Typhoon Google

After the devastation that occurred in Florida by hurricanes Charley, Frances, Ivan and Jeanne signs of a long running typhoon struck in Cupertino, California. The effects of the typhoon centred on the marketing department of Apple Computer and its data centre. Following on from the launch of GMail earlier this year, Apple has upped the capacity of my email account almost tenfold to 125MB for mail and an additional 125MB for online storage.I am one of the original paying customers for .mac services so it is no coincidence that this improvement has occurred in the two weeks running up to the annual subscription payment on my account. Whichever way you look at it, the improvement is welcome and is the most important of a raft of tweaks that Apple has implemented. The alias email address is what I use to give Renaissance Chambara its own contact details.

Here is the text from Apple announcing the changes:

Dear .Mac Member,

We’re excited to announce that your .Mac membership now comes with 250 MB of combined .Mac Mail and iDisk storage. And, in another move designed to make life easier as traffic grows heavier and files grow larger, we’ve increased the maximum email message size to 10 MB.

If you haven’t tried them yet, be sure to check out two additional enhancements recently added to .Mac Mail. There’s a new online spell checker with a customizable dictionary available when you use your .Mac Mail account through a browser. And you can now use aliases as email addresses either for fun or as protection when you need to provide an email address but aren’t entirely comfortable with the requester. If your concerns turn out to be justified, you can then simply remove the alias and create a new one the next time you face a similar situation.

We value your membership and hope you enjoy these enhancements to your .Mac service.


The .Mac Team Respect to the Sarasota Herald Tribune for the hurricane facts that I have linked to in this entry.

Big Ideas

I was reading an article about entrepreneur and Cliff Richard lookalike Michael Robertson’s work in trying to set up a more successful and social democratic way to help students pay for a college education in the US. In this article there was a link to the Idea Channel, the Idea Channel is a website where the public can purchase videos and transcripts from some of the brightest thinkers of our time. It was noticable that the smart people were using some older channels to deliver their messages: VHS video cassettes and printed books.Next, I received an email on the next big idea from Forrester Research – Innovation Networks, there is an interesting PDF to support the concept and the material can be obtained by registerig. Innovation networks are about bridging the gap between invention and commercialisation of the new, new thing. Much of the thinking here is pretty staid, but I do like the way Forrester has packaged it all up. Six barriers to effective innovation include:

– One way customer relationships yield market irrelevant innovations – basically the classic technology development scheme, the provision of WAP services to European mobile phone users

– Organisational silos prevent organisational collaboration – an easy target this one. Basically because much of the IT systems put in place to do knowledge management from intranets to running Autonomy don’t work. Email has allowed managers to sandblast peers with electronic memos but still hasn’t made the cultural impact to break down the silos

– Ivory-towered R&D labs dampen the rate of innovation – because the goals of R&D are very different to productisation of an invention

– Risk-averse top management eschews radical innovation – what do you expect when managers read about concepts like the innovators dilemma and are tasked with providing shareholder value, not building a dynasty of greatness. Business is ruled the 90-day plan

– Unskilled partners fail to keep pace with innovation – Microsoft has failed to secure computers, failed to be reliable and failed to provide innovations that business wants.

– Limited pool of local talent slow the innovation cycles – you don’t know all the smart people. To the more cynical it also allows companies to offshore R&D

Quality Spam

Everyone gets afflicted with spam, but this took the biscuit courtesy of the ‘Shadow Crew’:

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Fuel-air explosive air bombs -Not in stock

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500-KG SIZE RBK-500U unified cluster bomb

RBK-500U OAB-2.5PT loaded with fragmentation submunitions

RBK-500U BETAB-M loaded with concrete-piercing submunitions-Not in stock RBK-500U OFAB-50UD loaded with HE fragmentation submunitions


Main-purpose unguided aircraft rockets

S-8 unguided aircraft rockets


S-8BM-Not in stock

S-13 unguided aircraft rockets

S-13, S-13T, S-13-OF, S-13D, S-13DF



S-24B -Not in stock


RS-132-Not in stock

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Round the Houses

Charles Arthur, whose tale of TalkNowt featured earlier in the month is back with another PR story featuring my former agency Edelman. Some of my former colleagues are tasked with working on the 1 million GBP plus Microsoft affliction.

Amongst their tasks is to spread the following forms of disinformation:

  • LAMP (Linux, Apache, MySQL, PHP) bad, Windows good

  • Microsoft innovates (no seriously it does, here’s a link to its research dept)

  • Drink more Microsoft

  • Bill Gates is Blair’s friend

Anyway, Charles in his blog details how Edelman have altered a meeting with some Microsoft Borg member, a pet industry analyst and the media from a roundtable to one-on-one briefings. Edelman made two pretty big mistakes from a PR point of view:

  • Never recommend a course of action to a client without having a contingency plan

  • Never invite a neutral-to-hostile journalist. Charles is a well known user of Apple computers and writes for a left leaning, free thinking newspaper so would not necessarily be sympathetic to a monopolistic global software titan that speaks with a forked tongue

One-on-one briefings

Yes one-on-ones may agitate journalists, but their opinion will have more weight when they start paying PR people for information about clients. Bottom line is the first thing an agency PR person needs to look after is the revenue to pay their rent/mortgage and the rest of expenses to actually have a life outside work; clients and journalists are very important but still a secondary consideration.

When to use them:

  • With clients that don’t have the big draw appeal of Apple, Microsoft, IBM, BT, Oracle. Why? With smaller clients if some of your journalists don’t turn up, the spaces around the table with look like the missing teeth in a hags mouth. You never remember the teeth she had, only the gaps that were missing. If one or two drop out of one-on-one interviews it isn’t perceived as being as bad by the client. Journalists may not come for a work-related reason, may have forgotten or they may not be ar5ed as a PR person its your job to cover yourself against this eventuality

  • Some journalists think bizarrely that their questions are so special that they are likely to get a scoop that no one else would have thought of. I can tell an amusing tale of a former VNU journalist who fits into this category.

  • When you don’t have a subject that would benefit from detailed analysis; put it out as a white paper, op eds, letters to editor. Don’t compromise your client, if their ego demands that they do media outreach, do one-on-ones as corporate profile stuff or get them in front of business journalists for the more businessy aspects of your story so in this case it may be angles such as – Microsoft embracing safe open source with new Wiki tool, the issue of having ‘your innovations’ stolen by the open source community is similar to the problems that the film industry suffers from Bit Torrent users and P2P networks

Thanks to Dave Ingle for pointing this one out.

Rubber News

I spoke with and had an email from Chris at Team Rubber. He brought me up to speed with some of the things they had been up to and sent through links to some viral work that showcases what they can do in terms of web design and digital marketing.

First off, eurobandits magazine had a bit of a false start a couple of months ago but is now good to launch lookee here.


Tantric Teddies

Change One Thing