Thursday, December 20, 2007
A friend of mine (thanks Yale) sent this video to me, and whilst I have some question about a few of the figures it made me really appreciate how small the 'problems' I have in my life really are.
Unlike a lot of these videos the message I got was - appreciate what you have in your life (not feel miserable and on a guilt trip) like most of these style videos.
So on that note I hope this blog post finds you well, I hope that you had a good 2007 and i wish you all the best in 2008.
Tuesday, December 18, 2007
NYU ITP Winter show
So I've been talking with people attending and teaching in the class about various 'work product' projects (probably the best way to describe it), one of last years students I'm actually trying to help commercialise through people I know - I'll post about it once he makes his first sale which should be fairly soon (and fairly visible).
Anyway last night they held an exhibition http://itp.nyu.edu/shows/winter2007 that i dragged Jodie along to on the promise that there would be a lot of 'art like projects' rather than just all IT geeky stuff.
Turns out we had a fantastic time. Everything I hoped for about really smart people looking at various ways computing and technology can affect our lives without concentrating on the technical side but more the personal interactions with the concepts.
I saw at least 7 or 8 demonstrations that had commercial applications, 2 of which I'm going to be making a proposal to the students on how I can help them commercialise what they have created.
One of them I'm so excited about I'm not telling anyone the concept as I think it rocks and has major major potential - I've already been on the phone today with potential partners where I think it has application. (no the photo I took isn't included in the ones below :)
A couple of projects I took shots of
Video overlay of 3 seperate Hillary Clinton interviews from 3 seperate tv channels.
Using a 3 dial modulator you could wind in or out the image of all 3 displays.
Yes she pretty much said word for word the same thing on 3 channels.
Octagonal 'scultpture' that could change 'contrasts' by flipping small tiles attached to motors.
The tiles however were controlled by a microprocessor to form certain images.
Here's the kicker, hidden in the very center of the sculpture is a small ccd camera, what the sculpture 'sees' it tries to arrange the tiles to reflect.
This would be an outstanding focal point in an office lobby.
Robotically controlled lamp.
By placing your hand near the lamp 'head' the unit is attracted to your hand.
Seems as useless as a remote control until you realise ...yep there are people who would like that functionality.
Like I said lots of very cool stuff, neither of the two I'm hoping to work with are listed above but if you are in NY you should try and get invited along to the next event.
Friday, December 14, 2007
First for those of you who have never heard of Ninja Warrior before - here's a quick rundown. It's a Japanese tv show that is broadcast on the G4 channel here in the USA.
Basically it is a strength and endurance competition run in Japan where contestants try and compete against the clock over an obstacle course.
I don't know if it's shown in Australia but I only found out about it last year and love it. Some of the feats are just insane.
You can check out more at this site http://www.g4tv.com/ninjawarrior/index.html
And here is a good video that gives an idea on what it's about.
However the reason for this blog post is this.
Recently they invited G4 to hold a competition where they would send two Americans to compete, (they didn't do very well).
Below are some of the submission videos that people entered in order to be chosen to compete.
A term that I'd never heard before is "Urban Runner" but most of the people entering used that term to describe them - some of the feats these guys are doing are insane (I'd love to see some faceplant out-takes).
Anyway next time you are walking down the street think about it......shouldn't you be leaping from fence post to fence post?
this was the eventual winner that was sent - boring video but amazing hand grip considering able to hold himself up from an iframe like that.
Well go and enjoy that hamburger and fries for lunch :)
BTW If you haven't had enough check out this link has even more footage http://www.g4tv.com/pile_player.aspx?video_key=17156
Thursday, December 13, 2007
I love seeing how 1 single person can totally change a companies outlook - wunderkind power people who just come in a drive stuff through, (or not).
Amsterdam street walkers were shocked when they found a severed arm lying down on the street. If you look closely, you’ll see this is a great examples of guerrilla marketing.
The arm was holding a copy of the Death Proof DVD, the latest movie starring Quentin Tarantino. The bloody limbs was found in front of Tuschinski, one of the largest cinemas in the Netherlands.
This is fantastic, it's sheer art and perfection - I love this kind of guerrilla marketing. If you can find a client who'll go for something a little on the edge go for it. Yes it will take more thinking effort than a 1/2page add or a 15 second radio jingle but isn't that why you took all those marketing classes at university??
Wednesday, December 12, 2007
RSS How-to Video
I recently came across this video and felt it was too perfect not to show here.
Also if you think you might want to view some other videos covering 'new media & web 2.0 etc check out this site.
P.S. Now you can go and add my blog http://deancollinsblog.blogspot.com/rss.xml to your RSS reader and always be up to date when I post a new article :)
Tuesday, December 11, 2007
You Too can win You Tube millions....
Sweet - check out this new application called Dashwire.
The 'promise' (I say promise because I haven't tried it yet - it's still in beta and although I signed up am still waiting for serial number) is that you will be able to interact with your mobile phone and all the content thats contained on it via a web browser.
eg. automagically via the carriers network Dashwire syncs all of the photos, sms's, contact details etc to the Dashwire application and you can view these on your desktop pc.
Also allows for some neat tricks like sending sms's from your mobile phones account....but from the desktop.....hmmmm I've got some thoughts on how that can be used.
Anyway check out http://www.dashwire.com/tour/video and let me know what you think of it.
Monday, December 10, 2007
Windows Mobile 6
So I've been using the Cingular 8525 (otherwise known as the HTC Hermes or Tytyn and about 4 other brand names in different parts of the world) since about December last year.
Originally it came with Windows Mobile 5 but recently Cingular have released the new ROM to upgrade the handsets to Windows Mobile 6.
At first I was a little hesitant as I already felt this handset ran a little slow on WM5 - I mean what did I think it was going to run like on WM6.
So the rom install process went great - didn't feel like at any stage it was going to brick up at all (lol yeh but I did upgrade mine first before my wife's handset so she didn't crack a big one if I ruined her phone).
