Tuesday, December 25, 2007

David Airey, logo designer, hacked...

I came across this story on Digg and as it is Christmas I would like to offer David some googlejuice to make up for his loss. So if you are looking for a logo designer and want to spit in the eye of the nasty hacker Peyam then check out David Airey logo design and read this nasty story. It might also be a good idea to check your Gmail filters and POP forwarding on a regular basis just to make sure that Peyam hasn't hacked into your account. Good luck, David!

Monday, December 24, 2007

Cookie mouse profile...

Cookie mouse profile..., originally uploaded by Leighton Cooke.

...Male, City: Amsterdam, Country: Netherlands, Hobbies: running around wheels, eating cheese and nuts Occupation: famous photo model.

Blog: The Cookie Mouse
Friends: emdot

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Navdanya Organic Movement...

...Navdanya is an organic farming project in India where they try to save seeds and biodiversity and support small organic farmers.
"With the establishment of seed banks in different parts of the country Navdanya aims to protect native seeds because it has become a system of resistance against monocultures and monopoly rights. The shift from uniformity to diversity respects the rights of all species and is sustainable. For us protecting native seeds is more that conservation of raw material for the biotechnology industry. The diverse seeds not pushed to extinction carry with them seeds of other ways of thinking about nature, and other ways of producing our needs." says Navdanya.
After the Bali climate change fiasco which was only just saved in the nick of time after the delegate from Papua New Guinea told the Americans:
"If you're not willing to lead, get out of the way." after the American delegate had heckled India from the back of the room, it is perhaps time for the West to stop being so selfish and listen to what the rest of the world is saying and doing. After all we all live on the same earth.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Cerys or Kylie?...

One woman garage band..., originally uploaded by Leighton Cooke.

Is the medium the message? Nobody wanted the Citizen Kane Oscar at Sotheby's in New York and it often seems that nobody wants to buy good music if CD sales are anything to go by. The medium is changing the message as the iPod replaces the Walkman. Soon the iPhone will replace the iPod. The big change I've noticed in my media habits this year is that I no longer read a book from cover to cover. I skip pages and always seem to be in a hurry to get to the end. Is that because of the internet and the need we now have to digest vast quantities of information every day? I listen to less music, but I like the new Kylie CD my son got for his birthday as it helps me switch off and want to dance. In the past few months I have watched loads of television which I have not done for years. The medium has changed The message of endless reality shows, tacky ads and breaking news all seems stale and dated and the Zeitgeist seems to have lost die Zeit.

Monday, December 10, 2007

LinkedIn for business...

...This has to be my favourite quote of the day:
"LinkedIn is quite clear on one thing: they don’t want Facebook-style donut-throwing time wasters;" says Mashable . As LinkedIn is developing a business API they don't want to be squatted by vampires. Here at Fortune Cookie we are very optimistic at the moment in spite of all the early Christmas sales and the financial doom and gloom. The internet is going mobile and in a period of transition those who are serious and professional should survive and thrive. The shine has gone off Facebook for many reasons and we welcome LinkedIn's attempt to target a more businesslike audience. This app should also be cool for job hunting and finding people to work with on your projects.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

My first iMac...

...and some coffee from paradise. This little baby is still working fine and is now used by the children. I still like to connect the keyboard to my MacBook and sit on the balcony in the evening.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

iPhone brings Apple and Google closer together...

...as the Google Interface is optimized for the iPhone. Google says, "the iPhone's Safari browser not only delivers an excellent mobile Internet experience; it enabled our product and engineering teams to create an optimal Google experience on a mobile device." So Gmail, Google Reader and other services will be available on a single interface. Instead of Android being a competitor to the iPhone the two companies seem to be moving together to exploit the opportunities available in the mobile internet. This makes sense as Android's Linux and the iPhone's UNIX based OS are similar enough to enable developers to create apps for both platforms without too many difficulties. Then a 3G iPhone would really make sense. In the long run Apple will have to open up more in the mobile market where the rules are different. The two companies have much to offer each other.

Block Facebook Beacon...

...by enabling this Firefox plug-in. As more news comes out about how Facebook Beacon follows you around and collects data from other websites you visit perhaps it's time to think twice about clicking the "Remember me" button and to disable cookies on a regular basis. This is one Cookie that's getting tired and bored of Facebook. Hang on I just need to throw this sheep and bite that vampire. I'll be right back. Leighton is drinking green tea and eating chocolate (at this time of night too!) and the tea is organic. The chocolate is left over from my son's birthday and I've been listening to some classical music, and...ah! Get a life!
Update December 6: Mark Zuckerberg has now apologized for the way in which Beacon was launched and there is now a complete opt out option according to Macworld:
"Still, Zuckerberg's blog posting doesn't directly address the findings of a CA security researcher that have fueled the privacy controversy over Beacon in recent days.
Stefan Berteau found that Beacon tracks users even if they are logged off from the social-networking site and have declined having their activities broadcast to friends.
In this case, users aren't informed that data on their activities at these sites is flowing back to Facebook or given the option to block that information from being transmitted, according to Berteau, senior research engineer at CA's Threat Research Group."

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Vodafone loses iPhone case in Germany...

...as a Hamburg court yesterday turned over its own ruling on T-Mobile's exclusive deal with Apple. The new ruling seems to mean the end of unlocked iPhone sales in Germany, leaving France the only country where an unlocked iPhone is legally available. So far 20% of all iPhone sales in France have been of unlocked phones, say Orange.

Broadband digital divide...

...It's getting bigger. The digital divide between broadband services in cities and towns and the countryside is getting larger says the BBC today. I know this to be true from talking to some farmers recently. They were complaining about their poor internet connection and how it was directly affecting their business. Farmers who wish to get into direct marketing of their produce need a good internet connection. Part of the Raluy permaculture project in Spain is dedicated to looking into finding a solution for the digital divide by using WiMAX which avoids the need to use prohibitively expensive cable connectivity.
Wimax stands for Worldwide Interoperablity for Microwave Access. It is based on the IEE 802.16 standard, also known as WirelessMAN.
It can provide wireless data over much longer distances than wifi.
In countries with good fixed line infrastructure, WiMAX acts as a filler but in some developing countries is can be the dominant infrastructure for broadband access. Countries such as Pakistan are planning nationwide WiMAX rollouts.
WiMAX can deliver speeds of up to 70Mbps and operate over distances of up to 50km, although not concurrently.
WiMAX Forum
WiMAX has the potential to be a cost effective means for rural communities to get a fast broadband internet connection and could play an important part in rural development.

