Friday, February 24, 2006

Carnival of the Mobilists hits Sweet Sixteen

This week's mobilist round-up is over at gotomobile where Kelly has done a great job in reviewing this week's mobile blogs. Go have a read.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Operator's Greed puts creativity at risk

Victor Keegan (no relation) has written an interesting piece in today's Media Guardian about how the mobile network operators are hampering creativity within the mobile space (thanks to Deirdre for the link to the article).

I totally agree that data charges are reprehensible. As an example, I downloaded a 'free' video clip of Prince of Persia from an advert on the tv a couple of months back (you know the kind of thing 'text xyz to 12345 and get blah blah blah'. Well I tried it and it was pretty good - nice wapsite, quick download of the video etc. However, what I had no idea of was what the data charges would be. It seems, that if I was on Orange pay as you go, then the 460kb clip I downloaded would have cost me £9.20. Yes, you read that right dear reader... NINE POUNDS AND TWENTY PENCE or USD 16 or Euro 13.5. Hmm. Now, that's expensive for something that's *free*.

Anyway, the article is well worth a read, as is his previous article on 3G charging.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Mobile Marketing company Sponge acquired by NeoMedia

NeoMedia Technologies, Inc. has acquired Sponge with an aggregate of £10m consideration, including £3.45 m in cash and the remainder in NeoMedia shares with a further £2.5m available under an earn-out based on targets being reached in the next two years. Sponge works predominantly with agencies on big brand activity such as the recent Walkers Win and Ipod campaign where 5% of the UK population took part (well it was promoted on 600 million packets of crisps... certainly the largest text and win to date that I know of).

In the U.S., NeoMedia completed the acquisition of Mobot®, Inc, of Boston and announced the acquisition of HipCricket, Inc., of Essex, Connecticut. And in Europe, NeoMedia announced and completed the acquisition of Munich-based pan-European mobile services provider and developer 12snap, and announced the acquisitions of Gavitec-mobile digit of Würselen, Germany, and now London-based Sponge.

This means that NeoMedia will, arguable, be the largest one-stop mobile marketing shop on the planet.

I wish Alex, Dan and the team all the best with their new future at NeoMedia. And let's hope this bodes well for the future of mobile marketing generally.

Other news that will be out tomorrow via New Media Age is that flytxt's deal with Three has fallen through and Mblox has raised a further £14m to aid its mission for global domination.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Site of the Day: Rainbow

This is probably showing my age somewhat, but I'm a big fan of Rainbow - not least because one of our team at ZagMe bore an uncanny resemblance to Zippy (causing much hilarity in the office I might add). Today, via Robert Price, I found a Rainbow site with spoof comics (this one's my favourite), music and video clips to enjoy. If you like Rainbow too, then you'll enjoy this.

Up above the streets and houses, rainbow flying high...

Monday, February 20, 2006

Technokitten goes to Barca

If you're interested to get a feel for what the mobile extravaganza 3GSM is like, then here are my pix. There was way too much to see - 8 halls (think the size of Earls Court or the NEC) and some of them on 2 levels, plus stalls and displays outside as well, it was overwhelming. Fortunately where I was staying was really close by so I could escape for a bit and then come back to it thus saving my feet from overuse.

I did see lots of people I know there which was a real plus for me including Russell at Mobhappy (who I hadn't seen since he decamped to Munich), games guru, Julian Jones, and met some people I'd only met 'virtually' before like Rudy and Carlo. And Swedish Beers was fun too although I don't have photographic evidence of that. Does anyone else?

Not sure that what I saw was particularly interesting in isolation - more a sum of the parts really for me. Surfkitchen was interesting as was Leiki, although Leiki wasn't actually exhibiting. The Satama party was a blast, Julia and Max from Qarea were charming and the folks were great fun. And of course the group I was with were the business. You know who you are ;-)

In terms of the expo itself, exhibitors could do with learning how to communicate their wares better and what they want people to come and look at. There's so much there, you don't have time to talk to everyone so you need to be able to filter. And the way everything is displayed and organised, it's very hard to do that filtering job. I guess it will get better over time. There was also a lot of bs as captured perfectly by Tom Hume in his flickrstream. Things like 'we hear you' and 'experience true convergence' which don't really tell you anything about the companies involved. And yes, we obviously both liked the mini Marshall amps! I missed the robots though. Tom, where were they?

