Thursday, December 20, 2007

Being Thankfull

In this time of celebration and enjoyment take time out to appreciate how truly blessed you are.
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.


Cheers,
Dean

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

NYU ITP Winter show

There is a fantastic class that is taught at NYU called the ITP, it's one of the only the only classes that make me really want to go to Uni and study.

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.


Cheers,
Dean

Friday, December 14, 2007

Urban Runner

What the heck is an Urban Runner well check out some of these videos (be prepared to feel very out of shape and unfit....)

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?

and another


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 :)


Cheers,
Dean
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

Jon Rubinstein

Told you back in September to watch out for this.

Apple's 'Podfather' Tries His Hand At Palm The Wall Street JournalJon Rubinstein--known as Apple's "Podfather"--officially joined Palm in October, but he's been on-site since July and putting in 70-hour weeks, sources say. Alongside CEO Ed Colligan, he has cleaned up the company's product plans, overhauled its engineering staff, and made several strategic new hires.Rubinstein faces numerous challenges at Palm, which helped originate the smart phone earlier this decade but has been straining to get back on the right track, after stumbling against hipper competitors such as Apple and Research in Motion. Last week, Palm warned it would miss estimates when it reports earnings on Tuesday, sending its stock plunging. Yesterday, it made some reassignments and staff reductions.Rubinstein--who heads all of Palm's research, development and engineering--has kept mum about his plans. But people familiar with his thinking say he is focused on a new Linux-based software platform that would create one set of applications for all Palm products. He wants the platform, due out next year, to be the basis for all new phone formats, including possibly a 12-key phone. - Read the whole story...



Total speculation but what about a Palm version of Android......?

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).


Cheers,
Dean

Guerrilla Marketing

Hat Tip to my colleague Mitch Fanning for sending me this one.


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.

http://www.trendhunter.com/trends/tarantino-death-proof-guerrilla-marketing

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??


Cheers,
Dean

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

RSS How-to Video

I've posted before about how you can have everything I write automatically delivered to you each time it updates using RSS feed before.

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.


Cheers,
Dean
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....


http://www.shellypalmermedia.com/2007/12/11/youtube-vudu-nytimescom-tv-guide-viacom-mediabytes-12112007/
YOUTUBE has opened its revenue-sharing program to the general public and is accepting applications on YouTube.com. The site will only grant “partner” status to frequent contributors that have built up a YouTube audience while not violating the site’s terms of use. YouTube says partners with over a million views are earning thousands of dollars per month using the program.

And

YOUTUBE VIDEOS INSTANTLY TURNED WILLIAM Sledd, a Gap store manager in Paducah, Ky., into the hottest style guru on the Internet. Now with almost 60,000 subscribers and millions of views, this YouTube blogger turned Internet celebrity is the owner of the fourth most popular channel on YouTube. He has a growing coterie of famous friends and development deals in the works with mainstream media outlets like NBC. He has even begun his own Web site and t-shirt company.


Come one come all, step right up - you too can share in the YouTube millions.

I guess someone at YouTube finally sobered up from spending their 1.6Billion dollar payout and realised watching skateboarders cracking their nuts is only funny for so many months and that it was time to grease the content acquisition funds (albeit poorly).


Cheers,
Dean
P.S. I'm actually very pro youtube and yes I know there is other content on the site but I'm a little disappointed at the "lack of formality" around the partnership agreement. Want to see how it should have been done/could have been done - read this post.

Dashwire


















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.


Cheers,
Dean

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.

http://www.america.htc.com/support/8525/software-downloads.html

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.


Cheers,
Dean

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Amethon Opens First USA Office

As a lot of people who read this blog already know, my role at Cognation is to help cutting edge IT startups build international sales channels and partnerships.

I wanted to post a message here to get the word out about my latest client http://www.amethon.com/


Got a mobile web site? Get Mobile Analytics

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.
http://www.amethon.com/Content_Common/pg-Mobile-Analytics.seo


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.

Regards,
Dean Collins
Cognation Pty Ltd
dean@cognation.net
+1-212-203-4357


Or in this case.

Dean Collins
USA Business Development
Amethon Solutions Pty Ltd
34 West 120th St,
Suite 3,
New York, NY, 10027
USA
Dean.Collins@Amethon.com
Phone: +1 646-240-4043

Saturday, December 08, 2007

ESPNU Looks for User-Generated Content

Interesting article that I thought was worth highlighting here.

http://publications.mediapost.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=Articles.san&s=72281&Nid=37124&p=416179
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.


Cheers,
Dean

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.

Cheers,
Dean
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

So I got to drop in on the afternoon sessions of the http://www.voicepeeringforum.com/ held in New York yesterday.

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'

Yep exactly.

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.


Cheers,
Dean
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

A few people have emailed me with water cooling questions about my rack mentioned in this post on Monday It's pretty specific so I'll spare you however I did want to cover 1 quick topic.

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.


Cheers,
Dean

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Bubble...what Bubble

Hat tip to my buddy Aleks from Surphone for this one. He must have been fed up with me bitching about provable ROI's enough to know I'd love this video.


Cheers,
Dean

Timing

You know one of the 'continuous issues' I come up against when consulting for startups is trying to impress upon them the need for urgency.

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.


Cheers,
Dean

Monday, December 03, 2007

Pursuit of Silence

As some of you might already know, I have a 7ft monster that sits (somewhat quietly) in the corner of my home office -lol at least now in Harlem my office is a separate room, when we first moved to New York I sat in a corner of our living room out in the open with the rest of the junk on my desk.

Yes I'm sure most people dont need 5 computers (and a 3000VA UPS and all the other go fast bits) but lets face it, us geeks love this stuff.

Personally i cant wait for virtualisation to come about but as the slowest machine I have is a 2.8ghz P4 2gb ram and the fastest 2 I have are CoreDuo 3ghz with 4gb of ram I'm not exactly sure what I'm going to 'virtualise' my 5 machines onto.

Either way from time to time I wish it was a bit quieter, so initially I bought the enclosed rack, then I bought super quiet fans and hard drives (lol 11 drives between the 5 of them), then i bought 2 zalman reserator water coolers which worked great but the 4th and 5 machine put the average operating temp over the limit.

Then we went to 'candy land' and spent way to much money on some Alphacool Cape Cora's from Germany - which haven't been fully installed but I think this will be the final solution (lol apart from buying 3 more watercooled power supplies - which even I gulped at the price of and could only bring myself to buy 2 in the first order to try and spread the additional costs of which essentially is just removing a single fan from each pc).

Why am i telling you all this. Well if you are a super geek this will all seem normal to you.

If you aren't then this video will seem - very very very strange.

But for some of us 'boy toy' fans who remember the early fluid cooled cray supercomputer images..... this 'mineral oil liquid cooled pc' from Puget Custom PC's seems just perfect.



Cheers,
Dean

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Qantas trouble...Branson one ups









http://www.smh.com.au/news/news/quandary-for-qantas/2007/11/29/1196037053703.html

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.


Cheers,
Dean

Kidnapped by uncle sam

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/us_and_americas/article2982640.ece

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).


Cheers,
Dean