December 31, 2010

Mixtape Mondays

I've bitten the bullet and created a new blog over at Posterous - but NOT to replace this one.

Too many blogs = too much work = no life, and I'm busy as it is. This one, however is simply to serve a little side-project that I'm really into at the moment.

The Twitter community has these things, such as "follow friday" where you simply type #ff and a handful of account names of interesting people you follow. No reason or explanation needed, just #ff and the names is recommendation / explanation enough. The hashtag #ff is all you need to keep an eye out for. [ Open with Tweettabs ]

So this little side project "Mixtape Mondays" (which name i've borrowed from a seemingly unrelated hashtag) and the #mixtapemonday is gaining momentum.

 As with a previous post here, I'm enjoying the challenge of putting together mixtapes that for lack of a better explanation, a "hot topic". It could be an international event, a holiday or observation, hollywood scandal or something else. 60 minutes (true to 80's mixtapes) of music, on topic.

  1. I'll usually find a topic and start creating a list of songs. After chipping away at the list for a couple of days, I'll usually come up with enough music to fill 60 mins.
  2. I'll then organise the order of songs, and bounce them down to one long mp3 file (and more recently, create an iPod friendly m4a copy - which comes to around 20% the size of the mp3), I then add the ID3 tags on both formats.
  3. Once that's done, I'll write up a new post with blurb for the Mixtape, and set it to future-post on the coming Monday.
  4. The mp3 / m4a files are usually uploaded to Mediafire by Friday and they are linked to the blog set to go.
  5. I then future-post a "tease" and "link" to Twitter and Facebook using HootSuite for release at 6am, 12pm and 6pm on the Monday, and then I start brainstorming the next Mixtape/s.
  6. Finally, bring beans to the boil, and place on a bed of fluffy cous-cous. Serves: 6 | Wine: Shiraz*
Why not check them out?
They're gaining in numbers at 

*Yes, step 6 is unrelated ...for those playing at home....

December 14, 2010

Forget You... Santa

As if you weren't over the Cee-lo track by now, I gotta say, this is pretty clever.

Take a listen.

November 18, 2010

The "Like" button

Yo, Facebook. What's up?

Saw your movie. Anyway...

I've seen your "like" button for a while now. I've clicked on it here and there around the web (as you no doubt are aware of), and I thought i'd make a suggestion.

Some people also want a "hate" button. I reckon if you considered this, you shouldn't use the word "hate". I know you can't use "un-like" either. We're already using that to change our mind about "liking" something. Which is a nice touch. Instead, if you are considering a thumbs down response, then perhaps "dislike" is the better go.

But that's not why I'm writing you.

I have an idea you'll like. You offer fantastic targeted advertising opportunities for your clients, which is great. But, like in your movie - ads are uncool.

So i'd like to suggest something that would help both your users (me), your advertisers (them) and possibly add a nice silver lining to ads that are displayed. Nearly all ads I see on Facebook are "cold-calls" by companies I've never heard of. Now, depending who put the ad there, it might have some clever copy to entice me to click, or inane hardsell tripe that I'd never click.

Add a new button called, "woo me". We all love deals, and Facebook is full of... "cool" users. If I was wooed by a great offer to an advertiser's website - then that is TRULY "liking" something. It goes beyond brand recognition "yeah, I like Dickies"... instead, the brand recognises me: "Dickies likes me".

Sounds alright, huh? There's more to it too. Contact me and I will fill you in ;)

November 8, 2010

Andrew Lawson - Black & Gold (cover)

Not bad, kid. Not bad at all...

Pity you have an un-supportive douche as your coach.

November 2, 2010

Mixtapes - are they back?

I put a post out on Twitter a little while ago about Mixtapes. I still reckon they're on the comeback.

I have no evidence, and if I go digging I'd probably find some interesting stat about how the hip hop community is using the web to share mmore mixtapes than ever = a movement etc, but I'm finding that I really enjoy the challenge of thinking about the songs to include on a mixtape.

No more ACTUAL cassettes mind you, but fantastic websites like Soundcloud, the awesome Mixcloud or even Mixtape For You are brilliant different flavours for compiling them, and sharing with friends.

Downloading to iPods are an obvious benefit as they serve just like a podcast. I, of course am all about retro, so I have an mp3 walkman player to download and play on. Yeah, that's how I roll.

The mixtapes were and still are, themed. I enjoyed DJ Jazzy Jeff's Summertime Mixtape earlier this year (for the US summer) so much so, that I created my own mixtape to kick off summer.

