10 things you must do in stockholm

1. buy a hot dog and ram in right into your pocket and jump in a taxi, and get told off if you try to eat it!

2. buy a Swedish massage and record the grunts you make.

3. eat Sweetbread, “it is the name of a dish made of the pancreas (belly/stomach) or thymus gland (neck/throat/gullet/heart sweetbread) of an animal younger than one year old. These animals are usually lambs or calves.”

4. eat raw smoked duck

5. spend an hour determining which is the best meatball restaurant in town, and then get the best table.

6. get lost in a taxi, with a fucktard of a driver who has no idea where he is going. none!

7. choose an airport which needs a connecting flight to the actual friggin city you wanted to go in the first place. RyanAir will do that for you.

8. have two lay-ins in a row due to it being the only time you’ll get them in the near future due to family commitments.

9. get lost walking around the small islands at 3am in summer and watch the sun come up.

10. hang out in the kings square, and old city, and chat with as many freaky locals as possible, you might learn something about another culture.

Stockholm Visit

So I visited Stockholm, the capital of Sweden these passed few days.

The visit to Stockholm for me, or should I say my aim, my goal, my intention, was a four pronged affair, which meant I had to be fairly efficient at achieving all four of these items over the two days, and essentially “blend” the activities. I think I did reasonably well too.

The items on my agenda were:

  1. to invest a significant amount of time with a new client of Audana
  2. to visit PodcampEU and hang-out with some of the creative people there
  3. to see VON, and reach-out
  4. to explore the city of Stockholm itself

I flew out of Stanstead airport on Monday evening, arriving in Stockholm Skavsta Airport, which proved to be a non-amusing start to the trip, being 90 minutes outside of the city itself. Typically these euro buses fly along, but no, this was a very steady Swedish 55MPH all the way, very tedious.

The following day of Tuesday was a good day, we got to discuss a big project for most of the day, and seeing as the location was a Euro destination, something very removed from our normal lives it seemed to aid the flow of creative juices between us.

Mid-way through Tuesday we took a taxi over to VON, touted as “The European IP Communications Industry Event”. The event was being held at the Stockholm International Fairs, an impressively large conference centre. There was a significant commercial presence at VON from most of “the players” in the communications industry and I managed to contact some interesting people, and get to hear their views on how the industry is changing.

Mixing it up with some of the representatives from these large corporations and hearing their views on what new-media is as a concept, was highly interesting. I managed to pin a few of these representatives down for an interview, if nothing else to plant a seed in their minds regarding such concepts as podcasting, and social-media networks. It’s quite interesting watching people “ramp-up” the gears once a microphone is revealed.

VON was the major sponsors of PodcampEU, which is the free un-conference, a concept having taken place in numerous destinations repeatedly in the USA. If you have read some of my earlier posts you’ll have realised I have been to another one of these events this year which took place in New York over the Easter weekend.

PodcampEU was a very small affair by comparison, which was probably a good thing as I imagine this meant lots of good friendships were struck very quickly. On the ground the PodcampEU area consisted of three small units within the VON exhibition itself and I managed to catch a few of the sessions I had down on my check-list, one of them was to meet and listen to Kfir Pravda who ran a session called How to make my mom watch Internet TV” – though more about a brain storm regarding how to market the concept of Internet TV, and what needs to be done.

Though this particular Podcamp was a small affair it was actually superb, and I think the founders of Podcamp, namely Chris Brogan and Christopher Penn were very happy with it, that’s the mood from the blogs and pics and my early reflections.

Personally, I think what was significant about this camp was having this un-conference, free to attend, Podcamp, in the same vicinity as the “big-boys” who were exhibiting at VON. New-media can be (and I whole-heartily agree) accused of being in the “fishbowl”, that is to say the practitioners might only mix, discuss, socialise, and attract similar people doing the same things as themselves, essentially a little intrinsic and possibly incestuous. However, by having these wonderfully creative new-media champions in this commercial VON space, next door to the big companies, was in my mind perfect, a perfect opportunity to embrace and poke someone who might be in the dark.

I truly hope everyone made a significant point of talking about what it is they do to these people, the people who know little about web2.0 and podcasting, the power of blogging etc. I know I went to great lengths to “reach-out” to many of these types outside of the fishbowl and grabbed a heap of business cards.

