Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Don't Panic

Sorry that title is a blatant rip off of Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy.

The point is the same. All around at the moment is doom and gloom, banks going under is pretty scary stuff make no bones about it.

But the best thing you can do is Don't Panic. Sure be a little more careful, but don't stop being creative in your life and work.

If you stop taking risks then a few things will happen:
  • You become very dull and you won't have many friends left
  • You stop having energy, when that stops people aren't energised by you anymore
  • You stop having new ideas
  • You fulfil the prophesy "They" want. You become subservient and under control

In a climate of fear and uncertainty whats needed are new idea, new approaches. The old ways may be tried and tested but look where that's got us so far. Be brave cos its the only way you discover what'll work in the future and the future is all you ever have.

The past is great, I know I spend enough time there. But you can't change what's gone only what's to come.

Be brave and Don't Panic.

Rant over

Thanks to Douglas Adams

Guess the new brand identity - A quiz with no prize

Who in the world has a new logo like this?
Answers on a comment please. Sorry no prize, other than for the agency who pocketed £600k (part of a £1.5m identity makeover).

Monday, September 29, 2008

Aids pandemic

I'm watching Current TV and I've just seen one of the most disturbing things I've ever seen. In the video a women has asked her husband to use a condom. He thought that she didn't trust him so he gathered a mob to beat her.

Please take the time to watch this video and then make a promise to change something. You really don't know how lucky you are.

What will you do with £1.40 today?

Sorry I know I don't do politics. But I just had to post about this.

Today the Tories announced at their party conference in Birmingham that if they win the next election they'll freeze Council Tax for two years.

(Big cheer)

Hang on...

The report on more 4 news then tells you how much that'll mean in your pocket - £1.40 per week! Hey wait for me in the charge to the shops I can now buy a loaf of bread!

Come on, if you're going to make a policy which in these times of financial crisis then at least don't take the piss.

But, on the bright side, if these guys get voted in then at least we can all afford a round of butties as we cry hopelessly for four years.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Mark Rothko at the Tate

The Tate are holding a large exhibition of Mark Rothko works. Regardless of if you love his work or think it's just a blob of colour on a board. Rothko's work definitely makes everyone have an opinion. The BBC have put together a virtual tour of the exhibition which gives you a feel for the scale of the works.

£946 Million Profit for Lloyds of London!!!!!!

Listening to the news today a warning came from Lloyds of London the insurer. They have issued a profit warning they've only made £946 Million profit this year. Which is apparently down about 50% on last year (I was driving so please excuse any inaccuracy here).

Somehow I find it really hard to feel sorry for them!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Day in my Life

I really love my digital camera. The really cool thing about it is that there is no cost involved in using it, other than batteries. With camera 1.0 film and processing where quite a cost, which is why when I was a kid photos where only taken on special occasions and everyone had to be positioned and smiling at the camera, or holding something or pointing at something. Pictures where still a luxury.

Well not any more. Now I can take as many as I like and if they are crap they can be deleted. My thought is that if they are essentially free and instant, why should they be deleted?

What better way to catch your life and what's important to you than capturing an image of it. When time's passed you can never, ever get it back so if you have a picture of it you should keep it, cos you can't go back.

Today I took my camera everywhere with me. I shot over 170 pictures, some great, some crap but not one can be re-created. I've just uploaded them here on FaceBook.

The idea was to catch the day from the dull to the mildly interesting. It was my day no one elses.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Google Phone er not quite finished I think

I love all things Google, but they do have a habit of pushing things out a bit too quickly sometimes. Chrome isn't quite there, though I'm sure it soon will be.

They seem to have done the same thing with the Google phone. Their main competition is clearly the iPhone. Now the open source code used on the Google Phone will mean that creating software will be easy and quick and that new iterations can me sorted out very quickly, which is where Apple don't quite get there because they have strict controls over programming which holds them back.

The trick Google have missed is the design element of the Google Phone. It looks old and clumsy when compared to the iPhone or most other designed handsets so its going to lose out. I'm sure they'll get there but they need some some design support. It must be hard for them they're not product designers there are more dimensions than HTML to deal with.

I'm sure the software and the actual phone will be amazing but until it appears on a credible handset to complement it, it's going to struggle.

Monday, September 22, 2008

BBC Lomography Documentary

Lots of people keep asking me where I first heard of Lomo cameras and what they could do. I first saw this lomography documentary on the BBC a long time ago. It stayed with me and I only just got round to buying the camera. The camera gives me a lot of joy and has re-newed my interest in photography in general. I like to use the 10 lomography rules with my digital camera too.