A few annoying things, like now every time the phone starts up an animated Cingular video with annoying audio plays (you cant delete) chewing up memory space but also annoying if you start or turn off your phone in a quiet environment like a meeting.
The good part however far far outweighs the bad. The best part and most unexpected is the speed of this handset is now amazing.
I have no idea what the heck Microsoft have done but this handset feels like it is running at least 40% faster than it did before. Maybe a year of code optimisation taught them something but it's absolutely slick now.
Has a couple of neat new applications as well.
If you're a geek check out this forum for all the things you shouldn't be doing to your handset http://forum.xda-developers.com/forumdisplay.php?f=254
But apart from that if you are running a 8525 with the old software definitely upgrade.
Oh and as per this post about mobile carriers not communicating with customers......Cingular never got in contact with their customers who spent about $400 each handset + monthly charges for the last year to let them know this upgrade was available for the last month, I came across it from the XDA forums. Nice one Microsoft, missed again hey Cingular.
Sunday, December 09, 2007
Amethon Opens First USA Office
I wanted to post a message here to get the word out about my latest client http://www.amethon.com/
My role with Amethon is to help them with the USA expansion of their Mobile Analytics family of applications.
This is the worlds first “Mobile Web specific" analytics application.
None of this really matters for people that are building desktop applications - but if you are building web based content specifically for mobile consumers currently you don’t have an accurate way of obtaining information about website visitors apart from log file analysis which is cpu intensive and can take up to 24+ hours in reporting cycles (is also often faulty/misleading with only partial information available).
Lets face it log file analysis hasn’t been used in desktop browser analytics for over 5 years but until now it’s been the best solution available for tracking mobile browsers.
I’m the first to admit that the mobile web is still a niche market but according to M:Metrics almost 23 million Americans browsed the mobile internet in the 3 months up to 31 May 2007
Mobile Analytics is an application you download onto a server in your data center. It is a pay per use application depending on the number of pages served (good for if you are starting out small).
Statistics provided include:
• Bandwidth (total, average per visit, total per file type)
• Hits (average per visit, number of downloads, page view breakdown)
• Visits (entry page, average duration, click paths, referring search engine)
• Visitors (browser type, user agent, operating system)
• Handsets (make, model, screen resolution)
• Mobile Operator (country of origin, operator name)
• Geo Location (country of origin, RDNS lookup)
All of which are all pretty standard reporting points…….except that this is the worlds first application that can deliver this information for mobile specific browser traffic.
If you think you know of someone who may benefit from this information please send them to http://www.amethon.com/Content_Common/pg-Leader-in-Mobile-Web-Analytics-Opens-First-USA-Office.seo
If you write a blog or know of someone in the press who writes about content development or web analaytics please feel free to pass on the word otherwise thanks for taking the time to read this.
Cognation Pty Ltd
Or in this case.
USA Business Development
Amethon Solutions Pty Ltd
34 West 120th St,
New York, NY, 10027
Phone: +1 646-240-4043
Saturday, December 08, 2007
ESPNU Looks for User-Generated Content
ESPN'S ONLINE AND CABLE COLLEGE-SPORTS network ESPNU has launched an ambitious plan to produce a slew of additional niche programming, differentiate itself in a congested market, and engage a hard-to-reach demographic, all without adding to existing production costs.
Dubbed "ESPNU Campus Connection," the initiative depends on the cooperation of schools and students around the nation. ESPN is hoping students will generate loads of new sports-related content, including play-by-play coverage, sideline reporting, commentary, and analysis. The network is at http://sports.espn.go.com/ncaa/espnu/index.
In the first year, ESPNU plans to establish relationships with journalism, broadcasting, and marketing departments at 20 schools nationwide. While managing these relationships could prove difficult, early tests this fall at Florida State University and Syracuse University went well, said Burke Magnus, vice president and general manager at ESPNU.
Cool concept so basically providing a 'branded location' for each of the schools and the tools for students to upload content (aspiring professionals who are happy for a forum to highlight their work) you get a ready made business model.
It's simple and perfect I love it already.
Friday, December 07, 2007
We are Web 2.0
A friend of mine sent me this, after yesterdays post I thought it was appropriate to post it here.
I live for stuff like this - I just didn't realised how fundamentally attached I was to it.
BTW: I just came across this video from the class of the guy who created the video above http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dGCJ46vyR9o
Thursday, December 06, 2007
VPF....an interesting yet frustrating discussion
Was both interesting and frustrating at the same time.
First the highlights......happy birthday Asterisk.
Kevin Fleming from Digium gave a session yesterday about Asterisk that I didn't really learn anything new however I did find out one useless piece of information that asterisk is 8 years old as of purely by co-incidence yesterday December 5th.
On December 5th 1999 Mark Spencer released version 0.1.0 ..... and an industry was born :)
Personally I've been an Asterisk user for the last 4+ years (thanks Duane) and have been super excited by it's growth. For those of you who don't know what I'm talking about feel free to check out www.Cognation.net/asterisk which has a 60 second overview of Asterisk.
Also check out http://www.asterisk.org/ and http://www.digium.com/ and of course http://www.voip-info.org/
Another interesting factoid yesterday, as close as anyone can 'guestimate' there are anywhere from 250,000 to 750,000 asterisk pabx's running globally today. Pick a number somewhere between these two but either way feel comfortable this technology is not going away anytime soon.
However was also interesting to talk to people, particularly end users at the event who didn't really know all that much about Asterisk as well. I think maybe it's time for Digium to step up their general PR - not for the geeks but for the 'average joe'.
Anyway now to the frustrating parts;
Firstly the people - so lots of people i spoke to yesterday said..."we are building the tools for developers to roll out carrier based telephony applications"
....and I say 'great - what kind of applications are you building'
....and they say "all kinds of calling card applications, conference room and ivr functionality"
....and I say 'zzzzz'
So many people I spoke to yesterday have no idea about integrating real time online accessible data and implementing voice driven apps making this data accessible in a voice driven format.
