Thursday, April 7, 2011

Outdoor Advertising & Council Cuts

Wonders never cease!

Splodge can't claim to be responsible for the current OFT action looking into OUTDOOR ADVERTISING monopolies but its a coincidence that after pointing out such things in the post about Outdoor Advertising + Council Cuts that an investigation is underway!

And another strange coincidence in Dublin (A HOAX but highlighting a genuine issue):

                                                       Dublin: Thursday, Apr 7th, 2011 
There has been a history of controversy in Dublin. There have been no accidents but this is because people are having to take extra care on these public foot ways. This contract must be up for renewal soon, there MUST be better alternatives.

This video from a few years ago gives a good idea about things in Dublin.

(Reuters) - The Office of Fair Trading said it had started an investigation into certain JC Decaux and Clear Channel contracts as part of a probe into barriers to entry in the outdoor advertising market. home Office Of Fair Trading to investigate Outdoor Advertising Monopoly:

OFT: Press releases 2011 -

OFT publishes outdoor advertising market study: Barriers to Entry, competition is stiffled.... allegedly. 

Decaux response: looks like shutting the barn door after the horse has bolted - JCDecaux issue a Code Of Ethics!

 Years after their boss and founder gets SIX MONTHS:

Decaux sentenced in corruption scandal

City bus shelter tycoon in corruption scandal.

Glasgow News
A MILLIONAIRE businessman who recently won the contract to supply 50million pounds  worth of bus to Glasgow has been convicted for his part in a corruption scandal.

Jean Claude Decaux supplies local authorities throughout Scotland with the latest public loos and bus shelters.

His firm, JC Decaux, recently wrested control of the contract to supply Glasgow with bus shelters from arch- rival Adshel after a bitter battle.

An appeal by Adshel bosses to the Court of Session in Edinburgh against the decision was then thrown out.

But the company owner and chairman has been convicted in a French court after he allegedly colluded with a corrupt politician.

Apart from the strange amount for bus shelters valued at 50Million?

It makes you think about how all this street furniture got to be so prominent in most UK cities, and cities all over the world?

Where there is huge amounts of cash you often find corruption of one kind or another.
And Dublin has given JCDecaux access to massive profits whilst the country's debt drags it down.

Good LUCK:  OFT as these outfits have enough cash drawn from our city's stupidity to allow them access to huge funds; more than enough profits to fight any outcomes in the courts for years; thus stiffling any competition! IPSO FACTO.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Splodge on Crime Maps

There a great idea! Well done UK Police.


These maps work from inputting your Post Code (USA: Zip Code).

Then you can see the reported crime activity positioned onto a local map.

This Police crime activity site gives out Twitter feeds of current crimes.

A year or so ago I attended a conference with a Police officer giving a very informative talk telling the audience about Location Crime. He maintained that all criminal activity is location connected from the point of the criminals. They all operate within their own known geographical area, or locations they know, a sort of safe zone that they are comfortable with. This means that they observe and plan ahead and know all escape roots before performing any actual criminal activity: its their territory.

Now this is VERY interesting because in most cases, an example being burglary, the burglars are our local neighbours.

CCTV may put them off.

Anti-social behaviour is a crime wave and these folks are always local and probably all known to the Police, the problem is evidence- catching them in the act.

Like the local burglar(s) they know that there are no Police about and then if the Police do show up – that’s when their mobile phones inform their mates, so they disapear.

Virtually all low level crime is drug related. But the fact is that elected officials do not like to take up issues regarding drugs, why? And the Police; why do they withdraw into their hideaway Police stations. I think its apathy.

We can do something about all this.

When we realise that some organisations do monitor these Police maps and the results that they see can hit you in your pocket: home and car insurance. If you live in the wrong area your car insurance can be hundreds of pounds more than a neighbouring community area.

So even if your not mugged, had a burglary or your car broken into you are paying the cost for it to perpetuate!

On the basis of saving ourselves a lot of money and using the Police data to support the case we should demand that the politicians take an interest and that the Police patrol these areas…. I would suggest a few hide in the bushes for ‘sting’ operations – call me radical… Splodge can take it!

Live statistics such as this Police example are good material for digital citizens to use to push through reforms armed with facts. Statistics of all types can be obtained online from government and other agency’s – they may be gathered for one originating reason: rising crime means more funding for the Police etc and the website can be used for that purpose, but with a little thought and imagination such material can be used to force change in different directions.

Look at your local crime map post it to your MP get some action!

Susan Greenfield Professor of Neuroscience

Susan Greenfield Professor of Neuroscience

Susan believes that Social Networks may be harmful: “computers may be changing the way we think”. MAIL ONLINE: 24th February 2009

A lack of concentration from spending too much time on Social Networks:

Maybe. But probably building new skills such as rapid responses needed in Kill games mostly played by young men and boys, which may prove to be more harmful.

