Category Archives: Gadgets, Gizmos and gimmicks

The death of books?

I love books. I like choosing a book by its, spine, a cover, a good review and I love picking it up and turning the pages.

I’ve always said I can’t imagine reading a book on an eReader but recently I’ve started to question how long I will resist getting one. I’m now used to reading news on my laptop, opting for paperless comms from brands and browsing pretty much anything on my iPhone.

Looking at a recent statement from amazon they stated that their US book business saw

Amazon.com is now selling more Kindle books than paperback books. Since the beginning of the year, for every 100 paperback books Amazon has sold, the Company has sold 115 Kindle books.

Does that make paperback readers a minority or simply mean those owning an eReader buy more books?

Although the UK is by no means seeing penetration at this level, Chris North, managing director of Amazon, said that the Uk was heading in the same direction…

So, how long till I get a kindle… I reckon by 2012 I’ll have succumbed!

Google Street View

A short but sweet post on the coolness that is GoogleStreet View – after spending the last 30 minutes looking up pointless address’ I’m hooked and awaiting them to come to the countryside and feature Hungerford so I too can see a photo of my house (why I need that I dont know but it seems exciting!)

Currently limited to Aberdeen, Belfast, Birmingham, Bristol, Cambridge, Cardiff, Coventry, Derby, Dundee, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds, Liverpool, London, Manchester, Newcastle, Norwich, Nottingham, Oxford, Scunthorpe, Sheffield, Southampton, Swansea and York.  It lets you see a 360′ panaromaic view of your street address and is very very cool! Check out their instructions and give it a play – The San Francisco one is particularly cool.

More sights spotted by the Google Street View crew HERE

*Update* Just found the latest stats on its traffic since the launch showing a 41% increase:

 

 

 

 

 

UK_Internet_visits_to_Google_maps_following_launch_of_streetview_march_2009_chart.png
Team that with the stats

The average visit time for Google Maps yesterday was 7 minutes 6 seconds, up from 5 minutes 28 seconds the day before.

and its appeal as a tool is evident.

That said these stats only show the immediate increase after a week of press releases, tech coverage, blogging, tweeting, privacy issues and WOM that have given Google Maps street view rapid adoption / awareness. As such a big brand (or as some would argue the biggest brand) to provide web tools its obvious that many users will test this out, have a look and spend 5 – 10 minutes checking out address’. The more interesting stats for this will be how users use this novelty feature over time in the online space and how (not if!)they evolve this into their sat-nav features on both the phone and in car.

Getting a blog going…

As its nearly a month since I started actually doing something more frequent with my blog, and as my current task in my more academic studies s about reflection I thought I’d reflect on this whole blog thing.

It’s difficult going. You dont realise how much time and effort is needed to go into creating content. At the moment the majority of my posts have been too do with personality and psychometric testing but later, as I work to continue the blog, finding content, making it appropriate and then forming my own opinion on subjects will become a challenge.

So – a month in, as someone who previously read an RSS feed now and then, and had zero experience in publishing a bog, what my learnings and reflection so far have taught me.

1. Get to grips with the blog software you are using: Spending a couple of hours tweaking a layout and surfing designs and deciding what widgets to use is okay but actually starting to get to grips with content publication and publishing is even more important – thats when you’ll quickly find out whether blogging is for you! I found this article on Blog usability really useful (note my possible overuse on point 2) – next step for me is “owning my own destiny” (see point 10!)

2. Think about your topic I’m blogging mainly to help store my thoughts for my study for my Masters but I’m also trying to blog on my industry an my thoughts and opinions on the latest news and current trends. At first I spent ages worrying about what to write and what people would think but selflessly considering my blog (right now) as a tool for me has meant I can worry less about this and more about focusing in on evaluating my interests. This article on article expansion (and how much easie things get) helped me to keep up with it. I’m not single minded and I need to work on focusing in but for now…!

3. Sign up, sign up, sign up! I found that to write a blog you need to be on the pulse. My goal isn’t right now to publish exclusive information (i.e. my personal theories or research) although I’d like to think I could move into this when I have more time away from my studies. I started to source more RSS feeds, sign up to brands and people that semed interesting on Twitter, looked into friend feed, started building up my delicious network, played around with picassa and started to remember why the web is important to me as a consumer (not just me in my work). Its been a strange experience as I’ve suddenly realised all the reasons I wanted to work in digital to begin with that gradually become forgotten as you work into your clients space, your clients goals and consume as your clients consumers not your space.

4. Stat Obsession: I quickly became obsessed with the dashboard function on wordpress. Not because I thought I would be getting thousands of visitors (how can you when noone knows about your blog) but even getting a visitor seemed surprising. Who are these anonymous people who visit your blog? Why have they come here? What did they look at? What made one post be attractive to 50 people and the next post attractive to just 1? This obsession reiterates my own trait as an analyst that I’ve picked up on the more I reflect on myself. I’m drawn to the numbers and the patterns and want to understand. I’ve just started looking into seeding the blog (an indulgent experiment) starting with Technorati, facebook, Twitter (useful again!), Blogtopsites and Feedburner.

Okay – so those are the basics. In a couple of months I’ll update and compare (and probably laugh at my naivety) but for other bloggers getting off the starting block I think the above is more than enough!