Another Fresh Lime Soda? [en]

[fr] Le dernier épisode de Fresh Lime Soda (vidéo!) est en ligne.

Guess what! As I’ve been here in London, staying at Suw’s, we jumped on the occasion to record another episode of [Fresh Lime Soda]( We first had a good hard think about how to manage that. We usually do it through Skype, and each of us records her own side with CallRecorder. Suw in the bedroom, me in the kitchen? The other way around? It sounded a bit silly.

Then came the bright idea: we’re both here in meatspace, why not jump on the occasion to shoot a video? And [that’s exactly what we did](

You’ll probably find the style slightly different from our usual audio podcasts. More silliness, amongst other things. Oh, and it’s a bit shorter, too: just twenty minutes or so.


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Disturbed About Reactions to Kathy Sierra's Post [en]

[fr] Comme cela avait été le cas lors de l'affaire SarkoWeb3, la blosophère s'est maintenant emparée de la triste histoire des menaces reçues par Kathy Sierra, telle une meute affamée et sans cervelle. Hypothèses présentées pour faits, coupable car non prouvé innocents, noms, déformation d'information, téléphone arabe, réactions émotionnelles trop vite bloguées et sans penser... tout y est.

Encore une fois, je suis déçue des gens.

Since I [read]( and [posted]( about [Kathy Sierra’s latest post](, and stayed up until 3am looking at blog post after blog post pop up on [Technorati]( and [Google Blogsearch](, I’ve been growing [increasingly uneasy]( about what I was reading in the blogosphere.

Like many other people I suppose, I was hit with this “tell me it ain’t so” feeling (denial!) that makes one sick in the stomach upon reading that Kathy had cancelled her ETech appearance out of fear for her safety. My heart went out to her. Of course, I felt angry at the people who had cause her such fear, and I also felt quite a bit of concern at seeing known blogger names appear in the context of this ugly affair.

And then, of course, there was the matter of getting the word out there. I [blogged it]( (and blogged it soon — I’ll be candid about this: I realised it was breaking news, heck, I even [twittered it]( before [Arrington did](!), and although I did use words like “horrible” and “unacceptable” (which are pretty strong in my dictionary, if you are familiar with my blogging habits), I refrained from repeating the names mentioned in Kathy’s post or demanding that the culprits be lynched.

One of the reasons for this is that I had to re-read some parts of Kathy’s post a couple of times to be quite certain to what extent she was reporting these people to be involved. Upon first reading, I was just shocked, and stunned, and I knew I’d read some bits a bit fast. I also knew that I had Kathy’s side of the story here, and though I have no reasons to doubt her honesty, I know that reality, *what really happened*, usually lies **somewhere in between the different accounts of a story one can gather from the various parties involved**. So I took care not to point fingers, and not to name names in a situation I had no first-hand information about, to the point of not knowing any of the actors in it personally.

In doing this, and taking these precautions, I consider that I am **trying to do my job as a responsible blogger**.

Unfortunately, one quick look at most of the posts coming out of Technorati or Google Blogsearch shows (still now, over 15 hours after Kathy posted) a [collection]( of knee-jerk reactions, side-taking, verbal lynching, and rising up to the defense of noble causes. There are inaccurate facts in blog posts, conjectures presented as fact, calls to arms of various types, and catchy, often misleading, headlines. I tend to despise the mainstream press increasingly for their use of manipulative headlines, but honestly, what I see some bloggers doing here is no better.

Welcome to the blogmob.

The blogmob is nothing new, of course. My first real encounter with the mob was in [May 2001](, when Kaycee Nicole Swenson [died (or so it seemed)]( and somebody [dared suggest she might not have existed]( The mob was mainly on MetaFilter at that time, but there were very violent reactions towards the early proponents of the “hoax” hypothesis. Finally, it was demonstrated that Kaycee was *indeed* a hoax. This was also my first encounter with somebody who was sick and twisted enough to make up a fictional character, Kaycee, a cancer victim, and keep her alive online for over two years, mixing lies and reality to a point barely imaginable. I — and many others — fell for it.

