LEGO Group is Number One in Denmark on Facebook

TV2 and Nodes have made this list over Facebook pages in Denmark and LEGO comes out on top! :)

Goodbye DR… Hello LEGO

I have enjoyed working at DR. I have been working on some great projects with a lot of fantastic colleagues. But at some point you need some new challenges and I found the job as Social Media Strategist at Lego to be the next challenge for me.
Looking forward to it!
Thanks to all the people at DR!!
Contact me on Facebook or Linkedin to keep in touch :)

View Lars Silberbauer's profile on LinkedIn

Lars Silberbauer

Create Your Badge

DR lancerer crowdsourcing projektet ‘DR Partisan’


Og lige en update med denne artikel fra Berlingske om projektet og DRs strategi for unge.

Så er vi kommet i luften med DR Partisan projektet. DR Partisan er et stort crowdsourcing projekt som hovedsageligt benytter www.facebook.com/drpartisan som udgangspunkt for at give DR ren besked om, hvad 18-25-årige vil ha’ for medielicensen.

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Først skal vi have fundet en rebelsk community manager, der kan være på www.facebook.com/drpartisan og skabe events i hele Danmark for at gøre opmærksom på projektet. Du kan søge jobbet frem til d. 22. november 2010 på www.facebook.com/DRpartisan eller læs hele jobopslaget her. Efter en runde med jobsamtaler findes de bedste kandidater og fra d. 1. december stemmer partisanerne selv om, hvem der skal have jobbet.

Herefter følger en stor ide-konkurrence, hvor der er 100 dage til at komme med nye ideer til DR – men man kan sagtens gå i gang allerede nu, så du er klar til første runde. Det behøver ikke at være så avanceret – du kan bare tale til dit webcam, lave et slideshow eller andet, men du må gøre lige så meget ud af det, som du vil. Forhåbentlig er du mere kreativ end os. Vis os det.

Partisanerne stemmer selv de 5 bedste ideer til tops i løbet af de 100 dage konkurrencen er åben. Til hver af de 5 vindere er præmien: Ekspert-hjælp til en værdi af 30.000 kr til at lave en pilot, dummy eller lignende af deres idé og så direkte adgang til at pitche ideen for DRs topledelse.

Håber du har lyst til at deltage!!
Ses på www.facebook.com/drpartisan

Lars Silberbauer

World Expo in Shanghai 2010

I went to Shanghai to the World Expo to give a speach on how we’re developing visualizations to the facade at the DR Concerthouse and to visit the Danish Pavillion made by BIG, Martin Professional and CAVI.
Great conference and an amazing world expo.

Just a couple of images from Shanghai, The Danish Pavillion and my talk at the conference.

My Personal Favorites From w2e in San Francisco

The four best presentations I experienced on w2e this year.

Web 2.0 Expo SF 2010: Ben Huh, “Becoming One with Internet Culture”
Great talk on the ‘new pop culture’ and subversives vs. hackers.
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Web 2.0 Expo SF 2010: Tim O’Reilly, “State of the Internet Operating System”
The man himself speaks about the clash between the ‘new’ open Microsoft, Amazon’s cloud and the closed business model of Apple.
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Web 2.0 Expo SF 2010: June Cohen, “Ideas Worth Spreading: TED’s Transition…”
June shows the new TED translation feature that is truly impressive. And she’s just a great presenter.
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Web 2.0 Expo SF 2010: Eric Ries, “The Lean Startup: Innovation Through Experimentation. …”
A bit hyped presentation, but still with a lot of good stuff on lean startup tactics.
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TechieTalk on the Climate Conference Blue Screen illumination

Just a link to the presentation on TechieTalk about the project and how we have used the Martin Gobo Projectors in the installation. http://www.techietalk.co.uk/news/message-cop-15/
And the case story from Martin Professional:
http://www.martin.com/casestory/casestory.asp?id=2124

ConcertHouse2_Photo_Lars_Silberbauer

COP15 Illumination

A few pictures from the test of the COP15 illumination in a reasonable resolution.
It’s a live installation that shows animated messages from the COP15 Climate Greetings website. More pictures and video will be available next week when we go live.

Fan Page for the Blue Screen on Facebook

Just launched a fan page for the Blue Screen surrounding the DR Concert House.
Join to get updates on new events, pictures, videos and come with your ideas to future events.

Concerthouse All Pink

Just a couple of images of the Concerthouse illumination from last night. We’re changing the illumination everytime a major event is taking place in the Concerthouse and this time it is the Outgames’ Conference about human rights for gays and other minorities. The illumination will be on until wednesday from around 22:30 until 06:00.

Note to self:

Note to self: Don’t go down this road… use overlays and popups with extreme caution.

Ekstrabladet.dk

Trine spiser…

trine-spiser

…er min frues nye blog på Politiken. Very good food, blot på dansk og med en lidt anden vinkel. Web 2.0-baghjul til Silberbauer.

Er Adblocker-blok en farbar vej?

btBT og Berlingske har puttet et lille script på deres side, der kan se, om du anvender Adblocker til at fjerne bannerreklamer. Hvis du gør, så må du ikke bruge bt.dk eller berlingske.dk, næh nej.

Umiddelbart er det jo en forståelig reaktion fra et annoncedrevet, og absolut hårdt presset, mediehus. Og det er ganske i Berlingskes ret at håndhæve visse vilkår for brug af deres nyhedsservice.

Men er det smart? Jeg tror det ikke. Det er vel nemmere, at vælge berlingske.dk og bt.dk fra, end at leve med spam-agtige bannere på andre sites. Desuden kan blokeringen nemt omgås med Yesscript, hvor man blokere for BT’s blok af blokkeren. Og sådan kan våbenkapløbet optrappes. Det eneste Berlingske opnår, er et fald i trafik til skade for annoncepriserne.

Jeg tror det er en stakket frist for medier, der med en anklagende pegefinger skal gøre opmærksom på, at reklamerne skam er der for min egen skyld. De kan jo alligevel ikke tvinge mig til at klikke på dem.

Til gengæld lykkes det til fulde for Berlingske at reklamere for produktet Adblocker Plus, som nu ganske givet bliver installeret på adskillelige browsere landet over, efter at Markedsføring bragte historien om adblocker-blokaden på bt.dk og berlingske.dk.

