When it comes to technology, I like it to work straight out of the
box, so if any service gives me any hassle, I lose interest. I’m still
struggling to get a grocery delivery service that works - every time I
try, I fail, give up, and can’t get round to trying again for at least six
It’s not surprising that email, in general, has improved communication,
and speeded things up, although I wish people would realise that there are
still times when it’s better to walk to the next office and politely
complain about the noise, rather than to send a nasty email! It’s by far
the most extensive new-media habit to which I have succumbed, and it has
completely transformed the way we all work. Communicating via post and fax
now seems almost archaic.
When surfing the web, I’m often shocked at the lack of thought that goes
into usability. It is so important, yet so difficult, to create an
attractive and easy-to-use site, especially as surfers these days have so
many other alternatives open to them.
Digital interactive TV services such as Sky Digital and Open, although
clunky when compared to a fast internet connection, tend to be much easier
to use, and hence hit a much wider cross-section of the population.
After all, almost everyone in Europe is familiar with how TV works, and
almost every household owns one. In the UK, digital TV is already in
around 20 per cent of homes, and there’s every reason to believe that it
will soon exceed home internet access.
Most of all, I’m looking forward to 3G telephony. As a late convert to
mobile, I’m now desperate for it to handle my database and agenda, so that
I don’t need to carry my Psion everywhere, and also to include flash
memory so that I can use it as a personal stereo as well.
As far as the sites I regularly visit are concerned, these are a mixture
of making sure I keep up with relevant news from around the world and in
the sectors where Music Choice operates. I also keep tabs on my music,
sports and financial interests.
As someone with relatively obscure tastes like The Fall, Captain Beefheart
and Brentford Football Club, the web is ideally suited to keeping in touch
with others with the same interests, and keeping up with the chinese
whispers as to who Mark Smith will pick a fight with next.
FT.com - Just about the only site I view every day and the best way to
catch up on what’s going on in the business world. The recent redesign
looks good, but it hasn’t made it more user-friendly.
I also receive the daily emails, but I am unconvinced by them - if I’m
interested in three industry sectors, why do I have to receive four
separate emails? For the business stories that really matter, you still
can’t beat the FT.
Web address: www.ft.com
Music365 - I don’t always have time to read the weekly music press, but
I’m determined to remain true to my younger spirit and keep up with what’s
new and breaking. I occasionally go to NME.com or dotmusic, but Music365
is the one I keep coming back to. It’s easy to use and get around,
although I sometimes get the feeling that it’s a light snack when compared
to the real thing.
Web address: www.music365.com
Griffin Park Grapevine Quite frankly, nothing can beat a good
old-fashioned community of interest. This site is little more than a
modern bulletin board, but for a passionate Brentford FC fan like me it’s
a great way of keeping up with what’s going on around the club. And it
changes every day, so there’s always something to come back for, which is
more than you can say for most sites.
Web address: www.gpgrapevine.co.uk
FastnBulbous.com - This is a bizarre site whose approach is best summed up
by its trademark quote: ”A squid eating dough in a polyethylene bag is
fast’n’bulbous.” It recommends music styles from alt country to jazz,
psychedelia and punk. US Radio DJ Fester reviews and grades hundreds of
new albums and adds a bit of fun with his obsession with Captain
Beefheart - the source of that quote.
Web address: fastnbulbous.com