Sunday, December 31, 2006

2007: The Twentieth Anniversary of Aardman's Visualization of a Nina Simone Hit

It's coming up on the twentieth anniversary for one of my favorite early Aardman shorts, "My Baby Just Cares for Me."

The track is Nina Simone in a performance of the Gus Kahn & Walter Donaldson standard. Nina's association with the tune marks its fiftieth anniversary this year; she included it on her first album in 1957. The Aardman short, however, uses an even sexier and sultrier version that became popular after Chanel No. 5 used it in a commercial in 1987. (That version is still charting: it's in the top-twenty best-selling jazz songs on iTunes.)

The film is directed by Peter Lord. Briefly available in the U.S. on VHS, it's long been out of circulation and has never made it to DVD (in Region 1, at least). So, thank you, YouTube.

Lord presents Baby as the most smitten and love-goofy animated animal since Chuck Jones's Pepe Le Pew. In what may be an homage to Jones, Lord has Baby hopping from table to table in a version of the four-footed "pronk" that Jones devised for Pepe's moments of highest joy and anticipation.

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Prince, Now More Than Ever

Russ Daggatt offers the following reasons for us to party like it's 1999:

On December 31, 1999:

Bill Clinton was President
Al Gore was Vice President
Bruce Babbitt was Secretary of the Interior
Wesley Clark was the Supreme Allied Commander of NATO
For the fiscal year just ended (9/30/99), the US government ran a $125 billion surplus; for the year just beginning (10/1/99), the gov’t would go on to run a $236 billion surplus
The federal debt was $3 trillion lower than it is now
The NASDAQ was up 84% (!) for the year just ended
The Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 24%
The S&P 500 was up 19%
The US was not at war in Iraq
No one had ever heard of Paris Hilton

Got any others?

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Who's Mickeleh?

I've been getting some new visitors based on a post and some comments I made about John Edwards announcement and Scoble's coverage thereof. Thanks for dropping by, and welcome.

If you came here with more interest in politics than technology, you might find Mickeleh's Soapbox more to your taste.

This is my tech marketing and personal blog. I cross-posted the John Edwards /Robert Scoble in both blogs because it was both a tech and a political story.

Shel Israel, noted the lack of profile information here, inspiring my one and only New Year's resolution: I resolve to work on my profile. If I get very ambitious, I may get around to telling the story of how James Bond got me my job at Apple, how Groucho got me on the radio, how Robin Williams got me a gig at Paramount writing sitcoms--unbeknownst to any of them. (especially James Bond who is a fictional charactere.)

But for now, here's a sketch:

I'm Michael Markman. Not the only Michael Markman, so I'm blogging as Mickeleh, which is a Yiddish-style diminutive for Michael (accent on the first syllable, as in Michelob or piccolo).

Went to Bronx Science--before Dave Winer, to Columbia--with Bill Campbell.

Ran Apple creative services and worldwide corporate advertising sometime during the Jobs interregnum. (best campaign: "What's on your Powerbook")

Spent the first bubble consulting (mostly for clients that ended the century in acquisitions, in chapter 11 or under indictment.) Many of those gigs were with Michael Witlin Associates.

Was creative director at Digeo for development of the Moxi U-I. (we won two Emmy awards so far. Nominated for a third.) Though I have left the company, I contract with them to post on behalf of Moxi under the name MoxiGuy.

I've had an ongoing sideline with Peter Hirshberg doing serio-comic presentations on tech marketing, social media, which we've given at TED, AlwaysOn, The WSJ D-Conference, and the Computer Science Museum. The Long Tail video, inspired by Chris Anderson's book, is one of the artifacts of that collaboration. (Thanks to Robert Scoble for persuading me to post it to YouTube. It's now approaching 400,000 views.)

But enough about me. Let's talk about you. Happiest of New Years to you all. More peace in the world, more love in our lives, and may we grasp all the liquidity events we seek.

Friday, December 29, 2006

Last to Know: New York Times Missed the Memo on Second Life Debunking

Caption in The New York Times this morning:
Millions of people inhabit "Second Life," a Web site that lets participants create a parallel existence made only of pixels — and their imagination
Headline on Valleywag two days ago:
Second Life—A debunking, in five acts
Apparently, the New York Times didn't get the memo and still features the suspect best-case numbers in Louise Story's story on the future of advertising.

Which is it—wave of the future, media naivete, or Second Wha?

Mickeleh's Take: The way I'd like to answer it is to poll all of the folks who have written glowing stories about Second Life and find out how many of them live there. For my part... if I wanted to spend time building an avatar, I'd do it on At least they'll send me the outfit to wear in First Life. (BTW, as of this writing, Second Life is down. But I'm used to that... a couple of week's ago my first life was down in the Seattle storm outage.)

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Thursday, December 28, 2006

John Edwards, The Demo

Edwards insight into high-tech marketing is much deeper than just reaching out to Scoble and popping up on YouTube and Rocketboom. Every candidate this cycle is will be wooing bloggers and throwing campaign videos up onto the net.

Here's the brilliant innovation of the Edwards campaign: he's conducting an open, public, empirical test of his own leadership abilities. He's giving us a demo. That's a high wire act. No net.