Jeg holdt for nylig et foredrag, hvor jeg spåede bannerreklamens snarlige død. Jeg tror, vi er taget et skridt nærmere. Nye forretningsmodeller skal til. Jeg kan ikke give opskriften, men det er helt tydeligt, at god gammeldaws display-reklame har det meget, meget hårdt på nettet, simpelthen fordi de meget nemt kan vælges fra.

Kunde&Co(py)

Exhibit 1: Kunde&Co‘s campaign for the referendum on changing the Danish constitution. Paid for by the Danish government an thus pure royalistic propaganda. And a ripoff at the same time. This is wrong on so many levels:

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Exhibit 2: Harry Enfield‘s “Women Know Your Limits”:

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…looking forward to the lawsuit from the BBC.

Support World Climate Community

June 11 the City of Copenhagen will launch World Climate Community. This project needs all the publicity in the world.

World Climate Community will collect ideas and voices on climate from all over the world to let the politicians know that we’re for real and that this planet is too good to waste. The world’s leaders will gather in Copenhagen for COP15 in December and World Climate Community will help set the agenda.

Right now you can join the Facebook page and invite your friend to join too. And of course, after June 11 you should join the community and participate with your opinion, ideas and projects.

The community will launch at www.worldclimatecommunity.com

If you want to advertise, advertise!

Baekdal is absolutely right. Audi fucked up: Why only publish their (probably pretty costly) documentary on Les Mans 24 on iTunes only, and thus only in the US? A European brand makes a movie about a European event, and then only makes it available to recession-struck Americans. Dummkopfen.

The movie is paid for – why not just push it on Youtube and every other available channel? Get it out there!

Here’s the trailer, but you can’t see the real thing, unless you’re American. For some reason, Audi doesn’t want you to.

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A light in the dark

When everything is looking bleak, and the R-word is everywhere, it’s inspiring and important that mankind still have the ability to look towards more distant horizons.

Kepler is designed for finding eart-sized and earth like planets out there in the void. In a few years we might finally know the chances of life existing elsewhere.

Imagine, that while greedy speculators and naïve CEOs were busy raping the global economy, sending this planet tumbling into recession, some people sat down and designed a machine to answer one of the ultimate questions: Are we alone? I really wish I was smart enough to be one of the boffins that put this together.

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My High School Band First Time on TV

For the first time in 10 years I’ve been playing with my old high school band ‘Cosmic Ride’… and this time – it was on TV!!!

Vocal: Kathrine Hesner
Bass: Lars Silberbauer
Guitarist: Mikkel Bøggild
Keys: Johannes Langkilde
Drums: Laust Orlemann
Title: ‘Black Coffee’

New York Times on Copenhagen Concerthouse

New York Times delivered a very good review of the Copenhagen Concerthouse. I’ve been creative project manager of the Blue Screen Video installation that is covering the whole building. So it’s really nice to see that the building has been noticed.

http://www.nytimes.com/pages/arts/index.html

Excellent: The keyboard is dead. The Macbook Wheel is here.

Excellent video from The Onion introducing Apples new HCI invention :)


Apple Introduces Revolutionary New Laptop With No Keyboard

Picasa 3 is great – network support still sux, though

Picasa 3 is out (has been for a couple of weeks, I know. I’m a so late-follower).

Anyway: It’s splendid. It’s even smoother and faster than v. 2. Especially the new image preview, that if you want it to replaces Windows’ horrifically slow built-in image previewer is very, very cool. Almost Mac-like – which is, of course, good.

But, but, but… I so hoped that Google had fixed the network support so that scanning folders on servers (like my beloved Cubestation where my photos live) would work. But alas – Picasa still gets the hickups badly when trying to access a mounted drive letter.

It’s a shame. Picasa is an immensely good piece of software, but with the whole world going submicro-nano-laptop more and more people will have a NAS at home for important stuff that need a lot of space and that you don’t use everyday – and that you thus don’t want to lug around on your astronomic-cost-pr-MB solid state memory in your cool, new subnote.

Photos are exactly such stuff.

TodaysArt08 in Hague – video and images

A short report from ‘TodaysArt08” in Hague in Holland.

What is TodaysArt?
TodaysArt is a two-day festival with electronic music, video installations, art and dance. It draws mostly a local crowd from Holland and hasn’t got the same international atmosphere as fx Sonar in Barcelona.

Was it any good?
No!
Even though we experienced a couple of highlights, it wasn’t worth the money. The basic impression of the festival is that the event has been putting too much effort in promotion instead of creating great content. And that will not bring me back to Hague next year.
A couple of things were great but the rest will quickly be forgotten and I recommend saving the money and going to Sonar in Barcelona instead.

The good stuff:
Augmented Spaces by Pablo Valbuena
The best thing were definitely the video installation ‘Augmented Spaces’ by Pablo Valbuena. It was a really impressive installation that made a great use of the extremely white Richard Myers building. Great use of the technique and the two projectors placed on the corner of the big white building.
The only problem was that the installation ran for two nights and that was way too much. Even though it was impressive, it quickly became a bit boring and it was weird that they didn’t bring more content to the festival.
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Aerial Dance:

Another great event was the aerial dance by the Spanish aerial dance team ‘Brenda Angiel’. I took a couple of pictures during their training in the afternoon and some video at their performance later the same night.
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And finally, the strangest instrument ever. The lightning scratching device. Fun, but once you’ve seen it – you’ve seen it.
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/Lars Silberbauer

Ipod Backup Software From Aimersoft


A couple of scenarios where this software from Aimersoft might be useful:

1. You are the (un)lucky owner of an Ipod and at the same time you have more than one computer and you really want to upload and download music to your Ipod from both computers.

2. Your harddisk sudddenly breaks down and leaves you with a lot of music on your Ipod – but no way to get it back onto your new harddrive and with no possibility to upload new music to your Ipod without deleting all of the music.

3. Your best friend has got a lot of cool music that you want to ‘backup’ from his Ipod onto your harddrive (remember to ask your friend if he holds all copyrights to the music before you start to download… ).

If you recognize one or more of these scenarios? Then Aimersoft Ipod Backup Software will definitely be useful.

What does it do?
Well, then name says it all – it simply just copies all you music from the Ipod onto a specified folder on your harddrive.

