5 Ways of Reviving Your Dying and Dull Christmas

“When Christmas turns into a form of repetition, where we do the same things at the same time, it becomes a bit like the digital world. Things are either on or off. Ones and zeros. The Mulled wine when people arrive. The lunch serves dead on at 1 pm — the after-dinner coffee at 3. This repetition can be reassuring, the one time of the year when everything is predictable. It runs ‘like clockwork’. It is what we always do. It can also feel repetitious in a negative way – dull, lifeless, something to be endured, not savoured.” (Read More)

Fiction Corner

Short Story | The Catapult of Christ

“The elastic was not really elastic at all but the rubber ring which fitted to an old press machine put together by her Uncle Stefan long years before she was born and now lying rusted in the store room with the tricycle and the broken skis.” (Read More)

Science & Technology

Is the Internet immoral?

A colleague recently described the internet as “immoral”. Some might think it is “amoral” – a neutral place, where it is we, human beings, decide whether it is good or bad. But this colleague was adamant. The internet, right from its very foundations (even deeper, from its roots) is substantially immoral. It’s bad, rotten to the core. That immorality may have been made in ignorance by its originators, or it may have been consciously chosen. So says my colleague. (Read More)

Fiction Corner

Short Story | Does, Doesn’t

“The duel of Does and Doesn’t rose up before me as both a monstrous waste of life and energy, and also an incredible achievement, a triumph of perseverance, a work of Art in the highest sense, an accomplishment which, even as I forked up another lump of chocolate sponge, was continuing its development in the castle high on the hill above lazy Piran.” (Read More)

Science & Technology

Five new ways to think about privacy in social media

We have tended in recent years in the realm of social media to think of privacy as the opposite of transparency. Companies such as Facebook have espoused an ideology in favour of transparency. Whilst stating that privacy is a human right, they have mined our data in order to sell it to third parties and better “target” us with advertising. This is built on a basic business model of social media being free in return for access to this behavioural data. (Read More)

Fiction Corner

Short Story | The Tale of the Fox

“He retrieves his game, thrusting it safely in his jacket pocket and quickens his pace out of this place, though, try as he might to fear, he feels only welcome and kindness on this moonwashed winter night. He pauses a moment and is sure he can see a pair of eyes staring at him through the trees. But a wisp of a moment it is there, and then it is gone.” (Read More)

Fiction Corner

Short Story | The Flyer

One who had sworn never to patronise this particular establishment in her life time; one who proudly hadn’t done McDonald’s for over four years; one who boycotted Nestle, here I stood. I was madly in need of a double espresso and a biscotti, and every other cafe on and off the Royal Mile was packed with tourists, performers and the occasional indigenous Edinburger. It had taken me the best part of half an hour to negotiate the desperate performers and the crowds of watchers of street magic and unicycled knife jugglers, not to mention bagpipers and mini kite sellers. I needed to sit down. (Read More)

Business & Economy

Apple – Genuinely Happy 40th Birthday or Looming Mid-life Crisis?

The ripe old age of 40 is often a time to reflect on your success in life, either looking ahead to more of the same or beginning to worry that the next forty years might be a road downhill. So is Apple set to hold on to its position as the world’s most profitable public company , or is it about to enter its own mid-life crisis, facing stagnant mediocrity, grey hair and the label “has-been”?
(Read More)

Science & Technology

Snooping digitally creates a toxic silence

Managers and bosses now have the right to snoop digitally on their staff. They might just find that the transparency they think they have won leads to a deeper transparency flying out of the office windows as people zip up, minimise and, more dangerously, take the conversations underground. We then end up with a kind of toxic silence. (Read More)


The rise of the superlative

Edward Hanna, Professor of Climate Change at University of Sheffield, observes, in his article for The Conversation, how, in recent news coverage of winter weather in the UK, that a common winter storm was renamed “weather bomb” by the media. This happened to coincide with my own noticing of the use of “Absolutely Amazing” to describe some fairly normal occurrences by people I’m connected to on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. You really can’t get any more absolute or amazing than absolutely amazing. (Read More)

Science & Technology

What if our children are the screen-obsessed couch potatoes of the future?

The idea of “digital addiction” has returned to the fore with UCL researchers suggesting physical activity should displace the compulsive watching of television, internet surfing and video gaming. Often it’s suggested that at least gaming is more active and engaged than merely passively watching television, but the UCL study’s authors regard gaming as “just a different way of sitting down and relaxing”. (Read More)

Science & Technology

Paul Levy | Fry quitting Twitter is part of a larger social media problem

Likes come very cheap, and, as things stand on most social media platforms, there is no dislike button. So likes tend to be thumbs up, love hearts and instant one liner “amazing”s. Negative reaction tends to be phrase-based, even paragraph-based, is more elaborate and often experienced as more of an attack. I have written about how this can get quickly descend into chat rage as comments get out of hand and the subject of the reaction can feel threatened and attacked from all sides. (Read More)

World Politics

5 Ways to Refresh Your Thinking

We can all get stuck in our modes of thought. We can end up recycling the same ideas and this can stifle needed innovation. The world is changing all around us and our business can soon get out of touch with the external environment. That can quickly hit sales and revenue as what we offer is out of sync with the market for our product or service. (Read More)

Business & Economy

Is this the end of the road for business travel?

The world’s airport business lounges might be even more peaceful and relaxing this year as companies decide to rein in spending on travel. Budgets have been squeezed by airline and hotel pricing trends, internal cost cuts, compliance considerations and traveller safety concerns. Factor in the rise of virtual meeting technology and the trick for the business travel industry leaders will be to work out where the market now lies. (Read More)

Business & Economy

Toxic innovation: Volkswagen is the tip of a destructive iceberg

In short, VW is only the most current and most prominent example of toxic innovation. If corporations want to keep the trust of their consumers they will have to design toxic innovation out of their broader innovation activity. Sadly, stories are emerging in increasing frequency in which companies are applying the same skills they use to brings us wonderful products and services, to cheating, deceiving or in simply trying to be clumsily smart. The result is damage for everyone along the supply chain. (Read More)

Photograph: Pexels
Science & Technology

Your digital devices are watching and listening to you

Samsung has advised users of its televisions not to speak aloud in front of it! I’m serious. Specifically the corporation suggested not speaking personal information aloud. You see the device, which can be voice activated, is in a constant start of alertness, ready for your command. It is recording all you say and, according to Samsung (as reported by the BBC), “Such TV sets “listen” to every conversation held in front of them and may share any details they hear with Samsung or third parties”. (Read More)

Photograph: Pexels
Edinburgh Festival

Politics, Distraction and the Digital Inferno

Every year for the past eight years I’ve spent August at the Edinburgh Fringe, seeing shows and writing a few reviews. As founder and editor of FringeReview I have had the opportunity to observe at first hand the changing nature of marketing at the Fringe. Edinburgh’s famous Royal Mile is still packed each day with thousands of hopeful artists handing out paper leaflets – the famous ‘flyers’ – in the hope of gaining an audience for their production.

In parallel, the rise of social media has led to Facebook pages, Twitter feeds, Pinterest boards, Linkedin groups to name but the most famous (or infamous) ones. (Read More)