Tag Archives: Google Reader

Learning the Lessons

I really don’t think this is the way he wanted it when he started collating stories of the demise of the SPCK book shops, but by capitulating to the heavy handed “remove everythingâ€? approach from Mark Brewer, Dave Walker has indirectly given the underlying cause massively more publicity than they ever had before. By succeeding in silencing the story in such a dramatic way on CartoonChurch, Mark Brewer has blown the story massively bigger than it ever was before, as a growing number of people highlight it on their own blogs. (I don’t know why, but the whole thing reminded me of a rather famous moment in Star Wars…)

For example, the Facebook group in support of Dave Walker is now significantly bigger than the original SPCK Supporters group, and people who maybe had a passing interest in the demise of the SPCK shops are much more focused on what is going on – and I’m including myself in that, if you look back through my site, prior to this I don’t think I’ve even mentioned it.

So what are the latest developments? Firstly, Matt Wardman has started to republish the original posts, starting them off with a quote from Brewer himself, culled from the Internet Archive:

“Thank goodness that we have this one, last bastion of free speech – the Internet. The internet, in particular, is the only truly free �press“ we still have.�

This certainly is a salutary lesson to anybody to be very aware of everything you have said online, as even if you delete the site and the posts completely there are numerous places that the quote can live on indefinitely – for example I can use the same sites to track back to postings I made in the early 1990’s, over fifteen years ago. Here, a quote Brewer made in a campaign eight years ago takes on a whole new light…

The other big development is that whilst Dave backed down, Sam Norton, the Rector of West Mersea, one of at least two others who received a similar e-mail demand to cease and desist has published the whole ongoing correspondence. Matt Wardman has also published it, and will comment in due course. [Update: The Ministry of Truth has a very detailed analysis of the legal and factual inaccuracies in the Brewer threats.]

Perhaps what is driving the campaign, and why Sam Norton and others aren’t backing down is trying to resolve the content of the original posts, with the accusations in the cease and desist. The whole collapse of the SPCK book shop chain over the past couple of years has not surprisingly raised a good deal of emotion, not least amongst the staff caught up in the middle of it all – indeed one staff member took his own life following his redundancy from the Worcester shop. When you read the posts, Dave spent a good deal of time trying to moderate those reactions in order to thoughtfully report events that he believed should be of concern to a wider audience. As a relatively high profile site he primarily acted as a central resource for collecting together information from the geographically diverse chain. Care in what was written was uppermost, even when emotions grew – you can easily find points where he calls for cool heads, and where he removed comments that he himself deemed were close to the line. Certainly an approach from Mark Brewer asking for specific points to be removed would I’m sure have been met with much less of an explosion of anger in the blogsphere than the cease and desist attempt to close down the whole story has produced, (further enhanced when the pages include attempts to financially support redundant former SPCK employees) – to be honest edits to existing posts would be unlikely to be noticed, but seventy-five posts vanishing overnight set the whole snowballing story into motion. And of course, like his quote eight years ago, all of this will live on in the archives…

So any lessons? Watch what you write – once published on the Internet it’s very difficult to remove. Also think before you e-mail – MadPriest has something that he hasn’t posted yet for example. Also, watch what other people write. If you work in PR for any sort of organisation, set up some searches on sites like technorati and Google to monitor for stories – it’s a lot easier to address a story when it first appears, rather than trying to shut the whole thing down months after it has got going. Whatever your opinions on the current situation, and however much you might want a set of posts removed, after this much time it’s too late to close the stable door.

The current list of supportive posts stands at sixty four items:

