Robin Brown

Journo. Editor. Tutor. Dour northerner.

Archive for December, 2010

Yahoo’s axing of Delicious leaves a sour taste

with 3 comments

So Delicious is off to the land of defunct social networks. This annoys me as it’s the best pure bookmarking site on the web; frankly I find Stumble Upon too gimmicky – and curiously hard to use – while the likes of Reddit and Digg are just popularity contests these days.

On every computer I work from, there’s a Delicious applet that automatically populates my Delicious account with the meta data from whatever page I’m bookmarking. I add a couple of tags and I’m off again, safe in the knowledge that I can easily find the page again when I need it.

For reasons best known to itself – at a guess something like Delicious is pretty hard to monetise – parent company Yahoo! is set to wave off the bookmarking site into the sunset, according to a leaked screenshot detailing strategies for the company’s sprawling, fragmented, declining empire.

Yahoo! has form with simply trashing stuff it fails to make anything of, with its complete binning of Geocities, and I fear a similar fate for Delicious, rather than let it continue under someone else or release it to open source.

Frankly, I just don’t know what Yahoo! is for any more. Ten years ago, in the era of homepages and mail and search engines, when people like MSN and AOL built up massive online footprints – cars, celebrities, news services, videos – and started acquiring start-ups like Delicious and Flickr, Yahoo! at least made sense within that landscape.

But five years ago everyone realised that, no matter how many news channels you opened, people just weren’t using the web in the same way any more. Google put paid to the other search engines, then slowly took over email, and people began to realise that you might as well get your news from a newspaper than a portal.

Facebook has started its cannibalisation of the web and is well on its way to becoming a true portal – the only page anyone needs to visit on the interweb. Another death knell for the horrifyingly busy, crowded, redundant Yahoo! and MSN homepages.

In this context, satellite services like Flickr and Delicious seem to make even more sense to me. Data is valuable; everyone takes photos; professionals and geeks like to share information; niche services become important in their own right.

Most of the freshest bookmarks on Delicious are users discussing the site's impending demise

The real value of Delicious, to me, was in a massive peer-reviewed repository of the valuable stuff on the web. In amongst all the self-serving newsletters, Twitter feeds and artificially-inflated search-engne rankings – Delicious offered the best of the web filtered by people who worked within the same industries that you did and could be trusted to share the really good stuff. Those delicious web bites that can get lost on the cess pool that is the modern internet.

Whenever I need to research something in journalism, social media, marketing, PR or anything else in the technical realm I turn to Delicious. I dare say coders, techies and a variety of other professionals do too. In this way Delicious was almost an uber search engine; no-one tried to game it like they do Google, Digg or Reddit so only the really good stuff was in there.

I doubt many people used Delicious in the grand scheme of things, but that made it all the more valuable (and I can’t understand how it could possibly cost much to run); and Yahoo! should have been able to make something of that, particularly when they own so much other ancillary real estate.

I never saw, for example, a way to integrate Delicious with my Yahoo! email account. Sure, there’s probably a way to do it, but it was never offered to me. Similarly, why not cross-reference Flickr and Delicious? Or introduce a nominal annual fee and stick some bells and whistles on it?

That Yahoo! doesn’t see the value in retaining Delicious just says, to me, that the company doesn’t really understand what it’s there for any more, that it’s lost sight of how to leverage what it has and make sense of those who continue to use their services.

There’s an online campaign pinging around the other social networks at the moment to save delicious, which indicates the depth of feeling among users. Will it work? I hope so, because Delicious may just be one of the more valuable online repositories of peer-reviewed knowledge in existence. If no-one sees the value of that I despair.

Written by Robin Brown

December 17th, 2010 at 10:00 am

Posted in Other stuff

Tagged with , , ,

2010: My year in status updates

without comments

Is there anything remotely fascinating about other peoples’ status updates? Probably not, but the ability to track your own life story using Facebook’s pithy snippets, like a personal dot-to-dot connecting different moments in time, is an interesting one to my mind.

Looking back over my own, I remembered some things that happened this year that I’d completely forgotten about, and a few that amused me due to the responses they elicited or events they concerned.

It’s curious that we all leave a personal data trail across the web these days. Via Twitter, Facebook, Foursquare, Youtube, Flickr and blogs, you’d probably be able to determine where I was and what I was doing on any given day this year.

