Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Jesus vs. Santa (flash)

Jesus meets his girlfriend's parents and Santa drops by (rated PG-13).

Social Media Must Be Done by You

Having an actual personal connection with your audience means you have to be the one that responds to comments, emails, tweets, phone calls

(from tubefilter.tv).

Monday, December 29, 2008

Google Improves Video Search with Goog411

...the reason for [Google] offering free 411 service was to get phoneme data for speech recognition algorithms... why they want better speech recognition algorithms right now: to improve video search

(from O'Reilly Radar).

Internet Overtakes Newspapers as News Source

The internet, which emerged this year as a leading source for campaign news, has now surpassed all other media except television as a main source for national and international news

(from Pew Research Center). This is further reason why website quality and availability are essential if one wants to stay in business. Newspapers are just one of the traditional forms of media whose audience is moving online.

Over the weekend, Twilight, the feature film still in theatres, was amongst the most watched videos on YouTube; it could be watched on an iPhone anywhere that had WiFi or access to AT&T's data networks.

Gump Royale

Mash-Up of the trailer for the latest Bond film 'Casino Royale' together with footage from 1994's Forrest Gump (rated PG).

Friday, December 26, 2008

Fans Mash-Up Your Content, Let Them

A fan has made a Thundercats Movie Trailer by repurposing existing footage and audio from movies that already exist. This is another example of the audience interacting with content in ways never intended by the original creators. As time goes on this will happen more and more often.

Mac vs PC Transformers (flash)

Two computers tranform and fight to find out which is superior once and for all (rated PG-13).

John Belushi Audition (flash)

John Belushi's SNL Screen Test (rated PG).

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Santa Claus - 1898 (flash)

Made in 1898, G.A. Smith's 'Santa Claus' is a film of considerable technical ambition and accomplishment for its period (rated PG).

Bud Light Secret Ad (flash)

Cut The Cheese TV spot released right after the Super Bowl (rated PG-13).

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Happy Christmas from AKQA (flash)

They wish a happy Christmas with microwave jingle bells (rated PG).

Friday, December 19, 2008

Twyla Tharp on Motivation and Creativity (flash)

The choreographer discusses motivation, creating for oneself verses for others or money (rated PG).

Monday, December 15, 2008

Brands Engaging Directly with Consumers Win

A new online Word of Mouth Marketing research study conducted by OTX, a global consumer research and consulting firm, confirms the value of brands engaging directly with consumers online. The initial findings of the new study, "The Impact of Social Media on Purchase Behavior," revealed that 54% of consumers agree that information from a brand representative would be more valuable than what is typically found on a company website

(from Yahoo! Finance).

Friday, December 12, 2008

Keith Powell Directs a Play (flash)

Keith meets with his agent to discuss directing a play out of town (rated PG-13).

China’s Andy Rooney (flash)

He has some funny opinions about how great the Chinese government is (rated PG).

Uptime Counts

Hollywood Reporter's website was down for 38 minutes on December 5th starting at about 2:06 PM (5:06 in New York). This was during primetime and I think during one of their prime seasons (awards season). They just laid off a dozen people.

If their site were accessible when I tried to reach it, they would've been able to serve ads to me. I wouldn't think twice before clicking a link to their site, or linking to their site; I worry their site may be inaccessible when I try to visit, so I may not bother. I worry their site may be down when my websites' visitors try to visit, so I may not link. I am not alone in my worry; search engines think this way too; they are also less likely to send visitors to a site that is inaccessible.

I like the Hollywood Reporter and hope they keep up the reporting they do for a long time; I'm a slightly frustrated fan. Best of luck to the recent former employees.

(An uptime tracking service I used found their site was up 99.13% of the time over the last 2 1/2 weeks. My site, a vastly different site than theirs in needs, traffic and budget, was up 99.95% of the time over the same period. Mine was down for about 12.5 minutes total; theirs was down for about 3.75 hours total.)

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Changing Markets Need Flexibility and Innovation

The best, most solid way out of a crisis in a changing market is through experiment and adaptation. Businesses surf the waves of changing circumstances, and I can't offhand think of any industries whose best players are not constantly engaged in reinvention of one sort or another

(from Richard Branson's Official Website & Blog). The Film and TV markets are changing, a lot; innovation, experimentation and adaption are key to their success.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

ROI of Social Media

I  on TwitPic
The answer to "What is the ROI of Social Media?" can be another question: "What is the ROI on putting on your clothes in the morning?" I didn't come up with it, and I'm not sure who said this.

