Wednesday, December 31, 2008

╠ Free Ride ╣

Most of you probably noticed the free metropolitan travel that happened on Christmas Eve and Christmas day. Now I'm not sure about the rest of you but this was completely under advertised in my opinion. I only found out when going to my station in the morning when there is actually staff and as I was going to validate my ticket I was told there was free travel today. I was skeptical but went along with it. I later saw the small A4 sheet posted at each station clearly made in Microsoft Word that stated that there was free travel. Personally I didn't think that much of it, particularly in the morning it was more of an inconvenience to not validate due to my uneasyness and disbelief of it truly being free travel. Also later in the day ticket inspectors haunted every train I was on, not checking tickets obviously but still unnerving everyone else. I'm not sure if they were collecting statistics or what but it seemed plenty unnecessary.

This was a huge opportunity for Connex to get some good cred and they seem to have not taken it at all. Not having to pay for a day could make you feel so much better about them but the constant presence of inspectors on the train just makes you not able to forget how bad Connex is.

Sure they were forced into it by the travel minister but there was still so much more they could have done to improve the brand image in commuters minds. I consider this to be a huge chance wasted. They get another with New Years also being free travel but we'll have to wait to see if it's actually any better.

Monday, December 29, 2008

╠ Free Gruen ╣

Recently Zac Martin commented on a certain tool which he learned about from Simon Small's blog. This tool allows you to calculate the value of your blog. Zac Martin wracked up over 20,000 while Simon was able to get a cool $1,700. Thinking that I'd be able to give myself a little confidence booster by being worth something, I decided to try this on myself.

The Gruen Transfer ranked in at being worth a whopping $0.00. After turning green, growing to twice my height and going on a rampage I decided that I should look at this a little closer. The tool utilizes Technorati ratings of which I'd basically ignored. I've been doing things to gain popularity for years on the internet to no avail and simply figured it was the same and perhaps even a fad...however this does not seem to be the case. It's a smart system and currently appears to be ruling the blogging world with an iron fist.

The way it works is every time you get linked posted withing the last six months in a blog you get an authority point. So Simon, Zac as well as the tool should all get a point for this blog. This changes things from what I originally thought. Getting high ranks isn't directly correlated to success, what matters is making blogs that will be talked about.

One thing I wonder is whether karma plays a large role in this. Julian Cole often posts about other blogs and often mentions newcomers as well giving them what is usually their first technorati hits and via this tool his blog ranked over $40,000.

The interesting thing that Technorati reates is a need to utilize your blog well from a marketing perspective. You have to build relationships with your readers in order to be successful. I quite like the idea that not only am I doing a marketing blog but I also have to perform marketing type activites with it in order to achieve success.

If there are any potential bloggers out there or early starters I recommend you look into this stuff early. It adds a new level to your blog and will save you from playing the wrong game for six months like I have been.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

╠ Save the World, Embrace Christmas Reprise ╣

Most of you probably remember my AniBlog about the Global Economic Crisis. In this video I mentioned the way to solving this problem was simply to spend more and therefore embracing Christmas was the answer.

Now this is not entirely theory at least. If inflation goes up that doesn't mean all of a sudden problem solved. People simply spending money isn't going to fix the problems of the world such as the banks constant battle to stay afloat and the stock markets huge slump.

All inflation does is mask the problem to a degree. However there are follow on effects that work with this. People spending more means businesses are more successful and end up with more money. This means they don't have to fire people and the recession cycle hopefully begins to dissipate. So it solves a conventional recession. The fault with this though is if it happens it may not fix what we currently have. There are so many large businesses on breaking point so spending more may not be able to outweigh the losses if we were to say lose a bank, even if it weren't a big four bank.

So in essence it should help and certainly shouldn't hurt and when the alternative is to invest it in the stock market and lose money or in a fixed interest account and get a measly few percent then why not go for it! Spend, spend spend!

