PSFK have put together a great presentation | report on mobile marketing using QRcodes. The report is sponsored by Microsoft Tagging: you may have been their (dazzle-paint-esque) codes on some blogs, but I don’t think that they’ve really taken off at all.
Surfing the Barkings! blog written by the people at Vermont Apple reseller Small Dog Electronics reminded me that the Mac turned 27 recently. It’s a great post and they reflect on the enormous leap forward in computing power and reducing cost that technology changes through those 27 years have brought.
Indeed even your humble iPhone has several times more computing power and memory than the first Macintosh. They invited people to reflect on their Mac memories and here are mine.
My first Mac was a SE. I used to run warehouse parties and events in night clubs. The bromide proofs for poster artwork and flyers were expensive. I heard that I could proof the work on screen with this Mac computer.
I bought the computer and the software and it paid for itself in 5 months.
When I went back to college in the mid-1990s I bought a PowerBook 165 which had 16 shades of greyscale and powered a Stylewriter II printer. The computer was a big and the battery lasted under two hours. But I was able to connect it to the college internet network and browse the web with Mosiac. I completed all my college assignments in ClarisWorks and still miss the Oscar the Grouch trashcan application that all Mac users used to have on their machine back then.
I kept on with a portable Mac through the late 1990s, but the next big turn my experience was owning a white Apple iBook running the early versions of OSX which were a revelation and getting dial-up internet when I bought my own home.
This machine also served as a portable entertainment system, playing DVDs until I was able to get a multi-region DVD machine and listening to internet radio through iTunes. I used to rip my CD music collection to MP3 via iTunes and make MP3 CD-Rs on a Sony Sports Discman that supported the format, since a few discs would give me 30 albums of music.
The next big difference was broadband rather than the Mac as a platform. At this time I also started using mobile email and Apple’s early provision of an IMAP email service that was divorced from your ISP subscription was a key driver for me to go mobile. This also meant that when I was cash strapped and the logic board on my iBook died I went out and bought a Mac Mini using that for a while until I could afford a 15″ MacBook Pro.
Wi-Fi and the rise of mobile dongles together with a more consultative role around social media meant that this was my first real ‘road-warrior’ machine. It went around the world with me to France, Germany, the US, Cyprus and Hong Kong. Having a spare screen from the Mac Mini meant that I started to working across two screens as a norm and this changed the way I handled my computing in a subtle but important way with one screen acting as a work screen and the other one acting as a ‘real-time’ dashboard.
Eventually this machine failed and I currently use a 13″ MacBook Pro (called Toshiro after Mifune Toshirō) as my ‘road-warrior’ machine. I also moved my mobile email to an Apple iPhone 3GS, mainly because other devices made such a mess syncing with my address book.
All this progress hasn’t meant constant improvement.
Apple is often praised for its industrial design but this also has had retrograde steps; one thing the PowerBook 165 did have which my current MacBook Pro doesn’t was little legs that tipped the keyboard up at an ergonomic 11 degrees which I tend to feel the effects of after doing a lot of typing.
Part of the reason why Apple computers have become cheaper in real terms is because they have skimped on the costs in other areas. The keyboard on its modern laptops and its desktop computers have less travel and a less precise feedback than older keyboard because Apple doesn’t want to use ALPS switches; which is the reason why Matias reinvented the original Apple extended keyboard with the ‘Tactile Pro‘.
LinkedIn Labs have launched InMaps which helps you visualise your social graph associated with your profile. It also allows you to explore which of your contacts are connected together. Here is one I created earlier which looks like technicolour candyfloss.
Microsoft Incinerates ANOTHER $543 Million Online – whilst Windows bore up better than expected online is still a gaping sore for Microsoft and you have to wonder about Yahoo!
Beyond Amazon: How to Make Recommendations Smarter | Fast Company – really interesting ideas in contextual search
Question types in social Q&A sites by Harper, Wienberg, Logie and Konstan (University of Minnesota) – understanding the intent behind the questions is key for future classification systems
China’s Continuing Economic Policy Debate | STRATFOR – interesting piece on business lending in China and the rise of a bond market
Pilot Program In Tianjin Offers Shares In Chinese Art, Solidifying Place As Investment Class « Jing Daily : The Business of Luxury and Culture in China – interesting that there are now investment funds in art
Rupert Hoogewerf: “Although China’s New Rich May Be Wealthy Or Powerful, They May Not Have Taste” « Jing Daily : The Business of Luxury and Culture in China – this isn’t a Chinese issue the same could be said of the new rich elsewhere
Tickets now available by post | London International Ska Festival 2011 – oooh looking forward to seeing The Ska Flames and The Dub Pistols
Bing Deal With Yahoo Isn’t Paying Off For Microsoft So Far – not terribly surprised, don’t think its paying off for Yahoo! either
Baidu: Beefing Presence Beyond China – Search Engine Watch (SEW) – Google should be worried
Academics urge EU bodies to reject ACTA | Pinsent Masons LLP – really interesting level of energy behind this, particularly while the MPAA is down for the count in Washington DC at the moment
Nokia Results: An Ovi Store Update | Forrester Blogs – interesting developing world, developed world split
Communities Dominate Brands: Undesirable at Any Price? What happened to Nokia, who invented the smartphone – great post by Tomi Ahonen on the state of Nokia.