What does it cost?
This is the best part… IT IS FREE!!

Does Aimersoft Ipod Copy Manager have a lot of hidden spyware and keyloggers?

This is the worst part… I DON’T KNOW!!! (but for what it is worth – I don’t think so ;-)

Anyway, it works great and you will enjoy the feeling of once againg taking control of your music and bringing it back from the greedy hands of Apple and Steve Jobs who still is using the positiv ‘Apple Brand’ and great design to harrass their customers with stupid limitations to their product.

One might wonder why Apple has gone through so much trouble to limit their Ipods in this way. It keeps reminding me of Microsoft in the old days and their connection with some kind of bad empire or something… it seems to me like… well, I can’t quite remember…

Hurricane Ike Illustrated with 3D Wheather Model and a Multi Touch Interface… Nice!

Take a look at this CNN weatherforecast of hurricane Ike from today. At 1:20 in the clip he uses the 3 dimensional multi touch display. For once it is not only eye candy but has value and gives a good impression of the hurricane. Nice use and integration of Google Maps as well.

If the embedded video doesn’t work then use this link or see the clip on Baekdal’s blog

If the embedded video doesn’t work then use this link:

Countdown to the end of the world?

Tomorrow at this time we will know if the Large Hadron Collider in CERN will create a black hole as some scientists think it may do.

According to the guys in lab coats, it’s not very likely that this will happen (PDF). But these are the same kind of guys that invented niceties like asbestos, the h-bomb, CFC gasses and the thorium toothpaste.

So, If tomorrow you feel being very rapidly compressed into something just a little larger than a singularity, together with the most of the mass of our solar system, it’s a tell-tale sign that some CERN boffin didn’t do his algebra quite right. In that case: Remain calm and enjoy the feeling of being so attractive that even light and the fabric of space-time itself time can’t resist you. Revel in the feeling that McCain, Palin, and global warming can’t harm you any further.

Have a nice day.

[UPDATE]

Here’s a live webcam feed from CERN

Our defence minister just had a foot massage on national television

There seem to be no limit to what politicians will do to get a bit of airtime.

Right now Danish TV2 is broadcasting a reality show in which our Defence Minister visits the Danish Hollywood King of Beauty Ole Henriksen. We just saw the minister getting his feet washed and massaged, and now he is in session at a hypnotist. WTF? Denmark is currently at war in Iraq and Afghanistan, while our Defence Minister is having a foot massage on television. Am I the only one who finds this just a little bit disturbing?

What on earth was his press advisers thinking when they okayed this? Even Sarkozy wouldn’t be so stupid as to get himself filmed in a spa!

But then again, Minister Søren Gade is the guy who in 2005 chose to pack a 9mm Neuhausen for at formal visit to Afghanistan. Very… Castro.

iTunes 7.7: No stuttering… so far!

The problem that Apple never saw fit to comment on – the terrible playback stutter has now disappeared. Whether it’s due to my total removal of iTunes 7.6 (in anger!) and thus a clean install of 7.7, or if Apple has in fact fixed something, I don’t know. Maybe it’s simply because I removed DRM from all my AAC files to play them through Winamp? :-)

Nevertheless, it means that I’m back to iTunes for now. I used Winamp for a while, but sadly Winamp has become pretty bloated and its interface is… well it’s not iTunes’. Besides, Winamps built in iPod-support didn’t do it for me.

Concert House Seen From Above

Just a small video of the DR Concerthouse. It is shot from the largest crane doing a 360 degree around the Concert House. We’re right now developing the illumination of the large Blue Screen surrounding the Concert House. It will be lit up by video projectors and gobo lights. Besides this there will be around 20 video projectors placed inside the building lighting the foyer area.
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Television 2.0

Viacom vs. Google. I guess you’ve heard about that case: Viacom, in all its stupidity, wants to sift through all of Youtube’s log files to find out who have watched what. And the US courts approved that. So don’t be surprised if one day a slick lawyer turns up on your doorstep asking you to pay $2.000 for having watched excerpts of Friends on Youtube back in 2004.

It’s sick, and Viacom is making a stupid move. You can’t win the media wars by sewing and harassing your own target users. You simply must provide a better product than your competitors. It’s really that simple. But just like most of the record labels, Viacom doesn’t get it and, thus, will fail.

This destructive and pathetic struggle of a dying giant made me think of why the web is so more intriguing than the old telly, and why we choose to watch the pixelated, lagged streams on Youtube instead of buying yet another satellite HD decoder box.

It’s not just because the web is free (it isn’t, you know. Broadband connections do cost money). It’s definately not because the quality is better (HD on cable looks stunning – Youtube videos pretty much look like shit.) It’s because it’s fun! And it’s there when you need it. You don’t have to order a satellite package seven days before the race or the fight that you want to watch. And most of all: You can share the experience with hundreds or thousands of other viewers. Real time. Right when the action is happening. It connects you to the reality. That’s why it rocks: It’s all in the interaction with other individuals of the Homo Sapiens.

A few weeks ago 24 hours of Le mans was on. And Danish driver Tom Kristensen was behind the wheel of no. 2: The Audi diesel R10. Something not to be missed. But none of the two national networks in Denmark chose to transmit the whole 24 hours of Le Mans – or more correctly: None of them could afford to buy the rights.

Being at my weekend cottage (no cable) I had no way of seeing the race on Eurosport. Luckily I have a 2 MBit internet connection, though.

I found a page made by a guy called Crizzzie (yes, three z’s) who has put a tuner card in his pc and somehow manages to make this signal into a Flash Video stream with only 30-something seconds of delay. Normally Crizzzie streams rugby, but this day Le Mans was on for all 24 hours of it. My hero.

Furthermore, and this is where it gets really clever, he had embedded a IRC style chat chat next to the stream. Here, Le Mans aficionados chatted away about the drivers, the cars, the tires, the pitstops – in sync with the stream. And most of the guys on the chat seemed to know more about racing than do the lame commentators on Danish tv. One of the chatters actually has participated in Le mans himself with an American GT1 team).

