December 2007 Archives

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Every culture celebrates the end of one year and the beginning of a new year - but on what day exactly that transition happens depends completely on convention. During the last 500 years many countries adopted the Gregorian calendar and celebrate the beginning of the new year tomorrow on a day denoted as January 1. Wikipedia, as always, points us to many interesting facts, e.g. ...

Is this talk about focus groups or spaghetti sauce? Enjoy Malcom Gladwell. His is an astonishing haircut.

&139/ R.I.P. Netscape

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We installed Mosaic, we installed MacWeb, but then immediately switched to Netscape which remained our browser for ever since or at least until 2000; ...

... until clients began asking for Internet Explorer compliance of our HTML pages and support as well as testing of all those Netscape 3.xy micro-versions became intolerable. Goodbye, Netscape - we will not forget you while Mozilla and Safari will follow in your footsteps!

Internet Explorer? Rings a bell ...

Read Netscape!

Found on Mashable!
It's TechCrunch time!
[Update December 29: Read Boing Boing!]
[Update January 1: Read from the Insider!]
[Update January 3: Read from the Insider!, Read Between the Lines!]
[Update January 31: Netscape is dead, long live Netscape? One more month and an update to version 9!]

Forrester releases a Q4 Marketing Wave research report, AdAge comments and David Armano from one of the researched agencies replies on Experience Matters.

Forrester, AdAge: "The report suggests interactive agencies are better positioned to take over brand strategy than traditional agencies because of the data and insight they are able to cull from interactive channels and because consumer behavior is shifting toward such channels.

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It's the time of the year to look back: 8 months of & the Red Fez postings - beginning with a slow start in May and a real take-off in October. Sorted by unique pageviews in reverse order ...

Wii

Image © Nintendo

After reading John Tierney's recent NYT article featuring a Don Norman giving up on a digital picture frame due to usability issues, I was wondering if an electronic frame could nevertheless be the perfect Christmas gift for our family? Who cares about usability for a picture frame? I figured myself starting a slideshow once in a while and that would be it ...

Coca-Cola Santa

Image © www.thecoca-colacompany.com

We learned recently that Santa Claus' European grandfather, St. Nicholas, brings little presents to all well-behaved children on December 6. He is followed by Christ as a child himself tonight in Central Europe to deliver the the real Christmas gifts. Though, in some countries or families it might take him or Father Christmas until tomorrow morning to show up.

Jeff Hawkins: “You are making predictions all the time. You are all being intelligent right now – you know what word is at the end of this …



















… sentence.”

Sorry folks, I don’t want to bore you with one TED Talk after another, but they are simply brilliant – every single one. Enjoy. Recorded 2003.

View the talk!

Replace WordPress with Movable Type, Drupal, ... whatever could be the out-of-the-box alternative to custom building your next content management system.

Larry Dignan: "Part of this 'let’s build our own CMS' disease comes from your typical not-invented-here management practices. Here’s how this plays out: Geeks get together with media folks that like to pretend they know technology.

Press release from the Kelsey group: "Among the report’s findings is that the Internet’s share of auto advertising dollars on a global basis will grow from 5 percent in 2007 to 13 percent in 2011. During the same period, traditional classifieds’ share is expected to decrease from 14 percent to 10 percent and newspapers’ share is expected to decline from 17 percent to 14 percent."

AdAge: "Kelsey Group estimates automakers' 2008 U.S. ad spending will be flat or down slightly. CEO Neal Polachek said carmakers will shift more dollars online and to out-of-home, with declines in TV, magazines, newspapers and direct mail."

View the press release! | Read AdAge!

We never thought of a difference between those 2 titles: CIO and CTO. Mike Krigsman cites Jonathan Schwartz: "No CIO wore a baseball cap. The same was not true of the CTO sessions."

IT Project Failures!
Read Jonathan Schwartz!

pensionbook

Image © www.straightfrommybrain.com

We are used to products for, images of, and topics addressing more-or-less young people. At the edge of technology. Good-looking, agile, dressed fashionably. Which is the reason why an image of pensionbook, brought forward by Seth Godin, seems so funny/ strange/ out-of-our-world.

