Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Hamster powered mobiles

You gotta love this! Elvis the hamster powers a mobile phone charger as noted on Ananova via 160 Characters. Peter, aged 16, has invented the environmentally friendly mobile phone charger as part of a GCSE project after his sister complained that the hamster kept her awake all night by playing for hours on its exercise wheel.


Today is Blog Day 2005

Today is Blog Day 2005 so Happy Blog Day to you :-)
I've just read about it on Russell Buckley's Mobhappy blog and it's a day to celebrate blogs, bloggers and blogging. So right up my street then. It's the brainchild of Nir Amir who writes Spark Armada. And the idea seems to be taking off. So for all you bloggers out there, one thing you can do today is promote 5 blogs that aren't already heavily read or widely promoted. You'll see that Mobhappy recommended this blog as required reading for mobile marketing enthusiasts - thanks for the plug Russell! So now I have to decide on my 5 recommendations and they are, in no particular order:

1. Public Service Conversations. Watch this space for interesting interviews with top British public servants. It's been a bit quiet over the summer, but then that's UK Government for you!

2. Alfie's Blog. Ok, so he's a mate so it's slightly against teh rules but he also runs the fabulous moblog UK, Orgasmatones and We're Not Afraid so worth a mention. And I enjoy reading his blog so I don't see why you shouldn't too.

3. Diary of a London Cokehead. Nothing to do with technology or mobile. Just the day to day life of a music biz coke addict - sex, drugs and rock 'n roll and lots of profanity. So if you don't like profanity, then this one is definitely not for you.

4. Tom Hume. Tom works in mobile application development and writes about that, but also interesting bits and pieces about digital life.

5. Shakespeare Didn't Write Life by Kiss-Me-Kate. This is the diary of a luvvie and her various theatrical activities. She's also experimenting with using blogging to promote theatre productions including Holy Ghost.

So enjoy Blog Day 2005 and spread the word.

Friday, August 26, 2005

Kasabian Rocks

Or rather, Deirdre Molloy (pictured here with her free Kasabian t-shirt) and I rock as we went to the free Kasabian gig last night. I'm on the T-Mobile Street Gigs text list and I got a text message yesterday saying to reply if I wanted to see Kasabian that night. And of course I texted back straight away and got my SMS invite. All we had to do was show up at 93 Feet East at 6pm and show the message and we were in.
There were a couple of hundred people there I reckon, maybe more. And because I'm short, I didn't get any decent pictures of the band (hence all the head shots on my technokitten flickr and moblog pages). But it was a good gig anyway although the bass sound wasn't great, and I didn't know many of the tracks (well I recognised one track so maybe I'm hipper than I thought). And Deirdre and I managed to grab a couple of free Kasabian t-shirts at the end of the gig. And then our pal Sarah turned up and we had beers and a curry as is obligatory in Brick Lane.

In terms of marketing, there was t-mobile branding around, and we had lanyards where there's a special offer to get a free bluetooth headset when you get a D750i on an 18 month contract. And there was a kodak print machine where it looked like you could take a picture and get it printed straight away. However, I didn't get close enough to see it or how it worked.

I did see Bjork on my way there but couldn't get my camera switched on quickly enough to capture it so my nieces will never believe me!

All in all pretty good preparation for the Electric Picnic and a good example of mobile marketing and marketing mobile. Oh, and a bit of celebrity spotting too.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

My new wellingtons

have just arrived via ebay (how I love ebay!). I'll be taking these to the Electric Picnic and judging by the rain today, I'll probably need them too!

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Geek Girl Dinner Podcasts now available

on Lloyd's blog over at Perfect Path. So if you were there and want to hear the sound of your own voice, or catch up on conversations that you missed or just want to find out what we were up to that night, then feel free to download the podcasts from Perfect Path and listen at your leisure.

The evening was a great success so well done to Sarah for organising it and to Hugh of Gaping Void fame for lending us his wiki. I caught up with some old friends (Lloyd, Deirdre, Jemima) and made some new ones (Maria, Emma, Keni, Suzanne, Sarah and flatmate). I did end up talking about mobile mind you courtesy of Keni who is a Microsoft/SPV enthusiast (understatement) and Suzanne (who works for Nokia). But that's ok and to be expected when you end up on a table crammed with mobilistas. Wine was provided courtesy of Stormhoek and the pinot grigio didn't taste half bad.

