December 31, 2008

Sydney New Years Eve 2008

Looks like it's gonna be a thriller!

Listening to some of the interviews over the week on 2UE, confirms this years Sydney Fireworks will definitely be some spectacle! Click the 2UE logo to listen...

December 11, 2008

Jizzed in my pants

The best thing since Dick in a Box.. oh.. actually.
Anyway - the vid! Spot Justin Timberlake (again!)

November 19, 2008

The Motrin Ad

Okay, there is a storm in a teacup over this American ad. I simply put it down to flakey execution.

Motrin - a company owned by Johnson & Johnson that produces pain relief pills, has just pulled this ad after too many Mothers and Fathers complained about it.

Take a look.

Did you spot the offense? If not, I really suggest you watch it again.

So after a second time, can you see where the problem lies?
You can "see what they're doing" right? You can understand who they are targeting right?
So what's missing?

Better execution.

Their agency broke the golden rule: Keep it simple. They clogged us with all this rhetoric and fluff about nothing. Look at your target audience for this campaign: "Mothers". They need coherent information quickly to make decisive choices. Tell 'em it will reduce your pain, and they will buy it in droves. DO NOT talk about their image - they're already super conscious and senstitive about being a new mother. And do not blab on about nothing. If there's anything I've learnt from writing scripts for female audiences - get to the point, and fast.

The Vice President of Marketing posted this on their website shortly after the complaints came in:
With regard to the recent Motrin advertisement, we have heard you.

On behalf of McNeil Consumer Healthcare and all of us who work on the Motrin Brand, please accept our sincere apology.

We have heard your complaints about the ad that was featured on our website. We are parents ourselves and take feedback from moms very seriously.

We are in the process of removing this ad from all media. It will, unfortunately, take a bit of time to remove it from our magazine advertising, as it is on newsstands and in distribution.

Thank you for your feedback. Its very important to us.

Kathy Widmer
Vice President of Marketing
McNeil Consumer Healthcare
And before you send me your thoughts - watch the following video to get some perspective.

If you are still truly offended - send your feedback HERE. If you have any other thoughts on this campaign, I'd love to hear about it.

November 13, 2008

Gmail gets better, bit by bit

Over the years of using Gmail, I've particuarly like their approach to introducing new technologies - that being, getting it right before jumping the gun.

Video chat has been around for a while now - I'm an avid user of Skype. Google introduced their chat and video application (Google Talk) as a standalone application a few years ago - but i was already going good on Skype, so there's been no need to change.

So today I get a notification that Gmail has introduced video chat. The timing is great. I've gotten used to the built-in Gmail instant chat box, which I frequently use to quickly chat to a friend or family member. They've simply extended on this, by adding video.

The quality is exceptional, audio fair and the ability to full screen the video puts it on par with Skype, and moreso brings forth the reality to anyone who has not yet been introduced to phone or video calling using the internet... that THE FUTURE is HERE!

So will I shift my video/audio chat needs to Gmail? Still the answer is no. I personally like Skypes standalone app, although I might give the standalone Google Talk another go... one day.

Here's the video from Serge at Google:

November 6, 2008

October 29, 2008

This really works!

Send this picture to everyone you know. It worked for me!

September 27, 2008

Floriade 2008

We just spent the day at Floriade here in Canberra. Just gorgeous!

Here's a handful of pics:
(click to view larger size)

September 25, 2008

Motown 50

Motown Records are celebrating 50 years by putting their library to the vote!

You can decide the fifty favourite Motown tracks that will be compiled on a special release coming out on December 1st to mark Motown's 50th Anniversary.

If you're a bit rusty, the official voting website has all the listings to choose from, audition online, and you can put your favourites in order. There's also another official Motown 50 website which gives you a bit more of the classic Motown feel. I particuarly liked the downloads section where I now have a classic picture of Stevie Wonder in front of his piano from 1967, as my PC wallpaper.

