How many bloggers does it take to screw in a lightbulb?

Seth Godin on the issues of marketing compact fluros.

CF lightbulbs have a story problem, plain and simple. They need to stop looking so weird, being so expensive and being so hard to open. Either that, or we could just grow up, suck it up and deal with it.

I assume the “being hard to open” is because the ones you can buy in the supermarket are often blister-packed – which are a PITA to open.

P.S. you can get CFLs online at Neco, or in bulk here and here.

(As a side note – can anyone tell me why neco.com.au doesn’t default to the shop rather than the silly splash screen?)

iPhone

Jason Kottke pretty much says it all here and here.

I too share Jason’s concerns about text input. I noticed that Steve never used his thumbs on the keypad…

I’m in the market for a new phone at the moment, and none (I mean none) of the existing crop of phones does what I want. So I watched the keynote announcement (the first time I’ve done so – much to the surprise of Ang…) to see what it was like.

In the back of my mind, all I could think was “when is it going to be available in Australia?” If we remember, it took Apple Australia over two years to organise iTunes Australia Store. I expect this will take them even longer, especially given both the music industry and telcos here are similar in as much as they’re pretty much an oligopoly.

At the end of the keynote Jobs says that “Asia” is slated for 2008. Asia’s a big place Steve. Is Australia included in that grouping? At least Australian customers should be able to avoid Apple’s “first model” issues – by 2008 I would expect Apple would have at least a second revision on the market.

Apple have put together an interesting and ground-breaking device. They haven’t “reinvented the phone” as they claim. But perhaps it will shake a few trees and open up the market a little bit…

It was interesting that Google was talking about the open standards and systems that their services are built on, and how that enabled the iPhone integration.

Apple’s is a walled garden – they are leveraging the open systems, but still tightly control anything they can (note the 200+ patents for the device – and iTunes “FairPlay” digital rights management system).

Jobs is quoted in Time (see the Kottke piece) as lamenting the lack of innovation in telcos – one cause of this is the lock-in created by the telcos’ “walled garden” approach. Innovation on the iPod and iPhone will always be held back if Apple continues it’s current practices.

I also had very big doubts about the claim that the phone ran OS X (hearing, of course, Mac OS X). The John Gruber quote in Kottke’s article, and this cheeky screenshot pretty much sum it up. B.S.

Tangential link: Seth Godin on Cingular’s part of the presentation. I agree completely, although I think Yahoo’s Jerry Yang could equally be criticised for not really saying anything too…

Bonus links: Leisa has some great posts on mobile usability posted before and after the iPhone announcement – 1, 2, 3.

Fast Food Nation

Mickey D’s spends a couple of hundred thousand dollars to promote a campaign telling us to Make up your own mind about whether their food is ok for you or not.

I was at a seminar just before my holidays (which explains the lack of updates around here of late) and the MD for Clear Blue Day was there sharing some really useful tidbits. When discussion turned to viral marketing, he mentioned that they wondered “is it ‘make up your own mind’ or ‘make up your mind’? hmmm… I wonder if they’ve registered ‘makeupyourmind.com.au‘”.

They hadn’t… The result is a quick redirect to Fast Food Nation. Nice jujitsu move that one…

I’d love for Clear Blue Day to go one step further though. Put up a form where you can sign up to tell McDonalds that you would like to make up your own mind – that you’d like a tour of the facilities depicted in the ad and to ask questions on the way.

I wonder how many expressions of interest they’d get? Perhaps the PR agency for Fast Food Nation here in Oz would be interested in putting something together?

Bonus link: Toby has posted a review of Fast Food Nation.

VoIP – the $1000 telephone?

Robert Cringely: Beam Me Up:

"VoIP is replacing a $20 phone with a $1,000 computer. What Apple has in mind is creating an entirely new form of computing experience, but this time — because it will take place mainly on a TV and not on a computer — many users may not think of it as a computing experience at all."

