Umlauts. What are they good for?

Moben, a Manchester company that makes fitted kitchens, has been going around with an umlaut over the ‘o’ since 1977 but a few years ago someone (who exactly?) managed to persuade a court to stop them using the two dots because it made the company appear to be German which would obviously be a bad… Continue reading Umlauts. What are they good for?

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Clarke: you’re a lightweight. You’re fired

Ask any leader, anyone who’s ever led anything. Sometimes you have to fire someone. Sometimes you have to fire them even if it doesn’t really make any sense to do so. This is elementary Machiavelli but also common sense. Blair should fire Clarke tomorrow (he should have fired him yesterday). He should do it publicly… Continue reading Clarke: you’re a lightweight. You’re fired

My life as an author

Josette Garcia is O’Reilly‘s UK Press Office – and before that she worked for another, significantly less groovy, tech publisher. She worked there, in fact, when I got my first (and only) book deal. I was paid an advance (the figure £400 comes to mind) to write a book about Mosaic. Yes, Mosaic. Naturally enough,… Continue reading My life as an author

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Warning – very long sentence about very boring topic

Stephen Newton, a Manchester PR guru, correctly points out (in a comment) that my long reply to Nicola Stanbridge’s long but slightly off-the-point reply to my long (and witheringly to-the-point) email to The Today Programme about her tendentious interview with disingenuous pop fossil Cliff about copyright term extension is actually quite boring. That’s the thing.… Continue reading Warning – very long sentence about very boring topic

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My reply to that BBC reporter

Hi Nicola, Thanks for your thoughtful response. I don’t want to sound like an obsessive or a copyright geek but I think ownership of intellectual property is important in modern cultures and economies and I think the media owners’ efforts to extend protection essentially indefinitely are potentially very damaging to our idea of ‘the public… Continue reading My reply to that BBC reporter

What Beavers do on St George’s Day

I spent part of the afternoon at one of those simultaneously anachronistic, life-affirming, frustrating, funny and frankly nauseating events that we’re good at in suburban Britain. It was St George’s Day so Olly’s Beavers troop, plus the local cubs and scouts, marched through the village, from the car park at the back of Budgens to… Continue reading What Beavers do on St George’s Day

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The BBC replies

I got a reply to my letter to The Today Programme – from Nicola Stanbridge, the reporter involved, in fact. I haven’t replied yet but will do so tomorrow. In the meantime, here’s her email: Dear Steve, Thank you for your email to the Today Programme. To answer a couple of points: – I talk… Continue reading The BBC replies

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More excellent PR from the record industry

The BBC’s flagship daily news programme, Today, has, over the last few years, been a reliable mouthpiece for the music industry. Yesterday morning, Nicola Stanbridge interviewed Cliff Richard (yes, Cliff Richard) about copyright extension. Cliff advocates an extension of protection for recordings (like his Living Doll) to 95 years. Stanbridge’s item advanced the case for… Continue reading More excellent PR from the record industry

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A neat SMS application

Jag put me onto Spinvox. I love it, although I understand it hasn’t been a hit. Carphone Warhouse just took a 17% stake and I guess that might have been a rescue operation. I pay £5.00 per month for the service and I’d pay more because I find that standing on a railway station platform… Continue reading A neat SMS application

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Broadband access providers want to subsidise your business

There’s never been a better time to start an Internet business. In Britain, we’re about to have a broadband price war. This is of course a good thing. Clever Carphone Warehouse, a successful mobile phone retailer, then a successful local loop unbundler and – if they keep this up – a successful broadband vendor, has… Continue reading Broadband access providers want to subsidise your business

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