There’s a train of thought that maintains that this is a horrifying release of personal data, but I’m quite amused by the idea that Russian internet mobsters are trying to make sense of the numerous pop-culture references, puzzling over pictures of my cat or exchanging bemused hypotheses over my infatuation with something named the ‘Baltic Fleet’.

Anyway, here’s my life in status updates. It’s not Shakespeare, but it all means something to me, and perhaps quite a few friends. In the absence of a diary, it should keep me amused or remind me of cool things I did in a few decades’ time too – assuming the ants haven’t taken over.

I don’t want to go (David Tennant relinquished the keys to the TARDSI)

cat’s turning his nose up at roast beef, the little bollocks!

Milk was a bad choice (Ron Burgundy reference)

It’s not too late to be reinstated (Shack reference)

Frost on beard (January was horribly cold, leading to chaos in Liverpool)

“Much more fortunate than the millions who’ll wander sightless through the smouldering aftermath. We’ll be spared the horror of survival.” They don’t make kids’ films like they used to (from War Games, one of my favourite films)

WHY HAS MY HEAD GONE NUMB? (Withnail and I reference)

Actual headline: Man with genitals in pipe cut free (He ‘gave no explanation’

Ian McNiece and Robbie Coltrane is the same scene? Why it’s fat English character actor heaven! (In From Hell)

Has never seen anyone as upset over a game of Connect Four as Iwan (I beat my housemate at online Connect Four, having listened to him extolling his abilities. I promptly retired from the game forever)

Where’s the white going? WHERE’S THE WHITE GOING? (ref. John Virgo)

Alien Cat People versus America in Space was excellent (Avatar)

Distraught at losing darts, Iwan has logged on to get a Connect 4 win under his belt to end the day on a victorious note – and been hammered three times (January was a bad month for Iwan’s games ability. I crashed out of the darts at the quarter final stage but returned to voice Sir Roger Moore in a pre-match vid))

Back from monster trip. Huskies, igloos, barn owls, ice driving lunacy, five airports in three days, Hitler’s holiday home and a blazing row with a Sun journalist (went on the adventure holiday of a lifetime, courtesy of Volvo)

Me: Yeah, QED – Quite Easily Done. Bowser: [Beat] Is that what QED means? (This conversation actually happened)

Midnight rockers, city slickers, gunmen and maniacs (ref. Massive Attack)

God, it would be awful if Ricky somehow got hold of this videotape… (ref. Eastenders – Bianca’s loose tongue causes problems)

Though your world is changing I will be the same (ref. Bryan Ferry)

Should I buy Beyond the Valley of the Dolls on DVD? (I didn’t)

is watching reruns of Babylon 5 (ref. Spaced – but also true)

goes ding when there’s stuff (ref. Doctor Who)

Javagal Srinath (Indian cricketer, possibly the best name ever)

Clone Stamp and Smudge Tool (twatting about on Photoshop, probably on Creature Features

Is the guy on Masterchef who’s a pediatrician being referred to as a ‘children’s doctor’ in case people think he’s a paedophile? I like Masterchef, especially the facial expressions

Yo Yo Ma! (ref. Curb Your Enthusiasm)

I had part of a slinky… but I straightened it (ref. Ghostbusters)

I am the dog that ate your birthday cake (Mark Linkous killed himself)

What a day. The Citroen DS3 is good. The C3… not so good. Huddersfield, mainly depressing (some driving stuff)

DJ Falcon (returned to Chibuku for the first time in five years, felt old)

One of your friends became a fan of Seeing The Shape Of A Girls Ass Through Her Leggings (baffling Facebook stuff)

Society’s a weak excuse for a man (ref. Slick Rick)

Parting Shots: Michael Winner, Chris Rea, Peter Davison, Diana Rigg, Felicity Kendall, John Cleese, Ben Kinglsey, Trevor Baxter, Olly Reid, Gareth Hunt, Nicola Bryant in a bra. Quite the worst film ever (terrible, terrible, terrible)

Along you came, and right away I’m stung. Sweet words I long to whisper, but you paralyzed my tongue (ref. Simpsons)

You’ve Been Framed=Idiot Painful Comeuppance Half Hour (I like You’ve Been Framed, especially the ones where people deserve it)

