Cyber crime gangs from 25 countries targeting UK

The chairman of the commons Home Affairs select committee posed one simple question to Commissioner Adrian Leppard. With regards to cyber crime, Keith Vaz asked the head of the City of London police, "Are we winning this battle?"

[caption id="attachment_20588" align="aligncenter" width="646"]cyber crime space cop cyber crime on the up but police numbers to be cut[/caption]

Mr Leppard's response was equally succinct, conceding "We are not winning."  No shit, Sherlock?

Not only are the Met losing the battle against cyber crime, but online fraud and identity theft are also recognised as global phenomena "rising exponentially," according to the Commissioner.

Keen to impress exactly how far we are behind in the battle against online fraud, Vaz also suggested that gangs of cyber criminals are "running rings around" the best officers the Met has to offer.

300 global internet fraud gangs identified

Whilst Nigeria was once the main focus of activity for training teams of online fraudsters, it seems that the hub of cyber crime has shifted. It's now believed that Russia and Eastern Europe are where the main threats are now based.

What's perhaps even more disconcerting than the news of online crime escalation is both where the funds are headed and who the victims are. More than half being conned are over 65, with al-Qaeda being the main beneficiaries.  In real terms, the terrorism threat is still there and we're unwittingly funding it.

Cyber crime estimated at £35bn per annum in the UK

The average victim of cyber crime said to be fleeced for around £25,000, so it's really no wonder that over 8% of the world's cyber criminals are targeting the UK. The overall cost of fraud to the UK is £70bn per annum. Around 50% of that total figure is extracted from trusting victims online.

It's not only doddering individuals being conned out of their pension pots. Okay, 10% of the net cyber crime figure is attributed to senior citizens being swindled into investing in dodgy share scams. However, retailers have also reported a rise in online fraud of almost a third in 2012.

Things are only going to get worse, too. Commissioner Leppard underlined the problem by pointing out that 200 of the 800 trained cyber crime officers are due to be lost due to cuts in spending.  Where is the sense in that equation?  But what can the Government say about identity theft when they're the biggest culprits?

With the UK's crime-fighting capability collapsing and online criminal activity rising, it feels a bit like being on board the USS Enterprise.  Only with the deflector shield being powered by a couple of dodgy AA batteries and Captain Berk Kirk calling for more power when Scotty needs what little power left for the defence of our ship.

And just for the record in the Captain's Log, neither the cyber criminals nor the Duracells look like being charged any time soon...

Have Your Say:

  • Is there enough information about cyber crime available?

  • If you saw these figures, would you be cutting cyber cops by a quarter or increasing the department's training and capability?

photo credit: ssoosay via photopin cc

Christmas Premier League fixtures - far from the mad home crowd

Paul Whitehouse's Aviva ad with the 'Green Army' hitting the road to watch Plymouth Argyle at Newcastle is a classic. Okay, maybe the game's fictitious as far as Premier League fixtures go. But the reality of the time and expense for travelling away fans this Christmas was no laughing matter.

[caption id="attachment_44041" align="aligncenter" width="646"]Premier League fixtures Sat 22nd December 2012 Premier League fixtures Sat 22nd December 2012[/caption]

Irrespective of whether you can afford a petrol bill equivalent to Dick Mar Van Nostril Boy's wages or not, the distances between the teams in the Premier League fixtures on Saturday 22nd December were ridiculous.

At a time when you need to be spending time at home getting ready for Santa, every single game entailed a huge round trip.  And when you start adding the price of petrol on top of the over-priced tickets, it's an expense you could do without at this time of year.

Premier League fixtures at holiday time need more forethought

It's easy to poke fun at the Janners in Whitehouse's advert. But many football fans will follow their team come Hell or high water. In the post-Bhati Brothers era that saw Wolves' teeter on the brink of winding up, trips to Brentford, Tranmere and Barnsley were commonplace. And those were the glamour fixtures.

In a strange turnaround, it is these lower league football fixtures that seem to have accommodated fans' need for derby - or at least local - games over Christmas. Premier league fixtures on the other hand have no such forethought.

As Patrick Collins surmised in his recent article in the Daily Mail, football fans remain
faceless legions who can be shunted around the country at the whim of a lazy fixture scheduler or an arrogant television executive.

But it wasn't only the distance of the round-trip fans had to contend with on Saturday. The Great British weather was also a factor. And not because of unplayable pitches, either.

The West Bromwich Albion football team didn't arrive at Loftus Road until 2:00pm. Kick Off was subsequently delayed, making the day out to London an even longer one for the Baggies' fans.

The blame was laid firmly at the feet of road closures due to flood warnings and the subsequent traffic in and around London.

It was the only one of the Premier league fixtures to be affected, but games from other divisions were also affected thus.

As you can see from the table above, the shortest round trip was 316.2 miles. For the Stoke fans travelling down the M6 (no picnic in its own rite) it would amaze me if any were away from home for less than eight hours.

And as for the Sunderland fans making the trip down to Southampton, sixteen hours minimum and the day after to recover. That's just what every family needs two days before Santa arrives, arguments about 'the bloody football', innit?

Have Your Say:

  • Should Premier League fixtures be organised around locality over the festive period?

  • Or do the male-dominant away supporters actually like the excuse to be out of the way in the run up to Christmas that these distances entail?


Stonehenge the place to be for winter solstice, weed and whackos

Stonehenge has long been a landmark associated with Pagan and Druid rites. Even whispers of virgin sacrifices to the Pagan Gods. As the Mayan Calendar comes to an end after 5,124 years, a bunch of pot-headed eejits took over the famous stone circle on Salisbury Plain to watch the sun set and a new cycle begin.

[caption id="attachment_18636" align="aligncenter" width="646"]winter solstice sunset over stonehenge winter solstice sunset over stonehenge[/caption]

Estimates put the total number of folk who gathered at Stonehenge yesterday to celebrate the Winter Solstice at 5,000. Which one of them had the brain cell, it's truly difficult to tell from this video, courtesy of The Guardian.

We know that eco-warriors have oft been tagged with the term 'tree-huggers'. It seems that Pagans have their own version, 'Stone Huggers'. What they hope to achieve from getting up close and personal with a lump of rock in the middle of winter is anyone's guess. Other than chilblains, of course.

King Arthur Pendragon leads Stonehenge solstice celebrations

Head druid King Arthur Pendragon explains that druids believe that everything happens in cycles. The end of one era is the beginning of a new one. Now that we have reached the end of time, we become masters of our own destiny. Apparently.

There's nothing written beyond 21/12/12, so let's forget about living to some non-religion and act like twats in the middle of winter around the ruin that is Stonehenge. Somehow, I can't see His Holiness The Pope granting us Catholics similar free reign.
Okay - we've reached the end of the Gregorian Calendar so let's all go piss in the Lake at Lourdes.

Not gonna happen, is it?

Whilst some revellers just basqued in the golden sunset, their experience did seem enhanced by something illegal mixed in with their tobacco. That pleasant look of numbness and karma when every nerve-ending starts to tingle was apparent on the faces of many.

To be fair, the images of the dying winter sun were spectacular through the upright ruins of the ancient monument. But not orgasmic, you know what I'm sayin'?

Do they realise just how stupid they look?

Back to our mate, King Arthur. In his priestly, decorated smock and ridiculous pewter dragon charm bracelet wrapped around his head like a MacEnroe headband, he looked a bit of a tit. Even though others were similarly attired to watch the sun set on the Mayan cycle, he stood out like a Rangers fan at an SPL game.

But the prize for the biggest fruit-bat has to go to the woman who, from start to finish, was wobbling around like someone had nicked her spine. Either that, or she was suffering terrible stomach cramp and everyone was just standing around in a circle amidst Stonehenge's elongating shadows waiting for her to let out one helluva a ripper. It never came. At least not on video.

There was a sense of great expectancy, likewise never materialising on film. Many prayed and meditated. Others just stared at the sun as it dipped between the ancient talisman that is Stonehenge.  One reveller even states in the video that the energy she feels "...is from another dimension...I've come from Suffolk."  Not quite a parallel universe, but close enough.

The pylon slap bang in line with the camera angle and the sunset did sort of spoil the effect. But the worshippers were heedless. A time of passing, meditation, longing and to celebrate new beginnings. And a chance to dress up like a right feckin' eejit whilst getting stoned, in more ways than one...

Have Your Say:

  • Do you think Stonehenge has some mystical power, channelling energy from over five millennia, hence?