Are there compensatory factors?

Do games and long stays on Social Networks reduce real life social networking? I bet the answer is maybe, and for some people but not for others in fact a mixture of possibilities.

Professor Sue is obviously correct with some of her observations and she correctly identifies a lack of empathy capacity when dealing with other human beings as a result of using computers too much.

However this lack of empathy is due to the person, how the human being is, how their upbringing affected them, parental care etc; this and nothing to do with placing the blame upon the computer, it does however show that too much of anything is no good for nobody.

The video shows that Professor Sue is most likely correct about computer (A.I) intelligence: can such a device be conscious in the human manner?

As Sue says: its doubtful.

But its also doubtful that many human beings are conscious too! In the sense of self aware consciousness and having the capability to be fully aware and really cognisant of our actions – i.e. not to be driven by impulse and conditioning producing automatic responses.

“Computers may be changing the way we think” but maybe that’s just an observation provided by only recent ‘scientific’ observations of the way people are reacting with computers, has the way we think had periods of change due to many external circumstances in the past? For example no one was around observing how the printing press changed us, and in anycase do we really think? I mean think independently of our sets of previously conditioned and stored auto responses?

As described in the last Splodge Blog (Artificial Intelligence) people do appear to make automated responses that could be compared to a none thinking computer; programmed with automatic responses from external inputs. For example in arguments the tension rising between the persons arguing can appear to be an automatic emotional ratcheting up effect. Seen by an outside observer the pantomime often shows the stupidity of such functions. When the red mist of an argument causes anger; conscious self aware decisions are just not available and the results are stupidity. Good advice from the old adage is to count to ten before commenting against an argumentative opponent. Thus stopping the none thinking automatic response that is there on a hair trigger waiting to pounce.

Like the Manchester United footballer when given a yellow card, swearing to camera, Wayne Rooney said it was just: “a heat of the moment reaction” are we all subject to reactive moments?
Concurrent self awareness: monitoring yourself with an awareness of self offers much more control over the self - in fact we probably have multiple selves that auto act out responses in various previously experienced experiences, produce a template answer framework mindset, and its when these states do not then give up their ‘control’ that problems can set in, when an ‘argument self’ is resident all day; we have all encountered such states in others if not within ourselves.

Now here is a little experiment you might try for observing a self observing state of mind to see what I mean:

Repeat a word, any word, or a sentence if you prefer.

Repeat it for as long as you can. You will soon realise that you drift off dreaming other thoughts and that your intention to keep repeating the word was lost. You lost your conscious awareness!

Keep on re-trying each time you come back to self remembering: what your intention was. After a few attempts, a couple of times a day and maybe it may take a week for a noticeable result; then apart from realising that you have little authority to command your own mind to do your bidding, you will realise that there are periods when you find yourself ‘there’ concurrently conscious and able to observe another part of your mind fulfilling your command to repeat the intended words.

Its separate from YOU separate from you being absorbed and within it.

There you have it – that is real self aware consciousness; you are observing a sub function. YES a bit like a computer running a sub-routine function! But the human can do this whilst being cognisant of both – observing the observer of the sub routine: does this lead to what Frank Herbert was attempting to describe as ‘Mentat’ capacity in the DUNE series of books? WHO KNOWS. I refuse to go off onto a Splodge tangent!

It does have interesting effects; one is that this process can be called upon to change any repetitive automatic mental music that gets into your mind without permission. Often you just can’t stop it, that continuous monotonous repetitive annoying song that just wont switch off; however this little exercise will do the trick. Which proves to yourself if not to others that it is possible to take control of the sub mind by strengthening awareness in the overmind.

Why is there no psychology research into such matters?

Its quite possible that these self observations could lead to humans beginning to use the parts of the brain that are apparently dormant! It just begins with a little effort.

I wonder if Professor Sue has ever done such experiments upon herself, for the sake of objective science?

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Artificial Intelligence

HAL 9000: It can only be attributed to human error. 2001 A Space Odyssey.

Lots of methods claim to include artificial intelligence in their systems, Robots, Chat Bots, Avatars and lots of assorted computer software programs. BUT none of them are – really intelligent.

Intelligence – cognisant of self and understanding of things in relationship to, information, analysis, knowledge and armed with this taking actions – decisions based upon knowing and estimations and predictions of ‘partial knowing’.

Dictionary definitions:
The capacity for learning, reasoning, understanding, and similar forms of mental activity; aptitude in grasping truths, relationships, facts, meanings, etc. the faculty of understanding.
knowledge of an event, circumstances, etc., received or imparted;

Also the potential to make decisions based upon partial knowledge to result in an outcome that did not previously exist.