Step back for a moment and consider the age pyramids in the developed countries. Tom Peters is riding the wave for some years now - his recommendation: Focus your marketing on women and senior citizens. Advertising 20-year old female supermodels to young male customers might be an outdated paradigm.

Read Seth Godin!

From Mike Wesch's transcript: "Text is linear. Text is unlinear. Text is said to be unlinear. Text is often said to be unlinear. Text is unlinear when written on paper. Digital text is different. Digital text is more flexible. Digital text is moveable. Digital text is above all...hyper."

We have met Mike before ...

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According to Wikipedia, the first TV ad was broadcast in the US at 2:29 PM on July 1, 1941. Today, over the course of 10 hours, there are approximately 3 hours of ads. Take a medium length of 30 sec per clip and you could air 360 of them on one channel within 10 hours. Below we have 9. Multiply that by 40. Start the clips and enjoy a visually inspiring 5-minute coffee break - a selection worth watching:

[Please be aware that certain spots may contain mature content, which is unsuitable to minors.]

D70-2005-09-19-154542

According to Wikipedia, the first TV ad was broadcast in the US at 2:29 PM on July 1, 1941. Today, over the course of 10 hours, there are approximately 3 hours of ads. Take a medium length of 30 sec per clip and you could air 360 of them on one channel within 10 hours. Below we have 9. Multiply that by 40. Start the clips and enjoy a visually inspiring 5-minute coffee break - a selection worth watching:

[Please be aware that certain spots may contain mature content, which is unsuitable to minors.]

D70-2005-04-14-050605

Absolutely not - no silence at all. It's not silence, it's art. Com' on, we all have an uncountable number of connections on Facebook, LinkedIn, MySpace, and on our blogs. The inner circle might know Steve Gillmor's reactions by heart after years of listening to the show. But there are people who have never heard of The Gang. Share! I do not want to miss him again ...

Join the Group!

August 6: 16 years World Wide Web. Yesterday: 60 years transistor. Today: 10 years Weblog - according to the BBC.

We had an earlier take on this and it seems that blogging history is controversial: BBC, Web Worker Daily and CGM celebrate today, WSJ will celebrate next Sunday, and the rest of us is unsure when exactly to light the candles ...

Read the BBC!
See the CGM.com!
Visit Web Worker!
Found on Mashable!
The WSJ!
Compare to the Blog Herald!

Philippe Starck: "I Must Imagene: Who Own This Mouse?" A presentation from March 2007.

View the talk!

Transistor

Image © Computer History Museum

Today the transistor celebrates its 60th birthday.

Congratulations, my friend. Wherever you look, everyone stands on your shoulders - despite the fact that you shrank terrifyingly fast since you were born! Together with your friend, the integrated circuit, you changed every single device we used back in the 50s and enabled every other device we use today.

John Bardeen, Walter H. Brattain and William Shockley gave birth in 1947 working at the Bell Labs and were rewarded with a Nobel Prize in Physics 19 years later.

Returning to last weekend's topic - make sure to follow all the links (comments included). Excerpts from Nick Carr (and Sig Rinde):

NC: "New wave IT analyst James Governor has written a long post that picks up on last weekend's hubbub about the sexiness (or lack thereof) of enterprise software, a hubbub that started with Robert Scoble scratching his Charlie Brown-like head, moved on to Mike Krigsman accusing Scoble of not understanding enterprise software, proceeded to see the Grandstander Known as Yours Truly coming to Scoble's defense (as I am wont to do) ...

Multi-touch quite similar to Microsoft Surface was presented by Jeff Han as early as February 2006 at the TED Talks (four hands on the Perceptive Pixel wall). But the story is older, we have to move at least 25 years back into time ...

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Hewlett-Packard CEO Mark Hurd's daughter is 12 and doesn't understand why you can't call a company and get an instant response. She doesn't understand why there isn't a search box on every site.

