I Know Where Matt is!

Or at least where he has been.

In 2005 Matt Harding created a video of all the places that he had visited that year, with a twist. He was doing this weird dance (no not a good one and I am sure that is half the appeal). The video was a viral hit, it should be – it is fun and had that viral quality that marketers would die for. In addition he got sponsored to do it all again! So in 2006 he created another video. They became known as the “Where the Hell is Matt?” series and a website was born with all sorts of stuff like his journal and map tracking.

Now in 2008 Matt is Back with “Where the Hell is Matt 2008”. This time round you can see the video in HD glory at viemo, which is very nice. Starting to appreciate the HD with video, but you need a pretty good connection to get the best from it. I am only too happy to contribute to Matt’s viral success, I think the videos are great and have that feel good effect. Which is perfect given the crap week I have had.

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Great Talk from Lorelle VanFossen

I have had reason to get right up to speed on WordPress of late. I took the opportunity to have a really good look around Weblog Tools Collection. Which is a great source of news and resources for those running their own WordPress install. But in the process I found a real gem.

I have been blogging on WordPress since April 2006. I started blogging and managing my content from scratch. I had little knowledge and had to teach myself most things. WordPress.com is a great place to do that as it is a controlled environment, the tweaking is limited. But I felt that it gave me enough to do what I wanted to do.

One of the disadvantages of this is that some of the cool stuff that you can do with JavaScript for example; you can’t do here. We have to wait for these features to be added over time. Other stuff you have to hack up and make it work. Such as the Skype button here on this blog. You end up being able to make a text box do just about anything.

But it would have been nice to have got some tips and tricks earlier. Which brings me to the gem that I found. If you have not heard of Lorelle and her blog Lorelle on WordPress, make it your business to. Prominent blogger and lover of all things WordPress. Plus she has her head screwed on. I have been reading her blog for ages. Lorelle attended and presented at WordCamp Dallas 2008. She offered to talk on

“whatever was left…”

It ended up being WordPress tips. I don’t care if you are new to WordPress or an old timer, there is something in her presentation for everyone. It is packed full of tips and tricks to get the best out of WordPress.com, or as she calls it “power blogging”. If you want some great ideas on handling your comments and back end generally you will find it here.

Thankfully someone thought to capture the talk on video and share it with the rest of us. Thanks Lorelle foLorelle on WordPressr all your tweaking of the untweakable and sharing it with the rest of us. It also reminded me that WordPress.com is an awesome platform. For the most part I am pleased that it looks after itself as it means I can just use it.

So here is the presentation, enjoy it and be sure to visit Lorelle’s blog and leave a comment. I know she makes every effort to respond and be active in her community.

Just as a side note when I checked out Lorelle’s blog while writing this post I noticed that she is going to be appearing on Jeff’s WordPress Weekly Podcast. Ironically Jeff is a listener of The Global Geek Podcast and an avid supporter of the show and friend of mine. The cool thing about Jeff’s show is that you too can be on it and talk to Lorelle yourself! So off with you and check out both those guys and make sure you say hello to Jeff for me. Check out The WordPress Weekly details while your at it.

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Making Sense of the Noise

The Internet and everything can be a lot of white noise to some. Understanding it can be a problem for people that don’t understand the technology. Yet it is this technology that is shaping our future and that of our children.

This would have to be the best video that I have ever seen. It embodies nearly every aspect of where we have been, where we are and where we are going. Sure it has been floating around for a while now but I think it is great, inspiring and very well done. I have seen it about 10 times now, but you need to watch it more than once; the pace is quick.

I am not saying that it explains everything or that it has any answers for you. Yet it might send you on a path of discovery or just help to put things into perspective. The concepts that this video encompasses is the basis of RSS, Web 2.0, content, delivery, community and heaps more. The implications of the principles that this video depicts are wide and far reaching. While I think I understand what is happening around me I still learned a few things by watching it.

It is time to rethink a few things…

Voilence in Video on the Internet

A little while back I posted a story on violence on the Internet in the form of video. I talked about these videos in relation to if they should be regarded as entertainment. I am not going to restate the argument here, read my original post for that.

The original post that I made was motivated by an article on the same subject. There has been a follow up to the original article due to the response that it got. Indeed I got a large response to my post as well and remains as one of my top posts as far as readership. I think it remains in my top five.

This follow-up talks about many of the issues that I discussed and the motivation that people have for watching people getting hurt. There is also mention that they talk to the guy that blew up his hand with a dry ice bomb, but I don’t know if it is the same guy as the one that I saw blow his hand off.

Anyway have a look at the follow up on The Red Tape Chronicles worth the read especially in relation to the story I did.

Should Tragedy be Used as Entertainment?

Video sharing sites such as the popular Google Video, YouTube and Yahoo are proving popular at an ever increasing rate. However do these companies have a moral obligation to review and block or delete certain material? This I know is a hotly debated topic and one that is difficult to have an answer for.