Monday, December 03, 2007

iPhone magic...

...this iPhone even makes coffee and you can use it as a shaver.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

All we want for Christmas is an iPhone...

...so do we head for Paris or Berlin? How about starting a campaign to persuade a UK mobile provider to offer a discount on a deal on an unlocked iPhone just like Debitel are doing in Germany. You get 600 euros cashback when you sign up with them, which means you end up getting an unlocked iPhone for 399 euros. Or should we wait till next Christmas and get a 3G iPhone with much faster internet connectivity? I'm inclined to wait as I think that faster internet will help to make this an amazing piece of kit. PC World The only downside could be battery life so we shall have to wait and see how Apple solve that problem.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Cookiepedia...conspiracy theories...

...started shortly after 911 BC when Julius Caesar was murdered by the Illuminati. A secret society based inside the tomb of Tutankhamun took over the world and invented the Republican party. This annoyed the Roman emperor who invented the bible to convince everyone that they had to give everything to Caesar, who by then had been reborn as the Roman emperor. When this scam no longer worked the Emperor wrote his name with a capital letter and invented the Catholic Church so he could have a regular supply of choir boys. In 911 AD he changed his name to the Pope and claimed he knew God's telephone number. When the Templars found God's email address the Pope had them all burnt at the stake. Meanwhile Leonardo da Vinci painted a picture of the pope in drag and sold it to the Louvre for 1789 euros and they renamed the pope Mona Lisa and got Nat King Cole to sing a song about him. When Nelson defeated Napoleon at Waterloo Station in a game of poker he would have brought the Mona Lisa to London but it went down with the Titanic at the Battle of Trafalgar. So the secret Da Vinci code was lost till Turing cracked Enigma during the Battle of Britain thus allowing the Freemasons to go on tour with Glenn Miller. They also went on to go on tour with John F. Kennedy, Marylin Munroe, Martin Luther King and John Lennon, all of whom died mysterious deaths shortly afterwards. The pope then changed his name to Bush and went on to win the Florida recount for Miss Drag Queen, 9/11 2001. Since then the world has been run by a supercomputer called Blow Jobs and everything you experience is just an illusion created by the mice.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

iPhone latest prices...

...749 euros unlocked in Paris, France or with a 600 euro rebate from Debitel in Germany when you by the unlocked iPhone from T-Mobile for 999 euros. The Debitel contract is for 40 euros per month.
Update: You may want to wait for the 3G iPhone rumoured to be coming out next year.

Cookiepedia...the internet...

...The internet was invented by Al Gore, Made in China and is run by the Pentagon in the US and by the CIA in the rest of the world. It is mostly used for watching porn, selling stuff and throwing sheep at your friends on Facebook. The internet has a zero privacy policy. It is highly addictive and requires large amounts of coffee to be understood.

View Larger Map
WWW should not be confused with the internet. WWW stands for World War Won and was a secret group of Nazi scientists working for Al Gore to create viruses that would destroy the internet. WWW was sold to Google in 1984. To use the internet you need to be under 16 and fluent in HTML, which is short for Hotmail, and is used for spreading viruses. On no account open a hotmail as it can cause impotence and brain drain. The internet is housed in a building called Web 2.0 which stands on a paradigm shift that is expected to cause a tsunami soon.


Originally uploaded by Leighton Cooke
...the sacred ritual sacrament of offices, breakfast and insomnia Coffea arabica, known originally as the wine of the bean, owes its origins to the observation of particularly vital goats. Coffee became widely accepted after it was baptized by Pope Clement VIII in 1600. Also known as latte or espresso, coffee is the cure for all known forms of mental derangement and is an excellent substitute for breakfast. The reason why you are reading this is because British supermarkets have a habit of numbering coffee strength. So I decided to use up the rest of my French blend (strength 5) in my coffee pot. The remains turned out to be double the usual dose, which as you all know is much better than being half the usual dose, and the resulting brew is the mother of all black coffees. Now I know why the Sufi drank it to prevent sleep.
Status update: Leighton is wide awake.
Leighton and the Yemenite Sufi mystic Shaikh ash-Shadhili, observer of vital goats while traveling in Ethiopia, are now friends.
Leighton and the vital goat are now friends.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Cookiepedia...online banking...

...is readily available in Siberia at the phishing branch of most High Street banks for as little as $75. You will need two CD copies of the ID of 25 million people to set up your own branch or you can get details from a Russian-registered vendor "offering UK and US bank logins with 'good price and service!'" At some time of course you will need Money for online banking.
(Cookie's First Law: For most things you need money.)
(Cookie's Second Law: For most things Richard Branson always has money.)
(Cookie's Third Law: Try buying Branson's ID in Siberia.)
Money has been known to work as an aphrodisiac, especially in the part of Amsterdam to the left of the Damrak as you come from Centraal Station. It can also be exchanged for drugs, alcohol, coffee and chocolate. For these pleasures offline banking, or even better, hard cash is recommended. Hard cash is the kind that can be exchanged for drugs...etc.
Online banking, like blogging, has its health hazards but is very handy if you want to buy sexy underwear on eBay.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Melinda has rhythm...

...and soul. Tony Bennett is right. Melinda Doolittle is a great singer and she sure made my day as I discovered her for the first time this evening. What a voice as she puts real feeling and power into her music.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Amsterdam Photoblog...goes live...

...with lots of friends online. Based on the concept of the Barcelona Photoblog the Amsterdam Photoblog will be a unique insider view of this amazing city, with lots of cool links to the inside track of all the latest in Mokum.


