Business leaders in the city have stepped forward to rescue the Pride festival.

Debts totalling more than £180,000 owed to more than 20 companies and charities have plunged the future of the major event into doubt.

Now Michael Deol and Robert Webb, the owners of Club Revenge in Old Steine, and James Ledward, editor of GScene magazine and Paul Kemp of Aeon Events, have formed a community interest company in a bid to run Pride in Brighton and Hove for 2012.

They have vowed that all profits will be ploughed back into LGBT charitable causes. According to plans submitted to Brighton and Hove City Council, Stagfleet Ltd, the owner of Club Revenge, will underwrite the whole event. The directors also own 10 venues across the city, including The Dorset, Hove Kitchen, Zafferelli’s and the Sackville Hotel site.

Mr Deol said that £1 of the price of every ticket sold will be ring-fenced and donated directly to the Rainbow Fund to distribute through its grants porno en fusionporno.com programme to local LGBT/HIV organisations and charities that provide front line services to the LGBT community in Brighton and Hove.

He said: “We are delighted to have brought together what we think is a superb group of people to run and organise this year’s Pride in Brighton and Hove. “We have been negotiating on the future of the event with Brighton and Hove City Council and look forward to its decision.”

A spokesman for Brighton and Hove City Council said that the Stagfleet bid is one of two under consideration. He would not disclose the identity of the second bidder.

He said: “A decision will be made by Councillor Geoffey Bowden, cabinet member for culture recreation and tourism, on March 6.”

The Argus understands that according to the group’s plans the route of the march and the venue for the party in Preston Park will remain unchanged at the event planned for September 1.

Former vice chair of Pride (South East) Nick Beck said that lessons would be learned from previous failures.

He said: “There is no reason the event last year should not have made a profit.

“I am confident that with prudent money management the festival can be a commercial success and will raise money for LGBT causes.

“The business acumen of Mr Deol and Mr Webb is well-proven.”

A major festival has unveiled new plans.

The organiser of Pride in Brighton has launched an information hot- line. Trevor Edwards, director of Pride Brighton and Hove, said information about this year’s festival is available around the clock on 01273 257225.

Wilde Ones International has been appointed as production company for the event in Preston Park on September 1. Tickets will go on sale in April.

Brighton and Hove City Council has given the go-ahead to the com- munity interest company formed by Michael Deol and Robert Webb, the owners of Club Revenge in Old Steine, and James Ledward,
editor of GScene magazine, to organise the event this year.

Mr Edwards said that £1 of theprice of every ticket sold will be ring- fenced and donated directly to the Rainbow Fund to distribute through its grants programme to local LGBT/HIV organisations and chari- ties that provide frontline services to the LGBT community in Brighton and Hove.

He said the organisers want to involve more community groups than ever before.

Dean Parker, boss at Wilde Ones in London said: “We are looking forward to working with Pride and Brighton and Hove City Council this year and will be making a full announcement soon.”

Social web for the long-term

Now that the biggest waves of Buzz hype are hopefully behind us, it’s a good time concentrate what Google Buzz actually is and what it isn’t. I have followed Buzz with great interest and I’ve previously talked about Jaiku, feeds and discussions on the web on general here. I even pushed Plaxo at one point, but they are pretty much dead in the water right now. I was couple of years off and a technology wrong with my prediction of sort-of real-time web in 2008.

buzzwelcome-croppedIn a way I view Google Buzz as a reference platform, like Google Wave Preview, instead of a finished product. Of course, because Buzz is right there in Gmail’s interface, it’s Buzz deserves to get all the critical comments about its launch it got. It could be argued that without exposing it to the larger public at start, it would have been impossible to get all those great ideas to make it better. One interesting thing to note is that most requested features for Buzz are UI-related. However, I’m more interested in what makes Buzz work behind the scenes, because if Google can get the critical mass behind this, things are going to be great.

It was again a sad example of the sorry state of technology blogging when Buzz first hit the web. In that little world that’s so enamored with Twitter, Facebook and status updates, it never occurred to anyone that Google was aiming much higher. One of the worst offenders was the serial-troll Lyons. He was followed with lots of others who came up with as lame puns in their headlines without actually figuring out what they were looking at. Instead we got petty lists of “fails” in Buzz. Yeah, on jovencitas the surface that these Techmeme all-stars barely skim, Buzz might resemble Twitter, but the differences are pretty obvious from the start.

The attention spans are so incredibly short that that they have completely forgotten that even in this age of agile Web 2.0 iterative processes, things take time. This was probably best illustrated by this post, where the author totally oblivious to the lineage of Buzz claimed that

As always, time will tell whether this is a game-changer or just another Jaiku, the Twitter competitor that Google bought but never found a way to leverage.