Klang Ultrasonic Speakers Beam Sound Right Where You Want It – Technabob – even if they don’t work as advertised, they look soooo good
Marketers Have Limited Social Media Understanding – admittedly this probably is a certain amount of coverage trolling by Alterian but some interesting data points none-the-less
Schneier on Security: U.S. Strategy to Prevent Leaks is Leaked – the real elephant in the room is what it means for your average company
Film lobby seeks to regain status | Benton Foundation – struggling to find someone to run the Washington office
Renting Rather Than Buying in a Down Economy : The New Yorker – non-commitment trends also a post-consumer focus on experience
The Aram store in Covent Garden’s theatreland is a design lover’s paradise. One of the things that recently caught my eye was this compact computer desk | home office. Presumably this takes advantage of wireless technology to hid the printer, scanner and broadband modem.
Whilst I aspire to this kind of tech minimalism my own computer desk is a tower of tech resembling the angry innards of a data centre. It started out as an anonymous grey computer desk acquired from Costco in Liverpool; it has been extended upwards with a custom welded frame and painted marine ply shelving. It houses a laser printer, flat bed scanner, second monitor, the MacBook Pro, a fax machine, an answer phone, a Gundam, a conference phone, router, ethernet router, two external hard drives and an external CD-writer (all by LaCie) and an assortment of power supplies and cables to keep all this connected and running.
So I did probably my most painful thing this month and looked at my credit card. I went through my transactions and then realised that one looked a bit amiss on the American Express statement.
I had a flight to and from Hong Kong, but the statement claimed that my flight went into Kai Tak airport. Which would be a bit hard since it has been closed since 1998. It reminded me of the continued power of mainframe computers. The travel industry and the banking sector both use giant computers to crunch data, much of the code on these computers has a heritage going back decades, but they provide a much more secure and reliable platforms than more ‘modern’ machines.
I can quite easily see what happened. Since Chep Lap Kok took over Kai Tak’s mantle as Hong Kong International Airport including its IATA and airline flight codes so apparent no updates were required in a database and Kai Tak airport got to live on as a piece of legacy data.
New US Army social media guidelines | Brew – great use of photography in these. Content is common-sense
Piwik – Web analytics – Open source – good for projects where you don’t want to rely on Sitemeter or Google Analytics
Ireland to top most globalised nations | Irish Examiner – but what does this really mean for the economy
Why And How Digital Music Products Have Indeed Failed | Forrester Blogs – Digital music is at an impasse. Digital music has failed to reach its three key objectives:
- To offset the impact of declining CD sales.
- To generate a format replacement cycle.
- To compete effectively with piracy.
What’s the Story with Stanley Ho? – China Real Time Report – WSJ – the surreal soap opera that is playing out in one of Hong Kong’s most prominent families
UK inflation to rise towards 5% – King – RTÉ News – will help reduce government debt in real terms
Coach to Shift Production From China; Profit Rises 26% – WSJ.com – interesting move, Vietnam as manufacturing destination of choice
Microsoft: Consumers Should Think Twice Before Broadcasting Location | Ina Fried | Mobilized | AllThingsD – especially interesting given Microsoft’s relationship with Facebook and local search being a goldmine for Bing
A special report on global leaders: The rise and rise of the cognitive elite | The Economist – interesting discussion on inequality
Fireworks App for Chinese New Year! – add virtual fireworks to any pictures
Logic+Emotion: Trust: From Fortress To Wedge – another post on how online has changed communication. The visual metaphor is quite nice though
Dispatch from Davos I: More Disruption Ahead | Ketchum Blog – interesting take on this at Davos
TweetBig – Brilliant Twitter Management & Marketing Tools – some interesting things here, but also some tools that would encourage bad practice
Zuckerberg discussed “possibility of cooperation” with China Mobile | Asian Correspondent – I can’t see Facebook beating out RenRen and Douban
Whapee – something to investigate further
Latinos and Teens: Cracking the Social Media Codes – actually they seem to use brands the way I did
Google is now the UK’s largest advertising channel. Here’s why… | TheMediaBriefing – three times bigger than commercial TV
37signals Product Blog: We’ll be retiring our support of OpenID on May 1 – poor performing OpenID providers and a nightmare user experience. Expect others to follow
Tots 100 » Tots100 for PR Agencies – unsure how I feel about this. This can encourage laziness in planning as they are not all encompassing, a mentality towards spanning and the rankings should reflect the campaign objectives rather than the publishers vagaries
Who Runs HK – Mapping the people who matter in Hong Kong – really nice interactive map
The Battle for Wieden + Kennedy. – The Black Operatives Department – interesting idea based on location data, especially given the gaming format of Foursquare itself
A few weeks ago I put together a list of five email lists worth joining, well now here’s another five to join them:
Crosstalk – Actiontec is a provider of home networking equipment. Like most companies they keep an eye on what is happening in their sector, but unlike many companies they then share this with the world through the monthly Crosstalk newsletter.
