Jun 19

Ethical Hacking course

The Register has an article about the University of Abertay’s Ethical Hacking course. I’m guessing one of the entrance requirements must be to hack their website to find the course guidelines…as I can’t find it in either this year’s or next year’s courses

Update: from Professor MacKinnon’s comment, this lack was an oversite and is being updated. cheers Lachlan.

Jun 19

Policing the Sponsorship…guerilla marketing tactics

Watching bits of the Nederlands – Ivory Coast match on Friday I was surprised at a number of shots of the Dutch fans wearing their underwear. Not thinking too much of it (except I bet some of their mothers had something to say about always wearing good underwear because you never know when you are going to appear on TV) I put it down to same kind of motive as the fans who paint their faces.

Now I find that this was all part of policing commercial sponsorship. A lot (not sure of the numbers) had turned up wearing orange lederhosen sporting the name of a Dutch brewery, Bavaria. In the name of protecting the Bud sponsorship, officials had ordered the fans to remove the trousers…or at least the men (what happened to equality!)

Jun 19

Folgers Coffee in the Morning

Folgers Coffee (something I;ve never heard of before this) have a bright and breezy ad that does make you smile first thing in the morning. Completely wacky, reminiscent of 70’s style musicals.

The associated campaign site has some nice little toys, including a Boss tracker, which requires a bunch of you from one office to download and then collaborate about where the boss is in the office, to give all advance warnings. They also have email templates with great excuses about why you are late and a wake up tool – enter your details and they will give you a wake up call in the morning – choose your sexy voice and set of compliments.

I’m guessing the campaign site has been done by a different agency to the main site…there is a severe lack of compatibility between the two, with no visual or design similarity that makes switching between them jarring. I would have at least thought that the coffee jar image could have been the same on both pages.

Jun 18

London Pride and Football

London Pride

Originally uploaded by RachelC.

Yesterday I ended up in Williamsburg, in a pub watching a match betqween the US and Italy. The bar was pretty full, with everyone I saw watching the football as opposed to a baseball match that was on the other TV in the bar. The groans and cheers were in all the right places, so theis crowd at least got the game.

But on to the beer. Anheuser-Busch are getting a bad rep in Germany for sponsoring the World Cup…Bud is not the best beer in the world (it’s Carlsberg, probably..isn’t it?) and Bud is defintiely not good compared to the many German beers that can be found. But I don’t think US beer deserves the reputation it has. Many of the bars I’ve been into usually have a far better selection of locally brewed beers than many UK pubs. Yesterday, I was trying a nice Wiesse beer from the Brooklyn Brewery, the Sam Adams varieties tend to be pretty good and I’ve almost always managed to find something that is not just ‘lager’. The problem I think is lack of export – only the ‘big’ week, lager type stuff seems to be found in many other countries and that does deserve to be poorly regarded.

And the picture – one of many signs to adorn the walls of Mugs Ale House. A reminder of home, as I live about a mile from the brewery.

Jun 16

PS3 for Sale

The BBC is reporting that the Sony PS3 is now for sale on play.com for the grand price of 550GBP (I still can’t find the pound sign on this US keyboard). They are selling the 60GB HDD version, with Blu-ray, wifi and HD output.

The price is higher than previously predicted and although the release date is 17 November, it’s unlikely to be shipped before Christmas. So order now for your long six months wait.

I’ve still not decided if I am going to purchase one of these..the amount of gaming I do is minimal and this is a fair bit of money forfor something I’d primarily use as a DVD player. I think I may wait.

Jun 16

Weather Bugs

I’ve been messing around with the new Windows Live page. I think this currently looks nicer than the Google personal homepage, a lot softer with the colours and better on the eyes.

So I have the weather feed on both pages, as a comparison. They obviously come from different sources. Windows has New York raining and at 26C, whereas Google has it as partly cloudy and 31C. That’s a big difference in temp and precipitation 😉 The BBC is closer to Google, at sunny and 31C…that’s 2 out of 3 agreeing, so won;t be planning on doing anything energetic.

Google Weather


Windows Live Weather


Jun 16

Absolut Bottle search

Absolut do it again. They continuously update their home page to new and fresh things. Their latest is a bottle hunt…finding bottle shapes on a complex graphic in a short time frame. The fastest way to find the bottles is just to random click (very quickly) all over the site and not to actually look for the bottle shapes. This way I got 58 out of the 82 instead of the measley 30 that I found by actually searching. Of course, doing this you don’t get a chance to look at the great artwork.


Jun 16

RIAA sues…again

From Will Wheaton, it seems that the RIAA has decided that all the people dancing and miming to music on YouTube are breaking the law and need sueing, so they are sending C&D letters to them.

None of these videos are being made with the intention of profit (internet fame maybe, but not profit) and all they show is that people love the music and want to share it. This is community lead marketing of the powerful kind – word of mouth. But no, obviously the only marketing the music industry want is their own. But the 5million plus views that the Pixie video has received are worth nothing in their minds. Something wrong somewhere. Meanwhile take a look at the Director Kevin Smith doing the same

Jun 14

MySpace – Essential but not cool

A friend reported an overheard conversation in a New York bar. A women came late to a group of 20 something or others and started to talk about her MySpace profile; immediately the rest of the table all had a go at her for mentioning the service. After a while debting the merits of the service, the conclusion was that whilst it was no longer cool and should not be mentioned in polite conversation. However, the next big think has not yet been spotted by this crowd so it is still an essential to have…you just can’t talk about it.

