Monthly Archives: February 2011

Two beautiful videos


Locked in a Vegas hotel room with a Phantom Flex camera, filming 1080p at 2,564 frames per second. Found via World Hum.


Footage of the Casteller human castle festival in Spain. And yes, one of them collapses. Found via Ali Russell.

Advertising, Print vs Online

Image: Telstar Logistics / some rights reserved

Some stark research in Gary Arndt’s excellent post for Tnooz a while back: Why do travel advertisers continue to avoid bloggers?

Former Morgan Stanley analysts and current partner at Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, Mary Meeker estimates that 28 percent of all time with media is spent online, yet only 16 percent of advertising is spent on the internet. This disconnect between media consumption and ad spending is estimated to be $50 billion annually.
That $50 billion dollar disconnect falls most squarely on print, which gets 26% of all ad spending but only 12% of media consumption based on time. Television has only an 8% disconnect, whereas radio is in the same boat as the internet…

Top travel magazines such as Conde Nast Traveler, Travel + Leisure and National Geographic Traveler charge around $100,000 for a full page ad for a single issue….$100,000 for a single flip of a single page of a single issue of a single magazine…Taking into account the differences in audience size vs the difference in cost structures, there are efficiencies of 10 to 100 fold to be found in the blogosphere. I’m not talking even double or triple the benefits, but one or two orders of magnitude… The reality is, however, blogs aren’t even part of the conversation at this point.

It startles me that – within the Travel industry, anyway – this is still the case. It also toggles with one of the biggest truisms in media – when it comes to advertising and editorial development (read: budgets) the tail will usually wag the dog. Thus, according to the above, print sections within media organizations are going to have the lion’s share of budgets for some time yet, and bloggers will continue to feed off adsense scraps. Is it a case of waiting for the old-school advertising execs to retire before the paradigm changes? Do we really have to wait a whole generation for the ratios to shift? Or does this piece get it wrong – are the ad agencies shifting their focus quicker than the it suggests? I’m intrigued to know your thoughts.. especially anyone out there who works in advertising.

The (dis)connection between journalists and developers?

Image: telegraph_media_group / some rights reserved

Very interesting piece from Poynter on the relationship between programming and journalism – something I’ve been dealing with a lot at the Guardian, of late.

  • News apps challenge longstanding perceptions of who owns technology within a media company.
  • Regardless of who is placed in what department, developers and journalists must be able to collaborate so they can create new tools.
  • News organizations will have to emphasize project management and product development if they hope to compete with digitally-native information companies.
  • News organizations must truly support risk-taking in order to see its rewards.

Amen to that.

**Update: 21/02/11**

I’ve been thinking about the Poynter piece, above, a lot. I keep on coming back to the same two conclusions on what can be done to further aid the essential – but often dysfunctional – relationship between reporters and developers within a newsroom. I’d love to hear your thoughts.
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This American Life finds Coca Cola’s secret recipe?

Image: wheelo28/ some rights reserved

A superb story in this weeks This American Life podcast, in which they think – note, think – they’ve found the original top-secret recipe for Coca Cola. It’s fascinating to learn the story behind the recipe, including the urban myths that swirl around the keepers of the mysterious 7X formula; how the company has to ship Coca leaves into the country under military supervision from South America; and how Cocaine was only removed from the product in 1903. Do also listen to the second story on the podcast, about one of the greatest forgeries of all time: documents that claimed to prove JFK’s affair with Marilyn Monroe.

Old school football players. Help!

There’s a viral email going around with a spreadsheet game asking you to name 100 bygone footballers from the 80s/90s/00s. I’ve got 84 of them (with a little help). Please, please help me with the rest, pictured above. Otherwise, I’ll cry.

If you want to download the original game, with all 100 images, click here.

All credit goes to a man by the name of John Mills.

*Spoiler alert* Don’t read the comments below if you are playing the game.

The pollution of Google: an impending tragedy?

Image: keso on Flickr / Some rights reserved

 
My work involves a lot of research. Research involves a lot of Googling. And over the last year, I’ve noticed that Google seems to be getting a little sloppy. It’s been a nagging problem that I’ve tried to ignore and work around. But it’s getting worse. More and more, I find myself being offered eHow articles, and Suite101 posts – many of which have been commissioned by an algorithm, and SEOed to within an inch of their life to appear on the first page of Google results. As this thought-provoking piece at Slate notices, even the Huffington Post are in on the game, unable to resist the occasional search-baiting piece of rubbish such as this ridiculous When does the Superbowl start? post.

For the (blissfully) uninitiated, “content farming” is a relatively new phenomenon. Some are based on Google search algorithms – if people seem to be searching for “how to make a monkey sing Dolly Parton”, a notification is zinged to one of Demand Media’s (the company behind eHow) thousands of contributors. “Quick, write an article on how to make a monkey sing Dolly Parton!” The writer boshes it out, earns a couple of dollars, and Demand Media siphon off as much traffic as they can. Others just invite contributors to write whatever they want – as this post on working for Suite101 suggests – and rely on the long tail of the Internet, and rampant SEO, to make it worthwhile. Recently, I wanted to find out when the Copa del Rey final between Real Madrid and Barcelona was, and was offerred this crap from Suite101 via Google. Not only is it a mindless lump of boring bullshit, it also failed to answer my question.
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Sevilla in 111 gigapixels

A very nice site allowing viewers to zoom in and out of a 111 gigapixel image of Sevilla. Claims to be the highest resolution image ever taken. sevilla111.com

Smooth Criminal Cellists

Cheesebag video. Otherwise, excellent.

UK crime maps released

The police and data.gov.uk have just released crime maps of the UK, with a detailed breakdown of the types of crimes going on in your area. More here.