They were stressing the necessity for organizations to be active in Social Media. You will be talked about via Social Media, and you must decide if you want to be part of those conversations, or at their mercy (to some extent).

Whiplash the Cowboy Monkey (flash)

Whiplash rides his steed like the wind through the city and country side spreading delicious and surprising taco joy (rated PG).

Monday, December 8, 2008

Beats Per Minute Trailer (flash)

French street dancer leaves Europe with a one-way ticket to Hollywood (rated PG).

Jizz In My Pants (flash)

First single from The Lonely Island's debut album "INCREDIBAD" (rated R).

Hero Says - Val Verde (flash)

The story of henchmen (rated PG-13). Episodes 1, 2, 3 and 4 are online.

Friday, December 5, 2008

One Line on the Sopranos (flash)

Erik Weiner raps about his one line on the Sopranos (rated PG-13).

'Computer Friends' Stack the Memory (flash)

Sniper Twins show you how to stack the memory to the sky with their office rap (rated PG-13).

Thursday, December 4, 2008

The Fear (flash)

Lily Allen's new single The Fear (rated PG).

Where to Host Your Videos

Put your videos on YouTube. Their systems will take care of the delivery, your visitors may already be familiar with the player and know how to share the videos on YouTube with their friends. It costs you nothing, and may lead to you coming up in the world's second largest search engine.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Titles and Headlines Matter

On the average, five times as many people read the headline as read the body copy. When you have written your headline, you have spent eighty cents out of your dollar.

(from David Ogilvy, via Brady Brim-DeForest). Read more on How to write titles and headlines for online use.

Prop 8 - The Musical (flash)

A star-studded cast turns out for "Prop 8 - The Musical" (rated PG).

Robby (flash)

Animated worm digs toward daylight (rated PG).

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Facebook Activity Visualized

A video showcases a project that visualizes all the data Facebook receives and the interactions on the site. There seem to be over 2,000 actions on Facebook each second.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Fastest Car (flash)

Bugatti Veyron, the world's fastest car, top speed test to break 253 mph (rated PG).

Car Darts (flash)

Playing darts with cars (rated PG).

Monday, November 24, 2008

Canadian Meteor (flash)

Police dash cam of Meteor over Edmonton, Canada (rated PG).

10 Billion Video Views on YouTube in September

There were more than 10 billion views of video on YouTube in September. The most popular videos were watched as many times as any blockbuster movie. Many are mashups of existing video material

(from The New York Times). This is just on YouTube, there were many other views not on YouTube as well.

Epic Win: TSA blog

The Transportation Security Administration has a blog and a team behind it tasked with maintaining it. This is extraordinary: a government agency connecting with the public it serves in a direct way without the buffer of traditional media.

Yes, the TSA is being taken to task for various issues by various comments pointing out various issues, but the fact the communication channel has been opened is extraordinary in government in general, and even more so in the national security area.

It would be nice if the blog team responded to a few more comments directly, but the reality is that the complex world of a large organization, the law, politics, Congress and public opinion may mean that the blog team can not always post or reply candidly or quickly. There is still progress to be made.

This is a win because the TSA is doing something very American which few security forces of any nation in history have ever allowed: they are letting the public openly critique and complain on a forum they created and control.

These early efforts at transparency and public engagement can lead them to vast improvements, and I hope they continue in this direction. The efforts of the men and women of the TSA, a new agency, have been effectively guarding air traffic on both routine flights and special occasions (e.g., Katrina evacuation) for about seven years. With this social media dialog and other communication, perhaps the gulf between those securing the skies and the passengers flying them can be bridged leading to efficient, safe and convenient air travel.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Girl vs Car (flash)

Pedestrian hit by car, stands up smiling (rated PG-13).

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Famous Failures (flash)

On persevering no matter how many times you have failed in life (rated PG).

Pet Hippo (flash)

A South African family has a hippo living in their house as a pet (rated PG).

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Video Matters: YouTube Surpasses Yahoo as #2 Search Engine

ComScore's most U.S. search engine Rankings for August 2008 suggest that YouTube achieves a greater level of search traffic than Yahoo. If you were to consider YouTube's integrated search a regular search engine, you would have to hand Google the top two spots for search engine traffic. In combination, Google has about four times the search traffic of Yahoo and more than ten times the search traffic of Microsoft's MSN sites

(from TG Daily).

Bike Hero (flash)

Homage to Guitar Hero on a bicycle (rated PG).

Roomba Driver (flash)

Cat rides a Roomba (rated PG).