I mentioned to about 4 people who said that they were delivering hosted 'voice applications' my concept of an ASP delivered speech recognition service that i was trying to get TellMe to joint venture over 2 years ago (more details here http://www.voip-info.org/wiki/view/Tellme ) and all said what a great idea and I said...do you want to implement this....Well that's really not what we do....zzzzz
There was also a frustrating final session (though a few gems as well, I wish it was videotaped) although most of the ideas were average (Verizon open platform announcement being a big deal and Google scaring the whole world) but there were also some gems (leveraged buyout of CLECS based on their weight in copper as a derivative to fund fibre roll out and separation of wholesale network access from retail services being the best).
I'd like to provide more details but unless you were there it would take 30 minutes of explanation etc, like I said wish it was videotaped than I'd mash it up with a secondary audio track of my running commentary with my personal thoughts.
Guess what I'm trying to say is..."next time you are looking at your desk phone or mobile phone and wistfully wishing it would do more than 'just sit there' or you are looking at cool web applications and thinking why aren't my phone services more like this".....these are the people that are driving this lack of innovation.
Either way thanks to Stealth Communications for the invite, without discussion things cant/wont change but on the other hand....I for one was left wishing they would change faster.
P.S. Another interesting 'internal thought'/paradigm shift from yesterdays event, I've obviously been attending too many 'un-conferences' lately, it felt bizarre and stifling (and un-intelligent) to be sitting in an audience of a presentation where only the speaker was talking.
I felt like it was mind numbing and a waste of time and a misuse of energy not to be getting audience involvement and a two way dialog going between all participants.
Maybe I'm wrong but my takeaway from this paradigm shift yesterday is that I'm never going to 'present an event' where I do more than 50% of the talking.....anyone reading this please hold me to it.
Wednesday, December 05, 2007
Fuzion watercooling blocks
I recently upgraded to Core 2 Duo cpu's and Dtek Fuzion water blocks.
For those of you going 'huh?' - the simple answer is - a water cooling block sits on top of the CPU in place of the cpu fan and using water transfers heat away from the CPU to an external radiator.
Also for those of you that care - I also have water blocks for my video cards, hard drives, southbridge (fan on the motherboard) and in two of my machines have special water cooled power supplies eliminating the fan in there as well.
Ok so the reason for this post. When I swapped from 3ghz P4's and Zalman water cooler to the new Intel Core 2 Duo 3ghz + Dtek Fuzion Water blocks instantly I noticed the CPU temps had dropped from mid 40's celcius to mid 30's.
So even though I've practically doubled processing capacity my heat dropped 10 degrees. Now I'm not sure how much of this is due to moving to a new cpu and how much is due to the water cooler but I'd highly recommend you consider checking your motherboard to see if it is Core 2 Duo compatible, if so you might want to upgrade and ebay your old processor while resale prices are still high.
Tuesday, December 04, 2007
I can never stress this enough that speed to market whilst not everything (management experience and executive execution is on the other hand everything) - it does make 'coming out' to the market so much easier.
4 times this year I've been pulling my hair out in frustration with different startups, where the eventual outcomes would have been so much more advanced if they had speed to market.
They are all on the path to various levels of success but when you have an innovative concept and start along the path of eventual release your job in getting customers, marketing and traction is just so much easier when you aren’t the 5th company to release the latest and greatest acme widget.
Today’s news is tomorrows fish & chips wrapper (lol I don’t think many people are going to get the reference these days).
I don't mean delivering products half cocked but basically get the crap stuff like web sites, marketing, product definition and brand identity also basic logistics like crm, hosting, phone numbers, urls, fulfillment (if delivering physical product), legal services and pro-forma contracts, banking services and ecommerce processing.
All the crap above should not take more than 7-10 days MAX!!!!
Guy Kawasaki has a great section in his book about the 80% rule and that going to market is the ultimate immediate target. It will never be 100% plus your customers are going to give you better feedback on the last 20% than you ever could think of so release already.
Oh also while on the topic...if you are developing something technical....once you finish coding you are only 25% of the way there. Get over it already....yes it may feel to you like you just gave birth but other people are now going to bitch slap your baby around to get it ready for the world - stop being a primadonna.
Also anyone in startups pitching to me 2-3 year projects I tend to consider them naive. I only care whats going to happen in the next 6 months after that you're really only guessing.
The shorter more defined the time frames the better as far as I'm concerned.
BTW as way of example - I only ever sign consulting agreements with companies for 12 weeks. Any longer than that I've realised that they get a little 'loose' with your time and start loosing focus.
Basically my goal is that before I start day one I pretty much have 80% of what I'm going to do in that 12 weeks defined so that there is a time limit race to get it all achieved.
I want to give you examples of where each of the 4 companies got bogged down but this wouldn't be appropriate but I'm sure if you look at your own startup you'll be able to find stuff that you've screwed up on as well.
So if you are reading this and thinking of calling me to come in and help, make sure you have your running shoes on because if I'm working 14 hour days - you better be prepared to keep up.
Monday, December 03, 2007
Pursuit of Silence
Sunday, December 02, 2007
Qantas trouble...Branson one ups
BA ban puts Qantas in quandary
IF YOU are planning an overseas surfing holiday, don't fly with British Airways. BA is no longer carrying surfboards. Nor is the airline carrying canoes, windsurfing equipment, vaulting poles, javelins or hang-gliders. In fact, all large sporting equipment is banned.
The explanation from head office comes in the form of a somewhat puzzling statement that says: "Some items are simply not suitable for airport baggage systems to handle or travel in the aircraft hold due to size and weight restrictions."
And in a later paragraph
In a particularly Branson-esque response, Virgin Atlantic announced that sport travellers can take one piece of sporting equipment in addition to their checked baggage.
You have to love it. Running a business isn't brain surgery, some times you just have to wait for your competition to screw up. It reminds me of the comments David Polinchock made last Thursday at the NY Marketing Meetup that brands have to have a "voice".
