CANNOT WAIT to see @keiichiban’s #hyper-reality films get made, support it on @kickstarter http://hyper-reality.co

Still from original films made by Keiichi Matsuda

Still from original films made by Keiichi Matsuda

I first heard about Keiichi Matsuda when I chanced upon his project Cell a couple of years ago.

So it was a pleasant surprise then when I heard from him this week with information of his latest project Hyper Reality.

Hyper Reality is a series of short films that he is hoping to make very soon, based on a future city (set in Medellin, Colombia) that is maxed out on technology and media. Obviously these are subjects I am passionate about so it piqued me interest immediately – but more importantly, his introductory video is really phenomenal. You have to watch it.

Having seen that, I hope you’re as excited as I am about being able to see the full thing, design fiction to the extreme. It will mean a lot if you can help it get made by supporting Hyper Reality on Kickstarter – it officially launched this morning so everything is a go. Tweet, blog, contribute to the Kickstarter fund – everything is much appreciated, not just by Keiichi but by me because I really want to see the full films!

Keiichi explains the premise for creating these films really well on the Kickstarter page:

Technology is playing an increasingly important part in our everyday lives. Most of the time though, we learn about technology from the people who are trying to sell it to us. I believe that it’s important to be critical; to be aware of how these technologies could shape our future. The films will expose the amazing potential, but also the possibly dark future of some technologies, while presenting them in a way that everyone can understand.

I’ve supported it on Kickstarter. Will you?

Generation N and beyond

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Native advertising inherently makes sense to me because of its potential for spread and recall over clickthroughs and the more murky pageviews of banners and buttons; 77% of display ads are apparently never seen, especially those below the fold. If native ads allow marketers to reach out to their audiences in meaningful ways that go beyond the standard ‘I’m here, look at me’ then that should be a fairly strong reason in itself to be adopted, or at least considered very strongly. Think of native advertising as being closer to ‘product as marketing’, which crucially implies a bigger customer focus, over the traditional, more brand-focussed ‘messaging as marketing’ model that we’re seeing slowly wither away.

I noted down some thoughts about the rise of native advertising and the consequent fall of display in the months to come for the company blog.

Keeping the spam out of your inbox: SpamBlocker from 2011 TED Fellow Yale Fox

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Like many of you, I’ve been getting increasingly frustrated by spam emails in my inbox. So I was quite interested to hear from Yale Fox, a 2011 TED Fellow, about a new project of his: a Google Chrome extension called SpamBlocker. It basically does what it says on the tin – allowing you to block any email address you want at the click of a button. The project took 5 weeks to develop. In user-testing, Yale and his team found that domain blocking, which they had as a feature early on, resulted in some glitches but those are are currently being worked on – I can see this being useful; after all spammers are an unscrupulous lot with multiple email addresses at their disposal. Another feature in the pipeline is allowing  users to vote on the features they want developed next.

SpamBlocker

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While Gmail does a good job at making your inbox more manageable (especially with Tabbed Inbox), it doesn’t remove the problem of spam altogether. That’s what this Gmail hack hopes to do. I’ve tried it for the last couple of days and it works great.

Currently compatible with Gmail and Chrome on OS X, Windows and Linux, Yale plans to add Firefox support early next week. Yahoo! Mail, Hotmail and other browsers will hopefully all be tackled in due course.

Pricing is, and will be, completely free, with the option for users to donate. When donations do come in, they will be split with Animal Haven, a charity in New York. I particularly like Yale’s philosophy: ‘everything should have a cause attached to it’.

In addition to his TED pedigree, Yale is also a professional DJ but he’s changing tacks to software development as a route to making people’s live better. He says it’s ‘all part of a bigger picture’.

I’ll be watching him in his endeavours and wish him all the best.

