Facebook and charity

29 Mar

I logged into Facebook earlier, and immediately saw this:

After my initial thoughts – why am I bothering to sign in to Facebook? Which woman? – I couldn’t resist having a look at this “causes” website.

At a quick glance it looks like someone called Eyen Retiro created this “cause” over 10 months ago, and it currently has 1,406 members, none of which appear to have donated to it. At this point, the woman/women HILARITY is a little less funny. I could very obviously be wrong, but based on her name, Eyen’s first language may not be English, and I’ve spoken with enough people from around the world to know that that sort of error is quite common when English isn’t your mother tongue.

This information did, however, get me thinking about something that happened on Twitter (yes, again) a while back: Just before the BBC’s Children in Need appeal started, an account in the name of Pudsey Bear appeared and began asking for followers, with the aim of reaching a set number, once this has been reached they would donate a billion pound (or something) to the charity. Obviously, some people starting following right away, but a few others began questioning the motives of this generous offer; surely if whoever was in charge of the account had that sort of money to give away, they should give it to the charity without demanding some arbitrary number of followers first?

After requests to verify who was behind the account were ignored, cynicism began to creep in, and before long the account vanished. Dave Gorman was one of the people requesting those responsible give a little more information, and he received a lot of messages asking what harm it could do –  if someone is willing to donate this money, who are we demand any more information? – but it can do harm, especially if the person responsible has no intention of giving any money. The account had gained several thousand followers, all hoping that they were helping to give some money to a good cause, but they hadn’t, and if just a handful of these people decided that following this account was enough of a good deed to help the charity and did nothing else, then the charity has lost out. And for what, someone’s vanity?

This is the problem I have with Facebook Causes; Some charities and causes need to raise awareness, so in principle it’s a great idea, but on a social networking site where, if the groups I see on occasion are anything to go by, the average IQ is in single digits, it can do more harm than good. Secondly, some people seem to use these “causes” as an excuse to raise awareness for problems that, in all likelihood, have plenty of awareness but persist because, well, we live in a fucking horrible world at times.

Obviously, I’m not saying that the site is useless or A Bad Thing™; it only takes a brief look at it to see all the money that the site has helped raise, for what I’m sure are very worth causes, but the fact that out of the 1,406 people who were disgusted enough by domestic abuse to “like” the cause and comment on it’s page, none have donated even a single dollar to the group. There could be lots of reasons why, of course, but one of them could easily be that, for some, “liking” the group was enough.

On the subject of charity, I haven’t actually mentioned the JustGiving and SocialVibe links on the sidebar for a while – since I started, in fact – so I am now. If you can’t afford to give anything via JustGiving, SocialVibe will donate funds to a good cause if you complete a few easy actions. No excuses!

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Crappy title, dull post = A winning combo

28 Mar

I was just thinking ‘there appears to be a Deuce Bigalow film on my TV, yet I haven’t turned it over. I hate me,’ when my girlfriend asked for the remote and started looking for something else to watch. Now, I don’t believe in destiny or fate, but we were clearly meant to be together.

Oh, hang on, she’s put Sex and the City on. It really is a good job I don’t believe in fate*.

Anyway, I agreed – well, offered – to build a website for someone on Twitter today, and it’s exactly what I needed to stop me being an idiot and I started doing some work. I’ve been tempted on occasion to write a few updates on stuff I’ve been working on here, but a) I’m not sure it would be of any interest to anyone, and 2) it would probably only serve to show how little I actually get done.

What I really ought to do is write an entry as soon as possible, instead of signing in at 10pm and staring at the screen for an hour and a half, before eventually giving in and writing something dull about what I’m writing here. OhGodit’shappenedagain.

Okay. A plan:

  1. Finish this entry
  2. Poke the dog to stop her ridiculously loud snoring
  3. Finish the slideshow on the website I’m building
  4. Read a bit
  5. Bed

Sorted. Tomorrow I’ll write an entry before I start work and it’ll be better than this drivel. Easy.

* She reads this on occasion, so I should clarify that this is a joke and should in no way be taken seriously. Please don’t hurt me.

A zombie and a snoring dog

27 Mar

It turns out that staying up until 1am last night, which seemed to turn to 2am in the blink of an eye, getting to sleep about 3am, and finally waking up about 5:30am, that’ll make you feel like a fucking zombie later in the evening.

So, my plan is to finish writing this sentence and follow Molly’s lead:

Night!

Excited and tired, a winning combination

26 Mar

In a few short hours the Formula 1 season kicks off in Australia, and I have agreed to go round to a friends to watch it. The coverage begins at 6am, with the race starting at 7am. I thought this was quite brave and heroic of me at first, but it’s occurred to me that it’s actually insane. Yes, the clocks are going forward tonight.