Ghost Town: Episode 1 (flash)

Jacob and Marley are in a drought and haven't seen any paranormal activity in months. That's until they see a news report about a kid who hasn't slept in 13 days. (rated PG).

Ghost Town on facebook

Monday, November 17, 2008

Roommate Alien Prank Goes Bad (flash)

Chad hates aliens, a lot (rated R).

Everytime - Mike Relm (flash)

Morning routine that rewinds to the not routine (rated R).

Epic Win: Hulu Support

After I posted about Hulu skipping, Hulu took note, and is effective and engaged enough to comment back. Their support person, Ilya Haykinson, commented with links to concise Hulu technical requirements and one of the more effective support request forms I've ever seen.

Hulu's monitoring of the blogosphere, prompt personal response and clear useful documentation keep me a fan, show they care, and get them this flattering blog post ;-). In his Keynote at NewTeeVee Live 08 Hulu CEO Jason Kilar says Hulu works to "Listen. Take action (quickly)." They do. This makes them the "brain-spray awesome quality" they want to be.

Facebook Changes Everything (flash)

Co-workers hardly working when the New Girl inspires them to use Facebook for evil (rated PG-13).

Not Gonna Click on Your Youtube (flash)

Viral music video of refusal to promote viral videos on YouTube (rated PG-13).

Friday, November 14, 2008

Stick Fight (flash)

Kung Fu stick figure fight with Pulp Fiction soundtrack (rated R).

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Martix Runs Windows (flash)

If the movie matrix ran windows it would be less menacing and more scary (rated PG-13).

YouTube 'Good Video' Contest (flash)

The Onion News Network's story about YouTube offering a cash prize to the first user to upload a video with a shred of originality or artistic merit (rated PG-13).

Friday, November 7, 2008

Claymation Chess (flash)

Clay animation chess game (rated PG).

Blogger Feeds as Sitemaps with FeedBurner (and Google Webmaster Tools)

...if you have a site whose original feed redirects traffic to FeedBurner (for example, if you use Blogger redirection, or you use our FeedSmith plugin for WordPress), you will need to give Webmaster Tools the address of a feed that does not get redirected as a sitemap source.
For Blogger users, the following general feed URL format should always work:

For WordPress FeedSmith plugin users, use this URL format:

For other platforms, other feed URL variations that are not redirected are what you need to provide.

(from FeedBurner Forums).

CNN Hologram (flash)

Jessica Yellin as a hologram beamed into the studio (rated PG).

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Ghost Town Webisodes Trailer

Haunted town with kids hunting ghosts (rated PG).

Obama and McCain Dance Off (flash)

Obama and McCain bring it (rated PG).

Monday, November 3, 2008

Did You Know? (flash)

The exponential growth of available information in our society and what might happen in the future (rated PG).

Friday, October 31, 2008

You Can Vote However You Like (flash)

Kids from the Ron Clark Academy performing live "You Can Vote However You Like," a parody of TI's "Whatever You Like" (rated PG).

Thursday, October 30, 2008

3-Minute Story of Mixed Emoticons (flash)

Rives tells a typographical fairy tale that's short and bittersweet (rated PG).

Synchronized Presidential Debating (flash)

A montage of synced-up footage from all three presidential debates and the candidates' repetitions (rated PG).

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Dedicated Radio Host (flash)

Radio host keeps working as studio burns around him (rated PG).

Monday, October 27, 2008

CityWall Helsinki (flash)

Large multi-touch display installed in central down town Helsinki which acts as a collaborative and playful interface for its urban surroundings (rated PG).

New York Times API is Live

The Times quietly announced in May that it would soon be publishing APIs, which are means by which outside developers can access NY Times data for use in other applications, interfaces and mashups. We believe that steps like this are going to prove key if big media is to thrive in the future

(from ReadWriteWeb).

When we first started talking about creating and releasing APIs for databases collected by The Times, campaign finance data from the Federal Election Commission was a natural choice. The upcoming presidential election has seen record fund-raising by the candidates and a host of new donors. Now we want our users to be able to analyze and reuse some of the data we’ve been looking at while reporting on the campaign

(from The New York Times). They plan other APIs for other items, like movie reviews, in the future.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Forrester Under Estimates Feed Use

Forrester's What's Holding RSS Back? under reflects the number of people using syndication feeds for several reasons. The Forrester questionnaire defines RSS obtusely to anyone not particularly tech savvy; they ask in a way that will slant the numbers down:

RSS, or Really Simple Syndication, is a technology which aggregates or collects frequently published or updated content, such as blog posts, news headlines, and podcasts. These updates are collected by software using a feed or RSS reader like MyYahoo or iGoogle, which contains either a summary of content or the full text.
RSS makes it possible for people to keep up with their favorite web sites in an automated manner rather than checking for updates or new content manually. Do you currently use an RSS feed?

