The government is reading your Facebook and Twitter feeds. Tell them what you think.

The Government is extending its market research spend to track trends on social media and get feedback from it faster.

Some people see this as spying and worry about its effects on free speech, eg- The government is about to start spying on your Facebook and Twitter feeds a lot more | Vox Political

I’m not so paranoid (about this particular announcement, anyway). I save my worries for the Snoopers’ Charter and other measures the Tories want to bring in. This sounds more like paying someone to see what’s trending, so they can have a better idea of what’s likely to become a talking point.

Vocal opposition makes a difference. Even this government will change (or, at least, water down) policies if it realises they are hated. So, the more people declaring their anger at stupid policies, the better. The paranoid types who see this as a reason to clam up in the feeds are going to have the opposite effect to the one they want.

Space Family Moody

After putting out a call via Facebook and Twitter for volunteers I had a few people willing to give their family names to characters in Point of Contact (previously referred to as “The Space Comic”). Moody won the coveted position after four of the character names through being suggested first and twice (that’s a little unfair on everyone else as I think the Moodys are the only siblings in my friends list, but that’s the way it goes). Please bear in mind I thought of the forenames before putting the surnames out to tender.


Dan Moody. I’m never going to hear the end of this, am I? Dan is married to Alice and father of Sally and Martin. He starts the story with a broken leg, which is one of the factors that decides the roles everyone else plays. However, I may never explain how he broke his leg. I know what happened, but it may not need revealing.


Alice Moody- wife of Dan, mother of Sally and Martin. This is the design I’m least happy with. I’ll get better at drawing her as the series goes on.


Martin Moody. Martin becomes the leader of the quickly formed “away team” in the first issue. A geek, but also into stuff like parkour.


Sally Moody. It’s been all I can do not to make the whole story about Sally and have her making all the cool discoveries and inventions. Originlly she was going to be sixteen, but I’ve aged her to just turned eighteen because there’s this solier she really fancies.


Geri Webster. Martin’s girlfriend. Shares a fascination with blowing things up with Sally, which means they’ve bonded when none of Martin’s previous girlfriends got on with his sister.


George Savage. Martin’s best friend. Martin’s had a falling out with his parents and they don’t talk much any more, so he spends a lot of time woith the Moodys when not at university.

There are a load of support characters to be designed, but I have the core and I have the layouts for the first twenty two pages. I really, really should get started.

Facebook’s new Terms Of Service are a bit dodgy

Hopefully it’s just someone in their legal deprtment being dense, but Facebook’s new Terms Of Service demand that you-

hereby grant Facebook an irrevocable, perpetual, non-exclusive, transferable, fully paid, worldwide license (with the right to sublicense) to (a) use, copy, publish, stream, store, retain, publicly perform or display, transmit, scan, reformat, modify, edit, frame, translate, excerpt, adapt, create derivative works and distribute (through multiple tiers), any User Content you (i) Post on or in connection with the Facebook Service or the promotion thereof subject only to your privacy settings or (ii) enable a user to Post, including by offering a Share Link on your website and (b) to use your name, likeness and image for any purpose, including commercial or advertising, each of (a) and (b) on or in connection with the Facebook Service or the promotion thereof.

For an example of how unlike (most) other social networking sites this is, take a look at Amanda French’s comparative post of Terms Of Service.

I’m going to remain a member, but I’ll do my best to keep their hands off Spinneyhead product. If you’re on Facebook join the group protesting the new Terms Of Service.

25 Things about me

The other meme I’ve been tagged with. This one’s doing the rounds on Facebook. I initially had problems thinking of 25 people to send it to, then realised I’d missed a few off after I’d sent it. Oh well.

Rules: Once you’ve been tagged, you are supposed to write a note with 25 random things, facts, habits, or goals about you. At the end, choose 25 people to be tagged. You have to tag the person who tagged you.

1. The first time I was knocked off my bike by a driver I had a hard time getting angry because she was blonde and attractive. Should have exchanged insurance details though.

2. I once drank half a pint of bottle sterilising solution thinking it was water. Thankfully it wasn’t the concentrate.

3. I cried when I saw the Muppets’ tribute to Jim Henson.

4. I seem to be at my most creative when I’m a little sad/upset (but not depressed). Which worries me, because I’ve been having a lot of ideas in the last few weeks.

5. I once won £250 for a short sci-fi story I wrote inspired by my addiction to Command & Conquer.

6. I still want to write a story where one of the characters has the last words “What a stupid place to put a bus.”

7. From my parents’ house you can see Scotland. I once drove to that part of Scotland, but I couldn’t see my parents’ house.

8. When I was eight or nine I got locked in a suitcase whilst showing someone where I’d been hiding during our game of hide and seek. I don’t have claustrophobia as a result, but I occasionally get nervous in confined spaces, which has spoilt what little spelunking I’ve done.

9. I have a wierd sense of direction. I can still get confused connecting bits of Manchester, but a few years ago I went back to the town we left when I was 6 and found my way to the street we’d lived on first time, even though I hadn’t been back in over 20 years.

10. I once walked away from a car crash that wrote off and tipped over a Land Rover and destroyed twelve feet of dry stone walling, even though I wasn’t wearing a seat belt. The other passenger’s advice to the driver had been “Follow that car, but don’t kill us.” One out of two will do.

11. Despite everything, I’m a hopeless romantic.

12. I can be quite shy and reserved. Most people who’ve known me for a while find this hard to believe.

13. I’m allergic to cat hair.

14. For all my years of cycling I still can’t ride no-handed.

15. When I was 1 my dad got a job in Brazil. We stayed there for a year. The Brazilians loved the little blue eyed blonde boy and my father was once stopped by the police, who thought he was kidnapping me. I can’t remember any of this, I’ve only got the photos and anecdotes to tell me about it.

16. I was on a hill above the Cornish town of Looe for the solar eclipse in 1998.

17. I used to buy 10 packs of Tesco doughnuts, brew a pot of strong tea and see how far through both I could get before becoming so wired I felt like I was being pushed back into the sofa and had pins and needles on my scalp.

18. I’ve never smoked a normal cigarette. When I told my mother this she understood just what I was implying. Her reply was “Good for you.”

19. Food poisoning once put me off port for a year, even though it was all the garlic sausage’s fault. I had a similar experience with pork scratchings as well.

20. The first time I encountered an escalator, on a school trip to Blackpool, I absolutely refused to get on it because I was certain the ground shouldn’t move like that.

21. I was being driven from Cambridge to a town called Royston, in a snow storm, when I found out that Kurt Cobain had died.

22. I’ve got a certificate saying I flew out of Liverpool John Lennon airport on its first day (or maybe week) under that name.

23. I’ve never had a proper job. I’ve always worked temp or contract and now I’m trying to make money running my own business.

24. Every few years I’ll get a big crush on someone and absolutely fail to do anything about it. It’s a combination of cowardice, stupidity and fear of rejection.

25. It’s been very, very hard to keep from talking about sex in any of these. If a question is phrased right I’ll give an honest answer to it, so lots of people know details others might have kept secret.

Now tag this

As part of Spinneyhead’s cunning, and lazy, plan to track down loads of people I used to know, I’ve started posting old photos to Facebook. The stuff that went up today has already been in the old Spinneyhead photo album and transferred to Flickr, but their new home allows them to be tagged.

All these albums should be viewable by non Facebook members, but I don’t think you’ll be able to leave messages or tags if you recognise anyone- Album 1, Album 2, Album 3.