Eamonn Fitzgerald's Rainy DayJ Lennon and V Lenin (6.12.2005, 05:33 UTC)
As the world gears up for the 25th anniversary of John Lennon's death on Thursday, it is worth looking back at the lost world of those days. One of the treasures of the Rainy Day library is "The Lennon Companion" and on page 219 it contains a gem that appeared on 12 December 1980 in the pages of Sotsialisticheskaya industria and authored by one M. Beglov. The tone was critical from the get go: "J. Lennon, to whom America had paid almost no attention in recent years, is now being elevated virtua...
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Eamonn Fitzgerald's Rainy DayThe Nokia N90 blog (5.12.2005, 06:10 UTC)
The greeting goes: "Welcome to the Nokia Nseries N90 Blogger Relations blog. Here you will find blogger and media information that you can repurpose and utilize in your blog postings about the N90." Will Santa reward Rainy Day for being a very good boy and put one of these beauties in the stocking? Some users are already videoblogging with their N90s and making the results available for users of Apple's video-enabled iPod. Maybe 2006 will be the year of the "video podcast". A quick look at th...
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Eamonn Fitzgerald's Rainy DayI could do that! (4.12.2005, 08:17 UTC)
Quick: what does a CX Specialist do? Mrs Rainy Day immediately said "Sex Specialist", on the grounds that the company hiring is forced to be oblique with its advertising language in case offence might be taken by readers who would be scandalized at the notion of such jobs existing. When it was pointed out that the position is based in Seattle, she next suggested that the job might involve working on Microsoft's Xbox. Two very intelligent guesses, but no cigar. The company is not, in fact, Micros...
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Eamonn Fitzgerald's Rainy DayWord for the wise ® (3.12.2005, 15:07 UTC)
Our ongoing but soon-to-be-ended Word for the wise ® expedition through the alphabet has brought us as far as X: xenophobia is defined as "an intense fear or dislike of foreign people, their customs and culture, or foreign things." This can extend to language, where the phenomenon is known as "linguistic xenophobia". The word "barbarian" is worth noting in this context. It is derived from a Greek version of the Latin balbus, "stammering", being a derisive imitation of the foreign language...
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Eamonn Fitzgerald's Rainy DayWe come to bury Best (3.12.2005, 07:11 UTC)
Today, some 500,000 people are expected to pay their last respects to George Best in Belfast. Given the injunction to speak well of the dead, the following sentence, then, is all the more surprising: "Homage to George Best may be tasteless, but the British can be suddenly moved to a wave of sentiment for a flawed icon, as they were for Princess Diana." That's from the obituary for George Best in the current issue of The Economist. If homage to Best may be tasteless in the eyes of the writer, ...
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Eamonn Fitzgerald's Rainy DayTerror, Can We Win This War? (2.12.2005, 05:47 UTC)
In the "Geopolitics and the Flat World" section of his best-selling "The World is Flat" book, New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman writes: "One of the unintended consequences of the flat world is that it puts different societies and cultures in much greater direct contact with one another." He then goes on to explore the effects of modernization on the Arab-Muslim world, some parts of which have responded with rage to the challenges carried by the winds of global change. Friedman's delight i...
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Eamonn Fitzgerald's Rainy DayA high-level journalist names names (1.12.2005, 06:17 UTC)
From his latest dispatch on the war, a famous journalist with close ties to officials in... reveals his sources: "A high-level Pentagon war planner told me... One Pentagon adviser told me... Current and former military and intelligence officials have told me... In recent interviews, one former senior official said ... A retired senior C.I.A. officer with knowledge of Iraq told me ... the former defense official said ... another senior military planner now on assignment in the Pentagon ask...
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Eamonn Fitzgerald's Rainy DayThe Mao wore the horrible fashion (29.11.2005, 23:24 UTC)
Book of the year? One certain candidate is "Mao: The Unknown Story" by the husband-and-wife team of Jung Chang and Jon Halliday. Neither has a good word to say about the Great Helmsman, who they portray as a depraved monster who did not even believe in the Communist ideology he imposed on the Chinese, while killing 70 million of them. Talking of the Mao, the Manolo, he of shoe-blogging fame, surprised his legions of admiring readers last weekend when he mentioned the tarnished tyrant in the cou...
