Tuesday, June 22

Ensucklopedia Culture &mdash just in time for Christmas!

Improper english is fun. In fact improper english is an ever growing trend among blogs and internet culture. Not a day goes buy that someone doesn't put up another web site or another blog dedicated in some small way to the deteriorating the english language, and I for one absolutely love it. I'm dedicating this post to those who bastardize the english language. You make the intarweb great!

It is no mistake that when view the Amazon page for Explodingdog.com's new book, Amazing Rain you are lead to related purchases such as Suicidegirls and The Self-Destruction Handbook. In fact Sam Brown of ExplodingDog.com created the cover for The Self-Destruction Handbook. However, what interests me is the related purchase Mtv's Beavis and Butthead's Ensucklopedia. You see, the Ensuckclopedia is all about the bastardization of the english language for fun, profit and self effacement as is Explodingdog.com. Which brings me to my point. Bad english is awesome

previous post on Exploding.com

Be sure to check out the Engrish.com weblog to keep up on how the Japanese are using bad English ...because bad english is fun.

Explodingdog.com — my new favorite blog of the moment

Oh blog, you are great. Like the blues, good blues, blues music, you make me smile when I am down. You remind me what is important:You may not know that you are a blog, but you are a blog, and because you are such a great blog, even though you know not that you are a blog, I nominate thee for my highest blog honor, blog of all blogs, I nominate thee, thee are now a candidate.

OFFICIAL NOMINEE: My McBlog Trendz Blog of the Year
  • my fav emo-blog
  • first evah emo-blog
  • artness that uses a firm grasp of the engrish language, speling and stuff to exspress themselves
Not only can you buy tshirts and stuff, but it's soon to be a book! Here's a good self congratulatory quote from the press release (PDF format)
Amazing Rain... The first trade book by the popular online star Sam Brown of www.explodingdog.com

Wednesday, June 16

Killer Library, a review of the new Seattle Library

CENSometimes design kills. Link

Good experience design — the solution for the music industry and the future of business.

From news.independent.co.uk
Mr Jobs said that pirated music was hard to find in an easily accessible form. "It takes about 15 minutes to find the right song and get a good working copy on the pirate networks," he said. "And what's more, it's stealing." The iTunes Music Store, which is accessed through the company's iTunes software, on Windows or Apple computers, offered fast, legal downloads. "And it's not stealing, it's good karma," he added.
The biggest industry in the US is the service industry. The service industry is the quickest growing industry in the US and has been for years. We're not just talking about bartenders and waitresses. Whether it be phone support, sales, websites, offices or showroom floors, service is at the core of every industry.

As the US market matures the service industry will only become more important. As an example I cite the most mature economies in the world, the economies of the European nations. Take the the Netherlands for example, Services account for 69.7% of the Netherlands gross domestic product and 73% of the labor force (1998 est.). The US started out exporting it's physical resources, just like China and most developing nations start out. However an economy based on the creation, sale and export of physical goods is unsustainable. It's only logical for our service industry to to take an ever increasing precedence. That's is to say it's only logical that the biggest industry be serving one another.
The U.S. economy has changed in other ways as well. The population and the labor force have shifted dramatically away from farms to cities, from fields to factories, and, above all, to service industries. In today's economy, the providers of personal and public services far outnumber producers of agricultural and manufactured goods
— from wikipedia.org
What is service all about? It's about creating a good experience. People don't pay $5 for coffee at Starbucks because the coffee is "just that good". People pay $5 for coffee at Starbucks because in addition to good coffee Starbucks offers a great experience. What is this great experience Starbucks offers? In their own words they want to be the "third place". If the home is the place we spend the most time and work is the second place then Starbucks wants to be the third, an "extension of your living room".

So, the number one coffee joint in the US doesn't even think of it self as a coffee place they think of themselves as an "extension of your living room". While experience is so prevalent to them, I still incredibly find that most businesses don't get the concept of experience. They have broken websites, broken call support centers, broken sales experiences, broken client interfaces, and generally broken communicative processes. They're cellular carriers that thought it would be a good idea to charge clients $3 for calling support. They're banks who thought it would be a good idea to charge $3 for talking to a teller in person. They are corporations with poor phone support and poor website who depend on them or expect to much of them. They are record labels whom did not identify opportunities to create better music experiences and when those opportunities are currently staring them right in the face still refuse to invest in alternatives to illegitimate file-sharing.

So, if the number one coffee joint knows that people pay for the atmosphere just as well as the coffee, then you would think the record labels would understand that music is about more than just selling little plastic disks. Somewhere along the line record labels lost track of what really matters, and what really matters is that the music is fundamentally all about experience.

Experience is about attending a concert, watching a music video, band posters on the wall, flipping through the vinyl, mixing tapes and sharing the experience with friends. Experience is about the joy of being able to find and listen to the perfect track on your iPod while waiting on the platform for a elevated train on a sunny workday afternoon in downtown Chicago. Steve jobs is betting that the experience people want is to be able to buy their music in digital form through a computer based interface and take it with them anywhere.

Music is an experience unto itself, it enhances our everyday experiences and it can be experienced at infinite times and in infinite ways. Freeing music from plastic disks has opened an infinite amount of possibilities for experience. Yes, some may be bad, but the majority are great, and perhaps if the music labels accepted the permanent reality of file-sharing and invested at least some energy into improving or providing basic legitimate digital music experiences then perhaps they might find that it's not really as hard as they thought to "compete with free" because what they are calling "free music" is not really so free at all.

If Starbucks can can create a dynasty out of competing with "free coffee" in the workplace, then a bunch of idiot music moguls should be able to make billions more than they're making now competing with "free music", and in so doing will reduce the demand for illegal trade.

