Current Events

Google and Intergalatic Law

What happens when you open Google in a non-standard browser like Opera Mini? You get the following snippet.

Sorry, but this browser does not support web word-processing.

Please see our system requirements page for a list of supported browsers.

If you are working to fix problems with a specific browser and would like to bypass this check, just add ?browserok=true to the end of the Google Docs url.

Please note that it is a violation of intergalactic law to use this parameter under false pretenses, so don’t let us catch you at it.

And, it won’t work very well — really.


Are you a Hacker or a Hustler?

Micah Baldwin has a great post on what it takes to make a successful startup. One of the first questions you need to ask is if you have both a Hacker and a Hustler.

A Hacker is more than a code monkey, who can quickly build software and find interesting ways to hack together code. Thats a developer. Thats someone who is definitely an important part of a startup, but not critical to its success. A Hacker is someone who looks the problem, and solves it in a unique and special way. A Hacker finds the process of problem solving exciting and interesting, and spends the majority of their time looking at the problem in multiple ways, finding many potential solutions.


A Hustler on the other other hand is a relationship builder. Someone who can build direct relationships with their customers. They arent really promoters, although they do a lot of promotion. They arent salespeople, although they do a lot of selling. They are passion people. They have the ability to articulate their passion clearly and in a way that gets other people equally passionate.

Micah also writes about the current Posterous campaign, releasing a blog import service every few days, building buzz over the weeks. Bold and audacious the campaign has certainly generated its fair share of buzz, shaking a mostly complacent blog platform industry into reaction. The snarky headlines of each announcement are targeted perfectly towards the users of each platform and leave you wondering where they will aim next.

Riffing ideas like two jazz musicians

Todd Sampson and Eric Marcoullier of MyBlogLog fame are a classic Hacker & Hustler pair. It was great working with them and to see how these two childhood friends bounced ideas off of each other. Eric (the Hustler) was brilliant at latching MBL on to the latest meme trending on Techmeme as a way to garner attention and Todd (the Hacker)  never ceased to amaze me with his unique insight on the problems of the day. If you haven’t had the chance to try out their latest idea, definitely check out OneTrueFan, the browser plug-in that talks back.

So which one are you? The Hacker or the Hustler?

Moo Vision

ReadWriteWeb posts about Ben & Jerry’s, the ice cream company, releasing an Augmented Reality feature as part of their Scoop of Happiness iPhone app to increase consumer engagement (or should we say enthrallment?). What’s unique about this particular AR implementation is that it doesn’t require custom QR codes or other customization to be printed on the packaging to unlock the animation. All you need is to run the app and point it at the lid of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream carton and the app automatically recognizes the printed logo of the flavor. Collect all four and you unlock custom wallpapers for your phone.

Will automatic logo recognition become the norm? The video below imagines a world where this is the case.

Augmented (hyper)Reality: Domestic Robocop from Keiichi Matsuda on Vimeo.

Obvious in Hindsight

Today’s history lesson. helpfully points out that depictions of Vikings with huge horns on their helmets was entirely impractical, if not suicidal.

As for the Vikings, the one single thing we know them for–wearing huge horns on their helmets–isn’t true. They just wore regular helmets, not anything fancy. Here’s some advice: If you want a career in something that requires a lot of hand-to-hand combat, don’t wear anything that’s easy for people to grab onto. This is why when cops wear ties, they wear clip-ons. It’s also why you don’t want something on your hat that is essentially a giant set of handlebars.

Now you know. You can put those silly plastic hats away.

Current Events

Manga Farming

From the sustainable Otaku department. Tokyo artist Koshi Kawachi demonstrated how to use old manga to start your own urban farm. [via Pink Tentacle]

Current Events

Finnish Town Rivalries

Despite their quiet nature, the Finns have a fierce sense of loyalty to their hometown. You would think that a country of 5 million that is a linguistic island unto itself would pull together and present a unified front to the rest of the world but this Wikipedia article shows you that there is quite a colorful rivalry going on between towns.

A couple of choice bits:

Some people in Helsinki refer to Kehä III, the outermost of the two ring roads surrounding the Greater Helsinki area, as a “wolf border” (susiraja), outside which there is no civilisation. Outsiders refer to inside of Kehä III as the biggest psychiatric hospital in Finland.

Those from Helsinki view people from Turku either as naïve and simple-minded, or arrogant and impudent. In Helsinki they have a saying that the only good thing in Turku is the highway leading to Helsinki.  Inhabitants of Turku see Helsinkians as presumptuous and parvenu.

A popular joke in Turku asks why children in Tampere have a flat nose. The answer is that there is a Turku midwife working in a Tampere hospital. After delivering a child, the midwife holds him/her into the glass of a window and says: “Look now, child. That way is Turku, there is civilisation.” Students across Tampere go to the border of Turku and nail wooden nails to the ground, in order to make the city drift off the mainland someday, and also go to the center of the city and jump there, so that the city would someday sink back to the sea.

Ouch! With friends like that, who needs enemies?


Viral Video – Two Approaches

My aunt Karen is in the advertising industry and she forwards me snippets where our two industries cross paths. It’s always interesting to see something you know really well from another perspective. In this case, she sent over an article from Advertising Age, Why Microsoft Killed Kin After Just Six Weeks

While the article’s conclusion is probably correct, the pricing was too high for the limited features (no GPS?), I think they went too easy on the viral video marketing campaign which rang false from me right from the beginning. Granted, I am way out of the target segment but if I can see through a staged scene, I am sure the teenagers who ran across the YouTube clips did too.

the campaign followed 24-year-old Brooklynite Rosa Salazar as she used her Kin to connect with her friends via text messages, Facebook, MySpace, Windows Live and Twitter, with her friends’ updates rising to the top of her feed. The campaign used insights from more than 50,000 20-something consumers to appeal to the hipster, metropolitan crowd.

Why Microsoft Killed Kin After Just Six Weeks

When you view this video on YouTube, you’ll quickly find out, from the related videos column on the right of the page that Matty, the subject in this video, is actually a professional stand-up comedian. From that point on, the bubble is burst. You notice that the shaky camera is a professionally shaken camera. You realize the ambush scene where Rosa meets Matty has two cameras that had to have been set up in advance. You realize that what’s supposed to be intimate and a cool little insight shared with just me is actually a slick ad produced by Redmond. You feel dumb for even thinking this was genuine.

The alternate approach is to just get weird. This video by Nokia (where I work) is super slick and it’s hard to tell if it’s even about a phone. I am not a marketer and I have no idea how effective they were in driving sales but they sure are fun to watch!

N900 – The Journey Starts Here