Much more recently, I’ve seen the larger, proper blogmob at work in two episodes I had “first-hand knowledge” about. The first, after the [LeWeb3-Sarkozy debacle](, when bad judgement, unclear agendas, politics and clumsy communication came together and pissed off a non-trivial number of bloggers who were attending [LeWeb3]( There were angry posts, there were constructive ones and those which were less, and then the blogmob came in, with hundreds of bloggers who asked for Loïc’s head on a plate based on personal, second-hand accounts of what had happened, without digging a bit to try to get to the bottom of the story. Loïc had messed up, oh yes he had, but that didn’t justify painting him flat-out evil as the blogmob did. In Francophonia it got so bad that this episode and its aftermath was (in my analysis) the death stroke for comments on Loïc’s blog, and he decided to shut them down.

The second (and last episode I’ll recount here) is when the whole blogosphere went a-buzz about how Wikipedia was going to shut down three months from now. [Words spoken at LIFT’07]( went through many chinese whisper (UK) / Telephone (US) filters to turn into a [rather dramatic announcement](, which was then relayed by just about anybody who had a blog. Read about [how the misinformation spread and what the facts were](

So, what’s happening right now? The first comments I read on Kathy’s post were reactions of shock, and expressions of support. Lots of them. Over the blogosphere, people were busy getting the news out there by relaying the information on their blogs. Some (like me) shared stories. As the hours went by, I began to see trends:

– this is awful, shocking, unacceptable
– the guilty must be punished
– women are oppressed, unsafe
– the blogosphere is becoming unsafe!

Where it gets disturbing, and where really, really, I’m disappointed and think bloggers should know better, is when I read headlines or statements like this (and I’m not going to link to all these but you’ll find them easily enough):

* “Kathy Sierra v. Chris Locke”
* “Kathy Sierra to Stop Blogging!”
* “Kathy Sierra hate campaign”
* throwing around names like “psychopath” and “terrorist” to describe the people involved
* [“Personally I am disgusted with myself for buying and recommending Chris Locke’s book…”]( and the like
* the assumption that there is a unique person behind the various incidents Kathy describes
* taking for fact that Chris Locke, Jeneane Sessum, Alan Herrell or Frank Paynter are involved, directly, and in an evil way (which is taking Kathy’s post a step further than what it actually says, for the least)
* …

In [my previous post](, I’ve tried to link to blog posts which actually bring some added value. Most of the others are just helping the echo chamber echo louder, at this point. Kathy’s post is (understandably) a little emotional (whether it is by design as

I’d like to end this post with a recap of what I’ve understood so far. (“What I’ve understood” means that there might be mistakes here, but I’m giving an honest account of what I managed to piece together.) I’m working under the assumption that the people involved are giving honest accounts of their side of the story, and hoping that this will not unravel like the Kaycee story did to reveal the presence of a sick, twisted liar somewhere.

– Kathy has been receiving threats. Some in the comments of her blog, some by e-mail, and some in the posts and/or comments of meankids and unclebobism, sites which have since then been taken down.
– Meankids was set up by a bunch of people (including Chris and Frank at the minimum). It was closed after going overboard, and the same people opened Unclebobism as a replacement. (Details about exactly what went in internally are not clear. See posts by [Kevin Marks](, [Frank Paynter]( and [Chris Locke]( for source information.)
– Stowe says this [doesn’t fit with the personal knowledge he has of Jeneane Sessum and Alan Herrell]( Other people like Lisa Stone also report phone contacts with Jeneane, and [it seems she is not directly involved in the acts Kathy describes]( (though it definitely seems she had something to do with the two sites meankids and unclebobism, if only in [linking]( for the second). **Update:** Chris gives details on her (indeed) [very minimal involvement](
– Frank Paynter [apologized early on]( on Kathy’s blog, then explains that this whole thing is [an experiment in anarchy gone overboard](
– [Chris Locke]( denies being directly responsible for any of the threats Kathy mentions, and owns up to two direct comments about Kathy on unclebobism.
– Alan Herrell seems to have shut down [Raving Lunacy](
– Kathy ends her post with “I have no idea if I’ll ever post again. I suspect I will. But for now, I have a lot to rethink.” — this seems to point to her taking a break, not abandoning blogging.
– “Joey”, the author (?) of one of the threats Kathy received, comments on her blog: [one](, [two](, [three](, [four](, [five](; he says the threat was not towards her but some other person he called Kathy (?!). See also [Brent’s response to the first comment]( I have to admit some skepticism here. He could be a simple troll. But again, not to be dismissed without taking a good look.
– **Update 28 May 2007** Alan Herrell reports being victim of identity theft. E-mail made public by [Doc Searls](
– **Update 29 May 2007** Jim Turner gives a way better account than I have here of [what we can make out of the story for the moment]( — part 2 is due to follow and here is part two: The Sierra Saga Part 2: Big Bad Bob and the Lull Before the Kathy Sierra Blog Storm.
– **Update 1 April 2007** Jeneane Sessum publishes a few words [about the whole mess and her name being dragged in the dirt](