  1. St Aidan to Abbey Manor – David Keen – Vicar (Yeovil)
  2. The Wardman Wire – Matt Wardman (audio of BBC interview from 12/2007)
  3. Gentle Wisdom – Peter Kirk
  4. Bishop Alan’s Blog – Alan Wilson, Area Bishop of Buckingham
  5. Blogula-Rasa – Ginny (detailed – worth a read)
  6. Metacatholic – Doug Chaplin – Vicar (West Midlands)
  7. Of course, I could be wrong – Madpriest – Priest (somewhere in England)
  8. Seven whole days – Scott Gunn – Parish Priest (Rhode Island) and Lambeth Conference.
  9. Thinking Anglicans – Simon Kershaw – Cambridge, England (likely to follow further press coverage)
  10. The Jewish Blog Network – How to recover deleted pages. Firefox Resurrect Pages add-on.
  11. Lingamish – Blogger Bludgeoned by Bozos – David Ker – Mozambique. Kudos for the cartoon above.
  12. [Update: 23/07/2008] SPCK Watch – Gagging attempts by Mark Brewer – SPCK Watch. (Somewhere in Europe). Whole blog devoted to SPCK saga.
  13. [Update: 23/07/2008] Elizaphanian – We are all Dave Walkers now – Sam Norton, Rector of West Mersea, Essex. Suggests that we reposts Dave’s ex-posts from Google Cache
  14. [Update: 23/07/2008]Mad Hare – Solidarity post – SPCK/SSG and Dave Walker (New Mexico : United States).
  15. [Update:24/07/2008 AM]The Cartoon Blog – Cease and Desist Demand from Mark Brewer Dave’s original post – now gone
  16. [Update:24/07/2008 AM]GOD, CHRIST: QUESTIONS & FAITH – More and More on the Exploding SPCK Story & Dave Walker’s Cartoon Church Blog Check out the illustration from the 1950s
  17. [Update:24/07/2008 AM]Saintly Ramblings – Dave Walker Solidarity Post
  18. [Update:24/07/2008 AM]SPCK/SSG: News, Notes & Info – Comments on Moderation Expect comment when owner returns from holiday
  19. [Update:24/07/2008 AM]PamBG’s Blog – Those Christian Bookshops
  20. [Update:24/07/2008 AM]Scatter Cushions – Nothing like like having an informed debate
  21. [Update:24/07/2008 AM]connexions – Cartoon blogger silenced
  22. [Update:24/07/2008 AM]Turbulent Cleric – Libel law used as censorship Reflections on the Craig Murray case
  23. [Update:24/07/2008 AM]Exigency In Specie – Bullying the Bloggers Southern England
  24. [Update:24/07/2008 AM]Asingleblog – Brewers are challenged in court More detail on the attempt to put SPCK UK into Chapter 11 in the USA
  25. [Update:24/07/2008 AM]Philip’s Tree House – I’m also Dave Walker
  26. [Update:24/07/2008 AM]John Inbetween – Yet another Dave Walker
  27. [Update:24/07/2008 AM]Wormwood’s Doxy – Because there’s nothing I hate more than a bully….Standing up for Dave Walker & SPCK
  28. [Update:25/07/2008 AM]Dave Cole – I’m Dave Walker
  29. [Update:25/07/2008 AM]Ministry of Truth – SPCK owner seeks US bankruptcy protection for UK charity KEY POST – Digging into the Brewer “Legal Manoeuvres in the Dark”, and further posts
  30. [Update:25/07/2008 AM]Blogpower – Defending the Blog – Blogpower Roundup – The Civil Liberties Edition Civil Liberties Roundup – Understand the Wider Issues
  31. [Update:25/07/2008 AM]Brainducks Weblog – Cartoon Church blog target of legal bullying
  32. [Update:25/07/2008 AM]D-Notice – D-Notice: Religious Nuts
  33. [Update:25/07/2008 AM]Back Towards The Locus – “Come Together, Raaaayt Nahahow, Over A Bullying Bookshop Chainâ€?
  34. [Update:25/07/2008 AM]Sim-O Random Thoughts – I’m Dave Walker and so’s my wife
  35. [Update:25/07/2008 AM]Safety Photo – Dave Walker Cease and Desist Notice
  36. [Update:27/07/2008 AM]Around the Worktable – My Name is Dave Walker, and Yours Should Be, Too Text of comment made on Slashdot
  37. [Update:27/07/2008 AM]ASBO Jesus – 519 Dave Walker
  38. [Update:27/07/2008 AM]Rachel North – SPCK Up Shortlisted for Best Headline Award so far
  39. [Update:27/07/2008 AM]Bloggerheads – I support Dave Walker
  40. [Update:27/07/2008 AM]Johny Void – For God’s Sake Cease and Desist Ever so slightly satirical ;-)
  41. [Update:27/07/2008 AM]42 My life, the universe and everything – Dave Walker
  42. [Update:27/07/2008 AM]kneel in wonder at heaven touching earth – Paul Sibley
  43. [Update:27/07/2008 AM]Supersimbo – Dave Walker we salute you
  44. [Update:27/07/2008 AM]Safety Joke – Safety Joke
  45. [Update:27/07/2008 AM]Decloned – William Lehman
  46. [Update:27/07/2008 AM]Squiggle Jones – Silence is not always golden…
  47. [Update:27/07/2008 AM]Chris Luff, discomblogulating – Legal intimidation?
  48. [Update:30/07/2008 AM]Maggi Dawn – Dave Walker and SPCK
  49. [Update:30/07/2008 AM]Tim Abbott – Dave Walker solidarity post
  50. [Update:30/07/2008 AM]Mark Tiddy’s Blog and Website – News
  51. [Update:30/07/2008 AM]SPCK / SSG Bookshop Posts – We are all Dave Walker now
  52. [Update:30/07/2008 AM]A Skinny Fairtrade Latte in the Food Court of Life – Freedom of Conscience – Allegedly
  53. [Update:30/07/2008 AM]http://gafcon.blogspot.com/2008/07/mark-brewer-brewerbplawcom.html – Mark Brewer: Responding to Dave Walker Funny
  54. [Update:30/07/2008 AM]http://andjesuswept.blogspot.com/2008/07/more-spck-bullying.html – More SPCK bullying…
  55. [Update:30/07/2008 AM]Lingapotamus – save dave
  56. [Update:30/07/2008 AM]Program Your Own Mind – Supporting Dave Walker against Mark Brewer and his company’s legal threats
  57. [Update:30/07/2008 AM]Philobiblon – Britblog Roundup No 180
  58. [Update:30/07/2008 AM]Talk to Action – Texas Religious Right Charity with UK Links Tries to Liquidate
  59. The original copy of this list is on the Wardman Wire here.

