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Masterstroke June 3, 2009

Posted by James Warren in funny, geeky stuff, social media, work.
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So the mighty Bing has arrived, and jolly good it is too.  You may have noticed that a significant proportion of the chatter online relates to Bing’s apparent ability to deliver fantastic porn results.  Now of course I can’t comment because I haven’t tried.  (No, really, I haven’t.  Properly, honestly, not).  But it did occur to me – and I hasten to add this is complete and utter supposition on my part – that if this was a deliberate decision (“let’s optimise our new search engine for the most searched for online commodity”) then it is total, complete and utter genius.  Enable people to search for adult content via Bing and the theory is they’ll stay and search for other stuff too.  Of course, Microsoft will never admit as much and just claim it was a happy coincidence.  But I’m not so sure.  It is, if you’ll forgive the phrase, a masterstroke.

(Same size print: Microsoft is a client)

Death to 20th Century thinking October 3, 2008

Posted by James Warren in geeky stuff, marketing, media, pr, social media, work.
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This is excellent.  It’s about IT, but it might as well be about the media.  Or anything else for that matter.  Cracking post.  A sample:

Assumption: We (IT) must control what users do with computers and technology. Zzzzttt! Wrong! Thanks for playing though. We (IT) need to learn how to coordinate what people do with technology, not control it. Control is an illusion. IT did not pick PCs. IT did not pick IM. IT did not pick GMail. IT did not pick Facebook. IT did not pick the iPhone. IT did not pick the Web. In fact, IT fought against much of this. Sure, we need to try to keep people safe in their use of technology. But, we need to be negotiators and coordinators and trusted advisors to decisions people will make about technology, not dictators.

Hat tip to the Gartner Tweet.  Disclosure: my wife consults for Gartner.

The Goggle Box January 9, 2008

Posted by James Warren in blue sky, geeky stuff, media.

For the past couple of years I’ve been banging on to anyone that will listen that Google will own the future of TV.  Not from a content point of view, but a ‘programme search’ and tailored advertising point of view.  Well, they’ve made the first move here it would appear.  It’s interesting that the assumption is that Google wants to shove ‘internet content’ into our sitting rooms.  I think this is fundamentally wrong – I believe they’ll make it easier to find stuff that’s already on TV (and of course elsewhere too).  Don’t think internet, think content and advertising – then I think it begins to make a great deal of sense.

I anticipate seeing the Google interface when I switch on my TV, so that I can search for stuff I want to watch.  It will check what related programmes are on now, in the future (so I can tell the box to record them), what’s available on-demand (free or paid), what I’ve Sky+ed, what I have in my digital/DVD/video collection… even user-generated content.  Sponsored content – which would be contextual, dayparted, connected to the rest of my life and even linked to searches I’d made earlier in the day via Google at work – would be clearly differentiated from real content.  And the ads in between programmes would be similarly tailored to my life/needs etc…

I can’t see anyway that this wouldn’t be absolutely brilliant – for me, for broadcasters and for advertisers.  I can see Apple edging ever closer to a similar solution – but the advertising-funded model that Google can provide will beat any iTunes-based solution, I think (although iTunes content will be among the search results spat back, of course).

Perhaps I need to get out more?

Comfortably dumb October 9, 2007

Posted by James Warren in geeky stuff, music.

First Radiohead, now Nine Inch Nails.  All very interesting, but further to my point of yesterday, these are two of the biggest bands in the world – or certainly they used to be – so they *can* go it alone, as they’ve already built up massive fan bases.  There is an argument somewhere in amongst all this that says without ‘the music industry’ (in all its forms) to support them, they may never have reached their current heady heights.  So while the ‘business model of the future’ may help established music acts, it doesn’t necessarily provide global opportunities for new/up-and-coming bands.

Yes, bands can promote themselves via MySpace etc, but at the end of the day, while it allows access to shedloads of music, MySpace isn’t as easy to ‘use’ as MTV, Radio 1 or Xfm (or at least not to a mid-thirties-no-spare-timer like me).  Sometimes, just sometimes, I want the quality control filtering done for me.  I want to sit down and be a dumb terminal.  Which is why there’ll always be a place for the media (and therefore a music industry to provide it with content that matches its audience).

