Thursday, April 30, 2009

Google's Android - A small droid roams skeppsbron

Since late March I've been using the HTC Dream running Android and figured I'd share my experiences with the phone and platform in general. I won't talk about the development bit in this post, will have to get back to you on that one. Been playing around with a Yammer application for the platform, I'll write something about that later on. 




Since there are no phones running Android available for purchase here in Sweden the choice fell on the Android dev phone aka. ADP1. Which is basically the T-Mobile G1 with root access and back cover with some nice graphics. I think most people will agree with me when I say that the phone is no wonder of design. When it first was unveiled I found it kinda ugly but it grows on you, and after seeing it “live” I kinda liked the design. It's robust and has a nice feel of quality to it, especially the slide-out keyboard feels really well made. What caught my eye wasn't the phone itself, even though I like it a lot, it was the platform it was running. I mean come on, what tech geek developer wouldn't at least be a little bit interested. An open source platform for mobile devices spawned by the behemoth calling itself Google ;). 


I've been using Android for about a month now and I love it. It's responsive, intuitive and stable. For daily use I mostly use the application that comes with the platform. I listen to music, send a few texts, browse the web, read mail and of course make calls. The integrated gmail client is great, it supports push for mail, calender and contacts from your Google account.


The easiest way to find third party applications is through Android Market, the Market application itself is pretty basic. You have the option to search by user input or browse categories, it works but could use some improvement. Add an advanced search perhaps? To browse the market on your computer you can visit www.cyrket.com. The Android Market is small compared to the obvious comparison – Apple Store but it's growing quite fast and houses some killer apps.


Some apps worth checking out. 

  • Twidroid - Twitter client, excellent app. use it daily
  • LookupCaller - Looks up incoming calls online to identify the caller. Works excellent with swedish Hitta.se, for obvious reasons I havent tried the other alternatives ;)
  • TouchDown - Exhcange sync for Android. Supports push mail, calender and contact sync. This is a paid app, I've only tested the trial but will probably buy it for $24.99.
  • SMS Popup - Simple app that complements the platforms native notification for SMS, it simply brings up a popup window with the message.
  • ConnectBot - An SSH client for Android. Works great, color coding, "tab" support etc. Must have for linux geeks ;)
  • AndNav2- A free turn-by-turn navigation app. using maps from OpenStreetMaps.org
  • ASTRO File Manager - App for browsing, copying and moving files on your SD-card and Phone storage.

What's missing?

Until recently there were a few things missing that just had to be implemented, support for stereo bluetooth (AD2P) to name one. The phone is capable of handling it, it just wasn't implemented yet. With the recent 1.5 release aka. Cupcake - AD2P is now implemented in the official release.  An obvious thing that's missing for the platform is native support for exchange. Google has said that users will have turn to third party applications for Exchange sync, fair enough. But I still think it's something they could have included in the platform. I know there are custom builds out there with native Exchange sync, but afaik. it's still very much an experiment and I don't know if it even works. Another thing that the phone, and platform is capable of is multi-touch, now that's awesome! Well if it wasn't for the fact that it's disabled, probably to avoid trouble with Apple *sigh*. But don't fear, there are custom builds of the platform that solves this aswell.


Android Community

The fact that the platform is open source and based on java is probably a big help when it comes to getting a big community base around the platform. The Google groups are a good source for information, other places are phandroid and xda-developers. For developers it's easy publishing applications on the market. You'll need to register a developer account and pay $25 - after that you'r free to publish your application on the market. At the moment paid applications aren't available in Sweden but Google is constantly adding more countries so it's just a matter of time.


Custom Builds

Personally I haven't gotten around to installing a custom build yet. With the official Cupcake release things like video recording, auto-rotate and AD2P is now in the platform. One thing that still isn't in the official builds is multi-touch, this feature alone will probably make me try out a custom build. When searching for a custom build to install there are two developers that stand out. These are Haykuro and JesusFreake, these guys are releasing new builds constantly and It's hard to keep up cause it's moving really fast. I think this is good, but it becomes quite the hassle to keep up and when just starting to getting into custom builds. The xda-developers forum is a great source for finding different "hacks" etc. One example is a mod that replaces the keyboard mapping on your HTC Dream. Typing in english is of course easy, but since I need the use of åäö in Swedish I have to frequently use long press on a and o to access those characters. Here is a solution that remaps the keyboard layout to use the alt-key instead for these characters.

