Windows Phone 7 ads

Yesterday Microsoft announced Windows Phone 7. I don’t normally blog about tech news, but being an ex employee of Microsoft, I tend to watch news around that company a little bit more closely.

Media reaction to the new device appears a little mixed. Wired love it, whilst others like TechCrunch have written it off. Personally I am not sure which way it will go. Microsoft has been playing in the phone space for a long time now and not really made a massive impact or created a strong consumer demand, but you can never right off the Redmond based organisation.

The ads unveiled at the press conference by Crispin Porter + Bokogusky though are very clever. I have embedded the two launch executions below, which you should check out. They do a nice job of promoting the phone by downplaying the role our phones should play in our life. Beautifully shot in what appears to be the US and Europe, it will be interesting to see how they impact demand for the device. Shame there is not any Asia shots though.

UPDATE – Massive coup by the UK PR team (my old colleagues James Tutt and Hazel Thompson were involved I suspect) for securing official endorsement from the legendary Stephen Fry for the phone. It doesn’t get much bigger than that! Kudos.

What do you reckon? Do you like?

Full disclosure, Microsoft is a client of Edelman, but not in Australia. Full disclosure again, BlackBerry is a client of Edelman Australia.If you enjoyed this post why not subscribe to my blog via RSS or email by following this link. Also whilst you\’re at it why not follow me on Twitter .

What is Web 3.0 and how will it impact PR?

If like me you have heard the term Web 3.0 and the semantic web, but aren’t really sure what it means then watch the video I have embedded below. It is around 15 minutes, but is well worth the time investment. If you can’t spare the time I have attempted a summary below it.

The mini doco is by Kate Ray, a NYU Psychology and Journalism major student. It is incredibly interesting and got me thinking about the impact of Web 3.0 on the PR industry.

As I note below, the impact and potential of the semantic web is difficult for even the experts in the field to get their head around, so this post is a fairly large act of hubris by me, but hopefully it is a conversation starter. I would love to hear your thoughts as well, even if they are to tell me I don’t have a clue.

Web 3.0 from Kate Ray on Vimeo.

My summation/major take outs:

  • It has never been easier to create content for the web. Every single Tweet is a new page that is created for the web. A pretty scary concept when you consider how often some people tweet. The outcome is that Google and the current tools we use to navigate and sort information on the web will soon no longer be able to cope.
  • The rise in choice and access to information is confronting for people. People want simplicity, not more access to choice.
  • The semantic web creates relationships between separate pieces of data to provide context and meaning. For example the semantic web may know that a CD review of Kanye West despite being given a five star rating by the reviewer may be of no interest to me because I have previously posted on Twitter how I dislike Kanye.
  • The majority of thinking is that ontologies (a sort of agreed system for labeling the web) are required for the semantic web to work. I personally can’t see how it will work otherwise, but also think any labeling system will have many issues and flaws.
  • Even the experts in this field have trouble imagining what is possible in terms of applications for the semantic web.

Watching this I tried to think about the impact web 3.0 will have on the PR industry.

  • The old way of doing business where managers look after the media in a given market will become redundant. How people make decisions or are impacted by influence will become more personalised than ever. The information people receive will be more about their past interactions, others they engage with online and the products they purchase and less about where they live.
  • The prioritisation of media will become more difficult than ever. In a world where information will be delivered in a niche manner on demand, the old PR economies of reach and influence matter considerably less.
  • PR and customer service will move closer together. As the importance of mass media declines and the importance of the individual rises, the separation between journalist and everyday individual will become pointless.
  • Everybody will become a company spokesperson. Building on the point above it will be impossible for traditional spokespeople to devote time to the growing number of on the record statements required. Rather corporate affairs and PR departments will need to train the entire organisation for influencer engagements.
  • The tools for monitoring sentiment will be dizzyingly complicated. Monitoring your PR reputation simply by looking at the major news outlets outlets will seem archaic (if it isn’t already). Instead, PR departments will employ specially trained analysers to make sense of the wealth of data required to understand the public sentiment towards an organisation.
  • PR will be even more important to an organisation. When everybody’s opinion matters, PR will be a paramount consideration in every decision a business makes.

