5 things on Friday #13

Five things of note for the week ending Friday March 30th, 2012

1. How to peel a banana like a monkey
Mind. Blown.

2. A new UK Bank Holiday?
An online petition has appeared recently pushing for the UK to have an extra Bank Holiday (this time in November), but with a twist. As the website says -

“If we get an extra bank holiday, the public will be urged to do something kind on this extra day, each year, to support their local communities…
…it will be a ‘Pay It Forward‘ bank holiday”

Whether or not this will go ahead remains to be seen, but still – it’s a nice idea.

3. Spotify on Facebook
The deadline for brands to make the switch to Facebook Timeline is upon us and while there have been some awesome case studies recently, Spotify have come out and pitched their own ‘history of music’ – superb work indeed. Worth spending some time digging around for some aural beauties? I think so…

4. Slovenski Oglaševalski Festival (SOF)
Last year, when I attended the Weekend Media Festival in Croatia, I was asked if I would be interested in attending (and speaking) at the 2012 Slovenian Advertising Festival. ‘Of course!’ I said, ‘Email me!’ – and in January this year, they did! Fast forward a couple of months and here I am, in the gorgeous coastal town of Portoroz, giving a talk about word of mouth marketing. Lovely stuff.

Why?

I wore red (like last time), I had a lot of fun fun aaaaand, on top of that, I managed to mix things up a little bit with a careful sprinkling of pandas too – so, all in all, I think it went well.

Big thanks to Urša Pučko and her team at Pristop for inviting me in the first place, being such great hosts and, of course, organising everything so perfectly. All I can say is – thank you! And to anyone reading this: Visit Slovenia!

5. A real superhero
This story is incredible. First, some background -

Yeah, this actually happened.

Now, I know a few of you are probably already thinking about how freaking awesome this is… right? Right. Well, it gets better. This guy – real name Lenny B. Robinson – is a bonafide superhero. An A-grade, first class, inspirational figure.

Why? Take a look for yourself.

Incredible.

Bonusesthe bizarre world of video game sexual content bureaucracy; the new Superman logo (from the upcoming Man of Steel film) has been revealed; and Maxim needs to remember what year we’re in

 

 

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Spotify on Windows Phone

Yesterday was a fairly busy day, if you’re a tech-head like me at least; Google+ rolled out their brand pages, the Nokia N9 started updating to the much-heralded mega-fix firmware and, for those that needed it, Spotify dropped onto the Windows Phone Marketplace.

Google+ I’ve covered already (no really, what is it for?), the N9 update I am yet to apply and as for Spotify? Well, what can I say?

Choosing Windows Phone as the last, great, mobile operating system to support, Spotify prepped itself for the promised masses yesterday afternoon (after a preview some six months ago) and boy, is it a beautiful app to use.

First, some caveats:

  • Spotify mobile is only available to premium subscribers
  • Premium is £9.99 a month. A small price to pay to NEVER PAY FOR ANY MUSIC EVER AGAIN.
  • I’ve tried Zune* and, until Spotify dropped, that was fine (if a little alien).

So, to the app itself.

The good stuff:

  • WP7 app design: oh my God this app is gorgeous.
  • Scrolling, sharing, syncing: all of it rocks my face off.
  • It’s Spotify, on my mobile.

The stuff needed in the next update:

  • Background colour options
    Windows Phone offers either ‘dark’ or ‘light’, white on black or black on white respectively. Spotify should either match its app’s skin accordingly or at least offer it up as an in-app option. Strangely, while the app offers the light variation, the desktop client offers dark.
  • Last.fm integration please
    Syncing tracks listened to in online mode and remembering then uploading my tracks listened to in offline mode.
  • Offline playlist filters
    Yeah, love that but, any chance that you filter the playlists by DOWNLOADED FIRST? Having to scroll through all of them in order is a pain.
  • Album art on lockscreen
    I mentioned I was on Zune before, one thing that the WP music player does nicely is show album covers on the lock screen while playing music. It’s a nice touch and adds to the overall experience. Spotify should do this too. See below.

2011-11-09-2221

 Florence playing through Zune

2011-11-09-2222

 Florence playing through Spotify

Overall, great work guys, it’s an awesome service and I’m a big fan. Having it running on my Lumia makes me a very happy bunny indeed. Good job.

Please, continue to iterate, improve and impress.

Danke,
James.

 

*I signed up for a Zune Pass about a day after first getting my Windows Phone. I like that it covers my Xbox too, but I already have Last.fm there. So it was only really the mobile music angle I needed to cover. Now Spotify is here, I just don’t need it.

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Paging Zuners

If that’s what you’re called.
I got this today:

Here’s a question: what do you think of Zune?