Forrester report also states For example, MyYahoo allows members to subscribe to content, often without showing the technical guts of RSS - users subscribe without ever knowing they are using 'RSS' technology which also points out that many survey respondents said they don't use feeds but actually do.

If children are asked "what would you put in a cupboard?" they may not have an answer, but if asked "what would you put in a cabinet?" they will have all sorts of answers. Forrester also omits atom and other feed reliant systems from their question (e.g., friendfeed).

Update March 2, 2009: There has been data about users not understanding what RSS is since 2006, though the idea of a feed is clear in the word itself: something is being fed to something else.

Invest in Social Media In This Economy

...within digital, the more 'traditional' forms (banner ads) will slump compared to online video, widgets, and social networks, on which spending next year will increase by 70 percent. The more accountable the media, and the more targeted, the better

(emphasis added, from MediaBizBlogger).

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Queen visits Google London (flash)

Her Majesty and His Royal Highness tour the Google building in London (rated PG).

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Importance of Names

Sam Lawrence's twitter:

iPhone? Odd. Why didn't they call it "Apple Telephony Device 2008 Personal Edition?"

Connecting to Friends is the Key of Web 2.0

Web2.0 reshaped the face of the Internet. The vast majority of people out there are driven by doing things with people that they know. They were using IM and email to talk to these people online, but they weren't participating in the public parts of the web which was primarily interest or information-driven. Web2.0 introduced a series of technologies that enabled friendship-driven public spaces

(from Understanding Socio-Technical Phenomena in a Web2.0 Era).

7 Books Secretly About People and Communication

Their insights echo in my mind, they have good perspectives, and I'd love to hear your thoughts on them (I haven't written any of these).

Virus of the Mind
An Appealing introduction to memetics, how ideas move through and between people. I once made a crib sheet synthesizing its ideas, which appears in my mind's eye when considering how to connect people and ideas.
Naming matters. A rose by any other name wouldn't sell as much. Nor would it inspire as many emotions and cultural artifacts and antecedents. The ideas in this book may not be new, but they are surprisingly widely ignored.
Part anecdotal "case studies" and part impressive recounting of the authors' accomplishments, this book illustrates what makes some ideas business as usual, and others transcendent this-idea-is-now-a-cultural-force-to-which-all-others-seem-to-react ideas.
The Experience Economy
You are what you're paid for is part of the thesis, and the idea that if you can charge admission at your "door" (physical door or otherwise) is a compelling one: American consumers now spend more money on entertainment than food.
The Attention Economy
Selling your time for money is very 20th Century (or perhaps industrial revolution). Attention, not time, is the scarcest and most precious commodity.
It's Not How Good You Are, Its How Good You Want to Be
Predating the "The Secret" phenomena, it's partly about goals and communicating with yourself, and partly a guide to the advertising world written by an expert. It's helped me see the unseen.
The Change Monster
Bad change management ruins plans and misses opportunities and good change remakes the world and gives people purpose. A change consultant (I think that's what the author does) tells what makes change at work work. How organizations change, and don't, is about people.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Monday, October 20, 2008

If Movies Had... (flash)

If some movies featured cell phones, they'd be much shorter (rated PG-13).

Friday, October 17, 2008

Firework Battle (flash)

Every Easter on the small Greek island of Chios there is a massive firework battle between two small towns (rated PG).

Thursday, October 16, 2008

I Love Progress Bars (flash)

A far-reaching treatise on progress bars and spinning stuff. "When can I go on to the next experience and then wait for that to end" (rated PG-13)?

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

12-Year-Old Boy Scouts Offer To Give Breast Exams (flash)

Two prospective Eagle Scouts explain how they are preventing breast cancer by helping women examine their breasts (rated R).

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Hugh Laurie House Audition (flash)

Hugh Laurie audition tape when the role of House was being cast (rated PG-13).

Social Media Transforming How People Buy

The result of this new revolution is that we look to and trust new sources for information and the research clearly shows we now trust the opinions of strangers we read online as much as our closest friends and certainly more than advertising. This demonstrates the fundamental importance of the social media revolution that we are living through now.
What do we say to our clients? Participation in social media is not a choice, it is now a default. This is a consumer revolution, they choose who takes part and they are already talking about and commenting on all brands. It is down to companies to decide whether to be actively or passively involved.
Secondly, transparency is essential. Consumers are constantly commenting on products and brands, so honesty and openness are vital. Companies should share their inner workings. Mistakes have to be admitted quickly and control has to be loosened to allow consumers to discuss, share and interact with your brand

(emphasis added, from mashable.com).

