Links for November 26th through November 28th

Some links for you:

People Power/Media Power

Well today was a bit of a frenzy. The Act on CO2 People Power campaign was launched and I found myself being wheeled in front of the media for most of the day.

It started gently with an interview down the phone with Radio WM’s Phil Upton. He even left a comment on my Facebook wall afterwards – nice touch.
act on co2 shoot

Then at 10.30am a government minister turned up. Along with her press assistant, three people from the PR company, two people from the Energy Savings Trust (one in a lovely white lab coat) and a photographer. Phew – it was busy.


Then the BBC arrived at 4.30pm and spent about an hour and a half shooting a sequence that may appear on your TV sometime in December or January. I got the idea that this was a story that gets slotted into the news agenda when other stuff doesn’t crowd it out. This time there were two Beeb people, the same three PR people (who helped with mine and the kids’ tea – ta) and one of the energy saving guys. This involved an interview and plenty of shots of the family using energy. You can see that in the picture above – there’s the youngest watching telly, let’s hope she doesn’t leave it on standby after she’s finished. As an aside, if the kitchen scenes ever make it to air then the kids aren’t usually fed pizza and Maltesers. It was what I had to hand to keep them quiet as the camera rolled.

Overall a busy but quite enjoyable day. Now I have to get on with the actual campaign thing itself which involves keeping a diary of my energy use. More on that as it progresses. Some nice playing with the Current Cost device in the meantime as well (which impressed the PR & energy people). Got some graphs going on (and better ones to follow):

Links for November 23rd

Some links for you:

  • Self Portrait Birmingham – "Self Portrait Birmingham is a collective of photographers and artists based in Birmingham who are building a self portrait of the people of Birmingham initially through photography. The aim is to run self-portrait sessions throughout Birmingham."
  • Media Talent Bank Blog – Media Talent Bank blog now has an RSS feed that works. This is the link for the feed.
  • YouTube – BrumMusicArchive's Channel – Youtube channel that does what it says on the tin. Brings together lots of Brum related music clips

Counting the current

I now have one of these, a Current Cost thingy that measures how much electricity I’m wasting every time I forget to turn the lights off in the kitchen. It was sent to me as part of my impending positioning as some kind of ambassador for the government’s Act on CO2 campaign (that’ll teach me to respond so quickly to internal council circulars last thing on a Friday). More on that after the campaign goes live on Thursday but in the meantime I’m enjoying watching how the Current Cost device freaks out as I switch on the kettle, the tumble dryer and the dishwasher at the same time – those kilowatts go wild!


The device has a serial port on the bottom and I would love to share my usage stats with the world. However this involves some technical geekery which may well be beyond my knowledge. Just extracting the data from the machine looks complex. It’s either a DIY job or I think I just buy a specialist cable.

Once I have the data I’d like to translate it into some simple charts that could sit on the sidebar of this blog. Some have used the Google Charts API. If I can work out what I’m doing, I’ll do the same.

There seems to be a fair few people at IBM’s Hursley offices who are into fiddling with Current Cost so there’s plenty of guidance on the web about this – they even won a prize for hacking the machine and sharing the data. There’s also a wiki.

Note: I’ll put all the posts about the Act on CO2 campaign and my involvement into their own category (rss feed).

Links for November 17th through November 20th

Some links for you:

  • World experts meet to boost creative industries – Top Creative Industries types meet to shape the world creative business conference which will take place at The Grove in Hertfordshire from 26 – 28 October 2009.
  • Midland Offstage Skills Consortium – New one on me: “MOSC is an employer led organisation, made up of representatives from arts organisations, suppliers, training providers and freelancers, in live theatre and music across 70% of the Midlands.”
  • Screen WM – Driving innovation and excellence in screen media : News – Justin Edgar’s film is starting to get some good press – and awards as indicated here. He once filmed an episode of Doctors (BBC soap) at my house. And that’s as close to the movie industry as I’m ever likely to get…..
  • National Creative Industries Conference 2008 – 11th december, Liverpool. “With a comprehensive programme of debate, workshops and keynote presentations, as well as guided visits to some of the North West’s leading creative sector developments, the National Creative Industries Conference 2008, ‘Creative Cities’ will seek to explore the concept of a ‘Creative City’ in the face of changing economic times, and will consider the impact of competing social, economic and infrastructural drivers on a City’s economy.” £295 plus VAT (£346.63)
  • New report projects regional job losses of 180,000 – how was that calculated? « Observations – Excellent post that identifies the methodology behind the headline figure of predicted job losses for the region. I love a bit of hardcore research methods.

