Archive for the 'Internet' Category

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The participative web – follow my Web2.0 ramblings at the OECD meeting

For those interested in Internet things – and in this case the sexy side of the Internet, Facebook and all that stuff – there is an interesting conference due to start in two hours in Ottawa, Canada.

I know because I’m here and I’m on of two official bloggers. See can see the full agenda here, and the front page to the blog, which I will be updating all day can be found here.

The conference is basically bringing together experts from across the world to discuss what these latest Web2.0 technologies – which the OECD has placed under the banner “the participative web” – mean, what impact they will, what we should do and not do about the societal, business and political changes they invoke and so on. The reason why this is important is because the OECD is one of the full bodies in the world that the world’s most powerful governments listen to.

So check it out. Reply to my blog posts – if they’re pertinent I’ll read em out in the meeting.

Review of Sex.com by Kev Murphy

Kevin Murphy, a British IT journo based in the US, has done a review of my Sex.com book on his blog.

He likes it. Which is nice since he is one of roughly three journalists in the world who understand the domain name system and its history. You can read it all here.

I like the opening line: “This is easily the funnest tech industry book I’ve read in a long time.”

I’m still don’t know where things are at with the US publisher, or this bloke in New York was interested in making a screenplay out of the book, or if I’m ever going to make any money from the book. Still, what does it matter in the wider scheme of things? I managed to write a book and people seem to enjoy it.

Am I keeping in touch with people – or just spreading tedious ditties?

I finally joined Facebook last week. It was when the fifth person from a different sphere of friends send me an invite that I realised it had hit that point where I was most likely missing out on something. So I signed up.

And Facebook is nice. I now have 26 friends and they can see what I’m doing (sort of); and I can see what they’re doing (sort of). And I can wonder how odd it is that my friends know so many people that I haven’t met; and wonder if they wonder who on earth are the people listed as my friends.

But I am beginning to get the same sort of feeling I started getting with LinkedIn about a month ago. At first, it’s kinda like collecting football stickers, except rather than having Gary Lineker staring out at you, it’s your old mate from university.

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Amazon.com now selling my book

This has to be good – I note that Amazon.com is now selling my book – Sex.com.

Unfortunately there is still a four to six-week delivery date on it, which leads me to conclude that my publishers have yet to strike a deal with a US publisher. I also note on a quick perusal of the Net that the Sydney Morning Herald and ran a whole extract in its edition today – Chapter 3, I believe. And I’m pleased to see that Techworld – where I was news ed – ran an extract last week. Alot has happened since I’ve been away.

I’ve also got a lovely review on Amazon.com. Although this doesn’t appeared to have helped my ranking much – it’s still way down at book no 186,461. Anyway, the review:

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Back to work

In case anyone is wondering why I haven’t been calling, emailing, insisting people come out for drinks, and so on, I have been on a three-and-a-half-week tour covering New York, Los Angeles and Puerto Rico – all for ICANN. A very busy week-long meeting has caused me to take three days off without any form of electronic communication, so I am currently sat in Continental’s President Club in San Juan airport (so poorly stocked that there are even signs suggesting you go outside for food and then come back in), and have just downloaded no less than 406 emails.

I’m also a bit burnt – partly thanks to the intense heat in the Caribbean, partly because my British skin just does not do sun, but mostly because I don’t have the rules of being in the sun screwed into my brain. Anyway, on my way to Houston and then Gatwick and then Oxford, so it’s Tuesday 8am and by Wednesday lunchtime I’ll be back home and calling people again. I understand that my home country not only has a new leader but that we are, yet again, the target of terrorist attacks. Home Sweet Home.

London Olympics logo faces wrath of Net democracy

This is going to be an interesting one. The logo for the London Olympics in 2012 was unveiled on Monday and it has met almost universal disdain. And for good reason – look at it – it’s hideous. Or perhaps grotesque is a better word. Anyway, the BBC has a poll on it where at the time of writing 74.04 percent of the 21,019 voters have voted to give it the “wooden spoon” rather than gold, silver or bronze.

