This week I have been mostly reading about Sweden

In amongst my normal RSS fest and occasional work-related reading, I’ve actually been doing some reading for pure pleasure over the last few weeks.

The main reason is child-proofing the house for a one-year-old who is learning to walk, throw things, and hurl himself at every possible object. Which has meant moving as many things as possible to positions outside of the main toddler thoroughfares.

And as a closet librarian, rediscovering probably 200+ books has meant that I couldn’t possibly put them into the loff/charity shop/ebay without quickly skimming through one last time to check I remember them correctly.

Added to that, I’ve also been given a couple of books on Sweden by friends and family who presume that I still need help despite being in a relationship with a Swede for decade…

At the moment I’m engrossed in Fishing in Utopia: Sweden and the Future That Disappeared selected by the aggregator of Sunday broadsheet book reviews known as my mother.  It’s interesting to read about the Sweden that existed before I ever became aware of it, and puts more and more of the current country into perspective – which is where the shorter and skimmable In The Secret Garden of Sweden comes in handy.

Meanwhile I’m also making the most of reading to my son at bedtimes, with the exploits of Alfons Aberg improving my Swedish at the same time as entertaining him.

And the original Swedish Kurt Wallander is making an appearance on BBC 3 or 4 tonight.

No real point to make, or social media/publishing/web 2.0 connection. Although the fact one of my new colleagues owns a house in Sweden, and the new office is right by the Nordic Bakery in London is showing some type of subconscious trend.

A compilation/best of/round-up/braindump…

Call it what you like, but for various reasons I’ve been blogging-lite, and have 100 things floating around my head which I need to expel in the blogging equivalent of an exorcism. And I’m sure you know all about Facebook’s new interface/look, and Google adding comments in Google Reader, so I’ll at least try and unearth some other stuff.

A great post by friend and former colleague Angus, which adds to the interesting and equally great original post on newspaper business models.

That somehow led to me thinking about ‘micro-careers’, and how the collapse of ‘a job for life’ and fears about security can somewhat be alleviated by the internet, and the fact you can form several careers by playing around and experimenting with different skills. E.g. writing, photography, video would have been entirely silo’d careers, but look at Christian.  It allows you to experiment for little or no cost, and then focus on the things that give you the most enjoyment, best results etc – and you’re able to still do a day job to pay the bills if the fun stuff doesn’t support you.

The most idiotic attempt to cash in on a ridiculous patent award goes to, for claiming a patent on all virtual worlds (From Venturebeat).

The most interesting thing for me about Robert Scoble leaving Fast Company, and Jason Calacanis/Mahalo employing a now convicted hacker, isn’t the idea that the loss of Scoble’s sponsor means social media has failed, or the fact that in a 3-5 interview process, the Mahalo team failed to perform a quick Google search.

The interesting aspect is that both Scoble and Calacanis published their stories as soon as news broke, and that we expect it and accept it. Compare that to the hundreds of more traditional companies which are issuing redundancies at the moment.

If you’re wondering why politicians seem to be increasingly ridiculed and ineffectual, here’s a good example of the reasons why. The Conservative Party have wasted time and money that could have been used to benefit voters/constituents for a service to send a fake letter from Gordon Brown.

Compare that to the amount of brilliant apps coming from quick, effective and cheap hack days, like the Guardian Hack Day, for example.

I feel better after that! Incidentally, when I’m not writing a new post, I’m normally twittering: @badgergravling, sharing stuff via Google Reader,  or starting to get a handle on using Friendfeed effectively.

Death of a music legend – Isaac Hayes

When it comes to changing the way we live, music has one of the biggest effects on our lives. Whether it’s the soundtrack to the memorable moments we encounter or a protest song that can help carry a movement for change, it’s capable of an immense amount.

I was lucky enough to get a good musical education thanks to my father, who has a huge collection of 1960’s soul music, including my favourite label, Stax Atlantic. But sadly we’ve lost quite a few of the stars of 50 years ago, and today we lost Isaac Hayes.

For those who only know him as the chef in South Park, he started out writing songs for other artists at Stax, with writing partner David Porter – songs which included ‘Soul Man’ and ‘Hold On I’m Coming’ (both recorded by Sam and Dave). As a solo artist, he released ‘Hot Buttered Soul’ for Stax, following the death of their biggest star, Otis Redding. His album helped to keep the company together and survive for a few years, until it finally fell foul of financial problems.

And obviously he’s also incredibly well known for creating the theme to Blaxploitation film ‘Shaft’ – which saw him become the first black musician to win an Academy Award.

So in tribute to Isaac Hayes, here’s his most famous song:

For more on Isaac Hayes, you can read up on Wikipedia, and more importantly, listen on

Buy some top social media experts at bargain prices…

And it’s all for charity.

Social media type Jennifer Leggio is not only running the Nike Women’s Marathon for charity – she’s also persuaded some top social media figures to auction their skills to raise money for Team in Training, the fundraising arm of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.

And you could get some real value by bidding for yourself or your company. Names on the block include Chris Brogan, Joseph Jaffe, Geoff Livingston, Aaron Strout, and Greg Verdino.

If you don’t recognise their names, there is a short bio on the link above. I’ll add in the appropriate blog links in detail when I’m not sat on a train…