Bush sending himself up - very funny indeed.
If you have to work collaboratively on small projects with freelancers and you want to improve communication, I really like this tool - http://www.basecamphq.com/
The same company produce a tool for personal productivity app that I think is great- http://www.backpackit.com/.
Another service that you might want to look at for invoicing is http://www.blinksale.com/. Simply takes the pain out of sending out, monitoring and reporting on invoicing.
1 The rise of the blogs
The rise of the 'blogs' online diaries driven by simple content management systems has been unstoppable. If has not been 'blogged' it doesn't count. Be they corporate , political , employee , professional http://www.roughtype.com/ or personal - blogs are represent the opening up of publishing on the web will grow and grow.Blogs are interesting because a) the diversity of content is significantly greater than general websites b) they facilitate people posting content regularly and c) they allow visitors to comment on postsRichard Scoble, Microsoft leading Tech evangelist only has to post a comment on his blog Scoblelizer that he will be in London and you'll be surprised who will turn up.
As question frequently heard in the corridors walked by the Digerati this year has been 'How can I check my favourite 100 blogs before breakfast? As the numbers of web pages continues to grow and newsletters start to clutter your inbox, the the only way to keep up-to-date is with an RSS reader.RSS - Really Simple Syndication is a format that allows applications or websites to check quickly whether new content has been added to a website. A reader allows you to peruse headlines from your selection of sources and decide what you want to read rather than laboriously go through each site. If you don't already have a reader, consider - http://www.sharpreader.net/ or http://www.newsgator.com/MustTryOmeter: 4/5
In 2004, online advertising overtook cinema advertising spend, in 2005 it overtook radio spend and in 2006 its going to keep on growing. Pay per click is relevant targeted, has low cost to entry, is measurable and with broadband users spending so much time online this advertising medium should be in every marketers armoury.October 2005 saw the first wedding proposal via search engine advertising - a obvious candidate for the - 'Just because you can doesn't mean you should' AwardThe rise of online spending is as fast as it is effective and Google and Overture have trail blazed the way. If you haven't run a PPC pilot do - you'll see localised PPC where ads are only served to customers within X miles of a zip code/postcode really take off this year.
Podcasting, the recording of audio files and then making them available for download (especially to MP3 player) is in very early adopter days but looks set to grow. Homemade recordings and the ability to download and listen to content on demand are going to allow niche audiences to form around specific topics - this is radio for the Long Tail. If you are interested in experimenting, Ricky Gervais http://www.guardian.co.uk/rickygervais/ on the Guardian's Unlimited or This Week in Tech (TWIT) http://thisweekintech.com/ are good examples.MustTryOmeter: 3/5
Chris Anderson's seminal Wired article argues that products in low demand or with low sales volumes can collectively make up a market share that rivals or exceeds the relatively few current bestsellers and blockbusters. The average Barnes and Noble store carries 130,000 titles in the US yet Amazon sells more than half of its sales from outside the top 130,000 titles! Be it music, books, films or software, the long tail and its explanation of the effect of the internet on markets is bug news is going to effect more and more markets. Watch out for Chris Anderson's book on the Long Tail due in May 2006.
Wikipedia - the free, multilingual, encyclopaedia written collaboratively by contributors hit new highs and lows this year. The fact that anybody can edit and add to an article is both it's strength and it's weakness. Multiple contributors sometimes fight it out over controversial topics and vandalism http://researchweb.watson.ibm.com/history/results.htm and malicious posts http://news.com.com/Is+Wikipedia+safe+from+libel+liability/2100-1025_3-5984880.html are raised as issues by detractors.Wikipedia's huge strengths lie in the breadth of articles contained in it and the fact it is well.. free.Wikipedia's growth to the 2.5 billion page views a month:
Source: Google Zeitgeist 2005 http://www.google.com/press/zeitgeist2005.htmlMustTryOmeter: 4/5 -Often a much fastest way to a fact or summary of an issue than simply surfing through sites returned by Google
P.S - Brands should review and update their own entries on Wikipedia for factual accuracy.
2005 was a massive year for online and web-enabled geographic (mapping )applications. Google shook up the market place with the launch of its elegant and fast google maps.
- Microsoft responded with Virtual earth.com and then local.live.com
- Yahoo maps
- Amazon's A9 block view service http://www.amazon.com/gp/yp/B00035S0NQ/103-0260682-4441458?v=ypglance&n=3999141 all showed innovation in this areaIt's worth clicking on the links above!But perhaps the most exciting application was Google Earth http://earth.google.com/ - the desktop application that allows you to fly around the world using elevation data and satellite imagery at a level previously only available to intelligence services (http://www.theregister.co.uk/2004/10/28/google_buys_keyhole/).Geographic web service which lend themselves to "Mash-ups" - produced some outstandingly inventive sites: My favourite is Housing - http://www.housingmaps.com/ followed by Chicago Crime http://www.chicagocrime.org/types/attempted_motor_vehicle_theft/67/MustTryOmeter: 5/5
Internet telephony went from low awareness to high visibility with eBay's £4 bn acquisition of four year old start-up Skype, Free calls between computers, increasing bandwidth and increasing call quality have driven awareness and usage. Incumbent long distance providers in some markets are fighting back and there are still many reasons why normal phones will be around for a while. For 2006 keep an eye out for a fight between Skype's proprietary format and the open SIP format that others, like Google and others are backing.MustTryOmeter: 3/5 - Depends how much you use you PC and if you have a large international phone bill every month
There's a revolution going on and whether you call it Web 2.0 or AJAX hype - Since GMail and Flickr rediscovered the power of AJAX and we have been awash with Web 2.0 start ups. http://www.oreillynet.com/pub/a/oreilly/tim/news/2005/09/30/what-is-web-20.html My top 5 for 2005 were year were:
- Writely (Online word processing),
- Flickr (Picture sharing),
- Pandora (Free Music service),
- Google Maps
- TaDa (Online to do lists).All worth having a play with!MustTryOmeter: 4/5 - Flickr is a must if you have not already, Writely is a must if you collaborate on Office documents!