  • Or was it just the first ever five-a-side pitch?

photo credit: Cheng I via photopin cc


Ken Barlow got the end of the world wrong too - or did he?

Ken Barlow got the end of the world wrong too - or did he?.

ken barlow closer to figuring out end of the world than mayans

Ken Barlow got the end of the world wrong too - or did he?

Okay, so the Mayan end of the world didn't happen. But the Mayans weren't the only ones to predict something colossal for the Earth in December 2012. I've a feeling Ken Barlow had a prediction a lot closer to the mark.

[caption id="attachment_18617" align="aligncenter" width="646"]ken barlow closer to figuring out end of the world than mayans Ken Barlow was, in my opinion, closer to figuring out the end of the world than the Mayans.[/caption]

There must be something in this being a disciple of spiritual truth. William Roache, whose character Ken Barlow is the longest-serving member of the original cast on Coronation Street, looks to have found the fount of eternal youth.

Okay, he may not look as youthful as in his first black and white scenes in the sixties. But when I read that he was 80, it was a genuine case of WTF? It could also be the amount of lovers the unlikely Gigolo has had on The Street (and off it) over the years that has kept him in tip-top shape.

Ken Barlow is an absolute fecking legend

According to one report - and I'll take this as Gospel, being as we're in a spiritual way - Ken Barlow's Coronation Street romantic dalliances are thus:

  • Wives: three

  • Girlfriends: twenty-four

But that pales in comparison to Bill Roache's reputed track record off screen. Piers Morgan famously estimated that 'Casanova Ken' had slept with over one thousand women. And it's certainly not something the actor denies, either, no matter how embarrassed he says he gets when people nudge him about it:
It was Piers Morgan who put the figure at 1,000 but I don’t actually know how many women I’ve had sex with."

And to be fair, he accredits much of that activity to a time when he 'smoked and drank for England in the Sixties'. It took the actor a long time to realise that sex was a way of expressing love.

And when he did, he met his soul mate, wife Sara, to whom he was married for 35 years. Even now, he still feels Sara's presence, who 'died literally mid-conversation,' three years ago.  He knows that one day, they will be reunited.  It's actually quite touching.

William Roache has given up physical love for spiritual love

Bill has tried to move on. Indeed, he enjoyed a relationship with weather beauty Emma Jesson. At half his age (almost), it's hard to understand why he ended that relationship. But spreading love and enlightenment has become his mission in his dotage.

I'm not sure he's not onto something, either. You'll no doubt have seen the headlines that 'Ken Barlow predicts the end of the world', which were flying about last week. He's quick to put us right on that score:
What I meant by the material world collapsing was that war, famine, poverty . . . the bankers and their terrible greed, the civil unrest across the globe, all these damaging aspects of our world are gradually going to be swept away,"

he explained in his interview with the Daily Mail on the end of the world subject.

Now I know this will sound harsh, but we're all hoping that a lot of positives take effect following the Sandy Nook shooting. The first step to ending civil unrest being the banning of guns in the US.

And what about this for seconds: the European Summit finally agreed an unlikely budget for the coming years. A move that will make all countries represented in the EU more accountable financially.

Not enough to convince you? There were 92 indictments in the International Criminal Trial for Rwanda, a large step towards ending the genocide there. All of these events happened on and around the day Clairvoyant Ken Barlow predicted the sweeping changes across the world.

So if you can see past the Mayan haze, you may want to use Bill as your source for future end of the world predictions. That's if you can catch up with spritely 80-year old, who remains as keen as mustard, if you ask me.

Have Your Say:

  • Is Ken Barlow really clairvoyant?

  • And would you, no matter what your age, ditch Emma Jesson?

Universal Jobmatch: unemployed hacked off as Big Brother gets closer

Iain Duncan-Smith was never a popular man, even in the Major years when he first rose to prominence.

With welfare reform and the impending mandation of Universal Jobmatch, he must have 'the most hated man in Britain' set as some masochistic personal goal.

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="646"]universal jobmatch will end traditional job search Universal Jobmatch will end traditional job search[/caption]

There have been many arguments raised about the severity of next year's welfare reform, conceived by Iain Duncan-Smith, that will gradually roll out throughout 2013.

From the promise of adult carers not being affected being broken to transfer of rent responsibilities to council tenants, there are many opponents waiting for IDS's plan to fail.

But be warned! Until you see what's in store for the unemployed, now being forced to use the Universal Jobmatch site, you ain't seen nothin' yet.

The mandatory uploading of CVs to a universal job site imposed by Iain Duncan-Smith raises cause for concern greater than any of his anti-welfare claimant policies to date.

In order to maintain receipt of Jobseeker's Allowance, the unemployed will be forced to upload their information onto the Universal Jobmatch site as of early next year.

The Universal Jobmatch site already hacked countless times

Only last month, passwords, passport information and N.I. numbers were swiped from the Universal Jobmatch site. In response to the Channel 4 News report, DWP staff added that the necessary security update was an "ongoing process".

The Universal Jobmatch site has been created by Monster at a cost of £16.7M. Whilst Iain Duncan-Smith expects the site to "revolutionise" job search, he wants to be careful it's not a monster that starts a revolution, full stop.

CVs of 700,000 unemployed at mercy of all and sundry

DWP spokesperson has already gone on record as stating:
Nearly 700,000 jobseekers have already registered to use [Universal Jobmatch]...the feedback we've had so far from jobseekers is incredibly positive."

That, however, is a load of bollocks and very much contrary to information received by The Independent.

[caption id="attachment_44026" align="alignleft" width="435"]IDS Welfare Reform Shrinking Benefits IDS may want to do a bit of work on his PR[/caption]

Unemployed people have already volunteered information about Job Centre staff forcing unemployed people to use Universal Jobmatch otherwise risk losing benefit.

And make no mistake, the payment of benefit will be at the discretion of Job Centre staff.

One lady, Melissa, from London, was made to feel 'sick' by two advisors who'd already decided one claimant was going to lose benefit for not signing up to the Universal Jobmatch site.

Bearing in mind that mandation doesn't come into effect until next year, you can already see a precedent in thousands of little Hitlers in entrusted positions.

Regardless of all of the above negativity, there are two even greater very real concerns that override all of the political shenanigans:

  1. The Government will have access to even more data about the unemployed than is good for privacy laws, so "Fuck your recommendations, yet again, Lord Leveson" is the message

  2. And those claiming Jobseeker's Allowance will be at the mercy of hackers, fraudsters and the aforementioned Nazi Job Centre staff.

I just hope that Cameron does one good thing and fucks Iain Duncan-Smith off (he's already tried, once) and that the bald-headed little Tory twat has to upload his CV to the Universal Jobmatch site.

Now that would be justice.

Have Your Say:

  • Is the Universal Jobmatch site a positive move to get the unemployed back into work?

  • Or is it just another ploy from another Tory Government looking to grind the working man (or non-working, in this case) further down into the dirt.

Be careful how you answer; Big Brother is watching you.


Christopher Lee rocks Christmas - it's official

Christopher Lee rocks Christmas - it's official.

[caption id="attachment_44007" align="aligncenter" width="646"]Christopher Lee Heavy Metal Christmas Christopher Lee ~ Heavy Metal Christmas[/caption]

Christopher Lee mashes up Little Drummer Boy and Silent Night good and proper.

Yes, this is THE Christopher Lee with heavy metal versions of the two Christmas classics - this version of Little drummer boy would send Bowie to an early grave and have Bing turning in his.

And, let's face it, there are few more qualified to talk about graves than Hollywood and Hammer's most famous Dracula of them all.

Christopher Lee's next album, The Omens of Death, is out next year. The title sort of gives you an idea of the style, really...

If you can't be arsed to click through the link at the top to read the full article, you can download the two Christopher Lee Christmas carols in MP3 format, here:

If you like those well enough, Christopher Lee's 2010 award-winning heavy metal album (I kid you not) is available, here, also in MP3 from Amazon:

Erm, Merry Christmas, everyone? Enjoy.

Android app programming just became accessible - I think

It's no secret that the future of PCs is in tablet format. Android, iPad, iPad Mini to name just a few. As well as a few quid being made by Google, Apple et al, there's also been a few millionaires created from the cottage industry of app-making. Now, you can do it, too.  Possibly...

[caption id="attachment_18152" align="aligncenter" width="646"]android historical version distribution Apparently, this shows Android historical version distribution - wikimedia commons[/caption]

An Android dev environment is not a corner shop for robots in Weatherfield

Over on Linux.com, Juliet Kemp has begun a series of articles taking us newbies through the concept of Android programming. I say us. She starting talking about a "dev environment" and I thought she meant the corner shop on Coronation Street.