Well, not quite. I can get VoIP using my AUD$299 router, but he’s talking about Skype, and Apple’s iChat AV play. Interesting take…

An Inconvenient Truth

WWF had an advance screening of An Inconvenient Truth last night at the Dendy Opera Quays. We had around 250 people come to the night, and by all accounts it was a successful night.

For those that missed it, Dendy is running preview screenings at various cinemas this week – they’ve got more info on their website.

On the second viewing I still had the same minor qualms I had the first time round, but I did pick up on a few things more clearly this time. I do wish they’d modified the closing credits to reflect each local release (“write to your MP” rather than “write to congress” for example), but again, that’s a minor thing.

I do really hope that a wide audience gets to see the film, although I suspect the sceptics will remain sceptics given Margaret Pomeranz’s odd response to the film on last night’s At the Movies.

Despite giving the film four stars, she apparently (I’ve heard this second hand – would love to know if there’s a transcript somewhere?) says she wants to see an unbiased presentation and that we should get an unbiased body to report on it.

Update 2006-09-12: David posted a review that, among other things, includes Margaret’s statements.

In the film I think Gore goes out of his way to cover off all the typical objections in an unbiased manner. In one part of the film, and last night this stuck out as the most important point, he demonstrated that a review of roughly 10% of all the scientific studies (one assumes these would be reasonably “unbiased”) showed that none of them contradicted the fact that global warming is happened. That’s right – 0%.

And yet media reports of the global warming suggested that there was still some doubt about global warming 53% of the time. Little wonder, then, that people are confused.

Would Margaret consider the findings of NASA, the IPCC, or the U.N. unbiased? ‘Coz they all accept global warming as a real problem that needs action. Hopefully, over time, that message will break through the confusion.

Update 2006-09-12: David also suggests why Margaret asks the question:

…people are used to social documentaries that concentrate on conflict – where people from two very different viewpoints are interviewed and their opposing views and stories presented. Documentaries do this because they want to appear to be balanced (though they rarely are) and perhaps more so because playing up the conflict creates drama and interest.

When that format is absent from a movie, I think people naturally ask whether they’re being told the whole truth. I guess it’s also because climate change science is presented popularly as much more controversial than it truly is. I would have liked to see Gore engage some of the main opposing arguments a little more – even if they don’t truly deserve airtime.

Well put – much better than I did 😉 I thought some more about this on the weekend too, and I actually came to the conclusion that I’m glad Margaret asks the question – for a couple of reasons.

The first is that hers was an honest reaction to the film. I live in a bubble of sorts where I’m exposed to the science and frustrated by the so-called “sceptics” and media skew (see above). So it’s important that I hear what Margaret has to say to pop that bubble and get me back to reality – as well as giving me some insight as to the issues other people are likely to come across when watching the film.

The second is that she’s obviously been touched by the film and is thinking about the issue. Her awareness has been raised and I suspect she’ll dig a little deeper, and hopefully will find the evidence she felt was lacking in the film.

I think that second point is amplified with David’s final comment:

It certainly gets people thinking and talking about the issues. Our Saturday night was spent talking climate change, Kyoto and politics until the early hours of Sunday morning – not the usual Saturday night fare.

If that’s all the film does, I think it has been a done a tremendous service.

WWF Futuremakers email newsletter design featured by Campaign Monitor

The heading kinda says it all, but we’re very chuffed that Campaign Monitor has featured our Futuremakers email newsletter in their design gallery. The design was created by Massive Interactive in collaboration with us, and we put together the HTML behind-the-scenes.

The HTML is unfortunately a bit of a mess because we wanted the design to look good in a wide variety of email clients (including Gmail and Hotmail) which meant a lot of less-than-satisfactory hacks to get the desired end result.

We’ve been using Campaign Monitor for the last three or four emails that we’ve sent out, and the service is excellent. We’ve run into a couple of small issues, and they’ve been very prompt in responding to our feedback, which has been fantastic.

It’s very cool to be featured in the gallery especially because I was following the gallery well before we were a customer, and learnt an enormous amount about how to develop a compelling newsletter. Their blog articles on CSS and best practices have also been invaluable.