Tag: freewifibirmingham

“Can we talk?” – a new measure for liveable cities.

I’ve been asked by MADE to write 200 words for the Birmingham Post. They’re gauging opinion before the Technical and Environmental  Mayor of Copenhagen speaks in Birmingham next week. Klaus Bondam will be at Town Hall on April 6th to share with us how he expects Copenhagen to stays a wonderful place to live.

I was asked about an hour ago and the deadline is tonight.  Here’s a bashed out draft of what I fancy saying. Please encourage, discourage amend etc in the comments. Does anyone have details of that survey that put us the 2nd best place for social media behind, is it Chicago?


Is this a good place to talk?  It’s not a question we often ask about cities.  After all the whole point of a city is that we can connect, trade and work.  Non of that happens without talk, does it? No it doesn’t, and neither does innovation.

Conversation is about scale, it happens where it’s easy for people to gather in small groups.  The ICC is evidence that we know about audience on a grand scale, but how well do we do small scale gathering?

We need many places where we can meet, deliberately or by accident.  That means a city which is easy to walking but above all has many interesting and modestly scaled places that people want to go.   It means a tolerance of other’s ideas and interests, a city where people also like to listen.

These are partly planning issues and partly cultural issues. How good are our public services at setting the example and being interested in us, how good our our planners and designers at encouraging the interesting?

And of course we don’t just want to talk to ourselves. Birmingham needs take part in a global conversation.  So our schools need open access to the internet and our school teachers and pupils helped to have the confidence to take part in sharing and developing ideas with people across the planet.

Oh and Birmingham doesn’t have free internet access in the city centre, whatever our PR folk may so. So Birmingham Fizz needs to be turned of or turned into a proper free wifi service, so we can finally start hearing each other speak.


Birmingham Bloggers have so many pipes have we become craic heads?

Birmingham Bloggers March 2008 from aeiouz on flckr.

I always appear to be the last person to write about any particular meeting of the Birmingham Bloggers but I had no intention of being the last person to write about monday’s meeting twice! For some reason the material in this post disappeared overnight:

Stef's tweet.

So what was I saying? I think I was appreciative of people’s patience with the formal bit of the evening. We had feedback from the brum group who went to Austin, Texas for SXSW. Our first two meetings had been nothing more than a chance to chat. Stopping everyone in full flow to get formal seemed a little odd, especially given how involved and passionate the conversations were. It worked though. Pete Ashton’s post here summarises reaction to what was a very enjoyable evening and also links to a video on the more formal bit from Andrew Dubber and these blog posts:

Stef Lewandowski: Roundup of ideas
Hemminac: “Badges for bloggers builds barriers?!”
Antonio Gould: Short post
Charlotte Carey: “the rather mischievous notes/observations I made”
Antonio Roberts: “I’m very interested in seeing what a coworking space, and the people running it, can offer a communtity who are almost completely unknowledgable when it comes to technology.”
Simon Hammond: “There was a lot of discussion about ‘evangelism’, ‘conversion’ and ’spreading the word’ about social media which struck me as odd language.”

Thank you also to Lloyd Davis for talking to us about the social media club he’s nurturing in London.

It’s called the Tuttle Club, a reference to the De Niro character in the movie Brazil – a guerrilla plumber who’s able to make the system work with simple, unbureaucratic applications of effort.

Different forms of what you might call Tuttleware have sprung up from the folk of the Birmingham bloggers group. Or as Pete puts it:
Paul Bradshaw built a Birmingham Bloggers Aggregator and a Birmingham Twitterers feed.
Lloyd reminds us in the comments of the Coworking Birmingham wiki that was set up a while back. It’s there for the using.
Pete Lewis has started a Brum Planet which appears to be a massive stream of stuff being produced online in Birmingham. Something for ambient browsing.
Mark Steadman brings us Blogging Brum: a group blog for Birmingham.

Charlotte mentioned that as a group we have a very high proportion of white men. Her research at BCU is looking at why women and people from ethnic minorities rarely appear at the head of the high value, high growth businesses in the digital and media sector. Any thoughts on how Birmingham bloggers meetings, events can involve a wider range of people please share them.

I don’t think that was all I said in the original post – but I need to get on with some editing. Thank you to Al at Rooty Frooty for staying open for us. Thanks for the comments so far (which is more than you can usually says before you’ve finished a blog post) and I might leave the last tweet to you:

sixball birmingham bloggers tweet

Brum Bloggers Meet. Monday March 31st – Venue Suggestions please

AEIOUX photo of Jon Bound at Bimringham Bloggers meeting February 2008

Stef and Charlotte on the facebook group raised the question are we meeting this month, so rather randomly (with some confidence that Pete Ashton will be there) I’ve plumped for March 31st (by the way others are able to use the Facebook group to create meetings).

Hopefully two or three of the Brum folk who went to SXSW will be able to come – allowing us all to chew over what they saw and what is changing in this city.

We need somewhere to meet, ideally in the city centre. Suggestions asap added in the comments section please.

Update:  Location sorted thank you.  Rooty Frooty – just opposite reception at the Custard Factory.  17 Gibb Street, Digbeth, Birmingham, B9 4AA.  (GoogleMaps, MultiMap).

Birmingham Wifi Names from Jon Bounds

Birmingham WiFi Jon Bounds

Jon Bounds has a curious and creative mind. He’s made this for these reasons.

Since I’ve had my iPhone I’ve become interested in the names people give their wifi networks, the way that the phone brings them up for you as you walk around made that inevitable. So I took to writing them down – I found that I was interested in what it said about the thoughts of who set them up. ‘Secure’, ‘Home’, or peoples names – or those who cared so little they left the default on. I collected these ones here on my normal travels around Birmingham (UK) in January and February of 2008 – the larger ones in the ‘cloud’ do represent multiple networks with the same name, but I haven’t done that scientifically.

I think it works quite well as a poster – I uploaded the graphic to a cafepress store so I can buy one when I get some royalities of some of my other shops.

Jon has also just begun writing for the Birmingham Post’s new blogs in the Lifestyle section.  I reckon the poster above is a perfect form of lifestyle journalism. So who is shakespeareshirley?