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Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Exhuming Aussie Diggers- the right idea?

Work is about to begin near Fromelles France to exhume approximately 400 Australian and British World War One soldiers thought to be buried in a mass grave.

The stories of the soldiers are as touching and as fascinating yas you might expect. The research done by Lambis Englezos is deserving of an OBE in my view. The technology in use is also interesting and of course DNA investigations form the corner stone of this project. But here's where I become a little concerned.

"We don't even know if it is going to work yet," Peter Jones, a British DNA consultant to the project, said yesterday.

"If the DNA is there and in good condition, then you get profiles from all of the samples from the grave. But I don't think you are going to get that.


So despite the fact they are going to exhume these dead soldiers, there are concerns that it ight be for nothing. Not only are they uncertain about the DNA validity, but they are short on for decendants willing to offer their DNA:
...fewer than 15 British families have registered to take part in the project and an 11th-hour public campaign has now been launched in Britain to try to ignite interest in the Fromelles discovery, coax potential relatives to register and increase the chances of individual identification.

THis may be due to a less than ideal PR/advertising campaign, but I's like tohttp://www.blogger.com/post-create.g?blogID=5856979 suggest that some descendants hold the same view that I do- that we ought to leave the dead as they were.
These are a mix of young men from Britain and Australia. They went to war as volunteers, fought side by side and died together. In the fields of Fromelles they have lain side by side for 90+ years and it is my view there they should remain.
While I am always interested in this sort of forensic work, I wonder if this isn't possibly desecration. There may be a prevailing view that these men deserve a proper burial, but I'm of the view they have already received one:

The Germans, to their credit, gathered the dead and buried them in mass graves under the shadow of Fromelles’s church. Before they did so, they removed the identification tags, recorded the names of the dead and sent the tags back to Australia.


View Larger Map

Work Underway To Identify Fromelles Fallen [via The Age]

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posted by thr at 8:23 am 0 comments links to this post

Monday, May 04, 2009

My web presence- getting it all to hang together.

Yesterday I posted the news that I have a new site in the process of being designed built and to ensure it not only launches smoothly, but works hard for me, I have been reviewing how all of my social media strategy hangs together.
Frankly, it's less than ideal. Here's my bad photoshopped image of what currently happens.

my content map


How it all works.
  • The whole shebang hangs off RSS. Without the RSS feeds from the content services, then it would all be manual- a total nightmare.
  • TwitterFeed is a brilliant service (I have donated) and is the hub I use for content processing into Twitter.
  • Thomasr.org posts are checked every three hours and then posted into Twitter as "Blog Post". The RSS feed automatically shoots into Facebook as a "Facebook Note". Facebook only allows one RSS feed. It's tempting to process all the feeds into Feedburner and then feed the whole lot into Facebook- but that's untenable and Facebook Spam (FBS).
  • Flickr pics also go into TwitterFeed, but are processed slightly differently. As I have varying degrees of Flickr use- occasional pics from BrightKite as well as whole car/bike sets that can number 50+ pics per car, I use the TwitterFeed feature to limit the RSS checking to once a day and 2 posts at any one time. FBS reduction right there.
  • I use BrightKite mostly on my iPhone as it can post pics to Flickr (and importantly geo tag them) and send onto Twitter as well. If I'm not using BK for pics, then it works well as a Twitter client and I use it when I want to tell everyone where I am (especially for public event hosting and similar).
  • My YouTube channel videos update once a day and one video to TwitterFeed. No need for updates more often than that as I have never posted more than one video a day and I doubt I ever will!
  • My 3AW blog posts are rare, but also update via RSS. This is a once a day thing and one post gets sent to Twitter.
  • My CarAdvice and BikeAdvice posts do not have an unique RSS feed. I think if I got to the bottom of Yahoo Pipes, I think I could feed the raw RSS into Yahoo pipes and filter it so only the podcasts and my articles make it to TwitterFeed. In the meantime, I write up a blog post pointing to the article and that starts off the Thomasr.org chain of events and that suits me for now as it gives my all-important paid work a double dose on Facebook and a single run on Twitter.
  • Two services for links I use are my Del.icio.us and Google Reader shared items and these feed into Twitter almost on the spot, though I do limit them to a maximum of 3 at a time.
  • All that done, the tweets start to automatically appear on Twitter itself.
  • My Twitter feed goes straight into FriendFeed, which also aggregates my YouTube and Blog posts independently but is smart enough (something Scoble says a lot about FF) not to double up.
  • FriendFeed then sends all aggregated (And not doubled up) content to Facebook via a Facebook app.
That last point is no longer true, but it's important to note that it was once the case. The problem now at Facebook is not one of double ups, but rather over saturation. Every single Tweet goes to Facebook. Per my previous post, I took my own advice and I'm not letting Tweets set as FB status, but it is appearing in all my friends timelines. Not all are happy:

