FrankandPat

June 27, 2007

Mobile music – cheaply!

Filed under: mobile — Warren Hutchinson @ 9:56 am

I’m currently working on some music industry related projects and strayed across this mobile product called MusicStation. For a small fee you can get access to ‘the worlds music’ on pretty much any handset. Unlimited for £1.99 a week billed to you mobile bill.

You can listen to music from charts or user generated playlists and MusicStation will build an understanding of your preferences and listening habits a la Pandora et al. Better still, it notifies you when your favourite artists release a new album, plan a gig etc.

There’s even the ability to climb to the top of the playmaker charts and get yourself some kudos. Which is always nice. People like kudos.

So far these majors are lined up: Universal Music Group, Sony BMG , EMI Music and Warner Music International so the catalogue should be decent enough unless you’re an indiekid.

I haven’t played with it yet, but will do soon and I’ll let you know what I think. Watch this for more info.

I’m starting to spend money on music again.

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June 21, 2007

Multimap twitterbot

Filed under: uncategorized — Stephen @ 9:12 am

Multimap have been integrated their service with Twitter to produce….their Twitterbot.

What is it you ask? Well, to be honest, it is a little arcane, and quite a long way from being natural language. It’s definitely cool, because Colm says so -  but guys, surely you could a better job of explaining what you might actually do with it 😉 ?

Where I think this could get very powerful is if someone  builds a mobile app that fires off SMS to Twitter with GPS data – and allows the user to build up a library of regularly used commands. Or would that cannibalise the current Multimap mobile offering?

‘Project Milan’

Filed under: uncategorized — thedelman @ 9:05 am

This may be old news but Microsoft touch-sensitive table ‘Project Milan’ looks pretty good. The interaction seems to be responsive but without using or testing it you never really know. This kind of product has great potential merely for the fact that it allows multiple users to simultaneously interact with the touch screen. I can picture it working nicely in ‘The big space’ it will be a great collaborative tool thus enhancing productivity, creativity and innovative ideas between teams.

June 15, 2007

London 2012 – Challenge Yourself

Filed under: brand, sport, web — Warren Hutchinson @ 11:42 am

A new aspect of the London 2012 web offering came online this morning and it’s a feature that is about inspiring participation in the brand.

Given that the Games is about being the best you can be, about being Olympic, the ‘Join In’ feature of the new site is about setting yourself a challenge for the future.

I think it taps into the spirit of the Games ina really nice way and starts a journey that London will go through over the next 5 years. Despite the criticism levelled at the identity, this is where the participation in London’s Games begins.

There’s a whole lot more to go on over time, so keep checking in.

So, challenge yourself and join in.

June 12, 2007

I like! Books social network

Filed under: beta release, community, user experience, user generated content — kipa @ 12:04 am

I guess this has been around for a while, but why nobody told me about aNobii before?

I love this site not just because you can share what you are reading with your friends, find inspiration for new reads, or even trade the books you don’t want to have around anymore; I love it because it is a pleasure to use it and to discover all the small features that the guys who own it have been adding to it. OK, maybe the ‘margin note’ tool is a bit overdoing it, but who knows, other people might find it very useful?

Of course aNobii is still beta, like all respectable webX.0 websites should be!

June 10, 2007

Memewatch: LOLTHEORISTS

Filed under: meme — Stephen @ 9:42 am

A move is afoot. Just as I had started to enjoy the many variations of LOLCATS, then someone had to SUTTELY but POWAHFULLY shift the meme.

To this. JEENIUS.

(XPosted | Spotted)

June 6, 2007

Click comments

Filed under: 80/20, accessibility — danielharris @ 3:30 pm

We had a 20 discussion a while back about how to encourage more people to blog / comment / allow more options for people to change or embelish the way that they communicate through blogs.

And Click comments could be the start of some further thinking in this area.
could we experiement with this system of commenting? It’s had some mixed reviews and clearly needs some developing but at least it’s an implementation that we should be able to (at least grahically) hack…

what do you think?

London 2012 – “My kid could have done that”

Filed under: brand, sport, web — Warren Hutchinson @ 8:35 am

2012_pink.gif

Day 2 and the viriol is still rolling concernig the new London 2012 identity and brand system.

I’ve seen coverage of the new Olympic London 2012 identity blazed across front pages, on the news and on the radio. Everyone is talking about it. So is this a bad thing? Is all PR ‘good’ PR?

