Sarah Hartley

Archive for January, 2008

Capturing the changing face of Manchester

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The ever-changing face of Manchester is rich seam for the city’s bloggers to mine. If, like me, you find the pace of change slightly bewildering as you struggle to remember what exactly was in a particular spot before the latest glass structure appeared, then you’ll find reassurance with Mamucium‘s latest series.
Changing Faces takes a picture from the past and juxtposes it against the same shot in the present. The latest installment is St Anne’s church and the photographs provide a glimpse into the society of the past.

“The church exterior is also clearly far dirtier in 1853 than in 2008. At this time, Manchester was in the opus of it’s Industrial Revolution. As a direct result of this air quality was horrendous and pollution was rife. This pollution was visibly rendered as a layer of black grime that covered every Mancunian edifice of the time.”

I can’t wait for the next installment and hope the series has a long future.
* The changing skyline of the city is a reoccuring theme in the photo site of former Manchesteronline blogger Aidan O’Rourke.
He’ll be talking about this subject next Tuesday(Jan 29) on the Radio Manchester Breakfast Show with Eamon O’Neal and Diane Oxberry some time between 7 and 9am.
* I’ve started a Flickr group to share some of the M.E.N’s pictures (like the one above) which capture the essence the city – feel free to add your own to Manchester Evening News pictures here.

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January 25th, 2008 at 11:24 am

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Cats, more cats and Dear Kitty

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The online world seems to be home to plenty of cat fans. The celebrity of Manchester Airport’s very own moggy, Olly, seems to know no bounds.
His Facebook entry shows that he now has 145 “friends” and is regularly subjected to poking, hugging, elf throwing and all the other madness avaiable on the site.
The pussies have even got their own social networking site. Catster now has thousands of members who get private messaging and can keep a track of page views for their homepages.
And there’s some people in Manchester who think their cats share their fanaticism for football (although I’ve watched this clip all the way through, it’s hard to say whether he supports United!)
[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MjiqZq3yFA8&rel=1]
So when the blog Dear Kittystarted up in the city last month I wrongly assumed it was another feline fantasy. But Dear Kitty is actually a weekly-updated spoof agony aunt. This week she’s been attempting to help someone whose lack of a five-year plan is becoming bothersome.
Her advice includes:”Those conversant with the five year plan are happy to kick off with, ‘Buy a jaunty new head-scarf’, safe in the knowledge that it will lead to enhanced self-belief.”
But the alluring appeal of our furry friends need never be too far away from the surfer. Anyone who knows cats will love this quirky animation which is doing the rounds on emails at the moment. If it hasn’t reached your inbox yet, see it here:
[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nJFF7QkwRaI&rel=1]

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January 19th, 2008 at 2:14 pm

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A new name for an old blog

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The eagle-eyed among you may have noticed that I’ve changed the name of this blog.
Not that I didn’t like the name Mancunian Way (which my predecessor Simon Donohue, also the motoring editor, cleverly called this blog), it’s just that I decided the road-based title didn’t adequately describe the blogging I’m now doing here.
So Manchester is Online it is – and hopefully it will grow to be a place which will truly reflect the fantastic amount of cyber activity going on in the city.
Let me know if you’re blogging, organising a Manchester Second Life event or setting up a Facebook campaign group either by submitting a comment below or sending me an email.

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January 14th, 2008 at 5:14 pm

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Hundreds of us blog on

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The blogging scene In Manchester is in rude health it seems. Already this month we’ve has been highlighted as the second most bloggy city in the country , there’s been a rash of new blogs starting up in the past few weeks and the demand for next week’s blogging workshop at the MDDA is such that a waiting list for future events has been started.
The workshop So you want to be a blogstar? is being run by top bloggers Kate Feld of The Manchizzle and the Manchester Blog Awards, and Chis Horkan of Mancubist.
“We have had an overwhelming response” Kate told me. She is now working on securing funding to host more events.
At next week’s session, a dozen new or wannabe bloggers will learn more about writing for online and hooking up their blogs with other online resources.
And while many of the blogs produced will personal accounts, Kate has also noticed an increasing number of blogs for institutions and groups coming into the local blogosphere plus that a surge in recent interest which she thinks is possibly due to the recent book-signings of some blogstars.
“The Manchester blogging scene is totally established now. It’s not a trend, it’s an established part of the media landscape” she added.
It is estimated that there are currently about 300 blogs based in the city and further activity within events such as the Manchester Literature Festival and another Manchester Blog Awards are planned for later this year.