1. Take your LOMO everywhere you go & whenever you go.
2. Use it anytime — day or night.
3. Lomography is not an interference in your life, but a part of it.
4. Shoot from the hip.
5. Approach the objects of your lomographic desire as close as possible.
6. Don't think.
7. Be fast.
8. You don't have to know beforehand what you've captured on film.
9. You don't have to know afterwards, either.
10. Don't worry about the rules.

Here's the first part of the BBC Documentary.

Current.com TV

I've been watching current.com TV on proper TV for a while now. I've just registered for the website too. This is just the kind of thing the Internet and now digital TV was made for. The content is generated by the viewers and voted for by the viewers. You can sit a criticise the shows and you can make them yourself. This is total democracy because your stories and videos will be voted for by your peers. If only TV was more like this.

Still it take a dedicated amount of people to control this and take enough of an interest which is why the vast majority of the population will just stick to Eastenders. There's no thinking involved to handle that.

Sunday, September 21, 2008


On Friday I want to the Brudenell Social Club for a free gig by Cibelle. I had no idea what to expect. What I didn't expect was a voice from the past so clear and true mixed with improvisation and live mixing on stage. Really something very special she really deserves a stage bigger than the one on Friday night.

Having said that I'm really privileged to have been there that night. Her gigs are surely impossible to repeat.

Scary Rabits

I visited the Yorkshire Sculpture Park today near Huddersfield. They have some amazing scary rabbits. Check em out!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Make a difference

I don't normally get involved in politics, I don't know enough and can't construct a strong enough argument. However, I do see that aside from the normal political turmoil all the parties, are very very similar.

I see this as a marketing issue. When you have a homogenised market you need to stand out. All the parties follow the exact same rules. Party conference, broadcasts, Direct Mail, tour of the country etc. Same old thing year after year no wonder the general public are so apathetic.

Why not do something radical and wrap it around a policy? I've no idea what policy, that's not the point here.

How about scraping the party conference? Admit that the country is in turmoil and that posturing is just for your own gratification. The coverage you'll get for not having a conference will be immense. Sure the next time it comes around your opposition may use the same tactic, but you've got first mover advantage.

Wrap it all up with a great policy announcement and you have a winner. That's just one idea, there must be thousands they can do. If nothing radical is done very soon the UK will have only one party and one view and surely that not what democracy is all about is it?

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Unwinding the credit crunch

I've just read the Credit Crunch Glossary on the BBC site. My got no wonder it's all gone wrong, have you seen what these jokers have been doing!


A lot of the trades carried out by big banks involve agreeing to buy or sell or deliver or receive something on a particular date in the future. You might, for example, pay $10,000 for 100 barrels of a particular type of oil to be delivered in November.

To unwind a position, you just do the opposite of what you did in the first place. So if you bought 100 barrels of oil to be delivered in November then to unwind the position you have to sell someone 100 barrels of oil to be delivered in November. It is very important to unwind a position because otherwise you end up having 100 barrels of oil delivered to your desk, which is embarrassing.

Also, you do not get the $10,000 back or make any profits until you have unwound your position.The problem at Lehman Brothers is that there are all sorts of trades that have been made that will not be unwound because the traders have been laid off. So the challenge for the administrators is to unwind all the positions before they start receiving oil or gold or whatever the traders have been dealing in. This will be an enormous task and the administrators need to try to lose as little money as they can while doing it.

Meanwhile, the banks that have done deals with Lehman don't know when they will get their money back - until all deals have been unwound.

Credit Cruch hits home

OK lets get this up front. I know bugger all about the markets I'm not a follower of finance and I struggle to balance my own finances.

Having said all that. Know that the credit crunch is hitting home, exactly where it should with the big banks, don't you think this is karmic justice?

All these years the fat cats in the City and on Wall Street have been gambling with investors money and paying themselves massive unsustainable bonus'. Now they're all upset that the end of million pound bonus' is here and they can't continue to arse up our economy and the world with it.

How on earth where they all so blinkered to think that if they just kept stacking the odds they could keep winning. Well it's beginning to fall, and they've only themselves to blame. The firms that have already gone or have be bought by competitors or a government will actually release all the tension and allow the market to re-group.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Posters of the cold war

I love propaganda posters, they play on the most basic of human instincts - hate. Not that I condone hatred.