Any more for any more?

Who’s Reporting Mark Brewer’s Cease and Desist Notice to Dave Walker

  1. [Update:27/07/2008 AM]Bartholomew’s Notes – Blogger Threatened with Libel Action from SPCK Bookshops Owner
  2. [Update:27/07/2008 AM]Liberal Conspiracy – Yet another kicking Liberal Conspiracy “Casting the Net” Roundup
  3. [Update:27/07/2008 AM]High Weirdness Project – 39656
  4. [Update:27/07/2008 AM]Talk Islam – Talk Islam
  5. [Update:27/07/2008 AM]Nobody Important – Blogpower Roundup — JMB style
  6. [Update:30/07/2008 AM]USDAW – Usdaw fights for mistreated bookshop workers Press Release 24 Jun
  7. The original copy of this list is on the Wardman Wire here.

Taking a Tumble

Probably to a general chorus of ‘Oh no, not another thing!’ I’m giving a Tumblelog a try. The wikipedia entry explains the concept pretty well – it is essentially a short-form blog, so the posts will be a mixture of links, pictures, quotes and short text rather than the long-form stuff that I post here.

As a concept it does overlap somewhat with things like the aside posts that I have on here, and my link blog which links to articles I’ve found interesting that have come up in my Google Reader feeds. The difference is that the Tumblelog brings in various other forms, and is useful for linking to items that aren’t in Google Reader where I’ve previously had to fiddle around with to link to.

The Tumblelog can be found at http://tumblr.peat.me.uk, and is also added as a sidebar item to the main page of this site, and comes complete with it’s own RSS feed.

However by far the easiest way to keep up with all the different sites I use is to head over to FriendFeed or Plaxo Pulse, both of which are combining all the various feeds from blogs, link blogs, tumblelogs, pictures and so on into one. You can find my FriendFeed at http://friendfeed.com/rtpeat.

Trying out FriendFeed


You may have come across the announcement today that FriendFeed, a so called lifestreaming utility has come out of private beta and is open to the general public.

The general idea is somewhat similar to the News Feed or Mini Feed concept in Facebook. Within Facebook the two feeds collect together news stories about people – the News Feed being a collection of stories about your friends, and the Mini Feed being specifically about one person. The big problem is that unless you add extra applications to do so, the feeds only include stories about events that occur within Facebook. I’ve got around that somewhat using a selection of applications to highlight when I upload new pictures to Flickr, share an item from Google Reader, or post to my blog, but the applications vary in how they work, and some need a kick to update their information.

FriendFeed collects together information about all those sites, plus a large number of others, and produces a single feed of all my updates – the equivalent of the Facebook mini feed. It also brings together a combined feed of friends – either for real if they have their own FriendFeed accounts, or through imaginary friends – placeholders for feeds effectively – that users can set up for friends not on the system, giving the equivalent of the Facebook news feed. On top of that, it also has a nice little Facebook application that allows all this information to be automatically put into the Facebook feeds, so I can effectively ditch the mix and match solution I have currently – and also get rid of the need to give the system a kick when I update.

