"..a bardy view!"

Foursquare – beware!



I was invited to join foursquare and get an app for my smartphone. What is it?

Well here's the deal. You'll be walking around in a strange place, feeling hungry, looking for a restaurant, or looking for a drink, or a cinema, or directions, and instead of asking a passer-by for directions, you hit the foursquare button and an army of perfect strangers will appear out of the ether to give you advice.

Failing that, your "real" circle of friends are going to meet up with you assuming there’s any in your locality.

If not, fear not, because the “perfect strangers” are going to meet up with you, with whom you're expected to welcome with open arms, and talk to as if they are your long lost tribe, sharing anecdotes and discovering each other’s interests.

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February 13, 2012 Posted by | Culture, Current Affairs, Education, facebook, General, Humour, London, Science, United Kingdom, Weblogs | , , , , , , , | 2 Comments


There was a Trojan Horse at the gate and it wasn't from the Greeks – at least I think not. But I can understand why these insidious viruses are called as such. They hide behind apparent innocuous posts on facebook and other social networking sites, embedded in the link like a parasitical worm.

Not content with causing mayhem, infecting the computer attaching itself like a bloodsucking leech, but it grows and multiplies like bacteria. Indeed the word "trojan" is far too good for it and as we all know it is the synonym of"malware". Some of these can be harmless, others can be extremely destructive, but the fact is that someone somewhere is designing these dastardly bugs and whilst they are at least contained to the IT world, one can only hope there aren't any mad scientists around who can replicate them in the medical one. Otherwise we are potentially doomed.

Not unless we can carry around a human form of antivirus software to blitz the bastards before they can send us all bonkers.

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January 15, 2012 Posted by | Culture, Current Affairs, Education, facebook, Weblogs | , , , | 14 Comments


I read much about writing platforms eg Squidoo, Hubpages, Helium & etc, and I always hear about keywords, SEO and trending, and I also notice that such espousal is deemed crucial for making money from output.

I hear about the power of blogs, I read advice that an article should be linked to this and linked to that, and shared here and shared there, and that facebook and twitter are the conduits to get the stuff noticed.

I read advice about joining forums and making a presence. I hear words of wisdom about being part of a community, about making comments and seeking feedback, about linking articles to back-links, and so on and on.

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September 27, 2011 Posted by | Books, Culture, Current Affairs, Education, Hubpages, Squidoo, Weblogs | , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment


Wizzley Wizzley is an online publishing site similar to Squidoo and Hubpages. The model is more geared to the latter.

I've always found Hubpages much simpler to create content, and Squidoo has developed so many tentacles in recent times that they appear to be getting knotted with their own appendages.  

Whatever is going on at Squidoo is not for me to figure out, but when they started giving out cartoon characters similar to kindergarten cuddly toys as trophies, it was time to cut and run.

As a Squidoo pioneer I was awarded with some kind of demented gremlin high on speed. I regarded it as contemptious and pathetic. Surely they could have thought of something better?

It gets worse – take a quest which I have been invited to complete: "Duncan Diggity is coming up short of ideas for a fun summer vacation for his wife and squids. Help him by creating a NEW travel lens and you'll collect 200 SquidPoints." Wow – goody goody, can't wait to play with Duncan Diggity!! 

But back to Wizzley. The founders have clearly looked at the aforementioned and attempted to strike a happy medium. As with all, the emphasis is on affiliate advertising, so Amazon, Youtube, ebay, Zazzle, et al are fundamental to a page. As with Hubpages, Wizzleyers (wizzlers?) are expected to have independent affiliation with the advertisers, even down to the google adsense – unlike Squidoo which mainly pools it all and distributes it in their own peculier way.

There is no question that Wizzley has learnt some lessons and is attempting to incorporate the best of what's available, nor is there any question, which they may deny, that they are poaching Squidhubbers. They would no doubt argue that they are just creating another sea to swim in. After all, that's what competition is all about.

