Phone-to-Twitter bridge for use in an Internet-less Egypt - Boing Boing

Submitted by Sam Moore on Tue, 02/01/2011 - 12:22

Here's an extreme example of how no-one - not even a fairly heavy-handed government - can keep people from talking about what matters to them.

As you probably know, the Mubarak administration have shut off internet access for the whole country, in response to widespread protests and civil disobedience in Cairo and other cities.

Now, a team of developers have cooked up a way for callers using ordinary phones to get messages out to Twitter.

Granted the messages all go via one account, and are thus pretty much anonymized, but the point is - you can't silence people forever, no matter how much control you think you have.

We worked with a small team of engineers from Twitter, Google and SayNow, a company we acquired last week, to make this idea a reality. It’s already live and anyone can tweet by simply leaving a voicemail on one of these international phone numbers (+16504194196 or +390662207294 or +97316199855) and the service will instantly tweet the message using the hashtag #egypt. No Internet connection is required. People can listen to the messages by dialing the same phone numbers or going to

Boing-Boing post

Google Blog

(Image: Egyptian pay phone, a Creative Commons Attribution (2.0) image from s_w_ellis's photostream)

Target Marketing webinar: Master Distributed Marketing Challenges

Submitted by Sam Moore on Thu, 05/20/2010 - 13:01


The good folks at Target Marketing Magazine have asked me to present on the topic of how (and why!) to use online document customization and management strategies to solve marketing problems.

I'll be focusing on how retail, franchisee and sales agent systems can benefit from the ability to customize ads, sales support materials, point-of-purchase, direct mail, etc.

If there's time, we'll look at setting up localized cross-media campaigns, and may even get into personalized URLs.

The webinar's free, but you do have to register:
Registration Page

Death by meeting? Get this clock that calculates what they cost

Submitted by Sam Moore on Tue, 05/18/2010 - 16:08

While I've long been convinced that the modern corporation is designed to prevent productivity, it's always nice to find tools that help prove one's point.

Here's a clock that figures out how much of our clients' money we just burned through, nattering on about synergy and ROI:

Introducing Bring TIM!® (Time Is Money) - a fun yet useful office clock that tallies the dollars spent in long meetings. Simply enter the number of people in the room, ballpark an average hourly wage, and press the illuminated start button. Everyone will be amazed as the dollars pile up with every second that ticks by.

Product Page

Pair this up with Bullshit Bingo and you've got a cure for the common drone.

From HuffPo: Facebook Privacy Settings: How To Fix Your Profile In 2 Minutes (VIDEO)

Submitted by Sam Moore on Mon, 05/17/2010 - 13:57

Screen shot 2010-05-17 at 1.45.13 PM.png
The Huffington Post has this timely video on how to take back some control of your privacy settings on Facebook.

To exert full control over your privacy on Facebook, you have to navigate through 50 settings with more than 170 options.

All of the settings can be mind-boggling, unless you know where to go for the most important fixes.

Here's everything you need to know to go back to the old days when you could control your privacy on Facebook with just a few clicks.

Full article at HuffPo

Wall Street Journal
Seems like getting the hell out of Facebook has become a meme-to-watch:

Over the past 24 hours, searches related to deleting Facebook accounts have been some of the top trending items on Google (GOOG)–indicating that the tech-world furor about the social-networking site’s privacy policies may have become more mainstream.

More here at WSJ's Digits blog.

Apple Appears Serious About Closing iPhone, iPad Apps to Outside Ad Networks

Submitted by Sam Moore on Mon, 05/17/2010 - 13:20

All Things Digital

Over at All Things Digital, Peter Kafka thinks Apple's iAd scheme is headed for total (or near-total) domination of the ad space on the platform:

I’ve talked to some mobile ad companies that are more hopeful. They think Apple will let them compete with its iAd platform in a fair fight.

Maybe they’re saying that because they have to appear optimistic. Maybe they really believe it. But I think they’re wrong. I think Apple intends to own the ad market for its app ecosystem.

Full Article at All Things Digital

hhcc_logo.pngFor those who need a refresher, here are some first-look observations and some interesting strategic thoughts from Hill Holliday. Sample:

The big thing that iAd really does is it brings new thinking into the capabilities of mobile display advertising and it wasn’t brought to you by Google. Google has been badly lagging in all aspects of mobile and Apple probably saw the lack of innovation in the mobile advertising market and decided to put their stake in the ground. Let’s also be clear here that mobile display advertising isn’t yet a billion dollar business, this isn’t about the money for Apple but reshaping the industry as they saw fit.

The bottom line for Apple is the continuing creation of new and free apps for the App Store while everything else, like being the innovator in mobile advertising, sticking it to Google, pre-emptively blocking Adobe are just bonuses.

Full post at Hill Holliday

adlab-logo.pngAnd thanks to MIT Advertising Lab and Ilya Vedrashko.


OnDemand - here we come

Submitted by Sam Moore on Mon, 04/19/2010 - 12:32


Heading out in the morning for Philadelphia, and the 2010 OnDemand Expo.

