Sunday, December 13, 2009

Forget tablet PC, here comes "sixth sense" technology.

"Pranav Mistry demos several tools that help the physical world interact with the world of data -- including a deep look at his Sixth Sense device and a new, paradigm-shifting paper "laptop". Originally read on the Economic Times, on the recommendation of Professor Rao.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Food 2.0.

Looks that the World will not run out of food due to overpopulation after all. Dutch scientists grow artificial meat. Telegraph.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Climate change: Are you thinking in rows or columns?

Decision science applied to climate change. You can't argue with logic. A must watch video for all the skeptics.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

The Trafigura debacle

When ethics and PR collide, a lesson for business and communication students: Own up to your mistakes and proactively remedy the situation you created instead of attempting to conceal it. That stuff worked when we had a handful of TV channels and a few newspapers, not with millions of citizen journalists. Great account on the Guardian.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Climate Cover-Up by Oil lobby

The American Petroleum Institute increased its lobbying budget by 82 percent in the second quarter of 2009, relative to 2008... Makes you think.

Climate Cover Up: the crusade to deny global warming

In his new book, 35-year public relations veteran Jim Hoggan chronicles the history of unethical PR through the years, using the attack on climate change science as the most relevant, contemporary example. Watch this video interview where Jim talks about what he calls the "Philip Morris theory" – a strategy corporations use to cloak their spin with the legitimacy of science.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Federal Trade Commission to force bloggers' endorsement disclosure

"Bloggers who make an endorsement must disclose the material connections they share with the seller of the product or service." At last... BBC News. Disclosure: I have no connection with the FTC or the BBC.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Top 10 bizarre wine names

This was sent to me by my friend El Blogador. In order of bizarreness?
  • Fat Bastard (I tried the Shiraz. Quite good and affordable)
  • Bitch
  • Le Vin de Merde ("the shitty wine" in French...)
  • Oops
  • Arrogant Frog
  • Elephant on a tightrope
  • Frog's piss
  • Cleavage Creek
  • Mad Housewife
  • Blasted Church (this is probably banned in the US. See my next post).
Full post and label pictures available on Oddee.com.

Friday, September 04, 2009

Men lose their minds speaking to pretty women

"Research shows men who spend even a few minutes in the company of an attractive woman perform less well in tests designed to measure brain function"... My wife probably put it on my poor English. Telegraph again.

Youtube to stream movies?

At last, a legal way to watch on-demand movies online. The $4 price tag will not be a deterrent if streaming quality and speed is higher than the current alternatives. Will the movie moguls play ball? Telegraph.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

The best diving spot in Asia?

The Cacao Pearl island is located off the western shores of Busuanga in Northern Palawan. It would be presumptuous to say that it is the best diving spot in Asia but it is probably the best-kept diving secret in the region. Palawan has over 2,000 kilometers of irregular coastlines, dotted with 1,780 sugar white sandy beaches islands, islets and rocky coves. It also hosts two world heritage sites for diving enthusiasts:

o The Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park (UNESCO World Heritage Site) features a large limestone karst landscape with one of the World’s longest underground navigable rivers (8.2km). The site contains a full mountain to sea ecosystem.
o The Tubbatha Reef Marine Park (UNESCO World Heritage Site) covers 332km2 including the North and South Reefs. The site is an excellent example of a pristine coral reef with a spectacular 100M perpendicular wall, extensive lagoons and two coral islands. (tie in with my section on Tubbatha)

Most divers come here to explore shipwrecks. During WWII, the American fleet sank 24 Japanese warships in the area, 12 of them in conveniently shallow water, including swim throughs, technical and Nitrox dives and shallow novice dives and all within a 1.5 hour boat ride in a wide arc around the south side of Busuanga Island. Turning a former war theatre into a divers paradise.

