Wednesday, 24 July 2013

Santiago de Compostela tweet tracking

Seeing a very high number of tweets coming from Santiago de Compostela, near the site of a major train accident in Spain.  This story shows the power of networking on Twitter.  On July 25 2013 I was seeing about 200 geo-tagged tweets an hour coming from the town, 80% of these were retweets of tweets by people near the accident.  On twitter first hand observations were getting copied over and over again.

Monday, 15 July 2013

Tracking #RoyalBaby on twitter

This tool above shows you the level of tweeting at the site of the upcoming Royal birth hospital, and below lets you read geo-tagged tweets and retweets from the location.

And this is the meter and tweets for Buckingham Palace were crowds are forming for the celebration of the wedding.

Friday, 12 July 2013

Track tweets from Moscow Airport #Snowden

Tools to track the intensity of tweeting, and the content of tweets geo-tagged coming from the Moscow airport now. Remember only a minority of tweets have geo-tagged metadata

Thursday, 11 July 2013

JΞSTΞR™ hacks Venezuela State Newspaper

No mater what you think of Patriot Hacker the Jester you have to be dead or in the ideological state of brain death not to appreciate the humour and irony of a hacking the state paper of Venezuela warning that he is going to expose crimes of officials in the government via the state paper.

Jester seems to imply he has information about state officials involved in drug trafficking.  Given that Venezuela is Venezuela this is almost certainly true, and given Jester's contacts in the US he almost certainly has the data on it.

Tracking tweets from #Shard attempt #iceclimb

Use this tool to track tweets coming from the Shard climb in London by Greenpeace to protest Shell drilling in Arctic.

Tuesday, 9 July 2013

Kia's epic fail tells us something about engagement

Okay if you can stand watching the ad, why is it that the woman of today, so connected, smart, and engaged would drive a Kia again?  Traditionally woman sat on the top of cars in ads, bringing the woman forward like this but still making her a passive recipient of the car, and the audience a passive consumer of the ad and brand, just does not work.

I have not been able to get through this entire commercial.  It is perhaps one of the worst ads ever made.  Its a train wreak inflicted on Australia's tennis fans and simply because it is so bad it has gone viral.

But there is something deeper to learn about this ad.  Kia epic fail is not just that they have made an annoying ad, but that they have shown something about how consumer are changing, and how traditional brands are going to find it hard to meet these changes.

The ad, for all its trite BS, does address a very obvious change in consumers: the desire for engagement.  People are looking more for social connection, for engagement, for discourse and community.  This is showing in the growing politicalisation of social media like Twitter: people are looking for connection and community rather than just things.

The problem with this ad is the moronic way that Kia is trying to connect to this change in the consumer.  The consumer desire to connection, to interact, to be engaged, to expand identity and become more political is simply stamped on to a stupid car ad.  

This is the hope of most brands.  They see consumer becoming more community conscious, more engaged and political and they hope they can just hire an ad firm that will created a viral message that this new kind of consumer will love.  

Brands have to understand that the new consumer is seeking a newer form of engagement.  This does not necessarily mean a real engagement, but at the least it has to be perceived as a sincere engagement by the company.  Take Apple during the last years of Jobs or Google in the past.

If you are going to try and connect with the new consumer, like this ad fails to, you need make it seem like there is an engagement.  

Monday, 8 July 2013

Cairo twitter dashboard القاهرة وحة القيادة تويتر

These tools will track tweeting level and content coming from key protest sites in Cairo. هذه الأدوات سوف تتبع تويتينغ مستوى ومحتوى قادمة من مواقع الاحتجاج الرئيسية في القاهرة.
Track tweets coming from Tahrir Square

And Nasir city where Pro-Morsi people tend to protest.

There are a lot of tweets coming from Nasir city, many about the anti-government protests that are now taking place with Morsi supporters.

And these are the Ramses Square protests, where more Pro-Morsi projects have been.

Tracking tweets at pro #Morsi demo in Nasir city

There are a lot of tweets coming from Nasir city, many about the anti-government protests that are now taking place with Morsi supporters.

Greece is a Startup: The world of emergence and disruption

I have been going Greece almost every year since the 2010 currency crisis started.  On the surface it is a Greek tragedy: the city is dirty, full of graffiti and lined with angry people.  Shops and businesses have closed down everywhere.  Greece is in crisis.

I did go to Greece in early 2007.  Athens then was very expensive, the main areas were full of corporate events, and it was hard to get a hotel.  Things have changed so much.  And it is fair to say it has been a decline.  But everything new needs a decline.

I have also recently been to Octoberfest in Germany: smart clean German city with smart clean Germans confident that they have found the proper route for all of the EU.  Its hard not to conclude that Germany has won and Greece has lost.

But on a deeper level this is what I have observed.  Everything in Germany is doing so well these days that only conventional businesses are able to operate.  Germany is rich and clean but boring and unengaging, and frankly Germans are more and more seeming isolated from the larger time, their recent economic prosperity (after a lost decade of stagnation) has isolated them.  They are happy to lecture Europe on what to do, but seem not only not interested when their mandated solutions fail to deliver results but actually fully content that it does not work.

The German's seem to reverting to some kind of Hegelian idealism.  History has a direction, and the German obsessions with time and order are the ultimate expression of a spiritual battle against Chaos.  The fact that Spain and Greece don't get the same benefits from budget cuts as Germans imagine they are getting is generally attributed to a failure of the southern people to share in the higher values of the Germanic.