A great shame we missed the VON party on Tuesday evening, as I heard it was rocking, we had moved on and focused back on our project and were deep in dialogue and felt it was in our own best interests to continue. I would imagine many people mixed it up at the party though and cemented some great friendships.

Much of Wednesday was spent with my client, brain-storming away which proved to be very effective, we also managed to explore the city somewhat.

I’ve realised this blog could turn into an essay so rather than continue, I think I’ll break it down into four blogs, or four podcast themes rather than mash-it-up into one long stream of consciousness.

There were many hilarious antics (as well as the serious stuff) on the trip and so, yes, I think breaking the blog into those highlights will be more fitting.

Wait till you hear about the Hot-Dog incident in Stockholm

Power Questions

Try these power questions for nurturing response in your communication channels.

What do you look for …?
What have you found …?
How do you propose …?
What has been your experience … ?
How have you successfully used … ?
How do you determind …?
Why is that a deciding factor …?
What makes you choose …?
What do you like about …?
What is one thing you would improve about …?
What would you change about …?
Are there other factors …?
What does your competitor do about …?
How do your customers react to …?

For more significant power tips and tricks grab yourself a copy of this:

The Sales Bible

Thinking is So Over: Why the Web is Turning Us All into Dullards

Will Web 2.0 create a new, more “democratic” Internet, or will it destroy the ‘Net itself? Do users with no knowledge or expertise in the fields they’re writing in deserve more webspace and voice than experts? Has the day of the infinite number of monkeys on an infinite number of typewriters writing Shakespeare finally arrived?

Technical and Professional Network

OK people, need some help here.

There are a number of universities that run music and audio technology courses and as the number of students with these interests grow there appears to be an increasing need at the IET to suggest the need for a new Technical and Professional Network(TPN) catering for this ever growing community.

So could you please indicate what kind of thing would be wanted in terms of news, events, interviews, technical articles, surveys. Would be helpful if you would be so kind as to ask your students for any thoughts they have on this, or just answer yourself if you are a student or have an opinion.

Examples of what appears on the existing 40 TPNs can be overviewed here:

The Institution of Engineering and Technology



Do You Twitter

Twitter is great service, simply put it asks you the question “what are you doing?”.

Essentially the service, (which is free) is a micro/macro-blogging service which gives you the user 140 characters in which to convey whatever it is you wish to convey to your audience, at the precise moment, albeit slightly asynchronously due to server lags, and phone networking processing etc. But kind of very immediate!

So if another user has chosen to “follow” your micro communications, which are usually macro in nature, containing a link, or a thought to something larger, they will receive an update in their own feed, from you, and anyone else they care to follow.

Say what?

Well you create a profile, with some basic bio information about yourself, or your business, or whatever you choose the profile to represent. You then fire in messages about what you are up to, from a webpage, or an instant messenger, or even more cool, from your cell phone!

So how do I use the service?

Well I have set up a few accounts, some of which are automated, and one, my personal, which is not.

My personal one, is usually very transparent thoughts, and does what it says on the can “what are you doing”? – so here I usually state exactly that.

Here are my Twitter accounts:

Audio – this one is my personal account, you’ll get all sorts of random things from me here, this is very much about what it says on the can. “what I am doing”.

Porting it

I then take the rss feed of those accounts, and publish them in other places too, such as secondlife, or a myspace plugin, or facebook, so I can visualise that content in other places too, as can others.

So how could you use the service?

• Well what about if you were an educator and you wanted a neat, modern, student friendly way to keep your students in the loop? Why of course create a “group” account, in which you can pass out important (or non-important) information. The students could get instant updates, to their phone, or myspace plugin.
• Run a large popular forum? – set up your updates to get sent to a twitter account, giving your users another way of getting notifications.
• Work within a small team and need a quick way to get macro content to ALL the members quickly? You could send out a brief message with a url.

Can you think of any more ways to use the service, how do you currently use the service if you do so? Do you use it push ads, clever thoughts, self-publish, or just plain open off the top of your head thoughts?

With Reasonable Diligence

For those of you in the UK you may find, like I, that the whole traffic offence situation is getting more then slightly tedious. It’s not that I do not appreciate exquisite driving and safety on the roads, I do unquestionably. However, I find the current “nannying” culture of UK traffic policing a Royal pain the ass.

