In response to GeekAnt‘s comment on Google’s Lego logo, the gauntlet was thrown down to two of London’s top graphic designers (Heena Varambhia & Mark Bowerman):
What would a Google logo look like if they had one on the 14th August to celebrate the anniversary of my blog??
After much deliberation, it was decided that Heena’s entry would be Webometric Thoughts official anniversary logo:
With Mark’s impressive entry suffering from a lack of celebratory cake:
We will have to wait and see whether Google makes the same choice, or designs a logo of their own for the 14th August.
ReadWriteWeb have written a piece on ‘Google barcodes’ which, unless I am much mistaken, the rest of the world knows as QR codes. Google is to use them in print advertising.
Whilst the ReadWriteWeb blogger is not holding his breath for its success, he seems to have missed one important point: The software is already on the phones of a large audience! What Google need to do is educated the mobile users (including the so-called technologically minded at ReadWriteWeb).
Both scientific articles and blog posts share the currency of recognition. However, whilst citations are rather dry affairs that are relatively few and far between, blogs get far more interesting critiques from a far wider audience. It’s a shame that scientific articles aren’t more like blog posts.
The sad truth is that my off-the-cuff comments about the web and the progress of my allotment (http://plot13.blogspot.com/) receive far more readers than any of my scientific articles. Over the last few months the number of unique visitors to my Webometric Thoughts blog, according to Google Analytics, have been steadily increasing (Nov-434, Dec-633, Jan-807(so far)). Whilst these figures would barely register in the blogosphere, they are far higher than could ever be hoped for in the academic world where you generally find yourself questioning whether even the referee bothered reading the article fully.
Even when the articles are read, and you are given a citation, they generally refer to some obscure generalisation you have made, barely worthy of a citation: it is more to do with the citer building authority for their own paper by showing how much they have read. In comparison a blogger does not benefit from referencing your post, and has the freedom to discuss it as little or as much as they wish. Therefore coming across a blog reference can be much more rewarding (I just came across my personal favourite today).
It would be great if the academic world could combine the informality of the blogosphere with their traditional publishing activities. Unfortunately most academics see blogs as a drain on their time rather than an opportunity to broaden the reach of their research and get more useful feedback. Admittedly my eclectic mix of posts has done little to further the blogging cause in academia, but surely there are some academic bloggers out their which truly show the potential of blogs.
The Google ‘special occassion’ logos can often be a bit tiresome. After all, I don’t actually need a snowman to let me know its christmas, or a pumpkin to remind me I am liable to have scrounging children banging on my door. However, I guess most people don’t have a diary with the 50th birthday of Lego written in it:
Please continue with more interesting logos Google.
Search Engine Journal are pointing out that all YouTube content is now available on 3G smart phones…about bloody time. The YouTube mobile site has been available for ages, http://m.youtube.com/ but has until now had a VERY limited amount of content.
Whilst the content has been available through unofficial applications for some phones (e.g., emTube), for some reason I could only get them to work with wi-fi rather than 3G, which didn’t really utilise the mobile aspect of the phone.
My only concern with YouTube mobile is the inevitable increase in people having noisy gadgets in public places. I’m sure that video of the baby laughing, or someone falling over is hilarious, but I really don’t want to hear it. If you don’t already have them, PLEASE BUY SOME HEADPHONES!!
All about mobile life have just drawn attention to what sounds like a fun new QR-code pastime: QR-Kill. Basically you wear a printed QR code on your back with you name and phone number, and when someone locks onto it and sends you an SMS you’re dead.
Unfortunately the only people I know with any idea of what a QR code is, are my extremely un-urban-soldier research group and a Finnish webometrician who would be quickly tracked to the closest pub drinking a pint of strongbow.
On those occassions that I get the 2Mb connection I pay for (which seem to be increasingly rare), I find that it fulfils all my broadbanding needs…nonetheless I do find myself coveting the potential 100Mbps that may soon be on offer in the UK.
So, what are the added advantages of the super-fast speeds? According to the Beeb:
…super-fast net connections could create a range of new applications including on-demand high-definition TV, DVD quality film downloads in minutes, online video messaging, CCTV home surveillance and high definition gaming services.
OK, they are the immediate applications: better (and faster) versions of applications which are already available. But they are not really tapping the true potential of such speeds.
There will undoubtably be big applications: virtual worlds with details and involvement that haven’t been imagined since the early nineties; distributed-computing tackling problems in new and more powerful ways. However, I think the biggest change will actually be through the use of increasing numbers of low-bandwidth applications throughout the home/workplace. People will start looking at everyday items and asking: what if it could connect with the world? what would be possible? Such applications won’t take off, or even be given serious thought, until bandwidth stops being seen as a scarce commodity.
How will they cut costs on laying the new fibre, by using the sewer system. Seems appropriate for most of the stuff on the internet.
All about mobile life have pointed out that one part of the BBC have now started incorporating QR Codes (not the upstart Upcodes), although I’m not sure how much use the QR codes are.
BBC Programmes beta, which provides information on all current TV and radio programmes across the BBC, has provided a QR code for each of the programmes listed, simply by adding /qrcode to the URL. So, the QR code for Torchwood (http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b006m8ln) is available at http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b006m8ln/qrcode.
Whilst I love the BBC and can see a lot of potential in QR codes, I am waiting for them to roll out to more useful areas of the site before I get over excited. I can see how QR codes embedded on news and sports pages, linking to mobile optimised versions would be useful. However, I can’t imagine that it is very often that people think “I really want to be able to access these programme details on the move…if only I could easily transfer the URL easily across”. Whilst I suppose an avid fan may wish to embed a QR code on a T-shirt, to show affiliation with a programme, the BBC codes don’t even help with that as they are not in a useful format.
Although hopefully this is a sign of good things to come.