My Digital Footprint: Delicious

Haven by Rebecca Rothfus

I figured it would be worth talking about my digital footprint, some of which relates closely to the content of  this blog and other elements which are more personal.

My Delicious account is something I’ve been using for the last three or four years as a means of collecting material which I figure I might be able to ‘recycle’ at a later date – important when you don’t have a photographic memory and follow a broad range of information sources.

Delicious’ use of tags provides a non hierarchical means of mapping and retrieving content. An example would be if I’m looking for content relating to mobile internet in the UK, I would try the following which brings up the intersection of contents from the mobileinternet and UK tags.,uk

The use of a Chrome extension makes it relatively painless to add content straight from the browser without cutting and pasting, although the plugin typically won’t be able to grab titles from pdfs.

In terms of the indexed content, there’s strong coverage of digital, social and mobile media, marketing and collaboration. You will also find content relating to cycling which is a personal passion of mine.

Most content should be tagged with year, publication (where relevent) and if you’re looking more for examples rather than discussion, you might want to try the creativeshowcase (examples of) tag.

An example of this in action is the indexing of the following from Mashable

Title: Tweet a Selfie to See Your Smart Car Doppelganger

Tags: SmartCar, Twitter, selfies, #smartwrapme, automotive, creativeshowcase, Mashable, 2013

Delicious created an annual report for 2013 for me which can be found here.

Thought Starters: Content that has got me thinking 5

street art by nuria mora / Plenty of Colour

The following provides a roundup of articles and thought pieces which have got me thinking recently.

There has been a lot of talk recently about the declining reach of Facebook as the company increasingly takes on the role of toll gatherer for brands looking to reach their audiences. Being Practical looks at this phenomenon and warns people away from using it as a means of reaching their audience given the miserly 2% engagement rate.

Om Malik in his first for Fast Company writes about anticipatory computing, and how this is reshaping our relationship with technology.

In another piece from Om Malik, this time for GigaOm, he argues that 2013 has been a good year for technology (revelations about the NSA aside) in a retort to a recent article in The Atlantic.

BuzzFeed’s John Herrman looks at the growing dominance of Facebook and Google in our online lives and how this curtails our freedom and creates a subservient role for many other operators in the digital sector.

JWT provide their latest round up of trends to watch for in the coming year spanning from technology and media through to food and drinks.

Luke O’Neil takes a critical look at contemporary journalism which is increasingly driven by an accelerating news cycle. Understandably, this hasn’t helped the quality of news as editors feel the need to ‘publish or perish.’

Wall Street Journal’s Ethan Smith reports on the growth of streaming music services such as Spotify and argues that this is likely to lead to promote music with staying power.

Interesting article on The Awl on the rise and fall of Grunge typography. As we move towards a more mobile centric world, typography tends to follow function rather than form.

The Rise And Fall Of Grunge Typography
The Rise And Fall Of Grunge Typography

New York Magazine’s Maureen O’Connor looks at the effect technology is having on our interactions with our exes, with Facebook, Gchat, Snapchat and text messages all potentially complicating attempts to make a fresh start.

Emotient now provide analytics that can assess the emotional state of filmed audiences, providing brands with the opportunity to tailor their messaging to the mood state of their audiences.

What does 2014 hold? Questions I’m looking to see answered this coming year


There’s been lots of talk about trends and technologies that are likely to affect us in the coming years. The following are some of the questions I’m interested to have answered come this time next year.

Mobile Ecosystem

Will we see Samsung fork its Android offering in 2014? Samsung is developing an increasingly comprehensive selection of alternative mobile apps and services but Google is doing everything it can to raise the price of those who go it alone with Android.

Will we see Xiaomi develop a tangible presence in Western Markets? The company has a strong selection of handsets at competitive prices with growing interest in the brand abroad. Whether this is enough to see it stand out among other players Android (Samsung, HTC, Sony Mobile, LG, Nexus, Huawei, ASUS etc) remains to be seen.

Will CyanogenMod’s open source model enables it to grow beyond its tech savvy Android user base? The mobile operating system recently received funding from Andreessen Horowitz, Benchmark, Redpoint Ventures and Tencent but also faced a setback with Google’s removal of the software installer from the Play Store. CyanogenMod will need to make it as easy and safe as possible for users as the majority of people will be content with the status quo.