Now, Crizzzies stream was without commentaries (I guess he somehow has access to the “raw” stream from Le Mans) and I knew that the official Radio Le Mans (broadcast on the track) is supposed to be quite entertaining. So I found the official audio stream of the Radio Le Mans in another browser tab. Real time lap times and the overall standings came from a third site. And voilà: The perfect Le Mans cocktail in three browser tabs: IRC, a video stream, audio from Radio Le Mans and real time updated lap times, pit status and so on. No television network can compete with this no matter how hi def the signal is.

This was the funniest and most intense tv experience I have had in a long time. It was like sitting in the couch with some good (and very race-savvy) friends. People argued about tire choices, Peugeot’s strategy – and we all tried to help poor Dave when his laptop started running out of juice. (Poor Dave didn’t make it, though. He disappeared from the chat 5 minutes before the checkered flag).

A short video grab from a great Le Mans “tv” experience

As long as the web gives you this much added value and as long as pay-per-view networks insist on charging a fortune for a single race, people will stream from the web and thus embedding the content in their own social context. Simply because it’s more fun and more meaningful an experience.

Viacom and other distributors must face that the value of content in itself is falling rapidly – even that of the good stuff. But the number of people that will attend a single event online, like the Le Mans, is on the rise as more and more have access to broadband and as services like Youtube and Google Video matures. The good parts of a race like Le Mans 2008 will circulate the web for years and be watched by millions.

Come on, Viacom and all you other boneheaded media dinosaurs. There must be a clever way to capitalize on these dynamics by acknowledging that it’s not the content in itself that carries the value, but the context in which it is watched. Think advertising, product placement, targeting, measuring, viral, instead of thinking trials and lawyers.

Is spam allowed by the qu’ran?

Spam comments are seldom worth mentioning, but this is kind of fun. It looks like it’s a “muslim” spam attack against Danish blogs. It lists about twenty Danish people known from the media cartoon debate and then reads:

[...]
FUCK U DANES! DIE IN HELL!!!
Danmark er lort-
Denmark is shit.
stop danmark -
SUPPORT al – q AEDA!
thank 2.6.
FOREVER AGAINST DENMARK AND DANES-
FUCK YOU DANISH NAZI PIGS!
LET’S STOP DENMARK!
Stop danish nazi society

Oh well.

Creuna gets übercool new ID

Yesterday was C-day at Creuna. We launched our new identity and brand platform, and it rocks. Our Danish marketing department and the former Cobra part of Creuna Norway has toiled getting the ID ready. This is a great day for Creuna, as our new profile defines us as the Full-service Digital Agency that we are, and not as a dreary IT Consultancy as we were four years ago.

It’s cool, it’s creative and it’s bold. We no longer have a logo – we have a symbol that can vary indefinately. Every coworker at Creuna soon has the possibility of creating his or her own “skin and bone”- C-symbol with a software tool.

Visit creuna.dk or creuna.com to see our new, more simple websites.

Sonar 2008: A Mindblowing Experience!!!

So, I haven’t been posting for a couple of weeks because I’ve been extremely busy at work and at the same time had to finish my HD (Business diploma in Innovation and Management).

The Sonar Experience
But I have to share the experience I’ve had this weekend at the Sonar Festival in Barcelona. I went with a colleague to get some ideas to our the next big project which is to create a very large scale video projection solution in and on the new Jean Nouvel Concert House in Copenhagen.

How can I describe the Sonar Festival?….
In a few words: an utterly mind blowing experience!!
If you don’t take my word for it, then hear it from Miss Dubstep herself aka Mary Anne Hobbs from BBC1 in this clip from Sonar Night 2008.
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And again, if you don’t think that this blond know what she is talking about then look at this clip I shot during the BBC1 Showcase at the festival Thursday night. Watch the crowd goes wild when she drops the bass line in around the middle of the clip.
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The sound is of course terrible and can by no means give a real impression of the subsonic bass line which makes your nostrils spin – but the Sonar set of Mary Anne Hobbs, Flying Lotus, Shackleton and Mala is available on the BBC1 Sonar website or the direct link to the BBC1 Player. Check it out!!

What about the visuals?
There were a lot of visuals at the Sonar Night stages. I believe most of them were by Pfadfinderei which also gave a presentation at the Sonar Day Event about their work and methods for creating visuals. Great visual work with a big technical setup. The visuals worked great to enhance the musical experience. A small sample a recorded at the Sonar main stage.
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The visuals were combined with a great ambient light setting created by gobo lights. This is a small clip from early in the evening when it wasn’t too crowded.
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But is Sonar just a big rave party??
No, it’s so much more than that. It is SonarDay, SonarNight, SonarMatica, SonarPro, Showcases and much much more. But its too much to describe all the events taking place but take a lot at the gallery and then just sign up for next year and get the full experience. I will definitely be there!!

Axure 5 worth the buck

So, finally I had some time to work with Axure 5. And yes: It’s worth it. I don’t have time to do an extensive review, but features like Shared project (yes, with versioning and with no need for server support besides a LAN drive), improved flowcharting and a generally improved interface makes v5 a LOT cooler than v4. Also, the use of variables and the option to move around panels makes for some great effects. If you have the time, that is. Using these features WILL make your prototype pretty complex pretty quick.

Especially I like the palette undock feature. Now you can really use those 3 21″ monitors of yours :)

I have a few requests, though: Now as the flowchart feature is maturing and finally getting usable, please include support for Jesse James Garrett’s Visual Vocabulary. Only a few more symbols are needed. And, if possible: We need more glue points on the shapes – like in Visio.

Grab your trial here:www.axure.com.

Bloggers have the power

As I told you earlier, my wife blogs about gourmet food. She’s been blogging for a little more than a year now, and her blog has turned into one of the leading Danish gourmet blogs with a huge network of friends and blogs abroad.

Last week the Danish paper Politiken called for an interview and did an article about food bloggers in general (see an English version translated by Google here). The conclusion was that food blogging is a serious competitor to the more established food critics. And they should be. The best of the bloggers know as much (or more) about food than does the critics. The article also lead to a podcasted interview on K-Cast, a pod cast on communications (in Danish).

In the Politiken article, several chefs were asked about the food bloggers. Most of them seem to have understood that bloggers are here to stay, and that a good blogger can be your best friend as they know how to work the net and how to get the message through, in a way that your own website never will be able to. And so it is. One dedicated blogger can advertise your business or products more efficiently than you can yourself. And a network of bloggers will easily outperform your PR agency. Why? Because consumers trust fellow consumers and friends over slick PR guys.

