Archive for the 'Journalism' Category

Prop8 strike-down rally

Yesterday, the news came through that Judge Walker in San Francisco had ruled that the controversial Proposition 8 – which bans gay marriage in California and had been approved by referendum two years ago – was unconstitutional. The ruling is quite an interesting read and may well set significant legal precedents further down the line.

The result was a march from San Francisco famous gay district, Castro, to City Hall, along Market Street. I caught up with the rally just as it ended the top of Market St and got some pictures of the march and the subsequent speeches in from of City Hall. You can see them below as a Flickr feed.

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Updated software, new post

So I’ve finally updated the software that this blog uses – WordPress – from 2.0.1 to 2.8.4 – which will mean nothing to most of you but cause others to wonder what the hell I’ve been up to.

I’ve also tidied up the page and fix a range of bugs so the site is clean and ready for some new posts. I’m still undecided how exactly to split up my two main blogs – and Or whether to just point them to the same place.

I’m tempted to make this ( my personal blog and the dot-com site my professional face. But then I’m not sure I’d stick with that separation for very long and would find work posts here and personal posts on the dot-com site. Blogs sort-of dare you to be more personal.

Ah well, we shall see.

Who loves the Internet more: Obama or the Pope?

It seems that the Internet is catching on with the most powerful men in the world. Both the Pope and the new US president Barack Obama have this week announced new web strategies and told anyone that would listen how much they love this Internet.

The conversion is hardly surprising – both men derive most of their enormous power from being able to communicate directly to millions. And if there’s one thing the Internet does well, it is mass communication. Here the question though: who loves the Internet more – Obama or the Pope?

Let’s find out in a head-to-head competition…

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Nominet Board fight rolls on

Yet another extraordinary statement has come out of Nominet – the .uk registry owner – today. This time, the chairman Bob Gilbert lambasts a “number of false allegations” made in a resignation letter from former director Jim Davies.

The letter was posted on the Nominet members’ private mailing list, nom-steer, and contains “sensitive and confidential board and HR matters”.

In it, Davies provides details of an executive compensation package through which he accuses the CEO of unfairly profiting from the non-profit organization, and also alleges that the previous head of IT was kicked out the company for raising a concern about the CEO’s behaviour.

This is just the latest broadside in a war that has been raging at the heart of Nominet for almost a year.

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Jennifer Lopez fights cybersquatting case

Singer Jennifer Lopez has filed papers against the owner of and, accusing him of cybersquatting.

The two sites are owned by one Jeremiah Tieman who lives in Arizona and uses the sites to display news, pictures and videos of and about the singer and includes a disclaimer at the bottom stating that the sites are fan sites and are not endorsed by Lopez. However, both sites also include prominent ads and links through to affiliate sites.

Case D2009-0057 was filed last week with the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) by Lopez’s charitable foundation – which support women and children on low incomes – rather than her hard-hitting IP lawyers Fross, Zelnick, Lehrman and Zissu who are the registered owners of Lopez’s dotcom website.

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Net marvels: the Obama Inauguration

There’s nothing like a big event to get people thinking, particularly when that event is the inauguration of a president who brings with him the hopes and dreams of a generation.

Barack Obama will be sworn in as 44th President of the United States in nine days on Tuesday 20th January. There are also a range of events in the weekend leading up to it and on the Monday before – Martin Luther King Day – and all that has got people’s online minds whirring.

Here’s a quick rundown of the best spots on the Net about the inauguration and inspired by the inauguration:

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Frost/Nixon: Film review

It may be worth declaring a conflict of interest straight off: I can’t stand David Frost.

As a child, he instilled a strange kind of lonely hatred on Through the Keyhole – a formulaic game show in which the preening host would constantly insert amusing anecdotes about some famous person he had interviewed decades earlier.

And as an adult, embarrassment turned to frustration as politician after politician was given an easy ride on Breakfast with Frost – the BBC Sunday morning current affairs show that was finally booted off air in 2005 (but not before 12 years of instantly forgettable and, in some cases, depressingly bad interviews).

But these shows are minor manifestations of the two things that David Frost has been doing with extraordinary consistency for the past 40 years: interviewing people and annoying people.

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Satriani vs Coldplay: court docs and audio links

So British superband of the moment Coldplay is being sued in Los Angeles for plagiarising guitarist Joe Satriani in their hit Viva la Vida. Joe says that the song – also the title of Coldplay’s fourth album “incorporated substantial, original portions of Plaintiff’s composition ‘If I Could Fly‘.”

Read the actual court document detailing the case against Coldplay here.

The court docs were filed last week – 4 December – and so of course, the Internet being the extraordinary global gossip network that it is, the story has swamped a million blogs and newspapers. Joe has done an interview with Music Radar saying that it “felt like a dagger went right through my heart” when he first heard Coldplay’s composition. Following the media frenzy, Coldplay has responded with a note on its website saying “if there are any similarities between our two pieces of music, they are entirely coincidental” and asking that Joe “respectfully accept our assurances” that they didn’t rip him off.

Something that always bugs me about stories covering lawsuits is that media outlets never provides links the documents themselves, so I thought I’d fix that and go grab the docs and post them here.

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The Internet Governance Forum – third time lucky

I was at the United Nations in Geneva last week to watch what was happening to the Internet Governance Forum (IGF) as it prepares for its third outing, this December in Hyderabad, India.

Actually I was there for a different reason – an ICANN consultative meeting on the future of the organization the morning before the UN meeting – but it seemed daft to fly all that way and not check out the day of open discussions about the IGF. Plus I have a real soft spot for the IGF and the people that have worked extremely hard to make it a success.

I was a witness to the IGF’s creation, on paper, at the World Summit on the Information Society back in 2005, and then followed it all the way through various preparatory sessions as a reporter.

At the inaugural IGF in Athens, I was asked to be the conference’s “blogger-in-chief” – a position that, ironically enough, my current employer tried to veto. As a semi-official part of the IGF, I also got to see behind the scenes, and was impressed with the hard work, dedication and calm handling of what was an enormous and risky experiment. A lot of people at the time confessed to turning up just to see what would happen – spectators to what could have been the biggest diplomatic car crash for a decade. In the end, despite the odds, it shone through.

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Blog posts to come

I have been itching to do some writing but have been caught up with other things: friends visiting, fixing up the van, and work. So I’ll quickly going to knock up a list of blog posts I want to write so I don’t forget next time I am in front of a laptop, have 20 minutes and the urge to write…

* A review of the film Bottleshock
* Fixing up a VW Split-screen camper: pain and pleasure
* Amazon’s Kindle – review of a revolution
* American politics: the horror that a bipartisan media represents
* A review of the film Gonzo
* Various book reviews
* Strange habits of Californians
* How to listen to the BBC Today programme in bed in Los Angeles
* Other nonsense