Thursday, December 31, 2009

Discussion Tables

This is like a coffee table on steroids. For the past couple of months I have been involved in the development of modified Microsoft Surface tables for use as interactive video players in public spaces. Dutch Public Broadcasting, NPO, has really taken the concept a lot further than the original design and the reactions from the public have been fantastic. Thanks to Punkmedia for some of the shots in this video. If you ever need a cameraman to capture conversations, Henk-Jan comes highly recommended.

Posted by Picasa

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Borders Closes in UK - Sign of the Times

Posted by Picasa

Sorry to see one of the largest (and newest) bookshops in the Norwich Chapelfield shopping complex has shut its doors and emptied the shelves. It has left a rather large gap! But the real estate prices must have been astronomical. As a new Kindle 2 user, I must confess that for run-of-mill novels and business books, I much prefer to get these electronically now.

It seems from an article in the Guardian I read on line this morning, while installing a new computer for my mother, that Borders in the UK went into administration last month, 12 years after opening in Britain. The group's 45 Borders and Books Etc stores have been dumpring remaining stock for some weeks (I remember seeing one near Victoria Station in London), but slashed prices by 90% on all remaining stock for the final day's sale.

The problem with these fire sales is that the great books go very quickly, and I seldom make fantastic discoveries - just because they're cheap doesn't mean the selection was particularly good.

Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Creche for Christmas Husbands


Love this sign - seen in downtown Norwich, England just outside the pub next to St. Peter Mancroft church in the centre of the city. In town, mooching around the shops which are definitely much quieter this year than I can ever remember.
Posted by Picasa

Posted by Picasa

Monday, December 21, 2009

Snow Chaos, Railway Collapse & Spelling Mistakes

It never ceases to amaze me how Schiphol Airport and Dutch Railways seem to be totally incapable of planning for any kind of bad weather - and informing the public what decisions are made. can't handle the traffic to its site and trots out a poorly (half) translated website full of spelling mistakes and Dinglish - and honestly believes it's doing a good job. Er, no, it's actually a pretty lousy service, once again proving that communications with its "foreign" customers is well down their list of priorities. We're entering the second decade of the new Millennium and Internet is no longer an experiment. What would happen in any other kind of emergency??

As for the railways - you have to have second sight to know whether the trains will run tomorrow. Sadly, the website has completely collapsed in a list of poorly worded excuses and NO up to date schedules AT ALL. Why can't the website and the mobile site convey the changes as a result of bad weather? It is because NS and the company providing the rails (ProRail) have absolutely no overview when things go just slightly wrong. So you can't trust the schedules at all. I also find it incredible that none of the warnings of "little or no service" can be found on the Dutch railways English language website. Stuff the adventure - I will follow the advice on the Prorail website, abandon public transport and take the car...the roads are fine. Thank God I didn't book a Eurotunnel/Eurostar experience. Those clowns have totally failed. When will Eurostar's Richard Brown apologise - and resign?

Monday, December 14, 2009

Incidental Collapse


It seems Czech radio, worried about musicians claims from podcasts, has decreed that producers must pick music from an inhouse composer of incidental tunes rather than grabbing something from commercial recordings. I think they have totally underestimated their position as the guardian of Czech arts and culture. Why don't they organise a few "music free" days to knock some sense into the Czech copyright authorities? If they don't, Czech radio is going to become so bland no-one under 65 is going to listen to feature programmes.
Posted by Picasa

Oustanding in the Woods

Passing through Schiphol airport today I was struck by the fact that Accenture still has this giant advert up in the C-gate terminal. Bearing in mind Tiger Wood's infidelity, not to mention the car accident, I would be scrambling to get this embarrassment out of the way asap?
Posted by Picasa

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Impressions of Prague at Christmas

I have been in Prague for a few days. This is a city I keep coming back to - and which always turns out to be delightful. Especially the old city is magical. I'm here in the centre today to look up an old friend and colleague, David Vauhgn, formerly the editor in chief ar Radio Prague. David has a fascination with history - and that includes the history of Czech broadcasting during the momentus times before, during and after the Second World War. The old city is expecially magical - and mysterious - at this time of year.


