Sarah Hartley

Archive for November, 2008

Five live lessons learned this week

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I’ve been trying some stuff out for the first time this week – some of which has been successful, some less so.

Here’s what I’ve learned;

* Uncouple your cross-posting applications before testing. I managed to spam followers of @Sarah_Hartley with various tests of the video streaming in advance of the Congestion Charge debate held at the M.E.N this week having forgotten it was set up to automatically post on Twitter. Apologies again, patient followers.

* Using external platforms carries an inevitable risk that things can go wrong out of your control. While Twitter and Twitpic behaved theselves to the extent I could send 13 live text updates and three pictures from the debate (albeit with plenty of typos!) Bambuser failed me totally in the live setting when the audio track completely vanished.

* Utterli has the best customer service department of any of the social media apps I’ve had reason to contact. Personal and quick replies to my email and a concerted effort to track down my missing pictures. After various tests, we discovered that my phone is set up to someone else’s email account so the picture and audio couldn’t find each other.

* Don’t lend out kit – related to the above. If using a piece of equipment which someone else has been using, check the settings. (I’ve also now got a N95 phone with no battery cover which is held together with sellotape and a video camera with a broken lens cover and dented battery!)

* Google only like Google apps. Not related to the live activity but, while compiling this Google map I found that, despite saying otherwise in the ‘help’, the placemarks will only properly embed Picasa pictures and youTube video clips. Flickr and Brightcove just wouldn’t do it.

If anyone else is embarking on such a journey – good luck and I hope this helps.

Now, let’s see what this week brings………

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November 30th, 2008 at 9:17 pm

Photographing Hidden Manchester

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With everyone having a multi-megapixel camera on their phone, and with digital cameras being so cheap and easy to use, its tempting to think that anyone can be a photographer.
Thankfully my own snaps give a lie to that, as they’re never much more than snapshots – but when you encounter a real artist you realise how digital photography can involve as much craft and skill as any artform. Andrew Brooks is described on his website as “a photographer, a conceptual digital artist and film maker” but that only begins to describe what are truly works of wonder. There’s echoes of Blake, Dali, and even Hipgnosis in his carefully crafted surreal digital canvasses. So I’m really looking forward to his new exhibition at Urbis, opening on 2nd December, where he was given access to “hidden Manchester” including the Town Hall clock, and subterranean chambers.
In what may prove to be a week of surreality, Redeye, Manchester’s ever interesting photography network, also host two fascinating artist-photographers next week, at the MDDA.
Its one digital artform I intend to leave to the experts.

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November 28th, 2008 at 1:08 pm

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Blog of the Week

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hattonposter.jpg
As is so often the case, sometimes the simplest ideas are the best. With this week’s pick of the posts, Hyde Daily Photo blog ,you get exactly what it says – a different picture of Hyde every day.
And it you find it hard to believe there’s enough items of interest for daily updates from any town, then check it out – all of life is there.
Everything from the mundane sight of a road junction to the people that go about thier business in the town, this reportage from Hyde is a fascinating document of everyday life.
The picture on this page is from earlier this month and is posted to mark Ricky Hatton’s plans to turn a former printworks into a gymnasium for the town.
The blog is the work of 61-year-old Gerard who also blogs at Ackworth born. It has already caught the eye of the local blogosphere having been shortlisted in this year’s Manchester Blog Awards in the best neighbourhood blog category.
We will be hunting around for blogs or websites to feature here, add to our blogroll and include in the e-view page of the M.E.N on Saturday so, if you’ve got one to nominate, contact us here or submit a link below. The only criteria is that they have some connection with Manchester.

