Tweview: using Twitter for a movie review

Tweview: the Twitter moview review. Ok – I just made it up.  But why not?

A cutting movie review in 140 characters.  There’s already an online art form called ‘Twaiku’ – Twitter meets Haiku.

I just posted ‘my routine’ in 140 characters on Twitter – in which I mentioned that part of my routine was commuting, watching recommended films and writing scathing reviews.

I noticed it felt like a Haiku.  So I Googled ‘Twaiku’ – to find it was (of course) a well-known, well-practiced art.

Which led me to the idea of the ‘Tweview’ (puke).  An idea which Google reports nobody else has thought of. So the Twitter film review is born.  And just like Haiku has to contain some reference to season in order to create a setting for the central idea, the ‘Tweview’ must somehow let the reader know what the movie is. It should also start with the word ‘Tweview:’

Here’s my first one:

Wall-e Tweview: We’re going 2 ruin the planet & get fat but don’t worry technology will save us & teach us how 2 relate 2 each other again.

M11 KAU plate day – a very good day

For all kinds of reasons!

Today (in fact just now in the dark) we put our ‘M11 KAU’ plates on the faithful old Honda (and I mean ‘old’!). They’ve been sitting around now for almost 2 years waiting to be put on a new car. They’re still going to have to wait for a new car, but they’re going on anyway – as a kind of celebration.

What are we celebrating? Getting this far. This time last year we didn’t think we’d still be in business. Things were very hard indeed. But we refused to give up.

And the result is that we’ve come through it smiling and done some good work that we’re proud of. And that the last quarter of 2008 was the best for us so far. We feel lucky that since the first 3 years of our business were so hard and that we learned so much we’re well placed for whatever the recession will throw our way in 2009.

We’re also celebrating that today was the first time in 27 months that Clare was able to spend time with her beloved 10 year old son.

And I’ve just accepted a 3 day a week contract in London with Delta7, the company that uses big pictures to drive change in large, complex organisations.

All of which gives us some space to concentrate on steering ‘mu:kau and ‘mu:kaumedia towards what we do best: helping you to get your happy customers to sell your business for you – and turning unhappy customers back into happy ones.

And last – but not least – today is the day that my ex-wife Teri Ann and James got married. We wish them health and happiness – and I thank them for being good parents to my kids.

Normally, I’m not a great fan of personalised number plates. These, however, stand for a lot of things we’re proud of today – even the fact that they’re on our rusty old red Honda :-)

Spotify invitation: not needed any more with Spotify ‘Open’

Spotify ‘Open’ free to everyone without invitation!

**Ignore the rest of this post and head on over to Spotify!! :-)**

**** old news *****

Yes, that’s right – about 140 Spotify invitations left at this point in time

And they’re yours for the asking.

I know I’ve said it before, but Spotify is about as good as Google Earth – and that’s saying something.  If you’re like me and you love listening to music more than you are obsessed by any single band or style, you’ll love thanksSpotify.

Why? Because it’s the free streaming service that will bring you music you’ve never heard before but will be glad you did.

And it works like an intelligent iTunes: explore from any and every logical angle.  Kick off your own radio station and let Spotify bring you 1950’s Jazz tracks.  Like an artist? Click on their name, explore what else they’ve done.  Like an album?  Click on that album to listen to it like an album.

Like a track? Click on the track to find every version and every appearance and every cover of that track.

Search just by words.  Like ‘Chill’.  Or ‘Karaoke’ (if you’re like me, you’ll end up Burt Weedoning your way through all your favourites..).

It’s great.  No, really it is.  One ad an hour isn’t a problem.  The fact that it’s Moira Stewart reminding me that I’m still waiting for my Self-Assessment PIN number and am likely to miss the deadline, is.


“This is a brave new world” – Theo Paphitis on Newsnight

“The most exciting time in my life” says Theo on BBC’s Newsnight

Both Clare and I can’t help but agree with him.  Sure, everything is uncertain.  Sure, we could very well be on the brink of a major recession – depression possibly.

But there’s an excitement in the air – that some thing – things – are going to have to change.  Are changing. And maybe what will change will be more than just business. Maybe it’s time – as Barack Obama has been fond of saying – for change.

It’s clear that we can’t go doing things the way we always have.  The polar bears won’t have anywhere to walk soon and that’s pretty serious.  More serious than all that stuff with banks.

Good old Theo Paphitis.  I kind of hope that his excitement isn’t simply the flapping of a carrion crow waiting to fall apon the dying mule….

World recession declared: Official!

Like we didn’t already know there was a world recession?