What wearable computing forms will break out of the current niche of early adopters? Google Glass and the Samsung Galaxy Gear have received mixed reviews from various commentators but there is a huge opportunity here with a wide selection of potential uses — something that is likely to see a range of form factors rather than a Swiss army knife approach where one tool solves all problems.

Mobile Messaging

Will we see Kik, Line or KakaoTalk make a substantial inroads in Western Europe? WhatsApp has carved out a strong position but the mobile messaging sector is not a category where winner necessarily takes all.

WhatsApp has stated that they’re not looking to diversify beyond mobile messaging, but it will be interesting to see if this changes given the success of Kik, Line and KakaoTalk in developing alternative revenue streams?

Will Snapchat manage to capture the public imagination in a similar manner to the way it has for teens over the course of the next year?

Social Media

Will Facebook’s changes to the News Feed see the demise of virality mills (Upworthy, Buzzfeed et al)?

Will Foursquare’s adoption of push notifications see wider adoption of the location based social network? Manually checking in is a clunky solution and it will be interesting to see whether this change of tack will be enough to gain mass appeal.


Will the Steam Machine and Oculus Rift manage to break the stranglehold of Playstation and Xbox have in the gaming console market? Question will be moot if Steam (and their hardware partners) and Oculus VR don’t meet their target of a 2014 consumer release.

Internet and Society

Does the UK public care enough about what they see online to raise a fuss about ISP’s adoption of porn filtering? There’s been plenty of evidence pointing to the systems questionable effectiveness but the general public doesn’t seem to be up in arms about it.


Will retail brands be willing to invest in the relatively untested Bluetooth 4.0 (iBeacon, Paypal Beacon etc) technologies or will it be a case of wait and see?

Will Apple’s adoption of iBeacon in iOS7 permanently stall the introduction of NFC indefinitely?

Digital Currencies

Will we see Bitcoin become adopted as a method of payment outside the black economy? The recent erratic shifts in value of the currency make it a risky proposition for retailers without the infrastructure to adjust to changing prices.

Thought Starters: Content that has got me thinking 4

Gehry's Children #9 by Andrew Prokos

In the space of two days this week, we saw the launch of Instagram Direct and Twitter’s enabling the inclusion of photos in direct messages. This can be seen as their response to the encroaching presence of mobile messaging services by upgrading their one to one communications.

Social Communications Map Stratechery
Social Communications Map Stratechery

Ben Thompson also looks at the importance of being one of Apple’s featured apps and the growing importance of marketing in the app economy, with more than million now available in the App Store now.

Xiaomi Hugo Barra talks through some of the more interesting innovations in the mobile and ecommerce sector in China.

Having a mobile optimised website is only going to grow in importance as Google factors in load times for mobile devices in the ranking of its search results according as reported in Econsultancy.

Eurostat figures point to the European countries where social networks are more popular, with UK coming out near the front.

The MIT Technology Review has an interesting infographic which points to Twitter’s multicultural profile and the countries where it has the largest presence.

Gmail has traditionally has traditionally required users to enable images when viewing their emails as a means of protecting their privacy. This is about to change as Google caches images within consumers’ emails which prevents the tracking of emails beyond the first opening and their location according to Econsultancy.

We Are Social look at strategies for how to deal with social media when things don’t go quite to plan for organisations and their brands.

Keep Calm and Deal With It, We Are Social
Keep Calm and Deal With It, We Are Social

We Are Social along with Tablexi have also looked at where to employ responsive design as opposed to native apps. Definitely a case of judging situations on a case by case basis.

Wired looks at the array of mobile interactions offered by Apple’s iBeacons, enables richer location based services and bringing Bluetooth to fore. We just need to ensure that brands use this mode responsibly or we’ll see consumers shutting closing off this new channel.

It’s that time of year where we have commentators looking backwards at the year that’s been and forward to the year that is coming. Contagious provides one of the better year reviews with case studies on a range of interesting innovations from around the globe thoughtfully curated.

Most Contagious 2013, Contagious
Most Contagious 2013, Contagious

For a more forward looking guide, you might want to try Carat’s 10 Trends for 2014, which looks at smart devices, push notifications, bluetooth beacons, frictionless payments, location & local, deliveries and health & wellbeing among others. Then again, if this is all proving too much, you can turn to Soap for a more light hearted approach.

