Friday, June 26, 2009

Oh, blog off!

Or... how not to mess with your blog.

I'll let this set the scene as it is pertinent: quirky-social-product-development

I came here specifically to post to you, and was going to apologise for being O/T as the thread more appropriate to my intended comment (follows below) - the green gadget one - is no longer so enabled with this spiffy new system.

However, I think I can kick off by still being being relevant.

As an international Gold Medal-winning, multi-awarded, all-the-PR-you-can't-pay-the-bills-with-yet inventor of an eco packaging design, I gave quirky a gander.

Sadly, as most of us are, they are in competition with a horde of others, and I have lost count of the number that will charge one 'just' $99 for an intro to some folk they might know who might help.

Which may explain the lack of decent entries? I'd be hard pressed to see it as worth it, especially as my design is for mass marketing and really won't fit the model. I am seeking to licence about a billion a day. And moving from design to prototype to short-run moulds to full-blown seems a stretch at first glance.

However, the value of the PR and market research may tip the balance, especially if the founders have some IT scores on the board that gets PR from IT types like you. Reflected glory and all.

Now, on to the reason for seeking you out. Not easy as you and some other valued (to me) colleagues don't seem to be quite as valued (by the head honchos) in this spiffy revamp, and took a bit of locating under all the politico, sporty & opinion big guns who I will now be sparing my blood pressure by mostly passing on in future.

Just wanted to say that where I used to surf, skim & select all in the main scrolling version, I no longer have the time to do what the system demands and cherry pick, but will make a note of checking back here specifically as the odds of a green post are good. Maybe not as often as I did,but there you go.

A real pity, as I have found worthy enviro posts in odd places across many of the blogs, but will have to forgo most as there really is not enough time.

Seems an odd way to drive viewing figures, but there you go.

What this does not do is fully address the horror of what these clowns have done to a system that seemed to work pretty well, and by not being broke as far as I could see, didn't need fixing.

For those that don't know, all the blogs went up chronologically in a massive scrolling page, broken up by 'back' & 'next' breaks. Hence you could see exactly what was new simply by starting at the top and working back to where you left off last. If it was of no interest (such as sport) you skipped by. But there was usually a headline, subhead, picture and first para to scope to see if it was worth delving further.

No they expect me to check a few score specific thread case there might be a new or interesting piece? Numpties. Just waiting for a page to load takes 30". Multiply that by the number of channels and there's my tea breaks gone before I see anything.

And I am not sure I am alone in not thinking this has been a real advance.

But at least I got a blog out of it. Though I will miss the odd green avenue I stumbled across, often from non-tech or green authors.

And as we try and make this blog and better, boy, do I have some great examples of what not to do!

A new look

Welcome to the new Telegraph blogs

Thank you for your feedback

Some of the ostrich/'hear no evil' monkey responses from the Telegraph's great and good puts one more in mind of the current Government. And such as 'listening' and 'responding' to minor stuff and ignoring dirty great elephants in the room. Which is odd, as this is just what they seem to mock them for.

I can live with a light grey type. I have no time to devote to scores of separate threads. Which one are they now 'urgently looking at'?

Addendum 1 -

Of course, one constant drip from the 'professional', 'quality', paid, establishment media is that you can't trust what Bloggers write. If they say so: Press Association and Big Media Fail to Double Source

I can't afford the resources of these guys. But I do have a well-primed eyebrow and tend to slap a few caveats in if the sources are dubious, such as the Government, the BBC, any press spokesperson, 'scientists', quangos, charities, 'research', 'polls'....

Addendum 2 -

Just scoping the Indy. Their 'system' is called Live Journal, and it sucks too. Just looking at some major stories and they have no comments. This seems unlikely. So it's not just my Mac OS and Safari browser then. I wrote to the web, IT and editors to tell them, but no reply. They really are an insular bunch who don't take well to customer feedback.

Guardian - Telegraph relaunches blogs, now powered by WordPress

RE:view - Which? does packaging

The July '09 Which Magazine is a bit of a greenie bumper edition.

I have already mentioned two other topics covered, but just as recent additions to the CATEGORY sections they complemented (see recent CARBON TRADING and PLASTIC BAGS Labels).

However, there is one main one they have tackled which, for obvious reasons, piqued my interest: PACKAGING, with a piece called 'Don't keep it under wraps'.

So, what was of note?

The first thing is that it concentrated pretty much on supermarkets and own labels. Therefore the big brands escaped investigation. You will not find Heinz or P&G or Unilever there, and that's a lot of plastic (which, at the end of the day, was the near exclusive focus).

What was interesting was when they got into 'like-for-like' comparisons on weight which, bearing in mind the constant reminders I have been getting from WRAP for donkeys on the joys and successes of lightweighting with the Courthauld Cabals , struck a few chords.

Try good old Plan A M&S bacon slice packs a stonking 40% more than Sainsbury's, and explained away as 'within expected variations'. Such airy ways with numbers might explain a few things in the boardroom of late! Or try Morrisons Cheddar slices at 86% more than 'eco-evil' Tescos.

Thing is, such specific samples and examples really don't address the overall main issue, and the piece acknowledges this and merely ends up repeating what we know and bang on about, seemingly to very deaf ears, as quangos, councils, government and big business all point at each other in tut-tutting at how tricky it is to deal with all this due to the huge variations in rules, regs and waste disposal systems.

And, often, it seems that those who often like to claim how green they are can often... slip. Don't know about you, but this latest Waitrose ad looks to me more like a plastics' packaging showcase.

What we do at Junkk can't help mitigate much either, as we are mainly here to advocate reuse. But every little bit helps:) There was a feature on a chap who Which? had asked to keep what he couldn't recycle... for a week. Well, try 5 years, and counting, as I have! I am struggling on most of these trays too, but when you have a stack 100 high of identical ones, you do start to think big. So I am getting glimmers. They are plastic, so they are invincible to weather. And they are black, so they absorb heat. You'll see where I am going. Just my luck when they all end up on biodegradables, which initially might seem a solution, but then one needs to ponder, as I have before, on what organics biodegrade to. Not easy, this being green and not just looking it.

But, for now, if anyone else has some ideas of their own, don't forget the plastics reuse competition.

Return fair?

Newsnight's 'Ethical Man' has enjoyed a high profile journey of late.

And I have followed, not always approvingly.

Now his latest has come to an end: Looking back over an action-packed odyssey

Sadly, I feel we are again in an area of the best messengers for the message, as this frank if perhaps not wise introductory justification from his plane seat* would suggest :

'... to be honest, I have had enough... I know it's a cop out'. Ain't flying great (well, in most ways) when others pay (especially if it's for the family, too... ask the DG). There's also the small matter of *'Doing this 6500 mile trip around America without flying' So, basically, it has all just been a bit of show for a show that has green more as a theme. Hmn. Inspiring. But I have enjoyed the bits without the agenda bolted on, especially anything that reduces practically, improves efficiencies and minimises waste. These, and those who create them, are who I hold out real hope for.

His last series ended after a year with him dropping most things mainly because, as far as I could judge, on a personal basis he didn't find it much fun and, fortunately for him, professionally there was no need to keep on doing it as the cameras were now off.

Not sure things will work out too well if the rest of the population being treated to programmes of this nature adopt the same attitude.