Online Insights with Steve Davis on FIVEaa, Sunday, September 06, 2009

September 6, 2009

Wobbles the clown

Met some people last night who told me about Wobbles the Clown – was training as a doctor, then became a policemen, is a dietician, but now is a clown. Is that a career pathway or bush track?

Anyway, he seems to be a very popular clown and I look forward to some video going on his site for more of a taste of his take on clowning. His site is

But it got me thinking about the naming of clowns. Why do they always have such short, cute, cartoon-sounding names? I saw someone asking for help on Yahoo Answers and the crowd came up with names like: Binky, Bobo, Bongo, Bozo, Buttons, Chocko, Chuckles, Dinky, Doodles, Dusty, Eckles, Flutter, Freckles, Giggles, Harpo, Heckles, HoBo, Humpty, Jester, JoJo, Jumbo, Kinko, KnicKnac, KoKo, Krusty, Loopy, Mickey, Noodles, Pickles, Poppy, Quigley, Raffles, Snickers, Stitches, Tatters, Tootsy, Trickster.

Then I discovered the Scary Clown Name Generator and created one for you, Sean – Flip Shaky Dangles or Drinko Knuckles.

Not sure it will take off, but you never know. You can generate your own name at Scary Clown Name Generator.

Highlight Cam

This is a great use of the “cloud”. You record from your webcam to and it automatically shrinks every hour of video to one minute of highlights. The site says: HighlightCam is a webcam video service that finds the interesting parts of your videos. Our service makes it easy to find where your cat did a backflip or a burglar entered your house – and in one click you can jump to that point in the original video, to see and hear it all.

So you just stream video to the service, visit its highlights when you notice something has gone missing from your house, and then jump to the original part of the film. The free service holds your clips for 24 hours and the premium service, which costs around AU$10 a month holds them for two weeks.

This can be used to monitor for unwelcome visitors, mischievous animals, babies, or even progress on a worksite!

They also welcome you to upload your own videos and use the service to create a trailer or summary.

And, you can sign up for motion alerts which sends you an email when motion is detected.

This is a very exciting development for cloud computing and I look forward to using it. You can join me at

Probably Bad News

This is going to become a regular place to visit. It is like the “funny bits” from Media Watch compiled in one, long blog. This site shares the rough edges of today’s corporate media machines, typically simple pictures or captions that bring a smile. The site’s own intro says: Welcome to the temple of journalism’s hangover. Deadlines, sleepless nights, stoned editors… this former journalist has been there and seen it. And I’m probably responsible for my own fair share. Probably Bad News is a collection of journalism’s worst hours — not the evilest, not the darkest, and certainly not our finest. Please enjoy before there’s no one left to bring you the bad news.

Here are a few highlights:

  • Whoops - someone was doodling
    Whoops - someone was doodling

    A Columbia Space Shuttle caption on CNN: Shuttle travelling nearly 18 times speed of light. Whoops, physics fail.

  • From the Minneapolis Star there is a headline and caption for a story but published in the caption is this “what idiot wrote this caption?”
  • The Argus front page with two smiling school girls and a headline “teacher had sex with schoolgirls”. Turns out the picture is not related to the story. Whoops!
  • A story that was never a story about an officer on patrol who noticed a menorah (a candelabra) was missing and after enquiries discovered it had been put away after Hannukah (a Jewish holiday).
  • Another classic from CNN where a test story has gone live – see the image in this post. It has a random set of letters for headline and body text and the help text “write story here”. If only we could.
  • And I will stop now to contemplate the beauty in advertising writing with this ad copy: Bell internet. Perfect for hook-ups with no commitments! Surely that was written on purpose?

You can get your daily laugh at Probably Bad News.

Passive Agressive Notes

Oh, this is priceless. A collection of passive aggressive notes gathered from readers of this blog.

There is not much to say other than to share some highlights with you and hope none of us see ourselves as authors in the examples on this site:

Tail – Please leave a tail hanging on the toilet paper after use

Water fountain – One day I dreamed of being something other than a water fountain … DO NOT BRUSH TEETH IN ME, DO NOT USE ME TO WASH YOUR DISHES …

Roommate – After leaving roommates she had driven crazy by her obsessive compulsive demands to clean (something they did on her last day) she sent her key back with a Christmas card with the following wish: Thank you all for always being there when I needed a friend. I am so glad that y’all finally saw things my way on housekeeping. Best of luck to you all joining the ranks of the grown up world. OUCH!!

You can indulge at