I’ll have to see how FriendFeed behaves over the next few days – so far it’s been okay, although it did seem to take an interminably long time to update earlier on – having cleared out a lot of Facebook applications, that seems to have alleviated the problem. Just have to see how it goes from here. It’s not just about sharing items – the system also gives the opportunity to comment on shared items with FriendFeed – will be interesting to see how that works too.

I’m actually only utilising seven of the twenty-eight different services FriendFeed aggregates, so perhaps I’m not testing it quite as hard as some may be. Anyway, if anyone is interested in my feed, you can find it here – although you’ll have to sign up to follow me as the feed is private.


Over the past couple of days I’ve been giving ReadBurner a try. The concept is pretty simple, once you’ve pointed it at your Google Reader shared items (mine can be found here) it looks at your items along with the items everybody else has shared and creates several aggregate lists showing the current most popular linked items, the items that are getting a lot of recent links, a straight list of recently linked items, and a couple of longer period popular item lists.

Of course it’s not a new idea, there are a number of other popularity sites, Digg probably being the best known example. It’s also not the first attempt to do something like this with Google Reader, as the Facebook based FeedHeads does the same task. However the big advantage that both these have is that they just piggy back on the existing shared item feeds, as a user I have to to nothing else. The advantage that ReadBurner has over FeedHeads of course is that it doesn’t need you to be a Facebook user to use it. Also, ReadBurner seems a lot more reliable at picking up on shared items – FeedHeads quite often needs a shove to update.

ReadBurner is currently only operating with a relatively small number of source blogs, and is under development by only a single developer. Having said that, it does have the potential with enough linked shared item feeds to be quite an interesting view of the kind of things that people find interesting. Perhaps the biggest question though is why Google themselves haven’t added similar features…

Update: Typical – I write a post, and then find another one aggregating shared Google Reader items – check out Shared Reader which is doing the same sort of thing as ReadBurner, but with some variation in features.

Trying Out Flock (Again)


I first gave Flock a try in the middle of last year. The mixture of a Firefox base, and out of the box support for a number of the social networking sites that I use regularly seemed quite attractive. Unfortunately although I liked what I saw, it didn’t really feel ready for the big time back then. It crashed quite a few times, and although the integration with sites like Flickr was fairly good, it wasn’t enough to get me to switch.

Over the intervening months I’ve continued to keep my copy updated, but in general Firefox has been my browser of choice, however on hearing about the release of version 1.0, and also reading some of the positive reaction, for example here and here, the time seemed right to give it another go, and I’ve been running it as my main browser for the past couple of days.

So far the impression has been pretty good. Whilst it is true that I could get a lot of the functionality into Firefox through extensions, here everything just works out of the box. There is a bit of initial setup, pointing the browser at all your various accounts, but in general that is just a question of going to the relevant web page and logging on. There is a nice sidebar that keeps track of when contacts on sites like Flickr upload pictures, and then if I want to see what has been added I can just click the media button and their photo stream appears across the top of the window. In amongst all of that, it’s just really stable, not a hiccup so far.

So what are the downsides? The biggest is if you’re making significant use of a site that’s not really supported. In my case that is Google Reader that I use for all my feed reading as it maintains a consistent state across any of the methods by which I read the feeds, be that iPod Touch, mobile phone, work PC or Mac at home. Whilst Flock apparently has a pretty good feed reader, I’m not using it – the feed functionality has been set to subscribe to feeds in Google Reader instead. To get me using the built in feed reader, it will really need to be able to operate as a front end to Google Reader to ensure that everything is kept in sync.

The other significant part of the application I haven’t used as yet is the blog editor, primarily because I’m quite happy using Ecto instead. Although I know I’m not using all of the features of that client, I’m perfectly happy using it to type blog postings, although I guess I may give the Flock client a go at some point in the future.

So should you be giving Flock a go? Certainly if you spend a lot of time on the social networking sites it is worth a look. Also if you’ve been having problems with Firefox you might have better luck with it as although it is based on Firefox code, it has diverged from that codebase in a couple of areas, so you may find you feel more comfortable with Flock rather than Firefox. I’ve currently got it set as my default browser, so we’ll see how things go with it over the next few days. If you fancy giving it a go, the install can be downloaded from www.flock.com.