I’m going to make a few assumptions (and do please, correct me if I’m wrong); if you’re a Zune user – aka ‘a Zuner’ – you’re probably American and you may’ve even bought, and perhaps even still use, the original Zune machine handheld thing that was never launched over here in the UK.

However, you may also be a Windows Phone (WP) user and/or an Xbox owner. All of these things I expect to influence your response to this following, secondary question:

Is it actually any good?

Now please. Before you move forward with your answer (either in the comments field below or in fact perhaps, with your own blogged repost) please take into account that your opinion may bias towards the positive as you’ve made such a chunky investment (especially you original Zune hardware owners). So please, give full and valid responses – warts an’ all, if you will.

Why am I asking this question? Well, I am an Xbox Live Gold subscriber, soon-to-be Windows-Phoner and avid Spotify fan. The latter of the three costs £9.99pcm and allows me all sorts of awesome music-based fantasticness. Treats such as:

  • Access to an almost infinite amount of music
  • Downloadable content that I can play offline, both on my desktop and on my mobile
  • Sharable cross-platform playlists of awesomeness (that can be locked down or collaborative)
  • Thanks to the marvelous integration on both Spotify and Xbox Live, I can stream my most listened to tracks through my Xbox using the Last.fm application available through Live Gold
  • Bonus feature, said music can be controlled BY VOICE thanks to my Kinect

Understand that your answers will help inform my decision on whether or not to drop Spotify for Zune (when WP finally launches on Nokia’s devices). As it stands, I’m reliably informed that Spotify is coming to WP with the next software update (aka ‘Mango), but because I like things to just work – I’m tempted to move for the full Zune offering.

Friends, Zuners, fellow tech-heads and audiophiles – it’s over to you.

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Ferris Bueller’s Day Off OST

…or lack thereof

If you have never seen Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, stop reading now. Immediately. Get yourself over to Play or Amazon or something and go get yourself a copy. Order it, download it, watch it and then come back.

Right, everyone else – still here? Good.

Believe it or not I managed to make it to my 17th year without ever seeing this film. My good friend Bodger, upon discovering my apparent deprived childhood would not let me leave his house again until I had seen it. Twice. Needless to say we were late for college that day.

Many, many things have been said about this film – none of which I’m going to try and emulate or even beat (perhaps another time), however one area that’s not touched upon that often is that of the awesome soundtrack to the film.

From the manic synths of Sigue Sigue Sputnik through to the soft, dulcet tones of The Smiths; the Ferris Bueller’s Day Off OST is a wonder to behold. Except… it doesn’t actually exist.

That’s right, perhaps one of the most bizarre yet luminescent and nostalgic collections of music ever to placed into one film was never actually released as an album.
The reason? The director, the supremely talented John Hughes, was worried about the mix of songs being ‘too eclectic’ to see as an album.

According to Wikipedia, he said:

“The only official soundtrack that Ferris Bueller’s Day Off ever had was for the mailing list. A&M was very angry with me over that; they begged me to put one out, but I thought “who’d want all of these songs?” I mean, would kids want “Danke Schoen” and “Oh Yeah” on the same record? They probably already had “Twist and Shout,” or their parents did, and to put all of those together with the more contemporary stuff, like the (English) Beat – I just didn’t think anybody would like it. But I did put together a seven-inch of the two songs I owned the rights to – “Beat City” on one side, and… I forget, one of the other English bands on the soundtrack… and sent that to the mailing list. By ’86, ’87, it was costing us $30 a piece to mail out 100,000 packages. But it was a labor of love.”

Amazing.

Thanks to a mixbag of research and Wikipedia, I’ve managed to hunt down a full track list for what would’ve been the FDO:OST.

  1. “Love Missile F1-11″ (Extended Version) by Sigue Sigue Sputnik
  2. “Jeannie” (Theme from I Dream of Jeannie)
  3. “Beat City” by The Flowerpot Men
  4. “Main Title / Rebel Blockade Runner” by John Williams (From, Star Wars)
  5. “Please, Please, Please Let Me Get What I Want” (instrumental) by The Dream Academy (a cover of a song by The Smiths)
  6. “Menuet Célèbre” by (Zagreb Philharmonic Chamber Studio)
  7. “Danke Schoen” by Wayne Newton
  8. “Twist and Shout” by The Beatles
  9. “Radio People” by Zapp
  10. “I’m Afraid” by Blue Room
  11. “Taking the Day Off” by General Public
  12. “The Edge of Forever” by The Dream Academy
  13. “March of the Swivelheads” (a remix of “Rotating Head”) by The (English) Beat
  14. “Oh Yeah” by Yello
  15. “BAD” by Big Audio Dynamite

And – minus a few that I couldn’t find in the library – I’ve managed to throw [most of] them down into a handy little Spotify playlist.

Enjoy.

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