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Huh

11.30.2005 by Kevin Creighton

I blog about the problems facing newspapers.

Jon writes about the problems facing television news.

<Goliath voice> Gee, Davey, you think it might mean something?
</Goliath voice>

I haven't subscribed to my local paper in years. And most people under thirty get their news from Jon Stewart, not the network news.

There's still hope for the legacy media. Carriage makers quickly adapted to the automobile and became suppliers of auto body parts. The first TV manufacturers stared building by building radios, and the first TV content was adapted from radio shows.

But we don't watch Your Show Of Shows anymore. And the legacy media better wake up, fast.

Slashdot Rules

by Kevin Creighton

A writer and editor for the extremely popular tech site Slashdot lays out some rules for newspapers in the age of the internet, summarized as follows:

1. No matter how much I or any other reporter or editor may know about a subject, some of the readers know more. What's more, if you give those readers an easy way to contribute their knowledge to a story, they will.

2. Not all readers know what they're talking about.

3. No matter what you do, some readers will post malicious and/or obscene comments.

4. Readers will post comments that advertisers don't like, but that makes it a more effective advertising medium in the long run because some of that trust will rub off on advertisers that support it.

I've been on /. for a while, and there are some very smart people there. There's also some disgusting idiots. But it's amazing how the collective wisdom of the moderation systems weeds out the clueless and the ignorant. 


About as not good as it gets

11.29.2005 by Kevin Creighton

Sony was warned weeks in advance that it's DRM was a security flaw?

Just more chum in the waters for the lawyers.


Why yes,

by Kevin Creighton

I'd love to get one of these.

What'll be fun to watch is how Apple integrates PPV iTunes video and the free video this (allegedly) new machine will kick out.


CluelessCat

11.28.2005 by Kevin Creighton

I'm finally up to speed in the cellphone world, having rejected the lame ROKR (Most. Disappointing. Phone. Ever!) in favour of a Blackberry (mmmmn, crack), so I can understand the thought process behind this idea.

But let's return to the cost/benefit analysis for a second. In return for snapping a pix and uploading it and waiting for a download you get...

A Coca-Cola branded game. Yay you.  I mean, it's not like games for cell phones are hard to find.

Look, I understand the need to track metrics, but shouldn't downloads of the game be enough? Why is Coke putting a barrier (upload a picture, and heaven help you if the lighting's bad or the focus is off or if you have an advanced phone like my Blackberry that doesn't have a camera) in front of what we've come to accept as standard consumer behaviour? Why isn't the download enough?

Rule #1 about herding sheep: They don't go willingly to places they're not used to.


The missing link

by Kevin Creighton

Despite my recent posts casting doubts on Web 2.0, I like where it's headed. There just needs to be a breakout from the early-adopter ghetto, and fast.

This post about Flickr's success nails one of the most obvious element of any successful Web 2.0 app, an open API.

Let the people who make things make something with your program. Then the people who don't make things can do more.


Heh

11.27.2005 by Kevin Creighton

Today's Foxtrot strip.

So just how good is Google?

by Kevin Creighton

Quite good, as search engines go.

But hey, take the test yourself and see.

(Via Seth's blog).

It probably seemed like a good idea at the time...

11.26.2005 by Kevin Creighton

Carnival Cruise Lines have been using Iggy Pop's "Lust for life" as the music for it's TV spots for quite some time now.

It's got an ultra-catchy bass line, and I think they were hoping it'd make them seem more hip to the younger generation.

Those that don't know that the song's about heroin addiction, that is.

Here comes johnny yen again
With the liquor and drugs
And the flesh machineHe’s gonna do another strip tease.
Hey man, where’d ya get that lotion?
Your skin starts itching once you buy the gimmick
About something called love
Love, love, love
Well, that’s like hypnotizing chickens.

I can't wait for a spot where "No more beating my brains with liqour and drugs" quietly plays in the background as an attractive, fit young couple cavort on a tropical beach.

And it's just one of many... questionable attempts to combine independent/countercultural music with marketing. The Ramones are selling Pepsi and car rentals, Sir Mix-A-Lot's with Target, and The Buzzcocks' "What Do I Get?" was in Toyota ad a few years ago.

My favorite, is of course, The Clash's "London Calling" being used to advertise Jaguar.

