Mar 05

Mobiles at the Museum

I went to the Natural History Museum last week and came across this.


An animatronic T.Rex being filmed by a whole load of schoolchildren – like multiple mini versions of Scoble, all with their phone out, video and taking pictures. I saw very few actual cameras, they all had the phone. How many of these actually do something witht he footage, the images? Do they take it off the phone or just keep it on there to share?

For the museum, it does raise a question as their visitor guidelines ban the use of cell phones. I’m pretty sure they mean for taking calls, as there’s no restrictions on cameras. They need to update the rules.

Sep 07

Jeremy and his new hat

Jeremy and his new hat

Caught a drink with Jeremy Wright last night at the end of his rapid-fire trip to New York – he demonstrated his new cap bought on his recent trip to the UK, a flat cap in black corduroy. His trip seemed to be full of incidents and surprises, not going completely to plan, but you need to wait for him to blog that to get all of the nuances!

One thing we did end up discussing was the different way that English and North American women walk and carry themselves. Apparently Jeremy was breasted more in his trip than ever before – breasted being his description for a woman getting by you and brushing you with her breasts. Now, he was in pubs, raves and the Notting Hill Carnival so there were plenty of opportunities for close encounters due to crowding but he felt that presenting the breasts first was far more prevalent in the UK. Anybody with a comparable experience?

Jul 21

Harry Potter vs the iPhone

Two great launches have taken place over the last few weeks, the Apple iPhone and the seventh and last Harry Potter book. So had did the launches compare?

Facet Harry Potter iPhone
What is it? A book A phone. With extras.
Audience Ostensibly children 9-12. In reality all ages. Gadget freaks and Apple fans with enough cash to spend or parents who would spend the money. Plus speculators looking to make a quick turnaround.
Cost $34.99, although many places discounted $599 plus 2 year phone contract
Queues Yes. Although pre-ordering and common sense meant that they really only formed on the day. Queues reached round blocks; the ones I saw were far larger than for iPhone Yes, some forming 5 days in advance. Press and speculation potential meant people wanted to be first.
Attire School uniform, cloaks, pointy hats (a wizard is not a wizard without one). Face paint. Jeans and t-shirts. HP fans definitely better dressed.
Typical Fan HP fan

Harry Potter fan

Originally uploaded by RachelC

Apple iPhone Launch Palo Alto – Robert Scoble

Originally uploaded by b_d_solis
Celebrities I’m avoiding reports at the moment, so no idea Over and above the tech geek celebs, Spike Jones, Whoppi Goldberg, more people I don’t know. Looking for clues on this one,
Charity Factor Not really – can’t resell it. Some ofthe first people in queues were planning on reselling for charity. Plus they got a lots of PR for being there in the first place.
Scarcity Plenty. Lots and lots all over the place Fears were proved pretty groundless as phones were available without too much rush. Initial auctioning value dropped rapidly
Sales in first days Pre-orders on Amazon over 2m. Just way bigger than the iPhone 500k?
Cool Factor errrrr, It’s a book. Not really much you can do to up the cool factor. ooohhhhhh shiny. Let me touch. It’s shiny. Wins the cool factor hands down.
Usability Only one function. Read it. But at 759 pages it makes a good door stop as well. Does lots of things well and then does not do things that it should do as a convergent device. Plus does somethings badly. Read the reports – they’re mixed. But did I say it’s shiny?
Reuse It’s a once only thing. Once you’ve read it the suspense is gone. re-reading is possible but not as much fun. Years of fun. Lots of things you can do and it has a continuing functionality. Until the battery goes.
Recyclability Yes. Out to the recycle people and back it will come as next week’s newspaper. Probably. But lots of components and chemicals so not that easy
A sequel? No, that’s your lot. The story is over and done with. JK could sit back and enjoy her riches but may produce something else – will it be as good? Yes. Absolutely. In different colours, sizes, functionalities. One that actually works in 3G. This one has a long way to go.

Now I’m off to read the book for the rest of the day. Anyone got things to add?

Jun 05

Do you speak kitteh?

The Globe and Mail, the Toronto paper, had a lovely piece on Thursday about the rise of kitteh, the ‘language’ found on the lolcatz images and the derivatives that have sprung up. Unfortunately I left the paper in the hotel and it’s behind a paywall on the site, although the article does appear to be here for now (I wonder for how long, as this appears to be a back door). It’s a semi-serious look at the language and the rules around it and how they have evolved.

Lolcatese is often based on such catch structures or snowclones. Grown-ups don’t recognize these snowclones because the formulae may come from gamerspeak or from the dramatized sequences of Japanese video games. Variations of the phrase “im in ur base killing ur d00ds” (apparently, a famously hilarious joke to players of Warcraft III) are a commonplace of lolcatese, where the sentence “im in ur x, ying your n” is frequently varied.