Keni, was blogcast the word you were looking for to replace podcast?

Electric Picnic countdown

Hurrah! I'm going to the Electric Picnic in Stradbally, Ireland on 3/4 September with my festipal Sarah. And we're camping but this time, with a bigger tent than we had at Cornbury Festival. I can't believe I'm choosing to go camping twice in one year! Anyway, the line-up is fantastic including Kraftwerk, Fatboy Slim, Mercury Rev, Nouvelle Vague, Goldfrapp, Human League and lots more besides. There's a comedy tent, Lost Vagueness are doing their burlesque thang too and the crew from Fairylove (who were at Cornbury too) will be creating a fairy heaven. There's a large mind/body/spirit element too so we can get our worries massaged away and chill out to our hearts content.

Wellies have been ordered (from my beloved ebay) and will be arriving in the next day or two. Now I'm hoping that because I have wellies, I won't actually need them. The weather last year was brilliant apparently. And my Dad tells me that Laois is the dryest county in Ireland but Ireland isn't green for nothing. Still, it's only a weekend and we can clean up on our slow 3 day amble back to England via Glendalough, the Wicklow Hills and my relatives just outside Dublin.

Monday, August 22, 2005

VENUS RISING: Where is mobile technology taking us in the 21st century?

The guys over at Cybersalon have put together an event next month on 20th September in conjunction with Venus Rising to discuss where mobile technology is taking us this century. With over 75% of the UK population owning a mobile phone, women are a crucial sector of the mobile market. However, most technology is developed by men, so is the feminine perspective being taken into account?

Dr Lizbeth Goodman, Director SMARTLab, Central St Martins will chair the event and Lev Manovich will look at where mobile technologies are taking society from the feminine perspective. Hmm, I wonder how a man will be able to do that then? The whole panel hasn't been announced yet, so let's hope there are some women on there.

This sounds like it should be an interesting evening and a chance to discuss mobile technology for women. It's free (but you need to email or call for a ticket) and will be held at The Dana Centre. I've been to events here before and I highly recommend.

Friday, August 12, 2005

And again. Same spam from DirtyHippo

It's getting err *slightly* tedious I have to say, but I have yet another spam email from Dirty Hippo (Buongiorno) this morning. And it's exactly the same as the last ones I've had. So it looks like I'm going to get this email at least twice a week for the foreseeable future. Does spamming people like this really work?!

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Dirty Hippo spams yet again

Yep, Dirty Hippo spammed me again yesterday with the very same email to the very same non-existent email account. Yay - way to go Buongiorno!

NESTA report: Mobile Technologies and Learning

There's a link to an interesting free report here on mobile technologies and learning produced by NESTA's Futurelab. I haven't read the whole thing yet, but it's pleasingly not too long and the bits I skim-read looked good.
tags: &

Monday, August 08, 2005

Serendipity, chance meetings and other stories

I don't know if it's just me, but I seem to consistently bump into a lot of people I used to know completely out of the blue.

A couple of weeks back, I was due to go to my friend's house for dinner after work. She bailed out of cooking me dinner (which is a shame, because she's a fantastic cook) so she took me for dinner at Brown's instead. I've never been before and it's a great place. No sooner had we sat down for dinner, but James, a photographer, whom I hadn't seen in at least 7 or 8 years, came in and sat at the table next to us. Of course I went over and had a good catch up with him which was lovely. And I thought not much more of it.

Then at the weekend, I went to Fruitstock in Regent's Park - a fabulous free festival from the people who bring us Innocent Fruit Smoothies. I ended up going along later than planned with my friend Sarah. We were just walking up to the main festival when I bumped into Jane Cooney who I used to work with at Episode in their flagship store in Knightsbridge. Now I haven't seen her for 12 years. She's gone from retail to motherhood (3 very gorgeous children) and is now a swimming teacher.

And then on my way home from Fruitstock, I decided to walk from Tooting Broadway tube up to my house as it was a nice evening (I usually get a bus or a taxi). So again, not my normal route and I bump into Liam from Streatham who was my ex boyf's best friend whom I haven't seen in at least 10 years.

Does this stuff happen to anyone else or is it just me whose past comes back and bites her on the bum?