Friday, December 19, 2008

╠ S*** Shirts ╣

More and more recently I have started noticing shirts that bend the border on what is appropriate or not. Now I'm no fan of swearing so I've particularly taken notice or swear words slipping in more and more. The example to the left involving the S word. In fact the S word is probably the most common word I see on T-shirts these days.

Today I also noticed a shirt "Fu_k to live, live to Fu_k" as if blanking one letter changed anything.

I must admit in this day and age with words like this expressed so freely I really don't see myself if I were a child able to grow up to be the same person I am today.

It also raises an interesting point though. With self expression able to include such things, how long is it until brand expression can get away with the same. Censorship seems to be crazy on organizations however it almost seems unfair that individuals can get away with these sorts of tshirts on a daily basis while campaigns such as 'Where the Bloody hell are you?' and Ultimate care down there for your beaver are considered too risque.

This may be beyond my grounds to say but personally I think this all stems from enjoying picking on the person who can't fight back. If someone tells someone wearing one of these shirts it's rude theres a large chance it could go down very not well. However picking on organizations is different because while they are legal entities they cannot fight for themselves. I think people are simply justifying to themself that when they pick on organizations they aren't actually hurting anyones emotions and therefore don't feel bad, in fact they feel better because they can claim they're making the world a better place.

I'm not sayng all of a sudden ads should be able to swear but I just think we need more equality around. Why can people parade around flaunting swear words while organizations have to be perfect gentleman?

Monday, December 15, 2008

╠ AniBlog - The Global Economic Crisis for Dummies╣

So here I am with another one of these things. This time trying to share my knowledge of economics towards the global economic crisis.

As far as quality goes with this AniBlog I tried something different here with trying to explain something with both sound and image at the same time which I think didn't work because at around the 30sec mark you either aren't paying attention to whats on the screen or have completely lost what I'm saying.

However this time at least I was able to keep it below 2 minutes so the bursts are getting shorter and shorter. As usual any recommendations or comments are welcome

The Script: (Not kept to 100%)

So stock markets are crashing, banks are being stingy, dollars are plummeting and America as usual is to blame. Now most of you probably know the housing loan issue that caused all of this but very has been said about the economic factors that contribute to a recession.

Now the main part of importance is inflation. An economies inflation is the percentage increase on what a country spends each year. In a perfect world this stays still at a low rate. However this usually isn't possible because when people negotiate things such as wage and price increases they usually increase by inflation and then because they're greedy and wish to grow tap some on top of it therefore inadvertantly increasing inflation.

Left to its own will this usually continues to rise, however the Reserve Bank of Australia tries to keep this at around two to three percent. They do this by changing interest rates. Raising interest rates means people are more inclined to save reducing inflation, lowering them obviously does the opposite.

What makes a recession is when inflation drops over an extended period. This means people aren't spending at the increasing rate that they were expected to, this unfortunately leads to unemployment increasing which means that those people aren't spending their wages which negatively affects inflation causing the horrible cycle that is a recession

So basically thanks to how interconnected the world is when a huge economy like America gets the sniffles, the rest of the world catches a cold.

The solution to this problem is relatively simple, if a country spending less overall puts them into recession, the solution is simply to spend more. So if you're listening to this here's my recommendation. Save the world, Embrace Christmas! If you run out of people to buy gifts for I'm sure you could find it in your heart to think of a Uni Student blogger who is deserving

Friday, December 12, 2008

╠ Do Grades Matter? ╣

Zac Martin made a post a while ago back when everyone elses grades were released about failing a law subject and whether that had any effect on anything. Well today Melbourne Uni finally got their results and I managed to get no better than a pass for my market research class. In fact I got 3 passes and one H2B in one class I hated. I seem to have a habit of flunking the classes I love.

So my question is does this stuff actually matter? I spend all of my spare time volunteering for the Melbourne Anime Festival, working or doing stuff for this blog as opposed to studying. This seems to reflect in my scores.

