初 | hygiene | 기본 工艺学 | technology | 기술 无孔不入技术 | web of no web | 보급 기술 日本 | japan | 일본 消费品 | fmcg | 소비재 艺术与设计 | design | 예술과 디자인 铭记 | branding | 브랜드 마케팅

Five for Friday | 五日(星期五) | 금요일에 다섯 가지

Reading Time: 2 minutes

See the Unseen – Volkswagen’s Taureg advert focuses on one feature and creatively sells it. This doesn’t look like your typical car advert. It will be interesting to see if See the Unseen is a one-off or marks an industry departure of from the usual car ads. It has none of the cliches: an anonymous driver speeding over winding roads, or millennials heading for a cool night out in the city. If Unilever sold cars, this is what the ad would look like.

I hadn’t seen Coca Cola’s ‘Open’ ad before by Wieden & Kennedy. Its a very different execution that still goes back to core distinctive brand values.

I could write a good deal about it but Mediatel has done it better:

In many ways (and over many years, minus the odd deviation) this is classic Coke territory, with a direct lineage back to the 1970s blockbuster ‘I’d like to teach the world to sing’: Coke as unifier, as socialiser, as harmoniser, as the vehicle through which ordinary citizens come together.

Coca-Cola: positioning, not purpose // The Attentionators

TEVA Pharmaceuticals’ ‘Hairspray’ done by VCCP is an amazing patient advocacy spot. That uses emotion in such a great way. Often its hard to get a patient advocacy film that hasn’t had the creative become bland. This was the kind of brief and piece of work that I would have loved to have done.

Rent a Pred by Adidas – interesting how they’ve integrated WhatsApp into this campaign. Slightly dodgy title but really good execution promoting the latest version of Adidas’ premium football boot.

Tokyo 2020 unveils first ever animated pictograms used in Olympics’ history. This is a beautiful piece of work that hints at the ubiquity of digital signage and the heritage of Otl Aicher’s work for the 1972 Munich Olympics – which defined a so much of late 20th century signage afterwards. Masaaki Hiromura’s designs were animated by Kota Iguchi. The lightening of the icons helps the animation to work better.

初 | hygiene | 기본 媒体与艺术 | culture | 미디어와 예술 工艺学 | technology | 기술 日本 | japan | 일본 艺术与设计 | design | 예술과 디자인

Things that made my day this week

Reading Time: 2 minutes

American infrastructure is critiqued in a Vice documentary. In order to make it fit for purpose there would cost $4 trillion. That’s the cost of a couple of Afghanistan conflicts. It is stunning how bad American infrastructure is. The video is well worth watching in a grimly fascinating kind of way.

Before Vin Diesel was an actor, or a night club doorman, he was a dancer. He made an appearance in a video on how to breakdance. It is a symphony of old school Adidas.

Mark Vincent aka Vin Diesel in How to Break Dance video

The other week, Larry Tesler died. Tesler was a technologist that spanned Silicon Valley from Xerox PARC to Web 2.0. He is best known for non-modal computing. The move from modal to non-modal computing was Apple’s Lisa. The Lisa was an expensive workstation version on many of the concepts that went into the Apple Mac. It failed for a number of reasons. Part of which was cost and third party software support. Without the Lisa, Apple couldn’t have developed the Mac. John Couch and David Larson discuss the development period of the Apple Lisa.

I am a huge fan of The Avalanches. So I was going to give We Will Always Love You a listen. It is interesting that they’ve gone with an iTunes / WinAmp visualisation for their video. Ten years back iTunes and WinAmp used to have custom visualisers made. Brands like Relentless energy drink did really interesting things with them. I’d love to see visualisers become an area of further innovation.

The Avalanches – We will always love you

nendo designs coffee beans gacha gacha capsule vending machines at self-serve cafe | Japan Trends – we can have the argument about the relative merits of capsule coffee. I am not a fan, but this self service cafe is beautiful.

初 | hygiene | 기본 媒体与艺术 | culture | 미디어와 예술 日本 | japan | 일본

Five for Friday | 五日(星期五) | 금요일에 다섯 가지

Reading Time: < 1 minute

A gorgeous unreleased adaption of Akira for the Sega MegaDrive. I presume that these visuals are designed to move the game play from level to level.

As technology has improved computer graphics has become more prosaic. You no longer see the kind of surreal computer graphics visuals that you enjoyed from the late 1970s to late 1990s. VintageCG has archived a lot of early CG demos on YouTube.

The Witcher was the must watch show on Netflix at the end of last year. It was inevitable that the memeable power ballad Throw A Coin To The Witcher gets the inevitable remixes. Amongst the best is this remix by Whitestone.

Donald Knuth features in Robert X Cringely’s history of computing from post-World War II to the rise of the personal computer. While Knuth never made a fortune, his ideas facilitated a lot of modern computing. Here’s a great interview with Knuth that will make you appreciate the computing power in the power of your hand today.

Strange Parts did an amazing video on how lithium polymer ion batteries are made during a recent trip to Shenzhen, China.

Strange Parts at the Pisen Group battery factory
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Things that made my day this week

Reading Time: < 1 minute

Mastertape volume six by The Reflex was on heavy rotation for me over the past few weeks.