I've since created a dozen of these for another blog/podcast I write for, and have covered ground like a mixtape for the Chilean miners - the Melbourne Cup mixtape, or Auckland becoming a supercity with my Supercity Mixtape.

I say, Mixtapes are back! As mp3s, but they're back! If you give it a go, hit me with the links!

September 27, 2010

Prohibited items at the Delhi games've seen the list of prohibited items at this years Commonwealth Games?

Some highlights:

  • Chair(s)/ tool(s) - So I need to stand upright for the entire duration of the event?
  • Firearms - There goes my assassination idea.
  • Eatables (except baby food) - Eatables? What the hell are eatables? Are we not allowed to EAT?
  • Dangerous goods - Damn, and I packed some TNT, a pot of nuclear waste and a lighter in my manbag.
  • Fireworks/crackers - But it's my religion. Well, no its not.
  • Flares/distress signals - Go get me a drink. I'll be in row 1766, seat 362C. Just look for the flare. Oh what? No flares?!!!
  • Glass containers - Nobody is allowed to avoid using Delhi toilets people. You know you're looking forward to THAT!
  • Backpacks - So I can leave this (with all my prohibited items) with this young boy who will "keep it safe"? Sure, here you go.
  • Laser lights/pointers/flash lights - Mistaking them for pyrotechnics, the Delhi Energy Company will think the organisers have paid the electric bill, and issue another invoice.
  • Musical instruments - because celebrating and singing along with friends is seen as 'suspicious activity'. Riiiight.
  • Roller blades - Now that just crosses the line. I paid for international flights to get here, only to find I can't rollerblade? 
  • Skateboards - Because India really is the skateboarding capital of the world. WTF!
  • Radio frequency devices - y'know, the button you push to lock your car? That is a RF device. Not allowed people.
  • Coins (all kinds) - Coins. Seriously? Do you not have money here?
  • Smoke canisters - might blow in front of the cameras that broadcast to the millions of people watching around.... Delhi.
  • Darts - yeah, darts are just weird. Don't bring darts okay?
  •  Match boxes/lighters - So you're saying I can't burn my shoes for fun when I'm bored?
  •  Cigarettes/bidis - The air is still polluted up the hilt, yet it's a smokefree environment.
  •  Chewing tobacco/Gutka - Not only can't you light it, you can't even chew it. But this is gum! Honest!
  •  Umbrellas - Well, your stadium better have a roof - WITH NO HOLES!
  •  Handicams - Yep, because privacy in India is such a big swingvote.
  •  Laptops - Yes, or any technology made after 1981.
  •  Perfume - We'd prefer you to immerse yourself into local culture, and part of that is smelling like one.
  •  Packets/parcels/torn-up papers - Rubbish must be left on the ground without any tears, wrinkles or ripped edges. Just dump it anywhere.
  •  Radio - It's all in Indian, and distorted beyond recognition. What's to listen to anyway?
  •  Promotional products - Only the Indian Government will be the ones flogging off "I went to Delhi and all I got was this t-shirt" t-shirts, thank you very much. Come again.
  • Animals - So you're saying my pet Llama can't enjoy your wonderful country? Oh, you've got too many animals as it is? Well, yes, there goes a moped with a cow strapped to some guys helmet. I get your point. Fair cop.
  • Flags and/with poles - India doesn't understand that you want to support your country, and your team by waving your national flag, at an international event. In fact, India has no idea what actually happens at the Commonwealth Games.
  •  Bike helmets - Does this mean I can ride my Ducati around india with the cool breeze in my hair? SWEET

September 14, 2010

Sticky Radio

There are some great things about morning radio. The continuous fresh approach (and longevity) of the hosts is a factor, the music as the 'good glue' in between the personality also counts for a lot.

Now, I'm racking my brain but I can't give an example, so I'm left to say that brekky hosts who have witnessed sunrises in front of a mic for at least 5 years, have this amazing ability to keep you listening - even though you've parked the car and really need to get to a meeting, with a wee detour beforehand, but you just HAVE to stay to finish listening to a piece on the radio. They create STICKY RADIO.

The stupidest ideas are often the best, and they regularly do what every good host can do - bring people in from the woodwork. When the phones light up with 'new' listeners (in talk radio land: the first time caller, long time listener), you know your segment/feature/bit is a winner.

So, from your experience - what silly feature actually isn't that silly at all? What's the key to Sticky Radio?
Perhaps you can answer that, or perhaps you can hit me some example you remember from days gone by that you really liked, or ones that are addictive today.

Many Aucklanders will remember Brent & Lance on 91.8 More FM - their "Afternoon Breakfast" was full of 'em, and those features we're great. Many ran for years before eventual retirement (like "We've Heard Them All"), some are recycled in other forms, and others are left as fun (and fast becoming) distant memories.

