Sunday, March 25, 2012

Boris only likes cars...

Saw some bits from the Londonist on how the cost of transport in London has been changing from 2000 to 2012. Noticed some obvious hiking from Boris so thought would be nice to do a version of the Obama bar chart that shows unemployment.
I've assumed that Boris was in charge of the prices from 2009 onwards.
First, the one that hits the poorer people harder - bus fares.

This one shows very clearly how aggressively prices have gone up on the price of the standard bus fare. Maybe this is what's paying for the new buses?

Weekly passes had followed a similar trend but looked like they had been a priority for savings. Now it looks like they're going up just the same:

On Tube fares, I've replaced the cash price with the price of an Oyster card single journey as that seemed the most appropriate for Londoners rather than tourists (keen on the cash price remaining high to screw tourists!). Once you look like this it's pretty clear that Boris has been raising these like a madman.

The weekly numbers show that he's made pretty much no difference whatsoever -the numbers keep on going up.

He hasn't been as harsh to the congestion zone, only raising it once during his whole term and reducing the area it covers. Although he may talk lots about cycling, he actually seems to be nicest to motorists:

Just thought it necessary to emphasise while he's running talking about how he's saved us pennies in Council tax while taking pretty substantial amounts out through TFL rate rises.

Graphs from the Google Charts API. A little bit easier than D3, but difficult to do anything especially funky with them.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Integrated Marketing Campaigns

For everything people have been saying about John Lewis' new TV ad, it's interesting seeing what's live for digital advertising at the moment:

Not quite as interesting!

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Six ways you can support the Guardian | Info |

Seems slightly desperate, but it's a good idea.

------ from, via Google Reader
Subscribe to the Guardian and Observer before the end of this month and pay only £5 per week for our seven-day package – a saving of 45% on the cover price

Saturday, July 16, 2011

How to Install Google&;#39;s Note in Reader Bookmarklet in iPad&;#39;s Safari

Great - this does work!

------ from, via Google Reader
If you want to install in your iPad's Safari a Google's Note in Reader bookmarklet, just in case you really need to share something from your mobile browse

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

How the Cable/Willetts market in higher education ended up inflating fees

Some nice quotes to remember

------ from Left Foot Forward, via Google Reader

Remember all that lovely spin about how higher education tuition fees of more than £6,000 a year would be rare?

“Mr Willetts gave warning that universities should only charge maximum fees only in ‘exceptional circumstances’.” – The Daily Telegraph, February 21st 2011

“People keep citing £9,000. You know, £9,000 should be the exception not the rule. If you want to go through the £6,000 barrier you are going to have to jump through a lot of hoops.” – The Independent, December 5th 2010

“Simon Hughes (Bermondsey and Old Southwark) (LD): ’One of the worries out there is that all universities might end up being allowed to charge £9,000. What assurance – what rules, what guarantees-can my Right Hon. Friend give that “exceptional” will mean “exceptional”, and that £6,000 will be the limit for most universities in the country?’

“Vince Cable: ’That is a highly pertinent question in the light of the experience of the last government, who had a two-tier system. There was a migration of all universities to the top of the range. They operated, in effect, like a cartel, and that must be stopped.’” – Hansard, December 9th 2011

Well, it’s all turned out rather differently.


As the BBC reported this morning:

More than a third of England’s universities have had their plans to charge £9,000 for every course officially approved. Some 58% will be allowed to charge £9,000 for at least some courses in 2012, said the fees watchdog the Office for Fair Access.

One major reason why is that universities fear students will price as shorthand for quality, so resulting in universities actually competing to raise prices. As Left Foot Forward reported recently, the Vice Chancellor of De Montford University, Professor Dominic Shellard, told his student newspaper that DMU will charge £9,000 next year because:

“…whether we like it or not there’s a correlation between what you charge and people’s perception of quality. We’re quite ambitious as an institution, we want to go well beyond this notion that we’re a post-92 institution. It was a reflection of our ambition.”

