Category Archives: Opinion

There is no web 1.0, 2.0 or 3.0

This is deliberately similar to my first Posterous post, “There is no new vs. old media“…

There is no web 1.0 or web 2.0 or even web 3.0. There is only the evolving web. I despise the use of the phrase “web 2.0” when it relates to web design, for example – it implies that it needs to have cool jQuery and Ajax stuff going on. You know what, if you’re building a site figure out your user need and build it using the right technologies. Don’t just build a “web 2.0” site ’cause it’s what all the cool kids are doing.

Okay, rant over. But who’s to say I’m right. Disagree at will using the comments.

This was posted via web from Philip’s posterous

There is no new vs. old media

I’ve said it many times at various events this year but I decided a short but sweet blog post was needed (and what better place than my as yet unused Posterous). Here goes…

There is no new and old media. There is only evolving media. Right now it’s going through what I consider to be a paradigm shift – a period of uncertainty which is changing all our perceptions of how news will be delivered and by whom.

I’m fortunate enough to be at the forefront of this evolution, and boy is it exciting!

This was posted via web from Philip’s posterous

Two wrongs don’t make a right. Why discrimination loses my vote in the general election.

This week, David Cameron announced that he is prepared to impose all-women shortlists for the next general election. The Labour Party has already used all-women shortlists and Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg said he would consider introducing them if the number of women MPs in his party didn’t ‘improve’ at the next general election.

The issue that Cameron, Brown and Clegg are attempting to address is the lack of female MPs. They’re also talking about a lack of black MPs at the same time. They see the Commons as unrepresentative of Britain.

According to ONS, there were 1.1 million more women than men in the UK in mid-2007. So with just 20% of MPs being women, the Commons definitely isn’t representative of the UK when we look purely at the figures.

In my view – and please challenge me on this – the Commons is not supposed to be representative of the population, but rather to represent the population. An MP does not have to be able to identify with a constituent, only to empathise with a constituent. For example, if my MP was female I would not consider her less capable of representing me in the House of Commons than the male MP that currently represents me.

A good MP, in my opinion, will act in a manner that is in the best interest of their constituents, regardless of their own gender, race, heritage or religious beliefs. Implementing women-only shortlists should not make any difference to the representation that the electorate have. If MPs feel that the people are not properly represented then that suggests to me serious failings in the MPs themselves, not whether or not they were born with a penis.

Forcing men out of power and allowing more women in will not necessarily improve the representation of the people in Parliament and I challenge anyone who says otherwise to provide evidence that suggests the Commons is likely to be more effective if more of its MPs are women.

By introducting women-only shortlists the political parties are actively excluding some males from the process. This to me is gender discrimination in it’s most obvious form. I remember very clearly as a kid being told that two wrongs don’t make a right. I strongly believe that to be true and consider women-only shortlists proposed by the main political parties to be just that. They are trying to right (what they consider to be) a wrong by openly discriminating against males. That, to me is wrong whatever the intention.

Instead all those wishing to run as PPCs should be judged on their merits, whether they be male or female, ethinic minority or majority. Then leave the public to decide which of those PPCs are deemed worth of sitting in the Commons. The lack of female candidates is merely a sympton of a wider problem. Forcing more women candidates is not a solution – it’s a hypocritical action that damages the integrity of the political system.

So, at least in this election both the Labour Party and the Conservatives have lost any chance of getting my vote by openly discriminating against men with hopes of becoming MPs.

Agree? Disagree? There’s a comments box below… use it.

What part of your privacy does Google StreetView encroach upon?

Google StreetView car by I See Modern Britain

Google StreetView car by I See Modern Britain

 

Right from the start I’ve been fairly dismissive of privacy concerns over Google StreetView.

In my view, Google are just snapping what any general member of the public can see in that place at that time anyway. It’s already “in the public domain”, so to speak.

I haven’t had the fortune to come across a staunch opposer to StreetView yet, but if I did, as I commented over at MySociety, I would ask them, “What part of your privacy goes Google StreetView encroach upon exactly?”