What seemed like an impossible task, here's my Top 5 Motown tracks:
  1. MARVIN GAYE - Mercy Mercy Me (The Ecology)
  2. EDWIN STARR - Twenty Five Miles
  3. TEMPTATIONS - Papa Was A Rollin' Stone
  4. DIANA ROSS - Ain't No Mountain High Enough
  5. ISLEY BROTHERS - This Old Heart Of Mine

September 24, 2008

Don't ask for help on the internet

Upon seeing this and having a laugh at it, the fact remains: one little slipup like this and the potential for exploitation can quickly get out of control.

This guy (the kid in the pic below) asked in a forum for someone's help to clean up this picture so he could frame it for his Dad's birthday.

It's a fairly large pic, and you'll need to scroll.

Preview:Full Link:

September 8, 2008

New radio stations coming your way

As a result of the May 2008 radio frequency auction, there are a bunch of new and independent radio stations coming to a NZ city near you.

Here's the release - for which I've added the local frequencies and links for you to check.

Location Station Name / Frequency
Auckland Big Radio (106.2fm)
Christchurch Pulzar Broadcasting Company Limited (105.7fm)
Dunedin (104.6fm)
Hawkes Bay Kidnappers Country Rock (100.7fm)
Invercargill (105.2fm)
Kapiti Beach FM (106.3fm)
Nelson (105.6fm)
Rotorua (100.7fm)
Taranaki The Most FM (100.4fm)
Taranaki (105.2fm)
Taupo (106.4fm)
Tauranga (105.4fm)
Timaru Blue FM (100.3fm)
Wanganui (105.6fm)
Wellington FM 105.3 (105.3fm)

One More Gig!

Blogs n Roses recently pointed me to ThisDayInMusic where they indulged a music junkie's wet dream, with this question:

Which dead rock star would you bring back to life for one more gig?

Here's the conclusion to the poll:
(I've also included the band they were from - for noobz)
  1. John Bonham (Led Zeppelin)
  2. Freddie Mercury (Queen)
  3. Elvis Presley
  4. John Lennon
  5. Jimi Hendrix
  6. Kurt Cobain (Nirvana)
  7. Bob Marley
  8. Jim Morrison (The Doors)
  9. Johnny Cash
  10. Jeff Buckley
  11. Stevie Ray Vaughan
  12. "Dimebag" Darrell Abbott (Pantera)
  13. Frank Zappa
  14. Ian Curtis (Joy Division)
  15. Janis Joplin
  16. Bon Scott (ACDC)
  17. Jerry Garcia (Grateful Dead)
  18. Phil Lynott (Thin Lizzy)
  19. Karen Carpenter (The Carpenters)
  20. Keith Moon (The Who)

Other artists outside of this top 20 included:
  • Joe Strummer (The Clash)
  • Stuart Adamson (Big Country)
  • Steve Clark (Def Leppard)
  • Joey Ramone (The Ramones)
  • Brian Jones (Rolling Stones)
For me personally, I would add:
Isaac Hayes, Barry White, Luther Vandross, Michael Hutchence (INXS) and Jackie Wilson.

Anyone who is dead, you'd want to see live one more time?

September 3, 2008

RIP Don La Fontaine

I was genuinely shocked when I read the news this morning that Don is "no longer in our world"... Don certainly set a very high standard and proved that you didn't need an ego to be brilliant - even if it's poking fun at yourself.

God no longer has the deepest voice in Heaven!

Video Featuring Don (@MagicHugs)

See more funny videos at Funny or Die

August 11, 2008

Johnny Cash: Remixed

Looking forward to the October release of Johnny Cash Remixed...

Sample it now ;)

102.7 Kiis FM ends worldwide streaming

One of the best things about streaming on the internet, is being able to hear radio stations from the other side of the world. Getting an insight into their market, and hearing new things. It's part of the appeal (and to simultaneously hear the same breaking song when you're breaking it here - a great feeling I tell you!)

Clear Channel in their infinite wisdom are now scanning your IP address, and if you're outside of the US - big bouncer guy shows you the door.

