I like: Sony PCM-D1 digital recorder

The problem with Sony is that the equipment worthwhile happening is aimed at professional audiences and quite hard to get hold of. Their consumer-orientated products generally feel cheap: whilst the electronics and components are top notch, case materials and mechanical engineering usually feel shoddy in comparison to the likes of Denon, Pioneer or TEAC.

Sony PCM-D1

The Sony PCM-D1 digital recorder shows however that Sony has the expertise and the capability to make something very special. You can read about the technical specifications on the Sony website: needless to say the device is very impressive and podcasters would sell their first-born to get their hands on it.

The recorder body is made of pressed titanium, it has two sensitive electret condenser microphones that sit safely inside an elegant metal frame that has the beauty of an air-cooled twin cylinder motorcycle engine. One of the easiest to use button layouts on a professional recording machine that I have seen since the Sony Pro-Walkman WM-D6C which used to be the weapon of choice with concert bootleggers and radio news interviews.

The analogue VDU meters add legibility, character and a touch of class to the design. It would have been just as easy for the engineers to have put in a digital display instead, but they chose not to.

Links of the day

Oh Yeah? Prove It. | Altitude Branding | Brand Elevation through Social Media

MacHeist » Bundle

Is Microsoft Set to Abandon its Top-Down Zune Approach?

Welcome To Your Social Economy | Digital China Guide

Macne Nana – for a anime version of the girly T-Pain sound

Otto Wooden Fan : Swizz Style – Designer Products for your Home – really nice design. If Charles Eames had designed a fan, this would be it

Communities Dominate Brands: Average Blyk campaign 100K messages, average segment only 8K youth – digging into Blyk stats

Herald Tribune launches global online edition – Brand Republic News – Brand Republic

Texting Is Preferred Communication Method for College Students

Add Your Twitter Blog to Technorati Directory

Google China Music Search, Now Available Everywhere – it seems like the music industry in China is getting some smarts (at least compared to their cousins in the West)

Hunch: Flickr Founder to Turn Indecision into Profits

Nobody does potholes like KFC – pure ambient advertising genius until there’s a class action suit from some hick who was distracted by Colonel Sanders message on the road and rear-ends his neighbour’s pick-up truck

Wolff Olins : Research

fifty six minus one dot com :: » kaixin001 + magnum :: – casual games, gifting. The ability to build complete microsites within a popular Chinese social network. This kicks the crap out of Facebook and Bebo

Facebook at 5 – Is It Growing Up Too Fast? – NYTimes.com

The Civil Heretic – Freeman Dyson – NYTimes.com – interesting the reaction that views beyond the orthodoxy of the global warming codex gets from a liberal estanblishment who should know better

Oystercard culturejammed

Oystercard culturejammed, originally uploaded by renaissancechambara.

I noticed this sticker just off Oxford Street on the way home this evening. The Oystercard design familiar to every Londoner has been modified into a protest against surveillance by ‘The Man’.

The Oystercard system keeps a record of journeys providing an electronic track, at least in theory.

Micro-cocooning

During the 1980s with the rise of the video cassette recorder (VCR), the reduction in costs of the devices due to the VHS vs. Beta war and an uncertain economic climate consumers started to stay at home in what was later called cocooning. The internet extended this as a trend as community interaction increasingly happens online. Local is wherever you meet your friends and community are those fellow travelers that share the same interests as you be it in the real-world, particularly at work, or online through various social software services.

iPod

I have noticed on the tube how the isolation of cocooning has been extended through smartphones and personal media players like an iPod or iPhone to previously public places. My colleagues use the iconic earphones to screen themselves off from each other, even in the most open plan of office environments. During my commute to work the flow of people around me going through the turnstiles is disrupted as earphone equipped wander through as in a trance with disregard to the crowd around them. It’s not because they’ve all turned into type-A personalities, but that they are unaware of their immediate surroundings. This is about building a private world in even the smallest of personal spaces, what I think of as ‘micro-cocooning’.

