Monday, July 27, 2009
I am not sure which came first - the t-shirt or the remark by Ken Robinson during his talk about ways to stimulate creativity. Still fresh even though it was recorded three years ago. But note how mind-bogglingly dull the BMW 'ad' which now follows it. It is everything which TED is not supposed to be. The ad ends with what sounds like a comment from the pr people that that was a "pretty good line". Er, no it wasn't.
Just read the following on the MTI blog, which, I recommend adding to your feedreader. If you opt for Mobile and you are somehow involved in the travel industry check out these recommendations from Lufthansa, which has eight years of experience in the mobile industry. I can only underline these findings from my own experience.
Lufthansa's Golden Rules of Mobile
1. Management support is essential for the implementation of mobile strategy and projects.
2. Mobile services are not simply a miniature version of the regular website. You should ensure that applications and usability are adjusted to fit the mobile users.
3. Existing processes for the implementation of mobile services must be adapted to fit the mobile handsets being used or rewritten altogether
4. The usability is the key to everything: fast and easy, optimized for different devices. Lufthansa stresses however, that not all devices available in the market should be optimized (for cost reasons). Smartphones or high-end devices (about 65% of people using the Lufthansa sites are users of the BlackBerry or iPhone) are now the focus of the developments.
5. Start with core functionality and then gradually add new features.
6. The end user must know that the service exists. Money should be set aside in marketing budgets for mobile marketing
7. Search engines are a complement to mobile marketing campaigns.
8. Use specialists and experts as consultants for the mobile strategy and the implementation of the services .
I should add to point 6. The marketing of new services or applications should be as cross-media as possible, and for an extended period and not purely during the campaign. Depending on the audience being targeted, Social Media Tools are also important. Just having a link to it on the company website or an application in App Store to advertise the service is not enough!
I would add that point number one is vital too. Unless top management have their heart in it, the mobile strategy is just a bad afterthought. It still suprises me that most airlines won't accept mobile checkin or that navigating the mobile site is so time consuming on a mobile browser that it's faster to look for web access somewhere.
I found this fascinating quote today:
The worst examples of subscription services are those that break the content up into free and paid. It's as if some content is worth more than other content. I think that is the wrong idea most of the time, and especially in news and news related content.avc.com, A VC, Jul 2009
You should read the whole article.
Been testing how some stations reply to input from listeners and viewers. Worst so far is NPR Radio in the US, which cannot read the links I sent in and makes it difficult for you to point out broken links without filling in a form that reminds me of the application form for a replacement passport. To cap it all, the message is sent from Insert Name.
The Google blogpost explains that most mobile devices in Africa only have voice and SMS capabilities, and so they are focusing their technological efforts in that continent on SMS. Last month they announced Google SMS, a suite of mobile applications which will allow people to access information, via SMS, on a diverse number of topics including health and agriculture tips, news, local weather, sports, and more. The suite also includes Google Trader, a SMS-based “marketplace” application that helps buyers and sellers find each other. People can find, "sell" or "buy" any type of product or service, from used cars and mobile phones to crops, livestock and jobs.
Google SMS Tips is an SMS-based query-and-answer service that enables a mobile phone user to have a web search-like experience. You enter a free form text query, and Google's algorithms restructure the query to identify keywords, search a database to identify relevant answers, and return the most relevant answer.
There's quite a fan group of people collecting and remixing BBC World News countdowns. They have taken the music from the new BBC Arabic version and montaged it on the English BBC World News countdown. But the original pictures on the new BBC Arabic countdown still look more stunning than anything I have seen in English or Persian. Looks like a million dollars. May be that's why fans have started remixing it.
Chinese TV seem to be launching an Arabic language channel too, although this is the quietest soft launch on the planet. I wonder whether it will be as slick, or whether people will want to remix CCTV?
Sunday, July 26, 2009
Don't look to technical blogs for coverage from this year's IFA consumer electronics fair in Berlin, Germany. The press accreditation reads like a passport application, requesting all kinds of references before they will let you in the press room with the other "journalists". Bloggers are definitely NOT wanted here only very traditional media. What on earth is the press department worried about? That they might get coverage by people who are passionate about a show that went into decline once it went annual. Truth is they won't make time to find out who are the influencers in the industry - and are totally trapped by their own routine. It takes a few seconds to check out the validity of a bloggers' claim. We remember when they were paying students in Berlin to turn up to the keynotes in a suit. Watching some of these CEO's struggle through a presentation which they didn't write is so last century. No wonder Apple has pulled out of these kinds of circuses.
Thursday, July 23, 2009
Actually more interesting than the Tour de France itself. Something I said it chalked up somewhere in yellow. And will be washed away by the rain. Its the brainchild of a Pittsburg company called Deeplocal and the robot company Standardrobot. I like Standard Robot's one logo, one link website which broadcasts the message - don't bother us, we're building robots not websites.