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Eamonn Fitzgerald's Rainy DayAfter alchemy? Philanthropy (29.11.2005, 05:28 UTC)
There are "elephants" and "fleas". Elephants (organizations) are solid and stable; fleas (innovators) are light and mobile. Organizations strive to be efficient but efficiency is the enemy of innovation. Therefore, fleas don't fit easily into efficient organizations, You have to hand it to Charles Handy. He keeps it interesting. As management thinkers, go, and they do tend to go rather quickly, Handy has the vital knack of putting concepts in memorable nutshells. After all, he did coin the term...
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Eamonn Fitzgerald's Rainy DayThe WaPo NewsCloud mash (28.11.2005, 16:45 UTC)
The Washington Post is moving rapidly now on the new news media front. NewsCloud by Frank Wiles is an application that takes all the RSS feeds from the paper and creates a blog in the shape of a tag cloud from story keywords. Each story's full text is pulled from the WaPo site and indexed by these keywords. "There are typically around 12,000 news stories and 63,000 keywords being indexed at any given time," says the Post proudly. Meanwhile, over at Post Remix, Ted Gilchrist of Botcast Network (...
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Eamonn Fitzgerald's Rainy DayThe decline (and fall?) of the Italian model (28.11.2005, 05:10 UTC)
Back at the beginning of this month, a Rainy Day trip to Italy resulted in a rather glum posting — "Italy's autumn of discontent" — concerning the state of that beautiful but baffling country. Although we are regular visitors to the land of Da Vinci and DelPiero, we are not experts on its economy, but we were somewhat taken aback by some very obvious and some very subtle signals of malaise we picked up. Now, comes The Economist with a special survey about Italy that's ominously titled...
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Eamonn Fitzgerald's Rainy DayI could do that! (27.11.2005, 08:28 UTC)
Might this be the winner of our Job-Title-Of-The-Year Award? "Institutional Strengthener". It is a novel term and it suggests that ex-bodybuilders could have a future in flattening hierarchies and imposing team discipline. The reality is somewhat different, however. The background required is in project planning and management. "Good Spanish preferred together with an ability to work independently and in a team, creatively and sensitively. Applications from disabled candidates welcomed," says th...
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Eamonn Fitzgerald's Rainy DayWord for the wise ® (26.11.2005, 11:23 UTC)
Here we are at W in our Word for the wise ® wander through the alphabet. Last week, we entered the canon (canyon?) of the Seven Deadly Sins: Avarice, Envy, Gluttony, Lust, Pride and Sloth. Today, we grapple with the missing one: wrath means fury marked by a desire for vengeance. The modern equivalent is "anger" and although it's not quite respectable, it is no longer regarded as absolutely opprobrious. When you hear corporate trainers speak of "Anger Management" seminars in the same breath...
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Eamonn Fitzgerald's Rainy DayBest was Best (25.11.2005, 18:48 UTC)
When George Best (1946-2005) was on a particularly devastating bender, it is said that someone advised him to try Alcoholics Anonymous. His response was as brilliant as one of those legendary Old Trafford moves of his: "How could George Best be anonymous?" And that's the truth of the matter. George Best was not anonymous. That's because he was not a mortal. He was a god. Or least, that's how legions of football fans regarded him. And "gods make their own importance," as Patrick Kavanagh, ano...
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Eamonn Fitzgerald's Rainy DayOff with their quotation marks! (25.11.2005, 05:08 UTC)
With sales of "Eats, Shoots & Leaves" topping three million copies and counting, Lynne Truss is not to be trifled with when it comes to punctuation. Recently, in The Daily Telegraph, she had this to say: "Punctuation is a form of politeness: a writer who includes punctuation is a writer who remembers, considerately, that a reader shouldn't have to do all the work of sorting out what he is trying to say." What would she think of this, then? Tales of the old west, he said. Yessir. Lot of people...
