Links for June 2nd

Some links for you:

  • White Llama: A brief guide to Social Media in Stoke-on-Trent – "So, I was asked to write something to sum up Stoke-on-Trent's social media 'scene'. Tempted as I was to respond "Hey! Stoke is messy! Back off with your straightjackets and your simplification agendas!", I understand that a clean link makes life easier." Brilliant post. I'd actually quite like to see a post like this about Birmingham. A short reflection on where we are now.
  • Mudlark at Mobile Cell, Barcelona « Mudlark – One of the Mudlark team go to the Living Lab near Barcelona. Birmingham has Living Lab status as well with a community based energy project, DEHEMS, running at the moment (with Digital Birmingham as a partner). Be interested to see how we might scale something up to this level.
  • Introducing – Help Me Investigate – Stef Lewandowski gives a detailed run through on pulling together the new 4iP funded Help Me Investigate project.

Fine but show me how the web can solve ‘real’ issues.

There’s a great story over at Pete Ashton’s blog about how his post on the use of street advertising by the Birmingham Rep got a response from the senior staff involved (of both the Rep and the advertising company) and resulted in a solution, an apology and even a donation to charity.

Now the title of this blog post is more to bait comment than suggest that the defacing of a work of art isn’t a ‘real’ issue but I think it might be less of an issue than the systematic decay of the streets where my Mom lives in Alum Rock. I did three things to try to get some movement on this. I wrote to the local councillors for the constituency, I made a request through fixmystreet.com and I blogged about it. The letter got a response to say it was being looked at, the fixmystreet.com request got acknowledged by streatcleansing@birmingham.gov.uk very quickly but with no progress two months later and the blog post got a single comment.

So what’s going on here? How do I work the web in such a way that produces the kind of swift action we saw over the Rep’s adverts?

Edinburgh Marathon 2009 – race review


Well at least I was smiling by the end of the 2009 Edinburgh Marathon. But then I did have a beer in my hand and unlike many of the runners I passed in the last couple of miles I was still walking unaided and without the need for additional oxygen.

This was a race of two halves for me, a quick first one and a much slower, way more painful second one. By the time I’d done a 1hr 27min first half it was getting hot. That’s always going to be a potential issue with a marathon this late in the year but hey, this was Scotland, I didn’t realise they had temperatures above 20 degrees Celsius. Even on the start line at 9am it felt warm. The first few miles are shaded so it wasn’t until we hit the coast that it was obvious the sea breeze would be slight at best.

So great, a quick first half and then immediate tiredness. Miles 13-19 were really tough going and I struggled to maintain a sub 7 minute/mile pace. Any hope of the target I’d set myself, a sub 3 hour marathon, was ebbing away and I realised that to cope with the heat and not end up a wreck I needed to slow down. In fact at three separate points I walked for a short distance to compose myself. It worked as I felt fine for the last couple of miles and even managed a sprint finish on the home straight as I noticed the clock nearing 3hrs 10 minutes.

In reflection I ran a bad marathon. If I eased up in the first half I might well have been nearer the 3 hour mark. But I was heartened at the end by the knowledge that I now run ‘bad’ marathons in under 3hrs 10mins – not bad I think. Plus the crowds at the end were great (I was virtually alone down the finish straight and got huge cheers) and then I spotted some ladies serving beer – how could I refuse.

Many thanks to all who sent messages of support on Twitter and donated to the charity I was supporting. Unfortunately those finishing later in the race had a rough time with some of the water stations running out. That aside (and I realise that’s a big thing to put aside) I thought this a well-organised race in a great city. Great to see so many Bournville Harriers there as well – thanks for the company at dinner the night before.

Results:
David Harte (Male 40) (301) 228th 03:09:47

Split times:
10k: 00:39:21
Half: 01:26:47
30k: 02:06:35
Marathon: 03:09:47

Links for May 27th through June 1st

Some links for you:

  • Birmingham Post – Twitter could transform the way businesses stay in touch – My column in this week's post. Pushing Twitter as a useful business tool
  • BBC NEWS | Technology | Broadband goes big in Japan – Fascinating story of Japan's fast fibre access
  • Towards a better flythrough | Pete Ashton – Pete takes the new fly-through video for the Midlands Arts centre and dubs some new music onto it to replace the awful (presumably) off-the-shelf copyright free stuff that was there. Fantastic – have a go yourself.
  • Golden Square Result! // News » Substrakt // Web Design, Graphic Design, Branding & Advertising – "Our part of the proposal was to implement digital media technology, providing visitor information facilities as an integral component of the scheme – connecting users of the square to the facilities and businesses within the Jewellery Quarter. This is a great opportunity for Substrakt to work closely with sister company Subcom to provide innovative touch screen display solutions."
  • thinkbroadband :: Is the creative industry holding back UK broadband? – "One saving grace for the media industry in the UK in relation to the file-sharing issue has been the adoption of usage limits for the majority of connections. Usage limits may offer one way out of the current catch-22, perhaps by offering an additional licence allowing consumption of music/video from any source where usage does not count towards the connections allowance."
  • DIGITAL MEDIA DAY: Mon 8th June, 11am – 5.30pm – "We’ve just confirmed that the digital festival will be kicking off with a day of media talks and debates. In addition to the big art house film debate: Birmingham a cinematic backwater? (see former blog post) we will explore how digital channels are changing the approach of media workers and the way in which we disseminate news and distribute power. Iwona Tempowski from the Advantage Proof of Concept Fund will also be present to prove that funding opportunities are still very much alive for the digital sector, infact digital firms are particularly invited to apply for the next round of funding."
  • Birmingham Post – Blogs & Comment – Post Comment – Why the people should show their intelligence – "The Intelligent Transport project has massive potential. But what’s even more massive is the potential of the people of Birmingham, and the world, if they are only allowed to get their hands on data that should rightfully be theirs anyway."
  • BBC – About the BBC – Made in the UK – "A series of essays on the BBC's plans to grow television production from Scotland, Northern Ireland, Wales and English Regions" – one of which is by Maverick TV's Jonnie Turpie about digital media in the West Midlands. Quite a few about Salford/Manchester.
  • Information and how to make it useful – "The Power of Information Task Force flagged up that one of the main problems with UK government information is finding out what we have published, what form it is in, and how it can be used; we are looking at how we might do this."
  • Rewired State Wiki – APIs – "This is a list of data sources we've found that will hopefully be useful. Some are apis, but many require screen-scraping or downloading."