Mother’s Day. I have lots of pics from Italy, CeBIT and Brighton to go up when I get a chance too.
In less than 50 minutes from touchdown, by tube. So I caught the last train home with around 20 seconds to spare. Not bad, especially as I was supposed to arrive at Gatwick…
I know this is of niche interest, but the Remember the Milk provider does actually work with version 3.0.3 of Thunderbird. All you do is change the version as described here (the rest of the hack isn’t needed with the latest version of the RTM app). Unless you actually use both apps regularly, you can’t imagine what joy it was to make this discovery this morning.
This weekend I managed to spend the best part of £100 on door hooks. Lots of doors needed hooks, and one wall needed special fixings. It was essential, but I feel vaguely sick. Still, at least our coats aren’t hanging over the stair rail anymore.
I did manage to play with the GF1 quite a bit, though. Still trying to find a reliable RAW tool which can easily fix the lens distortion in Linux, in the meantime the JPGs are pretty good. As far as Windows tools go, the software came with it is awfule. Love the fun colour settings, though.
As an aside, I forgot my camera on Monday and saw this on special offer in duty free. I’ve been after one for month’s – the size and image quality makes the GF1 an amazing tool for journalism. Of course, the irony is that this shot was taken with the rubbish phone cam.
I should, of course, have bought the kit with the 20mm pancake lens in – but they didn’t have it at the Duty Free. Something else to save up for, then.
Like most freelance journalists these days, I do occasionally supplement my income by taking on copywriting jobs. I’ve worked, on and off, for several clients including Opal, ASUS, UK:Telco and others. It’s an ethical minefield, but I’m careful not to let it colour my judgement and make sure I offer full disclosure and avoid accepting commissions with an overt conflict of interests. It says ‘Writer and Journalist’ on my business cards – sometimes I just have to be the writer part.
That side of the work is also, sometimes, a creative release. As well as press releases and news letters, I’ve worked on video scripts and blogging projects for various companies.
As more of us are going freelance, we’re forced to become like proper publishing houses, erecting small Chinese walls in our minds between the commercial and classically editorial work we take on. It’s not the most tasteful part of the job, and you might accuse us of having our cake and eating it, but with mortgages to pay and editors’ budgets getting tighter by the day, it’s that or go and work in marketing full time.
My latest corporate commission, though, was something out of the ordinary. For its press conference at CeBIT this year, ASUS had invited David Lewis – chief designer at Bang&OIufsen – to come on stage and talk about a project he’d collaborated on, the NX90 laptop. Rather than a formal powerpoint presentation, ASUS’ marketing department – who I have worked for before on a corporate blogging project – wanted to mock up a three way interview between David, ASUS chairman Jonney Shih, and a professional interviewer.
And they asked me to be the interviewer.
I did vacillate for a while – at least as long as I had to make up my mind – as I’m deeply uncomfortable with the idea of being a corporate shill. But I genuinely like the laptop, the offer was something unusual and challenging (and I do like a challenge) and I find it very hard to refuse any opportunity to get on stage. Even if that means standing in front of my peers and crossing a certain line, albeit temporarily.
Hell, there’s plenty more famous and talented journalists than me who’ve done voice overs and adverts, and many more than you know who’ve done corporate videos the general public never sees.
After I’d set my conscience straight, I had to decide what to wear, but that’s another story.
Suffice to say I’m back and actually loved being on stage, and ASUS were very lovely and complimentary about my performance. It was a really interesting experience, seeing what goes on behind the scenes, and one which I’ll be able to draw on in future writing too.
But I’m glad to be back on the other side of the fence again. To salve my moral conscience, tomorrow I’m off to the Red Cross to volunteer some time explaining what it was like to be a journalist in Kyrgyzstan last year.