New Republic looks at the disruptive effect that Netflix is having on mass culture, creating smaller but potentially more passionate communities of interest.

Community lost can be community gained, and as mass culture weakens, it creates openings for the cohorts that can otherwise get crowded out. When you meet someone with the same particular passions and sensibility, the sense of connection can be profound. Smaller communities of fans, forged from shared perspectives, offer a more genuine sense of belonging than a national identity born of geographical happenstance.

The article also makes the valid point that mass culture only really arrived with television in the mid to late 20th century and its decline shouldn’t be seen as the threat that some people would have us believe.

Image recognition technology keeps on getting smarter with recent advances enabling software to identify consumers cultural affiliations by their style of dress (raver or rockabilly). This will enable further targeting opportunities based on the images and videos consumers share.

Computers Can Now Automatically Stereotype 'Hipsters' and 'Bikers', The Atlantic
Computers Can Now Automatically Stereotype ‘Hipsters’ and ‘Bikers’, The Atlantic

Counter Notions looks at how digital automation is encroaching into print journalism as computers are able to write standardised copy. Whilst the likes of Jeremy Paxman might not have anything to worry about, it is likely to impact on the demand for more basic journalistic roles.

Can robots write sports previews? CounterNotions
Can robots write sports previews? CounterNotions

It is apparently the season of goodwill and design agency Raw have developed Let’s Talk Turkey to get us all to consider the fall guy for many of our Christmas dinners. The site provides simple graphics to explain how turkey came to dominate our Christmas meals and the poor conditions that many turkeys face before landing on our plates.

Let's Talk Turkey
Let’s Talk Turkey

Specialized vs Cafe Roubaix: Or the perils of taking on the little man

Paris-Roubaix is one of the most famous races in the professional cycling calendar, providing a test of riders’ mettle as they race across the pavé of northern France. It’s no surprise then that the race has spawned some of cycling’s most iconic imagery with pictures of cobbled roads and bedraggled riders.

Pedro Horrillo photographed by Timm Kölln after competing in Paris-Roubaix
Pedro Horrillo photographed by Timm Kölln after competing in Paris-Roubaix


Bicycle manufacturer Specialized has looked to capitalise on some of this mythology with a range of bikes called Roubaix, a not far fetched call given that Specialised saw victories on their bikes in 2012, 2009 and 2008 with Tom Boonen and in 2010 with Fabian Cancellara.

In the past Specialized has looked to actively protect its trademarks taking cease and desist orders against Epic Wheel Works and Mountain Cycle over the use of Stumptown.

In the latest move to protect its trademarks, Specialized served a cease and desist order against local Canadian bicycle shop Cafe Roubaix, which like Specialized, had looked to capitalise on the mythology of Paris-Roubaix.

Dan Richter, pictured at his store Cafe Roubaix Bicycle Studio in Cochrane. Leah Hennel, Calgary Herald
Dan Richter, pictured at his store Cafe Roubaix Bicycle Studio in Cochrane. Leah Hennel, Calgary Herald

The story got picked up by local newspaper Calgary Herald, capitalising on the David and Goliath aspect of the story as multinational cycling corporation took on Afghanistan war veteran suffering from post traumatic stress disorder.

The story quickly moved from local to international as the story got picked up by the cycling blogosphere with consumers venting their opinions on Twitter, Facebook and Tumblr among others.

Specialized argued that if they didn’t defend their trademark, they would loose it drawing on the principle of acquiescence, although Red Kite Prayer give a thoughtful rebuttal of this claim.

Whilst I am not about to get into debates about trademark law, what is interesting about the case is how it points to businesses needing to pay greater attention to the implications of their actions as we live in an increasingly networked world. Actions in one part of the world can quickly cascade into another, particularly when there is a story that can tap into people’s interests and passions.

Public Relations in Action

Fortunately the story does appear to have a happy ending. Advanced Sports International which owns the worldwide rights to the Roubaix name and which licensed its use to Specialized see no problem with Cafe Roubaix using the name according to a report in Bicycle Retailer.

Now we can worry about more important matters, such as spending more time out on our bikes.


All tablets are not the same

The tablet format has been around for the over 20 years now with the GRiDPad launched in 1989 considered the first consumer tablet, but it has only been the last three years that we have seen tablets come into their own. Tablets along with smartphones are harbingers of the move to a post PC environment.

