Jan 17

SpecialK and Flash

Flash is commonly used with websites to bring life and movement, to bring entertainment and improve the experience. When used well, it really helps with telling the story and getting a message across. When used badly, it sucks. Kellogg’s Special K use of flash definitely falls into the latter category. It uses heavy flash to display product information (killing the browser at the same time). Whilst product info is in the flash object, a badly formatted image pops up to display nutritional info which looks like it was scanned in from the packets. Flash is not the best software to use for an information driven site, however much your agency tries to sell you this!

Jan 17

Geni – a living family tree

Geni, a new venture from ‘former executives and early employees of PayPal, Yahoo! Groups, Ebay, and Tribe’ is a different take on social networks, using the hook of family history and genealogy to get users and connect people. But where it falls down with me is that it is focuses on living people; it’s not a family tree as more of a family sprawl, reaching horizontally across people instead of the vertical descent that most family historians investigate. And it’d run to a stop in many families when it hots the people with no email address and no computers.

Looking at the screen shots, I love the interface design. I’d love to be able to use it to display my family history; I’d even pay for it, given how much money I’ve already spent on the hobby, jsut to have a better web experience than the one I’m currently using which is plain, old html tables. But as it stands, it holds no interest for me. But given the experience of the people behind it, it could have some legs.

Jan 17

Luck of Seven

Noel Hidalgo is trying something different with Luck of Seven.

on the luck of seven is an open-source, around the world project by noel hidalgo (aka noneck). for seven months, he will visit the seven continents, sail the seven seas, and visit the seven ancient wonders of the world. Using a wiki, noneck will harness the collective knowledge of the globe, and report weekly on seven topics of freedom. Before he leaves, he is fundraising US$11.11 from 700 global residents.

An interesting project; track the success though the blog and wiki, join the Flickr Group and go and donate.

Jan 16

Long Tail Music charts

The UK music charts have been opened up to the Long tail with the decision to count downloads whether or not there is also a physical copy of a single or available. A number of songs which charted last year or earlier were back in the charts last week and for the first time a group with no record deal has charted. Koopa reached no. 31 purely through downloads; they know have the privilege of being a wanted act, even from companies that have previously turned them down.

So anything and everything can now make it to the charts. If an act can get their song on one of the counted online stores then there is a way for them to get chart and radio exposure without going through a record deal.which potentially opens up the charts beyond the safe, bland, manufactured pop that can prevail.

But as an EMI spokesman said, it could also open the possibility of the whole of the chart being the Beatles for a while if they release those songs digitally! Over Christmas I bought the ‘new’ Beatles album Love. From a documentary and the sleeve notes, the people involved in the remix are all over the moon how revolutionary and brave they are being for remixing these songs. (Have they never heard of The Grey Album?) And I like the album a lot. But I was struck by a thought – am I liking the music because it is good or because I grew up with it almost always on in the background so I like it because it is familiar.

Jan 15

Slingbox working

My dad’s finally got the router working at home and now I can log into the Slingbox and Tivo to watch and record Uk programmes. I love technology at times 😉

Jan 14


I’ve updated this theme so I’m now widgetised. Given my general flakiness with CSS and php, I think it’s all OK but not too sure. I’ve tested in Firefox 2 and IE 7 on the laptop; if anyone has other browsers can you take a look and see if the 3 column layout is retained?

Jan 13

Spam Phone calls

I have a landline (or at least a VoIP version of one). The only people who have the number are may parents. And the phone company. Who seem to have no problem giving that number to all and sundry resulting in a multitude of spam calls. Which I thought was not allowed. And the do not call register takes a month before it start. At least I’ve had no-one trying to sell me double glazing, which is all I ever got in the UK; the spam calls here are far more variable.

Jan 12

Searching for fractured neck symptoms

It looks like I’m currently the top search result on Google for ‘how do you know if you have a fractured neck’. I hope the person who came to my site after using that term ended up going to the doctor and getting an X-ray!

Jan 11

Behind the Buzz – the other blog

My other Blog, Behind the Buzz, is where I’m posting more and more of my marketing posts. It’s still not quite ready with the b5media styling, but as I’m busy posting anyway, here’s links to some of the stories on that site:

  • Superbowl Madness: Both the NFL and Doritos chips are running campaigns to make your own commercials to run during the big game. They’ve taken different approaches, with NFL asking you to pitch the story and they’ll provide the film-makers and Doritos askign you to make the video yourself.
  • Mountain Dew have an interesting TV ad driving you to a webiste to test your sharpness. But the payoff is not that good.
Jan 11

iPhone lawsuit

I guess Apple never got round to signing those licensing agreements with Cisco for use of their trademark term iPhone. And now they are suing.