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January 10th, 2008 at 3:59 pm

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Getting touchy, feely at the Consumer Electronics Show

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It’s likely that “natural user interface” is a phrase we’ll all be hearing more of this year. Bill Gates used his keynote speech at this year’s tech fest that is the International Consumer Electronics Show to focus on the “second digital decade” and revealed that the future’s in our hands – literally.
Addressing the massed ranks of gadget fans and technology followers, thousands of which had reportedly queued for many hours to see guru Gates before he retires later this year, the Microsoft chairman revealed a future without the mouse and keyboard.
He spoke about screens located around the home which will be operated by touch or sound and which integrate seamlessly with each other.
Computers will be everywhere – not just on the desk but built into the desk – and people would be able to access their files and applications seamlessly on any device, be it a mobile phone, computer or television.
“No longer will users have to bridge between devices … when you get a new phone or want to borrow a device it will be a very simple thing to be up and runningwith all of your files and applications loaded automatically ” he said.
And he predicted that many of today’s web activities, such as online shopping or chat, would take place in virtual 3D environments.
Gates also demonstrated a very early prototype of what he called “visual recognition”, which he said would be available on future mobile phones.
That technology would allow users to point their handset’s camera at an object and have the phone detect what it is, as well as bring up any stored information about the object.
To find out more about this touchy, feely digital world, see the full webcast of the speech here.
Elsewhere at the show, companies have been displaying their wares – some more wacky than others. If you’ve ever wanted a remote control beer cooler, click here to see more.
And there’s plenty more. The LA Times has sent an entire team of reporters down to the show and is featuring a different gadget of day throughout. See the latest from them and give your verdict here.
The Consumer Electronics Show runs from today until January 10 in Las Vegas.

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January 7th, 2008 at 9:18 am

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Helping hand for life

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IF the New Year has found you puzzling over the meaning of life and wondering where to go from here, help is at hand from blogger Jolly Roger.
At the recently created Lifestyle Guides for the 21 century, Withington-based Roger Daniel is striving to provide some essential life lessons.
What to know how to be pretentious? Or perhaps you have a need to some advice about how to be old?
If so Roger could have the answer. His brutal piece of home-grown philosophy on who to be a writer is typically acerbic;
“Joining a writing group is a great confidence booster. To know your not as flawed as a group of people who take time out to concentrate of writing high coos for nine hours just to be able to sound better than another fat, bald, women is commendably low.
“Writing groups motivate delusion and invariably take up space in a perfectly good hall.”
Not a blog for the easily offended – but funny enough to browse over a lunch hour this newcomer promises to post a new lesson every week and is listing as coming soon:
How to be god
How to be a gay
How to time travel
How to be a temp

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January 6th, 2008 at 3:46 pm

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Unwanted gifts ‘re-homed’

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It seems that eBay is doing a brisk trade in unwanted Christmas gifts – so much so that the auction site is even offering free upgrades to new sellers who start flogging stuff before January 9th.
Reporting that about 1 million unwanted gifts had alreday made their way online in the first five days after Christmas, eBay’s Richard Kanareck said: “Whether it’s the wrong size, you have it already or it’s just not for you, ‘re-homing’ a present means it will find a new owner who will really appreciate it.”
According to The Times the spurned festive haul not only included gifts that had been perecived as more of an insult than a present – but also tokens which hadn’t even been opened.
It reported how one woman who had decided to take advantage of eBay’s cut-price service, was offering up a plaque inscribed “Desperately seeking chocolate, please give generously” which had been given to her for Christmas, with the words: “What can I say about this?! Perhaps the person who gave me it should have just bought me the b****y chocolate!”
Another seller was attempting to get rid of an unopened present from his father. Next to a description of the item he wrote: “Xmas is done, and Santa has gone and left behind this unwanted gift! Want to open it? I don’t! . . . I have had a lot of presents this year and would much rather the cash . . . Knowing my father it will not have been cheap . . .
But while Mr Kanareck might talk about “re-homing” in a positive way, isn’t it all a bit churlish? After all someone did go to the effort of remembering you, purchasing, wrapping and presenting the item. Whatever happened to it being the thought that counts?

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January 4th, 2008 at 5:13 pm

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