...Considered by many to be a figment of the imagination especially this week as this lovely Thanksgiving website that looks like a Christmas tree shows. A residential home for old hippies, the City of Amsterdam is in fact a theme park that is far more fun than the one run by a certain mouse in Florida and Paris. Also the home of the famous Cookie mouse, Amsterdam has more mice per square mile than anywhere on earth. A mecca for dreamers, metrosexuals and those who have difficulty in speaking Dutch, Mokum is also famous for bicycles and bicycle thieves. It is the only city on earth where a pickpocket will steal your pocketbook and your bicycle and then offer to sell it back to you for 10 euros on the Koningsplein. Spinoza came from Amsterdam but got thrown out for proving that God is everywhere and doesn't give a damm. (Or was that a dam!) Anne Frank kept a diary in Amsterdam which is why the Prinsengracht near the Westerkerk is always so crowded and should be avoided at all costs if you are in a hurry. The cheapest organic beer in Amsterdam is available on the Overtoom in OT 301. Cannabis is available everywhere so please buy plenty of chocolate. Coffee is the Dutch business drug of choice and also goes very well with chocolate. As the euro is going up we recommend you should visit Amsterdam now or never if you are on a budget.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Cookiepedia...Privacy...relevance 100 per cent...

..."Privacy is the ability of an individual or group to control the flow of information about themselves and thereby reveal themselves selectively." says the good old Wikipedia. It's not been a good week for privacy as the personal details of millions of British citizens and their children go missing. Join a social network on the internet and you agree that they can and will collect data about you to "enhance your user experience." They will also collect data about you from third parties and broadcast your shopping habits to all and sundry. I was actually wondering whether I should post copies of my bank statements on my blog just to prove that I've nothing to hide, which in my case would quite literally be the case. Where will this all end? Is it perhaps not time to go offline and live an analogue life? Well the government has put pay to that illusion. You can't even claim child benefit without living in fear of your private details going lost. As Privacy International says, "criminals need to have only a basic level of information about an individual. They can then use resources such as public records or the Internet to fill in gaps. Social engineering tactics such as impersonation will then ensure that they can take over a person’s identity.”
“NI numbers, address data, date of birth and bank details are more than enough to nourish even the most incompetent criminal.”
There must surely be a growing mistrust of all kinds of electronic data storage and the uses, or rather misuses, to which it is being put. What about data protection? The very concept seems to be an illusion. Fast forward in time...The Gruaniad November 2017...Privacy shock as copy of entire national identity database is lost when junior civil servant loses mobile phone at Thanksgiving party in Amsterdam (known over there as the Cannabis Cup). When questioned by police the official said he had forgotten to send the details of the register to the National Audit Office before popping over for a naughty weekend in Dam. Far fetched? Remember that the records and bank details of 25 million people were on just two CDs! Recently I've had loads of spam claiming to be from banks with whom I never opened an account. I even get spam on Skype! Every day we lose a little bit more of our privacy one way or another and the increasing use of public and private partnerships means less, not more, security and protection of our data. A government that is so incompetent is not fit to govern.

Get your iPhone in Germany...

...where as the result of a court injunction in Hamburg, after an action brought by Vodafone, T-Mobile is to sell unlocked iPhones for 999 euros. It will also now be possible to get the SIM lock removed if you already bought an iPhone from T-Mobile in Germany.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

What a little darling!...

...as the Revenue & Customs loses personal details of 25m people and its chairman Paul Gray resigns, how secure would our personal data on a national ID register be? The information lost includes names, dates of birth, national insurance numbers and in some cases the bank details of those claiming child benefit. So when the government starts collecting your travel information when you enter or leave the country how do you know that the information collected will be secure? Campaign group Action on Rights for Children (Arch) warned that children could have been put in danger. "It's a simple and vital precaution which any self-respecting government agency should be practicing," its director, Terri Dowty, said.

"This appalling security lapse has placed children in the UK in immediate danger especially those who are already vulnerable.

"Child benefit records contain every child's address and date of birth. We are not surprised that the chair of HMRC's board has resigned immediately."

Sunday, November 18, 2007

No more dollars at the Taj Mahal...

...as India decides only rupees will do to visit the Mughal's jewel in the crown. In a word it's over for the dollar. The only question to be answered is will there be an orderly queue at the exit or a stampede. We are of course talking about Gresham's law "When there is a legal tender currency, bad money drives good money out of circulation." Or, more accurately, "Money overvalued by the State will drive money undervalued by the State out of circulation." Very simple really. So it's all over for the the dollar. China will quietly and slowly buy Euros and sell dollars. That's it really. Cookienomics for dummies. Soon we will see a spot market for oil priced in Euros in Rotterdam. Till that day comes keep your powder dry and hang onto your hats. There will be a bumpy ride ahead. Without a revaluation of China's Renminbi the country is facing fierce inflation. The only way out is to convert their foreign reserves into Euros and, as Japan did before, revalue their currency. So, bye, bye dollar, it was nice knowing you.

Light from the gods...

...is just what we need. After all Lucifer brings his light in many ways. Dear Rachel has been fighting the good fight for freedom and civil liberty while Big Brother Brown has been doing dark deals with Raytheon or Dr Death as they are more widely known. Wanna go to Paris for a dirty weekend? Check in with Dr Death. "Raytheon means "light from the gods." Makers of "Bunker Buster" bombs, Tomahawk and Patriot missiles, this company loves big noises and large civilian casualty counts. When a missile killed 62 civilians in a Baghdad market, that was Light from the Gods." Nothing like a bit of enlightenment to brighten up the day. So there you have it. Freedom to travel. Fuck off. Privacy. Fuck you! Welcome to the light from the gods. Care of a Home Office and a Big Brother Brown near you. They must think that we are idiots. I suggest that the next time that you travel anywhere you should file a complaint against the British government under European data protection legislation. Or fill up the form and shut the fuck up. The choice is yours.
"Washington - A contract to monitor the Amazon rainforest in Brazil will include a shadowy company once described as ''virtually indistinguishable'' from the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), IPS has learnt.

The 1.4-billion-dollar contract for satellite monitoring of drug trafficking and deforestation in the 3.2-million-square-kilometre forests in the Brazilian Amazon was awarded last summer to Raytheon, a 12-billion-dollar, Massachusetts-based company that makes Patriot and Sidewinder missiles.

Part of the Raytheon contract is to be implemented by E-Systems, a Texas-based company that Raytheon bought last April. E-Systems' major clients have historically been the CIA and other spy agencies like the National Security Agency and the National Reconnaissance Office.