Please, Blogosphere. Keep your wits. This is a messy ugly story, and oversimplications will help nobody. Holding people guilty until proven innocent doesn’t either. (Trust me, I’ve been on the receiving end of [unfounded accusations]( because somebody didn’t hear my side of the story, and it sucks.)

The problem with bullying is that perceived meanness isn’t the same on both sides. Often, to the bully, the act is “just harsh” or “not to be taken seriously” (to what extent that is really believed, or is some kind of twisted rationalisation is not clear to me). To the bullied, however, the threats are very real, even if they were not really intended so. Bullying is also a combination of small things which add up to being intolerable. People in groups also tend to behave quite differently than what they would taken isolately, the identity of the individual tending to dissolve into the group identity. Anonymity (I’ve blogged about this many times, try a search) encourages people to not take responsibility for what they say, and therefore gives them more freedom to be mean. Has something like this happened here?

If you have something thoughtful to say, then say it. But if all you have to say has already been said out there ten times, or if you won’t take the trouble to check your sources, read carefully, calm down before blogging, avoid over-generalisations, and thus avoid feeding the already bloated echo-chamber — just go out for a walk in the sun and let the people involved sort themselves out.

The word is out there, way enough, and I trust that we’ll get to the bottom of the story in time.

**Update: I’m adding new links which actually add something to this story to [my first post]( as I find them, so check over there for updates.**

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Technological Overload or Internet Addiction? [en]

[fr] Les vidéos du fameux débat sur la surcharge technologique à LIFT'07 est en ligne. Du coup, l'occasion de rappeler mes deux billets sur le sujet, et de rajouter quelques pensées suite à ma participation à la table ronde sur les cyberaddictions à Genève, entre autres sur la confusion entre dépendance et addiction parmi le grand public, et le fait qu'on perçoit souvent l'objet de l'addiction comme étant le problème (et donc à supprimer) et non le comportement addictif. Mes notes sont à disposition mais elles sont très rudimentaires.

For those of you who enjoyed my [Technological Overload Panel]( and [Addicted to Technology]( posts, the ( is now online.

Since I wrote them, I participated in a panel discussion about cyberaddictions (that’s what they’re called in French) in Geneva. It was very interesting, and I learnt a few things. The most important one is the difference between “addiction” and “dépendance” in French. “Dépendance” is physical. The cure to it is quitting whatever substance we are dependant to. Addiction, however, lies in the realm of our relationship to something. It has to do with *how we use a substance/tool*, what role it plays in our life and overall psychological balance. And it also has a component of **automation** to it. You don’t *think* before lighting up a cigarette, or compulsively checking your e-mail.

I think there is a lot of confusion between these two aspects amongst the general public, which leads to misconceptions like the [“cure” to alcoholism being complete abstinence]( Sure, abstinence solves the substance abuse problem and is better for one’s health, but it doesn’t necessarily solve the *addiction* problem.

Addictions which are linked to otherwise useful tools are forcing us to look deeper (and that is actually what I’m trying to say in the [Addicted to Technology post]( The problem is not the substance (ie, alcohol, or even the drug, or in this case, technology). The problem is in the way a person might use it. Hence I maintain that the solution lies not in the **removal of the tool/technology**, as the panel moderator suggests twice (first, by asking us to turn off our laptops, and second, by asking “how to unplug”), but in a careful and personalised evaluation of what one uses technology for (or what one uses technology to avoid).

