Archive for May, 2006

V CAST, Verizon Wireless, & “Everything The O.C.”

Wednesday, 31 May 2006; 14:14

Does anyone else find it ironic that as we progress to larger video screens on increasingly larger computer displays and home TVs there is also a march toward infinitely smaller video delivered via cell phones? And, as home theaters with five or more speakers and Dolby surround-sound become more commonplace we also have tinny-sounding music delivered via our G3 phones that makes Edison’s original phonograph sound downright symphonic? (And therein lies significant debate, in each latter case, if such “e-miniaturized” content delivery ventures will be successful and profitable.)

To give you an idea of what you may be getting with these new (and far too expensive, relatively speaking) services, have a look at this virtual demonstration (click on Videos) offered by Verizon Wireless and what I have heard is a popular TV program, The O.C., for brave ground-breaking consumers and their V CAST phones. (Or in the parlance of professional marketers, opinion leaders and/or early adopters. But in the parlance of reality, people with more money than brains.)

V CAST screenshot

Giggles.net

Tuesday, 30 May 2006; 15:19

Giggles.net is home to Giggles Computer Funtime for Baby. But first, a confession (paraphrased): “Miss Scarlett, I don’t know nuthin’ ’bout birthin’ no babies!” That is, I know very little about children and whatever they truly enjoy. That said, Giggles.net appears to offer an excellent product that allows babies to do what I have observed babies do best–bang on things, specifically in this case your computer’s keyboard without the danger of losing or harming your applications and data.

I have just one quibble with the site. If you click on View Demos on the home page, a new window opens that begins a new audio-visual presentation, but the home page presentation does not stop. You therefore are barraged by competing sales spiels. To avoid that one needs merely to wait for the home page audio to cease before viewing the demos.

Giggles graphic Giggles graphic 02

“Taking The Long Way” (Dixie Chicks)

Monday, 29 May 2006; 13:24

Having previously sided with The Dixie Chicks regarding certain opinions, questions of patriotism, and freedom of speech–and then factoring in SONY Music’s less than stellar standing with both computer users and music lovers–it is interesting to find the entire new Dixie Chicks CD/album/etc., Taking The Long Way, online. Might SONY now be riding both the wave of discontent engulfing the Office of the U. S. President and attempting to make amends with some of its customers? It seems that way to The Distillery, but opinions to the contrary are most welcome.

Dixie Chicks album graphic

Sandi Thom (She did it!)

Monday, 29 May 2006; 12:29

“Punk rocker” Sandi Thom, previously featured here at The Distillery, has been signed to a recording contract by SONY BMG Music UK. Fantastic job at self-promotion, Sandi. The Distillery is very impressed.

From the SONY music web site:

Too broke to go on the road, 24 year old singer/songwriter Sandi Thom decided to set up a webcam in her South London flat and staged a three week world tour from the basement.

Part of a new breed of internet-made acts that include the Arctic Monkeys, Gnarls Barkley and Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, Sandi spread the word about the ‘21 Nights from Tooting’ tour via Myspace.com and her own site, inviting fans to watch the tour live on the web or in person at the very modest underground venue of her basement (capacity 10 people, byob and a sleeping bag). Pulling in an audience of 70 on the first night, news of the gigs spread like wildfire on the internet and by the end of the ‘tour’ she had 70,000 web viewers from as far afield as Russia, the USA and Pakistan.

Closer to home an RCA A&R man was being interviewed by a student magazine for a local secondary school. While discussing the internet and what an excellent vehicle it was for getting yourself noticed creatively, one of the kids mentioned Sandi Thom’s webcast ‘world’ tour.

Less than two weeks later Sandi Thom signed a contract for five albums with RCA Label Group in front of the very same webcam in that auspicious Tooting basement, making it the first webcast signing in major record label history.

(Continued at Artist Spotlight: Sandi Thom)

Sandi Thom
Thom album cover 01 Thom album cover 02

Walkman (SONY Europe)

Sunday, 28 May 2006; 16:57

One kind reader of The Distillery seemed to take slight exception with my calling iPods nothing more than glorified Walkmans. However, from the company that can very easily lay claim to the notion of personal portable music we [again] have the SONY Walkman (in MP3 form).

Two decades ago when the first Walkman became popular, no one cared about the music (a.k.a. “playlists” in the 21st century) to which others might be listening as earbuds began appearing on subways and in listeners’ ears. So why now does it make the news? I can only surmise that our current fascination with any particular individual’s playlist (e.g., Hillary Clinton, George “What the…?!” Bush) is a harbinger of the apocalypse.

SONY MP3 Walkman NW-A3000 (20 GB) WalkmanWalkman

Canon

Friday, 26 May 2006; 14:46

Canon has taken an unusual approach to the online promotions of its products. I say unusual because its multimedia offerings are far from emotionally inspiring, but are downright clinical. It seems Canon does not want to sell you a camera as much as they want you to know how digital imaging equipment works.

Where is the passion stirred by great photography? Where are the emotional heartstrings at which old, faded photographs tug? Where is the vibrancy of color surrounding us as we go about our daily lives? And most of all, where are the pictures of babies?!

It seems Canon is entirely clueless about people almost invariably stating they miss photographs and other sentimental possessions the most following property losses in a major disaster. Those childhood, wedding, and ancestral photographs are the first items to be grabbed and saved when disaster looms.