Of course the likes of Pandora can do this filtering process for me, but you still have to start somewhere (I want to hear music like xxx) and I’m not sure to what extent they feature unsigned bands.  Anyway, I enjoy a little bit of serendipity.  Without it I would never have heard half the music I now hold dear.

(I should caveat all this nonsensical rambling by saying, ridiculously, I haven’t bought any music for months – unless you count HSM2 for the kids (which is fabulous) – so maybe I’m just massively out of touch.)

You can have it in any colour you like, as long as it’s Blackle July 25, 2007

Posted by James Warren in geeky stuff, web 2.0.

Simply had to share this piece of genius.  It was pointed out to Google that it takes more energy to power a white screen than a black screen (74 versus 59 watts, fact fans) and that if Google changed its home page to a black background then it would save the world 750 MegaWatt hours per year.  So Google did.  Introducing Blackle.  All the functionality of Google, but in black.

UPDATE: As James points out in the comments, Google didn’t.  Heap Media did.  Thanks James, I stand corrected.

Well well well June 1, 2007

Posted by James Warren in geeky stuff.
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Jobs and Gates – the funny bits.

Mappa Mundi 2.0 May 3, 2007

Posted by James Warren in geeky stuff, social media, web 2.0.
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This is great (click for original).  The compass is what does it for me.  Very clever.


Via Apophenia.

iAdvocacy January 16, 2007

Posted by James Warren in geeky stuff, marketing, pr, work.

This perfectly encapsulates what Microsoft permanently finds itself up against…  Wonderful piece on the power of the Apple brand.  You can’t buy advocacy like this – although we in PR would like to think we can construct it.  I’m not sure it’s achievable through PR alone, but more on that later.   Merry New Year.  Hope to be blogging a little more regularly now my wingman has arrived (recruited via this blog, fact fans).

Same-sized print: Microsoft is a current client, Apple an old one. 

Wired link from Euan Semple.

2 3 4 August 7, 2006

Posted by James Warren in geeky stuff, media, web 2.0.
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This week’s Channel 4 Three Minute Wonders are to be shown simultaneously on TV and in Second Life – each will be a kind of parallel documentary about Second Lifers and their in-game characters.  What a great idea.  What’s also cool is that the filmmakers submitted their treatment for the films via Channel 4’s IdeasFactory initiative.  Consumer-generated TV, anyone?  Hat tip: PSFK

Mobile phonograph August 4, 2006

Posted by James Warren in geeky stuff, mobile, music.

Further to my gibbering earlier, the other week I saw this and this and a whole lot else besides and it’s made me think about the future of portable media.  By way of a quick (non scientific and incomplete) overview, flash memory technology is allowing mobile phone manufacturers to incorporate xGB MP3 storage into their handsets.  This makes them a compelling alternative to (for example) Nano and Mini owners.  Throw the phones’ wireless capability into the mix and their increasing ability to handle email, internet and multiple media (multimedia sounds so very 90s, don’t you think?) and you have a practical and cost-effective solution to an all too familiar problem – too many blooming devices.  To illustrate this one of my very good friends has discarded his (almost brand) new Nano because he’s just picked up a Sony Ericsson Walkman phone.  To quote him (he has a work Blackberry too) “I’m just fed up with carrying so many things around.”  Interestingly, the reason he bought the Nano in the first place was because his ‘proper’ iPod was too heavy to carry in his suit pocket.

The answer?  Handbags for men.  Of course the real answer lies in yet further convergence in the area of mobile devices.  But will the phones eat the iPod market, or is there an alternative?  What I singularly failed to mention in my previous post was that an iPod with 3G wireless connectivity could also be used as a phone (durr).  And a portable email device.  And heaven knows what else besides (Jobs would doubtless include built-in camera, given Apple’s creative heritage, with some simple edit s/w and integrated upload to an Apple version of flickr/YouTube).

In one fell swoop, Apple does to the PDA/mobile email/phone market what it did to the MP3 market all those years ago.  The super-rich celebs, meejah and city types (not to mention the less-impoverished PRs) would ditch their boring practical corporate Blackberries for sophisticated sexy sleek designer iPads before you can say ‘Look at this shiny monochromatic hunk of converged gorgeosity – see how successful, cool and rich I am?  By the way, I also have a great sense of humour, am fantastic in bed and know how to operate a spin dryer.’