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Love, Cannibalism and Adventure - A true short story from 1777

Almost two hundred and fifty years ago the famous explorer Captain James Cook arrived on his third and ultimately fateful voyage to the Pacific. He arrived in two ships - the Discovery and the Resolution. On this trip he would discover Hawaii for the first time, and visit many other places including Australia and New Zealand. Ultimately he would lose his life to Hawaiian natives, in a violent spat escalating over a stolen rowing boat.

I became interested in this story having recently visited the place where Captain Cook died. Yesterday I found a scan of the original manuscript, written by an American writer (John Ledyard), who happened to be travelling onboard the British ships at the time. As an interesting aside, this same manuscript was the very first work to be protected by US copyright.

Within the manuscript, John Ledyard gives an astonishing account of a true love story between a young native New Zealand girl and a young British sailor. It is utterly mesmerizing and shows how aside from the popularity of cannibalism, very little has changed in 230 years.

I strongly recommend taking 5 minutes of your life to read this.

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Upcoming conferences and trade shows

The next few weeks are busy as your writer criss-crosses the globe to preach convergence and the general state of the online video market...

Berlin 29th August - IFA
I'll be speaking on the opening day of IFA, a large consumer electronics show also open to the public. The conference is called Connections and is organized by convergence and digital home specialists Parks Associates. I'll be speaking on the subject of 'Visual Networking - The Evolution of Social Networks'.

Seoul 2nd-4th September - BCWW
The Broadcast WorldWide Conference takes place in Korea and attracts media and content professionals from all over Asia. I'll be speaking on the subject of 'Winning Formula in the New Media Ecosystem' and I can't wait. Korea is huge in Citizen Journalism - OhMyNews was the world's first collaboratively written online newspaper.

Amsterdam 13th September - IBC
The International Broadcasting Convention is a big event on the broadcast industry calendar for people on the hardware side of Television.

New York 14th-19th September - Web 2.0 Expo NYC
The Web 2.0 Expo takes place in four cities this year - San Fran, New York, Berlin and Tokyo. I'll be heading to NY as part of a 40 strong party from the UK consisting of 20 UK startups (including WorldTV) for this UK Govt sponsored trade mission.


Oh, you're a Tourist? L.A.P.D doesn't like my driving

Ford-Mustang-LA.jpgSo I've been on a trip to the West Coast these past few days and it's been fun and productive and all that yoda. Some brilliant back to back meetings, a conference panel session which was actually interesting and, well that's enough talk about work.

What I do wanna scribe is some of the more unusual happenings, the peripheral jimjam that rounds out a mission like this, and makes it truly memorable.

I learned that Terminal 3 at Heathrow now has the world's largest outdoor smoking enclosure, flying via Vancouver to San Francisco has its visual eye candy - you seemingly pass right over the top of the world, and... (boring alert), doing so means you have to gather and re-check your luggage in Vancouver, which is of course a pain in the backside.

I hooked up with my good friend Digby upon arrival Tuesday night in San Fran. Digby and I go back 20 years and is one of those reliable friends you can always... rely on, even if he did once spoil a beautifully planned, supersonic visit to surprise my (now) wife. He's never heard the end of it.

dotties_san_francisco.jpgWednesday I found arguably the World's best breakfast eatery - a super place called Dottie's in San Francisco. I'd heard some hype about it and just as I was wondering how good pancakes could over another, I took a bite and was propelled to pancake pandora. If you ever visit San Francisco, run to Dottie's on Jones. Just beware you may have to wait in line. There is literally a queue of people waiting to get in, and you should bring something to read as I did. Not dissimilar from the seemingly never ending queue all day long outside the Apple store in San Francisco with people lining up for the iPhone, which I can conveniently stalk from my hotel window.

After work I took advantage of my hotel's handy location (nice hotel btw - the Palomar) to venture over to the nearby mall where I learned that escalators can go round corners. Never seen that before. Heading up the escalators in Nordstrom's (a chi-chi department store) I actually got vertigo and I don't even suffer from it. It's a heck of a long way down.

I'd ventured to the mall to deal with a mistake which was thinking that California is actually hot in summer. I'd come here without a jacket, and it turns out that while, yes it is true California is hot for the most part. San Francisco is not. You can travel 20 miles south from San Francisco to Silicon Valley, or north even, and the temperature is 20 degrees hotter. Nuts.

Kitted out in a new jacket and with some little threads for my little boy, I got a craving for a burger 'my way' and plonked myself down in my grease of choice - Kurger Bing. It never ceases to amaze me that they actually have security guards packing heat in a (not so) fast food restaurant, but guns are a way of life here of course, and it's hard to get the cat back in the bag.

Continue reading "Oh, you're a Tourist? L.A.P.D doesn't like my driving" »


The World's Cheapest Air Fare?

I was sad to see Aer Lingus stop flying from Shannon to London, a historic route they've done for 50 years, and one I travel at least once a month.

I was concerned that with 4 flights a day becoming 1 flight a day (for me at least), the remaining airline, Ryanair would jack up fares and make a more unpleasant experience even more unpleasant. But today, admittedly in the low season of the year, Ryanair allowed me to beat my all time record for lowest round trip fare, anywhere...

From London to Ireland and back again (including all taxes and charges!).... the tiny sum of £10.78!

It literally cost me more for each of my cab to the train station and my train fare to the airport, and the two packs of smokes I bought en route. And here's the surprising part... I bought the ticket only 4 days ago.

How the heck Ryanair do it, and be such a profitable company, I do not know, there must be some insane subsidies going on or something unusual. $20 for a return flight to another country is crazy, may my carbon footprint forgive me...

Perhaps because of this, or just because I arrived at the airport so early (a Ryanair website failure which I won't bother explaining), I ended up dropping £80 on a wicked little wi-fi Skype phone instead. More on that in a future post perhaps, but first impressions are pretty impressive...


In Las Vegas for CES

las-vegas.jpgIt's been 10 years since I've been to Vegas and it seems like it's double the size. Half the hotels have been blown up and replaced with new ones, and it's even more glitzy and gauche than ever. You gotta love it.

My journey here was a little grueling. It took me two days, and four flights to get here from Eastern Europe, including one amusing incident where I landed at the wrong airport. I won't bore you with the details, but suffice to say it was disorienting.

Fortunately I'm now in the correct location and am all badged up and ready to go to the convention, along with 150,000 other people who are all here for the same reason. The show itself is huuuge. One look at the convention centre as I sped past on the monorail and I began thinking I should have brought roller blades.

I briefly considered queueing up for the Bill Gates Keynote speech which is taking place tonight, but decided I'd rather spend the time planning what I want to try and see tomorrow. If I do see anything I think is really cool I'll post it here, but there's many a fine blog and resource covering the whole kit and kaboodle.

Viva las vegas!


The Moscow Effect - Property prices in the former Soviet States

kharkiv_car.jpgMoscow is the most expensive city in the World - think about this for a second. Not London, New York or Tokyo, but Moscow.

That's what the recent "Mercer" survey tells us in their annual rankings, and which was widely reported in the media about a month ago. The qualification on this is... "for expatriates" - Mercer's reports are aimed at corporations who need to establish pay scales for sending their workers abroad.

My own observations, having just spent two weeks in that part of the World are that Moscow is indeed very expensive for anyone coming in from outside. A hotel suite can easily set you back $1000, regular hotel rooms are $350 plus. But it's property prices throughout the former Soviet States that are the most interesting for me. Property in the former USSR is remarkably expensive, not just for expats, but for everyone.

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