With Reasonable Diligence

For those of you in the UK you may find, like I, that the whole traffic offence situation is getting more then slightly tedious. It’s not that I do not appreciate exquisite driving and safety on the roads, I do unquestionably. However, I find the current “nannying” culture of UK traffic policing a Royal pain the ass.

I’m not even speaking from naivety, I’ve travelled, I’ve lived in other countries for very extended periods of time, I’ve experienced first hand how other cultures adopt a more humanist approach to “slowing down” the traffic.

In the UK June 2007, we have an estimated 12,209 speed cameras, yes I know, that’s plain dumb. 12,209 cameras on differing points ready to “snap” your licence plate as you hurtle passed the thing doing more miles-per-hour (MPH) than you are legally allowed.

So what’s the outcome? – well a big juicy fine and points deducted from your driving licence, you typically get 3 deducted for each offence, 12 points later, no licence. The trouble is you see, it is the penalising nature of this system which aggravates me, you are punished unquestionably for doing a few MPH over the limit, and penalised in a most aggressive and fascist manner.

In reality the great speed camera of the UK has become an income generating revenue stream, where hundreds of thousands of pounds are taken daily. This is common knowledge, councils will actively seek out potential “black-spots” for income generation. I do know a guy, working in this field who informed me this is part of the sales pitch for new cameras!

The humanist approach (as is apparent in Italy as example) would be to have speed detecting equipment which throws up a warning sign saying slow down, and for particularly vulnerable areas, like busy towns or school entrances have speed activated traffic lights, and then if the lights are jumped THEN fine.

Speed cameras in their current state do not make people drive slower, they make people drive slower passed those cameras only. A whole database industry exists which creates daily updates of all known cameras and once dumped into your PDA gives you a warning of an oncoming speed camera.

If you do get caught (rather than politely warned, oh no that’s too intelligent) bear in mind you DO NOT have to pay up immediately, they have to prove it was YOU driving the vehicle, and with reasonable diligence.

In this first instance ask for photographic evidence of the crime scene, which must be provided.

Secondly, ask for proof that the camera equipment had a recent calibration, again this must be provided. Thirdly, if that comes, and you cant not be identified, you can enter into a “without reasonable diligence” plea as it could be anyone driving the car.

Here is a handy letter you could use in your dialogue with the traffic police.

Dear Sir

I refer to your letter dated xxth month 2007, in relation to an alleged traffic offence.

I thank you for forwarding photographic evidence of the said offence, which does indeed show the car registration mark xxxxxx as being present, of which I am the registered owner.

However, the evidence does not identify who the driver was, and as stated in your letter “the purpose of the image is to place the vehicle at the location at the time and date specified and it is not intended to identify the driver of the vehicle”.

In light of this evidence it is proving to be extremely difficult in identifying the driver of the vehicle for this date and time and I cannot, with reasonable diligence, ascertain who this was.

Yours faithfully

Here is a link to Road Traffic Offences in UK

What do you think, is it just me, do you like speed camera, why, couldn’t there be a better system?

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Voices In Business

So the summer is basically upon us, certainly here in UK we are having daylight up to around 10pm, which I so love. Naturally my thoughts go out to those of you who work in reverse such as the Australians, but then again you beat the Brits at Cricket so you can’t have it all.

So as summer is here, now is the time to start relaxing and making the most of your friends and acquaintances, spending time outside, on the beaches, fields, lakes, wherever. We have almost finished another cohort of students and examinations are pending, so I wish to send my best wishes out to those of you that relates to, and also want you to remember there is light at the end of the tunnel!

I’m a fan of keeping in contact with all ex-students no matter from where they come or go, the world is a fairly small place really and you never know when paths may cross again, so I do ask you to stay I touch with me personally. I can be found on many social networks, where a quick email or IM, or poke, nudge, wink, will get to me somehow.

I met one of my ex-students who studied at Audiocourses.com this passed week, Mike O’Hara, Mike has gone on to launch his own business known as Voices in Business which is a Podcast service for business experts, he really is on the way up to great things. It was so good to catch up with Mike and hear about how things are progressing for him and his business since being a student with us.

These types of relationships should be welcomed and fed, in the business of entertainment and music, it really is about having really good friends, in fact I think in almost all the media related niche subjects this is true, do you?

So if you have not yet found me on a social network pop along here and choose one, I’ll be waiting for you.


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Moving Forward With The ACHUB

Audiocourses.com has been operational for around 7 years now, since being started way back in 2000 as a Post Graduate research project. Since then the school has graduated people all over the globe and has a member base of over 12 thousand and become a Private Limited Company.

