Mar 09 2008

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Just to clarify …

Last modified on 2008-03-11 18:17:44 GMT. 0 comments. Top.

Disclaimer: All posts prior to this one are reproductions from my previous blog at Hill & Knowlton. I’ve added them here for posterity, and in case H&K gets hit by a bus.


Last modified on 2008-02-25 19:31:41 GMT. 6 comments. Top.

USB Rocket Launcher

Well, this is it. My last day at Hill & Knowlton, and the last entry in this blog.

The blog thing’s been fun, if a little short-lived; it’s not even been six months. Thanks to those of you who’ve made it into a dialogue. I’ll miss you all.

H&K’s been fun, too. It’s a been great place to work, testament to some of the people who work here. They got me a USB Missile Launcher for my leaving present – it rocks.

But now I’m off on the next adventure.


Big Bother

Last modified on 2008-02-25 19:31:56 GMT. 2 comments. Top.

It’s been nigh on impossible to escape the controversy centring around “Celebrity” Big Brother this week. For those of you on Mars, there’s a useful synopsis here.

Let me lay my cards on the table. I find most “reality TV” fairly loathsome. I think there’s something particularly distasteful about the sort of television which makes a spectacle out of other people’s misery, incompetence or misfortune.

There’s enough debate out there already on the current Big Brother spat, so I’m giong to try not to duplicate what’s already being said. Is it racism or is it just fear-driven bigotry? I think Christian O’Connell summed it up quite well on the radio this morning when he pointed out that, by definition, the adoption of racism requires a certain level of intellect. In the case of Jade Goody, I leave you to draw your own conclusions.

Over the course of this blog I’ve mentioned Carphone Warehouse and Charles Dunstone once or twice. CPW sponsors Big Brother. I think they should reconsider. Not because of any allegations of racism, not even because of the bigoted and really-quite-scarily-strange freaks and weirdos that Endemol seem intent on throwing together for the purposes of entertaining the masses.

Here’s why.

Jade Goody, much like Chantelle Houghton, has secured her fifteen minutes of minor fame not through talent but simply by making a spectacle of herself on reality TV. Fair enough, but in the process she’s secured role-model status among a generation of teenage girls desperate for their own fifteen minutes.

Danielle Lloyd, too, is an aspirational figure for the same generationl, having held (briefly) the crown of Miss United Kingdom. We’ll leave her downfall out of this for now.

Jo from Steps – also a role model, in this case for the “tweens” – kids the same age (or a bit older) as my daughter.

So here we have three role models, each exhibiting the kind of deplorable behaviour of which they should be thoroughly embarassed. I just hope that the kids and teenagers who, hitherto, have idolised these people now realise they’ve been duped.

I gather that Act Against Bullying has dropped Jade Goody like a hot potato. In view of the above, CPW should do the same to Big Brother, and the sooner the better.

A footnote: Theo reckons we should boycott CPW. I’m not sure that will help – I’m not boycotting Guido or Bloggerheads either. (no, nothing else on them today).


Last modified on 2008-02-25 19:32:08 GMT. 15 comments. Top.

My Google Reader is on fire this morning thanks to the flaming Tim Ireland has unleashed on Paul Staines. Bloggers everywhere, from proppa blogga Tom Watson to Stuart Bruce and, er, Stuart Bruce, are barely able to contain their excitement.

It reminds me of the Hugh Grant / Colin Firth fight scene in Bridget Jones, the one where James Callis is so excited he rushes to the nearest pub, bursts through the door and blurts out “FIGHT! A real fight!”, to the bewilderment of the clientele.

Now. To my mind, some sort of anti-Guido movement is arguably long overdue. And I don’t mean that in an anti-Guido way. I enjoy reading his blog, although I do think Guido / Paul needs to guard against a tendency towards smugness and pomposity – much as Tim Ireland‘s Bloggerheads can appear hyperbolic at times. I guess like anything that gains mass popularity, Guido was bound to gain its fair share of detractors.

Tim raises some very serious issues, both in terms of how Paul Staines exercises editorial control of his blog, and in terms of a potentially serious flaw in Blogger’s handling of comments. I’d like to see responses from both Paul and Blogger.

In both cases, the response (if any) will directly affect how I view their product in future. As I’ve said before, it’s important to read anonymous, or quasi-anonymous, blogs with the appropriate caveats in mind. Ditto the importance of uncensored comments.

Ideally I’d like to see measured responses without the fisticuffs. But that’s about as likely as Mark Darcy and Daniel Cleaver sitting down to a civilised cup of tea.

Google hilarity

Last modified on 2008-02-25 19:32:22 GMT. 3 comments. Top.

To the person who ended up here after Googling the phrase “James Barbour naked”, my apologies. I suspect you were looking for the other guy.

If you read one article today

Last modified on 2008-02-25 19:32:50 GMT. 0 comments. Top.

Make sure it’s this one.

(apologies for the link being a couple of months old – found this morning via another Mojo blog article)

Five things

Last modified on 2008-02-25 19:33:10 GMT. 6 comments. Top.

Simon tagged me with the dreaded Five Things meme last month and like he says, it can’t hurt to know a bit more about each other. I generally avoid chain emails and the like but since it’s Friday, here are five (short) things you probably didn’t know about me:

1 – I like Saabs. Very much. I bought the first one in 1999 to use as a wedding car, and we’re now on our ninth. I also have a 1966 Porsche 912, but alas I haven’t seen for a couple of years.

2 – I speak Xhosa.