While the Internet should in my opinion be an uncensored and free expression community; I think that pure morality should prevail in regards to certain material. I think it is agreed universally that this applies to inappropriate pictures and videos of children. In regards to pornography I think that while the material is openly and freely available the accessibility of the material to minors is far too easy. That said; the primary responsibility for ensuring that minors are blocked access to such material lies squarely at the feet of parents.

Parents often blame the Internet or the web sites for offering inappropriate material where in actual fact they are not doing anything to monitor what their children watch, read or listen to. For example; I would not let my three year old wander the video shop and hire any movie that he wanted or picked up. There would even be some covers I would rather he did not see. Nor would I let him watch anything on television that he wanted to. I monitor it and I decide what I believe is appropriate or not. So I do not know why parents view the Internet any differently than these other mediums. Then when their children do see something or watch something on the Internet that they do not want them to see or that they think is inappropriate they blame the content provider or they blame the government or they blame anything/ anyone else other then themselves; where where they when their 12 year old was surfing porn sites? That rant out of the way that is not the purpose of this post but it is associated with it.

Last night I read an article that talked about video that was posted to YouTube and Google and such that featured dangerous stunts resulting in serious injury. I did not know that this type of material was available on YouTube or Google. So I went looking and fair enough I found some. I am not going to give the search term or the url, but I have included a screen shot to give you an idea.Google Video Screen Shot But what I saw was very disturbing not so much on a basic human level but more on a professional level. I saw an individual of about 12 or 13 years of age “playing” with home made “dry-ice” bombs. When one of the devices did not explode, he kicked it twice and threw it once then picked it up again at which point it exploded. Given my professional opinion and the following footage, I would say that he now has no hand from the forearm down.

The video that I saw is tragic. It featured arterial blood squirting on the wall and a closeup of the arm; what was left of it. The reaction of the camera operator was less than helpful as no attempt was made to do anything, it was almost like they did not expect any sort of injury let alone a serious one. I can tell you that I am a Registered Nurse, I work in an operating theatre. This injury is very serious and tragic. This young person has lost a limb, will require surgery and more after the incident. The injury sustained could be fatal if they were not given first aid and taken to hospital as soon as possible. They may get a serious infection that will result in loss of more of the limb than the injury inflicted. To say that this individual will be affected for the rest of their life is an understatement. Make no mistake some of these clips are violent and graphic in the extreme. How is it then at all possible that this is entertainment?

Don’t go dropping comments on this blog about such things as educational as far as what not to do. Or that I am being sensitive and just don’t watch it if it affects you that much. That is all bullshit. Just because the Internet provides a medium for people to post material such as pranks and accidents does not mean that it should be done or that it should be available to just anyone. Yes I know that people have been doing stuff like this for a long time if not since the dawn of time but have they been taking out page 3 of the newspaper to “advertise” their exploits, and I wonder if that would be socially acceptable. I think not, so I am at a loss as to why it is here in this community. Why do we class the loss of a limb in a young boy as entertainment, or worthy to be placed on Google or YouTube, when clearly we should be lamenting and asking why?

I would argue that it has to do with many factors such as the very aspect of the Internet that is appealing, the freedom that individuals have to express their point of view or their opinion or their art or whatever they wish to. That does not make all things right, just because we can does not mean we always should. Strangely within our society there is a morbid curiosity to see things that are tragic or taboo. Things such as dead bodies, accidents, crash scenes and the like. Further there are many sites on the Internet dedicated to such things. This is a human trait, don’t know why but it is, strange that we are so interested in our own self destructiveness. Nothing regarding this issue is going to change anytime soon, I know that.

The article that I read did go on to speculate that people would copy stupid acts and put themselves at risk. That is a reach as these things are going to happen all by themselves, they don’t need “inspiration”. I would question the ability for individuals to obtain a forum to publicise it. But again to question that is to begin to question the fabric of the Internet. Dangerous territory; do we want our Google web searches to look like China’s?

Individuals need to remember, when they see tragic incidents; these things are not easy fixed, broken bones can be fatal, loss of a limb can be fatal, injury can be fatal period; even the things that appear minor. These actions and incidents have repercussions, it would seem that young people and some adults seem to be incapable of foreseeing seeing what “could” happen.

My conclusion then, is that based on the pure tragic nature of these incidents that video sharing websites have a moral obligation not to show or restrict this content on the Internet. Then that would be in the face of my own argument wouldn’t it, that’s the parents job right? It might even be strange for some people to think that I feel that way. If anything it should not be so easily accessible for minors who certainly can not see the repercussions of their actions. It is debatable as to why adults “need” to see it either other than to satisfy the “morbid curiosity” factor. Further; how do we gauge what is acceptable and what is not and then where do we draw the line. I am not shouting for censorship or restriction, nor am I appealing to better nature. More that we should start to question and debate the reason as to why this content is available. What good does it serve, who is the audience? There is a line but where it is I do not know. How do we monitor content while maintaining the very nature of the Internet, one of freedom of expression. That which makes the Internet what it is.