So here’s one more argument for web standards purists: MTV has just dropped their previous Flash website ! Tip from UxMag

MTV

As someone who came from a Flash background, it’s interesting to see how companies are choosing XHTML when it comes to creating communities or managing too much content. It’s not that it can’t be done in Flash (RoadRunner comes to mind) , it’s just that it becomes quite hard to find the resources (time and people, mostly) and deliver a flexible website. For shorter websites with less content, and more focused on experience, i still think that nothing beats Flash.

As the latest USA Today social revamp showed (increasing in 380% the number of registrations), when you connect to your audience the way they talk to each other, the reward is swift. Teenagers, now used to blogs and MySpace, are no longer into Flashy websites with large pre-loading times and lack of social features. Welcome to Web 2.0, MTV.

Oh, forget the post title – it’s not validating. But it’s a start.

Tomorrow i’ll be speaking at Take Off, a tech event on entrepreneurship and innovation. Alcides from ideias3 had the kindness of inviting me and i’m delighted to meet such an inspiring audience, with some fellow bloggers from Planeta Asterisco, and learn from the other great speakers.

Take Off

I’ll do my best at the panel “Advertising 2.0”, trying to close the gap between marketing and technology, and looking forward to get some positive feedback since the event is set a bit like Barcamp.

So here’s the schedule, in Portuguese:

Take Off schedule For those of you who’d like to take off on a inspirational Saturday, come to Coimbra and let’s share some great insights.

– More info at http://takeoff.ideias3.com/

Either bands/artists aren’t making enough money to produce their own videos, or they have gone into a CGM/Web 2.0 spree, and started asking users to create their music videos. The latest one that i remember of was from Incubus, and had one portuguese winner, Carlos Oliveira.

Innocence Bjork

Now Bjork came up with the idea of asking users to create a clip for “Volta”. The song is “Innocence” and you can download the assets (photos, lyrics and mp3) and create the video until August. Since no prize is announced, probaly only hard-core fans and video jockeys will be interested.

Lately this CGM buzz starts to seem a lot like a designer’s spec work, where we (consumers) do all the work and the content owners reward us with promises of fame.

Google is proud of the innovative products it regularly releases to the public, from the ever-more-targeted Internet search results to an automatic Web-based airport-ride finder.But the coolest stuff is often reserved for Google employees. And they’re about to get access to a killer tool, otherwise known as the “supersecret Google is about to buy Yahoo” alert.Technically, this is an e-mail that informs all 12,230-plus Googlers that the in-house market for transferable stock options has been shut down.In reality, it means something really, really big is about to happen to the company that could affect the stock price.

“For example, if Google decides it wants to buy Yahoo, that’s a really big deal,” said David Sobota, Google’s senior corporate counsel. “We wouldn’t want to disclose that to the world the first time Eric Schmidt comes to a handshake agreement with Terry Semel about it, because that could disrupt the negotiation process.

Source: John Battelle’s SearchBlog

Some quick notes on the E-mkt 2007 conference:

Alain Heureux, IAB European president, gave a quick overview of digital marketing and the challenges that our industry faces to be recognized by companies as a trustful medium, and the perspective of creating a IAB portuguese local office. Alain also challenged/invited us to be at IAB Congress “Let’s Interact” in Belgium, the next 4th and 5th of June – if you’re planning to attend, leave me a message and maybe we can plan something.

Alison Fennah, Executive Director of the EIAA, had the most interesting presentation of the day, with great qualitative research and solid figures (if i’m not mistaken the name of the study was MediaScope) about the European internet industry.

Ricardo and Luis, from Elemento Digital (one of the main sponsors), did a quick overview of what e-marketing can do and explained some terminology less familiar to the audience.

The most awaited presentations were from Google, one of the main reasons people attended the event. To my surprise, they actually under delivered. Most of the talks were rather commercial, only evangelizing their products (Webmaster tools, ADWords and AdSense) and not addressing the challenges of publishers and brands. I guess that explains the FOG (Fear of Google) feeling that was among some of the audience, that had some interesting questions during the day:

Ricardo from SearchMarketing.pt had some hands-on questions about SEM campaigns, and Maria João from Sapo (the largest portuguese portal) pointed some concerns about the discretionary decisions on banning publishers from their Adsense program. My guess is that she didn’t read the terms of service quite well, and probably the site was banned for running a competing platform.

