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Month: April 2007

“Swim across the Atlantic Ocean – 3,462mi”: Google

from: New York, NY, United States of America to: London – Google Maps


Oh, I know it’s doing the rounds of the web, and it’s also probably a cunning joke by those oh-so-funny folk at Google, but it is rather charming literal response to a mapping question.

The big, unanswered question, however, is why the landfall in France?

This isn’t just an anti-London/UK dig since the routes to Dublin and Cardiff also hit France first… Maybe a love of tunnels by the Map Bot? We should be told!

AJAX and ad revenues: Mediaweek article

Ajax Puts Web Ad Sales in Peril

I ran a couple of sessions for a major publisher the other day on new business models under ‘web2.0’ (or “the modern web” as I’m now taking to called the webinet: not sure what the ‘post-modern web’ will be, though…). Now isn’t the time to cover those new business models, rather I was thinking over the very real concern over the maintenance of the current ad sales revenues while the new options build up.

The Mediaweek article gives a good summary of the position and concerns, but overall is too ‘hands in the air’ for my liking. There’s an opportunity for media and retail property owners to work more closely with brands and advertisers to investigate the value points in the customer cycle and to then divvy up the proceeds accordingly.

The following quotation sums up “old think”:

Some buyers say that regardless of how the Web is sold, all that matters is that their clients’ ads are seen. “Everyone in our industry is very focused on scale and impressions,” said Alan Schanzer, managing partner, MEC Interaction. “Until we have real-time measurement of engagement for brand ads, I want to know that my target audience is spending time on a page that displays my ad.”

ie ‘never mind whether the ad converts to sales or actions – just so long as it’s waved in front of people’s eyes’.

If anything shows the unsustainability of our current model it’s a quote like this. We’ve measured hits and page impressions simply because we could, and build an inference of value and inference upon these metrics. There’s no substitute for sales information, though, and a combination of campaign-level ROI tracking and improved measures of “influence” will in time make page/hit tracking as antiquated as the belief, prior to anaesthetic, that the pain of the operation kept patients alive. Indeed.

Helvetica: A documentary film by Gary Hustwit

Came across this interesting film:

Helvetica is a feature-length independent film about typography, graphic design and global visual culture. It looks at the proliferation of one typeface (which will celebrate its 50th birthday in 2007) as part of a larger conversation about the way type affects our lives. The film is an exploration of urban spaces in major cities and the type that inhabits them, and a fluid discussion with renowned designers about their work, the creative process, and the choices and aesthetics behind their use of type.

Anyone got a spare cinema or screening room I could borrow so we can show it? Happy to do the organising if it’s the only way I get to see the film… 🙂

Who’da thought that typefaces would get films, eh? I’ve seen some films so awful that the credits were the best part, but this is certainly a step up. I’m now going to have a cold shower to avoid a bout of ‘punning Tourette’s’ on font films!

BBC NEWS – Pig fat to be turned into diesel

I’m not sure what to say. Chatting to a friend over the weekend about biodiesel we were debating whether the water cost (for growing the crops as biomatter) would become as problematic as the carbon cost – especially following an interesting article in the RSA journal a month or so ago about how some food practices “export” the water impact from rich countries to poor. The article, entitled “Water Fight” notes that “it takes 11,000 litres to grow the feed for enough cow to make a hamburger, and between 2,000 and 4.000 litres for that cow to fill its udders with a litre of milk”.

That’s quite a thought – especially for a Londoner with the drought conditions of last summer still in mind.

Leaving aside the rather unpleasant thought of smouldering pig-fat emanating from the exhaust pipe, I wonder whether the overall impact of raising more swine – with the cost in foodstuffs, slurry, the electricity or gas to render the corpses and other cheery thoughts – will actually end up being more sustainable than burning old trees or non-oinking biomass.

6 minutes 40 seconds: Pecha Kucha…

Ian Forrester’s ever-interesting blog has taught me something new yet again: “Pecha Kucha” .

Not only is this a fun approach to presentations, but the neat gizmo will create a timed presentation for you from your last 20 bookmarks – complete with live countdown clock to the next page.

The linked movie on Ian’s page shows that this can be fun, although I can’t be help thinking it’d be more fun having to extemporise about someone else’s bookmarks…

With so much of life being absorbed by enforced staring at ppt I really hope that this high-energy, mercifully-brief format becomes a new corporate standard 🙂

Innovation Agenda: Events: Innovation Reading Circle

Really interesting ‘Innovation Reading Circle’ event last night, arranged by Nico MacDonald and kindly hosted at LBi by Lorenzo Wood.

The evening had an interesting ‘twist’ in that the author, Professor David Edgerton, joined us and gave not only an intro to the book, its genesis and the academic context but then participated in the conversations and addressed questions at the end. Part “interesting chat”, part “book club” and part “seminar”, it was a really interesting evening.

Nico will be writing a meta-review of the evening (to which I’ll be contributing my notes, so no review here for the moment!) – link to follow shortly.