Horror – Social Networks Are The New Crack

At least according to an Australian researcher named Julian Cole…

“For many moderate to heavy users, checking their MySpace or Facebook account has become an automatic and compulsive behaviour, with some participants reporting they log on up to twenty times a day,” Mr Cole said.

He found that many openly admitted to their addiction and, in an ironic twist, contribute to online confession groups. Full story at Sydney Morning Herald

This got me wondering about young Julian’s research methods. He’s a recent university grad…

Mr Cole’s findings were based on an in-depth survey of 20 participants, chosen from a larger survey of 300 people.

Coincidentally, Julian Cole’s Facebook account shows 373 friends.

Feel free to poke him for me, won’t you ?


Day – I'm Ready For My Surprise Close-up

Oh sure. Totally out of the blue and unplanned.

How fortunate there were so many reporters available to chronicle this amazing act of spontaneity.

Vancouver police investigating another stabbing in the city’s Downtown Eastside had a surprise visitor Thursday morning: Public Safety Minister Stockwell Day.

The minister’s unexpected appearance on a street corner in Vancouver’s grittiest neighbourhood surprised police and reporters who were already at the crime scene.

After emerging without notice from his official car, Day spent a couple of minutes being briefed by Sgt. Anne Drennan, the former VPD media liaison turned beat cop, before talking to reporters while his two handlers looked on.

full story at CBC.ca

If you believe this was a total surprise, drop me a line, I’ve got a bridge for sale.

Can you say hook-line-sinker?

Horror – Social Networking = Productivity Drain

The nerve of them.

Apparently, some employers thinks spending time on social networks like MySpace and Facebook are, well, not exactly essential to the job at hand…

Barracuda [a network security firm], based in Campbell, Calif., blocks its 350 employees from accessing social networks. “Our experience has been that they are a little bit of a productivity drain,” Mr. Drako said.

Barracuda said that in general, 53 percent of companies now restrict employee Web surfing. One in five companies that filter Web surfing also actively monitor employee online activities, which should make you think twice before you SuperPoke a friend on Facebook from your cubicle.    Full story in the NYT

I worked at a large media conglomerate where,  decades before I arrived, employees had somehow convinced management that reading the newspaper was an integral part of their jobs.  It wasn’t unusual to pass cubicle after cubicle and see people deeply absorbed in reading the paper doing research.

Its not surprising, therefore, that there was a near panic stampede a few days ago when a number of social network sites were blocked (for a short while) at this very same former workplace of mine.

But web browsing during office hours on non-work-related sites is nothing new.  This graph represents web traffic over the course of a day…


This happens to be my web server log, but a variation of this graph shows up on 90% of web sites.  Sure there’s evening traffic, but the highest traffic is during regular working hours.  And it’s been like this for as long as I’ve been looking at web traffic graphs (and that’s a long time now).

So, blame Facebook and MySpace all you want.  But remember, if there’s a will, there’s a way to while away the work day.

Canadian Sports Celebrities Are Cheap

What’s it cost to have, say, Ron MacLean from Hockey Night in Canada fame at your event. Apparently this much:

Note: We can only provide personal appearance booking information within the performance fee range listed below. We cannot facilitate access to Celebrities for any other reason.

Performance fee range: $10000 – 25000

That info from GetSportsLegends.com

I guess that’s a way of keeping triflers away – you know – it’s a bit like that “you have to be this tall to go on the ride” things at the PNE.

It strikes me though that this is really not a lot of money for a national broadcast legend. I mean, most Canadians know, dare I say, adore this face:

Ron MacLean

But Mr. Maclean is an exception when it comes to Canadian sports celebrities.You can get Howie Meeker, Dick Irvin or Jacques Demers for somewhere between $1,000 – 5,000 each. (I’ll wager a Horton donut you could get all three for 5k if you put your mind to it).Geez, I know Vancouver reno contractors who make more than that for just showing up on time.

Non-Canadians Chi Chi Rodriquez and Arnold Palmer are listed as $50,000 or more. Meanwhile, you can get Olympic Gold Medalist curler Joan McCusker for, you guessed it, between $1,000 – 5,000.

American Hall of Fame Pitcher Dennis Eckersley – $10,000 to 25,000.

Canadian CFL Hall of Famer George Reed – $1,000 – 5,000.

And it gets worse.

Consider this. There’s a Don Cherry impersonator – not even the real Don Cherry, who gets between $1,000-5,000 per appearance. Same goes for a ventriloquist and another guy who’s billed as a golf comedian. These guys deserve as much as Howie Meeker ? A hockey icon. A man who coined the phrase “roll it back” and “stop it right there” ?

I don’t even like pro sports and I know this is wrong, wrong, wrong.

