23 July, 2006

QR codes on buildings and in fields


Those that know me well, know that I am big fan of QR codes and how they can enable the mobile internet.

Scenario: a camera-phone takes a photo of the 2D bar code (as above) and the phone decodes it and launches a browser at the web page that is encoded in the bar code. (Very big in Japan.) Mobile discovery made easy, n'est-ce pas?

Anyway this article, claims that the largest QR code ever created is 10 metre square one that was projected onto a building in Ginza, Roppongi Hills and Shinjuku (ie Central Tokyo) for Northwest Airlines.

This got me thinking about large QR Codes.
  • A QR code created by selectively turning on and off the lights in a building to create the code (An organisational nightmare, I admit!).
  • A QR code made by ploughing a field. (Similar to crop circles and ploughing pictures).
Any others, people?? Cars or humans in a car park?

Gizmo & Jajah offer free international calls


At the end of June, Jajah started to offer free calls to users in United States, Canada, China, Hong Kong, Singapore and Taiwan. (Jaja sets up the call using landlines or mobiles - no need to download an application). The only catch to this seemingly very generous offer is that both caller and receiver have to be registered to use Jajah.

Now Gizmo Project is offering free calls to 60 countries now. (Catch: both caller and receiver have to have downloaded Gizmo, but you can call your contact on their landline or mobile.)

Doesn't it remind you of the 'landgrab' of the late 90s? It's a race to the bottom of the barrel that can easily end in tears.

17 July, 2006

Poor usability and lack of service pre-configuration results in dismal mobile experience

Poor usability, mis-selling and lack of service pre-configuration are blamed for the UK mobile industry wasting millions of pounds on ‘No Fault Found’ returns of mobile devices - 63% of mobile devices returned as faulty are in perfect working order.

With each device returned costing operators, manufacturers and retailers in the order of £35, the overall bill to the UK mobile industry is approximately £54 million in wasted expense.
According to a report from WDSGlobal.

.... never mind the lost revenue opportunity, the increased difficulty of reselling to a mobile user who has had a poor experience.

Conclusion: You gotta get it right - particularly on a mobile.

13 July, 2006

Yahoo-Messenger IM interconnect

Yep, it has finally happened (apparently). MS Messenger users can now IM Yahoo users at last. Just like when SMS interconnect happened, we can anticipate an upsurge in usage. Bad news for stalwarts like Trillian and my favourite, GAIM, who provided IM interconnects.

I say apparently because you simply log into the Live website, agree to the terms and then log into Messenger. Except that Messenger server is down.....

10 July, 2006

Tribe to be bought by NBC???


Apparently it has got as far as a letter of intent, according to this article.

In comparison to the spectacular MySpace price tag, this looks dirt cheap - the end of the road for sky-high SNS valuations?? Particularly so, if you recall that Tribe raised $3m in February. Perhaps not. Apparently, the community / number of users isn't worth much, but the platform is.

Facebook might be ruing that rumoured offer of $750m.

09 July, 2006

Sport 'n' Skype


Above is a plot of the number of SkypeOut calls from Brazil, during Brazil's match with Croatia on 13th June.

I wonder if the same effect will occur this weekend with Mauresmo winning the Ladies' Singles at Wimbledon yesterday and the French team playing in the World Cup this evening? What do you reckon?

08 July, 2006

Friendster is granted a patent on social networking


Red Herring reports that Friendster has been granted a patent concerning entering a personal description and relationships to other users, mapping relationships and degrees of separation and connecting to others through these friends.

To be precise:
The Friendster patent’s main claim applies to networks that limit relationships to a certain number of degrees of separation - for example, you cannot connect to someone who doesn’t know someone who knows someone you know.
Interestingly, the article makes mention of other patents:
Six Degrees of Separation, another failed social networking startup, had obtained a patent on social networking technology in 2001. It was bought at auction in 2003 by the founders of LinkedIn and Tribe.net.
Note also that ol' Friendster, despite being too successful for its own good, resulting in dismal server performance, IS actually making money from ad sales in US and SMS in Asia (users pay to recieve alerts when users update their profile). 

07 July, 2006

Google AdWords like Product Placement in grocery stores

I went to a Cambridge Usability Event on Monday night: Nick Lansley made an interesting presentation about enabling partially sighted people to use Tesco.com more effectively.

In the chatting afterwards, I was struck by the similarity between Google Adwords (and paying for your position on your ad specifically) to product placements in grocery stores, whereby the washing powder manufacturer pays a premium to the retailer to place his product at chest height, rather than at ankle level (where the own brands are).

So it ain't all that new. As Sherlock Holmes said, "Everything comes in circles - even Professor Moriarty. . . It's all been done before, and will be again."

Best business networking site for Europeans is OpenBC


According to alarm:clock

05 July, 2006

New LinkedIn Outlook Toolbar - looking more like Plaxo

 LinkedIn Outlook Toolbar
LinkedIn has a new Outlook Toolbar 2.0 (came out in March apparently - don't know how I missed it) which has:
LinkedIn is looking more and more like a replacement for Plaxo.

Interestingly enough, the LinkedIn and Plaxo toolbars are slightly incompatible and they are apparently 'working together' on the issue.

02 July, 2006

Mozes raises $750k for MiContacts idea


Mozes, a Palo Alto start-up, has raised $750k for "old-school" MiContacts (for those that remember!):

From SiliconBeat:
You can create an account at Mozes and choose a code (we'd select MattMarshall, for example). Others can then message Mozes with your code, and you can respond with a virtual business card or other information.


Looks like the US is about 4 years behind on SMS keyword.