As the tablet market has expanded globally, so has the variety of offerings, with tablets based on Google’s Android operating system tablets taking a growing proportion of the global tablet market (Microsoft Windows market share is minimal according to IDC).

Apple has dominated the upper end of the tablet market with offerings ranging from £249 for an iPad Mini through to £739 for a full spec iPad Air. The Android platform in contrast has prices going as low as £30 for a no name low spec tablet.
Some of the results of search for ‘cheap android tablet’
The performance of budget Android tablets is reflected in their price as Benedict Evans makes clear in the following comments:

What seems to be happening is that if you want the post-PC vision that Apple and Steve Jobs created, you probably buy an iPad, and Apple has a large majority of that market, and hence of the use of devices for that purpose. This isn’t very surprising: the Android tablet app offer remains far behind the iPad in a way that the Android phone app offer does not.

It is important to recognise the comparatively complex nature of the Android environment. The following figures from Enders Analysis differentiates between activated and unactivated tablets. This arises due to the Chinese where the majority of Android devices do not come with Google’s services and are considered unactivated.

Getting a clear picture of the Android tablet market is complicated by the high degree of fragmentation within the Android ecosystem. Only a small proportion of Android devices run the latest version of Android’s operating operating system even among activated devices, contrasting sharply with the Apple’s iOS where 74% are running the latest version.

Onswipe’s web traffic statistics (see below) for tablets point to iPad users being much more likely to use the web, mirroring the situation for iPhone and Android smartphones.

Higher spec Android devices such as Google’s Nexus tablets are likely to see a web and app usage comparable to the iPad. For the majority of Android tablets will take a lesser role functioning as supplementary televisions (particularly important in China), ereaders, basic game machines with occasional forays onto the web.

Whilst these basic Android tablets don’t present the gold standard for usability, they provide an important bridge to the internet for the developing world and a cheap way of adding screens for developed world consumers. Just be wary of lumping the iPad Air with a sub Android £30 tablet.

Thought Starters: Content that has got me thinking 3

Algorithms have the potential to surround ourselves with like minded people and information that supports our viewpoint in what some people call a filter bubble. Given these concerns, it is great to see innovations that bring together people with alternative views together. Hopefully we’ll see more of this in the future.

Horace Dediu tracks the growing role of smartphones and tablets in online purchasing in the US drawing on the IBM Digital Analytics Benchmark study. GlobalWebIndex provides a view on how PC, mobiles and tablets are used during the purchace process. Ecommerce is not a PC monopoly particularly as we see PC sales decline.

Asymco: When will the migration from PCs be complete?

Ben Bajarin looks at the increasingly diverse world of Android ecosystems in which Google is a player but my no means the only beneficiary.

Benedict Evans looks at the BBC figures for iPlayer which points to the online service making up a fraction of overall television viewership for now, although growing tablet penetration of tablets may see this change.

Benedict Evans: The Limits of Online Video

Nicholas Carr in The Atlantic provides a thoughtful piece on some of the negative aspects associated with automation as we rely increasingly on machines.

GlobalWebIndex give their view on what are the most used social services worldwide.

GlobalWebIndex: Chart of The Day: Twitter and Google+ Tied As The Second Most Used Social Services Globally

Frank Chimero’s meditation on the role of the screen and interactive design is worth spending some time with.

Diesel makes Tumblr friendly animated GIFs in its latest experiential campaign.

Diesel GIF Booth, Adverblog

Patagonia has long had a socially responsible image and has created a lot of noise with its recent calls for people to buy less. Worn Wear is the brand’s latest initiative celebrating the clothing that lasts you for years which it has supported with a short film contrasting its position with other retailers during Cyber Monday. The strategy has apparently been successful with growing sales for the outdoor brand.

Gallery Analytics is an installation for exhibitions that’s able to generate data about behavior of visitors and present this data in a Google Analytics-like environment. By setting up a mesh Wi-Fi network and combining it with custom-made software, Gallery Analytics is able to track every Wi-Fi-enabled device (such as a smartphone) moving around in the area in real-time. I can imagine we will see more of this kind of thing as iBeacon comes into play.

The Pop-Up City: Google Analytics For Physical Environments