by Mike Masnick
Mon, Jul 11th 2011 8:59am
by Mike Masnick
Fri, May 27th 2011 1:01am
from the captive-audience dept
TV commercials worked because people were a captive audience and had nowhere else to place their attention. Yet, when they have other options for their attention, they tend to take them. In fact, the latest study (sent over by Eric Goldman) shows that DVRs were never really a huge threat in terms of taking people's attention away from ads. Instead, it seems the real threat is that everyone has a smartphone now, and when commercials come on, they turn their attention to their smartphone, check their social network/email/etc.:
It was found that simply turning one's head to ignore video ads had far greater impact than DVR fast-forwarding is assumed to have. Magna Global estimates that 35% of U.S. households have DVRs and 10% of their total TV consumption is time shifted, within which 65% of ads are fast-forwarded, meaning 35% x 10% x 65% = 2% of total TV ad impressions are avoided through fast-forwarding. Our study found that 63% of TV impressions were avoided simply by not paying attention to the screen.To be honest, that 2% number seems crazy low to me, and I wonder how accurate it really is. However, even if it's noticeably higher, it appears that smartphones and other distractions are definitely taking people's attention away. In fact, even when people do fast-forward ads (as we noted in that study years ago) they still seem to see the ads:
When participants did use the DVR to fast-forward TV ads, nearly half of them paid full attention to the screen during that process. Fast-forwarded ads had 12% more attention levels than non-fast-forwarded ads.Though, this study contradicts the other one from a few years ago concerning retention: saying people don't retain quite as much from fast-forwarded ads.
Of course, you can debate the statistics all you want, the basics are pretty obvious: if your method of advertising relies on a captive audience, and that audience is no longer captive, then you're going to have problems. TV execs were wrong to worry about DVRs, because they didn't really take people's attention away from the TV, and had the other side effect of making people watch more TV. However, there may actually be an issue with things like smartphones, because if people don't like what's on the TV (i.e., the ads suck) they now have a much more entertaining option right in their pocket. The captive audience is dead. Of course, that doesn't mean that there's nothing the TV guys can do. They could start making the ads more compelling such that people actually want to watch them, but I guess that probably sounds like "work."
by Mike Masnick
Wed, Apr 20th 2011 9:01pm
from the patent-protectionism dept
With the massive patent thicket on smartphones, leading to a bunch of lawsuits, many are using both the court system and the ITC to try to force the other side to give in and just pay up. However, so far, it appears that the ITC is not playing along. We recently noted that the ITC indicated it was rejecting Nokia's claims that Apple's iPhone violated some of its patents, and now the ITC has indicated that it won't side with Apple in its claims against HTC and Nokia.
In other words: keep your silly patent pissing fight out of the ITC.
If the ITC keeps rejecting these attempts to stifle competition via the patent system, then hopefully companies will stop using this little loophole to get to extra bites of the (proverbial) apple.
by Mike Masnick
Mon, Apr 18th 2011 9:41am
from the hush-now dept
Color uses your iPhone's or Android phone's microphone to detect when people are in the same room. The data on ambient noise is combined with color and lighting information from the camera to figure out who's inside, who's outside, who's in one room, and who's in another, so the app can auto-generate spontaneous temporary social networks of people who are sharing the same experience.Another app discussed is, Shopkick, which gives people rewards for walking into certain stores. While you might think it could accomplish what it needs with GPS, apparently the stores in question have special devices that emit sounds that you can't hear, the microphone on your phone can pick up, thus "confirming" that you really entered the store.
While the reasoning behind these may be benign, my guess is that most people would feel pretty creeped out about apps turning on either the microphone or camera, without explicitly warning the user and making it clear what's going on (or letting them choose to turn on those features directly). Mike Elgan, who wrote the article linked above, notes (obviously) that surreptitiously turning on your microphone can provide marketers with all sorts of useful data (ya think?), so we should expect it to happen more and more often. Of course, all this is making me think that my Android phone needs an app that warns me whenever the microphone is turned on and lets me block it... Anyone writing that app?
by Mike Masnick
Tue, Mar 29th 2011 6:32am
from the well-there-goes-that-idea dept
At the District of Columbia federal courthouse, which is home to the lower courts and the U.S. Court of Appeals, I had to check my cellphone at the door two weeks ago. And in the Los Angeles federal courthouse, I was ordered, by a judge, to turn off the Wi-Fi signal emitted from my HTC Evo in December.It seems like that's going significantly overboard to claim that we should ban all smartphones just because some people might misuse them.
But in San Francisco, the judiciary allows Wi-Fi connected computing inside its courtrooms, from either a cellphone or a computer. Live blogging or tweeting is commonplace there.
That is the status quo with the ongoing Barry Bonds criminal trial in San Francisco. What’s more, the San Francisco federal courthouse even provides free Wi-Fi in many courtrooms.
by Mike Masnick
Fri, Mar 25th 2011 4:20pm
from the regret-pushing-the-button dept
Of course, in true patentland fashion, when a big tech company sues another big tech company for patent infringement, patent nuclear war ensues, as Apple sued back claiming that Nokia infringed on its patents. While the various lawsuits are still ongoing, it appears that Nokia's first shot via the ITC loophole has been a big failure, as the judge has ruled that Apple didn't infringe at all. It's worth noting that many consider the ITC to also have a lower bar, so this might not bode well for Nokia's lawsuit. Of course, Apple's lawsuit against Nokia remains as well... meaning that this little attack on Apple could conceivably end very, very badly for Nokia.