But loyalty manifests itself in several forms, and whilst many may be tempted to dip their toe in the water, how many will actually swim? Old habits die hard, and although some may jump in at the deep end (writing lots of Wizzley's, gathering fans etc), surely the mercenary will just see an opportunity to promote their established work which is elsewhere? Is this a recipe for opportunism, or a genuine alternative to create refreshing new content?

Its early days, and too early to see what the financial returns may be. Nevertheless, there is room for Wizzley, and the chance to regain a healthy and personal community long lost from the original idealism of Squidoo. It took less than four years for Squidoo to lose its compass.

Lets hope the navigators at USS Wizzley have a greater sense of direction. I will be on board, and will support it.

I just hope I don't feel the need to jump ship in three years time. But by then I may be pushed anyway.


June 3, 2011 Posted by | Current Affairs, Events, General, Hubpages, Squidoo, Weblogs, Wizzley | , , | 2 Comments

Is imitation the best form of flattery – or just downright plagiarism?

So there I was contemplating my navel – as we do – and it occurred to me that all my words written in so many places are just whispers on the ethernet wind. I've been laid low with a trapped nerve in my rear and consequently am somewhat immobile. I tell you, it's no fun, especially when just going to put the kettle on sends me into spasmodic agony. Anyway – far be it for me to complain – there are plenty folk out there with more serious problems.

But this period of physical inactivity has given me time to spend analysing the internet. For example, courtesy of Copyscape – a site which identifies copying and plagiarism -  I've discovered that whole sections of my work have been hijacked with impunity. There are travel sites in South America which have used my "Trek-Philippines" intro as their own. And don't get me started on the Philippines, where an abundance of sites have stolen my words.

I've come across respected global news media which have nicked my stuff. Take this for example about Audrey Hepburn: "Feminine beauty can be defined both within and without. Yet there are few women who exude both. Marilyn Monroe – stunning, flawed and vulnerable. Rita Hayworth, stunning, confident and – vulnerable. Sophia Loren, stunning, strong etc."

Well, excuse me, but those are my words and thoughts, first published on Bardiness.

And what about: "Whether you are careering in a bumpy multi-coloured jeepney along chaotic streets, or trotting gently in a horse drawn calesa through historic avenues; scuba diving in some of the world's finest waters or taking on the challenge of a mountain trek, the Philippines has everything to offer the adventurous traveller…" First published on Squidoo in 2007. This has been used in abundance around the web, by so-called "reputable organizations".

There are scores of other examples. Now don't get me wrong. The saying that "Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery" is a compliment of sorts, but it is a 19th century proverb not designed for the 21st.

I don't mind people using my stuff, but an acknowledgement would be nice or a backlink, or even a request to use it. After all, it's my work, so why should others assume they can take it for free?

I could of course visit all these sites and express my legal rights, that's what the Creative Commons License is designed for. But the prospect of spending time on this fills me with more agony than my current ailment.

I went to one today, a site which looked like a legit outfit, and gave them a piece of my mind, but it was just a "blogger" site. How many have already copied my stuff from there for example? Where is it now? That's the big question!

March 11, 2011 Posted by | General, Squidoo, Travel, Weblogs | , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

In the beginning was the word….and the word was fidelity!

In the beginning was the word and it was delivered with verbal fidelity. This was the method of communication for the greatest part of human existence. Early man would paint on caves, and later civilizations would carve meticulously on walls. Later papyrus would be utilized, which would lead to parchment, waxed tablets, and eventually the printing press.

This would lead to the advent of books, newspapers and magazines. Eventually, a postal service was created, and communication suddenly went rampant. Indeed, the post office would deliver mail several times a day. In the UK it was a most thorough service, which became even better with the advance of steam railway.

Later the telegraph appeared, which was the first instant messenger service. A message could be electronically transmitted down a line, in coded form, copied instantaneously and dispatched immediately – the telegram had arrived.

Soon after the telephone  arrived – a bakelite device which could connect from a home to a local exchange, and via trunk calls could connect to another home or office.

Later a cable could lay across the Atlantic ocean to connect overseas. Most of this happened in the 19th century, but it's not my job to educate you – just look it up on the internet.

