Month: July 2010

Ditching Read It Later for Instapaper

This evening I made the switch from Read It Later to Instapaper. The latter is by far the more popular service. On the surface, it might be hard to choose one over the other. Their iPhone apps both cost $4.99 (Read It Later, Instapaper), they both have free-to-use websites, they both suck the text out of a web article you’re too busy to read at the moment of encounter, and store it online for later enjoyment. Well, at least that’s the idea. It seems grabbing the right text off a page isn’t that easy, and RIL was just letting me down too many times. Quite often I’d have words like Home, About, and Related Articles – clearly bits of the navigational interface missed by the dust filter – appearing before or in the middle of the story I wanted to read. Sometimes they’d be the only words on display: the article itself having been weeded out and tossed aside, 90% of the page’s content or not! The RIL text engine wasn’t very smart about pretending to …

➟ How the Old Spice Videos Are Being Made

ReadWriteWeb: 4Chan, the anonymous nihilist obscene messageboard from whence sprang memes like LOLCats and RickRolling, was the subject of what’s now the 3rd most-watched of the Old Spice videos made yesterday, after the ones made for Perez Hilton and Kevin Rose. 4channers hate everything, especially people who talk about 4chan – which this savvy man in a towel did not do. But 200,000 views later, that absurd video response to “Anonymous” has received more than 4000 thumbs up from viewers and less than 100 thumbs down. Still going strong, and inferring from a tweet I saw in @IsaiahMustafa’s stream, they’ll be doing this till Thursday in the US. Funny that he’s using Chuck Norris for his Twitter wallpaper – Old Spice Man has eclipsed that legend by now. Link

The Dokaka Discography

Less than a week after I placed my order for The Dokaka Discography, a limited edition 6-CD set of the Japanese mouth-musician’s work, I hold copy #22 in my hands. Still available for $30USD at Dokaka.com. The fact that they didn’t immediately sell out upon release greatly disappointments me.

➟ Old Spice man responds to online fans

Earlier today on Twitter, I said: The @oldspice copywriters deserve every prize on the shelf they’ll build with their bare hands after exploding Cannes with sheer brilliance.about 4 hours ago via Tweetie for Mac The guys behind the new Old Spice commercials showed a good understanding of social media before when they spread their ads virally online, but yesterday they pretty much won the game. Getting Isaiah Mustafa to come back into the studio with nothing but his bare chest and a towel, they started producing video responses to fans on Twitter, Facebook, and Youtube. Over a hundred personalized responses in all. Some were replies to counter-replies, so we can see that these were being written/performed on the fly to some degree. It is a very high standard to be achieving on the fly, both as writing and performance. Online engagement doesn’t get any better than this – rewarding content that viewers happily seek out and interact with, even celebrities like @aplusk, @guykawasaki, @rosemcgowan, and @alyssa_milano. He wore a tie when responding to @GQ, gave himself a trophy …

➟ Apple’s new iPhone 4 ads

I posted these four ads on Twitter earlier, calling them a cut above Apple’s recent advertising; each one a force of emotion. It strikes me now that these ads are so natural, so well conceived and performed, that they’re more moving than scenes several times their length in Hollywood film. In any case, they are a refreshing change from disembodied hands and players introducing themselves as metaphors for machines. What’s remarkable about Apple’s advertising is how they have come to accurately reflect the brand’s approach. It’s a lot rarer than you’d think, and most communications from large companies with offices in multiple countries inevitably veer into “off-brand” territory. Just as the modern Mac and iPhone are familiar tools whittled down to their purest forms – no extraneous buttons or indicator lights, solid blocks of CNC-machined material, and straightforward “naturalistic” user interfaces – the modern Apple ad is simple, uncluttered, and devoid of transitions and flashy effects. They keep the basics: a story, a product, and a pay-off. These iPhone 4 ads all have the same …

➟ Double Rainbow All The Way

Update: The Gregory Brothers’ Double Rainbow song is now available on iTunes for 99c. Half the money goes to helping Yosemitebear (Paul Vasquez), the original video’s creator, out of poverty. This article at the Merced Sun-Star says he’s been living on $5,000 a year and can’t afford to replace the tires on his car, limiting his ability to go into town.—- If you haven’t seen the original Double Rainbow video yet, it’s essential viewing as a primer for all the remixes and spoofs appearing on YouTube. The meme started with a hippie stoner uploading a video where he sees a double rainbow while on a hike (gives new meaning to “Hiking Trip”), and totally loses his mind trying to absorb the beauty of it. “WHAT DOES IT MEAN?! WHOAAA!!” And so now we have guys like this impressionist applying the template to KFC’s Double Down sandwiches (DOUBLICIOUS ALL THE WAY!!): And the guys from Auto-Tune the News made an awesome song out of it: Link (original video)

➟ Dokaka performs the Super Mario Castle theme

This is an oldie but a triple-A, gold-starred goodie all the same. It’s probably not fair to call Dokaka a beatboxer – he’s more a shrieking, humming genius – but that’s probably the only way to sell him outside of Japan. I was reminded of this video today while listening to his version of the Katamari Damacy theme song from the soundtrack album. He also appears alongside Rahzel and other more conventional vocal instrumentalists on Bjork’s Medulla album, which is notable for being almost completely composed of human voices. If you have the time, watch him do a Nirvana cover on a street corner while no one seems to care. Anyway, enjoy the video. It’s impossible to watch this and not think him completely mad while you laugh. Edit: Turns out my timing couldn’t have been better. A new 6-CD album, he calls it “The Dokaka Discography“, has just been released on his website. Only 100 copies are available, each one handmade and autographed. Just USD$30 including delivery. Half unreleased material, and most of his …

➟ What if Nokia went Android?

Monday Note: Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo, Nokia’s CEO calls his new head of mobile devices, Anssi Vanjoki in his office, hidden inside the company’s research center at 995 Page Mill Road, in Palo Alto, California. On his desk, three devices: a Nokia N900, a Motorola Droid and an iPhone. ‘Anssi, we’re hosed. […] We once were the kings of sleek design. Now, look at the N900 next and cry. We’re the land Marimekko and Iittala, of Finnish design. All over the world, people pay a premium for elegance, for exclusivity. We’re not doomed to a race to the bottom, we’re destined to a race for quality, for elegance. And look at the numbers. We spend 13.5% of revenue for R&D while Apple, doing “everything”, spends 3%. If we stop spending this doomed to failure R&D money, we can lower our percentage below Apple’s. Next, we only do three models: good, better and best. Three price points and we’re done. Simple message, less product managers and other corporate busybodies showing PowerPoint slides to one another over endless meetings …