Apparently not, as I then thought we'd taken a trip into Hansel and Gretel land. That used to scare the shit out of me when I was a kid. They were named Grimm for a reason, those German brothers.

Any road up, Juliet was apparently advising us what Android platforms were best to write apps programs for. Well, who though up stupid fecking names like "Gingerbread", "Ice Cream Sandwich" and fecking "Jelly Bean", by jingo!?

Apparently, the pretty little Wikimedia graph above shows how many users are using what Android platforms and the history of take up. So don't start writing for Jelly Bean just yet. Write your apps in Ice Cream Sandwich.

So perhaps this is not for me. And, as she says "it's just fun to write something you can run on your own phone", I guess there's little chance of a riveting date in The Rovers, either.

The only thing I run on my phone is "up large bills." Yep, think about it. But I'm sure there's someone out there who could write the next Angry Birds. I've had a few of them, especially when I've shown them the letter from the clinic.

Start writing Android apps for Gingerbread or Ice Cream Sandwich

But apparently, if you start writing for the 2.3 or 4.0 versions in the Android market, the future generations such as the 4.2 Jelly Bean will be compatible. But not all are backward compatible.

So don't write for Jelly Bean thinking your Gingerbread man's gonna get it. He won't. Totally like I don't get this whole concept, obviously. But I'm sure there'll be tech geeks out there dying to have a crack at writing their own apps for Android.

There is a link through the article where you can download the Android bundle. Thought we were off to Rainbow for a minute. You can then use the SDK with a JDK 6 (not just JRE). You can then use Eclipse or another IDE.

It's at this point I was convinced that I'd started reading an article in English, but then hadn't got a fecking clue what language we were speaking now. So I gave up.

But if you fancy a crack at writing an Android app, aren't scared of the Brothers Grimm and can talk Linux-speak, then head on over to part one of Juliet Kemp's Android Programming for Beginners.  Erm, good luck with that...

Have Your Say:

  • Is it just me being totally thick or does anyone else struggle with geek-speak?

  • What's your favourite Android app? Mine's Evernote, which in itself is probably a little bit sad...

Christopher Lee rocks Christmas - it's official

Christopher Lee, for my generation the embodiment of the vampire, has turned his hand to rock music. His hashed up versions of Silent Night and Little Drummer Boy are earning him legendary status with metal-heads as well as moviegoers.


Unbeknownst to yours truly - and I'm a bit of a metal-head myself - this is Christopher Lee's second foray into the genre. With a third planned for early next year.

Christopher Lee is definitely not dead

Now I don't know whether I'm getting old or confused, but I thought the old bastard was dead. It must be all of those times seeing his Dracula have its head cut off or heart staked that's confuddling me.

You'd be forgiven for thinking that this is some old fuddy-duddy trying to prove that he's still got it. But no. Christopher Lee has got a veritable CV in rock.  What's more, it stretches back almost four decades to 1973.  And he's won prestigious accolades for his more recent ventures into heavy metal.  I know.  Shit the bed!

The Whicker Man - in its own rite, one of the most lauded and original horror flicks of all time - actually featured Christopher Lee's voice on the soundtrack. This was more in the style of his tenor, a voice in which he is classically trained.

Again, his deep, booming voice was called into action for the band, Rhapsody. But Christopher Lee's fascination with Heavy Metal only genuinely became sealed when he worked with Manowar, yet another renowned metal band.

"[Heavy Metal is] rather exciting" - Christopher Lee

It appears that his fascination may not go as far as thrash though, given the summary the actor gave to the BBC
...in terms of history of music, [Heavy Metal's] fairly recent, really. And if it’s properly done and you can understand the story and you can understand what the people are singing and you have the right bands and the right singers, I think it’s rather exciting.”

For the safety of my mortal soul, I'm not going to argue with the living image of Bram Stoker's Dracula. But I don't have to. At the 2012 Golden Gods ceremony, Christopher Lee's "Charlemagne: By the Sword and the Cross" album was awarded Metal Hammer's Spirit of Metal award.

If you're still unconvinced, but don't want to wait until the sequel album (The Omens of Death) hits our shelves next year, snippets of the "surprisingly crushing" Christmas carols are available in the above video.

You can also buy Christopher Lee's full versions of the classic carols as MP3 singles on Amazon.co.uk, as well as the 2010 album:.

Or, if you're an Apple buff, they're also available on iTunes.

So will the old boy's The Omens of Death be a heavy metal classic when it's released next year? You can stake your life on it.

Have Your Say:

  • What do you think of Christopher Lee's "Christmas carols"?

  • Better as an: a) actor or b) metalhead?


Folkestone Racecourse closes with no ARC de Triomphe

Despite the terminology 'temporary closure' being applied to Folkestone Racecourse, its future looks bleak.

The 'outdated' facility is losing money and Shepway District Council seem in no mood to support its losses, despite its instance that it's considering 'alternative options'.

[caption id="attachment_17383" align="aligncenter" width="646"]Horse racing image posted by Folkestone Racecourse on twitter We'll miss Folkestone Racecourse on twitter

As Marc Goldstein headed past the winning post in the Eastwell Manor Handicap Steeple Chase, the victory meant more than most. His ride, Quartz du Montceau, may well be the last ever horse to win a race at Folkestone Racecourse.

The Westenhanger course has been home to horse racing in Kent since 1898. However, it seems the facilities are no longer up to scratch for owners Arena Racing Company.

Their official line is that the racecourse is temporarily closed to allow the facilities to be redeveloped. Mm.  If you believe they put a man on the moon, is all I'll say to that.

Folkestone Racecourse one of two ARC courses closed this week

The issue is no one is coming forth with any offer of cash to refurbish the course. ARC's Tony Kelly has already attested publicly that the race track is losing money. Shepway District Council is said to be considering 'alternative options'.

Earlier this week, a racecourse with an even greater history than Folkestone staged its final race meeting. However, for Hereford Racecourse, another ARC owned track, its fate is definitely sealed, along with its 241 years of racing history.

Everyone in the sport is devastated at the double-barrel loss. The Sporting Life has issued a fond 'Farewell to Folkestone' story. Whereas the Racing Post speaks of the 'Sadness as Folkestone stages [its] final meeting'.

Insider tips abound for Folketone's future

Horse racing is all about being in the know. The punters realise that Folkestone Racecourse is no 'champagne and caviar' meeting and are happy with the fact.  Despite the acceptance of the racegoers, the tipsters are already consigning Westenhanger to history.

A council spokesperson also seemed to have a little insider knowledge. At least one possibility of funding the loss-making Folkestone Racecourse's refurbishment has been disqualified after a steward's enquiry.

Plans to build 800 further homes, one of the 'alternative options', are "unlikely to be acceptable", she said.

The achievements made by Folkestone Racecourse to the locale over the years were acknowledged.  However, the "important part to play in the future of the district" comment had something of a hollow ring to it.

If you're a betting man, I'll offer you odds-on that whatever plans there are for Folkestone Racecourse, they don't involve horses.  What say you?

Have Your Say:

  • What can be done to halt racecourse closures, such as Folkestone and Hereford this week?

  • Or is it the sport itself that's dated and in need of an image overhaul, as Barry Hearn as done with darts?


Gangnam Style as performed by British troops in Afghanistan

Whether you agree with our boys being out in Afghanistan or not, you can't argue with their spirit. Especially when they produce a Gangnam Style video to make loved ones heave a Psy of relief over Christmas.

[youtube width="646" height="422"]http://youtu.be/KDS0wRQopkc[/youtube]

Back in October, U.S. troops and civilians got together to make a mock up video of Gangnam Style. Now it's the turn of British troops based in Camp Bastion to have a crack.

Whereas the tribute to the global sensation from U.S. soldiers was a simple note home to loved ones, the British troops in this latest version are raising money for charity.

Swaledale Mountain Rescue Team is in dire need of funds. By putting together a Gangnam Style video a la Afghanistan, it is hoped that people will contribute to the cause just to make the troops stop.

U.S. troops Gangnam Style had style

Not that one would ever criticise our troops in any way, especially in the face of the rivalry shared with their U.S. counterparts. But the dancing by the Americans is streets ahead.

Whereas there are definite elements of Psy/M.C. Hammer in the American video on YouTube, The British troops' video on the BBC is more like Morecambe and Wise.