Just the beginning
The Android platform is just getting started and I look forward to se how it develops, new phones are being released, such as the HTC Magic and Samsing I7500, with more phones out on the market the application development will without doubt expand. I'll return with a post regarding my experiences (atm. very limited) with the Android SDK and other stuff later on. But for now I wish you all a nice weekend, time to punch out and enjoy the nice weather :)

kalasklas twittrar från planet, bound for NY

vissa har det bra..

klassabelstromklassabelstrom Just bordat

happy valborg

folket på nansen börjar ta helg nu. folk droppar av tidigt och man börjar känna sig lite ensam på kontoret. emma ska dock slänga ihop en tårta med jordgubbar och man får ju stanna åtminstone tills det är fikadags.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Facebook opens up

Facebook just made it possible for third party developers to gain access to users videos and pictures. In other words Facebook are changing the way you integrate with Facebook. Before this update all development was done within Facebook. So this is a big change, and a way to keep ahead of Twitter. A more comprehensive article is found on Wall Street Journal

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Du är din Twitter


Twitter slår igenom brett i sverige, det har ingen kunnat undgå. Tidningarna verkar inte behöva beskriva vad det är längre när dom nämner det, till exempel.

Sedan en dryg vecka tillbaka har Twitter öppnat möjligheten för tjänster att låta besökare logga in med sitt Twitter-konto. Dom använder OAuth, dvs Twitter auktoriserar användaren så tredjepartstjänsten ser aldrig några lösenord. Twitter hickade till lite med detta i början dock, läs om det på TechCrunch.

Det ska bli intressant att se vilken modell internationella och svenska sajter prioriterar. Det finns en del att välja på nu; Facebook Connect, Google Friend Connect, OpenID, Sign in with Twitter, osv.

Läs mer Twitter-login här:
http://apiwiki.twitter.com/Sign-in-with-Twitter

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Skapa en egen EPiServer Community modul - del tre

Förra veckan publicerades del ett och två i artikelserien Creating a Custom EPiServer Community ModuleEPiServer World. Totalt kommer det att bli fyra delar, plus ett par uppföljande artiklar.
För en stund sedan publicerades del tre som handlar om hur man skapar en entity provider och en egen handler klass. Del fyra kommer troligen i slutet på nästa vecka.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Google launches API for Google Analytics

Google just launched the higly anticipated API for Google Analytics. This enables developers to invent new and creative ways of displaying Analytics data. I guess we are going to see alot of new desktop applications released in the next 6 months. But maybe the really cool and interesting stuff will not be released to the public. I think alot of companies are going to integrate Analytics data with for instance Sales data. By doing this it will be easier and more accurate to meassure what impact the online presence has on Sales. 


I just installed the Free Polaris widget from www.desktop-reporting.com/. It looks nice but doesn´t add anything except from beeing a desktop application.

The thing I really want is real time data, then Google Analytics can be used for creating dashboards that are live, like the EPiTrace from EPiServer.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Google Me

Today Google launched(in the us that is) a new feature on Google.com. When you search for a name, a section will show google profiles that matches that query.

So hurry up and create your google profile before someone steals your name. Read the story on the always excellent TechCrunch, my No1 source of internet related news.

We might not be great but we will die trying

We at Nansen feel pride in the work we do, the motto we live through is Premium, meaning in that everything we do, produce and think has to be premium!
We feel that the work we do has to be able stand up to for itself, it should be able to go through a code review without difficulties.
This high standard is a cornerstone in our organization. To make all those nice words actually mean something concrete we have set some goals for our self's.

- Technical quality
- Mentor/apprenticeship program
- High knowledge and competence
- Standardized working and coding patterns

Technical quality
Every project will have an architect that will be personally responsible for the quality of the work. What this means for us is that the person responsible will
constantly do reviews to keep a consistent technical quality.


Mentor/apprenticeship
There will be a mentor that will pass it's knowledge to a more junior member. Of course all senior developers are available for quick meetings and help.


High knowledge and competence
At Nansen every developer and other interested people have been enrolled in .NET courses at AddSkills. This gives us great framework knowledge but
all that knowledge is to no good if you can't put it in practice and foremost in good practice. To remedy that we are starting an internal book club
where we will go through a book together and discuss each chapter. I think the first to start with will be a classic, The pragmatic programmer by Andrew Hunt and David Thomas.
By doing this developers have a forum where they can have an ongoing and open dialog, share experiences and problems.


Standardized working and coding patterns
By having a coherent way of looking at things and thinking code we can deliver better performing, more scalable and robust solutions to our customers.
We have put together a team whose purpose is to write this down.

There is no magic in all this, we simply need to learn how to do things as a group but without restricting and retaining creativity.