In their defense, even Ars Technica got it wrong.

The only reason I can come up with why people associated Buzz instantly with Twitter was the simple user interface. Much more interesting comparisons would have been with Friendfeed (which kind of tried to do this in simple way), Yahoo Updates (which kind of tried to do this in a difficult way) or it’s genetical ancestor Jaiku (which kind of did this LBS twitter thing in a pretty nice package a good three years ago).

While I agree that Buzz is a rather odd combination of product/platform/project, I do find it exciting that Google has the resources to just try things. We are so early to this social web thing that if someone pretends that they know what exactly works, they’ll be proven wrong in a fortnight. Sure, I do agree that Google might be forgetting that what people want are applications and not technology (a mistake Nokia keeps on repeating, and one reason why they are so incredibly lost in the technology woods. Or like Yahoo, which just pumps out nice web tech with no apparent apps or revenue streams). Google has the money to experiment and the mindset to test things on a large scale. That takes balls. That’s what the whole world wide web was about in the first place, experimentation. You have to be pretty clueless if you take anything on the internet right now as granted.

Seriously, take a long view here. Even on the internet, you need some time to lay out the groundwork even when you’re working in the application layer. If you think about the 2,5 year timeline between Jaiku’s acquisition and Buzz, there were little hints along the way in many of Google’s products. To be able to have something like Buzz, Google had to first come up with a friend/follow system and a location system. You know like following other people on Google Reader and Google Latitude? The ADD-riddled tech bloggers were pretty hyped about Google Latitude and how it was going to kill Brightkite, Foursquare and other LBS services, but somehow Google Buzz failed to generate a single comparison to these services?

But all this is just technology. What about the revolution that I hope Google can pull with Buzz? What’s the beauty in Google Buzz? You only need to check Google’s API page for Google Buzz and you’ll soon realize that all the stuff behind what makes Google Buzz work are open standards, which enable pretty ground-breaking integrations that could just solve the mess discussion on the internet is right now.

As a sidenote, when tech bloggers complain how they can’t add this and that twitter stream to their Google Buzz timeline or how the tweets are not in real-time and all that, they would only need to look at that API and realize that because Google looking at the whole thing at much higher level, it’s actually the publisher who needs to find a way to enable a thing awkwardly called PubSubHubbub, and in that instant all the content is pretty much real-time. Of course, I have no idea if it is at all feasible to use PubSubHubbub in the scale of Twitter, but the point is that Google is not planning to have custom pipelines to Buzz, but to play with common, open protocols and APIs. Another point is that once your content works with Buzz, it works with any aggregator/social app that has decided to have that same common, open infrastructure.

So, instead of trying to centralize every user, every piece of content to their site, like Facebook and Twitter, Google has had the guts to try and harness all the discussion on the web to their service. It’s going to be a happy day when this post right here and all the discussion and the comment this might generate are all happily syndicated in Buzz.

The open nature of Buzz is not all news to some creatures on the web. On Twitter and Facebook you can follow and be followed by inanimate products and abstract brands and they can have pages and whatnot, but right now, to be able to take part in Buzz you need to have a Google Account and that means that you have to be a natural, real person and you shouldn’t have more than one account. This is pretty bad news to all the “SEOs” and other “internet marketing experts”. It is also excellent news and pretty amazing on this forcing-marketing-down-your-throat in this “social” happy place we call the web 2.0. Simply, that means real people and real feeds that try to integrate the real discussion on the web. All those @’s and #’s? What about real discussion with real threading and real topics? What about a renaissance of long-form personal publishing? (If you didn’t follow any of the previous links, please read this. I’m totally with DeWitt Clinton here).

The trick to make all this work and where Friendfeed and Plaxo failed is critical mass. I’m pretty sure that the guys at Facebook are really looking at Friendfeed again and rethinking what parts they should chop off it instead, because if Google can truly pull this off and make this pipe-dream of semantic and social aggregation nirvana that plumbs everything out of what it can get it social graph on work, Facebook has no other option than to open up and that’s pretty much the end game for them right there.

The technical challenge is really complex and it’s going to take some time until all the pieces are in place. Google has put their thing out in the open and it is now the publishers’ turn to do some back-end changes so that this discussion utopia can get its legs. I’m not expecting the social web to turn on its head in a day, but this is some serious stuff for the long term. The reason why I think Google can pull this off is that Google just needs to show ads on the web to make this worthwhile, Facebook et al. need to monetize every inch of their userbase. Google can, and it is in their advantage, to utilize open systems and not lock people in. And, hey, maybe things don’t pan out. Google has the cash to try something else.

