Yes, meme-tourism for-the-win

Sigh. Meme-oriented tourism exists, as reported at the weekend:

Central Asia, one of the least-known parts of the world, is the perfect home for Borat Sagdiyev, the faux television presenter whose new film Borat: Cultural Learnings Of America For Make Benefit Glorious Nation Of Kazakhstan, arrived in Australian cinemas last week.

…do I get some kind of badge for “First Post!” honours?

Mobile advertising in late 2006

The current trend of articles built as “The Seven…”, “The Top Tips You Need…”, “5 Winning Strategies” (etc) are starting to grate a little on me. I can only guess that this is a Q4 2006 “minutes to midnight” attempt to grab social networking visibility.

But at least Ken has gone out on a limb and named some working/nearly-working implementations for marketing messages via mobile.

Real-world working models have been few and far between in my usage and visibility of them as a consumer. As a technologist, it’s clear that the device no-one can leave home without, and which is seen as a link to the rest of the world no-matter-where, is an advertising success story waiting to happen.

He’s right in that with regard to some blue-sky ideas:

It’s [the strategy] not clear, and by the time this one is figured out, the mobile marketing train will have left the station long ago.

In this context, as per his opener, the most-discussed strategies may not have the strongest long-term prospects.

The one I feel most strongly about is the corollary/inverse proposition of

3) Location-based advertising: Remember all the hub-bub about location-based services in 2000? Mobile phone users will merrily walk down the street as their mobile phone beckons them in to the nearest boutique or café with a well-timed ad. The scenario sounded nice…until you actually thought about it for more than two seconds.

Traveling in Europe and East Asia at the beginning of the year, I acutely felt the begging need of a location-based, customer-initiated, service to give me context-and-texture for where and when I was.

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Architectural form


Originally uploaded by atrium09.

I work as a visual thinker; I can’t draw or paint, but I have worked as a pseudo-Producer on projects with real, actual, talented artists.

The visual part of my memory and work processes means that I can “look” with my mind’s eye simultaneously at both the macro- and micro-levels of problems and solutions. Visual thinking may have come from my grandfather, an architect and artist.

So I get strong, even visceral reactions to architecturally-sculpted forms, and their (digital) media representations; seeing this go by on flickr made me reach for an image I clipped from my cousins’ portfolio:

Melbourne University School of Botany facade

They say

We thought of the Tin Alley facade as a hedgerow – an urban edge of artificial landscape.

I “feel” it more like a futuristic-retro anachronistic “funky workplace design”; translation: what people in the future might think that we of the present thought a retrospective of today might look like. It works, in an R-and-D/University Research building context, as well as a design and layout for a small media company.

The great thing about opinions on architecture?

Everyone has one, and they’re all different.

FreshBooks’ Fresh Looks with Deft Hooks

To simplify invoicing, I had a few choices to pick from when I restructured Crixa some years ago:

  1. Outsource to an accountant
  2. Insource to MYOB
  3. Keep with the status-quo of using Illustrator and Photoshop to create PDFs. Yes, really.

While I aspired towards #2, Crixa ended up actually only doing #3.

2006 was to be different: I switched to FreshBooks (referral link) and haven’t looked back.

  • Crixa does get paid faster.
  • Clients do find it far easier to pay via PayPal, rather than direct debit, cheque or stone money.
  • And it works. It’s Really Quite Good For You, even.

They have also experienced a variant of unintended use cases in their discussion fora: the Structure Makes It Worse use-case.

“I’m all in. You diversify the categories too much and there is no center of mass for everyone to hang and talk about issues, they end up using their time jumping back and forth and leave without adding anything to the discussion. Let’s do it.”

This type of issue is what convinced me to make gkoya post categories on the fly, and reshape/reform them as usage changes.

(gkoya/Crixa has no affiliation to FreshBooks, except as a satisfied customer)

Infectious effective platforms

Dion Hinchcliffe‘s diagram somewhat resembles a cross-section of an infection, and perhaps rightly so.

Highly Effective Sites

While I dislike the “Seven Habits Of…” angle/meme of the article, I did like his checklist, despite (in my opinion) the misuse of “leveraging” for “lever” or indeed the simple “exploit”:

  • Ease of Use is the most important feature of any Web site, Web application, or program.
  • Open up your data as much possible. There is no future in hoarding data, only controlling it.
  • Aggressively add feedback loops to everything. Pull out the loops that don’t seem to matter and emphasize the ones that give results.
  • Continuous release cycles. The bigger the release, the more unwieldy it becomes (more dependencies, more planning, more disruption.) Organic growth is the most powerful, adaptive, and resilient.
  • Make your users part of your software. They are your most valuable source of content, feedback, and passion. Start understanding social architecture. Give up non-essential control. Or your users will likely go elsewhere.
  • Turn your applications into platforms. An application usually has a single predetermined use while a platform is designed to be the foundation of something much bigger. Instead of getting a single type of use from your software and data, you might get hundreds or even thousands of additional uses.
  • Don’t create social communities just to have them. They aren’t a checklist item. But do empower inspired users to create them.
  • If you consider unintended use cases, it’s possible that the “inspired users” might create the social community themselves; cf. the critique of the World of Warcraft Social Network.