Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Unfinished Symphony

Unfinished Symphony
Originally uploaded by Jonathan Marks.
This year, Amsterdam is trying to attract foreign businesses and tourists to spend money in the city and all under the general theme "Feel the Rhythm - Music & Dance". Not quite as attractive as Rembrandt that they did last year - but still laudable.

The problem is that if you are interested in organising a meeting in Amsterdam for 150 people- and I was until a few hours ago- the Amsterdam Congress bureau website only gives me 8 options (including the Arena for 12000 people) and many of the entries swap effortlessly between English and Dutch. Looks to me as though someone never finished the job.. My taxes at work!

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Nokia N95 lanched at 3GSM

Originally uploaded by Jonathan Marks.
So this is the phone that replaces the old communicator series including the 9300 that I bought less than a year ago. I complained to the guys at Nokia about their ludicrous policy on firmware. Seems that updates for the N-series are being posted on the web. But now that the 9300 and 9500 are obsolete, why not just release the firmware on these phones too. My 9300 is still buggy and I can't persuade the Dutch NOKIA centre that a firmware upgrade (6.2) even exists. It does - but all this is too little, too late.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Live TV on the mobile

Originally uploaded by Jonathan Marks.

NTT DoCoMo is one of several companies showing live mobile TV on the phone. The DVB-H solution seems to have the best picture quality inside the halls.

If you haven't been invited....

Originally uploaded by Jonathan Marks.

This sign is obviously to keep the public away from 3GSM in Barcelona. But not so successful with thieves. Lots of police wandering around here since crime is a problem - several standholders I spoke to have have phones nicked. A guy from HP was pleading with security to give him a new badge as it had been stolen the night before.

Laser Show - how very 1980's

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Motorola does a laser show...but just projecting a logo or statement on a building is so 1980's. What's more, you can't photograph the experience, only bits of it. Now we have lasers in 40 dollar DVD players, the magic seems to have dried up.

Speaker Testing Room

What's being tested here?
Originally uploaded by Jonathan Marks.

I wonder what's going on in there? Who or what is being tested? Loudspeakers? The GSM congress has some interesting speakers....but I guess most people are here for the exhibition.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

GSM Village Barcelona

Originally uploaded by Jonathan Marks.

The 3GSM conference is now bigger than IBC Amsterdam, with around 60,000 visitors and simply glorious weather. It is shirt sleeves weather and Yahoo is handing out ice cream cones. I see enlightened broadcasters wandering around, like Al Jazeera. CNBC is also doing reportages and CNN is promoting a new mobile service which starts on March 1st.

Barcelona Cathedral Gets Support from Korea

Originally uploaded by Jonathan Marks.

I am amazed. 0630 departure from Amsterdam. 0845 walking around the centre of Barcelona. Will dump my stuff at the hotel around the corner and head for the 3GSM Congress. Here for 3 days to see what's cooking in mobile and the overlap with the broadcast industry.

Running Out of Fuel

Originally uploaded by Jonathan Marks.

"Fuel for travel" is a good idea that is very poorly executed. The idea is that you can squirt some music into your MP3 player before you travel, rather than buy CDs in the Duty Free store around the corner. Problem is that the target audience (people relaxing on holiday) leave Schiphol airport well before the stand is manned in the morning and the company doesn't support the iPod. So how long have these jokers got left before they go under? 6 months? Frankly I don't care. Have to catch a plane to Barcelona. Its the first one out of the airport this morning at 0630. And that's early.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

To blog or not to blog: IOC ponders issue for Olympic athletes

"A subgroup of the IOC press commission recently concluded that blogging by athletes would not violate Olympic rules.

It proposed that athletes be allowed to blog, on condition they receive no payment, post their entries as a personal 'diary or journal' and do not use photos, video or audio obtained at the games."

The good old International Olympic Committee are living in a world of their own. By next year, many mobile phones in China will have 3-5 Megapixel cameras in them. Bet that many of those new cameras are in the stadia....the Chinese are not going to ban the public from bringing their mobile phones are they? So is the IOC going to sue the public like the music industry? When will these guys realise that they have lost control over personal blogs. Will they disqualify an athlete for posting a shot of their winning moment? Will these guys see the light in time - frankly I doubt it. Short-term profits are clouding the huge amount of free publicity that blogs like these could give to sport in general.

The reason my blog seems to be banned in China is that I have suggested the Olympics are going to fail to be spectacular for another reason. It is going to be unusually hot. Look at the temmperatures for Beijing in the last 4 years for August. Add to that - the sand storms. Sure glad I'm not competing....