Quite. I had a feeling this was the case, but as you can't really see when you are creating "noise" on a friend's Facebook page, I just kept going. (Not to be rude, but the more friends you have on FB, the less spammy my FB timeline appears as I am woven into the general fabric of Facebook)

Ok So what's this all mean?
The Web 2.oh services are evolving and so too are the users. In fact it's user expectation and user demands that are driving me- I think not so much about what can be done, but what's best for my readers/followers/friends. So I turned off the feed into Facebook. But I do need some sort of feed into Facebook as it is a content cul de sac (Content goes in, doesn't come out) and is very important as my friend base on Facebook increases.

So I'm going to set up a Feedburner account and aggregate most content apart from Twitter posts into Facebook as notes. It's not a huge amount and certain services like Flickr will now be handled by a Facebook App instead of FriendFeed.

Where's the conversation?
This is super critical. Corvida's post on ReadWriteWeb was very clear and I believe it.
While there's no formula for success, there are three keys to a killer web service: search, aggregation, and conversation.
So search is taken care of and I nearly have the aggregation situation about right. But it's conversation, the third and possibly most compelling element- where will that happen?

Thoughts on conversation
:
  • Not on my blog as it stands. I generate a fair few followers and readers, but few comments. I'm not that sort of blogger.
  • On places of content origin. That's a mixed bag. YouTube- you have to be kidding. Flickr- very occasional. BrightKite- rare. on 3AW, CarAdvice and BikeAdvice a lot of good commenting takes place and should stay there as these sites are focussed on conversation.
  • On Twitter. That tends to be short: "Good post" "nice pic" etc. Not really conversation, though it can be. Twitter conversations can be intense and real time, but also tend to disappear into the Twitter ether due to the non semantic nature of Twitter.
  • FriendFeed. I don't think so right now. Scoble may be right and FF might go mainstream, but that's going to take a while and meantime FF is silent.
  • Conversations on my content. Absolutely. So much so, that I have resolved to do two things: employ Facebook Connect on my new blog comments area and open up my friends list to Scoble-esque proportions.
So there's a bit to do and of course it's ongoing.

And it obsesses me.

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posted by thr at 10:59 am 0 comments links to this post

Sunday, May 03, 2009

Website changes- they are a comin'

I've been collaborating with SharpSushi on a new website for me. It's not an overly ambitious new site- the designs are very different to the old site and we're doing some real UI work to make the site not only a bit more lively on the landing page, but also seek to market what I do and what I offer in a better way. How? Keep coming back people!
Some notes:
  • Changing over from Blogger to WordPress. Thanks Blogger, but it's time. Yes, there will be teething/transfer issues, but I feel WordPress offers features and plugins that Blogger just can't match. It also means I am not beholden to Blogger. WordPress could run my site for the next 20 years.
  • The site landing page will offer content rather than my current "just freakin' links" page.
  • On occasions I will offer a podcast featuring off-topic content developed for CarAdvice podcasts. The WP Plugins will service this new content offering.
  • Changing over my GoDaddy accounts to use WP has been a pain at times. The Power of Twitter assisted the process when I bitched about GoDaddy's terribly messy website. They replied. In the I called their tech support and found out to host WP on windows you need IIS7 and I was on IIS6. Find that on the website if you can...?
  • I hardly use any bandwidth or cloud space as allocated by GoDaddy, so offering podcasts won't cost me anything more.
  • I'm finally working out how to get my content to syndicate elsewhere- not from a tech perspective, but from a social perspective. I recently turned off FriendFeed to Facebook as I was almost spamming FB people.
The new site will go into beta shortly and fully launch in a matter of weeks.

Thanks to Lord Hayden for the early designs.

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posted by thr at 11:11 am 0 comments links to this post

My web presence- getting it all to hang together.