To make a successful business you need ambassadors. Someone unbiased that will recommend your product to other people within his network, and who’s words carry some weight. Several food bloggers are just that: Authorities on gourmet dining that people turn to when they want to go out without the risk of being disappointed. And this goes for all other business areas as well.

Consumers has always talked about products and businesses. The only difference from 20 years ago till now is that today the conversation is taking place on the web for everyone to see. And that’s what terrifies some business owners. But they should be thrilled instead, now they can in fact hear what their customers are saying.

You can’t keep the bloggers away – because they are your customers. But you can win their hearts with great service and great products (as two-star Michelin restaurant Noma and it’s Chef, René Redzepi, has won Trine’s) and then you have made yourself a very influential friend and ambassador.

My best estimate based on traffic on the Very Good Food blog and considering the network effect of blogs, is that Trine’s blog in average may produce up to five new customers for Noma a week – directly or indirectly. She and her blogger friends have put Noma on the virtual land map, and as more and more consumers are relying solely on the web for decision making the impact is quite substantial.

Other businesses must learn from the approach that Noma has to the bloggers. Instead of shooing them away and telling them not to photograph the food, they are made friends of the restaurant. In that way Noma has managed to turn the conventional customer/business relationship into a ambassador/business relationship, and that’s good for business.

Do not as a business owner underestimate the networked power of a well written blog. You can choose to fight your ambassadors or to embrace them. But don’t go over board and bribe them, that will spoil everything. Treat them well with a hint of V.I.P., and show them that you care about their opinions.

There’s a flipside to this: It’s very important for bloggers to realize their own power. With the ability to make or break a brand or a business, bloggers should be careful only to write about things that they truly understand (note to self: Stop the raves…). Blogs have a very real impact on real life – for better or for worse.

Trine meets Heston Blumenthal on Noma

A real life moment: Trine and blogger friends Laurent and Guillaume were introduced to Heston Blumenthal (Chef and owner, The Fat Duck ***) who happened to be dining at Noma that evening. It’s Mr. Blumenthal in the middle – René Redzepi, Chef of Noma, is the second from the right. Both Mr. Blumenthal and Mr. Redzepi are incredibly nice and dedicated people with a overwhelming passion for quality and food.

Where I am? Well, someone had to operate the camera :-(

Apple wrecks iTunes.

Most recent version of iTunes stutters like a madman. What’s happening? Apple just rendered their player absolutely useless.

The rumors says it’s Quicktime that’s the problem. Way to go Apple – you just surpassed Microsoft in crappy software.

I’m not the only one having this problem – and it’s an issue on Macs too.

[UPDATE]

Ok, to get a bit more contructive now: http://technovia.typepad.com/technovia/2004/06/itunes_for_wind.html

This might do it.

A phone that’s a phone

Some time ago I ranted about the HTC Dual Touch which is, imho, a bloody useless device. Not so much because of the device itself but because it is infected with Windows Mobile.

nokia-e51.jpgNow, I’ve gotten the Nokia E51 and I like it. Partly because I’m used to Nokia, of course, but mostly because: It’s a phone. It’s not a PDA. It actually rings when people call me, it’s in fact easy to, like,  call someone from, and the interface is properly designed to work on a small screen. The 3G is fast, it’s got Wlan (the HTC didn’t).

+ It has push mail (seems faster than the HTC), calendar, contacts etc. from the Exchange server at work.

It’s slender, nice looking, seems to have a long battery life time (unless push mail is constantly active in which case the battery drains within 1½ days).

Yep – nice device.

Contradiction in terms

Spend most of my evening going through one of these heavy demand specs that only governmental institutions are able to make. Hundreds of demands, ranging from the very abstract (“The solution should be easy to use”) to the very concrete (“The user presses a button that brings up a preview…”).

Hidden among all the text it states that the vendor must use all the fancy usercentric methods of design and do it all in a very dialogue-based and agile way. … but why? All the design decisions are made (poorly, though) by the specification. To go out and ask the users will result in hundreds of change request for the project managers and laywers to fight over.

Could we please stop making these lame specifications? They’re a bloody waste of time and money. Collect your organization’s needs (that’s needs, not wants), put down a core team in your own organization, call your UX consultants, and together we’ll make it happen.

Breaking News: Squatters being arrested

AMAGER LAST NIGHT: An empty building just across the street from my apartment (Oliebladsgade) was last night taken over by squatters (‘autonome’ in Danish). Here are the pictures and a small summary.

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This is the building that were occupied by squatters. Notice the red banner hanging from the 2nd floor window. A few squatters were walking around outside the building at this moment.

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Squatters outside the building.

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The police is setting up the perimeter.

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More police arrived and began clearing the area around the building.

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The squatters brought their own press. Notice the two guys carrying a camera.

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Sorry about the poor quality of the picture, but the squatters tried to make a quick run for it but the police had them surrounded and arrested around 6 or 7.

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To policemen with yet another squatter who weren’t running fast enough.

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They were put in strips (handcuffs) and placed in a line on the ground (fut-tog in Danish).

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After night fall, the police went in to search the building. Notice the red banner still hangs from the window.

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The search team went going through the bulding. One cop standing on 2nd floor balcony.

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“4th. floor – secured!”

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Top floor reached.

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The search went through the entire building.

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The police came out of the building carrying the red banner.

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A small crowd showed up to show some support to the arrested squatters.

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The police in riot gear going towards the crowd.

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A smoke grenade or fireworks were used (not teargas as one of my neighbours thought) and it was all over.

Cool and scary robot

Boston Dynamics is working on a kind of robot horse/dog hybrid. It’s called BigDog and is supposedly meant to carry payloads (military and other kinds) over rugged terrain. What makes this both cool and scary is that while the robot is probably as stupid as a toaster, the way it walks makes it seem almost intelligent. That gait really makes it look alive.

Have a look at this video – and please note the part where the scientist kicks the robot to try to get it to fall. I instinctively felt sorry for the beast until I remembered that it’s a machine. But the way it tries to keep its balance (and suceeds) is so animal-like that it’s kind of freakish. BTW: The noise is coming from it’s on board petrol engine – I guess it’s not quite stealth yet.