Instead I get this: (click to enlarge)

Is this a clear sign that Clear Channel are tightening up (after news they keep selling off "middle market" stations) and focussing on strengthening their major market stations, and dare I guess - re-focussing on LOCAL radio? I'd probably be more accurate rephrasing it to LOCAL dollars.

Their website upon first glance, might not appear to be that of a typical looking "local" station's site, but look around, and you'll see that Kiis have clearly defined what their website should be; a portal for Kiis content, culture and lifestyle.

The music, whether it's FM, streamed, or digital - is treated as a feature component, as is video, and in this case, none of it is available to me - cos I don't matter on this side of the world. Their sales focus and content generation is targeted to their local audience - which is where they will yield the best result for their advertising clients.

It costs them less in international licensing fees as well, which would be one result (see: excuse) of this change in strategy, yet it's interesting to think that with this new "local" strategy for a website in which I can view on the other side of the world, you'd think I SHOULD be blocked entirely from seeing the page altogether?

The reason I can't get the audio stream is because I can't be reached by US business. Think of it like a flashlight. If the market illuminated is the US, then where does the international community come into the picture? Answer is, they don't. Not even Canada.

July 22, 2008

Top 5 Movie Robots


June 16, 2008

Music 2.0 can redefine genres

Familiar with "Radio Edits"?

What about - "ahh, if only that song didn't have a violin (or other instrument), or if (instrument) wasn't so prominent, I might like it better"

Radio Edits

Rappers have had cuss words muted out, specifically for radio play for years - in an aid to play the song without offending those who listening in, or visiting, your store, school, hospital, on-hold system.

Bon Jovi

I've come to the realization that Bon Jovi are a glorified country act. JBJ has the wane in his voice, the acoustic guitar thing going, yet the image is that of hairband.

Well, the chaps who have brought us mp3 (and in the past developed Losono - a new mp3 surround-sound technology) have given YOU, the consumer, final control of the music you listen to - if it flies.

Here's the guts

The new format is called MT9 or appropriately known as Music 2.0. The format (they say) is "set to replace mp3 as the standard" as it contains a different collection of data than its predecessor, and offers something new in terms of a digital music experience. Right now, we currently download, or rip a CD, to mp3 and that is a copy of the final "produced" product. MT9 is something really different.

First, imagine, the artists, engineer, producer, record exec all sitting around in a state of the art studio, putting the finishing touches on their new album. Two weeks later, they're sent off for pressing (and servers upload), then released to the world to consume. Days later, the press are asking about the new sound.. "I hope everyone likes the new sound we're going for in our new album" they boast. "we worked tirelessly and had many arguments [and smoked a lot of something] but this something we're all proud of" usual shit, media buying it, crap.

And the spin
With MT9 - you control what you hear in the track. The audio is split into 6 channels. So the studios provide "grouped" sections of the track, for you to choose how you want to hear it.

Want to remove the vocal track, and hear it full instrumental? Go ahead, piss off the lead singer and fade them right down, even mute it out. Ha! Take that swine. Balk at the latest Bon Jovi track like me? Mute out the violins, and presto! It's a lite rock song.

Music 2.1?

The next stage, I would suspect, is to add the MIDI experience to it, that is being able to change sounds in the song. So musical data could be included which follows along as the track plays, and say, if you have bought a download plugin for your media player like Winamp or whatever, it shows you what sounds are playing, and which ones you can change to suit your taste.

So instead of a live drum set, danceheads might employ an electronic 'sound kit' to replace it on the fly, or you could beef up the latest Yanni cut with electric guitars, instead of a mandolin.

All of a sudden, Yanni could be a hip-hop artist AND speed metal artist. Bon Jovi could be acid jazz?

Now - the burgeoning question. Is this technology a good thing for musicians?

April 3, 2008

Duran Duran: Sydney review

Having never seen these guys play live before (let alone the originals!), I was expecting a repeat performance of the Auckland show, in which I read the review before this show in Sydney. Auckland was apparently a rocky start for their 2008 tour (or the Australiasian Tour), but it looked like they'd sorted things out for this show.

