Thursday, May 31, 2007

My life thru the lens of a mobile phone

***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

Web ' n' Walk - True internet on the go from T-Mobile

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

Happy birthday to you...

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

'Blogging' an exhibition

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
Salford: 'Frannk'
CJC angle: 'Jonwild'

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Prince Harry not to serve in Iraq

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

A kick in the Balkans

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

McHacked off?

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:

Agricultural sector:
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".

Soy culture:
You can increase terrain productivity using genetically modified plants. GMOs allow us to use more aggressive pesticides to minimize insect damage.

Feed lot:
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.

Fast Food:
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

UK elections, 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.