The Coachella festival always signals the start of Spring proper for me, I of course look forward to hearing some of my favourite bands play live, as well as seeing what advances YouTube / Google make in their coverage.
As far as the YouTube interface goes, I preferred last year’s version - with the Social Media shout-outs appearing to the right of the main video. I also felt the who’s playing and who’s on next was better done last year too. As per last year - shout-outs were evenly split between Twitter and Facebook, with Google+ messages barely 1 in 50.
What really stood out this year though was the ’Rebroadcast’ service YouTube provided - where they looped the live footage 2-3 times after each night. This is how I watched most of the acts - and it enabled me to dive right in and see who I wanted to see and skip those who did not spark my interest.
YouTube / Google are still fairly poor at the Video highlights / edit thing and the so-called ’Highlight Reels’ are attrocious. The BBC is far better at the editing thing - and providing full and set highlights per artist.
Obvious trend this year was the dominance of what the American’s like to call ’EDM’. In terms of legendary performances though, there were very few of these - Major Lazer put on a spirited show, but it’s really only dance music acts like Basement Jaxx and Groove Armada who know how to put on a proper show for this genre of music. However good James Blake’s music is, I’m not sure how well it works in a lively festival setting - I tend to agree with Glastonbury die-hards in that you need a proper spirited ’band’ mechanic for a live performance to really work - and on that basis, the standout highlight for me was Janelle Monáe. Of Monsters and Men, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Grimes, Bat for Lashes, La Roux, Metric and Poliça were pretty good too...
I caught whole or partial sets by the following artists:
Doing business online is much bigger than any one website. You have to be where the people are, integrate your business hub with all the key sites out there, and make sure that everything integrates effectively with your back-end systems that you use day in and day out to get things done within your company.
Affino 7 integrates with over 100 systems, and of those 60 are out-of-the box integrations that you can simply enter your settings and connect to Affino. Affino also has a great API for connecting to any compatible system out there.
It’s impossible to select any seven key integrations. Below are some of the best known and most used ones. It all depends on what kind of online business you’re running:
Affino is integrated with a dozen Google services. Google’s Analytics and Maps are still the world’s benchmark, and the Google Merchant Centre continues to grow in influence. We do a great deal to optimise Affino for Google Webmaster Tools and to deliver great SEO.
Paypal is integrated directly into Affino’s store checkout. Affino’s PayPal integration supports direct / indirect, credit card / debit card / PayPal payments, single-page / offsite payment, one-off and renewable payments all just with PayPal. It is one of a dozen different payment systems supported.
You can drop any YouTube video anywhere into Affino by simply posting the URL. It doesn’t matter where you use it whether it is blogs, media library, articles, chat, comments, wherever. Same goes for all the other top video and other media sites.
An enormous amount of input goes into every major Affino version release, and Affino 7 is no exception. Front and centre to all our considerations are our customers’ ongoing requirements and feature requests - Affino almost wholly evolves along collaborative lines between the Comrz Team and every single one of Affino’s users.
It’s frequently a tough job consolidating all the different diverse requirements into a single streamlined system, but this is what we do every day. Pretty much every tiny nuanced functionality has been specified for a particular business scenario and activity. For every major release we endeavour to simplify the user experience, which is not always as simple as it sounds as no two Affino users deploy the system in exactly the same manner.
Every consideration is made to imbue Affino with simplicity, elegance and ease of use. It thus follows that the key technological inspirations convey those same values of clarity of purpose, elegance and simplicity:
The degree of detail and finish of the many elements of the London Olympics are a key influence in the look of the new interface. In particular, we took inspiration from the dynamic keyline pictograms - which elegantly convey movement and modernity. Affino’s Key Navigation Icons are largely inspired by those pictograms - harnessing the same values of forward movement and dynamism
Apple still remains the benchmark for elegant product and interface design, and supreme ease of use. It’s focus on learnability remains a significant design influence in how we consider Affino’s daily usability and overall customer experience
Despite its detractors, the BBC is a significant pioneer online - with its iPlayer representing the first and the best of the Internet TV Players, and the relatively recent BBC.co.uk update being the first significant move towards tablet-style navigation for the main website interface
Google’s first foray into tablets is part of a double-headed attack on Amazon - to reclaim Android for the Android vanilla experience. Everyone is well aware now of how fragmented the Android landscape is - not just in terms of different version releases, but with every device manufacturer producing their own skinned-up derivation of Android - from HTC Sense, to Samsung’s TouchWiz to Amazon’s Silk Browser. Here Google is aiming to show that the standard Google Android experience really is the best. This is backed up by the relaunch of the various Google Android stores under the singular ’Google play’ brand, to compete with iTunes in some ways, but really to take the initiative away from Amazon’s Appstore.
The Google Nexus 7 equals the current Kindle Fire in price - for the base 8GB model, and serves up faster processor and better screen for a far superior experience to that of the Kindle Fire. For a little more money (£199 vs £159 and dollar equivalents) you get the 16GB of Google’s top ranked Nexus 7 model.
