While the technology might not be brand new (see GE’s ‘Plug Into the Smart Grid’ campaign from earlier this year) the December issue of Esquire magazine is bringing Augmented Reality to a much wider audience. All you have to do is look for Robert Downey Jr. sitting on top of a bar-code/crossword puzzle image and the rest you do from home, or take it into an Apple store and really impress/weird out people (like that one time I used the ‘remote’ App for my iPhone and started playing videos and songs as people walked by a computer. Sometimes you have to make your own fun while you wait for people).  

According to HuffPo  when you hold up the magazine to a webcam “an on-screen image of the magazine pops to life, letters flying off the cover. Shift and tilt the magazine, and the animation on the screen moves accordingly,” followed by a 3-D version of Robert Downey Jr. joking around about the technology and his involvement.
  If you want to learn more about the magazine industry and how this is a great step Esquire’s parent company, Hearst Corp., is taking then I suggest reading the HuffPo article. Since Andrew Vanacore has already written that article I’m not going to re-hash it.

I’m going to think about practical applications for the technology. Magazine covers are neat and will help sell some copies for sure, but that’s small time. Think bigger, think about how the 3-D image can add to a user experience, a gaming experience. Add a few interactive sensors to a remote, or a person. The Wii just took gaming to the next level, again. Imagine placing yourself into immersive 3-D world’s from the comfort of your living room. The possibilities seem endless for what this technology could do for gaming.

I know I’ll be looking forward to experimenting with it more once the Esquire hits newstands in early November. From last year’s E-ink cover, to the augmented reality edition, Esquire seems to be the only magazine around who is making an effort to make print media current and exciting again. While I can’t predict the future of periodicals I can say as long as innovation exists there will always be some cash in my wallet ready to jump on it.

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I don’t know where this actually originiated, so I’ll link to the place I found it, which in turn seems to link to the image somewhere else.  Nonetheless, I’m re-posting it here, you know, in the spirit of sharing on the internets.

I’ll claim that this is related to the blog in that it’s new, it’s media, and it’s user-generated content created by taking an existing piece of media and transforming it into something new.  And I think it’s hilarious.

You wouldn’t buy our shitty cars.  So we’ll be taking your money anyway.  The Bailout.  Coming this January.  So, so true.

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“The ultimate all-in-one device”

“Where no phone has gone before”

Introducing the Pomegranate NS08 Phone. Utterly brilliant is how I can best describe it. It’s a phone that does absolutely everything that you want it to, and it puts the iPhone to shame.  This upside-down tear-shaped device packs a ton of features into a sleek and thin design:


Pomegranate NS08 Phone

Pomegranate NS08 Phone

Very nice!  But you can do more than just talk on this baby.  It’s also an email device, web browser, camera, music player, world clock, and GPS navigator.  But even more, it’ll project your PowerPoint “decks” on the wall, brew coffee, and for kicks you can use the built-in harmonica for entertainment at your next presentation.


Ok…If you’ve played around on the site by now you’re come to the shocking conclusion that this phone does not exist.  In fact, the whole site is desinged to get you interested, and click to find out the release date…and then BAM redirect you to the site for….Nova Scotia.  

That’s right…

Someday you’ll get everything you want in one device.

Today you can get everything you want in one place.


You just might be surprised with all that Nova Scotia has to offer.  If this brilliant web marketing campaign is any indication of just how sweet Nova Scotia really is…I just might have to make a visit there myself.

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Given that I made the post about mailing STD e-cards to those you’ve had fun with, Google is now displaying localized STD testing ad links in my right-column ad space.  I wonder if that will generate a higher click-through ratio.  I also wonder what their eCPM is and my earnings for clicks on those links.  Are the STD clinics rollin out the big bucks for online ad spend?  We’ll find out!

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This one has me thinking maybe I’ve donated too much to the Obama campaign. ’Senator Barack Obama has become the first presidential candidate in 16 years to buy a half-hour of prime time network television for a campaign infomercial.’ Come Wednesday, Oct. 29, a week before the election, Obama has completed deals with CBS and NBC to show a half-hour program about his candidacy. Fox is on the fence because if there is a game six of the World Series he’d be out of luck, and ABC has yet to finalize a deal but is expected to shortly.