Music players that can keep going for a whole working day, inner ear headphones and overear noise reduction headsets that don’t ‘fizz’, have helped facilitate this boom.

From a media and marketing point-of-view this is also a great opportunity to get content in front of these consumers at a time when they can immerse themselves in it. Applications on your phone don’t require real-time internet connectivity, if you have all the content that you want to provide pre-cached on the device making it ideal for rail commutes with dodgy phone signals.

How would you target the micro-cocooners?

Links of the day

BBC NEWS | Nintendo Wii sales hit 50 million – fastest selling games console in history

Made in design – cool contemporary design stuff

Smartphone Sales to Keep Growing

The Sorry State of the Newspaper Industry: Advertising Income Fell 16.6% in 2008 – ReadWriteWeb

Skynet search – really nice search hack by university students

Qaiku – Twitter like service

Want to Save Money? Carry Around $100 Bills – TIME

Malaysia’s big turn off | Market-interactive.com – interesting Malaysian take on the Earth Hour phenomena

Openrice – Hong Kong Restaurants Guide – Most of the reviews are in Chinese

middledigit.net | jonathan hopkins » Digital meets analogue, online meets offline – Jonathan on the web of no web, how the matrix is bleeding into real life and vice versa

Akamai Data: Internet, Broadband Still Going & Growing

Clinique, Sony Star in Web Sitcom – WSJ.com

Hunch – sign up without delay

Public timeline – MicroPlaza

Google Updates Blog Search Algorithm | WebProNews

Earnings: 3 Group Narrows Losses As Mobile Broadband Surges | mocoNews

EU Rejects ‘3 Strikes’ for File-Sharers | TorrentFreak

Prepaid subscribers continue to flourish in Europe – Rethink Wireless

A conversation about measurement

I thought I would share with you the gist of a Facebook wall conversation that I had with Gi Fernando because he articulates in a few sentences what I would write in a few paragraphs.

I had posted that I was thinking about social media monitoring for a client. Working agencyside makes this more complicated as I have to think of ways of selling measurement to them. My friend Gi put out the following post on my wall.

Of course, the real challenge is getting campaigns that work, getting clients to pay for them and getting clients to pay for measurement.

Not that much to think about (and I know you know this!). Key metrics could include:

  1. How many of a person’s friends did the thing get passed along to in what time.
  2. What is that in aggregate i.e. what is the aggregate percentage of friends of an initial audience that engaged.
  3. What was the punchline per friend i.e. how much, how long, how often.
  4. Did they pass it on.
  5. Who are the people that influenced others to do something the most.

I think the real question is do marketers want to understand or would they just like to see a big idea which matches their brand guidelines?

If I could develop a silver bullet on that solves the ‘getting clients to pay for them and getting clients to pay for measurement’ challenge, I would be typing this from my new villa in Ibiza. Not surprisingly, I currently don’t have a villa in Ibiza and don’t have a silver bullet… yet.

Links of the day

Science and Tech Ads – a set on Flickr – why aren’t technology ads this cool any more?

A List Apart: Articles: The Elegance of Imperfection – wabi sabi and web design

animoto – the end of slideshows

Marketing, Reality check for mobile and social media, ASIA PACIFIC | Market-interactive.com

Sun pips guardian.co.uk as UK’s most popular newspaper website – Brand Republic News – Brand Republic

Stella Lai: Home – cool contemporary Chinese artist

Charmin Sponsors ‘SitOrSquat’ Mobile App To Help Market Toilet Paper. Really. | mocoNews

Phone Smart – Messy Cellphone Bills Hide Real Cost – NYTimes.com – disinformation architectures : information design as a way of obscuring what you are really paying (or not paying for).

Where Social Media Fits Into the SEO Equation | WebProNews

URBAN ART GUIDE

Japanese Phrases for Travelers—The phrases can be heard.