The Cacao Pearl is the ideal base to explore the region’s diving hotspots and indulge in all kind of environmentally friendly marine activities. The Cacao Pearl island hosts eight beaches, secluded coves and crystal clear waters with 30 feet plus of visibility. We have and extensive fringe reef system, allowing you to leisurely slip into the water right off the beach with your snorkel and mask on, and straight into warm waters and a cornucopia of exotic fish and coral. Spot and swim with gentle whale sharks, playful dolphins and a variety of underwater residents such as dugongs, clown fish, lapu-lapu fish, squid, parrot fish, lion fish, glass shrimps, turtles…

The resort will host a PADI 5 star accredited dive centre with resident diving and surfing instructors. Marine activities will include deep-sea sport fishing (catch and release), non-motorised water sports such as house reef snorkelling, kayaking, hobie cats, surfing, kite surfing and wind-surfing. Guests will enjoy regular dive expeditions to the only marine World Heritage site in Asia, Tubbataha reef and the world famous Apo reef located in the Mindoro Straight as well as snorkelling safaris to ancient and protected fringe reef systems, walls, caves, shallow World War II wrecks, and turtle and dugong (manatee) feeding grounds.

A pier and mooring buoys will welcome visiting leisure crafts.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Fiat building first consumer generated car

I am a great fan on how Fiat, which was left for dead a decade ago has reinvented itself and is now reinventing the industry. Just saw this on my Facebook feed, from old colleagues at Aegis Media:
"Working with Sao Paulo-based AgenciaClick, part of Aegis Group's Isobar network of digital agencies, Fiat started a website this month requesting ideas for the work-in-progress Fiat Mio." Fiat's marketing director in Brazil said "There are small things that don't cost much and bring great satisfaction to consumers, but haven't been given much attention. A lot of their ideas will end up going into our cars." Full article in AdAge.

Friday, August 21, 2009

First Video ad in a print magazine

First appearance on US publication Entertainment Weekly on September 11 (odd choice of date...). The specs: 2.7mm thick screen with 320x240 resolution, 2 inches by 11/2 inch display size, the rechargeable battery lasts for about 70 minutes and it has a chip similar to those of these annoying greeting cards. No mention of speakers. Advertisers are CBS and Pepsi. From the BBC, MediaPost and CNET.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

5 reasons why I like to read Monocle

o Founder is also the founder of Wallpaper, arguably the most influential design & lifestyle magazine.
o It is not about fashion (fashion is for suckers) but about style - and about business, current affairs, culture…
o Finally, a magazine that recognizes Tokyo as one of the coolest cities on the planet. And I won’t use the word “sick” to mean “cool” as I am comfortable with my age.
o It launched when everyone thought print media was dead.
o Its website doesn’t give away much, if you want the stories, buy the magazine. A model for other publications struggling to adapt to the digital age?

Social Mention: Total social media metrics solution.

Social Mention is a “social media search platform that aggregates user generated content from across the universe into a single stream of information”. It includes Twitter, Youtube, Facebook, blogs… I haven’t delved down into the methodology behind passion, sentiment, reach and strength but I like the dashboard and the breadth of sources covered. So far the best I have seen for free users and marketers on a budget.

Above is a screenshot of a social media search on "Cacao Pearl", our flagship luxury eco-resort project.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Why does your english let you down?

A Guardian article about the longest running newspaper ad, for the Practical English Programme, a distance learning course on written and spoken English. Since the 1950s, 400,000 people have taken the course and the current MD reckons that despite several trials with new adverts, the original ad copy is still the most effective.

Saturday, August 08, 2009

Times and Sun to stop free for all online model

"Quality journalism is not cheap," said Murdoch. "The digital revolution has opened many new and inexpensive distribution channels but it has not made content free. We intend to charge for all our news websites." Article on the Guardian. If Rupert manages to pull this off, as I think he will, many media organizations and A-list blogs will quickly follow suit. I wonder how this will leave bloggers who quote articles or subscribers to feeds who automatically post on their blogs?

Monday, August 03, 2009

MomDot's hypocritical weeklong PR blackout

MomDot: "our site, and many others, are inundated with hundreds, if not thousands, of product requests each year resulting in massive obligations and deadline stress"... "MomDot is challenging bloggers to participate for one week in August in a PR BLACKOUT challenge where you do not blog ANY giveaways, ANY reviews, and Zero press releases."

