Tuesday, August 16, 2011

The Birth of eV



The BBC just launched a new version of its iPlayer ap for people with a web connected TV.
The Beeb has an enormous store of content and a less restrictive model than most commercial broadcasters. As both content creator and distributor it can decide its own rules. While this might be a unique position in the market and give the broadcaster a slightly unfair first mover advantage it does offer a glimpse of what ‘TV’ might mean in the future that is converging upon us.

Features of the new app:

•    on-demand
•    advanced search
•    playability on multiple platforms - mobile and static.

Audiences have become used to adding layers of experience to television viewing. TV remains a channel with few restrictions on quality based on bandwidth. It is a fire hydrant compared to the relative trickle of the web. In recent years a significant proportion of the viewing audience have also overlaid secondary media to their viewing experience. Laptops, tablets and smartphones mean engaging with a show can aslo mean engaging with other fans in real time to augment the experience.

The new BBC iPlayer app targets TV buyers who like:

•    interactivity,
•    social networking,
•    TV on-demand,
•    email.

The system can:

•    flip between the various BBC TV and radio,
•    refine content by category or featured content,
•    list favorites.
•    Simultaneously browse while watching a selection,
•    search content by phrase like Google.

The app is initially only for Sony, but will be rolled out for other platforms.
Still it is slick and points the way forward to how we will enjoy eV in the future.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Theo Jansen's Strandbeests - Wallace & Gromit's World of Invention Episo...



Today I attended a conference organised by New Zealand's Ministry of Science and Innovation.
Frankly - my head spun. The international speakers were genius. The ideas that formed were exciting.
I was covering the event for Idealog Magazine - for some reason it was invitation only. It should not have been.
However, let me chat about this video.
Wow.
That is all.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Likemarks™ - the new measure of brand health?



A few years back Saatchi & Saatchi CEO popularised a new take on brands by coining the phrase Lovemarks.
A clever repositioning of his agency that proved popular with clients and staff.

But in the era when brands are scrambling to find meaning in social media, perhaps Lovemarks is a little bombastic - asking too much?

Facebook's 'Like' is ubiquitous. Commercial pages are deemed successful by the number of 'Likes'.

It is, perhaps, a lazy way of expressing approval - and it certainly can't be extrapolated into the kind of passion for the brand that Lovemarks describes. But the people have spoken.

So - I have created Likemarks™.

More thoughtful essay to follow.

Monday, April 18, 2011

In praise of simple pleasures: Food Alley Review

I don't keep food at home.
There are a number of reasons for that.
Principally: buying uncooked food comes with responsibility.
You have to cook it.
I am OK with pot noodles.
But the subtlety of anything more complex eludes me.
In pragmatic terms I also have to deal with the small matter of having the right equipment to prepare the raw ingredients for consumption. Have you seen the prices of Le Creuset pans or a decent set of knives from Henckels?
Then there is the simple fact that my cooking talent could fit on the head of a pin with room left for a million angels.
So, once I have spent my small fortune (and believe me my fortune is small) on grocery items and the obligatory impulse purchases - have you seen the price of fresh vege and meat?! (...It is criminal. Our prisons are crammed full with lesser offenders.) …I don't seem to be able to get out of a market without dropping forty bucks. Minimum.
I could be cooking peanut butter and jam sandwiches and they would cost me forty bucks.
Then I would set out make my warm salad of toasted walnuts and blue cheese (or PB&J) and it will taste like shit.
Because, like telling jokes the trick is.........timing.
I just don't have it.
So.
Expensive produce only produces a miserable effect and self loathing.
So.
Pointless.
That's why I like to eat out.
It's cheaper.
And I don't have to do the cleaning up.
I live in a hotel in Auckland city.
There is no shortage of choice of eateries in the neighborhood.
Not all of them good.
But for reliability it is hard to go past Food Alley in Albert Street - opposite the Stamford Plaza Hotel, and down a little.
As a creature of habit (usually bad ones) I find myself drawn to the Malaysian stall asking for a Chicken Laksa.
I know the stall owners know what I am going to ask for. But I pause for a moment and scan the menu anyway. It's good to have rituals in your life.
But a Laska it is.
The servings are huge.
I once asked for a half portion.
But it didn't compute.
I might as well have asked for a Magic Unicorn Laksa.
If you don't know the dish-it is the ultimate in Asian comfort food.
Combine 2 piles of noodles - thick ones and vermicelli.
Add a spicy coconut broth.
Top with chicken (or fishy things), deep fried tofu, half a boiled egg, some dried onion (or whatever that crunchy brown stuff is)...
Mung bean sprouts make you feel less bad about the rest of the ingredients.
The confection is a powerfully robust, warming confection that I have a love/hate relationship with.
Hearty. But probably not good for my heart.
It costs nine bucks and, for me, is two meals - I can't complete the task in one sitting. So a dodgy doggy bag is always required.
As for Food Alley. I love the ambiance, the vibe and eclecticism of the crowd. I like that, if my daughter wants an Indian curry or Japanese - then she can have what pleases her and I the international dish that makes me happy.
It is the most family friendly dining experience.
I can't award any stars for decor; or feeling posh.
But as an everyday utility, the equivalent of a street market in Singapore or a hairbrush, if performs its function with elan.
I recommend you try it.
There has to be room for simple pleasure in our dining experiences.