I wasn’t using that privacy anyway…

Although [digital coupons] might look similar to the ones in Sunday newspaper circulars, many of today’s digital versions use special bar codes that are packed with information about the life of the coupon: the dates and times it was obtained, viewed and, ultimately, redeemed; the store where it was used; perhaps even the search terms typed to find it.

A growing number of retailers are marrying this data with information discovered online and off, such as guesses about your age, sex and income, your buying history, what Web sites you’ve visited, and your current location or geographic routine — creating profiles of customers that are more detailed than ever, according to marketing companies.

via washingtonpost.com (look under Business for ‘What those savings really cost you’ – the WP is not a big fan of ye olde hyperlink, apparently)

I’m never really sure what to think about this. Personally, I don’t use any reward cards or sign up for anything that collects data in exchange for offers. On the other hand, I’m not sure I see what the big problem is. So what if Amazon know what I like, how much I’ll spend and how often? They can’t force me to spend buy things. I get bombarded with ads all the time anyway, and I don’t think I can be angry because companies can target me better than ever before – it still comes down to me having self control.

Roger Ebert on the merits of Twitter

I vowed I would never become a Twit. Now I have Tweeted nearly 10,000 Tweets. I said Twitter represented the end of civilization. It now represents a part of the civilization I live in. I said it was impossible to think of great writing in terms of 140 characters. I have been humbled by a mother of three in New Delhi. I said I feared I would become addicted. I was correct.

Tweet! Tweet! Tweet! – Roger Ebert’s Journal

Ebert lays out a good set of rules for making the most out of Twitter, describes how it has become particularly important to him, shares some observations and even talks about some of the many other interesting Twitter users he follows, with reasons why.

Simply one of the best posts on Twitter I have read.

If you’re not following him, you should be: @ebertchicago

Secret Cinema: A theatre experience I would enjoy

It was an incredible experience, and we hadn’t even been “evacuated” to the second warehouse next door to watch Blade Runner yet. That happened at 9pm, and the atmosphere was electric — literally, in fact: a reproduction of the floodlit building featured during the movie’s climax was projected onto the huge warehouse’s right-hand wall as the film reached its crescendo, to cheers and applause. Two actors, in costume, were suspended in fixed positions at the top of the wall, recreating in real life what we were seeing on-screen.

Odeon, take note: THIS is how to get people off BitTorrent and into cinemas.

(via Review: Secret Cinema brings Blade Runner to London)

This sounds amazing.

Some common sense about comments

I don’t see my writing as a collaborative effort, and I don’t see my site as a community in which I need to enable internal discussion via comments.

I also disagree with the widespread notion that comments are “discussion”, or that they form a “community”. Discussion and communities require mechanics such as listening and following up that are rarely present in comments.

via Comments – marco.org

A branding lesson from Leroy Stick, aka @BPGlobalPR


You know the best way to get the public to respect your brand?  Have a respectable brand.  Offer a great, innovative product and make responsible, ethical business decisions.  Lead the pack!  Evolve!  Don’t send hundreds of temp workers to the gulf to put on a show for the President.  Hire those workers to actually work!  Don’t dump toxic dispersant into the ocean just so the surface looks better.  Collect the oil and get it out of the water!  Don’t tell your employees that they can’t wear respirators while they work because it makes for a bad picture.  Take a picture of those employees working safely to fix the problem.  Lastly, don’t keep the press and the people trying to help you away from the disaster, open it up so people can see it and help fix it.  This isn’t just your disaster, this is a human tragedy.  Allow us to mourn so that we can stop being angry.

(Leroy Stick, The Man Behind @BPGlobalPR)

A justifiably angry article explaining why it’s okay to hit BP with the big Twitter stick. Makes me wish I had fought with Twitter to keep my @virginmedia account. They weren’t destroying the planet or anything, but they did (and do) have terrible customer service.

[Edited post to switch link from Gizmodo to the actual source. Screw Gizmodo, I thought it was their scoop.]

Want to make a living as a creator online? Find your ‘true fan’ number.

While some artists have discovered this path without calling it that, I think it is worth trying to formalize. The gist of 1,000 True Fans can be stated simply:

A creator, such as an artist, musician, photographer, craftsperson, performer, animator, designer, videomaker, or author – in other words, anyone producing works of art – needs to acquire only 1,000 True Fans to make a living.

A True Fan is defined as someone who will purchase anything and everything you produce. They will drive 200 miles to see you sing. They will buy the super deluxe re-issued hi-res box set of your stuff even though they have the low-res version. They have a Google Alert set for your name. They bookmark the eBay page where your out-of-print editions show up. They come to your openings. They have you sign their copies. They buy the t-shirt, and the mug, and the hat. They can’t wait till you issue your next work. They are true fans.

(via 1,000 True Fans – kk.org)

He goes on to explain that the number of ‘true fans’ may be different depending on what you want to do, how many people you work with and even where you live. Personally, I would drop the ‘1,000’ bit.

Anyway, I’ve heard this notion expressed before, I think in an interview with Jonathan Coulton. As someone who has been a passionate fan of several writers, artists and filmmakers I can totally believe in this model. You don’t have to buy into the notion that you either become a megastar or a failure. So long as you know you’re great at whatever it is you do, there should be a way to make a living out of it.

More fun with HDR


This gallery contains 4 photos.

I still haven’t bought Photomatix, so these are still watermarked, but I’m still just exploring what’s possible. I don’t think I’m going to like how HDR landscapes look, but architectural shots can look great. Vivid colours really jump out too.