Friday, May 29, 2009

Meme Scenery Picture Quiz

A Friday quiz - a set of stills from popular internet (non commercial) viral videos with the main protagonists removed, taken from

Some are easy -
Some are a bit harder -

Some are very obscure -

(& these are the easier ones)

How many can you get? (Click on the link on the original site to see the full video).

It's also a good illustration of how much far some of these videos have worked their way into the culture. I'd love to try this out with some commercial ones.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

$20 Art at 20 x 200

New art works available online, from just $20. Each piece is available in multiple sizes. 200 are available at $20, typically in 8"x10" size, larger sizes cost more, and are limited to fewer numbers. Two new pieces go on sale each week; one photo and one on paper. Great business model. I just need some blank walls...

The picture above is iSketch104 produced on an iPhone by Jorge Columbo, who has just created a similar piece for the cover for the new issue of New Yorker magazine.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Stephen Fry's Dongle

Available online from today, the first part of The Dongle of Donald Trefusis, written and read by Stephen Fry. Priced at £1.99 per episode in the UK (it's fortnightly) it's an interesting attempt to sell content online.

I'm looking forward to hearing it. [Update - I've now heard it, and it's excellent. Really entertaining, and very funny] Donald Trefusis was created (I believe) for Radio 4's Loose Ends in the mid 1980s, and represents pretty much the purest form of the wordy, intellectual, funny, English humour that he does so well. I'm hoping for something similar to PG Wodehouse's short stories. I think that it's the first major piece of fiction Stephen Fry's written since The Stars' Tennis Balls in 2000.

See also - Stephen Fry on twitter, inc why he isn't still the king in terms of follower numbers

Three Wolf Moon customer photos

You've got to love these customer photos of the Three Wolf Moon T-shirt, uploaded to There are over 90 in total.

All photos here

See also - Gorilla Variations

YouTube is catch-up TV for the world

18 of the top 20 videos for UK users on YouTube this morning are from Britain's Got Talent.

This shows how popular the show is (13m viewers last night apparently), but also how YouTube is effectively catch up TV for the UK, and the world. In fact 8 of the top 20 globally are from Britain's Got Talent, showing how popular the show is overseas, and how people won't wait for the official screening in their own countries.

ITV are still missing out massively. Their official channel, set up belately after the success of Susan Boyle's first audition, has has no entries in the top 20 in the UK (videos are blocked for the UK due to rights issues) and only one entry in the worldwide list.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Football 3s

Football 3s is a new game produced by the London-based Mint Digital that makes Fantasy Football easier, live and more engaging.

How it works is this - from the 22 players in a particular match, pick 3.

Then, during that game (or part of the game) you get points based on those players' contributions, as recorded by those services that tell you how many kicks different players had. You can make substitutions, but basically that's all there is to it.

Play against friends; the winner is the one whose players contribute most.

I wanted to play this weekend, but the sunshine kept me outside. The next game is the Champions' League Final on Wednesday night - looking forward to playing in that!

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Yahoo's Brilliant Spots

A new initiative from Yahoo in London. Big circles have been placed on the pavement in various locations. Stand on the spot, take a photo, them MMS it to Yahoo for the chance to win a prize. All documented here and also on this Flickr group

I live just up the road from Spot 215 and will post a picture later this week.

Bandcamp analytics demo video

Bandcamp is a service that lets bands set up a website, and then sell music from the site. Like Bandzoogle, it's aimed at bands who want to go beyond the free service on sites like MySpace.

I love this video demo of analytics on their blog. A great way to present dry data.

Bandcamp, Stats, Eugene Jarvis from Ethan Diamond on Vimeo.

See also - Bandzoogle - websites for bands

Friday, May 22, 2009

The Shadow War for Young Bond

Very complex and engaging game to support the Young Bond range of books. Different missions take action from the different books - the screen shot above shows the start of the Siverfin adventure.

