150-WORD BOOK REVIEW: The Dark Net by Jamie Bartlett

Dark Net Cover The Internet that most people use on a day to day basis is a veneer. The part that lies unindexed by Google and unvisited by most is only occasionally glimpsed in tabloid exposes or dodgy pop-up ads on sites people visit for ‘research’.

The Dark Net is about the layers – rotten and amazing – that lie beneath. Free from the academic ruminations or tabloid hysteria that has characterised so many other books on this topic, Bartlett explores this semi-walled garden of Camgirls, Silk Road dealers, trolls, transhumanists and perverts and many others by exploring those people who live and make a living from the more opaque, obscure and occasionally illegal and immoral corners of the Internet.

Not only are the characters perfectly cast, their stories are expertly told. You’ll either be horrified or racing to download Tor afterwards. Or maybe both. Regardless. You’re going to want to read this.

REVIEW: 9.75/10

Ebola Facts website goes, er, viral

ebolaAs the Ebola health crisis deepens and is not expected to peak until the end of the year, education about the disease is critical to contain panic and inform people.

Last week Nigerian educational website launched Ebola Facts, a site that was built in 24 hours and aimed at educating the West African market about the disease. In the past week more than 1.5 million people have visited the site and the Facebook site has been viewed 2.3 million times.

Curated by Lagos-based Big Cabal Media and in English, Ebola Facts lays out in simple terms what the virus is and how transmission occurs. It also dispels the myths about the disease and content from the site has transferred to print flyers, newspaper ads and digital billboards. Work is now ongoing to translate the site to French, Swahili, Yoruba, Igbo, Hausa and Pidgin to cater to a growing regional audience.

“With the launch of Ebola Facts, we’re tackling an age-old problem of containing a deadly virus with 21st Century technology. It was designed to be easily accessible, on all tech platforms – mobile being the Number One platform here on the continent – and, importantly, free.

“We’ve also been contacted by government officials and medical professionals who are excited about the fact that young Africans are finding new and innovative ways of reaching out to as many people as possible to help save lives,” said Dr. Seyi Taylor of Big Cabal Media.

As the front page of the site says:

Ebola is a very scary disease.
It kills most of the time and has no cure.

The good news is that you don’t have to get it.
Here’s what you need to know.

No WiFi?… Holiday ruined, we won’t be back

holidayLogging in while on holiday can be a tricky thing for families and rules need to be drawn up so nobody gets too pissed off.

The one that is currently in favour in my household is to go online for an hour at breakfast; all members of the family on their devices – kids doing games and Instagram, parents doing work. After that, it’s over to the analogue world of swimming, running, basking and dreaming.

But for many people on holiday, especially those staying at hotels, unreliable or non-existent WiFi can ruin a holiday and in process destroy a hotel’s reputation and brand. Moreover, one in three holidaymakers will never return to the same hotel chain after such an experience.

These data comes from a report by wireless network provider NETGEAR who polled 2,000 people on their WiFi expectations on holiday. An inefficient service can even lead to some lurking in hotel corridors or perching on window sills to get online… or temporarily leaving their family to spend hours in local coffee shops.

“WiFi access on holiday is now a basic need. Hotels must wake up to this fact and take action. Guests should be allowed to choose for themselves whether or not to connect, not to have that decision made for them by the hotel,” said said Jonathan Hallatt, regional director UK, Ireland & South Africa for NETGEAR.

To read the full report, please click here.

Brandwatch back to the future with Hindsight

brandwatch_hindsightSocial media analytics company Brandwatch has launched Brandwatch Twitter Hindsight, which provides its customers with the ability to retrieve all relevant Tweets since 2006, as well as enjoy continued access to full real-time Twitter data.

While other platforms in the industry only offer up to two years of Twitter data, Hindsight offers access to the full eight years of public Tweets since Twitter’s inception. This new Hindsight functionality within Brandwatch Analytics allows agencies and brands to:

* Uncover new angles for campaign planning by accessing tailored data snapshots for year-on-year campaign tracking, trend projection, and analysis of recurring or specific events from the full Twitter corpus

* Confidently share insights about the historical impact of past marketing activities

* Produce richer, more insightful analysis and reporting through unbridled access to complete Twitter dataset from the first Tweet in 2006

Brandwatch Analytics has been a Twitter Certified Product since May 2013 and was also the first company to offer full Twitter data through the Brandwatch API in partnership with Twitter-owned Gnip.

“Hindsight is a game changer. Brands and agencies want access to curated, high-quality data. Better data means better insight. We all know that hindsight is 20/20 and now our customers can see clearly what’s working and what isn’t.

“This is the first of several exciting product announcements we have coming up which we believe are new, are different and collectively lead the industry from analytics to real social intelligence,” said Will McInnes, Brandwatch CMO.

The Brandwatch data archive, including mentions from blogs, forums, news sites, incidental Tweets and other sites, dates back to 2010 and is available to Enterprise users as part of their subscription. Brandwatch Twitter Hindsight is available for Enterprise customers at a minimal fee. For more information,

BOOKS – Walls by Marcello Di Cintio

walls_marcello_di_cintioDespite common belief, the Great Wall of China CANNOT be seen from space, but the idea of walls as barricades between people based on tribe, nation and class is one that Governments and cities adore.

In Walls Canadian writer and adventurer travels to borders in the Western Sahara, Palestine/Israel, US/Mexico, India/Bangladesh, Greek/Turkish Cyprus, Morocco/Ceuta and /Meilla Belfast and Montreal to see how people are dehumanised by being divided.

This book is marvellous, reportage mixed with political disgust and a travel book for intelligent people. Sometimes, when you think you know it all, somebody teaches you what a stupid attitude that is to take… and apparently you CAN see the Western Sahara ‘Wall of Shame’ from the moon.

REVIEW: 9.75/10