Maybe since I wasn’t alive when television first came out and ‘half-hour commercials were far more common during the early days of television’ that explains why I had no idea JFK did this and Nixon bought two hours of time on election eve in 1968. Then the cost was $400,000. Now it is predicted that each network would have generated around $1 million in commercial revenue for these half-hour time slots so the total bill for the Obama campaign could be easily north of $4 million. Luckily for Obama the networks are forced to keep to the ‘lowest unit cost’ for all political ads as required under federal law (that gets a little complicated but basically politicians get the lowest rate a network has sold for the particular show they are buying). The last time this happened was by billionaire turned politician Ross Perot in 1992.

No word on whether John McCain will also try this same buy, but due to his restrictions in spending from taking federal money he might not have the funds for such a costly maneauver.

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Ever watch a video on YouTube and been inspired to buy the album? Instead of using iTunes to listen to :30s previews of songs do you often find yourself on YouTube listening to the entire thing? What about video game trailers; I know I geeked out when I watched ‘Halo 3′ ads when they first came out. I was watching anything I could with the Master Chief running around and blowing things up. Lucky for you YouTube has the answer to all your purchasing needs.

YouTube Blog

YouTube Blog

This past Tuesday YouTube announced on their blog that they would be ‘taking our first steps to providing YouTube users with this kind of instant gratification, by adding “click-to-buy” links to the watch pages of thousands of YouTube partner videos.” The post goes on to say that the links will be non-obtrusive and placed beneath the video with the rest of the community features that have led to YouTube’s great success. To start they will be ‘embedding iTunes and links on videos from companies like EMI Music, and providing product links to the newly released video game Spore(TM) on videos from Electronic Arts.”

This is naturally just the beginning as the site slowly shifts to become a strong eCommerce platform for the company. When Google purchased YouTube it wasn’t entirely clear what their motivation was. Why spend so much money on a site that was drawing huge traffic numbers, but not as many advertising dollars? Well, I think we’ve found our answer. As this develops further and we see more and more product links attached with videos the site will become half user generated nonsense (as it always has been) and half corporate sponsored commercials. If only MTV had a way to have done this for television 10 years ago.

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NBC/Universal might have shelled out $900mil for exclusive U.S. coverage of the Beijing games but it looks like they might have made their monies worth. The company says they raked in more than $1bil in ad sales for the games. While that $100mil might be what ‘The Dark Knight’ made in its first 12 hours it’s still enough to make almost every aspect of the games a great success.

One failing point however came from online ad revenue which accounted for only $5.75mil of the total. According to NBC the games official website was a “research laboratory” to see how users consumed the product via the internet. It might be clear from their findings that when venturing into the digital world of the internet you need to be as fast as Michael Phelps on the home stretch. I’ve said it time and time again, people view televised events on their computer for one of 3 reasons: #1 They missed the show they wanted or are otherwise unavailable when it airs, #2 They want to re-watch the show, and #3 They want to be the first to see the live event not being showed on their TV for another 12 hours.

Maybe another Direct TV spot would have brought in more cash $.

Maybe another Direct TV spot would have brought in more cash $.

NBC made the decision in many cases to delay many of the events event online. This is a large part as to why Yahoo!, who streamed live events, received 4.7 million unique visitors a day versus 4.3 million for NBC.  That would have more than doubled their total, and probably their revenue.

Those on ‘Avenue Q’might say “the internet is for porn” but it’s more than just that. It’s for having everything you want at the type of your fingertips. If that happens to be porn then fine, but people can watch tv for regularly scheduled programming, you go to the web to search, discover, and find out the latest and greatest.

With this weeks Democratic National Convention the networks are presented with another time zone issue. After last nights opening day it’s clear the broadcast networks just don’t get it. More and more people will turn to cable news and to the internet to receive their content if it means having it live-as-it-happens and not live on the East coast but actually 3 hours past live for the people on the West coast.  As Yahoo! proved during the Olympics, if you want to increase traffic you don’t hold on to the news until it’s more convenient for you. The internet and it’s billions of users wait for nothing.