Jun 14

Social New York

I finally managed to get an evening that did not involve work last night and caught up with Eric and Chris, both of whom I met at SXSW in March. Amongst the general chit chat and beer, the possibility of organsing Bar Camp NYC 2 was discussed. And lo and behold, Chris has put it on the wiki. It’s timed to co-incide with BarCamp Earth.

Jun 13

Corporate Culture Clashes

As an alcohol company, my previous employer could never refer to drinking to excess in any of its communications and that included all the internal ones. So if we were having a team night out or a party, we would always be invited to have a few drinks…responsibly. An dthis would be followed by all the sensible drinking advice, plus details of any taxi arrangements to ge thome etc. This has become so drummed into me that I automatically respond with the term ‘responsibly’ to any suggestion of having a few drinks…although I usually manage just to keep it in my head and not say it outloud.

So when I read an invite to a party from current clients that makes it a lot more clear having a lot of fun and drinking a lot, I had to take a reality check..many other corporate cultures treat alcohol realistically in what it can do instead of having to meet a legal and social responsibility line, which is really believed in, but forced upon them by a litigious world which means they can’t say things the same way.

Jun 12

Original Content on You Tube

There’s a lot of stuff on You Tube…much of it still ‘borrowed’ from other places, or poorer quality ‘home’ recordings. Don’t get me wrong, I like a lot of it – it’s funny..or weird..or a great place to find those TV clips that you can’t get on your own TV network. But finding good quality, original content takes a little more digging. Dave Coyne is someone who is producing some great stuff, such as this video parody of Bono, Samuel L Jackson and the essential blogging entertainment this summer, Snakes on a Plane.

Take a look a the rest of his videos as well…I liked the ‘don’t drink and strum’ one 😉

Jun 12

Scoble resigning..makes the news

The buzz over the weekend was all about Scoble resigning and moving to Podtech.net, which still appears to be having a little trouble coping under the load. Today it is being picked up by the mainstream media – here’s a piece on the BBC. Note one major difference in the story – unlike all the other blog posts, the BBC retain some decorum and refer to Robert throughout as “Mr Scoble” 😉

Jun 09

Missed opportunities with airports

US airports really miss a trick when it comes to commercial opportunities. The other week the flight back from Chicago was delayed by 2 hours and all the only places to spend money were a couple of bars, a couple of fast food restaurants and a couple of newsagents. If I’d been stuck in Heathrow I could have probably completely outfitted a house from the shops available there. I’m expecting to spend a fiar bit of time in airports as the United service between Chicago and La Guardia seems prone to delays – this week, after being picked up at 5 am for the first flight, it was cancelled without even an apology..the group of us had to be split across the later flights.

Jun 06

The Trust in TV Advertising

From the Guardian (free registration required), ITV have published its Corporate Responsibility report. One area it discussed is TV advertising – only 1 in 8 people watching the commercials (that cost 3.4billion GBP per year) agreed with the statement “the commercials shown on ITV are truthful and accurate”. Around half had no opinion and a third disagreed with it. So not only do we have increasing number of ways to avoid the ads, 1 in 3 people think they are lying anyway when they do watch them.

One other tidbit I found interesting was the statement in the report

The amount and frequency of advertising is regulated by Ofcom. Ofcom licences limit the amount of advertising ITV can broadcast to seven minutes-per-hour averaged over a day. In any particular hour the precise amount may vary and during peak viewing times (6.00pm to 11.00pm) the maximum in an hour is eight minutes.
The length of commercial breaks within programmes is also limited to be shorter than the breaks between programmes

This contrasts with the amount on US network TV. I read of blog post over the weekend (which I can’t find now…I knew I should have tagged it!) that said something like over 40% of prime time viewing was ads. I know it feels like it. My unscientific method tells me that for an hour long programme, there’s a break after the starting credits, it then gives you about 15 minutes before the next break and then they are every 8 minutes. The run times are mainly 41 minutes, giving you 18-19 minutes every hour of commericals.

In complete contrast was Danish TV…I was surprised to find programmes running all the way through even on commerical channels. i course this gives rise to some very strange start times, with programmes being advertised as starting at 20.53 etc.

Denmark is one of the countries that subtitles TV programmes. This has to be one of the factors in driving a population to speak English (often better than the english). Compare this with Germany. But there was something about Copenhagen that makes the average english tourist assume everyone speaks English and this is before they’ve seen the TV (See Rick’s post). But all the cues are given to you that this is an English speaking country – signs and instructions onthe public transport are in English as well as Danish, menus and tourist information is bilingual, announcements are often in both languages. Subconsciously you pick all of this up, meaning that you do not even think of checking if they speak English, which I would always do in Germany and France

Jun 06


Love the date..the once in a century opportunity to make poor jokes about the sign of the devil. Although I guess at the last one they did not have such marketing ‘opportunities’ as the release of the remake of The Omen.

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