Probably should have focused on innovating, huh?
by Mike Masnick
Thu, Mar 3rd 2011 12:07am
from the say-a-little-prayer dept
In 2007, after the Sidekick had long fallen off the map, and after the initial iPhone had already hit the market, Danger announced plans to IPO, but with financials that were anything but appealing. Microsoft stepped in and bought the company instead, probably more for the (remaining) talent than anything else. A year later, there was a massive server failure, that caused a bunch of people to lose data. It became clear that the platform was really on its last legs.
And, now, finally, T-Mobile is putting it out of its misery and will be shutting off service to its Sidekick servers. If you don't remember (or never knew), the way the Sidekick worked was everything had to go through special Sidekick/Danger servers hosted by your ISP (in some ways similar to the way Blackberries work). So, without those servers, the few remaining Sidekicks become even more useless. Somewhere, buried in a box, I'm pretty sure I still have my original (black and white!) Sidekick. I might just have to put it on my desk as a reminder of how quickly technology changes.
by Mike Masnick
Thu, Jan 20th 2011 3:53pm
from the technology-changing-things dept
For myself and my busking exploits, the iphone is now indespensible. I use mine as a wireless midi controller using an app called TouchOSC. When I arrive in a new city, looking for locations to busk, I make use of a gps enabled map app called MotionX GPS which allows me to download maps of an area before departing home, then drop map points of interest either from research at home, or from recommendations of people I meet in said city. It allows me to arrive in a new place and bike around, finding interesting locations as I go. When I find one that is viable based on the criteria to be covered in the next chapter, I drop a map point and location notes onto the map. This allows me to do recon on many areas of a new place, quickly and efficiently then when I am ready to play, I can focus on playing rather than pitch recon. If one potential pitch is occupied or in some way, undesirable, I can look at my map and go to the next closest potential pitch,without having to go into "recon" mode, which saves a lot of valuable time.He later discusses how it helps as a tool to turn busking performances into venue gigs as well:
One of my favorite functions of such devices is as a portable press kit. I love busking as much as I love playing shows in venues. Many times people who book such venues, will see me on the street and hire me to play. But sometimes I happen upon a place or person and strike up a conversation and said person wants to see what I do. So, I whip out my trusted iphone, which i have preloaded with different types of videos. Some more "jazz" oriented for cafes and jazzier places, some more "dance oriented" for clubs and bars, and some live "street oriented" vids for farmers markets and street fairs. A picture may say 1000 words but a video says it all. The video quality on the iphone is extremely high and the volume is adequate. Very useful and powerful.Of course, he also discusses how it's helpful in connecting with fans, both via social networks and in creating various flashmobs. It also is useful in selling merchandise:
Selling merchandise? With a smartphone you can accept different forms of payment in different currencies. It is now easier than ever to accept credit cards with systems like square and/or you can use paypal, which has grown far beyond a simple method of making payments on E-bay.There's a lot more in there as well, so go read the full post. I think it's quite fascinating how the various tools out there are changing different professions that you didn't think would be impacted by such technology, and this seems to be yet another example.
by Michael Ho
Thu, Jan 6th 2011 5:00pm
from the urls-we-dig-up dept
Fans of Saturn say goodbye to the brand in 2010. How many other car brands would (or will?) be so thoughtfully eulogized? [url] Android-powered car radios could create a nice little app market for commuters. If you can't use your smartphone while driving, Android-powered radios sound like a pretty geeky work-around. [url] Don't flash your headlights to warn other drivers about speed traps. At least, don't do it in the UK. [url] Those "How's My Driving?" bumper stickers are turning to wireless crowdsourcing to find bad drivers. Insurance companies are gonna love this app... if folks really take to ratting on their fellow drivers. [url]
by Mike Masnick
Mon, Dec 20th 2010 8:27am
from the we're-getting-there dept
And, if you think about it, this is pretty damn exciting. I remember when I was a kid, the idea of being able to make movies was a really cool idea but it involved saving up a ton of money to buy an expensive video camera or hoping that you could find some friends whose parents had a video camera (which they never really wanted us kids to borrow). But when you get a super high quality video camera included in the phone you already bought anyway... well, suddenly some pretty powerful things can be enabled.
At a time when the movie industry is whining and complaining about how there are supposedly going to be fewer movies made, I'd argue that they haven't paid much attention to how much the tools of film making have been getting ridiculously cheaper over the past couple of decades. And no (before the Hollywood apologists step in and falsely claim this), I'm not saying that just because you can take decent videos on an iPhone, it means that we don't need professionals or higher end cameras and such. This is just to point out the extreme end of the spectrum and to recognize that some of it is definitely filtering back to other parts of film making as well. A professional film shot on a tight budget might actually be able to do a few more things because they can go with cheaper cameras. I've been listening to Kevin Smith's podcasts about his upcoming film Red State, and at one point, they mentioned that in order to fit things in their budget, they ended up borrowing a Red Camera (which is a high quality, but relatively cheap camera) from a guy in exchange for letting him hang out on set. But imagine what more people could do if they could devote less of their budget to things like cameras and make existing budgets go further.