Deeplocal spun out of a Carnegie Mellon University art and technology research lab, following more than three years of research into local and collaborative information collection, storage, and visualization. They seem to have been doing some interesting projects for the BBC too. “Beat The Boss,” a well-loved British television show, pits a team of three kids, “The Bright Sparks” against a team of three successful bosses, “The Big Shots,” and asks them to create a new product that would be marketed to kids. The winner is the group that creates the product that fares the best at youth judging. Pittsburgh’s favorite condiment company H. J. Heinz Company got into the act as the client for an episode in April 2009, and challenged the two teams to create a new sauce for Heinz. The video below is fascinating. Don't be put off by the unfortunate freeze frame below.
Wednesday, July 22, 2009
Tuesday, July 21, 2009
Cheap radio jingles from Milan. I am sure some of the jingle companies in Holland must cringe watching this short BBC documentary on last year's jingle package for Radio Scilly, the local station for the Isles of Scilly, off the UK Cornish Coast. They are Radio Scilly on St Mary's - 107.9 MHz. But that accent on the jingles makes it sound more like Radio Sicily. But listening to the station on line, it would seem their radio heart seems to be in the right place.
The Italian jingle factory that made them has less trouble with Spanish language jingles, though from the website you would think they speak Latin in Latin America. Wasn't US VP Dan Quayle the last person to get confused about this?
Monday, July 20, 2009
It is strange how we come to accept broadcast jargon in the English language. I see on the programme for TED Global which kicks off today in Oxford that the BBC World Service is going to do a live recording. Does that mean no retakes? In similar events at the FAO in Rome, the live recording was ruined at the end by the presenter being forced to do retakes for different editions of the programme with the audience still there. We were told that if we left the acoustics would change.
Bridget Kendall presents The Forum on WS. It's two 28 minute segments, so I guess they must be recording material for a couple of editions today live to disc.
Sunday, July 19, 2009
Friday, July 17, 2009
You knew that VHS tape was dead when Disney started giving away a free player with a set of videos. Confirmation that shortwave wireless is finished in the Western World comes when one of the two remaining shortwave annuals announces the 26th edition is uncertain.
In recent months other considerations have had an increased bearing on the future of Passport to World Band Radio®. So it is that the 26th Edition of Passport to World Band Radio® is being held in limbo.
Despite this, for now we are continuing to maintain the WorldScan® database and uphold all proprietary material. Among other things, this should help allow for an orderly return to production, under IBS' aegis or otherwise, should conditions allow.
Can't see an orderly return to production coming anytime soon, when this kind of production has shifted platforms ages ago, despite denials to the contrary. There may be some fans of the medium left in the Western World. The problem is that that doesn't include advertisers.
So, is the BBC World Service Board having fun yet? Not by the body language radiating from this year's annual report. Most look extremely uncomfortable. Shame - some of these people are known to be passionate about their work but the photographer has totally failed to capture any of that in the BBC WS annual report. Looks more like a UK passport photo where you are not allowed to smile any more. Why so serious?
Thursday, July 16, 2009
One of the first augmented reality apps to go live in the iPhone AppStore soon, once it's approved by Apple. Forget boring 2D tube maps! The video shows you how your 3GS phone (and it has to be the Apple 3GS) can tell Londoners and New Yorkers where their nearest tube station is via their iPhones video function.
When you load the app, holding it flat, all 13 lines of the London underground are displayed in coloured arrows. By tilting the phone upwards, you will see the nearest stations: what direction they are in relation to your location, how many kilometres and miles away they are and what tube lines they are on. If you continue to tilt the phone upwards, you will see stations further away, as stacked icons. I could have used this in Moscow and Prague last month. Especially Moscow is a zoo when it comes to the Metro and you don't realise how far apart the metro stations are.
Wednesday, July 15, 2009
I bought one and tested it for a client, following how it was implemented by one of Holland's leading dailies, the NRC. But the device had very poor navigation and battery life and didn't do what it said on the box. If the battery failed you didn't get the last page held in memory - it just faded to a green screen. That combined with the ludicrous formating of the NRC (each article was a new page) and you couldn't cancel the paper edition. The start-up running it was slow to respond to complaints in the chat rooms, which means they didn't really care about their early adopters. Were they offered discounts when the new version came out? No. Loyalty meant nothing.
I cannot see a future for these guys in Eindhoven when there are devices like the Kindle and now Cool-er on the market. iliad is 2.6 times the price of the Cool-er and that means for me Iliad has entered a new phase. History.
At the same time we're seeing some strange going's on with Amazon's Kindle. They have deleted copies of books some have already bought. Ouch....very bad week for the e-book
Tuesday, July 14, 2009
No that's not a spelling mistake. Great conversation about the challenge of cyberwarfare, or rather distributed denial of service attacks. I quite like the concept of bloggingheads.tv, though it would be better if you could browse by topics.