We are aware that this is a big and ambitious task to take upon, but what is life if you don't have goals and where you don't evolve. That's what we are, we want to evolve and be better, we always can.

kasi gillar inte Rolands dialekt

ibland så pratar vissa personer på kontoret med en hemmagjord och rätt ful värmländsk dialekt. det låter faktiskt fruktansvärt roligt. dock verkar @kasi ha tröttnat på att vi låter som Roland i "torsk på tallinn". hon himlar med ögonen och säger "nu får ni fan sluta prata sådär". det tänker vi dock inte alls göra. vi älskar ju Roland!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Google Similar Images

Today Google released a new project on GoogleLabs (new release, built on Google App Engine). The project is called Google Similar Images which enables users to search for similar images by just one click. Yet again a really cool feature, im really impressed by this and the previous blogpost.


Heres a video on how it works

Google Images

Just the other day Google released a new feature on Google Images. Now it´s possible to filter the images by colour. It works really good and, you should really check it out.

So now its easy to find images of green apples aswelll as red apples.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Prenumeration på forumtrådar i EPiServer Community

Attributsystemet i EPiServer Community är, enligt min mening, en utav plattformens mest kraftfulla funktioner eftersom det möjliggör snabb utveckling av funktionalitet som annars hade krävt ett eget dataåtkomstlager och ganska omfattande utveckling.
Ett exempel på vad man kan använda det till är att implementera prenumerationsmöjligheter på forumtrådar, vilket jag precis har publicerat ett blogginlägg om på EPiServer Labs. Självklart med nedladdningsbar källkod.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Nansen får besök

Idag så får Nansen besök av @orvet som vi först träffade i London i höstas då @rewdboy, @akesson, @klassabelstrom och @MarkusBereflod var på FOWA. Sen stötte Nansen på honom återigen under Web2.0 expo i San Francisco för några veckor sen. Han twittrade om att han skulle vara där och då bad jag honom söka upp @jonpet, @hkraft och @micjad för att bli bjuden på en öl/drink.
så därför ska vi idag nog klämma ett par drinkar med nämnda snubbe.
ha en trevlig fredag, för det ska vi!
forza twitter

Skapa en egen EPiServer Community modul

Förra månaden blev det en hel del blogginlägg på EPiServer Labs, bland annat två om EPiServer Community i form av Extending Community Entities och Getting EPiServer Community entities - filtering and sorting strategies. Sedan dess har det dock varit lite tyst på bloggfronten.
Nog för att vi har mycket att göra men inte har det slutats skriva för det. Nej, denna temporära skrivarsvacka har i själva verket ägnats åt att skriva en artikelserie om hur man bygger en egen EPiServer Community modul. Del ett och två är redan publicerade på EPiServer World, och ytterligare delar kommer inom kort. Kolla gärna in del ett och två här.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Google Maps mobile med Latitude

Det har nyligen släppts en ny version av google maps mobile med positioneringstjänsten Latitude för windows mobile. Den förra versionen som jag installerade på min Samsung Omnia buggade lite vad gäller just Latitude. När man klickade på ikonerna för sina vänner så fick man ett runtime error och en himla massa errordialogrutor poppade upp. ganska irriterande! och den löpande uppdateringen av egna positionen var även lite seg ibland.
men nu finns som sagt en ny version ute och den verkar faktiskt funka mycket stabilare!
så ladda gärna ner och installera på er windows mobil nu!
vill ni adda mig på latitude så lägg till rudde.toots[ALFAKRULL]gmail.com

ladda ner från freewarepocketpc.net eller m.google.com

fajtas mot dina polare på twitter

vem är starkast på twitter? du eller din polare?
testa på tweefight.com, skriv in ditt twitterusername och en polares användarnamn och se vem som är the champ
rätt löjligt men skoj ändå
http://www.tweefight.com/

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

alfaversion av firefox 3.6 ute

IDG.se skriver om firefox 3.6 som nu finns ute i en tidiga alfaversion att ladda ner. den verkar ha en del riktigt spännande funktioner. bland annat funktionen Ubiquity för att skriva kommandon i webbläsaren för att köra vissa funktioner. tex att posta direkt till twitter eller sökningar på diverse sökomoter och sajter.
kolla in bildspelet med några av de nya funktionerna här
http://www.idg.se/2.1085/1.224114/bildspel-har-ar-firefox-36

Show your self!

If people can't Google you you don't exist. That is the harsh truth of our time. We are all victims and slaves of the search engines. If you can't be found by means of the larger search engines there is a small chance no one will even know you.


So in that context the phrase, 
"If you can't beat them, join them"
comes to mind.
There are many ways to expose your self, you can do it by blogging, be active at different social media like twitter and so on, the list can be made large. Google gives you yet another opportunity of displaying your self, with the Google profile.