The way that the simplest of design styles portrays a powerful message which entrances a country or state has always fascinated me. Though the styles vary massively the simplicity always stays. These posters are designed for the lowest common denominator and give people something to rally round, it makes them feel part of a group - protected in their collective hatred of another group. As an artform I'm not certain how beloved it is, such amazing graphics but with a very dark meaning.

The V&A are holding an exhibition Cold War Modern to highlight the works.

Elbow win Mercury Music Prize

Say what you like about the Mercury Music Prize but at least the line up of contenders is mixed. The prize awards the best album of the past year and this year Elbow deservedly won this year with Seldom Seen Kid.

I only discovered Elbow this year at Glastonbury. If you've not heard the album yet it's well worth a go. The lyrics are so perfect, small stories within themselves.

Shame is now that so many people will discover them that they could turn into just another band who dilute their essence once they become popular. I hope not because that would be a real shame.

Monday, September 08, 2008

Genuis of Bruce Lee

Since I was a teenager I've loved Bruce Lee films. No matter how badly dubbed or acted I can watch them time and time again. Just showed my boy his first Bruce Lee clip and he loved it. The thing that most people miss in my opinion is that its not about violence its the artistry of it.

The control and discipline it takes is phenomenal. Just wish I could make the same achievement.

The end of the recesson has been announced

I said it would come didn't I! I was just reading the BBC website a guy from the Nationwide said that UK house prices would drop by 25% from their high point but that all would be better by 2010.

All reported by the BBC wrapped up inside a bad news story.

The media announce the beginning and the end of the recession in one fell swoop!

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Lomography Wall in Yorkshire

I've only just got my Lomo Supersampler and as you can probably tell I'm pretty excited. I'd love to organise a Lomography Wall exhibition in Yorkshire, ideally Leeds.

Can't do it on my own as I've not got enough pictures yet. If you're in the area or know someone who is then please let me know. You can leave a comment or contact me directly.

Lomography is so amazing

My Lomo camera just gets better and better. The few shots I've had out of it are amazing. I've just started building my profile on the Lomo site and for the camera I have the Supersampler there is a feature where the site will animate the shot. This works best with a picture with lots of motion in, clearly, but the effect is amazing.

I'm trying to link to my profile but can't see how to do it easily. Here's a link to the Lomography Homes search for Richard Michie and you'll find my stuff (I hope). If not you'll definitely find a whole new world of images you never knew existed.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Google Chrome screen draw

Still testing Google Chrome. First gripe: I don't think the screen draw or the font rendering is a nice as IE. It all looks a bit to sparse and doesn't add enough weight to the page. What do you think?

Google Chrome

Just downloaded Google Chrome and I'm using it to write this post.

At first glance it's very bear. Maybe I'm used to all the clutter of IE and the shock of the new is always a bit off putting. Literally only just loaded it so not had a chance to test it properly.

I'm kind of surprised it doesn't have the functionality of the Google Toolbar built in to it. That seems like a lost opportunity especially as early adopters of this will be SEO and web builders who almost insist on having those tools. Maybe they are for further down the line.

All in all it looks good. I'm going to try using it all day today and see what I think later.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Odd Things

Driving through Hillsborough in Sheffield tonight.

Saw two guys carrying a piano, which is pretty odd in Hillsborough.

100 yards down the road a one legged man!

All too random for a Tuesday night

Google launch an IE killer

Google have just announced they are about to launch their own web browser - Chrome.

Just the next step towards the Google virtual desktop as far as I can see. Question is why has it taken them so long to do it? I still use IE can't get used to Firefox. I'll give Chrome a go, I use most Google stuff anyway.

Monday, September 01, 2008

Reaching your audience

A great way to acquire new customers is to take your existing database and ask a data company to supply you with "look-a-likes". These customers will have similar characteristics to the ones you already have. If you're starting from scratch you can tell the data company who you'd like and they can supply that for you.

Problem is that these people are cold. They've never heard of you or your service, or they'd already be customers. A great idea is to begin to spread your product/service by piggy backing your product with something that similar customers will buy.

Great idea if you have something you can distribute free. If it's close enough you're getting your self into the hands of the right customers without giving them any risk. If you're close enough they become your marketing strategy all on their own. Seth Godin sums up the idea here.

If you're small enough and the product fits why not try it?


Life's full of little glimmers.

So keep a good watch out for them