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Canadian’s often feel overshadowed by American media. I mean, aside from Bryan Adams and Alanis Morissette, Canadian pop stars are fewer and farther between than their American counterparts.

But now Reuters reports that Canadian’s who have been rubbed wrong by the lack of Canadian generated porn, and their boredom with American porn, can anxiously await the launch of the Northern Peaks adult pay-TV channel. It will be “Canada’s first adult video channel offering significant Canadian adult content.” Canadian regulators just approved the channel.

What’s more significant is that while Canadian regulators require 15 percent of content to be Canadian-generated on channels, Norther Peaks is going to have no less than 50 percent of Canadian-generated content. This will likely spur a large number of auditions to star in new channel content–and of course a large collection of “auditions” and “outtakes” for later use on the channel or direct-to-DVD production.

Most interesting is this though:

“Northern Peaks will be restricted to certain types of programming including long-form documentaries, dramatic series, feature films, game shows, mini-series, sitcoms and made-for-TV movies.”

So, let’s just think of this for a few minutes…adult pay channel content in the form of:

  • Long-form documentaries (a. “long-form” hahah b. “documentaries”??)
  • Dramatic series (aka porn with too much dialog)
  • Game shows (what are the prizes??)
  • Mini-series, sitcoms, etc (can we see a new take on “Twin Peaks”??)

Sorry if that was a bit immature, but I couldn’t resist. Here is an interesting hook however: a featured Xtube [NSFW] users amateur hour show. Xtube is a Canadian-based company, so this completely makes sense and would make for great cross promotion.

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ZDNet News ran an article with details of NBC’s upcoming revamp of and the goal of making it an online success, including live Web casts of the events plus archived footage.

The site will launch with an improved video player and other enhancements in time for the start of the 2008 Olympic games.  Over the course of the games, 2200 hours of video footage will be generated and accessible to users through both live and on-demand streams.  That’s good news for fans of various events that don’t get much, if any, television coverage.  Fully 25 sports are expected to be covered online which won’t really be seen on TV.

NBC hopes that the star of the Olympics will be Microsoft’s Silverlight, the web applications framework chosen by the company to power the new site.  It’s been in development for nearly a year now and is currently undergoing a number of UI tweaks.  They will be testing the site with live video during the Olympic trials.  The choice of Silverlight represents a win for the technology Microsoft has put forth to compete with Adobe’s highly popular Flashsuite.  

While choosing to use a Microsoft technology to power the site, NBC chose to go with DoubleClick to power the advertising, as opposed to Atlas platform which Microsoft acquired when it purchased aQuantive.  The Silverlight player will integrate with DoubleClick to display “dynamic ads” to viewers.  I’m assuming this will be your normal targeted ads, but perhaps they’ll be doing something new and amazing.

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Joining the group Disney has announced plans with National CinemEdia’s FirstLook to deliver ads for children’s DVDs to theaters owned by AMC, Cinemark, and Regal. The ads will be part of the ad clusters that run before the previews and only play before G and PG rated films. If these DVD campaigns prove successful we could see a special section of ads saying ‘Coming soon to DVD’ before you even get to the ’Coming Soon to a Theater Near You’ section.

For years theaters have been an untapped resource for captive audiences. Going to the movie you are faced with the dilemma of showing up early to get the good seat only to be forced to watch commercials while listening to American Idol winners sing in between Coke radio spots or sit in the front row. Not only that but as the house lights dim we have been forced to sit through another 7 minutes of commercials before previews start. even states “Feature Presentations Start 10-15 Minutes Following Published Showtimes”.  While I have always considered other movie previews to be part of the theater-going experience, I have become disenchanted by the quantity of recycled ads I must suffer through before the previews even start.

This move might make sense for Disney, and as a shareholder I’m for it, but as a film-goer I’m disgusted by the onslaught of ads I am forced to watching. So, for now I’ll take that 15 minutes to enjoy one more drink before the movie, sit in the front row, and stop complaining.

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