What's next, "I'm All Lost In The Supermarket" in an Albertson's spot? "Pretty Vacant" for Maybelline?

Old farm building

11.25.2005 by Kevin Creighton


old building 3
Originally uploaded by Hawthorne01.
Chances are, this'll be demolished before long.

Buy nothing

by Kevin Creighton

I got to admit, for someone who's spent 10+ years in the advertising/marketing world, I avoid the Black Friday sales like the plague. The risk/reward proposition is too much for me: I'm not willing to spend an hour in a checkout line just to save a few bucks.

But.

The Apple store's got iSight cameras on for $119 today.

Moth, meet flame.

From this day forth

11.24.2005 by Kevin Creighton

The year that is drawing towards its close, has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added, which are of so extraordinary a nature, that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever watchful providence of Almighty God. In the midst of a civil war of unequaled magnitude and severity, which has sometimes seemed to foreign States to invite and to provoke their aggression, peace has been preserved with all nations, order has been maintained, the laws have been respected and obeyed, and harmony has prevailed everywhere except in the theatre of military conflict; while that theatre has been greatly contracted by the advancing armies and navies of the Union. Needful diversions of wealth and of strength from the fields of peaceful industry to the national defence, have not arrested the plough, the shuttle or the ship; the axe has enlarged the borders of our settlements, and the mines, as well of iron and coal as of the precious metals, have yielded even more abundantly than heretofore. Population has steadily increased, notwithstanding the waste that has been made in the camp, the siege and the battle-field; and the country, rejoicing in the consiousness of augmented strength and vigor, is permitted to expect continuance of years with large increase of freedom. No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy. It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and one voice by the whole American People. I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens. And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings, they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to His tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquillity and Union.

In testimony whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the Seal of the United States to be affixed.

Done at the City of Washington, this Third day of October, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, and of the Independence of the Unites States the Eighty-eighth.

By the President: Abraham Lincoln

William H. Seward,
Secretary of State

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.

Somehow, I don't see him busting thru walls anymore

11.23.2005 by Kevin Creighton

DMC (You can call him Darryl Mac, or you can call him DMC. People always ask him, "DMC: What does it mean?" D's for never dirty, MC's for mostly clean.) is ditching Adidas for Le Coq Sportif.

Sigh. Another icon of my youth, torn down in front of my eyes.

Background check

by Kevin Creighton

So why do some of us get what Web 2.0 means, and others don't?

I'm a D&D geek from a long, long time ago (If you want, I can hold forth on why the game went downhill after Blackmoor. But not now.). In role-playing games, the idea of teamwork and collaboration come as naturally as breathing. Even if the players can't work together, the GM has to work with the players for everyone to have a good time. And online gaming is picking up from there, with cooperation absolutely neccesary for success.

Musicians, too. You can be a lonesome singer-songwriter, but chances are, be it with management or producers or backup vocals or whatever, you're going to have to learn to share the spotlight. And if you don't, your chances of ever seeing that spotlight dim drastically.

Programmers know how to work together, too.

Ok, GOOD programmers know how to do work together. The absolute best debugging tool I've ever found is to just call out, "Hey, can you look at this for me?" and the solution appears before my eyes before my coworker can get there. It's the act of calling in someone else to help that solves the problem, it seems.

So where does that leave the other 90% of the world? Let's face it, our culture isn't set up to work together. We don't reward team builders, we reward rugged individualists. Sure, we play sports in teams, but all our social groups are built on trust, not random strangers. Relying on a hive mind to find interesting pix on Flickr is one thing. Trusting Wikipedia to provide information for a critical business presentation is another.

The killer Web 2.0 app will be the first one that works as well for 1 person as it does for a group. Until then, the lone wolves will remain outside the pack.

Web Two Point Whoa

by Kevin Creighton

Over 60% of the respondents to a recent online poll in the Wall Street Journal don't read blogs. (Via BrandAutopsy).

Not a single one. And only 1/4 of the respondents read 3 or more, including political blogs, business blogs, the blogs of family and friends, you name it.

Maybe we need to look at expanding our base before introducing the next cool web gizmo. Or build a web gizmo that expands the base and isn't just navel-gazing with AJAX.


Problems with CD copy protection?

