User Archived Content

From my occasional series of ‘here’s something from the musical archives that’s pretty cool’ posts.

I love the fact that YouTube allows for the sharing of this kind of content. It’s probably not strictly ‘legal’. And it’s not strictly user-generated either, more sort of user-archived. But I think we shouldn’t underestimate the massive power of user-archives.

I started to think about how many VHS (or Betamax) cassettes there must be in lofts, attics and cupboards around the world. And what hidden gems must be on those tapes. Gradually fading away as bits of magnetic stuff lose their strength. It’s kind of sad really. But thanks to YouTube it can all live again. And find its way into the brains of people who care. Which is the opposite of sad.

Anyway, back to the clip. Donna Summer’s ‘State of Independence’ has got a really well known bit in it featuring a choir. But I had no idea who was in the Choir, I’d never thought twice about it. But this clip shows it’s probably the Carlsberg of choirs:

Via awesome MP3 blog: Dilated Choonz

Jobs Vs Gates – Lexical Density


Nice post by Russell about ‘Lexical Density’, which sounds much more scary than it is…

It got me thinking, all this stuff is all very well to analyse in retrospect, so what about a real-time speech analyser that monitors your lexical density, fog index, criminal overuse of words and phrases, etc. Perhaps something mounted in a pair of glasses with LEDs so you can modify your speech on-the-fly…

Steve Jobs would get a red light to warn him of ‘overbooming’, Bill would get a ‘stop being so boring’ light twinkling away to encourage him to turn it on.

Actually they’d be rubbish. I’d just end up with an ‘overuse of word: stuff’ light strobing in my eye all the time.

Computers Behind Blogs – Intro

Here’s a little pet project I’ve been thinking about for a while.

I wanted to do something that shows the computers that people blog from. I reckon it might give an interesting, non-verbal snapshot into the bloggers’ world. So I’ve gone and done it.

Read more here.

Please get involved if you’re a blogger. And tell all your blogging friends. The more the merrier.

When Good Companies Blog Good

Here’s a site that Poke built that I’ve never written about. Probably because I had nothing to do with it. But it’s a great little site. Partly to do with what we did for them. But as least as much, if not more, because they’re using it really well. Which I’m sure is partly related to the fact that the site was built to fit their particular needs (it’s a custom blog tool built on top of Rails if you care).

Camron are a small PR agency who deal in a lot of stylish, luxuryish, stuff. The site is a portfolio for their work, which they write about and put nice photos in. But the best bit is their blog. They call it: Intelligence (the things they’re doing and the stuff they like). And it’s properly great. It really gives you a feel for the fact that these are a bunch of real people who appreciate and love great high-end stuff. And the most important thing is that it feels totally natural.

Puts our shitty Poke site to shame (for now…)

(And I also like how the people page has been done to focus on the object or thing that the individuals like the best).

Go and See Alan Fletcher

alan fletcher wall

I suppose that’s not really possible so visit this exhibition of his work at the Design Museum instead.

I went on Saturday and it was great. Amazing to see the work of someone who’s both era-defying and defining at the same time – some of his work from the 60s looks like it could have been done today. Other bits look like the very essence of the 60s.

Plus I’ve got a huge huge admiration for people who do type without computers. I’d love to be able to hand draw letters like he could…

He’s probably best known (in the mainstream) for his book: The Art of Looking Sideways – which is an amazing labour of love (or obsession depending on your POV), like much of his work.

Oh and don’t miss the iron alphabet gates to his house. Stunning.

It’s on until Feb 18th. Go.

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Semacode Update

Blogs are great. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. I asked a question about semacodes on websites. Went to bed. Then I woke up and someone’s left me a great answer. It’s like a big huge collective brain that goes on thinking throughout the night ;-)

Anyway, thanks Roger for some great thoughts. In fact if this is a topic that interests you, you should head over to his blog ‘All About Mobile Life‘ – which incidentally is QR code enabled ;-)

He makes a great point about QR Codes being used like RSS feeds. You can just snap a picture of the code on a site and boom, you’ve got a subscription to the site on your phone. Or a ‘takaway’ version of the site. Or simply a bookmark. So yes, I can see the point of codes on websites now.

I guess I’m just a bit behind in my cross-device behaviour at the moment.

And James from Collaborate Marketing has chimed in with:

The codes are also used for promotional offers – like coupons. So maybe Nike are saying – take this along to a store or some other Nike event. Also, in Japan the phones have special readers to take the information from screens, posters or instore, which we don’t have yet. I understand Nokia are testing them on the N-series.

Also a very valid use for these codes.

I guess in both examples it’s about transportability. In the ‘olden days’ people would have printed stuff out, now your mobile is easier to carry about than piles of paper (for some of us).

Website with Semacode, Why?

Semacodes are pretty cool.

The all knowing Wikipedia with it’s dazzling array of cross-links describes a semacode thusly:

a URL can be converted into a type of barcode resembling a crossword puzzle, which is called a “tag”. Tags can be quickly captured with a mobile phone‘s camera and decoded to obtain a Web site address. This address can then be accessed via the phone’s web browser

In essence you take a photo of a thing (see top right) and your phone does something interesting.

In Japan (rumour has it) they’re very common. But they call them QR Codes. And they’ve started doing things like putting them on their business cards so that you can just photograph it and then get the contact information into your address book. Kinda Cool.


Where all of these sorts of innovation fall down is using them just for the sake of it. You’ve got to ask yourself that question, “wouldn’t it just be simpler to…?”. For example just taking a disposable photo of an address instead of bluetoothing it to my phone – see my previous post on Photonotes.

So I was puzzled to see this Nike site with a QR code on it:

I’ve sat and thought about it. In fact I’m still thinking about it….I’m sure I’m missing out on something because I don’t read Japanese. But in the best case it’s going to add something to my phone (a graphic, an application, a screensaver, a bit of video?) or, and I really hope this isn’t the case, it takes my phone to a web page. But either way surely getting someone to use their phone to do something when they’re already engaged on a website seems a bit odd.
Or even more bizarrely… If someone was accessing this website on their phone (as many people in Japan do). How are they supposed to take a photo of this QR code?!?!

Please can someone Japanese put me out of my ignorant misery, please. I’d love to know why this is there.