Wednesday, March 31, 2010

iPhone HD rumoured to launch June 22nd

On June 22nd, Apple will unveil their latest iPhone creation, the iPhone HD, according to two reports from the Wall Street Journal, and another by Engadget.

So what makes this version of the iPhone so different that it justifies the HD name? Well for one, the screen is said to be a much higher resolution, specifically set at 960 x 640, which is double the resolution of the 3GS. It’s a good thing too because Apple’s newest Android competition, the HTC Evo 4G, has a resolution set at 800 x 480. Those higher quality screens mean better looking games and just as importantly, the ability to see more data on the screen at one time.

The iPhone is drastically in need of a better camera and the iPhone HD is again, set to deliver in this department as well as that other long-awaited feature, an iSight webcam. The iSight camera was also rumoured to be in the iPad, although it didn't make the final cut (although rumours point to a space in the case ready and waiting). The iSight camera could accompany iChat software enabling video chat on the iPhone.

Anish Kapoor to create 'London's answer to the Eiffel tower'

Designs for what will be Britain's biggest piece of public art, a 120 metres tall looping tower by Anish Kapoor that people will be able to climb, giving spectacular views of London, were unveiled today by Boris Johnson, mayor of London.

Kapoor's Orbit, a vast, snaking steel structure, will dominate the 2012 Olympic park. It is being hailed as London's answer to the Eiffel tower and is part of an ambition to make the Olympics site a permanent visitor attraction.

Kapoor won the commission from a shortlist of bidders believed to include the artist Antony Gormley and the architects Caruso St John. Johnson said of Kapoor: "He has taken the idea of a tower and transformed it into a piece of modern British art. It would have boggled the minds of the Romans. It would have boggled Gustave Eiffel."

The structure will officially be called the ArcelorMittal Orbit, after steel magnate Lakshmi Mittal, the richest man in Europe, who is funding it. Johnson said that if he and Mittal had not bumped into each other in a Davos cloakroom "we would not be where we are today".

Mittal said: "This project is an incredible opportunity to build something really spectacular for London, for the Olympic games, and something that will play a lasting role in the legacy of the games."

The structure will cost about £19.1m. Johnson said: "Of course some people will say we are nuts – in the depths of a recession – to be building Britain's biggest ever piece of public art. But both Tessa Jowell [Olympics minister] and I are certain that this is the right thing for the Stratford site, in games time and beyond."

Kapoor has collaborated on the project with his friend Cecil Balmond, one of the world's leading structural engineers. Approximately 1,400 tonnes of steel will be used. The plan is for work to begin soon with a completion date of December 2011.

Kapoor said one of his references was the Tower of Babel. "There is a kind of medieval sense to it of reaching up to the sky, building the impossible. A procession, if you like. It's a long winding spiral: a folly that aspires to go even above the clouds and has something mythic about it."

Source: The Guardian

Latest Photoshop CS5 tool unveiled. Is this an April Fool's Joke? What do we think?

Monday, March 29, 2010

Karen Cinnamon in Design Week: 25 March 2010

Following the speculation that James Dyson is being lined up for a role in a potential Conservative Government, Design Week asked Karen Cinnamon, who in the design world she would most like to see enter politics and why:

"I’ve dined in his restaurants, flopped on his sofas, and been inspired by his out-of-the-(Habitat)-box thinking. It has to be Terence Conran, our very own design superhero whose Bauhaus-inspired beliefs that ‘“good design should be available to the whole community, not just to a few”, and extraordinary flair for business and visionary innovation, would make him my candidate. I’m confident he won't be claiming expenses for lunches (or duck houses) at Pont de la Tour".

Two great examples of guerilla advertising

1. No more living in denial about the size of your waist line, thanks to this fantastic albeit terrifying guerrilla marketing initiative from the health club chain, Fitness First.

Unsuspecting commuters in the Netherlands are faced with viewing their body weight in bright lights - quite literally - when they take a seat at this Rotterdam bus stop. Scary to say the very least, but extraordinarily clever and likely to increase membership numbers at the local Fitness First.

2. Nikon took its cue from our celebrity-obsessed paparazzi culture to launch the brand's D700 model in Korea.

At a busy Seoul subway station, Nikon mounted a huge interactive, light-box billboard displaying life-like images of paparazzi. Huddled together as if at a premiere, the "paps" appear to be jostling and competing for the best celebrity snap. The celebrities in this case were the passersby, who automatically triggered a deluge of flashing camera lights as they walked past the billboard.

The accidental superstars then followed the red carpet all the way out of the station and into a mall - directly into the store where they could purchase the new D700.

Both examples sourced from The Cool Hunter

Great examples of infographics

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Tampon-makers can't mention the V-word. Period.

For years, advertising for tampons and "sanitary products" have been shrouded in euphemism. So what happens when a US tampon-maker drops the coy messaging and goes straight for the jugular (so to speak)? Its ad gets banned by the major US television networks for mentioning the word vagina.

Even when the company substituted "down there" for vagina, two of the networks still wouldn't run the ad, so the company was forced to drop the idea altogether. That provoked Amanda Hess, author of The Sexist blog, to observe: "Now, the commercial contains no direct references to female genitalia – you know, the place where the fucking tampon goes."

An executive for Kimberly-Clark, the owner of Kotex, notes that US TV networks have no such compunction about references to "erectile dysfunction" in prime-time ads for Viagra and Ciallis.

The amended ad – produced by JWT - shown above, "How do I feel about my period?", has a series of images parodying the stock images used in sanitary product advertising, and concludes: "The ads on TV are really helpful because they use that blue liquid, and I'm like, oh, that's what's supposed to happen." The ad debuted on US television this week.