Every one who has an account at google can create and update it's Google profile. Just go to google.com/profles and fill out some information and let the world know you.

Here are some of Nansen's profiles:

Monday, April 13, 2009

NHL.com and SB Nation join forces


NHL.com just added a feature together with SB Nation.Blog posts from SB Nation now shows up on NHL.Com as headlines. As TechCrunch writes I think this is a real good move from nhl.com. As a fan I want to read what other fans are saying and analysing. But as always it´s hard to find the good blogs, and I guess this is where SB Nation fits in. "SB Nation is a collection of nearly 200 individual communities, each offering high quality year-round coverage and conversation led by fans who are passionate about their favorite teams, leagues or sports." I´ve always turned to ESPN for my dose of NHL related information, but from now on im gonna try nhl.com more often. Nicely done.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Nansen fulltaligt igen

Så, nu är Nansen återigen fulltaligt. Våra amerikaresenärer är tillbaka igen efter en hel vecka i USofA, lite jetlaggade men på kontoret. Dock i ett helt nytt rum med och med helt nya människor. Få se om de kan hålla sams därinne...

Friday, April 3, 2009

Startup Metrics 101: a Product & Marketing Workshop

Check out this SlideShare Presentation:

Enterprise Mashups

Just listened to John Boezeman from IBM talking about mashups created by an IBM software.

Mashups are really cool stuff. John showed an example on how Boeing has created a mashup application to provide the authorities with information to improve rapid response in emergency situation.

IBM has a platform called IBM Mashup Center which is a web based interface where you are able to drag and drop datasheets, maps, Google Gadgets and other components and combine them. You can also transform the data and that interface is to me quite similar to Yahoo! Pipe.

Putting web 2.0 to work. Social Software in the Enterprise

This mornings first seminar was held by Ross Mayfield, Co-founder and president of Socialtext. Ross started out with som relevant questions every corporation should ask themselves:

How do people spend attention today?
How do we work together?
How do we efficiently share information?
How do our people discover info, context and people?

In the modern workplace people are already solving a lot of work related problems with social media platforms. The problem is that that kind of activities, certainly beneficial, does not embrace all employees. A solution to this can be the concept and tools for social messaging like Social Messaging, Yammer and other tools for internal use.

The benefits in using this kind of services and technology are:

Information is new and near real time
Ideas spreads like wildfire
Organizations move faster


Whuffie

As you may have seen on twitter I really liked the message from Tara Hunt yesterday. I got so fascinated during the seminar I sort of forgot to blog. Anyway here's the link to her presentation on slideshare.

Nya Fastighetsbyrån.se lanserad

Fr.o.m igår kväll kan man se att Fastighetsbyrån.se har nytt utseende. 


Dock är det mycket mer är utseendet som är förändrat. Det är en helt ny site som numera bygger på EPiServer CMS5 R2. Nansen har jobbat med EPiServer-utveckligen och bakom designen står Söderhavet.

Bra jobbat alla medverkande!

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Winning in the Facebook Era

Writer Clara Shihs session about winning in the Facebook Era started with stating that we can look upon Facebook as a CRM System. Social technologies is the most important CRM trend in 2009.

Facebook reflects real people interaction. Today Facebook has over 200 M active users with over 3 billion minutes spent each day. There is today over 660 000 developers from 180 countries. Facebook has an almost exponential growth.

The Cultural transformation

Facebook made it socially acceptable to have a personal website. With all the personal information and the fact that Facebook enables us to bring our identity everywhere has great impact on marketing. Facebook has brought back the personal to communication opposed to email-communication. It's impact is huge when it comes to nurturing relationsships. One can look at it as a personal contact database. Remember it's not just a tool. It's also channel.

Integration with business processes

Clara showed how Facebook can be included in the businessprocesses examplified with a salesforce/facebook integration. In that way you're able to get a lot of personal information in to your CRM. As we prefer doing business with people we trust having common acquaintances is likely to boost the possibility for business. The next step is to integrate Salesforce with twitter. This enable us to monitor twitter and respond to a complaint on Twitter immediately through Salesforce.

The loyalty magnification effect is about getting your customers to state loyalty to your brand on facebook fan pages. Then you're more likely to succeed in reaching that persons friends. In the future you have to look at your existing customers as your sales force. Facebook also support precision marketing with hypertargeted ads. Using this companies are able to tailor target groups based on social data.

