Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Hot Steve - Once in a lifetime...

Today is a very special day my friends. Today we pay tribute to the nameless heroes of Rock and Roll. The dudes that tune the guitars, lift the amps, score for the band, and provide 'backup support' in... handling groupies.

Yes, my friends... Today is International Roadie Day. 12th December 2012 or rather 1-2, 1-2, 1-2.

On such a solemn day, a day which will not be repeated for another 100 years, I would like to pay tribute to all those fine men and women who - through a combination of hard work, diligence and supernaturally resilient livers - managed to get the job that I always dreamed of.

Sadly it would be impractical, nay impossible, to list the thousands of remarkable individuals that we respect to today but I don't want to let such a magical day pass without giving at least some kind of individual recognition and therefore my efforts today shall be dedicated to my own personal roadie hero - the ace guitar tech for the Wildhearts/Ginger - all hail 'Hot Steve':

Hot Steve
Like all the best things, Hot Steve is actually a bit of an enigma. Googling him reveals glimpses of his true importance but no real information as such. And yet there he is at every gig, the genius behind the scenes but at the same time somehow integral to the show - like the one stable element in a the otherwise ridiculously dangerous chemistry experiment that is the Wildhearts.
Steve, I salute you, enjoy your day.
 

Friday, 19 October 2012

Friday, 19 October 2012

Genius Content Marketing from FreeAgent

Following on nicely from my last post about Red Bull Stratos I got another genius emailer today from FreeAgent.


I regularly use Freeagent in my Gamification talks as an example of how effective incorporating "fun" can be in marketing. Freeagent are a company that provide one product/service: a software as a service online accounting system. Yes... it is just as boring as it sounds, but... by using a little bit of irreverence and a strong sense of fun, somehow Roan and the team manage to make thier product interesting to me.

Take the example here... many companies would have just sent out a simple email saying "we now support custom email templates" and actually their email actually says just that, it's just that it does it in a very silly - irreverent - manner which is perfectly pitched for their target audience of freelancers and small creative studios.

So yes... small businesses and dry brands can do a Stratos, and this is how!

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Lessons to learn from Red Bull Stratos

People that know me may well agree that sometimes I have a tiny bit too much to say for myself, it's something I'm trying really hard to address :o) Something I do have an awful lot to say about though is Red Bull Stratos which - in my opinion - is one of the most brilliant bits of activity we've seen from a brand in decades, it was beautifully executed from start to finish.

Luckily for me, eConsultancy have already done a really good job of covering a lot of the key points on their blog.

You should read it.

For the time being I'll keep my comments on the subject fairly simple and say that it's this kind of activity that makes me proud to work for Red Bull and... frankly... that's something that a lot of brands could learn from. In the same way that people buy from people they like, people tend to work harder for people they like...

It's just a good job we love all our clients huh?!

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Apple TV 2013 & Beyond

In my last post I talked about how Apple sometimes get things wrong but that when they get things right, they get them very, very right indeed But, there's an elephant in the room here... If Apple only create huge successes and moderate failures, what then is Apple TV? It's certainly not one of Apple's glorious successes yet but neither does it feel like a cock up.

The official line from Apple CEO Tim Cook seems to be "We do it because we think it can lead us somewhere" so it seems safe to assume that the device will be further developed in the near future but how?


Current Predictions:

Thus far, most predictions I've seen or heard about concern either the integration of a screen or Apple TV getting its own app-store. Whilst either could be true I'm not totally convinced, If I were Apple I'd view the hardware of screen as being a necessary peripheral - let someone else do the hard work of making the damn thing, shipping it, dealing with faults and the fact that the features you shipped it with became obsolete within months of it going on sale.

On the other hand, whilst the idea of Apple TV getting its own app-store is intriguing, would that not be somewhat in conflict with what the device already does with AirPlay? (Which theoretically enables people to use games/app on thier iPhones via thier Apple TV) and I'd guess that there's also been some discussion at Apple HQ about how to ensure a quality & stable experience - people tolerate apps on thier phone crashing now and again but they'll be much less prepared to tolerate those kinds of issues in a TV context where they tend to expect things to work much more reliably.

So, what will it be?

Okay, so if it's not TV hardware or an App Store the question is, what are they going to do that's going to change the device from being an intriguing hobby to being the next must-have digital accessory? Well, I have a few ideas which I'd like to share with you:

1) Remote controls are shit:

Apple are really into interfaces and improving user experience. It therefore seems logical that they might try and integrate some of the technology or approaches that they've used in thier other devices to improve the current (shit) solution of the IR remote control. Given the living-room context It's unlikely that this'll mean touchscreen but it could mean voice control or perhaps even gesture control as is currently being developed in the current range of Samsung TVs.

2) Integrating cameras:

Gesture control could be done with accelerometers in a device of some kind but a more flexible solution might be to use stereoscopic cameras (as per Samsung's approach and the Kinenct).