The Technology Chronicles : All the Web is stored on one Sun data center

“Beyond advertising: Choosing a strategic path to the digital consumer” an IBM study

There’s 1 million MMO gold farmers in China alone (and gold farming is a multi-billion dollar business)

» Trust in Spain sixtysecondview

Former WSJ.com Editor: What Papers Can—And Can’t—Charge For | paidContent.org

Jargon Watch: Continuous Partial Attention

Thanks to PSFK. Continuous partial attention is the term used by Linda Stone to explain our modern always-on behaviour and how it differs from multi-tasking.

Continuous partial attention describes how many of us use our attention today. It is different from multi-tasking. The two are differentiated by the impulse that motivates them. When we multi-task, we are motivated by a desire to be more productive and more efficient. We’re often doing things that are automatic, that require very little cognitive processing. We give the same priority to much of what we do when we multi-task — we file and copy papers, talk on the phone, eat lunch — we get as many things done at one time as we possibly can in order to make more time for ourselves and in order to be more efficient and more productive.

To pay continuous partial attention is to pay partial attention — CONTINUOUSLY. It is motivated by a desire to be a LIVE node on the network. Another way of saying this is that we want to connect and be connected. We want to effectively scan for opportunity and optimize for the best opportunities, activities, and contacts, in any given moment. To be busy, to be connected, is to be alive, to be recognized, and to matter.

We pay continuous partial attention in an effort NOT TO MISS ANYTHING. It is an always-on, anywhere, anytime, any place behavior that involves an artificial sense of constant crisis.

The sense of constant crisis amps up stress levels – if you like matrix angst.

I like: Red Bull ring-pull

I haven’t noticed this before but Red Bull ring-pulls now have their iconic bull logo stamped out of the ring-pull.

Red Bull ring-pull design

Packaging companies are always looking to lighten their cans, less aluminum allows them to reduce the cost per item. Since they would be turning out millions of items per given year, they can use expensive tooling and still come out ahead. The ring-pull is stamped out of one piece of aluminium, the round recess adds strength.

Normally the circle would be stamped out whole with the edges rounded back in on themselves so no one gets hurt. Red Bull had the good sense to forgo the imcremental saving on the price of the can and turn it into a branding opportunity.

This alteration to the top of the can helps consumers find the real thing in a fridge or shelf full of own-brand Red Bull-alikes that all the supermarkets seem to have.

Supermarkets make a much better margin on own-brand products and consumer are often confused by rows of own brand and Red Bull cans mixed up on the shelf. The consumer probably won’t know the difference until they get home, drink it anyway and depending how brand loyal they are to Red Bull, they may permanently migrate to the cheaper own-brand alternative. Looking at things from this perspective; Red Bull’s distinctive ring-pull looks like money well spent, I’d say.

Links of the day

iPhone Makes Up 50 Percent of Smartphone Web Traffic In U.S., Android Already 5 Percent

Microsoft Hit With New Patent Lawsuit: Windows Update – will PointCast be cited as prior art?

50 Free Press Release Submission Websites – thanks to Rax for the heads up on this

BLiNQ Report Debunks Facebook App Myths – tells us what we already know, there is only a small amount of jackasses who actually will use your new super-duper poke application

ArrivedOK.mobi. Get your friends and family notified you landed fine

Harley-Davidson, you’re not getting any younger – International Herald Tribune – their market is literally dying off, a serious brand reposition is required

Rivals Accuse I.B.M. of Stifling Competition to Mainframes – NYTimes.com – the interesting thing about this court case is how some of IBM’s rivals in software are trying to change the mainframe market from a vertical to horizontal marketplace. I don’t think its really about antitrust, and IBM maybe a precursor to break other vertically integrated companies like Apple.

Trends in Japan – CScout Japan Blog » Fashionable Beverages: TGC Milk Tea & Lawson

CURIOSITY.JP – cool graphic design and experiential designers

Event: Light-Light and Sakura Story in Tokyo – PSFK.com – Reason number 19,995 why I want to live in Tokyo.

