SXSW: Tinker Toys For Technologists

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This week, SXSW Interactive featured a keynote conversation with Limor Fried (Adafruit Industries) and Phil Torrone (MAKE Magazine). Hacking the DIY culture, Torrone and Fried discussed the techniques of tinkering with technology. With examples such as the Bacon Alarm Clock, skin-embedded RFID chips, and the recent Gummy Bear Chandelier, the panelists whetted the audience's palate with a selection of delicious DIY snacks.

Hacktivism culture has been spreading at a rapid rate as of late. Simply said, "People make weird and bizarre things," Torrone stated in response to the movement. Sharing "recipes" has now become commonplace among tinkering communities and unlike dating, you're not slapped if you show all your intimate parts too soon.

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by Ariel Waldman    Mar-14-07    
Topic: Industry Events, Online, Social



State Farm Tosses Bone at Cogs Working Through March Madness

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Just because you have a job doesn't mean you should miss out on the fun and games of March Madness. With the wilting white collar worker in mind, Tribal DDB throws together a March Madness tourney toolkit on behalf of State Farm.

It makes one feel pathetic in its all-encompassing office splendour. Users hungry for the rush can download March Madness propaganda, create a little bobble-headed friend and play office hoops.

That's almost like being at a March Madness game ... except not.

by Angela Natividad    Mar-14-07    
Topic: Games, Online



'Search Me' Ads Drive People to Web

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Rather than trying to get people to remember a company's URL which isn't always the easiest thing to remember, several companies in Japan have started using what have been referred to as "search me" ads. The ads offer the visual of a search bar with a search term already filled in. People are urged to perform the search, either immediately on their phone or later on their computer.

If the terms are chosen properly and th proper search engine marketing accompany the effort, the approach just may work. There's only so much a single ad can convey but an ad they points people to a place where endless information can be conveyed would appear to be an effective approach.

by Steve Hall    Mar-14-07    
Topic: Good, Online, Outdoor, Trends and Culture



Ze Frank Bows Out on Blip.TV

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Deep Focus gets behind the last hurrah for Ze Frank's The Show, which, after exactly a year in the running, airs its last episode on March 17 via Blip.tv, a video-sharing site. Dewar's is sponsoring their last week and the first two months of their archives.

The Show is an eclectic little vlog in which host Ze Frank talks politics and technology, and occasionally orhestrates projects, with his audience of "sports racers." We weren't big watchers but we enjoyed the humour and will be bummed to see it exit stage left.

For those who missed the bus, the show will be syndicated on iTunes.

by Angela Natividad    Mar-14-07    
Topic: Online, Video



AOL Promotes Literacy with Mystifying Virus Solution Imagery

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A good illustration clarifies language or, properly rendered, can even replace words altogether. There's so much to be learned from a picture.

That's why we're so confused by this banner ad for AOL's PC protection solution.

So we've got three interconnected beads sliding out of this deeply concentric woman's head: a sludge splatter, Nancy Drew (or is it Carmen Sandiego? The plot thickens) and a signal tower. We're thinking radiation. We're thinking conspiracy. We're thinking female Dick Tracey chases down menacing toxic blob whose sending ear-splitting signals are reverberating across the sleepy town of Conglomoville.

We're thinking AOL should really have run this by a couple more people without the text.

by Angela Natividad    Mar-14-07    




Nike Reviews, Miracles Whips, Viacom Sues, Nick Marches

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- MTV has added a user-generated category to its Movie Awards.

-Nike is opening an agency review with its U.S. business, currently handled by Wieden + Kennedy, getting first look.

- After many years with JWT, Kraft's Miracle Whip is heading over to DDB.

Mark Cuban must be laughing his ass off now as Viacom, following unproductive settlement talks, sues Google and YouTube for $1 billion in damages.

- If your into the whole March Madness thing, Coke has a nice Brack-O-Matic site that makes picking teams easy.

- Nickelodeon UK has launched Musical March, a site where kids can create their own musical videos and upload them to the site. The best videos will air on Nick JR Video.

by Steve Hall    Mar-13-07    
Topic: Agencies, Brands, Cable, Online, Video



SXSW: You Don't Need to be Here

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Ushering her audience out, Kathy Sierra questioned why interactive attendees would bother to show in person in the age of live blogging and streaming content. With an opening line of "you don't need to be here", admittedly a few poured out of the conference room doors. However, Sierra stated, that there are still elements that exist as the missing link between computer interaction and human expression. Responsiveness to software was compared to the likes of Asperger's syndrome, unintentionally rude and often narrowly focused.

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by Ariel Waldman    Mar-12-07    
Topic: Industry Events, Online, Trends and Culture



Graphic Artist Makes Grid-Based 80's Ad Mash-Up

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Curiouser and curiouser. Australia-based graphic artist Jason Nelson throws together an odd piece of work called Hermeticon, which uses bits of '80's toy and candy ads to create sound and video collages that spark to life when you type things out into a grid. He calls the results "ad-driven spells."

It reminds us a lot of all the ad generators already flying around except less coherent than usual. That's okay though, we dig it.

It might just be because our childhood connection to Rainbow Brite sparked back to life when she appeared for a moment - just a moment! - on the grid. We can't help but admire the emotional range of a good nostalgic mash-up. That's why we sit on in the dark watching "I Love the 80's" reruns at 2 AM.

by Angela Natividad    Mar-12-07    
Topic: Consumer Created, Games, Good, Online



Obsessed with Golf? Now There's Help

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To fully leverage its sponsorship for the PGA tourney in Orlando, MasterCard launches Priceless, an interactive site that positions itself as a telecenter support group for the one-iron-obsessed. Magical voice response technology even syncs what consumers hear on the phone to what they see on their screens.

Based on a set of quiz questions, golf lovers can log into the site and find out how golf-obsessed they are. A major incentive to answering these questions is that afterward you get the option of registering for text messages from LPGA golfer Laura Diaz or cheats from Spaulding Smalls.

We're going to take a shot in the dark and suggest if you actually explore the site for more than a couple of minutes you are probably pretty obsessed as things stand. Like golf itself, unless you actively decide to get involved in it the site ain't terribly interesting.

by Angela Natividad    Mar-12-07    
Topic: Campaigns, Online, Sponsorship



Scion Promotes Do-It-Yourself Plastic Surgery

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In conjunction with design/animation/production team Shilo, ATTIK creates a series of weird virals to promote the Scion xB. We think the Scion xB is ugly as hell, but apparently so does the marketing team and they're using its quirky boxiness as leverage.

We haven't got all the virals, but one called Round to Square involves a standard stick figure hacking away at its face until it achieves a satisfying square appearance that brought back traumatic memories of Mooninites. The video then leads us to Want 2 B Square, an odd interactive wasteland with vestiges of death (like the guillotine at left) all over the place. The site also houses games, which we actually kind of enjoy.

We like the look and feel of the campaign but we're still as likely to start hacking away at our own faces as we are to purchase a Scion.

by Angela Natividad    Mar-12-07    
Topic: Campaigns, Online










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