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[UPDATE]

Oh, I just found this one. The BigDog Beta version – before they got it house trained :-)

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Nice one – Virgle!

Exciting news from Virgle: the new joint venture between Google and Virgin has announced their plans to build settlements on Mars!!
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Nice April’s fool prank. But I really wish that it would be true! We’re getting really crowded here on Earth! But if it’s just going to be me and Richard Branson, I think I’ll just stay put here on the Blue Planet.

By the way, check out Kassei Valles. No apartments with ocean view available right now, but you are guaranteed a lot of red rocks for your rock collection.

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Garmin fails miserably on user experience and service design

I have a Garmin Nüvi 660 – a splendid GPS unit. If you are looking for a GPS unit for your car, the Nüvi series is the way to go.

But this is not about GPS units or mapping updates as such – it’s about the hellish user experience that not thought through installation procedures and futile attempts to protect software from piracy can lead to.

For Garmin needs a serious lesson in service design. What ought to be a simple update of the maps inside my Nüvi 660 GPS unit has been made into an hour long waste of time. It all started when I tried to purchase the map update:

1. I week before Easter I got an e-mail from Garmin telling me that the Map update 2008 for Europe has been released. I’m a gadget freak, and firmware and map updates are the salt of my tech life. The mail pointed me to the (very badly designed) Garmin website.

2. At the Garmin website I had to enter the serial # of my GPS unit to find out what update to get. Bad funnel design here – why not just show me a picture of the different units to make it easy for me to spend some dough? Luckily for Garmin, I had the unit with me.

3. I found the right update, and the website told me that it could be purchased directly from Garmin. Nice, I thought, and broke out the Visa card.

4. But alas – after putting the update in the shopping cart and entering all my personal info, I found out that Garmin only ships to the US, UK and Ireland. It took me some browsing to find the Danish dealer of Garmin hardware.

5. Nowhere on the website of the Danish Garmin dealer could I find out how to buy the update. A few products were listed – but not the one I was looking for.

6. I Called Garmin Denmark and after being on hold for 5 minutes a guy told me that Garmin Denmark does not sell map updates. The update must be bought in one of the physical dealerships. I apologize to the support guy for being a bit angry at this point – but for Pete’s sake: Why don’t you just write on your web site that you’re your not selling to private customers? Why don’t you compile a list of online shops that sell your stuff?

7. Refusing to waste my time going to a Fona or Merlin store (the Danish equivalents to Radio Shack: They mostly don’t have what you need, and they mostly don’t know anything about what the do have) I managed to find the update on a webshop and ordered it.

8. A DVD sized package should be perfectly able to fit through the letter opening in my front door, but to my surprise the Garmin DVD didn’t arrive. Instead a note from the post office told me that I had to get the package at the local post office. But I have left for Easter holiday and the package had to wait for a week. Those of you that like software updates as much as I do will know that a week is a very long wait.

9. Today – picking up the package – I realized why the postman hadn’t been able to get it through the letter opening: Garmin has for some spaced out reason chosen to wrap the DVD with an A4 sized clam shell (you know: the environment damaging PVC packaging that’s impossible to open without shredding your fingers to pieces). So, absolutely unnecessary packaging delayed the DVD a week.

10. After using a pair of heavy duty scissors I got the DVD out from its casing without blood shed and booted it up. It immediately halted with an error message saying that the setup program couldn’t detect an active internet connection (and such is needed). All I could do was to cancel the setup. Now, all other programs had no problem finding the internet connection – the pc was as online as ever. After 30 minutes of trial and error and searching the internet for help (using my supposedly non-existing internet connection), I found out that some setting deep inside Internet Explorer had to be changed for the Garmin update DVD to see the connection.

Now: The only reason that this connection had to be available was for the DVD to check my Garmin registration number with Garmin’s servers. So 30 minutes of my time was wasted because a product WHICH I LEGALLY BOUGHT needs validation. Arrgh. Of course the problem with the missing internet connection isn’t mentioned on Garmin’s support pages although more than one GPS forum mentions it. I guess Garmin’s employees doesn’t read the forums in which their loyal customers discuss Garmin products. Why should they…

11. Finally – after me tweaking Internet Explorer, the setup program continued – just to grind to a halt again when the DVD suddenly couldn’t find my Garmin unit. Strange, because the unit was perfectly connected to the pc, though, and the screen of the Nüvi shows the “connected to a pc” picture. The Garmin website suggests that I try another USB port – I do. No go. I try another USB cable. No go.

It turned out that the unit conflicted with a network drive letter on my pc. Thank god I’m not a pc novice – a lot of users wouldn’t have been able to locate this error (when did YOU last check your locigal disk setup using the Disk Manager inside Computer Management inside the Control Panel?). Of course: It’s not Garmin’s fault that I have a network drive called G:, but again: This must be a very common problem and Garmin does not mention it on the support pages on its website. And the moronic setup program does not suggest any way of solving the problem – all I can do is to press “Exit”.

12. Finally: The GPS is connected, its firmware updated and the unit restarted. I entered the validation code for the map (located on the jewel case of the DVD), and … the updater halted again. The server which was to validate my validation vode is down. “Please try again later” it says. All I can do is press Exit. I’ll just have to wait until some geek in the US gets the server up and running again.

13. By now, I was pissed. I bought this product (although it was hard to find) and now it seems that I’m not allowed to use it. So I wan’t to write to the Garmin support and tell them that their software sucks. But fortunately for the poor supporters, the support site crashes when I try to access the mail form…

Dear Garmin. This is not the way to do it. It’s not OK to be more concerned with copyright laws and data safety than to the user’s experience. An update procedure for an expensive product must be tested over and over again to make sure that the user (all users – not just a geek like me) can complete the procedure.

Multiple pieces of software, services, support functions and content has to play together to ensure a nice user experience. The service has to be designed all the way for the user to be satisfied. If that is impossible (and it seems that it is to Garmin) then at least let go of the paranoia and all the safety measures and focus on providing decent support all the way through the update. In that way the installation procedure will be simple and less prone to errors. All you do is irritating legit customers. The pirates will find a way through anyhow.
Now – after spending almost two hours and waiting for that quirky validation server to wake up – the setup procedure finally runs and is updating my GPS unit. Meanwhile it shows me ads for motorcycle GPS units (Why? I have a GPS unit – that’s why I’m updating it – morons!) and reminding me, that the little blob on the GPS screen that indicates my whereabouts can be changed to another kind of 3D vehicle. Gosh.