Insane or not, I’m still ridiculously excited, so I expect I’ll wake up every 20 minutes for about 2 hours tonight because that’s what my brain does. My brain doesn’t seem to want to do much else right now though, so I’m going to leave this entry nice and short tonight. I’m already tired and I’m working til 1am tomorrow. This isn’t going to end well.

Still, I am really excited. Awesome.

Blah blah creative blah blah

25 Mar

I’m utterly bereft of ideas tonight, and I don’t seem to be able to muster the energy to inspire myself. I barely even have the energy to watch the video I’ve been meaning to watch for the past couple of hours. Just a warning, tonight’s entry will likely be short and shit.

I have evenings like this every so often; frustrated by wanting to do something, but feeling completely unable to motivate myself to do it, but there’s another phase that frustrates me even more – I have an awful habit of wanting to do something creative, but never being able to decide what.

I’ve dabbled with game level design, iOS development, web design and scriptwriting, and I’m shit at them all; I don’t necessarily mean that to be entirely self-deprecating though, as I think that if I focused on one of these things I may actually get to a decent level, or at least would have had I stuck with it a long time ago.

One day I’ll find some way to be a little creative, in a way that’s easy, and earn some decent money, but until then I’ll just have to make do with annoying myself by pissing around for 20 minutes and moving onto the next thing. Or I’ll do the sensible thing and design some websites. Who needs one? I’m cheap!

I’m not saying he is Jesus…

25 Mar

Tonight we went to see Richard Herring for the fourth time in as many years. It’s become something of a yearly tradition now; Come March we’ll be heading the the Memorial Hall, safe in the knowledge that he won’t disappoint.

I’ve been a big fan of Rich for ages now – I loved Fist of Fun and TMWRNJ at the time, though I remember very little now – and despite growing tired of many things during my 27 years on this earth, his particular brand of comedy has always stuck with me. The obvious answer would be to say that we have a similar sense of humour, but that would be far too easy. Plus it would only be about 120 words, so fuck that.

We went to see Russell Howard recently, and I enjoyed it; despite feeling like I shouldn’t, I quite like him, but of all the comedians I’ve seen over the past few years, he disappointed me the most. It wasn’t the worst gig I’ve been to, but the jokes felt improvised and unorganised and I found it quite distracting.

Rich’s shows are exactly that: shows. A lot of care and attention is put into them, with room for improvisation and knitting needle-based heckler put-downs*, obviously, but it isn’t just a vaguely linked series of jokes, it’s a well written routine designed to make you think about a subject you may or may not have held an opinion on before. Y’know, while making you laugh like an idiot.

Plus, if you don’t like comedians that are a) funny, or 2) clever and thoughtful, then you should go see him because he raised £25,000 for Scope last year on his Hitler Moustache tour. If you don’t go see him now, I can only assume that you’re some sort of bigot with no sense humour. You’re probably a dirty racist too, aren’t you? You disgust me.

* Sorry, you really had to be there. One of the strangest comments I have ever heard shouted at a comedian, followed by the funniest 5 minutes of improvised reply I’ve heard.

Xbox 360 special edition controller: The review

24 Mar

This one, in case you’re wondering what the hell I’m talking about:

I don’t actually recall how I first heard about it, possibly via one of the Inside Xbox chaps (AceyBongos, most likely), but I do remember my first thoughts being along the lines of “Ooh, pretty”, closely followed by “Whoa, expensive”. I forgot about it for a bit after that.

It’s a “special edition” because that makes some people want to buy it more. I suppose it’s also got something to do with the rotating d-pad thingy; Basically, it twists from the normal, mushy d-pad into one that feels like a more defined, cross-shaped one. I spent most of my gaming today playing a game that doesn’t actually use the d-pad though, so maybe it wasn’t a fair test. It feels a bit better, so there’s that.

That’s pretty much it. Oh, there’s a slight lip on the analog sticks to stop your thumbs sliding off too, though these will inevitably wear off like the normal controller. As you can see from the image above, the colours have been removed from the buttons, which would be a brave move if they were planning on manufacturing these alongside the normal pads, but I suspect they’ll stop quite quickly. It’s probably not a good idea to give this controller to someone who doesn’t play on consoles very often, unless you really want to win.

Ash’s verdict: Highly recommended if one of your old controllers is completely shagged and decides you always want to go left, even if there’s a cliffside or nasty-looking monster there, and a certain retailer lists it at £30 while you have a £10 voucher for said retailer. So, in summary; s’alright, innit.