New Toys

by Scott Esdaile on May 17, 2012

Guess who’s just had a birthday?

My new little everyday, walk-around camera. Fuji’s unabashedly retro X10. Remarkable lens on this bad boy. I can see we’re going to be best of friends.

The closest I’ll be to owning any Canon L-series lenses for a long time. Yep, one of those fandangled Lens Cups – the switches even move!

Thanks to the lovely H for the awesome presents. Aside from vintage saxophone toys, camera toys are the best kind of new toys a grown-up kid could receive.

The Gig Guide: Some Advice for Punters

by Scott Esdaile on November 4, 2011

A small rant.

Seriously. Beats two and four. Two and four. Got it? But what are you doing clapping along anyway? You’re only going to get out of time – forcing the drummer to bust out some Gloria Estefan-inspired dropping of rhythms to turn the beat around. Clapping during songs – just say no.

The same goes for trying to sing along with the only bit of the one song you know – badly. Maybe stop to consider that there’s a pretty good chance that oh, you know, most of the people around you are there to hear the actual singer sing. It’s not Karaoke night at your local. Geebus.

And finally, watching the band that’s ripping it up on stage in front of you via your phone’s camera and screen is a pretty underwhelming experience. Really. Not every moment of your life needs to be recorded for posterity and bragging rights. So why not try fully enjoying the moment as it happens – live music is about more than just status updates, blurry photos and muffled videos.

I’m not saying you shouldn’t really get into and feel the music, nor am I wishing every gig was performed in a silent, seated concert hall. There’s just been a few too many gigs I’ve been at lately where a handful of punters could have been mindful that not everyone was as much of a mouthbreather as they were.

Damn mouthbreathers. That is all.

End rant.

// Feel free to give me some high-brow, music-snob grief or add your own advice in the comments. That is, if people even use blog comments anymore. Cheers! //

Skills No Longer Needed To Pay The Bills

by Scott Esdaile on July 14, 2011

There’s a saying that it takes 10,000 hours to achieve mastery in a certain field. Which equates to playing a lot of notes on an instrument, hitting a lot of balls on a tennis court, or many hours immersing yourself in a second language. And you have to be dedicated. There’s no point slacking off when the going gets tough around the 3,000 hour mark.

But given the hours you’ve invested in mastering these new abilities, wouldn’t you hate it if they then became redundant. With newer technologies the main protagonist. So today, I’d like to pay tribute to the skills no longer needed to pay the bills. While they may not have required years of commitment to master, we should pause and reflect on the fallen.

Here are some of my favourite superseded skills:

  • Winding the cassette tape back into shape with a biro.
  • For that matter, even making a mix tape. With bonus points awarded for correctly pre-emptively hitting the record button to avoid chopping the start of the song. And bonus-bonus points for timing your mix to fit exactly on a single side.
  • Sending a fax. Actually, who am I kidding – I never mastered that. Do I need to dial zero first? Do I need to put in the area code? Bah… too hard.
  • Blowing the top of the Nintendo game cartridge to make it load properly. This skill was a mandatory in the lounge room for many years.
  • Locking the front passenger car door by pushing the button down AND pushing it shut while holding the handle up. Kids these days don’t even know…
  • Art Directors – how are your Letraset skills these days?
  • And finally, signatures. I’ve almost forgotten what mine looks like. A skill that is literally, no longer required to pay the bills.

What about you? Any redundant skills you’d like to pay tribute to? Feel free to add yours in the comments.

{First published on BCM’s Two Cents blog}

NFC. WTF?

by Scott Esdaile on June 23, 2011

NFC. No, it’s not the Global Financial Crisis on a Noosa-specific level. No, it’s not the Nanango Football Club. It’s ‘Near Field Communications’ and it sounds like it’s going to open some doors to innovative radness.

While I’m sure the boffins will protest against my simplification, NFC is basically a way of conducting secure data transfers between two devices held close together – hence the ‘Near Field’ in NFC. Essentially an extension/hybrid of technologies like Bluetooth and QR Codes, NFC allows for sharing, pairing and transactions to occur between NFC-enabled items like smartphones. Simple.

If you’ve begun to notice ‘tap to pay’ eftpos terminals appearing at checkouts, that’s the beginning of NFC payments starting to roll out with chip-enabled credit cards. The same goes for any electronic ticketing systems you might have used on public transport. And the recent announcement of Google Wallet has definitely turned the spotlight onto the approaching reality of mobile payments and transactions.

So what does NFC mean for advertisers and marketers?

I guess it could well be the catalyst for fast interactions that tick the mobile, location-based, personalised and data-driven boxes. It might be an NFC-tagged poster or sticker that you tap your phone on to collect a voucher, and then an alert that tells you where the nearest store is to redeem it.  Or a reminder of your available loyalty points and a shopping list appearing because you’d walked into the supermarket.

Or imagine if every product on the shelf had a little chip that you could scan with your phone to find the latest reviews, prices and promotions. Or perhaps a supermarket trolley that was aware of the products you were adding to it and then offered suggestions for other items based on a mix of recipes that used the ingredients you have and your recent shopping history.

Or perhaps even a trolley that simply counted off the remaining items left to buy based on the shopping list stored on your phone – and once you’ve finished shopping, you conveniently walk straight out to the carpark with payment occurring automatically as you walk past the checkout area.