Looks good on the surface but MomDot looks more like a commercial venture to me than a blog, judging by the amount of self-confessed PR relationships, advertising on their site and the option to subscribe to be part of the "premier community for moms who blog". So basically the team wants to take a holiday in August to get away from the stress of running a commercial publication. Needless to say that MomDot can always refuse to follow-up on a press release if they don't want to. I turn away dozens a month and never talk about them. The whole PR Blackout call looks more like a PR stunt to me. I would support the initiative if it wasn't so hypocritical.

Friday, July 31, 2009

Boost world happiness: join Richard Wiseman's mass experiment

Log-on to Science of Happiness. Fill in a short questionnaire. Watch a video that will teaches you one happiness exercise. Practice for a week. Input your email and receive another questionnaire a week later. The results will be published on the 11th of August in the Times.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Twitter: Real estate agent sues ex-tenant for tweeting

Horizon Group Management, a Chicago based real estate agent is filing a lawsuit accusing an ex-tenant of defamation after she complained of mould in her apartment on twitter. The "defamatory" statement: "Who said sleeping in a mouldy apartment was bad for you? Horizon realty thinks it's okay." The tenant's twitter account has 20 follower yet the company claimed that "it has severely damaged its good name". I hope they are better at real estate management that public relations. A simple Google search shows the damage. They certainly made a name for themselves although I should not tweet about that name.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Apple iPhone apps are the new Facebook apps

I bet that Silicon Valley VCs are trampling over each other to fund apps networks and the likes. Interesting figures from this Guardian article:
- Apple takes 30% of each app sale
- Some 90% of apps don't make profits for those who create them
- 54% of free apps have fewer than 1,000 users
My all time favorite is still the "I am rich" app, a glowing ruby with no functions whatsoever but showing off what you can afford. 8 people bought it at a cost of a $1,000. I still don't get why Apple banned it from its store.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Facebook to sell your pictures to advertisers?

You may have received an alarming message on Facebook stating that "FACEBOOK has agreed to let third party advertisers use your posted pictures WITHOUT your permission. Click on SETTINGS. Select Privacy. Then select NEWSFEEDS and WALL. Next select the tab that reads FACEBOOK ADS. In the drop down box, select NO ONE.Then SAVE your changes. (REPOST THIS)". Is that true? No. Facebook categorically refuted the rumor on their blog. They haven't said anything about your home address and credit card number though...

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Embedded marketing

Nader Tavassoli, professor of Marketing, explains why marketing is not just about advertising, it's about people.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Amazon Kindle users have their very own 1984 moment

Amazon remotely deleted books from its Kindle users' library, including George Orwell's classic 1984. "It's like having Barnes & Noble sell you a book, charge your Visa and then 3 months later change their mind, credit your card and demand their book be returned". Tough especially when you are in the middle of reading it.... Beware, Big Brother is watching what you read. Guardian article.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Should TechCrunch have published Twitter's stolen internal documents?

Mike Arrington, famed author and publisher of the TechCrunch blog received 310 internal documents supposedly hacked from Twitter's internal servers. To publish or not to publish? I'll go with his judgment call: Employee data are of course a no go but financial projections and new products memos are fair game. A bit of an outcry and call of unethical behaviour from readers but his comment frames his decision nicely: "if we only posted things that companies gave us permission to post this would be a press release site and none of you would be here. News is stuff someone doesn’t want you to write. The rest is advertising".

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Teenager tells it like it is, media analysts in frenzy.

Nice PR coup for Morgan Stanley: Fifteen year old bank intern is asked to write a memo describing his friends' media habits and reportedly, his report shook the media world... Analysts should get out of their posh office more often instead of reading reports about surveys. The memo: Teens don't use Twitter. Too expensive and the average low following is not worth it (if you want to talk to a few people only, there is SMS). They use their phone to text, call or exchange files via Bluetooth. They don't like advertising ("annoying and pointless"), read newspapers or listen to radio much. They don't use iTunes as it is too expensive and music can be sourced freely someplace else. They spend time on Facebook and money on cinema, concerts and video games that allow them to chat as well. FT article (includes a link to the report).