3) Integrate FaceTime:

Okay, so now we have an Apple TV that uses gesture control via stereoscopic cameras. Once you've got that it seems like a no-brainer that you'd integrate FaceTime too no? Video conferencing isn't a particularly satisfying experience on an iPhone, it's a little better on an iPad but on a TV it makes a lot more sense which is why it's done that way in the board room. The increased distance from the screen means that you don't tend to notice that people's eyeline isn't perfectly fixed on you and therefore the experience feels significantly more natural.

4) 3D FaceTime!

Right... Now we have an Apple TV with gesture control driven by stereoscopic cameras and FaceTime. Lets assume that this is also attatched to one of the newer generations of television many of which support 3D. It seems like a no-brainer therefore that the next thing apple might try to do is utilise the stereoscopic cameras once again and introduce FaceTime in 3D?

Now, 3D is a technology that has challenges. Firstly, people don't really like having to wear glasses (although screens that don't need glasses are beginning to appear) but frankly, I think the main issue is that - for a film - it's a bit of a pointless technology. I don't think people need the increased realism of 3D to enjoy a film, watching films is largely an escapist activity and is all about suspension of disbelief. Like the Uncanny Valley theory from robotics, there's a point at which increased realism becomes distracting and actually degrades the experience.

With video conferencing however this could be different. In today's modern distributed society many, if not all of us, have friends and loved-ones that are distant from us and therefore we rely on communications technologies to enable us to maintain those relationships. In this context the greater realism afforded by 3D could improve the video conferencing experience significantly and therefore could well become the killer app in this area.

So... There you go, that's what I think they'll do and the reasons why but, if they don't, someone else surely should!

 

iPhone 5 - Game Changer?

Sometimes you look at Apple and wonder why it is that everything they touch turns to gold, it feels like everything they do is flawless in execution.

And then you remember some things that are/were less than perfect: Ping, the iPhone 4 antenna, battery life on the 4s, MacBooks overheating and Maps on iOS 6 to name a few. Apple do, therefore, screw up occasionally... It's just that when they do get it right, they get it so right it hurts.

Take the new iPhone for example. On paper it could be viewed quite negatively - a new connector which (if like me you need cables for home, work, travelling, the car) forces you to fork out for a bunch of expensive replacements, battery life which barely lasts a day if you use it, a wider screen which (as a developer) forces you to rethink many of your apps and of course Maps which is just total crap.

But somehow, despite all that, it's still brilliant. you only need to hold the device for 2-3 seconds and you understand what it's all about. It's so thin, light, and fast that within seconds of using it you feel like Tony Stark and, frankly, that's worth £700 of anyone's money :).


So, then you start to rethink your opinions on it the negatives: The new connector is a vast improvement on both the old connector and micro USB, since I also have an iPad and our trains have power sockets I can manage with the battery life and Maps...? Well, a minor inconvenience compared with the benefit of being Iron Man every day!


The iPhone 5 then? Brilliant. Buy one.

 

 

Wednesday, 12 September 2012

Wednesday, 12 September 2012

Corrupt Photos in iCloud Restore

***Update - There is a Solution!!!***
Max - one of the awesome team here at Kempt came across this post in the apple discussion forums, we've tested the solution and it seems to work!!
****************************************

Over the weekend, annoyingly, I had my phone stolen. No, I didn't just lose it, it was a proper steal - I saw it happen and have the bruises to prove it!

Anyway, those of you that have ever lost or had a phone stolen will be familiar with some of the hassle that ensues - blocking the phone, changing a million passwords, sourcing a new phone & sim etc etc. Anyway - one of the hassles I didn't expect was getting the data restored. You see, I subscribe to iCloud and therefore backup runs every time the device is plugged in - so i thought I was safe there.

Sadly I have come across a rather serious problem with the iCloud restore process and, based on a bit of googling I'm not alone) that somehow in the process of doing an iCloud restore photos and videos in the camera roll can get corrupted. I started the restore and iOS told me it was gradually downloading my 1300-odd photos & videos but when the restore was complete only a few hundred photos remained - worse still, less than 100 were readable.

This was a HUGE issue for me as - stupidly - I hadn't backed up in any other way for a couple for years (yes I know it's stupid, did I mention it was stupid?).

As far as I can tell the issue seems to occur as the backup finishes, for some reason, at this point many of the files get corrupted or deleted.

Luckily for me I got bored of waiting for the restore to complete and took a backup of all the files in the camera roll a couple of minutes before it actually finished. This got me all but about 50-60 of my phots/vids back and, whilst I haven't checked that they're all 100% okay I have verified that significant numbers of photos and videos that were either absent or corrupt after the restore were present and AOK in the backup I took just before it finished.

Why this happens is a bit of a mystery to me but at least it might give users some sort of solution, albeit a crappy one. Basically, if you have problems with photos missing after an iCloud restore I can only suggest that yo try the following.
  1. Reset the device and set it up to restore from your iCloud backup.
  2. Wait for it to restore the vast majority of your camera roll but *importantly* not all of it. (You can check the number of files that have been restored at the bottom of the "albums" page of the photos app)
  3. When there are only a few items remaining, turn off wifi to prevent the restore from completing.
  4. Connect to a computer and take a copy of the contents of the camera roll as a backup.

