Holla Back: Mobile Vigilantes?

I’ve been reading the Holla Back New York City blog recently, a blog which a group of young activists (mostly women) started as a means to stop men (or women) making degrading comments, sex pests, or any form of sexual harassment, then post the results on a website.

They are fighting back with their own weapons: camera phones, blogs, online protests and forums, plus an action campaign timed for “street harassment season”.

The growing interest in the site, and the theme (described as ‘cyber vigilantism’ by critics) have raised questions about where we can draw the line between an innocent hello (or chat-up line) and actual ‘sexual harassment’.

In the eight months, about 100 camera phone pictures have been posted on the site along with text accounts, or ‘blogs’, of the harassment suffered under the banner: ‘If you can’t slap ’em, snap ’em!’.

“Holla Back” is a growing phenomenon that does raise the question of whether how far it will be taken? Will communication evolve or cease because you said “hello” and the next minute you’re on a blog being touted as some kind of sex pest? Who knows. It is certainly something to follow.


The Apple Poetry Guy

Apple Poetry

A poster on YouTube has published a piece of poetry he performed at an Apple Talent Show, and subsequently got fired for.

The poetry is about his telephone conversations with an unnamed “Canadian FedEx Lady”, and towards the end of the movie the movie explained he was fired.

However, a lot of posters have come up with some interesting questions:

  • Was he fired for the poetry, or because of something else?
  • When was the video shot? Was it this year?
  • Was he fired because of breach of some Apple customer service ettiqute?
  • Did he ever actually work for Apple and was he ever really fired from Apple? – all we have is his word from the video and subsequent comments on the video.
  • Is it a subtle marketing ploy by Apple?

Whilst these questions and others aren’t answered, the poetry isn’t too bad and showcases some of the qualms of working for a big corporation when you’re just a small cog of a very big machine.

Apple Poetry Guy gets ‘fired’ (Youtube)

FOWA: Future of Web Apps Event


During Feb 20-Feb 22 in London an event called FOWA, or Future of Web Apps even is to be held. Unfortuently I’m a bit late in posting the event, in addition to the fact that the event is totally sold out — so much for being on the pulse and listening to the grapevine.

There is a list of great workshops, even covering PHP – which I found quite ironic because I thought the whole web 2.0 or now, web 3.0 (sighs) community poo-pooed PHP and was on the whole Ruby-on-Rails bandwagon.

I’m still trying to find out if its possible to download screencasts, or audio podcasts of the actual workshops, but it looks like that isn’t currently available yet.

Anyway, here’s the link;

FOWA: Future of Web Applications Event

Unemployed Skeletor’s Video Blog


It appears Skeletor has started a video blog – one that’s already captured the imagination of other viralists (yes, I did make up that word, maybe I should copyright it – ah well), a video blog that documents his life post-He man. And boy he sure let himself go. Complete with “man boobs” and a fat belly, watch as Skeletor tries to fill in the void left by being unemployed.

Quote from blog:
“Each week, expect to hear from your ol’ pal skelly.He will talk to you about all sorts of stuff,like giving you updates on his documentary ‘The Unexciting Adventures of Unemployed Skeletor'”.

There are well over 20 episodes of Unemployed Skeletor; with one episode where he’s at some function and sings “My Cherie” and dedicating it to Evil-Lynn.


Viral marketing’s dark side

Tim Malbon of Daily Social has recently posted an excellent article on how viral marketing, especially via the medium of YouTube can backfire for brands and their marketing executives.

As Malbon reports, someone within the marketing department of the supermarket chain “Somerfield” decided (probably in a brain storm) to allow their employees to use Youtube as a sort of viral marketing platform, or, as Malbon puts it, “a social media experiment” – but it went wrong because for the last 8 months or so, the bored nightshift Somerfield employees have been uploading subversive content to the Youtube website – much to the embarrassment to the company.

Viral marketing is getting bigger all the time – politicians, marketing gurus and big firms are all trying to use the social aspect of Youtube to market their products, often using funny commercials – or presenting a human face to a lifeless corporate body. I think Youtube and it’s rivals are great for small time businesses trying to get their name out there, but trying to ad-hoc a marketing message via a platform where you know it will be abused is just asking for trouble.

Daily Social: War on Brands

Yahoo! launches Pipes

Yahoo! Pipes

Yahoo! has recently launched Yahoo! Pipes which is a new beta service that enables users to create “data mashups” by dragging and dropping RSS feeds and other content and then connecting them up in such a way that would make it easy, — and also save them so that other people can edit and re-use them.

Yahoo says that “Pipes is a hosted service that lets you remix feeds and create new data mashups in a visual programming environment. The name of the service pays tribute to Unix pipes, which let programmers do astonishingly clever things by making it easy to chain simple utilities together on the command line.”

Tim O’Reilly claims that Pipes “is a milestone in the history of the internet. It’s a service that generalizes the idea of the mashup, providing a drag and drop editor that allows you to connect internet data sources, process them, and redirect the output. Yahoo! describes it as “an interactive feed aggregator and manipulator” that allows you to “create feeds that are more powerful, useful and relevant.” While it’s still a bit rough around the edges, it has enormous promise in turning the web into a programmable environment for everyone.” (link), however many commentators on his article quite rightly point out copyright issues.

O’Reilly admits that using such a system isn’t for the timid; and with the lack of good examples and a clear explanation of why normal (read, non-geeky) users would want to use such a service – the potential of Yahoo! Pipes may be lost to the very people it’s trying to market to.


Celebrity Big Brother Posters

cbb posters

I’m not commented on the whole “Celebrity Big Brother” thing (Shipla vs Jade). Mainly because there was so much blanket coverage on the media about the situation, it almost became farcical, stupid and just plain dumb.

Fortunately, some guys have made some funny post-celebrity big brother posters, in the same vain as the Patriotic posters from Whitehouse.org



Where have I seen that ‘Hydrogen bike’ before?

Hydrogen motorbike

The BBC had an item this morning about a hydrogen motorbike that “accelerates like a 125cc scooter. It’s smooth and easy to control, will do 50mph and has a range of 100 miles” and its only by-product is “water vapour”.

However when I saw the video of the reporter riding the bike, I couldn’t help thinking I’ve seen that bike design before.

Then it hit me….

The bike sure looks like the motorbike from 80’s Hit TV show Streethawk.

See for yourself.

Is it Ghostbusters 2?

Quick Calls

Sick of those Quiz Call channels? You know the ones, simply ring in to a TV channel, guess an answer (an answer that will always be wrong) and possibly win a small amount of money. Ever wanted to get your own back? Well… the comedian Iain Lee has.

“I have taken it on myself to finance all of these call in quiz show type channels by spending a ridiculous amount of money on what is now an obsession. You know the kind of show, spend 75 pence to ring in and guess something that you stand no chance of guessing. To put the odds slightly in my favour, I always guess the same answer. That way, I’m bound to be right some time.”
– Says Iain Lee.

So welcome to the world of “Is it Ghostbusters 2?”

Note, Chris Moyles also did some similar pranks too. They can be found on his website.

Iain Lee presents…Is it Ghostbusters 2?