ME and Ophelia

Tuesday, November 11, 2003

Turn town tips into swap shops

Recently, to mark International Social Innovations Day, BBC online magazine asked readers for ideas on how to improve living conditions both now and for future generations - ideas that just might make the world a better place - ideas to improve society. They were inundated with bright ideas. Here are the details of the top 10 schemes, as chosen by Nick Temple, the director of the Institute for Social Inventions, the charity which organised the innovations day.

Next, the BBC put the 10 best schemes to a vote and asked readers to pick their favourite. Here's the favourite: to turn a section of a town tip into a swap shop for people to donate unwanted - but still useable - goods. Brilliant.

"Would like for there to be a Mrs Blogjam..." (girls - spread the word!)

Blogger Fraser (nickname Ace) Lewry of the award winning Blogjam has great ability in finding obscure and funny websites. He doesn't like to blog personal things, but here's a few things about him that I've blogged and extracted from his site bio.

He has a list of about fifty sites that he tries to scan most days and often follows his incoming links. A lot of the sites he discovers are found when he checks out sites that have linked to his own random kitten generator which he thinks, if readers find that amusing, there's every chance they'll lead him to other things.

Fraser's 36, lives in London, was born in New Zealand and has spent most of his life in England. His parents moved out to NZ separately in the late fifties, met, got married, raised him and his sister and relocated to the UK in 1979. Proud to be a Kiwi, he's been back to NZ twice and still considers himself a New Zealander, even if the accent has all but gone.

He likes living in London - wanted to live there ever since he can remember. When his parents finally moved to the UK he felt wildly cheated that they ended up in Northampton, and when college came a-calling he applied to five London campuses. He says the "least salubrious" of these accepted him. He's been living in London ever since and loves that "there's something interesting to experience every night of the year if you're so inclined, and even if you never do anything, the fact that you can is somehow comforting".

Here's the story of how Fraser, now site editor at Vitaminic (which basically means he spends most of the day messing round with HTML templates and building Microsites for the likes of Zoe Birkett) roadied for a band, worked for a radio station and founded Xfm.

His favourite thing on the Internet is the creativity and lunacy of individuals - the imagination displayed by people who build content on the web without ever hoping to see a commercial return never ceases to amaze and impress him - "there's so much talent online it's ridiculous". His least favourite thing? Spam, pop-ups, all the things created by companies who use the Internet for what he considers to be the wrong reasons.

When asked, in his bio, why aren't you married? Fraser answers: "Much as I would like for there to be a Mrs Blogjam one day, it's just never happened. There are things I could do to improve my chances - get fit, wear contacts instead of glasses, dress better, drink less, cut my hair, finally stop smoking for good, spend less time in front of my PC and more time going places I might meet people, actually talking to women I fancy - but I never do, bloody-mindedly expecting them to find me and fall for me just as I am. It's my own fault, for I am stupid."

From what I can tell from his blog, Fraser is a super thoughtful and intelligent chap and would make a great husband, I'm sure. Let's try and find him a wife: please spread the word :-)

Banning drivers from using mobiles at the wheel

In three weeks a new UK law will come into force banning drivers from using mobile phones while at the wheel.

Don't you love the comment contributed here by UK reader Bradley Sawkins: "Does it cover someone else holding the phone to your ear?"

# posted by Ingrid J. Jones @ 11/11/2003
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