Archive for March, 2009

An uncomfortable similarity between new work for Jag Jeans and old work for Taco Bell

Jag Jeans has just lunched a site based on a very cool idea. In fact, I thought the idea was cool when we used it at Draft FCB used it more than a year ago for Taco Bell as the basis for a site called Direct Daniella. (Shout-outs to Brad Meyers, Andrew Lincoln, Jason Mitton, Kurt Suchomel and Scott Davis for their work on it.) In each case, the concept is that the user can “be” a professional photographer and take high-quality pictures with his mouse and keyboard at a “real” photo shoot. 

Now I hesitate to accuse anyone of blatantly swiping an idea. I understand that it is entirely possible for two people in different places to come up with the same “original” thought. That being said, Direct Daniella was pretty widely reported on when it came out in both the national and international press as well as the national and international blogosphere. I can’t prove anything. I’m just saying.

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March 31, 2009 at 12:34 am Leave a comment

Terrible news for the PC industry: Mobile phones and data plans have found their mojo.

Vic Gundotra, VP of Engineering for Google’s mobile and developer products, makes a simple but compelling case for the direction that mobile phones and data plans pretty much have to go in the immediate future.  And if anything, the current economic climate will accelerate the stampede towards mobile devices. In Gundotra’s own words: “Worldwide phone penetration continues to climb at a break-neck pace, with over 4 billion mobile subscribers at last count. (In comparison, the PC industry is forecasted to see its sharpest unit decline in history.”

As data plans get simpler, web browsers get better and devices get smarter, mobile data use will continue to skyrocket. This is great news, especially here in the United States, the carrier networks have a history of pursuing breathtakingly stupid policies that seem to be designed to thwart the use of their own products (e.g. pay-as-you-go data plans). Finally, they’re wising up. How long will it be before we see a phone serving as the main computing device of the employees of a major company? I put it at 2 and a half years. 

Click here to see the full post on techcrunchit.com. 

March 30, 2009 at 12:16 am Leave a comment

Twitter, real-time search and the integrity of information.

Some believe Twitter could find its business niche in the area of real-time search, something Google and its army of algorithms still don’t do particularly well. The only barrier between something happening on one side of the world and your knowing about it on the other is the time it takes to type 140 characters. See the full story from Technology Review here.

While I see the appeal of real-time search, the real need in the marketplace is for authoritative search. In other words, right now no one is really in the business of providing search results based on the integrity of the information returned. The interactive space is the greatest propagator of hoaxes, urban legends, rumor, innuendo, slipshod reporting and outright lies in the history of civilization. This has harmed countless people, causes and brands. Mark Twain said, “a lie can travel halfway around the world while the truth is still putting on its shoes.” Now technology has made lies faster still.

Is a move towards real-time search a good thing, or have we simply made it easier for the truth to be trampled by a stampede of tweets?

March 29, 2009 at 2:33 am Leave a comment

You spend 8.5 hours per day in front of a screen, and I can prove it.

The New York Times reports that, according to a study released by the suspiciously named Council for Research Excellence, Americans are exposed to screens of some kind–televisions, computers, cell phones, GPS devices, what have you–for 8.5 hours a day. Assuming we sleep 8 hours a day, that means we’re in front of a screen on which advertising can be delivered more than 53% of our waking hours. Brilliant news for the marketers of the world.

Not surprisingly, people from 18-24 spend less time watching television than the other groups (under 18s were not included in the study), but they still spent an equal amount of time in front of screens of some kind. What did surprise me a bit, though, is that people from 45-54 actually spent about an hour more per day in front of a screen than other age groups. Read the full story here and draw your own conclusions about what all this means for the future of advertising.

March 28, 2009 at 3:50 pm Leave a comment

The television re-stakes its claim as the most important electronic device in the home.

Samsung has introduced a new television with an integrated Yahoo widget engine that will enable people to access the web while they watch TV. Similar products from Sony, LG Electronics and Vizio are on the way. It’s a great idea and one that Mark Cuban predicted would take the marketplace by storm quite some time ago.

Of course, the big losers in this could be computer manufacturers. It’s too early to say for certain, but a 52-inch HD screen that can access any kind of content you want–whether it’s live TV, video on demand, web sites or games–at any time is pretty stiff competition. Check out the full story from the Wall Street Journal Online here.

March 27, 2009 at 2:09 pm Leave a comment

The interactive movie-watching jacket: Because great acting and brilliant writing just aren’t enough

The propeller heads at Philips have come up with something called the “haptics jacket,” which, when worn, is designed to “provide full emotional immersion in a film.” Now, it won’t allow the wearer to “feel” punches and the like. Oh no, it’s much more subtle than that. According to Paul Lemmens, senior scientist at Philips:

“The jacket’s purpose is to make viewers feel anxiety and other emotions through signals such as sending a shiver up the viewer’s spine, creating tension in the limbs, and creating a pulse on the chest to simulate a rapid heartbeat.”

Think how much money this technology could ultimately save the studios. No need to hire Philip Seymour Hoffman or Daniel Day-Lewis for $10 million a picture. Just slide a pizza under the door of the IT department, and you’ll have emotion coming out of your sleeves. See the full story here.

March 26, 2009 at 12:24 am Leave a comment

“No sex, no gasoline. Just give me some technology and leave me alone.”

A recent study by German boadband association Bitkom reveals that 84% of young people would choose having the internet and a mobile phone over having a romantic partner and a car. No word on whether the car was German or American.

What do you suppose the figures would be for other media? I suspect television would be nearly as high. MP3s and gaming consoles as well. While I take the study with a big grain of German salt, I think it’s not wrong to ask how technology is changing both what we feel we need to have a happy life and the social structure itself.

Perhaps Sartre got it right when he said, “L’enfer, c’est les autres” (“Hell is other people.”). Heaven, apparently, is an iPhone.

March 25, 2009 at 1:24 am Leave a comment

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