By the mid 20th century satellites were in orbit around the earth, bouncing and relaying communication globally.

By the 20th century the micro chip was developed, telephones got smaller and more mobile, which heralded the age of cordless telephones, cellular mobile phones, fibre optic wiring, the internet, broadband and Wifi otherwise known as wireless fidelity.

Yes, it's that word again, and in the beginning was the word, and the word was fidelity. (Go on – admit that was a clever full circle!)

In the past it meant faithfulness to obligation, duties or observances. Today it means the degree to which an electronic system accurately reproduces the sound or image of its input signal. Things are getting really boring. (hic!)

Onward technology moves on, and at the dawn of the 21st century electronic mail takes precedence. email is king – paper free.  Instant letters to all and sundry. The internet came of age – electronic transactions, online banking, online shopping, online insurance, online medical advice, online holidays, online education, online lives. Virtual lives, the Internet is in every home, office, business, school and university. But wait! Email is dying. Social network sites have replaced it. Fidelity is lost. At the dawn of the new decade beginning with 2011, the world communicates on instant messaging, and ruled by three kings, facebook, twitter and Google.

Social networking is the new communication phenomena. Yet they are upstarts in a brave new world.

At this moment the Voyager I spacecraft is hurtling toward interstellar space, 11 billion miles from the sun and about to escape the solar system – that place which the Earth calls home. It's been on the voyage for 33 years.

Not a single tweet will it broadcast, not a single IM message will it send. It is off into space, and future generations may look upon it in awe, and wonder why mankind preferred to devote their lives to facebook? (hic! bugger! hic!)

January 23, 2011 Posted by | Books, Culture, Current Affairs, Education, facebook, General, History, Religion, United Kingdom, Weblogs | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

facebook? Time for a face-pack!

Should parents befriend their children's facebook? It's a topic on the BBC News Magazine website, and my answer is clear and concise. No!

In fact, if I had my way I would ban the insidious and shallow excuse for social interaction now. Fini, kaput, gone, dead, and buried.

So what are my objections? First of all I don't want to see photos of my daughters posing provocatively for all and sundry. Call me a prude, but if I can see them, so can millions of others. The argument of privacy settings doesn't hold water, because one friend leads to another, and the network expands to meet the needs of the curious.

Read "friend" for "link". A link, to an event, to a picture, to a discussion, to similar minded naïve young people and full circle – ergo, back to what you don't want to see.

I'm not saying my kids are naive, because in normal day to day activities ie life, they appear perfectly level headed, intelligent, articulate  and responsible. Yet these seemingly natural aspects of the human condition disappear entirely once they appear on facebook.

I'm fortunate that during their early years the 2nd generataion web phenomena didn't exist, otherwise I would have torn my hair out with worry. I thought things were bad then, but if I was a young parent now I would feel that I had lost complete control. Control? Well, parents need that aspect over their children, and for all the arguments we are not friends to our children, we are parents. Period!

Of course my children are adults now, and what they do on facebook is their business, but invariably, and no doubt unwittingly, they have managed to spread their circle of friends to aunts, uncles, cousins, and a host of virtual "friends" who they will never really know nor meet, and all of them by hook or by crook are wrapped in the bubble.

Their real friends are equally naive and do the same things, and this fuels the perpetual purpose of facebook. As a bemused account holder of the platform (soon to destroy), it is inevitable my relatives will have some link with my own offspring, and lo and behold, the circle is complete.

Whoever thought of this is seriously disturbed and dangerous.

But it is not just the fact that everyone seems to think that facebook is the most natural thing in the world, it is the potential for danger and exploitation, be it from criminals or governments. Indeed, its difficult to tell one from the other in a world where everyone has access to personal information.

Lets look at the pros: A mother with a son away at university, or on holiday, or working far away can keep up with her child's activity. Someone with an interest or cause can find like minded individuals. Someone who wants to show photos at Christmas or birthdays can do so to all their friends and family around the world. Granny can follow her grandchildren. Opinionated people can spread their thoughts to all of the above.

