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Organizing without organizations

Clay Shirky was one of the plenary speakers at the non-profit technology conference which I attended recently in San Francisco. He gave this fascinating talk on how the social web is profoundly changing the way life happens.
If you want to know more, read his book Here Comes Everybody: How Change Happens When People Come Together
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Jesus Messiah!

I know a number of people appreciated this last Sunday, so I’m posting it here.
Buy the album – Hello Love

Disposing of sensitive data – it’s not rocket science.

Recently published research shows that people, including those who should really know better, are selling or disposing of computers without taking adequate care to completely remove or destroy sensitive information. Data discovered includes information on launch procedures for current intercontinental ballistic missile countermeasures and NHS records!
OK, so what should you do with your old computer? Here’s my advice:

  • Don’t assume that formatting the hard drive will make data unrecoverable.
  • If the hard drive is no longer needed, remove it from the machine and physically destroy it with a hammer – it’s effective and quite satisfying!
  • If the hard drive is to be reused, use Darik’s Boot and Nuke to clear the drive before reformatting.

Google: evil = faith-based? #09ntc

I’m at the non-profit technology conference in San Francisco. I’ve just attended a session by Google on some of their non-profit programmes such as Google grants, Youtube non-profit channels etc. Based on AIM’s official non-profit status in the US AIM gets free Google Apps for education and we greatly appreciate the tool. However these newer programmes have added new criteria for non-profit elligibility. One of these criteria seems to be that the organisation’s membership must not be motivated primarily by religious faith. During the session I asked why this new criterion is being introduced. The four presenters were unwilling to give any response to my question but “we don’t set the criteria”. Google’s motto is “Don’t be evil” but it seems that Google are beginning to view faith-based motivation as evil. I’d love Google’s policy makers to read Times journalist and atheist Matthew Parris’ article about the difference that faith makes in Africa and reconsider.

8 timezones, 2 breakfasts, 3 lunches & 3 flashback films

It’s 6pm in San Francisco, just one more meal to eat and a few more hours to stay awake! I got up in Bristol this morning at 5am, 21 hours ago. I had breakfast at home before I caught the train and breakfast again at Heathrow. On the flight I found myself next to a guy going to the same non-profit technology conference as I am. He works for a group called People for the Equitable Treatment of Animals. Virgin Atlantic had forgotten his vegan meal, so he ended up with some gleanings of fruit and salad from First Class. I hope I didn’t offend him too much with my barbecue chicken lunch, or with the brie and ham sandwiches I had for second and third lunch.

The direct flight was almost ten hours long, so I had a mini film festival, watching three films back to back from of the interactive smorgasbord on offer. It wasn’t deliberate in my choice but, as it turned out, they all dealt with issues of relationships between children and adults and like so many stories told today, they kept moving back and forward on the timeline.

  • The Curious Case of Benjamin Button is about someone who begins life as an old man and goes through life gradually getting younger. It’s told through his diary as it is read to the love of his life at the end of her life. The earliest and latest years of his life are left largely to the imagination. It made me stop and think about attitudes to age and how people of different age relate to one another. I think it could have been handled just as well in about 2 hours rather than¬† the almost three which it took.
  • Slumdog Millionaire was well worth watching. Tough experiences of three children from the Mumbai slums are traced in flashback as one of them takes part in the Indian version of Who Wants to be a Millionaire. It mixes English and Hindi in an interesting way, but whoever did the subtitles didn’t forsee its success and plan to help people trying to read them on low resolution seat-back screens. I’ll definitely watch it again on a bigger screen.
  • The Reader is definitely not ‘family viewing’, but it does interestingly explore the relationship between a 15 year old boy and an older woman and the impact of guilt in their lives. The film is also a reminder of how much must of us take literacy for granted. The timeline does shift, but not so much as the other two which was a relief to my timezone shifting brain.

Someone’s cracked the Narnia Code – on the Beeb tonight

I’m Looking forward to watching this programme tonight.


Thanks BBC for a great programme on the hidden third level message in Narnia – watch it if you can here. I loved the clear statement of Lewis’ ‘secret’ challenge to materialistic thinking. Praying that many will be challenged by it.

There’s an outline of Michael Ward’s thesis here.

Jesus Is Alive! Can You Believe It?

Never mind April Fools – Rise Up and Pray on April 2nd!

Can you meet with friends to pray on the day of the G20 summit? As the sun rises across the globe, Christians will be praying throughout the day, covering the meeting in prayer Why not have an early-morning prayer get-together where you are? Click the banner for more information which can help you to pray together.


Hey I’m at work – that’s my green Fiesta

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Google UK Street View finally launches! This is the AIM International office where I am working right now. I have an idea I might be further down the road walking along – but I guess Google will have fuzzed my face.

A world of free music

I am not someone who listens to a lot of music, but when I do I like to be able to choose what I am listening to. Digital downloads are fine, but Digital Rights Management is a real pain making music I’ve paid for difficult to move around. The public response has unsurprisingly been lots of illegal music sharing and the recording industry launching lawsuits left right and centre against hosting sites. Recently¬†YouTube UK has got into a battle with the Performing Right Society.
But the world is changing and new services are coming out which make the music I want to hear freely and legally available whichever machine I’m logged on to. Spotify has only been around for a few weeks but it’s amazing. It is paid for by a few seconds of ads every 15 minutes and makes millions of popular and classic tracks available on demand.