I’m not even speaking from naivety, I’ve travelled, I’ve lived in other countries for very extended periods of time, I’ve experienced first hand how other cultures adopt a more humanist approach to “slowing down” the traffic.

In the UK June 2007, we have an estimated 12,209 speed cameras, yes I know, that’s plain dumb. 12,209 cameras on differing points ready to “snap” your licence plate as you hurtle passed the thing doing more miles-per-hour (MPH) than you are legally allowed.

So what’s the outcome? – well a big juicy fine and points deducted from your driving licence, you typically get 3 deducted for each offence, 12 points later, no licence. The trouble is you see, it is the penalising nature of this system which aggravates me, you are punished unquestionably for doing a few MPH over the limit, and penalised in a most aggressive and fascist manner.

In reality the great speed camera of the UK has become an income generating revenue stream, where hundreds of thousands of pounds are taken daily. This is common knowledge, councils will actively seek out potential “black-spots” for income generation. I do know a guy, working in this field who informed me this is part of the sales pitch for new cameras!

The humanist approach (as is apparent in Italy as example) would be to have speed detecting equipment which throws up a warning sign saying slow down, and for particularly vulnerable areas, like busy towns or school entrances have speed activated traffic lights, and then if the lights are jumped THEN fine.

Speed cameras in their current state do not make people drive slower, they make people drive slower passed those cameras only. A whole database industry exists which creates daily updates of all known cameras and once dumped into your PDA gives you a warning of an oncoming speed camera.

If you do get caught (rather than politely warned, oh no that’s too intelligent) bear in mind you DO NOT have to pay up immediately, they have to prove it was YOU driving the vehicle, and with reasonable diligence.

In this first instance ask for photographic evidence of the crime scene, which must be provided.

Secondly, ask for proof that the camera equipment had a recent calibration, again this must be provided. Thirdly, if that comes, and you cant not be identified, you can enter into a “without reasonable diligence” plea as it could be anyone driving the car.

Here is a handy letter you could use in your dialogue with the traffic police.

Dear Sir

I refer to your letter dated xxth month 2007, in relation to an alleged traffic offence.

I thank you for forwarding photographic evidence of the said offence, which does indeed show the car registration mark xxxxxx as being present, of which I am the registered owner.

However, the evidence does not identify who the driver was, and as stated in your letter “the purpose of the image is to place the vehicle at the location at the time and date specified and it is not intended to identify the driver of the vehicle”.

In light of this evidence it is proving to be extremely difficult in identifying the driver of the vehicle for this date and time and I cannot, with reasonable diligence, ascertain who this was.

Yours faithfully

What do you think, is it just me, do you like speed camera, why, couldn’t there be a better system?

Voices In Business

So the summer is basically upon us, certainly here in UK we are having daylight up to around 10pm, which I so love. Naturally my thoughts go out to those of you who work in reverse such as the Australians, but then again you beat the Brits at Cricket so you can’t have it all.

So as summer is here, now is the time to start relaxing and making the most of your friends and acquaintances, spending time outside, on the beaches, fields, lakes, wherever. We have almost finished another cohort of students and examinations are pending, so I wish to send my best wishes out to those of you that relates to, and also want you to remember there is light at the end of the tunnel!

I’m a fan of keeping in contact with all ex-students no matter from where they come or go, the world is a fairly small place really and you never know when paths may cross again, so I do ask you to stay I touch with me personally. I can be found on many social networks, where a quick email or IM, or poke, nudge, wink, will get to me somehow.

I met one of my ex-students who studied at Audiocourses.com this passed week, Mike O’Hara, Mike has gone on to launch his own business known as Voices in Business which is a Podcast service for business experts, he really is on the way up to great things. It was so good to catch up with Mike and hear about how things are progressing for him and his business since being a student with us.

These types of relationships should be welcomed and fed, in the business of entertainment and music, it really is about having really good friends, in fact I think in almost all the media related niche subjects this is true, do you?

So if you have not yet found me on a social network pop along here and choose one, I’ll be waiting for you.


Moving Forward With The ACHUB

Audiocourses.com has been operational for around 7 years now, since being started way back in 2000 as a Post Graduate research project. Since then the school has graduated people all over the globe and has a member base of over 12 thousand and become a Private Limited Company.