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November 27th, 2008 at 10:47 am

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#C_debate: The congestion debate in video

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The congestion charged debate held at the M.E.N last night provided some heated moments. Channel M broadcast live from the panel discussion and these video clips capture the mood of the night.
See the highlights in the video clips below;
A typically heated moment about the leaflet offering asistance.
Pensioner campaigner Tommy Walsh.
The undecided train passenger from Leigh.
The teacher who wouldn’t be able to use public transport.
Councillor John Commons questions Graham Stringer.
Helen Smith a small business woman whose staff won’t be able to afford it.
Read more from the night here.
If you want to comment using the micro-blogging service Twitter, the hashtag is #C_debate. See what’s already been said here.

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November 27th, 2008 at 9:34 am

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C-charge debate over – but the arguments rage on!

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Share photos on twitter with TwitpicThe MEN’s congestion charge debate has now drawn to a close but you will be able to see highlights at 9pm on Channel M.
It was, at times, a heated exchange here at Scott Place with Andy Crane chairing the discussion and the panellists Sir Richard Leese (council leader), Lis Phelan (chairman of the official `yes’ campaign), Graham Stringer MP and Trafford Council’s leader Susan Williams fielding the questions.
Whether or not Manchester suffers congestion, whether the bus lanes have caused those traffic problems and the differing tactics campaigners have been employing to further their causes were the main points of the debate.
I did a live blog of the main debate on the micro-blogging platform Twitter using the hash tag # C_debate which you which you can recap on, or contribute to, here.
(Sadly technical problems mostly did for the live video streaming but this blog will be updated with clips from the night, first thing in the morning.)
The print version of the paper will have full coverage tomorrow and, of course, our top political blogger David Ottewell will be updating with his thoughts here.

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November 26th, 2008 at 8:30 pm

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#C-debate: Get the C Charge debate LIVE right here

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The M.E.N is hosting the debate with selection of informed panellists including pro-campaigner Sir Richard Leese and vocal opponent Graham Stringer MP tonight.
The two-hour debate will take place in the M.E.N. headquarters at No 1 Scott Place at 6pm.
But if you can’t make it in person, you’ll be able to follow plenty of the action live right here.
lve hooked up some live video streaming from the event which will allow online users to field questions direct to the panel and comment on the debate as it proceeds.
There’ll also be a live stream of reportage and comment on Twitter coverage as the evening progresses from me @Sarah_Hartley using the hashtag #C_debate.
Of course the M.E.N and Channel M will be on hand for in-depth analysis and David Ottewell’s political blog will undoubtedly be the home for his original and insightful thoughts on the evening.

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November 26th, 2008 at 5:09 pm

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Literature and the Web

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I was in Norwich the last 3 days, which in literary terms feels like Manchester’s twin city, there being so many connections between the writing communities from both cities. Yet the event I was down for wasn’t a literary event per se, but about how writers are responding to digital technology. The arts council commissioned a report on the “future of literature” earlier in the year, called Read:Write, and one of its authors, Chris Meade, kicked off proceedings – brandishing his shiny Sony reader as he did so.
I had my first experience of live blogging, as we heard about exciting projects such as Tim Wright’s “Oldton”, the game “Perplex City” and Alison Norrington’s “Staying Single” blog.
The event was in partnership with New Writing Partnership, Norwich’s writer development agency, whose director, Chris Gribble previously was here in Manchester at Carcanet and the Manchester Literature Festival. What came out of the event was a sense that though some writers run from digital technology, and other’s embrace it for promoting their work, the role of agencies that are there to support both readers and writers can be massively enhanced by embracing new technologies. After all, writers are desk-based much of the time as it is, so in some ways using the web either in their work, or to promote their work, through blogs, Facebook groups, or videos and podcasts, is a more natural thing than the live reading.
All of the writers speaking on Monday had used the web in different ways – but the common thread was about building communities and readership – which, when you think about it, is what writers have always done.

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November 26th, 2008 at 1:44 pm

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Max Clifford in Manchester: Was he worth it?