Friday, October 10, 2008

RSS in Plain English (flash)

Good introduction of how RSS feeds work and a little about why they're cool and useful (rated PG).

Explode Your Content Online - Portable Logins

If you want to give a unique experience to your visitors across many different sites and offline experiences, you cannot build a closed portal style anything. People no longer seek a single place outside their control to experience all of their digital lives.

Their digital lives are a seamless part of their lives in a broader sense. People at parties take pictures and share them online in seconds. Video can be broadcast live from phones to the web live. It can be watched live from anywhere at anytime.

Audience expects to watch, read and listen to what they want and where they want at any time on any device. Lengthy registration or unportable log-in credentials result in lower sign-ups, block emotional connection and in the end, cause product irrelevance. Registration systems must be flexible like Facebook Connect or OpenID to allow for agile online, offline and hybrid systems. Building closed, un-integrate-able and un-mash-up able things is to build irrelevant things: unused, and therefore useless, things.

Dancing Monkeys (flash)

Lab monkeys dancing (rated PG).

Disney Blu-Ray Has 120 Pages of Legalese (news)

Sleeping Beauty is Disney's first classic animated film to make its way to Blu-ray, and it's loaded with legitimately compelling BD-Live extra features. Format War Central tried to check these out, but got smacked with a 57 page EULA followed by a 63 page Privacy Policy before they could view any of them

(from Gizmodo).

Shakespeare Sketch (flash)

Live Shakespeare sketch with Hugh Laurie and Rowan Atkinson (rated PG).

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Media is the Marketing

The biggest factor in a viral video's success is what happens when the viewer presses play.

When to Start Social Media

If you want to get involved in social media, the time to do so is months before you want to use the platform to push a message. Building a reputation in a community and laying the groundwork for search engine optimization and traffic should be occurring months before you write the first piece of code or buy your first ad

(from socialmediaheadhunter.com).

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Got A Back-Up Plan (flash)

Truck bails out truck and then needs bail out (rated PG).

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Bert and Ernie Gangsta-Rap

Sesame Street's Bert and Ernie Rap, or at least are re-cut to lip sync (rated PG-13).

Ask an Astronaut (flash)

Astronaut Greg Chamitoff, 220 miles above Earth aboard the International Space Station, is taking your questions (rated PG).

Monday, September 29, 2008

Wilhelm Kempff Plays Beethoven (flash)

Wilhelm Kempff plays Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata movement 1 (rated PG).

Friday, September 26, 2008

Megan Fox Transformers Audition (flash)

Megan Fox's audition tape from the original Transformers movie (rated PG).

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Dodgers Stadium

Dodgers Stadium in Los Angeles, CA.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Cult of Cherry

Cult of Cherry poster.

Android is Google's Cellphone

First cell phone running Google's mobile software looks something like Apple's iPhone and has a large touch screen, but it also has a trackball and a slide-out keyboard (rated PG).

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Crown Plaza Beverly Hills

Entrance to the Crown Plaza Hotel in Beverly Hills, CA.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Shia LaBeouf No No No No Video

Him saying nothing but no in Transformers, Surf's Up and Disturbia (rated PG).

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Disney Geneticists Debut New Child Stars (flash)

Disney claims its latest batch of child stars is so lifelike, you'll barely be able to tell they have no souls (rated PG-13).

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Impressive Freestyle Soccer (flash)

Very skilled soccer ball handling (rated PG).

The Waldo Ultimatum (flash)

Jason Bourne style Where's Waldo (rated PG-13).

Monday, September 15, 2008

Sweded Tropic Thunder Trailer (flash)

The preview of Tropic Thunder Sweded by one woman (rated PG-13).

Friday, September 12, 2008

Epic Fail: Metrolink's Web and Twitter During Crisis

In the last two hours two trains collided and rescue is underway. Meanwhile, Metrolink's web site has lasped to an unconfigured emergency page and their twitter only corrects the LA Fire Department's twitter, doesn't tell the location (so drivers can stay clear and keep roads open for emergency vehicals). It gives no other useful information, which people have been seeking via twitter:

the_meghatron: @Metrolink So is there a service interruption other than Chatsworth area or not? Your website is useless and has a test emergency page up.