The cons: Social interaction has failed. The article I referred to earlier highlights a family that never interacted together, but communicated on facebook. They never looked each other eye to eye. Even the siblings only spoke to each other on facebook.

The media be it radio or television, newspapers and magazines encourages facebook following. The obvious results are speech deficiency, poor grammar, no articulation, ill thought argument, and "text" speak. The advocates profess that this ensures the survival of the English language and that it will not die like Latin.

OMG f de tink dat dn wer doomd bro.

Employers now look to facebook to check out the character of their applicants. The police look to facebook likewise for analysis of suspects. Google can target advertising to those who show particular interests. The FBI, CID, CIA KGB et al can find out information with one click.

Paedophiles and other sexual perverts can trawl through thousands of pages to find a victim; thieves can find out properties which will be empty, party goers can trash a pad with ease, and marriages can be ruined by the careless desire of a partner to seek out past relationships. Riots can be planned, activists can make secret rendezvous, religious extremists can find a home and receive nurturing and conditioning. Gangs use it to keep in touch with their members, and it is a platform for the violent to show off, before and after imprisonement.

facebook is new. It has the power to cause incalculable damage. It fuels the ignorant and nurtures the liberal. It ferments dissent, and for every good cause it may broadcast there is a despicable undercurrent lurking and feeding from it.

Yes, its great to keep in touch with your friends and relations, but there are other less damaging ways to do that. How about writing a letter, or finding a site like Virtual Tourist or Travelblog. Email or Yahoo messenger is still a great way to communicate.

facebook fundementally is the tool for instant gratification, in a world which has lost sense and sensibility. It is the tool for instant attention and suspect, misguided fame and following.

I do not want to be a friend of my children. I want to be a responsible father, honed with experience to advise them while I am still alive.

You do not need to be a facebook friend to love and care for them. facebook furnishes fly by night, fairweather friends, but unlike in the real world, they will be there forever in the virtual one.That is a worrying prospect.

Its time to put a face-mask on facebook.

December 14, 2010 Posted by | Culture, Current Affairs, Education, facebook, General, Politics, Weblogs | , | 2 Comments

I've been searching for a travelogue platform to write in real time about my day to day travel experiences. Travelbloglogo.3

There are many social network travel sites – Virtual Tourist and Globosapiens for example (I've dabbled with them both) but I find most of them rather self-aggrandizing. 

What I find particularly unsavoury for my palette is the need for members of these sites to accompany their moniker with slogans or mottos. You know the type of thing "Take nothing but your memories, leave nothing but your footprints" (actually that could be one of mine), or "A million miles starts from a single step", and so on ad nauseam.

What is it with people who seem to think their motto is profound and unique, when in essence they have been said before, over and over by someone else – perhaps with slight variation?

My own (yes, I have one on one of the aforementioned) is "Leave your mottos at home – they're  pretentious". Hmmm, that could be construed as quite pretentious too! Best not to have any in my opinion.

Still, after a little research I have landed on Travelblog. I like its crisp and clear presentation. I like its informative and educational elements, and I like its ease of use.

I like the discreet advertising which is not "in yer face", and I am impressed by the quality of contributions. I would be happy to pay a small subscription for it (such as I do here on typepad), but Travelblog is free – gratis! I like it's professional yet understated approach, and I admire its confidence. (I'm not being paid for this article incidentally).

So the facility in a nutshell is that a day to day travelogue can be generated and uploaded at will, but if an internet connection was poor, then it can be saved easily and hassle free. Friends and acquaintances can read the daily (or weekly) events, with accompanying photos, and can be kept up to date. To dip in or out at their leasure. Indeed, they may even see their own friends and relations at the same time depending where their correspondent may be! This is a lot more practical (and more fun) than sending emails, and it has the potential to generate a much wider, but no less interested audience.

For me this is an exciting prospect. All good things need a method of delivery. Sites like Facebook, twitter, Hubpages, Squidoo and blogs such as this are perfectly positioned to be utilised for it.

So now I embark on the next step.

