Blogs

125-Inch, 1-mm-Thick, 8-Pound Flexible Display Unveiled

Submitted by Sam Moore on

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Thanks to Rob Webber for this one.


Shinoda announced a new flexible display technology that's light and thin, presumable making it easier to fit into dramatic and well-placed signage locations. Posts have focused on using these in home, but I see this as a digital signage play.

Gizmodo post

via Pink Tentacle

Shinoda's website (in Japanese)

Online Ordering at Papa John's

Submitted by Sam Moore on

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Thanks to Rob Webber for this one:
CNN has this AP writeup on the growth of online ordering for the pizza business - focusing on Papa John's, but also mentioning Domino's and Pizza Hut.
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Amazingly, Papa John's has made $1 Billion in sales online:

The nation's third-largest pizza delivery chain trumpeted the $1 billion milestone Wednesday, noting that its U.S. online sales have been growing at an average clip of more than 50 percent per year. In 2001, the chain's online sales totaled $20.4 million. Last year, its online sales approached $400 million.

"It took us seven years to reach our first billion in online sales, and at our current pace and growth rate it will take us less than three years to hit our next billion," said Jim Ensign, vice president of marketing communications at Papa John's.

CNN Piece

We covered Domino's BFD Builder earlier, and the current Pizza Hut offering is here.
But an upcoming advance from Pizza Hut in particular looks worth watching:

Pizza Hut, the nation's biggest pizza chain, also allows customers to order via text messaging and mobile Web. The unit of Yum Brands Inc. soon will unveil a new method for ordering pizzas, dubbed "Pizza Hut Shortcut," that it says will be the fastest in the industry. Customers will be able to download a "widget" onto their computers that will let them place their favorite pizza orders with just one click.

Adobe - Open Screen Project

Submitted by Sam Moore on

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Adobe have opened their .flv and .swf formats, according to their release here.

Some key things they're promising:

• Removing restrictions on use of the SWF and FLV/F4V specifications

• Publishing the device porting layer APIs for Adobe Flash Player

• Publishing the Adobe Flash® Cast™ protocol and the AMF protocol for robust data services

• Removing licensing fees - making next major releases of Adobe Flash Player and Adobe AIR for devices free

From the CEO:

A consistent, more open platform for developers will drive rapid innovation, vastly improving the user experience.

My fondest wish in this is that third-party tools will flourish, hopefully making the Flash vs. DHTML/AJAX divide less of an obstacle.
Project Page

Press Release

Microsoft looks to become major player in ad world

Submitted by Sam Moore on

For those who think Microsoft and Google aren't our competitors, here's Microsoft's Steve Ballmer.

Quote:

"Over time, all ad money will go through a digital ad platform," Ballmer told a gathering of European ad agencies and clients. "All media goes digital, all advertising goes digital."

Link

More:

Microsoft became a player in the ad business with its August purchase of aQuantive, a U.S. company whose technology places ever-changing Web site ads in front of Internet viewers based on specific conditions.

Now, Ballmer is trying to convince media specialists that Microsoft is serious about catching up with Google in the $550 billion global ad market.

Wal-Mart Era Wanes Amid Big Shifts in Retail - WSJ.com

Submitted by Sam Moore on

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Even includes a video of WalMart's bacteria-like spread through the US market.

Interesting is the growth of internet retailing, and how that dwarfs WalMart's formerly impressive scale. Maybe you can find thousands of things at WalMart, but you can literally buy ANYTHING on the internet:

[T]he Internet is transforming the retail definition of scale. The once-stunning compilation of 142,000 items found in a Wal-Mart supercenter doesn't seem so vast alongside the millions of products available on the Internet. At the same time, the cost of creating and sustaining a national brand is rising because of media fragmentation. Niche brands, created by Internet word of mouth, are winning shelf space and sapping profits required to fund big brands' advertising. Manufacturers such as Apple Inc. and Phillips-Van Heusen Corp., lacking the retail distribution or presentation they crave, are opening their own stores. One result is that retail giants hold less sway over their customers -- and over their suppliers.

WalMart's beginning to remind me of an old battleship, struggling in a new world of jet fighters.

What does this mean to retailers? For one, thing, the smart ones are focusing on experience, service, atmosphere - Target does this well. These are things the Internet is bad at - and so is WalMart.

Link

Kinset - virtual worlds meet online shopping

Submitted by Sam Moore on

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Mashable notes the debut of Kinset, an immersive shopping application (Windows only at this point).

Notes Kinset's Adam Ostrow:

It’s cool technology no doubt, but is there really value for customers?

Perhaps the answer is to make Kinset social – allow you to interact with other shoppers as you navigate the store and discuss the items you are viewing. This seems to be missing at the moment, but would make the shopping experience more realistic and potentially much more worthwhile.

Now, combine this with the ability to move your avatars between virtual worlds (Link) and you'll be able to shop with friends from anywhere. Conversely, I can imagoine a portal being opened from an RPG or Second Life-type environment - why not just step into a bookstore in-world?

Link


Review coming soon, once I'm back in Parallels...

Coming soon(ish) - Move your avatar from one world to another

Submitted by Sam Moore on

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IBM and Linden Labs (creators of Second Life) are collaborating on a technology that will allow users to move their avatars between different virtual worlds. Clearly some sort of language spec will have to be agreed upon. What's not clear is how a character finely crafted and tuned to the social environment in one world will translate into another. For example, if you've got a lot invested as a warrior in WoW, how does your persona come across in the decidely unwarlike SL? Do people now start crafting more generic personae?

Quote:

A virtual character, or avatar, for all the virtual worlds in which people play is the goal of a joint project between IBM and Linden Lab. The computer giant and the creator of Second Life are working on universal avatars that can travel between worlds. The project aims to open up virtual worlds by introducing open tools that work with any online environment. The companies hope to boost interest in virtual worlds as well as make them easier to navigate.

Usability News - Universal Avatars bestride Worlds

BBC News article

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