They can analyse all they wish, I just enjoy the stuff.

May 19

A tiring week

I whole week without blogging – I guess the parental visit left me a little tired, although I was posting on Behind the Buzz (which has been updated to the latest B5Media template and not looking too bad at all).

Thursday afternoon, Robert Scoble invited people along to a small lunch at Katz’s deli; about 10 people turned up. One of them was Grace Piper, to whom I’d mentioned the event on Tuesday night at the Supernova pre-meet. Afterwards, I tagged along for a walk in the park and pastries at Cafe La Fortuna. Luckily I escaped before being stuck in traffic for the rest of the day ;-). Loren Feldman, of 1838Media and Podtech(or should I call him a star?) took a few video clips during the day. Paul Marino also came along, an expert in machinima. We’ve looked into using media like this at work, either sponsoring or creating. Still looking for the right opportunity and match.

On Tuesday I got talking to Sherry, a B2B PR expert. One of her clients makes body armour, which lead to a surreal conversation about which bloggers could be approached to try out the products and why tey should be offered it!

Apr 23

World Record for Coconut Clopping

London claimed the world record back from New York today as 4382 people clopped their coconuts together to celebrate Spamalot’s first year in London. That’s more than 3000 more than New York managed. This was followed by a screening of Monty Python and the Holy Grail, whic the website kindly reminds you has a 15 certificate, so all under-age people have to leave. So how do they police that then?

Terry Jones signs autographs

Picture from Clare and Dave

Posted in fun
Apr 16

Ultimate Frisbee

Eric’s being twittering about Saturday Frisbee for a few weeks now so on Saturday I decided to join in. About a dozen people turned up and had a great game before retiring for celebratory drinks. Bill has a great set which includes some in-action shots as well as just the drinking ones. Here’s on of my favourites from the night, from Grace.

Post Frisbee MEal

Apr 12

WordPress Meetup

Matt and Toni are in town at the moment and had proposed a meetup. After a bit of a mix up (they were late, the attendees all want to the pub, but the long way round) it all sorted itself out and 14 of us sat down at the Heartland Brewery (who gave us a private room at the back and treated us very well) for a few drinks, food and a lot of nattering. A great night, culminating in the the last 4 returning to our respective domiciles via a late night walk in Central Park. Hopefully John will post his photos soon.

Apr 01

April Fools again

It’s that time of year again and the fools are popping up all over the web, with a good list over at Wikipedia. You can take your time looking through them, there’s bound to be something that took your fancy. Google again seems to take some of the most effort with 2 very nice ones. First, proving that the internet is indeed a series of tubes, or at least pipes, announce their new TiSP service, broadband connection through the sewer system (it’s only half a joke, much of the dark fibre owned by Google apparently does run along these types of pipes). All you have to do to get it to work is throw the one end of the cable down the loo and flush, whilst remembering not to let go.

Google TiSP system

Secondly there mail system is now offering a print service Google Paper – notify which emails you want and they will print them and send them out to you. Ad-supported the cost is nothing to you and it will help you keep all of your favourite mails, just like they used to do with letters.

The cost of postage is offset with the help of relevant, targeted, unobtrusive advertisements, which will appear on the back of your Gmail Paper prints in red, bold, 36 pt Helvetica. No pop-ups, no flashy animations—these are physically impossible in the paper medium.


Unfortunately they have not yet rolled it out to my email account, but I’m looking forward to it 😉 And all over the web there were examples, with fake purchases, hacks, company takeovers and just general tomfoolery. But none of these reach the same heights of fun as the BBC spaghetti harvest film, 50 years old today and put in place by the ultra-serious Panorama programme

Posted in fun
Mar 10

Bluejacking is back

Well, according to the BBC anyway. The craze that never was is back in favour and is currently the most emailed story on the news site. Interestingly, the site links to stories from way back in 2003.

The only time I got messages this way was in a W hotel in New York, just the once. But this time round, it’s not being used to pick people up, but to confuse and confound them.

I came across the idea of bluejacking at an online discussion forum and it immediately struck me as a fun thing to do,” said Ellie, who set up and runs the bluejackQ (Bluejack You) website.

She said the “priceless” expression on the face of her first victim as he tried to work out what was going on has turned her into a regular bluejacker.

“This, mixed with not knowing whether the victim will react in an amused/confused or negative way gives me an adrenaline rush,” she said.

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.


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 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 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)

Jan 28

Fainting Goats

From Charlie, I link to a video about fainting goats. I’m not sure what to make about this; it’s pretty funny seeing them fall over when startled but the fact of their owner going at them with umbrellas to demonstrate it for the camera is a little too much. This is a disease that could have only arisen in domesticated animals, because otherwise they would all have been eaten pretty quickly!

Posted in fun