Design, culture and tech’s turn to minimalism

In the mid-20th century, designers turned away from heavy concrete to embrace lighter, more subtle materials. A similar shift is underway in the tech industry right now, as companies are adopting minimalism as a way to overcome the demands posed by small screens and powerful processors.

TypePad Adds Microblogging

Typepad_logoMicroblogging is hot right now. While Twitter dominates the space, Facebook and Tumblr are very much in the game. I recently wrote about the preview of the next-generation TypePad platform, and hot on the heels of this new release, SixApart added microblogging to the service. This is a natural next step, though its entrance into microblogging tools runs the risk of becoming a “me too” entry. You can use a microblog for status updates, and posting links and topics that may not have a place on your main blog.
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Test Drive: All-new TypePad Preview

TypePad_LogoPersonal blogs have innumerable benefits for web workers including establishing expertise on a subject, personal branding, online marketing and general desire for keeping your name up there in Google (s goog) search results. The right hosted blog platform is a time-saver for web workers who may not be design or HTML-savvy.
I’ve been running my personal blog on TypePad since 1993 and the early adopter in me made me make the jump to trying out the new preview version as soon as I got the opportunity. Here are some of my first impressions about the impending update to this fee-based blog publishing platform.
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The Ad J.C. Penney Doesn’t Want You to See

An award-winning ad made for J.C. Penney that the retailer is trying to distance itself from can still be readily found online. The witty but racy ad, apparently made by Epoch Films for ad agency Saatchi & Saatchi in the vein of a recent J.C. Penney ad campaign, but possibly after hours, depicts two teenagers practicing how fast they can put their clothes on, with the implication that they are preparing to have sex.

J.C. Penney has “instructed Saatchi to take any action it can to have the ad removed from the Internet,” according to the Wall Street Journal. So in case that actually starts to happen, here are some places to look to see it for yourself:

You can still find the ad on the Cannes Lions site, as it took bronze in a retail stores division of the advertising festival. A downloadable version is here. Multiple versions on YouTube are here, here, and here, for instance.

Saatchi’s official statement, from the comments:

“Saatchi & Saatchi has a long history of producing principled and respectful advertising for JCPenney and its entire client roster. The Speed Dressing TV commercial, which was submitted to the 2008 International Advertising Festival at Cannes, was created by a third party vendor without JCPenney’s knowledge or consent. It was produced and released to the public without any knowledge or prior approval from JCPenney. Saatchi & Saatchi did not enter the spot and deeply regrets the message this ad presents. Saatchi & Saatchi apologizes to JCPenney, its associates and its customers. The commercial is being removed from public circulation.”

Zemanta Adds Reblog and Other Features

Zemanta LinksA month ago, I reviewed Zemanta, the blogging extensions service company that provides contextual images, links, latest articles or blog posts and tags to your blog posts. I was a little harsh on the somewhat lack of relevant images and sometimes even irrelevant links that Zemanta offered up to me in their feature bar that appeared neatly embedded in my Typepad and Blogger publishing tools. I think my exact words were “all hell broke loose.”

Since then, I’ve still not incorporated Zemanta suggested items into this WWD blog but have used them more and more often on some of my other blogs, particularly my personal blogs where I have less stringent writers guidelines to follow and anything goes because they’re mine. Now Zemanta has added a few more features that have caught my attention.

Zemanta says their tools can help increase traffic to your blog because of:

1. better annotation of posts, links, images with actual crawlers for Google and Yahoo can rate the post higher and glean more context from your post; and

2. placement of links to related posts across blogosphere helps get more track back for the post which can also increase traffic. Read More about Zemanta Adds Reblog and Other Features

Will CES be spoiled by a rotten Apple?

IphonehomescreenbookmarkI’m boarding my plane for CES in a few short minutes, but can’t get one particular thought out of my mind. Last year, Apple completely deflated the CES balloon with the iPhone announcement at the same time as the show. Those in attendence at CES will likely attest: it was as if the Earth stopped spinning for a few minutes at CES and the show was definitely in the shadows as opposed to the forefront.

In 2008, MacWorld is a week after CES, but I still suspect a masterful PR move from Apple this week. Nope, I don’t expect any new hardware announcements as those will be reserved for next week. I said it before, but want to go on record now: I think Apple will provide a killer upgrade to the iPhone this week if at all possible. We’ve already seen a build of the iPhone firmware 1.1.3, but I wonder if we’ve seen all of the features in the final version. I could be way off base here, but that’s my guess… folks buzzing about new iPhone software with at least "one more thing" in it that we’re not yet aware of. Full support for Microsoft Exchange perhaps? Could we see some off-the-cuff comparsion to MIDs with Apple suggesting "hey, that’s nothing new… we’ve had a MID out for quite some time..." Thoughts?

Master Viral Video Advertising in 3 Easy Steps

What if I told you that you could get the word out about your company for cheap? What if I told you that you could not just get the word out, but really make a splash? Call now and we’ll throw in free shipping!
I moderated a panel at Streaming Media West in San Jose, Calif., this week that featured three small companies who’d employed online video as an experimental, non-conventional form of advertising. Some of their spots went viral, some of them didn’t — but what did they learn?
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Cross platform RC and screen sharing: Yuuguu

YuuguuEver needed to share a screen or provide remote assistance? Want to remote control a home machine while you’re away? There’s quite a few apps that let you perform these tasks, but Yuuguu caught my eye after Amit highlighted it this morning. How come? It works across platforms, so you can remote or share a Windows and a Mac client; that’s pretty slick.

Yuuguu is a free beta download and appears fairly simple to set up; the app is advertised as ‘firewall friendly’, but I’ll put it through the paces with OneCare, which tends to be pretty tenacious and over-zealous. Yuuguu looks to be a nice collaborative tool with a text chat feature as well as a history log for folks that never seem to recall what they said at a meeting.