RSS
 

Archive for September, 2005

GeoLoc, An Interactive Real-Time Visitor Display

25 Sep 2005

Geoloc is a geographical locator service that tracks your visitors, it’s a unique service that allows you to create an interactivity between the visitors of your site. It shows in real time who’s online on the site, and pinpoints the location of each of those surfers. A powerful tool, very easy to install – just a few lines of code on your pages. The red dots tell you who’s been here, the green ones who’s here now. I wanted to subscribe, but the service has been put on hold. So here’s a static example of how it looks like :

geoloc

* Subscriptions have been put on hold due to popularity overload. Soon back online !

* Get yours ! [thanx to CTGilles]

Since we’re dressing up the site anyway, go have a look over at Taylor McKnight’s… He has over 3170 buttons up you can dress your site with. All of them are 80×15 px, the size you see on my menu bar.

 

Free Bluetooth Messaging Service For Text & Images

25 Sep 2005

Mobiluck is offering a free service to allow free short range messaging between bluetooth devices within a 20 m range. The messaging can include text as well as pictures. The short range messaging paradigm has been a recent success in restaurant and public transportation type models where people want to socialize in a more physically restricted environment.

A similar wi-fi based paradigm is widely being deployed in portable gaming consoles (PSP, Nintendo DS) in order to allow adhoc social gaming networks. The software allows detection of devices and messaging for free.Mobiluck already has a current subscriber base of 1 million users, and specializes in transforming your cellphone to what they call a “Proximity Communication device”.

[Mobiluck via PhoneMag - Textually]

On a sidenote : RohDesign has a keyboard for sale !

“I have a Stowaway Universal Bluetooth Keyboard in great condition (barely used) that I wanted to use with my Zire 72. It works well, but having access to Mac Powerbook, the Dana and good old move toward pen and paper, I’m finding I hardly use nor need this very nice keyboard.

stowaway kb

I’d like to sell it to someone who would make better use of this small, light and well-engineered device. If you’re interested, drop me a line with ‘Keyboard’ used in the subject line, and let’s talk.”

 

A Keyboard For Old People

25 Sep 2005

Here’s why I think this might work. Old people have learned to read from left to right and from top to bottom. That said, then ‘know’ their alphabet from a to z, and never really had computer classes while growing up. Us youngsters know their way around the keyboard from gaming, back when Commodore and Atari introduced qwerty to our playing hands. The only other people who were using a keyboard were the programmers and accountants who needed computers to make their living. Originally, the typewriter had this qwerty/azerty setup too, but the atmosphere still was school or office related and often avoided or rated ‘for intellectuals’. Then the pc got ‘launched’ and azerty again became an alternative for the qwerty fearing humans. But mainly all keyboards were designed by people who ‘knew’ their business, the computer branch. Nobody ever thought about the fact the letters were illogical to newcomers, nor that the numeric pad was upside down compared to phones.

Often when I teach the elderly how to surf without fear and comminicate through ‘this email thing’, I find them somewhat lost on the keyboard because they can’t find the letters they need that fast. Therefor, typing a document or an email is a very huge mountain to move to them. They mostly type with one finger, but a lot of them use two already, exceptions use more fingers. When they read, the don’t ’scroll’ a text. They read more slowly, and from left to right, line by line. That’s how they look for letters on their keyboard when they type their messages or documents. They’re hardly capable of ‘visually memorizing’ the location of the keys and will time and again start with the A and end with the N, chosing what they need as they pass it.

For these reasons, I think our elder generation might generate more fastness and self-confidence with the ABCDEF-keyboard, with a numeric pad that looks like the dial pad of a phone. This way, they don’t have to ‘think computerly’ but just logically.

old people

€ 34.90 ($42.26) through http://alphabet-clavier.fr

 

Privacy Interrupter Number One

20 Sep 2005

There’s only a few things that bother me when I get contacted by other people over my cell phone. First of all, I don’t know if you’ve ever noticed, there’s a ‘red phone’ and a ‘green phone’ button on every phone. I push the green one to answer if it pleases me, and I push the red one to refuse. That’s right: refuse ! Since it’s my phone, I have the right to refuse a call. Whenever I’m out doing something, or busy talking with someone, and the phone rings… it might be ‘not a good time’ to answer it. For some reason people always expect a phone to be answered when it rings, and they get frustrated when that doesn’t happen. They call again, because ‘maybe I didn’t hear my phone’. Again I push the red phone button, still being in the same conversation I was in seconds before. Normally you’d expect people to understand the situation at this point, but no. There are people that even dare to call me a third time, bringing me so far to just turn off the phone for a while. I’m not that kind of guy who lets his phone ring x times before it hits the voice mail when it’s on a table, in my pocket or in my jacket. I’m aware of the annoying factor it might have on the people around me.