Read all about the concept and the execution here:

"A big reason why The Shadow War has been received so positively, both by the media (coverage from the Daily Telegraph, the Guardian, BBC 1, Radio 2, Radio 4 and Radio 6) and by fans, is because Charlie Higson has been extremely supportive. Initially, I think Charlie was a little wary, partly because he was already very busy promoting the book, and because the whole concept of the game seemed a little strange. However, he quickly got on board and wrote a detailed plot outline for the game that had some brilliant ideas; his outline forms the backbone on the game and ensures that it’s faithful to the books.

This was a serious concern for us. You just don’t mess around with the James Bond universe; there are legions of fans out there who have a right to expect that games follow the canon where possible. Our intern, Marc McGinley, spent a lot of time researching the books and the world of James Bond, making sure that all the details were correct; Ian Fleming Publications were also very helpful in this regard, pointing out any mistakes or contradictions in our story."

Two great local business twitter case studies

Taken from AdAge -

NAKEDpizza - "Recently it has started to track Twitter-spurred sales at the register. In a test run April 23, an exclusive-to-Twitter promotion brought in 15% of the day's business. "Every phone call was tracked, every order was measured by where it came from, and it told us very quickly that Twitter is useful," said Jeff Leach, the restaurant's co-founder. "Sure, there's the brand marketing and getting-to-know-you stuff. ... But we wanted to know: Can it make the cash register ring?""

Berry Chill - "Sent out "Sweet Tweets" -- promos that require users to show they're Twitter followers of the store. In a month, he's logged 700 followers and, he said, "sweet tweets" haven't diminished his daily sales. "Our last big promotion we gave away 1,100 yogurts -- $5,500 worth of product -- but sales were the same as the day before," he said. "The people who were existing customers standing in line attracted people who hadn't tried it.""

Short Films

Two examples of collections of short films online.

First, Border Stories, a set of short films about Mexico: "Border Stories is re-imagining the documentary, one with no beginning, middle, or end. Its only linear aspect is the border itself. Our crew travels the length of the U.S.–Mexico border, from Brownsville, Texas to Tijuana, Mexico in search of stories that portray the human face of this politically and emotionally-charged region."

Border Stories - Ciudad Juarez: Drug Ballads

& coming soon, David Lynch's interview project, in which Lynch will interview people around the US in short films.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Super-intrusive ad example

For Night at the Museum 2 on probably for today only.

Scroll over the banner at the top to trigger the full version. Seems to work beter in Firefox.

Ad served through Eyeblaster as far as I know.

Full disclosure - Fox is one of my clients, although I'm not involved with the marketing of this film.

See also - Takeover ad for Madagascar 2

OOiZiT - (a bit) like Digg for unsigned bands

Good concept - unsigned bands upload their tracks, people listen and recommend to others.

Also social networking features - more info here

See also - Bandzoogle - websites for bands

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Biggest Battle in History for Night at the Museum 2

This is a pretty involved and complicated game for Night at the Museum 2.

Basically... Pick 3 characters from the film (Octavius, Al Capone, Napoleon Bonaparte etc), then battle against another player's (different) 3 characters. Each character has different attributes, and you move your characters next to the opponents' then attack them. Each game takes about 10 minutes, and you seem to have to attack someone about 3 times before they die.

Two interesting things about it. One, some of the characters can only be used if you have a special code from an on pack promotion. For example Hersheys have the code for Able the space monkey. Two, you can log in through Facebook Connect, and then challenge Facebook friends to a game.

I won my game after 15 rounds.

Full disclosure - Fox is one of my clients, although I'm not involved with this film.

See also - Intro to Facebook Connect

Sunsilk Gang of Girls

Gang of Girls is a sucessful girls' community created by Sunsilk in India and the Philippines.

