Hold onto your old cell phone…

New Nokia phones should be due out in the next six months or so and they look half decent. Nokia software in an LG/Samsung style case has got to be a surefire winner. Read more at Gizmodo (mainly because they have lots of pretty pictures).

Nokia has doubleddown since hitting turbulence in its plans for world wireless domination. Part of this was attributed to the fact that it had no foldable phones on the market. To remedy the situation they have come up with three handsets for poor, well-off and rich people. The stinking rich still have to put up with a Vertu ‘chocolate bar’ handset instead.

They have also announced a Bluetooth keyboard that at first glance looks like a Think Outside design.

Wonks Guide To Corrupting Media Innocents

OK, I lied, my ex-colleague Stephen Waddington has written a down-to-earth paper on blogging and its implications for the PR industry. His advice on PRing to bloggers seems to be similar to trying to influence a Usenet group CAREFULLY!

Give the article a quick read, its worth it. The main thing they missed out is the use of employees or interest group members personal blogs to raise a search engine position. This has been used in recent Googlebombs attacking George Bush.

Do Japanese Dream of Electronic Sheep

In a society famous for its neon cities, long office hours, horrendous commutes, indulgence in even more methamphetamine abuse than an Australian roadtrain driver and cramming programmes for infant schoolchildren you may expect sleeping to be a problem.

You’d be right.

Its also big business, Matsushita (the mega-corp behind Panasonic, Technics and JVC) will be launching later this year a ‘sleeping room package that consists of a plasma screen TV, a tricked-out bed and ambient sound recordings. This is expected to sell for about 20,000 GBP.

In the UK we have Big Brother…

Wrote for Luck

“I wrote for luck… they sent me you” or more accurately promoters Get Loaded (named after the seminal baggy anthem Primal Scream track Loaded)sent me an email outlining a day of mayhem and madness for Northern acid house casualties like me on Clapham Common.

The line up includes the usual kind of pretentious guitar bands that appear on Xfm, The Happy Mondays, Domino Bones (Bez’s new band) and Hacienda DJ’s Graeme Park and Mike Pickering (though no Dave Haslam, 808 State or Nipper).

I have heard that the Happy Mondays can now play, which will make a pleasant change from when I saw them at Liverpool Poly student union in 1990. I was there and they were a mess, but fun all the same. The support band Northside were far better, but never got remixed by Paul Oakenfold who was the kingmaker of the music industry at the time.

I’m there for the back to ’89 Hac revelry

Not much details here

Sunday August 22, 2004 12h00 – 22h00.

Gobsmacked by ‘amazing’ feat of spin

I read a classic piece of spin in The Business, Microsoft races to stop bank account hackers by Tony Glover. Tony who has been shortlisted in a category for Business Journalist of the Year wrote “Technicians at the US software giant Microsoft are working flat out to prevent a new security threat that this week could give criminals access to computer systems used worldwide by banks and governments.”

The general threat that Tony outlined called phishing has been covered for quite a while by national newspapers, something that wasn’t made clear in the article. In fact eBay, HBOS and Barclays customers have all been exposed to phishing attacks. The article was an excellent piece of PR work (my hat goes off to the members of the Microsoft press team) that failed to point out:

– Phishing has been going on for quite a while now, though the vulnerability in Microsoft Internet Explorer is new. It is one of many security vulnerabilities in the product and phishing as a security risk is well understood

– Microsoft was trying to plug yet another security gap in their software that facilitates phishing? . Despite repeated promises to get tough security, Microsoft have failed to do so

– Using an alternative browser like Opera can help prevent the risk of phishing (though nothing in IT systems can be labeled foolproof)

– It is yet another good argument against software bundling like Microsoft (and increasingly Apple) have been doing and is an excellent riposte to critics of the EU competition commissions case against Microsoft. Bundling of software restricts the ability of competition to spur innovation and improvements in both quality and service

Free Internet calls move a step closer on page six goes on to talk breathlessly about a new feature in Microsoft Office that provides Internet calls. Its not that big a deal, I know of people who used Skype and before it Net2Phone and other over the net software phones. In fact Stephen Waddington, managing director of geeky PR firm Rainier was quoted in a newspaper case study talking about his firms uses of voice over the ‘net for international conference calls a few years ago.

In addition, many instant messenger programmes such as Yahoo! Instant Messenger, AIM and iChat offer audio and video calls between users. Another fallacy in technology circles is the concept of ‘free’, you’d think that technology marketers would be mature enough to realise that nothing ever comes for free, even ‘free’ pirated MP3s or DiVX movie files via a P2P network is partly financed by banner advertisements, spyware and adware in the P2P software itself. Freeware is often produced for altruistic reasons, even if it is to build a community of users or make ones mark with an elegant solution to a problem. In the case of ‘free internet calls’ it will help increase sales of broadband connections, where calls leave the domain of a connection between IP addresses over PCs some sort of ‘interconnection charge’ will be due. Its not new, its history repeating.

Back to the business

Over the past few years (from about the third quarter of 2000 onwards), I have been going to meetings with cash-strapped start-up companies with me-too products looking for PR to work sales objectives and marketing communications programmes for the price of a McDonalds Happy Meal.

On Thursday evening, I went to a more refreshing meeting for a potential new start-up (any more than that I cannot tell you because I have signed an non-disclosure agreement). The operation was obviously boot-strapped together, however the first added ingredients I noticed was that there was a real sense of enthusiasm and excitement about the project. This is in stark contrast to the meetings that I have with many start-up companies who are desparate to avoid the VC ‘dead zone’ of low growth or even an incurable burn rate.

After I had got over the enthusiasm, I noticed that they had managed to assemble a strong talented team; something sorely missing in many of the other meetings that I had been to as talent seemed to have migrated to safer larger firms or had left the rat race to have a better quality of life.

Finally, I noticed enthusiastic funders, both from financial institutions and private individuals, and no I don’t mean enthusiasm in the rapid dot.com type way; but people buying into a compelling offering. It was obvious from the discussion and questions asked that they had thought a lot about the project. Something that is missing from the UK funding scene at the best of times

I left the meeting thinking thank fc:uk for that!