Source: Richard Adams's blog

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Geek friendly jeans

Sanja and Pedja, two Web enthusiasts living in France, have created WTF Jeans.

The ultimate gadget accessory, these jeans have pockets especially for your iPhone or iPod Touch with microfiber protection so they don't get scratched, as well as extra padding where it counts for guys. They also have a hidden memory stick pocket.

Low in the front and high in the back, they feature snazzy “twitter bloo” stitched pockets to accentuate those geeky butts!

According to the site, the jeans are still in beta stage (whatever that means), and the first pairs are expected to ship on May 2, at 59 Euros (£53).

Sunday, March 14, 2010

The New Dork - Entrepreneur State of Mind (Jay-Z ft Alicia Keys Spoof)

It's the year of the geek baby!

Beautifully crafted parody of one of my favourite songs."Social net-works-what-dreams-are-made -of"... Love it!

Friday, March 12, 2010

Amy Winehouse to design a collection for Fred Perry

Fred Perry, the sports label favoured by mods, and Northern Soul fans, has collaborated on a new collection with soul singer Amy Winehouse.

Although Winehouse is best known for her disheveled outfits, massive beehive hairdo, and exaggerated eyeliner, the singing star is adding fashion designer to her credentials with a womenswear collection that will be based on her own 1950s-inspired style and will comprise of 17 pieces, including polo shirts and skirts.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Apple airs first iPad ad during Oscars

Apple screened its first TV ad for the iPad during last night's Oscars coverage, while the company's founder, Steve Jobs, was spotted at the event.

The song playing in the ad is "There Goes My Love" by a Danish band called The Blue Van, from its 2008 album "Man Up."

The spot was aired immediately after the motion picture "Up" from Disney/Pixar won the Best Animated Film award. Jobs is on Disney's board of directors and used to be Pixar's Chairman before Disney bought it in 2006.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Google Threatens To Kill Users recently asked Google if they would like to address the public backlash over Google Buzz. They responded with this.

Thanks to Tal Jacobson for directing me to this very amusing piece of video.

Review of 'Decode' at the V&A. Go see!

Take a walk in a field of digital flowers that light up as you move through them, interact with Thom Yorke on screen, create your own artwork triggered by sound and take five minutes to sit in front of a camera that will record your photo in a ghost like image before superimposing it with that of someone else.

These are just some of the wonderful exhibits at Decode an exhibition of digital media currently showing at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London.

While the opening pieces just inside the entrance aren't terribly provoking to anyone not too interested in programming or open-source code, the installations get gradually better as one moves through the Porter Gallery. In retrospect, this is probably a strategic part of the exhibition's intent - it lures you in by filling you with the false sense of reassurance that you know what it's all about, only to jump out and surprise you with a shout upon turning the corner.

Decode inspires by reaffirming the relevance of art, its exhilarance and absurdity, in our ever more digitalised, technologised, informational-ised world. Highlights include 'Flight Patterns' by Google digital design heavyweight Aaron Koblin, a beautiful, simplistic visual stylization of flight data recorded from aeroplane journeys over North America throughout a 24-hour period, and 'Tree', an interactive projection piece with branches blowing in response to wind directly outside the museum and shedding leaves that move along the ground as visitors walk amidst them, by Dutch artist Simon Heijdens.

There is a sense of wonder about these pieces were created in the first place but then questions are forgotten as you create a painting just by moving or you make the leaves on a virtual tree fall off just by walking up to it. You also end up having random conversations with strangers - a virtually unheard of phenomenon in any London gallery.

Decode: Digital Design Sensations on show at the Victoria and Albert Museum, Cromwell Road, London SW7 2RL until April 11 2010.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Crowdsourcing: Getting others to do your work for you

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to be an alien researcher with SETI or an investigative reporter for The Guardian in the UK? Well, now is your chance. Both are turning to the public for help with a project - one that is better performed by thousands of amateurs rather than a handful of experts. This is part of a growing trend by companies of reaching out to the masses for help with their projects and for advice about their products and services. It is also something that marketers should start thinking about for their own business.

What is Crowdsourcing?
Crowdsourcing means outsourcing tasks that are traditionally performed by employees to a group of people or community through an “open call.” It is using the collective intelligence of many to either find the best solution to a problem or help perform tasks that would be overwhelming for a handful of people. A perfect example of crowdsourcing comes from the source of this definition, Wikipedia. Thousands of volunteers collaborated to produce over 14 million articles – and turned the encyclopedia market on its head in the process.

How can I benefit from it?
Generally speaking, there are three areas where crowdsourcing can benefit you: developing ideas for new or existing products, engaging consumers with an activity related to the brand, and generating creative ideas for advertising.

Generating creative ideas for advertising
If you’ve had enough of working with ad agencies, then this option might be for you. In this type of crowdsourcing, you bypass your ad agency and have consumers create your ads. This usually takes the form of an open competition where the winner(s) gets a cash award for either generating the concept of the ad or actually developing the completed ad. Doritos has been successfully running a Super Bowl Ad competition for years. Their crowdsourced ads consistently rank in the top five of Super Bowl ad polls and have earned the creators up to $1 million in bonus money for their stellar in-market performance. If you are apprehensive about the time and effort required to create a platform to run a crowdsourced project, don’t worry. There are companies who specialize in setting up these types of campaigns that can get you running in no time. Companies such as crowdSPRING and Idea Bounty will run the campaign right from their website and they generally receive more than 100 entries per campaign.

Why not give it a try?
The next time you have a project that you think could benefit from some fresh ideas, consider crowdsourcing. The collective intelligence of the masses may just bring you a great product idea or creative concept that you never would have discovered on your own.

Edited down from Ogilvy Digital Labs