As they say in the FAQs "Pining together for that perfect pair of shoes, heated debates over low-cal food, collective knees going weak over Bon Jovi. That's what 'girl' bonding is all about. There's something very special about the time a girl spends with her girlfriends. Sunsilk ‘Gang of Girls' enables girls across the world to connect with one another and have a lot of 'girly' fun."

Includes a tie up with the Kolkata Knight Riders cricket team, Get Fit the Cheerleader Way, and Makeover Machine.

Monday, May 18, 2009


Today sees the official launch of the new search engine Wolfram Alpha. It's been live since the weekend, as a soft launch, and overall commentators are not impressed.

WA works in a different way to Google - it tries to answer the question on a screen, rather than to give you a set of links. The problem is that it takes data from a limited set of sources (to ensure acuracy), rather than the whole web.

The problem with this approach is that Google claimed a couple of years ago that about a quarter of all searches done on their site are completely new - that is things that have never been asked before in precisely that way. This mind-boggling fact, which shows how amazing Google is, is presented here in a graphical way by my former colleague Lynette Webb.

So - does WA work?

For some things it's impressive. I like to test search engines with Groucho Marx's favourite question: Groucho was once at a seance, and was asked to volunteer a question - anything at all - for the medium to answer. Groucho thought for a few seconds and then asked "What is the capital of South Dakota?"

WA does well on this one: Lots of information, well presented.

So far so good. But would it be any help at a pub quiz? Coincidentally, I run a couple of pub quizzes, so let's have a try with some of the questions. I input all of the following to WA to see which answers I got.

- In the video game Nintendo DS, what do the initials DS stand for?
- What flower is the symbol of Yorkshire?
- What is the French word for Firemen?
- What is the maximum number of different clubs is a golfer allowed to have with him during a game?
- What was the previous name for the 3rd Battalion, Royal Regiment of Scotland?

5 pretty straightforward questions (and all ones that Google can answer within the first page of results), but each totally foxed WA. In each case I got the message "Wolfram|Alpha isn't sure what to do with your input"

From this I would conclude that Wolfram Alpha simply isn't ready to deal with the bulk of queries from internet users. It may work well for acadmics or people using it in a very technical way (and skilled in inputting their searches.) The problem is that Google is just too good, and we get pretenders coming along pretty regularly (Mooter, Cuil, anyone?) so we get jaded with these new dawns. Also, it takes a certain sort of ego to name your site after yourself - I can't think of any major websites that are named after their founders. OK, the Page Rank algorithm in Google is named after Larry Page, but only real geeks know this, and it works as a pun anyway.

Finally, probably the biggest threat to Google in search seems to be twitter, where people can search live tweets from other users (compared to Google, whose data is a few hours out of date). Taking on Google is very hard - twitter did't attempt it, it just came as a byproduct of their main service.

Finally, finally, some wag has created a site called Wolfram's Beta - see it here. Very funny!

(& finally, finally, finally, it seems that the WA people do have a sense of humour of their own. Nice.)

See also - How to Monetise Twitter

Apartment 13 : Forensics game for OCR Nationals

Very neat game aimed at promoting the OCR science qualifications to young people and teachers. Takes about 5 minutes, and is both challenging and fun. (& I managed to solve the crime!)

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Free Coldplay live album

I remember when bands used to charge for live albums (& in fact use them as part of their contracted x album deal with their record company). I also remember buying bootleg live tapes.

LeftRightLeftRightLeft - Download it for free here

See also: Coldplay's Oracle They understand digital media.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Dark Night Of The Soul - $10 for a CD-R

Dark Night Of The Soul is an album collaboration between the producer Danger Mouse, Sparklehorse and David Lynch.

Except that a dispute with Danger Mouse's label EMI means that the music is now unlikely to be officially released. The artwork by David Lynch is complete however, so the plan is now to sell a blank, recordable CD, plus a poster, for $10, or the book of artwork, the poster, and a blank, recordable CD for $50.

This is a taster of the music:

The site says "Please note: Due to an ongoing dispute with EMI, Danger Mouse is unable to include music on the CD without fear of legal entanglement. Therefore, he has included a blank CD-R as an artifact to use however you see fit."

