Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Sony Bravia Zoetrope ad

A great new ad - for Sony Bravia appeared online today. It shows a specially constructed Zoetrope in Vaneria in Northern Italy, in which still pictures of the footballer Kaka animate when the zoetrope starts to turn. The music is by Kasabian.

I wonder if the inspiration for this came from this demo of Jim LeFevre's Phonographantasmascope from the Interesting2008 day in London in June 2008? No complaints if it was; as soon as I saw the Sony ad I was instantly reminded of it:

(I'm also loving how YouTube let you set the size of the video when you embed it)

Jonathan Ross reviews Watchmen on twitter

Riding high in the twitter buzz this morning is the movie Watchmen, thanks in large part to Jonathan Ross (Wossy)

He went to last night's premiere in London, and started twittering his thoughts on it at about 9.40 this morning. Jonathan Ross is a huge comics fan, a huge movie fan (& respected reviewer), and has nearly 120,000 followers, so he can certainly be considered an influencer.

What does he think?
"Watchman probably the most faitful adaptation of a comic to the big screen. Ending changed very much for the better."
Great sets, costumes, special effects - Rorshach especially good."
Downside - too long, too reverential, lacks pace and feels a little dull at times. In short - I love it and at same time am unimpressed !"
Opening montage sequence to watchman just brilliant though. Had me grinning from ear to ear."

He also responded to fans' questions - for example:
TheRonster: "
@Wossy Is the problem not that they've tried to make a ponderous GN into an action packed flick by artificially adding action beats?"
Wossy: "
@theronster No. The action beats are exactly as they occur in the novel. The problems lie elsewhere. i'll go into it on Film 2009."
tonycottam: "@Wossy so does it come with a double rating, one for non-comic types (yes they exist!) and one for ultra geeks like me?"
Wossy: "@tonycottam Non comic fans will be a bit confused. Dara O Brian was there and he said a lot of it went over his head."
scaryjones: "@Wossy What was it about the original ending that you thought was weak?"
Wossy: "@scaryjones Didn't think it was weak, just think it's one of those ideas that works in comics that wouldn't work on big screen."

Hats off to @Wossy for some brilliant twittering.

Update: There was also an official Watchmen twitterer tweeting from the red (yellow) carpet.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Paul's SXSW Artist Catalog

SXSW takes place in Austin, Texas, in March each year. Over 1,400 artists play in the town over about a week, and to help people choose what to see, Paul Lamere of Sun Labs has created Paul's SXSW Artist Catalog.

All artists are listed, with links through last.fm, YouTube and Flickr. It's sortable by popularity, hotness, newness and so on, a map showing where the bands come from, and tags for genre.

I just wish they did this for the Edinburgh Fring Festival. The Fringe sites, guides. etc are terrible.

(Also, here's a plug for a talk Paul is doing at SXSW - Help! My iPod thinks I'm an emo)

Friday, February 20, 2009

Ten Tracks - Curated Music Downloads

Ten Tracks is a new (ish) service, offering users 10 new tracks to download each month for £10 a year.

I love this idea. There is so much new music around at the moment, but how do you reliably discover new stuff? OK, there's Spotify and the online radio stations, and there's oodles of ways of hearing unsigned bands, but what about good songs that are likely to grow on you over the weeks?

At the moment I buy quite a lot of compilation albums to do just that (I'd particularly recommend Fatboy Slim's selection on the LateNightTales series - a really good, eclectic mix), but I'm now going to subscribe to Ten Tracks as well.

Ten Tracks allows you to download 10 tracks for a pound, choosing between different curated channels each month. For example one is from One Little Indian, one from The Police Box, and so on. Ten Tracks has a mission to properly reward the artists, so the bulk of the money goes to them.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Stephen Fry has 200,000 followers on twitter

As at 2.37 today (UK time) Stephen Fry got his 200,000th follower on twitter. He would have been asleep when this happened, as he's currently in LA.

Twitter is currently all the rage in the UK. Private Eye, which is usually very slow on the uptake with new technology, satarises it on page 18 (not available online) of the latest edition, and in doing so reveals that they really don't understand it.

So - 200,000 followers. Am I being slightly cynical to say that this helps us to estimate the popularity of twitter, at least in the UK? From my experience, virtually every British twitter user, or at least the those joining in the past 2 months, follows Stephen. In effect, he's like a default 'Tom' for twitter, a role he's had thrust upon him. So can we use his number of followers to estimate the number of active users? Or even tag it at the number who follow Jonathan Ross (currently 105,000), as he has a much lower profile abroad.

I'm not questioning the popularity of twitter.com. I'm more looking at the number of active users, vs ones who have look at the site but never registered. Hitwise, for example, puts twitter in the top 100 sites in the UK for January 2009.