An unnamed Congressional aide told the Washington Post last year that the company was ''virtually indistinguishable'' from the agencies it serves. ''Congress will ask for a briefing from E-Systems and the (CIA) programme manager shows up,'' the aide is quoted as saying. ''Sometimes he gives the briefing. They're interchangeable.''"
Welcome to Britain's new border police.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Cookienomics for dummies...sample exam questions...

...You are the prime minister of a medium sized European country and you have just been told that global warming is happening a little bit (well a big bit actually) faster than expected. In fact so fast that you have decided to cancel your skiing holiday as there won't be any snow anywhere. Do you:
1) spend 5 billion pounds on an ID card scheme that nobody wants?
2) lock up everybody that you don't like for 56, 58 or 90 days?
3) knock 300 million pounds off the climate change budget?
4) invade Iran?
Please write on both sides of the recycled paper. Or use the multiple choice option, be totally silly and go with all four possibilities to qualify as a competent and decisive modern leader.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Aqua Dots...Public Service Announcement...

...The previous post was in jest. This one is not. I've just been talking to the Cardiff Trading Standards Office about this product that really has been banned in the USA by the Consumer Product Safety Commission. If you see this product on the shelves of a shop anywhere in the UK please notify your local trading standards office as this shit really is dangerous for kids. Swallowing the beads can be poisonous.
"Hazard: The coating on the beads that causes the beads to stick to each other when water is added contains a chemical that can turn toxic when many are ingested. Children who swallow the beads can become comatose, develop respiratory depression, or have seizures.

Incidents/Injuries: CPSC has received two reports over the past several days of children swallowing Aqua Dots. A 20-month-old child swallowed several dozen beads. He became dizzy and vomited several times before slipping into a comatose state for a period of time, was hospitalized, and has since fully recovered. A second child also vomited and slipped into a comatose state and was hospitalized for five days.

Description: The recalled toy is a craft kit which allows children to create various multi-dimensional designs using small colored beads. The beads fuse together when sprayed with water. The recall applies to all models of Aqua Dots. The product is available in various different kits with accessories such as a drying fan, applicator pen, design templates for the beads, and spray bottle. The product is labeled for ages 4+."

My Spacepedia gets you high...

...Whales do it, jobs do it, even educated gates do it. Let's do it, let's all get high. Human search is gonna be the next big thing as our Gossip killer app hits the streets before Christmas in Beta. And who better to do the manufacturing than our old mates, the Chinese. The first product in our range of Virtual Intoxication Toys will be based on Aqua Dots the well known popular toy beads that contain liquid Fantasy or GBH. These have already been banned in America and Australia so this must be some serious shit, folks. We asked CEO van der Zuikerberg just what the fuck was going on here, and he was quoted as saying, "It's quite simple. Everyone gets sucking the Chinese kiddie love beads, gets high and then writes up their best friend's profile on My Spacepedia, giving the whole social networking bubble a much needed kick in the arse."
By further undermining the already dodgy reputation of online infopedias Zuikerberg intends to dumb down everything, everywhere, all the time and thus create the Totally Dumb Information Vortex just in time for Year Zero.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Spacebook merger details emerge...

...as this morning's sub prime ripple hits banking stocks, details are emerging on the MySpacebook megadeal. Cookienomics sub prime CEO Marco van der Zuikerberg has hinted that this will be the mother of all social networking deals. The buzzword on the street is the revolutionary new killer app Zeroprivacy, part of the top secret Singularity Project. This will allow anything to be done anywhere at any time to anyone without them having a clue about what is really going on. This business model will be monetized by phishing and spam software managed by a secure database in St. Petersburg. Which St Pete has not been revealed for security reasons. The opportunities for optimization are awesome as this will replace Web 2.0 by Web 3.0, which will then be replaced by Web 4.0. The plan is to reach the Total Web Infinity.0 loop by Christmas. 2008 will then be renamed Year Zero and the Total Information Vortex will be up and running. The government will introduce a Zero beer and fags policy in order to channel all consumption into the Vortex. The Virtual Intoxication App is already in Beta testing and the advertising model will be quite simple. Click ads will be linked to a virtual intoxication Experience Interface (available with a USB port for 99 pence on eBay) and a built in vibrator is being developed in China, along with a virtual bicycle sex kit for $9.99. There will be a social network called the Pets Dating and Marriage Agency as it takes all sorts. "World domination is our goal." van der Zuikerberg was quoted as saying as he left his local greasy spoon and got into his Bentley.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Social DNA...dramatic new breakthrough...

...as early this morning scientists at the University of Illesota Department of Pseudoscience found that buying too much high tech stuff is linked to dramatic rises in crime, alcoholism and click ad fraud. Measures are now being taken to compel each citizen to compile a register of their social DNA which will include orchestral instruments, openness in relationships, Top 10 movies and toilet etiquette. All this is of course intended to waste more of the citizen's precious time and money to stimulate economic growth and this blog must declare an interest here as we receive secret payments in kind from the coffee and chocolate lobby (we should be so lucky!) which, by the way, is a hint LOL! (Whatever that means? Answers on a postcard containing a stamped addressed envelope containing a few used fivers to the DEFRA Bird Flu Hedge Fund c/o Cookienomics, Lichtenstein.) Not compiling your social DNA profile is not a criminal offence, but if you refuse to do so, you may be imprisoned for a period not exceeding 28 days detention roulette which could be doubled to 56 days very soon, vampires. You have been warned. Get your social DNA profile done for you by our experts. Just fill in our easy Social Optimization DNA Obviously Free Form and join our Facebook group today.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Buy turkey futures now while stocks last...

...as the meltdown in the US banking sector continues and the dollar goes down the drain, why not invest in turkey futures? Now that the bird flu in Suffolk has been confirmed as the deadly H5N1 variety, turkey prices should rise before Christmas. Get a roast instead of a roasting! Sell all those overhyped Web 2.0 stocks that aren't making any money and offload all those banking shares before they become worthless and get on the turkey bandwagon. What better place to start than on Facebook where our new Bird Flew Free Turkey Killer App will be launched tonight at midnight CET and the first three users will also win a free iPhone! Rachel has been talking turkey with the Home Affairs Committee today but as HMG is seriously out to lunch we do not expect much action this side of Christmas for fear of frightening the horses, or in this case the turkey punters. So get your turkey futures here. You know it makes sense.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Mad Browns and Englishmen go out in the midday sun!...

