Saturday, April 30, 2005

Battle Over Ten

There are two Dutch TV stations battling to rebrand themselves as Channel "Ten" in the Netherlands, either reviving the name TV-10 (SBS) which never got off the ground in 1989 or "Tien", the new name for John de Mol's Talpa network as from August 2005. I think it is probably testosterone rather than test marketing that came up with this name (again!).

John de Mol certainly gets a ten for stirring up the debate on the future of public broadcasting. He is cherry-picking stars away from public networks - stars who in the past have said they "stand" for the face of public broadcasting as opposed to commercial TV (one is for citizens, the other runs in the interest of consumers". But, in the end, money talks. Fascinating. And the fun has only just started here." Posted by Hello

Friday, April 29, 2005

Going to help with a conference on the future of the Latin American region and its relationship with journalists. Radio Netherlands Latin American section has done a lot of ground work for the discussion. Posted by Hello

Looks like this time NEXT year there will be another Summit of the Future in Amsterdam. I was pleased that the first conference in January managed to capture quite a lot of news and views, not only in the media sector, but also in energy, trade, and business. Posted by Hello

Thursday, April 28, 2005

Podcast Radio?

As from the middle of next month this AM radio station will get its programming from contributors who send in podcasts. Wonder how this is going to work financially...AM radio is a lot more expensive to run than a podcast. Thanks to Michael Graham and others for the tip. Posted by Hello

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Great Viral Campaign from John Cleese - and funny too

This video reminds me of the management videos that John Cleese used to do in the early 80's. Nicely done and gets the message across. Don't EVER rely on tape back-up! Posted by Hello

or you'll get this... Posted by Hello

Sunday, April 24, 2005

Do the Number Stations Add Up?

BBC Radio 4 had a nice documentary on number stations in 2005 called "Tracking the Lincolnshire Poacher". Simon Fanshawe talked to the people behind the Conet Project, a series of recordings of the strange number stations heard all over the shortwave bands. Simon digs into the mystery of these stations, although they don't actually reveal who is behind it. I believe Simon Mason made most of the recordings. Simon's website has this interesting video sequence of him tuning in the Lincolnshire Poacher.

I remember doing a similar programme with Simon about a decade ago for Radio Netherlands Media Network.

On the 27th February 2000, the Cyprus Broadcasting Corporation (CyBC) broadcast a TV story on Numbers Stations. With help from Cypriot radio amateurs, reporter George Georgiou managed to prove, using signal strength and direction finding that the "Lincolnshire Poacher" is transmitting from an RAF Unit on the huge Akrotiri base. But, as DF showed, there could be another two, smaller transmitters somewhere in the Middle East. The website on that story is still up. Anyone heading out to the RAF Base passes right through the antenna farm of this RAF station. You are not allowed to stop. I have never seen so many log periodic antennas in my life....who says shortwave radio is dead?

 Posted by Hello

I see the CIA World Factbook lists this part of Cyprus almost like a separate state. Yes, it is patrolled by UK police rather than Greek Cypriots. And the couple of police cars are very hot on enforcing the speed limit down on the beach area. Posted by Hello

KLM Doesn't Get It

Just got a reply from KLM about why they don't connect their Flying Dutchman programme to their e-ticketing system. The answer, I have to conclude, is that the Flying Dutchman part of their website is totally insecure for transactions. You have to log in with a password, but that is not enough it would seem to gain access to your e-ticket number. Amazing! Or they didn't bother to investigate the problem...more likely. See a copy of the original entry "No Clue" below. The last lines in the e-mail remind me of the actor that also reads his own stage directions. No wonder they are getting rid of the Flying Dutchman programme in a couple of months. It is going to be called Flying Blue. I wonder which airline will start its own blog to share customer experiences and co-create a better flying experience? I have the blog title already. Flying Blues.

Dear Mr Marks,

We thank you for your e-mail.

An e-ticket is safe and secured in our database only so when a passenger loses the number he only can retrieve it via phone or e-mail that is received. If we use only a booking code we make it more easy for fraud. Therefor we only use a personal e-ticket numbers to avoid fraud. We hope we informed you sufficiently.

With kind regards,
KLM E-Service Desk
Alex Vlugman

Original Message Follows:
Dear Colleague,

Please handle at yours.

Regards, Petra SPL/MB

-----Original Message-----
From: KLM Customer Care Netherlands
Sent: zondag 17 april 2005 10:16
To: Customer Relations - SPLMB
Subject: bestaande reservering

This message has been forwarded to you by Kana.
Please reply with an answer to the question within 1 day.
Please remove these three lines before you send the message.

This was the original post

It is clear that people who design airline websites never need to use them. They invent all sorts of forms which have to be filled in completely otherwise you don't get the information you're looking for. And then you discover the information you need is not available.

Here is the situation. I flew to Barcelona with KLM. While in Barcelona my laptop failed, so I no longer had the e-mail with the e-ticket number, although I did put the KLM reservation number in my PDA. I logged onto the KLM website (using my FD password). The website would only tell me the time of the return flight. It would not tell me the e-ticket number so I could book a seat on the plane. I assume that since I had already entered a secure part of the website, that this e-ticket number is not a security threat. So why doesn't it work?

