Archive for March, 2007

Lost? – Play This Game!

The game is a student project that aims to show how 7 million people connect and become the game with the most number of players ever. It’s about finding new ways of communicating an idea and crossing the boundary between the internet and the real world.

You can join the game if you find an invitation. An invitation is an internet address that looks like this: http://www.lost.eu/example – but instead of the word ‘example’ there are some random numbers and letters. My number is http://www.lost.eu/362e9

There are invitations written everywhere – from beaches in Mexico to train stations in Poland

Here is my invitation (this blog) to you:

You can score points by inviting other people to the game in the most creative way possible. To invite people – write this link somewhere in the real world or on the internet.


The link is unique to you. For each person that joins by following this address, you gain one point. For everyone they invite, you gain half a point.

Each time you invite someone your timer resets – if it reaches zero, you lose!

29 days, 23 hours, 36 minutes, 50 seconds

29 days, 23 hours, 36 minutes, 35 seconds

At the moment you are

11498th with 0 points

Please help me survive…I want to make it to level 2!

Read Full Post »

I ran the Shamrock Run this weekend and along with the time change I’m feeling the effects a bit this morning. The Shamrock is considered the start of the running season for many in the Northwest and the rain cooperated making the event most enjoyable…as runs go. After the event I noticed several videographers on the sidewalks doing the “YouTube” interview gig. While gasping for oxygen I got a synopsis from one dude on his high-def project.

The HDV community is unique and advances in the ability to process, store, and manipulate high-quality digital media in real time are paving the way for independent filmmakers to achieve groundbreaking results.

At the same time the HDV camcorder industry is also undergoing tremendous innovation, with new/higher performance features being introduced, at price points that make it affordable to an increasing number of users. At the pro-sumer end of this market is Sony’s exceptional new HVR-V1U HDV camcorder and companion HVR-DR60 hard disk recorder.

One of the unique features in the HVR-V1U is that it offers a progressive 24p 1440 x 1080 recording mode ideally suited for independent filmmakers and others who desire a film look for their productions. One of the difficulties for native-editing based NLEs is that the 24p signal is embedded into an interlaced 60i signal. To offer a true 24p editing workflow you must first extract the 24p sequence from its 60i container, a process called inverse telecine. Resulting files are recorded into an intermediate format, and are immediately available for 24p editing on Windows using Adobe Premiere Pro or Sony Vegas, or on Mac OS X using Final Cut Pro.

I believe CineForm is the only company who provides inverse telecine algorithms in a compressed Digital Intermediate workflow and gives the videographer a software-based real-time extraction of the 24p source sequence from the HVR-V1U. In addition to 24p support in the HVR-V1U, Sony has also included an HDMI connector on the camcorder allowing it to output uncompressed HD digital video that bypasses the highly-compressed HDV format during recording.

With a Blackmagic Intensity card, you could record an uncompressed signal (before MPEG compression) direct-to-disk into CineForm Intermediate files at up to 10-bit precision and with full 4:2:2 chroma resolution.

The aggressive pricing of these new solutions offer independent filmmakers extraordinary visual fidelity and truly challenges the “old guard” of big-budget movies.

Who knows, maybe we’ll see my red, sweaty face on some Shamrock highlight reel from Fire and Ice productions…

Read Full Post »

As I surf/preview a number of the social networks I can’t help but take notice that a lot of the “myspace” generation post annoyances about their parents. There are any number of variants on the same theme, but it is quite clear that some of these parents are in fact so darn annoying that they are starting to bug me and I haven’t even met them!

Well – in the interest of full disclosure: I AM AN ANNOYING PARENT. My teenage kid and trust me when I say he can join a support group with all the rest of you. He can attest that I take annoying to a whole new level.

There are multiple ways in which I am annoying to my kid:

1. I do it deliberately for the sheer sport of it. As a parent I find that there is little that’s more fun than bugging my kid. If I can embarrass, tease, poke or otherwise disturb them I will. Quite simply that is payback for having to spend years wiping their butts!

2. I am annoying based upon my rules, my perceived grumpiness (not true), my remarks regarding their behavior, their friend, their driving, their attitude, their grades… or any number of other things that they don’t like. As a matter of fact I am so annoying that the kid thinks moving out of the home before finishing high school will make me more pleasant.

Take it from this ‘ol man – there is NOTHING harder in life than being a parent. As a parent you are personally responsible for the creation and personal development of a human being. Duuuude, that there is some heavy stuff!

As a parent you do the best that you can but sometimes it isn’t good enough. You try to pass on wisdom, but it’s not always wise enough. You communicate the best that you can but it’s often not clear enough. It’s like participating in a movie production without a script and sometimes ad libing the part isn’t always perfect.

I’m sure that despite all those posts out there on the social networks to the contrary, parents love their kids greatly. While there are always tragic exceptions, I don’t know of any parent who wants anything other than joy and happiness for their kids.

So, bottom line is that no matter how much parents annoy you, they are your parents. You don’t always have to like them, don’t have to agree with them, but you should always love them. They sure aren’t perfect, but if you have a mirror handy…take a look at it. The apples don’t fall far from the tree!

Read Full Post »

On a recent trip to the local Starbucks I was approached by a young girl selling Girl Scout cookies. In training for the Shamrock Run meant I couldn’t be interested, but it got me thinking about available flavors. So, online I went to find them. This process led me to new insight on how the Web is working better. First, consider my experience:

I Goo’d the Girl Scouts and jumped to a home page containing (many logos and other graphics) a graphic promo for the cookies. Clicking on the promo, landed me on the main cookies page, which shows a Zip Code search form, and displays a sign-up form to be contacted by telephone (huh?) for more information. Continuing to wonder what cookies they’re selling, I found an obscure link on the page that led to what must be an old cookie site, the one before the ad agency redesigned the home page. Links and text galore. Only problem: there is no mention of the actual types of cookies being sold.

Frustrated, I gave up on the site. So, the Girl Scouts were able to hire a colorful designer to spruce up the look and feel of the site, but the customer experience was lacking the basics.

At this point I went to Wikipedia and searched for “girl scout cookies”. The first result, wham: Girl Scout Cookie – Wikipedia

The page, after history and overview, shows “Varieties of Cookies”. And there was my answer. One search on Wikipedia got me to a community-driven page that answered my questions faster and easier than an organizationally-driven site, showing successive layers of expensive redesigns with competing interests of design, marketing, and branding. Wikipedia, free from all political concerns of the organization, just showed the information that I (customers) care about.

I’ve concluded that the Web is working better – due to sites like Wikipedia delivering what I want, despite what any particular organization may be able to produce.

This does prove a point about branding online: the brand is the customer experience, not the colors, logos or saying marks. The Girl Scouts site has all the “right” colors and graphics. I assume they attempted to create an emotional bond/experience for the user (using words I’ve heard from branding consultants). Wikipedia, on the other hand, just delivers the information in black text, on a white background, with blue text links. In spite of Wikipedia’s digression from the official Girl Scouts brand guidelines, I was able to recover emotionally, read up on the flavors, and consider purchasing an order for post Shamrock run.

My thinking is that a good rule of thumb for any significant website redesign is that you first compare how hard it is to find your most basic, important information on the site, versus on Wikipedia. If Wikipedia is easier, then reconsider options.

What’s your customer experience?

Read Full Post »