Swoponomics – Recession 2.0!

swaponomics
Here is a really great idea I just had to share with you. lets face it we are all totally head-melted with the recession ebign shoved down our throats, but here is a website that takes a positive turn to it.
www.swoponomics.com is a new Irish barter/trade exchange website. It provide a community where services and goods which you already possess can be ‘swopped’ with people who have services or goods you need. For example, take a solicitor who needs some painting done and a painter who needs some legal work carried out, Swop-o-nomics gives them the forum to find each other and get things done, without spending a cent.

There are many benefits of a service like this, especially in the current economic climate. With unemployment rising, many skilled people are finding themselves time rich but cash poor. With our service your time and skills are your payment so cash doesn’t need to change hands at all. Businesses can even get in on the action by providing their goods as payment for services, helping them lower costs and promote themselves. How about a new restaurant offering a few free meals to an accountant who helped them file tax returns? The possibilities are endless.

As well as these opportunities to swop goods and services, the site also has an Ideas Exchange which hopes to connect entrepreneurs with mentors and experienced individuals who are looking to get involved in new start-ups.

The name I’m sure is a pun on the popular Book “Freakonomics” – which is a favourite of mine. I think this site has great potential as really exchanging people’s skills and trades is somewhat of a lost art. I’ve always believed that web 2.0 technologies is bringing back some of the almost lost human interaction via the medium of technology.

I’ll have to put a few of my own posts up and see how it goes!

Isle of Man Legalises Piracy for £1 a month

manpirate

The Isle of man are about to Legalise Piracy – for a flat fee of £1 a month! Sounds too good to be true? Read on…

Under a proposal announced this month, the 80,000 people who live on the Isle of Man would be able to download unlimited amounts of music — perhaps even from notorious peer-to-peer pirate sites. To make this possible, broadband subscribers would pay a nominal fee of as little as £1, or $1.38, a month to their Internet service providers.

Ron Berry, director of inward investment for the Isle of Man, said the music industry needed radical approaches because of the “utter failure” of its current strategies. Global music sales have fallen nearly 25 percent since 2000.

Despite nearly a decade of campaigning against piracy, the industry’s international trade group estimates, 95 percent of tracks distributed online are pirated, generating no revenue for the recording companies.

“A lot of people in the business are concerned with how much money they are losing, but not with how much money they could make,” Mr. Berry said.

Under his proposal, the money collected by the Internet providers would be sent to a special agency that would distribute the proceeds to the copyright owners, including the record labels and music publishers. They would receive payments based on how often their music was downloaded or streamed over the Internet, as they now do in many countries when it is performed live or on the radio.

Fully Story Here

Microlending – Charity 2.0

Charity. It’s something we all think about and most of us try to do our little but, but form many reasons we just do not do it as much as we should, or could really afford. I think one of the reasons many people are reluctant to give to Charity is the lack of knowlege or even belief, in exactly where that money goes and the benefits it gives. There are alternatives such as sponsoring a child where you get the odd letter and photo froma  child in Africa, somethng which I have done in the past and yes it was rewarding, but sometimes you are still left witha  sense tha you are not really helping in the best possible way.

So here comes technology to put a new spin on things and a fresh look at how you can help people. Like the “Teach a man to fish” story, instead of just giving people money, how about lending them the money to create a business themselves so they can generate their own income. There are several sites which you can now go on to and browse Micro Entrepreneurs who are looking for investors in their businesses. These people are unable to get traditional lines of credit from a bank etc and are often only looking for very small amounts of money. You can give a small portion of the amount the person needs and spread your donations across a few people.

This gives a much more rewarding form of Charity as you can actually see where your money is going and how it is helping. You can even interact with the person and give them the type of help and advice that money cannot provide easily. Also, they are essentially loans you are giving – ok if his business does not work out you are not going to sue him to get your money back – it is charity – but if it does work out you get your money back and you can use that money to help someone else.