Yesterday I posted the news that I have a new site in the process of being designed built and to ensure it not only launches smoothly, but works hard for me, I have been reviewing how all of my social media strategy hangs together.
Frankly, it's less than ideal. Here's my bad photoshopped image of what currently happens.

my content map


How it all works.
  • The whole shebang hangs off RSS. Without the RSS feeds from the content services, then it would all be manual- a total nightmare.
  • TwitterFeed is a brilliant service (I have donated) and is the hub I use for content processing into Twitter.
  • Thomasr.org posts are checked every three hours and then posted into Twitter as "Blog Post". The RSS feed automatically shoots into Facebook as a "Facebook Note". Facebook only allows one RSS feed. It's tempting to process all the feeds into Feedburner and then feed the whole lot into Facebook- but that's untenable and Facebook Spam (FBS).
  • Flickr pics also go into TwitterFeed, but are processed slightly differently. As I have varying degrees of Flickr use- occasional pics from BrightKite as well as whole car/bike sets that can number 50+ pics per car, I use the TwitterFeed feature to limit the RSS checking to once a day and 2 posts at any one time. FBS reduction right there.
  • I use BrightKite mostly on my iPhone as it can post pics to Flickr (and importantly geo tag them) and send onto Twitter as well. If I'm not using BK for pics, then it works well as a Twitter client and I use it when I want to tell everyone where I am (especially for public event hosting and similar).
  • My YouTube channel videos update once a day and one video to TwitterFeed. No need for updates more often than that as I have never posted more than one video a day and I doubt I ever will!
  • My 3AW blog posts are rare, but also update via RSS. This is a once a day thing and one post gets sent to Twitter.
  • My CarAdvice and BikeAdvice posts do not have an unique RSS feed. I think if I got to the bottom of Yahoo Pipes, I think I could feed the raw RSS into Yahoo pipes and filter it so only the podcasts and my articles make it to TwitterFeed. In the meantime, I write up a blog post pointing to the article and that starts off the Thomasr.org chain of events and that suits me for now as it gives my all-important paid work a double dose on Facebook and a single run on Twitter.
  • Two services for links I use are my Del.icio.us and Google Reader shared items and these feed into Twitter almost on the spot, though I do limit them to a maximum of 3 at a time.
  • All that done, the tweets start to automatically appear on Twitter itself.
  • My Twitter feed goes straight into FriendFeed, which also aggregates my YouTube and Blog posts independently but is smart enough (something Scoble says a lot about FF) not to double up.
  • FriendFeed then sends all aggregated (And not doubled up) content to Facebook via a Facebook app.
That last point is no longer true, but it's important to note that it was once the case. The problem now at Facebook is not one of double ups, but rather over saturation. Every single Tweet goes to Facebook. Per my previous post, I took my own advice and I'm not letting Tweets set as FB status, but it is appearing in all my friends timelines. Not all are happy:

Quite. I had a feeling this was the case, but as you can't really see when you are creating "noise" on a friend's Facebook page, I just kept going. (Not to be rude, but the more friends you have on FB, the less spammy my FB timeline appears as I am woven into the general fabric of Facebook)

Ok So what's this all mean?
The Web 2.oh services are evolving and so too are the users. In fact it's user expectation and user demands that are driving me- I think not so much about what can be done, but what's best for my readers/followers/friends. So I turned off the feed into Facebook. But I do need some sort of feed into Facebook as it is a content cul de sac (Content goes in, doesn't come out) and is very important as my friend base on Facebook increases.

So I'm going to set up a Feedburner account and aggregate most content apart from Twitter posts into Facebook as notes. It's not a huge amount and certain services like Flickr will now be handled by a Facebook App instead of FriendFeed.

Where's the conversation?
This is super critical. Corvida's post on ReadWriteWeb was very clear and I believe it.
While there's no formula for success, there are three keys to a killer web service: search, aggregation, and conversation.
So search is taken care of and I nearly have the aggregation situation about right. But it's conversation, the third and possibly most compelling element- where will that happen?

Thoughts on conversation
:
  • Not on my blog as it stands. I generate a fair few followers and readers, but few comments. I'm not that sort of blogger.
  • On places of content origin. That's a mixed bag. YouTube- you have to be kidding. Flickr- very occasional. BrightKite- rare. on 3AW, CarAdvice and BikeAdvice a lot of good commenting takes place and should stay there as these sites are focussed on conversation.
  • On Twitter. That tends to be short: "Good post" "nice pic" etc. Not really conversation, though it can be. Twitter conversations can be intense and real time, but also tend to disappear into the Twitter ether due to the non semantic nature of Twitter.
  • FriendFeed. I don't think so right now. Scoble may be right and FF might go mainstream, but that's going to take a while and meantime FF is silent.
  • Conversations on my content. Absolutely. So much so, that I have resolved to do two things: employ Facebook Connect on my new blog comments area and open up my friends list to Scoble-esque proportions.
So there's a bit to do and of course it's ongoing.