Hopefully that should get most of your photos back.

Another thing I noticed is that - once the restore is complete - even the files that are there show up as being corrupted and therefore it's almost impossible to make backups of the files (unless you fancy going through them one by one). For this reason (and partially because I'm a bit paranoid!) I'd suggest that once the above is complete and you've pulled off any other data you want (files and the like) then I'd reset the device once more and start again with a clean install just to be on the safe side. Also, from now on, I'll be taking regular backups by other means!

So... hope that's helpful?!

Cheers

C

Monday, 23 April 2012

Monday, 23 April 2012

CS6 - Great New Product? Same Customer Service.

Traditionally St Georges Day is a celebration of all that is English, including someone who wasn't from England defeating an evil dragon...

It's therefore intriguing that Adobe chose today to announce CS6, a product which will once more cost nearly twice as much in the UK/Europe as it will in the USA... not quite sure of the point they're trying to make here but it's very kind of them to think of us.

It'll be interesting to see what the suite now includes (typically it's difficult to hear anything over the din of hype surrounding Photoshop) it sounds like there are a couple of useful new features for those that are increasingly involved in app development, however it's good to see that whatever the product is like, the legendary Adobe customer service is unchanged. Earlier I had the temerity to ask a couple of questions via their online chat, I found the conversation quite amusing so I thought you might like to see it:

---------------

Welcome to Adobe! You are now chatting with 'Arnold'
Arnold: Hi, How are you doing today?
you: Good thanks.
you: Looking at the creative cloud stuff. Is there an easy way for me to order multiple licences at once?
you: Also, do you have a release date?
Arnold: No.
Arnold: You can pre-order now.

{Long Pause}

you: Is that it?
Arnold: Yes.

---------------

Wow... I feel valued... just another reason why we are slowly transitioning to Apple.

Thursday, 19 April 2012

Thursday, 19 April 2012

Ginetta Comp - If At First You Don't Succeed

Got some bad news yesterday, Ginetta have already announced the finalists for the first round of the Grid Girl comp and sadly I didn't make the cut.

I think it's fair to say that I have some fairly stiff competition here so - learning as one does from my competition - this morning I decided to have some more professional shots done which more closely resemble the standards required. I shall resubmit these to Ginetta in the hope that it'll make the difference and I can achieve my dream.

I've also uploaded the shots to a facebook gallery, since the main competition is a "like" comp I'd really appreciate it if you could "like" my photos so that Ginetta realise the kind of support I have.


Thanks for being so amazing and supporting me to fulfil my dream. If this is the first you've heard of this then you can find out more in these other posts.

P.S. well done to Chelsea Davies who won the public vote for Thruxton.

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Please Support My Ginetta Application

Those of you that know me well know that I have a few keen interests that verge on obsession: the Internet (naturally), The Wildhearts and Ginetta, specifically the G40R.

You can imagine my excitement therefore when Ginetta announced their competition to represent them on the grid at one of the rounds of the BTCC, get my face seen by millions on ITV4 and mix with the great and the good of the UK motorsport industry in the process.

Needless to say I applied with haste (my application follows) and hope to be one of the lucky few that are chosen for this high-profile opportunity, but in the hope that you'll want to support me in achieving my dream here are a few ways you can help:
  1. Supportive tweets with the hashtag #CKempt4Ginetta and sent @ginettacars.
  2. Post a supportive comment on their facebook page.
  3. Link to this blog post on your own blog.
  4. Anything else you can think of: supportive rallies, flash mobs you could even build me an advergame! Just please don't hassle Ginetta directly.
Thanks in advance for your support, FYI, my application follows:

My Ginetta Application

Four photos of yourself (two face / two body):
Body Shot (My Elbow)
Face Shot (My Face)
Face Shot (Profile)
Body Shot (Have Own Suit)

  • Full name: Chris Kempt
  • Age: 36 3/4
  • Dress size: Err... 16? About a 44A I reckon.
  • Shoe size: 10 1/2
  • Height: 5' 11"
  • Email: think you lot probably know this...
  • Mobile No: as above
  • Current Location: Canterbury, Kent
  • Why would you make a good Grid Girl? I'm reliable, good humoured and accommodating, I'll do more or less anything that is reasonably required of me but would only do nudity if it's artistically necessary.
  • Which date / circuit are you free to attend? Pretty much any I think.

Please support my application and help me to make my dream a reality.

Wednesday, 4 April 2012

Wednesday, 4 April 2012

Hello World!

Hi All,

Well after years and years of good intentions being ruined by ridiculous workloads I'm finally getting with the programme and have my own blog!

I'm planning to post some of my personal stuff here as well as some of my opinions on the games/advertising industry that don't necessarily relate directly to Kempt's business. The old Kempt blog will continue and will be where we announce new projects and such.

Hope you enjoy reading my ramblings!

Cheers

C
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