In the future you also have to look att youre customers differently. Below is an interesting way to recalculating Customer Lifetime Value (CLV)

+ Level of influence * Size of network
+ Level of influence * Size of community
+ Sales resulting from idea contribution

Even Faster Web Sites

Steve Souders from Google talked about how to make websites loading quicker.
Steve has solid experience of making websites load more efficient, initially from a backend point of view. At Google he works with enhancing user experience meaning frontend interfaces. Research indicates that loading HTML don't take much time compared to JS and CSS which so:

  • If you want to minimize the time of loading HTML - Streamline backend
  • If you want to enhance the user experience - Streamline JS and CSS.

Steve has written some books too. In the prevoius one "High Performance Web Sites" he mentioned 14 rules to enhance user experience. In the recent "Even Faster Web Sites" he focuses on 8 rules.

  • Splitting the initial payload
  • Loading scripts without blocking
  • Coupling asynchronous scripts
  • Positioning inline scripts
  • Sharding dominant domains
  • Flushing the document early
  • Using iframes sparingly
  • Simplifying CSS Selectors

Steve said lots of very very interesting and geeky things. I am sure that the GUI-developers at Nansen would have loved this session!

Personally I got these three most important tips:

Flushing the document early
Images and other resources can be downloaded by the browser while the rest of the HTML is beeing put together on the webserver.

Flushing and domain blocking
You might need to move flushed resources to a domain different from the HTML-document to enable asynchronous downloading

Avoiding @import
Use couples of -tags instead. IE is handling @import really bad since it doesn't download stylessheets in parallell which increases the load time significantly. Other browsers are better, but since the first stylesheet has to be downloaded before start downloading the second one @import should be avoided anyway.

The "Mobile First" User Experience

Marc Davis Chief Scientist and VP From Yahoo, just held a presentation about how the design for "Mobile First".

Understanding mobile
Today there are 4 billions of mobile phones in the world, a lot of them are able to connect to the internet.  The mobile phone has he abilty to connect the web with the world.

The mobile phone and its metaphores
  • A personal device, People bring 3 things from home, wallet, cell and keys.
  • Two way voice and text communication device
  • A media consumption / production device. Nokia largest camera maker in the world
  • A sensor device in a sensor netowork. Location aware device
  • A social and cognitive prosthetic device that enables our collective embodied intelligence. It connect us.

4w, Where, When, Who, What 
A Mobile phone knows these four things, it is aware where you are, when you are using the mobile phone, who you are and what you do.  If one knows these about a user we can improve user experience and content and ad targeting, personalization and recomendation. This really creates a more relevant experince

  • Connects the web and the world
  • Location aware
  • Personal vs Personalizable
  • Socially connected
  • 24/7 and temporailly situated
  • Open
  • Voice enabled
Developing mobile services
When developing mobile services you have can make either an application or make it available in the browser. There are pros and cons on each method making it really time consuming to develop these services. Yahoo! has launched an Mobile Platform, they call it the Blueprint Language. The Blueprint Language is based upon xml, xforms, ued patterns and device services and is compatible with HTML, J2me, S60, WinMob, Iphone, Andriod.

Delivering Mobile Experiences
Services, OEM´s and Carriers form a triangle where they are dependent on each other. Historically these three hasn´t been synced, making the use of services to expensive or non functional due to bad reception. But today, this has changed. And with flatrate mobile internet use is gaining popularity.

Future of "Mobile First" Experience
  • Real time web and world
  • w4 metadata, discoveru and Recomendation
  • Internet of things and Augmented Reality
  • Talking to Each Other, the web and the world
  • Billions of Video Upstream

Future of the mobile phones
  • HI Def recording in mobile in ca 18 months according to Nokia
  • Location awerenss in the mobile browser is coming soon

New yahoo services
On the presentation Marc demoed the new mobile web site developed b Yahoo!  new.m.yahoo.com. Its Just launched and the largest mobile web site in the world with 27 million user. This mobile website is developed with all

Tagmaps Proptype, a prototype map service. Which filters the hits on the map according to the time of the day or day of the week. For an example, when searching for San Francisco, during the day you get pictures and information about Alcatraz, but the same search in the evening shows restaurants and so on. Really interesting.

It's the People, Stupid

This afternoon started with a really inspiring marketing seminar on the social web held by Brian Oberkirch and Deborah Schultz.

Brian and Deborah argued that Internet is not about IT it's about people. The Social Web is more of an explosion of the personal. The Social web is per se social. This has definitley impact of the economy today. Marketing is now shifting from telling and selling towards relationships. Businesses who want to succeed online has to shift. It's all about:

Organic vs Static

Emotion vs Data

Relationship vs Transaction

Continuum vs Grand Gesture

A new skillset will therfore be needed for marketing people. The most important skill is to be relationshipdriven. A term for this is Tummler (Yiddish) Barack Obama is a good example of a Tummler in the meaning. 1. social director or entertainer, who encourages guest or audience participation. 2. One who incites other to action.