Can I argue this or is there simply a level of low scoring that means people will stop looking at you? Should I actually really aim for doing as much outside uni as possible or actually aim to do well in my classes ^^;

Thursday, December 11, 2008

╠ AniBlog - The Talk of Techxperts ╣

With the previous semi success of my previous AniBlog I decided to try again and in this second try improve the faults of the previous. The main fault of the first was the sound quality which for the most parts I have improved on. There are a few faults in my reading the script but thats a minor think to fix for the future.

This installment is on Dick Smith's rebranding and their new slogan 'Talk to the techxperts' which I have some insight as a personal worker of theirs. Anyway if you have any comments at all let me know and I'll try and fix it should I do any more of these.

Script for the video:
(Not 100% accurate due to adlibs)

A competitive advantage is something that one organization does that gives it an edge on it's opposition. To dumb it down it's usually the reason you purchase one item over another, this can be but isn't limited to being the cheapest, the best or simply has a particular feature you're after.

Something I'd like to bring attention to is claiming a competitive advantage that may not actually exist. As most of you probably don't know Dick Smith is currently going through a rebranding excersize. One part of this was their new slogan 'Talk to the Techsperts'. Basically claiming they have allpowerfully knowledge of anything techological.

Now I am unfortunately as a worker of theirs meant to be a so called techspert. Although when it comes to certain technology I'm as knowledgeable as a cave dwellers pet goldfish and therefore feel it necessary to poke at the flaws in this apparent advantage of ours.

It all stems from the hiring process. Basically us and all our competitors hire from what is majoritvely a pool of uni students looking for a part time job to fund their school supplies. So first of all we're no better, but wait it gets worse. Take JB Hifi as the main competitor. They offer better commission, better discount and aren't required to know stuff or even approach customers...although it may just be me they don't approach thanks to the countless hours I spent in their stores making use of their free guitar hero. But overall the point is that it is a better deal to work there and therefore they should have their pick of applicants first putting the Dick Smith hires at the bottom of the barrel.

This would all be fine and well if we received special training...however we don't. There's usually one optional far from exhaustive online training for one specific program about every month which is relatively useless when you consider the amount of stock we have.

So to summarize...we aren't techsperts, we're workers, just like those you'll find anywhere else yet somehow we're able to claim a competitive advantage about this. In fact it seems little more than a trick at consumers expense..

However for their own sake hope consumers are becoming smart enough to see through ortherwise they will face my techspert way of responding to hard questions with a blank stare!

Monday, December 8, 2008

╠ Gruen Vs Zero Punc ╣

My animblog appeared to be a rather large success. People seemed to like it and I think I shall continue on. However one change I may try is to shorten the videos to about 1 minute length shots. Here's hoping it still is spiffiriffic.

However it has become apparent that with a lot of people all they see is a Zero Punctuation Clone. When deciding how to do this I thought about what style to use. chose to work on a previous style I had developed in that of a simple character with just balls for hands.

On the right is my earlier work in this style in 3D. Since I had done this before I perceived it to simply be a style as opposed to something there was a monopoly on.
I was hoping people would simply consider the Zero Punc videos to be a style and therefore not a negative when it is utilized inside a different field. However reading responses it appears I am wrong.

Personally since this is the style I first got into 3D with and now am branching into using it for my blog I'm quite attached. I'm confident with it and believe this is the way I can make the aniblog work best.

However the problem I am facing is that I do not want to be perceived as stealing views via unofficial association. I already seem to have that via the Gruen title so I don't want it more.

So I suppose the question I am posing is that does Zero Punctuation have a monopoly on this style and therefore should I change in order to follow my own path or can I continue on as I want to without risking enraging a fanbase? Any insight is welcome so let me know how you feel.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

╠ AniBlog - Of Downloadable Content and Stock Limitations ╣

In my previous post I said I was going to trial animating a blog post and well I suceeded. I wasn't expecting it to be done so quickly but turns out when you know what you're doing the whole process is quite quick and for the most part was completed over the weekend.