...and the next outing in the sun will be...Iran! With the dollar in meltdown the Yanks could do with a jolly good war. The poodle is dead! Long live the poodle!
With thanks to Through Balanda Eyes for reminding me of this Noel Coward gem.

Knowledge is Power...Is Big Facebook Watching You?...

...I've been involved in a thread on Mashable titled Facebook asks Can we see your id? The post throws up a number of issues connected to our privacy and also the possibility of identity theft (BBC story) a topic in the news again this morning. I have contacted the Welsh office of the ICO for clarification of some the issues raised by the mass collection of personal data. The Wales network of Facebook alone already has 195,586 members and Wales is just a small country! It is perhaps important at this stage to make sure that all this data being collected is not breaking current data protection legislation and also to ask the question: Where do we draw the lines between the individual's right to privacy and the practical control and knowledge of all the data being collected. Facebook has a few spooky connections such as possible CIA links
and the now defunded Information Awareness Office whose motto was "Knowledge is Power." Some of the aims of the IAO were:
* Human Identification at a Distance (HumanID) to develop automated biometric identification technologies to detect, recognize and identify humans at great distances.

* Wargaming the Asymmetric Environment (WAE) focused on developing automated technology capable of identifying predictive indicators of terrorist activity or impending attacks by examining individual and group behavior in broad environmental context and examining the motivation of specific terrorists.

* Futures Markets Applied to Prediction (FutureMAP) was intended to harness collective intelligence by researching market-based techniques for avoiding surprise and predicting future events. The intent was to explore the feasibility of market-based trading mechanisms to predict political instability, threats to national security, and other major events in the near future.
All a lot of innocent fun to provide us all with useful suggestions as to what to buy for Christmas based on our known interests and purchasing habits? In view of recent deadwood press criticism of bloggers and the cult of the amateur (story/Rachel) why aren't our gatekeepers doing more to investigate these issues?
This is what the FT had to say this morning: "...allowing advertisers to exploit the deep connections between users on the Facebook site - a web of relationships known in the industry as the "social graph" - could backfire if the move ends up alienating the users themselves.

"What we've learned from the commercialisation of the web is that people are more than happy to exchange their privacy for free stuff and greater convenience as long as you allow them to maintain the fiction that their activities are not being monitored and recorded," writes Nicholas Carr, a prominent technology author, on his blog, Rough Type.

"In breaking that illusion, Facebook is taking a big risk. It may set off a rebellion among its users, who up until now have felt comfortable cavorting behind Facebook's walls." There is a perceived and real inequality between the rights and freedoms of the citizen and the power of large multinational corporations and an urgent need to make sure that advances in technology do not deprive us of our liberties.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Anti GMO Protest Action in Portugal...

Find more videos like this on Ceridwen

...as Chris Huhne of the Lib Dems says that GM crops 'should not be approved.'
"Mr Huhne, environment spokesman for the Liberal Democrats, said: "People want to be safe and not sorry on GM foods, as the overwhelming bulk of responses to the government's consultation show.

"Ministers should not give any go-ahead for commercial planting until they can state confidently that GM varieties would not contaminate non-GM foods and that they are safe.

"This is essential for consumers who prefer non-GM foods, but also for organic farming which is the fastest growing part of British agriculture."

The Cookie Mouse gets everywhere!...

Things I've loved
Originally uploaded by emdot
...and is going to be the mascot for our permaculture project. Cookie mouse lives in de Pijp in Amsterdam with two young girls from Prague. He is a very friendly and clever mouse and just loves all the goodies he gets from the organic market. His wink is what made him famous. Thanks to Emdot for this lovely collage.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Fair Trade - The Movie. An eq.tv original.

...Please watch this great video and pass it on. Oxfam

Sick of spam...get Gmail...

...I just love the music on this one and as I have Gmail there's more time to learn esperanto. Thanks to Mashable

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Al Gore for President!...

...Gore Vidal and the Condition of America. The one Gore wants the American people to vote for the other Gore. Vidal for Al. Their names seem full of puns. Perhaps Al could have Gore as Vice President. Then it really would be an Al Gore Administration.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Cardiffnet internet workshops...

...with the idea of going local and global we have set up a new workshop group in Cardiff called Cardiffnet intended to be an interface between the local and global in the Cardiff County area. A googlejuice bar with Web 2.0 munchies and blogging geeks for dummies. It will be hands on learning by doing for people into social networking and community. I hope it will also keep me off the streets and glued to my MacBook. Talking of which if anybody knows of any public open wifi in a nice Cardiff cafe or pub could you let me know? Then we can set up our first open meeting.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Scary movie...

...when you think about the odds we only have one choice.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Tantra for your pets...

...gets my weird bad taste award of the week. Sorry but I could not resist this.

This is maybe taking the New Age to the outer limits!

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Google buys Jaiku...

...according to the Jaikido blog today. New user sign up will be by invitation only for the time being. As the search engine's share price soars to over 600 dollars there are rumors of a Google mobile phone coming out soon. According to the Telegraph it will not be a phone but a mobile operating system that will be offered for free in order that Google can gain a foothold in the small, but rapidly growing, mobile advertising market. All of this fits in with my view of the coming mobile internet being the next big thing as technologies converge and more people adopt a mobile online lifestyle. This time Nokia lost out but they are still very much in the game. I quite like Jaiku as it's fun and has many practical possibilities. What I have yet to find, though, is my favorite mobile phone.

Friday, October 05, 2007

Increase your WiFi signal...

...with just a mobile phone, your laptop and an Ethernet cable. Awesome!

Friday, September 28, 2007

The Shock Doctrine by Naomi Klein...

The Shock Doctrine
...We should arm ourselves with information to defeat the effects of the shock doctrine.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Riot at Shwe Dagon Pagoda East gate in Burma...

Nine killed in Burma...