Debbie then went through sites like dopplr.com, etsy.com, threadless.com, moo.com, They're all fun, interesting and personal and help help users participate, they stand for something and offer value. We need to think constancy not episodic.

Words on the way

"Smart growth seeks to amplify connection and community - because the goal isn't just to trade, but to co-create and collaborate."

"Remember Technology changes, humans don't."

Optimize Your Organic Search Results Leveraging Social Media and Your Own Website

Before the lunch break I listened to Heather Lutze who had a seminar about how to optimize organic search results by using social media and your own site in a smarter way. The session was the most crowdy session so far I guess.

Heather showed statistics indicating that people are using more detailed and sophisticated search phrases.

Number of words used i searches:
One word: 15,2% (used for information)
Two words: 31,9% (used for shopping)
Three words: 27% (used for purchase)
Four words: 14,8%
Five words: 6,5%

This is interesting because of the fact that it is much easier to gain ranking on more detailed phrases. Heather meant that initially editors should optimize their content for detailed searches since it is easier and the result will come sooner. After a while when the website has gained credibility it is time to go for more generic search traffic.

Statistics also indicates that the more detailed search term, the more qualified visitor in terms of conversion. It is also easier to show these visitors more relevant landing pages.

This is of course important facts for web editors writing content for their web pages. It is also affects the way community managers should act in social media like blogs, Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, etc.

Heather also pointed out that editors must stop their "egoistical" way of thinking and instead optimize content for how users use singular/plural and common misspellings.

One very useful tip that Heather gave was to always use a keyword tool before writing content. The keyword tool will probably show you that it is smarter to consistently optimize content for "Microsoft web hosting" instead of just "hosting". The keyword tool also helps out with ingular/plural and common misspellings.

The more consistent these patterns are implemented both on own websites but also on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter, the more you will own the first page on search engines.

Wifi at Web2Expo use 802.11a


The wifi has been up and down all conference, but just got some hints from the Network service desk at floor 2. Change the Wireless Mode to 802.11a. The wifi seems to work better with these setting. Please add comments on how to change these settings on a Mac.


Screen shot taken from Windows Vista.


*Wifi still shaky thought, but better than with the old settings.

Translating Online Success into Offline retail success

This morning Henrik and I attended a seminar held by Angel Djambazov from Custom Tailored Marketing. Angel presented a case study from Jones Soda - an american beverage company. Jones Soda is an edgy brand with a lot of street cred. They early saw the potential in building loyalty by creating an emotional connection with their consumers. Key to Jones Sodas online/offline success is based on inviting the customers to create art and customized labels.

With a limited online budget Jones Soda was primarily looking at two demographics The masses and Key Community Influencers. The later were people that they could engage rapidly online and easily create online sales. Since 2007 Jones soda has launched three major campaigns; My Jones, Grafitti, and I Can has Cheezburger.

My Jones
People can buy their own soda with their own pictures and text online. This was used during the presidential election by Barrack Obama and Hillary Clinton as well as John McCain.

Grafitti
A drawing application on Facebook where people can draw their own soda labels. this was supported by competitions and the winner would go in to production. The Facebook campaign got over 10 000 entries, 1 050 000 Facebook users voted and 3 500 comments were made.
The learnings from this campaign was that you have to be very specific of the type of art your seeking. Jones Soda got a lot of contributions containing porn and silly doodles.

I can has Cheezburger
They ran a competition on ICHC and users could enter their own cat pictures. Over 250 000 votes were cast. Jones Soda got a huge spike in traffic on their site. The result was an 172% increase in soda sales month-over-month. The idea was taking the winning contribution into retail. The only problem was that the winning label was obscene... The solution was to package the winning "Indecent exposure picture" with other funny pictures. The printing run sold through very quickly with about 30% better than normal sales.

Conclusion
This definitly shows how integration with Social Media can have a strong impact on both brand identity and offline sales.

.NET Runtime version 2.0.50727.3082 - Fatal Execution Engine Error (7A035FC0) (80131506)

If Visual Studio at some point decides to just die on you and you get this exception in the Event Log check out this link Hotfix Available for ASP.NET MVC Crashes With Azure/Power Commands/Resharper. This happened today to two of us, I had previously installed the MVC 1.0 release but Christer had not. The error appeared when any of us tried to  open a *.ascx file, then Visual Studio just closed down.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

W3C Geolocation API: Adding "Where" to Web Applications

Me and Henrik just listened to a seminar held by Ryan Sarver (Director of Consumer Products at Skyhook Wireless) about W3C Geolocation API and geolocation as a concept.