“Cisco entered into negotiations with Apple in good faith after Apple repeatedly asked permission to use Cisco’s iPhone name,” said Mark Chandler, senior vice president and general counsel, Cisco. “There is no doubt that Apple’s new phone is very exciting, but they should not be using our trademark without our permission.

Update 18/1: Google likes this site for Iphone lawsuit and as I don’t actually have a lot of content here’s some links that look good:

  • the orginal Cisco Blog post is linked above.
  • Apple Insider has statements from both parties
  • Pretty similar news articles can be found at iPodObserver, ItWire, the Wireless Weblog, TMCNet, etc, etc – there’s a fair few posts about Apple callignthe suit silly.
  • ignore the sites with iplawsuit in the domain – they look and feel (at least today) like spam sites that are just reprinting content with a lot of ads attached.
  • I go to the BBC for mainstream news. But there’s not too much new in that over the other online news sites.

But, after poring through a few of these, after you have read a few of the news articles, they are all pretty much saying the same. I guess we have to wait for news.

Jan 10

iPhone reactions

To be honest, I’m not really into phones. I have a pretty good one for the UK, all 3g and live tv and browsing etc but the data plan sucked and it’s no use where I am. And my US phone is just about manages to phone and text, there nothing else really to it. So looking at the iPhone coverage I can drool over the design but as for the functionality, if I bought it it’s just end up being a big phone and ipod I can’t put in my pocket, so would sit in the bottom of my bag getting scratched.

And once you get past the design, what is really new about the phone. As Robert says, there’s always a reality distortion field when it comes to Apple announcements. The range of functionality is not too hot as far I can read; Tom has a good piece looking at what it can do compared to his current phone. So again, design good, features not so good. There’s back and forth on a mobile marketing mailing list about design vs functionality, especially about what appears to be the closed nature of the system, without the ability to add functions, tools and widgets. Then again, lack of functionality never stopped the iPod. Would I buy it – probably not. Cool gadget, too expensive for what I would actually use it for.

Jan 10

The advertising world and the new web

Hugh is offering to help solve the conundrum of meshing big, corporate business advertising as performed by the big corporate advertising agencies with the world that is Web2.0. He has a solution he’s willing to offer you for $100k. And if I had the cash, I might have taken him up on the offer, given the success he’s having with Stormhoek, English Cut and others.

Meanwhile, I’ll keep plugging away here, hopefully breaking down a few barriers and making small steps into moving the big clients closer to a different way of using the web. I mentioned fear in my comment and sometimes this has a real foundation beyond the fear of lack of control. Previous skirmishes fought, previous damage to reputations mean the drawbridges are just harder to get down, especially in a litigious environment. But opening peoples eyes to what is out there about their brand, surprising them with all the positive stuff (remember the bloggers and the boards are not just negative) helps them on their way. You have to find the chink in the armour, the first steps that they are comfortable with before you can jump all the way head first into pool.

Update: an interesting survey from Sapient underlines the mistrust that CMO’s have with the big agencies doing digital as well, with only 10% believing the traditional agencies can move into interactive. The six key (aggregated) attributes are:

  • 1. Quality of Creative Content
  • 2. Innovation and Strategic Value
  • 3. Price/Cost
  • 4. Sophisticated Analytics and Measurement Systems
  • 5. Proficiency in Emerging, Interactive or Digital Media
  • 6. Traditional Print, Offline and Media Buying Services

Interactive is now ranking higher than the traditional stuff.

Jan 04

The Orginal Social Networking

I’ve had this open in my tabs for a while but only now got round to blogging it – a critical look at the increase in social networking in 2006 and whether or not this is just a fad.

‘Community’ and ‘socialising’ have been huge in 2006 but the big question is how long they will last. Is this just a fad? Newspapers have filled pages with reports of so-called ‘pubs’ and ‘clubs’ where people are congregating to talk to each other. However, critics are quick to point out that their popularity is over-rated. “They are used only by teenagers,” said one expert. “What will these ‘pubs’ do when the teenagers move on to the next trend?”

It’s Shane Richmond’s take on socialising, on sharing random details with strangers and sharing all these baby photos. Fancy a laugh – then take a read.