Thursday, December 10, 2009

First Impressions of LeWeb09

I got a message from a colleague in the Netherlands Thursday lunchtime asking if I could pop round to his Amsterdam HQ to troubleshoot a technical issue that came up. I said couldn’t because I was attending the 6th LeWeb in Paris. He retorted that since the Internet is no longer an experiment, why was there a need for a conference about it. Surely 5 conferences was enough? It sounded to him like holding a conference about electricity and inviting those who use 220 volts to come to share their experiences.

In fact LeWeb isn’t about the web itself. It’s about people using the web as a distribution tool for a great idea. Some of the ideas presented are purely to make money and, to me at least, seemed to be minute refinements in on-line marketing schemes or simply more efficient ways to sell something - increasingly that means applications for the mobile.

By far the most interesting of the 2300 participants were those who came to share content or research concepts. I spent most of Wednesday looking at the 12 start-ups that pitched for 5 minutes each and then took questions from the audience. Some of the best ideas had the rawest of presentations, and I agree with the judges that LeWeb could offer those selected a pre-pitch coaching. Techcrunch seems to do that in the States. But they didn’t seem to have tried it when asked to organize something similar in Paris. Especially because many people are not pitching in their first language, making a concise convincing elevator pitch needs more preparation than we saw.

I personally found the ideas showed by, and to be those with the biggest potential. They didn’t have the slickest presentations, but they did have the better ideas. Thought the keynotes by Jack Dorsey ( and social media researcher Danah Boyd ( were the strongest. The presentation by Queen Rania Al Abdullah of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan was passionate as well as thought provoking - she announced plans to raise awareness for the plight of kids education during the 2010 World Cup. . Rania is truly a connected queen.

I saw several broadcasters wandering around, but only two international broadcasters - CNN, Deutsche Welle and France24. DW was recruiting bloggers for its Best of Blogs award scheme 2010.

Gary Vaynerchuk made a second appearance at LeWeb, and as usual shared his passion for people and building a business in the 21st century. I really like the way Gary is authentic about what he believes in and enjoys working hard. He also asked the organisers to consider more interaction and less panels/keynote presentations.

Sunday, December 06, 2009

Le Web 09 using the audiences to distribute its signals

On my way to Paris for the Le Web conference on the 9th and 10th. They tell me that they are partnering with California based Ustream to allow viewers who can't make it in person. Either watch it below, or go and put the live coverage on your own website by going to and clicking on "embed codes" in the upper right corner of the video player. The stream will also viewable on mobile's via Ustream’s iPhone viewing application or the new Ustream Android Viewer. Organizers and participants will take some questions from the audience at #leweb on Twitter. I am personally looking forward to the start-up exhibition - and to find out who has survived the credit crunch in France. Last year, the French government said they were encouraging entrepreneurs with financial handouts. But how many took them up on it? Time to find out.

Video streaming by Ustream

Friday, December 04, 2009

Life as a Voice over Artist

Nice story from the UK Radio Today website. Also interesting example of BBC content that is designed to be "stolen".

Radio voice-over artist Peter Dickson, who has recently become well known as the voice of the X-Factor on ITV1, is featured in a video on the BBC comedy website.

The video gives us a staged glimpse into Voiceover Man's house where he has to put up with his wife's moans about his career.

Peter has been voicing radio commercials and television programmes for decades, but it looks like his most recent work is throwing him back into the general media spotlight.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Wisdom of the Crowds - Information Failures in Amsterdam

I have two recent incidents which make me trust the crowds much more than the civil service here in the Netherlands.

Incident 1.