The main activities of the school are:

• Providing distance learning solutions in the field of music technology
• Providing daily pro-audio news press releases
• Continual research into educational methodologies, particularly immersive environments for the enhancement of our virtual community.

I’m really proud of the way the audiocourses.com community has grown so well, there are some wonderful people involved with it, and students regularly come back and stay in touch. The “virtual community” is the essential link in the chain, the glue, the driving force of what makes it all work.

Over the last 12 months the school started exploring additional concepts for bolstering the virtual community including regular podcasts, (though we did “audioblog” back in 2005) and began researching SecondLife as an educational platform, to add value to our students. I’m actually working on a PhD proposal in educational technology, so it ties in beautifully.

It soon became apparent that we needed a group within the 3D world, so the ACHUB was founded in 06. The ACHUB has always been a not-for-profit venture which has an abundance of volunteers getting involved with promoting some wonderful events, mainly with an educational/research slant. One particular highlight was our Spring Festival back in March which saw (among others) Oxford University present a paper on using SecondLife for medical research and simulation.

So I see the ACHUB as a potential “gem” for our virtual community to move forward and share, what we do at the school, and also with others working in education, new-media, podcasting, blogging, machinima etc. by way of extending events into real-life meet-ups. I also want the ACHUB concept to grow in an organic fashion and encourage anyone to run events themselves relating to anything it is that the ACHUB is concerned with, we have a Charity event coming up for example in June.

I was intending to host/plan/organise an event at BCUC this coming October, under the brand of Podcamp, I was directly asked to get involved. I love the Podcamp concept, (and it is awesome), I enjoyed the experience PodcampNYC immensely and I think what those guys do and will do with that is outstanding for all concerned. But by including that brand into my very early-seed event planning in the UK I have been presented with difficulties which are more than tedious, and selfishly, and from a business perspective, see no reason why I should follow the idea through any further. I see no reason to be a champion for the brand here when there are enough apparent champions currently, it’s just banging a head against a wall to get people to see it.

So I am now completely withdrawing the planned event from the Podcamp brand, (sorry guys) and I will be hosting an event under the brand ACHUB which amounts to the same thing in almost every way, it will be a MediaCamp of sorts, but of course has zero history or baggage, zero relatedness and void of politics from any existing community. It’s new, fresh, dynamic, and will rock, no matter the size, everyone will be welcome, anyone can run with it, anywhere anytime.

I’ll still attend Podcamps, I’ve met some awesome people, but I’ll selfishly not fight to organise something which has too many traffic cops involved currently, everyone seems to be an expert. I guess you can’t please all of the people all of the time, just some of the people some of the time.

So moving forward, do check out the ACHUB activities that have taken place in the past and what is planned for the future. The ACBASH in Amsterdam in July is one I’m excited about, as a school we have been mentioning a real-life meet-up for what seems years, students I’ve only met virtually and staff too, will be there!! Feel free to come meet us in Amsterdam or any of the other events that take shape, and hey set one going yourself!

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Pizza And Mayo Is Tasty

I’m cross posting this one from Audana.com, as though it rightfully sits in the portfolio it’s also one of my thought processes so belongs here too.

Pizza and Mayo is a cute little portal which asks one question per page, typically a question where there is one, usually obvious, answer. Do you prefer coffee or tea? – For example.

Pizza & MayoThe idea for this wordpress driven site is really about presenting slightly thought-provoking text, where the text presented asks one question, one subject, with the sole purpose of drawing a user response. The minimalist design is definitely purposeful in this matter for focussing the mind on just that one thought, that one question.

The conceptualisation came together on the back-end of an interesting story concerning a friend of mine CC Chapman.

CC was in NYC on some business and letting his twitter followers know that he was thinking of grabbing a pizza, when I replied “try some mayo on your pizza”, you may say the same as CC, (WHAT!!!) but trust me it does work, of course not if you dislike mayo, but if you like mayo, it works good.

So the sight was born, a teaser for presenting slightly off the wall comparisons, questions, subjects.

There is currently an rss feed available along with the ability to have any new questions e-mailed to subscribers.

The data-set collected may be re-used in some way in the future; I’m not sure yet, not even sure how or why, but possibly it could build up a profile of the posters.

Do penguins have knees?

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MediaCamp BUCKS Wiki

I mentioned yesterday that I am initiating the organisation of a MediaCamp in Buckinghamshire University, UK, taking place around October.

I have set up a wiki page for this here. (http://achubbucks.pbwiki.com/)

If you are interesting in taking part in this I welcome you to get involved and edit any related entries onto the wiki yourself. Wiki editing is one of those open and sharing concepts, which is what MediaCamp is all about.

I’m aware wikis are an alien concept to some of you, particularly those of you who are used to receiving your information in a “drip-feed” manner. If YOU are not used to that form of participation now is your chance to learn, it’s actually very simple.