Very often, after the second try and thus the second denied call, I get a text message asking me ‘is there something wrong?’ or ‘iz u ok?’. I don’t get it. Maybe they think I’m having a panic attack or so, or that I’ve become a phoneophobiac or something. They totally don’t understand that it might happen people sometimes are busy living their life and, to this person’s great surprise, are not staring at the display, waiting for a name to appear to pick up the phone happily and overjoyed.

Some people are offended if I do this, because they think it’s a personal issue, but I’d like to point out that it simply is a matter of common sense. I hate it when I’m in a conversation that gets interrupted by a cellphone call. (I’ll get to analogue phones later, don’t worry). I think it makes the other person in the conversation (if it’s a dialogue) look really stupid. I mean how serious can you take a person that’s looking to somebody who’s making a call? That’s hilarious and it happens all around us. I am against this form of humiliation. It shows of no repect for the person you’re in the conversation with. It’s just not done.

Sometimes I’m surprised about how easily it is accepted that a telephone interrupts your daily life. Everything you were doing stops or is obstructed, every conversation abruptly terminated. My mother actually lets go of everything she was holding in her hands to run straight to the phone, because it might be important. Well, I didn’t want to break the news to her, but nowadays phones are no longer only used in case of emergency. She doesn’t seem to get that either, because she’ll start talking with the person on the other end of the line anyway. Even if it’s less important than the things she was doing. She’ll finish the conversation and then return to the one she was making before the phone rang. I find that unlogical. Real life in front of you values more than remote life. That’s how I see it.

The second time my phone rings, I’ll look to the display, and if it’s really someone I know, I’ll answer it quick, excusing me first to the person I was talking to. I’ll say I’m in another conversation and that I’ll get back to them asap, greeting them shortly and then end the call. That takes 5 seconds at max. I’ll then continue the conversation and call back when it suits me better. But if the caller id is unknown or hidden, or if I know it’s going to be ‘casual’ (like you just know x or y only calls to say hi, and does that all the time), I think I have the right to refuse the call. And I don’t think that’s rude and no, it doesn’t mean I’m mad at you. If I terminate a call like this, you’ll get the ‘occupied’ signal. That saves you money for the voice mail, so be glad and call again, ten or fifteen minutes later. Please.

The other thing that bothers me is the cellphone behaviour of some people in the train or for that matter: on any form of public transportation. I really feel no need to be involved in your private or business life, nor do I want to know how much you hate your job and how big of a jerk your boss is. If you don’t like your dayjob, stfu and look for another. If you do want to talk, please keep it down. Really. I’m not saying you have to whisper, but talking too loud really is the opposite.

[The Wireless Weblog] adds something else to this in their article “Bluetooth Headsets Causing Social Problems?” That’s a thing that fits in just great in this context.

 

Wireless Porn, Mobile Porn, Marketing Porn

18 Sep 2005

As I’ve previously mentioned on this blog: porn is heading for your cell phone. A little while ago I linked to a post on [MobHappy] where a trend was mentioned that emerged in Bengbu, China. Some vendors there are using free pornographic video clips to entice people to buy phones, using them to demonstrate the video playback capabilities of devices, then loading them on the phone after purchase. Now [Textually] reports that major American cellular carriers who have so far been adamant in their refusal to sell pornography from the same content menus on which they sell ring tones and video games are showing signs that they may soften their stance. I’m not saying that’s a useful thing, I’m just pointing to the predictions that the market value of this trend is estimated to reach (US only) $ 196 million by 2009. And for some marketeers, that’s very good news. [also featured on The Wireless Weblog]

If you were wondering whether or not people are really serious about this, let me inform you about the following : “Penthouse Media Group has locked down $48 million in private financing to pay for an expansion into TV and wireless delivery.

Sex sells, that’s no big news. What’s interesting to follow, however, is the fact everybody in sexland is getting ready to become part of a new and wireless market. I’m not saying it’s going to be ‘all over us’, but I’m pretty sure there’s a huge potential audience for these things, just as there is for mobile gambling. I’m not pro and not against it, but this is the world we live in.