11.22.2005 by Kevin Creighton

Release your album on a USB Memory stick!

Or your very own iPod Shuffle



In case you were wondering,

by Kevin Creighton


this is what good design looks like.

Quick,

by Kevin Creighton

Who sold more music in the first half of this year: iTunes, Borders, Sam Goody or Tower Records?

If you said one of the brick and mortar stores, you're wrong.

Welcome to the future. Now will someone please tell the RIAA to stop messing it up?

The mountain hath arrived at Mohammed

11.21.2005 by Kevin Creighton

Microsoft is opening the MSOffice format.

Needs to be done. 


The end of depth of field worries?

by Kevin Creighton

This new tech makes it seem so.

Interesting. Now there's even less skill needed behind the camera.


Oh no he didn't!

by Kevin Creighton


The President of the RIAA dismisses Sony's rootkit?

Did I read that correctly? That the head of a major trade organization endorses making your PC (and Macs, too) wide open to malware in the name of protecting something that's easily defeated by other means or available through other sources?

"The problem with the SonyBMG situation is that the technology they used contained a security vulnerability of which they were unaware. They have apologized for their mistake, ceased manufacture of CDs with that technology,and pulled CDs with that technology from store shelves. Seems very responsible to me. How many times that software applications created the same problem?"

He's assuming they were unaware of the security issues. I think they were, and they just didn't care.

Not-so-early adopters

by Kevin Creighton

"So, if you're just now hearing the term "Web 2.0" and you're wondering what it means, don't waste your time."

A-yup.

And Go Flock Yourself (geez, I love that name) takes Web 2.0 and puts it up against the wall (I REALLY love their post about information clouds. Most. Useless. Graphic. EVER!).

While I'm not down on Web 2.0 as much as he is they are, I wonder about the ability of Web 2.0 tech to migrate past the early adopters. Web 1.0 clearly had apps that the computer-illiterate amongst us could use, like Hotmail and Amazon.com, the Web 2.0 apps for the rest of the world aren't as clearly defined. Not everyone wants to be a media mogul: There are teens who will never be on myspace.com and not everyone in business will be blogging. I just can't see Web 2.0 having the almost universal acceptance that Web 1.0 has garnered, because not everyone wants to be social, or rely on their friends all the time. Sometimes we want to shut out the world and do it ourselves.

But hey, I thought the dancing hamsters would die a quick death, too.

*faint*

by Kevin Creighton

PhaseOne back + Cambo Wide body + Digitar lens = object of my photo-gadget lust.

I have never done anything like this.

11.20.2005 by Kevin Creighton

Never.

Really, not once.

Maybe a few times.

Okay, I've done it to Elvis. A lot, actually, especially this song (iTunes link). Sometimes, my upper lip doesn't look normal for weeks.

But I've never recorded it.

Which is a lesson these guys never learned.

An now it's something the rest of us can enjoy.

And learn from.

Kareoke and webcams don't mix.

Very cool.

11.18.2005 by Kevin Creighton

Laser-etched Powerbook lid.

While tarsiers are cute, I think I'd rather put this or this on the cover of my laptop.


Daddy like.

by Kevin Creighton

I added Google's new analytics tool to the blog here.

Wow.

I mean, WOW!!!!!!

I like, nay, love it. If I were doing a commercial site, it'd be the first thing I'd add. 

Coremetrics, Webtrends, watch out.


Words from the master

11.17.2005 by Kevin Creighton

Jonathan Ives interview.

(Busy day today, sorry).

Let's get ready to ruuuummmmble!!!!

11.16.2005 by Kevin Creighton

First, there was this. (Needs QuickTime)

Then, there was this.

So naturally, this followed.

Nice.


Changes needed, changes made

by Kevin Creighton

Apple's changed the way their Genius Bar works.

'Bout time.


Queen Creek, center of the Podcast universe?

11.15.2005 by Kevin Creighton

Looks that way.

Who'd a thought that new media and cotton farms could co-exist so well?


Heh.

by Kevin Creighton

Michael Dell, 1997.

Dell Computer, 2005.

If you can't lick 'em, join 'em, I guess... 


Really, really, doubleplusungood

by Kevin Creighton

(What, you've never read 1984?)

Half a million PC's infected with Sony's DRM malware.

