Feb 27

Color Showdown is here

Shameless plug for a site and campaign I’ve been working on, but check out ColorShowdown.com* from Sunsilk for some fun stuff.

Colour Showdown

The site taps into the blondes vs brunettes war (you don’t think it’s a war – take a look a the MySpace groups!). Not sure how many of the target audience read this, but if you are, you can do the following:

  • watch videos – the TV spots, behind the scenes, jokes (send your friend a joke video)
  • see results of our ‘secret experiments’, currently it’s who eats healthiest, but we have a few more to come.
  • read all about the product and see how it works (look out for the easter egg)
  • answer polls, get stuff for you website, download wallpaper and AIM icons and (soon) play games

Throughout the site, you earn points for your side, so go and take a look and click around the brunette side, more points for us ;-)

The campaign is not just the website, that is just the first stage and there is a lot more to come. The TV breaks tonight.

*The number of times I have to retype that ‘correct’ the right spelling is getting annoying.

Feb 27

Mutual Support Group

I’ve been reading Jason Calacanis’s fatblogging drive and thought about it but it was not quite enough. Then I read Jeremy’s post on the subject and the topic on the B5Media message board which led me to traineo; looking at that app, witht he support and community aspects was enough to tip me over the edge into action. So I’ve signed up on the site, got a motivator to bug me (that’s my sister) and joined the b5media support group that has been set up.

The site is not perfect, but is has some lovely features.

Traineo

  • record your weight (in metric or imperial)
  • record your exercise, with estimated calories burnt. There’s some debate over the accuracy of the results, but if you use it consistently it gives trends. It only allows you to choose from a list of activities, which range from walking to aerobics to sex to childcare.
  • track your daily calorie consumption, although you’ll need a spreadsheet or other app to record what you eat as this records only the total
  • create your own log of whatever you need

That’s the data recording, so what about the social aspects?

  • You can pick up to 5 motivators, who get weekly emails of your activity and comments and are encouraged to support you
  • the forums give you access to the wider community, with plenty of advice and support
  • create your own group and invite likeminded people
  • join other groups of common interest, for example there is one dedicated to the Wii

As well as this, I’ve sorted out the gym membership and started walking a lot more. Time for more action.

Feb 27

Venue Sought

We, (Eric and I) are trying to find a venue in New York to run some geek dinners…at least one of which will feature Ian Forrester and we’ve got some interesting people lined up for others. Looking for somewhere which has a private room (up to about 50 to start with we think), serves alcohol, can provide buffet type food and has a PA set up, or space for one. If you’ve been to the London Geek Dinners you’ll know the form. Mingle, east a few snacks and see a short talk with Q&As. If anyone can point me in a good direction, please let me know.

Feb 27

Viral Video Chart Widget

Getting bored at work. Looking for a few minutes of entertainment. If your poison is videos you can now get charts delivered directly your website using this handy little widget from the Viral Video Chart and you can share the list with all your friends. It’s currently running in the sidebar of this blog as a test and it’s quite handy as a way to go quickly to sites.

And if you want a different top 10, then Vidmeter also offers a widget.

The 2 sites are obviously starting from a different baseline to deliver you these results, with the Viral Video site working on daily links and Vidmeter working on daily views. I think I’m going to do some more digging into these.

Feb 25

Pillow Fight NYC

Yesterday there was a moment of madness in the city, a Pillow Fight organised by newmindspace. An absolute blast, an urban maul in Union Square, where the cameras, both amateur and professional, nearly outnumbered the fighters.

IMG_5676

Feb 22

BBC Value

Ian just posted his video from Future of Web Apps programme, where Michael Arrington suggested the BBC should be dissolved.

I did some back of envelope calculations about the worth of the BBC. Let’s say that I watch 2 hours a day, 7 days a week, 52 weeks a year. In the US, programme are around 42 minutes long, so 18 minutes of commercials (but let’s say 15 for promos etc). That means I’d watch around 182 hours of ads with that viewing habit. At UK minimum wage, that’s around 1000 GBP worth of my time. I see getting that time back as entertainment, on a non-commercial channel by paying my licence fee of 126GBP, as a bargain, never mind when you add the rest of the stuff they provide.

And yes, I’m in the US now, but I’m paid up for the year and there’s still Tivo and Slingbox, the online radio, the online news and info and all the other stuff to give me my fix.

Posted in TV
Feb 20

Don’t forget the pancakes on Jif Lemon Day

An example of a ad slogan that got into my brain years ago and has never left. But today, there’s almost nothing ‘official’ on the web about this, the only bit being on Unilever’s corporate site; so you just have to look up everyone talking about the day and not the company – or complaining that the company have not put out any adverts to remind them! There’s a nice little analysis of the meme on IanVisits, so not going to repeat it.

It’s Shrove Tuesday, time to break out the eggs, flour and milk and whip up a batch of nice, thin pancakes to go with the lemon and sugar.

Feb 20

Mac bought

I’ve finally gone and bought a Macbook. Not yet got it up and running (won’t connect to the web) but I’ll have more time to sort this out this week.

IMG_5633

Feb 15

Pushing a Community around Jericho

Over the last few days I’ve been working my way through all the back episodes of Jericho from CBS. As I usually do, I turn to Wikipedia to see if there any additional pieces of information to add to my enjoyment of the show (I’m a trivai freak at times). The show has a loyal base of online fans, as the wiki episode guides are pretty complete, which is not always the case; if you take a look at the CSI listings there’s very little info there which I find surprising for one of the biggest programmes on TV.