There's a good article about the event here from the Guardian too which sums it all up [free registration required].

Adios Barcelona. We'll be back next year.

Rappers lead campaign urging young Londoners to vote - BR Bulletin - Advertising, Marketing, Media and PR news by Email - Brand Republic

Rappers lead campaign urging young Londoners to vote -
This is all very well - they've got a song and a message aimed at young urban Londoners to get them to register their vote. There's a website 1824collective where you can download the campaign song (created by current artists) and information on how to register and vote. They even have the start of a mobile strategy.. you can text in to register your vote.

Bearing in mind this is a marketing campaign. Bearing in mind this is about inclusivity. Bearing in mind this is aimed at hard to reach 18 to 24 y/os, who may or may not have much money. Why, oh why, did anyone think it was a good idea to charge people 10p + their standard charge on a shortcode for the privilege of registering their vote? Ok, so it's not much money but it's the prinicple behind it that sucks. Maybe if they'd said it was 10p but you'd get the free ringtone by return it would have been better.

And if they were serious about a mobile strategy, why didn't they also have a ringtone of the song as a free download anyway? Isn't it more powerful getting several thousand teenagers using the same ringtone (so that everyone around them can hear) to express their feelings about being part of the 1824collective than downloading it for free and listening to it on their ipods by themselves?

ho hum. Some people just don't get this mobile thingummyjig.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

I love ebay

I've just sold a few bits and pieces on ebay and got chatting with one of my buyers, Martin, and he sent me this picture which is of a cutting from his local paper. It brought a smile to my face. Well captured Martin!

moblogUK Valentine's competition

My pals over at moblogUK are running a Valentine's competition this week. There are 3 competitions in one. To win, simply send in your cutest love inspiring images or your anti-Valentine's feelings in photo form. Various prizes are on offer - phones, gadgets, t-shirts 'n stuff.

And not only that, the competition was featured in Monday's Metro (free commuter paper in London which is very widely read) but also, it was namechecked on the Steve Wright show on BBC Radio 2 (national UK radio station in the BBC stable and one of the largest listenerships in the country). Ok, I confess, I was listening to Radio 2 this afternoon. Way to go mobloggers!

Free VOIP calls via Skype on your mobile

It looks like it's really coming - with operator approval no less. Skype has joined with 3 to deliver 'free VOIP (voice over internet protocol) telephone calls across the mobile network. Hmm. That's interesting. 3 sees this as part of its customer acquisition strategy and is about keeping the customer happy as part of its content bundle.

But not only that, Skype is also in talks with Warner Music to sell ringtones to its 75m strong subscriber base. They already sell ringtones but this is their first major deal. And consider the impact if it can do this on mobile networks and bypass the network operators.

via Mobile Entertainment.

Also Nokia has just announced the Nokia 6136 phone, which allows you to make calls over your home or office Wi-Fi network, as well as on a regular cellular/mobile network. It claims in the story that this could be the end of Skype and Vonage.

via The Register

All these announcements have been made at 3GSM in Barcelona (I'm flying out there tomorrow - yippee!). It's a pretty big deal this year judging by the texts I've been getting from my friends who are already there. Check out the picture above courtesy of Mike Butcher at mbites and musicbites. Just shows how big the conference bit is at 3GSM. Then add in 900+ exhibitors and 50k visitors, you kinda get the idea of the scale. More pictures on flickr.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Lava lamp for your computer

I want one of these please ;-)

You can buy a USB Mini Lava Lamp at It's about 6" tall and plugs into a USB port on your computer so you don't need batteries or an extra plug socket. So if anyone's wondering what to get me as a gift... this'll do nicely!