Microsoft says it's spyware, and will issue patches against it.

Sony went from industry leader to CoolWebSearch (Warning: Windows users, don't go there. Seriously.) in the blink of an eye.

Hello, New Coke.


Really, REALLY, REALLY not good

by Kevin Creighton

Just when you think it couldn't get any worse for Sony,

It does.

Well, the good news is, they're providing employment for any corporate trial attorney who might need a job.

Google Über Alles

11.14.2005 by Kevin Creighton

Geez, now it's online tracking and analytics.

Is there anything that Google ISN'T getting into?


Really, really, REALLY not good at all

11.13.2005 by Kevin Creighton

Mother of Mercy, can this be the end of Sony?

To recap
: The DRM (Digital Rights Management) software on Sony CD's installs invisible files on your computer that make it easier to hack into (and they put it on Macs now, too. That'd worry me, if I ever bought physical CD's.).

Now the uninstaller for Sony's DRM spyware is itself spyware
.

People are boycotting Sony products in droves. This is a PR/marketing disaster of epic proportions, and may surpass New Coke in history's greatest business blunders.

And all of this, right before the PS3 launches.

The soft bigotry of high expectations

by Kevin Creighton

I think this post at The Long Tail misses the point about the iPod Shuffle.

My wife wanted a small iPod to take on her daily walk, so she got a 512mb Shuffle, the cheapest one they make. No display, and only 120 songs.

And you know what? She loves it. It does everything she wants, and nothing more.

The world is cluttered with gadgets with feature after feature that somehow seem to lack the one thing need the most. It's much better to have something that may lack the bells and whistles, but what it does, it does very well.

Look at kitchen knives. Ever see a Swiss Army chef's knife? Ever wonder why Henkel or Wistoff doesn't make a combination 9" utility knife/cheese grater/bottle opener/thermometer/toothpick? Maybe it's because Wistoff, et al, know what a chef needs, and that's a knife that cuts and handles well and that's all a kitchen knife is *supposed* to do.

All-in-one gadgets have their place. I have Leatherman Multi-Tools in the truck, in my gadget bag, at my desk, and in the kitchen at home. Why? Because it's supposed to be an all-in-one, and it does that well. But I don't use it to carve up chicken breasts.

I love my 20gb photo iPod, and my wife likes her 512mb Shuffle. She's used to CD players or FM radio, where you can't see track information (Heck, on FM, you can't control the playlist. How lame is THAT? :-) ), so not having a display is not a problem. And she listens to music in a different way than me. I've always had a big music collection, and am used to having a wide variety of songs available to me. If I hear the same track twice in a day, it bugs the heck out of me (The reason why loathe The Wreck Of The Edmund Fitzgerald so much is it was overplayed on Calgary radio in 1980). My wife isn't that way, her tastes are more limited, and purchasing CD's isn't a priority for her.

The beautiful thing about all of this is how Apple's roped both of us into their fold. I'll buy iPods from here on out, becuase I liked my original 5gb and now my new 20gb Photo iPod, and my wife will buy at least Shuffles, if not a Nano, because she likes the size/features they offer. They've found a way to please all the people, all the time. What other company can say that?

Windows washer

by Kevin Creighton

I gues this is one way to clean an infected PC....

Via We make money, not art


"It's your intellectual property,

11.11.2005 by Kevin Creighton

"it's not your computer."

That's as concise a statement about the limits of Digital Rights Management as I've ever read. 


In Rememberance

by Kevin Creighton

In Flanders Fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

- Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae, MD (1872-1918)
Canadian Army 


Yep, not good. Not good at all.

11.10.2005 by Kevin Creighton

Seems I was right.

First, there's a new Trojan out that uses Sony's DRM rootkit.

Now, they're getting sued.

 And well they should.


No one is immune

11.09.2005 by Kevin Creighton

What happens when an expert on brand evangelism wants to buy a new computer?

She gets overwhelmed by Mac users, of course

This whole passionate users thing might be on to something... 


Those who would lead must first blog.

by Kevin Creighton

The Harvard Business Review (like THEY know anything about business. Harumph. :-) ) says that blogging is now an essential tool for top-level execs.


