Friday, December 19, 2008

The Big Beasts Return pt 1 - silent film

As if by whim of the gods.

Karl Lagerfeld premiered “Paris-Moscou,” a silent film about the early life of Coco Chanel recently. The Daily Beast mentioned it today.

Lagerfeld thought his silent film for Chanel was an appropriate format for a contemporary audience, likening the experience of watching a silent film to surfing the Internet. “Today, people are ready for silent movies again, as they spend time—hours, I would say—looking at text messages and e-mails,” he told WWD.

Here's a link to the film - it may well be very slow.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

The Public Domain

A website that will allow publishers to generate a notice of copyright infringement with a few clicks of the mouse is due to launch in January. The Publishers Association said that its portal, unveiled yesterday at its International conference, would make reporting copyright infringement straight forward and save time. But it added that the website also had the added benefit of allowing publishers to pool information and identify repeat infringers.

From the Bookseller.

As is this:
Glamour model Katie Price will be honoured as a "Reading Hero" at a Downing Street reception hosted by Sarah Brown, wife of the prime minister.

Price, who has autobiographies, novels and children’s books to her name, was chosen as the celebrity who has done the most to encourage children or adults to get reading this year in a public vote held on the National Year of Reading (NYR) website. She will join 33 other Reading Heroes nominated by an NYR panel at the Downing Street event next February.

Just one of those trends...

...Ann Mack, director of trendspotting at JWT talks to Media Life.

Why will authenticity be so crucial for brands in 2009?

In the wake of a financial crisis that has seen established institutions topple overnight and many others teeter on the brink, authenticity will become paramount for brands as they look to regain credibility and trust. While this trend will be most apparent in the financial sector, it will surface across a range of categories.

With ongoing revelations of corporate greed and misdeeds in the media, people are growing increasingly skeptical of any brand’s claims, whether it peddles shampoo or retirement packages. People are seeking—and demanding—reliability and accountability. Marketers will need to work even harder to prove their brand is the authentic one above all, especially given that “authentic” has become such a misused and overused label.

Kiosks are back - with semantics (in Germany)

The idea is that their system can be used for quick and precise interaction with any rich semantic content. Real-world settings might include heavily trafficked places like airports or train stations, where they envision their kiosk ending up in the future. (They don't actually like the word "kiosk" -- they prefer "shared interaction space.")

From CNN.

A pair of German researchers have created an experimental kiosk that lets you easily use semantic Web capabilities - even if you have no idea what they are. All that is needed is an iPhone and a finger with which to drag icons around on the kiosk's touch screen.

From the Advanced Tangible Interface lab.

The Return of the Big Beasts: plumbers too

Bagehot in last weeks' Economist ran a piece about the return of the big beasts. Here's what Bagehot means:

Now, almost as a herd, these resting big beasts, the formidable and the chimerical, seem to be moving back to the front-line of politics. It is a telling migration.

The most exotic specimen to be unleashed is, of course, Lord Mandelson, resurrected as business secretary in October. Gordon Brown also brought Margaret Beckett and Nick Brown, two other veteran ministers, back into government. Less conspicuously, he has been taking advice from Alastair Campbell, Tony Blair’s hatchet-man. Rumours that Alan Milburn, a former health secretary, is set for a role in policy formulation may be unfounded. But David Blunkett—who, like Lord Mandelson, twice resigned from the cabinet—may re-surface. Peter Hain—forced out by a funding scandal in January, but now partially rehabilitated—retains Mr Brown’s esteem. On the Tory side, there is persistent talk of using Ken Clarke, a former chancellor, home secretary, health secretary (and so on) for more than the odd policy commission. Mr Cameron has already offered him a job once, and the two are on good terms. Michael Howard, Mr Cameron’s predecessor as leader, is increasingly conspicuous on television.

Meanwhile Jack Shafer, pimping his Slate death watch on newspapers (Shafer plays Pythia to Jeff Jarvis's Apollo these days), comes up with a list of jobs lost because of the digital:

• Bank tellers
• Typewriters
• Typesetting
• Carburetors
• Vacuum tubes
• Slide rules
• Disc jockeys
• Stockbrokers
• Telephone operators
• Yellow pages
• Repair guys
• Bookbinders
• Pimps (displaced by the cell phone and the Web)
• Cassette and reel-to-reel recorders
• VCRs
• Turntables
• Video stores
• Record stores
• Bookstores
• Recording industry
• Courier/messenger services
• Travel agencies
• Print and cinematic porn
• Porn actors
• Stenographers
• Wired telcos
• Drummers
• Toll collectors (slayed by the E-ZPass)
• Book publishing (especially reference works)
• Conventional-watch makers
• "Browse" shopping
• U.S. Postal Service
• Printing-press makers
• Film cameras
• Kodak (and other film-stock makers)

