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Archive for the ‘Internet’ Category

Eraserhead, Wild at Heart, Mulholland Drive; David Lynch’s output has always bordered on the eccentric, to say the least.

Try searching for a trailer for Twin Peaks and you’ll come across this – possibly the most bizarre dance put to celluloid.

Not so long ago, a friend recommended I visit www.davidlynch.com. Meh, probably some bog-standard, self-promoting ‘web destination’ for all things Lynch, shamelessly wrapped around some new film, I cynically thought.

How wrong I was.

Without a doubt one of the most unique websites I’ve seen. Check it out for yourself. It includes, but is not limited to:

A video of the director offering daily weather reports

A dedicated catalogue on the range of David’s ‘Signature Cup’ coffee products

A page of ringtones (presumably created by Lynch)

An online shop selling pins/buttons, distorted nudes books, hats and mousepads

Bizarre but y’know, sort of cool.

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Cell size and scale

So that was probably the most boring headline possible but this is actually quite cool. Cell size doesn’t sound interesting and it probably isn’t – unless presented in a way that helps people understand.  This gives scale to  really really small things.

Ok, cool might still be pushing it.

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Great article from Econsultancy on Marks and Spencer’s social media strategy here. Sienne Veit, business development manager of the retail giant, talks about how M&S has implemented a social media strategy, where it has been successful, how it deals with difficult issues (such as Busts 4 Justice), Twitter and how it measures success. Interesting case study.

boobed

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I can’t help but be slightly disappointed by the lack of Windows 7 promotional tie-ins here in the UK. Microsoft has truly outdone itself this time around with a number of bizarre link-ups that put most other software launches to shame.

For example, the US gets an advertising free episode of Family Guy featuring show favourites Brian and Stewie installing the new OS (an episode which incidentally may never see the light of day here due to product placement regulations):

Japan takes things one step further with this incredible Burger King promotion – the seven (yes, seven) burger Windows 7 Whopper:

Windows Whopper

Meanwhile, here in the UK we have to make do with a PC World trade-in offer. Come on Microsoft, if you want me to upgrade you’ll have to convince me harder than that.

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Everyone knows how cool the downloadable applications available on the iPhone are. That’s a given. With an app to suit every occasion, tube journeys need never be dull as long as you have your trusty iPhone/iPod Touch.  With so many apps out there, I thought I’d just focus on one I discovered a few weeks back: the deadmau5 Touch Mix.

deadmau5 (pronounced ‘dead-mouse’ don’t you know, not ‘dead-mow-five’ like I called him for months) is a world renowned DJ – hot on the heels of the likes of Justice and Daft Punk – and is sampled left right and centre.

Pay £1.75 or thereabouts and you can mix just like him. The deadmau5 app includes a top-ten hitlist of his most popular songs, two of which can be played simultaneously and mixed together. You can do all sorts of cool things with the tunes: loop sections, increase/decrease the track tempo, bring specific parts of the songs to the forefront, to create some fresh lyrical beats of your own. All these elements and tune-tinkerings, my flatmate DJ assures me, are crucial ingredients to the real world of mixing.

One major difference is that, once you select a section of music to play, the app brings this in automatically at exactly the right moment – removing the need for what separates the amateurs from the pros: musical timing and a sense of rhythm.

Nevertheless,  I’ve had the app for weeks and still haven’t got it.  It’s somehow hard, even when everything is made easy.

The clip below may not sound that incredible, but they have really mastered this little application.

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Continuing my apparent dominance of Chivalry House in October, here’s a little story that’s vaguely related to the work we do (well, it’s about brands, and we’ve got brands in our title).

Marge Simpson, matriarch of the yellow, four-fingered clan of the same name, has posed for Playboy to celebrate the twentieth anniversary of the Simpsons as a show in it’s own right (it started in ’87 as sketches on the Tracey Ullman, breaking free in ’89 on it’s own).  Aside from the fact a TV show that  gets past four series is on its way to legendary status (Two Pints of Lager notswithstanding), this is an interesting arrangement for both.

The Simpsons, whilst perhaps not reaching the critical heights of its earlier series, is a huge brand that shows few signs of waning. Playboy, on the other hand, is a shadow of its former self, and as confused about its brand identity as any company has ever been.  Is it a porno? Is it a literary mag (don’t laugh, some big literary guns have written for it)? Is it a guide for gentlemen, a sort of GQ-esque establishment? I don’t think it helps that the man who embodies its supposed qualities is a parody of his younger self.  Hugh Hefner tries to maintain his image of a debonair, sophisticated man of means and taste, yet hasn’t adjusted his approach to this image to cater for his advancing years. What worked at forty doesn’t work at eighty.

The magazine itself has suffered at the hands of a wider malaise affecting the print industry. Its online brands have been undermined by the proliferation of free porn sites, and overall it is unable to shake the feeling that its really just grot for kids without the balls to buy the proper stuff.  This is a shame, as it could have been one of the great journals.  As mentioned above, big name writers (with both commercial and critical clout)  have contributed to its pages, with Stephen King on the front cover of the Simpson issue. If it hadn’t gone down the pseudo-Nuts/Zoo route, it might be a brand that makes it to the second half of the 21st century. At the moment, only the Simpsons seem poised to get beyond the next few years.

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The study I trailed yesterday on my personal blog has been published and reported on today. The full Broadband Quality Study from Cisco (my client) and the Oxford University Said Business School is available here.

The reason I care so much about this topic is that I truly believe that for societal and economic development, quality broadband connectivity is essential. The things you can do – from the simple act of being more connected to friends and family on Twitter and Facebook, to high-resolution video calling, photo & video uploads, & (in the future) interactive engagement in virtual environments (I still don’t quite believe in Second Life, but I do believe in what it and services like it will become) – dramatically change relationships, the way you learn, the way you interact, the way public services are delivered and much more.

I’m pleased that there’s so much development globally in terms of policy and infrastructure investment, particularly in the UK obviously. Keen to see wireless infrastructure development move on apace so we can bridge the urban/rural divide and get fibre-like broadband quality out to more people, more cost effectively (and get to a point with pervasive broadband connectivity across devices). I’d love to see more fibre too, but can’t help but feel that the days of multi-billion pound massively government subsidized infrastructure investment might be behind us for the time being… but we’ll see!

Cisco’s study looks at how broadband quality varies internationally – quality rather than pure speed as latency, the other factor weighted in when considering quality, effects the usefulness of a broadband connection in delivering certain services – e.g. realtime video communications, as opposed to video downloads, the former of which requires low latency (delay), the latter of which is a little more tolerant. The UK ranks in at number 25, which isn’t too bad when you consider that most of our telecommunications infrastructure was built out in the middle of the 20th century and we have aggressive targets for improvement in the future thanks to the recent Digital Britain commitments. We also do well for broadband penetration thanks to our universal service mandate, which bodes well for my eventual move to the countryside…

Have a read, let me know what you think.

Crossposted at Division6.

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