They were great. They were fun and they showed that Duran Duran was a progressive unit - albeit older - still looking forward instead of retrospectively. I'm being generous, as we were sitting in a bad audio pocket in the Sydney Entertainment Centre, and did not experience much from the bass player. I recommend you seat or stand yourself directly in front of the band, if you plan on seeing them to eliminate the sound issue we had. That said, the rest of the audio mix was fairly consistent. Duran Duran featured a lot off the "Rio" album. After opening with cuts from "Red Carpet Massacre", they launched into "Hungry Like The Wolf" - and Simon sang every word.

Duran Duran live in Sydney

Song highlights for me were "Wild Boys" with it's stunning energy, "A View To A Kill" - the audience just erupted into dance!, I particuarly loved the fact they played the rockier remix of "Sunrise", which was actually released as a dance remix. To hear an actual rock-based track through the mostly pop-dance show, was really refreshing and the lighting during this song was spectacular. They also did the same with "White Lines", and showed that they could not only make it rock, but proved to me that Duran Duran are true disposable pop heroes who looked, and sounded great! "Come Undone" was broken down nicely, and was a lot funkier. Actually, I'm going to put this down now.. funk is going to come to revival in pop music soon. I can feel it bubbling under.

Could it get better? Well, the next bit depends on who you talk to. Duran Duran then took a quick break while the techs set up four keyboards at front centre stage. They returned and launched into an electronica medley. They took to their machines as instruments, and belted out live 'rave' remixes of "I Don't Want Your Love", "Skin Trade" and a couple of other unfamiliar but completely progressive and awe-inspiring cuts that left me both bouncing, and very impressed. I'd heard that Auckland didn't "get it" but looking around, Sydney "got it". Perhaps this is where they are taking the next album?

Congrats to Duran Duran for breaking things up - coz they have a lot of hits in the baske, and this was better than just hearing each song one after the other. They finished the show with the encore "Girls On Film", and Simon duly introduced each band member. He also said 'fuck' more than once, and Nick Rhodes impressed by nailing the original samples, with the synth arpeggios to "Save A Prayer" and "Planet Earth". "Falling Down" was just beautiful (again, the lighting was fantastic during this song), but "Ordinary World" fell a bit flat. We sang "Notorious" so Simon didn't, as well as the 'na-na's' on "The Reflex" in which we again exploded into dance!

Simon also took to a front-rower's Australian flag and draped it, waved it, and probably stole it actually. It never went back to the audience (unless the person was invited to the afterparty? nah.) He also mentioned that Duran Duran played the same stage at the Sydney Entertainment Centre, back in 1984. Not 1994, 1984! Holy ground for many that night.

January 22, 2008

The Top 100 Retro Reggae Countdown

Please vote for the most chilled out, unhyped countdown ever! See the poll on the right hand side. Thanks in advance :)

January 15, 2008

Remember Sir Ed

New Zealand is filled with walking tracks. I suggest instead of simply naming a mountain, or proclaiming a national holiday after Sir Ed - although I like these ideas - how about something 'out in the field'?

Near the top/end of a walking track, erect a small sign that nominates the rest of the track is called "the Sir Ed summit walk" or something. It would give a feeling that you are achieving something...

Otherwise we could promote him up to the ten dollar note?

January 11, 2008

The Girls Is Mine 2008

Well, Michael Jackson releases his Thriller 25 in February, complete with "todays hottest producers and artists" on the remixes included. First (and lets hope ONLY) release is The Girl Is Mine 2008 - released worldwide on January 14. (this Monday at time of posting)

Here's the tracklisting for new reissue:

1 "Wanna Be Startin' Somethin'" (Jackson) - 6:03
2 "Baby Be Mine" (Temperton) - 4:20
3 "The Girl Is Mine" (with Paul McCartney) (Jackson) - 3:42
4 "Thriller" (Temperton) - 5:58
5 "Beat It" (Jackson) - 4:18
6 "Billie Jean" (Jackson) - 4:54
7 "Human Nature" (Steve Porcaro and John Bettis) - 4:06
8 "P.Y.T. (Pretty Young Thing)" (James Ingram and Quincy Jones) - 3:59
9 "The Lady in My Life" (Temperton) - 4:59
10 Vincent Price vocal recording (Temperton) - 2:53