If all that energy had just been used on testing and improving the setup procedure and updating the support pages.

Explicit content?

I think the whole rating/censorship ordeal has come too far when Billy Joel’s Just The Way You Are is rated Explicit by Apple Music Store.

Explicit lyrics? Um…. where?
Parental Advisory! Too damn cute a song for your kids! Buy them a 9mm Glock instead so that they may defend themselves in school… What a twisted country.

Someone please point me to the juicy bits, ’cause I just can’t spot them:

Don’t go changing, to try and please me
You never let me down before
Don’t imagine you’re too familiar
And I don’t see you anymore
I wouldn’t leave you in times of trouble
We never could have come this far
I took the good times, I’ll take the bad times
I’ll take you just the way you are

Don’t go trying some new fashion
Don’t change the color of your hair
You always have my unspoken passion
Although I might not seem to care

I don’t want clever conversation
I never want to work that hard
I just want someone that I can talk to
I want you just the way you are.

I need to know that you will always be
The same old someone that I knew
What will it take till you believe in me
The way that I believe in you.

I said I love you and that’s forever
And this I promise from the heart
I could not love you any better
I love you just the way you are.

More car design: Same aerodynamics

My Land Rover-crazy uncle sent me this one. It’s clear to see where the designer engineer behind the Defender 110 found his inspiration.

Landrover

Land Rover Defender 110. In some countries used by the police as weapon against hooligans. Only the chick go faster-stripes raise its aerodynamic properties to just above those of a…

Stone

Typical Danish cobblestone, mid-nineteenth century. Typically used by Copenhagen hooligans as a weapon against the police.

Same subtlety. Same discrete elégance.

Let’s continue our design comparison quest.

Hummer H1
Hummer H1. American inferiority complex. Kills trees – and people too, if you mess up.

Husqvarne Chainsaw
Husqvarna Chainsaw. Swedish sturdiness. Kills trees – and people too, if you mess up.

Cars That Looks Like Weapons #2

Klaus reported the first remarkable sign on a so far unknown connection between car design and weapons. Now I’m ready to disclose yet another piece of evidence on the vehicle that will silence all critics of this claim.

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This is ‘Karma’, a premium hybrid sports sedan from the Danish designer Fisker compared with a single bladed throwing knife in stainless steel.

Car design at its worst. And best.

Outselling American brands for years, Toyota is ready to deliver the final punch to Ford and General Motors on their own turf. The concept is called A-BAT and it is, by any standard, ugly as hell. But kudos to car designer Ian Cartabiano for understanding that the ultimate American car have to look like a hand gun. So simple – why didn’t anyone think of that before?

Cartabiano says that the A-BAT is inspired by miltary trucks – yeah right. It looks more like a big, chromed 9mm to me. If Toyota decides to put this beast into production, I think it’s gonna sell Alan Mulally’s pants off.

Toyota A-BAT concept car
Toyota A-BAT concept. Made in Japan for the American market.

Desert Eagle

The .357 semi-automatic Desert Eagle. Made in Israel for the American market.

(The A-BAT Found on Top Gear website).

Multitouch for the consumer

A while ago, Jeff Han demonstrated the multitouch screen at TED. Now it’s ready for the consumer in a less impressive, but more usable trackpad version. It’s definitely the way to go! It seems to be very intuitive and suddenly the trackpad becomes more than just a ‘mouse-wannabee’. Now we just need a bigger trackpad and more actions than just manipulating the size of a picture :-)
And we need some really clever people to create generic trackpad-language so Mac and Microsoft and other will use the same ‘language’.
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Jeff Han’s presentation at TED
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Project-Launch: Digital Signage i ‘DR Byen’

Finally, after months of preparation, we have launched the digital signage system in DR’s new headquarter in Copenhagen… and it went well :-)

From a workplace to a place to create.
That was the headline of the project from day one. DR Byen has been built by four different architects who has made four very different buildings.
Pictures from one of the four buildings in DR Byen
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Our project was meant to deliver an integrated communication platform and to ‘bring the media’ inside these buildings.
As you can see on this images the last part in the project (the Concert Hall) is still more or less a construction sites (see the official site here). About three quarters of the building is finished and the digital signage project has been launch in three of the four parts of the building.

Number one: To connect the architecture with our corporate identity:
First of all, we needed to make a tighter connection between the architecture and the corporate identity.
Danish Broadcasting Corporation (DR) is, as the name implies, a media corporation. And although it’s an amazing piece of architecture made by 4 different companies, it is not immediately obvious that it was the home of the largest Danish media corporation, that we are delivering high quality public service content, and that we are the de facto keepers of the Danish cultural media heritage.

Number two
Second, we are experiencing an increasing competition in the media business, and the most important competitive advantage is creativity. Therefore I believe that it is absolutely vital to create a pleasant and inspiring environment for creativity to happen. Of course we can’t do an ROI calculation on how much creativity this project will generate, but I believe that we are creating the ground upon which creativity may grow more easily than usual. And that’s why we have been focusing on the integration of different kinds of visual art in the project and creating an experience instead of just an information screen.

Number 3
Finally, our customers have ever changing needs, and therefore we must able to communicate very fast inside the organization and also be able to change our communication procedures very quickly, if needed. A fully automated digital platform, as the one we have created, is a big asset in this race. In the web-2.0-user-has-the-power communication world of today it’s very important to have non-intrusive way of pushing important communication to your stakeholders, employees and customers.

First of all, the Entrance.
When you step into DR at groundlevel, this is what you see. Three large video projections (one is hidden in this image) on the white and grey concrete walls.

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We’ve been working closely together with the architects to create a coherent experience of the room. The content is very abstract and meant to supplement the room with depth, dynamic and a creative atmosphere.
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I think it’s important, to be very courageous and to use an abstract and symbolic content that will activate the viewer instead of communicating in the usual corp-speak discourse. We should stimulate experiences with the use of symbols and montage-effects and not with the use the very powerful media to promote corporate taglines. See for instance how Jason Eppink is transforming standard commercials to street art.