Travelling back on a KLM plane from Athens we arrive at Schiphol airport right in the middle of a thunderstorm. Schiphol decides it is too dangerous for its personnel to keep the gates open (lightning strikes, etc) and suspends operations. We taxi to a parking area and wait. The captain comes on to explain. Ten minutes later we start seeing other planes taxiing towards the terminal. Captain tells us they have priority at the gate, but that we have to wait until another plane leaves our position. People on the plane start to ask for information about connections. We're told there is no information at the moment, except that connections have probably also been delayed by the storm. People on the plane get out their blackberries and go to departure/arrival info on and discover this information is not true. After another 25 minutes on the ground a very irate captain comes on to explain he's had aan argument with Schiphol and has been lied to. They have not given him priority at the gate and we're still waiting for our gate position to be cleared. After 1 and 5 minutes on the ground we finally start disembarking. No KLM or Schiphol personnel to meet the plane with connection information. Those who don't already know from the Schiphol website (which was working all the time), scramble to find monitors for more info.

Incident 2:

Arrive in Amsterdam Central Station Wednesday morning to discover total chaos with the trams outside? Two trams, the numbers 2 and 13, look like they have "folded" into each other at the points on the left hand side of the station. Five traffic cops are shooing onlookers away. Couple of engineers looking into how to clear the obstruction with the minimum of damage. "All the trams that should be leaving from this side of the station are now leaving from other other side" is the message given by the officials. So the crowds move to the other side. Opposite all of this are the Amsterdam Traffic Offices where you go to get info and tickets. No-one from the staff can be bothered to come outside and explain to people what's going on, which track we can expect to find the right tram, or which halts are now unreachable because the tram routes have been changed slightly. I couldn't believe it, especially when I went into the information office and saw the staff just gazing out of the window. In this case it was a minor incident. But just think if this had been something more serious. Lack of information at times like these can be very dangerous indeed. My conclusion is that, for the moment at least, you get more information from the KGB than the GVB. It fits the image that Amsterdam is a fun and creative city but as this recent survey revealed, the city is rapidly losing respect when it comes to its position as a business centre. Logistics are a nightmare!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Tribute to John V. Russell - BFBS & BRMB

I was very saddened to hear that pioneer broadcaster and friend John Russell had passed away suddenly at his home in Cyprus on 6th October 2009. I met him several times when he came to Hilversum to run courses for the Radio Netherlands Training Centre.

A few years back I visited his home on the island to meet him and his wife Sue. We started chatting about his great radio career and I decided this was material that we should share with others - so out came the camera. What I have posted here (in two parts) are sections of the interview recorded that afternoon, where John shared a lot of wisdom about what works and doesn't work in radio. Through the training work he did in later years, many students owe their careers to John. His wit, wisdom and authenticity was a great gift and I hope this video will inspire others as much as it inspired me. John was truly one of the Masters of the Media.

John V. Russell Tribute Part 1 from Jonathan Marks on Vimeo.

John V. Russell Tribute Part 2 from Jonathan Marks on Vimeo.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Confusing UPC Ad

Posted by Picasa

UPC is running a huge ad campaign across Amsterdam, obviously written by PR people who hate technology terms. As a result, the ad is nonsense. Under certain circumstances you can get a download speed of 25 Megabit/sec for 25 Euros a month. This ad reads like you get 25 MB storage for 25 Euros, which would be a really lousy deal. And there is no fibre to the home...its fibre to a distribution point somewhere in the street. Does the average punter know anything about fibre optics? If they do, they would know that they meant 25 Mb/sec. Did the people in the bus stop know what was being offered? No. I asked them.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Windows 7 - ads are truly awful.

Microsoft has produced some pretty awful ads recently, but this one encouraging people to organise a Windows 7 Launch Party in October are nothing short of bizarre. It looks like a Tupperware party on steroids. I like Windows 7 which is a welcome relief to Vista, but this is NOT the way to get others enthused.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Pop-Up Radio - Radio Manuela on 109 FM