11 "The Girl Is Mine 2008" with (Jackson/ - 3:11
12 "P.Y.T. (Pretty Young Thing) 2008" with (Jackson/ - 4:17
13 "Wanna Be Startin' Somethin' 2008" with Akon (Jackson) - 4:11
14 "Beat It 2008" with Fergie (Jackson) - 4:10
15 "Billie Jean 2008" Kanye West mix (Jackson) - 4:34
16 "For All Time" (Jackson) - 4:08

You can listen to a 2 minute sampler of the Michael Jackson remixes here. If you dare.

January 8, 2008


When you need space - absolutely lovely people, lovely weather and a holiday with charm - I could not recommend Akaroa more highly.


We arrived to our hilltop cottage, and enjoyed the excitement of arriving, unpacking and getting to know our surroundings. The view as astonishing. The house is down a shingle road, off the summit road - which is very high and concerning for those who suffer vertigo. Lots of sheep and deer in the paddocks that surrounded us.

Directly below us was Barry's Bay, and Duvauchelle (which I nicknamed Douche-bag-ville coz I had trouble with the pronunciation). Through the binoculars we found at the cottage, you can see Robinsons Bay but not Takamatua. And as for viewing Akaroa - our retreat could only see the lighthouse end of town, which in essence was bait for us to 'just go there'.

We headed down the steep gravel road, onto the main road into Akaroa. Checked the place out. I had not been before, whereas Lara had. Yes, Akaroa was a French settlement in 1840, known then as Port Louis-Philipe - but the English proclaimed British sovereignty over the South Island at Akaroa that same year, and 'long harbour' Akaroa was established.

The french influence still remains today, as I noted the names of shops, and street signs. Rue Lavaud is the main road through Akaroa, and Rue Jolie a parallel street closer to the water. Interestingly, as one moves further through Akaroa, Rue Lavaud becomes the coast road for a bit, then veers off to the left and becomes Rue Jolie. Rue Lavaud just ceases to exist. The French worked in straight lines when designing these streets, and if you were to consider connecting each part of Rue Jolie, the road would run underwater.

We wandered the streets, picked up flyers and admired the small retirement town (which is home to around 600 people - 31% are over 65 years). Despite this, the summer period blows the population to around 7000, and the cafes and restaurants come to life.

Our Activities

Upon visiting the little township, we quickly found the info centre, and everything pointed to us taking a tour on the water and seeing rare Hector Dolphins. ~ side thought - its a bit odd to promote the rarity of it, when there are chartered tours that visit them everyday!? ~

We decided not to take the tour - in order to give us something to do next time we visit Akaroa. Instead we opted to drive and cycle around the township, checking out some of the walkways up the back of Akaroa. Some of these are quite steep, but worth the effort. We had lunch and a lovely Monteith's Beer at one of the waterfront bars afterward.

We also took the time to drive around the Summit Road, and visit some of the greater Banks Peninsula beaches, starting with Little Akaloa. It was quite tucked away and looked like a perfect place to take the family - especially if you really want a quiet, secluded and fairly rugged retreat.

Further around, we found Okains Bay, which is divine! The very large sandy beach is tucked inside the geography, resembling giant cat paws. Perfect for jetskiing, swimming and there are walks and even a cave to explore! There are campsites, a historic Maori Museum, and very small gas station which services the year round population of about 1100, most of whom are in fisheries or agriculture.

We left off a visit to Paua Bay, and Le Bons Bay. I toyed in my head wondering if there would be any locals in Le Bons Bay who owned a yacht, called it "Drum" and every new years eve, puts on a white suit, takes the boat out and anchors, puts on a record of Duran Duran's "Rio", pours a glass of champers, singing "Her name is Rio and she dances on the sand, just like that river twists across a dusty land" glamming their way into a new year, in a bay that time forgot.