These are signs of intelligence and as yet no computer system has exhibited such things. Also the dictionary omits to describe: cognisant of self

Search engines do not have such capacity – they have no capacity to be self aware of their functions: Google uses an algorithm and gives out multitudes of spurious (Spammy) results – Blekko is an attempt to reference information into much more useful categories with relationships.

And how do they do this:

             They do it with people building these SLASH-TAGS

The result makes the searches better, more accurate and much closer to the searchers need and with additional related data linkages, this cannot be achieved by Google, and BLEKKO is doing it with the assistance of people – a Crowd Source building model; people using their brains to intervene: adding the ‘KNOWLEDGE’.

So the way to make search engines and their future derivatives more intelligent is to use human intervention.

This is the very opposite strategy in the mainline areas of th A.I. development industry; who believe that top down computational algorithms will produce artificial intelligent systems: I say NO.

How can a stupid none aware mathematical engine generate the definition of intelligence as defined above: NO WAY.

So I say that THE way is to build it up from the grass roots and this means going so along the lines of BLEKKO.

Many future developments will evolve when we think correctly about this situation and drop the idea of a golden simple less work overhead answer other than the required hard work of inputting all the META attributes required.

Even then the results will be far from human intelligence.

Now whilst I’m on this subject: Human intelligence

Is there any evidence of this or in fact are we also subject to conditioned reflex thinking and automatic decisions,  that are similarly generated to operations of a search engine. I say we are because we are often asleep in our waking state.

Modern psychology has missed this aspect of human cognitive faculties: as most of the time we spend in REACTION to external events, we can be impulsive, emotional, even Pavlovian in our responses and our speech and not aware of decision processes.

For example: we are not always present and often ‘asleep’ driving to a location without remembering the journey; when we do habitual or repetitive tasks, these operations tend to turn off awareness, leaving an unconscious physical robot to take over, whilst the mind drifts through endless interlinked chatter, thought dreams, whilst externally to an observer we appear to be awake, and yet are we consciously ‘present’ from moment to moment…?

Psychology and brain researchers appear to miss study of these phenomena:


Possibly because supposed ‘mystics’ have studied just such gaps in human consciousness – SELF conscious – The very thing that I claim that a computerised A.I. cannot achieve – we in fact most of the time do not posses this faculty: we possess it only intermittently!

For the most time we are not present!

 RenĂ© Magritte's Not to Be Reproduced

It is possible with a little mental effort to prove this phenomenon to yourself.

Look at an object in front of you, a tree, a cup; whatever, then BECOME aware of yourself looking at it. Your  ‘I’  your self -  looking SIMULTANIOUSLY at it… you should notice that you become fully aware of looking at it.

There you have it!

You the viewer perceive yourself - perceiving the object being - perceived.

This is conscious self awareness: and awareness/knowledge of SELF.

This may be what distinguishes mankind from all other species.

Its quite doubtful that a computational algorithm in a computer programme could do this sort of mental gymnastic… and its unnoticed most of the time for us humans as we often spend much of our days unknowing in an automatic dreamlike unconscious self none aware state .

This is not a Splodge idea; it was first introduced as an observation of mankind by George Gurdjieff.

The problem was that Gurdjieff followers built on other ideas of his into a sort of cult, therefore ideas such as this one became tarnished an ignored by mainstream psychological thinkers.

But there is something significant in this… in understanding ourselves.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Social Media Advertising: the Final Frontier?


Google has tried to buy Facebook several times but has always been thwarted by Mark Zuckerberg who owns the major part of Facebook shares. Further to the annoyance of Google is the fact that Facebook has allowed Microsoft to be a substantial investor: so no doubt the BING Search Engine may have a role to play in the future.

Currently no search engine is allowed into Facebook to catalogue its content.

SOCIAL MEDIA ADVERTISING - Versus – SEO: Search Engine Optimisation linked advertising.

Over 500 million users and growing: that’s Facebook

With Facebook it is possible to locate user groups with common interests that are friends of friends, who might pass on useful information: this equals word of mouth recommendations. This is the best that a product or a service can get, it’s the circle squared and the advertisers dream. Google can only estimate what users want from a search based upon input keyword descriptions which often misses the mark: link based ranking can falsely reach top positioned but not be what the searcher seeks. Mining the links was once input by people making these links somewhat meaningful, now its automated and low quality (e.g. MechanicalTurk).

