Microsoft strikes again with Surface

Microsoft has just launched Surface an entirely new interactive interface for computing. They've developed it onto a table top but the technology uses already seem endless. The videos on the site pretty much tell you everything you want to know, so check them out or below on a demo from Bill Gates.

Though Microsoft is in an elite category of companies that people love to hate, they seem to have determined that if people are going to hate them, they're going to need to come up with some better reasons than in the past. Two months ago I wrote about how the Vista operating system is getting good reviews (even from many Mac enthusiasts) and Microsoft's new Silverlight media language looks to take online video to a new level. Regardless of what people may think about Microsoft they're letting their actions speak louder than words to any detractors they've had.

Video link:


Video of the Week: When Superheroes dance...

...does it really look like this? Surely not.

Link for feed readers:

Bonus video:
Here's a better dance video that's quite a bit more interesting:

Bonus video link:


Messaging 2.0

I had the chance to do the web 2.0 overview presentation to a group of marketing professionals today consisting mostly of graphic designers and copywriters (and I also said I'd give a shout out to Ben H. who asked if I would be blogging about the presentation).

The presentation always covers the good old "massive Volkswagon" (MASSVW) that I've written about previously. A recent addition to the presentation was a discussion on the shift in the marketing messaging due to web 2.0. Specifically, it breaks down into two areas: tone and brevity.

Tone: The shift in copy tone is informal, conversational and fun. Compare the following, two email marketing companies tell the public about themselves in very different ways. The first takes the traditional approach and the second takes the new approach:

About Lyris:
Lyris Technologies, a subsidiary of J.L. Halsey Corporation, is a pioneer in the email technology industry. Since 1994, the company has been at the forefront of developing world-class email marketing software and services, while maintaining a record of strong profitability and compound annual growth.

As the choice of more than 5,000 major corporations and growing businesses Lyris' flagship product, Lyris ListManager, is one of the world's best-selling software solutions for email marketing and deliverability, while Lyris ListHosting offers the same powerful capabilities in a convenient, on-demand web-based solution.

About Emma:
In late 2001, Will Weaver and Clint Smith (known in more familiar circles as Will and Clint, or the Tall One and the Not-So-Tall One), began researching the email marketing and communications field. The two had recently started a company they named Cold Feet Creative, and their intent was to apply their sense of style and interface design to a niche market where, against other, more complicated software applications, they might stand out. Email Marketing, with its TargetBlasters and Contact2000s and MailBaboons and MailBaboonTargetBlasters, would do nicely.

So they built a prototype and called it Emma. They liked the name "Emma" because it formed a nice and handy abbreviation of the phrase email marketing and because it brought with it an inherent human quality. It's a real name - like Antoinette or Frederick, only shorter. And that was what these two gentlemen were after - a way to bring software to life, but not literally because the software might decide to begin lopping people's heads off, or running out for sandwiches at extremely inopportune times.

Brevity: With many of the web 2.0 technologies, the opportunities to be verbose are simply not available many times because the technology won't allow it. For instance, a Google Adword doesn't allow more the 25 or 35 characters on a line. Many text messages don't receive more than 160 characters and the popular micro messaging system Twitter doesn't allow more than 140 characters per message. Word counts don't apply in this new micro messaging shift, rather character counts (which includes each letter, number, space, and punctuation mark) are the new constraints on a message.


LifeChurch.tv story about their Second Life campus

I feel like I've talked about this too much on this blog but LifeChurch.tv just got a little press coverage on their Second Life campus via MSNBC (and NBC news). The video on the site is a little better than printed story but they're essentially the same thing.


Video of the Week: The Breakup

I'm an avid follower of what companies are doing with online video. It's one of the best (if not the very best) ways to raise awareness about a product or service. The catch is, it's got to be a video that's engaging enough to get people to want to watch it and talk about it. Microsoft's Digital Advertising Solutions produced this clip and has done a good job on all fronts.

