Monthly Archives: August 2007

The Slag Of All Updates

I truly believe the YouTube model may become the model for all television. A couple of weeks ago I spent many happy hours watching old clips of British Breakfast telly. The Breakfast Time title sequence was a particular fave when it got to about two o’clock in the morning (Frank and Selina were always my favourites). That shows that it’s as easy to get a YouTube habit – and I may need to seek help any moment now – as it was to think faux leather sofas were the most sophisticated thing you could have in your living room in 1982.

I don’t remember what I started searching YouTube for when I first got there but by the time all the drunks had got safely home to bed and the street outside was silent I had a full play list of old television idents and clips. Really, a computer generated Central Television sun (or was it moon?) from 1989 or a Granada TV Continuity announcement about a School Fire isn’t really scaling the heights of art and culture is it (I wonder if the moon/sun won any awards at the time)? So what on earth was I doing spending the night searching out these TV gems? Maybe it says a great deal about what was on broadcast television that night but I wouldn’t want to say as I was so addicted to the swirling letters L, W and T (if you live in London you’ve probably gone all misty-eyed at the very mention of those letters) that I forgot to look at the real super high definition million inch orbiting sound box that tries to hide in the corner of the room.

The YouTube model works so well that all content will be served like this in the future. I mean why would I watch what some bloke in ripped jeans and a t-shirt with a witty slogan scrawled on the front wants me to watch in the early hours when I can watch Mary Beth being taken hostage in a clip from Cagney & Lacey? Why would I ITV Play when I can Supermarket Sweep with Dale? Seriously, this is a much better way to be a couch potato.

My inner couch potato would have been very happy today as YouTube grabbed me again. I was reading some old items from Listen To Musak (the world’s greatest blog) when I came across an entry from August 2002 on the irrationality of complaints about a television commercial for a snack food pot. You know that’s just a poncy way of saying that I mentioned that an army of people had found time to complain about Pot Noodle’s Slag of All Snacks ads. Seriously, the complainers have almost as much time on their hands as I must have to write this nonsense.

Now listen up kids, back in 2002 there really wasn’t a YouTube (really, all the Internet was in black & white back then). And if there was a YouTube (which there wasn’t) we were all using a telephone dial-up line access the Internet so there’s no way we’d have been watching. Can you imagine? So back in 2002 I wouldn’t have been able to link to the ad. Which I can now. Here’s the link: See, the ad is really funny and cleverly plays on the British attitudes to sex (I say that but so does the New Statesman so I must be right, mustn’t I?) and it shouldn’t have been banned.

So now, thanks to YouTube, you can write to your MP about the fact that the Slag Of All Snacks is on the net now and try to get it removed. Really, YouTube’s given you a whole new way to complain. Told you it was the future for television.

And so, to those who read on here is a spinning computer-generated moon and some whizzing letters for you to enjoy. Who says I don’t entertain?

On this day…

2006: Hello From Here
2005: Charlie And The Chocolate Factory
2002: The Art of the Blog

Presentation Porn

Ever read 43 Folders? Right up there on the front page it says “43 Folders is Merlin MannÂ’s site about personal productivity” and it carries lots of tips to make you better at stuff. Not better at the high jump or getting to the next level on Donkey Kong but better at stuff like remembering to cancel the papers when you are going on holiday and dealing with the 75,000 emails generated at work over a weekend while you’re sleeping. 43 folders can help you get over procrastination and clear your clutter (like Dawna Walter but without the Crusher). If I was pretending to be down with the kids then I’d say it’s cool which would only go to prove that I never was ‘down with the kids’. But it is a great site.

I digress.

I was sat at work last week, feeling tired one lunch break after ploughing through however many hundred emails were in my inbox that morning thinking that, like Nat West, there must be another way (see reference to free stuff here) when I weave my wandering web way to 43 Folder’s inbox zero pages. I think the uber cool refer to it as izero (or is it i-zero?) but we’ve established I am not uber anything.

Now, I know what you’re thinking and it proves you are a smart cookie who can jump ahead in a story like this one. You’re thinking that I read inbox zero and got my inbox to zero right then and there while eating a Coronation Chicken bap and a caramel square. Admit it, that’s what you were thinking was next. And I don’t want to spoil your opinion of yourself so, yeah, I did that (and I was eating that). It’s neat (see, down with the kids) but anybody can do it if you hit delete and pretend the server must have crashed on that important email from your boss.

It’s not the point. The point is also not that I sat and hit the delete key several hundred times while watching MerlinÂ’s Inbox Zero presentation (yeah, right, like I don’t know about shift-delete) and felt good about myself. If you want to achieve the Zen like state of inbox zero (sorry, izero) then watch the video. Merlin is presenting to, what I imagine to be, some brainy people at Googleplex and I am not sure if they are taking it in or not. I imagined the really brainy folks would have asked more questions than they did. Not sure what that says about them. Probably says there were eating a Coronation Chicken bap and a caramel square (which, I gather, are free at the ‘plex).

And now to the key point some 460 or so words into this little piece (don’t count the words, I edited a bit and so that number, while once real, now resembles something I made up). Merlin’s presentation is great. Really good. But it’s not just good because it helps you get to an i0 state (i0, I just thought of that). No, I mean it’s a really good presentation.

I should write about my presentations. I think I will. But not now because I am talking about Merlin’s presentation (if I use only his first name it’s like we hang together, right? I’m way cool). It’s a done properly (his presentation, not the hanging). The slides are illustrations and there are more pictures than words (pictures are good for recall, apparently). He doesn’t use the slides as a safety net in case something is forgotten. No, they illuminate and reinforce his points. They are there as visual support. I mean that his slides are not his presentation. What he says is the presentation. The slides are, if you will, the side slide show. Useful, entertaining but not the star attraction.

This really shouldn’t be such a revelation but it’s an almighty, lightening strike of a revelation. I’ve sat through hundreds of presentations. Hell, I’ve given hundreds of presentations and few, so very few, are like this. By which I mean most are rubbish (including some, although not all, of mine). It jumped off the screen at me.

I got so wrapped up in it that I had people standing around wondering what I was watching and how I could be so attentive and engaged by a video on the web. So, go watch it. It’s presentation porn, if you will (although you’ll learn more and there’s much less grunting).

On this day…

2005: Memories Of The Walkman
2004: Digital Download Chart
2003: Silly Pop Stars
2003: Beep Beep To Profit
2002: When Love Comes To Town

Better In Just 14 Days

Today must be like a good dose of Bifidus Digestivum for my database. You know the tellybox ad that tells us that digestive discomfort affects 56% of women, or some such statistic, and then tells us to eat a pro-something yoghurt type thing and in two weeks we won’t feel like we want to fart so much?

Think of junk comments (15,481 of them) and junk trackbacks (3,598 of them) as well as the undetected junk comments & trackbacks (about 7,000 in total) as that bloated feeling and the delete button as a daily helping of tasty Activia from Danone (this blog accepts freebies if you want to contact me). In fact, to help my database get over the discomfort I thought about buying it a blanket and some cushions but it said another Rhubarb Fruit Yoghurt or a tasty Prune Fruit Layer would be better.

So there we go, scientific proof that fewer comments makes you less gassy. So, I turned them off.

On this day…

2005: By Ek
2004: Save A Pop Idol
2004: Open House 2004
2004: Back Ache Update
2003: Oh Canada II
2002: Don’t Call Me Stupid