DigiEx

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Archive for May, 2009

The 1980’s – a lot to answer for?

Posted by Lee on May 24, 2009

The 1980’s, a decade of indulgence, bad fashion, big hair, and even bigger shoulder pads.

gecko with mobileAnd it wasn’t just the hair and shoulder pads that were huge. Big egos, big aspirations and a huge hunger for success all combined to make the 80’s the decade of greed. Who can forget the immortal line, “Greed is good”, as used by Gordon Gecko, the stockbroker anti-hero in the movie Wall Street?

In the early 80’s, mobile phones were relatively new, and the size of house bricks. IBM launched the home PC in 1981 and most of us were using MS-DOS until the arrival of Windows in 1985. Mass browsing on the World Wide Web would take another 9 years, when the Mosaic browser was launched.

What’s truly amazing is that many of us remember the  80’s but cannot recall how technology has moved along since then.

So, what has changed in the last 3 decades? Thankfully, the physical dimensions of most things personal – hair, shoulder pads, mobile phones, computers have all reduced dramatically. “Greed is good”, the ethos of the 80’s, isn’t a popular stance in our current times. Conspicuous consumerism is no longer cool and vulgar displays of wealth are tacky. Thrift is the new  black, and although size is everything, now it’s all about down-sizing – cars, homes, jewelery, weddings, mobile devices, laptops and stereo systems are just a few examples. Now, ‘Small is good’, just as long as it performs exceptionally well.rubik cube

Geek toys were also around in the 80’s – and they have their modern equivalents. Check out this Wired article.

However, before we merely write the 80’s off as the ‘bad taste’ decade, remember that it was also the time of the emergence of consumer based mobile and personal computing technologies,  the predecessors of our i-phones, Blackberries and always-on home media centres.

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Posted in Cogitating, Consumer Trends, Economy, Mobile, Society, Technology | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Pixel City – A beautiful digital art project

Posted by Lee on May 18, 2009

This guy is good, really good – and without giving too much away, it took him just 50 hours to create!

His name is Shamus Young, and you can read the step-by-step guide of how he created it at his website.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Posted in Arts, Education, Entertainment, Society | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

The start of our ‘Winter of Discontent’? NZ circa 2009

Posted by Lee on May 18, 2009

Down here in Wellington, it’s cold, wet and windy – the usual conditions heralding the approach of Winter. However, this year it feels a lot chillier. Signs of the ‘R’ word are appearing everywhere – take a walk down the streets and we seem to be in the middle of a perpetual ‘sale season’, with shop windows everywhere yelling out to us with ’50 – 80% off everything in store’ and ‘2 for one offers’ – it all feels a little desperate.

For the moment, the cafes are still doing a roaring trade, but there’s little escape from the fear of  ‘R’ for the patrons of the coffee shops. As they sit there, sipping on their lattes and reading the newspapers, on nearly every page there are tales of economic woe. A couple of months ago, these stories would have been restricted to the business section of the dailies, but now they have spread across to the national news section as the economic woes of the world are no longer just  ‘Where did my investment go?’ or “Damn it, my shares have dropped again”, but now there’s  a torrent of ‘R’ words stories – Recession, Redundancies, and Real Kiwis losing Real jobs in Real communities – and if not mine, then very similar to mine.

Turning up my collar against the wind and the rain,  I decided to pick up a sandwich for lunch and came upon another sight that really added to my gloomy winter feeling. There on Lambton Quay, the ‘retail mile’ of Wellington, the capital of New Zealand, were a group of people handing out leaflets and selling cakes.LWR Cake Bake

Lane Walker Rudkin, the iconic Kiwi clothing manufacturer is closing down and had just announced that 186 workers were being made redundant. Apparently, the workers may see their last wage payments, but there is no guarantee that they will get any redundancy payment or holiday pay. Sure, in times like these redundancies are going to happen, but it seems that yet again, the employer is not doing the right thing by their staff – this is an issue I’ve written about before. Surely as a minimum,  the staff’s outstanding holiday pay is an entitlement – an entitlement the company must have known about when the noose started to tighten.

So, were these ex-workers striking? Hardly, as that would be pretty pointless – no, instead they had set up a cake stall to to help the workers help each other out.

This may not be a big deal in other countries, but in NZ, it’s all quite unusual. However, what’s changed since earlier recessions and industrial unrest is the use of social media. In no time at all, The NDU (National distribution Union) who are acting with these ex-workers, have just launched a Facebook Group, “Bake a cake for Lane Walker Rudkin Workers”

I accept that these are the signs of the times, and maybe this is going to be our winter of discontent, and that’s a reality, just as long as employers continue to try and do the right thing by their employees, even while making the tough decisions.

By the way, if you come across these guys and their cake stand – take a moment to stop, put your hand in your pocket and buy a piece of cake. It’s delicious, and just be thankful that it isn’t you that’s been driven to doing this.