If you're on Twitter, let's have some fun. Let's use this hashtag: #stickyradio for suggestions, and I will follow it and update this blog post with the findings (and credit you!).

Some examples:
  • "Loogle" - Lance Dunne's version of Google (ask Lance, instead of Google) #stickyradio
  • "Uncle Sam" - Sela Alo's FOS* "Uncle" who has (not so) wise commentaries and advice for Niu FM listeners #stickyradio
  • "Let's Go There" - Hauraki's (former) Morning Pirates would expose the ridiculous, and proceed to 'go there' by re-enacting the moment in question, cued by harp sfx #stickyradio
If you're not on Twitter, just comment below to add yours.

You get the idea. Let's hear yours. Let's do this!

#Stickyradio on Twitter:

September 13, 2010

Secret to a great coffee

Many years ago, I wrote and recorded a song about people who park their cars on the grass. It was inspired by seeing great lawns turned to mud cos inept guests couldn't stay on the driveway. Who do they think they are parking on someone elses lawn?


Of late I've been noticing something missing from my coffee. By 'missing', I really mean it is actually there, but it shouldn't be there although many of us coffee drinkers want it there!

I'm talking about sugar. It's the puree, the pulp in many ways and if you're like me, you've had a coffee with perhaps 1 or 2 sugars, only to find the sugar all goopy at the bottom of the cup. It dilates your pupils - and it's too late, you've swallowed.

So, I've set the bar for every barista I come in contact with. I'm not trying to be rude, but should you ask if I want sugar, then I assume you're going to add it to the cup (rather than me at the self service desk). To which I will reply the following phrase that will separate the master barista from the clock-in:

Only if you'll stir it in.

Then you can pour the milk over the chocolate - hey, draw a leaf if you care to. Seems a bit cheeky, but come on. This is where the art is, but it won't earn you a returning customer if the sugar ain't stirred. Same goes for Tea.

Next coffee your order, ask the same. See what kind of response you get.

May 28, 2010

How I Won a Digital Radio

I am fairly chuffed about this. I own a Digital Radio!

As of May this year, I received a promotion at work into a newly created position which centres around Digital Radio broadcasting. As long and as hard I have worked for this (5+ years), and as the excitement escalated once an official launch date for Digital Radio in the city where I live, I quickly realised that I had a hurdle to overcome. I needed a Digital Radio, and because these things are new, they're expensive! So I resigned myself to talking with the wife to start a savings goal to buy one. No longer.

As an avid user of social media, one day I found myself putting the final touches on a Facebook page for one of our radio stations, set to launch the day I moved into my new position. I needed to provide a link to the online stream, and after creating a static page, I thought I might use a picture of a Digital Radio as the "player" instead of using the old Windows Media Player look.

So off to look for a good clean picture. Straight to the manufacturers websites, for product shots. Pure, OXX, Philips, TEAC, Revo, Arcam and the others... I was really impressed by the look of the Pure Sensia but decided against it, as it seemed to be "of its own distraction", meaning the radio would be more interesting than the stream page I created. I just wanted a radio that had a good balance between familiar - but different. The Sensia is WAY too unfamiliar as well, and then I saw the OXX Digital Vantage. While obtaining the images, I found that OXX had a presence on Facebook and Twitter, so I followed them.

A few days later on their Twitter stream, OXX announced a competition to "Win a Digital Radio". All I needed to do to enter is "like" them on Facebook (tick), and re-tweet the competition (tick). A few days later I checked their Facebook page for updates. A few people were also keen. I posted a message on my Facebook page saying "fingers crossed I win this Digital Radio on Wednesday". On that Wednesday I checked their page and to my surprise, they announced me as their winner! I jumped with excitement by shouting out "AWEEEEEEEESOME!" Nearly woke up my 1y/o son!

Two days later, it arrived!

Now I'm just waiting for the launch in about a month

May 5, 2010

Blackbird Pie

Tweets are fast becoming "quotes" by those who choose to comment on various things. Now, these quotes can be delivered - in complete context - around the web.

Twitter presents Blackbird Pie. (Still trying to figure the name out). And to show you how it works, here's a Tweet I prepared earlier. To stretch the analogy further, here's a slice of my Blackbird Pie about Blackbird Pie

You can now embed tweets with code, thanks to Twitters "Blackbird Pie". Ahh, I get it. than a minute ago via HootSuite

It's clunky and already a lot of comments around Mashable and Techcrunch are saying the same thing - why not a javascript "embed this" button?