Facebook is still the ‘next big thing’ and set to get bigger: with more integrated applications reaching special interest groups. If you want to reach all the people interested in a certain thing you can find them on Facebook. How do you locate and provide your service to all the people in a location that are interested in fly fishing, or people who like a certain genre of music? There all categorised on Facebook and can be reached with specifically targeted and quality tailored options to reach them, to interest them = less or no Spam. There is in fact no need to search outside of quality sites that give you the material – subject that your are seeking (see the Blekko video on the Spam, Spam, Spam article). So quality sites with integrated links to & fro in Facebook look a likely new killer Ap for it.

Also outlined in the last Splodge (Spam, Spam, and Spam) I mentioned that Google was putting up barriers to stop some of the existing methods that SEO advertisers utilise to favour their clients; by feeding keyword back-links to Google to get better positions for their clients.

A practice that has generated good fees for Google, but know it seems that Google has decided to forgo such revenues in favour of better more honest and accurate search returns for its users, is this all altruistic or is Google forced to do so because other ‘upstart’ search engines are focusing on Spam removal (Blekko) and thus could be a threat to the mighty Google?

Google may not even have to police some sites e.g. HubPages; because out of thier GoogleFear they have started to do so themselves with genuine and borderline Hubbers getting this message on their edit pages:

A red highlighted instruction appears on your HubPage edit and this is followed up with an automated email explanation of the infringement – it could be too many back-links (two maximum?) or content considered to be duplicating content on a none Hubpage site.
I tried investigating this and one way around it is to put the content first onto a HubPage and then a few days later, secondly onto another location, they then, don’t seem to mind! Ho Hum.

There may be other Social Network sites to come in the future but right now Facebook dominates.

Returning from my detour: all this well intentioned fuss may be just noise from Google because I can predict that savvy Internet advertisers will be moving in droves to Facebook once it is fully realised the power of that method over Google’s Spamful results.

Simply put Google has to guess by number crunching and matching keywords to ‘interests’ products and services, and its results are shamefully Spamful. Whereas Social Networks KNOW lots about their users and can match in an analogue fashion (people powered) and beside this can be placed very relevant adverts too potential clients.

Now ad this to the idea of Crowd Source Build Slash Tags (Blekko) and you get far less Spam, a better more accurate Internet, and more accurate advertising!

You heard it first from SPLODGE.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Spam, Spam, Spam


Good legitimate content, advice and services are obscured by Spammers pushing their paid for advertising at us all, bloating the Internet with rubbish or worse: content that pretends to be professional advice!

These organisations have been making good incomes by charging their clients to get them to the first results page on Search Engines using  SEO techniques (Search Engine Optimization) and launching at Google and other result pages their clients URL’s due to a fee, rather than any real value.

The Internet has enough junk, and its time the detritus was removed, or at least blocked.
Why should ‘businesses profit from Spamming us all with junk feeds.

Blekko and Google have black balled content farms and certain aggregation sites and banned several of these and deleted links from many more legitimate content sites like Squidoo and HubPages.

slash the web!  What Blekko Search engine aims to do.

Blekko is a better way to search the web by using slashtags. slashtags search only the sites you want and cut out the spam sites. Use friends, experts, community or your own slashtags to slash in what you want and slash out what you don't.
Web search bill of rights from Blekko – Admirable…
Search shall be open
Search results shall involve people
Ranking data shall not be kept secret
Web data shall be readily available
There is no one-size-fits-all for search
Advanced search shall be accessible
Search engine tools shall be open to all
Search & community go hand-in-hand
Spam does not belong in search results
Privacy of searchers shall not be violated

Lets hope it works!

Content farms, low-quality duplicate content sites and keyword stuffed aggregators have be effected by the Google algorithm change introduced in February (2011) which filters out more Spam: for example HubPages dropped about four million hits. HubPages are much more legitimate in their aims, and such information can be obtained, as for the others its more difficult to assess their results: dropping I hope!

BUT… there’s always a but…


Camouflage tricks can be loaded into Squidoo, HubPages and other sites, with content masquerading and pretending to be one thing but loading up with every spelling and misspelling (TAGS) to generate links – camouflaged backlinks to assist hit values to AdSense ads.

GOOGLE Spam’s content farms:

On one hand this is good news for Internet users – fed up with hundreds of results that do not match their genuine need, but on the other hand lots of lost revenues for Google AdWords?


Spam site businesses that sell SEO content aggregation and gain from AdSense revenue could be in some trouble, possibly - eHow, etc but maybe Google will suffer too!

Google shooting itself in the foot?
Google’s enabled content farms and ‘backlink’ aggregators to be profitable in the first place with AdSense and made millions from the traffic generated, so adversely effecting these organisations and methods could be shooting Google’s own advertising revenue footprint.

The Blekko search engine and The War on Content Farms