Skittles TV Commercials - How Bizarre!

Skittles commercialI have always enjoyed television advertising for various reasons. Its creativity, humor and sometimes artistic touch make it a good source of entertainement and very often more enjoyable than the lame shows broadcasted today.

Earlier tonight, the new Skittles ad came up on television and I can't hide the fact that it made me laugh! Yes, I do appreciate ads that stand out of those numerous washing powder commercials. In fact, they remind me of the Cadbury ones (view them here) by their originality and most of all "weirdness". Skittles is reknown for its B-I-Z-A-R-R-E tv ads and I thought I would give you a little compilation.

I understand these won't appeal to most of the TV audience, but they're definitely trying to differentiate themselves and they get my credit for that.

How about you? Is this, in your opinion, a good advertising strategy?
Do you rather hate these ads or love them? Don't hesitate to comment below!

Catch the Rainbow (new)

Share the Rainbow

Touch the rainbow

Chocolate the Rainbow

Treasure the Rainbow

Believe the Rainbow

Sour the Rainbow

Grow the Rainbow

Tame the Rainbow (Russia)

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Social Media in numbers

Statistics are usually boring. All these percentages, numbers and equations usually don't really appeal to people. However, the following video is quite interesting. It gives an overview of how the Internet has evolved and how social media came to be, and all in numbers!

Have a look at the following video, I'm certain you will be quite surprised at some of the figures presented to you!

The Social Media Revolution

The above video reminded me of the Did you know animation video that similarly showed statistics and figures about random facts. I've included it below for your own pleasure!

Did you know?

And finally, here's one last video. This one is from the researcher Hans Rosling exposing some very VERY interesting statistics during a TED talk back in 2006. I know it's old but most of the figures presented here would still be valid today. You can read more information here.

Hans Rosling presentation
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Google and its Automatic Search Query Suggestions!

google australia logoRecently, Google has added a new tool on their search engine. From now on, automatic suggestions will show when someone is typing a query in the search box. Although I suppose this could help some people with their spelling skills, I think its main use is simply to have a good laugh! Have a look at some queries below that are quite unexpected! Try it yourself, you'll have a blast!

Personally, I love Twitter but not everyone will agree with me!

Yes, Australia is very supportive!

520,000 results for this?!

Is that even legal in some countries?

They definitely need to improve their online branding!

Now that's freaky... Urban legend?

Perhaps eating frogs makes us skinny?

No one will admit they spend an average of 2 hours a day on FB.

I think the definition of "friend" should be reviewed!

No comment!

Yep, that confirms it!

I like the last one

Want to make hash while making sushi or planting a bomb, just google it.

Many families seem to be struggling!
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Tilt-shift Photography: Two beautiful videos!

Something that has always surprised me with photography is that although the basics remain the pretty much the same, new techniques appear regularly to give new artistic effects to your work. The development, affordability and availability of digital cameras have made it easier for everyone to use these techniques, some of which actually appeared long ago. This is the case of tilt-shift photography, or how to focus on a particular area of the photography and shifting (or blurring) the rest of the picture to give this miniature appearance to objects.

If you still don't really know what I'm talking about, I suggest you watch the two following videos. I have chosen both of them because they correspond to two cities I know very well: Sydney and Paris.
You can also read more on the wikipedia article or on this tilt-shift tutorial.

Watch other videos from Keith Loutit

Watch other videos from Alta Media Productions

I've also added a video of the Bastille Day fireworks in the Parisian Eiffel Tower made using the same tilt-shift technique. Over 6,000 photographs were taken over a 30mn period during which the fireworks took place. Watch the video here.
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Some thoughts about Real-time Search Engines

The currently Google dominated search engine industry constantly evolves. We have seen new search engines appear, but have they really caused any impact on the industry? Let's take the example of the new and "revolutionary" search engine Cuil which had a huge buzz when launched over a year ago. Cuil was co-founded by several former employees of Google itself and was announced as THE search engine that will "destroy" Google. Well it seems that only a few months after the launch, Cuil was completely forgotten as you can see on the graph below taken from Google Insights for Search.

However, the biggest evolution to come, which has already started in fact, are real-time search engines. In this field, Twitter has taken a step ahead from all other networks. With over 10,000 tweets per minute (24/7), it is probably the best source to find what's being said "out there". From the beginning, Twitter Search allowed anyone to search all public messages written by its users. More recently, Twitter redesigned its homepage to fully integrate a search engine for visitors who aren't logged in, putting real-time search as one of its main services. Twitter APIs such as Tweetdeck and Seesmic Desktop have also integrated these search features letting users be constantly fed with the latest tweets.
The Facebook "What's on your mind?" status is very similar and brings the social network as an important and threatening competitor to Twitter. Last week, Facebook acquired Friendfeed in an unpredictable move meant to rival even more Twitter. For your information, Bing has already integrated real time results in its searches, Google will soon improve that as well (without mentioning the Google Wave meant to come out soon).