Posted in Cogitating, Consumer Trends, Economy, Social media, Society | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Amazing, I want one of those!

Posted by Lee on May 11, 2009

This has been out for a couple of months now, but it’s just so cool I wanted to put it up on my blog.This is not science fiction, it’s reality and Sixth Sense is one of the projects from MIT Media Lab.

Video of presentation comes courtesy of TED and forms part of their ongoing series of TEDTalks – watch and be amazed, but I don’t think they’re taking orders yet!

Vodpod videos no longer available.

more about “Amazing, I want one of those!“, posted with vodpod

Posted in Conferences, Consumer Trends, Experiential Marketing, Internet, Mobile, Society, Technology, Web tools | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Time for a new economy?

Posted by Lee on May 10, 2009

great-depression-soup-lineI’m no economist and have been waiting to see how the world’s leaders and their band of advisors are looking to fix this broken mess called the global economy.
However, I’ve yet to read anything that looks like an attempt to build a new economic model. Instead, and in desperation, all we keep hearing about is how governments are pumping more and more ‘money’ into the fatally damaged system.
It seems a little like giving numerous blood transfusions to a critically ill patient without first finding out where the patient is bleeding from, nor attempting to stem the flow. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Cogitating, Economy, Politics, Society | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

Update to ‘It’s how we behave in the bad times that defines us’

Posted by Lee on May 10, 2009

Interesting to see that a few days after I wrote my earlier post about ‘when bosses go bad’, today’s Sunday Star Times ran an article in a similar vein.

What’s worrying is that the few unnamed companies whose examples I discussed in my post were quite different to the company and category referred to in today’s news story.

Come on New Zealand, we’re better than this!

Read the Sunday Star Times article here

Posted in Cogitating, Economy, Society | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »

The Twitter Experiment – Bringing Twitter to the Classroom

Posted by Lee on May 9, 2009

This shows how Twitter can play a useful role in the classroom – it allows everyone to have a voice, even those who would normally be too nervous to speak up in public.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Posted in Education, Internet, Mobile, Social media, Society, Web tools | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

It’s how we behave in the bad times that defines us – beware of ‘false-faces’

Posted by Lee on May 7, 2009

sa-two-faceWorking in an agency and speaking at various conferences means that you mingle with a cross-section of business people, and this means you hear a lot. A lot of information and gossip.

As we enter our Southern Hemisphere winter, we are all feeling the chill winds of the global recession down here in NZ, and quite obviously, businesses are now coming to terms with some harsh new realities. The most optimistic amongst us realize that against a background of plummeting sales, companies are faced with some ugly choices around reducing costs. And the ugliest of these is to make employees redundant. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Agency life, Cogitating, Economy, Society | Tagged: | 1 Comment »

New Movies 2009 – District 9 is coming….

Posted by Lee on May 4, 2009

Even though we are in the midst of a crippling recession, all the talk is of 2009 being the year that Hollywood fights back, and with the release of the new StarTrek, Harry Potter etc, they could  be right. It seems that in times of economic recession, people crave escapism from their day to day lives.

However, there’s another movie due to open in August this year – virtually ignored by the mainstream media, but District 9 could become the ‘sleeper’ hit of the year.

I had the good fortune to meet the Director, Neill Blomkamp a couple of years ago when he was down in  NZ working with Peter Jackson and Weta Workshops’ Richard Taylor. He was originally here to direct Halo – the movie.

Neill’s showreel included some awesome gritty ‘reportage / documentary’ style, short sci-fi movies including Alive in Jo’burg and  Tetra Vaal,  and from  the trailer for District 9 above, it looks like the movie will be a real treat (Independence Day Vs Alien Nation perhaps?), but in Blomkamp’s gritty, super-realistic style.

Peter Jackson is the Producer for District 9 and although the Halo project didn’t come off this time around, it seems Neill’s time in NZ was not altogether wasted.

Posted in Entertainment | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

TweetStats – we know what you’re doing, and when!

Posted by Lee on May 4, 2009

For those twitterers out there, there’s a cool little site that tells you how many times you’ve tweeted, and breaks down what day and time of day you’re twittering. This is just the start though, the site mines lots of useful information about your twittering patterns and on one tab displays it as a serious of cool graphs, on another tab it creates a word cloud of your tweets and tells you your top 5 used words!

lptweetstat

However, what makes this really cool is that you can use TweetStats for any twitterer as long as you have his or her user name.

Did I say cool? I guess it could also be used for evil……

Watch out if your employer is small minded enough to have an anti-social media policy at work.  I can already see the news headlines now, “XYZ Limited used TweetStats to prove that employee John Smith was twittering during normal office hours”

Posted in Blogs, Consumer Trends, Internet, Social media, Society, Web tools | Tagged: , , , , , | 1 Comment »