Well done Mr Branson.
Kidnapped by uncle sam
So when Condoleeza Rice is kidnapped by a muslim country ...."because she broke Sharia law" Americans are just going to accept it.
This goes back to threads about online gambling that I've posted before (use the search function top left of this blog), if Americans want to pretend international law doesn't exist and they can impose USA law globally they better get ready to have someone 'pay it back' soon.
Thanksfully this will all die down soon and in Jan 09 sanity as we know it will come back to the USA (and i dont mean one particular political party over the other I just mean sanity).
Friday, November 30, 2007
Voices of the Brands
One thing straight up, I need to apologise to some people about my last post I didn't realise that this was only the second event they had ever held.
This month i got to see David Polichock from Brand Experience Lab talk, i'd met David before when he got me a television interview for a client of mine doing some work in Second Life so I was already in awe of this guy but tonight he blew the room away.
The topic was Ideas for 2008, in 5 minutes he gave as many potential predictions (more opportunities to be seized upon by people in the audience but you get the point) as the other 4 speakers.
But the one i want to cover is his concept about "Voices of Brands". David's coverage was far more extensive than I could cover here but the basic concept is this.....that in a marketing world where people are being blasted by ad execs trying to meet "frequency and coverage" quotas that the only way to cut through the hubris is by giving your "Brand a Voice".
A voice that stands for something and stands out in the crowd.
It's not just a tagline or recognisable marketing logo but something that creates a groundswell of goodwill eg the Dove - Real Beauty campaign
The customer interactions gained through real dialog is worth far more than any 'old school' marketing budget can ever afford to "buy" you.
P.S. I just stumbled across this video online while searching for something else and thought it definitely belonged here.
BTW Mad Men rocks - check out my post here http://deancollinsblog.blogspot.com/2007/10/madmen-season-finale.html
Wednesday, November 28, 2007
I've seen 'fun' applications written before to make use of these before (check out
But when I came across this post today I know I was onto a major winner - this is the coolest use of an accelerometer in a mobile handset I've ever seen.
"UK researchers have developed software that represents a handset's battery life by using a phone's speaker and vibrator to make a device feel and sound like it contains liquid. You give it a shake to find out how much is left. The same technique can be used to represent new messages by simulating balls rattling around inside a box. It runs on recent Nokias with accelerometers; video from the researchers explains it well."
I love the last idea about checking battery life by swooshing audio - this one is the best. Hit me back with some ideas of how you would like to see them used in your life.
Monday, November 26, 2007
Stanley Tools 'Academy' Award Winning Website
Stanley launched a line of tools called FuBar. If you've seen "Saving Private Ryan," then you know what the acronym stands for. If you don't know what FUBAR stands for, then come out from under that rock you've been living under and Google it! The company launched a Web site where four construction workers use a FuBar tool to demolish almost anything that stands in their way, from a toilet bowl, sink, armoire and piano. Each worker wears a helmet cam, so if you want to get a closer look at the destruction, you can watch the mayhem via helmet cam. Be sure to click on the bunny icon to see what happens when FuBar and bunny meet (don't worry -- it is not an ending like "Fatal Attraction"). The site also houses a TV spot featuring construction men playing an adult version of hit the piñata. Mullen created the site and TV spot and mediaHUB handled the media buy.
Guys this is the location of the best 'Mens Advertisement' I've seen this year
It's fantastic, it's art, it's so well thought out and created this is going to be huge. If you're a male and you are in the target audience of someone who knows what end of a hammer to hold you are going to love this.
Forward this post to all of your friends now they are going to love you for it. Judges we have a winner.
...."yes but what is the government going to do for these poor people who have been tricked into committing to mortgages they cant afford"...."they are now going to lose their homes".
hmmm where do I get started apart from....unless the docs were forged by the mortgage broker you committed to those repayments. The USA has had less than a 2% rise from the very low point - how could they not budget for more less than a 2% rise?
and...well it's not your homes...until you pay for it - until then it belongs to the bank.
I just don't get why/how people think that lying through their teeth to overstate their income and assets in the hope that capital growth was going to make them rich (uhm it doesn't unless you are buying more than 1 - it's just going to make your next purchase more expensive).
The amount that people are paying for their housing in NY (and in Sydney) as a percentage of their disposable income is higher than ever.
I wish people would realise that every few thousand you 'outbid' the person standing next to you is a holiday you cant afford (you are working to experience life right...not just working to get through life right?)
And every .25% percentage increase is a new wardrobe of clothing you now dont get to buy each year.
Let you in on a secret people
...You dont need to live right next to your office - commuting is good for your wallet.
...You dont need that 3rd bathroom
...and those of you addicted to outdoing your next door macmansion - they have no taste either.
Sunday, November 25, 2007
Freddie Mercury Anniversary Tribute
Wow you forget how amazing a singer this guy/band was.
There's 5 in the series if you want to watch them all using this link or just watch the first one which I embedded below.
Thursday, November 22, 2007
Power to the people
Whilst I'm not a Ron Paul fan and I dont care enough to call Ron Paul a flake, I wanted to post this video as the penultimate example of how humanity as we know it can now access "power levelling" tools freely and easily.
......and this guy has amazing humour to boot.
Be thankful for the technology at your fingertips during this year's thanksgiving people.....you are more powerful now than you ever knew you were before.
Wednesday, November 21, 2007
So we've been invited to a thanksgiving with some American friends and thought we'd pick up a couple of nice bottles of wine, thinking I'd have to head downtown jumped onto google this afternoon as haven't needed to buy any since we moved here last month (wow 6 weeks already).
Came across a wine shop called Harlem Vintage
Best part about it is that it's only 3 blocks from our place.
View Larger Map
Talk about area gentrification - really good selection, pretty much the second best place I've found in NY for variety (having said that at 500-750 labels it would be considered small in Australia), but here's the kicker....really really reasonable prices, at least 30-40% cheaper than my old place on 74th & 2nd on the UES.