I know this sounds harsh, but I have to say again and again this is what I have seen and heard.

I will go further and say that I find Athens, with all its problems, a more interesting place right now.  Not only is their a greater sense of social experimentation among people especially the young, but the collapse of a cheap money economy has opened huge new spaces for new kinds of social innovation.  There are amazing bars, restaurants, galleries, and spaces that challenge conventional categorisations.

It is far easy to find innovative high quality high concept projects in Athens than in Germany.  Frankly its somewhat challenging to even find a good well priced bar and restaurant in Germany.  In Athens I have found a number of places that have combined art, music, food and drink in a a real experience.  The graffiti covered streets of Athens are providing a chance for more experiments in culture, and Athens is way cooler than Berlin these days.

There is a necessary creative anarchy that is at work now.  My point is I think Germany is kind of the kid who didn't get chicken pocks during a local epidemic.  I would not be surprised if in 10 years we are talking about the innovative economies of Greece and Spain and wondering how the stagnate Germans found themselves left behind.

But only time will tell.

Thursday, 4 July 2013

Why no one will take Snowden

Let me make something of a bold assumption here: no nation anywhere is going to offer Snowden amnesty on his conditions.

Snowden is young, and has proven he is ready to take on the US.  Over the next 50 years where ever he lived he would become disillusioned, get in some trouble maybe, and almost certainly have the motivation and ability to hack the hell out of that nation.

Why?  Well I have to accuse Snowden and Wikileaks supporters with extreme short sightedness.  They simply see this a single transaction between the US and themselves.  Snowden supporters are thinking in terms of weeks, maybe months.

Now try to take the position of a nation's leader.  What Snowden is asking is that he be allowed in to your nation, for life, with continued access to the Internet.  His rejection of the Russian offer makes it clear that he will continue to pass secrets he has to the world press.  So you are letting a hacker with massive skills and the motivation to expose secrets about the US in to your nation.

If you step back for a minute a view it from the point of view of other nations you can see easily this is not an issue of US bullying per say. Snowden is just obviously not someone any leader would want to bring in to their nation.

Snowden has already proven he has the capacity to hack at an extremely high level.  He is much more than Manning, who was just handed the data because of lack security during the Iraq War, or Assange who is willing to publish data that is passed to him.

Snowden is a very different animal, he is someone able to break the security protections of the most advanced nation on Earth.  He is an extremely skilled hacker, maybe one of the best on the planet.  Normally this would be a great resume to be invited to live in another nation.  But he has also demonstrated an indifference to the laws of one nation: the United States.

Now what Snowden's knee jerk supporter have to get over is, that despite their own personal hatred of the United States, America still provides some of the highest level of free speech and personal freedom in the world.  I say this as an American who has lived in Europe and North Africa.  Even in a very free nation like the UK I find sometimes I have to watch what I tweet, idle gossip could get you in some libel trouble in England.  And in North Africa I surfed an utterly censored net, a world where it was illegal to show the Simpson on cable TV.

I can say having lived in many nations that as far as expression goes the United States is virtually unmatched, and no other society on Earth provides so much freedom to so many.   None of the nations likely to seriously consider giving him asylum are anywhere near the level of the US in press freedoms and civil liberties.

The leaders of nations like Venezuela and Ecuador as well as Russia and even the EU, despite what they say, know the truth.  They know that they have secrets, they know that they spy on their own people and spy on other nations, and they know that they probably have worse free speech record than the United States and not as good security of their government information.

Inviting Snowden connected to the Internet in their nation would be a risk to themselves that no nation will take.  Snowden is young, and has proven he is ready to take on the US.  Over the next 50 years where ever he lived he would become disillusioned, get in some trouble maybe, and almost certainly have the motivation and ability to hack the hell out of that nation.

And once you invite Snowden in as a hero of free speech it becomes hard to prosecute him.  Given that the theme of the entire Snowden vs. America event is American hypocrisy, a nation that would allow him in would find it humiliating to punish Snowden starts dumping masses of secret data about them.

So my prediction is that Snowden has gone Assange in the growing group of Internet kids who live in a world oddly separate from geo-political reality, one that is purely cyberspace.  It is easy enough to say they have become global citizens of the Internet, but both men still have bodies, though Assange's seems to get him in more trouble.  They need a place to sleep and go to the bathroom.

Both men have ended up living in strange non-zomes created by our geo-political reality.  Assange is in an Embassy in London with no possibility of his ever going to Ecuador avoiding 'the terrible evil' that is Sweden.  Snowden is stuck in the international zone of an airport, not in any nation at all.

Perhaps a growing group of these autistic cyberkids simply can no longer live in nations.  Though they are fine living in a single room for years on end, they dread lose of the Internet and lose of their ability to hack.  But no nation really wants them.  The west remains their best prospect for life but when a nation like Sweden is too oppressive once can only wonder where they can live contented.

Perhaps one of their wealthy supporters could buy a ship, a converted deep sea fishing vessel that could stay in International waters forever.  A nation of Cyper-land, with enough on ship protection to fight off enemy nations and pirates, a sort of Nemo of the 21st Century utterly detached from the world of nations and yet connected via the world of hacks and secrets.

The thing is I think over time we would know what this ship would become: I suspect inevitably as more and more stateless individual driven beyond the world of possible political loyalty by their love of the Internet found themselves on this ship, it would become the ship of fools.