Monday, February 16, 2009

My new favourite quote

"More interesting than thinking about what's possible in 10 years is thinking what's possible now but that no one has built"- Clay Shirky, The Observer, 15th February 2009.

Amen to that. Almost all of the great things that I see in digital media had been possible for quite a while before they were actually done. The best stuff comes from people with imagination using existing things in new ways.

Monday, February 09, 2009

Interactive Football Chalkboards in The Guardian

Last weekend The Guardian introduced this great service for readers.

Interactive chalkboards allow users to create their own analyses of games, using the official data on the number of passes, shots etc, all laid out on the pitch.

& you can then embed them on your own site, comme ca:

 by Guardian Chalkboards

Brilliant idea, even if the embedding is a bit skewed.

Friday, February 06, 2009

Barack Paper Scissors - YouTube Annotations

These are the best set of YouTube Annotations videos I've seen so far. (As before, annotations do not work on embedded videos - you need to click through to YouTube to play.)

Created in November, it's a variation on Rock-paper-scissors game. At the end of each video you choose what to play, and then see the result.

So far there are 6 different levels to play. You have to admire the attention to detail. Created by Ben & Eric

Ankle Insurance

I love this new initiative by Nike for the Zoom Kibe IV basketball shoes: "Get these shoes, or get anke insurance"

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Twitter time series trends with Twist

A colleague has just sent me a link to Twist, a site that lets you see trends in specific terms in twitter.

For example, here is the chart of mentions for the tag uksnow:

& here is the one for the Christian Bale, driven by the leaked audio tape (the second spike is driven by the remixed version)

& here is the the one for Philip Schofield's phrase 'that's my hedge', proof positive that twitter is becoming popular with a more mainstream audience in the UK.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Busta Rhymes launches 'Comglomerate' in GTA4

Another example of the changes in the music industry, and how music is consumed - Busta Rhymes is launching his new track Conglomerate in the update pack for GTA4, available in mid-February, as detailed by the Digital Music News blog. He won't be in the game, but the track will be available to hear in the game before it is available anywhere else.

Paul's Boutique reissue, in 5 different formats

This is one example of making money from music in the digital age. Paul's Boutique, the classic Beastie Boys album from 1989, is celebrating its 20th birthday, and has been re-issued in a re-mastered version in 5 different formats.

See them all here - you've got:

Basic download for $11.99 (all subsequent versions also include the download)
Deluxe download for $15.99 (inc 'director's commentary' video track)
CD for $18.99
Vinyl for £23.99
Full package inc prints, T-shirts, CD and Vinyl for an amazing $129.99

Monday, February 02, 2009

Stephen Fry is now the king of twitter

At some point yesterday Stephen Fry overtook Kevin Rose to be the most followed individual on twitter.

He's still number 3 overall - above him are Barack Obama, who does not do his own twittering, and CNN Breaking News, which is (clearly) not an individual user.

So well done Stephen Fry! I think that it speaks volumes about how twitter is perceived that he is now the most followed individual; after all the person (apart from Tom) on MySpace with the most friends is Tila Tequila... (OK perhaps not a fair comparison, but an entertaining one. Let me know if you have better stats).

& this is how he's done it - he's entertaining, and he acts like he's one of your friends. Here is a selection of random tweets from last week:

“Well. More eating. Off for dinner with a TV exec in an hour. It's work, much as it may not sound like it. It is. Honest. No really”
“I just know, although I don't read papers, that the "arentcha just sick of Twitter?" "Who cares what Fry ate?" articles will begin”
“http://the-ivyclub.co.uk Not to be confused with the restaurant. Owned by same people, in same street, but different entity x”
“Right. Definitely bedtime. Lots to do tomorrow. Ner-night all xx”
“@dafadowndilly You did that? http://tinyurl.com/cqlqno Oh you genius. It's beautiful. Wonderful. Thank you so much xxx”
“Awaiting passport photo for visa. 3 full frontal, 2 rt profile. Very specific this country. Consular section of embassy next. Can u guess?”
“Quickest, friendliest and most efficient visa visit ever. And yes, it was for Mexico”

He also follows some of the people who follow him. He stopped doing this when he passed 30,000, and as it is the feed of twitter updates from people he follows must be a blur. Kevin Rose on the other hand follows just over 100.

Update - 26th May 2009 - Stephen Fry is clearly no longer the king of twitter in terms of raw numbers. The changing demographics of the service mean that people like Ashton Kutcher (now near,y at 2m) and Britney are far more popular. Plus media organisations like CNN realised the importance of having lots of followers, so put more resources into getting followers. I also suspect that Stephen Fry got fed up with being the unofficial face of twitter, the default 'Tom from MySpace' if you will, and is now happy to be less high profile within the twittersphere. In terms of what he tweets, he's still up there with the best, of course.
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