But you can't fault them for having a go. The heat must have been unbearable. The rain scene (a dodgy hosepipe slightly off-shot. Well, nearly) must have been a relief for the dubious British troupe.

There were some exceptionally white chests in the British troops' version of Gangnam Style. Considering the desert heat, that must have taken some doing.

Sprinkle the odd Freddie Mercury vest and moustache in there and it's safe to say J.L.S. have nothing to fear. Nor Psy, for that matter.

Often, when you get invited to watch 'more like this', I normally take a punt. Even if I don't know the artist.

At the end of this version of Gangnam Style on the BBC, it prompted me to follow up with the HMS Ocean's Mariah Carey tribute from last year.

For charity it might be. For sanity, I'll pass, guys, thanks.

Gun manufacturers feel the heat as stock market rebels

Perhaps a reduction in capital investment is what it will take for America to listen. Investors have begun to pull the plug on gun manufacturers following last weeks horrors, the City has confirmed.  If common sense won't avail itself, let's hope a common denominator like profit will.

[caption id="attachment_16940" align="aligncenter" width="646"]stock market withdraws from gun manufacturers if fear of backlash from sandy nook shootings Stock market withdraws from gun manufacturers in fear of backlash from Sandy Nook shootings
Photo Credit: @HuffPostBiz, twitter[/caption]

It seems investors in gun manufacturers are fearing the inevitable following the Sandy Nook shootings. The U.S. has been overtly tolerant of maniacs going on the rampage in the past.

However, this latest atrocity is one step too far. Not that I'm suggesting for a minute that shareholders in gun manufacturers are acting boldly or nobly. But their withdrawal of funds is a sure sign that America will no longer stand for this type of mindless violence.

Gun manufacturers were seen as 'growth market'

Up until Friday, even Forbes saw gun manufacturers as a safe bet, interpreting the niche as a 'growth market'. The Connecticut slaughter of 26 innocents, including 20 children, has made even the staunchest evangelists of relaxed gun laws fall silent.

There are only two gun manufacturers floated on the stock exchange. Both have seen their share prices tumble since Friday. The holding firm for Smith & Wesson has seen 8% wiped off its share price. Sturm, Ruger & Co. Inc. shares have dropped 6%.

Cabela's Inc., gun distributors rather than gun manufacturers, has similarly seen 6% of its floated value disappear over the weekend. Whatever the public feeling, the private sector seems to have made its mind up about the future of gun control laws already.

Too little, too late for tightening gun control laws

Earlier warnings have not been heeded by Congress. As gun sales in general have tumbled, so the gun control laws have slipped in tandem. Fearing a public backlash, the gun being so much a part of the American way of life, the U.S. Senate has stood by and done little to shore up gun licensing.

Gun manufacturers have got richer, which has in turn aided the flailing economy. No doubt shoulders have rubbed around conference tables at the highest level, too. With a reported 310 million guns in North America, we don't need telling that it's big business.

Perhaps with so few funding gun manufacturers coffers, the price will raise beyond the reach of many. With the addition of stricter gun control laws, which surely must now come into force, obtaining these lethal weapons will hopefully become nigh on impossible.

We can but live in hope.

Have Your Say:

  • Should gun sales be banned in America altogether?

  • Or is there an argument for gun licenses being issued providing the applicant meets stringent criteria?


A ban on hand guns is the answerFeck TV

A ban on hand guns is the answer - Feck TV.

That some U.S. citizens still try to defend the ‘rite’ to carry hand guns in the wake of yet another senseless shooting spree is somewhat astonishing.

To quote Georges Clemenceau,
"America is the only nation in history which miraculously has gone directly from barbarism to degeneration without the usual interval of civilization."

What has happened in America to convince so many people that they need to carry a gun?

It's alright people coming out and saying: the media encourages it or gaming is to blame or the psychiatric tests aren't stringent enough.  It's proving, time and again, that these theories just don't work.

Most Americans can't get their head around life without guns

How do you deal with idiots like this:
Everyday alot of people are killed due to texting while driving. Maybe we should ban phones. If the teachers were armed this could have been prevented. Banning guns is not the answer. Banning phsyco’s maybe. ?”

The Americans just don't get it, do they?  And I mean apart from spelling and the basic concept of English.

No one has the rite to carry an object thats sole purpose is to kill.  It is against every fibre of our human nature.

There is only one option left: ban guns.

The world is not going to collapse without it; in fact, it will be a safer place.  We have to stop these shooting sprees.  By taking away the opportunity to access guns these senseless acts are dead in the water.

Why can't anyone see that?

A ban on hand guns is the answer

On Friday afternoon, Sir Richard Branson posted an article on social media sending condolences to all of the families who'd lost loved ones in the Connecticut shooting. Alongside the well wishes was a graphic poster detailing America's pole position in the world shooting league:

Last year, hand guns killed:

  • 48 Japan

  • 8 UK

  • 34 Switzerland

  • 52 Canada

  • 58 Israel

  • 21 Sweden

  • 42 West Germany

  • 10,728 United States

Beneath the shocking figures - irrespective of population size differences - was the picture of of a Colt .45 emblazoned with the stars and stripes.

[caption id="attachment_16860" align="aligncenter" width="646"]american figures for death by guns is shocking It's time for the shooting to stop and hand in all of our guns[/caption]

That some U.S. citizens still try to defend the 'rite' to carry hand guns in the wake of yet another senseless shooting spree is somewhat astonishing.  To quote Georges Clemenceau,
America is the only nation in history which miraculously has gone directly from barbarism to degeneration without the usual interval of civilization.”

It seems that the current American regime has no intention of proving "Le Tigre" wrong. And when you have to deal with attitudes like this:
Everyday alot of people are killed due to texting while driving. Maybe we should ban phones. If the teachers were armed this could have been prevented. Banning guns is not the answer. Banning phsyco's maybe. ?"

Using phones to text while driving is banned, you pillock. If the teachers were armed? Why not go the whole hog and give the janitor and the kids guns, too? Fuck it, everybody have one.

Arming more people is NOT the answer; disarming everyone is

Phones are for phoning/texting - guns are for shooting. We all phone people, every day. It's a basic need, to communicate with people over distance.

Phones themselves are not responsible for death, it is the person not paying attention to the road. They could be looking at a book, a naked lady at the side of the road. It is the distraction that turns the car into the killer.

Conversely, the gun is the weapon. And the deadly empowerment carrying such a weapon gives a psychopath.

Without the gun or the attached empowerment, there can be little harm done. We do not need to shoot anyone or anything. At all, ever. It does not satisfy a basic human need.

  • If you want to join a gun club, fine. But leave the gun there.

  • If you're a farmer, that rabbit is not going to turn vicious if you've put your gun away.

  • If you're a ranger, tranquiliser darts are more than adequate.

There is not one single excuse for people, other than those in the military or police force, to carry guns. Please, someone give me one example where it is necessary - I mean absolutely necessary - to use a gun.

And don't say 'to defend yourself from someone else with a gun' - we're talking about banning all guns.

If you're found with a gun - and a license is not good enough to prevent the distribution of firearms, psychiatric test or not - it should carry an automatic jail sentence. Ten years, no argument, you're banged up.

The intent is there when a gun is purchased. Why else buy one?

Like cars or computers, every gun should be registered upon manufacture. Then placed in secure housing. If it is not where it is supposed to be, the police go looking for it.

Guns are not a commodity product. They are a luxury and a sick one at that. While people perpetuate that myth that they're inconvenienced without one, nothing will change. It's time to draw a line, say enough is enough.

Ban all new gun sales; round up all of the guns that are licensed and place them under lock and key, only to be used under supervision at gun clubs/firing ranges.

One amnesty, set time limit.  After that, if you got guns beyond the legal boundaries, you get jailed. Job done.

Female masturbation - what is Cosmo UK coming to?

Why on earth an article from the middle of May turned up in tonight's twitter stream, I don't know. But guys, it seems that there's a secret world of female masturbation going on that we don't even know about.

The article in question is from that leading light in the world of women's pornography, Cosmopolitan UK. Fair play to @Poppy839 and @MissyCaroline for favouriting the tweet.

[caption id="attachment_16549" align="aligncenter" width="646"]Lipstick Vibe, a piece of the Studio Collection female masturbation suite Lipstick Vibe is just one piece of the Studio Collection female masturbation suite[/caption]

The star of the show from the seemingly in-depth study of female masturbation 'toys' is the Studio Collection Lipstick Vibe. There are another six products that make up 'The Collection' from female sex toy manufacturer, Sh! if the lipstick doesn't float your (little man in a) boat.