Wandered around the Picnic event in the West of Amsterdam this afternoon. It was rather quiet today - the crowds are coming tomorrow we're told. Attended a presentation on the current state of the Arab blogosphere hosted by Al Jazeera, but they were not taking questions from the audience. That will happen in a workshop tomorrow. In the exhibition hall were two guys playing music and with a big sign saying Radio Manuela. Yes, there were on the air. Did I want a music request or to be interviewed? I said no, I had a question. Were they really on 109 MHz FM? Yes, they said. It is a 400 watt transmitter and covers most of Amsterdam. But don't most radio sets stop their coverage at 108 MHz? Yes. So that means that although they are broadcasting, no-one can actually hear them unless they have a modified FM receiver. Er, yes. I was the first person in a long while to ask them that question. Their "station" is infact a piece of art. They operate it only at events, and then just because they get treated as royalty because they are from the "media". The fact that they are broadcasting (illegally) on a channel no-one can hear is their open secret. Hey, stop fussing about the technology and enjoy the music. As their sign says, Radio Manuela - keeping you young, sexy but not famous.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Travelling a lot at the moment

My temporary lack of daily blogging is mainly due to a heavy workload filming - and the fact that I am converting a lot of files across to the Mac platform. I am not a Steve Job's fan, but Final Cut Pro is becoming the de-facto video editing platform that I cannot ignore. Sony Vegas has served me well in the past, but later versions in combination with Windows Vista made my busy schedule impossible.

No doom and gloom from the NYT labs

Nick Bilton -Inside the New York Times Lab from Jonathan Marks on Vimeo.

Nick is currently on leave from the New York Times development lab to write a book. To be titled "Byte, Snack, Meal" it is due to be published by Random House in May 2010. At the Rotterdam Eday, organised by Emerce Magazine, and hosted by Marc Canter (now living in Cleveland, OH), Nick gave us a compressed insight into what they're doing in difficult times. This department within NYT is certainly smart. They are looking at the influence the cloud is making on storytelling - and the role of sensors (as opposed to censors). More on Nick's website

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Emerce Day - coming soon

I will be reporting in English from the Emerce Day in Rotterdam on September 17th. Part of the deal is that I tell others about the conference - and frankly I don't need any prompting to do so. The programme seems to be building into one of the best one-day events for a long time - a sort of Le Web, Picnic and TED rolled into one. Emerce is a monthly magazine that does a good job to dig through the business of the web with a lot of original research. They also have a vibrant on-line community too. Looking forward to seeing Douglas Rushkoff, Hans Rosling and Gary Vaynerchuk in particular. Douglas recently published a new book Life Inc which I bought on audible which I enjoyed and can recommend.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Exclusive breaking news from Paris

First email sent out to everyone on their breaking news list had an interesting spin on the Jackson inquest.

Posted by Picasa

Monday, August 17, 2009

Unesco : Clueless in Paris

I have to laugh at this. A conference popped up on the UNESCO website in Paris and a couple of broadcasters in Ghana and Benin asked me to find out more. I filled the form in on the site and after a week got this back from someone who seems to be working at 6 am in the morning. Clearly, they haven't got a clue what they're doing.

-----Original Message-----
From: webworld @
Sent: 18 August 2009 05:56

Subject: Your link has been rejected


We are sorry but the conference targets national and commercial broadcasters. We hope to have a live webcast of the event so please visit our website for more information. Very best,


that was submitted on 2009-08-14 has been rejected for one of the following reasons:

1. Unsuitable content.
2. Duplicate URL.

If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to ask.

Links Manager

Well I had questions as to why what they said in the e-mail bears no relation to what they are advertising on the website. But then I thought why bother? UNESCO doesn't understand emerging media at all and keeps proving it time and time again. This conference doesn't look as though its going to help anyone.

Social Media from a US perspective

Nice collection of facts seen from a US perspective and viewed through a rather rosy set of sunglasses. But still.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Calvin Harris "The Humanthesizer

Not sure the Royal College of the Arts Industrial Design programme are really the first to use conductive body paint (carbon particles in a water soluble paint was around in the 70's) but the way they did this was certainly creative. The making of video is below.