The only other place we visited was Barry's Bay, and Wainui. On our way there, we stopped into French Farm. It's a restaurant and winery. We sampled a few of their wines, and walked away with a $22 bottle of Akaroa Harbour Merlot 2004. It was very happy to sit on our lips, and was a divine bottle. Its now one of my favourite wines, on Facebook.

Wainui was PACKED! I have no idea why, but perhaps its the rebel beach. It is directly across the water from that "fancy French settlement". Looking around, the place was packed with petrolheads on jetskis, people swimming, others on the beach with music blasting. It was packed and really felt like Whangamata in summer. We promptly left after seeing a car pacing up and down the road, with two young chaps in the front, and another few getting towed on the back with drinks in hand. That, and noticing an ambulance parked waiting for a disaster to happen.

We dropped into Barry's Bay Cheese - a local delight. There are cheesemaking demonstrations, tastings, and you can purchase the locally made cheese... which we did. We headed to the Duvauchelle store to pick up some breads and other things, and noticed bottles of the same Akaroa Harbour Merlot 2004, $10 cheaper than at the winery! Bugger!

We enjoyed some time in the Akaroa cinema as well. We caught a fabulous Irish film called "Once". Misfits and music... just wonderful.

January 7, 2008

Don't panic

2007 was another year of growth in NZ radio.

Ultimately nothing new on the format front aside from the DAB trial turning on an analog signal (playing country hits), more so the interesting thing was the growth of radio's online property.

The ability to connect better with not only the radio station, interactivity between users was a big focus point. The new Edge website clearly shows this in action and so far is the best display of not only understanding web2.0, it's also aligned with it's audience's habits, whom for the last 2 years have been playing around on Myspace and Bebo. This keeps The Edge relevant (rather than being on 'the edge').

Oldies are the next age group that need the same outlets. They are huge users of old friends and singles online dating websites. Trademe is firmly bookmarked with every kiwi computer user, and adult radio would benefit greatly from having a talking, online community at their website.

Another thought I had, was all the technologies of the late 90s like ICQ that never really took off, which is largely due to the fact that nearly all New Zealanders were on dial up internet, and the idea of streaming something like video through ICQ, was ludicrous.

My my, how things have changed for the better. Today we 'YouTube' ourselves, and we are starting to watch and talk with each other via video on our phones. ICQ now has a whole farm of competitors now such as Messenger, Google Talk, and the big monster - Skype. Eventually watching YouTube video on our telly at home becomes a realistic proposition. Youtube launched a NZ portal in 2007 - not before TVNZ and TV3 launched on-demand video as well.

The same can be said for Radio content.

As for "broadcasting" your product/brand via FM or AM, in the 90s, a handful of radio stations like More FM and 95bFM looked beyond radio transmission to get their product out. They began streaming their program in low quality on the web. This was the start of pushing radio out beyond the traditional means.

Today, radio podcasts it's content as an on-demand service. Timetables are becoming less relevant. Even Rick Dees can be streamed, whereas in the past we had to wait until Sunday. Waiting for a top of hour news bulletin might be next for a review.

Revenue is also finally splitting off from traditional advertising time in AM/FM radio broadcasts. We are now using advertising in online streams, website banners, phone-text services, RDS, newsletters, podcasts, music referral downloading. Some companies are tapping these platforms that radio has, as a catalyst to generate advertising revenue. These spinoff services are simply 'plugged in'. Simple stuff like voucher schemes and cancellations are making cash for Mediaworks - completely outside of their radio products.

So - what didn't work online in the late 90s is worth revisiting now.

It's an interesting image huh?. While there is always music, how we've been consuming it is always evolving. Radio will survive technological change too, because radio - like the music it plays (and the industry that develops it), is evolving. Simply put, Radio is going though a technological revolution.

In fact, radio in NZ and Oz will finally begin to catch up with the UK and the US - by introducing a new digital platform from which users (not 'listeners') can better interact with radio stations.

Watch this video to see how the UK have nurtured Radio into an impressive modern toy:

Petrified, or excited?

Coldplay - Don't Panic