Friday, August 05, 2005

Land Rover backs new Range Rover with mobile game

Another bit of news via Brand Republic - Land Rover has teamed up with Blue Sphere Games to create a Range Rover driving game. Looks like a pretty good game to me and an innovative way to market your product. So I thought I'd check it out and test the game for myself.

But just a minute, this isn't for marketing. This is a licensing deal and Blue Sphere Games is selling the game via its distribution network. And that it's going to be distributed via the network operators who will promote it 'as they see fit' and there will be an internet campaign run in-house by the games company.

So I thought I'd check it out still and see how much it was selling for and where it was available. Except that it's not for sale yet and I can't see anywhere that it's available. I tried various sites: Land Rover, Blue Sphere Games, various mobile content companies and a couple of network operators. And I couldn't see hide nor hair of the game.

Joined up marketing? I don't think so. Shame, this one could have been so good and a real chance to show how creating mobile media can be an integral part of your marketing effort. Or maybe I'm being a little harsh and the press release went out too early...

Coldplay, bluetooth, mobile content, data protection

I've just been reading about the success of the Coldplay campaign on Brand Republic to promote their new album X&Y and it seems like it has been a wonderful hit with fans. The record company offered music clips, interviews etc to fans via bluetooth at mainline stations in London. And it seems that 13,000 fans accessed the content, some 15% response rate. Great, some innovation at last.

But hang on, let's rewind and just work out how that bluetooth bit worked... Posters alerted fans to turn on their bluetooth so that they can be "discovered". The bluetooth engine is in constant search mode and hunts down devices that have their bluetooth switched on and sends a message to ask them if they want some free Coldplay stuff. And if they click yes, then they can access it.

But what about the 85% of customers who just happened to have their bluetooth on anyway - maybe to connect to their bluetooth headset for example, or for their phone and PDA to talk to each other? Just by switching on bluetooth does not give the advertiser permission to search for every mobile out there and send them a message saying 'may I send you a message please' in the hope that some of those devices are in the possession of willing consumers.

So unfortunately, as far as I can tell, this seems to contravene the EU privacy laws and data protection act. Until customers can filter out unwanted bluetooth messages so there is true opt-in, then I just don't see how this is legal, regardless of how popular it is or isn't, or how well it works. The law's the law isn't it?

Russell Buckley over at Mobhappy goes into it in more detail. This bluespamming thing is something he's been commenting on for a while.

What do other people think? Is it bluecasting or bluespamming?

Dirty Hippo spams again

I do not live in America
I do not have a 'cell phone', I have a mobile phone (that's what we call them this side of the pond)
I'm not a teenager
I'm not in the target group for Trick Daddy or Ja Rule ringtones or pictures. Who is Trick Daddy anyway? So why does Dirty Hippo think it should be emailing me to advertise its ringtones and wallpapers?

Not only that, but the email address they're using for me is not only obsolete and has been ripped off a website somewhere, but it is a business address not personal. I have many email accounts and the one they're using for me is not one of them.

I have now had the very same email, sent to the same dodgy email address 4 times in less than 2 weeks. It gets picked up straight away by my spam filter (cos it is) but I fished it out as it keeps catching my eye and I wanted to find out a bit more about what was behind it.

I don't know who harvested my email address but they can't spell...

"We are only concered (sic) with mailing interested users. You have received this message because you signed up and registerred (sic) with us or one of our affiliates. If you wish to be removed from future mailings please click this banner to unsubscribe.

We do not endorse or guarantee any of the goods and/or services advertised herein. You may contact us to be removed from our mailing list by sending a letter to:
Unsubscribe Request
449 S. Federal Highway
Pompano Beach FL 33062"

The email purports to be from "Ringtones []" and on inspection, the domain name seems to be registered to Wes Savage. And on further googling, it appears that domains registered to Wes Savage, including seem to be on some spam blacklists. I can't say I'm entirely surprised.

Dirty Hippo (owned by Buongiorno), what are you thinking?! This is not intelligent marketing. You should know better than to stoop to these depths. Or am I just being commercially naive?

Regent Street Shocker!

I was up in central London yesterday for a meeting and before heading back to the office I thought I'd have a mooch round my favourite shops. Now I'm already gutted that Dickins & Jones is closing down. It's my favourite department store and has a character all of its own and I spend a lot of money there. I understand the commercial rationale behind the closure, but I was nevertheless hugely disappointed at the news.