Creative City Awards – links

The finalists for the Creative City awards have been announced (also by Kenny from Big cat PR).

I thought it worthwhile repeating the list with links through to the companies (and to their blogs if I could find one – please add a comment if I’ve got any wrong):

The Regional Outstanding Business Development Award:
Bubblequest Ltd
Internet Arrow
Digital Native Academy Ltd

The Birmingham Outstanding Business Development Award:
Electric Cinema
Substrakt Limited (blog)

Innovation Award:
Adwords Ltd
LHM Media (blog)
IE Design Consultancy Ltd (blog)

Outstanding Market Development Award:
Fierce Earth Ltd (blog)
D A Recordings Ltd (blog)
Fused (blog)

The Best Brand Award:
D A Recordings Ltd (blog)
Violectra trading as Unison Strings Ltd
IE Design Consultancy Ltd (blog)

Creative Industries Award:
D A Recordings Ltd (blog)
Stan’s Cafe (blog)
Fierce Earth Ltd (blog)

Presumably the council will update have updated their website with full details (+how to get tickets). Kate Silverton presents the awards at the ICC on the 29th November. A few years back I went along and got drunk enough to demand to be photographed with Ashley Blake. I don’t really know why. Suffice to say I haven’t been back since.

Links for November 15th through November 17th

Some links for you:

  • C:CUBED 4 Dec | bTWEEN – Invite only event but you need to be there. For more information, contact Just-b. on 0114 221 0589 or mail info[at] "This is your chance to find out about two new potent funding opportunities: 4IP and the Digital Content Development Programme. Meet the funders and find out what they are looking for. The day will bring decision-makers from key regional arts organisations and digital agencies together to explore how digitisation is revolutionising the arts world"
  • “Your blogroll defines you…” | Boy Wonder's Blog – A useful list from Anthony Herron of the blogs he reads. Many key local ones on there (but not mine but then again I rarely blog about music)
  • Beat the bullies | Uni Survival – I now do a bit of writing for Dubber's Unisurvival website. Essential reading for students.
  • The hinternet, the internet we’re missing – jon bounds – Nice piece by Jon Bounds on the web we're at risk of losing and what we can do about it.
  • Swordfish Studios Sold Off in Two Parts | Wii News – It appears Codemasters has bought out Swordfish studios in Birmingham. Great to see Codemasters expand in the region. They took over the former Sega Driving studio in Solihull last year as well.

Unisurvival – Beat the bullies

Andrew Dubber invited me to be one of a team of academics writing for UniSurvival which delivers common-sense advice to students about everything from time management to drugs to how to drop out. Worth a read as well is Tim Wall’s piece on why how you think is more important than what you think.

I’m well-chuffed to be writing for it and I’ll avoid cross posting in future but this is my first piece which was about bullying:

bully pic
The daughter of a friend of mine had a bad time at her school. She was misunderstood by the teachers and bullied by a small group of fellow students. The former she dealt with by producing excellent work and getting good results – an ‘I’ll show ’em’ attitude – the latter proved a bit more complex to deal with and left her upset and withdrawn.

The solution was to move away from the problem, to another school. Now, a couple of years down the line she’s moving on again, to start her Uni life. But all she can think of is what if it happens again? What if the Uni bully finds me out and puts me through three years of hell?

Bullying isn’t just something that happens to kids of course. Adults in the workplace can be as vicitimised as schoolchildren in the playground. So what about the university campus? My immediate reaction on talking to my friend’s daughter was to reassure her that Uni life is simply a world away from school.

Continue reading

Links for November 10th through November 14th

Some links for you:

Links for November 7th through November 10th

Some links for you: