Tag Archives: web

iPhone Advertising Hits New Low

There I was reading an article about The Top 5 Myths About Yahoo! on Howstuffworks on my iPhone. I got to the bottom of page one, and clicked ‘read more’ like you do.

Then a new page launches and…

Holy fuck…

It is…

Noooooooooo…

It can’t be…

But it is…

THE POP UP AD IS BACK!!!

Bastards.

Here’s what the page looks like:

iphone_popup1

IMG_0881

It’s a simple full-page 2-frame animation. It’s for a good-cause-style-website. But that doesn’t make it any better. It’s vile interruptive advertising of the worst sort. What really bugs me is that it’ll show loads of impressions and probably get a whole bunch of clickthroughs in the short term. But that doesn’t make it right.

Just say no!

Interestingly if you visit the same page on the web and click the read more link there’s no such ad…

The Streisand Effect

barbara-streisand-without-makeup

I learned something new today. The Streisand Effect is what happens when you try and shut something down online and as a result everyone finds out about it and loads more people see it than would have if you’d kept your mouth shut. It’s origins come from Babs’ suing of a photographer over an aerial photo of her house.

The wikipedia page relates it to this quote which I also like:

The [Streisand] effect is related to John Gilmore‘s observation that “The Net interprets censorship as damage and routes around it”

I found the term at the bottom of this page – despotify.se – a project to create an open source Spotify client.

Things to do to escape your computer (or TV)

bike_hire

…hire a bike or roller skates or a boat.

Please help by adding to this in the comments.

Following on from this weekend’s activities. I’ve been thinking about what a great bunch of things Jason set me to do. All could be done with little investment, they were all quite fun, and thankfully all legal.

Asi seemed to suggest that I was lucky – and I think he was right. If he’d been in charge I’d have been:

deer-hunting, try nude modeling, kidnap a kitten, learn ballet, minor shop lifting, etc…

A totally different, and much harder, set of challenges.

Anyway, here’s the first few things that popped into my head:

Go into a pub you’ve never been into before and order a drink you’ve never tried before.

Yes, that's Pernod and Black

Paint one wall of your house a totally new colour.

Pink Wall

Go to a record store and buy a CD you’ve always thought you should have heard but haven’t. Then go home and listen to it. Properly.

61SKCG055ML._SS500_

Buy an ingredient from a ‘specialty supermarket’ and make something with it.

Wasabi!

Gamble £5 at a local arcade.

Family Leisure Arcade

Go to a class in something you’ve never done before at a local leisure facility (this may be more scary for some of us than for others).

Cryptic Symbols

Like I said before I’d love people to add to this list in the comments so we can compile a bunch of interesting things to do when the computers are off.

It also got me thinking that this is quite similar to a show that’s been on the BBC (radio and TV) called I’ve Never Seen Star Wars. Where they take famous people and get them to do stuff they’ve never done before.

For example:

  • Comedian Tim Brooke-Taylor buys his first pornographic magazine, tries some unusual seafood and listens to his first hip hop record.
  • Magician Paul Daniels reads feminist literature for the first time, learns how to swim, and experiences the film The Great Escape.
  • Stand-up comedian Arthur Smith watches Top Gear for the first time, eats his first Pop tart and watches Les Misérables.

All good inspiration for the start of this list of things.

Over to you… :-)

Earning Eternal Respect In 48 Hours The Twitter Way

I had a fun weekend this weekend. Thanks to a number of things.

1. Weekends are good anyway.
2. The weather was pretty nice.
3. I did normal stuff with Sophie like have nice lunches. Laze around. Drink a bit of wine. Get some chores done. Etc.

But in addition this weekend was a bit more exciting because of something that happened on Twitter on Friday night.

I was trying to decide whether to spend the weekend catching up on emails and that kind of thing. Or whether to go the other way and sod it all, so I posted:

Iain Tait (iaintait) on Twitter

To which Jason replied:

Twitter / @iaintait

And Andy provoked me with:

Twitter / @iaintait

Which is pretty much the same as a double-dare, and being the child I am I thought. I’ll show them guys. I’ll go offline and I’ll do them things. Then Andy will have to respect me, and not just for a bit. For the rest of eternity!

And you’ll never guess what. It was fun to do a bunch of freaky things. And it wasn’t just the act of doing the things. It’s was the other stuff around doing them that was interesting. Like having to go and acquire knitting needles and wool. Or spending time in the heavy dairy section of the supermarket.

So here’s what happened…

I started out with a shopping list.

Challenge Shopping List

Task One – Learn to Knit.

Acquire wool and needles first. I went to the Open Market in Brighton which is quite a place. I think it deserves it’s own post so watch out for that.

Here’s the wool stall.

The Wool Stall

And as you might have noticed on my shopping list I also needed knitting instruction. Which I got like this.

Absolutely brilliant! I’d have never had a knitting lesson off a geezer if it hadn’t been for Jason’s challenge. Although, to be honest, I did have to cheat a bit later on and look up a couple of how-to videos on the internet. The bloke’s instructions were too fast for me.

And here’s me with my sorry-raggedy-ass knitting.

My Pathetic Knitting

It’s too tight. There’s dropped stitches and all sorts. But fact is I’d learned how to cast-on and to knit (a bit). So in my book that’s task one passed.

Needles and wool cost about £2.50 and it was quite fun after I’d got past the initial frustration. I reckon I should have got bigger needles and bigger / sturdier wool to make it easier. Would I do it again? Maybe.

Task 2 – Make Your Own Butter

Then I went shopping for some cream so I could make butter. And here’s what happened when I got home and tried to make it.

But you know what, after that minor fuss it tastes pretty good. And it didn’t work out to be stupidly expensive either. I made loads of butter out of 2 medium cartons of double cream. I might even do that again one day. I’m guessing you could do flavours and all sorts :-)

The home made butter turns up again during the Cheese Eating Task.

Task 3 – Make a Weapon

Simple. A throwing device made out of various sized screws and foil.

My Weapon

It may not look much. But during this photo:

My Weapon In My Hand

It rolled off my hand and onto my bare foot. It hurt. Therefore it works as a weapon. Task 3 – complete.

Task 4 – Make a Fort

I quite enjoyed this. I think if I’d been making it with more of a purpose it would have ended up better. To be honest as a 30-something guy making a fort on your own is a bit of a sad and lonely thing so I just wanted to get it out of the way really.

Here it is.

Fort Close Up

The close up perhaps disguises the overall lameness of the fort:

Fort in All Glory

But it’s a fort. And I made it. So Task 4 is technically complete.

Task 5 – Eat Cheese

Both simple and fun.

Here’s the cheese board.

Cheese Feast

Here’s cheese + chutneys + home made butter.

Cheese Feast Plus

Here’s me eating some cheese.

Me Eating Cheese

Task 5. Smashed it!

Task 6 – Paint a self-portrait

Here’s the one task where I may have technically ‘failed’ but I think it would be a tough judge who failed me because of choice of media, especially under the circumstances.

Here’s my excuse. I didn’t want to get out loads of paints and make a mess because we were trying to tidy up the house at the same time. So I decided to do a self-portrait in charcoal.

If you think this is a cop out on my behalf you are very much wrong. Art was my lowest GCSE subject and I’ve never been good at drawing or painting so even trying to do any kind of self-portrait was a big ordeal.

And here it is:

My Self Portrait

Here it is next to me:

Me and My Portrait

So, self-portrait done. The rules didn’t say it had to be good.

UPDATE: Shit, Missed the poem writing thing!

Task 7 – Write a Poem

Arse. When proof reading this post I realised that there was ‘write a poem’ snuck in the middle of the Tweet. Oh well here goes…

Writing poems is never easy,
Specially when I feel this cheesy,
I enjoyed my time making a fort,
A little more than perhaps I ought,
Making butter was a lot of fun,
But my weapon wasn’t quite a gun,
I suprised myself by learning to knit,
And home-made butter didn’t taste that bad,
I’m afraid my portrait weren’t in paint,
But it’s clear an artist, that I ain’t.

It might not scan quite right, but it’s late and it’s an emergency last-minute poem.

Anyway like I said it was fun. I learned a few things and it snapped me out of a few bad / lazy weekend habits. Like spending it doing pseudo-work on the internets.

So next time your not sure what you’re going to do at the weekend why not get some friends to give you a bunch of stupid things for you to do. You might enjoy it. And you might earn their eternal respect. Right Mr Whitlock ;-)

I guess this is kind of connected to the whole Mental Detox thing – which looks like it’s coming around again soon.

Scott Wayne Indiana – Nice Web Art

ypPn6n2Hfm4fmwqkUtkpPwyyo1_500

Scott Wayne Indiana sent me a nice email and a couple of links to his sites. The first one is his photo a day project – http://coinop.tumblr.com/. I really like them. That’s one of them above.

He also sent a link to 39 Forks which is a collection of his art projects. There’s some really nice stuff in there including the $200 car project where he bought a car for $200 and drove it till it broke. Here’s the road movie:

And perhaps my favourite thing of all is Web Street

Web Street on 39forks.com

Based on the insight that more street art is seen on the web than on actually on the street, he’s set up a blog of digitally manipulated street art. Things that have never actually existed on the street. But look like they might have done. Check it out.

Things like Banksy for Livesavers.

zipBanksyForLifeSaver

I’m always impressed by people who just get stuff done. They make me feel inadequate. In a good way. Have a dig around and find some things.

Nice work Scott.

Bring Back The Webmaster

Taller de empleo de "Webmaster"

I’ve no idea what the note above says. But I reckon it’s time we started thinking about Webmasters again.

I always wanted to be a Webmaster. It sounds so super powerful and cool. If a little geeky.

Anyway the more I think about what we do these days and the importance of social media (it’s amazing how much my fingers balk at having to type those two words side-by-side) the more I think that every site needs a webmaster. What I like about the term webmaster is that it implies that one person is the big boss. The master of the site. The person who speaks with the voice of the machine.

When you come across a brilliant site it so often feels like it comes through one person. Or at least there’s a very strong sense of singularity in the way it’s written and presented.

Webmasters would also, I’m sure, be good at Twitter, Facebook and all that stuff. They’re kind of like the Maitre D’ of the site. They’d know the regulars and keep them happy as well as getting new people involved. Looking after blogrolls as well as getting subscribers to an RSS feed.

Webmasters used to be the guys who knew a little about a lot. Not the deep techies but the person who could do updates and bits and pieces of code. The kinds of skills that would make your really good at customising widgets and blog bits.

Anyway next time you’re putting together a site don’t forget to think about who the webmaster is going to be :-)

Political Update Profile Message

jackson 5 abc / MP3 & Music Blog Songs / The Hype Machine

Spotted this on the Hype Machine today.

jackson 5 abc / MP3 & Music Blog Songs / The Hype Machine

I’m not even sure what it means. But it shows just how far political campaigning has become integrated into the fabric of the web. What’s next? Political allegiance verification messages before you get to enter sites?

Crisps and Conversations

I’ve been a bit of a sceptic about interactivity and FMCGs. Most of the time they just create digital litter.

Maybe it’s just because I’m a big fan of crisps. But Walkers seem to be doing some peculiarly interesting things around conversations and their brands.

Firstly the brilliant ‘Do Us a Flavour’ campaign. (If you’ve not seen it, they’re getting people to submit new flavors of potato chips. If you submit the winning flavour you get £50k and a 1% share of the profits from the new flavour).

The site’s got a lot of shortcomings. It doesn’t handle duplicates at all well, and the searching isn’t up to scratch. But it obviously doesn’t matter that much to people: 130,000 pages of entries – 6 to a page – gives almost 800,000 flavours submitted. That’s bloody incredible.

But they deserve it. They’ve built the campaign around a great question. A superb conversation starter. I’ve ended up two or three times now in conversations where people have got really excited about coming up with interesting new and bizarre flavours of crisps. And debating what would actually sell. What’s likely to win. Etc. etc. etc.

It’s a brilliant user generated content idea becuase anyone can do it. You don’t have to have any technical skills whatsoever. It’s just about imagining something. And something that almost all of us will have an opinion on whether we’ve thought about it before or not.

Once the submissions round is over. They’re going to manufacture the judges favourite top 6 flavours and let the public choose which of them wins. Generating trial / sales and driving even more conversations. As a genuinely integrated campaign I think it’s quite brilliant.

And now they’ve re-launched Monster Munch crisps. But they’ve not made a new version. Instead they’ve reverted to the old one.

monster_munch

What’s so clever about this is that they’ve tapped into a conversation that’s been going on for decades amongst crisp fanciers. Everyone knows that the old Monster Munch were bigger. They were ‘the biggest snack pennies can buy’. And they had really cool big monsters advertising them. It’s the kind of thing that pops up in those terrible ’50 reasons why things aren’t as good as they used to be’ nostalgiawank TV shows.

Anyway they’ve made them like they used to be again. And I love the ‘old’ flash on the top corner of the pack.

And if you’re wondering how big they are now. This is how big…

monster_munch_10p_size

Apparently there’s a new website coming soon too. I’m not holding out a lot of hope for it being the next brilliant thing online. If they follow the normal FMCG template it’ll be all about the monsters. Maybe some flims? Perhaps embeddable / sendable monsters? Monster games? I hope they do something really nice though. Building on what they’ve done so far.

And just in case you don’t remember the original Monster Munch monsters from the TV ads…