And it obsesses me.

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posted by thr at 9:00 am 0 comments links to this post

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

First review for BikeAdvice.com.au

Just done my first review (with pics!) for BikeAdvice.com.au

See it here.

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posted by thr at 7:56 pm 0 comments links to this post

Friday, April 24, 2009

How long to fix something simple?

One notable problem in large organisations is the lack of accountability and proactivity.

The Age's website is a case in point. If it was centralised and built on a better, more unifying platform with a single development team then maybe they would be able to fix the terrible, confusing template issues that plague the whole site.

Honestly, how long would it take a junior developer to fix the CSS for the letters page for example? How long does it take to add a <br> tag? (see image)

To the developers on The Age's website: where are the mavericks who get shit done? Why do you accept this state of play? When's the last time you worked back late to get something fixed- not built, but just fixed? Where are your bug reports? I hope you don't get tipped out during this global recession, because no one will think your skills and more imporantly your passion is up to scratch.

Oh and while you're at it, fix the bug that causes the site to crash iphones.

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posted by thr at 9:27 pm 0 comments links to this post

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

#nbn - the National Broadband Network announcement...

This announcement has both the twittersphere buzzing and me marvelling this morning. As Internode's Simon Hackett said :

I'm gobsmacked. If they do what they promise, they've actually got it right, and we might just turn into a broadband front-runner country ten years from now... after all.


I've also supported the idea of the Federal Government building national broadband infrastructure. I'm not sure about the plan to sell it off again as I think a corporation owned by the government with subscription based billing to the telcos could not only sustain itself, but also account for future upgrades as well. Let's face it, the network we build today will not be the same one we are using in 50 years. We'll need to revisit this time and time again. Or we can set ourselves up for the longer term.

Hell, I might just go for a job there!

More details here

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posted by thr at 9:54 am 0 comments links to this post

Sunday, April 05, 2009

Harry likes kitty



He's quite insane.

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posted by thr at 8:58 pm 0 comments links to this post

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Tom Reynolds to race Factory Honda in 2009 Motocross series


DSCN1896, originally uploaded by thomasrdotorg.

-------------PRESS RELEASE----------

Woodstock Thor Honda and Thomasrdotorg are pleased (some might say "fully stoked") to announce a one year deal for Melbourne motoring journalist Tom Reynolds to race in the factory Woodstock Thor Honda team aboard a special one off Japanese prepared CRF450X.

Team owner Yarrive Konsky: "After Tom's startling performances in last year's Dirt Bike Master's we were ready to look at a full year deal. His performances showed us we had found a rider for the over 50's. Of course he's 'only' 37, so that did make things a little difficult- but we'll sort that out in due course. All jokes aside, we were pleased with the races he competed in where he didn't crash- and that was a special one. The race where he crashed and broke two ribs showed us that he was a special rider. Very special. Of course at the time, we didn't know the full extent of the damage and we were very, very worried. It was only later we discovered that it was a triple clamp setup, a set of handle bars, a full set of plastics, an exhaust and two marshals."

Yarrive continues:
"After looking at the team members for 2009, it was clear we were going for a youth policy, so bringing Tom into the team will help to raise not only our spirits, but also the average age. We've gone from an average of 18 to 29 by adding just one rider."

Tom Reynolds:
"There will naturally be some people who see this as a decision that is not based around talent, but more around whether I can get Yarrive a drive in an Aston Martin for the weekend. The answer is yes; anytime Yarrive wants a drive in an Aston I can organise it for an hour or two."

While the deal has only just been finalised, Reynolds rejects any suggestions that he will not be fit enough for this weekend's opening round at Albury Wodonga. "I won't lie, at 37 it's a struggle to get to a racing weight and Honda have been very supportive by providing a rear suspension setup straight off a Gold Wing. Meanwhile I've been hard at it for months. I'm on a semi strict diet of hops, barley and wheat delivered by liquid infusion. In time I've been on said diet I've gone from 72kgs to a race ready 97kgs."

At time of writing, the final hurdle is an ASDA supervised drug test, due to be completed this afternoon 1 April 2009...