We are fast heading towards a two-tier higher education sector where potential employers will ask applicants “did you go to a £9K university?”; strangely, senior Liberal Democrats said they changed thier minds on tuition fees due to the need to reduce the deficit.

Yet, with government paying fees up front and institutions competing to drive prices upwards, we have a recipe for increasing government debt, at least in the short term.

Watch these kids play Star Wars on a giant touch screen


------ from Boing Boing, via Google Reader

It's probably the level of concentration required, but these kids do not look nearly as excited about what they are doing as I think they should.

For the last two years, University of Illinois at Chicago graduate student Arthur Nishimoto has been working on this incredible-looking video game based around a multi-touch interface. According to the YouTube page, the game:

... explores how a real-time interactive strategy game that would typically rely on complex keyboard commands and mouse interactions be transferred into a multi-user, multi-touch environment. Originally designed for use with TacTile, a 52-inch multi-touch LCD tabletop display, "Fleet Commander" game play has been ported to
EVL's 20-foot wide multi-touch LCD wall, Cyber-Commons. "Fleet Commander" uses Processing, an open source programming language.

There's more about the game's development at Nishimoto's website. Also: In before the Orson Scott Card jokes!

Video Link

Via and Carl Wirth

Used bike ad is slightly militant


------ from Boing Boing, via Google Reader

"Anyone buying this bike for a "fixie conversion" will be shot."

(Via Kent Peterson)

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Google working on a marketplace for advertisers to buy and sell your data

This might be fun. If we can get some gold standard demographic data being fed in, things could get much more interesting.

------ from VentureBeat, via Google Reader

MoneyGoogle is working to create an online exchange where digital marketers can buy, sell and trade data on individuals, according to an Ad Age report.

Google deflected many questions we had about the service with a single, short statement.

“We’re working on a few initiatives with partners to improve the way that users, advertisers and publishers manage third party data, but there’s no single product or timetable,” according to a spokesperson.

Former DoubleClick executive and current Google VP Neal Mohan echoed that statement.

“If our vision is a comprehensive one, it needs to contemplate data in addition to ad inventory,” Mohan told AdAge.

A person familiar with DoubleClick’s internal workings told VentureBeat that an imminent product launch is not in the works. At this point, Google still has much to do before it can introduce one or many products that can deliver this type of service to marketers.

The move could help Google re-establish itself as a powerful and innovative force in advertising. But it also could gain scrutiny from privacy advocates that are nervous about such a large scale of user data being traded.

The exchange, which AdAge claims is known internally as “DDP,” will connect marketers in such a way that they can sell wide swaths or small fragments of audience data to each other. It will also work with Google’s DoubleClick server to help online publishers sell their data just as they would sell ad space. The exchange will compete directly with companies that already sell user data like Targus Info, Claritas and Catalina Marketing.

The report notes that data providers plan to strip out identifiable information when they sell user data, but because Google will be connecting companies at such a large scale, the project will likely receive a close look from privacy advocates.

Berin Szoka, president of tech policy think tank TechFreedom, said the concept of this data marketplace is a great idea for helping ad-supported publishers. But he notes Google would do well to implement the product with strong privacy controls.

“Google has the potential to do this in a very privacy friendly way,” Szoka said. “The company has already built considerable transparency into how ads are served. Extending that framework to how data is exchanged could be a big win for privacy, especially if such a market facilitates enforcement of existing self-regulatory commitments. Doing this correctly is the best way for Google to prevent further government involvement.”

Filed under: media, VentureBeat

Monday, July 11, 2011

How digital detectives deciphered Stuxnet, the most menacing malware in history

LOTS of detail about the Stuxnet virus. Brilliant to see Wired and Ars working together!

------ from, via Google Reader
It was January 2010 when investigators with the International Atomic Energy Agency realized something was off at the uranium enrichment plant outside Natanz in central Iran. Months earlier, someone had silently unleashed a sophisticated and destructive digital worm that had been slithering its way through computers in Iran—to sabotage the country's uranium enrichment program and prevent President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad from building a nuclear weapon.