I’m poppa large, big shot on the east coast (ref. Ultramagnetic MCs)

I couldn’t fuck a gorilla… (ref. The Man With Two Brains)

Ooh, try a little harder, You’re moving in circles, won’t you dilate, Baby try (ref. Kajagoogoo)

Funniest Ever You’ve Been Framed followed by Best Ever TV Burp. Is it my birthday already? (Two shows I love)

Beloved ****? (ref. Curb)

Bought an organ, a bike and a Terrahawks DVD (birthday presents to self – see my huge organ here)

Hopelessly Panglossian (ref. The Duckworth Lewis method)

Became a fan of STOP FALLING FOR STUPID ‘BECOME A FAN TO WATCH VIDEO’ SCAMS (Facebook idiocy)

Had a mouse for dinner, and a mole for dessert (ref. Paul Barman)

Ohh, Eggheads, what hilariously irrelevant banter will you come up with next? (I dislike Eggheads)

Mazda MX-5 on a sunny day in the countryside (driving the little roadster on a sunny day was great fun; excellent car)

Watching people do ‘Meow Meow’ (it didn’t look good)

I’ll tell you what’s worse than going back to work after two weeks off, you sodding part-timers, not having two sodding weeks off in the first sodding place! (whinging public service staff)

Morny Stannit (ref. Morecambe and Wise)

When this baby hits 88mph, you’re going to see some serious shit (ref. Back to the Future)

Saw a heron and two swans making a nest in Sefton Park. And a moorhen moodying a swan. And a rat. (the varies fauna of Sefton Park)

I live among the creatures of the night (ref. Laura Brannigan)

Tennant and Izzard telling us Britain is good? This is also BROKEN BRITAIN PEOPLE (the 2009 election broadcasts)

Coming soon to a newspaper near you: LFC fans give warm welcome to Russian oil oligarch (the 2009 LFC soap opera

Venison fillet, red wine jus, crushed new potatoes with with garlic flowers. Excellent (I picked the garlic flowers from a wood in Masham)

Adrian Chiles ordered to shave bear (for some reason the title cut off here in WordPress stats for the Adrian Chiles ordered to shave beard story)

Most troubling opening line in pop? ‘I was 37, you were 17′ (ref. Heaven 17)

Leveraged the shit out of some synergies today (spent a lot of time at work devising strategies for several content channels)

‘A woman from Devon has begun speaking with a Chinese accent after suffering severe migraines’

Gordon Brown! (ref. Adam and Joe)

Managed a run-out in a Rover 623 SLi today – great fun. It actually crossed my mind to buy it. (I didn’t, but I thought about it – photos)

KLAAAAK!

I can see you got a solar report (ref. The Charlatans)

There’s a lot of produce here (Gordon Brown’s comment on a supermarket during the election campaign)

I warn you not to be ordinary, I warn you not to be young, I warn you not to fall ill, and I warn you not to grow old. (ref. Neil Kinnock)

Kelvin MacKenzie has promised to leave the UK on a one-way trip to Belize if there is a hung parliament. Do I need to say anything else? (I loathe Kelvin MacKenzie)

Overheard: Greggs minion to builder: ‘How many sugars love?’ Builder: ‘Five please’ BROKEN BRITAIN (I loathe the Broken Britain meme)

Randomly bumped onto half a dozen people I know whilst wandering around town. I love Liverpool for that (on one my infrequent Sunday gallery tours)

Two games of cricket, two knackered fingers. By July I’ll be typing with my nose at this rate (I developed two new cricket injuries this summer)

Doctor Baker phoned me in the morning (ref. The Beta Band)

On balance I prefer the Jaguar XJ to the Kia Rio (two cars I drove in quick succession, I preferred the Jag)

Someone on this bus is absolutely blasting the acid tweaking funk mix of higher state of consciousness. And a fat dooby. (the two so often seem to go together)

Bored of zombies now. Can we have a zombie amnesty? (2010 was the year of zombie overload)

I have a bacon sandwich in my pocket (must have been a good day)

Overheard outside: (Girl answers phone – shrilly) WHA-? What’s the matter? Proper shit meself there, I thought something was the matter…”

Don’t get this thing of asking how much people ‘want’ something in reality shows: ‘How much do you want this?” “I really, really want it” (ref. Masterchef, X-Factor etc)