The girls at Cosmo UK admit to "having problems picking [their] favourite". With the range encompassing everything from Clit-Stimulating Vibrating Eggs to a balm that sensitises the labia, you can perhaps understand why.

There's more female masturbation going on than we guys know

What's special about the Studio Collection is that all of these James Bond-esque female masturbation toys are disguised as make up. That's right. If you're putting this particular lipstick somewhere between your nose and chin, ladies, you might want to re-read the instructions.

The necessity for creating a range of female masturbation toys in the shape of compacts, mascaras and lipsticks is simple. It seems, gents, that it's not uncommon for women to carry around clitoral stimulation toys in their handbags.

Did you know that? We all know that women's handbags are a bit like a TARDIS. But I wonder what Dr Who would make of the Vibrating Mascara Wand replacing his Sonic Screwdriver. Or perhaps they are one and the same.

Female sex toys are popular entwanklements found in handbags

It's accepted (apparently) that women do carry female sex 'toys' around with them.  However, it's still taboo to some extent to show them off in public. As the article states, women can carry these 'easy to clean' entwanklements around "without worrying about any embarrassing open-handbag moments."

Given that there are very few equivalent female masturbation toys for men, I wonder what the reaction would be if we walked into the office with a copy of Playboy rolled up inside The Times? Surely it's one and the same thing. Pretty much like the Sonic Screwdriver and Vibrating Mascara.

Here's your chance to come across as enlightened this Christmas, gents. Nip along to Boots and buy some Durex Play O. Extract said product and replace with one, some or all of the Studio Collection's female sex toys.

Then just sit back and relax as you see the face you love light up on Christmas morning. Especially when you present said Durex product after she's feverishly unwrapped her complete female masturbation set.

Have Your Say:

  • Guys, would you have issues buying your lady female masturbation gear that they could carry around/use all day?

  • Ladies, do you have a sex toy in your handbag now and how often do you feel moved to use it?

Naomi Campbell to make a mint from elephant polo match allegations

Naomi Campbell is at it again. No, not falling flat on her impossibly skinny arse on the catwalk, but suing a newspaper. This time, though, there may be merit in her actions.

[caption id="attachment_16538" align="aligncenter" width="646"]there'll be no elephants dropping by naomi campbell's gaff There'll be no elephants dropping by Naomi Campbell's gaff, for sure[/caption]

This is not the first time Naomi Campbell has had brushings with the press. In 2004, the supermodel won an epic battle against the Daily Mirror after they'd published a pic of her exiting a Narcotics Anonymous meeting.

So much for anonymity. The star commenced legal proceedings immediately after the photograph was published in 2001, suing for Breach of Privacy.

Despite losing the case and having to pay Naomi Campbell, including 'expensive legal costs', ten years later the verdict was, in principal, overturned.

The fact that she was in a public place must have weighed heavily in the Mirror's favour.  The European Court of Human Rights ruled that the expenses the newspaper had paid was tantamount to a violation of freedom of expression.

Naomi Campbell's stance on animal cruelty is well-known

It's doubtful whether the The Telegraph will receive similar support from the courts on this occasion, though. Not only because there seems to be an elephant of truth in Naomi Campbell's case but also the story the newspaper is being sued for goes against something the supermodel advocates openly.

Naomi Campbell is an avid campaigner for cruelty against animals to be halted. The Telegraph ran a story in early November suggesting that she was organising an elephant polo tournament at a party she was hosting in honour of her partner, Vladislav Doronin.

The story, which has subsequently been removed from The Telegraph's website, triggered an amazing backlash. As with everything in the press, nothing is unique for long.

The story rippled across many other media sites, damaging Naomi Campbell's reputation as the waves grew force. The allegedly untrue story has also invoked protests both outside the venue for the Russian billionaire's party and outside targeted Indian governmental buildings and offices.

Gideon Benaim, the solicitor acting on behalf of Naomi Campbell, categorically states that the organising of an elephant polo match was as mythical as the creatures' graveyard. He also emphasised that Ms Campbell hadn't cancelled the event after the story hit the headlines either, "because it was never going to happen in the first place."

The solicitor has been instructed to continue with the action until the matter is "satisfactorily resolved." Given the fact that The Telegraph have taken the story down, you'd have to imagine that this case will not take three years as did the case against The Mirror.

photo credit: munir via photopin cc


Kim Wilde singing pissed on the Tube proves all PR is good PR

Ah, Kim Wilde coming home from a 'night on the tiles' on the Tube, all captured on video. Lost none of it, has she?  Mm, whatever it was she had, bless.

To be fair, as a hot-blooded, teenage, male entering adolescence in the early eighties, it's safe to say I developed a little more than a soft spot for the monochrome-clad Kids in America crooner.

It's pleasing to see that three decades after the hit catapulted Marti Wilde's daughter to fame, she's finally living up to the family name. Kim Wilde, pissed on the tube, belting out her hits. All two of 'em. Class.

Kim Wilde has no regrets about drunken Tube performance

Well, quite. Two songs to be remembered by and Kim Wilde can hardly remember the words to either.

No wonder she struggled with a weight loss diet. How many calories have I consumed today? Oh, feck it, "We're the Kids in America - wo-hoh!". She got that bit right, at least.

As the dust settles, it seems Kim Wilde has no regrets about her wobbly shenanigans on the tube. Indeed, over  a very busy twitter, she cannot see what all the fuss has been about:

From The Tube to YouTube

Kim Wilde's brother, Ricky, cannot quite believe how the recorded action has gone viral, either:

The performance has brought Kim Wilde's brother into the limelight, too. Ricky, seen on the video strumming the acoustic guitar, has become a philosopher and an idol to a whole new generation who missed Kim Wilde the first time around:

@BadBoyofOperaKi offered this tweet in praise of the siblings' drunken tube duet:

It's a pity Ricky doesn't consider teaching basic English language classes, too. Nevertheless, he responded thus:

Ricky has even updated his bio to commemorate the impromptu buskeresque performance:
Ricky Wilde (@Wildericky)

Song writer/Producer MD for Kim Wilde band, and part time busker on trains ;-)

You've got to admire the way the pair have dealt with their Wilde tube-ride home. No tantrums, plenty of re-tweeting back to those who've responded to their own twitter reactions following the uploading of the YouTube video and all in the Christmas spirit.

Yes, Ricky and Kim Wilde have demonstrated aplomb and dignity. Totally in contrast to the drunken escapade at the heart of the viral YouTube video, you have to say.

If more of today's stars, wrapped up in cotton wool and the elevation of their own self-importance, demonstrated their human side like this, the world of entertainment would be a much more accessible beast.

And it would make our job a whole lot easier, it has to be said.

Have Your Say:

  • Has Kim Wilde gone up your estimation as a result of the drunken YouTube video?

  • Or is she just a sad has-been living off the back of a couple memorable tracks, like so many 80's artistes?


#GdnGig - the trending hastag for The Guardian's UK music map

Here's an interesting new trending hashtag feature inaugurated by The Guardian on twitter: #GdnGig. It's being used as the defining hashtag to accompany one of the newspaper's 'mapping' projects.

It enables people going out to or who are already at gigs to share content, location and images to the twitter stream, simultaneously building a music map of the UK.

Already, there are some diverse acts appearing next to the #GdnGig hashtag. Wide-ranging tastes in music and even more scattered locations should provide the marketing gurus with a very broad picture of who's listening to what, where.

[caption id="attachment_16391" align="aligncenter" width="646"]the cut throat razors appearing in Glasgow and in the #gdngig stream on twitter The Cut Throat Razors appearing in Glasgow and in the #gdngig stream on twitter via @NotRock[/caption]

It looks like Saturday night is going to be the trending night for the #GdnGig hashtag. There were a few tweets last night and a trickle of twits appeared to be using it last weekend.  Tonight, however (Saturday 15th December), has seen an unusual amount of activity in the twitter stream.

According to Matt McAlister, 'momentum is building' for the hashtag. As of 12th December, 800 posts had been populated with #GdnGig. That's twice as many as the #localshopping project hashtag that The Guardian is also mapping.

#GdnGig - keeping it cool in the stream

Now, call me slow to catch on, but yes, I can understand why people would want to let their followers know if they're in the crowd for:

But with #localshopping? What's that gonna be like, then?