Or maybe it’ll be an outdoor poster that simply provides you with a song/photo/game/website in return for an element of social sharing or automated data transfer. Or perhaps even an outdoor poster that changes what product or offer is being displayed – based on where you are now, where you’ve been, your personal information and your shopping history.

Or maybe… maybe we should all just watch Minority Report again! Seems we’re not all that far off the advertising future envisioned in Spielberg’s 2002 flick.

What do you think? Am I on track with my future-gazing? What are your thoughts on how this technology could be implemented?

{First published on BCM’s Two Cents blog}

Keys, Wallet, Phone… in a Phone

by Scott Esdaile on June 9, 2011

With Google’s announcement of their game-changing Google Wallet two weeks back, I watched Apple’s announcements yesterday with interest to see how they’d reply to the challenge – potentially by unveiling an iPhone 5 with near field communcation (NFC) technology built in to allow mobile payments. It didn’t happen. Maybe next time. So back to Google Wallet…

For those that haven’t read much into it yet, Google Wallet is basically a phone app that stores virtual versions of the plastic cards (including loyalty and credit cards) that you have in your wallet, combined with the ‘tap to pay’ functionality that’s started to be implemented at checkouts, and the benefits of location-driven retail offers. It’s going to be rad.

From Google’s visionThis is just the beginning, but we believe that, in time, your phone with Google Wallet will be the one thing that holds everything you need to carry.

Everything? Sure, combined with remote-unlocking apps that have started to appear, it really does negate the three-point ‘keys, wallet, phone’ check. But is that everything? Maybe it is. Add a few tunes, a few e-books, some games, nifty cameras, maps and throw in a few cloud-based features… seems our phones really will be the only things we need with us soon.

Which means it’s going to really, really, really suck if you lose it in the back of a cab on a night out. Effectively losing what in the past would have been a whole handbag (or manbag) full of personal items.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m all for the convergence of devices. And anything that helps stop my jeans from falling down from having too much stuff jammed into my pockets is surely a win for everyone.

But let’s take it even further. What’s missing? What would you like to see added to your phone to truly make it the one thing you ever needed to carry?

{First published on BCM’s Two Cents blog}

Old School Wall Update

by Scott Esdaile on May 9, 2011

New status update on my wall. And yes, I allow dislikes.

Radvertising and Other Buzzwords

by Scott Esdaile on February 17, 2011

I love a good buzzword. It’s the way they tingle in the ear and sparkle in the mind. Especially when combined into a delicious, buzzword-laden mixed salad.

Like the following gem from this tongue-firmly-in-cheek site:

Brand-scaping the social ludosphere with narrative rhizomes to maximise attention-harvest from high-advocacy end-product enjoyers.

Boom. Don Watson would love it. And so do I.

But what I enjoy even more is making up new words. Jumbling them around. Mashing them together to create unusual meanings, to form new phrases. And often, rad new buzzwords.

A wise writerly-type once told me that these words are called neologisms and that if formed correctly, they can be used to encapsulate a feeling, or an otherwise difficult to express idea – in just a single word. Neat, huh?

Here are a few favourites I’ve recently come across:

“Radvertising”. There’s advertising. And then there’s RADvertising.

Ever suffered from “Infobesity”? Do you indulge in too much unhealthy snacking of information via the internet, without actually comprehending it?

Or maybe you have a “Googleganger”? I have one. His name is Scot X Esdaile – he’s always getting up in my Google alert grill.

What if you took the power of “extreme” and added the goodness of “maximum” to create… “maxtreme”?

Or my wife’s favourite for when her dresses/skirts/jeans have fake pockets stitched on… “fockets” (note: can be easily misheard).

And finally, the “mindgasm” for when your mind experiences something sublime. Although this one seems to be open to interpretation.

So in the interests of pseudo-etymology and helping to push these and similarly clever coined words and terms out into the mainstream – what are some of your favourites? Feel free to leave them in the comments and I’ll do my best to seamlessly drop each one Kanye West style into a sentence tomorrow. Get your buzzword bingo cards ready.

{First published on BCM’s Two Cents blog}

How to Win Every Advertising Award in 2010

by Scott Esdaile on November 10, 2010

A lip-dub, hipster-only flashmob using a crowd-sourced, 8-bit mashup of an OK Go soundtrack that incorporates projection mapping of zombies and cats on boats, no… on horses, no… on unicorns, and stop motion animation while shot in tilt-shift on an iPhone 4 with a modified vintage lens attached.

But you can only view it by using an Augmented Reality marker card that you find after liking a Facebook page that then leads you on a foursquare-driven treasure hunt to find the AR card that then directs you to use it on a Tumblr site where it’s actually a non-linear series of annotated YouTube clips where you can enter a phrase via a custom iPhone app that you want to see acted out by an indie band riding fixie bikes, as well as upload your own video for your chance to win something mildly exclusive or underwhelmingly amazing.

This Is Not An Idea

by Scott Esdaile on October 17, 2010

Digital is not an idea.

Social Media is not an idea.

Technology is not an idea.

Yes, everyday there are new and innovative ways we can execute our work, but let’s not get totally caught up with the shiny objects and remember that our ideas should come from insights, behaviours and motivations. No?