------------------ENDS----------------



11:59am STOP PRESS UPDATE:
Woodstock Thor Honda regret to announce that Tom Reynolds has been released from his racing contract for 2009 effective immediately after failing a drugs test. Details at this time are sketchy, but it is understood that an excessive amount of oestrogen was found in his system, rendering him not only unable to compete in the men's division, but a threat to other team members safety.

-------ENDS------

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posted by thr at 11:51 am 0 comments links to this post

Monday, March 30, 2009

Believe what we tell you


Mike Hickinbotham
Wednesday, 18 March 2009 3:54:14 PM

Duncan,

Sorry to disappoint, but no one is getting fired and my update to yesterday's post addresses your comment about 'where the story diverges'.

Checkout the link here: http://tinyurl.com/c28l96

Mike Hickinbotham
Telstra Social Media Senior Advisor


Spin spine spineless

Leslie is subject to disciplinary action not because he Twittered as the Fake Stephen Conroy, but because of his ongoing unauthorised public statements about Telstra, including abusive comments towards a colleague.


Telstra, better than Canadian Mounties. They always get there man. Anyway they can.

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posted by thr at 12:49 pm 0 comments links to this post

Thomasr's Twittering gets him in Mainstream Media


the-age-30-3, originally uploaded by thomasrdotorg.

Wait, yr doing it backwards!

Thanks to Suzanne Carbone for having the vision to include a few paras about me at the F1 GP tweeting like an OCD sufferer (without the suffering bit!)

No... where are those offers of Social Media work? HUH?

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posted by thr at 9:48 am 0 comments links to this post

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Epic Fail at Albert Park.

The following is the full presser from the Aus Raving cars race held earlier at Albert Park. What a screw up. 


CONTROVERSY OVERSHADOWS AWESOME AUSSIE RACING CARS AT ALBERT PARK
28 March 2009

A communication issue has left half the Aussie Racing Cars on the form-up grid and out of race 2 today at the 2009 Formula 1 ING Australian Grand Prix.

Confusion reigned after the event as to the exact chain of events that led to only 17 cars starting the race while 15 were left behind with officials refusing them access to the track.

The issues are expected to be resolved in the next few hours but it is expected that the race will be designated as a non-event from a round and series points perspective.

What is not in dispute is the action that those 17 cars provided on-track as a reverse-top-nine format was implemented to beef up the action for the fans.

Maurice Masini was set to start from pole position with Tyler Owen next to him and Adam Gowans and Peter Carr on the second row.

As the field entered turn three for the first time a melee erupted after Peter Carr connected with the rear of Gowans Toyota Aurion, this set off a series of spinning cars as the field went in all directions to avoid the carnage.

Clews was an innocent victim but soon recovered to start picking off the competitors ahead.

Race 1 winner, Richie Rapa was a benefactor of the carnage as he drove through the gap and into the top three and proceeded to move into the lead early in the race.

"I knew that the guys would be pretty toey out there with the reverse-top-nine so I just held back in the first few corners," Rapa said.

"We had a good clear run and I was really happy with how the car was going."

Allan Simonsen forged his way to second place and began a race-long battle with Clews and Masini for a podium position.

"Obviously he (Clews) was coming pretty quick and I tried to drive defensively," Simonsen said.

"I thought I was pushing it as hard as I can but obviously not, it was a great race.

"You can't compare them at all really, I just jumped in for the first time on Thursday for practice and have not spent any time setting it up.

"The cars are easy to drive and great fun and you can really chuck them around on the track," he said.

The three exchanged places many timed before Clews was able to break a gap on the last lap and Simonsen was able to overcome Masini in the drag to the finish line.

David Lawrence threatened the top four but didn't quite have the speed to make the top three.

Many of the Masters Cup drivers didn't get to race but the three that did were Darren Chamberlin, Glenn McNamara and Shane Sullivan.

"There was no point pushing hard because I knew the others were not out there and it didn't seem to make sense to risk my car for effectively nothing," Chamberlin said.

The drivers that missed the race were:

Phi Ward, Kevin Smith, Garrett Halder, Dan Evans, Taz Douglas, Shane Wolki, Brendon Tucker, Rob Thomson, Darrin Masini, Michael Hovey, Tony South, Ruth Bowler, Adam Johns, Sheridan Phillips, and Grant Ludbey.


 

posted by thr at 2:40 pm 1 comments links to this post

 
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