I wouldn't call it boutique as they didn't really have high end labels but if you live locally you should check it out. If you live on the west side....probably worth the trip up for a mixed case or two........if you are coming from the UES - lol, you can afford not to bother making the effort :)
Tuesday, November 20, 2007
Google QR Codes
Came across this today (interesting none of the google reps at Mobile Barcamp NYC 2 last week talked about it at all).
Will this finally be the turning point for QR code adoption in the USA?
Interesting sidenote - I never heard back from any of the 3 advertising agencies who talked to me at MobileCamp about coming in to run the 4 hour QR code workshop……..I kind of get the feeling the problem is with the interactive agencies ....not the technology.
And for any agencies reading this post "will you be reading this and in 2 years be wondering…why didn’t I implement this to my clients at the time".
Go download this message.....you'll know what to do once you read it.
For more information on Google QR codes check out www.Cognation.net/QR
Monday, November 19, 2007
Serverless Internet Companies
The question he doesn't ask however is "Why Amazon"?
There are a ton of other colo, server rental, virtual computing....etc etc providers out there - what is the magic sauce that Amazon EC2 and S3 hit on that is drawing all the flies to the honey?
Saturday, November 17, 2007
BarCamp Mobile NYC2
So MobileCamp NYC2 was held last Saturday in lower Manhattan with at least 200 people in attendance or about double last years event.
I wanted to hold off for a few days before blogging about it to collect my thoughts. I hope I don't offend anyone with my comments below but I've come away from this event with some very strong opinions that I'm sure not everyone will agree with but I'm happy to 'bet' money on these conclusions.
If you've been reading my blog for a while then you'll know that I've worked commercially on a number of different mobile projects and posted about my own personal interest in the mobile space regularly (search mobile posts) so i think I've got a fairly good grasp on whats going on.
I also think that I tend to concentrate on the more commercial aspects of startups and technology so I might be coming at problems from a different way.
So I've broken down my comments about the event into 3 parts;
So firstly the good news, Developer Enthusiasm for mobile computing and the positive value it can deliver to our daily lives through persistent full time communication/computing applications is really high. It's one of the things that sets the USA apart from other countries I've lived in (it's also something I'm going to blog about later this week - check out my post on the US dollar/exchange rate in a few days).
It's also amazing the physical output a single lone developer can deliver on as well. For example Peter Nofelt and his Mogoso Mobile Search application. This kid has a day job full time working in the financial space and no budget but is delivering better mobile search results than Yahoo etc because he has a real eye for perspective and for whats really important in a successful mobile application.
It never ceases to amaze me when I go to a barcamp or similar the amazing ideas and concepts individual developers come up with.
If you run a non IT business and want to find ways for IT to help your business, ignore your tech department and go and hang out at your local BarCamp for a weekend, you'll find 10 different ways you can take advantage of changes and help your business out.
Ok now for the not so good news;
- Carriers. There were more than a few carriers at the event, from the "trying to be progressive" Orange to the ....ex data service product manager from Nextel now off running a new startup so secretive that she got up to talk for 30 minutes but couldn't tell us anything about her new company AirArts .
Mary raised the point that new applications don't always deliver the end user customer numbers that they are often predicted to deliver...and the example she used was at CTIA last year everyone was all hyped up on Mobile TV being the guiding light and yet just 12 months later everyone is wondering what happened.
That if your application cant survive on 20% revenue (eg after the carrier takes their 50% and then the aggregator takes their 30%) then maybe your product wasn't meant to survive in the first place as it's not commercial enough.
What can I say but I was depressed after the session that Mary ran, the summary of her position on why mobile carriers aren't moving as efficiently as I want is that ...they want to bill you for services but they just don't want you to use much in the way of data.
(Now for those of you who haven't been to a barcamp please understand it is a very 2 way 'discussion'. You are meant to be honest and contribute freely to the point that one of the 'rules' of barcamp is that if you dont feel you are contributing to the discussion then the rule of two feet apply and you are meant to get up and walk out of the room).
Ok well my response to this one was easy, and I think might have shocked some first time attendees but afterwards a few people came up and said I was right on the money with "......carrier marketing/product development teams blow chunks".
My response to Mobile TV was, Yes Mobile TV is available on my handset (HTC 8525) but do you think I received a single email, letter, viral video or other informational contact from Cingular that it was available?
That's a pretty piss poor sales endeavour for a technology that probably had more than several million dollars invested in the upfront technical implementation.
And just to make sure I wasn't the only one who didn't receive something from the sales team at Cingular I asked the other 50 people in the room....1 guy said he saw something once - so 49 to 1 for no sales calls. Probably why you are on target for your 2% adoption rate.
Now for the next point about revenue share.
Everyone marvels at Doccomo i-mode and says that it's purely a Japanese 'phenomenon' with the successful adoption of broadband mobile data and a full and exciting ecosystem of content providers and application developers.
The reason Doccomo is highly successful and the USA carriers are crying poor is because Doccomo isn't greedy and they made a smart commercial decision that all content providers/application developers get to keep 90% of all billing revenue (and I mean all, regardless of how big or small you are).
Yep you read that right, USA you keep 20-30% - Japan you keep 90%. And yet they wonder why the USA lags in mobile application and mobile content development.
When I was consulting to Traction Platform last year helping them expand into the USA I met with some people from Verizon and they asked...how come Australia is smaller and so far ahead in SMS marketing, my reply was well you make it so difficult and expensive to implement in the USA what do you expect. Their answer was well we need to cover costs, not understanding the laws of supply and demand lower barriers to entry and there will be more users to cover the costs....It's not rocket science I swear.
Ok Finally to 2D codes.
So this was the area of MobileCampNYC2 that I was most interested in participating in. last year it was SMS marketing and talking about the Traction Platform but this year it was the area I wanted to see most what was going on.
Some interesting sessions mainly from individuals but check out people like Brian House at http://www.knifeandfork.org/ who had 2 amazing projects (and makes a living from artistic commissions and commercial consulting).