Any insight on how you think I did is really wanted. One thing I have noticed is that I should probably get into it a bit more because my voice is a bit dry. I may also have to invest in a microphone and not just use the computer. So yeah any opinion is good ^^

Saturday, December 6, 2008

╠ Augmenting a blog ╣

As I continue writing this blog I am ever in search of something to make it better, to make it stand out. In all my thinking of this I have come upon two ideas. If any of you could tell me what you think of either or even if you have any recommendations on how to do either that would be great.

Idea the first: Twitter post leading to blog

A lot of successful blogs I've seen do so by simply having a few lines of insight and then leaving it to you to fill in the gaps and it works because this encourages discussion. However I can't do this because I always have more to say and can't really hold myself back.

So my idea here is to have two posts for every post. One would be a short post, maybe five lines tops introducing and heavily summarizing what I was trying to get across. The second would be a longwinded post like my normal variety. THe smaller one would be the one to show up and the latter would simply be something you could click 'read on' to get to my full thoughts on the matter.

Now I personally have no idea if there is a way to do this without being sort of fiddly with my posts so if anyone knows how to do it that would be great.

Idea the Second: AniBlog

Recently I have discovered people posting videos of themselves saying what they wish to get across and because you are simply listening instead of reading it's easier to get more across. Personally I think there is a lot in this however I have no interest of putting my mug on youtube...more than it may already be at least. I believe while watching someone talk is a sort of visual benefit on previous options. However I think if I were instead to make simple animations it may be overall more stimulating.

This will obviously take a bit of effort on my part but I wish to at least test it out. So I'm going to trial it with making a video of the blog I did previously on downloadable content. It may be good...or it may crash and burn. The important thing when it comes to these sort of things is to take risks and especially at this time in my blog there's not exactly a world of things to lose.

The animation style will be very simple and will be using the spiffy version of Tannie as can be viewed above.

In conclusion

So this is what I'm looking into at the moment so let me know what you think of it and also if you have any other recommendations for blogging let me know because I would like to get this thing to be a bit successful.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

╠ Products without a stock limit ╣

Something that has been popping up more and more recently with the growth of internet speed, download limits as well as hard drive capacity is downloadable ocntent. The most prominent of these is in gaming consoles and portable devices such as ipods. There is a lot of opportunity for growth here because unlike other products, these are basically limitless when it comes to stock. Take a song for example, on average it's about 5mb on a computer and that can be given out a thousand, a million or as many timea as someone wants because all you get is a copy made at point of sale. Therefore you eliminate the need of a physical store or extended physical storage.

I see this technology being the future. Now this is very far off so I hope it's not too hard to understand. Computers at the moment have limited output, you have sound, visuals and if you have a printer you have that output option too. Imagine if this were to grow. Say you were feeling hungry. In the future if we were able to harness the power of atoms, we could store the data of a product on a computer down to the atomic level, then use a device to create an object with that atom structure and bingo you could have your own perfect pizza down to the last atom on hand without having to wait for all those normal cooking and delivery times. Very far fetched technology but I think achievable considering the technology we have now compared to decades ago.

However at the moment I think this technology isn't being utilized. People seem happy to just put something up and think that people will pay for it without any price fluctuations. Which by current standards make sense since most price fluctuations are caused by the limitations of stock eg. rare(low stock) = expensive or overstock = less expensive to clear before it becomes obsolete. So there is no normal type reason for this...however when you think of it this is heavily limiting on demand.

One thing I've found that I personally think when looking at downloadable content is simply that it will be there tomorrow. Most don't have a time in which they will expire and they appear to not have a changing cost meaning you never get a 'good deal'. This limits impulse buying. You have forever to think about it and the more time you have the more time you have to consider why you don't need it. Since most of the DLC at the moment is entertainment items you can easily justify not buying it.

So I believe there needs to be stock like limits placed onto DLC. Have sales for limited time or limiting quantity. Whilst I'm not for forcing people to buy things they don't want but in reality you need you have an option of impulse to increase sales. It could actually be the best way to speed up the progression into my perceived distant future ^^