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Jan. 25th, 2008

jem jembo

The art of corporate blogging - not

Would you Adam & Eve it - the world's dullest blog?

Word fail me - they really do. All I can muster is - read this 'blog' for an instant cure for insomnia.

Language Log, on the other hand, is a fabulous example of the blog at its best - engaging, informative, authoritative and talking to a very specific audience - those who take language too seriously. It's multi-authored, multi-edited and an original source of considered, informed opinion. A shining beacon of hope in the blogosphere.

Anyone want to see my YouTube entry of a cat running up some curtains... No?

Jan. 17th, 2008

jem jembo

Scrabulous cock-up

Facebook/Scrabble farago - Hasbro and Mattel are sooooo not down with Web 2.0

Scrabulous is one of Facebook's most popular applications. Thousands of Facebookers (Fabs) use it to play games of Scrabble with each other. It's the Scrabble version of correspondence chess
(yep, it's just another digitised innovation of something we've been doing for decades).

It's a great way of playing a cerebral game over several days or weeks at a wonderfully genteel pace. Or at a caffeine-fuelled lick if that's the  sort of game you prefer. Good news all round. Except the guys who wrote the app simply filched the idea of Scrabble and didn't bother to ask its co-owners Mattel and Hasbro if they could. It's such a blatant copy there can be no doubt it's outright passing-off.

So what do the owners do? Realise that a huge, growing online community is playing their game on Facebook and they've been given a ready-made, easily convertible market who are pre-disposed to buying their game? Take steps to embrace the growing number of users by engaging with them in an clever, thoughtful way - offering prizes for top scores, organising on- and offline Scrabble events - and so gently coax them into buying the special edition Facebook version of the game at an online discount?

Nah - they've brought the lawyers in and threatened to close the whole shooting match down 'cos they weren't making any coin out of it. They're so in touch with the modern world, these big corporations. Knobs.

Nov. 26th, 2007

jem jembo

Gordon Brown is Ernie Wise

Prime minister Brown is political equivalent of Ernie Wise

While Tony Blair jets around the world underwhelming after-dinner audiences for gross amounts of money, Gordon Brown is slowly but surely losing the next General Election. At the CBI conference today, Brown's presence created an atmosphere of turgid indifference, as the event went off like a damp damp-squib.

Blair and Brown, the Eric and Ernie of Westminster
They were the greatest double-act in UK politics for decades. Yet, when you separate Blair and Brown it's obvious neither really works without the other. While Blair was the guy with the wisecracks and audience-winning banter, Brown was the straight man, never quite keeping up and always the butt of big Tone's nasty, cheek-slapping put-downs.

Tony Blair and Gordon Brown share
a moment of levity during the Hutton

Blair - dazzling compared to the bookish Brown - seemed eminently watchable, witty, erudite and able to give an audience exactly what it wants. Without him, though, Tony looks ordinary, less slick.

Brown - dour, serious, Scottish - seemed content to hit his marks, feed Tony punchlines and take the odd political custard pie for the cause. Without Tony, though, he just looks like a little boy lost - a clown who's just not very funny.

Next time you're getting wound up by Brown, just think of him at Number 10, sitting up in bed with Tony a la Eric and little Ern. Makes me laugh.

Life under Cameron? Bring it on. A change is as good as a rest as far as I can see. And, for anyone out there muttering about Thatcher and the Poll Tax and how inhuman I am wanting a Conservative Government, get a life: that was an eternity ago. If you really think UK politics will ever see the likes of that style of must-do-bugger-the-consequences politics again, you're sorely mistaken. No media-savvy, Web 2.0 political leader is ever going to make any kind of ballsy decision again. Thanks to the democratisation of democracy we're doomed to sit-on-the-fence politics for ever more.

Rant over.

Nov. 2nd, 2007

jem jembo

X Factor Emily is a slapper

Emily Nakanda - X Factor contestant - in second video-nasty denial

First she was accused of being in - or at least knocking about with - a knife gang. And of threatening to cut some lad's eyes out. Which, of course, was merely an allegation. Nothing ever proved, right?

