On line and on heavy rotation

I got sent a link to the Seventh Information Architecture Summit and found this map of the Yahoo! network (the different properties like astrology, news, finance, search etc that make up the Yahoo! portal) it would have been damn handy to have it when I was working there!I picked up some choice cuts from the nice people at Phonica and ran into my old friend Freddy ‘Love’ Garcia who is now working at Vinyl Factory.

Franz Ferdinand – Outsiders (JD Twitch remixes) – Dominion Records. Despite being a bunch of Roxy Music wannabes who shop in thrift shops, their song Outsiders is polished into a gem with the touch of a skilled remix team.

Peech Boys – Don’t Make Me Wait – TMT Records. Don’t make me wait another night, tonight I want to love you… sampled to death and still sounds as good as the first time I heard it on a club sound system a couple of decades ago. The big disappointment is that the pressing doesn’t feature the Larry Levan mix, but don’t let that stop you from stocking up.

Onionz – If only I had a brain Industry Records. Ok, I am biased I am a great fan of Onionz production, he seldom does a bad tune and this one proves the rule: a jacking title track and a hip-house tinged b-side. If this doesn’t pack your dance floor, retire and go become a chef.

Maurice – This is Acid – Trax. The low-pitched vocals and 303 sound as fresh today as they did in 1988. Freddy said that 1988 is the sound of now, getting away from all this electro 80s stuff, I told him acid had never gone away

DJ Said & Hideo Kobayashi – Children Of The Drums – Chez Recording. A new fresh sounding house track, quality tune; a solid kick drum and a trippy groove that would fit in most sets.

The Clash – Rock The Casbah/Mustapha Dance – CBS. Ok so The Clash were punks, but the music had dance floor sensibilities, buy this for the dub of Rock the Casbah called Mustapha Dance.

Finally, this Bell South clip below is great despite the fact that is was obviously seeded by professionals rather than kids who had pirated it off their TiVO box, proving that the most subversive media channels are being taken over by the man.

Jargon Watch: Voice 2.0

Voice 2.0: The integration of voice telephony into web services, voice is an attractive proposition for everyday users; with mobile phones voice is still the predominant use of these devices.There are many businesses who believe that voice is something which you build a business offering on top of rather than out of (which is the reason why Vonage’s share price headed south on IPO).

A classic example of this would be having web ads and integrating call through to the supplier via VoIP or

Jangl, an ad-supported service that provides one-time anonymous phone numbers to people that they could us when meeting new people in a bar, selling on Craigs List or eBay. Its not only a consumer play however, McKinsey has found in its regular surveys of CIOs that they are looking for integration between telephoney and business applications as well (more information here).Providing voice over IP networks does run into the risk of the carriers interferring with the quality of service officially like SBC’s quest to end network neutrality, or unofficially using tools like Narus to monitor data at the application level and then altering the quality of service applied to it.

Sticks and stones may break my bones, but names will never hurt me (much)

I was walking down Oxford Street and struck by how the LG Chocolate stuck out from the rest of the phone models in phone shops that seem to have sprung up like weeds right along the road from Regent Street to Tottenham Court Road tube.I am not a number, I am a free man

Whilst I am sure that LG would assure me that Chocolate is the cats meow, and I am sure that they have bought prominent placement with discounts and shelf space payola, I think that it stands out cleverly because of its name.

Motorola has played at this with the SLVR, RAZR and PEBL; an ironic take on text-speak and talking about the tactile properties of their phone. LG with its challenger status as a mobile handset manufacturer can afford to be daring and has gone much further.

Chocolate implies:

  • A certain size and is an interesting (maybe unintentional) reference to the way customers used to describe the Sony CMH 333 a decade before and the industry term of ‘candy bar’ to describe the classic Nokia form-factor of the late 1990’s and early 2K’s
  • An affordable luxury or indulgence providing the product with a certain cache
  • Implies the easy-to-hand convenience that a mobile phone provides to on-the-go lives, which the role chocolate plays for them as food

Product naming is a tricky and lucrative business with people who advocate numbering pointing out the success of BMW. Numbers also prevent arguments based around subjective criteria that everyone who can be bothered getting involved has an opinion about; I launched a web-based product where senior management changed the name of the product 72 hours before launch.

Bringing a consultant, usually a move to get around the internal choke points outlined often just makes the whole thing worse as the Royal Mail / Consignia debacle proved.

However for every BMW there is a 100 companies that you know the company name but the products themselves don’t have a distinctive brand personality (the Sony CMH 333-example being a case in point). Only my most nerdy friends would be able to tell you what model number of Motorola StarTac phone they had, but they remember that they had a StarTac, I bet it will be the same way with the RAZR.

I remember when I was working on the launch of the Palm m100, Palm’s entry-level PDA designed for college students and first-jobbers; its project codename was Kelvin.

We hoped that it would launch with this name as Kelvin gave it a personality that matched what the product wanted to be.

Eventually the company adopted what are to my mind bland and meaningless range names: Tungsten and Zire and then inherited Treo from the Handspring acquisition; but what do these names mean to the average consumer?

If you want to continue the debate on names or numbers, free free to leave a comment below.

Spin Sinners

The New Yorker magazine has a interesting article on how the debate surrounding the lacklustre DeVinci Code film is being managed on behalf of Sony Pictures in the US, by a specialist PR agency who has managed corral the debate on to a specially-designed website that sounds like a parody of participation media.The employment of a reputation management agency is an interesting one for promoting a new product; usually employed by brand leaders who naturally attract attacks for being the most visible organisation in their sector like a lightning rod on a church steeple.

The article claims that Sony Pictures desperately needed a success at pretty much any cost since it has had a poor success rate in turning out blockbusters over the past few years.

Anyway, interesting reading here: Hollywood Heresy by Peter J Boyer.

A nail in the coffin of eBay


There is a link going around at the moment, I received from both HolyMoly and B3Ta newsletters regarding an allegedly missold laptop on eBay.

The purchaser took retribution by posting the previous owners personal information on the blog including his email address, family pictures, terrorist attack pictures, a doctored passport scan and an alleged fetish for gay and hosiery pornography presumably obtained from the browser cache on the machine.Whilst immensely funny, the blog illustrates all thats bad about eBay, something that this weeks announcement of a partnership with Yahoo! will do little resolve. Its the online equivalent to the wild west and it is starting to have a trust deficit, despite its free markets are self regulating creed.