Archive for the ‘irishblogs’ Category

Fluffy Links – Monday March 17th 2014

Monday, March 17th, 2014

The Back Page “festival” is a mighty impressive few days of events around sport.

Seamus Heaney, Billy Connolly, the Beeb. Five Fables. “Five medieval Scots fables, translated by Seamus Heaney, have been brought into the 21st century as enchanting animated tales for BBC Two Northern Ireland.”

Some post that all media orgs ought to look at. 10 growth hacks that helped Metro.Co.Uk go from 10 Million to 27 Million monthly visitors.

This could easily be used for adults too. A kids’ guide to how ads on the Web work.

Nice idea. Newspaper Blackout Poems.

Nice. You can now embed Medium posts and collections on your own website.

For the fella that pretends he doesn’t read my blog but does to steal stuff. When you don’t have the natural charisma, some tips on being an interesting person at a party.

Interviewly. Or they could make Reddit look nice by default.

Why dabbling can be a good thing.

Gerard Baker described many publishers’ moves in the arena as a “Faustian pact.” For those unfamiliar with German folklore, that’s a deal with the devil.

AdAge writing on the web and not realising their readers can use Google if they don’t know what something means. Fuck exposition, fuck treating your readers like morons.

Creativity – It’s always been you

Wednesday, March 12th, 2014

Creativity is there already in our brains. Waiting to be left out. The old saying that “giving something a name gives you power over it” holds true when trying to understand things in our own mind. Having a language, a vocabulary, a corpus to describe your ideas can make them a reality.

The language to describe the things in our heads that we want to create is a hidden language for a lot of people and it’s only through reading, learning or understanding that we can structure it for everyone else (and even ourselves) to interpret it too.

Art
So when we read, view, see art and so on, that allows that fuzzball of creativity to find the language anchors or context to describe it with our own experiences if we want to produce art. As they say, that statue is already there in the marble, you just need the tools and skill to reveal it. The language to tell your brain what it is may very well be the idea of muscle memory and knowing how the marble can be molded.

Quantum Mechanics needed a new form of mathematics to be made before people could describe it. It was always there, what it was though was something that couldn’t be described with the language that already existed so it didn’t fit into the real world (in a way) until the language was figured out.

Programming
Programming has many languages. Programmers take ideas and put them into a language they know that gets a computer to do things and there we go, something is created. The efficient way to describe that process is what can make an app into an amazing app, the language that describes and defines the user interface might make it as easy to use as the iPad operating system. Software will eat the world and those knowing how to communicate efficiently in code will get fat.

You are creative, we all are creative but maybe for some of us it’s the lack of ways to describe what we want is the thing holding us back. Yeah we have the idea of the 10,000 hours but probably in those 10,000 hours are lots of figuring out how to describe to the world and ourselves, what we want to do.

Getting it out of your brain is that scene in Total Recall. The shit old one, not the shit new one.

via GIPHY

I listened to the final Reith Lecture by Grayson Perry earlier and maybe it was ideas and imagery in that that made me take that idea that’s always been there and allowed me to put it into these words.

How do you get it out?
So how do you get it out? When you walk along the same part of the carpet at home, you just wear that down more. Stop rubbing the same part of your brain with the same subject matter. It’s the equivalent of using a set of Ann and Barry books to try and map out the history of the world. It’s going to come out at the same level as those books.

So be diverse. Want to succeed in business? Stop reading all your Richard Branson books. Stop waiting for his next one before you do something. In a way, experience the world. Read lots of different things, experience the language of those things and how their creator sees the world.

It can become much easier if we have a clear way of describing it. So it’s always been about you, you have the creativity, you just need to know the language to decode that fuzz.

Business ideas, Neuroplasticity, Music, more. All have their own languages, fluency in them or experience of them could give you an advantage. You have the ideas, find the language to describe them.

Fluffy Links – Monday March 10th 2014

Monday, March 10th, 2014

It’s been a very busy week at Fluffy Links HQ and it seems we were looking at far too many business articles so we’re very BIZNEZZ this week.

True Detective fan? 100 year old book that the show “kind of” has found inspiration from. Book is public domain too.

