All posts tagged: Internet

➟ How Netflix Reverse Engineered Hollywood

Alexis Madrigal, for The Atlantic: What emerged from the work is this conclusion: Netflix has meticulously analyzed and tagged every movie and TV show imaginable. They possess a stockpile of data about Hollywood entertainment that is absolutely unprecedented. Using large teams of people specially trained to watch movies, Netflix deconstructed Hollywood. They paid people to watch films and tag them with all kinds of metadata. This process is so sophisticated and precise that taggers receive a 36-page training document that teaches them how to rate movies on their sexually suggestive content, goriness, romance levels, and even narrative elements like plot conclusiveness. The data can’t tell them how to make a TV show, but it can tell them what they should be making. When they create a show like House of Cards, they aren’t guessing at what people want. What a huge undertaking, and a demonstration of Amazon-like patience for a company like Netflix—slowly, quietly, build a long-view competitive advantage in technology and process that becomes impossible for others to copy, and that eventually enables a whole new range of products that …

Singapore’s Pacific Rim Jaeger: URBAN REDEVELOPMENT

Pacific Rim has a load of digital marketing bits out online, some created by Qualcomm Snapdragon (official microprocessor of the film’s Jaeger robots) on their Facebook page. One of the best is this Jaeger Designer app, which lets you modify a Unity 3D model with different parts and colors, and then render a poster featuring your own country’s robot defender, which you can also name. I think Singapore’s Urban Redevelopment sits nicely alongside the U.S.’s Gipsy Danger and Japan’s Coyote Tango. Seeing the movie this Friday night in IMAX 3D and pretty damned excited.

Finding a Home for Your Copywriting Portfolio or: How I Learned to Stop Channeling an Art Director and Love the Words

Lots of portfolio tools advertise the ability to create a gorgeous website online within minutes, but how many are suited to showcasing a copywriter’s work? This post covers getting a basic presence up for a handful of your projects. More comprehensive site builders are only briefly mentioned. It’s often said that people only look into their CVs between jobs, but taking stock of what you’ve accomplished on a regular basis is a really good practice. But with a standard resumé, updating a paragraph about your current employment several times a year isn’t attractive. Fortunately for people in the creative industries, there’s the portfolio, which can be very satisfying to compile, if only to remind ourselves how little victories on a project tend to make up a bigger result. Not Your Creative Director’s Portfolio Over the last few years, I’ve seen a fair few creative portfolios, and increasingly, when one asks to see some work, a URL gets sent instead of a PDF. When I was starting out in advertising about 8 years ago, we routinely brought …

[Branch] Do we still need to physically experience music shopping?

[Branch] Do we still need to physically experience music shopping? I thought I was perfectly fine with digital discovery, Spotify-style apps and the iTunes Store, but at the risk of losing the last big retailer in town (HMV), and remembering how one could wander for hours and come out with armfuls of new music, I think I’m going to miss the tactile/spatial experience of old. There’s something about walking in and seeing with your own eyes a handmade display promoting an album you’d never heard of, and becoming curious. A thumbnail doesn’t do that. Branch is a relatively new startup and service that allows anyone to set up ad-hoc, public discussion spaces. The person who sets the topic (or question) can invite others over Twitter or email, and any other viewer can ask to join in by simply writing what they would say if they were already part of the discussion. After that’s approved, they’re in. It’s an elegant and well-designed system, but still relatively unfriendly to some.* For my first attempt, I asked the …

Why Can’t Twitter Be Like Foursquare?

Turf Geography Club I never thought little ol’ Foursquare could lead the way for Twitter, but their approach to the third-party access and monetization problem shows more class and understanding. For the past few weeks now, instead of investing in a user experience that users would choose, Twitter’s stated solution has been to make their apps the only ones in town. Thanks to a tweet from @tarngerine today, I discovered Turf Geography Club, a location-based iPhone game built atop Foursquare’s place database, with additional Monopoly-like mechanics for upgrading and defending your property. It stands out from all the other “check-in and own this location” type apps by taking a flat-out fun (as opposed to a utility) approach: retro 16-bit style graphics, a Wes Anderson-inspired aesthetic (evident in the name, video trailer, and writing), bears, compasses, illustrated logbooks, and nonsensical references to an eternal struggle between man and nature. What I liked was how I could suddenly start using Turf as my Foursquare client of choice, checking in as I usually do, but also playing this …

Switched from SingNet DSL to StarHub Fiber today. Here are the Speedtest results.

