as a freelance journalist, I teach in secondary schools and due to the nature of my projects, I work with groups of pupils, some of whom who are on the brink of exclusion or segregation. Its amazing to see these young people respond to the opportunity to express themselves creatively and also, more importantly, to be heard.
When we take people seriously, when we listen to their views and opinions and when we welcome their contributions to our communities, we actively engage in cohesion. We bring two different groups together. Of course this is social cohesion with the disaffected but I think the principle is the same.
Lets take the challenge to build a cohesive society by taking the first step. Lets come together in our communities to deal with the challenges together and lets stop tryig to 'shoe horn' someone else into our mould. Lets expect the same from all the different groups within this Great Britain.
Lets make a difference. Lets lead the way.
Aside from these being my thoughts, I am seriously considering a career in political speech writing. I wonder how someone gets started in that type of thing?
Monday, January 29, 2007
For anyone who's interested in seeing yet another blog based project that I've been working on. Take a look at www.rockbusblog.com
The aim of the blog is to highlight what's what for the Rock FM bus and to also showcase the work that we do in the schools and communities.
My involvement with the project has steadily increased over the last few months. I now work pretty much full time on media training and teaching across North West schools and communities.
If you'd like more info on the bus then drop me an email and I'll be happy to answer any questions.
Saturday, January 27, 2007
Just when you thought it was safe to go back on the internet... I'm blogging AGAIN!
Yup, ever the blogging evangelist (as well you may know), I am now in the process of designing and deploying a blog with Rock FM.
The blog will cover all the events that take place on the Rock FM bus and there will be pictures and audio in the mix too.
The Rock FM bus has been visiting schools all around the North west of England and will soon officially launch beyond its current 'pilot' status.
I will post a link to the new blog address when its all finished but in the meantime, if you need a blog and you think no-one else can help, and if you can find him, maybe you should call the B-Team!
Monday, January 22, 2007
Yes, I couldn't resist capturing this photograph as I wandered around Newcastle recently.
It seems that although M$ may power 90% of our IT infrastructure, there are quite a few examples of BSOD which are duly noted, and recorded by the public.
In fact, this flickr group is made up entirely of photographs of crashed computers in very public places. So if you catch a glimpse of a PC in distress, why not grab a quick pic and don't forget in a few days, we'll get to see what the Windows Vista one looks like too...
I'm still on the lookout for posters over at www.guestblogger.net
I do have some posts on the way and things are starting to take off for the new site but I'm always on the lookout for interesting posts from interesting people.
If you'd like a go, why not email me (email@example.com) and we can sort something out.
You don't have to register and I'm happy to post a biog at the end of each post so you can link to your own blog if you are an established blogger and if your new to all of this or just blogless then what better way to dip your toe in the water?
If you have any questions or are interested then give me a shout.
Friday, January 19, 2007
Ever wondered why the price of perfumes is so high? It turns out that making something smell nice isn't quite as easy as you'd think.
You see, smells generally speaking don't hang around. They may last for a while but making them stick takes a bit of clever science. Don't worry, I'll keep it simple.
Basically the perfumes are made up of lots of smelly ingredients mixed with an oily base (sometimes taken from rare animal glands). The composition of the mix works out like this...
EDP - Eau de parfum
EDT - Eau de toilette
Apres resage- Aftershave
The higher up the scale, the loger your smell will last.
And finally, your fragrance actually is designed to smell different as the time goes on. The ingredients are mixed to peak out at different times, three for the price of one.
Sharp edge- For the first 15 mins, your fragrance is at its fruitiest. Citrus smells pervade here.
The Heart- You fragrance carries this smell for about 2 hours (EDT or above) and the mid fragrances pervade. The smell loses its edge and becomes more refined.
Bass edge- Any stronger, smoky smells linger around and for the final hour-or-so, your perfume will bottle out with all the richness available.
The main fragrance lasts until the oily essence has evaporated and this mix also determines the price.
Any blokes out there, here's my recommendations...
DKNY EDT - citrus bite with a fresh easy going feel, much like CK One (EDT).
CK Euphoria EDT - a sophisticated smell to this one
JPG 'Le male' EDT - Very popular, this fragrance lasts the longest so if its value for money and a fine fragrance you need, you'll probably like this one.