by John Moe // Posted: 09/17/10 06:12 PM
Hi everyone. John Moe here. Starting Monday, September 20th, Future Tense will be going by the name Marketplace Tech Report.
Producer Larissa Anderson and I have been working closely with the folks at Marketplace ever since we took over Future Tense in May. It’s worked out great. We’ve helped them, they’ve helped us, and together we’ll find more stories you’ll want to hear. Basically, we loved Marketplace so much we married them. And kind of took their name too. Is it creepy to compare two radio shows to a married couple? Sorry about that.
As part of the Marketplace portfolio of programs (along with Marketplace, Marketplace Morning Report, and Marketplace Money), Marketplace Tech Report will keep bringing you stories that explain news and trends and technology and what it all means to you. We’ll be moving to a new simpler URL: marketplacetech.org, which will go live over the weekend. We’ll be bringing our entire archive of past shows and blog posts with us but in the meantime, we’re leaving futuretense.publicradio.org up so you can access the show archives from there as well.
by John Moe // Posted: 09/17/10 12:53 PM
There was some heavy weather in Brooklyn yesterday. A tornado? A funnel cloud?
Regardless, these Dudes, capture all the excitement with a video camera, swear words, and much brohammer commentary. From there it was off to the Vampire Weekend concert.
Will it rise to Double Rainbow level in our cultural zeitgeist? Time will tell.
by John Moe // Posted: 09/17/10 11:16 AM
McDonald’s increased foot traffic in its stores by 33% in one day by using FourSquare. This according to the company’s head of social media Rick Wion, talking at a conference yesterday. It was a pretty simple trick, really. They placed 100 gift cards for $5 or $10 on FourSquare as check in bait. So if you checked in at McDonald’s, you have a chance to eat for free. And if you don’t win the gift card, hey, might as well grab something to eat. Check in McNuggets! You were also eligible for the cards if you followed/fanned the company on social media sites, which 600,000 people did. Total cost of the operation? $1000. Wion said that several people in the company’s marketing department had never heard of FourSquare. They have now.
Update: Read Write Web says that, contrary to the Mashable report linked to above, it was a 33% increase in FourSquare check ins, not in feet at the restaurants.
But then there’s the case of Posie’s Café in Portland, Oregon. The proprietor, Jessie Burke, wanted to drive a little traffic to her place by using a Groupon discount. She offered a $13 credit for $6, intending to keep the $6. But Groupon wanted a big cut, 50%, so she was left with the $3, which didn’t allow her to break even. The Groupon was a hit but that just made things worse as she would lose money on each sale until she was $8000 in the hole, unable to make payroll or rent, and dipping into personal savings.
Over the six months that the Groupon is valid, we met many, many wonderful new customers, and were so happy to have them join the Posies family. At the same time we met many, many terrible Groupon customers… customers that didn’t follow the Groupon rules and used multiple Groupons for single transactions, and argued with you about it with disgusted looks on their faces or who tipped based on what they owed.
Most of the customers never came back once they had their discount.
PLEASE NOTE: I am not saying that the success of the McDonald’s campaign is good for society. I’m merely saying that in terms of people accomplishing a goal in a given area, in this case marketing, they were very successful.
Posted: 09/17/10 01:02 AM
US forces in Iraq were part of a firefight in the city of Fallujah on Thursday. At least six Iraqis were killed. It was not known precisely what role the American troops were playing in the situation. Even though President Obama declared the end of combat missions, the history of the Iraq War is still being written.
And it is being written, every day, on Wikipedia. The Iraq War entry on that site is massive, thousands of edits over the years. Still, the only thing most people see is the most recent version.
James Bridle is a writer, editor, and publisher in London. He gathered together all the Wikipedia material related to the war from 2004 to 2009 and made a 12 volume set of hard bound books.
We talk to James Bridle about war, the memory of the internet, and how to make an accurate accounting on a site that’s always changing.
Also in this show, we talk to Anders Wright about Halo Reach.
by John Moe // Posted: 09/15/10 05:49 PM
We’ve been waiting for the alleged “Google Me” project to surface for a while now. Supposedly it was going to be Google’s Facebook killer, a social networking site that took on Zuckerbergia.
This despite The Goog’s not so stellar track record of launching Big New Products like Google Wave and Google Buzz (maybe the problem was how much those names sounded like laundry detergents?).
But Google Me never seems to get here. Like killer bees and the widespread adoption of the metric system, it’s always about to arrive.