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With speculation abound today that spin guru Max Clifford received up to £10,000 for his appearence at Manchester’s Business North West event, we ask – was he worth it?
If you were at the event let us know through the comments below. The source of HowDo’s story on the subject clearly thought otherwise saying: “Nice work if you can get it”.
A spokeswoman for Business North West I contacted this morning said they couldn’t comment on the speaker’s price tag.
But, whatever the cost, was he any good? The city’s Made With and Rattle PR were at the event and asked local PR people, marketers and SME owners and managers what they thought of Britain’s best known PR guru before the fee story broke.
See their video report below and watch out for a star turn from ex-Apprentice contestant Jennifer Celerier.
[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=grnv2rL5hfo&hl=en&fs=1]

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November 26th, 2008 at 11:27 am

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Vodafone Live Guy trapped in Manchester toilet

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Blogger Martin Bryant goes where no others dare to tread! He caught up with the Vodafone Live Guy in Manchester for this video interview and learned more about a day of clues and giveaways in Manchester.

14sandwiches.com meets… Vodafone Live Guy from Martin Bryant on Vimeo.
Find out more at Martin’s blog, 14Sandwiches, or Vodafone Live Guy.

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November 24th, 2008 at 11:29 am

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Mancunian in NY: What does an Obama presidency mean for Manchester?

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Laurence Witherington left Manchester to study in the Big Apple last year but loved it so much he stayed. Now a journalist at Smart Money, the Wall Street Journal’s magazine. In this guest blog he takes a sideways glance at what the new presidency may mean for Manchester. This is the second of many dipatched from across the pond as Laurence will soon have his own blog here and be keeping us in touch with goings-on in New York through Mancunian eyes.

While he was campaigning for the presidency, Barack Obama’s opponents asked the American public how they could vote for him if they could not relate to him. He was labelled elitist, aloof, too skinny and too bad at bowling. Nasty undertones of race never completely subsided, and at well publicised moments Obama was called a Muslim and an Arab, while his middle name “Hussein” was frequently flaunted.
However, now that Obama is certain to become the leader of the free world, as Americans like to think of their Pres., we Mancunians can certainly relate to him. First, he is a huge sports fan. Obama supports his baseball team, the Chicago White Sox, passionately, and likes to throw jibes at fans of the other Chicago team, the Cubs. Inter-city rivalry is something we can understand. Obama was known as “O’Bomber” at high school because he was good at basketball, and he plans to install a court at the White House. Can you imagine Gordon Brown organising a game of 5-a-side at Number 10?
Obama enjoys playing poker, so Manchester’s many casinos may profit from the wholesome association of the game with such a sober figure. While it’s certain that George Bush favors the Texas Hold’Em rules, it is unclear which version Obama plays. Either way, the White House always wins.
Although he was nicknamed “Bar” by his late grandmother, Obama does not drink. Although this shouldn’t harm business in Manchester’s many watering holes, the next President of the United States is unlikely to be seen sipping a Stella in the Northern Quarter any time soon.
More seriously, Obama’s policies may have a direct impact on Mancunians. He has promised to reduce the number of forces in Iraq and concentrate on defeating Al-Qaeda and the Taliban in Afghanistan, and he is going to want to drag the UK along with him. This means that The Duke of Lancaster’s regiment, based in the north-west and no doubt packed full of men from Manchester, could soon be sent to the tribal hills. Obama also has a very aggressive attitude towards Pakistan, frequently saying that if the Pakistani army doesn’t do enough to combat terrorism on its territory, the US army will move in. This may not please the 30,000 who make up the thriving Pakistani community in Manchester. However, the city’s large Jewish community will be pleased to know that Obama has always been staunchly pro-Israel.
Obama’s victory was a triumph for diversity, and as such should be applauded in the multi-cultural streets of Manchester. Don’t take my word for it though; Oasis’ Noel Gallagher, more Mancunian than I, approves of the president-elect:
“Managed to catch that Barack Obama’s speech to the Democratic rally,” he wrote on his blog. “Impressive stuff. Spellbinding in fact. Wish he was one of ours. Why do Americans believe they’re electing the president of THE WORLD though?”

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November 24th, 2008 at 9:45 am

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