Micro Persuasion: Social Networking Demographics: Boomers Jump In, Gen Y Plateaus – the kids dig real life

Service Cloud. Join the Conversation – salesforce.com

Pipelines | mobileYouth – youth marketing mobile culture research – interesting deck

P&G’s Lafley Sees CEOs as Links to Outside World – WSJ.com – The CEO has a very specific job that only he or she can do: Link the external world with the internal organization.

Dell and Palm face tough reality of smartphone business – Rethink Wireless

IT Conversations | Syndicate | Larry Weber (Free Podcast) – from four years ago, but really nice pod cast.

Six Ways with Social Media by Bunny Ellerin – Interbrand Healthcare – Over 150 apps on Apple App Store aimed at clinicians, half of US physicians have a smartphone or PDA of some sort

The future is launching in the UK!

The future is launching in the UK!, originally uploaded by renaissancechambara.

It made me smile to see the promise of ‘the future’ emblazoned across the bottom of a bright yellow envelope.

  • Will there be enough to write about from a European perspective?
  • Will the UK team meet the US edition’s standards in graphic design and increasingly rare moments of typographic brilliance?
  • Will we see neon ink?
  • Will we have to suffer politicians showing that they understand how online fits into their vision for creative Britain and trying resuscitate and channel Harold Wilson’s ‘white heat of technology’ speech from four decades ago?
  • Will they avoid the temptation to interview Sir Alan Sugar and Sir Clive Sinclair as part of tribute to the golden age of the British PC?

Jargon Watch: SMEBS

SMEBS – Social Media Expert Burnout Syndrome. It was a while since I wrote about RSS fatigue, now with FriendFeed, Twitter, Plurk etc there are even more social media services to keep on top of. A nice tongue-in-cheek video clip about it.

Kudos to Kris Hoet for this gem.

Links of the day

HOW TO: Use Social Media for Travel Research

Pixelmator – light version of Photoshop

Hong Kong and Macau squabble | No politics, please | The Economist – Macau seems to be getting prissy with some of Hong Kong’s people.

How China sees the world | The Economist

Corner Office – The Manager of Change at Xerox – Question – NYTimes.com

Top Twitter Friends – interesting network mapping tool for Twitter users

Web 2.0 Asia :: Why Korea (or anywhere else) can’t create another Silicon Valley

Macs are easy to hack, but not really worth the effort | Technology | guardian.co.uk – interesting insight into the economics of hacking

NHK Special: DIGITAL NATIVES – some interesting clips that show how the internet has changed the lives of people around the world

YouTube – Google D.C. Talks: Born Digital

inamo restaurant, Soho, London – fantastic interactive ordering system

Gerd Leonhard: TheEndOfControl: Free PDFs of Each Chapter – well worth a read. I met Gerd recently when we were both presenting at the same conference in Cyprus

How to protect your brand in China | OUT-LAW.COM

Oprah Time: The conquest of cool by Thomas Franks

The Conquest of Cool looks at the 60’s counterculture revolution from the perspective of the advertising and consumer goods industry. Thomas Franks manages to square the circle, showing how the hippies that hated The Man influenced modern society. Frank draws on the parallels of how Bill Bernbach started to think differently about advertising and the new youth obsession reflected in the Pepsi Generation idea which started the famous cola wars. He charted how advertising creatives brought psychadelia into radio, print and television advertising and how the fashion industry lost out when it got on the ‘peacock parade’ train.

Rather than being a rebellion against the consumer culture, the counterculture rejuvenated the consumer experience. The plenty of America in the 1950s was no longer enough, consumers wanted authentic differentiated items that declared their self-identity. In this respect there is a clear parallel between the desires of the 1960s consumer and his modern-day counterpart – otherwise there would not be a market for Amazon’s variety of books, blogging platforms, eBay, Moo and etsy.