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Eamonn Fitzgerald's Rainy DayAmerica is (24.11.2005, 06:56 UTC)
From AMERICA [a text in 99 points] by Paulo José Miranda, a Portuguese writer who won the first José Saramago Prize: 6. It doesn't make sense to say, unless in medieval terms, that America wants to rule the world. It doesn't make sense, because America is the world. It is the world not for having conquered it; but because the world lives from, for and against America. The term New World also doesn't make sense anymore. 16. The Internet Americanized the world more than Hollywood had ...
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Eamonn Fitzgerald's Rainy DayNixon, Woodward and the lesser of two evils (22.11.2005, 23:19 UTC)
How is a blog post created? Many of you, no doubt, will have puzzled over this question. Is it like alchemy or jazz? You know, if you don't got it... Well, hard to say, really. There is some science in it, but there's a bit of cunning, too, and a lot of serendipity. So, here's an example of the evolution of a blog post.
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Eamonn Fitzgerald's Rainy DayDDR Extreme (21.11.2005, 23:12 UTC)
On first coming across "DDR Extreme", we weren't sure whether it was a reference to Germany's new coalition government, which is dedicated to screwing the taxpayer, or if it had had something to do with the ex-workers' paradise officially known as the Deutsche Demokratische Republik (DDR). Maybe "DDR Extreme" was some kind of hard-core stuff for those given to nostalgia for the East German tyranny. But as it happens, "DDR Extreme" is the short way of saying "Dance Dance Revolution Extreme" and i...
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Eamonn Fitzgerald's Rainy DayHoney, I shrunk the newspaper! (21.11.2005, 05:12 UTC)
Chroniclers of the newspaper industry will yet mark 2005 as a milestone. "The year of compactness", is how future media historians may describe it. When it came to downsizing the product in 2005, The Wall Street Journal Europe went further than any of its rivals, but the Guardian was not far behind and now comes Germany's leading financial paper, Handelsblatt, with a redesign today that sees it combine broadsheet with tabloid. One doesn't need a sixth sense to predict that the next iteration...
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Eamonn Fitzgerald's Rainy DayWord for the wise ® (20.11.2005, 08:35 UTC)
Ours is an age of doubt. Maybe that's why we don't build cathedrals much anymore. And the same goes for the architecture of the mind. How many now read the Summa Theologica of Aquinas or the Divina Commedia by Dante? Certainly can't imagine anyone writing such works anymore. Our glories today are technical and commercial and, inevitably, this has led to a shift in values and language. All this, believe it or not, brings us to V in our ongoing Word for the wise ® tour d'alphabet. vanity co...
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Eamonn Fitzgerald's Rainy Dayp*rn, p8rn and n*de s*x (19.11.2005, 13:39 UTC)
A must-read for anyone interested in new media developments is Rafat Ali's PaidContent. If you want to know where the buzz is, visit regularly. Recently, Rafat was pondering the question of whether small screens could mean big business for adult content, and he wrote: "Mobile phones and p*rn already bring in millions of dollars but, sparked by the new Video iPods, non-phone portables are taking center stage." He continued: "...iTunes sells downloads and SuicideGirls was giving away n*de model...
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Eamonn Fitzgerald's Rainy DayI could do that! (19.11.2005, 07:08 UTC)
Outside, the wind is whirling squibs of snow past the window. Inside, the winter woolies are being unpacked. It might be April again before the threat of hypothermia passes. At such times, one wishes for an occupation where the waters are turquoise-coloured, impossibly exotic fish swim in gigantic swarms and the setting sun is unforgettably reflected in one's gin and tonic glass. And there is such a job available right now. ReefDoctor, a UK-based organisation promoting coral reef research and co...
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Eamonn Fitzgerald's Rainy DayGoogle Analytics (18.11.2005, 05:44 UTC)
If a sparrow falls in the virtual forest, does anyone notice the impact? You bet. After all, the mantra of the web is if you can't measure it, you can't mange it, and there's never been a medium that's more measurable, whatever about manageable. INTO this measuring-managing fray now comes Google Analytics and, ever susceptible to the appeal of shiny new things, Rainy Day has signed up with the service. Did we have to sell our soul? No. It's free, actually, but as the world knows, the more you...