Now Emily is caught on video happy-slapping a pal - so she says. It looks to me like a half-innocent bit of playground rough and tumble, to be honest. Although, I wouldn't have liked to endure the hair-pulling onslaught myself.

Conclusion: our Emily's a bit rough. Nothing more, nothing less. I wouldn't want to spend time in her company and I certainly wouldn't want to get on the wrong side of her.

True, she may have had a tough upbringing but so did Billy Elliot - and he turned out okay. So why can't she?

The shame of it, really, is the X Factor producers' reaction. Having ploughed so much money into grooming her to be a star, they'll do anything - including selling their dignity - to keep her in the show. The moment it was clear she was involved in both these nasty incidents, she should have been shown the door. Not because she's done anything illegal. Just because what she's done is really, really unpleasant and the sort of behaviour, surely, we should all be doing everything we can do to discourage. What sort of message does her instant rehabilitation send to other kids? That being a nasty, spiteful, violent person is somehow okay? Making an example of her may be unfair but life's like that, I'm afraid.

Here endeth the lesson.

Oct. 30th, 2007

jem jembo

X Factor Emily: a cut above

X Factor's youngest-ever contestant in song-choice drama

Far be it from me to comment on the shocking news - carried by the Red Tops today - that one of the X Factor contestants is (allegedly) the star of a charming mobile phone video in which she jokingly promises a teenager being threatened with a six-inch knife that he is about to be blinded. I wouldn't make a comment because it might not be true.

However, in a totally unrelated piece of selfless advice, I suggest Emily Nakanda, aka Lady Shiverz, should think carefully about what she sings on this week's show. Some songs she might want to avoid include:
  • Mack the Knife
  • The First Cut is the Deepest
  • Bleeding Heart
And, finally, I've Been Busted as a Nasty Piece of Work and am Reportedly a Member of a Knife Gang (my own composition).

Simon Cowell must be very proud of his protege. He really can spot genuine talent.

Oct. 22nd, 2007

jem jembo

Web libel - growth market for lawyers

Bloggers face lawyers' onslaught

The Grauniad brings news that lawyers are sharpening their pencils and getting ready to capitalise on a new growth market - outing bloggers who say defamatory things about the great and the good.

The paper cites a recent case when directors from Sheffield Wednesday FC got a judge to force a website into revealing the real identities of fans who'd been calling them names. Which makes them the first directors of a football club in the history of the game  to insist that fans don't say nasty things about them - or else! What a bunch of... Hold on a minute, I better not say owt in case the big Owls come get me...


Oct. 16th, 2007

jem jembo

Christopher Hitchens - part of the literary nouveau rice

Hitchens can't resist showing off
I'm a lowly hack, so can't really criticise someones so universally successful as Christopher Hitchens.

But he can't half name-drop/show-off/lose you with ever-more obscure verbiage and literary references.

So what? He's still a pleasure to read, I guess

jem jembo

Movie monsters - top 31(?) revealed

Excite blog misses point with monster round-up

I know it's all very subjective but a new list published via Excite's ents blog of the 31 scariest movie monsters was way off - it contained humans. We all know Michael Myers acted like a monster, but he was just a man/boy/knife-wielding nutter.

Fact is it should just have been monsters in the Sci-fi sense of the word. Like Alien.

And, of course, the winner should have been Carpenter's 1982 monsterpiece - The Thing.

What do you reckon?
jem jembo - thanks for the tip, Brian

Spam, spam, spam - no more spam
If you're looking for information, help and resources to combat Spam (crap emails sent by anonymous losers, not spiced ham), fellow blogger Brian points to

I had a quick look and it's a good one-stop-shop for all things anti-spam, scam and phishing.

Take a look and let me know if you've got any great tips for stopping Spam getting through my filter.

By the way: Spam first went into production in 1937. It's a made-up name and doesn't mean Spiced Amercian Meat as many people think. Get the full history of Spam here.

Oh, and Spam fritters rock.

Oct. 12th, 2007

jem jembo

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