Pretty much what I did see confirmed my understanding that 2d codes are a fractured market with many different open source and private versions.
QR codes as you already know is the leading open standard. Denso who developed the technology were smart in the in the 80's they released all rights to the technology and allowed anyone to adopt this technology without patents or licensing. (in fact check out smart companies like http://www.winksite.com/ that incorporate automatic encoding into their application).
It was good to understand why the various closed/private 2d code companies felt their way was better, mainly around size of the output code (check out www.cognation.net/contact as an example QR code with a very big vcf file) and the ability to operate with older mobile camera lens .
Totally understandable however the rep from Nextcode decided to push the limits...a lot, and basically said that QR codes would never work and that the only way for widespread adoption was to for everyone to come together and agree on a standard and that the sooner everyone gave up on QR codes the better.
His comments around the reason QR codes wouldn't succeed was there needed to be a central 'clearing house'. That Nextcode was the technology to move forward with and that without this revenue stream any 2d code was doomed to fail.
Unfortunately this is where I decided to poke the bear.
As some of you know I have a long history with the Asterisk open source technology.
One of the reasons this now fantastic software is one of the most widely adopted pieces of open source software is good stewardship. Digium whilst a commercial company has been masterfully guided through it's embryonic years by Mark Spencer and now during it's growth years by Danny Windham.
The reason Asterisk has bloomed when a number of similar closed and open source technologies have failed is that from the very beginning Mark Spencer stated Digium was NOT required in order to implement Asterisk.
Yes they made money if you purchased their cards but if you used a competitors card like Sangnoma then it would work just as well. (in fact probably less than half of the 60,000 Asterisk pabx's globally use Digium cards.
By giving up this 'choke point' Digium is now responsible for a far bigger pie.
I also provided the example of Salesforce.com and the statements made by Mark Benioff and the Sforce ecosystem 2 years ago where no one believe he/Salesforce was going to be just one small partner and that it was open for everyone to participate.
I'm not sure if Nextcode felt I was taking the mickey out of him and antagonising him or being serious, he suggested we take this offline but I didn't hear back from him...(offer is still there)...so I assume they are off to file another patent and spend more money suing other closed/private 2d bar code companies like ScanBuy (who were in the session but kept a low profile in the back).
My take on it is this, yes the older camera phones don't have the resolution required but wait 6-12 months. With an average replacement rate of handsets in the USA of 18 months, 80% of the market will have 2mb+ camera phones by the mid/end of 2008.
There was also a lengthy discussion about advertising agencies and QR marketing campaigns and ondeck readers versus post installation adoption rates but that is a discussion for another time - I'm always happy to come in and run 4 hour workshops for advertising agencies to understand why you don't need to wait.
Finally a quick thank you for the organisers Indira, Ritwik, Andy, Alexis, David, Jose etc. Without you their would be no meeting of the minds and exchanges of ideas so to you my biggest thanks.
Looking forward to peoples comments, I'm sure there will be more than a few for this post.
Monday, November 12, 2007
Disney going to Japan
Disney to enter Japanese mobile-phone marketWalt Disney Co. is teaming up with Softbank Corp. to develop wireless handsets and content to make inroads in Japan's mobile market. Under the agreement, Disney will supply animated content and mobile-phone design, while SoftBank will oversee billing and after-sales services. CNET/Reuters (11/11) , The Wall Street Journal (subscription required) (11/12)
Interesting that they are making this move after closing down their USA MVNO though lack of sales/traction in the kids/tweens market.
Friday, November 09, 2007
Not Quite Art
Tuesday, November 06, 2007
Also it's a lengthy video at 55mins but a great video to get a good grounding in what this means is here;
I've got to say I was very surprised with what i saw. Originally I thought Open Social was just a "me too" reaction to the popularity of Facebook.
What I've seen so far is that Open Social is instead an agreed upon set of API's that allow you to "transfer data" from multiple sites using a set of defined rules. For my non technical friends think along the terms of a group of companies agreeing to what HTML should look like.
So what this means is that as a developer I could write an application that shows my photos on the Google Orkut site but this would then be easily importable into MySpace.
What this means as a user is lets say I post a music widget to MySpace I can also let my friends add it to their Orkut page.
Developers should be able to build a widget that runs the same on all Open Social compliant sites.... :) - yeh maybe. this is supposedly the way it's meant to work, we'll see how it operates in real life.
I've said this in another post but I think it deserves commenting on again - I was very surprised to see Salesforce.com as a member of Open Social, I'm very excited about this and cant wait to see what this means in the long run.
Monday, November 05, 2007
$3 a gallon for petrol in the USA ....big deal
You guys have no idea about the real price of gas that's why you are still cruising around in hulk-mobiles and wonder why the rest of the worlds are driving around in gas efficient sedans.
For simple maths here's some figures
1Gallon = 3.8 liters
$US1 = $A 0.90
So the comparative rate in Australia that the USA currently buys their gas at is 0.87c per liter.
Lol - the actual current average for petrol in Sydney is $1.30 per liter. if you were to convert that to USA dollars and gallons it would be equal to $US3.95 a gallon (and this number is being helped substantially by the much higher than normal $A it should be closer to $4.15+ per gallon if the Aussie dollar is taken at a 12month rate).
Like I said....you guys have it pretty good stop your crying.
Sunday, November 04, 2007
New York City marathon
Saturday, November 03, 2007
I still call Australia home
A friend of mine back in Australia just sent me this clip.
If the whole NY Tech community decided to move to Sydney I’d move back but for the moment just have to tough it out here with all the cool innovators but I can still miss home once in a while.
btw if you look at the last seen in that video of a pointy looking suspension bridge over the water, that’s the Anzac Bridge in Sydney between Pyrmont and Balmain and pretty much the view from my apartment window when I lived Glebe…..it was a tough place to work from sometimes when it was a sunny day and the boats were out on the bay :)
Friday, November 02, 2007
How much advertisers pay for your attention in NYC
Hmmm I have to believe that these figures are way off base, probably what was quoted over the phone as a rough estimate prior to discounts, deductions or just plain negotiations but still an interesting video with some good comparison costs at the end.
