Thursday, August 30, 2007

Normal service will resume shortly

Yes, I know I haven't blogged very much over the last couple of weeks, but life is just a bit hectic at the moment with a big project to finish off and about to take on a big project too (all being well). And trying to do all the other stuff that one has to do day to day.

Anyway, please bear with me a little longer. I'm off gallavanting in Ireland this weekend at the Electric Picnic music festival where I shall be getting lots of fresh air and exercise and will come back knackered refreshed and ready for work next week. Should be a good 'un, especially if the last two I went to in 2005 and 2006 are anything to go by. The forecast is for drizzle and sunshine so pretty much like London right now then. Still debating as to whether or not wellies will be required (I have a fetching pair of pink croc wellies so maybe I *will* need them...)

So I'm off to pack my rucksack now and then it's an early night as it's a hideously early start in the morning. And then the fun begins at around tea-time once the tent is up and the main festival site opens for business. Yes, it's a schlep of a journey to get there with camping equipment in tow, but it will be worth it I'm sure.

See ya'll when I get back from the land of my forefathers.

Swedish Beers Mobile Networking, Weds 12 Sept 07

We're back to the Nordic Bar, our usual haunt, on Wednesday 12th September for Swedish Beers. We'll be in the back bar from 6ish for all the usual chat, mingling and talk of mobiles, marketing, media and life in general. And if the last few events are anything to go by, we'll probably overtake the whole bar pretty quickly. You'll find the Nordic Bar on Newman Street which is the North side of Oxford Street, nearest tube Tottenham Court Road or Oxford Circus.

Unfortunately, the bad news is that our sponsor has had to postpone their sponsorship of Swedish Beers as they're not quite ready to shout out about the wonderful things they're up to. So it would be *really* marvellous if another generous sponsor could help us out with the bar. And I'm working on that right now. Otherwise, it's buy your own drinks night. And if it's the latter, it will be your challenge to find someone who has a works expense account to buy drinks for you all evening ;)

But seriously folks, the Swedish Beers night goes on and do get in touch with me if you're up for sponsoring the bar. Probably best to call my mobile, +44 794 053 8802, if you're interested as I'm away from the internet until Tuesday afternoon and time is quite short as Swedish Beers night is only two weeks away.

So, the night is definitely on, we're just waiting to see if someone will generously sponsor the bar to help the evening go with a swing and at the same time meet loads of folks who will think lovely things about them *and* benefit from lots of lovely publicity and immense good mobile karma for their efforts.

So see y'all there on the 12th September, from 6pm in the Back Bar at The Nordic Bar.

Skål

p.s. If you plan to use Oxford Circus on the night, please note that the Victoria Line is undergoing maintenance right now and is closed from about 10pm every night. Don't worry, all the other lines are fine and the buses still work, it just might take you a little longer than usual to get home that's all, as you find an alternative route. More info on the TFL website.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

More linkage

I guess it's one of those days - so much to write about, so little time, so a few more links are just going to have to do you...
  • The Mobile Goldmine event looks an interesting one where you can explore how to make money with mobile content. It's on October 17th in the evening and limited to just 50 places. And the price? Absolutely FREE (but you do need to book in advance).
  • New research out from Netimperative in conjunction with Q Research about 'Young Minds'. They interviewed 3,000 eleven to twenty-five year olds for the four reports including two on mobile - Mobile Music and Mobile Advertising. A synopsis of what's covered can be found over at the Netimperative website. Reports are usually £1,000 each, but you can get all four for £2,500. I don't s'pose the nice folks at NetImperative would like to give me a copy of the mobile reports for review here maybe...?
  • Barcamp Mobile London is happening on Saturday 29th September in Soho. Aimed at designers/ developers/ entrepreneurs/ artists working on mobile applications, devices, and experiences. From FlashLite and mobile Processing to openMoko, Green Phone and the iPhone. "The idea is to create a camp where hackers and designers can come and play together. If you do stuff with small screens, voice, or something in between, come and share. mobileCampLondon is about big idea evangelism, and nitty-gritty details. We’ll look at what matters most: well crafted code, and a solid understanding of how people use their phones."