Here's a link for the feed readers:

Simply Successful Secrets

A month ago Chris Thomas tagged me to post some of my habits. Here they are in no particular order:

  1. I challenge bureaucracy (appropriately): Guidelines and rules are necessary. Needless guidelines and rules are not. Just because things have been done a certain way in the past doesn't mean it's the best for the future, but understanding why it was done in the past is the best way to break out of bureaucracy for the future. Being a disruptor is easy, anyone can do it. You just have to be loud or crazy or do something flamboyant. Being a disruptor who listens, learns, and applies that knowledge to bring about change is hard. I try to challenge bureaucracy with the most appropriate disruption needed.
  2. I read the Bible: I've never been as good at this as I feel like I should but this year I'm reading through the Bible chronologically and it's been amazing to see how much more I'm learning, retaining, and applying.
  3. I give it to you straight: I've had to learn that I can spin about anything and that's not always a good thing. I've also been too blunt in the past. I'm learning to be straight forward even if a spun version is what someone would prefer to hear without being too blunt. There's a fine line between being too blunt and being straight forward. I'm still trying to find that balance but it's become a habit nevertheless.
  4. I say "I love you": I make sure my wife and daughters hear this every single day.
  5. I don't overthink: I try to not overthink any issue. There's a point when you can begin to think too much about a situation, problem, idea, etc. and never actually do anything. I try to make the best decision possible with the most information I have at the time and then move forward.
  6. I surround myself with music: I love to have music on around me. It's rare for us to have a meal at the Seaver house without some good music playing in the background. I think it enhances virtually every experience (expect when you need peace and quiet of course).
  7. I always want to learn: I don't think there is a person or experience that I can't learn from. Even people I'm not fond of can still teach me something and a bad experience often teaches me more than a good one. I ask a bunch of questions (some people say too many) in an effort to learn. I like to read a wide variety of books, blogs, magazines, etc. to learn from as well.
  8. I fight cynicism: I believe cynicism has become a well accepted form of negativity. Pure negativity can be bring people down but cynicism can be really funny and therefore more likely accepted. I don't like when I'm negative and I don't like to be around negative people (even if they're funny and negative) and try to fight it on both fronts.
  9. I kiss my wife and daughters: I don't let a day go by without each of them getting numerous kisses.
So there it is. Not comprehensive but certainly some things that are important habits in my life. Some are more recent additions to my life than others but all are habits I apply regularly.

I'm tagging the following bloggers to get their habits:


My encounter with Jerry Falwell

Earlier today I saw that Jerry Falwell died this morning. About seven years ago I spent a summer as an intern for a publisher in Nashville and one day I was told I'd be picking Jerry Falwell up at the airport that day. I'd picked up a few other notable people that summer so that wasn't a big deal. This was, however, the first person I had picked up at the private airport in Nashville. Rev. Falwell and a two other guys came in on a private plane.

My first impression of Falwell was that he was a lot bigger than I expected. He was just a big man in every sense of the word. Big hands, big head, big laugh, etc. He was extremely nice and very outgoing. I remember as we were driving in from the airport, Rev. Falwell was sitting in the front seat of the van and as we passed a car on the highway I saw one guy do a double take that was hilarious. I guess Falwell got that a lot but it was funny to see in person.

I never really had much of an impression of Falwell prior to that day. I knew about some controversy he had stirred up and had also studied a court case he was involved in while studying constitutional law as an undergrad. Overall, as I think about it now, he had to have been a strong leader to do what he did with the Moral Majority and the creation of Liberty University.

Some didn't like what he believed. Some people agreed with him in principle but didn't like his methods or approach. I'll admit that some of things he said did seem outlandish but I give him credit for being proactive to try to see changes made in the country. A lot of people talk about change and a handful actually try to do something about it. At the very least, that's something we can all learn from his example.


Video of the Week: Charlie the Unicorn

You'll either love this or hate it. I happen to love it. The first time you watch it you may be wondering what the heck it's all about. The second time you watch it you'll crack up...that's my prediction anyway.