More details on the paint at Bare Conductive, though apparently they are not selling the conconction.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Sweet Revenge against United Airlines

Having tangled with customer service of various companies a couple of times, I have been tempted to get my own back through a campaign on Youtube. Remember the Kryptonite bike lock that could be opened with a ballpoint pen? But this recent video by Canadian singer Dave Carroll gained him an audience of over 4.9 million on Youtube, plus several networks like CNN and BBC doing interviews. Basically, United Airlines in Chiacago bust his guitar while in transit. What was worse, while they were sitting in the plane, the musicians could see the groundstaff outside the plane throwing their instruments around. United Airlines staff showed a total lack of interest. Dave tried for 9 months to get compensation. Then he gathered friends together to peform his song about United. The "making of" shows they had a lot of fun.

I’ve receive many “why the Mexicans” questions and the answer is simple. The music and feel of the song reminded me of a combination of old Marty Robbins and early Elvis tunes. Since “Fun In Acapulco” is my favourite Elvis movie, and in it he had a mariachi back-up band, I thought it’d be funny to have a mariachi group in this video. Because I didn’t have a budget for full mariachi outfits I simply bought sombreros and moustaches and the Amigos were born.

There were various stories last month that the song had caused a massive drop in United's share price. I think that was overstated - the whole airline industry is in a slump right now. But the mayhem this must have caused in the marketing and PR departments of United is priceless. Carroll has since put out a statement challenging United to compensate a charity of their choice rather than pay him the damages directly. I cannot believe why United hasn't just jumped at the opportunity to put things right. I guess the decision makers are out to lunch on this one. Song 2 and 3 have yet to air on Youtube.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Hip Hippo

I love these characters, made famous by French television I believe with their version of the Lion Sleeps Tonight. Just put "hippo and dog" into Youtube and you'll see how creative kids in the audience have downloaded and remixed the images to fit other songs in other languages like punjabi. I am surprised these characters haven't turned up in the Anglo Saxon world. They have been used to sell chocolate, but also teach children to clean their teeth.

Bit of fun to make it viral.

And one more which doesn't want to be embedded. So why haven't the original creators taken this to the next level?

Friday, August 07, 2009

Bleach or Lifesaver?

Perusing the lime website in the Caribbean (lime is the new name for Cable & Wireless in the region, I saw this list of things to do after a hurricane has passed. Putting bleach into the water to sterlize it reminds me of the great development in water purifcation demonstrated by Michael Pritchard at TED a couple of weeks back. Personally, I'd alaways prefer to drink from Michael's Lifesaver flask than the bleached stuff.

Microsoft's 2019 lab

Some great ideas here. Apple needs some competition. Open source guys should be coming up with similar videos...

Google finally dumps radio

Google's abortive love affair with radio is over. Thank goodness. I would argue that by getting in to the business of selling radio ads, Google was never really into the content side of radio. It was trying to do Adsense on commercial radio stations, becoming a threat to the radio sales dept of the radio station. It had no clue in this side of the business. Sounds like e-Bay and skype.

Radio urgently needs a Google-like service, being able to find interesting audio in an i-Player like environment. Radio is still struggling with the point and dial interface. Most radio station websites are a joke - a schedule and a button to listen live. Millions are being spent on radio programmes which are only available when on the air and difficult if not impossible to find later. Far from being a cheap medium, in developed countries its becoming a very expensive way to share an idea.

Google's radio automation software business has been sold to the US company called WideOrbit. They are now owners of the Maestro and SS32 automation products. But this is a very crowded market in an industry that has very little money at all at the moment. Don't they get problems with people giving their products a wide orbit?

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

IVR Zimbabwe

Freedomfone Zimbabwe from Jonathan Marks on Vimeo.

What do you do if you're trying to get a message into an area like Zimbabwe and the authorities won't grant you access to the local airwaves, either because of political reasons or because you are a minority group which doesn't qualify for attention by the state controlled media. One answer may be freedomphone, a piece of software that's being given away to encourage people to set up their own interactive voice response system. I see they are testing a beta version in Harare now. has a blog which is worth following, and the main site in Zimbabwe is also active.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Ken's T-shirt & BMW fails.