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Eamonn Fitzgerald's Rainy DayTales of Ryanair (17.11.2005, 06:15 UTC)
Playing catchup on this one, we are, but it's such a hectic world and Rainy Day is hard pressed to make sense of it all. Anyway, this is tangentially related to that infamous incident last month involving Ryanair in which a group of blind and partially-sighted passengers was ordered off a flight. As the irascible Twenty Major put it in that refreshing style of his: "All a bit shocking really but then you realise it's Ryanair, the airline that wouldn't have given a stable to the Virgin Mary, the...
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Eamonn Fitzgerald's Rainy DayBloggertreff (16.11.2005, 05:20 UTC)
There's nothing quite like "Schweishax'n mit Kartoffelknödel und Krautsalat" to make one thirsty and that meant we had to drink beer. But because we were in Munich's Wirtshaus im Fraunhofer, there was no shortage of the very best brew. We were bloggers: Fabian Mohr, Timo Hetzel, Timo Lüge, Katja Riefler and, special guest, the much-travelled Jeff Jarvis, who regaled us with tales of start-ups and shut-downs. Does the printed word have a future in the internet age? That's what we want...
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Eamonn Fitzgerald's Rainy Dayandrewsullivan.com @ TIME.inc (15.11.2005, 17:52 UTC)
The blogging world is abuzz with the news that after five years of hard slogging, er, blogging, Andrew Sullivan (Technorati blog value $2,052,667.44) is moving his "Daily Dish" to TIME.com in January. "Andrew's blog is the first in what we hope will be a blog neighborhood on TIME.com, offering a central meeting point for opinions from all points of view," a magazine spokesman said. The move comes when TIME is adding more web-exclusive content and a year after it became the first major magazine t...
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Eamonn Fitzgerald's Rainy DayCurrent listening: Kate Bush (15.11.2005, 06:13 UTC)
She's baaaaaaaaaaaack! Has it really been 12 years since the last album? Apparently. Going further back, it's hard to believe that Hounds of Love appeared in 1985. With it, and with hits from it such as Running Up That Hill the prog-rock faerie queen stamped her name on the sound of a decade. And now we're in 2005 and Kate Bush has released Aerial, a double CD. The first disc, A Sea Of Honey, is a personal and public collection of songs. The second disc, A Sky of Honey, is an attempt to capture...
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Eamonn Fitzgerald's Rainy DayOne net to bind us (14.11.2005, 05:06 UTC)
First, the good news. The second phase of the World Summit on the Information Society will start in Tunis on Wednesday. But surely that's the bad news? Isn't this the moment the Chinese and Saudi censors have been waiting for? Won't those who hate the free flow of information use the cover of "empowerment" and the cloak of "internet governance" to appoint their goons as gatekeepers? Well, maybe, but the good news is that by having the summit in Tunis, the organizers have unwittingly shon...
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Eamonn Fitzgerald's Rainy DayI could do that! (13.11.2005, 09:00 UTC)
The Eurasia Foundation is looking for a Program Officer for Special Initiatives in the Islamic World. Written and spoken English, plus fluency in Arabic, Dari, Farsi, Pashto or Turkish along with strong computer skills are required. The Eurasia Foundation "believes that societies function best when citizens take responsibility for their own civic and economic future", and it promotes the advancement of civil society and private enterprise in 12 host countries: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georg...
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Eamonn Fitzgerald's Rainy DayPeter Drucker (1909-2005) RIP (12.11.2005, 16:51 UTC)
Of all the memorable things he said in his lifetime, this remains our favourite: "One either meets or one works." Peter Drucker, who died yesterday at the splendid age of 95, is the man The Economist called "the greatest thinker management theory has produced." He lived a full, rewarding and fascinating life. When he was born in Vienna in 1909, the city was the capital of a vast empire that comprised 50 million subjects and stretched from the Alps to the borders of Russia. When he left Vienna...
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