I have yet to give this a go but definitely want to give it a shot quite soon. I’m sure the recession is hitting Charities particularly hard. Wired Magazine have a good article on Top 10 Lessons From a Microlending Pioneer

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Microcredit#Microcredit_and_the_Web – is a good list of sites to get started with.

Social Networking now more poular than Porn on the Internet!

It finally happened. We all knew it was coming one day, and apparently people are actually using the internet for something other than porn. Yes, you guessed it, facebook, bebo and myspace now account for more traffic online than anything else.

Alexa.com the internets mail source for information on traffic and popular websites shows the social networks v porn sites in rank order:

Facebook (2nd), YouTube (5th), Bebo (11th), MySpace (12th),
Pornhub (22nd), RedTube (29th), YouPorn (35th)

Apparently these numbers are almost inverted when you compare male to female visitors.

I wonder why???

T-Shirt Hell closing its doors


If you’re not familiar with the site T-Shirt Hell, take a look now before it closes. The website is the Internet’s home for the worlds most offensive (and funny) t-shirts. unfortunately the founder is about to close his doors after 8 years and currently 3,000 sales a week, due to far too much hate mail from people who are just overly sensitive… What a shame.

Click Here to download a powerpoint slideshow of some great ones…

Here are a few more:


Diesel’s Advertising

diesel_global_warming
Diesel would be my favorite brand of clothing, I really like a lot of their stuff, runners and jeans especially, but I’m also quite fond of their advertising messages. They can be quite different to some of their other quite high end competitors – they just tend to take themselves a little less seriously. Take for example their Global Warming campaign – approached only in a way Diesel can. “Just because the seas are rising and our world is getting more tropical, doesn’t mean we can’t look good”. Understandably this campaign raised a lot of eyebrows and some people were just plain insulted – but I think that’s what makes great advertising.

This video however, is simply brilliant. It was launched virally (that is, only to be distributed over the Internet – it was never going to get TV airtime) to raise awareness for its 30th birthday celebrations – where they hosted 17 consecutive parties in 17 cities around the world.

Creativity at its best

Fantastic deals on TV’s right now…

tv

I remember the day i saw my first ever flatscreen TV. It was upstairs in the old electronics division of Brown Thomas, where they had all the best and most expensive (ripoff) new products.

It was a 42″ which may be pretty commonplace today, but it looked as big as a cinema screen to me at the time – probably because I was about 12 and probably no more than 4 feet tall ha ha ha…

Anyway, if you so wanted to be an early adopter of this fantastic new technology, you could walk out of there with one under your arm, for just a penny less then IR£12,000! Twelve Grand! You’d have to me mad! That’s like a bazillion Euro in our new monies today!

Thankfully, things are different now and there are some properly savage deals on tv’s right now. If you are in the market you’ll be very glad you read this…

Like I said in previous posts,you’d have to be mad not to buy from the UK and take advantage of the great Sterling exchange rate!

The two sites which I have found the best deals on are:

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Watch loads of great Documentaries online!

I love watching interesting documentaries, and I just found two fantastic sites that have massive collections of documentaries that you can watch online. There are some great ones on Technology, The Future, Science, Drugs, History and Biographies etc, take a look through the list and everyone is bound to find plenty to interest them.
Best Online Documentaries
Free Documentaries.net

The ones I recommend most are:  Zeitgeist, The Great Global Warming Swindle, What we still don’t know, Pump Up The Volume, The Smartest Guy in the Room.

Windows 7 – It rocks!

The last OS release from Microsoft after Windows XP, was Vista. It took them 7 years to bring out a new release, and it was almost universally hated. How embarrassing. Many home users were forced to use it cause if you buy a new PC you have no other option. Even after making XP end of life they have to bring it back form the dead cause people were so unhappy. The adoption rate for latge businesses was only about 5%.

So, Micro$oft knew that they could not afford to make this mistake twice. Instead of some crappy name, their next relase is simply called “Windows 7”. I got my hands on a beta copy and just installed it tonight. I did not want to abandon XP just yet, but it does a very nice little dual boot on a spare hard drive or empty partition and installs quickly.