Now Google’s Eric Schmidt says social networking on Google will be subtle and incremental. You’ll be able to pull in stuff from Twitter or Flickr, find out when someone saw your YouTube video. And play Farmville. Always with the Farmville. We’ll never escape Farmville.
by John Moe // Posted: 09/15/10 11:23 AM
Tech Crunch tells us about a new wearable video camera that goes on sale today. The Looxcie (pronounced Look See) mounts to your ear and positions a camera right at eye level. From there it can film up to 4 hours of video as you go about your day. Your narcissistic oversharing day. The device is equipped with Bluetooth that can send the video to an app in your Android phone (other platforms coming soon!). From there you can upload videos to YouTube of yourself walking around because the world is so desperate to see those, you diva. $199, available on Amazon. World ending.
by John Moe // Posted: 09/14/10 03:06 PM
The rock band Weezer has a new album out and they’re approaching promotion of it in a kind of different way. They’ve made themselves available to various YouTube celebrities and appear in a slew of videos made by those people. The videos are featured on YouTube’s home page today. The idea is that the band gets exposure to all the video artists’ audience, the video artists get new eyeballs from the band’s loyal followers, and YouTube gets some innovative videos for their home page that people will want to go watch.
Weezer did something similar a couple years ago, pulling various YouTube stars (often from unintentionally funny videos like “Chocolate Rain”) to appear in a video for their song “Pork and Beans”).
by John Moe // Posted: 09/14/10 12:12 PM
Angry Birds is probably the most popular mobile phone game of the last year (read comedian Paul F. Tompkins’ take on it). In the game you launch a variety of birds at a variety of buildings in order to destroy these green pigs and reclaim your eggs. Or something. It’s strange but it’s a lot of fun, in part because it’s so challenging. But now players can get an extra advantage in the game by purchasing a new character, the ultra-powerful Mighty Eagle, for an additional fee. We’ve seen this in games before: the game is cheap or free (Angry Birds costs $3) but upgrades cost extra. They hook you, then they reel you in.
Here’s the video that previews Mighty Eagle:
by John Moe // Posted: 09/13/10 05:18 PM
I guess I would tune in to a live YouTube stream of sports. Aaaaaand I can’t think of anything else. A concert? Not if I could see it later. Regardless, YouTube paired up with some content partners to offer live telecasts today. According to Tech Crunch, it wasn’t exactly a hit. Fewer than 500 people tuned in for Tony Hawk.
by John Moe // Posted: 09/13/10 12:11 PM
Three industrious burglars in Nashua, New Hampshire have reportedly made off with up to $200,000 in stolen cash and merchandise. They did it the new-fashioned way: checking Facebook for people who said they were out of town on vacation and then going and getting stuff. They were caught. Perhaps it’s not a good idea to set your status on Facebook to be able to be seen by everyone and then say you’re out of town. But perhaps this is a form of Darwinism too.
Posted: 09/13/10 06:00 AM
The web is becoming ever more interactive. And you’re expected to constantly feeding it information about yourself and your opinions. You report your location on Foursquare, you update your status (and/or location too) on Facebook, you review restaurants and books. And all along the way it’s like we’re completing these sketches of ourselves and each other. We each have an ever-thickening dossier of information attached to who we are.
Our guest, Jonathan Zittrain, is co-founder and co-director of The Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard University. He sees this trend only continuing. What if you could get a big discount for car insurance but with the stipulation that you had to agree to rate other drivers’ driving ability AND agree to let them rate yours? And then your premium would be adjusted based on how other people think you’re doing out on the road? Sure, it would be creepy but maybe it’s a trade off you’d be willing to make in exchange for lower rates and safer roads.
But Zittrain wonders if we shouldn’t be able to switch it all off and declare what he calls reputation bankruptcy. A chance to erase ourselves from our digital trail and start over. Hit the reset button. We discuss the web that knows too much and how one might go about shutting it off.
by John Moe // Posted: 09/10/10 12:24 PM
Yesterday we told you about YouTube Time Machine. Today is another doohickeyization of The Tube. It’s not an official YouTube/Google product but some industrious geeks have created a video version of the Google Instant feature. Just go here, start typing in a word, and you get the most popular search result for the most likely word you’ve formed so far.
I typed in “to” and soon had a Tom & Jerry cartoon showing up. It’s completely pointless and a fun way to spend 10 minutes or so. It goes a lot slower than Google Instant because videos take way longer to load than search results. But still: neato.
by John Moe // Posted: 09/09/10 05:35 PM
Here’s a site where you can pick a year and see videos from that year. Earliest is 1860 and they’re pretty sporadic for a while but then it picks up.
As they say, it’s in the early alpha testing stages but it’s live to me. You can even write in to become an admin on the site.
by John Moe // Posted: 09/09/10 12:14 PM
Google says that if you use the new Instant feature, you’ll save 2 to 5 seconds per search. We want to know what you’ll do with that time (we’re getting some ideas on Twitter but if you’re just on the blog you can comment). We’re trying to have some fun with this and would love to put some people on the radio to talk about it.
Meanwhile, here’s one idea:
If you can spare three seconds you can watch this.