Thursday, July 09, 2009

G8 set new global warming targets to postpone decisions, actions

"Leaders of the G8 leading industrial countries have agreed to try to limit global warming to just 2C (3.6F) above pre-industrial levels by 2050." From BBC. What irks the cynic in me is that no roadmap on how to get there has been agreed. Today’s leaders know well that they will not be in power then, nor their protégés thus could sit on it and leave the task on how to make it happen to future generations. In the meantime, it’s business as usual.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Google to launch an operating system! I might switch back to PC then.

"We're designing the OS to be fast and lightweight, to start up and get you onto the web in a few seconds"... I am really excited about that. Google shook the search market when everyone thought the game was over (remember it was all about portals and entertainment...), then shook the advertising world when ad agencies dismissed the mom & pop shops using adwords (it turned out that there were a lot of them and it amounted to a lot of cash - now the big corporation have search marketing experts and big budgets that end up with Google no matter what). Talking about OS, I switched to Mac in 2007 to keep up with the Californian boys of my previous venture. Never looked back. After comparing boot up time and normal usage (how often the system crashes, usability, intuitiveness, speed...) I convinced my wife to relinquish her Sony Vaio for a MacBook. Now I love Apple but the kit is pricey and there is no Netbook in sight as of yet. A Google OS might just convince me to switch back.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Pre-Facebook, Pre-Internet: Lemmings

Before Facebook sucked out all remaining productivity of the average cubicle worker, we had Lemmings... I found a DHTML version of what must be one of the most addictive game ever created. How many could you rescue?

Saturday, June 20, 2009

iPhone apps are the new Facebook apps

Reminiscent to last year's articles on how everyone can strike gold by developing Facebook apps (which followed from becoming a property millionaire on Second Life and a publishing mogul through blogs), the Telegraph has an article on how "anyone with a laptop and a good idea can stake their claim in the app rush". So what are you waiting for? Stop reading and start coding.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Bloggers have no right to privacy

Landmark UK ruling where the High Court ruled against the protection of anonymity of a police officer who wrote a blog. The blogger sought an injunction to prevent a newspaper from naming him for fear of disciplinary hearings. As a result of being identified, the blogger is now being investigated and had been issued a written warning. The blog has been removed. Now I wonder why this could not be extended to online forums and review websites. Think twice before you post. Full story on the BBC.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Grab your Facebook username before it's too late

Facebook just released the option to have usernames and redirect to your page at www.facebook.com/username. I have few homonyms in the World and already got mine. However, if you are blessed with the patronym John Smith, you better grab it fast before you become known as JOhH_SmITh187.

Monday, June 08, 2009

National Geographic Traveler features the Cacao Pearl

June edition, page 40 under "Destinations Watch". Is it time to write a series of posts on moving from online PR to launching the World's first non-profit luxury eco-resort? Not just yet. But we are getting closer...

Saturday, June 06, 2009

Only 10 per cent of Twitter users account for 90 per cent of all tweets

Says Harvard Business School in a Telegraph article. This is consistent with many articles, stuies, reports, anecdotes I came across: Despite all the talks about "user generated content", we prefer to consume content that produce it.

Friday, June 05, 2009

Facebook brings in payment system

Micro-payments have been heralded as the holy grail of e-commerce since 1999. Europeans and Asians sometimes use their cellphones to pay for online services (or virtual goods) but no one managed to deliver a popular, universally accepted web only solution. I believe Facebook could be the one to deliver it. Gartner reckon that direct payment could amount to a third of Facebook's revenues. Article on the FT.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Life beyond PR: It is sunny on the Cacao Pearl.

I thought I would post some pretty pictures of my new project, the Cacao Pearl. It is the World's first non-profit luxury eco-resort, nestled in the Calamian archipelago in Palawan, Philippines. As you would expect, PR is core to our marketing strategy and we are having good media and bloggers' coverage so far ranging from mentions in the NY Times, SF Chronicle, Frommer's, Treehugger, Hollywood Reporter, A Place in the Sun, National Geographic, Hotels Magazine and many more. Completion is scheduled for early 2012. Too early to compile a mailing list but you are welcome to find out more at www.cacaoresorts.com. If you want to write about it and need more information, just ping me.