Starting August 1st, basic accounts' original source files will be stored for one week from the upload date, after which they will be removed. Of course the converted Vimeo video will always be there in the Vimeo player, ready to be watched again and again, anywhere you choose to embed or share it. We will also still provide a download link so people can save the converted file to their computer (in MP4 format).
This new one-week policy applies to all basic accounts' videos uploaded from this point onwards. For videos that were uploaded before this blog post, those original files will be available until August 1st, to give you some time to download them if you need to. After August 1st, those files will also be removed.
For Plus users nothing will change: we're going to continue hosting your original video source files for both your existing videos and any new videos you upload. We appreciate your support, and we want to continue improving the Plus service, not limit it. If you choose not to renew your Plus service, we'll keep your original videos for one month past the end of your subscription to give you time to download your videos or decide if you want to renew. Additionally, if a basic user upgrades to Plus within the one week window after they upload a video, that original file will be kept as long as they are a Plus member.
Monday, July 13, 2009
There used to be a statue of Stalin in the communist period. Joe beamed across the river from a hillside park on the North shore across the bridge and into the historic centre of Prague. The statue was removed and replaced with a sort of metronome. I climbed the 254 stairs to the top to find a skateboard park and what appears to be a sort of shrine to the late Michael Jackson. An English language broadcast by Radio Prague in May 2005 gives the background to the Stalin Statue and its rather macabre connection with death.
Tourists come here today, not only for the breathtaking view but to see the large ticking metronome, which was erected here in 1991. But for the local residents this spot holds a darker memory - little do the tourists around here know that exactly fifty years ago, at this very site, some six hundred men and women were working around the clock to create the world's biggest monument ever to honour the Soviet Communist party chief Josef Stalin.
The 50-metre high massive statue of the finest marble was proudly unveiled by Czechoslovakia's Communist regime on May 1, 1955. For seven years the residents of Prague had the Soviet leader follow their every move from the hill above. The 17,000 tonne statue - Stalin's jacket button alone, decorated with a hammer and sickle, of course, was half a metre wide - featured the Soviet leader in front of a line of workers - jokingly called the "Fronta na maso" or "meat queue" by Prague residents, as this was a time when they were a daily part of life in the city.
There are some dark legends associated with the statue. Its creator, Otakar Svec committed suicide a day before the unveiling. The man who posed for him as Stalin - an electrician from the Barrandov film studios, failed to shake off his nickname "Stalin", took to drink, and died three years later. And, the vast statue's glory days were short-lived. Stalin's reign was denounced by the new Soviet leader, Nikita Khrushchev, and the statue was destroyed just seven years later, on Moscow's orders in 1962.
Too heavy to be displaced, it was blown to pieces with 800 kg of explosives and 1,650 detonators. Some witnesses claim the party chief was decapitated immediately after the first explosion, his head rolling into the river waters below. Before the remnants of the monument were stored, they were loaded on a truck and paraded in front of cheering crowds that gathered to celebrate the event in the streets of Prague's Old Town. Was it just a coincidence or a bad omen that less than a year later, the driver of the truck died in an accident?
Sunday, July 12, 2009
Kremlin Chimes from Saviour (Spasskaya ) Tower (Frolovskaya).
Originally uploaded by Jonathan Marks
On April, 16, 1658, according to the decree of Tsar Alexey Mikhailovich, the tower was renamed Spasskaya after the Vernicle Icon placed over the gate facing Red Square. The icon itself has not survived. Russian architect Bazhen Ogurtsov (Cucumber) and English clockmaster Christopher Galloway supervised the construction of the marquee.
The first clock on the Spasskaya Tower was installed by Galloway's team. In 1707, a Dutch musical carillion chime was sent to Moscow on the order of Tsar Peter the Great. That lasted a century. Ivan Butenop and his brother Nicholas, Moscow merchants of Dutch origin, founded in Moscow in 1830 a mechanical workshop manufacturing farm machinery, fire-fighting hoses and tower clocks. From 1851 to 1852 the Butenop Brothers fully reconstructed the Kremlin chimes inside the Tower of the Savior in Moscow. For the following 15 years the Butenop Brothers mechanical establishment took care of the proper operation of the mechanism of the chimes and the firm's craftsman wound them.
Saturday, July 11, 2009
Friday, July 10, 2009
In the past, the BBC has made copies of its Editorial Guidelines for Journalists available during training sessions in other countries. Now that they've set up a journalism training school, they have opened up their training to different sectors too with projects like the 21st Century Classroom.
The news agency Reuters has also been training journalists from the press in developing countries though its non-profit arm. They have now released their guide to good journalistic practice here in the spirit of improving standards. It's definitely food for thought. I think many broadcasters would do well by leafing through, especially the section on standards and values. They are too often "void when inconvenient".