Trains are cool

Came across this yesterday:

The London to Brighton train ride in 2 mins.

Reminds me of the Star Guitar video for the Chemical Brothers by Michel Gondry. I’m not sure if the music almost sounds similar too, or whether that’s just associations in my brain.

One of my favourite videos of all time. So effortless and simple on the surface, but so damn complex underneath.

Feels like the top one had the music edited for the video, and the bottom one is obviously the other way round.

Alpine Entertainers

Here’s a little something from my holidays. Some photos of promotional posters from the finest entertainers that South Tyrol has to offer…

Alpine Entertainers – a photoset on Flickr

You see, these guys look like fun. They all look like they’d give you a night of rollocking good entertainment. Now compare the above to the tedious typographic poster techniques used by po-faced clubs in the trendy club capital…

I vote for more fun photos of people and their instruments on posters.

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Steal this film

Picture 3.jpg

Following on from the Darknet post the other day, here’s some more on piracy in Sweden (and beyond). This 30 minute film gives a view of the P2P landscape (and especially the ‘bust’ on PirateBay – a major bittorrent site).

Obviously, given the group that produced the film, it’s coming at the argument from a certain direction. But there are some interesting bits in there.

I was surprised at the power that Hollywood has over the US government, and subsequently the lengths that they went to in order to ‘persuade’ the Swedish government to act against Pirate Bay. The backlash that this has generated in Sweden was also interesting, it would appear that many people are enraged by the US interfering and overturning domestic policy (which ultimately has led to the Pirate Party getting massive exposure and a sizable following).
I think the argument that’s put forward in the film that was most interesting talks about the fact that historically musicians were against recorded music, and the film industry was against VCRs. Both groups eventually turned these threats into revenue streams.

One commentator in the film recounts a Chinese proverb along the lines of:

When the wind rises, some people build walls. Others build windmills.

The ancient Chinese didn’t mention the fact that millions of others rush around looting stuff for free in all the confusion, but I guess that’s a much more modern predicament.

When I finished watching the film I didn’t end up feeling like my mind had been moved in either direction. It just made it clear that there really is a war going on, and there’s 2 groups of people who are determined to do things their way until they have to stop… But I did feel that one group was perhaps slightly more innovative and responsive than the other, no prizes for guessing which one.

Tony Davidson on Digital Creativity

The above image is blatantly stolen from the excellent DigitalAgency blog. But short of retyping the whole thing I couldn’t think of any other way of doing it.

It’s from the D&AD Student Annual, written by Tony Davidson (Creative Director at Wieden + Kennedy London) and it starts off well. It’s positive and upbeat, and the sentiments behind it are all bang on. But I read it a second time, and a third time (by the fourth read I started to feel like an oddball so I stopped).

The first 1/2 of it I couldn’t agree with more. It’s all pretty much fact. Fact that the most recent Ofcom report backs up almost to the letter. And it’s not just ‘our industry’ that’s running scared. The telecoms industries, broadcast media, publishing (books, films , music, videogames), and many others besides are trying to decide whether this is the most exciting thing that ever happened, or the thing that’s going to kill them.

However, halfway through it starts to make me a bit angry. Maybe I’m just touchy and I’m not reading it right.

But to suggest that it’s only now that ‘ideas’ people are getting involved with digital sounds really arrogant and is blatantly incorrect. If there was nothing good online why are there so many people there now. They’ve not been holding off for a bunch of ideas people to come and create good content.

The underlying (and slightly sinister) message is that because we all use computers now, we should all be able to create effective and interesting digital things. Which doesn’t work for me at all. It’s like saying that an agency like Poke should be able to come up with great TV ideas because we sometimes watch television. (We can’t and don’t by the way).

And yes, we are looking at a similar set of creative qualities. But there are more of these qualities than there were before. And I do sincerely believe that there are ‘digital people’, not people who speak in zeros and ones. But people who get it. People who live, play and create in this new world.

I guess the big question for all of us is where ‘digital creativity’ comes from. And how the organisations who deliver this creativity should be structured (or not). Is it the role of traditional agencies as we know them? Where ‘creatives’ generate ideas that are fed to craftspeople who produce stuff to fill media spaces (whatever shape or size they might be)? I think there’s a bit of that going on right now. But it’s the part of the industry that spends its days talking about advertising formats and the latest cyber-lions.

Personally that’s not what excites me. I’m excited by the notion of broad integrated teams working together to explore creativity across the board. Creativity in ideas, technology, craft, copy, interaction and experience (as well as stuff that we don’t even know about yet). If you look at where the real pockets of digital innovation are happening, they’re in the companies and organisations that are employing rapid development methodologies, with tight teams of extreme talent working towards common goals that they all passionately believe in.

These people aren’t just developing bits of communication, they’re developing new products, new businesses, new companies and new industries. They’re creating new ways for people to communicate and consume. They’re building software that can fundamentally change peoples’ lives.

That’s the kind of creativity that makes me want to go to work in the morning.

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What's hot on YouTube

Really useful breakdown of the 100 most viewed clips on YouTube. Nice work: No Man’s Blog: YouTube trends report #1

The top line is that of the top 100:

  • 58 are user generated content
  • 31 are music videos
  • 4 are commercial adverts
  • 3 are commercial virals
  • 2 are movie trailers
  • 2 are Asian tv show clips

There’s further breakdown of the user generated content on the site. But interesting to see that ‘real’ ads have been more viral than ‘viral’ ads. Goes back to the whole viral is bad, viral is good (stuff) argument from before.

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So much good stuff…

I should be going to work right now. But I keep finding amazing things that I feel the urge to share…

Following on from ‘convert your website into a pattern’, here comes ‘what does your website sound like’. A site that turns your website into a MIDI file. Unfortunately the site seems to be over popular right now. But the results that the Make Blog made sound not 1/2 bad.

And also from the excellent Make Blog. These subway posters…

pepsi access mp3 posters

With a real live MP3 player in them. Simple. Cheap. Interactive.

Longtail Recommendations

long tail on last fmSupersmart Ged (who I know from Yahoo!) pointed me to the longtail recommendations engine on I’d been to the page but I’d never noticed the slider: have a play, it’s really good (you might need to be a user to access it). It’s a really good and simple way to demonstrate in real terms the notion of ‘long tail’ to someone who hasn’t ever seen it before.

And on the topic of all things with long tails, Chris Anderson‘s book about it is on pre-order at Amazon now.

Pandora x Last FM

TechCrunch » Pandora and Together…sort of – I couldn’t work out which one of and Pandora I liked best for my music recommendation needs. Now someone’s sorted out my dilemma, they’ve mashed the two together. Hoorah!

Using iTunes to backup your music

iTunes to CD-DVD

Now here’s a tip I’ve been waiting for. It’s not rocket science. It’s iTunes science!

How to backup your iTunes music library, and most importantly of all, keep it backed up. I used to walk around in a constant state of paranoia that all my music was about to vanish. Now I can relax a bit.

From the blog One Digital Life which is full of useful stuff.

Going Underground

Is it really possible to overlay music onto the London Underground map? Each line representing a genre, giving proximity and intersections real meanings? Sounds bloody impossible to me. But someone’s given it a red-hot go. Nice work – Going underground from Guardian Unlimited: Culture Vulture