I certainly think so.

It takes a while for the supporters to emerge and I’m starting to see supporting signs here, here and here signs that this identity will gain traction. I said yesterday that dissatisfaction and resentment always air more readily than satisfaction and support and this has been very apparent.

Comments include:

  • “Of all the cities that are “would-be” hosts of the Olympics, only London have the balls to pull something like that off, and they have.”
  • Like a lot of people, I didn’t like this when I first saw it; I thought about posting but I didn’t. But I kept thinking about it today, and the more I thought about it, the more it grew on me.
  • I love how it works as a system. I love that its brash and crazy and risk-taking and young. And maybe its those qualities – which are often just as much a part of the Olympics as good sportmanship and acheivement – that speaks to my own favorite Olympic “moments…” The Jamaican bobsled team (I was a kid and I loved them that year and cried when they crashed), the first time snowboarding came to the Olympics… And I do think as time goes on it will take on the other, time-honored qualities of The Olympic Spirit.

Of course there are a myriad of detractors, but John Snow (a very credible news reader here in the UK) has warned us though‘Be careful, it will grow on you’.

He’s right. Or at least for my experience of the brand he’s right.

I remember seeing it for the first time and thinking “Oh. Okay. Urmmm. Wow. That’s different”. But it has grown on me. Now I really like it. I’m sticking up for it. I’m sticking my head up and saying “I support it”.

Personally I’m a little takenaback by the lack of support from the design community who usually berate everything for playing to the status quo. This identity certainly doesn’t do that. SO I expect some more emerging and high-profile supporters soon.

My favorite comment concerns the perceived ease at which these things are created; “MY kid could have done that” has chimed out on radio programs, television news and in the papers.

Well, great.

If your “kid could have done that” then that means it’s simple. It’s uncomplicated.

And simplicity is one of the most complicated things to achieve in design particularly in a spac where the identity has to work on tickets, billboards, clothing, signage etc etc. Also, it has to work with various sponsors on the side of cups, in newspaper adverts and so on.

This site provides 10 reasons for loving the new Olympic identity and adds that if your “kid could have done that, then get them to send in their resume”. They go on to point out that some of the best brand lock-ups are simple such as the Christian Cross (two lines) and the Mercedes badger (three lines and a circle).

This prompted me to think about the comments that criticise the logo for not being literal enough. Comments such as:

  • “It doesn’t represent London”
  • “It doesn’t represent sport”
  • “It doesn’t contain red, white and blue”

I’d bet my house that if the logo was any combination of those things, a London landmark with some sporting gesture woven in, rendered in our national colours then we’d hear comments of “Try harder”, “Unoriginal”, “London is more unique than this” etc.

This brand system has to be reognisable at 10×10 pixels and at 100×100 ft. This is a brand system that provides a massive amount of scope for ‘play’. Expect to see bright coloured, angular forms across everything.

Love it or hate it. It will be plastered across London in various forms and I’m sure you will recognise it when you see it.

June 5, 2007

EA Tools

Filed under: tools — jonseyk @ 4:48 pm

I have just created a survey on Survey Monkey. It turned out to be more tricky than I had anticipated. I had the questions that I wanted to ask on post it notes and I thought that from this I would easily be able to map out the survey. This wasn’t the case, as the survey branches of depending on certain answers.

My advice to anyone using this tool in the future is to to do a flow diagram of your survey on paper first as it is a lot harder to change the stucture of the survey once it is in Survey Monkey. I would even say make sure your questions and responses are spot on too before you start. If you tweak these half way through it can change the whole flow of the survey.

Response to the London 2012 brand

Filed under: community, sport, web — Warren Hutchinson @ 8:32 am

2012_pink.gif

Wow.

That was the network effect in full, errrm, effect. At the time of writing some 11750 people have signed a petition stating:

We, the undersigned, call on the London Olympic committee to scrap and change the ridiculous logo unveiled for the London 2012 Olympics.

Whilst over on the BBC 606 website there have been some 2799 comments, and very few of them are complementary.

Now, before you carry on reading, I want you to go and watch these 2 videos. It will take a few minutes of your time. 5 max. Then we can carry on.

  1. Video 1 – An animation aimed at depicting the energy of the brand
  2. Video 2 – The ‘brand video’ aimed at depicting the qualities of the brand

Watched them…?

