Friday, 26 February 2010

Where's a brolly when you need one?

This was a bit ironic really. Leaving the Channel 4 HQ in London - it's a
Rogers building so interesting as a design - and we'd had a good meeting - I like
Ch4 - but on leaving it tipped down with proper British London rain (cold and wet) and I needed to shelter, Where better, i thought, than under a huge installation of umbrellas forming the Ch4 logo. Perfect?

Well, no. Sadly despite HUNDREDS of brollies I still got drenched. Nice
installation though.

Wednesday, 17 February 2010

Powell's Books

Powell's Bookstore here in Portland OR, USA is a legend. Founded not so long ago in 1971 it is HUGE and has a wonderful mix of used and new books - with lots of good prices too.

The vast section pictured is only the sailing shelves (you'll know why this made me happy...) and the place is quirkily chaotic with whole floors devoted to things like SF and fantasy - a whole wall in there just dedicated to armageddon and post apocalyptic stuff! Lots of support for local authors, vast swathes of poetry... and all enriched by a mass of little annotations along the shelves as staff (and others!) leave thoughts and recommendations.

It's way more than a bookstore it is a community of folk who care about the printed word (oh, swathes of graphic novels too - whole section) and obviously does coffee too.

I won't repeat why I care about community here - short version is, it matters. Great store - in both senses.

Friday, 5 February 2010


In Seville (Spain) for the EU's big E-twinning conference with teachers from twinned schools all around the EU, and with many, many languages spoken. I did a keynote - well, I am pretty keen on schools working together across the old national boundaries - and with over 500 folk there it was rather curious to talk to an audience with relayed translation in process. With a relayed translation system the translator generating the langauge you have selected for your headset may not be listening to the primary speech, but to a translation of it - so as a listener you may be getting "your" version quite a while after the speaker has said their bit, to be translated, and translated again first. Thus if I say something perhaps slightly witty, the ripple of smiles and chuckles takes a really long time to go round the audience - and some bits of the audience don't smile at all (lost in traanslation...).

I also rather enjoyed the national and regional "old" media cameras arriving to film what was a quite wired and connected conference - and then pointing camaeras the many delegates who themselves were filming for twitcam, blogs, YouTube, whatever. Old media filming new media... Hmmm. I smiled, but not all the press did - I wonder what message their brains had translated that image into...