Tuesday, June 02, 2009

The trillion dollars question: China or America.

China. If you don't believe, go there and see for yourself.

BT limits download speed on cheapest broadband packages

"A customer who has signed up for an up to 8 megabit per second package can have their speed cut to below 1Mbps". Time to read the small print and complain all the way to the top. BBC.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

OneTel Talk Talk but doesn't listen

In 10 years in the UK, I had my share of bad service but never had to resort to the Office of Fair Trading for a resolution, until I canceled my contract with OneTel. Despite written letters a month in advance that were acknowledged and three follow-up phone calls, they still send me bills for a phone line in a flat I left 2 months and a half ago. Obviously they are taking the piss. I am sending my recorded letter tomorrow for their breach of contract under the supply of goods and services act 1982. They have 10 days to sent me a written confirmation that my contract is canceled and refund me. I will update on this blog. Needless to say that I am not recommending them to anyone.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Wolfram

Touted as the new Google, Wolfram is actually not a search engine but a "computational knowledge engine". It is a bit like an expert system plugged-in an encyclopedia. Look at the online demo This is a very impressive start.

The end of free online news?

Rupert Murdoch is looking to start charging readers to access his online papers. While many will dismiss it as rearguard fighting, I will not be surprised if other publishers jump in at the chance. As their readership moves online, newspaper publishers just can't make enough money on the Internet through advertising alone to run their business. The billion dollars question is whether there would be sufficient willing payers to compensate the drop in online readership (i.e. online advertising revenues) when they start charging. It looks like we will soon find out.

CNN article (still free).

Monday, May 04, 2009

Is a Recession the Perfect Time to Start a Business?

In theory, resources would cost less but Jeff Nolan shows that it is not to be taken for granted. In a comment Edwk makes valid points: People joining you know that it will be tough so are more motivated and you have less competitors throwing money at the problem you are trying to solve.

Saturday, May 02, 2009

The Best job in the World, Queensland Tourism campaign explained

"... for US$1m, it generated US$70m of global publicity." and was probably one of the best campaigns of its kind I have seen for a long time. BBC.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Gaping Void's Macleod writing book

"ignore everybody" launches June 11th, 2009. I have always been a great fan of the cartoons and iconoclastic marketing thoughts so will await anxiously.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Pirate Bay guilty verdict: Now what?

"...the site will almost certainly continue to operate and the legal battle will carry on for many months - or even years - to come...". The Register. A victory for litigation over innovation.

Cambridge researchers slam Facebook democracy

"...the revised document is effectively identical to the original version, with merely superficial changes...". Ouch! Computer Weekly.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Google Street View does not breach privacy laws

"If consent were required by the law then the producers of, say, Match of the Day, would have to gain the consent of all people attending televised football matches who might be caught on camera". Enough said. Guardian.

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Biting the hand that feed: Can we monetize social media?

David Rowan, editor of the new UK Wired edition takes a shot at Second Life (the national sport at the moment) and hits all other social networks/services in the same time. The best business minds have spent over a decade figuring out a profitable business model for online media or social networks and the best option so far is still selling to an even bigger online media or social network. With the crisis shrinking everyone to size and funding drying up, this brings us in a world where we accept that online networks can only be a "cost of doing business", where we continue chasing an elusive magical business model that will turn millions of users into millions of customers or where we start charging people for services they clearly value. My hunch is on the 3rd option.

Twitter switch for Guardian, after 188 years of ink

Great April's fools fun from the Guardian.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Friday, March 20, 2009

Google Street View now in the UK...

... And the results are just amazing. Conveniently, a picture was taken just in front of my former flat and as a result, I am missing London.

Explore at http://earth.google.com/ and tick Street View under "Layers".