Learning to write, with William S. Burroughs!

30 seconds no more, no less, can change your personal and business life.

Free audiobooks. Lots and lots of them.

EA has internal programmes to find their next leaders. Interesting way of sustaining a business for the long term.

How to make yourself work when you just don’t want to.

“No friend ever served me, and no enemy ever wronged me, whom I have not repaid in full.”

As mentioned in the latest Radiolab podcast.

Vladimir Martynov – Schubert-Quintet (Unfinished): Movement II

Tiny Telephone Exchange – Victory

The eroding of our accents due to technology

Wednesday, March 5th, 2014

Now I’m the most positive future of tech person around so I decided to do an Andrew Keen type post about some odd things I’ve noticed. Accents are important. Identity, even if a construct, readily uses accents. It tells people where I’m from or it can be used to hide where I’m from. The old joke about going home to top-up the accent is like many jokes, based on reality. You can trust, let down your guard, get turned on, get scared, get aggressive with someone from an accent alone. So what if modern technology forces us to speak in a certain way?

Already we have kids with American and British twangs because of Disney shows and Ben Ten. But they’ll move back into the localised accents over time. Maybe. Hopefully maybe. Now in fairness they’ve been saying that about kids accents ever since One and Two channel land first imported TV shows and to a little degree the words we used and the sounds they make has changed because of this. Language and accents evolve too and naturally so. Stan Carey is the person for all of this and more.

However, with the increase in interactions in verbal ways with technology, what will become of our accents and the way we structure sentences? Today we have to change the way we interact and how we intonate what we say to keep the machine happy. Smooth down a Scottish accent to keep your iPhone happy. Talk like a mid-Atlantic DJ for Siri to figure out that we’re directing them to phone Mam.

Listen to how Siri is pretty condescending to James. It suggests you’re the fool here James, not it.

Everyone is going to have a smart mobile device in the next 5 years and the amount of non-touchscreen interactions is going to increase drastically. So human to machine verbal interactions are going to explode. We have all seen the video of the baby trying to swipe pages on a magazine. What with a world of human to computer chatting?

I got thinking about this piece you’re reading when watching (don’t laugh) Pound Shop Wars when a machine tells operators in a giant stock warehouse to go collect items. They interact with the big machine in the sky and they end up talking in their sleep in the language the machine accepts. The machine does not learn, it does not adapt, you turn for it. The machine sounds like a tape recorder being fast forwarded. It’s far from the computer in Her.


Irony that they then subtitled the workers.

Reminds me of the droids in Star Wars (the shit one):

We have a bit to go however when the same machines have no idea what they themselves are saying:

Interesting few years ahead of us with this. And again with everyone in the world having a mobile companion, it will impact the whole world.

Now if each phone was a mullti-million dollar device… Scary scary scary

Remember when a hard drive from IBM was the size of a room? The above is maybe 10 to 15 years away. Will our language hold to then? I wonder will France, cos it has to be France, put a ban on the Siris of the world?

Ready. Roger Roger.

Fluffy Links – Monday March 3rd, 2014

Monday, March 3rd, 2014

Stevie G has done so much for music in Cork and Ireland. Genuine trailblazer and lest we forget, did a lot for upcoming generations when usually told to fuck off from loitering outside the local Centra.

Giving teenagers and young people a voice is probably the most satisfactory and fulfilling thing you can do in some ways, and it doesn’t seem long ago when myself and my friends were kids and didn’t have that voice.

Snapchat recruitment example. Still not a single college in Ireland using it for recruitment purposes.

Wearable devices already exist. Via Russell Davies.

If the world breaks, you know why it did. This seems like the start of an epic sci-fi novel.

Nostalgia. Sylvain Chauveau does Depeche Mode.

I so want a Garda Cortina.

Ditch college and change the world. This happens to a tiny tiny tiny amount of people. Still. Elizabeth Holmes has tech to run 30 lab tests from a single drop of blood.

They did it. Control your washing machine with your phone/over the web.

Equally usable for cafés, restaurants and other businesses. Ten things theatres can do right now to save themselves.