Epic 2014 (re)-visited (via @tcarmody & @snarkmarket)

Via the always-smart-if-now-infrequently-updated Snarkmarket, where Tim Carmody talks about Bezos and Amazon, I found a link to Epic, Robin Sloan’s 2004 project for the Museum of Media History, which I missed when it first came out. It evokes 2014 – just 4 months from now (FOUR – where ON EARTH is time flying?), and brings up some very relevant thoughts. The Google Grid finds form in the Play Store, Newsbotster takes shape in some way through Google Plus, and though Google and Amazon haven’t merged to form Googlezon, the Yahoo-Tumblr deal is pretty significant, as has been Microsoft-Skype. I also just read BI’s fascinating profile of Marissa Mayer where the possibility of Yahoo exchanging their search division with MSN.com was mooted (it didn’t happen of course).

As this YouTube poster said, ‘This was made in 2004. There’s no mention of the iPhone or Facebook or Twitter’ – amazingly prescient work worth a quick watch.

Project Loon’s technology & the power of moonshot thinking

This video about Project Loon’s technology is truly an example of what Astro Teller, Google’s Captain of Moonshot Thinking, evangelises day to day (from SXSW to the Big Tent to Cannes, he’s been doing a good job with that this year, if you ask me).

 

While on that, Google Maps is now accepting invitations for the new Maps. I saw a preview yesterday and it looks amazing – it’s pretty clear that no one can touch Google in that department for the time-being.

I also saw Google Voice Search for Chrome in action, announced at I/O earlier this year – and it looks quite radical too.

They’re doing some good stuff, controversies notwithstanding.

Full circle: Britons hiring developers in India to build apps for them (via @freelancer)

Everyone’s going in search of the millions. Nick D’Aloisio succeeded where many haven’t and won’t, so I find this interesting – Britons are hiring developers in India to build their apps for them! I got it via email from a representative of Freelancer, the ‘world’s largest outsourcing marketplace’.

Figures released today shows that Britons are increasingly designing their own apps.

The survey from Freelancer.co.uk, the world’s largest outsourcing market place, is released following the £18 million purchase of the app Summly by Yahoo.

The survey finds that knowledge of programming is not getting in their way as Britons are hiring programmers in India to do the programming for them and help turn their ideas into reality.

The survey of 2000 people in the UK found that 45% have had an idea for an app and will  hire a programmer to get it designed. Yet 25% who have an idea for an app are put off from developing it because they believe they have to write the programme themselves.

Statistics from Freelancer.co.uk show that there has been a 100 percent increase in Britons hiring a programmer via the website to design an app for them over the last 12 months

“Everyone has an idea for an app, but not everyone has the skills to turn their ideas into reality. Yet increasingly people are hiring programmers to undertake the programming for them, so now everyone can develop their own app.” said Matt Barrie, CEO of Freelancer.co.uk.

“We’ve seen a record increase over the last 12 months of British people hiring programmers to help them develop their apps. App development is no longer the preserve of the geek, now everyone can do it,” he said.

The Google+ phoenix rises?

Over the last couple of days, I’ve spotted a few articles on the web that talk about the impending rise of Google+.

‘What?!!’ I hear you say.

Yes, Google+. And I actually believe them. Google, somewhat quietly, launched a feature called Google Author Rank a few months ago. That means that when you search for something on Google, if the author/journalist’s Google+ profile is verified and links to a relevant article, her link will show up first. This is obviously very useful not just for the writer herself but for the general public – verified and more relevant content is given priority above link-baiting sites, which is exactly as it should be.

Google is also slowly, incrementally adding new features that are improving the utility of the site: Communities, for example.

Lots of people, including me, are getting fatigued with Facebook. In the end though, it’s Google’s renewed business focus on search (experiments like Wave being retired as they fall by the wayside) that might lift them above Facebook, because that is what is going to boost usage of Google+. It is a philosophical pivot for them, but has rock-solid business motivations. As this article says:

Google doesn’t own social networking, but it does own search and email (and surprise! new Gmail signups automatically get Google+ accounts). With Author Rank, it’s outsmarting SEO spammers while forcing content producers to use Google+. They may not like it, but the alternative — risk losing influence, isn’t much better.

Google is smart. Very smart. Now if only they could renew the once-vibrant Google Reader community by bringing that back in to the fold.