Then I made a mistake. I called the FD helpdesk in Holland. After 8 minutes they answered. Nope...they can't tell you the e-ticket number over the phone, even though they asked me 2 security questions to establish my identity. It should be called the Unhelpful Desk. Platinum Elite Status means absolutely nothing.

Friday, April 22, 2005

Blognomics Great Success

I'm impressed at Thursday's first event in the Netherlands to give people an overview of the phenomenon of blogging. Microsoft claims it hosts 500,000 of its webspaces (their name for blogs), whereas Ilse Media claims it hosts 90,000 of the more that 250,000 conventional blogs. Guido van Nispen (second from left) took the initiative to organise Blognomics and publish an English language guide to the blogging world. Journalist and one of the keynote speakers Peter Olsthoorn, who writes some great pieces here in the Netherlands on new media issues, is holding the first copy. Krijn Schuurman (second from right) and Adriaan Verstijnen (trying to take a photo of me) also had a lot of input into the manual. "Blognomics 2.0 - the economics and mechanics of blogging " costs Euro 118. Posted by Hello

Bloggers at the RAI

I counted 77 people at the half-day Blognomics conference at the RAI Exhibition centre in Amsterdam.  Posted by Hello

Against Software Patents

Found this short advocacy animation on the web which explains why software patents should be opposed. It explains in straight-forward language how software patents work and why they are limiting the creativity of the software movement, including such projects as GNU/Linux. Well done. Click on the title above for the QT movie.

Thursday, April 21, 2005

Fearless Ducks

The garden pond must be healthy enough if it is starting to attract ducks. The croc is plastic...doesn't seem to scare anything.  Posted by Hello

Surprise in the Pond...

Spring is finally here in the Netherlands...but what is this? Posted by Hello

Monday, April 18, 2005

Microsoft - No Brand Connection with the Audience

Great article by Jackson Mahr on the brandchannel site, on why Microsoft is having difficulty connecting with most of its public. Great emotion. It has become a utility service like water. MS has been clever with the launch of its webspaces (their version of blogs). But if someone else had a similar service (with the MSN capability), I don't think there would be much brand loyalty amongst the younger users of their software.

"It's a funny thing. Microsoft's brand power is written about in numerous business and marketing magazines, it ranks No 2 in the Best Global Brands table (Interbrand/BusinessWeek), and yet I don't recall ever meeting someone who actually feels a warmth for Microsoft the way they do for Krispy Kremes or BMWs.
I've never seen a single article espouse the virtues of Microsoft in a warm fuzzy way, never met anybody who wants to get a Microsoft tattoo, and certainly never met anybody who can't get enough of the products it makes. When it comes to brand strength by size, Microsoft wins, but when it comes to brand strength via hearts, it stands far behind its diminutive rivals. "

They Cut the Crap

Cut the Crap? That's what Greg Dyke wanted at the BBC. As far as the Creative Archive is concerned, this seems to exactly what an active group within the BBC is up to. These guys understand the future relationship between citizen and content publisher, which will include the BBC is some form or other. I recommend you sign-up for their newsletter. /index.html Posted by Hello

Friday, April 15, 2005

Radio Barcelona

The newsroom at Radio Barcelona...looks like a great place to work. Like the yellow poster...Make Tea Not War. It is amazing that the Iraq war is not an election issue in the UK at the moment. Posted by Hello

Is the commercial network Radio Barcelona. I get an amazing tour. These guys REALLY understand digital production, where all the presenters concentrate on making great, passionate talk-radio, driving all the technology themselves. They are having fun... Posted by Hello

Next door to the Radio Cafe..... Posted by Hello

Great architecture along La Rambla Posted by Hello

Thursday, April 14, 2005

Christian Chesnot (left) just gave a fascinating talk in the conference I am attending about his 4 months in captivity in Baghdad. He is a freelance journalist and I remember seeing his photo on a poster in the Paris Metro. He was working for RFI and France Info at the time. Next to him is Hugh Miles, author of a new book on Al-Jazeera. Hugh is based in Cairo. A great piece of research. Posted by Hello

We're on the top floor... Posted by Hello

This is the University of Barcelona arts centre where I am speaking... Posted by Hello

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Not quite sure of the significance of the umbrella. This gable on the side of one of the buildings isn't in my guidebook. Posted by Hello

As well as people pretending to be statues, it seems there are problems with people tricking the tourists with the old three cup trick. Where is the ball? Definitely not under the one you choose! Posted by Hello

La Rambla

Wandering along La Ramba, the main promenade down-town Barcelona.... Posted by Hello

Rooftops in Town

View from hotel window. Mixture of ancient buildings and satellite dishes. I'm just off the Catalonian Square in the heart of town. Great smells of garlic and fish are coming from over there. I Posted by Hello

Barcelona Weather Forecast

Great weather here in Barcelona! 18 degrees instead of 8 back home Posted by Hello