It is right now rush hour on a Friday and updating commuters could save delays and aid the rescue effort. I'd love to help them react better.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Yochai Benkler on Open-Source Economics (flash)

Yochai Benkler discusses Social Production and its economic impact (rated PG).

Monday, September 8, 2008

Disorganized Fun (flash)

Ronald Jenkees plays music 'on a really really fun beat' (rated PG).

Love Is Gone (flash)

Music video for the David Guetta and Chris Willis song (rated PG-13).

Friday, September 5, 2008

Wassup Holmes (flash)

Parody of Sherlock Holmes and the Hound of the Baskerville (rated PG-13).

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Oil-on-Water Calming Effect (flash)

When a small amount of oil is poured into water it is able to calm wind-induced waves at the surface (rated PG).

Product Placement is Priced at $60-$80 CPM

There are no current estimates on the size of product placement deals in Web video. But Web TV networks such as Revision3 and For Your Imagination said they charge $60 to $80 on a cost-per-thousand basis for such buys

(from TV Week).

Monday, September 1, 2008

Protectors of Tomorrow (flash)

Super-heros take on the evil doer 'Scientist Steve' after he attempts to take over the world (rated R).

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Tasty Treat (flash)

Fun senseless violence (rated R).

Friday, August 29, 2008

YouTube in 1985 - collab (flash)

'Flash back' to how YouTube was in 1985 (rated PG).

Eagle Squadron Plane

Plane from an 'Eagle' Squadron near LAX. American and British pilots
flew these 1940-1942 for Britian in World War II.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Family Guy Chicken Fight (flash)

Peter fights the chicken again. Season 5: Episode 16 (rated R).

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

WB Water Tower

Warner Brothers water tower on the Warner lot in Burbank, CA.

Twitter With Full URLs

When twittering, or otherwise posting a URL online, putting the http://www prefix on the web address will automatically be recognized as a URL and be made a link by various systems (e.g., Google's spiders, twitter's web interface, tweetie, etc.).

Facebook, for instance, automatically recognizes a full URL and makes it a link almost everywhere, and includes the page description and image in messages and wall posts. You can customize the default image, title and description that Facebook sharing uses too.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Do Not Autoplay Video and Audio

Let the user start the video or audio on a page, or risk losing visitors. A notable exception is if the page in question exists solely to let people watch the video, like YouTube's pages for individual videos. The are other places to use autoplay well, but use it carefully. Taumata's twitter sums up the why:

If your site has music or video that autoplays (especially when it's way at the bottom or otherwise hidden) I will never come back.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Social Media Video Can Be a Conversation

As Mashable points out, EA has successfully navigated what could become a negative demerit amongst the hardcore fans of the game franchise into a widely talked about marketing move. The video is talking with, not at, customers. And it's fun.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

China Reacts to Olympic Protests (news)

Chinese police removed protestors near the Olympics last week (rated PG).

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

iTwinkle.tv Trailer (flash)

Preview of the upcoming dark, sexy series iTwinkle.tv (rated PG-13).

French Free Running (flash)

An amazing chase out of an apartment (rated PG).

Monday, August 18, 2008

Synchronized Motorbikes (flash)

1953 B&W film of a synchronized motorbike riding display done by the police in Rome, Italy (rated PG).

Friday, August 15, 2008

Strike.tv Teaser (flash)

Taste of what some writers wrote during the strike in this trailer (rated PG-13).

Thursday, August 14, 2008

8 Reasons Your Web Site is Underperforming (That You Don't Already Know)

A web site's ranking and user experience are affected by many things you may not know because they're beyond the HTML on the web pages themselves. They can help or hurt your search engine ranking and your user's experience.

  1. Domain name not registered for maximum length; Google and others take domains registered for many years more seriously

  2. Server response time is slow and/or uptime is low

  3. Server and/or name servers are in a "bad neighborhood"

  4. Server hosts other sites too
    • looks like you are not as serious and are not stable enough to weather a spike in traffic (e.g., the Slashdot effect)
    • at risk of server going down, and taking your site with it, if another site on the server has an error or spike in traffic (slash-dotted/dugg)
  5. no robots.txt file

  6. no valid xml sitemaps

  7. Dynamic looking URLs; they have a "?" in them

  8. Character encoding mismatches
    • encoding declared in the HTTP headers doesn't match the encoding declared in the page's meta tag
    • Encoding on the actual page doesn't match either the encoding declared in the header and/or in the meta tag

There are also lots of things that affect your success that are on the web page; subscribe to learn more about those too.

