The inside scoop on ‘Think Different’

If you have a little time (and tolerance for clunky writing) go read Forbes’ The real story behind Apple’s ‘Think Different campaign. The piece is written by Rob Siltanen who was the creative director & managing partner at TBWA/Chiat/Day. He not only pitched ‘Think Different,” but also wrote the rough draft of the script that became the iconic commercial.

“When the ‘Think Different’ campaign launched, Apple immediately felt the boost despite having no significant new products. Within 12 months, Apple’s stock price tripled.”

The Facebooks they are a-changin’ – F8 need-to-knows

At The Nerdery’s next webinar, senior developer Dan K and front-end developer Thomas M will give a nerd’s eye view of Facebook enhancements announced at the F8 conference, including changes in how users can display their info and new avenues for finding content.

We’ll cover the still-unreleased Timeline, billed as the “story of your life on a single page,” and the coming of  Open Graph, a sort of map that reveals everything users connect to. Also new, Ticker will allow users to communicate “lightweight” musings and actions whenever, and News Feed – which sounds simple enough – has a new more-complicated algorithm. We’ll also touch on new social plug-in features, as well as Heroku, Facebook’s cloud-hosting partner.

RSVP for free webinars on Tuesday, November 15 at 10:15 a.m. CST or on Thursday, November 17 at 3:15 p.m. CST.

Program alert: On Nov. 29 and Dec. 1 (two weeks after this F8 recap webinar), we’ll stay on the subject of Facebook by addressing even more significant changes coming that will affect the code of existing Facebook applications (and therefore, they’ll affect, say, about a billion of you). Read our initial take here and stay tuned for all-new webinars that’ll cover some fairly dramatic game-changers coming soon to a Facebook near you.

The Nerdery’s monthly webinars are freebies all about sharing what we see in emerging technologies. Please join us and consider our nerd cred as an extension of your own.

Intro to User Research Recap

Are you brandwashed?

Did you listen to All Things Considered on NPR this weekend? No. That’s okay, you can listen to it now, and you totally should. Why? Because this weekend they talked with Martin Lindstrom the author of Brandwashed: Trick Companies Use to Manipulate Our Minds and Persuade Us to Buy. Don’t worry, if you’re not so much of a listener you can read a write up of the interview. Here’s some fun facts from the post/radio show:

  • The average American 3-year-old can recognize 100 brands
  • You and I are talking about brands 25 percent of our entire time
  • When grocery shopping try to avoid a cart. They’ve made carts bigger which makes people spend 40% more than they usually would

The worst ads in America

The Consumerist revealed its Worst Ad in America 2011. I won’t reveal the winner, but I will say that I’m happy that AT&T Spider ad made the top five, a commercial so inane and insulting I’m embarrassed for everyone involved in its creation. Also, I’m happy to report that most America hates the Good Mood Food jingle as much as you do.

Facebook breaking change to launch October 1

Facebook’s recent changes have been all over the news and the Internet, and while most Facebook users won’t care about the change coming on October 1, it does effect those of us who develop Facebook Apps.

On Saturday Facebook is upgrading their SDK for PHP and JavaScript to use OAuth 2.0, a new and more secure version of the OAuth platform. This is also what’s called a “breaking” change. That means all existing Facebook applications using the previous 2.1 PHP SDK and JavaScript need to be upgraded to the PHP 3.1.1 SDK or your Facebook App will no longer work after October 1.

One of the big effects of this is upgrade is the change to how apps access Facebook user information, which means that all Canvas and Page tab apps must convert to process signed_request (fb_sig will be removed).

Two other things to note:

  • Apps that have been built using the Facebook PHP SDK 3.1.1 do not need to be changed.
  • Apps that are using the old JavaScript library for authentication need to modify their code.

If you’re need to get working on these changes before anything breaks you can follow the steps from Facebook to make the upgrade.

Who killed the video game?

Since spending many many hours on Sunday listening to Wil Wheaton read Ernest Cline’s fabulous book Ready Player One, I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about video games. This book is pretty fabulous even if your nerdy-inclinations don’t bend towards Sci-Fi or 80s pop culture or classic video games (mine don’t and I still loved it).

So when I stumbled upon Cory Doctorow (who is mentioned in the book) posting about the death of video games on Boing Boing my heart raced a little. Doctorow’s post points to Tim Rogers’ “who killed video games?” (a ghost story). Which is a bit misleading because I’m not entirely sure if social games (ala Farmville and Social Sims) should be put in the same bucket as other games (like, I don’t Pac-Man. Remember how I said my nerdy-inclinations didn’t include video game knowledge?).

Regardless, Rogers’ piece is pretty interesting about how calculating and evil-genius-y the creators of these social games are and how they program the fun out of the game and put more on the suffering part of it. Sure, the article is white text on a black background and is firmly in the tl;dr zone, but if you got some time to spare and good eyes give it a read. With everything we do becoming increasingly ‘gamified’ it’s kind of cool to see how these game-makers are pulling our strings.

Don Draper presents Facebook Timeline

First of all, when you don’t allow embedding of YouTube videos something or someone powerful kills/maims/injures something cute. Glad I got that out of the way, so now you have to surf on over to YouTube and watch this nicely done video that has Don Draper from “Mad Men” presenting Facebook’s new Timeline to a roomful of Ad Execs.

The ‘shut up, Pete’ comment on one of the pictures made me laugh right out loud.

Are you happy to be a product?

People’s opinons on Google and the goodness or evilness of the tech monolith seem to be as deeply ingrained and as passionately espoused as views on religion, politics, or which flavor of M&M is the best (pretzel, of course). A long time ago, I accepted the fact that I divvied my e-soul into three parts and gave those parts to Apple, Amazon, and Google. I’m okay with that.

Even so, reading Google doesn’t get people, it sells them was kind of unsettling and a little thrilling (like reading 1984). The GigaOm post covers a talk Don Norman, the author of The Design of Everyday Things gave at a conference last week where he discussed Google quite a bit, including this piece about the controversy surrounding the use of real names on Google+:

“Real names, they say, turn out to be the names on your driver’s license and your passport and your credit cards so that they can track you. Are you happy to be a product?”

While I don’t agree with everything Norman has to say, it’s thought-provoking and it’s good to have your thoughts provoked every once in awhile. It keeps you sharp, and as marketing grows ever more individualized one has to be sharp.

Stories behind popular brand mascots

Are you in the mood for a quick stroll down memory lane? Do you have the patience for one of those annoying one item per page posts? If so, click on over to Flavorwire’s The Bizarre Stories Behind Your Favorite Brand Mascots. While not exactly bizarre, the backgrounds are pretty interesting especially the story behind the accidental creation of the California Raisins. Oh, and the Hamburglar one is good because he used to be a strange character creepily called the “Lone Jogger.” Weird.

Sadly, they didn’t get the scoop on the best mascot, the Trix rabbit.