I am not sure which came first - the t-shirt or the remark by Ken Robinson during his talk about ways to stimulate creativity. Still fresh even though it was recorded three years ago. But note how mind-bogglingly dull the BMW 'ad' which now follows it. It is everything which TED is not supposed to be. The ad ends with what sounds like a comment from the pr people that that was a "pretty good line". Er, no it wasn't.

Lufthansa's Golden Rules for Mobile

Took a break from some rather complicated video editing to read a column in German following a tweet from Tomi Ahonen. It is a comment by Heike Scholz on Lufthansa's experience with the mobile industry. I hope I have captured the essence of what she says in German.

Just read the following on the MTI blog, which, I recommend adding to your feedreader. If you opt for Mobile and you are somehow involved in the travel industry check out these recommendations from Lufthansa, which has eight years of experience in the mobile industry. I can only underline these findings from my own experience.

Lufthansa's Golden Rules of Mobile
1. Management support is essential for the implementation of mobile strategy and projects.
2. Mobile services are not simply a miniature version of the regular website. You should ensure that applications and usability are adjusted to fit the mobile users.
3. Existing processes for the implementation of mobile services must be adapted to fit the mobile handsets being used or rewritten altogether
4. The usability is the key to everything: fast and easy, optimized for different devices. Lufthansa stresses however, that not all devices available in the market should be optimized (for cost reasons). Smartphones or high-end devices (about 65% of people using the Lufthansa sites are users of the BlackBerry or iPhone) are now the focus of the developments.
5. Start with core functionality and then gradually add new features.
6. The end user must know that the service exists. Money should be set aside in marketing budgets for mobile marketing
7. Search engines are a complement to mobile marketing campaigns.
8. Use specialists and experts as consultants for the mobile strategy and the implementation of the services .

I should add to point 6. The marketing of new services or applications should be as cross-media as possible, and for an extended period and not purely during the campaign. Depending on the audience being targeted, Social Media Tools are also important. Just having a link to it on the company website or an application in App Store to advertise the service is not enough!

I would add that point number one is vital too. Unless top management have their heart in it, the mobile strategy is just a bad afterthought. It still suprises me that most airlines won't accept mobile checkin or that navigating the mobile site is so time consuming on a mobile browser that it's faster to look for web access somewhere.

Will Apple Approve a Competitor?

Looks good. In fact this Apple iPhone application just submitted to Apple in the US looks terrific. But will Apple allow it? I have my doubts. Hope I am wrong.

Monetize the audience not the content

I found this fascinating quote today:

The worst examples of subscription services are those that break the content up into free and paid. It's as if some content is worth more than other content. I think that is the wrong idea most of the time, and especially in news and news related, A VC, Jul 2009

You should read the whole article.

NPR's Broken Automation - Out of Service for the Summer?

Been testing how some stations reply to input from listeners and viewers. Worst so far is NPR Radio in the US, which cannot read the links I sent in and makes it difficult for you to point out broken links without filling in a form that reminds me of the application form for a replacement passport. To cap it all, the message is sent from Insert Name.

So what do people want to know in Uganda?

I am impressed by the work Google is doing in Uganda with frontlinesms. The video editing is a bit crude at the beginning, but the main points are there.

The Google blogpost explains that most mobile devices in Africa only have voice and SMS capabilities, and so they are focusing their technological efforts in that continent on SMS. Last month they announced Google SMS, a suite of mobile applications which will allow people to access information, via SMS, on a diverse number of topics including health and agriculture tips, news, local weather, sports, and more. The suite also includes Google Trader, a SMS-based “marketplace” application that helps buyers and sellers find each other. People can find, "sell" or "buy" any type of product or service, from used cars and mobile phones to crops, livestock and jobs.

Google SMS Tips is an SMS-based query-and-answer service that enables a mobile phone user to have a web search-like experience. You enter a free form text query, and Google's algorithms restructure the query to identify keywords, search a database to identify relevant answers, and return the most relevant answer.

