Tuesday, 16 September 2008

iPhone MMS, a request to O2

Just received another of those awful text messages from O2 because someone has sent me an MMS message. Tried the web link in the SMS from my iPhone and it was a dreadful, dreadful experience.

Questions to O2:

  1. Why is this web site not iPhone or even just mobile phone optimised? You are the only carrier who carries the iPhone, with much fanfare, so surely making it work across your web estate, especially in this instance where the first instinct is to pick up the message straight away.
  2. You know I have an iPhone so why not convert the MMS to an email and send it to me, missing out the whole sign-in, pin, UI disaster in the first place? You've even got my email address already, I'd just need an SMS to confirm I want this feature enabled and we're away.

Do get in touch if you'd like any help implementing this. Esendex has all the skills and experience required.

Google alerting yourself

I have many Google alerts set up for tracking the web activity around Esendex and associated keywords and of course I track the term 'Adam Bird'.

It's quite entertaining seeing what 'you're' up to. I'm, among other things, a singer/songwriter, photographer and Gillingham FC fan.

A new one popped up today that is my favourite to date.

I'm so proud!

Sunday, 14 September 2008

Is Genius a shortcut to banality?

Like many others I've been enjoying the Genius playlist feature in iTunes 8. I've been generally pleased with the results until a realisation struck me tonight. It only really plays singles or well known album tracks.

It's like listening to Now That's What I Call Adam's Music.

I can't remember hearing an obscure album track that made me think wow, yuck, mmm or in fact anything. It was all very easy to listen to.

This weekend I spent a good couple of hours putting together a playlist for my son's birthday party. Basically a list of upbeat numbers that he likes from my collection, censored for rude words and inappropriate content.

That said, I couldn't resist Simian - La Breeze which I'm sure is about SBDs (Silent But Deadlies), perfect for his age-group.

I then got the tracks in order merging nicely, taking the tempo up and down and throwing in various timely numbers. I got Kaiser Chiefs - I Predict A Riot bang on, just at the point when they decided the winner of pass-the-parcel need a victory circuit of the room on their shoulders.

While I haven't got the time to do that for every playlist, it made for a very different and enjoyable listening experience. AS you can probably tell, I was quite proud of it.

Judging by the privacy warning I had to agree to to start using Genius, I'm guessing that it uses appearances in someone's playlist as a positive indicator that songs should be played together.

If this is the case ,what happens as people save these Genius playlists. The 'greatest hits' content gets fed back to the mother ship, self validating the Genius algorithms.

Systems like this can easily tend to the lowest common denominator, in the case of music this means banality. Commercial radio style scheduling at your fingertips.

I'm sure there are other drivers but playlists are probably high on the list.

So until we can find out otherwise, I urge you all to use Genius sparingly and whatever you do DON'T SAVE.

Incidentally if you have any John Mayer in your collection might be worth checking how often his songs appear in your Genius lists.

Sunday, 7 September 2008

The Vitruvian Triathlon

Had some fun this weekend in and around Rutland Water doing the Virtuvian Triathlon

On the face of it, it's a fairly ridiculous thing to attempt, 1.9km swim, 84km bike followed by a half marathon. But I'm not posting to boast about my achievement, more to share what a great event it is. It was very, very hard going but the event was such that not finishing wasn't an option.

There was a huge range of people of all shapes, sizes and abilities. It was the national championships so there were some top athletes vying for important prizes alongside triahtlon regulars as well as people for whom the only focus was completing the course.

The organisation, marshalls, volunteers and venue were first rate. The camaraderie among the competitors was better than any other triathlon I've entered. Everyone felt they were part of something a bit special and the 'finish whatever happens' attitude infected all in attendance. Apparently, it's like that every year.

I did have some dark times, especially on the run leg, but while I was staring into the abyss other competitors took time out to check I was OK. In another event I may have called it a day, but with the Vitruvian that's not what you're there for. Everyone wants everyone to finish.

Yes it's a long way, yes I trained hard, yes I was hurting in ways I never knew possible afterwards but boy was it worth it. I commend this event to you all, it really is something special.

So hats off to the organisers and all involved, especially of course those of you that can now call yourselves Vitruvians