Wikipedia: we really haute to know better

Evidence is building that Nicholas Carr’s argument against peer-production of knowledge by amateurs is dead-on.

Today’s Guardian rounds up a panel of experts to score the wikipedia entries against their deep domain knowledge in their somewhat-pointedly-titled “Can you trust Wikipedia”

It’s broadly good news for the free, open and amateur with scores in the 6’s and 7’s out of 10, with one 5 for the article on ‘encyclopedias’ as judged by an ex-editor of the Encyclopedia Brittanica.

Could the harnessing of “collective intelligence” not just be the wishful thinking of venerable west-coast technohippies, but something that could help humankind out of the beginnings of what may turn out to be it’s most difficult century, a.k.a. The Grim Meathook Future?

Maybe, maybe…

Until – we get to a 0 out of 10.

It’s from Alexandra Shulman, editor of Vogue:

“Broadly speaking, it’s inaccurate and unclear. It talks about haute couture and then lists a large number of ready-to-wear designers. As a very, very broad-sweep description there are a few correct facts included, but every value judgment it makes is wrong.”

We’re so HOSED!!!

Snakes on a phone

The new version of Python for s60 is available, and looks to have a metric shed-load of interesting new capabilities:

The new version includes support for the following new features:

* 2D Graphics, Images, and Full-screen applications
* Camera and Screenshot API
* Contacts and Calendar API
* Sound recording and playback
* Access to System info, such as IMEI number, disk space, free memory, etc.
* Rich text display (fonts, colors, styles)
* Support for Scalable UI
* Expanded key events
* Telephone dialing
* ZIP module

Version 1.2 continues to include features from the 1.0 release, such as:

* Networking support for GPRS and Bluetooth
* On-device and remote Python console
* Support for native GUI widgets
* SMS sending
* Application build tool for packaging stand-alone application installers
* Compatible with all Series 60 1st and 2nd Edition devices

Aside from being able to make nice UIs with it – now that you can make stand-alone application installers, hopefully we’ll see a lot more innovation on s60 using this.

Inaugural Mobile Monday London: November 7th…

If you have arrived here by searching for MoMoLondon, let me be completely clear, this is not the site of MoMoLondon!

If you are planning on going to Mobile Monday London,

  1. please do go and join the group/mailing list at
  2. Visit and bookmark the nascent official site:
  3. Make sure you PRE-REGISTER on the mailing list


I’ve just been on a conference call with the group that are starting up the London ‘branch’ of the Mobile Monday events. If you’re not familiar with them, then they have been running ideas, debate and networking events about mobile technology, business and culture around the world for a few years.

The first London Mobile Monday (or, MomoLondon) will take place on the 7th November at Vodafone’s offices on the Strand in central London from 6pm. N.B. YOU WILL NEED TO PRE-REGISTER FOR SECURITY REASONS! Visit the MoMoLondon Yahoo Group for details.

The theme was tentatively set as “Connecting the physical and digital world” – with topics such as location-based services, optical code reading and some others to be agreed.

One of the messages that came out loud and clear from those participating on the planning call was that it should be idea-rich and powerpoint-light.


Also, it was stressed that what interested most people was to move forward the thinking as a whole at the intersection of business, technology and user-experience.

One other idea that was strongly supported was trying to get academic and industry research in the mix – so that we finally can move on from the “Joe arrives in a new city and wants to find his nearest pizza” use cases…

Personally, I’d like to see the definition of the mobile discussion stretch outside of just cellular – to personal media players, connected game decks (anyone from Sony London Studio still reading??) and ubiquitous computing.

From a very selfish viewpoint, I’d like a monthly event about mobile tech, design, business and culture that I looked forward to, so, I’ve tried to mail a few folk I know who work on designing user-experience for mobile to get them roped in, and hopefully posting here, cast the net a little wider and get more user-research and design folk involved.

Here are the details of the group if you’d like to join:

The main driving purpose is of course to get together those in working on mobile digital stuff to talk, drink, swap ideas and have a laugh. Please do pass this on to people you work with if they would be interested, and hopefully see you soon at one of the MoMoLondons…

Hume channels Huizinga

Carlo Longino on Gizmodo posts an article with a title very close to my heart, The Casual Games Revolution. It features extensive quotage from Tom Hume of Future Platforms, including this ludic beauty:

“The other thing to consider is that play is a very natural thing for any mammal,” Hume says. “We all play, where it’s hopscotch, bingo, scratchcards or CounterStrike. My cats are casual gamers.”

Which has left me feline like a game of something…


“The city that ate the world”

Has to be in the running for best article headline of the year, and – simultaneously, a Morrison/Ellis story waiting to happen. It’s in fact from a piece by Deyan Sudjic on the singularity of citybuilding that is China, and specifically Beijing:

There are dumps of steel everywhere. So much steel, in fact, that it starts to become only too clear how the Chinese hunger for the metal has pushed up world prices to the point that British construction sites are rediscovering the art of building in concrete. There is enough steel here to explain why Australia has reopened iron-ore mines and why ship brokers have taken bulk carriers out of mothballs from their anchorages in the Falmouth estuary…

By some estimates, half the world’s annual production of concrete and one-third of its steel output is being consumed by China’s construction boom.

Definately worth a read, if just to boggle at the rate of change of the rate of change, conveyed by Sudjic’s personal recollections of his visits to Beijing over the last fifteen years. And also how “starchitects” like Rem Koolhaas frame the somewhat Faustian nature of their work there:

Westerners such as the critic Ian Buruma question the propriety of designing a building that can be seen as endorsing the propaganda arm of a repressive state that tells a billion people what to think. It is criticism which Koolhaas dismisses with growing impatience. ‘Participation in China’s modernisation does not have a guaranteed outcome,’ he told one interviewer. ‘The future of China is the most compelling conundrum, its outcome affects all of us and a position of resistance seems somehow ornamental.’

Resistance Is Ornamental – the cry of the globalist neomodern Borg-in-Prada?

Casual Services: The ambiguity of work

In a post rich with ideas from Russell Beattie, this one stood out for me:

“Casual Services – I wonder if there’s a way to apply the lessons of the success of Casual Games to Web 2.0 type services? I think this is what the 37 Signals guys are really doing with their suite of apps, no? Backpack, Ta-Da and Writely are all easy to pick up and start using, easy to share, and yet are compelling in their own functional way. Yes, there are more advanced, all-encompassing services out there like, but though they’re the same thing in a way, they meet completely different needs. I need to think about this more, but I think there’s more analogies to be made along these lines.”


I think this adds to Janice and JJG’s thought of ‘feature-stingy apps’ from their interview with David Weinberger at Supernova this year as it accentuates the positive about an app being mr. in-between…

Sorry. That was terrible.