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Month: October 2008

E-mail error ends up on road sign

Couldn’t have invented this – I just wish I’d been the one to find it 😉


“When officials asked for the Welsh translation of a road sign, they thought the reply was what they needed. Unfortunately, the e-mail response to Swansea council said in Welsh: “I am not in the office at the moment. Please send any work to be translated.” So that was what went up under the English version, barring lorries from a road near a supermarket. “

BBC NEWS | UK | Wales | E-mail error ends up on road sign


Gwych. Rhagorol.

Surely the Welsh Assembly should now take a stand and call for the belated and much-anticipated outlawing of OOO messages?

Microposting(s) for October 27th through October 31st

These my micropostings and bookmarks – October 27th through October 31st:

  • Google. OCR. Images. Text. Searchable. Wow. [“Official Google Blog: A picture of a thousand words?”] – As a fan of the notion of OCR since, oh, the late 90s (when it was an exercise in belief in technology over experience) I’ve been wanting OCR to become mainstream, free, fast and reliable. Enter Google, having sprinkled some magic over its archive. Impressive.
  • Example of predictive search with thumbnails at – Leaving aside this site’s Longest Ever Page Title, they’ve quite a nice incremental development on predictive search.

    In similar vein to Google Finance’s and Plone’s attempts to complete your search string as you type it, showing a dynamic drop down box with an ever-refining list of matches, so too does BabyAge – but with the addition of thumbnails.

    On the homepage just type something into the Search box (eg “Britax”) and you’ll see a refined product list complete with product thumbnail.

    Now, call me ungrateful, but why not add in a price, the option to filter by ‘in-stock-ness’ or to overlay flashes (eg new in, exclusive, on sale, last few). Indeed, why not allow the ‘slide of a mouse’ to pop up an overlay with a mini-product page? Why not an ‘add to basket’ or ‘buy now’ button?

    So – not an evil or inept addition, but rather a “so what” step that leaves me wanting more.

    How about “ShoppingDrill” as a new drill-down-and-shop-from-the-searchbar approach?

  • Google Analytics Plugins, Hacks and Tips Collection | FutureNow’s GrokDotCom / Marketing Optimization Blog – V useful – found in @offmessage’s delicious feed 😉

Innovation Awards | Events |

Innovation Awards | Events |

e-Consultancy are running an interesting take on awards this year – the focus being upon Innovation in the key areas of digital marketing, rather than achievement per se. This should allow plenty of room to dig underneath the normal approach of “vote for famous big company”. In these awards we can look inside the monoliths that are the leading UK companies by size and reputation and acknowledge some of the many initiatives, experiments and inflexion points that in aggregate can lead to success.

Best of all, one can celebrate initiatives that fail (for good reasons and worthwhile learning) as well as things that otherwise might be under the public radar.

The award categories (below) give plenty of opportunity to enter.

I’m pleased and rather humbled to have been invited to judge (there’s a pretty stellar list of judges – plus me) and I accepted in seconds (before the offer was withdrawn 😉 ). I’m really looking forward to seeing the entries and it’s going to be a privilege to see the nominations.

Entries close on 24 October so don’t delay! Remember too to be generous in nominating the person you think has been most innovative.

The Award categories are:

  • Innovation in Affiliate Marketing
  • Innovation in Email Marketing
  • Innovation in Online Advertising Innovation in Multichannel Marketing Innovation in User Experience Innovation in Social Media and Communities Innovation in SEO/Natural Search
  • Innovation in Paid Search/PPC
  • Innovation in Web Analytics and Optimization
  • Innovation in Online Conversion
  • Innovation in Online Retention
  • Innovation in Online Acquisition
  • Innovation in Digital Marketing and Team Management
    This category will recognise innovative approaches to team management/HR, recruitment and retention strategies and managing significant team growth
  • Most Innovative Person in Digital Marketing
    There’s no fee for entering this additional category, so be generous of spirit: tell us which innovative person you admire and why.