The operational definition of a leader is someone with followers. So here's Edwards saying, hey let's get busy and start getting things done now instead of waiting until the election. If people get busy, Edwards is a leader. Kennedy famously challenged the country to, "Ask not what your country can do for you. Ask what you can do for your country." But that was in the inaugural address, not the campaign.

Edwards isn't asking for the order on election day. He's asking for it today. And the ask isn't just, "send me money." It's take action on issues. If people respond, Edwards will have delivered an irrefutable demonstration of his leadership.

Unless, of course, the only actions he proposes are like the first one: "holding your own local 'Citizens' Launch' event."

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More: Memeorandum, Techmeme

Monday, December 25, 2006

Timeline: If All Humans Left Earth... How Long for the Planet to Recover?

I have no idea how good the science behind this is, but it's fascinating even if it's total bullshitake. If all humans suddenly vanished from earth, how long would it take for the planet to obliterate all traces that we were ever here?

Mickeleh's Take: No, the Rapture doesn't count... this timeline kicks in when we all go together. All us us, why not take all of us? BTW: this isn't a Web 2.0 view. There's no mention of when blogging stops or when Google servers shut down. I would expect spam to cease pretty darn quick, but that's doubtful.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Om Malik: Wii Frenzy Bubbles Up

Om Malik says his friends are begging for Wii and adds that over at GigaGamez, Jason McMaster reports Craig's listers are even willing to swap PS3 plus hard cash for a Wii.

Which opens the question: is this just a bit of Christmas frenzy for this year's Tickle Me Elmo...or is it yet another damaging blow against PS3?

Mickeleh's Take: PS3 is not fundamentally innovative. It's just a whizzier version of same ol', same ol' console game play combined with a bet on one of two Hi Def disk formats that most people aren't ready to place just yet.

Wii, on the other hand, introduces a new style of physical game play that promises what all thrill-seekers seek: thrills. PS3 offers more polygons and higher frame rate versus Wii's promise of actual risk of bodily injury and damage to furniture. In this case, the eyes don't have it. The wrists, shoulders, hips, and kneecaps out-vote them. It's Wii all the Waaa.

More on Techmeme.

Friday, December 22, 2006

He's Spartacus And He's 90 And He Has A Message For Gen Y

Missed this one first time around, but picked up a link to it on Jeremy Toeman's blog.

Kirk Douglas issued a 90th birthday message to Gen Y (and all of us): please fix the mess the world is in.
Generation Y, you are on the cusp. You are the group facing many problems: abject poverty, global warming, genocide, AIDS, and suicide bombers to name a few. These problems exist, and the world is silent. We have done very little to solve these problems. Now, we leave it to you. You have to fix it because the situation is intolerable.
Mickeleh's Take: And together we rise and answer in fervent solidarity, "I'm Spartacus." Oh, wait. That means we get crucified.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Viral Marketing: Bass-o-Matic meets Will it Float

This idea has been floating out there since Dan Aykroyd first whipped up a fish smoothie for Laraine Newman on SNL in 1976. Combine a dash of Letterman's "Will it Float" segment, and you have the perfect torture-test demo-challenge for a powerful blender.

Will it Blend? throws various objects (Hockey Pucks, iPod, Thanksgiving Dinner, Golf Balls, and more.) into the BlendTec Total Blender for the amusement of the Web audience.

Your Take: Think it will boost sales?

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Top Forty Mag Covers Prove Print is More Visual Than the Web.

Six of the Top Forty Magazine Covers of the Past Forty Years

The American Society of Magazine Editors offer their picks for the top forty covers of the past forty years.

Mickeleh's Take: Funny how the Web, which is a medium of sight, sound, motion, and type relies almost completely on headlines to stop and grab an audience, where magazines can sell through the power of image and design. Look through the top forty and notice how many are image-only and image-mainly. Walking past a newstand, the image will pop more than type. (Current practice is to add a bunch of headlines to help close the sale after the browser has been stopped by the visual)

From the ASME selection here's the big exception:

By contrast, the Web and the blogosphere still rely on mainly type. It's headlines that sell, not images. Images are enhancements. Even after the 2006 explosion of the audio-visual web, podcasts and videos, we still graze headlines. The most powerful and lucrative ad format on the Web is a still the Google ad—a short headline, two lines of copy, and a URL. Sites that attempt to go pure visual and heavy Flash turn out to be tedious and ponderous. (When I see "loading..." I translate it instantly into "leaving...")

Is list-scanning inevitable in the Web world? Is anyone doing a visual browsing experience that you like?

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Saturday, December 02, 2006

Feds Using Cell Phone Microphones To Eavesdrop

Good morning paranoia fans. Remember the old days when the feds had to work really hard to convince someone to agree to "wear a wire"? That was then. Nowadays we all cheerfully carry our own microphones with us everywhere. Every cell phone has one. Turns out that the feds can download software to many of them and then have the ability to turn on the microphone and listen in. In some phones they can even do this if you think the phone is off. The only sure way is to take the battery out--which only disables your own microphone. What about that guy over there? Does he still have his battery in the phone?

Mickeleh's Take: So far what we know is this: the FBI did this in a particular case involving the Genovese crime family. It was endorsed in a memorandum opinion by U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan. But given the Bush doctrine of "warrant schmarrant," don't you expect that anything that can be done, will be done?

More on Techmeme

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