Good. Now we have a little context which most of the petitioners probably have no interest in attaining.

How do you feel?

Put aside the fact that the logo/lock-up/identity is super-crazy-manic and concentrate on how you feel about what you just saw.

Do phrases such as ‘rubbish’, ‘obvious’, ‘disgraceful’ and the like come to mind? Or do you feel a little bit charged, a little bit hopeful?

I’ve been working on this project since December and I’ve been working with the involved agencies and of course the London Organising Committee and I have to say that, for me, this brand works. Or at least it will work once we get past the initial cynacism and reaction. It embodies the energy, the vibrancy and the difference that this Olympic vehicle is hopefully going to be about and I’m writing this post as my way of saying to the teams I’ve worked with ‘Great job’.

It certainly inspired and stimulated a reaction, we’re all participating in this one and thanks to the network effect everyone is included.

The double-edged sword of web 2.0 in full swing.

Brands are not just logos of course, so today’s reaction is to an image. Further, I suspect that most people who have signed the petition or voiced their disapproval haven’t yet explored the story or the videos I’ve linked to and have been harbouring resentment ever since London won the opportunity to host.

It’s true that dissatisfaction and resentment always air more readily than satisfaction and support, but today did surprise me somewhat. I suspected that there would be a body of responses in the vein of ‘I don’t get it’, ‘My 5 year old could do better’, ‘What a waste of money’ etc because these things are always levelled at identities of this nature.

I wonder why people feel the need to expunge such vitriol when in doing so they are dismanteling the need for an emblem of hope, of change of being the best you can be, of being Olympic. It’s not about what it looks like, it’s about what it stands for and that’s what I think hasn’t yet been understood.

Over the next 5 years we’ll see exactly what this means, we’ll feel the experience of London 2012 and we’ll see change happen.

I’m hopeful. I’m confident. I’ve seen the people at London 2012 at work and I for one believe in their passion to do things differently.

But then, that is just my opinion and I’m just throwing my hat into the ring of network effect.

The company I work for didn’t develop the identity, we delivered the range of London 2012 websitea. But I say this not because I want to distance myself from the furor surrounding the identity but because actually I’m quite jealous that were not more closely aligned with this controversy. Our team have done a fantastic job in taking an incredibly challenging brand world and rolling it out as an accessible website given the logo, colour palette, typography and I think it achieves almost everything we wanted to.

It’s clear, legible, bright, energetic and engaging.

But I have to hold my hat off to the team at Wolf Olins and to Locog for trying something so daring, something so brave. Particularly given that in many sense as a design challenge developing Olympic brands is pretty much a poison chalice as everyone seems to love berating it, whatever has been done.

This is brave work particularly given how precious the Olympics is to people and particularly to Londoners at this present time.

Compare it to other Olympic marks of the past. They are dull, meaningless, formulaic and uninsprational, inunispiring, non-inclusive and not particularly stimulating.

Olympic_logos.jpg.

Click here to see them close-up.

Beijing is the next host city and their identity is about celebrating China and about Chinese culture. A statement on their websites says:

Every emblem of the Olympics tells a story. The Beijing 2008 Olympic Games emblem “Chinese Seal, Dancing Beijing” is filled with Beijing’s hospitality and hopes, and carries the city’s commitment to the world.

It’s all about Beijing and that kind of inward looking presentation wouldn’t befit London. Largely because London is a city of cultural diversity and is overtly outward facing but also beacuse London sees itself as a world stage. Don’t get me wrong, I think it’s very appropriate for Beijing. I like it, particularly the Fuva who are there to carry a message of friendship and peace — and good wishes from China — to children all over the world.

Argue the toss about whether or not this brand delivers that, but I say it delivers a statment of intent – that this is going to be different and that this is about taking part. You can say one thing, this has not been designed to sit smartly on a polo shirt or coffee mug. In the context of Olympic branding history it screams change.

Right on.

The brand story is about passion, inspiration, participation and stimulation.

I watch those videos and I feel that. I watched them with my wife and she felt that too. Idon’t mind saying that I felt emotional in a good way. It was lump in the throat stuff and I’m proud to be part of it.

By the time the Games arrives, everyone should fel proud because everyone will have the chance to join in.

I hope that everyone feels something when they see those videos and that they start to consider that this is an emblem for something and that bashing it is like bashing that person riding the bike, the granny and her karate, the kid and the horse.

Let the discussion continue.

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