BUT CBS are obviously aware of the fans need to add to the show experience; they have created their own wiki for people to update. You don’t have to sign in to edit and they’ve even created a very nice editing tool so you do not have to know the arcane mark-up language.

Jericho Wiki

But you are not getting the same contributions as wikipedia are getting. It’s easier, there are a lot more show assets that can be used, there’s a reasonably active message board on the site that demonstrates that fans are involved, but little action to document the show. So some thoughts about why not:

  • Wikipedia is a known place to put the information so anyone who wants to document the show goes there, despite it being slightly easier to add images to the CBS wiki
  • The fans who connect on the message board are not fans who want to document the show in a wiki – they want to discuss, not record.
  • There is a fear that the work that would be put into documenting the show would disappear from the CBS site; the effort is better being put into something that will last longer.

Whatever the reason for the reduced participation in documenting the episodes they are doign a lot of other things to gain interest in the show, with online chats, Q&A for the producers and just a lot of extra content.

Feb 15

Valentine Blues

If you hate the day, love the day but failed to have a good time, or just like random violence and things going bang, take a look at this wonderful My Black Valentine, (tip from YesButNoButYes).

My Black Valentine

Choose your object of hate, click and watch as a bullet smashes through it, destroying the whole thing.

Can you imagine the logistics for this shoot – all the stuff and just getting to blow them to smithereens. Think that is one I would have liked to have been on.

Feb 14

Robot Loving

Scott Adams has been asking if you would sleep with a robot. And the answers have been mainly in the positive, with some reservations.

Many of you were concerned that the software in the robot would be provided by Microsoft. First of all, I think we can all agree that the name “Microsoft” is bad branding for sex robot software.

So with a slight rebranding, MS may have a chance here.

Posted in fun
Feb 13

Top Gear hits Alabama and Alabama hits back

I got told that I had to watch Sunday’s Top Gear. If this clip is indicative of the whole programme I think I’m going to have to. Typical piss-taking from the presenters getting them in some real trouble.

Too late…looks like they pulled it. Thanks to Keiron who points towards another copy. How long before this one goes…

Posted in TV
Feb 13

Updates on Behind the Buzz

The other blog is ticking along so pop over if you want to read things such as:

  • BarCamp and Press releases – the misguided attempt of a PR agency to send a Press release to the organisers of the event they are publicizing.
  • CSI and Keppler – how CBS are extending their online properties but doing it efficiently by using Ning.
  • The weird world of Old Spice and how the brand has a completely different DNA in the US.
  • Guinness’s first attempt at UGC with their new advertisment.
Feb 13

Meta Comments

Anyone else finding it bizarre that the spammers have now gone meta and are telling me that spam sucks and to delete it? Akismet is doing a great job of capturing it all, but I just find it funny.

Feb 08

Beer Goggles

I love this BBC article about the scientific explanation for Beer Goggles. The study, from University of Manchester, was sponsored by an eyeglass company Bausch and Lomb, I’d have thought that if they have a study released for PR, they may have at least put it on their site but nothing on the UK or US sites.

Nathan Efron, Professor of Clinical Optometry at the University of Manchester, said: “The beer goggles effect isn’t solely dependent on how much alcohol a person consumes, there are other influencing factors at play too.

“For example, someone with normal vision, who has consumed five pints of beer and views a person 1.5 metres away in a fairly smoky and poorly lit room, will score 55, which means they would suffer from a moderate beer goggle effect.”

Beer Goggles Equation

Where An is Alcohol consumed, d is distance, S is smokiness, L is luminance and Vo is visual acuity.

Putting all of this together, you should be able to calculate at what point the beer goggle effect kicks in; at which point you are probably too drunk to care ;-)

Feb 07

Blogher Business

I’m quite excited to be on a panel at Blogher Business 07, in New York in March. A 2 day event, looking at how social media, including blogs, can be used in a corporate or marketing environment. The event is split into 2 distinct days; the first focusing on getting everybody on the same page, ensuring understanding of all the terms and jargon that it is far too easy to slip into. The second day looks at how you can use the medium to make a difference in your business, or even to decide that it’s not quite ready yet.

Feb 06

Walmart Video and the importance of cross-browser testing

Walmart launch a new video download service today. Apparently their development team is browser challenged as they only appear to have IE available to them. Under that app, their site looks, well, not beautiful but at least OK.

Walmart Video on IE

However, on Firefox it looks like this:

Walmart Video on Firefox

I know that sites sometimes launch without full testing…and that Walmart Video is probably targeted fully at those who have never heard of anyother browser but a token effort to fail gracefully would have been nice. (Tip: Valleywag)

Feb 06

Employment Laws

Reading this long comment thread on Slashdot about a guy who is being sued by a company for resigning bought home the huge difference in employment law in different countries. the stories of just walking out, of keeping journals of everything that goes wrong to use in ammunition, to tales of what people can do if left around the company after handing in notice.

Feb 04

Superbowl and Prince

Whilst chatting with Ewan as we watch the Superbowl on different sides of the atlantic, we got to Prince and the half time show. Neither of us were impressed to say the least. But best quote of the night so far goes to Ewan about Prince’s ‘Nora Batty’ headscarf

it might be the wardrobe malfunction merkin

Although I think it needs to be lower if that is the case.