October, 2006

  • Steve Clayton

    Start Me Up


    Vista has this to beat for launch videos. Tough act to follow if you ask me (which you didn't I know).

    Video: Original Microsoft Windows 95 Commercial

    [update: video on YouTube for people who like to go that way]

  • Steve Clayton

    A day out at Microsoft Research



    I spent the day here today - Microsoft Research in Cambridge shooting some videos and meeting a group of the most fantastic people you could wish to chat with about technology. Coming soon are video interviews with

    It was a truly memorable day out listening to a bunch of people who I think have some of the best jobs in Microsoft. Come back soon to hear more...


    Technorati tags: , ,
  • Steve Clayton

    Microsoft home video


    Video: Microsoft Home

    I'm pretty sure this isn't the Microsoft Home in Redmond as the end of the video suggest more of a concept home in collaboration with HP. Regardless, nice tune but not much to actually see  in terms of technology and the bedroom based Tablet PC looks like a Mac more than a PC.

    Though I like the tune and some of the idea that house is way too clean and tidy. Don't they have any kids or mid 30 year old techie people trashing the place up? :)

  • Steve Clayton

    Why small firms should blog


    I read an article in IT Week a couple of weeks back and have been meaning to blog about it for a while. Phil Muncaster wrote a small piece in the October 9th issue (that I can't find online for the life of me) that was titled "Smaller Firms afraid to take plunge with blogs". It got me thinking.

    According to research of 2000 UK SME's by Fasthosts that Phil quoted, nearly half of SME firms understand the business benefits of corporate blogs (which I doubt highly) but only 3% have plans to start one. Mad eh? I think so and it almost make me want to start some 30 minute consultancy workshops on why SME's should blog. Here is why I think they should:

    1. It's a differentiator: clearly this research shows your competitors are not blogging so maybe you should? Get in there early, lead the way and grab your audience. That's what English Cut did with significant commercial success.
    2. Your customers will soon expect it: well they will as soon as your competitors give them a way to talk to them and have an ongoing dialogue in a way this is becoming increasingly common. If Dell, GM, Carphone Warehouse and others are doing it (and benefiting) shouldn't you be?
    3. It's not as hard as you think: creating a good blog is time consuming but it's getting easier and easier with tools like Technorati helping you raise your profile, Windows Live Writer making it as easy to blog as write a Word document,
    4. You control the message: I attended a great seminar with Matthew Stibbe last week about how to write well (I've got lots to learn) and one thing I took away is that ad agencies, PR companies and those kind of tactics have their place but often dilute your core message with marketing doublespeak. When you control the message, it's likely to be more respected, authentic and honest. Which means people are more likely to listen.
    5. People will find you: Trust me, search engines make you very find-able. I often look at my referrer logs to my blog (use Statcounter for free) and you'd be amazed at how people find you with the most obscure searches on Google imaginable. Write your stuff, do it frequently and be honest and people will find you. Trust me.
    6. The Google effect: I know several small businesses who pay money to appear on Google (and MSN) sponsored ad links. They get some business from it for sure and it's clearly a good business for Google. Here is my secret though - I have *never* clicked on a sponsored link on Google for the simple reason that it is sponsored - to me it's artificial and I bet I'm not the only one who loses the use of their right eye when using Google and doesn't even see that list of sponsored links over there. What does this mean though? Well if you blog often enough and with intelligent use of titles and keywords you will organically rise up the Google rankings. I've been amazed at my own rise for pretty broadly used words like Vista so it proves it can be done. I'm pretty sure that if I wanted to appear top of Google's search for "Chiswick High Street" I could do so within about 3 months with some focused blogging. It's a reasonably popular search on Google and has low competition for keywords. I setup my CHS store directory, blog about the place, generate some decent traffic and then sell some links to Foxtons, Barnard Marcus, Lom Bok and off we go...hmmm
    7. You will find your voice: the Fasthost research showed people were put off by what to say and how to say it. I was when I started blogging but your friends and customers will soon help you shape that as they did for me. There are tonnes of places to get advice on this anyway and I've listed some below. Frankly, that's just a crap excuse.


    There is more I could add here but that's my list of 7 for now and I'm going to extend a free offer to any small business in Chiswick that wants blogging help - email me and buy me a coffee in one of the million coffee shops on our High Street and I'll be happy to come and help you get started.

    Handy Resources

  • Steve Clayton

    YouTube clampdown has begun


    Only a week or so after Google bought YouTube there have neen two incidents of copyright issues in the media. Last week, 30,000 files were removed following a request from Japanese media companies and today the BBC is reporting that 101greatgoals.blogspot.com has been informed by NetResult that the content they have posted to YouTube infringes Premier League copyright.

    It was only a matter of time and I expect there will be many more of these stories over the coming months both for YouTube, Google Video and our own Soapbox service which has had a big influx of content this week.

    Is it a good thing? I'm undecided though I can definitely see the point of the copyright holders. In some instances it makes sense for the audience to extend the reach of content - for example to drive the popularity of something that perhaps is quite obscure. With content like Premier League football though there is much at stake in terms of resale rights hence it's no surprise that the lawyer types have swung in to action.

    It's going to be interesting to watch this unfold over the coming year but something tells me there is going to be a lot more bloodletting before this works itseld out. I'm hopeful that the companies concerned can learn something from Napster and keep the public happy.


    Link to BBC NEWS | Technology | Goal footage warning for website

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