The only saving grace, and it’s a slim one, is that I’m assuming these rates are in Canadian dollars, because GetSportsLegends is in Regina.

Whew. But still. We’re proud to be hosers, but our sports celebrities shouldn’t be getting hosed.

Please. Stop it Right There.

Someone roll it back and add some zeros for these guys, will ya ?

Flock – More Chrome than a 56 Caddy

That crazy new browser, Flock, has rolled into version 1.0

I really like the way it integrates with Flickr and Facebook and the like. If you can afford the screen real-estate, it’s really quite lovely.

I really like the way it makes use of the address bar with mini tabs and the people sidebar has already become my new must-have. It’s smart to have the browser highlight features that are on a web page, drawing attention to them (like RSS, media files etc) and then providing a way of dealing with them for you. Flock could be one of the best things to happen to RSS since, well, RSS.

My preference is usually for way LESS in a browser – clean and simple – but I find now that I’ve usually got quite a few tabs open at all times and Flock seems to be addressing that by building in a number of things that I would normally have sitting in a tab. So, despite my misgivings, I’m really liking it.

And, what’s not to like about a built-in blog editor.

Click the images for larger screen grabs.

20071105_flock1.jpg 20071105_flock3.jpg

Early beta versions had runs badly on my MacBook, but version 1.0 is smooth and fast on Leopard.

I keep thinking that this is a browser I should hate – so much stuff jammed in – but its nicely engineered and sweetly designed.

Record Industry and Radio Face Off

Is there anyone the record industry isn’t pissing off ?

The membership of the Canadian Association of Broadcasters adopted a resolution opposing the music labels’ copyright payment demand at their Annual General Meeting in Ottawa. The resolution, which was adopted unanimously, exposes the recording industry’s intention to use the Copyright Act to have the private radio industry make up its losses due to file sharing.

Full story in Broadcaster Magazine

It’s hard to stir up sympathy for either side in this one.


At the same convention, the CAB in Ottawa, members of ACTRA turned out to protest lack of Canadian programming by CAB members…

Last year, Canada’s English-language broadcasters spent almost $500 million in Hollywood and a grand total of $40 million on Canadian dramas. For every dollar they spend on drama in Canada, they spent 12 dollars in Hollywood. Full story in Broadcaster

Writers on Strike But Still Funny

American film and TV writers have gone on strike – but there’s always a joke in there somewhere…

Union members have been told that picketing is compulsory, and to hand over unfinished work to the union to ensure that that there is no furtive writing.

The strike poses a dilemma for writers who are also producers or creators of their shows.

“I have to figure out how to strike and picket myself,” said Spike Feresten, a former writer/producer on the “Seinfeld” show who now has his own weekly talk show on Fox. “How do you egg yourself? How does that work?”

Full story at Canada.com

Hubert Lacroix is new CBC President

Montreal lawyer and broadcaster Hubert Lacroix has been named president and chief executive officer of the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. and Radio-Canada.

Heritage Minister Josée Verner said Monday that Mr. Lacroix, chosen one of the top lawyers in Canada for 2008, has the experience and skills to lead the public broadcaster. Full story at the Globe and Mail.

InsideTheCBC has pretty much the same copy.

Over at the Zarlink.com site, where he’s a director, you get some sense of his background (and a nice corporation pic):

Mr. Lacroix has more than 25 years’ experience in the fields of mergers and acquisitions of public companies, and corporate finance.

According to FindLaw.com his area of expertise is “Business Organizations” so he should have a hey-day at CBC.

Good luck to Mr. Hurbert.

Get Taunted With Your CBC Tax Dollars

This really has to be the last post from me about the CBC today.


Isn’t it a bit weird that if you write to CBC “Audience Relations” to ask a question or complain about something, or I don’t know, audience relate, there’s a good chance your comments will be made public and ridiculed by all ?

Regardless of whether it’s a Crown Corporation or not – this is just bad business, bad customer relations, and what the heck…MEAN SPIRITED.

Gives you a REAL good indication of what they think of their audience.

Shame on you and again and again.


Sorry I Broke the CBC !

While I was looking around for info on the Chalmers “retirement” on InsideTheCBC the official blog of the CBC (they had no information on it) I think I broke something.

Sorry, just my usual bull-in-a-china-shop-self I guess (click the thumbnail for an image you can actually read).


I really like the “fix this problem yourself” bit.

I guess it’s supposed to be a Web 2.0 thing, you know, empower the user.

But it reads more like “hey asshole, you broke it, you fix it”.

Wait now.

The more I think of it, maybe they should migrate this over to the main CBC.CA site for people to use when they write-in about shows they don’t like.

You know, something quick, simple and easy:

To fix this program yourself, please selection from the following options:

Get Better Host
Get Better Music
Get Connected to RealityClick here to save your changes.