The Nexus 7 is built by Asus - who are responsible for purportedly the best Android tablet experience currently - by way of the Transformer series. I don’t really see this troubling Apple too much in terms of a head-to-head comparison with the higher specced iPads, but it should really worry everyone involved in the more budget end of the market. In stark contrast to Microsoft - who’s Surface Tablet launch was all hyperbole and bluster - with no pricing, launch date or even proper tech specs. Go to the Google play site though, and you will see that the Nexus 7 ships in 2-3 weeks (£159 for 8GB model and £199 for 16GB model). Admittedly this is only a 7" tablet, and it lacks typical Android staples in terms of plug-in memory or replaceable battery. There’s nothing new or innovative here - the form itself is about as standard as you can get, but if you were going to buy a tablet for £159-199 - this is probably where you should be spending your money; by comparison the cheapest iPad model is the 16GB iPad 2 at £329.
Google has a few more tricks up its sleeve with clever Cloud syncing and Google+ integration - which should enable some smart social media sharing and automatic backups, photo archiving etc. Google play + Google Nexus 7
Wikipedia and Reddit were blacked out today in an attempt to highlight to Internet Users - the serious likely impact of this legislation on the basic rights of freedom of the typical netizen.
These 2 new bills - Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and Protect IP Act (PIPA) - are in the process of passing through the House of Representatives and the Senate respectively. They would end up giving Copyright Owners way too much power in shutting down and commercially crippling any site/s they choose to target - fairly or unfairly. Copyright Owners already have the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) to effect similar actions - in enforcing take-down notices, and there are already numerous cases where the DMCA legislation has been abused - even though it does require a degree of due process.
SOPA and PIPA are far too broad and far reaching in their applications, and would end up a weapon of censorship and restriction - closing down and curtailing the open and organic nature of the Internet. The legislation requires no court order to force a take-down notice, and can be so broadly applied that any vague 3rd party reference to another allegdly suspect site can result in an injunction against the referring party.
The problem with the Internet at large is that so many of the daily services we use are based / legislated from the USA - Google, Facebook, Twitter, Wikipedia - what with Social Content Contribution - any one of these could easily end up with potentially disputed copyrighted material and be forced to shut down.
UK citizens should be far more worried than most, as has been seen by the recent extradition case of Richard O’Dwyer - a UK citizen who has actually broken no UK or European laws with his UK-based links website - but is still being extradited to the US for summary judgment and punishment.
I’m certainly not a fan of piracy, but totally understand why it happens, and this draconionan legislation will not be the cure. The vast majority of media companies are overly greedy and totally out of touch with reality - and are almost as much a part of the problem as the pirates.
I can buy a pretty decent gaming app on the Apple App Store for just 69 pence - a venture which has taken several months to produce and contains sound and vision, and creative flare, and typically involves a significantly sized project team. Yet for a new sound file - ’single&
According to the 2010 overall figures for Digital Ad Spend, courtesy of Darren Herman, of the circa $64 billion Worldwide 2010 Digital Advertising Revenues, Google is responsible for nearly half, i.e. $29 billion or circa 45.7%.
The revenues of the 5 biggest; i.e. Google + Yahoo + Microsoft + Facebook + AOL is equivalent to nearly 64% of the total market share of Online Advertising or two-thirds.
Most of these big players of course own a number of digital properties:
The latest Ars Technica browser usage figures show that Internet Explorer has dropped below 50% market share for the first time - for combined browsing platforms (Desktop + Mobile)
Combined Browser Market Share October 2011
Worldwide Desktop Browser Market Share October 2011
Worldwide Mobile Browser Market Share October 2011
Here at Comrz we are an even split between Chrome and Firefox, with development preferring to work on Firefox because of its still superior developer toolset, whilst we others prefer the speed and elegance of Chrome.
We all know why IE figures have remained so high - thousand of poorly run institutions and archaic public services still tend to be running very old versions of IE - it’s quite surprising just how many of these PCs are on IE6.
I’m not sure the mobile figures entirely stack up here either - there are currently nearly as many Android handsets in global circulation as iPhones, of course several Android users favour Dolphin and Skyfire, but the Android browser figure does seem unusually low.
By now I am of course an iPhone user of many years, and as you may have read on my other blogs, don’t see myself switching to Android or Windows Mobile any time soon. As far as desktop browsing goes though, I can’t see anything better out there than Chrome - Google Chrome revolutionised the web browser in a very subtle way when it was first introduced back in September of 2008, and all the major browsers have since been busy copying Chrome’s
Much has been written about the fabuolous usability of the Metro Tiles which are the cornerstones of the Windows experience, versus the app icons of Android and iOS. For those that first come to Windows Mobile, the interface initially seems highly intuitive and seemingly the wave of the future. However, as you live with it, you discover, much like any interface - that it has its various weaknesse as well as strengths. In fact, this latest incarnation of Windows Mobile (as a platform, not Mango!) has been out for a while now, and it has failed to get any real traction with consumers.