When the amount of information increases heavily geolocation will become more and more important to maintain relevance. Geolocation aslo increases conversion. Instead of exposing hundreds of Starbucks in New York applications should highlight the three or four closest to the user's position, since the goal is to get the user into the coffee shop.

Ryan founded Locationaware.org which in June 2008 became W3C Geolocation Working Group aiming for a standardized way of implementing geolocation based services both in websites and browsers. This is where the W3C Geolocation API comes in. The API is now supported in Google Chrome, Mozilla 3.5 and Opera Labs.

The API supports four ways of getting positions:
IP Geolocation
Pros: Widely available, detection happens server-side
Cons: Only accurate to the city level, only in the right state 85% of the time, costly and produces false positives
Wi-Fi
Pros: Accurate, works indoors and in urban areas, quick time to first fix, software only, leverages existing wifi
Cons: Doesnt work well i rural areas
GPS
Pros: Acurate after it gets a fix, highly accurate in rural area
Cons: Doens work indoors
Cell tower
Pros: Works where there is cell coverage (most areas), quick time to first fix, software only, leverages existing cellular radio
Cons: Very inaccurate

Ryans tip is to go for a hybrid using Wi-Fi as the primary way and IP Geolocation as the secondary.

I thought this seminar was great and I'm really looking forward to increase the use of geolocation based solutions together with customers. I am sure that every company can gain something from it.

Case study: Setting content free at Ford

Ford and Social Media Group presented a case study about how Ford changed their view on content when starting to integrate with Social Media. The idea was to start bringing out their technology to the masses using storytelling by giving people access to the content they need.
The use of Social Media really changed Fords way to think. By realizing that no company can be in full control of their trade mark they let the content free.

Basically Ford started with social media pressreleases using third party platforms like youtube, flickr etc. They also used RSS feeds to be used by other sites and blogs writing about cars and the car industry.

The results from the Social Media work so far has been tremendous. Content has been used in over 5.000 posts. Enthusiasts are telling more informed stories with better content. The videos on Youtube have been watched over 1.2 million times an they already got 120.000 views on Flickr images.

Next step is to expand beyond the immidiate target groups like autobloggers and auto journalists towards groups like small children moms, youth etc.

"Cloud computing, its like computer on the internet, innit"

This morning I attended the session, Situation Normal, Everything Must Change. It was held by Simon Wardley from Canonical, the commercial sponsor of Ubuntu.


Simon talked about cloud computing and put in a historical perspective. Simon says that cloud computing is a result of commodisation. With commodisation Simon means how things evolve from an innovation, it gets bespoken, products are developed and later services. Simon took an example, electricity. It started as an innovation, got some buzz, products where developed (e.g generators) and then the birth of the electric grid.

Products compete with oneanother with features, but by time all products have essentially the same set of features. When this happends services start to appear. Simon says it´s not a matter if you (the audience) adapt to cloud computing its when.

Right now we are in the phase just between products and services making the market highly disruptive. And only the companies with the ability to evolve and embrace new technologies will survive.

Its important that the services developed are following standards (e.g power outlets). Services need to be interchangable. When you consider using cloud services it´s really important to look what other services that service is using. Simon talked about the need of transparency.

I really enjoyed Simons session, the presentation was real fun and interesting. Simon jumped back and forth through the slideshow and constantly repeated and summarized what he had said earlier. 

The title of this blogpost was the answer one cab driver had given when asked what cloud computing was.

Why sales shouldn't be a dirty word in Web 2.0

Alistair Mitchell from huddle held a seminar on sales in Web 2.0 businesses giving som inspiring tips on how to build a succesful sales organization. Alistair argued that the world has not changed with web 2.0 - the old business rules and models still apply. The main difference now is that it easier to build a huge pipeline for web 2.0 businesses.

An interesting thing was the figures presented on decreasing incomes for Google (down 68%) and Microsoft (down 11%). Where Microsoft with a more traditional sales model is less vulnerable than Google.

Alistair also concluded that a product that does everything a user wants will not sell. You have to build barriers into your product at the exact time a user wants to do something and gave us some examples of sites that has executed this strategy successfully, among them services like Yammer.

TV & Radio with an API

I just attended a session about API:s on the Internet held by Zach Brand from NPR and Robin Sloan from Current. It is really interesting to see what both providers and consumers of content can do with these API:s.


Zach mentioned the same thing I used to tell customers: By definition the audience to your website is limited. Therefore one should think about how to make articles, news and the brand visible to the whole Internet. API:s is one way of solving this.

