Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Building brands that matter

Lots of people raving about presentation by Zappos CEO Tony Hseih. Thankfully on Slideshare


Designing for the Social Web

I wrote a blog post back in March on a excellent panel session at I attended at SXSW 2008 on designing social networking sites, entitled Social Design Strategies. One of the panelists, Joshua Porter, has just published book on the subject: Designing for the Social Web. I can’t recommend it highly enough. It’s concise, to the point and covers more than just social networking design. For example, there’s some excellent stuff on how to design a good sign-up process and how to respond to customers on service failures. Joshua details a hierachy covering different levels of customer engagement and how to move them up the value chain. All in all brilliant.

iPlayer BAFTA

I was at the BAFTA awards on the BBC table as iPlayer was nominated. Alas I no longer work for the BBC, I was not on the list to collect the award, despite the fact that I invented and pioneered it. When Tony Ageh collected the award he gave the following speech: “iPlayer is the product of many fathers, however there is one person who should be up here but he can’t be because his name isn’t on the list and that is Ben Lavender.” I was touched. Thanks Tony.

Uncle’s cool at skool

My brother just texted me that my nine year old nephew, Will, is boasting about how cool his uncle Ben is for inventing BBC iPlayer. Apparently his friends are well impressed! Who needs a BAFTA!

Original is best

Watched the 2005 big budget remake of John Carpenter’s 1976 classic Assault On Precinct 13. As remakes go, it’s pretty good, a new take on the plot with more back story. However I can’t help but the prefer the low budget original: taut, brutal, with tension that never lets up.


Austin – Chicago – Heathrow. Watched No Country for Old Men – brilliant acting/direction, great for the most part however the last 20 minutes just peter out. It ends feeling grim and unsatisfying. Tried to sleep but couldn’t, closed by eyes and listened to engine noise. Touched down 6:30am, at my desk by 9. Very jetlagged, staggered along until lunch. Made first attempt to leave office thereafter, discovering at the Tube station I’d left my phone. Stumbled back to office for phone and back to Tube. Two stops on down the Tube, realised I’ve forgotten my bag. Back to office again, collect bag and back on Tube again. Try to stay awake until my stop. Paddington. Flowers for Jane. Train to Oxford. Blogging en route. Typing badly, every other key is Backspace. Hope I’m still awake by Oxford. Drifting in an out of consciousness. Just past Didcot, thought we’d only just left! Taxi. No flowers are not legal tender, need to pay with cash. Home. Wonderful to see Jane & Katy, missed them terribly. Katy’s started walking whilst I’ve been away. Dinner. Bath Katy. Sleep. Ahhhhhh.

Texas Chow Down

You can’t go to Texas with trying a Texas Barbeque. In central Austin there’s the Iron Works BBQ, which apart from a framed letter from George W. Bush on the wall, is outstanding. The brisket is out of this world. It melts in your mouth. I couldn’t help myself to two eating platefuls.


If you fancy the real deal in authentic surroundings, then head 25 miles down the road to Driftwood to The Salt Lick. They have a branch in Austin but Driftwood is the place to go. It’s an old ranch, the local Police act as parking attendents (great use of tax dollars). As for the food: all you can eat Beef Brisket, Pork Ribs, Sausage, Chicken, Served with Salt Lick’s Secret Recipe BBQ Sauce, Beans, Potato Salad and Cole Slaw. Deeeeeelicious!


I don’t want candy

I have no idea what possessed me to add I Want Candy to my Rental List but it duly bubbled up my list and appeared on front door mat last night. It’s a micro budget Brit-flick with basic premise of two unpromising students at a bottom rung film school, mistakenly pitch their cinematic melodrama to the wrong kind of Soho production company, get embroiled with gangland financiers and end up producing porn. The film’s producers seem to have shot their wad (financially speaking) in the casting of obligatory yank skank Carmen Electra as eponymous porn queen Candy Fiveways, as there’s precious little else to look at. It contains speeded up farce scenes which I thought went out of date with Benny Hill. The plot is trite; the laughs are few and despite the subject matter and limited charms of Ms Electra no titillation value either. I don’t who its target market is but certainly not me.

Pod & Blogs Interview

I gave an interview with Blogs & Pods on BBC 5 Live about DRM, talking with Peter Brown of the Free Software Foundation. A podcast of the show is available here.