But it is quite fascinating watching the stream. The majority of tweets have an instagram image associated with them. Now that's a good call.

You can imagine some attention-seeking prick at the local Karaoke bar. Someone half decent starts singing 'Angels', aforementioned A.S.P. records it and says that he "is there watching Robbie sang it live."

You can now ask them straight out, "Okay, where's you photo proof, buddy? Send your locale and pics to #GdnGig and let everyone know."  When it all goes quiet over there, he's either feigning bad reception or someone murdering Wonderwall's just got on stage.

Bullshitters aside, tonight for example you've got Ian Shaw & the Millennium Choir at the Lancaster Jazz Fest. Bad for Lazarus are bringing the curtain down on events at Wolverhampton's Royal London. Our school reunion pub, as it happens. Samuel Litherland (@03amlit) is watching that one.

The Spilt Festival was on Thursday night at Sunderland Minster, with tickets a tenner a pop. Lancaster makes yet another appearance tonight as @PeteRawlinson is off to the Yorkshire House to watch Three Dimensional Tanx.

If you're looking for a local gig to go to (and you've checked out FeckTV's Recommendations, of course), here's the official instruction from The Guardian.  You could use it to either search for local music events on twitter or for announcing to the world which gig you're at/going to:

Have Your Say: What gigs have you got lined up over the Christmas period? Why not tweet them at me and I'll share them with my followers and @guardianmusic into their #GdnGig stream?

Let's get you a mention and get this trending hashtag viral!

iPad Mini opens up a whole new market for tablets

It's no secret: tablets are the future of personal computing.

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="646"]ipad mini v ipad sizes ipad mini v ipad sizes[/caption]

…and my hairdresser and I were talking about Apple and the iCloud only today. Her youngest, who’s completed further education but yet to find work, lives his entire life in the iCloud.

iPad Mini just one of the suite of the coveted Apple products

[caption id="" align="alignleft" width="149"]iPad Mini Black on Amazon.co.uk iPad Mini Black on Amazon.co.uk[/caption]

iPhone, iPod, iTunes and iPad already connect him to his home-from-home in cyberspace.

And with an iPad Mini costing £226 (Amazon [20/11/2013], see image, left) this Christmas, he'll have little else to open. But he’s totally, 100% cool with it.

It made me think: for some, owning the latest Apple product is an image thing. And, when your company’s footing the bill, owning the latest iPad or Galaxy, depending on your iOS or Android preference, is no problem.

However, for the majority, buying a product that syncs their life in the cloud is all that matters. Being able to access their virtual life from wherever or whenever necessary and know that it's the same across all devices is the driver behind Apple's success. No question.

Two aspects to consider when buying an iPad Mini:

For my hairdresser, what worries her most about her son's obsession with i-Everything is:

  • the expense of maintaining his current status, let alone affording to keep up with his iCloud existence when new products emerge

  • the virtual aspect of living everyday so disassociated from the real world that it may lead to a substantial reality check later in his life

She’s worried that the iCloud will rob her little ray of sunshine of the best years of his life. Also, how he'll cope now that he’s left college and got to pay his own way.

Looking further down the road - as she was - with so much of his benefit being recycled up to the iCloud, how will he ever save for a rainy day? Reading between the lines, "rainy day", meant "afford a place of his own".

Our conversation raised very real issues. Some I'd not considered, others I was aware of, but perhaps not to the extent she described.

I don’t regret buying a tablet (10″ Android/Ice Cream Sandwich), even if I am behind my PC every day. As such, it's not a top brand, not by any stretch.

But even if I did get out and about, I'd need convincing that spending 'x' amount on Apple products is such a good thing. Especially as there are less expensive products that provide similar services and connectivity on the market.

Am I missing out on the whole point? What is it that makes Apple fans such brand evangelists?

...Have Your Say:

  • How many of you guys are hooked on Apple?  Or conversely, as my good lady wife is becoming: Android-'appy?

  • Also, is running our life in the cloud such a good thing? Or is it so far from reality that Peter Pan is the IT guy?


Google plus - social media for business, pleasure, SEO and the future

Keeping up with all of the different social media outlets these days can be a headache.  If you're looking to create an online presence for your business with limited time, budget or comprehension, which one should you go for?  For me, Google plus is the winner all the way.  Here's why, infographic aside.

[caption id="attachment_16274" align="aligncenter" width="646"]google plus for seo infographic - search engine people google plus for seo infographic - search engine people (click for full detail)[/caption]

As well as the self-explanatory SEO infographic created by searchenginepeople.com highlighting the SEO benefits of Google Plus, there are other reasons to choose this platform.  The framework may look complicated, but the social media functionality works on a basic premise.

Social media is about interaction.  Google Plus makes it extremely easy to distribute your content to people in your niche.  Even if you have a passing fancy for an off-topic subject, it's not difficult to get involved with the Google suite of products.

It all starts with a Gmail account.  Once you've created that, you're automatically invited to open your Google Plus account.  From an online marketing perspective, this key development is priceless.  Affiliate and Internet marketers have, for years, been evangelising that 'the money is in the list'.

By combining GMail with social media, Google has allowed you to make your followers become that e-mail list automatically.  Unlike twitter and facebook where, once you get to a certain amount of friends and followers, the stream is a constant flux, Google Plus gives you the option to e-mail the 'circles' you create every time you post.

What is a Google Plus circle?

A Google Plus circle is, in its most basic, a group of friends with a similar interest.  If, for example, you liked writing, politics and films, you would create those three circles as a starting point.  You could then find Ed Milliband, Stephen King and Jack Nicholson and pop them into the appropriate circles.

Searching is simple; it's just like using Google search on the Internet, but contained within the social media site*.  But what if you wanted to follow Jeffrey Archer or Clint Eastwood, given that their carers have overlapped your interests?  No problem.

You could put Archer into both the politics and writing circles and Clint in the politics and films circles.  And, no, I'm going to resist the temptation of mentioning a prison circle for Lord Archer.  You can then be very specific about who you share what with.

Enter your post, video or link into the "Share what's new" box, choose the circles from a drop down list (intuitive text) that you want to post to below the content - public if it's relevant to everyone - and hit the 'post comment' button.

Being choosy about whom you share what content with is very important to grow and retain your followers.  The same is true for using the e-mail facility.  The more specific you are with your content and who you target with it works on two levels:

  1. People are less likely to dump you out of a circle for sending them shite they're not interested in

  2. Like e-mail lists, followers are more likely to trust you, hence become converts, if you're sending them genuinely useful information.

By targeting specific people relative to your niche, you can build a loyal following very quickly on Google Plus.  In the same breath, start taking advantage and you can lose them in double quick time.

Google Plus Pages

The impact on page rankings of attracting people to interact with your website cannot be overlooked.  The same is true of your Google Plus page for business.  Already, there are users of Google's social media platform who've dispensed with a normal website for blog posts.

They use their personal account to share interactive content and do market testing, content that would traditionally have been a blog post.  On their Google Plus page, they display more specific business content.  Given that you can also appoint people to manage your business page, it opens up the possibility of an even wider audience.

The page ranking effect gets compounded when people start to share your website content on Google Plus.  This is made a whole lot easier if it's on your Google Plus page in the first place.  You know it's indexed, you know it's shareable.  You know that when you get +1's from followers, Google's 'like' equivalent, it instantly counts as a tick in your SERPs box.

When you add the 'Hangout' facility - a video conference for connected/circled users - you are in the realms of a virtual office.  With the ability to collaborate in Google Docs  and instantly launch content into cyberspace, you can talk about your project live, put the finishing touches to it and publish it to your Google Plus account in literally seconds.

There are fancy cloud systems, there are social media sites with perhaps better personal facilities.  But if you want social media that integrates your office, your website, your content and your filing cabinet, Google Plus wins hands down for me every single time.

Read the search engine people SEO infographic (fully displayed if you click the image), join me on Google Plus and I'll show you even more.  I'll even welcome you to my office and pop the kettle on.  Pull up a chair, why don't you?

*Searching for content can draw webpages from the Internet into the G+ stream if relevant

Have Your Say: What's your number one tip for Google Plus? And is there anything you're unsure of/don't like about Google's social media platform?

Fake facebook likes saga takes a whole new turn - on facebook itself

There's been a lot of hoo-har in social media circles recently about unwarranted popularity on certain sites. The biggest of them all was reputedly on the warpath, promising to strip and/or suspend any accounts suspected of acquiring fake facebook likes.