And the motto is? Watch this space.

Now…that would make a good one!

October 19, 2010 Posted by | Culture, Education, General, Photography, The Philippines, Travel, Weblogs | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

WeBook…We Suffer

I was invited by the website WeBook to give a free page to fame submission. The idea is that you submit a first page of a book and fellows will rate you. 

After a period of time, your first page will be bumped up and another page will be expected. The truth is its more of a paragraph than a page, but so be it.

The theory is that some strolling literary agent will eventually be astounded by your work and a publishing contract will be forthcoming. That's assuming that your critics actually like what you write.

Normally they charge a quid or so for the privilege of exposing the openings of a magnum opus to all and sundry, but on this occasion they offered the facility for free.

Duly responding I wrote a small ditty under the genres: fiction, General, and Romance.

Well so far I've had 17 ratings from my peers (ie site members) and five of them commented that the writing needs work. Only 35% want it elevated to the next round. The early critics had it at 70%, so I wonder why all of a sudden it has been down graded. 47% rated it as average, and 6% have effectively said it's tosh (which is the lowest rating by the way, although "tosh" is my own euphemism).

Of course, I don't take any of this seriously (he says) for it is a false hope for many who feel they have ink in their blood just waiting to be discovered.

What surprises me is that 35% of raters actually liked what I wrote. I am deeply offended. I work hard to be disagreeable. I must be losing my touch.

I shall return to this subject in a couple of weeks – just to give a progress report. I do hope you are on tenterhooks.

June 30, 2010 Posted by | General, Weblogs | , , , | 1 Comment

Time to Pay for Labour…..

I'm not a mercenary opportunist blogger, which is why I refrain from populist topics. I'm led to believe that bloggers can make a few bob with affiliate advertising by encouraging traffic with choice keywords (a sad and time consuming pastime).

Of course visitors should click on the adsense, but mine aren't much ad, and have little sense. I couldn't tell you what Google have hitched their skirt to as I write, but chances are its inane and irrelevant to the subject matter.

Why do I have it you may ask? Because it's a gift horse – costs nothing, and after a few years it may pay for a bottle of Glenmorangie.

If I was asked what my current revenue was I would respond with a glazed expression – I wouldn't know how to access the account, never mind remember log-in details.

I shall just let it accumulate, and hope that it doesn't attract Capital Gains Tax in 10 years.

I've reached the point where the hunger to inform, postulate and digress does not challenge me anymore, and the lyrical wax is losing its sheen.

Indeed, the Web 2.0 phenomena has lost its sparkle. I'm not a social networker and I've failed to grasp the peculiar attraction of facebook, twitter et al, but have dabbled with bemused interest. It's not for me.

I set up this blog to experiment with my thoughts and views, fuelled by my despicable opinion of the UK Labour government which has now gone, and with it my frustration.

My ire is still there, because they systematically destroyed a great country with rampant disregard for its history, heritage, and values. When Tony Blair entered Downing Street in 1997 proclaiming his new government would hit the ground running we should have removed the pavement there and then. Who could have envisaged the damage they were capable of.

But it is a harsh lesson, which says that the Labour party, regardless of their camouflage should never be allowed power ever again.

Social justice and state control are not natural partners, but worthy bedfellows for socialists to prostitute themselves for. They are adept at spend and waste, and believe that the answer to everything is to throw money at it.

Whilst doing that, they feathered their own nests, and created a cosy club of hypocritical, champagne spin doctors, destined for the House of Lords, having ravaged and pillaged the nation's coffers. Pimps disguised as reformers.

Their legacy should never be forgotten. It is a lesson for future generations, to our children and grandchildren who may be spared the debt which we must now try to pay.

Good riddance to the UK ex-Labour government – but they will be back! You have been warned!

I shall be back, ever vigilant, but will I care so much in five years time? As long as there is Google Adsense, I shall reap the pennies and eventually buy the wonderful malt!



June 15, 2010 Posted by | Culture, Current Affairs, Events, General, London, Politics, United Kingdom, Weblogs | , , , , | 1 Comment


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