Mark Pigou of Internet Retailing captured in mobile phone interview

Just seen this on YouTube, uploaded by Hermione of

This is a quick, 3-question, interview with Mark, recorded on her mobile phone. Surprisingly engaging and useful, this is a near alternative to a standard press release.

I’ve long been a bit sceptical about ‘vcasts’ but I’m changing my mind as short, characterful and useful snippets like this become easier, quicker and better integrated.

We were so convinced that we asked NewsPepper to cover the Internet Retailing 2008 Conference. They’re currently editing the ‘tapes’ and I’ll post the show report as soon as their pixel-wizards have slimmed down my chubby cheeks…

Going Underground: prestigious West End address, just 100ft underground.

BT is selling off some secret WW2 tunnels, originally built as air-raid shelters during the Second World War.

Water, leccy etc all provided. Probably quiet too. Views won’t be great (!) but it’s quite a talking point and you’d be able to jog for a mile each day without leaving your home.

Secret WW2 tunnels up for sale

Saith BT:

The property is now being offered to the market for purchasers with the resources and profile suited to re-using the site.  Sadly, however, restrictions mean there is no opportunity for the tunnels to become a smart new hotel, home or office.
Hewitt, said, “We are looking for a purchaser with the imagination and stature to return the tunnels to productive use. The site has the most fantastic history and, now that we have no requirement for it for telecommunications use, it is right that we should offer it to the market.  Here’s hoping it has a fantastic future as well.”

“we made our own fun…”

Tipping down, but we went to the Columbia road Market anyway. The kids decided to fill their paper cups with rain, standing under the run-off from a garden umbrella. Yes, they’re soaked, but are still having fun. In fewer than 10 mins it’s the “I’m freezing mum”.

Reminds me of growing up in Wales where it rained iirc from 1978 through to just before the 1984 olympics. Wish i’d thought of the cup-and-gutter game then!!

BBC NEWS | Robert Peston >> “How to solve the crisis”

BBC NEWS | The Reporters | Robert Peston

interesting article and also intriguing how so many thought-provoking radical solutions play at the borders of capitalism and socialism or collectivism.

I’ve long been intrigued as to why the labour/socialist/union/cooperative movements haven’t been more active in appropriating the mechanisms of capitalsm to increase or spread wealth. Our pensions depend upon growth in share values, and pension funds acting in concert are a powerful shareholder force.

Working so much in retail and ecommerce I also see the inverse – where the collective rentrenchment of consumers can humble great retailers.

Peston’s point is that the already cash-rich can capitalise upon these short-term ‘bargains’. By ‘bargain’ I mean sensible assets, at risk due to confidence-driven speculation or short-term cashflow, rather than leverage speculation.

These assets (the homes in which people live, profitable businesses in need of mid-term cashflow, some banks) have value in a 10-100yr time-frame, but could fail entirely in the short term.

It’d be galling to have the state pick up the costs of the death spiral and have those cash-rich (also focused, brave and capable of action) folk yet again transfer national (small “n”) wealth to their pockets.

I’ve heard a couple of suggestions in the last week of mechanisms to treat government intervention as a preferred warrant holder, sharing in the eventual upside, and I hope to see these explored. This could increase voter/citizen/consumer confidence and mean that we have a period of austerity, lack of blingflation, and “sustainable recovery” rather than a self-perpetuating quagmire of despondency and gangrenous economics.

The optimist in me hopes we could forge a better foundation for public participation in the growth of the financial markets and the national asset base, without this debt-driven feel-good frenzy that’s been clearly unsustainable for a couple of years (I first called ‘recession’ on 19 January 2007 in a speech in Manchester).

It’ll be interesting to see the firming of confidence, allied to an adjustment of people’s expectations of growth, meeting movements like “enoughism”, sustainability and even the more jingoism-tinged aspects of energy-independence possibly coming together to create a qualitatively different feel o the ‘twenteens’: more than just a hangover from the Noughties.

I hope.