Accordion with synthesizer

I half suspect that thing will play Swiss Country music by itself. Packed full of electronics as well as air. The band in the basement of Hotel Edelweiss.
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Thursday, February 08, 2007

Swiss Fondue


Great company, suspect food. Its always great to sample the local food, so in Geneva that means a cheeze fondue. That's basically all you get...bits of bread to dip into a burping pot of Swiss Cheeze. No salads allowed. A bottle of plonk was 38 Swiss Francs to go with it. The Hotel Edelweiss is a once in a lifetime experience. Been there, done that. I see the hotel has a 90% satisfaction rating on one hotel site, based on one reviewer.
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Monday, February 05, 2007

The Seattle Times: Latest news wires from the Associated Press

Seattle Times reports a 2 million dollar payment by Turner and the NY based Interference Inc for their publicity campaign last week which brought Boston to a halt.

More than three dozen blinking electronic signs with a boxy cartoon character giving an obscene hand gesture were found Wednesday in Boston, Cambridge and Somerville. The signs, part of a publicity campaign for Cartoon Network's "Aqua Teen Hunger Force," also appeared in nine other big U.S. cities in recent weeks, with little interest.

Counting Down to the Lift

Laurent Haug is a great guy, French but now living in Geneva. He's the brains behind the LIFT conference taking place this week. Its going to be a nice complement to the DLD Conference a few weeks back...grassroots this time with fascinating people sharing interesting projects.

Friday, February 02, 2007

Randy Newman on Youtube

Randy Newman has released a great political song on iTunes, with a sample up on Youtube. Bet it does well.

Lunatics Press Conference

The NY Post reports on a weird press conference given by the two guys arrested
for installing the electric-light boxes around Boston as part of the Turner Broadcasting Cartoon Network guerrilla-marketing ad campaign.

Following their released on bail yesterday, they promptly held a news conference on hair. Yes, they wouldn't answer any questions except about their hair - and therefore we're not planning to take the event serious at all.

"For example, Afros, I think, comes kind of from the '70s, but then again, there's other styles," said dreadlocked suspect Peter Berdovsky, 27, who chided, "Please don't interrupt," when someone interjected that he wasn't taking the situation seriously.

When asked, "How do you feel right now?" Berdovsky replied, "I feel like my hair is pretty perfect." Maybe they should tie these idiots to a bridge for a few weeks?

Berdovsky and co-defendant Sean Stevens, 28, have been charged with placing a hoax device and disorderly conduct. They were released on $2,500 cash bond.

Since Stevens and Berdovsky refused to answer any non-hair-related questions, one savvy reporter asked Berdovsky if he was afraid of going to jail and having his long hair cut.

"I think that whatever happens, I feel like my hair is safe at the moment," Berdovsky said.

"Hair today, gone tomorrow," chimed in Stevens, who sported a bowl cut.

As Berdovsky walked off after the conference, he gave a more serious comment.

"We need some time to really sort things out and, you know, figure out our response to this situation in other ways than talking about hair," Berdovsky said. "So if you could just give us some privacy for a little bit . . . I will be trying to make sense of all it real soon."

The Greenwich Village-based firm Interference Inc. was responsible for the campaign that put up the boxes, featuring character Ignignokt from the show "Aqua Teen Hunger Force," in 10 cities, including New York.

Authorities in the various cities have been working with the company to locate and take the boxes down. NYPD officials had been given 41 locations originally, but only had to take down about 20.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

All Time Stupid Media Campaign

Well there is a new Turner prize....this time for sheer stupidity. Turner Broadcasting apologized yesterday for a marketing campaign which set of the biggest security scare since the September 11, 2001, attacks. It happened in Boston, USA and ended up closing bridges, shutting major roads and putting hundreds of police on alert.

The day-long scare began when a suspicious package was found on a steel beam under a bridge on Wednesday morning. Police stopped traffic on a major interstate highway north of Boston, cordoned off the area, deployed a bomb squad and blew it up.

By afternoon, at least eight other similar suspicious packages were discovered, each triggering a security alert involving emergency crews, federal agents, bomb squads, police and the U.S. Coast Guard.

"The 'packages' in question are magnetic lights that pose no danger," Turner Broadcasting System Inc., a unit of Time Warner Inc., said in statement.

It said the devices were part of an outdoor marketing campaign in 10 American cities for an animated television show "Aqua Teen Hunger Force" produced by its Adult Swim brand. They had been in place for two to three weeks in Boston, New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Atlanta, Seattle, Portland, Austin, San Francisco, and Philadelphia.

"We regret that they were mistakenly thought to pose any danger," said Turner, adding that it had contacted law enforcement officials to give them the precise locations of the packages.

So how come the packages didn't have a label on them? Was it a guerrilla campaign? For sheer stupidity, this wins all the prizes.