It's no secret in social media marketing that the more popular your fanpage, the more traffic facebook sends your way. Your own status updates and shares similarly reach further the greater number of likes your profile has.

[caption id="attachment_16264" align="aligncenter" width="646"]facebook violation text - sort this out before accusations of fake facebook likes example of community standards violation text - sort this out, facebook, before members get hurt by your own fake facebook likes[/caption]

Certainly, if you're running two accounts from the same IP address, your activity could be counted as 'spammy'. It's assumed that the one account is created to give the other fake facebook likes or share content further.

This is a killer for anyone looking to build a career in social media. If you're a blogger, more and more the role involves sharing your content on behalf of the client across their social network.

It's happened for me since joining fecktv. I've got a personal account, one for a mortgage site where I'm a page manager and a third for my fecktv page. I don't want any activity to compromise my personal page, thus have created separate accounts.

Despite pleas to facebook, my newest facebook account for fecktv.com, remains banned from certain activities. I cannot comment on my own status updates, add friends of my own accord, send private messages or even like a comment made by others.

The image above is what gets thrown back at you when attempting any one of the above actions.  It's feckin' ridiculous and, as well as pissing me right off, I'm not alone, it seems.

Fake facebook likes being created by the social media site itself

The latest spat of fake facebook likes has not been coming from its membership. One guy in the U.S. was so aroused by suspicious activity, he started to document instances by taking screen clippings.

One of his friends, according to facebook advertising, had liked Subaru. This guy knew his friend had no interest in cars whatsoever. So he asked his buddy if he had indeed had reason to like the Japanese car manufacturer.

This is how his friend responded:
Nope, never liked Subaru. I've never owned a car in my life. A FB friend gave me shit for liking a real estate company. Another one that I never liked.

This cycle intensified, with one of his friends resorting to taking screen-grabs himself. When an ad showed up in his own time line that he'd purportedly liked, he replied with,
No, I did not press like. Maddening. I look at facebook less and less because it lies more and more.

The last straw came when a new fake facebook like appeared from one of his friend's accounts in favour of a huge corporation, Discover. Yet the guy knew that his friend absolutely detested huge conglomerates of this ilk.

In itself, seemingly innocuous. Just another run of the mill fake facebook like, you say. The issue this time around was a little more serious, though.

The like was dated November 1st. His friend had passed away in the March of that year. Would someone who's been dead for eight months suddenly decide they like large corporate entities?

So before facebook get arsey about users trying to get fake facebook likes, they want to look at their own practises. Could you imagine if you'd supposedly 'liked' Victoria's Secret and your wife happened to see it?  Yep, you'd need a stocking to put your balls in.

Fake facebook likes aren't funny. Sort it out, facebook, before your lies really land someone in hot water...

Have Your Say: Have you experienced any shenanigans with your facebook account? What course of action would you advise to others in this situation?


Susan Boyle invites twitter followers to Su's Anal Bum Party

No, you've not read that incorrectly. We are talking about the Susan Boyle and an actual tweet the talented Scottish songstress sent out on twitter just the other day.

Okay, so maybe I've dropped an apostrophe in there. And possibly put the spaces in the wrong place. But the letter order is still quite definitely the same as in the original tweet.

This is Susan Boyle's actual hashtag as it appeared in the stream: #susanalbumparty - see how easily one can get confused?

One bright spark actually posted this in response:

[caption id="attachment_15932" align="aligncenter" width="646"]susan boyle picture from twitter susan boyle, credit: @liannafraser - twitter[/caption]

It's perhaps worth explaining that the 'Jeri' in question is actually @XxJeriBeriXx, a friend of @liannafraser who posted the pic. Or at least she was prior to the tweet.

Gay community went nuts over Susan Boyle's anal bum party

There were, of course, cries of PR blunder and many 'chuckles' at Susan Boyle's expense. Or at least at her Public Relations outfit who presumably posted the clumsily-written micro-blog. One would imagine they've had a stiff dressing down after shafting SuBo like that.

They say that no PR is bad PR, though. So this may well be one in the eye for the mockers. Quite.

But the section of the twitter community to leap on this - couldn't see this coming, could you? - was the gay community. Ooh, Lawdie, they was all getting hot under the collar over on PinkNews.co.uk, I can tell yer.

@Golden_Gaytime (what a stupid feckin' name) tweeted:
Totally en route to #susanalbumparty …#NewGayNight, right?”

@Ed__Harris tweeted:
Just been invited to #susanalbumparty. Do you bring your own lube? Or is it provided?”

Oh, sorry. It's at this point I realise that some of you may not have caught on to the message that Susan Boyle was trying to get out. Apologies if I've been premature.

SuBo has just released an LP in time for Christmas entitled "Standing Ovation: The Greatest Songs From The Stage".

To celebrate her latest release, the Britain's Got Talent singer was hosting a "Susan Album Party" - capice?

What do you mean, No!? C'mon, keep up.

And just to clarify, I'm not a subscriber to PinkNews.co.uk - the story just happened to show up in my Bottlenose dashboard.  Before you start.

Have Your Say: No intellectual thought behind today's question. A straight: Susan Boyle, anal, for a grand, would you? Or maybe that's not so straight. Let us know...

Use Bottlenose search engine when you need trending news

This is another post that goes out to my colleagues at FeckTV as much as to the public at large about a shit-hot 'what's-hot-now' dashboard: Bottlenose.  As we are, in essence, journalists, we're always looking for trending news.

Specifically, I'd like to introduce a search engine that displays results with the trending news first.  There's a registration application as well, but there's perhaps too much to go into it all in one post.  So let's concentrate on the theory behind the Bottlenose search engine that operates within your browser, first.

Not only does Bottlenose feature the 'what's hot' news prominently, but it also displays those results in the style of a magazine or a stream or a now.  However you want to read the news, Bottlenose pretty much has it covered.

[caption id="attachment_15576" align="aligncenter" width="646"]Bottlenose screen snip my Bottlenose dashboard showing trending shit - screen snip[/caption]

Now we journos can manipulate our search to display what is to us familiar territory: new news.  Whether it's real or made up, we'll come to that in a moment.

But first, let's appreciate the traditional search engine. Google calculates page rankings on history; or at least history has a bearing. By that I mean the amount of time a site's been live on the Interent counts in SERPs indexing as well as relevance to the search term.

Google doesn't always display trending news first

For example, search any celebrity, music star, football team or location, you know that Wikipedia is gonna figure somewhere on page one of the SERPs. Whilst the Wiki is brilliant for time-honoured facts, it's not always updated instantly with trending news. If at all.

For example, yesterday's sports article was about how Arsène Wenger is sailing a bit close to the wind on the back of Arsenal's recent form. But it's not only their drop away from the big four, Man City filling their shoes and some, that's an issue.

The story is also about the added pressure on his shoulders after Arsenal crashed out of the League Cup to Bradford. If we're looking to search for "Arsenal FC" using the traditional search engines, Google or Bing/Yahoo, we know the likely results of page one, as indicated above.

Using Bottlenose, the results for "Arsenal FC" would be entirely populated with the Bradford City defeat headlines from today. Yes, you'd also get Mr Wenger's rather large conk atop a slippery French gob trying to convince us that his team played well.  But back to my earlier point.

Bottlenose does not come with a bullshit detector

Unfortunately, Bottlenose has not got a bullshit detector built into it. But as the post-game interviews on the BBC, Arsenal website and SKY are classed as trending news, yes, you'd get Wenger's froggy bullshit, too.

What Bottlenose does have is a list of the latest indexed blogs and websites on the left.  That's if you use the non-registration version.  By creating an account and aligning your social media, it becomes a whole new ball game.  More about that later, but the screen clip gives you some idea.

True, if you're looking to do background research on established facts for an article, then perhaps Bottlenose is not the search engine to use. If you're looking for hot trending news, like FeckTV is one step away from gatecrashing the online media party for instance, then Bottlenose is certainly fit for that porpoise (sorry, it took a nose-dive right at the death, but I couldn't help myself...).

No 'have your say' with this one; rather, please just share this article with every FeckTV writer that you know - it will be invaluable as we strive to be the best of the best, sir!


Victoria's Secret Angels in annual Christmas video frolic

If ever we needed proof that we all get an equal share of brains and beauty in this life, then this Christmas video by the Victoria's Secret Angels surely is it.

[youtube width="646" height="422"]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FYFVXq38dAc&feature=player_embedded[/youtube]

Every single one of them are stunning looking. And I don't think even my wife would mind me saying that given their stunning beauty - ye-ouch - got that feckin' wrong.