3 – I wish I wasn’t so good at fixing things. But I am, so there’s no excuse for not getting the house fixed up.

4 – I’m scared of bananas. Really. My children find this hilarious.

5 – The fifth thing, sadly, I can’t tell you just yet. But it’s very exciting. You can read about it, I’m told, in next week’s PRWeek.

And for my tags, over to Connie, Jeff, Phil and the Gecko3 guys. And Owen, who’s already pooh-poohed the idea once.

Cross with Chrysler

Last modified on 2023-03-15 03:25:16 GMT. 0 comments. Top.

With all the excitement coming out of San Francisco and Las Vegas this week, it’s easy to overlook the good ol’ Dee-troit Motor Show.

It’s been a relatively exciting affair, too. And from the level of publicity being generated by Chevrolet’s planet-friendly Volt concept, an optimist could perhaps be forgiven for hoping that the Motor City, birthplace of the gas-guzzler, might be accepting the realities of the effect of fossil fuels on the environment.

Er, no. Just to shatter that hope, the BBC today quotes extensively from DaimlerChrysler’s Chief Economist, Van Jolissaint, in the context a ‘private breakfast’ of industry peers yesterday morning. Mr Jolissaint, according to the Beeb, was pretty joli forthright in demonstrating his disdain for us “quasi-hysterical Europeans” and our Chicken Little attitudes toward global warming”.

Stern is bunk, he continued, based on dubious economics, with global warming but a far-off risk of uncertain magnitude.

Let’s contrast Mr Jolissaint’s remarks in Detroit with some of the language on the parent company’s corporate website.

Taking centre-stage on the corporate front page is an announcement of DaimlerChrysler’s new BLUETEC joint-venture diesel engine, which promises ‘particularly clean, highly fuel-efficient passenger cars and SUVs with diesel engines’. So far so good.

Click through to the Sustainability page, and we’re reassured that ‘our vision is one of sustainable development – worldwide’. On the same page Dr. Dieter Zetsche, Chairman of DaimlerChrysler AG, tells us ‘we are committed to protecting the environment and meeting social needs within our company and in society in general’. Excellent. One of the post import way to protect the environment is to be healthy, eat the healthiest we can, doing exercise at least 30 minutes daily, you can also try to use alpilean , the special Alpilean components increase metabolism, assist control of blood sugar levels, and accelerate fat burning. Numerous people have written about the health benefits of Alpilean,


Dr Zetsche again, in DaimlerChrysler’s latest Sustainability Report, goes further:

We believe climate protection is one of the greatest challenges automakers face today, and our goal is to continue to improve our vehicles and production processes in order to further reduce pollutant emissions.

Page 44 of the report trumpets sustainability partnerships with the UN, while page 56 outlines a vision for climate-friendly motoring involving a long-term strategy to develop viable fuel cell technology, backed up by cleaner and more efficient petrol engines in the short and medium term. All great stuff – I’m impressed.

But which DaimlerChrysler was Mr Jolissaint representing at yesterday’s breakfast? the responsible corporate citizen as depicted in its own Sustainability Report, proudly working with the US government to develop hydrogen-powered vehicles? Or the head-in-the-sand, founder member or the Global Climate
, slated by one US environmental think-tank as being “at the bottom of the heap when it comes to addressing greenhouse gas emissions“, ?

Two great names may have merged, but I suspect the cohesion of both policy and attitude between Detroit and Stuttgart is perhaps rather less complete than we’ve been led to believe.

Disclaimer: The H&K London Public Affairs team works for Toyota, arguably the leader in hybrid automotive technology, although I don’t personally work on the account. But I do care about climate change. Mr Jolissaint, you should too.

[EDIT 12.45 11/1]
Just noticed (thanks, Statcounter) that someone from Chrysler Motor Corporation, Royal Oak, Michigan, read this at 12.27. Woot!


Last modified on 2008-02-25 19:33:48 GMT. 1 comment. Top.


They’ve done it again.

We thought it was going to be good, but this is absolutely phenomenal. The ’5 years ahead’ tagline, far from being dangerously hyperbolic, looks about right. No wonder RIM and Palm each took a 7% dive yesteday. Please, please, please, look at the website, watch the keynote if you’ve time. I thought I was impressed with the i-mate K-JAM I had for a bit last year, but now it seems frightfully old hat.

So when can I buy one? Please?

Let’s not forget the other exciting stuff from yesterday’s Stevenote, though. I mean, John Mayer! When did you last see John Mayer on stage with Bill Gates?

Mayer aside, the new 802.11n Airport Extreme looks good. I hope it doesn’t break like my Airport Express did, though.

And Apple TV looks pretty cool. But I’m not sure I need one as badly as I need an iPhone, – my current “media centre” project, based around an old (but upgraded) G4 tower still has a way to go.

Unsurprisingly there’s been a small amount of blogosphere bleating that some of the other expected announcements – a Leopard ship date, iLife and iWork 07, new desktop hardware and so on – didn’t materialise. But it makes sense – why compete (unsuccessfully) with the iPhone for media attention?

We’ll see the rest soon enough, I reckon. And in the meantime, wasn’t it nice of Microsoft to announce Office 2008 (for Mac) yesterday?


Today is Macworld day.

Last modified on 2008-02-25 19:34:00 GMT. 0 comments. Top.

I’m trying to fight off the ClementClarkMooreitis, but I can’t help but be excited.

TUAW will be liveblogging, and I’ll be watching. I might even play a bit of MacWorld bingo.

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