Sunbathing naked in your back garden? I’m your neighbour, I can see you out my window…

Walking to the shops? I’m walking my dog, I see you. We even pass each other on the pavement and say hello.

Leaving an adult video store? You’re in public, the public will see you. If you don’t like being seen, stay at home and order off the internet or by phone.

Are you an anti-StreetView kinda person? Tell me exactly what it is that makes you uncomfortable about StreetView. Am I being too dismissive, missing the point etc?

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The Twitter settings update as a lesson in web usability

Twitter went a bit potty today over a change made to the services settings.

Yesterday, Biz Stone, co-founder of Twitter, blogged the change saying,

“Based on usage patterns and feedback, we’ve learned most people want to see when someone they follow replies to another person they follow… however, receiving one-sided fragments via replies sent to folks you don’t follow… is undesirable.”

See it yet? He said most people. That means a majority. It means that some aren’t like that. That means changing it will be bad for that minority.

Consider this change from Twitter to be entered into the 101 of how to piss off your users.

It’s all about choice. Give people choice and they will reward you with their loyalty, respect and recommendations.

Take features away or make life harder and they will scream, shout, complain and generally bang your door down.

A step backwards? New service makes it hard to e-mail people

Usability is all about making things easy to use. That’s common sense though, right?

Maybe not.

I came across a new service today called Scr.im. It’s (very noble)  aim is to help prevent spammers getting hold of your e-mail address by scraping it off of web sites (such as forums) where you might have reason to post it.

The service replaces your e-mail address with a nice URL, like http://scr.im/hiphilipjohn (and you’re welcome to try that link out) that spam bots can’t get past. When you click on the link you’re asked to complete a simple test, similar to a Captcha.

However noble, though, it just makes e-mailing someone hard. Instead of one click of the e-mail address it takes 3-clicks at best; once to Scr.im, once to pass the test and once for the actual e-mail address.

I understand spam is a problem but I can’t help thinking the time and effort spent building and maintaining Scr.im, as well as signing up, would be better spent on improving spam filters, rather than something which essentially degrades the user experience.

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But 37signals are just neglecting their customers

There’s been a bit of a spat between 37signals and Get Satisfaction today, after Mike Stanley took offence at Get Satisfaction’s efforts to get companies to take notice of their customers.

I really admire Get Satisfaction for the way it sort of shames companies who don’t provide good customer service.

I’ve never experienced 37signals’ customer support but plenty of people seem to think it’s top notch, so I can understand why the wording on Get Satisfaction would be hurtful to their reputation.

To their credit, Get Satisfaction have realised their mistake in how they word their site and responded well to Mike’s post.

However, I do think that 37signals are missing something.

In my last post I spoke about the open nature of the internet, that people will talk about companies on tools like Get Satisfaction and that any company hoping to maintain a good reputation needs to be monitoring these sites.

I also believe that the internet enables people to play by their own rules and that if companies are to provide the best customer service they should be prepared to do that in the customer’s preferred method.

Mike slammed Get Satisfaction’s approach saying,

 Their brand of “open” means “only on Get Satisfaction.”

Surely Mike is being hypocritical, though? If 37signals are committed to providing excellent customer service, shouldn’t they deliver that service via whatever means customers ask for it?

They already do that through Twitter, so why not Get Satisfaction?

Mike suggests that,

When customers see a “support site for 37signals” and an open text field, they’ll post their concerns and they’ll get pissed when they don’t hear back. I would be too!

That’s certainly not a good thing, but by not taking part in Get Satisfaction aren’t 37signals just neglecting those customers?

What do you think? Should 37signals use Get Satisfaction like they use Twitter or should Get Satisfaction be making sure that visitors to their site are well informed that 37signals has it’s own support area?

Update: I’ve added my thoughts to the comments of Mike’s original post. Do find on “Philip John” to see it. Maybe 37signals didn’t like my comment, ’cause it’s been deleted. I’ve commented again asking why. Let’s see if that one stays there.