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Monthly Archives: July 2005

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"Napkin Sketch" Nokia ad, originally uploaded by blackbeltjones.

Pleasantly surprised by these new adverts of ours.

Gone are the cheesy grinning yoof models gleefully living the ‘mobile lifestyle’, and instead we have a languidly expressive line sketching the form of the new phone.

It’s the archetypal ‘back of the envelope’ sketch that captures the essence of the design, communicates it to another with casual power.

I like that the ad is not covered with ‘features’, ‘benefits’, acronyms or tech specs either. It’s confident enough to say the clear, simple design of this object will sell it to you, or not.

The fact that this can now be the primary image in the advert also shows the iconic status of the clamshell as the shape of mobile telephony in the popular mind.

Which is going to be an interesting challenge for all the mobile device manufacturers when they want to innovate beyond that – not just Nokia.


p.s. I hate those pompous “disclosure” lines that people use when writing about companies they work for, but as you may know, I work for Nokia, and usually I hate their adverts, so was prompted to write this, the views here stated may not be those of my employers, yadda, yadda.

A nice thought from Will Davies:

“…once one is reduced back to fivers and coins, the city feels very different all over again. One moves from a post-pay to a pre-pay world, in which anonymity is won at the expense of convenience, something the government is convinced ‘the public’ don’t want (William Heath has queried this repeatedly). It is a pain in the arse in many respects, but you do also get that bizarre, slightly retro feeling of being able to wander off into a crowd and be anyone you want, like the first time you go to the shops on your own to spend your pocket money. The flaneur, for instance, would surely have to use real pounds and pence (alright, francs and centimes) rather than an Oyster card or Visa. There is something rather wonderful about cash, in that if money talks, then nothing else has to.

Privacy arguments too often revolve around Big Brother vs libertarians, with extreme examples being bandied around by both sides. The ethical experience of privacy – or disconnection from the network – is that of a different type of freedom from the one being offered by the network. It’s the freedom to embrace contingency and inconvenience, rather than the freedom to get what you want. I propose a ‘Leave Your Wallet and Mobile Phone at Home Day’, in which once a year, individuals hit the streets with nothing other than twenty quids worth of low-tech, Victorian cash. Then see what happens.”

I’ve done this a couple of times myself, both intentionally and unintentionally. It makes for a different flow of time, and thoughts than you have when instantly connectable to your bank account or your friends.

Further thoughts on the art of disconnecting from Rajat at Rootburn.

Found by Simon Roberts, this FT article on the futility of trend-watching:

The future is unknowable because it depends on people and because people reflect, have will, make mistakes, co-operate and change their minds and ways. The past turns into one of many possible futures through human agency. The way to understand what is happening in the world is not to draw trajectories on paper but to ask what people are thinking and doing in their own lives and collective endeavours.

I think is what most teams that think about ‘futures’ for a living do, however. The outputs of processes such as scenario planning explicitly create ‘many possible futures’ as navigational aids, not pre-plotted courses to be slavishly followed.

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If this is what you get when you search for London.

I love that there are places called “Sublimity City” and “Deer Lick” neighbouring the great metropolis.

A partial list:

  • An understandable guide to the intricacies of aliasadm
  • A ‘delete all from spam folder’ button in gmail
  • the phone number of the gmail product manager to:
    (a) ask for a ‘delete all from spam folder’ button in gmail
    (b) ask them to delete all 380849 spam emails from my spam folder for me so I don’t have to do it 100 at a time, and sidestepping the resulting 7616 clicks necessary to do so

I’ve mailed gmail support already, before you ask.

Argh.

Hard to beat

It’s taken a while this year for there to be a ‘sound of the summer’, but for me it’s got to be Hard-Fi’s “Hard to Beat”: poppy, danceable, tough, rough and sweet – with an obligatory reference to ‘rocking the city‘:

Can you feel it?
Rocking the city,
Ah yeah,
Straight out of nowhere-ness,
Like a fist,
Can’t resist you, oh no

Winner.

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