Great Climate Change Video

Forget about An Inconvenient Truth, it’s all long and boring and stuff. Watch this instead…

To my mind this deserves to have a lot more views than it’s had – so I’m going to make it my mission to get more people to see it. Please blog it or link to it. Visit the clip on YouTube and rate it. Or if you’re a bit geeky Digg it or Stumble it, or whatever you can do.

I really liked the way that it’s really practical, non-preachy, and above all brilliantly funny and watchable.

Put together by Airside and Mother. (The Mother guys have been very modest about the whole thing and even though Poke live upstairs from them we’d not really heard a peep about it). So I’m going to push it for them as it’s really good and it’s for a good cause!

Prison Dancing

The clip of prisoners doing the Thriller dance has been featured all over the place, in case you missed it, here it is:

But I looked about and found these two which are less impressive from a choreography point of view. But somehow I found them a bit more odd. I think it might be because they’re less ‘cool’ they make you wonder how the whole prisoners dancing thing actually happens and makes it onto YouTube. I can almost imagine people signing up to do the zombie thriller dance. But Jumbo Hot Dog?

Or Radio Gaga…

And there’s a couple of odd ones from Sister Act too…

But the clip you have to watch is the promo video for the prison and its methods (I can’t embed it so you’re going to have to make a leap over to the YouTube site).


I thought it was going to reveal the whole thing is a spoof 1/2 way through. It’s all shot by the same director as the main clips so I’m pretty sure it’s all genuine.

EDIT: Just found this interview with Byron Garcia who’s responsible for the clips from Reuters .

The 7 Deadly Sins of Digital

There’s a bunch of things that people who are just getting into digital always seem to propose at some point or another. I guess they’re things that are part of the learning process. Things that a lot of us have done, and hopefully learned from. I’m not suggesting that anyone is stupid for doing any of these things (I’ve done the majority of them at least once). But I’m hopefully going to explain why they’re not good ideas in most cases.

Of course they’re not deadly. And like all ‘rules’ there’s good reasons to break them. But in most instances these things are not good. I’ve left out the new ‘trendy’ things like Google Earth, SecondLife, UGC, etc. I’m saving those for 7 deadly sins of digital 2.0.

In no particular order…



They say: “A game where you have to feed this little character to keep them alive, and you give them stuff, and they do stuff”

You say: “You want to create something based on an obsolete early 90s toy that wasn’t actually any fun? And you’re expecting people who don’t give a toss about your brand of fake-cheese-based snacks to go though a bunch of meaningless interactions for no real reward why?”

Why it seems like a good idea: prolonged engagement, a ‘relationship’, the original tamagotchis had a certain amount of Jap-cool

Why it’s not a good idea: they weren’t actually fun then, they’re still not now, if you’ve created one in the past you’ll find that the involvement rate drops off faster than a D’angostini subscription after issue one’s free binder. And it’s been done lots of times before.



They say: “Let’s make a screensaver”

You say: “When was the last time you installed a screensaver? When was the last time you saw a screensaver on someone’s screen?”

Why it seems like a good idea: screensavers were kind of fascinating when we were younger, at the time they were much richer and more visual than most of the web stuff that was around. They were animated, they had flying windows, zooming starfields, even scrolling text! They’re full screen (so they look a bit like a TV). And the idea of something that’s sitting there in the background, hiding, ready to jump up and surprise you when you’re being lazy has some kind of appeal I reckon.

Why it’s not a good idea: screensavers are a product of a byegone era, people don’t like installing stuff, the only time they actually come to life is when you’re not there. And they’re kind of a beacon that says my computer should be off or at least asleep to save power, but I’d rather show off some fancy graphical nonsense.


Interfaces that look like the tops of desks or tables

They say: “We could make it look like the character’s desk, you can click on a file to read it, if you click on the answering machine you can hear a message… And so on…”

You say: “Oh FFS we can bend space and time and create things that redefine the way that the world works, but you want to use a clumsy metaphor that people are going to have to decompile in order to figure out how to get to a bit of information that in some rare case they might actually want. And it’s not extensible. And besides how many people watch youtube videos of their own adverts in the residue at the bottom of a coffee cup? And it’s not accessible… And so on…”

Why it seems like a good idea: its safe and familiar. Everyone understands atoms and physical things. Lots of people don’t understand navigation, menu structures and information architecture. So it’s easier to ignore them and cling to something comfortable and comforting, like a messy desk.

Why it’s a bad idea: Aside from the stuff above it just is, trust me. Perhaps this imagined conversation between me and Ridley Scott makes it clearer:

Me: Hi Ridley, please will you direct a commercial for me, it’s basically a 60 second spot and it goes like this. We open on the first page of a book. There are words on the page, we need to wait for people to read the words. Then a hand turns the page and we move to scene two. It’s the second page of the book.
Ridley: Silence
Me: It looks like an aged book, there are coffee ring stains on page two.
Ridley: Silence
Me: You still there?


