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Sunday 13 May 2007

Bytes · MobileTV - Who's greener? Print vs web - Labour goes purple

  • Mobile TV may not take off for years in the UK (because of a lack of digital spectrum until 2012) but elsewhere it is.

    In Japan and South Korea there are now 5.8m people watching TV on their mobile phones, and even more watching TV on other hand-held devices and via in-car systems.

    In Italy there are 500,000 subscribers to newly-launched mobile TV services with up to 17 channels.

  • Here's a simple, good idea. Alertacall is a people monitoring service using existing technology better.

    If a special button is not pressed on a standard phone by an agreed time, the user is rung. If they fail to respond, three nominated people will be alerted. Seen at Naidex 2007.

  • Interesting discussion on MediaShift about the environmental benefits of print vs web, sparked by a study from the Finnish Forest Research Institute.

    Because the print industry is using more and more recycled paper, the obvious environmental gap (think scales and difficulties with waste products + resources used) is getting smaller.

    69% of newspapers in the U.S. were recovered and recycled in 2005 — something which the article notes is not the case with the UK's boom in 'freesheets', which litter city streets, or with magazines which don't recycle and have much more energy-intensive processes.

    However, the web also uses lots of energy and un-renewable resources:

    · server farms for the world's searching alone consume as much as Las Vegas
    · the average avatar on SecondLife uses up 1,752 kilowatt hours per year, about the same amount used by the average Brazilian.

    Perhaps surprisingly, the Finns come down in favour of e-readers, suggesting they could eventually become a real substitute for printed material, including for environmental reasons.

    But the answer - which is better environmentally? - no-one appears to have given.

  • The US Government's new citizen portal,, has added instant messaging and webchat. "We wanted to add the features that young people like. They want to be able to get through to a human being right away to get their questions answered” said Director Beth Godwin.

    Godwin also notes that they
    held focus groups and did three rounds of usability testing in relaunching the "task-orientated" website.

    The agency which manages the website also has a whole program for eGov frontline managers runs out of their
    Web Manager University. last year they trained 1,300 Web managers through the university.

  • When Blair announced his retirement, the Labour Party's website turned a hideous purple - true. Also gone is the 'newLabour, newBritain' strapline.

    Unfortunate choice, here's a colour expert:

    One color is particularly unsafe in a global environment—purple. Purple, according to [Jill Morton, professor at the University of Hawaii], is a "polarizing color... it is potentially hazardous on a global level." In Catholic Europe, purple is a symbol of death and crucifixion. I have heard anecdotally that in some Middle Eastern cultures purple signifies prostitution, much as red is used in some Western countries, as in a "Red Light District." Purple is also symbolic of mysticism and spiritual beliefs that go against Christian, Jewish, and Muslim paradigms: Wicca, New Age spirituality, and paganism.

    A case in point is the launch of Euro Disney. The first design for signs used large amounts of purple, which visitors found "morbid." This response was completely contradictory to the happy message that Disney wanted to convey. As a result, Disney had to rework its European advertising campaign, which doubtlessly wound up costing significant money and time.

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