One of the questions i made, remains yet to be answered: “What will happen to DoubleClick? How will it fit in Google set of technologies?”. I guess the folks here at Europe don’t have a clue about strategic decisions made at Mountain View.

Overall, it was a good start and maybe next year other professionals, organizations and advertisers all gather to look in a different way at e-marketing, a essential discipline at any marketing mix. We surely need more of these events to share our best practices and (here’s my challenge to fellow professionals) create our own national association.

Busy times at the portuguese webdesign scene, with two projects being recently given a Favorite Website Award (FWA).

First there was Triworks, the company from Aveiro and offices in the USA, that launched their BlackVersion 9.

Triwoks BlackVersion9

The dark and minimalistic website, with prominent highlight to their latest projects, is a pleasure to the eyes. They still deliver smooth transitions as in the previous versions and had extra care in interface design.

Tinoni Aventura

Next came Tinoni Aventura, by Tungsten, a public awareness site teaching children about security problems such as earthquakes, internet or road safety. With nice illustrations and 3D animation, it’s a beautiful example how public institutions can use the web to promote citizenship.

I just hope the rest of 2007 keeps this promising.

The same problem that search engines faced in the early days when searching text, we now begin to experience in other media such as images or video. While sites like Flickr or Blinx do a very good job at finding relevant results, they are mainly based in captions, tags or metadata, prone to human interpretation and ambiguity.

Media Search research by Nuno Vasconcelos

This was until i found last week the work of a portuguese working at the UCSD School of Engineering, with a interesting research in the fields of media search. Nuno Vasconcelos, a former member of the research staff at the Compaq Cambridge Research Laborator, and now Professor at USCD, explains his research on Supervised Multi-class Labeling in the video below (5 min) .

© University of California

He was also kind enough to answer me a few short questions that i’ll transcript here:

Armando Alves: Are the applications of your research mainly scientific ( i.e, medical diagnostics) or are there any plans to release it under commercial license?

Nuno Vasconcelos:Right now, we are still in a research stage, and not thinking about commercial deployment. But, in the long run, it should be possible. I am certainly investigating the possibility of applying this technology to medical imagery, but we are still in the process of learning exactly what we can do.

Armando Alves: Would it apply only to images or do you plan to extend it to video as well ?

Nuno Vasconcelos:Could and will be extended to video. That is one of the areas that we intend to address sometime soon.

Armando Alves: How do you address the semantic relationships between 2 different sets of images?

Nuno Vasconcelos:The idea is to learn vocabularies that are large enough to build generic systems, which do not have to be re-trained across different datasets. There will always be a limit to this, since some domains (e.g. medical imagery) can be very specific. But, at least for regular users (Google style queries), we hope to be able to package the vocabulary with the retrieval system, which you would buy as a piece of software. But we are not there yet.

Portugal does have a slight problem in keeping their brightest minds, but it’s always rewarding to find fellow citizens that are being recognized for their work.

Many thanks for your attention Nuno, and best of luck on your research.

Just a quick post on the business side of agencies.

But first, the disclaimer: for those who don’t know, i work at DraftFCB Portugal. That said, it’s now public (no privileged disclosure by me, then) that DraftFCB has just won two major accounts: KraftÂ’s $40 million Lunchables account and the $200 million Kmart account.

Kraft, Kmart accounts to Draftfcb

It’s about time that the media stops winning about the whole Walmart/Roehm thing. We have a new kind of agency being built, where ROI does mean “Return On Ideas”. As every pioneer, our model might seem different, but that’s precisely what makes us so interesting: a marketing-communications company, “turning insights about the consumer, the client and the competition into ideas that incite consumer behavior”, with accountability and creativity as cornerstones.

Come and meet us at draftfcb.com.

Doesn’t it look all so “iFuture” ?

Link to YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G_FS2TiK3AI

Source: Adverlab

Well, well, it seems that “A Weekend in the City” was below the expected, as Kele and his band are turning to a new career, doing even more covers of famous pop artists. In their own way, Bloc Party are already pop stars so no harm is done.

Listen here: Block Party Live Songs from Jo Whiley’s Radio 1 Show