Toronto Propane Explosion (flash)

Feels like Cloverfield and has multiple angles (rated PG).

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Large Hadron Collider Rap (flash)

Rappin' about CERN's Large Hadron Collider, the big particle physics experiment on the border of France and Switzerland (rated PG).

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Stretching My Face Out (flash)

Fred stretches his face, he has a stretchy skull (rated PG).

Friday, August 8, 2008

Social Media eBooks

A friend mentioned a list of eBooks about Social Media; it looks like a good one.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Epic Fail: Hulu's Capacity (or Lack Thereof)

As long as Hulu fails to invest in the infrastructure to serve a television show with out skips or buffer under runs on a Thursday night, they will always live in the shadow of sites like YouTube.

Top 6 Online Writing Tips

Online writing is different than print writing. Make writing for the internet concise, clear and actionable. Readers prefer short articles that help them get something done; readers don't read the whole text online (only 20-28% of an online writing is actually read).

There are six key ways to write for the internet:

  1. Scan-Ability Is Readability Online
  2. Passive Voice May Help SEO And Readability
  3. Titles, Subjects And Headings Need Inverted Pyramid Extreme
  4. Vocabulary and Keywords Should Be Old Words Placed Carefully
  5. Acronyms And Abbreviations Need Mark-Up
  6. Numerals Are Better In Online Writing

Online Writing - Scan-Ability Is Readability Online

Users scan more than read online, and they scan in an F-shaped pattern. This is a heat map of where readers' eyes look while reading online (red areas are most viewed areas, yellow next most, blue least most viewed; click image to enlarge):

heatmap image
(from Jakob Nielsen's excellent article on Banner Blindness).

Readers scan the first sentences of paragraphs to decide whether to read the rest of the paragraph or not. The first sentence should describe the paragraph, giving readers clues as to whether the rest of the paragraph will interest them. The first two words of each paragraph should be the most information-carrying words.

Even deeply interested and engaged visitors often do not read all of an article's text as the first 30 seconds of this video show:

This is part 1 of Top 6 Online Writing Tips
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Online Writing - Passive Voice May Help SEO And Readability

Readers often read only the first 2 words of a paragraph (Jakob Nielsen's October 22, 2007 Alertbox) so the first two words should carry the meaning of, or abbreviate, the entire paragraph without compromising the writing. The first two words of a paragraph or description must be specific, clear and meaningful to a reader or searcher.

Using the best voice in first sentences and descriptions impacts two things:

  • how often people click on a given search engine result
  • how much of a paragraph the reader reads

Descriptions may be placed in the description meta tag and sometimes accompany non-text items (like video or audio content). They are often used by Google and other search engines as the snippets beneath page titles on search engine results pages (SERPs).

Descriptions benefit from either active voice or passive voice depending on specifics. These are examples of less than ideal use of voice:

  • The Federal Reserve lowered interest rates to stimulate economic growth.
  • Paparazzi attacked by Stary McFamous.

Those don't help users, or search engines, understand the entire sentence; the first two words are not particularly information-carrying words. The first sentence is aimed a people interested in interest rates, not those interested in the broader topic of the Federal Reserve. The second likely interests those who want to know about Stary McFamous more than paparazzi in general.

They are better rewritten like this:

  • Interest rates lowered by the Federal Reserve could stimulate economic growth.
  • Stary McFamous attacked paparazzi.

This is part 2 of Top 6 Online Writing Tips
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Online Writing - Titles, Subjects And Headings Need Inverted Pyramid Extreme

Titles, headlines and subheadings all need the most meaningful and significant information first, toward the beginning. Many forms of content are often viewed out of context and in contexts outside the publisher's control:

  • titles
  • subject lines
  • headlines

Microcontent must have an even more exaggerated inverted pyramid style than the larger content they designate; the first word or two should be the most important and meaning imbued words in titles, headlines and subjects.

There has also been some interesting discussion about the use of numbers in headlines.

This is part 3 of Top 6 Online Writing Tips
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Online Writing - Vocabulary and Keywords Should Be Old Words Placed Carefully

Users search for terms they already know more than new, made up words or jargon; If your writing favors made-up terms over legacy words, users won't find your site (Jakob Nielsen August 28, 2006 Alertbox). The keywords you are targeting on a given page should be words often searched by the people you want to have find that page, as Google advises in their guidelines. They should also be pleased to find the page after searching for those words; they should find what they wanted to find.

Targeted Keywords should organically end up in the text since they will be relevant to the text. While some recommend exact percentages of words on a page should be targeted keywords, this can result in very awkward, or transparently keyword-stuffed copy (like this, this, this and this).