In the light of these recent developments I’d like to introduce a not so regular phone that has been on the market for a while already, but now offers some other perspectives. Meet the Nokia 6680, a 133 g weighing 108.6 x 55.2 x 20.5 mm, 104 cc sized omni-phone that has a lot of funky features.

nokia6680

Let’s start with the camera and multimedia specs of this 240-hour-uptimer :

1.3 MP
1280×960 pixels
video (QCIF)
flash
Secondary video call VGA camera
Bluetooth
Push to talk
EDGE
Java MIDP 2.0
MP3/AAC/MPEG4 player -
HTML browser with .pdf support
xHTML browser
WAP 2.0
T9
Organiser
Voice command/memo
Pop-Port with USB
Built-in handsfree

Other cool stuff : SMS, MMS, Email, Instant Messaging over a 384 kbps (WCDMA) data speed line. A Symbian OS 8.0a , Series 60 UI keeps this gadget going and the 256K-color TFT has a 176 x 208 pixels dimension. – More info in the [GSMArena]

Get ready to start streaming and have some video conferencing (what we call webcam in the internet world, no?) – Hat tip for the phone : [Liones, the female night elf]

 

Mobile TV, the new hype?

17 Sep 2005

A lot of fuzz lately about mobile television. While I’m certainly not waiting for a mobile tv with included PVR functionality to ‘revolutionize the way we watch TV’, it seems that newly conducted studies and reports indicate that mobile TV can potentially become the next ‘killer app’ in the wireless industry. Yet again another channel to interact with the consumer and to advertise or promote your products and services. Interactivity is the keyword here, because the spoiled potential users will expect nothing less than a combination of all available services nowadays. Think of it as a wireless portable pc/(phone?) with built in TiVo and recording possibilities. Only thing missing would then be internet and radio, but that’s just some chips extra.

So, what do I expect? A small device, not bigger than 15/11/1 cm (5.9/4.3/0.3 inch) with a small navigation pad and a maximun display surface, a hard drive of over 150 Gb (without the operating system and software). Browsing possibilities for files and folders for music or motion that I can modify manually (USB to PC!). Wireless internet plug for calendars and planners, email, chat, VoIP calls (GoogleTalk, Skype etc). Also all known phone + pda applications. I want to be able to suck a live tv-signal from the ether and see what’s playing now and I want to select programs and chose when (where, how) to see them. TV on demand; Movies on demand, Radio on demand. better add a GPS-navigation system too, so I can use it in the car, or on foot, or by bike. And I want it at a low price, but with a broadband-styled connection speed. Preferrably in a heavy-duty edition for sportsmen, shockproof and hopefully water resistant. And what do I get?

pdh400
Introducing : the PDH400 with 4.3-inch widescreen display

Looks pretty cool, but it’s not what I’ve been waiting for. They could’ve saved a lot of space on the navigation pad and added that to the screen surface, but hey… it’s here now. Let’s see what it does.

“What makes the PDH400 so innovative is that it’s the first mobile PVR with a 40GB hard drive (200 hours of recording). An expandable SD-card also supports H.264 streaming, not only can you save your programming for later, you can store it on SD for easy transfer and sharing to other devices.”

“The DVB-H, aka Digital Video Mobile Broadcasts, mobile PVR is Pace’s PDH400 product. With it users can watch TV in real time, in H.264/MPEG-4 AVC encoding (high-quality video streaming compression), a popular Japanese and European terrestrial digital broadcasting standard.” – [MobileMag]

Good start, but I’m not happy yet. This is ‘just’ tv. It’s cool they’ve come this far though, don’t get me wrong… but I’m waiting for a tool that replaces and combines old ones, otherwise it’s just another thing I have to walk around with, and I have to carry already enough around as it is today. With a little more effort from the engineers, this tool could be transformed into a goldmine; totally replacing phones (and thus all this useless tv-on-your-phone crap we’ve been hearing lately) and merging pda and wireless technology with television and digital broadcasting on demand. I’m willing to pay for gadgets like this, but like I said, then I expect progress. Then I would only have to deal with one company that handles all my digital affairs. A nice vision, bound to come true. :)

“Mobile TV: Switching On the Revenue Stream” is a report that investigates the possibilities of mobile television. [The Wireless Weblog] has laid eyes on it and agrees with the study saying it “does make a point that pricing will be a major selling point – users are looking to pay less than $10 a month for mobile TV.” That sounds like a reasonable price indeed, but then again, TWW kind of predicts that most carriers will probably offer a ‘basic subscription’ service for this amount and most likely a lot more will be charged for additional services and options.

