Month: March 2010


"For a cautionary tale, everyone cites Paul Bradley Carr." - THE SUNDAY TIMES


Jimmy Wales Wants Me Dead (The Neutrality Of This Article Is Disputed)

Some weeks, writing this column is easy. All it takes is for an influential person – a politician, a business person, perhaps even a fellow columnist – to say something dumb and I get to spend a thousand words or so explaining precisely why they’re wrong. The “why x is wrong about y” construction is the columnist’s best friend: it’s as old as the hills and even easier to build a house on.

Some weeks though, it’s even easier than that. Someone will say something so breathtakingly wrong – so tracheotomy-cravingly moronic – that I don’t need to explain anything. Simply quoting their words back at them is sufficient to make the point.

Step forward, Jimmy Wales.

Speaking this week at the Guardian’s Guardian Changing Media Summit, Wales – the founder of Wikipedia – uttered the following statement when asked about the future of newspapers…

“I don’t see the added value [of opinion columnists] and question whether a newspaper should be paying large sums of money for them anymore… The best of the political bloggers are easily the equal of the opinion columnists at the New York Times.”

Those words could stand alone as a monument to Wales’ wrongness – a warning for future generations on why we must never heed the advice of a man who calls himself ‘Jimbo’.…

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SXSW Interactive: Because hell doesn’t have enough promotional stickers

Later this week, thousands of ironic t-shirts will be arriving in Austin for the 16th annualSouth By Southwest Interactive festival.

At about this time, it’s traditional for tech publications to publish handy guides to “surviving SXSWi” – packed with useful advice that’s basically interchangeable with that for any other festival since the beginning of time.

“Drink plenty of water!” “Prepare for some late nights!” “Plan ahead to make sure you don’t miss anything!” “Pack sturdy shoes!” “Always use a condom!”. Useful advice for SXSWi, certainly, but also applicable for Oktoberfest, Glastonbury, Woodstock and the ancient Roman festival of Lupercalia (although for the latter, replace ‘shoes’ with ‘sandals’ and ‘condom’ with ‘sprig of silphium’).

This year, though, I decided to use my experience of past SXSWi’s to produce something more useful. A very specific and completely foolproof guide on surviving this year’s event. And here it is…

Tip One: Don’t go to South by Southwest Interactive.

I’m serious. It sucked last year, and it’s going to suck again this year. You’re kidding yourself if you think otherwise. The idea that SXSWi is a conference – or even a festival – for people doing interesting and useful things in technology is a fallacy.…

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