Did not one senior executive at Canon (or its advertising agency/agencies) hear the laments of countless Hurricane Katrina victims who lost those items? Apparently not. Had the Kodak Brownie been invented and offered for sale by Canon, few people would have purchased one. And, it would not be the icon it is today.

Let us have a look at:

Compact Digital Cameras
Digital SLR Cameras
Digital Video Camcorders
Flatbed Image Scanners
Laserbeam Printers
Inkjet Printers
Network Digital MFPs
Semiconductor Exposure Equipment
X-ray Digital Cameras
LCD Projectors

slr camera video camcorder flatbed scanner inkjet printer lcd projector

Note: For Real Player versions of the above clips, visit: http://www.canon.com/technology/seihin.html

Boeing 787 Dreamliner

Friday, 26 May 2006; 12:47

Some industries get all the glamor and press. Computers come to mind first with seemingly everyone anxiously looking forward to any new offerings from Microsoft or Apple. But what about other industries with new product announcements that are no less important–and possibly more so? So although it is long at 37 minutes, this is how it is done in the airline industry, with a Boeing announcement that its new fuel-efficient 787 Dreamliner has been approved for sale to potential buyers.

As noted, the video above is quite long. And given it is Friday with everyone trying to do as little as possible in as little time as possible, you might instead enjoy this “trendsetter video” (5 minutes) that provides an overall description of the Dreamliner.

And should you still just be killing time until 5 PM, then take another five minutes and view the Dreamliner’s interior. I do suggest you at least view this last video. Significant thought and design have gone into what is indeed a very different looking interior. Both inside and out, the Dreamliner is a beautiful aeroplane. I can only wonder what the Wright Brothers might say if they could see it.

Boeing 787 Dreamliner

FYI: Wallpapers @ eSnips.com

Friday, 26 May 2006; 11:15

As I scour the web for Distillery content, I frequently run across advertisements in the form of desktop wallpapers. Starting today, I will attempt to place at least a few of them in a public folder at eSnips.com (http://www.esnips.com/web/corporatewalls) where they can be viewed and downloaded, should anyone have the inclination.

eSnips logo

SONY – “The Essence of Vaio”

Thursday, 25 May 2006; 12:42

I don’t know about you, but I’m now distrustful of all SONY products following its infamous and downright evil rootkit incident. Who knows what other dirty little secrets might be buried under the exquisite beauty and design of the SONY Vaio laptop? For me, the “essence” of SONY is now caveat emptor.

The Vaio laptop has long been on my wish list, but moved far toward the bottom when it was discovered that SONY had unleashed a potentially serious computer breech and definitively consumer-unfriendly software on its unsuspecting customers. However, if SONY is to make amends to potential buyers now as skeptical and distrusting as I, then it must offer even more very excellent advertising as seen here. (And remember, if you bought one of those nefarious CDs, SONY now owes you something for its nasty deed.)

Vaio notebooks by SONY, a firm not to be trusted.

Z4byJD.com

Thursday, 25 May 2006; 11:30

He’s back! That is, “i-media immersion” artist extraordinaire Joshua Davis of flashdance fame bogarts his way into The Distillery again, but this time in a MAJOR way–partnering with BMW on its Z4 Coupe at Z4byJD.com. Be certain to click on The Making-of-Movie link to get a real feel for a radical and renown artist.

2006 BMW Z4 M Coupe

iPod Your BMW

Thursday, 25 May 2006; 10:56

Maybe it’s something genetic for which medical science might one day have a cure, but I simply do not get whole iPod thing. Isn’t it simply an updated Walkman? But, that’s just me and I am clearly in a Luddite-esque minority.

After all, when my favorite automobile, BMW, teams up with what what has to be the world’s trendiest gadget, the iPod, I must be the clueless one. But, I will keep trying to “get it,” and just maybe one day I will. (Hey, I still have an honest-to-goodness LP turntable. And a darn fine one at that.)

To watch the demonstration video, first click on Menu (if necessary), then New iPod Interface Coming Soon, and finally Watch Video.

From BMW:

The new iPod interface will…allow users to incorporate their iPods directly into their car’s sound system, but with the newly available capability to sort their music by playlist, artist, album, genre, podcast, and finally, a random selection of 600 songs from the user library. Artist, song title and album will appear in the Display Monitor. The new integration means that BMW drivers can control their music through their existing audio system and multifunction steering wheel thus allowing drivers to access their entire music library, shuffle songs, skip between tracks and adjust volume more easily.

iPod BMW Z4 M Coupe
2007 Production BMW Hybrid Engine
(Yes, that is indeed the newly developed BMW hybrid engine that will power some 2007 model BMWs.)

Saatchi & Saatchi Worldwide

Wednesday, 24 May 2006; 13:13

Saatchi & Saatchi is one of the most venerable names in advertising. They both sponsor and win advertising awards. However (you expected a complete endorsement?), aside from its own web site I find the majority of their showcased past and present campaigns absolutely boring. ‘Tis no wonder one occasionally hears they have lost another creative genius who has set up shop elsewhere to do more daring work.

Among the several mediocre–but somehow award-winning–ads you will find at their web site, the following are possibly worth a few of your minutes:

Guinness Africa (Quite nice.)
China Light & Power
Lion Cereal (Very good.)
Kilroy Travels (Even better.)
Skol Beer Music Festival
The National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children

Saatchi Innovation Award key logo Saatchi Innovation Award key logo Saatchi Innovation Award key logo Saatchi Innovation Award key logo