Before we answer that question, we cannot fail to be impressed by the flawless elegance of Nokia’s new design. In my opinion, in pure hardware design terms, this is unequivocally the prettiest smartphone currently on the market. Whichever way you turn it, the minimal detailing is quite stunning. I would have gone one further and omitted the chrome panel around the camera - but then again, I really like minimalistic design. The liquid-like curved screen and concealed ports just add to the quality feel of the single piece polycarbonate shell (available in Magenta and Cyan as pictured, as well as regulation black!). So as far as we are concerned, design-wise it is amazing, and it features a separate and specific camera button - to match its superb 8MP Carl Zeiss lensed camera.
Now for the obvious downsides - only 16GB of onboard memory (with no memory card slot), and no front-facing camera (which is now a must for helping teenage girls apply their makeup!); also no 4G and no NFC. The limited memory and camera are totally a Windows restriction, as Nokia’s identical Meego-running N9 handles upto 64GB of memory, and features a front-facing camera!
What actually lets the Nokia Lumia 800 phone down therefore really is Windows - through its lack of apps, lack of memory support, and lack of forward-facing camera support. When you put this
As with the iPhone 5! launch (actually iPhone 4S as it turned out) there was lot of hype around the launch of the new official Google Phone. There were rumours of a super processor of 1.7Ghz, a 10MP camera on the reverse and an ingenious new form factor.
Both phones benefitted from major version releases of operating systems - Android updating to 4 (Ice Cream Sandwich), whilst iPhone 4S jumped up to iOS 5.
For me, I am actually a little disappointed with both launches. Neither one is really the runnaway success I thought they might be. The obvious draws on the Nexus are the amazing 4.65" Super Amoled HD Screen - which is even better than the gorgeous Galaxy SII screen, also the new Barometer sensor, along with NFC and 4G capabilities that the iPhone 4S lacks.
I still contend that the construction of the iPhone 4 series is seriously flawed - as can be seen in the latest drop tests, where both back and front glass screebs of the iPhone 4S shatter way too easily. It is also my opinion that the dodgy antenna issue has been fudged with clever electronics - which switch the signal between two halves, depending on how the antenna is being shorted / obstructed by finger or thumb. That said though, Samsung’s phones tend to be a little ’plasticky’, and for certain the iPhone uses better quality materials in its construction - bar possibly the glass, which seems overly brittle.
The biggest thing for me was the 64GB boost in internal storage for the iPhone 4S - the Galaxy Nexus omits SD Card slot, and is stuck therefore with a maximum of 32GB - which is no good for my mobile jukebox needs! I really wanted the iPhone to have a larger screen, and here the Galaxy Nexus certainly comes up trumps.
As for the other head-to-head specs they are much of a muchness really - battery performance is as much to do with hardware and software than actual size of battery - same goes for processor clock speed and RAM.
Android Ice Cream Sandwich seems to be largely an aesthetic update, although it does have some very nifty bandwidth management widgets, as well as clever ’bump’ sharing of content from phone to phone. To compete with the obviously superior iPhone 4S camera, the Nexus has a clever automated panorama picture mode.
Side-by-side specs are as follows, apologies if I’ve got any of these wrong! They’re from a variety of sources obviously.
Once a year we get the proclamation from the CoolBrandsExpert Council of judges as to which brands are considered to be the coolest and most ’of the moment’.
For a Branding Expert like myself, there are all manner of peculiar entries in the top 10. As anyone who owns an Aston Martin will tell you - they are lovely cars to look at, less lovely to own - being extreme gas guzzlers and supposedly spending large parts of their working lives in a garage workshop - there is an infinite number of cooler car brands than Aston Martin; I would suggest Audi as an example of an increasingly cool and innovative car manufacturer or of course 8th ranked Ferrari! Strange to see that Harley-Davidson has so much traction in the UK too? - Similar brand values to Aston Martin I suppose. Neither of these brands is particularly cutting edge or ’of the now’ - not being particularly big innovators, and relying more on perceived heritage.
Rolex is old-school but has not really been cool for a while now! Cool for watches is more likely Urwerk, Richard Mille or Greubel Forsey. What is dwindling smart messaging and business phone behemoth BlackBerry doing in the top 10??? Surely there has to be some correlation between cool and crashing share prices? These brands are largely clichéd and ubiquitous more than anything else. Much like the arbitrary left-field judging at the Mercury Music Awards - which are typically very far from the cutting edge of cool and current musical trends.
I cannot see how anyone would pay this any serious attention - this reads more like a wishlist of your typical ill-informed wealthy Z-list celebrity - "I would like a gold Aston Martin to match my gold Rolex and gold Blackberry" - much like Katie Price overdoses on pink Range Rovers, Aston Martins and Rolexes no doubt. This would seem to be a wannabe celebrity checklist for the accessories of superficial stardom.