Desktop assistants / characters

They say: “You know the Microsoft paperclip, can we…”

You say: “Stop right there sonny, don’t say another word! Nobody likes the paperclip. The only good thing that ever happened to the paperclip was death. Even Bill Gates hates the paperclip.”

Why it seems like a good idea: being helpful is good. Stepping outside of a web-page and having some form of permanence and ongoing relationship makes sense.

Why it’s a bad idea: people don’t like installing things, they want things on their terms, it’s been done a lot and failed a lot no matter what the sales guys for DeskBuddy(tm) tell you.


A virus

They say: “Could we create an actual virus that spreads our message”

You say: “Why not do it in the real world instead – why not just make a branded version of HIV, there’s more people in the offline world that you can infect”

Why it seems like a good idea: massive unstoppable spread of your message.

Why it’s a bad idea: viruses are not a toy, they are really not good, you don’t want your brand to be associated with not good things, unless you work for evilcorp.


A ‘viral’

They say: “We’ve made this film, can you make it a viral”

You say: “I’m just going outside to suck on an exhaust pipe for 30 minutes – if I make it back I’ll stick it on YouTube for you”

Why it seems like a good idea: we’ve all seen ‘viral’ hits, they’re things that everyone has watched, that have been passed around, loved and genuinely become part of the culture of the web. We’ve not all seen the ‘viral’ wasteland, the thousands of clips that sit gathering dust at the bottom of the ‘exploding heads’ category on YouTube. And because most of us only see the good stuff that works we assume it’s easy.

Why it’s a bad idea: because it’s not easy. Now that ‘viral’ has become a dirty nasty industry full of paid for placements and seeding bungs you need to plan for it from the word go. It’s mostly not really about things being viral at all, it’s just about dark media buying.


Starting a list of seven things and not counting how many you’ve got.

I’m going to open this one up for submissions, anyone got any ideas for the 7th deadly sin? Best suggestion wins a book from my library. Seriously I’ll send a good book to you if you come up with the best suggestion – plus happy to replace any of my ones that are rubbish…

I think I will…

Overcome challenges

I saw this on a poster on the way to work. It set me up for the day. I thought: ‘yes, I’m going to use better skills to overcome challenges’. So far it’s working…

ToyotaSpace – I Don’t Like This

Toyota Blog Spam

To me this shows exactly how not to approach bloggers to get them onside. I’ve not put in a link to the site, and I don’t want one back from them. But if you do want to visit the site you can figure out the URL from the text above.

Reasons why this is bad:

1. It’s blatantly a mail merged email. And a pretty badly written one at that.
2. It addresses me as ‘crackunit’ – that’s not my name. It’s not hard to figure out my name.
3. Why would I want them to link me to my December 2006 archive?
4. It’s badly targeted. I don’t drive.

I’m guessing that they’ve just done a big search on blogs that mention Toyota (and I talked about a Toyota website, from a craft point of view, last December). What’s ‘interesting’ about this is that it shows how even a bunch of brand enthusiasts (or in this case a for-profit organisation) can muck about with perceptions of your brand.

Reverend and The Makers @ Concorde 2

Reverend and the Makers Concorde 2 Brighton July 2007

I don’t go to ‘gigs’ that much anymore. So much so that even the word ‘gig’ makes me cringe with it’s approaching-an-age-where-you-shouldn’t-be-going-to-gigs-anymore-ness. Anyway I was lucky enough to get to go and see Reverend and the Makers in Brighton last night (thanks to Toby for the ticket).

When trying to think how I’d describe them I realised how hard it must be to be a music writer. All I can think about is how they’re like mash-ups of lots of different stuff, which just shows my limited musical vocabulary.

Lead singer ‘The Reverend’ takes the poet and the rock godness of Jim Morrison and fuses it with the twitching intensity of Ian Curis, via the baggy swagger of Liam Gallagher or Ian Brown. Their sound draws from all kinds of places LCD Soundsystem-esque cowbell workouts but with the humour and wit of the Arctic Monkeys. The low slung lazy-manc-funk of the Stone Roses updated with an electro edge. Sometimes the beats are close to skittering drum and bass patterns, othertimes its more like punky ska. Street poetry morphs into the politicised bastard child of Billy Brag and one of the Daft Punk robots.

You’re probably none the wiser. So here’s the best live footage I could find (from their support slot with The Arctic Monkeys last year)…

I’m pretty sure that these guys are about to get huge – not because I’m a great predictor of trends, but because they’re awesome (plus the fact I heard them on Asda’s in-store radio on Sunday which suggests something).

Plus the (very little) kids like them:

More on MySpace.
Their own page.
Or there’s a very informative page on Wikipedia.