You could argue the above points are where PR is headed now whilst we are still getting to grips with Web 2.0. Irrespective, I would love your thoughts on how you think the semantic web will impact PR. Do you agree? Am I way off the mark? What other impacts will Web 3.0 have on how organisations do PR?

If you enjoyed this post why don’t you subscribe to my blog via RSS or email by following this link. Or alternatively follow me on Twitter.If you enjoyed this post why not subscribe to my blog via RSS or email by following this link. Also whilst you\’re at it why not follow me on Twitter .

Do digital cameras damage or enhance memory?

tumblr kx4m70qscm1qadzmoo1 500 Do digital cameras damage or enhance memory?

Isn’t this photo amazing? You couldn’t recreate it if you tried.

This photo was obviously taken at a baseball game, so there was no doubt lots of cameras around, but it got me to thinking how much of our lives nowadays are recorded because of how readily available storage has become.

As storage space becomes more and more cheap, will there come a point in time where almost no point of our lives won’t be recorded. Today, using some simple technology and the storage capacity you probably own already, you could record every conversations you have for a week.

In twenty years from now will people be recording everything they hear, say and see, a la Justin.TV, simply because they don’t want to miss recording a golden moment? How will this impact people’s memories of moment? Will memories be more poignant and important because of that?

When I was 19, I spent six months living in the US as a snowboard instructor. This was before the days when digital cameras were affordable, so I had a simple Kodak film camera. It was brilliant, I could easily put it in my pocket and take photos of my pathetic attempts at freestyle snowboarding, the parties I went to and the beautiful sites I saw. In the six months I was there, I got my way through four 24 shot films. That is 96 photographs, some people, Simone McDermid I am looking at you, post that many from a night out with friends.

When I got back to Australia from my US trip and developed my photos I dutifully wrote on the back of them, threw out the badly shots ones and put the good ones into a photo album. I still look at that album. The memories are still so very real. The moments I remember. Perhaps that is because I didn’t spend many of those moments behind a camera lens, maybe because our mind only needs a few pointers to make us remember? I am not sure.

I recently spent three months travelling through Central Asia and China. I took a considerable number of photos, sometimes 200 a day, which I edited down and posted on Flickr. The time spent behind the lens on this trip compared with my trip to America would have been 100 fold or more even though it was only half as long. The recent trip is still vivid in my memory, but I wonder how it will compare down the track.

Will the sheer number of photographic memories of the trip help me better remember the trip to America with hardly any evidence? I am not sure. What do you think?

HT – Masami Kito for alerting me via Posterous to this image.If you enjoyed this post why not subscribe to my blog via RSS or email by following this link. Also whilst you\’re at it why not follow me on Twitter .

BBC – A week with Windows

In computing terms, I live a double life. At work, I use our corporate IT system which runs on Windows XP; at home, I’m a Mac user and have grown accustomed to the Apple environment. But for the last week, I’ve been living in a Windows world, preparing for the launch of Microsoft’s latest operating system.

I borrowed a small, very expensive Sony Vaio X running Windows 7 – the lightest laptop I’ve ever used – and tried to do as much of my work as possible using the unfamiliar operating system. I didn’t carry out the kind of tests you might find in a grown-up review but then most of us don’t do that – we just try to get on with new software and only really notice it when it goes wrong.

rory windows595 BBC A week with Windows

If you’re used to one operating system, trying another is like moving into a strange house – it may all look very nice, but it’s a pain trying to find out how to turn up the central heating or where the glasses are stored. But Windows 7 did at least boot up reasonably fast – Microsoft says it’s reduced the “footprint” of the system by 50%, and that’s made it more efficient.

The first thing I want to do when I switch on is connect to the internet. I’m used to searching out a wireless signal at the top of a Mac screen but I found, without too much trouble, a similar connection area to the right of the Windows taskbar and was quickly online.

The Start button in the bottom left-hand corner still provides the route to the applications, though the taskbar has become a little like Apple’s dock, so you can simply drag frequently-used applications onto it.