Today I saw the first ad on tv promoting 3G for [Proximus], a local carrier so I decided to check out their site. I couldn’t find anything on 3G, in the sense of a description and I got pissed from the lack of user-friendlyness from the search. (there’s a full flash site about it, but I wanted to copy-paste and all this loading time didn’t come in handy) – So I went to ye olde wikipedia to get a nice description for you : 3G is short for third-generation mobile telephone technology. The services associated with 3G provide the ability to transfer both voice data (a telephone call) and non-voice data (such as downloading information, exchanging email, and instant messaging).

I dare any reader to go find something by keyword ‘3G’ on the proximus site without losing their patience. Don’t worry, it’s multi-lingo. You can test your skills in Dutch, French or English. Service? Where?

 

The Mallorca Adventure

17 Sep 2005

Mallorca was just what I needed to get my batteries charged up for yet another year of studying in school. I’m starting my third and last year of the interactive marketing studies at the KHM. 12 weeks of hard labour are coming up, with a foreseen average of 36 hours of class a week. Not that bad. – I’m ready, so bring it on :)

Many thanx to Martin from Movil.be and his lovely wife who’ve became the proud parents of Nel, the strong goodlooking fellow that saw daylight on September 14th. I hope all goes well and I’ll try to come back and visit you three in the near future. I’ve enjoyed every second on ‘your’ lovely island, and thank you so much for taking us to those great places we’d never had found without you guys ! All the best and very big hugs !

Here are some pictures that illustrate my time off in paradise :

coolz0r + most beautiful girl in the world the beach
coolz0r meets movil palm tree
giant straw hat booze

More sightseeing on Flickr -> Right here !

 
No Comments

Posted in General

 

R|Mail Serves 1500 Unique e-Mail Addresses

17 Sep 2005

R|Mail still grows and it seems more and more users seem to enjoy the luxury of reading the latest posts of their favorite blogs through their e-mail client. I’m using the service for over three months now and really, all I can add to the numbers is that I’m sure it will grow. The simplicity of the concept and the ease of use just make the difference with other services alike I’ve been testing before I ended up with Randy’s wonderful tool. Not only can I subscribe to the service, a very easy copy-paste java script allows me to offer it to all of my readers too. As many of you noticed, and some have dared to click, there’s an r|mail button on every page of this blog, inviting you to be informed of the latest news I’ve put online here on Marketing Thoughts.

All you have to do is enter your e-mail address and you’re in with the crowd. Not that you should kick out your RSS readers or aggregators, because they too have their use and sense. R|Mail is just somewhat more convenient to monitor ‘that special blog’. I have about seven blogs I watch ‘more closely’ this way, just to be sure I don’t miss any new posts. I only use R|Mail for blogs that posts rather frequently, but not according a fixed schedule. I know some bloggers post in the morning before work, or at night when they get home. Some people with dayjobs have ‘fixed’ blogging time… but others hit the keyboard to break news… and I just want to know when that happens. With R|Mail, I do know, and for some topics, knowing first ( or second, if you look at it from another perspective ) matters.

I just got back from my vacation in Mallorca and if I open my RSS reader I’m kind of turned off by the amount of stuff to read from the passed week… But when I open up my Inbox, I see 400 R|Mail messages from 7 blogs, and that covers the 3512 unread posts entirely. Looking at it this way, I consider myself to be up to date after browsing through my inbox. And that’s a very good and timesaving thing.

So, what are you waiting for? Use it too, sign up to any blog with a feed, type your e-mail address and get in touch with the world.

R|Mail

The updated stats can be consulted [here], but I’ll line up some details for you all:

R|Mail has 3619 subscribes who ‘read’ 2546 feeds, and those feeds are delivered to 1517 unique e-mail addresses. Pretty cool. And it keeps growing…

In fact, just because we have so many users, Randy has started a new blog, especially for R|Mail, so users can stay in touch with us, be informed of the latest updates and changes and best of all : so they can contact us for support, questions or suggestions.

I’ll be posting some stuff there every once in a while too, but the focus is the interaction with the users, and a follow-up on suggestions or small difficulties. Read the R|Mail blog, another fine KBCafe blog service.