Wednesday, 26 August 2009
Wednesday, 19 August 2009
Tuesday, 18 August 2009
This was a really funny thing that Marcus did a few months ago - it's part of his campaign to warn about the dangers of Social Media Expert Burnout Syndrome (S.M.E.B.S.), which was also tied up in the Tweetreading phenomenon - now lots of us spend far too much time getting far too excited about the next big thing in our day jobs, and stuff like this pulls apart the pomposity of it all, which is why it makes me laugh. Out loud. A lot. And why I thought that there was something familiar about the Sony Ericsson campaign for the SMAA (Social Media Addicts Association.... see any similarities yet?)
There's more of this stuff at http://stopwritingonmywall.com/index.html, which is worth a look, as some of it actually uses whole chunks of Marcus's stuff. The agency behind this is Nascom in Belgium. Hopefully Copyc*nts will pick up on this soon, because it is one thing borrowing ideas from movies or TV shows, which are popular enough for viewers to understand how an idea references another idea. It is a totally different thing to steal ideas that have been shared around small groups of people and pass them off as your own when selling them on to major brands. Nascom call themselves a digital agency on their website, but they miss the most basic truth about the internet: everything is about reputation. Linking and referencing builds reputation. Steal and lose it.
UPDATE - @minorissues and @jannikolaas of Nascom reply to Marcus's version of events
Wednesday, 12 August 2009
IE6 dates back to 2001: if you can't remember exactly what websites involved in those days, here's an example of the BBC's home page from January 2001:
and this was the sort of site it was designed to browse. Even if internet connections had been up to it, web designers would still have been limited by the fact that 95% of interent access was through IE6 at its peak. This was after Netscape had been seen off, and well before the days of Firefox. So although 20% of internet users are still using this technology, it was designed for a bygone age. The world wide web was 18 last week, and this is the equivalent of asking a ten year old to graft like an adult.
Now up till recently that has only been a problem for the coders who had to shoehorn state of the art websites into IE6's limited abilities. It is becoming a problem for everyone who wants a genuinely useable internet. HTML 5 is capable of providing audio and video files that interact (ie edit and change) in real time on a web page. It removes the distinction between desktop applications and websites, enables dragging and dropping from web to desktop and back, and is built on the basis of complete location awareness. It removes the need for Flash and Adobe Air (the heavy duty code that PCs can run but mobiles can't) so blurs the boundary between mobile and pc screen. In short it enables all the things that are going to make the web a whole lot more useful. And it won't work with IE6.
So for Google, for whom interactive audio-visual (YouTube) and drag & drop functionality (Google Wave) are key to future innovation, HTML 5 is a pre-requisite. This is great news for everyone, because the main problem with changing browsing behaviour is that most people don't care about all the stuff I'm talking about. Or at least they won't until it is developed and ready to use. But if they are threatened with losing access to YouTube (or potentially Facebook) if they don't upgrade, then they will soon work out how easy upgrading is.
To be fair, Microsoft agree that they would love people to upgrade, but that they won't phase out support for the browser, which was the standard in Windows XP. On their IEBlog the view is:
"Dropping support for IE6 is not an option because we committed to supporting the IE included with Windows for the lifespan of the product, and we keep our commitments."
So (partly based on the failure of Windows Vista to tempt people away from XP) they seem happy to let other people put a range of non-IE options in front of them. And to bring this back to advertising, that opens up some interesting questions about Firefox uptake. Chrome and IE8 are based on being ad-friendly: Google and Microsoft have the world's largest ad revenues to support. Firefox on the other hand offers the opportunity to block all online advertising (although it too makes most of its income through a revenue-share deal with Google for search ads). Only a fraction of FF users (9m, or 3%, of the 300m users of Firefox) block ads. But then, back in 2005 only 3% of internet users ran Firefox. Now it is 23%.
Of course on the other hand maybe sites running on HTML 5 will carry interactive applications and realtime audiovisual narrative that people won't want to block. Let's hope we get the chance to find out soon
Tuesday, 11 August 2009
It's fair to say it has had a very public adolesence and been a troublesome teenager in the eyes of established businesses. But I reckon that we've not seen anything yet, and now the web is old enough to vote it can get on with the serious stuff
Friday, 7 August 2009
So Rupert Murdoch has finally made the announcement that the rest of the newspaper industry has been waiting for: online news content will be hidden behind a big paywall from sometime in 2010. This was always going to be a game of who blinked first; who would take the plunge. Realistically I don't think that it could ever have been trialled, tested or rolled out, as success or failure rests on giving the rest of the industry plenty of notice and hoping that they will all jump on board. What will be fun to watch is who doesn't join in. Murdoch's comments today about
Tuesday, 4 August 2009
A. Make better stuff
Hugh MacLeod and Mark Earls have both covered this sort of ground this week, and usually when reading about the 'make better stuff' theory I lean towards Sky as an example (as Apple is a bit too obvious). But that made me a bit twitchy this week as my favourite media-centric social object, my Sky+ box has been a bit unwell recently.
It has been skipping losing audio, failing recordings, and lots of other bad stuff. Obviously none of this worried me initially, as Sky have a customer service department that is light years ahead of any other business I've called. Not only do their polite well trained call handlers sound like they care about sorting your problem out, they also call back to find out if it has been fixed. In the unlikely event that they can't remote on and solve it straight away. So last Friday was the first time I've ever doubted the infallibilty of Sky customer service. They couldn't fix the problem over the phone, and had to call out an engineer. And I'm immensely pleased to say that my faith was restored the next day when we removed half a plant from the satellite dish, normal service resumed and i cancelled the engineer! Once a world-beating product becomes usual, people will still talk about infallible customer service