We never got the theoretical maximum speed of SingNet’s 6mbps down, 512kbps up plan, so I don’t consider it to be a bottleneck for download speeds (even in the best case scenario of a Singapore-based server, it didn’t come up against the 6mbps ceiling). The StarHub fiber plan is capped at 50mbps down, 15mbps up. For international surfing, StarHub says the connection is capped at 15mbps down. I’m just happy that it’s better, and that uploads are so significantly better. It’s going to be great for uploading photos to Flickr. I tried out a couple of moderately-seeded torrents and saw max download speeds of about 4 times higher than I used to get with SingNet. Your mileage may vary, but it’s a promising start. I think a 1.5GB image came down in about 15 minutes. Posted via email from sangsara’s posterous

➟ Smokescreen

If I hadn’t just seen it with my own eyes, I wouldn’t have believed this was possible. Smokescreen is a soon to be open-sourced technology that converts Adobe Flash content to HTML5/Javascript, in real time. It’s essentially Flash without a plugin, and it works with animation and sound just fine in my desktop Safari. The company behind it describes itself as “an ad network” that wanted to see the richness of Flash ads come to devices like the iPad, without the need to rewrite code. It’ll be released soon, but have a look at the demos they’ve got up now with your Flash blocker on. Link [smokescreen.us]

Google Search Trends for Singapore, 14 May 2010, 2AM

Google publishes statistics on popular web searches the same way Twitter has its trending topics. Some of this stuff stays up on the charts for days, while other vague, ungrokkable keyword combinations burn brightly and then mysteriously slip away. Let’s have a look at what’s hot now: #5 Habib Ali Batu Pahat Far as I can tell, Habib Ali is the name of a 96-year-old “shaman” who lives in Batu Pahat, Malaysia. Why his name is trending, I haven’t a clue. Either he did something awesome or he bought it. The top result is a site that tries to explain why he’s a shaman, but it’s just stuff like not turning his back on guests, to the point of shuffling backwards out of a room. To me, that just says he’s a respectful host or he’s had some valuables stolen in the past. #4 Jibapan A local online shopping site that lets you set up a virtual store of your own, or subscribe to a list of your favorite merchants. The company calls it building your …

Fear of a Pad Planet

There’s been a certain reaction to the iPad from some quarters of the tech-inclined community, inspired by the belief that the device signals a shift towards a new form of computing that old people can finally understand. That reaction has been fear and apprehension. It begins by looking at the iPad as a better personal computer for the majority of people. After all, it surfs the web, does email, plays games, and that’s what most people do with their computers most of the time, right? Better yet, it does all of those things without a long boot-up sequence, viruses, and confusing computery concepts like a filesystem, administrator rights, directories (recently renamed ‘Folders’ for these same users), registries, multi-step installation procedures, and the list goes on. Parents will finally stop calling us for help with strange error messages, and we will forget that it was ever hard. But if people start to prefer the iPad and its descendants to ‘real’ computers, so the argument goes, then we will have robbed the next generation of a basic …

iPhone app review doublebill: Birdhouse & Twitbit

(This iPhone review and others like it have been moved to my new app review site, positivemachine.com. Why not have a look?) Birdhouse / Twitbit – $3.99 & $4.99 respectivelyWhy Pay? It starts with a free app, Twitterrific or TwitterFon for most people, and for awhile it seems like you’ll never have a need for one of those “Pro” Twitter clients that your geekier friends talk about. Reply a message here, send out a cute quote there, it’s all good. Cut to a couple hundred followers later, and you’re riding the doubt train harder than a doped up pop star with 50 concert dates to deliver. You need a little something extra to keep your edge. You ask your live-in doctor for one of these:Birdhouse is like a Twitter ninja. A ninja who’s spent his entire life learning to unsheathe his blade, stab a man, and put it away again in under half a second. He can’t climb walls, farts loudly all the time, and is 99% colorblind as well as good ol’ regular blind, …