Good approach. View the world with children's eyes!

Tim Ferris points us to a documentary by Bob Compton today, comparing 4 highschool years in the US, China, and India [T+3]. Could a flat-world awakening have positive effects on the education system in the US and in Europe? Remember what happened after the Sputnik shock 50 years ago - from NewScientistSpace:

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Alex Wright presented at the Google Tech Talks October, 23: Surprisingly similar to our IA lectures over the years - and yes, we have heard of Paul Otlet before - his picture is in our slide deck as well ;)

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Enterprise software seems to become a hot topic these days, stating Nick Carr: "Welcome, Mike, to my fantasy land, which is also sometimes referred to as the 21st century."

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Recently we asked: Why Do CEO/ CIO Employments End? Today it's: Why Do CEOs Return? Citations:

From Jakob Nielsen's Alertbox:

"One of the most important goals on an IA project is to institute a consistent user experience for two key elements: the visible navigation user interface, and the underlying — invisible — structure (where things are found on the intranet). To successfully achieve this, teams must:

  • Decide to proactively design the IA instead of letting it evolve.
  • Ensure that management supports the central IA designer's authority to provide guidance and structure to other departments' intranet work.
  • Ensure that management won't second-guess the design team and impose the awkward structures or navigational terms that individual executives happen to like."

Read the (unofficial) What if Jakob Nielsen had a blog? introduction!
Read the Alertbox article!

Even though you might have seen this before, take your time and watch Flickrvision again for at least 10 minutes [T+1]. Choose a time when one continent wakes up and another continent falls asleep.

Watch Flickrvision!

From Mike Wesch's description: "This video explores the changes in the way we find, store, create, critique, and share information. This video was created as a conversation starter, and works especially well when brainstorming with people about the near future and the skills needed in order to harness, evaluate, and create information effectively."

Feel free to follow /xculturematters and participate! Several students and me will be available for conversation on December 7 and 8, approx. during working hours GMT+1. Possible questions according to Fons Trompenaars and Charles Hampden-Turner:
  1. Would you be willing to lie in order to protect a friend driving a car above speed limit hitting a pedestrian? No witnesses ...
  2. In my society, it is considered unprofessional to express emotions overtly. (a) agree - (d) disagree.
  3. Would you lend your car to a friend?
  4. Your boss asks you to paint his house at the weekend. "Yes, it's my boss, I have to do it. (a) agree - (d) disagree."
  5. The most important thing in life is to think and act in a manner that best suits the way you really are, even if you do not get things done.
  6. Would you agree more: (a) What happens to me is my own doing. - (b) I often feel I cannot take control of things.
  7. Would you respect your boss even when he had no clue of what you are doing?
Follow people we have asked - and their conversation - below:

Coca-Cola Santa

Image © www.thecoca-colacompany.com

Today is St. Nicholas in Central Europe and just a minute ago I heard him pass by outside, ringing his bell going from door to door. No kidding. But be aware: The white-bearded man depicted above is not St. Nicholas. It is Santa Claus, one of his ancestors.

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There was a time when we were impatiently waiting for a Web page to load. World Wide Wait was coined as a synonym for WWW. Everything outside the direct reach of our own machines just could not be handled efficiently. But times have changed.

The Financial Times interviews Loïc Le Meur, entitling the piece Share Ideas to the Maximum. We change to Spread Ideas to the Maximum and forward the essence unmodified. Sometimes there is value-add by simply shifting context ...

"Ten rules for startup success:

  • Don’t wait for a revolutionary idea. It will never happen. Just focus on a simple, exciting, empty space and execute as fast as possible
  • Share your idea. The more you share, the more you get advice and the more you learn. Meet and talk to your competitors.
  • Build a community. Use blogging and social software to make sure people hear about you.
  • Listen to your community. Answer questions and build your product with their feedback.
  • Gather a great team. Select those with very different skills from you. Look for people who are better than you.
  • Be the first to recognise a problem. Everyone makes mistakes. Address the issue in public, learn about and correct it.
  • Don’t spend time on market research. Launch test versions as early as possible. Keep improving the product in the open.
  • Don’t obsess over spreadsheet business plans. They are not going to turn out as you predict, in any case.
  • Don’t plan a big marketing effort. It’s much more important and powerful that your community loves the product.
  • Don’t focus on getting rich. Focus on your users. Money is a consequence of success, not a goal."