So if this is your thing, then Mobile Bar Camp London is well worth a look. Find out more about the whole Bar Camp movement over at wikipedia to get a flavour of what to expect.

  • Mobstar joins up with this weekend's V Festival to offer a virtual mobile flame amongst other things. I would tell you what they are, but they're exclusive to Virgin Mobile customers. You know what, you've missed a trick here guys 'n gals... A chance to make extra revenue (charge non-Virgin customers more), ask someone if they want to know more about the advantage of being on Virgin vs whatever network the customer has come in on (for they know the operator in 9 cases out of 10 so could personalise it), a chance for data capture, a call to action to check out a Virgin shop or the Virgin Mobile stand at the festival. Come on peeps, it's not good enough to simply say 'This is only for Virgin Mobile customers' and alienate the 10s of 1000s of customers of other networks who've paid good money to attend the V Festival. Mr Branson would *not* be proud methinks. Grrr.

82Ask relaunches as Texperts

I got a lovely email from Sarah McVittie, CEO of Texperts (formerly 82Ask) explaining what was what with the new name, branding and shortcode. I've been a fan of 82Ask for some time and use it regularly with both work and personal stuff. I've even used it successfully when I've been abroad. I really like their style and at a £1 or less a pop, it's a bargain time and stress-saver.

And having seen how their back end works, it's a really impressive combination of good technology plus great human brain power plus the ability for the system to learn and store answers for future use so the more people use it, the better it gets and with several years knowledge in the database already, they're going great guns. The Texperts are "licensed to find" but I'll let Sarah continue with the story so far...

Sarah says, "We just wanted to let our close 82ASK friends know that today we officially re-launched the service we all know and love as Texperts. In addition, we have a great new shortcode, 66000 and a couple of fantastic new websites that really bring to life the Texperts experience.

We have been studying our service and growth for a while and have identified a change in the composition of the types of questions that we receive. While we are always on hand to to provide you with great factual answers to your specific queries, we have found that more and more people are using us as a service that helps them with their daily lives through the provision of useful and generally time-sensitive information.

Answers to these types of questions needs intelligent human input and we found that you really value knowing that there is a bright person at the end of your question, not just a complex set of algorithms.


Therefore, at the point of significant marketing investment for the first time in our short history, we have decided to re-christen the service after those that make it human and great - the Texperts themselves.
We have also managed to get hold of an fantastic new shortcode, 66000. Tests have proven this to be a really memorable number, far superior to 82275.

Although all this change is happening now, and happening fast, be reassured that the team here at Texperts Towers remains the same and indeed the service is just as amazing as it always has been. I think this is reflected in our new website (
www.texperts.com) and online Krypton-Factor-for-the-brain game (www.tex-factor.com).

However, for the foreseeable future, you will still be able to access our service on 82275 even though you will notice that your answers are returned on 66000.


This is a very exciting time for us. We truly believe that our offering of a 'mobile find' service is significantly superior to you having to search for the information you need on your mobile phone. So much so, we feel that the time for searching is over.


You might want to check out their blog to find out what they were up to in London in the middle of the night last night accompanied by fellow mobilist Ewan MacLeod. Looks like they were having some fun.

Best of luck to the Texperts with the revamped service - keep up the good work!

Recycle your rabbit

OK, so this is nothing to do with mobile directly, but it *is* a really smart idea so I wanted to share it. Via NetImperative:
"Adult online retailer LoveHoney.co.uk is giving consumers new way to dispose of their redundant Rabbit sex toys with the launch of Rabbit Amnesty. After taking the Rabbit Amnesty Pledge, rabbit owners can send their outdated or overused vibrators to LoveHoney.co.uk and in return receive a half price Rabbit vibrator from the LoveHoney range.

The second-hand toys will then be delivered to a Designated Collection Facility (DCF) where they will be recycled and treated in an ecologically sound manner.