Valerie Plume’s ‘Undercover’ ad makes use of her CIA heritage in a political ad that breaks new ground

Retail and food services at an architectural level often lack theatre and experience. Once you’ve looked past faux Edison bulbs and raw brick walls, there isn’t much difference between a WeWork office, a clothing boutique and a burger joint. So its nice to see innovation like this – a giant circular juice machine that turns discarded peels of squeezed oranges into 3D printed juice cups 

The baked goods market in china by Daxue consulting – baked goods sales in China are interesting because of their direct link with middle class consumer style consumption

Keanu Reeves speaks Japanese to Cyberpunk 2077 fans at Tokyo Game Show【Video】 | SoraNews24 -Japan News- – can Keanu Reeves become even more legendary? Yes, because he’s Keanu Reeves

传播媒体 | media | 미디어 创造力 | innovation | 독창성 在线 | online | 온라인으로 工艺学 | technology | 기술 思想 | ideas | 생각 日本 | japan | 일본

Web services I use

Reading Time: 4 minutes

Web services I use everyday has evolved over time. I thought I’d explore what I use now, compared to my essential services nine years ago.

Bloglines –  I have an eclectic and wide range of online reading material that I like to keep up with. Whilst I have a Google Reader account, it is set up as insurance against IAC shutting down Bloglines. I find Google Reader intrusive and not as productive as Bloglines. In addition, Bloglines works better on a mobile phone and power my blogroll

Delicious – is my memory. I am a web pack rat and it comes in handy for research or pulling together case studies for presentations. I keep a minimal amount of bookmarks on my computer, mostly bookmarklets to take advantage of Google Translate, subscribe to a blog and pull up the local weather

Google – as well as it being my default search engine, Google is also my currency converter, calculator, spell checker and timezone checker. The site has a surprising amount of shortcuts that make my life a lot easier. They don’t require any technical skill, more details here

Teoma – one of the best kept secrets of the web, Teoma is my back-up search engine if Google isn’t giving me the kind of results that I want. If anything Teoma is more relevant than Google is on its search responses. It naturally doesn’t trawl as much of the web as Google and it isn’t as good for real-time or semi real-time content like the latest blog posts. But it does have a clean interface reminiscent of Google previously. If you hit the ‘Google found approximately 150,000 results’ and you can’t find what you are looking for in the first page (which you should have set to 100 results per page) then give Teoma a go

Email – my primary personal email account is an Apple IMAP account (now sold as MobileMe), but I’m old school so I have a .mac address. I also have a couple of other IMAP accounts with a more limited circulation. IMAP is great as it allows you to sync your account across multiple devices and not pay a fortune for Microsoft Exchange

iDisk – I know lots of people swear that Dropbox is the best, but I still like to use iDisk for large file transfers like presentations. Apple has progressively improved the product and I know it inside out

Flickr – if Delicious is my memory of facts and figures then Flickr is my visual memory I use it as an aide memoire, image storage for my blog and as a kind of photo scrapbook

Twitter – is the new IM. Instant messaging on my iPhone and on corporate networks can be a bit haphazard. Twitter gives you the direct message capability of IM but also allows for broadcast messages and syndication of content

Skype – whilst all the fuss is happening in the iPhone world about Facetime I am more interested in Skype. Its combination of reasonably-priced VoIP calls and free Skype calling together with robust file transfer and chat messaging has made it ideal for business communications and keeping in touch with friends in far flung places

LinkedIn – I’ve got business out of LinkedIn, polled opinions on the best content management system for a particular purpose and received recommendations on a web hosting company in Hong Kong. LinkedIn is an invaluable business tool

Ten Web Services I Can’t Do Without | renaissance chambara

Lets have a look this in terms of numbers. In the space of nine years:

  • 3/10 services no longer exist in a meaningful way
  • 4/10 services I no longer use
  • 3/10 services I still use, but are just not important to me anymore

The key lessons to take away from these are:

  • The importance of data portability. Which is one of the reasons why I am minimally invested in Facebook
  • Always be looking out for new services that serve as a plan B
  • Steady but niche beats aspirational mass services every time. Ok so services like had a mass expectation pushed on them by large corporates post acquisition
  • It’s easier to make a service less useful than more useful – Skype definitely had a tipping point into the second tier for me following a user experience redesign around about the time of the Microsoft acquisition

What does my list look like now?

  • Newsblur is my RSS reader of choice. Bloglines was shut down by IAC, so I had a choice of moving to Google Reader or FastLadder. FastLadder was an English language version of their iconic Japanese RSS reader. Livedoor got wrapped up in a financial scandal. The English language service was a distraction and eventually got shut down. Thankfully, RSS readers have a standard format to export your list of sites that you want to read called OPML files. The downside is that it has become fashionable for web designers to turn off RSS feeds on websites
  • Pinboard is my social bookmark platform of choice. Yahoo! started stripping the delicious team of its developers and they eventually transitioned their personal accounts to Pinboard. That was enough of a recommendation for me
  • is now my first string search engine. Google is bumped to second tier. The key reason for is privacy. It’s search quality is good enough, the search engine results page has a clean design rather like Google used to. Google still has handy vertical search options like Google Scholar and Google Translate are still top class.
  • Email – my use of email hasn’t changed at all. It has been a constant in a sea of change.
  • WeTransfer – Apple’s move from iDisk as a file system on the web to more of a tight integration with the company’s productivity apps (Keynote, Numbers, Pages)
  • Flickr is still my visual memory. It’s just an awful lot more web friendly than Instagram or Pinterest. It’s longevity is remarkable given all its been through with Yahoo!
  • Messaging got a lot more fragmented. I work with friends in China so WeChat is needed, as is KakaoTalk, Messages, WhatsApp and Slack. None of which offer a perfect fit
  • Skype has been replaced by a bridging conference call number and some people that I work with use Zoom. Skype still has some uses but my use has declined
  • LinkedIn is still an important business tool. Despite constant fiddling with the format, the spam on the platform and declining candidate functionality

Listing this out it makes depressing reading. Declining functionality, good products (almost) sunk by large corporate shenanigans and corporate investors. In many respects things have stood still rather than moved forward with web services.