...the dead included eight protesters and a Japanese man, identified as a video journalist working for APF News - with 11 demonstrators and 31 soldiers hurt. Update: According to Australia's ambassador to Burma eye witnesses say that the death toll was significantly higher, perhaps by a factor of ten.
After decades of brutal dictatorship, the people of Burma are rising--and they need our help.
Clicking below will add your name to this petition to Chinese Premier Hu Jintao and the UN Security Council:

"We stand alongside the citizens of Burma in their peaceful protests. We urge you to oppose a violent crackdown on the demonstrators, and to support genuine reconciliation and democracy in Burma. We pledge to hold you accountable for any further bloodshed."

and see Rachel for more updates.
Also photos on Saffron Revolution

Monday, September 24, 2007

iPhone turned into pocket Mac...

...by Victor and Albert who work for Martin Varsavsky's FON Labs. The race is now on to optimize the unlocked iPhone.
Update (Friday): It seems that according to Scobleizer a lot of people have been having trouble with iPhone updates, including many that have not hacked their phones. Will this be a PR disaster for Apple?
Wikinomics on Apple

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Craig Murray's blog censored...

Cartoon/Matt Buck (Creative Commons)

...as, following threats by Usmanov's lawyer Schillings, Craig Murray's ISP takes his blog down. Usmanov, a Russian billionaire, has a large holding in the Arsenal football club. Once again free speech is under threat from the super rich and their fancy lawyers. Schillings proudly proclaim to protect the reputations of high profile individuals, corporates and brands. Presumably from the rest of us, the great unwashed of the blogosphere. See Areopagitica and Chicken Yoghurt for plenty of details. See also Wikipedia/Alisher Usmanov and check out these links:
Curious Hamster, Pickled Politics, Harry’s Place, Tim Worstall, Dizzy, Iain Dale, Ten Percent, Blairwatch, Davide Simonetti, Earthquake Cove, Turbulent Cleric (who suggests dropping a line to the FA about Mr Usmanov), Mike Power, Jailhouse Lawyer, Suesam, Devil’s Kitchen, The Cartoonist, Falco, Casualty Monitor, Forever Expat, Arseblog, Drink-soaked Trots (and another), Pitch Invasion, Wonko’s World, Roll A Monkey, Caroline Hunt, Westminster Wisdom, Chris K, Anorak, Mediawatchwatch, Norfolk Blogger, Chris Paul, Indymedia (with a list of Craig Murray’s articles that are currently unavailable), Obsolete, Tom Watson, Cynical Chatter, Reactionary Snob, Mr Eugenides, Matthew Sinclair, The Select Society, Liberal England, Davblog, Peter Gasston Pitch Perfect, Adelaide Green Porridge Cafe, Lunartalks, Tygerland, The Crossed Pond, Our Kingdom, Big Daddy Merk, Daily Mail Watch, Graeme’s, Random Thoughts, Nosemonkey, Matt Wardman, Politics in the Zeros, Love and Garbage, The Huntsman, Conservative Party Reptile, Ellee Seymour, Sabretache, Not A Sheep, Bartholomew’s Notes on Religion, The People’s Republic Of Newport, Life, the Universe & Everything, Arsenal Transfer Rumour Mill, The Green Ribbon, Blood & Treasure, The Last Ditch, Areopagitica, Football in Finland, An Englishman’s Castle, Freeborn John, Eursoc, The Back Four, Rebellion Suck!, Ministry of Truth, ModernityBlog, Beau Bo D’Or, Scots and Independent, The Splund, Bill Cameron, Podnosh, Dodgeblogium, Moving Target, Serious Golmal, Goonerholic, The Spine, Zero Point Nine, Lenin’s Tomb, The Durruti Column, The Bristol Blogger, ArseNews, David Lindsay, Quaequam Blog!, On A Quiet Day…, Kathz’s Blog, England Expects, Theo Spark, Duncan Borrowman, Senn’s Blog, Katykins, Jewcy, Kevin Maguire, Stumbling and Mumbling, Famous for 15 megapixels, Ordovicius, Tom Morris, AOL Fanhouse, Doctor Vee, The Curmudgeonly, The Poor Mouth, 1820, Hangbitch, Crooked Timber, ArseNole, Identity Unknown, Liberty Alone, Amused Cynicism, Clairwil, The Lone Voice, Tampon Teabag, Unoriginalname38, Special/Blown It, The Remittance Man, 18 Doughty Street, Laban Tall, Martin Bright, Spy Blog The Exile, poons, Jangliss, Who Knows Where Thoughts Come From?, Imagined Community, A Pint of Unionist Lite, Poldraw, Disillusioned And Bored, Error Gorilla, Indigo Jo, Swiss Metablog, Kate Garnwen Truemors, Asn14, D-Notice, The Judge, Political Penguin, Miserable Old Fart, Jottings, fridgemagnet, Blah Blah Flowers, J. Arthur MacNumpty, Tony Hatfield, Grendel, Charlie Whitaker, Matt Buck, The Waendel Journal, Marginalized Action Dinosaur, SoccerLens, Toblog, John Brissenden East Lower, Electronic Frontier Foundation, Peter Black AM, Boing Boing, BLTP, Gunnerblog, LFB UK, Liberal Revolution, Wombles, Focus on Sodbury…, Follow The Money, Freedom and Whisky, Melting Man, PoliticalHackUK, Simon Says…, Daily EM, From The Barrel of a Gun, The Fourth Place, The Armchair News Blog, Journalist und Optimist, Bristol Indymedia, Dave Weeden, Up North John, Gizmonaut, Spin and Spinners, Marginalia, Arnique, Heather Yaxley, The Whiskey Priest, On The Beat, Paul Canning, Martin Stabe, Mat Bowles, Pigdogfucker, Rachel North (193).

Friday, September 21, 2007

The human condition...