The implication being that the music will be leaked anyway, so you are buying a CD to burn it onto. In fact it started leaking a week ago, according to DigitalMusicNews. I suspect this one will run and run.

You can also listen to the album in full at the NPR site.

The Straight Choice - British political leaflets

In advance of next month's EU elections, this site lets people can upload and share political leaflets that they get through their doors. You can enter your post code and see leaflets being given out near to you. Very useful for fact checking and accountability.

Such as... the BNP are accused of using stock photos of people in their election literature, instead of their real supporters. Shocking.


Great example of a blog for a shop in Singapore. I love how they find engaging stuff to write about, even when it's not specifically about their own shop.

Soon Lee is at 56 Haji Lane, Level 2, Singapore.

Friday, May 08, 2009

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Hole in the Wall

I'm in Malaysia with colleagues from Asia Pacific at the moment and one of my colleagues gave me this brilliant example of digital innovation.

Hole in the wall is a securely embedded computer that is made available to people in various parts of India. It's a free access computer, first tested in 1999, and now extending beyond India. More information here.

It's also worth noting that the programme was one of the inspirations for the novel Q&A, which later was filmed as Slumdog Millionaire. As the author Vikas Swarup says:

“I was inspired by the hole-in-the-wall project, where a computer with an internet connection was put in a Delhi slum. When the slum was revisited after a month, the children of that slum had learnt how to use the worldwide web.”

“That got me fascinated and I realised that there’s an innate ability in everyone to do something extraordinary, provided they are given an opportunity. How else do you explain children with no education at all being able to learn to use the Internet. This shows knowledge is not just the preserve of the elite.”


Very strange, very hypnotic. YouTube videos played multiple times on a page, with visuals slightly out of synch.

Watch -
Seven Nation Army
Don't Look Back in Anger

Via the ever-brilliant Metafilter (loads of other examples shown)

(Oh go on then - Parklife is pretty good too, even if I am showing my age. Not to mention Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger). Post any other good ones in the comments!

Monday, May 04, 2009


Update (17th June 2009) - following an internal police investigation the blogger was identified and disciplined, and the blog has now been taken down. However you can still read extracts published in The Guardian here

[From May]
A couple of weeks behind the times on this one. Nightjack is the blog written by a British policeman that was awarded the Orwell prize in April.

Have a read; it's brilliantly written, if very bleak. On the TV programme Late Review they were very snippy about the fact that 'Nightjack' has now discontinued the blog to concentrate on writing a book. This is just being ignorant - blogs are one way for new talent to emerge, and try out ideas and writing styles. Other writers have come up this way, for example Tom Reynolds, who writes a blog about his life working for the London Ambulance Service, and published in book form as Blood Sweat and Tea.

Back to Nightjack. It's brilliant writing, and should make a brilliant book. (& also the basis for an excellent TV series, if people start moaning about why we don't have a British version of The Wire again.)

Some people have complained that it's all a bit right wing, but you just have to interpret what he's written in the light of other things you know and have experienced.

I'd particularly recommend the posts:

Only 24 hours to crack the case Pt 1
Only 24 hours to crack the case (pt 2)
Only 24 hours to crack the case (pt 3)
& From truncheons to tasers

This is the sort of stuff that gives blogging a good name. There are too many examples of things that give blogging a bad name.

Live Doritos Dodgeball Challenge

Great new campaign for Doritos - throw dodgeballs from your computer at teams dodging live in a studio in the UK, to promote the new Flamin' Cheseball flavour.

Thanks to Nicola Davies for the tip!

Saturday, May 02, 2009

Great-looking game for Taking of Pelham 123

Too often online games for films are very disappointing. It looks like a lot of thought has gone into this one. Looks great!

Play as a Hijacker or a SWAT cop.
Related Posts with Thumbnails