Last year I podcasted a sort of ‘Dragon’s Den meets Question Time’ event in Plymouth. Four out of five people on the panel expressed the view that we were all at fault for talking ourselves into a recession.

I know that banking is built on the idea of confidence – something without weight or substance. But the idea that the media can really push the global economy into recession is… is.. well, a kind of cultural delusion of grandeur, if you ask me.

Well, you didn’t. Anyway, I heard somewhere on the radio that we were in a recession – official. So if, like me, you weren’t afraid to say ‘recession’ last year you can consider yourself well and truly responsible.

Is Spotify legal in the UK?

If Spotify IS legal it’s the end of ‘music ownership’ – discuss

As an old person, one of the things that interests me most about the online world is the enormity of some of the developments taking place versus the relative lack of comment about their significance.

Facebook is one. How often do you hear people talking about the fundamental ways it’s changing society?

The new music-streaming service Spotify is another. I can’t even get the bottom of its licensing arrangements although I assume it’s perfectly legal since it seems to have the backing of some major labels.

What I love most about it is that it throws music ‘ownership’ out of the window. We’re at the point where this kind of service, coupled with always-on wireless access means, effectively, the end of the ownership era.

Even the far-seeing iPod is, essentially, about ownership. You’ve got to put a copy of something on your own machine to take it with you. iTunes, no matter how revolutionary it seemed, is about ownership of music (actually, it’s about sellership of music).

Spotify represents a departure from ownership of music. If it is legal; if it’s business model is sustainable (ad-supported or premium) then what we’ll see is the rapid evolution of iTunes from its ‘pay-per-tune’ model of ownership towards the streaming service. That or its rapid collapse.

And here’s the ‘unspoken’ bit: everybody knows that with Spotify and Audio Hijack Pro (or similar) you can line up your favourite album or playlist, record it as one chunk of mp3 and lob it onto your iPod. Legal? Schmegal. Until everybody’s got a hand-held that effortlessly streams audio, it will happen. The only ‘cost’ is an ad every hour.

So let’s face reality. If services like Spotify are legal, then paid music ownership is dead and so is the idea of piracy – as a comment from a heated debate about Spotify confirms:

“As a hardcore pirate, I’ll just say F**K YOU. Spotify is THE most genious app ever created. I’ve fully stopped downloading music since I got Spotify”


NY plane crash-landing on water (video now available!)

“In the unlikely event of the aeroplane having to put down on water…”

‘Put down on water’? Disintegrate into a million pieces you mean” I thought every time I heard that line in an in-flight safety video.

I’ve seen planes ‘putting down’ on water, oh yes. Like this one.

Well, from now on, I’ll keep my smart-ass comments to myself because this amazing crew showed us it can be done :-)

It’s a real good-news story.

And what makes me smile even more is these guys did it with less damage to their plane than the one in the Safety Card illustration

Here’s a step-by-step guide how to do this incredible stunt (in case you ever find yourself in the hot seat).

What’s the one thing that would make this story perfect?

A YouTube video, of course.  And here it is – plus another view from FoxTV and even a medley on YouTube. Thank heavens for surveillance cameras!

Online scams: time to be more vigilant

Recession brings with it scammers looking to take advantage of you in tough times.

The harder the recession hits, the greater the need for vigilance against online scammers and exploiters of all shapes and sizes.  More and more are going to be aimed at businesses desperate for more customers and  ignorant of the online environment.

The last two we’ve seen take the form of ‘business directories’ that end up costing people (who thought they were getting a free listing) several thousands of pounds instead.

The threat this poses to businesses in a recession is obvious.  Scammers are going to be hungrier, sneakier, more resourceful and more aggressive than ever before so you need to start taking an interest in the kinds of scams that are going around to make sure you don’t fall victim to one of them.

If you’re approached with an ‘offer’ (whether on the street, through the post , or – more usually – via email) from a company you don’t know, do your ‘due diligence’.

The simplest way to do this is to use Google.  If you just search on ‘Joe Bloggs Ltd’ in Google you’ll probably just get what any scammer wants you to find about his company. Type ‘Joe Bloggs scam’ into Google and you’ll start to find interesting results pretty quickly.

How to get a spotify invite? No longer needed with Spotify ‘Open’

Spotify ‘Open’ free to everyone without invitation!

**Ignore the rest of this post and head on over to Spotify!! :-)**

That’s got me thousands of visitors.  And something like a hundred or so Spotify invites to give out – so far.

Ok – so someone gave me an invite and I blogged positively – and carefully – about how much fun it was and how clever their marketing was.