I like it. I like it a lot. I have barely scratched the surface of what it can do, but you know when you just get a good feeling about something from the start. It boots really quick, its smooth. It’s intuative and works the way you’d hope.

ArsTechnica have written a great “First Look” article if you want to see a more in depth review

More photos below:

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My Favorite Tech Blogs and Websites

I like to keep up to date on what is going on the interweb, specifically the “Web 2.0” type companies, new ventures on Web Applications and the likes of what Google and Facebook are planning.

If you have an interest in these too, here are a few sites I recommend:

http://www.ReadWriteWeb.com
http://www.TechCrunch.com
http://www.ArsTechnica.com
http://www.Mashable.com
http://news.cnet.com

If you have any favourites that are not listed here please let me know!

Resell your old Mp3’s!

I thought this was a joke, but no apparently there is no a site where you can upload your unwanted Mp3’s and resell them to to others. The site is: http://www.bopaboo.com – Read more here:

Now I assume after you upload your song you probably have to tick a box confirming you have then deleted it off your computer, but seriously do they think everyone is going to be that honest? What stops someone spending all day downloading music illegally, then reselling it for half the price on this site. I’d say you could make a fortune! I’d do it myself but I wouldn’t last long in jail….

What happens if you download a song from someone, assuming it was bought legally, but it turns out it was pirated. Are they going to chase you too for handling stolen goods? Pffft….

It won’t be long until the music industry set their bulldog lawyers on this, and you never know if they throw enough money at it they might just be successful and get the site shit down. But I’m sure there will be 10 more sites just like it by that time. They can keep trying to fight, but they are fighting a loosing battle. The music industry should get with the times and change their business model and stop swimming against the tide.

Education 2.0 – Forget Memorising

Don Tapscott, author of Wikinomics and Growing up Digital, says that Education as we know it is going to change. With almost instantaneous access to facts and figures via sites like Wikipedia, Tapscott says that there will be less influence on the ability to actually memorise reams of facts and figures, since they are only ever a few mouse clicks away. This does not mean a shy away from Education at all, Instead, students should be taught to think creatively and better understand the knowledge that’s available.

I would have to agree with him here. I was never much for education, I’m not much of a studier and got pretty average exams results. However the Internet definitely grew my quest for Knowledge. I often find myself researching the most bizarre of topics on Wikipeida, and if I hear about something I do not know or understand, I’ll usually be Googling it within seconds. To me this sounds far more sensible than what I remember from my early education of transcribing pages of history books or learning poems that I had forgotten soon after.

Teach kids how to learn, and how best to do it. Leave it up to them what topics they choose to persue.

Gmail adds a task List – at last

Gmail Tasks

Finally, Gmail has added a task list. It has been a much requested feature for a long time, not sure why they only got around to it now.

The task list is not enabled as standard, it is part of “Gmail Labs”. To find this, go into Settings and click on the Labs link.  There you will have many advanced options – including a very handy “Forgotten Attachment Detector” which prevents you from accidentally sending messages without the relevant attachments. It prompts you if you mention attaching a file, but forgot to do so.

The Battle of Google Vs Wikipedia

A few months ago Google announced on their blog, their newest venture entitled “Google Knowledge” or “Knol” for short. Basically they are going to create something quite similar to Wikipedia, but it will differ because each knol article will be written by a single author, and other users can edit it only with permission from the author. Readers may rate or comment on the articles. There can also be multiple articles for the same topic, each written by a different author.

 

In response to this, it seems that today Wikipedia’s founder Jimmy Wales has launched a search engine that takes a leaf out of the Wikipedia book. It’s called Wikia. The site still has an index of the web like Google, but the idea behind this is that they take from the expertise and knowledge of the Wikia community, to give you better and more relative search results. I’ve always thought that somehting like this would be a good idea. I’m sick of search results being the battle of who’s designers are better at SEO – rather than which sites are going to give you the information you need.