Experience is all of the above and as Steve Jobs points out it is about the buying experience as well. Some like to flip through music in a Target, some like to flip through their music in a local resale shop and some like to find their favorite tracks on the file-sharing networks. What Apple is betting on is that some like to buy music through a computer based interface in the privacy of their own home or business, and what I'm saying and has been said to the tune of $85 million dollars is, he is right. Apple's $85 million in revenue represent nearly 2 percent of the entire US record market.

So why is Apple the only one providing a successful music experience? Apple has always been focused on ease-of-use, usability and continuity of the "digital lifestyle". It is so readily apparent in the marketing efforts for the "digital hub" and the "Apple iLife". If the top coffee shop in the nation can succeed by focusing on creating an experience good enough to become the "third place" then it is only logical that a corporation focused on the experience of a "digital lifestyle" would be the first one to correctly identify and provide a successful solution for the digital music experience.

Apple might still be the only company that's capable of building a continuous and complete music experience for some time till the top five record labels get off their fat and lazy asses and invest some R&D money into building new and improved music experiences. They'd also better do it soon because I don't think Apple's solution is ever going to scale to meet demand. Why? Apple's has crippled the music store by making it so you have to own an iPod in order to listen to their music on the go. Crippling their market share is a fundamentally short sited (but lucrative) move on Apple's part, but it's unlikely they'll change it until they have some serious competition. Apple's never been shy of thumbing it's nose at the masses and the music industry by being as exclusive as possible.

The future of all business is about good services and experiences. The future of business is all about humane interfaces and life style support systems.

Fun? There are hundreds of documented cases of failed experiences chronicled at thisisbroken.com.

Independent musicians and labels boycott Apple's European Music Store

The most interesting news about Apple's European Music Store is that some independent bands and music labels have launched a boycott claiming Apple's licensing terms are unfair.
...the best-known independent artists and labels, such as So Solid Crew, Badly Drawn Boy and Craig David, have mounted a boycott. Basement Jaxx, the White Stripes and Franz Ferdinand will also be missing from the online store.

The labels said that the licensing terms gave Apple too much power to raise prices in the future without recompense.

The move is a blow to Apple because independent artists account for about a quarter of music sales in Britain.

A spokesman for the record label trade body the Association of Independent Music said that Apple was trying to impose unfair terms on small labels. Sources said the company was paying the big record labels far more than the independent labels.
UK Independant

Also, from the BBC Row over iTunes deal for indies
Russell Cook, label manager of another UK download service, Wippit, said independent music enjoyed a unique status in the UK.

"The UK and European markets are very different from the US. More than 25% of music sold here is independent.

"In essence, the UK has six major labels, not five and the indie segment is one of the biggest."

Mark Mulligan, a media analyst for Jupiter Research, said the lack of big independent music on iTunes was not a "body blow" for the service.

But he added: "It is unfortunate not to have strong independent music on board, especially in countries like France and Germany where domestic repertoire is so crucial.

"It's a problem that will need to be addressed by Apple."

iTunes Europe "hots up the net battle"

1-outsideSongs will be 79p, the equivalent to $1.20 US. Alicia Keys showed up for the launch. Most interestingly Apple is up to 85 million songs sold in the US, which accounts for about 2% of total US music sales.

Overall good reviews.
Chorus of approval as iTunes goes online in UK

I personally like this title:
Net battle hots up with iTunes launch

The UK Telegraph still thinks it's a "Music Revolution"
Musical revolution launched at 79p a song

There's also a boycott by some independent musicians and labels, but I think that's another post.

Tuesday, June 15

Blogger.com is broken

The entire post:
Over the past few days, we've been working through a problem whereby the site will occasionally appear slow and unresponsive.

In order to improve the situation, we've had to temporarily disable the editing of profiles including the ability to change passwords. This is only a short-term measure as we work on the underlying issue.
Given that Google has been known for their excellent attention to usability and the fact that so many of their customers are designers like myself who are crazy about usability I find it absolutely hysterical that there are NO, NONE, ZIP error messages or notifications on the blogger.com home page or on the offending "edit profile" page.

I had to search and search and search before discovering this single post on status.blogger.com. Fun! Fun, kiddies.

Monday, June 14

In memory of Ronald Reagan

Fare thee well fine sir.

We salute you.

You're cheerful and pleasant demeanor will be missed.

iTunes goes to Europe tomorrow!


Apple is set to launch the European version of the Apple Music Store tomorrow. I'll be tuned in to news.google.com, technorati, bloglines and daypop tomorrow in anticipation of the launch.

Wednesday, June 9

New Advertising - Moving picture ads for subway walls

A Tokyo business has developed a simple technology based on an 1830's toy the zoetrope to turn still frames placed along subway walls into motion graphics.

It's hard to imagine, but if there was any place where I wouldn't mind seeing an advertisement it would likely be covering a subway tunnel wall.

I can already imagine these on the subway walls in Chicago. It might actually improve the experience, but I guess the cost might be a little prohibitive.


The residual costs of an oil dependent nation

Shipping costs are becoming a real problem as oil production and demand grows higher.

Rising tanker costs have created greater volatility in shipping cost then the cost of the oil itself. The per barrel shipping price may rise from $2 a barrel to as much as $3 in the coming months.


Saturday, June 5

CarbWire - Low carb news

My new favorite blog. What better way to keep up on the low carb revolution. It makes me laugh and laugh and laugh. We're a better world for the diet fads. I feel healthier and less stressful just reading about it.

Lemony Snicket's A Series Of Unfortunate Events

That's a cool trailer.