So there’s proof of how effective your honest-to-goodness WordPress blog can be. See trend, blog trend.  Only in my case, there’s something missing.  Yes, you’ve guessed it.  A way of making money ;-)

Look, I’ve always hated AdSense.  I know, I know, I’m playing with the power of Google just running a blog.  But I honestly do hate what AdSense is doing to the thing we used to call knowledge. I’ll spare you the middle-aged academic rant.

So, hard though it might be to believe (and even stupider though it might seem to any of you online marketers) I’m passing on Spotify invites day after day for no other reason than its nice to give something away that makes someone else happy.

Spotify don’t mind – after all, even as I write this I’m doing their marketing for them.  So everyone’s happy. Aaaah.

Expo-guide: scam or not? You decide (we help you) *yawn*

Are you being harrassed for money by Expo-guide?


Welcome! You’re probably here because you signed a form thinking you were going to get a free entry in a business guide that suddenly turned into a demand for a lot of money. Well, you’re not alone. If you scroll down to the comments at the bottom of this page, you meet hundreds of other people like you.

The good news is that you don’t have to worry. Expo Guide is a scam – and there’s nothing they can do to make you pay, except bully and threaten in the hope that you’re so afraid or ashamed that you’ll pay to get them off your back. It’s THAT simple.

Once you’ve read the following post and you’ve reassured yourself that you don’t need to pay or worry any more, then please consider joining our LinkedIn ‘Stop Expo Guide’ group. We need your help (and the help of your networks) to raise awareness about this scam to stop people like you getting caught up in it in the first place.


Original post:

Like World Business Directory, World Business Register and a surprisingly long list of similar scams, Expo-Guide sends out a form designed to deliberately fool you into signing a minimum 3 year contract for an entry in their directory (at a cost of around £1000 a year) when you’re under the impression you’re signing for a free listing in their business directory.  Wrong.

expo-guideClick on the thumbnails (left and below) to see the whole misleading form and a summary of the vital ‘small print’ that you’re supposed not to notice. (And, yes, Expo-Guide, I have edited the close-up version of your small print so people can see what they’re missing.  For the full text, use the full version of the document).

pertinentPointsThis scam was raised in the European Parliament in 2006 (see the Busutill report_on_the ‘European City Guide’ ) but despite that, it’s still out there and it’s still big business.

It’s taken until now (9 or more years) for one of the companies behind one of the earliest versions of this scam (European City Guide) to be ruled against in the Swiss Federal Supreme Court.

That’s good news, but not good enough. These people just move their base, change the directory name and carry on.

If you’re one of the many people who have made that mistake of returning a signed form, the first you’ll know about it is when you receive the demand for payment, followed swiftly by letters from collections agencies piling on the ‘costs’ day by day.

It’s clear that the modus-operandi of the organisation behind these scams is to trick you into signing for 3 years contract, threaten you relentlessly until you pay the full amount or they ‘generously’ let you off with just having to pay 1 yr or it.   The success of this scam depends entirely on you being frightened enough to get into communication with them.

Why? Because people contacting them is their way of ‘qualifying’ prospects for their scam.  When you contact them, they know you’re frightened / ashamed enough to want a way out – and then they’ve got you.

Jules Woodell estimates that some 80% of the estimated 250,000 businesses that signed the European City Guide (just one of the many variants of this form) didn’t / won’t pay.  That leaves 20% presumably who will.  But even if only 1% of that 250,000 paid just 1 year of the 3 years fee, we’re still talking around about £250,000 extorted from small businesses.  This is a very big scam – and all it takes is the ability to email huge lists and employ ‘debt collectors’ to chase.

A quick Google search for ‘Expo Guide’ turns up plenty of evidence against these scammers.  The same applies to World Business Directory – although they’ve been a bit cleverer and made sure they flooded the first couple of pages of Google with their own innocuous references.  This search will show you what you really need to know.

If you want more detail, then this scam and a range of variants are fully documented on Jules Woodell’s excellent – an absolute must-read if you’ve been affected and a pretty good history of these scams. However, Jules and I disagree on one fundamental point: I do NOT recommend you write or engage in ANY dialogue at all with these scammers. Please read my numerous responses to victims in the comments (below) to see why. To put it simply: the only people who would communicate with criminals are scared people – and that is exactly the kind of people the scammers want to select for further bullying.

Sadly it seems we can expect more and more of these scams – particularly while banks seem completely indifferent to the nature of their clients’ activities in this field and so long as certain web hosting providers continue to turn a blind eye as well.