I had a talk after the panel with one of the people there, who told me of some rough numbers he got from a consultation in Paris which is rather cutting-edge when it comes to dealing with “internet addiction” amongst teenagers. I think that out of 250 referrals (or something), the breakdown was about the following: one third were parents freaking out with no objective reason to. Another third were parents freaking out with good reason, for the signs that brought them there were actually the first indicators of their child’s entry in schizophrenia. I can’t remember the exact details for the last third, but if I recall correctly the bottom line was that they had something like a dozen solid cases of “cyber addictions” in the end. (Please don’t quote me on these numbers because the details might be wrong — and if you *have* precise numbers, I’d be happy to have them.)

This confirms my impression that people are [a bit quick in shouting “internet addiction”]( “5-10% sounds like way too much.”) when faced with heavy users (just like people are a bit quick to shout “pedophiles!” and “sexual sollicitation!” whenever [teenagers and the internet]( are involved). I personally don’t think that the amount of time spent using technology is a good indicator.

I took [some very rough notes]( during the panel I participated in (half-French, half-English, half-secret-code) but you can have a peek if you wish.

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Vidéo: le blog de Josef Zisyadis et moi [fr]

[en] In this video, I give the story of how I was contacted by a local politician who hired me to help get him and his team blogging. A few words too about blogging and politics, here in Switzerland.

J’ai parlé du [lancement]( du [blog de mon client Josef Zisyadis](, mais comme je le sais bien (et je me tue à le répéter), les gens ne lisent pas trop sur le web. Le lien vers cette [petite séquence vidéo]( où j’explique comment j’ai été contactée pour ce mandat, et aussi quel sens cela a pour un politicien de bloguer, aura donc possiblement échappé à la plupart des gens qui transitent par ici. (Sans rapport, mais quand même, [Google Analytics](, installé récemment, m’indique que 99% des visiteurs de ce site ne reviennent jamais. J’ai du boulot côté fidélisation de la clientèle, on dirait.)

Donc, voici la vidéo, brut de chez brut (zéro préparation, zéro montage si ce n’est un générique). Un grand grand merci à [Thierry]( qui a gentiment accepté de fournir le matériel, de filmer, et même, devant mon angoisse de l’objectif noir, d’improviser quelques questions, transformant la petite séquence en interview. Les deux premières minutes ont été projetées sur grand écran (ouille, mon fond de teint!) lors de la [conférence de presse de mercredi](

Et en passant, comme je suis là, voici un petit tour de la couverture blogosphérique du lancement de [ce fameux blog]( (si j’ai oublié quelqu’un, faites signe):

– [Z-blogue ou Zisyadis blogue]( et [Z-blogue (bis)]( sur [](
– [Z-blogue : Z’enfin !]( sur [](
– [Le candidat d’À gauche toute veut aussi s’élever dans la blogosphère]( et [Bain de jouvence]( (référence à Thierry qui classe un peu maladroitement Zisyadis parmi les “jeunes” politiciens dans [la vidéo]( qui fait l’objet de ce billet — ah, les aléas de l’impro!) sur le blog [Vaud2007](
– [Josef Zisyadis, l’interview]( sur [Culture Pod](
– [Z-blogue]( chez [](
– [le Z-blogue est ouvert]( chez [JS Blog, Lausanne](
– [Le blog de Josef Zisyadis sur couleur 3!]( sur le [blog de Damien Wirths](
– [Lancement du blog de Josef Zisyadis](, ici même sur CTTS.

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Web 2.0 … The Machine is Us/ing Us [en]

[fr] Une vidéo qui vaut vraiment la peine d'être regardée (si vous comprenez l'anglais).

I really enjoyed this video and want to share it with you.

Thanks to [Joi]( for pointing it out on IRC.

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Lancement du blog de Josef Zisyadis [fr]

[en] The site (blog, of course!) of my first political client, Josef Zisyadis is now live. Interested to see where it will go!

Il y a quelques mois, un ami commun a proposé à l’équipe de [Josef Zisyadis]( de faire appel à mes services pour la mise en place d’un blog. En effet, Josef Zisyadis et son équipe désiraient utiliser efficacement internet dans le cadre de sa campagne pour les élections.