DARPA Urban Challenge
In the early days robotic cars were terrible, they held these things in the middle of the desert and cars would just suddenly lose 'direction' and drive off until someone flicked the 'master kill switch' or similar.
Over the past few years these things are getting better and better, basically to the point that they were driving almost at human speeds. I saw a documentary on the processing power of one of last years cars and it's astounding how remarkable these cars are.
The eventual winner last year drove 120kilometers and finished the entire course without incident.......which is why this year DARPA decided to shake it up again.
This year the terrain is "Urban".
So they've taken the cars out of the desert and put them into a regular road/building setting and this Saturday is the event.
Cant wait to see the outcome.
There are a ton of press outlets covering the event but one of the best you might like to check out is http://www.tgdaily.com/content/view/34594/123
BTW there is a worlds first video here; http://www.tgdaily.com/content/view/34618/113
First robotic driven car ever to hit a human :)
Ahh in 20 years from now we'll all look back and think this was cute.
History of Religion
If you like this you might want to check out a post from earlier in the year that shows the history of the Middle East (wow what a mess no wonder people cant agree on who owns what).
Thursday, November 01, 2007
Advertisement free tv? Well what's it worth to you?
I think I've got an idea that I've been tossing around for a few months that covers all 3.
It started when I was watching the premier episode of Burn Notice earlier this year (yeh I know it's trashy but Fiona his girlfriend is way hot in a "I can handle myself kind of way") so you've probably watched it at some time too :)
The premier episode was sponsored by DirectTV (a satellite tv provider in the USA). It's not a new concept, basically they get some consumer orientated company to sponsor the premier and it's shown in its entirety without advertisements.
The sponsor gets mentioned at the start and finish of the show and pretty much by name for the week before hand each time the premier is mentioned in the 30 second show advertisements.
You've all seen something similar before, but for some reason it got me thinking.
How much did it it cost DirectTV to sponsor Burn Notice for an "Advertisement Free" premier. And what is my time worth to me?
So the question is this;
"What tv do you watch that you would prefer as an advertisement free show and what is that worth to you?"
So here is where the technology part comes in. When watching cable TV everything that you are watching except live TV is pretty much cached into the broadcasters servers.
In addition in the past broadcast headends were limited in the number of individual streams of "on demand" content they could offer. eg not everyone could go and watch on demand content at once. Though this has changed or is pretty close the timeline that 100% of set top boxes can be watching on demand content.
(oh and if you think that cable companies ears won't prick up when they realise this concept would drive up on-demand usage and further increasing their rivalry over satellite tv, then they do).
- how can tv networks capitalise on this?
So I'm watching an episode of House (best show on tv at the moment even if the original ducklings have moved on). And I really like House the opening scenes look great I'm enthralled and happy to settle in and watch for the next 60 minutes (well 45 minutes of content and 15 minutes of advertisements) and then just when it was getting to the good bits the first advertisement comes on ....
- and I think my time is worth more than this....
so I push the magic button on my remote and the set top box gives me a figure (I'm expecting around about 45c - I'll explain the number later) and I click yes.
The commercial stops, it returns to the House episode and I continue watching, for the next 40 minutes of uninterrupted tv content and love every ad free minute. happy with my interaction with House, happy with my interaction with Time Warner and to be honest not even noticing that I just spent 45c.
- So what just happened?
- By pushing the magic button on my remote it told the set top box that I was moving from broadcast to streaming at that point in time.
- The set top box told the billing platform to add 45c to my monthly bill.
- The content servers in the headend then cut out the pre-programmed commercials, delivering only the House video content uninterrupted until the end of the show.
- At the end of the show the set top box went back to broadcast and returned me to "normal running time", this is important - I cant just watch 3 shows back to back without breaks otherwise the headends would overload and I would cause a rip in the fabric of the time space continuum.
Now I could have just have just hit pause on my DVR, gotten up, walked away for 20 mins, read a book, walked the dog, written a blog post - whatever.
But that's not the way human interactions work. Spontaneous, continuous, one-off content purchases work through the novelty of their immediacy.
That's why it's worth 45c and that's what will make Time Warner more profitable.
- So how did I come up with the figure of 45c
Easy, It's my estimation of three times how much each advertisement earns Time Warner for each subscriber to watch 15 minutes of advertisements.
With each 30 second spot being purchased for X number of dollars and X number of viewers expected to be watching any given show the broadcasters and advertisers can pretty much come up with an expected number of viewers and what the cost per viewer is going to be.
Or in my example I figure it costs the advertiser 1c to reach each viewer for their 30 second spot.
Now this figure is going to vary based on any number of external factors - how's a show rating, what's it up against, how cold/warm is it outside, who's doing well in the world series etc etc. but it's realistic to come up with a fairly accurate number.
Now I'm sure cable companies are going to get greedy, fat and lazy and try and round this figure up to a $1 per show kind of system but that's not what i-Mediacy is about (yeh I know the term is a little web 2.0 but you get the point), it's about replacing the advertisements not implementing PPV for every show - we're bored with ipod purchases, on demand purchases, dvd to own purchases. This is about recognising my time is valuable and allowing me the choice to 'outbid' the advertisers for my time.
- Why multiple of "three" and what benefits are there for advertisers?
So the first outcry from the 'marketers' is this would be terrible, we rely on a certain number of 30 second spots to be available in order to get our message out there. (in fact certain times eg. presidential season, the available slots often tighten and pricing goes up-or goes down in non ratings season).
So here's why the advertisers are going to like the idea. When I select buy, the amount I as the viewer pays is three times what the consumer company paid for the slot, yes they don't get to advertise their product but not only doesn't it cost them nothing to advertise they actually get a rebate equal to the amount of twice what they would have otherwise spent.