I set about opening a browser, e-mail and word processing applications, and tried to work out where I would keep my photos and music. That process somehow feels more integrated on a Mac because of the iLife suite that comes with it. But having dragged a few tracks and pictures off my home network into the Vaio, it was reasonably easy to start playing.

But what’s really different about using this operating system? The two things that stood out for me were the ability to hover over open items in the taskbar and see what was happening at a glance – and a function which allows you to snap two open windows alongside each other so that you can compare or maybe transfer information between them.

But here’s a funny thing. By the end of the week, I looked at what I was doing on the tiny screen – and found that just about everything involved software not made by Microsoft. So I’d installed the Firefox browser in preference to Internet Explorer, and started writing documents using Google Docs rather than Microsoft Word, and checking my e-mail via Gmail. As for music, I’d installed iTunes, and to feed my social networking needs, I placed Tweetdeck on the taskbar.

I had ended up furnishing my new Windows 7 home with some familiar items from elsewhere – so perhaps the operating system matters less than it once did.

Of course, what is really important to Microsoft is not winning over the minority who use Mac OS X or Linux variants, but reconnecting with the many previously loyal customers who were deeply unimpressed by Vista.

This week at the National Museum of Computing at Bletchley Park, I met Tony Sale, who has spent 15 years working to rebuild Colossus, the world’s first programmable computer used to crack German codes in World War II. At home, Tony has used every version of Windows since 3.1*, but he’s stopped at XP. What was wrong with Vista?

“It tried to tell me how to organise my files all the time, I didn’t like that.” By contrast, Tony says he finds XP very stable and very usable – and he’s going to have to be sure that Windows 7 does a similar, or better, job before upgrading.

Computing has come a long way since Colossus, but Microsoft’s customers will be asking the same question about its new operating system as the code-breakers did about their new-fangled toy. Does it do the same job better and faster than what we use now?

* As some commenters have pointed out, what Tony Sale must have started with was Windows 3.1, not 3.2 as I had previously written.

My favourite part of this review by Rory Cellan-Jones is this:

I didn’t carry out the kind of tests you might find in a grown-up review but then most of us don’t do that – we just try to get on with new software and only really notice it when it goes wrong.

He is so right. Most people use a fraction of the potential of a software service. A much more realistic way to review a service.

Posted via web from Matthew Gain’s posterous

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Italy earthquake

diapositiva11 Italy earthquake

I posted the tweet above a couple of minutes after this week’s Italian earthquake. The quake measured 6.3 on the Richter scale and mainly hit L’Aquila, a town roughly 60 miles north of Rome. Little did I know at that time that time that tragically up to 207 people would die.

The quake brought back memories of the last quake I experienced in Newcastle Australia in 1989 – that was a 5.5 quake and 12 people were killed then.

Pretty scary stuff and hugely thankful that I was affected only in the fact that I was woken up. The next day life in Rome was completely normal by my reckoning except for the news in the media.

Plenty of examples already, but it was amazing to experience first hand how quickly and effectively Twitter spread the news of the quake. Minutes after tweeting the above I was receiving replies with links to Reuters detailing news on the scale. Within ten minutes I was being retweeted by people as a live quake Tweeter. The BBC had contacted me within 20 minutes to conduct an interview. Nothing came of the interview. Not necessarily surprising given the fact, my thankfully calm post quake experience went something like this – ‘I emerged onto the streets to hear no sirens and only see a few people calmly standing around before they returned to bed.’

My thoughts go out to the people that have suffered as a result of this quake. Should you be interested you can donate to The Red Cross at this address.

lg share en Italy earthquake

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The future according to Microsoft

I first came across this video of the future by Microsoft visionaries on Steve Clayton’s blog, but have started to see it turn up in a few different places now.

Microsoft gets quite a bad rap a lot of the time for not being innovative. Working at the company I can understand to some degree why this perception is the case, but in my mind it is unfair. Hopefully this video will start to change those perceptions.

Of course the vast majority of the technology in the video is still at the concept stage, but a lot of it is not completely pie in the sky. The Surface Computer is available today.

Enjoy a Microsoft vision of 2019.

video92d9b2225961 The future according to Microsoft
Technorati Tags: ,Surface Computer

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