...after a very good few bottles of Taylor's port in Cardiff is not a pretty sight. Still Tim (as in Tim Brett, photographer-plug, well he deserves it) made some coffee, so it's all good...yes, well before we lose the plot we must ask ourselves where are we going. After the family outing of the past week that is not an easy question to answer. After all I'm now an uncle to a load of good looking kids. What will their world look like when they are my age? Warmer? Chateau Cardiff vin rouge? A very nice year. But what of the wider consequences of our little experiment with mother nature known as market capitalism, or globilaztion? Who gives a fuck? Scary movie? I will probably die in the next fifty years. My kids will probably live on to face the consequences of the global and liberal market party. I do not envy them, nor do I wish to be in their position fifty years further down the road. I have had a wonderful night with my family drinking port and falling over like a good trooper. The internet kept me awake all night pondering my kid's future. It was not a pretty sight at least in my imagination. Spinoza would say we have a moral duty to be good and not to harm. As Deus sive natura I take it that we, as well as the rest of creation, are included in this most divine of integrated plans. Darwin's "dangerous idea" put an end to all the speculations of the philosophers and the world's religions, no matter how sweet and enticing they may be. We are left to clean up the mess. Postmodernism tried and failed. So now, like Kant, we awake from our dogmatic slumbers and look around at a planet that is in ecological meltdown. This is not a Roman fin de siecle. This is the real deal. The hitchiker's guide to the end of life, the universe and everything. 42. Anyone got the question? Since the Pax Americana invented the end of season sale of the assets of planet earth we are all living in a pre apocalyptic state of fear. The war on terror engulfs the agenda of the chattering classes. Then they define our reality. Hitler and Goebbels would be proud of the legacy of ignorance that is the modern world. Sadly we have neither the time or the freedom to escape the karma of our modernistic largesse. We must act. Now. Il faut cultiver notre jardin, Thus I petition the Prime Minister of England to take up the baton of Winston Churchill, who talked us through our darkest hour, and engage in a policy that will encourage the people to see that is in their own interest to work for the preservation and sustainability of life on earth.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Facebook and privacy...

...Social networking site Facebook is changing its privacy policy to allow public profiles and one month from now Google search listings of members information. Sensitive data such as date of birth could become a security issue as we all leave more digital tracks behind us. According to Gigaom "This move transforms Facebook from being a social network to being quasi-White Pages of the Web. Every time a non-Facebook user finds someone on Facebook after a “search,” they might feel compelled to sign-up and get more information. It is a virtuous cycle, meant to attract more people to the Facebook network." We have one month to change our personal security settings. This seems, as Gigaom points out, to be a move to increase traffic and boost Facebook's e-commerce potential and "yet another small step in the overall erosion of personal privacy, thanks to the ever growing popularity of the social networks. I don’t like the direction where all this is headed." I agree, Gigaom.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Calling the Lama from afar...

Photos copyright: Leighton Cooke 2007
...I come from the land of song, so I was happy and proud to be present yesterday evening when Claron McFadden received the Amsterdam Culture Prize in the Musiekgebouw aan 't Ij on the city's waterfront. Claron sang, with Aleksandra Anisimowicz, the duet "I' mi son Giovinetta" by Luzzasco Luzzaschi which was, for me, the high spot of the evening. Alessandro Pianu played harpsichord. Afterwards we talked about music, her native city of New York and our mutual love of Mozart. Claron reaches out beyond the classical medium to embrace dance and many different aspects of the performing arts. She also loves children and Rebeka was captivated by the opportunity to meet a real star. Me too. It was an evening I'll never forget and a fitting finale to my years in Amsterdam. As I prepare to return to the hills of Wales I'm more than a little sad about the dear friends I'll leave behind. For a long time I've been calling my Lama from afar and now he has answered. Nothing is more precious than the chance to be with a great spiritual friend who can lead you out of confusion. I remember an afternoon with Geshe-la many years ago in Bromley, near London. It was one of those timeless moments when you simply know that the heart has no limits. Geshe Damchos teaches with laughter, the best medicine of all. Now many years later those seeds are ripening as this evening I listen to a beautiful solo Tibetan chant of Om Mani Padme Hung Hri. One day Tibet will be free and its people will know no more fear or suffering. Till that day comes we shall sing our songs of the heart, wishing to return to those we love. I am very fortunate to be going home and I wish that everyone who this night is separate from their home and those that they love finds their way back.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Interview with David Holmgren...

...co-founder of the permaculture movement. David tells how , by finding small scale, slow solutions, we can achieve the transition to a lower energy society based on cooperation rather than consumption. Local small scale food production will be crucial to this process. We will all be gardners in the future.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Bill Mollison on permaculture...

...with, once again, thanks to United Diversity for this link. Bill is the founding father of the permaculture movement and shows how sustainable ways of working with nature can safeguard the future of our food supply. There is a garden of Eden. We are living in it if we only realise it and use these methods to develop the land of the earth in an integrated way, rather than the sociopathic path of destruction we have been following so far. The number of permaculture projects on the planet is growing every day and anyone with even the smallest piece of land can use these techniques to create a living and productive environment.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Clean up your act, Tesco!...

...and stop being arseholes. Two of my very best friends come from Bulgaria and they are both kind and idealistic young people. Which is why when I read in this morning's Guardian that Bulgarian workers in Cornwall had been "forced to 'live like pigs on scraps', scavenging vegetables from the fields when their Latvian gangmaster withheld their pay for 34 days" I nearly puked. This is Cornwall, for pity's sake, where I used to go on summer holidays and eat Cornish pasties and drink scrumpy.
"They were sent to work through a subcontracting chain at Southern England Farms, a leading vegetable farming and packing company that appears on Tesco's website as one of its flagship local producers of courgettes, cauliflowers and cabbage. They were housed in dirty caravans, with seven trying to sleep in a six-berth van in one example. They were initially charged £50 a week each for this overcrowded accommodation."
What the fuck? Is Tesco's now owned by the descendants of Heinrich Himmler? Are the British to be able to eat cheap food because subcontractors of Tesco's run forced labour camps in the 21st century? Have we become a nation that turns a blind eye to blatant abuses of minimal human rights? In 2006 Tesco's made 2.21 billion pounds profit partly on the back of forced labour. This is a company that shames the reputation of Britain. What about the many British farmers who are also screwed by Tesco's greed and indifference to whether or not they can make a living? Get your act together, Tesco and stop acting like a corporate parasite. Sir Terry Leahy, if you have any honour, do something about this latest Tesco scandal or resign. I remember when Tesco closed down their store in the centre of Cardiff and made a killing. They have not changed a bit.
Action Network
Friends of the Earth

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Out of the Tunnel...