“A wiki (pronounced , or ; see Pronunciation below) is a web application that allows users to add content, as on an Internet forum, but also allows anyone to edit the content. Wiki also refers to the collaborative software used to create such a website (see Wiki software).”

It is the collective nature of the wiki concept which can yield such a wonderful pool of resources, it is a very empowering medium because you the participant feel you have, and you do, and equal hand in the organisation of the information or event, this is a fundamental principle of MediaCamping.

Though I am initiating the MediaCamp at Bucks, and I’ve listed myself as an organiser, I am in no way, nor wish to be seen, as “the” authority on it. However, I am more than happy to be associated as some kind of “anchor”, or “contact” or “community developer” (love that title) for the camp, but the organising, promoting, sponsor chasing, engagement of it all is done by all of us, and we are all equal in this.


[I’ve edited this post to change the term Podcamp to MediaCamp, along with the url for the wiki] – 10/05/07

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What Do I Hope To Achieve From A Podcamp?

So firstly what exactly is a Podcamp? I know for some of the UK readers of this blog this is probably an unknown concept, the majority of the UK population hasn’t really engaged in this type of activity previously, I say majority.

A Podcamp then is a form of un-conference, taken from the concept of a Barcamp.

“BarCamp is an international network of unconferences — open, participatory workshop-events, whose content is provided by participants — focusing on early-stage web applications, and related open source technologies and social protocols.” – – (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BarCamp).

I like this a lot, in fact that wikipedia link is worth taking some time exploring to get to grips with the foundations of what a Barcamp is, and it is important to understand this conceptually. A Podcamp being a Barcamp with the focuss on Podcasting, Blogging and New-Media, essentially a Barcamp with a tighter focuss.

The other concept to understand is that a Podcamp is an un-conference.

“An unconference is a conference where the content of the sessions is driven and created by the participants, generally day-by-day during the course of the event, rather than by a single organizer, or small group of organizers, in advance.”

This concept being very different to a typical “sage-on-the-stage” led conference.

– (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unconference)

This is a beautiful concept, a totally open and sharing environment where like-mined people come together and exchange information in a free-flowing manner. The fact that everyone in attendance is equally important really is beautiful, it is empowering and motivating and very much inclusive.

I am in a position to host a Podcamp Un-conference at BCUC, a University going through modernisation in the county of Buckinghamshire, UK.

BCUC is located in High-Wycombe which is off Junction 4 of the M40, intersecting on the 404 with the M4, Heathrow airport is around 20 minutes by car, the train line runs from Birmingham to Marylebone London, reaching London in 30 mins.

BCUC had 9,000 students on part-time and full-time courses in 2005/6 – including 4,246 who are studying for undergraduate degrees. A potentially rich hot-bed of new future rockstars eager to embrace new-media.

So what are my intentions then?

So my main intentions for a Podcamp at Bucks are to raise the awareness of Podcasting, Blogging and New-Media to those people who are NOT currently in the “circle of trust” (to use a very bad Meet The Fockers analogy). I wish to break out of the tight-knit community which can exist with any new cult-like activity and genuinely reach out to new-comers to the field, the people who are clueless to this. I want students and staff at BCUC to take an active part, I want local business to take an active part and learn something about social-networking, I want old-style broadcasters to pop along and “get it”. I want people to take an interest who have never before been in this environment. I want operators in the “circle of trust” (Christ I hate that) to give and share without agenda, I want them to come from a far and show off what they do and how they do it, I want them to be open, giving and passionate.

The date for this Podcamp is yet undecided, quite possibly it will be around October 07 when the students return to study, thus getting mass numbers involved when the buzz on campus is high.

I can’t stress how important I personally feel it is to reach out beyond our circle, so tell the taxi driver what it is you do, explain to the local politician what it is you do. It is vital we all get out of the box, vital we communicate to one person who has no concept of a podcast, a blog, or what new media is.

Anyone can start the ball rolling for a Podcamp, anyone at all, YOU can. If you blog or podcast why don’t you get one going in your town or city or village. The thing is a Pocamp doesn’t have to be a huge grand mighty affair, it doesn’t have to be massively covered by the press, it could be a small meet-up in a village pub on a bank holiday between 5 of you. If you bring one person in who was previously unaware of these tools you have achieved something great.

There is no central policy organisation, some basic points to adhere too only, nor should there ever be regulations, there is no “hand-of-god” to usher you into something you are uncomfortable with, if you want to do one, just do it!

So what are you thoughts? Do you appreciate my intentions? Would you like to get involved? Would you like to run a Podcamp?

PODCAMPBUCKS [edited with updated link]

Comments encouraged.

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