Jests at scars (ref. Shakespeare)

Blow in her face and she’ll follow you anywhere (old-skool cigarette ad)

Mein Fuhrer… I can walk! (ref. Dr Strangelove)

Time is an illusion; lunchtime, doubly so (ref. Douglas Adams)

Could have sworn I just heard a bird tweeting Higher State of Consciousness (somewhere on Saddleworth Moor)

‘He got his finger out, but didn’t put it up’ (ref. cricket)

My actual instinctive reaction to news of Gary Coleman’s death: ‘Aw, poor little fella’. Even in death he’s patronised (poor little fella)

A routine malaise (ref. Grizzly Bear)

To the break of dawn (ref. Bad Lieutenant)

Hmm, was Sex and the City ever any good? I mainly remember a lot of muff jokes and bitching about men (The new SatC film got bad reviews)

Do you respect wood? (ref. Curb)

Sevenstreets (SevenStreets finally launched)

Just saw a chicken escorted off the premises at old Trafford. At least he had his dignity (at the Old Trafford Test against Bangladesh)

I hate Ian Wright (for things like this advert)

Wrath of the Math (ref. Jeru the Damaja)

If there’s nothing missing in my life, then why do these tears come at night? (ref. Britney Spears)

ladies and gents watches, a toastie machine a microwave oven, a pine dresser and upright turbo cleaner have just been gambled on bullseye. They didn’t look overly delighted by the holiday to Thailand though (shit telly)

Vworp Vworp (ref. Doctor Who, specifically Target)

I have to return some video tapes (ref. American Psycho)

Michael Douglas’s mirrored sunglasses (ref Neon Neon)

Is playing the part of a real trouble-maker (ref. The Passions)

Dismayed by my pudgy face on Granada Reports. Disgracefully, Iwan’s shit wicket was broadcast across the north-west (at the brilliant Sefton Park Solstice Cup match)

Just remembered extraordinary sight from yesterday AM: Huge vortex of thousands of seagulls swarming around Africa Oye site (feasting on curried goat, no doubt)

Liverpool abolished as part of Budget (austerity budget announced)

Pretty disappointed by Ragged Trousered Philanthropists (not one of the Everymans best, in what’s been another great year for the Liverpool theatre – review here)

I’m a cop, you idiot! (ref. Schwarzenegger)

Tesla girls, Tesla girls, I’m in love with Tesla girls (ref. OMD)

Radiates like it’s ’88 (ref. Paul Barman)

Today I will mostly be creating robust strategies, identifying key influencers, working with cross-organisational stakeholders, creating brand outposts, plan distribution strategies and increasing brand equity. And to think I dreamed of being an investigative journalist. (spent a lot of time researching social media in business)

‘Question of the Week: Which web/marketing analytics tools can’t you live without when measuring your inbound marketing programs?’ In what sort of crazy world is this ‘question of the week’? (Someone replied: ‘In your world, Brown’)

Explosive water pipe failure in living room. Cue ten minutes of frantic slapstick (Paul, the most useless plumber in the world showed up on time for once)

Fig rolls (I like fig rolls)

When I see your eyes arrive, they explode like two bugs on glass (ref. Mercury Rev)

Jam Up and Jelly Tight (ref. Tommy Rowe)

Enjoying the high bombardment of positive ions in the atmosphere (ref. The FIve Doctors)

The quest is the quest (ref. Doctor Who)

I see Channel 4 is doing another boobs and cocks programme and passing it off as educayshun (Channel 5 will always win in this battle)

Recommended Pages: Sleeping Many who like Drinking like this <

Raincloud of Doom is my new favourite insult (insult directed at shouty twat Shabby, from the last ever Big Brother)

Staff cuts have socked up the overage (ref. REM)

Marmite – Many who like Tony Hart like this

Just had flashback to the two ultimate fighter nicknames I once saw on a poster in the Penny Farthing: 'Beasteron' and 'I Will Destroy You' (wish I'd taken a photo)

I guarantee this place has no Foursquare Mayor (in the Stoke Mandeville Stadium Olympic Lodge hotel during a work trip, having spent the previous night at the brilliant Aviator Hotel, courtesy of Saab)