This... is Big Brother

So then. How are you finding the internet?

I've been feeling a bit befuddled lately, with the new wave of services that are available - more notably, location services like Gowalla and the big one - Foursquare.
2008 was "the year of Facebook", 2009 saw the "rise of Twitter" and 2010 so far, seems to belong to Foursquare. And i've done pretty well by steering clear, but more on that later.

As you leave a trail of breadcrumbs about where you go, and integrating this information for those that care over at Facebook and OCD's on Twitter, Foursquare is probably the most promising startup on the web next to Google that really seems to have found a way of making profit out of the social revolution, but more importantly - its providing marketers a wealth of data about the habits of these early adopting "superusers" - or trendsetters. The previously un-reachable, un-marketable upper end.

Turning habits into opportunities, by tracking their movements as they leave a trail of breadcrumbs behind, when someone "checks in" on Foursquare or Gowalla (or the others), their habits are graphed and sent to marketers - and the user is rewarded with a discount or some offer, on occasion.

Sounds good? Free stuff just by doing what you usually do. Everyone wins.

There is another group who wins. Future Criminals. We all know that data on the web is for all intensive purposes - permanent, and can serve to backfire on you if you're not careful. So whilst I haven't yet read the headline "House owner burgled after inviting burglars", or "(name) Assasinated with the aid of Foursquare" - the scary-as-fuck possibilities are indisputable.

And what of privacy concerns for the future?

Big Brother watching you was light entertainment (at best) in the past, but if this thing takes off - your privacy could be of real world consideration - and in real danger one day, especially if say, your bank, or maybe the tax dept gets a wiff of odd spending habits and escapades.

I'm staying clear of this one. It helps that I do not own an iPhone or iAnything for that matter, so the temptation to use it is greatly reduced. I also value my privacy. Yes, I am on Facebook and play in Twitter-land - however I am very careful what I share.

I simply do not feel that my whereabouts, or where I go on a regular basis would be of interest to you, nor should it have any affect on you as an able, independent and intelligent human who can think for oneself, let alone sharing this information with complete strangers in a marketing office who would use the information to make a dollar I'll never see.

Yes, there are great things people can share with each other online, but i'm off the grid on this one.

Is sharing your whereabouts for a free coffee worth the security risk?

> Followup: Foursquare 1 year later

April 29, 2010

2010 NZ Radio Awards

Further proof that NZ radio is, and always will be - about Auckland.

I just watched a "live" broadcast of the 2010 NZ Radio Awards - and by live, I mean prerecorded and edited for streaming. A function was held for Auckland broadcasters, which looked like a Friday night piss-up in the Viaduct. We only get to see static pictures of winning talent who are outside of Auckland.

I continue to loathe award ceremonies. They are boring and tedious and don't serve to further anyones career - the only good thing about these ceremonies, is the chance to catch up with old colleagues (or many you wish to avoid).

So now the NZ radio industry is so cheap (and crippled), it can't even get together properly? Wow.

February 16, 2010

Billie Holiday

Whilst doing a bit of research, and trying desperately trying to find her original version of "That Ole Devil Called Love", I became familiar with the story of Billie Holiday. A great talent who often had the pros dumbfounded of her abilities in singing. Her full autobiography reveals some great examples.

Billie Holiday's grandfather was one of 17 children of a black Virginia slave and a white Irish plantation owner. Her mother was only 13 when she was born.

The future "Lady Day" first heard the music of Louis Armstrong and Bessie Smith on a Victrola at Alice Dean's, the Baltimore "house of ill repute" where she ran errands and scrubbed floors as a young girl. She made her singing debut in obscure Harlem nightclubs (borrowing her professional name from screen star Billie Dove), then toured with Count Basie and Artie Shaw before going solo. Benny Goodman dragged the frightened singer to her first studio session. Between 1933 and 1944, she recorded over 200 "sides," but she never received royalties for any of them.

Despite a lack of technical training, Holiday's unique diction, inimitable phrasing and acute dramatic intensity made her the outstanding jazz singer of her day. White gardenias, worn in her hair, became her trademark.

"Singing songs like the 'The Man I Love' or 'Porgy' is no more work than sitting down and eating Chinese roast duck, and I love roast duck," she wrote in her autobiography. "I've lived songs like that." Her own compositions included "God Bless the Child," espousing the virtues of financial independence and "Don't Explain," lament on infidelity.

Billie Holiday, a musical legend still popular today, died an untimely death at the age of 44.

And I found the song too! Since its rare, here it is:

Billie Holiday - That Ole Devil [download]