This video has been around for a while and is one of the most viewed videos online (well over 10 million combined views on YouTube). Just consider this a little dose of pop culture knowledge if you haven't seen Charlie the unicorn yet.

Link for the feed readers:


Joost invites, More Mac vs PC, Copyrights, and more

Myriad items for you today...

I wrote about Joost recently and today I got an email from them that says I can invite anyone who wants a Joost invitation (it's still invitation only to download the player). If you want one just let me know in the comments or email me.

My friend Tom at Community Christian Church sent word that there are two more of their Mac vs. PC parody videos online now. You may recall that I interviewed Tom in December while there was some online controversy about their original Mac vs PC videos.

Greg Atkinson of the ChurchVideoIdeas blog told me a few days ago that he and Anthony Coppedge have released a podcast on churches and copyright laws. It's worth a listen if you're on a church staff or volunteer in a ministry at your church that deals with any media.

Frank from StrategicDigitalOutreach just let me know about a new website he was part of creating called MissionEquip. MissionEquip was built to provide productivity tools to equip Christian missionaries worldwide in evangelism and discipleship.

MySliceofPi is now selling it's 100th slice! For longtime readers, you'll recall that I launched this site with a friend two months ago. It's been interesting to see it go. We're always looking for feedback if you have suggestions.


The Movement of God and Web 2.0

Tonight I'm getting caught up on some blog reading and I'm struck by something I'm seeing. Several churches have reported recently that they're seeing significant numbers of people come to know the Lord and they're using blogs to report it. On MondayMorningInsight we learn about a 392 decisions over a four day period at Liberty Baptist Church in Hampton, VA. Then we see that Elevation Church in Charlotte had 126 decisions on Sunday. Then we see that New Spring in Anderson, SC had over 150 decisions yesterday. I'm also reminded of the 511 decisions made at LifeChurch on Easter weekend a few weeks ago.

What's God up to here? Is a web 2.0 tool like blogging going to help encourage and inform people about the movement of God around the country (and world) in the coming days? I'm certainly interested to see what happens. Do you know of another church to add to this list? Please let me know in the comments.


Video of the Week: Get Some Nuts (in a Snickers)

Three letters say it all: MR. T

Now quit your jibber-jabber...

Link for the feed readers: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kAPXGuRIXsA


Tracking the growth of blogs

I've been interested in the growth of blogs and keep track of Technorati's updates. Every several months they come out with a new "state of the blogosphere" with very interesting information about blogs. Here's the most recent report.

I'll show some of the highlights from the report below, but I'm especially interested in this list of blog growth according to Technorati's previous reports:

Worldwide Blog Growth:

  • January 2004 – less than 2 million blogs
  • July 2004 – 3.5 million
  • January 2005 – 6 million
  • July 2005 – 12 million
  • January 2006 – 24 million
  • July 2006 – 50 million
  • October 2006 – 57 million
  • March 2007 – 70 million
The sheer growth in 2006 alone is unbelievable. There are some equally unbelievable numbers and data in this most recent report. Here are the highlights:
  • 70 million weblogs now
  • About 120,000 new weblogs each day, or...
  • 1.4 new blogs every second
  • 3000-7000 new splogs (fake, or spam blogs) created every day
  • Peak of 11,000 splogs per day last December
  • 1.5 million posts per day, or...
  • 17 posts per second
  • Growing from 35 to 75 million blogs took 320 days
  • Japanese the #1 blogging language at 37%
  • English second at 33%
  • Chinese third at 8%
  • Italian fourth at 3%
  • Farsi a newcomer in the top 10 at 1%
  • English the most even in postings around-the-clock
  • Tracking 230 million posts with tags or categories
  • 35% of all February 2007 posts used tags
  • 2.5 million blogs posted at least one tagged post in February
So just think, in the time it took you to read this post 63 new blogs were created and 765 new blog posts were written but you probably can't read over a third of them because they were in Japanese. Seems to me, translators like Babel Fish are going to be increasingly important.