This year I'm on one panel, and giving one presentation (along with my buddy Mark Van Duinen from TracyLocke).

Here's the panel info:

Title: Making Digital Workflows Pay Off
Date: Tuesday April 20, 2010
Time: 1:00-1:50 PM

And here's the presentation:
Title: Creating a Multi-Channel Marketing Center around a Web-to-Print Storefront
Date: Wednesday April 21, 2010
Time: 4:00-4:50PM

If you're at the Expo, swing by one of these and say Hi.

See you in Philly!

Adding Signatures to Apple's - a brief look

Submitted by Sam Moore on Tue, 03/16/2010 - 16:04

A client asked me how to create a rich email signature that would be viewable by all recipients, no matter what. In particular, he wants his logo, complete with contact info, to show up and look as good as possible. Great idea - having invested in getting a nice logo done, you'll want to put it in front of your readers as often as you can.

Well, that turns out to be a tall order - some email readers can't read HTML email, for example, and some have HTML mail turned off by default (I'm told the new Blackberry client falls into this latter category).

So, given that we need to create something that works most of the time, and doesn't look completely foolish the rest of the time, I've suggested that we compromise by putting his contact information in text, and leave just the graphic part of the logo as an image.

That way, if the image disappears and the text loses its styling, at least the reader will have the basic info available.

This particular client uses Apple's to send and receive mail (as do I these days, after a long romance with Eudora, a troubled relationship with Entourage, and flings with other more or less broken readers).
Given the sparsity of Apple's help files on this, I've hacked up a short instruction set with some screen shots, below. Many of these instructions will also work for, say, Entourage, though the details will differ a little.

I've started by assuming we have Mail already set up, with some existing accounts.

Creating a new Signature

Our first step is to go to Mail's Preferences, and find the tab for "Signatures".

You have the option to select a particular account for this signature, or select "All Accounts" to see all your signatures (you can add the new on e to particular accounts later). Adding a signature to an account makes it available when you're composing mail.
At the bottom of the second column (see above), click the little "+" to add a new signature. It'll be called "Signature#x" by default - we'll want to change it to something more meaningful, so that when it shows up in popup lists we'll know which one it is.


Above, I've renamed the signature "MyNewSignature" - not very useful, I'll admit. I've also started typing some information into the box at the right. I've started with my name and email address (the one for this account) - don't assume these will always be easy for your readers to pull out of your emails; some readers may appreciate not having to scroll all the way back to the top of an email to figure out who you are. Since this is plain text, it should appear more or less as shown in all readers.

Adding an image

To insert a logo or picture, just drag it from your desktop.

Note that all graphics should be in RGB color space. As for file formats, JPEG (.jpg) is the most bullet-proof, though .png is becoming more widely supported.

I recommend using bitmap formats rather than vector formats such as PDF here, because you've already rendered the art into pixels (if you don't understand this, don't worry - just use an RGB JPEG).

It's a good idea to keep both the display size (how big it looks on your screen) and the file size (how many bytes) as small as you can.


Above, we see one of Mail's little habits - it sometimes displays incoming graphics at the wrong aspect ratio. Just click away to another signature, then back to the new one…

and this should resolve itself:

Above, note that I've also typed in a web address (complete with the "http://" part, also known as the protocol specifier).
This will become clickable in most HTML email-friendly environments; your plain-text readers will have to copy and paste this address in order to use it.

Styling text

The text in your signature can be styled just as any text in the body of your email can. These stylings will simply disappear in a plain-text environment (so remember to use other cues such as line breaks for separating content, rather than relying on only, say, italicization).

To style a passage of text, select the text and go to "Format->Show Fonts" (Cmd-T - above) to bring up the Font palette:

Here, I've made the text Helvetica Bold Italic. Just as with web pages, its better to pick fonts that are quite common (helvetica, Arial, Times, Lucida) to be sure your readers have them. If they don't have your chosen font, the choice of what to display instead is up to their mail reader, not you.

In a perfect world, all your readers will see something like this.

Assigning the Signature to an Account

If you've created your signature under the "All Accounts" listing, you'll want to pick particular accounts to make it available to (assuming you have more than one email account - don't we all?)


To do this, simply drag the signature's name in the middle column over the account's name in the left column. The account name will highlight briefly.

Applying a signature to an email

When composing a new email, just pick your desired signature from the popup list. Only the signatures assigned to that particular email account will appear in the list. This will keep you from using your work email with your personal signatures, and vice versa.


Happy emailing.

AdLab: Avatarize Yourself Until You Are Blue In the Face

Submitted by Sam Moore on Tue, 01/26/2010 - 09:36

Screen shot 2010-01-26 at 9.28.36 AM.png
AdLab has some detail about the already-old-news Avatar/McDonalds upload-my-face thingie, running in Europe.
Obviously this has been done before - from "Simpsonize Me" to M&M's to Dexter and back again - but at least this time we have some stats:

  • 4 million user sessions
  • nearly 10 minute session time
  • about 1 million shares via email/social network post

So, a great data set for explaining the concepts of "sticky" and "spreadable" to your audience.
AdLab post

Avatarize Yourself