Real-time search engines, and at a broader level social media optimization, are undoubtedly great ways for brands to listen and watch what's being said about them or their products/services. Now if I've been writing this article, it's actually to introduce you to a video I had seen a couple years back on the TED website. This video is a presentation from Jonathan Haris about secret stories on the web. "Stories", because he was analyzing what people were saying, what feelings they were expressing and sharing on the Internet. "Secret", because his role is limited to observation. He is not interacting with those people; random people that he doesn't know. And yet, he is somehow entering their privacy and intimacy by reading their life.

Now you might wander what the relation between his work and real-time search engines are so I'll just leave you to watch the following video. That video struck me because what he was doing as an experiment and part of his work, is exactly what the web has become like, especially the battle between Twitter and Facebook and the related search engines. Also, don't forget his presentation dates back to 2007!

Enjoy the video and don't hesitate to comment below on your thoughts about real-time search engines and the way they will become (or not) a major aspect of the web. In my opinion, it will if not already.

Jonathan Harris: the Web's secret stories
TED talk posted in July 2007

And for the curious ones out there, here's another more recent presentation from Jonathan Harris about stories collected on the Internet including his "We feel Fine".

Jonathan Harris collects stories
TED talk posted in July 2008
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RockMelt: A new generation browser

rockmelt browser logoAbout 15 years ago, Marc Andreessen gave birth to Netscape, one of the first web browsers which dominated the early years of Internet until its complete disappearance around 2002. Since then, we have seen dozens of new browsers compete in a never-ending battle.

In July 2009, the usage shares of browsers worldwide was:
  • Internet Explorer (67.68%)
  • Mozilla Firefox (22.47%)
  • Safari (4.07%)
  • Google Chrome (2.59%)
  • Opera (1.97%)
  • Others (1.22%)

In the NY Times article of August 13th, Marc Andreessen announces he has been supporting a project co-founded by two former colleagues of his, Eric Vishria and Tim Howes : RockMelt.

According to him, other browsers have not been able to keep up with the evolution of Internet and web browsing. What used to be a huge index of static pages has now become a complete network of dynamic pages blended with social networks, applications, user generated content and so on. The only way to build a browser capable of integrating all these key elements is to start again from scratch.

We know for a fact that Mr. Andreessen is serving as a director for Facebook, which would lead us to think that the social network could be integrated into this browser via Facebook Connect.

The information available about this new browser is quite limited at the moment but you can signup to receive updates directly on their website
I suppose we'll hear a lot more in the upcoming months as it does mention "coming soon" on their site!

As far as I'm concerned, I am actually quite surprised this hasn't been done earlier. I guess it's better late than never!
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Skyscrapers soon to be spacecrapers?

Skyscrapers have always amazed me, by their massive sizes, ingenious architectures and modern designs. When the Eiffel Tower was built in 1889, it was meant to stay there temporarily for the Universal Exposition of that same year. Fortunately, they decided to keep it and made it the world's tallest tower for 41 years until the Chrysler Building was built in New York City. NYC, also known to be the tallest city in the world along with Chicago and several main US cities has seen even bigger towers growing out of the ground in Asia and the United Arab Emirates. It seems like the competition is now happening between Tokyo, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Kuala Lumpur, Dubaï and a few other cities.

Last week, the Burj Dubai reached its final altitude of 818 meters (2,683 feet), beating by nearly 1 Eiffel Tower (or 310 meter) the Taipei 101 tower in Taiwan. Since the 1980-90's, skyscrapers from around the world were setting new altitude records by a few meters each and every time. However, the Burj Dubai has taken a huge step leaving its competitors FAR behind.

Until recently, skyscrapers were mostly used to house office space or apartments in highly populated areas where the price per square-meter was reaching phenomenal prices. But Dubai does not have any lack of space and still reaches for the stars. These towers are now a symbol of luxury and economical health serving different purposes. For example, the Burj Dubai, with its beautiful and slim design, will be hosting commercial malls, recreational areas, hotels, restaurants, offices and of course housing.
Now let's have a look at several projects that seem unrealistic but who would have thought a century ago we would have a 800 meter tower?

bionic tower
The Bionic Tower

Meant to be built around 2015-2020 in China's economic center Shanghai, this tower is one of my favorites in terms of design. This is the work of two Spanish architects, Javier Pioz and Maria Rosa Cervera, specialized in "bionic" structures.

This simple means they inspire their structures from those of plants as seen on the image below. With such architectures found in the nature, the tower should be both strong and flexible at the same time. Considering the height of the tower, this is a very important detail that will protect the tower from high winds and earthquakes.

This tower should be housing over 100,000 people and will reach a height of 1,200 meters (4,000 feet) or 300 floors!

bionic towerbionic towerbionic tower

jedah one mile tower
The Mile High Tower

This 1-mile high tower meant to be built soon in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia could beat the Burj Dubai soon because of the seriousness of the project. However, it appears that its construction could be postponed due to the current financial crisis.