BBC Arabic Countdown

There's quite a fan group of people collecting and remixing BBC World News countdowns. They have taken the music from the new BBC Arabic version and montaged it on the English BBC World News countdown. But the original pictures on the new BBC Arabic countdown still look more stunning than anything I have seen in English or Persian. Looks like a million dollars. May be that's why fans have started remixing it.

Chinese TV seem to be launching an Arabic language channel too, although this is the quietest soft launch on the planet. I wonder whether it will be as slick, or whether people will want to remix CCTV?

Fans of Blank

The power of recommendations...Nice promotion for why traditional media is not enough these days in developed markets.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

IFA - Consumer Electronics Severely Limited

Don't look to technical blogs for coverage from this year's IFA consumer electronics fair in Berlin, Germany. The press accreditation reads like a passport application, requesting all kinds of references before they will let you in the press room with the other "journalists". Bloggers are definitely NOT wanted here only very traditional media. What on earth is the press department worried about? That they might get coverage by people who are passionate about a show that went into decline once it went annual. Truth is they won't make time to find out who are the influencers in the industry - and are totally trapped by their own routine. It takes a few seconds to check out the validity of a bloggers' claim. We remember when they were paying students in Berlin to turn up to the keynotes in a suit. Watching some of these CEO's struggle through a presentation which they didn't write is so last century. No wonder Apple has pulled out of these kinds of circuses.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

New NPR Site launches Monday

Looking at how some radio sites are relaunching to involve their listeners more - and publish more archive material. I will wait and see with NPR, but here's a sneak peak video.

Chalkbot on Tour

Actually more interesting than the Tour de France itself. Something I said it chalked up somewhere in yellow. And will be washed away by the rain. Its the brainchild of a Pittsburg company called Deeplocal and the robot company Standardrobot. I like Standard Robot's one logo, one link website which broadcasts the message - don't bother us, we're building robots not websites.

Deeplocal spun out of a Carnegie Mellon University art and technology research lab, following more than three years of research into local and collaborative information collection, storage, and visualization. They seem to have been doing some interesting projects for the BBC too. “Beat The Boss,” a well-loved British television show, pits a team of three kids, “The Bright Sparks” against a team of three successful bosses, “The Big Shots,” and asks them to create a new product that would be marketed to kids. The winner is the group that creates the product that fares the best at youth judging. Pittsburgh’s favorite condiment company H. J. Heinz Company got into the act as the client for an episode in April 2009, and challenged the two teams to create a new sauce for Heinz. The video below is fascinating. Don't be put off by the unfortunate freeze frame below.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Hermitage versus Bristol

I wonder if the new Hermitage in Amsterdam will get the same sort of ideas they are getting in Bristol. Judging by the Hermitage website, the answer is probably not.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Scilly Radio Jingles from Milan

Cheap radio jingles from Milan. I am sure some of the jingle companies in Holland must cringe watching this short BBC documentary on last year's jingle package for Radio Scilly, the local station for the Isles of Scilly, off the UK Cornish Coast. They are Radio Scilly on St Mary's - 107.9 MHz. But that accent on the jingles makes it sound more like Radio Sicily. But listening to the station on line, it would seem their radio heart seems to be in the right place.

The Italian jingle factory that made them has less trouble with Spanish language jingles, though from the website you would think they speak Latin in Latin America. Wasn't US VP Dan Quayle the last person to get confused about this?

Monday, July 20, 2009

TED Global has started

Silly Prank, Serious Problem

I think he could have been more effective, but the guy at does have a point. Our mobile data is far from secure.

The Road Ahead

foggy wood
Originally uploaded by LynchburgVirginia
Flickr is producing some amazing work. High Dynamic photos from Rob Miller for instance.

Bletchley Needs Money

It is to be hoped that the TED GLOBAL visitors will be able to help create awareness for the computer museum project at Bletchley and the fact that the whole place needs money for restoration of the famous "huts".

TED @ Bletchley Park, UK

I hope that the TED GOBAL participants enjoy their tour of Bletchley today. I see there is a DIY ENGIMA kit in the shop which is actually designed in Holland.