Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Have it Your Way - Burger King

What better way to convey "your special - just like your burger" than to have a customized wrapper on your no mayo, hold-the-onions Whopper. Kudos to Ogilvy Brazil creating brilliant buzz from this fresh Burger King campaign. Check the video out at creativity-online.com. I wonder how many follow-up Whoppers were sold so the customer could get a better photo?

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Facebook Finally Trumps Google

So what's driving Facebook's incredible traffic? Traffic monitor Hitwise, has announced that Facebook has usurped Google for the first time in the company's traffic counter for single individual days.

According to Hitwise research director Heather Dougherty in her blog, Facebook was the most visited website in the U.S. on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and New Year's Day as well as the weekend of March 6th and 7th. But those were just individual days. Now Facebook has officially surpassed Google in overall traffic for the week ending March 13. At least according to Hitwise.

Granted, the two offer wildly different services, but traffic is traffic. And new unique users are like gold. Facebook managed to add 100 million users between September and February, to a swelling 400 million active users. Traffic is up 185% compared with this time last year, whereas Google's traffic has risen by only 9%. Seems there are a lot of wanna-be farmers out there.

Casual gaming, or facebooking, is a driving factor in the remarkable success. Leading the tractor parade to greener pastures in the "farm with your friends" game Farmville. Gaming is the vehicle to engage, connect and disconnect from the troubles of the world.

I'm of the opinion that internet holdouts are finally seeing the light. Too many conversations at the water cooler or with family during the holidays has spiked the numbers. When family is together, they talk about life. Those not on Facebook realize they're missing out on the connectedness of family, friends and fun. Holidays are the perfect down time to hook up relatives and add them to the growing network of users. Farmville is a hook that drives traffic and entice users to give more information about themselves - deep linking them into the system in a fun way.

My dad, a reluctant professional that probably didn't trust the Web that much, joined after I posted updates and photos on Facebook after one of my son's had an accident and was in the trauma unit receiving care. We are social creatures that care about loved ones and friends. Facebook was the easiest way to get updates out to the people I cared about most.

Combine that with the popularity of mobile devices, improved newsfeeds, casual gaming, the impressive ability to connect with high-school classmates, and you can plainly see why Facebook is luring in many hard-core holdouts.

Monday, March 15, 2010

More Fun 404 Code Copy

Saw this doing research on a 1975 electrical system recall for the AM General Jeep DJ-5E.

First Electric Jeep DJ-5E

So ugly it's cute. That's the way Glen Burgess describes his restored Jeep® Electruck, or DJ-5E. Glen has a great Jeep DJ-5E restoration project, of perhaps the last surviving model of the 352 manufactured, one of five sold to Canada Post. The 1976 factory original electric postal truck was found by Glen in a farmers field in Ontario Canada. The restored Electruck weighs nearly twice the weight of a gas-powered Jeep DJ-5 because of the heavy lead-acid batteries. Interestingly there was a recall on the 1975 model.

AMC worked with Gould on a 20-horsepower compund wind DC Motor and two 27 volt batteries for a total of 54 volts. The vehicles were capable of attaining 4o mph for up to 29 miles. The United States Postal Service (USPS) ran a Route Profile Analysis to determine suitability of electric postal delivery vehicles and it was favorable. Interestingly Taylor-Dunn company already has an Electruck® that can reach speeds of up to 25 mph and provide over 40 miles in range. Taylor-Dunn trademarked the Electruck name in 1994. We'll have to see if the next generation of Jeep Electric Vehicles are able to find their way back into the service of the USPS.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Paul Gilbert - Jackhammer

Michael Madill, owner of Madsound, LLC and former Sound Designer at Organic sent out props to this video on YouTube. Wicked tight. Possibly the best 7/8 time ever?

Monday, March 8, 2010

World Record Fuel Economy

Have we reached the plateau of fuel efficiency? Turned the last screw in our push toward the envelope of known technology? At first I couldn't believe the claim: over 12,000 miles per gallon. Now I can't believe it hasn't been improved upon.

The Guinness World Record for fuel efficiency was awarded in 2005 to a Swiss team with a PAC-Car II hydrogen-powered car. Lino Guzzella and his team at ETH Zurich recorded an astounding 5,385 km per liter of gasoline (12,666 mpg!) during the Shell Eco-marathon in Ladoux (France). The vehicle weighed a feathery 60 pounds and had an aerodynamic drag coefficient of 0.075.

Hydrogen power is impressive, but it still doesn't compete with the sun-fed system of solar vehicles. The solar car can travel an indefinite distance without using any fuel at all (provided sun is readily available). I was shooting the event for The Macomb Daily newspaper on July 19, 1990 as the University of Michigan Sunrunner crossed the finish line and won the first GM Sunrayce. It was a memorable event seeing the maize and blue solar cell-covered car stealthily cross the finish line with a a cheering team in tow at the General Motors Tech Center in Warren, Michigan. The Sunrunner electric car weighed a heafty 500 pounds and had an aerodynamic drag coefficienct of .108.

Solar powered vehicles have matured and improved at an astonishing rate since that momentous event in 1990. The race to higher fuel efficiency with hydrogen powered vehicles is sure to follow a similar path, albeit not as dramatic. The fact that Hydrogen became a recognized official fuel in 2004 like gasoline and petrol helped with the path to world records.

So why hasn't another team broken the record since? Have we reached the epitome of drag coefficiency. Has the tire technology reached its limit? Or is it just that the students at ETH Zurich are taking a break for a while as everyone else catches up?

(PAC-Car 2 photos courtesy ETH Zurich)