So get this, I could spend $200k on a weeks advertising and actually make money back on my investment (eg for the 100,000 people that chose not to watch my commercial i made back twice the amount of money they would have cost me).
- That's the beauty of the novel concept, not only are the advertisement free viewers getting to watch content for a small - unnoticeable in the grand scheme of things fee happy.
- And the advertisers are happy because in certain instances they actually get a refund from the cable networks on the money they might have spent with them.
- The cable networks are happiest of all.
- They get the original 15c cut that the commercial was going to bring in as revenue.
- With diminished spot numbers natural market forces will increase the average spend per 30 spot.
- BUT most importantly with the consumer vendors knowing that there is the strong possibility that their advertisements will be usurped will have a natural tendency to overbid on their 30 second spots. eg trying to outbid the consumer. In doing so the profit point percentages for the cable operators increases substantially.
This increase per 30second spot must be reflected as a multiple in what people pay to watch advertisement free. If the figure is a flat rate they will feel ripped off.
Times have changed, you need to make your content viewing consumers feel valuable - there are too many alternatives out there (and getting more enticing by the day).
By opening the kimono and showing them exactly what you make by them participating and watching your vendors commercials they will feel inclusive and more valued. You may even find some brand loyalty at what a great job the cable company is actually doing.
Well there it is. As far as I can tell from my research it's a novel idea. i-Mediacy is there as a concept and I'd really like to hear your thoughts.
P.S. I've also got another idea about how consumers can make money watching those ads with that magic button....but that's for another time and another venue.
Wednesday, October 31, 2007
Ariel Atom 3
The Ariel Atom is a road registerable car that is pure engineering and light on creature comforts(though not yet registerable in Australia; the guys there have been trying to get rta certification for the last 2 years and the day they get clearance is the day they get my deposit but until then it's only available as a track car) .
The 3rd generation isn't all that different to the first 2 but has had a number of minor refinements. but how much fun must this thing be to drive.
If you are in the USA and just want to take one for a spin email me as there are track days on both the east coast and the west coast.
The video above covers some of the new functionality but if you want to see what they really are about nothing beats Jeremy's original review below - the guy is a riot.
P.S. BTW for all the hoon heads visiting this page, check out http://www.livenascarchat.com/ and www.LiveF1chat.com :)
Few Facts about F1
Here are some interesting facts about Formula 1 racing
01. an F1 car is made up of 80,000 components, if it were assembled 99.9% correctly, it would still start the race with 80 things wrong!
02. Formula 1 cars have over a kilometer of cable, linked to about 100 sensors and actuators which monitor and control many parts of the car.
03. An F1 car can go from 0 to 160 kph AND back to 0 in FOUR seconds!!!!!!!
04. F1 car engines last only for about 2 hours of racing mostly before blowing up on the other hand we expect our engines to last us for a decent 20yrs on an average and they quite faithfully DO....thats the extent to which the engines are pushed to perform...
05. When an F1 driver hits the brakes on his car he experiences retardation or deceleration comparable to a regular car driving through a BRICK wall at 300kmph !!!
06. An average F1 driver looses about 4kgs of weight after just one race due to the prolonged exposure to high G forces and temperatures for little over an hour (Yeah thats right!!!)
07. At 550kg a F1 car is less than half the weight of a Mini.
08. In an F1 car the engine typically revs upto 18000 rpm,(the piston travelling up and down 300 times a second!!) wheres cars like the palio, maruti 800,indica rev only upto 6000 rpm at max. Thats 3 times slower.
09. The brake discs in an F1 car have an operating temperature of approx 1000 degees Centigrade and they attain that temp while braking before almost every turn...that is why they r not made of steel but of carbon fibre which is much more harder and resistant to wear and tear and most of all has a higher melting point.
10. If a water hose were to blow off, the complete cooling system would empty in just over a second.
11. Gear cogs or ratios are used only for one race, and are replaced regularly to prevent failure, as they are subjected to very high degrees of stress.
12. The fit in the cockpit is so tight that the steering wheel must be removed for the driver to get in or out of the car. A small latch behind the wheel releases it from the column. Levers or paddles for changing gear are located on the back of the wheel. So no gearstick! The clutch levers are also on the steering wheel, located below the gear paddles.
13. To give you an idea of just how important aerodynamic design and added downforce can be, small planes can take off at slower speeds than F1 cars travel on the track.
14. Without aerodynamic downforce, high-performance racing cars have sufficient power to produce wheel spin and loss of control at 160 kph. They usually race at over 300 kph.
15. The amount of aerodynamic downforce produced by the front and rear wings and the car underbody is amazing. Once the car is travelling over 160 kph, an F1 car can generate enough downforce to equal it's own weight. That means it could actually hold itself to the CEILING of a tunnel and drive UPSIDE down!
16. In a street course race like the monaco grand prix, the downforce provides enough suction to lift manhole covers. Before the race all of the manhole covers on the streets have to be welded down to prevent this from happening!
17. The refuelers used in F1 can supply 12 litres of fuel per second. This means it would take just 4 seconds to fill the tank of an average 50 litre family car.They use the same refueling rigs used on US military helicopters today.
18. TOP F1 pit crews can refuel and change tyres in around 3 seconds. & it took you about 8 sec to read above point.
19. Race car tyres don't have air in them like normal car tyres. Most racing tyres have nitrogen in the tyres because nitrogen has a more consistent pressure compared to normal air. Air typically contains varying amounts of water vapour in it, which affects its expansion and contraction as a function of temperature, making the tyre pressure unpredictable.
20. During the race the tyres lose weight! Each tyre loses about 0.5 kg in weight due to wear.
21. Normal tyres last 60 000 - 100 000 km. Racing tyres are designed to last 90 - 120 km.
22. At top speed, F1 tyres rotate 50 times a second.
So Formula 1 Driving is not piece of cake,thats why Michael Schumacher is the world richest Sports Person!!!!
P.S. If you are a big F1 fan you might liek to check out http://www.livef1chat.com/ next time a live race is on.