Krakow – Hilary Hahn & Hauschka

Getting a start in journalism

Wednesday, February 26th, 2014

At the recent UCC Journalism conference (where RTÉ told us with great pride how they’re gatekeepers and won’t allow us to see silly celeb stories on the news), a student asked for advice on starting out in journalism. This was the advice I gave.

1. Start.
Don’t wait for anything in particular. Just start writing now.

2. Pick something you think the media isn’t covering.
Something the media isn’t covering that you think they should? As per this post, you write it. Media has finite resources and the work journalists are doing is increasing while their pay is not. There are going to be gaps. Fill that gap.

3. Your writing is going to be shit to start with. So what, you’ve started.
10,000 hours is what makes a lot of people go from average to talented. It doesn’t occur naturally for most. Work work and work. Read and write then read and write some more. And stop with the excuses. The worst thing for your writing is to stop writing. Runners don’t wait for the “right” race to train.

All writing is difficult. The most you can hope for is a day when it goes reasonably easily. Plumbers don’t get plumber’s block, and doctors don’t get doctor’s block; why should writers be the only profession that gives a special name to the difficulty of working, and then expects sympathy for it? – Philip Pullman

4. Become obsessed about a topic you have a genuine interest in.
Read everything about it. Oh God, you’re one of those people at a party. Did I know the Ecuadorian yellow parrot has …? Remember bands we idolised and how we knew everything about them? Even the stuff that would never appear in a pub quiz? Become that person for a topic. When you write about the topic your passion and knowledge should stand out because of that obsession. Read every angle about the topic. Pro, con, neutral, rumour. You are now the knowledge base for this topic. You should now be able to create timelines and linkages and more for that topic. Observe from outside, how you write and structure content about the topic. Maybe use this as a model for other topics then? Obsessions teach us a lot about how to research and get a feel for things.

5. Pick a fight.
In terms of getting attention, it works well. But be justified. If someone is misinformed then call them out with proof. Rebuttals, corrections and more can work well. Be level headed the whole time. No personal insults. See the next topic too.

6. Know your defamation laws.
Irish defamation law is a motherfucker. Designed to make rich people keep the masses down while making lawyers nice and rich. Know the limitations the law says your writing has to have. Do remember though that you will get bogus threats too that you should stand up to.

7. Look at available information sources.
FOI is great for this. The eTenders website is too. Data journalism is a nice new area of journalism. It’s a new name for what has always been there: Proper research and seeing a story where others don’t. Kildare Street. Even Daft.ie are good places to get information. Learn how to sift through data and tell a story

8. Write for people you know
Write for your mother, father, granparent, friend. Anyone can copy and paste from a press release or rob from the Irish Times and the Indo for their churnalism site. The value is not in who is fastest to repost a press release, it’s in crafting something that has a start, middle and end and that has added value to the life of someone by the time they’ve finished reading your piece. Having someone pictured in your mind as you write focuses you on how to communicate the information to them, how to write it in language they understand.

9. Know how to write killer headlines.
Use Twitter as a platform. Look at stuff in the Irish Times, Independent and give them better, catchier headlines and see what ones you create get the clicks on Twitter and Facebook. This headline guide from Upworthy is great.

10. Pitch and Collaborate
It’s never too early to pitch ideas to features editors. Start with local publications and see will they take your content for free. Again, look at topical issues and look at gaps and pitch for that gap. Yeah you work for free but now you’re published. The more places you are published, the more people will take you seriously.

Done your FOIs? Gotten juicy stuff? Pitch the story to a journalist and see will they write it with you. Get your name in the by-line in a paper then. This actually happens, not a lot but it does.

11. Read stuff on content and how to write
This list from me might also help in terms of new forms of content. Media changes, be there for the changes instead of catching up. Fail fast but fail cheap instead of failing slowly.

Fluffy Links – Monday February 24th 2014

Monday, February 24th, 2014

Alan references a post I did years back, now his take years later. All things change, all things repeat. IBTS are still dicks about the gays.

Not evenly distributed. Newspaper club will not only print your newspaper on demand, they’ll be the paperboy too.

Maybe analysts could watch for takedowns to predict who is getting acquired. Handy signal from WhatsApp about their purchase by being shitty on Github.