Ah, Fucking You Tonight – Biggie Smalls’ irresistible exploration of the quid pro quo of courtship in the modern age (ref. Biggie Smalls)

What would Avon off Blake’s 7 do? (ref. Blake’s 7)

l33t supa h4x0r (ref. leetspeak)

Northumbria Uber Alles (ref. Dead Kennedys)

there’s only two ways you can injure your neck (ref. Curb – a car accident and oral sex)

Peking Homonculus (ref. Talons of Weng Chiang)

Imagine a world where shoes are not your friends (can’t remember where this comes from)

KBO (ref. Churchill)

‘Every girl’s given someone a blower’ – Big Brother enhances all of us (lovely, uncomplicated Josie)

Let’s get this straight iPhone, if I want to say ‘twat’ in a text I’m damn well going to say it. Not ‘teat’, not ‘test’. Twat (amusing site here)

Dear neighbour, your folky summer jamming session is very nice, but shut the fuck up you fucking hippies (they moved shortly after)

I didn’t make it sugar, playing by the rules (ref. Marvin Gaye)

Been eatin’ pineapple (ref. Scarface censorship)

I’m with Morse. I don’t drink because I enjoy it, I drink so I can think. Though I also enjoy drinking (I like Inspector Morse and drinking)

Everybody spread the word. I live in my sister’s basement! (ref. The Wedding Singer)

dab of oppo (ref. Sniff Petrol)

‘Cake is sexy bread’ reveals the great bake off. Now got to religious persecution of cake. Utterly futile programme (a silly show that also saw Mel Or Sue refer to eggs, flour, butter and sugar as ‘the Fab Four’)

That time of the week when I allow myself a solitary draught of laudanum

I wish they all could be double-barreled… (ref. Top Secret!)

You would make a fantastic booby (ref. John McCririck)

Give me convenience or give me death (ref. Dead Kennedys)

If there’s one thing on my mind it’s gettin downstate (ref. Aim)

I could make you cry in three minutes (drunken threat to best friend)

No diggity (ref. Blackstreet)

I hate Sebastian Coe! (ref. Brass Eye, though I do hate Sebastian Coe)

Vanessa Felch (nickname given to a barmaid I used to know)

Baking a pie. I’ve been away too long (it was steak and kidney)

Cafe au lait… pour vous (ref. Shaun of the Dead)

Nice and sleazy does it (ref. The Stranglers)

Tweedle Twat (ref, Science, Big Brother)

Right, off on holiday to the Dales. There will be sausages (there were, in Masham)

Carwash cunt (ref. Curb)

Picking out a thermos for you… (ref. The Jerk)

Worst Goal of the Month music ever. Bring back Life of Riley (ref. Match of the Day)

Stop saying things are ‘cheeky’ (eg cheeky Volvic)

What’s that brain? You’re feeling creative? Well fuck you, you’ve had all day, I’m off to bed (bloggers curse)

Watching a game of park footy in Preston. Precocious dribbler rounds three men on his way towards goal. A shout rings out: “bring him down Legolas!” (livened up a day of driving Vauxhalls)

Here hare here (I cooked a hare casserole, it was tough but tasty)

17,000 more sleeps til I’m dead (according to some online generator thing)

Mmm nice marmot (ref. The Big Lebowski)

Just heard a classic ‘Eee! Are you messin’?’ in the office (classic Liverpool)

Nothing makes me more pleased to be European than seeing some of the frat-boy dicks in the crowd at the Ryder Cup #getintheholeball (the goodies won)

**** your ****ing ***** off you ****! (ref. The Inbetweeners)

Young, gifted and Brown

Dear Mr Hicks, please will you fuck off and leave LFC alone so I don’t have to listen to whining Reds bleating on about it all the time. Cheers, Robin (tiresome LFC soap opera rumbles on)

Some guy on twitter is trying to get me to listen to his mixtape, which includes a song called Damn It Feels Good To Be A Scouser (I didn’t listen)

‘scenes of animal mating’? (since when did viewers have to be warned about animal mating?)