The entrance from another angle:
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The foyer from one of the side entrances. Four 19″ monitors placed on a white concrete wall.
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The ‘Main Street’ on the 2nd floor:
The connection between the four buildings in the ‘DR City’ is a giant glass-covered street (12*18 meters) with a bridge crossing the water channel going through the area called ‘Ørestaden’.
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In this part of the building we have placed 6 46″ screens. The content consists of news from our own news-channel and news from the department of corporate communicate. Besides that, there are breakers made by young visual artists. They we’re given access to our media archives and used some of the old material to make new artistic expressions.

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The ‘Main Street’ viewed from the bridge on the fourth floor.
Every screen has it’s own unique flow of information configured to the specific physical context and user behaviour.

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The Meeting Center:
In our Meeting Center we’ve made an integration to MS Exchange Server. In this way our meeting booking system is automatically updated on the screens next to each meeting room. The interface is based on Flash using xml-data from Exchange generated by AgendaX.

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What’s next??

Well, this is just phase one of the project. In the next 1-3 month we will be creating a lot more content to the system, for instance the weather forecast, trailers, traffic information and of course more visuals. In february we’re having the first art exhibition with the project ‘Runner’ in collaboration with Illumenart and EPI. Hopefully, we be able to extend the system to the other parts of DR in Jutland and on Bornholm and most importantly we’re learning a lot about what it takes to maintain and use this kind of communication platform.

Besides this, we’re of course looking forward to completion of the concert hall and to the exciting task of creating the digital projections in and outside the concert hall See the pictures. That’s gonna be amazing!!

I will hopefully be able to upload some video soon. It gives a better sense of the look and feel of the displays.
Please comment if you have any good ideas or experiences with digital signage solutions.

/Lars Silberbauer

Windows Mobile – not for me

HTC Touch DualJust before Christmas I got to test a HTC Touch Dual with Windows Mobile 6 at work. It was partly my own idea to introduce HTC Touch or Touch Dual as a possible alternative to our mainstream Nokias. That’s why I chose to ignore my mobile-savvy colleague as he offered his condolences when he saw the black HTC box on my desk. He was right, though. Windows Mobile and mobile phones don’t mix.

This was my first hands-on experience with a Windows Mobile phone as I’ve always used Nokia. I have used Windows Mobile devices before, though, as I’ve owned several WM based PDAs. They weren’t perfect but I could live with them. But, as I was to find out, the usage of a PDA differs a lot from that of a phone.

I was looking forward to the WM6 Exchange server integration (“push mail”) and to have an always updated calendar with me. And these features did work fine-ish. Except for the crummy calendar design that forces you to use the stylus constantly, that is. But even so: After five days I gave up the fight with Windows Mobile 6: What a genuinely stupid OS for a phone. Bad, bad UI design.

I think Microsoft has made a huge mistake to try to move an OS from a pc to a phone. Already after a few hours I got very tired indeed from having to get out the stylus just to close a window or to cancel an error message on the ridiculously tiny close-box in the corner of the dialogs. I don’t care if it looks like the GUI on my Windows pc – it just doesn’t work on that little screen. On a device that tiny you do one thing at the time – you don’t need the windows metaphore to allow for multitasking (it hardly works on the pc anyhow).

Also, several times when I was trying to phone someone, WM6 – being absolutely clueless about my priorities – would pop up with some reminder or other alert that really shouldn’t popup at all while I’m dialing. Just like Windows XP does, WM6 made me feel that the system comes first and the user second.

I soon started feeling that I was spending time fighting the system instead of using it. Exactly as I feel when trying to get Outlook 2007 to start in less than 15 minutes or that thrre to four hours every month I spend massaging my Windows XP into working without too many alerts or errors. Yep, Microsoft surely has succeeded moving the Windows experience to a handset. And that’s a pitty.

Three times a call simply didn’t come through (it’s a phone for crying out loud!) and four times I dialed my fathers number by mistake because of a design flaw in HTC’s TouchFLO interface (which has been added to patch some of the even bigger flaws in WM). The device insisted on merging all my Live! Messenger contacts with my professional contacts making tons of duplicates and adding a lot of contacts without phone numbers to my phone book, making finding the right version of the contact  (the one with the phone number) annoyingly difficult.

I have the feeling that Microsoft’s brand managers have had too much influence on the design. A lot of stupid compromises have been made to make the phone interface look like Windows, instead of genuinely making the OS work on a tiny screen and in a mobile user context. The design flaws combined with the Touch’ sluggish response and not always too precise touch screen makes this gadget a big no-go to me. WM6 doesn’t seem mature and personally I think it’s fundamentally flawed. I think it’ll need a complete rewrite.

One thing is spending time in front of the pc tweaking and tuning. But to have to combat your mobile phone just to get it to work the right way – that’s not OK.

I felt that I could not trust this piece of hardware to work when I needed it to – and as I rely heavily on my mobile phone I’m now back on my trusty old Nokia 6230i. No push mail – but no wasted time, missed calls or hypertension either.

Slides from seminar

Just some slides (in danish) from my presentation at the seminar on “Corporate Branding and Architecture” last week.
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Don’t Throw a Brick Straight Up…

Politics are amazing, you gotta f….. love it.

I just stumbled across this beautiful and completely self contradictory article from the (supposed to be impartial) commentator Ralf Pittelkow.

Ralf Pittelkow article
Click to zoom

In the Danish newspaper Jyllands Posten he is analyzing the campaigns for the upcoming election and today he wrote this piece of art

If you don’t want to read the article, here’s a recap:

The Danish tv-channels are not acting fair and objective towards the current government. Instead they are (un)consciously supporting the opposition. This happens because of the fact that most journalists, according to Pittelkow, have a leftwing bias and that they cannot act professionally and separate their personal opinions and their daytime job. I won’t judge whether Pittelkow is right or wrong, because of my job at DR, but I would like to give a piece of free advice:

If you want to attack media institutions and question journalists’ ability to be professional, fair and objective, you are not helping yourself by placing the attack on the same webpage as your wife’s pro-government banner-ad. Pittelkow’s wife (and co-writer on a book about the dangers of Islam) is the current Minister of Social affairs…

Maybe I’m just being silly, but in my opinion it’s not gonna fly ;-)

Note to wanna-be credible media commentator:
- If spouse is campaigning for her political career
- Then check banner ads before questioning the motives of others….

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