Anyhoo, the US lingerie phenomenon that is Victoria's Secret has launched it's annual Christmas video offering. A little in the same way that Sir Cliff Richard always used to pop up a fortnight before Santa but with stockings and suzzies instead of a Bible and chastity belt.

For me, Victoria's Secret is a brand a lot like Ann Summers, but after Mary Whitehouse has applied a filter to it. A little raunchier than M & S or Next, but without a rampant rabbit in sight. It's a good job they weren't about when I was in my teens. I would be blind by now.

Victoria's Secret Angels in fluffy lingerie, fluffing lines

Sorry, back to the point: the annual Christmas video offering from Victoria's Secret. Five gorgeous models in red basques are flitting about the Christmas tree, dropping presents, forgetting the words to carols and proving that trying to sing and light a candle at the same time is just too much.  Multi-tasking? Pah!  I was watching the video and...whisking the Easiyo strawberry mousse.

I'd list the name of the five models and the carols that the Victoria's Secret Angels are fluffing the lines to, but anyone reading this will not give a shite.  They'll neither care what their names are nor what Christmas carols they're killing. Perhaps sir Cliff could come and give them a hand.  They'd be safe enough.

Like I said, each and every model is stunning (now that the wife's left the study).  And it just goes to prove that when you're that top-loaded with looks and stuff, you can be forgiven for repeated memory lapses or being clumsy with your gift-wrapped box. Quite.

The Victoria's Secret girls all seemed to have a lot of fun shooting the video and persistence paid off in the end. We got our Christmas carol. The tree was festooned with baubles and surrounded by a moat of presents.

And to finish us all off, the gorgeous blond Angel eventually got her wick lit after working out that blowing it first wasn't getting the job done.  She just needed a steady hand to cope with all four wicks at once.

Even though this video has perhaps given us an insight into the world of Bimbo, it has also opened up another possible side to Chrimbo. If Santa empties his sack only once a year with this lot around, he must be gay.

So for all you straight guys out there, here's a very Merry Christmas from me and the Victoria's Secret Angels.

Have Your Say: Guys, when you buy your ladies underwear for Christmas, are you thinking of them or yourself? And ladies, underwear off your fella: yes or no?

Arsenal in crisis - Arsène attack follows defeat to Bradford

Arsenal FC manager Arsène Wenger looks like a man who has lost his way. No silverware at Highbury/The Emirates stadiums since the 2005 F.A. Cup and defeat to Bradford City on penalties sees Arsenal in crisis.

[caption id="attachment_15099" align="aligncenter" width="646"]arsene wenger - are arsenal in crisis? Arsène Wenger waves to The Emirates crowd, but is it au revoir, mes amies?[/caption]

The recent lack of form is a huge turnaround since the team known as The Invincibles went 49 games without defeat between October 2003 and October 2004.  Or as recent as last season, even.

Who would have thought that the loss of one player would have such an effect? We're talking of Robin Van Persie's closed season move to Manchester United, of course.

Ironically, United were the team that ended The Invincibles 49-game unbeaten run eight years ago. And we'll not mention the Ryan Giggs wonder-goal in the '99 F.A. Cup semi final for the same team (but here's a reminder, just in case).


The depth and quality of the team back then make the Gunners team that lost to Bradford last night look like they belong in a lower division. And the domestic cup that has eluded Arsène Wenger will remain beyond his grasp in this 2012/2013 season, too.

Will Arsène Wenger get another crack at the League Cup?

With Arsenal in crisis as they are, you have to seriously question whether Arsène Wenger will earn another crack at this elusive cup. No silverware for eight years, scraped qualification into the last 16 of the Champions' League (by a point over Olympiacos) and with a side who looked anything but 'up for the cup' last night, you'd have to say no.

His side that lost the League Cup Final to Birmingham City two years ago could be the closest Arsène Wenger will ever get to laying his hands on that trophy. Especially if the jungle drums on Twitter are anything to go by.  It was been suggested on twitter that the squad has not yet got over losing that Wembley final.

The North Bank is not happy. Questions are being asked of a side that cost £70M compared to Bradford's, which cost £7,500 (allegedly) to put together. Is the bubble about to burst at Arsenal?

Just ask the fans what they think; don't read the glossing over of last night's penalty shoot-out League Cup defeat crafted by Arsène himself or the club's website.

Arsenal in crisis - Arsène Wenger's 'lowest moment'

Goal.com is reporting that the
Bradford defeat [is] the lowest moment of Wenger's fading Arsenal reign.

You can't argue, can you?

Its alright saying the players 'couldn't convert their chances', but in the brutal winter light of the morning after, that's what they're paid to do. And a week's wages for any one of the Arsenal starting eleven could probably pay for ten clubs of Bradford's ilk.

We're not taking anything away from Bradford, although it must feel like it for them. One of their greatest victories in recent history and all anyone can talk of is Arsenal in crisis and the imminent end of tenure as coach for Arsène Wenger.

Much was made of Arsenal's intent before the game, fielding a full strength squad for a competition that the big clubs are only really interested in if the other domestic trophies or European glory look like too much of an uphill struggle.

If Valley Parade was a uphill struggle, facing the winner of one of the Group Stages of the Champions League in the knockout phase will seem like a hike up Snowdon in full metal jacket, by comparison.

Arsenal have almost a week to compose for the short trip across to Reading next Monday evening. Anything but a win for Arsenal could fuel the flames for yet another incendiary Arsène attack.

Have Your Say: Okay, let's play Acronyms. What's the best phrase you can come up with to describe Arsenal in crisis or Arsène Wenger's chances of keeping his job until Christmas from A.F.C. And, yes, you can use 'feck', 'fecked' or 'fecking' for the F word.
And for The Gunners fans: Is Arsenal in crisis, really? And is it time for the board to stop Arsène about and appoint a new manager?

photo credit: wonker via photopin cc


Cloud services concept way above UK business leaders' heads

The future of UK business is in cloud services. More and more people are working from home. More and more industries are facilitating that need. UK business has not cottoned on, yet. Shock, horror. Not.

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According to one recent survey of SMEs (SMBs, US) both the UK and the US markets, strangely enough, are not making the most of cloud services.

A combination of both ignorance and misinterpretation is preventing small business owners from structuring their organisation around the benefits that remote office working can give.

Despite the cloud not being that new, only one in four are using it. The full results have been uploaded as an infographic onto Flickr for an at a glance view of cloud services useage.  As you'll see, both sides of The Pond are guilty.

It could have something to do with the fact that in the UK if you see a cloud, it's either going to piss down very shortly or you know you're in the middle of summer vacation. Or both.

Most cloud services have a free entry level

With banks really being tight-arsed in relation to whom they're lending capital, mortgages for business especially, using cloud services makes undeniable sense for the small-to-medium enterprise (SME).

For one, the basic infrastructure that you can get in SkyDrive with Windows, the iCloud with Apple or GoogleDrive for Android is free. Upload your documents, share the link to it or the folder you've popped it into and you're literally ready to use cloud services immediately.

There is an element in higher-level management even to this day that thinks using social media in works hours is bogus, an excuse to piss about on company time. The importance of building brand online and putting a responsible bod in control of social may be a step too far. There is another solution.

If you're only likely to share small volumes of data, but perhaps too big to e-mail as one attachment (above 5MB and you're struggling) and you've got the heebie-jeebies about staff using social media, virtual sharing devices like AVG CloudCare or Dropbox offer basic cloud services on free platforms.

This allows you to stay in control of the documents shared online but you can sync these cloud services to employees' PCs. Both Dropbox and AVG CloudCare have upgrades to increase the level of service or storage space if you decide you like it.

And that is, in essence, the problem. There's an automatic assumption that because it's new technology, it's complicated. Nothing could be further from the truth.  HP wrap it up well in their definition of cloud computing; it really isn't as complicated as people make out.

If you can navigate your way around folders on a PC, Mac or Android tablet and use e-mail, you can use cloud services. They genuinely are like having a virtual office in the cloud without the headache of having to worry about your server uptime.

In business, there's competition. For those unwilling to embrace cloud services, they're likely to get left behind. It may be a headache getting your head around the concept, but these clouds have a silver lining well worth the learning curve.

Have Your Say: If you thought you could get away with it, would you check to see who's poked you during working hours? And have you had problems persuading your boss that building brand reputation online or using cloud services is the way forward?

If so, share this article with them and at least get them to consider the benefits of cloud computing.