What’s wrong with being childish? I like being childish (ref. Doctor Who)

Right. Your help please. Is it ‘briefcase wanker’ or ‘briefcase mong’? (both, apparently)

People searching for ‘blackman and robin’ on the culture blog always makes me nervous (see why for yourself – Blackman and Robin

Last night I dreamed had a scouse accent (a nightmare)

Maybe you’re my puppet (ref. Solaris)

This is definitely Laphroaig weather (I like Laphraoig)

Suddenly forgotten a keyboard shortcut I use 100 times a day. Another ‘is this the inevitable onset of senility?’ pang of fear (senility and arthritis, great mix)

Good God, George Osborne has a grotesque little face (I hate George Osborne

It’s not the way you look, it’s not the way that you smile (ref. A Flock of Seagulls)

Noticed the ‘Safe Zone’ in Brunswick station is now called ‘Safer Zone’. Perhaps an acknowledgement that painting a yellow line around something does not make it inherently safe (probably now called ‘slightly safer zone)

Because I once commented on an article called ‘video games are no better than pornography’, my Guardian profile now lists ‘pornography’ as one of my key interests (now changed to ‘commented on’)

House****ing (the C word – I didn’t enjoy looking for a house)

Would you call your first-born Citroen Berlingo Multispace for a million quid? (I had recently driven said car)

Wage rates in Peru, James Burke, Finnegans Wake, all the bloody irish, the dog in Blue Peter, Brian Clough, and especially James Henry and Clive and Australian barmen, ecologists, semiologists…the Guardian Women’s Page, the Bible, Reader’s Digest Special Price Draw… (all the things Philip Marlow finds boring)

The cat tolerated my over-enthusiastic, drunken greeting, but I could tell he was secretly irritated (he’s usually irritated)

That old ‘is it a powercut or have the fuses gone?’ chestnut. Spose I’d best dig out a torch. Hope they’re not my last words. (power cut, though this led to the fuses blowing and detouring to the missus’ house for a shower for two weeks)

Halloween, perhaps the best horror film ever made, coming up on BBC4 (I like horror films)

You don’t know how to play the game/You cheat/You lie/You make me wanna cry (ref. Godley and Creme)

So very close to referring to a sliding car as an ‘ungainly fuck on a frozen pond’ in an article (Volvo XC60 I think)

Aksidenz Grotesk (I like fonts)

You’re just going to have to turn this opportunity YES (ref. Sexy Beast)

wore a suit for nothing. pfft. (for a meeting with GM that didn’t happen)

Kazakhstan is the greatest exporter of potassium, all other countries have inferior potassium (ref. Borat)

Savaged by a turbot (ref. Blackadder)

A translation error at a UK prison labelled an exercise yard as an “execution yard” in the draft of an information booklet for Russian inmates (genuine BBC story)

Ten per cent of robins will die at the hands of another robin (chilling birdlife fact)

A merciless thunderbolt (no idea)

Finding it hard to escape the feeling that the world would be a slightly better place if Dappy from NDubz was dead (I hate Dappy from NDubz)

Shane Warne: My mates are great – thanks for that Shane, you pudgy Aussie twat (I dislike Sky’s cricket commentary)

Nice beaver (ref. Naked Gun, Leslie Neilsen died)

Mention the Lord of the Rings just once more and I’ll more than likely kill you (ref. Half Man Half Biscuit)

what a great start to the day. Aussies 0-2 (Aussies totally outclassed in Ashes 2010

Overheard, coming from direction of workmen: ‘there’s Brownie, the SHITBAG!’ (not sure if this was directed at me, I didn’t look back)

The fact that you don’t understand, casts a shadow over this land (ref. Billy Bragg/Dubstar)

…a twist in the fabric of space in which time becomes a loop (ref. The Orb/Star Trek)

However, the culture secretary’s patience was tested further just after 9.30am when Marr hosted a discussion about the Freudian slip as a follow-up to his colleague’s mistake. “We’re not going to repeat in quite the terms it happened,” Marr promised, before repeating exactly the same mistake Naughtie had made. Marr quickly corrected himself and apologised, saying: “It’s very hard to talk about it without saying it.” (hilarious ‘cunt’ antics at the BBC)

Sacked chimney sweep pumps boss full of mayonnaise (Day Today reference)

• If you want to know how to harvest your status updates from Facebook, I recommend an app called Status Statistics as it lets you do whatever you want with them, rather than the crap My Year in Status, which doesn’t even let you have access to your own status updates

Written by Robin Brown

December 11th, 2010 at 8:34 pm

Posted in Other stuff

Tagged with ,