All entries for Tuesday 29 March 2005

March 29, 2005

Yahoo 360 is now live!

Charline Li posted a preview here a few days ago and said,

I got a detailed walkthrough of Yahoo! 360 this afternoon, and I have to say, the Yahoo! team has done an excellent job thinking through key details of how to not only integrate blogs and social networking, but also how to pull in elements from the Yahoo! network.

The ability to leverage your network to get something done is what gives Y! 360 the real potential to become something even bigger. At the beta launch, users will have the ability to look narrow local business reviews by their network – a rec’d from someone I know counts for a lot more. Of course, this assumes that people will start creating reviews (a clever way for Y! Local to jumpstart reviews on the service). In the future, I can imagine new modules for job searching, dating, travel planning (“What hotel in Paris would you recommend?”), car buying, the list is extensive. Yahoo!’s (as well as MSN’s and AOL’s) advantage is being a one stop shop in terms of leveraging your network’s knowledge across multiple categories.

Full article here

It doesn’t look too bad on the whole, but as someone who didn't use Yahoo's services before, it doesn’t hold anything to tempt me away from Warwick Blogs. If you fancy an invite to the service, let me know.

Politics: Any point? Much difference between parties?

The world of politics has never had much appeal to me, but in the light of the new found ability to vote and the impending general election, now is as good a time as any to pay some attention to the major parties.

Michael Howard had been attracting media attention over the dismissal of MP Howard Flight. It came to light that Howard Flight suggested that cuts in government expenditure under a Tory leadership could potentially exceed the official figure of £35bn put forward. Considering this a breach of the official line, Howard has barred Mr Flight from representing his constituency in the forthcoming election. Naturally, Mr Flight has chosen to fight the decision and the outcome of the process will be seen in the near future.

Now on aggregate, the Tories are simply proposing to spend £35bn less than is planned by the Labour party, with the savings coming through the elimination of unnecessary or marginally useful components of government such as the Department of Trade and Industry. Far from cutting front-line posts, the party has promised to match the Labour party’s proposed spending on services such as the NHS and education.

At present, there seems to be little ideological difference between the two parties. Labour are proposing to spend lavishly, whilst the Tories are promising to spend moderately. All the while, the media is rarely short of stories regarding the failing school system, plus bed shortages, MRSA and missed targets within the NHS.

By simply promising to spend less than Labour, the Tories pass up the opportunity to spell out how the NHS and school system will be reformed. Obviously, the party wouldn’t risk alienating the public by straying too far away from convention, but failure to put forward alternatives to the state management we’ve come to know and put up with, they imply that mediocrity and poor returns on investment are the public’s lot. The implication is that Labour’s system of operating via hierarchy and targets is indeed the best alternative.

Is it any wonder people don’t think a change in government will yield any substantial gains in quality of public service provision? Why on earth would Michael Howard dismiss a fellow MP, an MP with proven constituency support, for merely suggesting that the Tories would look for ways of saving money? That show of strength has obviously brought you party and public respect, Michael.

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