Sunday, March 15, 2009

The crisis of credit, visualised

One of the best explanations of the credit crunch I have seen. First seen on Mr Brown, blogger extraordinaire of Singapore.

The Crisis of Credit Visualized from Jonathan Jarvis on Vimeo.

Sunday, March 08, 2009

Microsoft Office labs vision 2019

In 2019, there will be tactile screens everywhere. The only gardens will be on rooftops and we will all live in Hong Kong. Don't believe me? See for yourself:



Thank you to El Blogador for sending me this story. Read post from Long Zheng.

Thursday, March 05, 2009

IAB develops new guidelines for behavioural advertising

Self-regulatory and signed by AOL, Google, Microsoft, Yahoo!... The guidelines can be summarized as:
  • Notice
Each Member shall provide clear and unambiguous notice to users that it collects data for the purposes of OBA. This notice shall include information about what types of data are collected, how these data are being used and how users can decline OBA with respect to that Member.
  • User choice
Each Member shall provide an approved means for consumers to decline OBA from that Member and information on how to do it.
  • User Education
Each Member shall make information available to educate users about OBA and ensure that this information is easily accessible.

And of course, "No Member shall create OBA segments intended for the sole purpose of targeting children under the age of 13 years".

Full guidelines on IAB site.
First read on the BBC.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

"Lunatic bloggers can keep the blogosphere"

Guardian article about Ryanair v. Jason Roe, a freelance developer/blogger. I don't condone the tone of Ryanair's response but the short of it is that Ryanair can get away with that. Most of those commenting and swearing they will never fly Ryanair will quickly change their mind when asked to pay £100 more for the same journey with another airline. If they don't mind paying more, they are not Ryanair's customer target anyway.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Facebook U-turn again

For the time being, your pictures belong to you. Guardian. Funny how the Facebook team still hasn't figured out a way to connect with their users before implementing such policies.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Military’s killer robots must learn warrior code

" Autonomous military robots that will fight future wars must be programmed to live by a strict warrior code or the world risks untold atrocities at their steely hands" According to a report from the Ethics and Emerging Technology group. Article in the Times with a priceless comment from Dave E., Laos: "Marvelous – puts the recession into perspective though doesn’t it. Who needs to worry about losing their jobs when in fact the real danger is killer robots without conscience stalking the earth….".

Monday, January 26, 2009

The World's best complaint letter

LinkTo Richard Branson from a Virgin airline customer on the Mumbai to Heathrow flight last December. Hilarious.
On the Telegraph.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Affordable glasses turn your computer screen in 3D

"NVIDIA has created a kit that turns computer screen images 3D provided machines have GeForce graphics processors and one of the new-generation of high-resolution monitors launched at CES by Samsung, ViewSonic, or Mitsubishi. (...) Because the technology works with monitors, 2D computer games can be replayed in three dimensions". AFP article.


I want one! and loads of Panadol.

Friday, January 09, 2009

50 Reasons Why More People Aren't Using Your Website

Written by Scott Heiferman. The top 3 are the most common issues:

1. Because they don't want to generate content, they want better life
2. Because it solves a problem they don't have
3. Because it won't help them with their problem

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

ESTATE AGENTS NOW SHOWING HOUSES TO OTHER ESTATE AGENTS

"BRITAIN'S estate agents are showing houses to each other in a bid to combat loneliness and prevent their traditional skills from dying out." Another classic from the Daily Mash.

Atheist advertising campaign goes global, thousand more buses to burn in Hell!

800 buses in the UK, a thousand tube cards, 2 LCD screens opposite Bond Street tube station, buses in Barcelona, Italy, the U.S. (Washington only)...

If only more were heeding this message from the American Humanist Association: "Just be good for goodness' sake".

Guardian article.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

A floating city to welcome future global warming escapists?


Floating eco-city concept by French architect Vincent Callebaut. The city generates more energy than it consumes through a combination of wave power and solar energy. It can host 50,000 people. No price tag yet but it is safe to assume that it will be used as a luxury development rather than a viable solution for the expected millions of people displaced from their homeland by the rising seas. It looks beautiful though... Article in French in Le Monde.