Reading the list I'm wondering whether any of these Big Beasts will make a come-back in 2009. I think some will. Call it the new arts and craft movement: a reverence for well made books, hand made limited editions, film rather than pixels; vinyl has already made its case, and drummers won't ever go away, not in the AC/DC mode, anyway. Print porn seems to still be Belle de Jouring, and book & record stores need only the V&A "nice cafe" moment to become nodal meeting points (they can become flaneur HQs, of course: social networks with great coffee). And "repair guys"? Surely they are the most likely Big Beast revivals: currently a television repair man call out is £150 minimum. (Well, that's how far my online research took me.) What other kinds of battle hardened, experienced, Beasts are due a revival? Keynes? (See below). Local news (see whichever Big Beast makes the jump to own more than EC1)?

Trust...well, there's the big thing.

Who would, after all, have predicted "Light Entertainment" as the Big Beast cultural capital of the virtual decade? John Seargeant, anyone?

The Democratisation of Doubt '08

Keynes via Robert Skidelsky.

The basic question Keynes asked was: How do rational people behave under conditions of uncertainty? The answer he gave was profound and extends far beyond economics. People fall back on “conventions,” which give them the assurance that they are doing the right thing. The chief of these are the assumptions that the future will be like the past (witness all the financial models that assumed housing prices wouldn’t fall) and that current prices correctly sum up “future prospects.” Above all, we run with the crowd. A master of aphorism, Keynes wrote that a “sound banker” is one who, “when he is ruined, is ruined in a conventional and orthodox way.” (Today, you might add a further convention — the belief that mathematics can conjure certainty out of uncertainty.)

But any view of the future based on what Keynes called “so flimsy a foundation” is liable to “sudden and violent changes” when the news changes. Investors do not process new information efficiently because they don’t know which information is relevant. Conventional behavior easily turns into herd behavior. Financial markets are punctuated by alternating currents of euphoria and panic.

From the NYT.

Nostalgia: it's delicate, but potent

A thought for the new year.

RIP: Trust

Trust goes from bad to mad.

Madoff mess slays trust

From Newsday

Looks like another one bit the dust:

And he said unto them, Ye will surely say unto me this proverb, Physician, heal thyself: whatsoever we have heard done in Capernaum, do also here in thy country.

Luke 4:23 (King James Version):

News Update: the cartoon business model

From Geek and Poke

More here.

Why Travel?

CUPERTINO, California—December 16, 2008—Apple® today announced that this year is the last year the company will exhibit at Macworld Expo. Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Product Marketing, will deliver the opening keynote for this year’s Macworld Conference & Expo, and it will be Apple’s last keynote at the show. The keynote address will be held at Moscone West on Tuesday, January 6, 2009 at 9:00 a.m. Macworld will be held at San Francisco’s Moscone Center January 5-9, 2009.

From the Apple site.

And then there's the Scobleizer:

So, what should we expect over the next year? A lot of bad news for big trade shows.
What’s killing them? The Internet. You can launch a product live now from a living room. Thanks to Stickam, Ustream, Qik, Kyte, YouTube, Flixwagon, Viddler, Vimeo, SmugMug, etc and blogs.

Just give the people on Facebook something to pass along and talk about and your product is out there, big time.

End of year there's a list for everything:here's Trust USA

Facebook, Apple, Yahoo, Verizon and FedEx for the first time have made an annual ranking of the top 20 most trusted companies in the United States.

From SF Gate.

Google, however, dropped off the list, released today by the Ponemon Institute and TRUSTe in San Francisco, as did Countrywide Financial, Bank of America (which acquired Countrywide) and Weight Watchers.

Meanwhile Yahoo goes into trust overdrive:

“In our world of customized online services, responsible use of data is critical to establishing and maintaining user trust,” said Anne Toth, Yahoo!’s Vice President of Policy and Head of Privacy. “We know that our users expect relevant and compelling content and advertising when they visit Yahoo!, but they also want assurances that we are focused on protecting their privacy.”

From Yahoo! Finance.

We have been here before, but that doesn't mean we won't be here again: printcasting

Daily Me gets update. Personalised printed newspapers? Printcasting.