And then, I was about to nip into Laura Ashley, another of my favourite stores to see what they had in the sale. I bought a lovely blouse there recently and I love the fabrics (I'm a bit of a whizz with a sewing machine and have a cupboard full of Laura Ashley fabrics from the 80s). And that had closed down too! Somehow I'd missed the news. Double gutted :-(

Thursday, August 04, 2005

It's only taken me 11 months...

to work out that there's a light on my phone (a Sony Ericsson K700i) (and it's only 2 weeks until I can upgrade). I stumbled on it a couple of week s back when I was playing around with the camera and noticed that there was an option for 'light' on/off. And amazingly it turns a very powerful light on which kinda works like a flash. Except if you look at my pictures on flickr or moblog, you'll see that my nightwork pictures aren't much cop. Anyway, having discovered this very useful gizmo on my phone, I have since used it for all kinds of things. It made me particularly popular last week when I was at the launch party of Living the Moment at the Proud Galleries in Camden (courtesy of young Alfie). I was queuing in the ladies when the lights went out (I think they were trying to get rid of us at the end of the vening). Anyway, I turned my light on and lit the whole room - really handy. Thank you Sony Ericsson. Now if only you could communicate these useful phone things to customers that would be even better! I shall be upgrading soon, and I wonder how long it will take me to work out how to use my new phone!

Photo taken from Sixth Seal where there's a good review of the K700i.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Girl Geek Dinner - 16 August 2005

As a blogger *and* I work in telecoms it looks like I qualify to go along to the Girl Geek Dinner at the Texas Embassy in London in a couple of weeks time. So if you're a girl, and you work in IT, have a passing interest in technology or are a blogger, then please feel free to join us on 16th August 2005. You can sign up on Hugh McLeod's wiki page. Men are welcome too but have to be on the arm of a lady. And unfortunately for any of my male friends who'd like to accompany me, my arm is already taken by the lovely Mr Lloyd Davis.

Nokia Shorts 2005 deadline looming - 15th August

Ok, so there's not much time left to enter, but worth noting anyway. It's the annual Nokia Shorts Film competition and they're still looking for entries. You can win some neat bits of kit and also get a chance to flex your mobile short film muscles (and we really need folks to start flexing those muscles!). And if it's short films you are particularly interested in, then you may also want to check out Stuart's blog on UK Short Films.

Java app to upload full resolution pictures over the air

I just spotted this news piece over at 160 Characters which tells us about a new product offering from the whizzes at Cognima. It sounds pretty impressive - a java application which you can download to your phone which will allow you to transmit your photos, at the resolution they were taken, to an online storage website or blog (so like a flickr, moblog etc). Originally built for Symbian and smartphones, they've managed to get the java version working. No mean feat knowing how restrictive the java environment is. And it seems to work silently in the background whilst you are doing your normal mobile phone stuff like talking and texting, so even better, it shouldn't slow you down.

The product means great news for mobile network operators as it gives them a chance to drive data revenues from users. Hopefully it means a seamless user experience for customers too. I wonder how much it will cost though - cheaper than sending a MMS or email from your phone to your blog? And will customers change from what they're doing already with their moblogs (which are already incredibly popular)? Especially when it's free to bluetooth your pics to your 'puter and then upload them for free via the internet or email and you get to keep the resolution.

Admittedly, there may be some instances where you want that immediate hit, but that will be quite low down the list to a cost conscious consumer who is already being bombarded with adverts and messages to spend more cash on their mobile phone. Or will it? Maybe I'm being overly cynical on this one and that this is a killer app?

Also, can Cognima do anything about current GPRS data transfer reliability as the network operators don't seem to be able to?! Doubt it, but it made me feel better to ask the question as I'm currently unable to click through to simple wap push links on my T-Mobile K700i. d'oh!

Comments anyone?

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Playing around with Moblog

It's taken me a while but I've finally gotten around to setting up my moblog properly at Alfie's wonderful Moblog UK. The minute I was on there, there were others checking out my pictures. Can't believe how fast these things operate sometimes. Anyway, I highly recommend Moblog - it works! Now, when is Alfie going to get around to doing a Moblog badge like flickr has?