On s’est rencontrés, on a parlé, on m’a proposé un mandat (payé), je l’ai accepté. On a organisé quelques demi-journées de [formation “De l’importance d’une formation blogs, en vidéo.”](, de réflexion stratégique, de bataillage avec [WordPress]( et divers serveurs. J’ai trouvé Josef Zisyadis et les membres de son équipe tout à fait réceptifs à ce nouveau média et je pense qu’ils sauront en tirer parti.

Donc, aujourd’hui — enfin, cette nuit — nous avons rendu le [blog/nouveau site]( public. Comme vous pouvez le voir, cela fait déjà un petit moment qu’il est alimenté de billets et de contenus divers. Vous noterez également qu’il contient le contenu plus “classique” d’un site internet (question que me posent souvent mes clients: “mais si je fais un blog… je peux aussi avoir un *vrai* site?”): une page de [contact](, une [biographie](, une page [Presse/Caricatures](, etc. Aussi, pour les amateurs, une collection de [textes divers](, [poésies]( et [recettes de cuisine](…

La navigation dans le site n’est malheureusement pas tout à fait aussi bonne qu’on l’aurait souhaité (et même, qu’on ne l’avait prévu): une incompabilité d’humeur de dernière minute entre le serveur hébergeant le site et [K2](, le thème WordPress (entendre “le look”) que nous avons utilisé comme base pour le design du blog. On va tenter d’y remédier, mais pour le moment, ce n’est malheureusement pas aussi bien que cela pourrait l’être, mais au moins on en est conscients 😉

Comme je ne pouvais pas être présente à la conférence de presse donnée aujourd’hui, j’ai préparé une petite séquence vidéo. J’ai demandé à [Thierry aka James]( s’il pouvait me filmer — et il a fait même plus, vu qu’il m’a “fait parler” à coup de questions. Résultat: une interview d’environ sept minutes, où je parle de [mon implication dans le projet Z-blogue et de l’utilité des blogs en politique](, de façon générale. Donc, merci Thierry, et filez écouter (y’a pas grand-chose à voir) la vidéo si vous voulez en savoir un peu plus!

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Why I Got Lost in LeWeb3 Videos [en]

[fr] Petit tour des problèmes d'ergonomie qui ont été la source de mon billet précédent concernant

Right, I’ve somewhat figured out how I managed to [get lost in the LeWeb3 videos]( and not find things like permalinks or slider bars.

When you’re on the [fullscreen page](, no controls are clearly visible. Where is the pause button? There is “launch your TV” (tried that, but never go the answer to what it does, too slow to load for me) but that’s about it. When you click on individual videos, the URL never varies from Well, I poked around as I could, and gave up.

One thing I had overlooked was the four little icons near the bottom of the video which is playing (you can click on all the photos I’m showing here to access notes and extra info):


Which one would you click on? Well, after I really started to suspect there must be a way out, I tried them all. The third one was the most interesting to me:


To be fair, when you mouseover the buttons, some text is displayed. For example, text for the four buttons in the first photograph is “Sound”, “Video Greeting”, “Menu”, “ShowHide”. Unfortunately, you **do** have to mouseover to get to that information, as the icons themselves are not all self-explanatory. I definitely do not expect to find a menu listing of useful stuff I might want to do under the logo.

One shouldn’t expect a site user to drag his mouse over every portion of the screen which might be clickable to see what it is. Scanning available options is a job meant for the eye, not the hand. To make matters worse here, the mouseover text takes roughly twice the time a normal “title” tooltip would take to appear (on my system). A good two seconds. Who knows — I might even have mouseovered those icons and come to the conclusion there were no tooltips, when they didn’t appear after the expected delay.

The problem repeats itself. Look at the vertical bar of icons in the screenshot above. Have a guess. What do you expect them to do? Well, here is what the tooltips say, from top to bottom: “Share”, “Get link”, “RSS feed”, “Info”, “Flag it”, “Help”, and “About us…” — you’ll notice that the same logo is used for the “About us…” link as for the “Menu” one. It makes much more sense for “About us…”

In short, [rather poor usability]( for essential navigation items and functionalities on a page like this.

Now, I’m still hunting for a permalink to the video I’m watching, remember? “Get link” sounds like a good one, though “Info” is tempting too (chances I’d click on that directly if I start mouseovering from the bottom, which would be logical as that is where my cursor was).


Bingo! There’s my permalink. Let’s click on it.