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Swedish Beers Mobile Networking in Barcelona at 3GSM

We've decided to have a Swedish Beers meetup on Wednesday 15th February whilst we're in Barcelona as a few regulars are going to be there anyway. And we wanted to facilitate further networking and a little partying at 3GSM too...

If you'd like to come along (assuming you have some vague interest in things mobile which you probably have if you're going to be in Barca for 3GSM), then here are the details:

Location - Café Viennese in Casa Fuster. The hotel is located on the Passeig de Gràcia, just above the Avenida Diagonal and next to the famous Jardinets. Thanks to Rudy De Waele for recommending such a great venue. You can find information on the hotel at their website .

Time - 19:30 to 21:30 on Wednesday 15th February.
Vibe - Casual

We're not looking for a sponsor this time so bring your expense accounts!

Let me know if you can make it - either leave a comment here or drop an email to swedishbeers [at] beepmarketing [dot] [com].


Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Top tips of the day [warning - nothing to read in this post about mobile!]

If you have a decision to make, and just can't decide, then move at least 30 things and then come back to the decision and it will be much easier to make.

I'm guessing that in moving at least 30 things, you're creating a different energy which aids the decision making process, clears your head and probably means you get a tidy desk and/or the washing up gets done at the same time.

It's a Feng Shui thing courtesy of my wise Chinese/American friend Margaret who also treated me to a wonderful Thai veg feast earlier tonight.

And my tip of the day is to do the yoga Lion Pose (aka Simhasana - see picture right) if you have a sore throat of any kind. Even if you're in bed and can't be bothered to do the kneeling bit, just sticking out your tongue and stretching really works (well it worked for me last week and my niece swears by it). Don't do it in a crowded place though otherwise people might think you're weird ;-)

Friday, February 03, 2006

Is the BBC's 'Just the Two of Us' going to be using LBS?

I just spotted this article over at Brand Republic. It seems auntie has come up with a sister formula to Strictly Come Dancing and it's called Just the Two of Us (BBC press release here). A celebrity is teamed up with a professional singer (including Rick Astley pictured left) and each pair fights it out to win the public vote.

But there's a twist in the tale. The couple who comes in next from bottom will have to hit the campaign trail the following week in the region where they got the least votes. So does this mean that the BBC is capturing postcode data, just analysing landline caller line IDs (which won't be terribly accurate as it won't include mobile data) or is it using LBS*? And if it's using LBS, I wonder how they're going to get round the privacy issues related to that. Hmm. I guess, I'll need to tune in and vote to find out unless any of my readers can shed any light?

*LBS - location based services, i.e. where the location of your phone is noted and shared with a third party

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

4 Things Blog Tag

So Tom gave it to Suw who gave it to Euan who gave it to Gia who gave it to Andrew who gave it to Adriana who gave it to Lloyd who gave it to me. So it only seems fair to pass it on in the true spirit of the blogonet.

Four jobs I've had

Pizza Chef
Fashion Store Manager
Head of Customer Experience at a dotcom and mobcom

Four movies I can watch over and over again

Gone with the Wind
Love Actually
The Wizard of Oz
The Fifth Element

Four places I've lived

Barn Lane, East Lancs Road
South London

Four TV shows I love

A Little Princess (it was on in the 1970s and I knew the actress who played the princess, Deborah Makepeace, and at the time she was living in an attic just like in the TV show)
Here Come the Double Deckers
The Clangers
Stella Street

Four places I've vacationed

Isle of Man
Paris, France
County Kerry, Ireland
Phuket, Thailand

Four of my favourite dishes

Mock duck pancakes at Eat and Two Veg on Marylebone High Street
Veggie Thai Curry
Mozzarella, avocado and tomato salad with a balsamic vinegar dressing
Veneziana pizza at Pizza Express

Four websites I visit daily (mine are dull too I'm afraid)

Flickr and/or Moblog

Four places I'd rather be right now

In an outdoor jacuzzi somewhere hot and sunny
In bed
Having a Thai massage session at a fancy spa
Port Erin, Isle of Man enjoying the bracing sea air

Four bloggers I'm tagging (you're it!)

Small Values of Cool
PR Blogger
Trend Patrol