Stratfor – Although Stratfor is technically a current affairs website, it is best consumed as email updates providing immediacy to the content often beating out major news sources.
trendcentral – is a free daily newsletter with content very much in the same vane as the PSFK blog. These well-crafted slivers of zeitgeist arrive in your blog once a day.
Netted – is a newsletter by the people behind the Webby’s they recommend a web site or web service each day making it ideal for the digital savvy marketer.
DailyLit – is a web service which serialises books. Originally these books were only delivered by email, but they now do them over RSS as well. Get to grip with the classics in bite-sized commuter-friendly without looking like a Kindle klutz on the Tube.
Russian design studio Art Lebedev usually comes up with interesting designs. This clock intrigued me as it tries to match the way we describe time verbally with the way that it presents the information. It comes with five languages including Russian and English.
With products like the iPad which comes in different specifications, a spreadsheet is a boon. I had been thinking about picking one up in Hong Kong, but all the prices looked very similar to the UK prices in the Apple Store, so I left it well alone.
Getting home, I decided to have a look at the prices across three online retailers: CeX – the online store of the Computer Exchange chain of UK shops, Apple’s own Store and Amazon.
With CeX I only looked at grade A product as this conformed most closely with Apple’s refurbed store. Amazon I listed both best new and used prices, though I rejected some options because the feedback in Amazon Marketplace made me a bit leery.
You can find the data set that I came up with here
- It pays to shop around: Apple’s refurb store had the best price on one configuration, Amazon in two and CeX took the rest
- At the top end of the range the 64GB model with 3G was cheaper than without 3G
- 3G devices tend to represent better bargains than wi-fi only devices with a higher percentage difference per model between the highest and lowest price found, in constrast wi-fi model price differences were pretty constant across the range
- Top of the range devices tend to get much better value for the memory that they have
Of course all of this will get completely disrupted when Apple does its next new product launch.
Young inventors prompt colleges to revamp rules | Seattle Times Newspaper – interesting dilemma. I would imagine that UK universities aren’t so progressive
A Return to Feed Reading Tops My 2011 Tech Resolutions – Steve Rubel – I missed this whilst I was in China, but Rubel was one of the RSS is dead brigade and is now going back to feeds. Fair play to him for saying it publicly. Presume its partly due to the value in, and rise of curation
RIM: Reuters Previews BlackBerry ‘Balance’ – Barrons.com – this separation of personal and work social graphs is interesting but also has questions. Is it more like a one way mirror that provides companies total access?
A VC: Building Better Social Graphs (continued) – interesting move. What will this mean for lowering the barriers to entry on the social web?
Exclusive Ranking of Retail Foursquare Check-in Data – Advertising Age – interesting take on check-ins
mediafeedia | Your social media dashboard for business – According to Stephen Davies it’s a bit like Hootsuite meets Facebook
Women across the country host viewing parties for ‘The Bachelor’ – NYPOST.com – interesting example of social TV
De Beers’ brand Forevermark hires Porter Novelli to promote diamonds – PR and Public Relations news – PR Week – digging into Asian luxury market
A To Do List For Google’s New CEO Larry Page – by Danny Sullivan
Mother’s Famous Chinese Egg Rolls Recipe | Steamy Kitchen – great recipe for Chinese new year | Spring Festival. Best tip: go and get your wraps from the Chinese supermarket rather than Sainsburys
Vistoe is a modular shelving manufacturer whose product was designed by German product designer Dieter Rams in 1960 and has been going ever since. Before sustainability was a twinkle in the environmentalists eye Rams realised how wasteful obsolescence was. He realised that it was bad design.
Obsolescence is a crime from Vitsœ on Vimeo.
What makes this truly fascinating is how this contrasts with Apple’s attitude to obsolescence. There are echoes in the styling of many Apple products from the Mac Pro tower units to the default calculator application on the iPhone that owe a lot to Dieter Rams work at Braun.
Yet Apple’s embrace of obsolescence is exemplified by how they have progressively eroded user serviceability in their product designs such as having no detachable batteries on their laptops and special screws securing the iPhone 4 together.
I realise that this was an odd question, but I was thinking a lot about content farms since they seem to be top of everyone’s agenda at the moment. On the one hand, Google clearly has a perceived spam problem which is directly attributable to content farm content – the fact that consumers believe it to be spam shows how little they value the ‘content’ that they are presented with.
This piles on top of the competitor-fueled anti-trust grief that Google is getting and a very belated consideration of privacy in the internet space by both German and US governments.
On the other hand, content farms are considered to be a cut above spammers in terms of legality and business value based on the interest and speculation around Demand Media’s apparent imminent IPO. Content farms are obviously spending money on content; they have invested in a content process and depending who you believe losing money in the process.
If nothing else, this separates spammers from content farms!
What this all says to me is that content farms are caught in a vice-like grip: return on content investment versus social acceptance. At the moment, it is Google being blamed for letting this spam in but what happens when there is a public company that can be targeted instead like say Demand Media?