The main activities of the school are:

• Providing distance learning solutions in the field of music technology
• Providing daily pro-audio news press releases
• Continual research into educational methodologies, particularly immersive environments for the enhancement of our virtual community.

I’m really proud of the way the audiocourses.com community has grown so well, there are some wonderful people involved with it, and students regularly come back and stay in touch. The “virtual community” is the essential link in the chain, the glue, the driving force of what makes it all work.

Over the last 12 months the school started exploring additional concepts for bolstering the virtual community including regular podcasts, (though we did “audioblog” back in 2005) and began researching SecondLife as an educational platform, to add value to our students. I’m actually working on a PhD proposal in educational technology, so it ties in beautifully.

It soon became apparent that we needed a group within the 3D world, so the ACHUB was founded in 06. The ACHUB has always been a not-for-profit venture which has an abundance of volunteers getting involved with promoting some wonderful events, mainly with an educational/research slant. One particular highlight was our Spring Festival back in March which saw (among others) Oxford University present a paper on using SecondLife for medical research and simulation.

So I see the ACHUB as a potential “gem” for our virtual community to move forward and share, what we do at the school, and also with others working in education, new-media, podcasting, blogging, machinima etc. by way of extending events into real-life meet-ups. I also want the ACHUB concept to grow in an organic fashion and encourage anyone to run events themselves relating to anything it is that the ACHUB is concerned with, we have a Charity event coming up for example in June.

I was intending to host/plan/organise an event at BCUC this coming October, under the brand of Podcamp, I was directly asked to get involved. I love the Podcamp concept, (and it is awesome), I enjoyed the experience PodcampNYC immensely and I think what those guys do and will do with that is outstanding for all concerned. But by including that brand into my very early-seed event planning in the UK I have been presented with difficulties which are more than tedious, and selfishly, and from a business perspective, see no reason why I should follow the idea through any further. I see no reason to be a champion for the brand here when there are enough apparent champions currently, it’s just banging a head against a wall to get people to see it.

So I am now completely withdrawing the planned event from the Podcamp brand, (sorry guys) and I will be hosting an event under the brand ACHUB which amounts to the same thing in almost every way, it will be a MediaCamp of sorts, but of course has zero history or baggage, zero relatedness and void of politics from any existing community. It’s new, fresh, dynamic, and will rock, no matter the size, everyone will be welcome, anyone can run with it, anywhere anytime.

I’ll still attend Podcamps, I’ve met some awesome people, but I’ll selfishly not fight to organise something which has too many traffic cops involved currently, everyone seems to be an expert. I guess you can’t please all of the people all of the time, just some of the people some of the time.

So moving forward, do check out the ACHUB activities that have taken place in the past and what is planned for the future. The ACBASH in Amsterdam in July is one I’m excited about, as a school we have been mentioning a real-life meet-up for what seems years, students I’ve only met virtually and staff too, will be there!! Feel free to come meet us in Amsterdam or any of the other events that take shape, and hey set one going yourself!

Pizza And Mayo Is Tasty

I’m cross posting this one from Audana.com, as though it rightfully sits in the portfolio it’s also one of my thought processes so belongs here too.

Pizza and Mayo is a cute little portal which asks one question per page, typically a question where there is one, usually obvious, answer. Do you prefer coffee or tea? – For example.

The idea for this wordpress driven site is really about presenting slightly thought-provoking text, where the text presented asks one question, one subject, with the sole purpose of drawing a user response. The minimalist design is definitely purposeful in this matter for focussing the mind on just that one thought, that one question.

The conceptualisation came together on the back-end of an interesting story concerning a friend of mine CC Chapman.

CC was in NYC on some business and letting his twitter followers know that he was thinking of grabbing a pizza, when I replied “try some mayo on your pizza”, you may say the same as CC, (WHAT!!!) but trust me it does work, of course not if you dislike mayo, but if you like mayo, it works good.

So the sight was born, a teaser for presenting slightly off the wall comparisons, questions, subjects.

There is currently an rss feed available along with the ability to have any new questions e-mailed to subscribers.

The data-set collected may be re-used in some way in the future; I’m not sure yet, not even sure how or why, but possibly it could build up a profile of the posters.

Do penguins have knees?