Zach showed NPR's API where consumers themselves can configure feeds and even podcasts. NPR showed some stats showing that XML is the most popular format. NPR also supports JSON, RSS and Atom.

Robin talked about how to consume these kind of API:s. For example Current used Twitter to publish comments during the election campaign.

How MacGyver would do design research

This mornings second session was held by Michael Jackson Wilkinson from Viget Labs.

Michael initially talked about best practices in efficient design research and gave us some useful tips.

1. Reduce the number of participants in studies - you don't get better or different results.
2. Increase recuiting efficiency.
3. Reserach only what's necessary - not what we already know.
4. Guerilla design research - meet target groups in their normal setting.
5. Talk to people who talk to customers - don't neglect customer service. they often know a lot about the problems in their processes.
6. Use your customer feedback loop to constantly improve your clients site.

Efficient Interaction design can be made very simple but still spot on if you

1. Start by delivering sketches.
2. Test design using paper prototypes
3. Explore alternate designs
4. Work within agile processes

Michael also argumented for a more heuristic approach on the things we already know and save the more cost and time driving scientific methods for the things we don't know.

Building Social Media Strategy

Mark Silva and Susan MacDermaid from Real Branding held a most interesting seminar on the theme Social Media Strategy. The Real Branding company has developed a method on how to define a Social Media Strategy for their clients using a Social Map.

The method used starts with analyzing the company and/or products target groups digital behaviour in different Social Media. After that they use a social map - basically a map describing all top relevant Social Media. Based on the analysis the Social Media that best fits the target groups are choosen. Then content and services are designed to fit each media.

Mark and Susan showed some top business cases that really impressed. It's pretty obvious that any company can achieve a lot with a limited budget using Social Media.

Open, social web (OpenID, OAuth, Open Stack)

Henrik and I just went to the workshop about Open, social web, held by David Recordon, Joseph Smarr and Chris Messina.

The workshop was much about open data and how to get different websites sharing data. Even if you use Picasa as your photo service, you will be able to share photos with your friends using Flickr.

To establish standards for open data is a key for new great websites to succeed since users don't want to create account, enter profile information and so on. With a concept for open data that is not needed and of course there is a huge advantage for developers as well. Instead of spending efforts on creating forms, managing forgotten passwords and other profile administration developers can focus on their systems core features.

Another important thing that these guys mentioned as well as the previous speaker is that you shouldn't build functions where users are expected to enter the credentials to Facebook, Google, Msn, etc. You should not build functions that make users wanna give their credentials to websites. Instead use OAuth(read on...) as a method for transfering data between websites.

The guys also differed social networks from social applications. Social network (Facebook, MySpace, Orkut) are much separated systems with no or little integration with other networks. Social applications on the other hand co operates which gains all. For example can last.fm publish played songs on Twitter together with a link back to last.fm.

Today Facebook do their Facebook Connect based on other platforms than the other players like Google, MySpace and Plaxo. People think that they will not be successful in doing that. Users should have the same authorization experience independent of which provider is chosen. From that point of view the best would be if all providers uses same standards.

One interesting technique is OAuth. OAuth is a protocol to allow secure API authorization for mobile, desktop and web applications. I think that OAuth will make sense to the OpenID discussion. With OAuth it is possible to integrate websites and give different websites different access to information. Great!

Another interesting thing is that web content is supposed to be better tagged (like Microformats) meaning that meta keywords and meta description maybe will be less important.

To summarize this was a very interesting workshop with a nice mix of business cases, concepts and code.

Note that pictures and slides will be uploaded to Nansenbloggen later on.

SEO: From Soup to Nuts

This morning I attended a really interesting seminar on the SEO Subject held by Stephan Spencer, CEO at NetConcepts. Stephan went through a lot of the interesting tools to analyze and optimize from a SEO/SEM perspective and also delivered some good arguments for which to use and for what purpose. Some basic and understandable rules to remember when it comes to SEO:

1. Get your site fully indexed
2. Get your pages visible
3. Build links & pagerank
4. Leverage your pagerank
5. Encourage clickthrough6
6. Track the right metrics
7. Follow best practices

Stephan also put his emphasis on the user experience when it comes to SEO. Basically - if something is good for the user - It's most likely going to get good search results. However. There are some things to think about and during the seminar Stephan mentioned some of the things premiered by search engines ans of course somethings you absolutely should avoid.

If you would like to see how your site looks with a search engine spiders eyes, you can check it out on www.seobrowser.com.

The full presentation can be downloaded from Netconcepts.com.