...Today I found a copy of Rachel's book in Waterstone's in Amsterdam. Even if you already know the story this book is still remarkable. Once you start you can't put it down. Rachel likes to say dammit just like Manon. The style is fast and dramatic and makes you feel as if you are there with her when it all happens. This is not another book written by a victim. Rachel does not ask for sympathy, she just tells her tale. There is much here to give hope to anyone who has suffered a life shattering trauma such as rape or violence. The message is that one can start again and learn to live with the scars. I don't know what amazes me most, Rachel's courage or the mindless idiots who caused all this suffering. I watched the news of the 7/7 London attacks on TV in an Amsterdam cafe as it happened and have been reading Rachel's blog from the beginning. She has become a voice of freedom at a time when politicians have passed one stupid law after another. Every politician should read this book. Rachel stands up for the rights that took many generations to achieve that are being so carelessly eroded. It was touching to know that J proposed marriage right here in Amsterdam, and that she has such a great partner to support her. She sure deserves him. Read this book and it will move you as it did me.
The Friday Project (book info)

Peak oil...

...with thanx to Josef and United Diversity for this link. I agree that we have to start to value our resources to achieve a sustainable future. Here's another cool link from Josef: The Great Turning

"We stand at a critical moment in Earth’s history, a time when humanity must choose its future. As the world becomes increasingly interdependent and fragile, the future at once holds great peril and great promise. To move forward we must recognize that in the midst of a magnificent diversity of cultures and life forms we are one human family and one Earth community with a common destiny. We must join together to bring forth a sustainable global society founded on respect for nature, universal human rights, economic justice, and a culture of peace.

-The Earth Charter (2000)"

Monday, August 13, 2007

No more heraith any more...

...as the Cookie mouse morphs into a homing pigeon! I'm packing my bags and heading for the hills to confront my wyrd and do some permaculture. it's been a while since I saw these trees being planted. Now they are a living orchard and form a path of meditation, a gradual path that tells us we should slow down. Lam Rim is such a special place that has been the home of my heart for over thirty years. It has matured into a natural refuge and a safe haven for those who seek peace and tranquility. Geshe-la is in good spirit and looking well. Soon I'm off to London to catch up with old and new friends. Then it's back to Wales. The family kept the home fires burning and it's time to get warm again.

Are you mad as hell?...

...Well this is funny as fuck! Thanx to United Diversity for reminding me about this great movie.

Monday, August 06, 2007

US can now intercept European communications...

...that are routed through the US, eg via Google or Yahoo.
“The bill clarifies that no court order is required for foreign-to-foreign communications that pass through the United States."
It’s now official: George Bush and Alberto Gonzales have the legal authority to spy on you and I without a warrant at any time. The vote was as follows:

Yea:227 Nay:183
Wired news

Is it not time that Europeans woke up to the fact that data security and personal freedom are being eroded on a daily basis by an Anglo-Saxon creeping fascism? In the Observer yesterday Henry Porter once again reminds us how Britain's liberties are disappearing too. We are sleepwalking into tyranny.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Amsterdam bridges...

...There are so many of them in this city. They are the closest thing to mountains we have, especially when your bicycle gears are not working properly. Bettie Klomp did this beautiful painting of the Herengracht, the gentlemens' canal. The summer has finally arrived and I'm on the balcony sipping a very nice Gigondas and trying not to think that tomorrow I'll be flying, which is not my favourite activity. Still it will be an opportunity to take some nice pictures of Bath and the Somerset countryside. This week was the holiday that never was as I ended up busier than ever. The internet is working again so I'm not a laptop nomad at the moment. The dog is having a hard time in the hot weather as collies have a lot of hair, which in Freako's case, needs a trim.
I'll miss him next week. Cookie mouse is running round the balcony as his seed box fell over and he's chasing his lunch. Talking of which...

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Rachel comes out of the tunnel...

...as her new book is published. It's a remarkable story that should give hope to many victims of trauma.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

I love nieuw jurk...

Photos copyright: Leighton Cooke 2007

Streetlab catwalk, Sunday...

Photos copyright: Leighton Cooke 2007

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Suzisuperglue at OT301 meets 360Fashion...

...during Amsterdam Fashion Week. OT301 has just won the Amsterdam Cultural Prize for its support of independent artists and designers and is what the Dutch call a "broedplaats' which means a centre that encourages young artists.
Photo copyright: Leighton Cooke 2007

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Amsterdam street fashion...

Photo copyright: Leighton Cooke 2007

Monday, July 16, 2007

The Secret...

...you too can understand the Law of Attraction with this revealing and informative video. Remember to visualise yourself sitting in the red sports car!

Multi-Input Touch Screen...

...this is wicked!

Friday, June 22, 2007

Oxfam celebrates Ethiopian coffee agreement...

...with thanks to greenLAgirl for this link. This is great news for the Ethiopian farmers.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Dirty washing...two weeks later...

...after Kristin Steele was killed on the corner of the Overtoom another woman was knocked over on the same spot and is in a critical condition. Amsterdam's streets are a dangerous place. Yesterday I washed the red fleece that I wear on my bicycle. I washed it by hand Three changes of water and the water was still black. I mean black as soot! What are we breathing into our lungs on the streets. This is unseen pollution that is slowly killing us every day in our hurry to get nowhere. So I'm planning a small experiment with some of my chemist friends. I'm going to wear the fleece for one month then wash it and analyse the water to see what's in it. We'll repeat this process every month to see just how dirty our roads really are. Change of topic but still on the theme of the dangers of modern living Out of the Tunnel, Rachel's book, is out soon and I'm really curious to read it. Hope it comes to Amsterdam soon. She has the courage to speak for those who suffer the shame and fear of trauma in silence.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Wales grows its own...

...according to the BBC the country grows more cannabis than it imports. "Paul Flynn, MP for Newport West, believes a major re-think is needed to solve the UK's drug problem and has campaigned for the de-criminalising of cannabis for many years.
He thinks users should be treated as patients rather than criminals.
'We've had this increasing toll of wasted lives, of deaths, worse than anywhere in Europe, and we've got to say to the politicians, for goodness sake, be a little courageous, don't go for the easy headline or the quick vote.'" says the BBC.