With a 70% share of the digital music player market - Apple position as Gorilla of online music was consolidated with the launch of Shuffle, iPod Nano, iPod video. iTunes, now a top 10 music retailer in the US is mirroring this growth across Europe.MustTryOmeter: 5/5 - What is a CD anyway?
Sony launched the incredibly sexy PSP and Microsoft launched Console War III with the X-box 360 - Nintendo launched the less than attractive DS.With games sales a larger business than movies in the US the battle will be fought on many fronts. Support for High Definition TV and the provision of home entertainment networks allowing you to play music anywhere in your house will be driven by this new battle of the giants.
Bit Torrent is responsible for an astonishing 35% of internet traffic! Bit Torrent's peer to peer file swapping model allows for file downloads without using a central server and is being used by early adopters to watch films and TV shows on demand .Aside from the panic this is causing in Hollywood - watch out for: the BBC making huge amounts of its archive available on a Bit Torrent like technology (UK only) , Google Video challenging TV stations, YouTube being bought by MSN and studios supporting P2P movie launches.
African School is the best television I have seen this year. This series alone has justified our BBC licence fee for 2005.
Each chapter has been compelling television - a wealth of individual stories and broader issues that have weave together to transport us from the living room to Masindi, Uganda.
The series shines light on all that is good about the human condition - hope, ingenuity, humour and a fearless desire to face up to the difficult challenges and take advantages of any opportunity. All of this is has been done while delivering gripping television
This is a series, like Trauma last year, that must be given a better billing. Let's see a re-run on BBC1 at 7 or 8 o'clock, it is what the BBC is all about and on a purely selfish note I would like friends and family to enjoy the programme too!
With Om Malik and Richard Scobel on GYM (Google, Microsoft and Yahoo) free diets, it is a appropriate to fill the void with some comments about the launch of Google Base and Google analytics. Both are interesting, noteworthy moves and I am going to have a play with them before the weekend.
Google Base allows anyone to host a database of products, items, information on Google's servers providing you are willing to have the items searched by everyone. It is going to have an impact in the medium and long term on vertical search portals like Autotrader.com and property listing.
Google Analytics offers high quality metrics and statistics data free of charge to anyone who is willing to use the service. It is based on tagging technology and will have an impact on anyone selling metrics or statistics packages in the business sector. I have tagged this site - www.chriskenyon.co.uk and look forward to sharing the results.
Web Based Video. Everyone can now host video online for free - try the following if you want to:
And for some good ads - see:
Freedom to watch what you want when you want is going to turn the TV industry upside down. If you are looking for a clip see:
Google Video - http://video.google.com/
Yahoo Video - http://video.yahoo.com/
Need music for an ad or video? Want to get your music showcased? Pump Audio allows you to upload your music and have it sent out to 1000's of TV and adverisers who need music.
They price your content and you get the majority of the cut!
Gmail's email service - a joy of 'Ajaxian' implementation has set the standard in webmail for storage, speed of use and ease of use. POP3 integration, contact importing and exporting and the enourmous storage limits have revitialised what appeared to be a moribund area of the web infrastrucutre.
Personally I am also a fan of the Adword structure that fund's my email - I far prefer to have ads for tickets to the Arsenal on my screen than yet another singles or ringtone ad.
But Google's leaderhip in this field is about to be tested by the ongoing roll out of Yahoo mail's outstanding BETA and the imminent launch of Kahuna - Hotmail's new service (see Channel9 for a demo). Both applications look like they will help redefine what people think it is possible to do with a web application. Does this mean that I should abandon GMail?
The basic answer on that is still a wait and see - indeed I have a sneeking suspicion that the simple elegance of the present Gmail interface linked to the search and other tools like forwarding may keep me on the side of Google. But if I were erring on leaving there is a area of functionality that I would love to see - GCal - a calender from Google.
I would love to have a Calender that at the the end of my day was able to suggest both geographically and date constrained options to me. If my appointment were from 5-6 in WC1n then the suggestions would be for a restaurant, theatre or cinema that was local to the area and already sorted by what was on that night.
If I typed in restautrant into a appointment - GCal would add a 'Smart Tag'-like line to appear and a click on it woud return in Ajax speed a list of Restaurants (Pizza Express (1 mile), Spiga (1.1 miles), etc). So here is a hope that GCal is not too far in the distance!
For a number of months I have been debating the morality of riding through red lights on by bike in London. Laws that I feel compelled to obey when riding my moped or driving a car do not seem required when I am on my bike.
After some thought -It strikes me that red light running should be allowed for two groups of reasons:
1) Cyclists when driving sensibly have significantly better road awareness and require red lights less than car drivers
2) Anything that makes cycling more attractive is a good thing. Running red lights makes cycling faster, easier and less dangerous and should therefore be encouraged
To validate the first point, consider the following:
The Improved road awareness of cyclist makes red lights unecessary - cyclists can see if it is not safe to cross a road. (N.B - under my proposal cyclists would not have priority over oncoming traffic if they had gone through a red light). It is safer for three obvious reasons:
Cyclist naturally filter to the front of traffic queues yet have the slowest acceleration. Surely it makes sense for them to be allowed to leave lights early to get some speed and distance between them and the nearest car.
The good news is that I am not the only one - Wayne Laugesen has a great article on the topic at http://www.scaab.bikeaddict.com/shopping_page.html.