Well, that worked as expected. I get to see the video, I can display useful information about it, and I can even download it. Nice. The only sad part is that the URL in the address bar has changed from to What a pity!

A slider bar appears when I put my mouse over the video, and there is a pause/play button. I’m still not sure if such features are available in the [fullscreen version]( and I couldn’t find them, or simply not available. The slider works, but unfortunately doesn’t tell me which moment of the video I’m aiming for, so it’s a bit hit-and-miss if, say, you want to jump to minute 8 of my video to hear me try to talk (hint, hint).

So, I started watching [my panel]( The sound is good, and that’s pretty cool (as I heard that it was almost unintelligable during the conference for people who were listening in on the stream). Unfortunately, somebody must have been a little overenthusiastic about compression and the small amount of key frames, because LeWeb3 speakers seem to all have contracted a really horrible skin disease which makes unsightly blemishes appear on their skin at regular intervals:

20070121-vpod-compression-illness 20070121-vpod-compression-illness-scott

Seems like [Scott Rafer]( and I should both go and see a dermatologist pretty quickly, doesn’t it?

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Vidéo: nécessité d'une formation blogs [fr]

[en] I explain that it's normal that most people don't "get" blogging naturally. Active bloggers today "in the wild" are the result of a natural selection. You can't turn a bunch of politicians or employees into bloggers (all the more good ones) just by throwing blogging tools at them. Training is needed. Media education.

Voilà, chers lecteurs (et maintenant auditeurs!) francophones, c’est à votre tour d’être les victimes d’un [vidéocast Climb to the Stars](, après mes lecteurs anglophones qui ont eu l’occasion d’entendre [pourquoi je pense que Lush devrait bloguer]( (Je sais que *podcast* est également un terme techniquement correct pour ce que je fais ici, mais j’aime bien indiquer qu’il s’agit de vidéo.)

En sept minutes et une ou deux poussières, j’essaie d’expliquer pourquoi même si [le blog est un outil facile à utiliser](, il reste utile (voire indispensable) d’apprendre à bloguer autrement que sur le tas.

Dailymotion blogged video
CTTS: Nécessité d’une formation blogs
Vidéo envoyée par Steph

Quelques liens en rapport avec le contenu de cette vidéo:

– [le fameux cours sur les blogs]( (pub!)
– []( et [ce que cette initiative m’inspire](
– []( pour se jeter à l’eau
– [la vidéo sur Lush (DailyMotion)](
– [ce que j’écrivais quand j’ai commencé…](

Edit 12h30: Je vois maintenant qu’il y a des sauts, dans la vidéo — quelqu’un a une idée à quoi ça peut être dû? Il me semble pas que j’avais ce problème avec la vidéo d’avant. Le seul changement que j’ai fait c’est d’avoir mis les “key frames” sur automatic au lieu de 150 à l’exportation.

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Video: About Lush and Blogging [en]

[fr] Une petite vidéo puisque la TSR m'a posé un lapin (tournage prévu pour cet après-midi, reportage annulé mais on garde le plateau -- détails suivront) qui raconte ma découverte de Lush et ce qui fait que je pense qu'ils devraient se mettre à bloguer.

How do I call this? A Vlog? A podcast? A video podcast? A videocast?

Anyway, here’s a little about me and [Lush]( and what makes me say Lush should get into blogging. Enjoy! *Yes, I messed up with the date. We’re the 20th. Shows you what not having any regular schedules anymore did to my internal clock.*

*Sorry, DailyMotion is taking a little time to get the video up and running. You can check out a [16Mb MP4 version of the video]( while you wait.*

Dailymotion blogged video
CTTS: Lush, Me, and Blogging
Video sent by Steph

It took me ten minutes to shoot, an hour or so to edit, and many many hours to figure out the right export settings and upload it to [DailyMotion]( I’m open to criticism (though I don’t like it, of course, I won’t lie) if you think there’s a way I could improve this.

Here are some links related to this video:

– [Back from Dublin](
– [Twinkle ballistic](
– [Blog post about Lush in Lausanne](
– [Lush contact page](
– [Rehab for your hair](

*(If you’re reading my blog through RSS or subscribed in iTunes and the video isn’t coming through properly, **please** let me know.)*

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