To paraphrase a character in the recent remake of The Day the Earth Stood Still, history shows that humanity doesn't evolve until it's standing at the brink. Right now that's exactly where newspapers are. Next year, expect to see smart newspapers moving quickly away from the status quo -- huge overhead, one size fits all, poorly targeted ads -- and toward a new model that is more efficient, community-driven and personalized than ever before. And expect advertising to be more highly-targeted, measurable, and self-serve.

From the MediaShift Ideas lab.

Printcasting Prototype Demo from Dan Pacheco on Vimeo.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

American Society of Newspaper Editors to drop "paper"?

“It is time for ASNE to recognize in its name and its membership that we are way beyond print-only newspapers,” Hall said. “All journalists are now digital news producers, and while print remains an important delivery mode, more and more news is being produced only for the Web.”

The change will be discussed in April 2009. If there are any newspapers left in America by then.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Year in Ideas

Bubblewrap DNA.

From the NYT's Year in Ideas.

Too Busy even for E-Books?

Then read these:

Dreaming of Moscow
Makes life pass by unnoticed.
Did you hear the gun?

Haiku book service online. Above is...

WOW: no job for you

On a gamer forum, a vigorous discussion about whether it's fair for employers to discriminate against World of Warcraft players when hiring, on the grounds that WoW players are never fully out of the game.

Cory Doctorow gets us started on the subject of World of Warcraft and employment prospects (few). Via Boing Boing.

On the Literary Scent

Then Warhol had a brain wave. Get every writer subject to mention which scent they wore - this would appeal to the perfume houses. I don't know if Bob bought the idea but I think it's an excellent one. Perhaps Roger Alton of the Indy and other editors might like to think about it - I have often wondered whether VS Naipaul wears a cologne and would love to know whether Doris Lessing likes a squirt of Caron's Poivre - a lively blend of red and black pepper, cloves and other spices. The bottle comes in a limited-edition Baccarat crystal.

From today's Madame Arcati.

Some Random Nerd: is interesting on Web 3.0

The more I think about it, the more I think that it's the move away from the PC that will mark the next stage of the evolution of the internet; the idea of the internet was of connected and networked computers. The idea of the Web is all about interconnected and networked documents. The move away from the PC and towards other devices— a "Web of Things"— seems to me to be the next logical step.

The idea of the PC as the "hub" of your information is starting to feel a bit dated; as the number of devices that we are using regularly increases (mobile phones, laptops, netbooks, work PC, home PC), the idea of a central device that everything else revolves around seems to me to be an increasingly outdated way of organising your technology; it's too much to rely on. I know 2 iPhone owners who illustrate this point perfectly; one doesn't own a computer, so her iPhone is tied to a friends' PC (and iTunes account), so much of what I would call the important functionality (the ability to transfer files, download software, back up contacts lists, install updates etc.) is lost to her. The other owned a laptop until it recently got stolen, so there's no way for him to upgrade the software on his phone without first completely wiping it (and in the process, losing the music, photos etc. that he now has on his phone, but with no other copies.

More here with background from Some Random Nerd, via Krista Thomas and Reuters.

It's Christmas 2008: time for those New Year's Revolutions 2020

In the year 2020 it is predicted this year that...
The mobile device will be the primary connection tool to the internet for most people in the world in 2020.

The transparency of people and organizations will increase, but that will not necessarily yield more personal integrity, social tolerance, or forgiveness.

Voice recognition and touch user-interfaces with the internet will be more prevalent and accepted by 2020.

Those working to enforce intellectual property law and copyright protection will remain in a continuing "arms race," with the "crackers" who will find ways to copy and share content without payment.

The divisions between personal time and work time and between physical and virtual reality will be further erased for everyone who is connected, and the results will be mixed in their impact on basic social relations.

"Next-generation" engineering of the network to improve the current internet architecture is more likely than an effort to rebuild the architecture from scratch.

Pew in 2020.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Libraries: it's getting tougher still

Dave Prentis said: "The library service is nearing a crisis point after suffering years of funding cuts, deskilling of the workforce and recent threats of outsourcing.

"Although more people visited their local library last year than went to the cinema or a football match, the numbers are declining and so we also need to concentrate on attracting new readers.

From today's Telegraph.

Twitter: finding the trusted circles...

From the Local Democracy blog, via Beth Kanter's blog about how "non-profits can use social media".

We only develop deeper relationships with a subset of our contacts on Twitter, according to Beth - who has picked it up from here.

Here is the original research.