Death of a thousand cuts

by Kevin Creighton


I'm old enough to remember when Microsoft was almost (*almost*) cool. Dos 6.1.1. was useful, Filght Simulator was one of the best games out there, and Excel on a Mac (and only a Mac) beat the stuffing out of 1-2-3.

Then with Windows 95 ("Hey, it's Mac 1984!"), and the sudden shift to Internet Explorer, Windows 98,("With our exclusive Seive(tm) Virus Protection!"), the horror that was Bob/ME and now Google, they've always seemed to be 1 step behind what the market was doing, but were able to make up for it with a brute-force approached that leveraged their marketshare and cash reserves.

But how long can that last? Constantly playing catchup works until you start to falter and there is no Plan B.  Microsoft reminds me of a fencer who's stronger, but a tad slower for his opponent. Sure, you'll parry most of the blows easily, and make better attacks. But there's always that one riposte that you just aren't fast enough to parry, and then the match is over.


Buzz marketing in a box?

11.08.2005 by Kevin Creighton

Sure looks like it.

From IBM, no less. 


Bit by bit,

by Kevin Creighton


... Google Maps is changing the way we use the web.

 

Play Risk (Oooh, Festung Kamchatka) with Google Maps.

 

Find an Apple Store near you with Google Maps.


Zen and the art of Powerpoint

by Kevin Creighton

Actually, I like Keynote better. And you'll figure out why (Hint, it's not just because it's an OS X thing) after reading this. Simple, common-sense guidelines on building presentations that inform without overwhelming.

And ditch Comic Sans, too.

by Kevin Creighton

The Five Most Grievous Email Errors. (Via LifeHacker).

 

Why no Comic Sans? Do you really want that email to the Executive V.P. to look like a 5-year old wrote it?


Geeks uber alles

11.07.2005 by Kevin Creighton

Never really thought of this before, but geek culture has gradually taken hold everywhere. I guess for me, it's stuff that I've always been into, so I never really noticed that it's become popular.

If only they'd remake Space: 1999 now...


Get Nervous

by Kevin Creighton

 
Think about that. These are bands with a built-in fanbase, that are packing concerts nationwide, that can bypass 99% of what a major label can do for them, and now they've got a CD out.
 
The RIAA is toast.

I don't know if it's art,

by Kevin Creighton

but I like it.

Late to the party

11.06.2005 by Kevin Creighton

Don's just figured out the magic of online radio, (psst, Don, try Dl.FM on iTunes. You'll love it.), and I was just turned on to how quick and easy AIM Video / iChat Video conferences can be. My parents are living in England for the next few years, and they've got a hi-speed connection and a webcam, and once I plugged in my DV Camera, we were up and running, showing off their grandkids and yammering back and forth. What would have required the use of two dedicated facilities and a major telecommunications company 20 years ago, we did with free software and a $50 webcam.

Who says technology never makes people lives better?

Bookmark this post,

11.05.2005 by Kevin Creighton

'cause it ain't gonna happen very often here.

I agree 100% with Microsoft.

On this, that is
.

Ahem.

11.03.2005 by Kevin Creighton

Look, don't ever say I never told you how to take better pictures.

Now go out and shoot.

Now cracks a noble heart

11.02.2005 by Kevin Creighton

They've blocked blogger.com at my work.

My posts here, therefore, will become less frequent.

If it changes, you'll know.

Free fonts, no b.s.

by Kevin Creighton

Just try to find a free font website without wading thru pages and pages of link farms.

Or click here.

TANSTAAFL

11.01.2005 by Kevin Creighton

"Marketers cannot simply sprinkle magical word-of-mouth marketing dust to create long-lasting word of mouth."

Hell. Yes.

(Via Seth.)

Uh-oh.

by Kevin Creighton

This can't be good: "I checked the EULA and saw no mention of the fact that I was agreeing to have software put on my system that I couldn't uninstall."

Sony's decided that the best way to enforce DRM is to install rootkits on the user's systems? Doesn't surprise me, coming from the same company that clung to ATRAC for so long.

Dear PBS,

by Kevin Creighton

Read this,

Then put "Baseball", "The Civil War" and "Jazz" up on iTunes ASAP, along with most of Mystery! and Nova.

Oh, along with Bob the Builder and Thomas The Tank Engine for my kids, please.

Thank you.

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