Its height could reach an amazing 1,600 meters (5,250 feet).

eye in the sky tower auckland
Eye in the Sky

This tower of 600 meters (2,000), although less impressive than other towers shown here in terms of height, has a very interesting design. Meant to be built in Oakland California, it will be a lookout and won't be hosting any office or residential floors. You can read more information here.

The Ultima Tower (or X-Seed 4000)

This tower is more likely to never be built, considering its price (approx. 600 billion USDs!) and craziness! This tower, designed to be complete "city in the city" of Tokyo would be by all means the highest and most massive building ever built. It's height of 4,000 meters (13,123 feet) would literally make it a mountain. For your information, the Mont Blanc, Europe's highest mountain in France is 4,807 meters high!

This tower would be all solar powered and eco-friendly. It could also host up to... 1,000,000 people!! You can read more information on this post.

x seed 4000 ultima tower

As far as I'm concerned, I can't wait to live in the first Spacescraper! :)
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Why does the world want to destroy Paris?!

Not long ago, I was having a look at the latest video games in one of the EB Games stores in Sydney. That's when I realized there were so many games out there with the symbolic Eiffel Tower being blown up on the box cover. I am French and more precisely from Paris so it wasn't hard for me to notice!
More recently, I watched the trailer of the new Gi Joe movie meant to come out soon in cinemas. There, the Eiffel Tower was the target of some sort of missile filled with weird green toxic gas which unsurprisingly ended up destroying the tower. After further research, I found several games and movies which show very similar images of destruction in Paris.
Since the 9/11 terrorist attacks in NYC, I know American movie and game studios wouldn't dare putting some other American monument getting blown up on those images... BUT WHY PARIS?! Why my home! It seems like this is quite recurrent. I don't know the reasons behind this. I mean, our cheese definitely smells good, we don't smoke and half the country is already on riot so one building less wouldn't make a difference? hehe
I don't really believe in conspiracies but really, they're making it almost too obvious!
I couldn't remember the names of the other games I saw with similar covers so if some of you know of, please comment and I'll add them to this article.

Tom Clancy's EndWar Poster

Tom Clancy's EndWar screenshot

Tom Clancy's EndWar Game cover

Resistance: Retribution Game cover 1

Resistance: Retribution Game cover 2

Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen Trailer (55th second)

Gi Joe: Rise of the Cobra Trailer (from the 35th second)
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Multi-tab browsing and its impact on web analytics

Who doesn't remember having about 15 browser windows opened at the same time on their computer? I certainly do, and what a pain that was! Opera first introduced the tabs on its browser and unwillingly opened a brand new way of browsing the Internet.

I'm sure that I am not the only one opening 10 articles in different tabs when on a news website. A simple click from my mouse wheel and there it is, queuing to be read. I sometimes overuse it to the point that I end up barely reading half the pages I opened.

Most of the main browsers now include this option: Opera, Firefox, Chrome and even the latest version of Internet Explorer.

In web analytics, the visitor's path is a good way of knowing how people land on your page and where they go next. As you can see on this screenshot below, we know that most of the people coming on that page land directly from either direct traffic, either from a search engine or either from an external link pointing to this page (more commonly called referring site).

We also notice that most of the traffic leaves that page as well after reading the article and therefore shows I am having a hard time retaining that traffic.

I certainly am not an expert in web analytics but when I was having a closer and curious look to the visitors' path statistics on my own blog, I asked myself this question:
How can the path can be measured if people open different articles in numerous tabs?

If you have 10 unique visitors coming to your website, 4 of which leave directly after viewing the homepage and 6 of them browsing to articles, that gives you respectively 40 and 60% of your traffic as shown on the graph below. This results in 16 page views (10 for the homepage and 6 for the articles).

This is quite simple and do not require advanced skills to understand. However, my question may be better explained with the following situation. In the graph below, we have 10 unique visitors landing on the homepage, just like in the first situation. Four of them leave the website before browsing any further. Out of those 6 visitors left, let's say several open different articles in different tabs. For obvious reasons, the analytics tracking tag on your page will still count those tabs as page views. Out of the 10 unique visitors, let's say 3 of them clicked on the first article. This means that 30% of your visitors have viewed this article. If you add up those percentages, they go well over 100%, which used to be impossible.

This clearly shows that having the multiple tabs tool on most browsers benefits to your website as it encourages people to browse more and view more pages.

However, in terms of analytics, this quickly becomes an issue. Instead of having a visitor going from page 1 to page 2 to page 3, we now have visitors going from page 1 to page 2,3,4,5 at the same time just like on the graph below.

While multiple tab browsing improved greatly our user experience, I'd be interested to know how this has impacted analytics online and the visitor's behavior online in particular. I've searched for some information on the Internet but couldn't find anything on this topic apart from an article from 2006 so if any of you are familiar to this or have answers to enlighten me, please post a comment below!
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