Same thing with Testflight. Remove all support for Android and new users and oh yeah, they got acquired by Apple.

Clever prediction markets people could use this to place bets/buys on certain stocks.

On WhatsApp. Great talk on ideas that people thought were daft at the time and turned out to be highly lucrative

New user experiences, good and bad, from a variety of products

Roads do perfume, books and film. Interesting mix, would love to be a publisher if I had a tonne of money and not worried about making money from this area.

The 10 Stages of the Creative Process.

I love this website designed to sell a course on creativity.

Such an odd word. Pulchritudinous.

Best cover in a long long LONG time

Fluffy Links – Monday February 17th 2014

Monday, February 17th, 2014

Ivan has a nice site on data visualisation. Do check it out.

20 minute read. Gold in that read: Very very detailed piece on the revenue, sales numbers and dynamics of the e-book industryHugh Howey. Self publish seems to be the main takeaway.

David Hieatt on how to raise money for your idea.

I’m putting the band back together, no, I mean I’m putting together a list of Digital Marketing Trainers. Want to be on it?

Buzzfeed Style Guidelines. Handy doc, useful for writing on the web.

And in the same area, the Yelp Style Guide.

Great great detail on how the Crazy Egg website was optimised for conversions. Getting traffic to your site is one thing, getting commitments from that traffic is another.

Winged Victory for the Sullen have new music.

Make lollipops turn into superheroes with printed capes.

Fan generated Star Trek original series episodes. High production values. Above we see the self publishing revolution data, will self produced TV be on the way too and be profitable? Also what’s interesting is pirate websites are giving this content a push. If Netflix can do it…

Dear Fellow Employees of Paypal. Use our app or leave. Why aren’t Paypal staff using the Paypal app is a good question.

Whiteboards. Great for displaying your passwords to TV crews.

Fluffy Links – Monday February 10th 2013

Monday, February 10th, 2014

Make others successful. Love this very short slide deck from Ideo on their values. Print off every slide!

Writing was always that torturous, we all just think we’re so fucking special.

Interview with Choire Sicha, founder of The Awl and the author of “A Very Recent History”.

Some actual context for how big Facebook as a social network is. Compare it to Twitter and the others.

Allen curve. The more you see someone face to face, the more you’ll communicate with them via other channels like post, phone, email.

The rider for a professional public speaker.

Hidden data in everyday things. Decoding GPS coordinates from a youTube video.

The Gap by Ira Glass, done to a video.

The world is full of magic things, patiently waiting for our senses to grow sharper.” –W.B. Yeats

via Richard Hearne. Great piece on landing page optimisation with links to a whole lot of resources.

It was good til the very end and it went all “Twitter, Facebook wah wah wah pay”. Two teens, an ocean apart and how their History in Pics Twitter account is a juggernaut.

Julia Kent is playing Cork on March 1st. Caoimhín Ó Raghallaigh is support. Yes and yes.

Fluffy Links – Monday February 3rd 2014

Monday, February 3rd, 2014

We can’t come off looking like we think technology is the answer to every question. Technology is part of the answer but people are obviously part of the answer, as well.

Steve Case (Remember him from AOL) on tech companies and responsibilities. The tech world he alludes to is also the one where people feel good that they teach homeless people to code. And insist if everyone learned to code the world would be so much better. I’m sure some kid in Asia can unstarve themselves by learning python in their slum that doesn’t have electricity. Is there an Uber for getting a clue?

Brian Eno on a strategy to being creative again.

Launching a startup is easy. The launch bit. The hard work has yet to start though.

via Glenn There’s a guy in West Cork making very professional drones and exporting them.

Mac user? Trouble sleeping? This will help. Flux.

Fake U2 single uploaded to YouTube, it’s actually some other band. Got played by Dave Fanning. If this was guerrilla marketing by that band, I’d be slightly praising it.

Dodgy “guest” blog posts are going to get a hammering by Google. If Matt Cutts blogs about it, that’s a confirmation.

Praise kids for their effort, praise them for being smart, the ones praised for effort work harder and do better.

I forgot I uploaded this, the Art of the Handshake, taken from Primary Colours. Oh Bill er John.

Be the artist, not the canvas