The best thing to do, is put the primary keyword somewhere in the first paragraph or first sentence, which should be easy since the keyword is related to the text. If putting the primary keyword in the very start of the text would be repeating a word in the title too soon, and would not be good writing, a secondary keyword can be used near the start of the text. It can also help to put a primary or secondary keyword in the last paragraph or sentence.

Short words are best and the old words when short are best of all.

-Winston Churchill

This is part 4 of Top 6 Online Writing Tips
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Online Writing - Acronyms And Abbreviations Need Mark-Up

SEO and accessibility benefit when the meaning of acronyms and abbreviations are clearly spelled out. Instead of leaving search engines to guess which meaning of an acronym you intend, tell them. Using HTML to identify acronyms and abbreviations makes pages more accessible to non-visual browsers as well.

Google indexes acronyms more effectively when they are marked-up properly; Some say they use the acronym tag ...frequently and I have a page that responds to a keyword that only appears in the title attribute.

Even more vital is identifying acronyms and abbreviations when they have many different meanings. For instance "NASA" is both the National Aeronautics and Space Administration and the National Auto Sport Association, or "LA" in the following:

I have a friend from New Orleans, LA who now lives in LA.

Which is marked-up with this syntax:

I have a friend from New Orleans, <abbr title="Louisiana">LA</abbr> who now lives in <acronym title="Los Angeles">LA</acronym>.

In all cases making the meaning of acronyms and abbreviations clear makes for clear online writing.

This is part 5 of Top 6 Online Writing Tips
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Online Writing - Numerals Are Better In Online Writing

For numbers, use digits, not words, online. Users can more easily read and understand these:

  • 24 Reasons Why Marshmallows Are Awesome
  • There are 50 states in the United States.
  • On August 1, 2008 at 6:18:22 PM GMT the US national debt was about $9,535,720,238,424.97.

Than these:

  • Twenty-Four Reasons Why Marshmallows Are Awesome
  • There are fifty states in the United States.
  • On August first two-thousand eight at six eighteen and twenty-two seconds in the evening, GMT the US national debt was about nine trillion, five hundred thirty five billion, seven hundred twenty million, two hundred thirty eight thousand, four hundred twenty-four dollars and ninety seven cents.

Numerals are more scannable than words.

This is part 6 of Top 6 Online Writing Tips
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Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Use a Proxy to Change Internet Location

Web sites can use your ip address to determine your internet location and your location in the real world. They use geolocation to treat visitors from different places differently. For example, Google typically redirects users to the local version of their site, and modifies search results to try to provide more geographically relevant search results (see this in action).

Use a proxy to see what different visitors in different places see. For instance, if you visit spyber.com you will see where spyber.com's machines believe you are located. Also, hostip.info does this (as other sites do too). You can change your internet location, without physically moving or connecting to the internet differently. This is useful to test what a website will look like to visitors outside of your own country. To change your internet location, do this:

  1. go to a proxy web site, like proxify.co.uk
  2. put the URL you want to view through a proxy, like "http://www.spyber.com/", into the text box
  3. hit the button to access the URL though the proxy, in proxify's case, the "Proxify" button

You'll see that spyber.com, or any other site you visit through proxify.co.uk, sees you as coming from the UK, even if you are not in fact in the UK.

Sites are sometimes blocked by proxies, and proxies are sometimes blocked by sites, so you may need to use another proxy site.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Paris Hilton Responds to McCain Ad (flash)

Paris responds to McCain in her own campaign ad (rated PG-13).

Pilobolus on Conan O'Brien (flash)

Pilobolus shadow dances (rated PG).

Emo Kid (flash)

The Emo Song "I Must be EMO" (rated R).

Dinner Time: Robot Chicken (flash)

Robot Chicken's Dinner Time could change how young kids are feed everywhere (rated PG-13).

Facebook Applications Succeed When Good at Being Facebook Applications

This article discusses how the second entry, without the off line brand name recognition, is catching up and poised to trounce the slower, traditional game folks. Something I fear many companies don't realize is that with Facebook applications, fitting the Facebook world and engaging the Facebook user successfully trumps other concerns. For example, being the only offering of a specific type is not that important.

In corporate-speak this would be user affinity, in person-speak this is users liking one more than the other, and therefore using it more, and choosing it more, and sharing it with friends more. As theatre producer Cameron Mackintosh is said to have said, "match the show to the venue;" user experience and preference can make for an application's success or failure more than most other things.