Or far more interest though is this online petition on GoPetition.com which has already attracted nearly 40,000 signatures from people agreeing with the statement that the logo is “an embarrassment” and should be “dropped as soon as possible”. The signatures are going in at the rate of roughly 30 a second. If this petition hits 100,000 it will make the news, and the London Olympics Committee has already taken the stance that it won’t budge. But if it hits 500,000 then it would have little choice but to scrap it.

I think the survey will hit 150,000 or so and cause some problems, possibly with a couple of MPs seeing their chance to get on the tele. If Ken Livingstone then comes out against it, it could be doomed. Be interesting viewing for a week or so.

Update: The BBC has run a series of alternative suggested logos sent in by readers – some are good (certainly much better that the graffiti monstrosity above), some are funny.

So much for Google translation

Three weeks ago, I added a translation module to this blog as an experiment with automated translation software.

The technology worked although thanks to some readers of different nationalities, it quickly became clear that the translations were not great – and in some cases barely comprehensible. Part of the reason is that I write in a very chatty fashion in English, complete with slang, odd sentence construction and often an idiosyncratic style. There’s no way a computer can accurately translate that sort of material. And it would seem that Google has decided not to bother at all.

Click on any of the flags on the right-hand column and I have just noticed you are informed that Google considers that your action “looks similar to automated requests from a computer virus or spyware application” and that you may want to run a virus checker on your computer. There is no manual override. Google simply refuses to translate the page. So much for Google translation. I’m shifting to a different one that hopefully will be able to do the most basic job or telling a click on a website to a virus.

And people wonder why we shouldn’t get too caught up with Google software.

Sunday Telegraph review of Sex.com

There was a review in the Sunday Telegraph at the weekend, so I did something I’ve only done once before in my life and bought it.

I knew it didn’t bode well when they managed to misspell my name not once but twice in the piece (in fact it’s not spelt right anywhere). Once of the first rules of journalism is to make absolutely sure you get the correct spelling of someone’s name, because it’s the one thing that most irritates people – that and their age being wrong. So despite the book having “Kieren McCarthy” in bold letters on the front of the book, it turns out that the Sunday Telegraph believes one “Kieran McCarthy” wrote it, while the reviewer is convinced someone called “Keiren McCarthy” was behind it.

What’s more, the Telegraph website is down at the moment so I can’t link to the review. Perhaps divine justice.

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Book launch and reviews

I had my book launch on Tuesday at Bar Detroit in Covent Garden. Terrific stuff. Lots of old friends, my publishers (several of the Quercus team pictured above), and my family. Gary Kremen was there and signed various books and generally entertained people. I did that weird thing where you speak to nearly everyone but only for a very sorry time each. I also didn’t eat anything, so I have lost the last half-hour or so of the evening and felt pretty rough the next day, but there you go – if you can’t do that at your book launch, when can you?

Anyway, there are a series of reviews out. And I’ve done a number of interviews so I thought I should quickly stick up links to them while I have a minute. Guy Kewney wrote one for his NewsWireless site, which The Register has decided to buy off him. Which is good news for me because Guy really enjoyed it. My favourite part: “You think you’re going to read a racy description of the high life of a few wealthy California dotcom millionaires, playing at pornography – but what you end up soaking into your soul, is a deep understanding of the pioneering days of the Internet.” Which was exactly what my intention was. He ends it: “It’s a brilliant bit of writing. Read it if you dare.” God bless him.

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Sunday Times article on Sex.com

This is the article that appeared in The Sunday Times on Sex.com today. As I mentioned earlier, the article appears under my byline but was entirely written by a writer the Times brought in. I’m interested to see what people think of the two versions I wrote and the one that’s appeared. I’ll do a poll, but feel free to stick comments on any of my posts.

I think the broad difference is that I was trying to tell the story, and the final piece has taken the tack about the Internet and domains. Perhaps my versions tried to do too much in a short space and so were too complex for easy comprehension. Anyway, the piece is in, there are a few minor mistakes in it, but then I have just been told it is linked to on the Drudge Report, so that has to be good. I only hope all this translates into people actually reading the book.

Oh, and I should say, Gary Kremen is over from the States for the book launch on Tuesday in Covent Garden. If people want to come along, please do, there’s still space for 30 or so people.

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