For each rabbit returned through the Rabbit Amnesty Scheme, LoveHoney will also donate £1 to The World Land Trust (WLT) in support of the charity’s tropical forest land purchase and protection projects."
Now why can't more electrical, gadget, electronics retailers do this kind of thing? I've been waiting more than 6 months to find a way to recycle my old computer bits and pieces and despite new legislation around the responsibilities of retailers and manufacturers to aid recycling of these items, I'm still waiting for a response to find out how I should throw away my broken keyboard, mouse and hard drive. And this is just as relevant for mobile folks - old headsets, old batteries, old handsets that aren't good enough for a charity recycling scheme, redundant cables - it's all stuff that shouldn't be going into landfill.

A very smart move from lovehoney - environmentally friendly orgasms!

Wednesday linkage

Some of these links are a little out of date as I've been away from my puter but I thought it was worth capturing them anyway just for the record. They're in no particular order...
  • Mobile music price scandal (well billshock based on data charges) is a hot topic. Flat rate, easy to understand data plans are the answer IMHO and although we're moving towards that, we're not fully there yet.

"The survey, carried out by research company GfK NOP, found that 64 per cent of users admitted to being annoyed by marketing offers received from mobile service providers. The survey also found that 70 per cent of phone users found the offers irrelevant to them.

The strategy of texting or phoning users with unsolicited offers appears to be failing with only 11 per cent of the 752 respondents surveyed buying products as a result of receiving an offer from their operator."

Of course, what they're missing here, is that an eleven per cent response rate is very high compared with other marketing methods. And in fact, if a network operator is sending a message to their own customer it isn't *legally* spam although it may be perceived as spam by the recipient if it's unwanted.

  • World of Warcraft is working on a full mobile solution for their WoW gameplayers and has set the ball rolling with an interim solution for keeping up to date with what your character is up to. I wonder how long it will take for the experience of WoW, Second Life et al to become fully mobile?
  • Buy a domain, reboot your server, add emails, pay your bill, get support and more - on the go - from the world's first iPhone enabled web hosting control panel. Simple, intuitive and 100% iPhone compliant, with more to come from MediaTemple. Is this innovation or fad?

Bloomin' Marvellous Bloom Festival

As if Glastonbury and the Electric Picnic wasn't enough this year, I've managed to fit in another wee festival in the interim and toddled along to the Bloom Festival with festipal Lisa. Lisa's done a marvellous write-up of the festival with pictures to boot. So I won't go into as much detail here but will give you a little run down of some of the highlights for me.
  • Glorious sunshine - all weekend (well, ok, a little bit of rain overnight a couple of times, but that was refreshing after the heat)
  • No mud - after Glastonbury mud, this was totally ay-may-zing
  • The Whip
  • Crazy P (this was my musical highlight - she was great)
  • Soul II Soul Soundsystem
  • Coldcut Soundsystem
  • Aim
  • Dancing to reggae on Sunday lunchtime to the Trojan Soundsystem
  • Beardyman - the human beatbox
  • Dancing at The Funk Bar - every night - great music, great vibe.
  • Meeting loads of people especially Emily, Hannah and pals, Kate, Carla and the rest of the crew, Circus girl Lou in the White Hat, the man with the blow up hula hoop (that was hilarious fun), the man with the weird kaleidoscope thingummy (v cool), Chris - the man in the nightie, the 3 graduates from Nottingham University, Ella from Chai Wallahs, Crazy P, Nick and Jim (our tent neighbours), Simon and Alan and their useful spanner, and loads more folks whose names I just can't remember! Big up yo'selves.
  • Fancy Dress night dancing at Beats Bubble alongside the dancing zimmer frame and various other creations
  • The Lounge
  • The Burrito Bus and the Choc Star chocolate brownie place
  • And the very friendly security guards who got the tone just right for looking after us all
For a small festival, it punches above its weight and is great value for money and it'll be on my list for next year.