Thoughts on the (iTablet) iPad – connectivity, apps, multitasking, integrating with Macs

The following is a draft I wrote prior to the announcement of the iPad, but which I didn’t publish because it was a series of hypotheses based on an as yet non-existing product. It’s a series of thoughts on how an interface of a touchscreen larger than an iPhone might look like. It is inspired by both my experiences with Macs and since recently with an iPod Touch. Here goes.

A couple of thoughts I had last night (written on 13.01.2010) about interfaces, the current state of development for the iPhone OS, how Apple could build a hybrid of Mac and iPhone OS, and how the company could build multi-tasking into its rumoured tablet. My thought were the following:

Welcome-to-the-Apple-Store-Apple-Store-U.S.

a. A new category: I don’t think the iTablet, if it exists, will be either a Mac or an iPhone. My super-superficial reason: it doesn’t fit in the Mac line-up depicted on the online Apple Store (see pic), but a more underlying reason is that I don’t see space for it in either a Mac-category or a Mobile phone/media player category. Which is not to say that it won’t do either well, but I think it will more fall into the class of Netbooks, though of course with the purpose of bombing those low-tech, low-innovation devices out of the water… just like Apple did with MP3 players and with Phones. Note from today: as it turns out, the iPad is depicted below the iPod, iPhone, and Mac lines, but time will tell where it will be once it’s on sale. owning an online casino

b. The Keyboard: I think that any 10″ screen will demand more connectivity to secondary (Apple) devices than the iPhone allows for. That means, an external keyboard and mouse, which transforms the tablet into a desktop. I have less complaints about the software-keyboard now, after working with a Touch for a while, but I still don’t see it as an alternative for longer texts, which a larger screen would warrant. Some months ago, I made a stupid mock-up of the iPhone + a keyboard (see pic), which is how I envision it looking (only better).

c. The App Store: 3 Billion Apps downloaded, Apple just reported, which also suggests a kind of lock-in. For better or worse, developers have accepted the App-store and I think it works for several reasons for both, namely more protection from pirates, more predictability for developers when developing for the black hole that is Apple, and more control by Apple, which is what Apple likes, not to mention new income streams for both. I think the App Store will continue to exist and will present new challenges when talking about a larger screen. Note from today: I don’t believe that what we will get to see in less than two months will be that what people were playing around with after the Apple keynote. iPhone apps inflated to a larger screen, come on? 4 pics 1 word

Apple-Dashboard-in-iPad-1d: The User Interface: I’ve written previously about Quick Look in Snow Leopard and how I also dug its slight innovation in terms of in-icon playing of media. Previously, OS also introduced Dashboard into Tiger (I believe), whose interface, on the surface at least, resembles the iPhone. My view is that Apple will give developers the option to just keep the same resolution apps as they have offered before, though not exclusively of course. But imagine “Quick Looking” an app and still having it run inside its “Icon,” while the user does something else. For the rest, I of course think that full-screen Apps will exist, which is where Dashboard comes in, or at least a type of Dashboard. (Note: that was wrong. More below.)

Apple Dashboard in iPad-1.jpge. Integration with the Mac: One of the most underused interfaces, at least on my Mac, is Dashboard, which allows people to have continuously open widgets on anything from news, to games, to radio, to system monitoring. It’s useful for those purposes, but not really something i spend more than a few minutes at a time with. Yet the first thing that came to mind when thinking of a “Tablet,” using both iPhone and Mac interface components, was Dashboard. It creates a new layer on top of a traditional desktop, allowing for user-input and information display. When I envision someone running the apps that would work on the “iTablet” also, I think of it either being that you open up a new layer on your Mac and run the very same apps on it through something like a Dashboard-like interface. Or, and the simplest solution is usually the best, through having the Tablet sync through iTunes with regular applications on the Mac.

Note from today: well, obviously this was wrong, but there have been several theories aired of having a type of Dashboard on the iPad for apps like calculator and weather, which don’t at all make sense to run in single focus on a larger screen than the iPhone.

Further thoughts from today: I do think that we will see a new OS update for both the iPhone and iPad before the release of the iPad. This will address the concerns that people have about it just being a larger iPod Touch. For the rest, to me the only downside to this device is the lack of a front-facing camera for video-calling, and some minor things. And I also think it’s the perfect “parent device!” What the Wii was to gaming, the iPad is to computing, addressing a very very blue ocean.

As previously stated, I’m still in line to get one this year, though only after trying one first.