Read the FT!

From a research paper published recently:

"Networks display two effects:

  • Network externalities: the interest in being a member of a network increases more than proportionally with the number of users
  • Congestion point: an increase occurs up to the point where the network cannot support the number of users which depletes the service provided

The challenge for managers of networks is to reach the critical mass where there are enough users to produce this network effect, which implies to:

  • Ask a low price when the network begins to grow
  • Make users pay for the use of the services provided by the network, not the access to it"

Read the paper!

Will this be real?

Mashable shows screenshots of Live Documents that look like a perfect replica of Microsoft Office.

We argued before that our personal Office killer features would be #1 The Ribbon and #2 SmartArt Graphics. I see the ribbon in the screenshots. What about SmartArt graphics? The question I sent in to InstaColl two weeks ago remained unanswered ...

Do you have additional information?

Found on Mashable!
[Update January 16: Look at The Universal Desktop!]

On becoming a Stephen P. Anderson fan:

Today it's: Eye Candy is a Critical Business Requirement.

View the presentation! | Read the PoetPainter!

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Building x-cultural awareness [T-2]: Watch TV, identify cultural stereotypes, accept differences, and develop a foundation to overcome them. So far we had:

The regular TV Worldwide features broadcasting content from around the world! For other tags and topics, check our quick guide for first-time visitors.

Look for everything TV Worldwide!

Even though you might have seen this before, take your time and watch Twittervision again for at least 10 minutes [T-3]. Choose a time when one continent wakes up and another continent falls asleep.

  • Enjoy the different languages and scripts.
  • Compare the display images/ avatars across regions (from a Western perspective, Asia is amazingly different and vice versa).
  • In case you are multilingual, compare topics across cultures.
  • Get a feeling for how small the world really is.
  • Keep in mind that Internet usage is effectively non-existent in some regions - up-to-now I haven't seen a single African voice during all my visits.

Watch Twittervision!

What is a blog? It was the latest craze in 1997 (and still in 2003). For the rest of us a blog is, in plain English. Thanks, Sachi & Lee! | Watch the video!

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In March 2007 McKinsey published the findings of a global survey, entitled How businesses are using Web 2.0. RSS and Podcasts rank #5 and #6 out of nine Web 2.0 technologies when asked: "Is your company investing in any of the following technologies or tools? - Yes: Using or planning to use." The survey itself was conducted in January.

We are continuing to benchmark the top consulting companies along the VAULT ranking (management and technology) #11 upwards concerning their use of RSS and Podcasts. Check back regularly or subscribe via feed/ newsletter to get the results. Data for the Top 10 players can be found in an earlier post.

There was an article on UXmatters concerning Customer Support Online that we featured one month ago. It states: "Some companies even deliberately hide their contact information, because they simply don’t want customers to contact them." Could be.

Read Seth Godin!

Building x-cultural awareness [T-4]: Watch TV, identify cultural stereotypes, accept differences, and develop a foundation to overcome them. Today: Russia. (If you are from Russia or the region, please feel free to criticize the selection or to point us towards better sources.)

The TNT is a private TV channel from Russia. Watch clips from their broadcast on YouTube:

Building x-cultural awareness [T-5]: Watch TV, identify cultural stereotypes, accept differences, and develop a foundation to overcome them. Today: China - Take Two. Browse back to China - Take One.

(If you are from China or the region, please feel free to criticize the selection or to point us towards better sources.)

CCTV International is the English-language 24-hour news channel of China Central Television. Watch three recent clips from the official stream on YouTube:

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