Tag Archives: John

The Power of Bus Uncle

Not a new story this, and you’ve probably heard it, but another case that highlights

  • the dangers of blowing your stack in public
  • the distributing power of the Internet, especially sites like YouTube
  • the global creativity of folk
  • that folk in Hong Kong are, er, sometimes more tense than people elsewhere.

The story is best told on EastSouthWestNorth, quoting the Apple Daily:

The incident occurred on the top deck of a Number 68X Kowloon bus on April 29. A young man observed that the middle-aged person in front of him was talking too loud on the mobile telephone. So he tapped the man’s shoulder and asked him to keep the volume down. This led to a vigorous response, including a string of obscenities. The entire proceedings were recorded by another passenger named John using a mobile camera phone. The film was uploaded on YouTube and then seen by the whole wide world. As of May 19, 1.2 million people have watched the video clip! (Update: 1.9 million as of May 26; ETTV cited a 5.9 million figure on May 27, which probably combines all the editions).

What Early Groomers Used For Hair Gel

I don’t use hair gel anymore — no, really — but I do remember wandering around war-torn Kabul trying to find some when my stash ran out during an unexpectedly long stint there shortly after the Taleban takeover. Needless to say I felt somewhat superficial about it, given all the suffering around me, and was worried it was frowned upon by the puritanical Taleban. I shouldn’t have worried: most of them wore eyeliner, took way too much interest in my babyish features and in any case, there’s a long history of wearing hair gel, as National Geographic News reports:

Male grooming has an ancient history in Ireland, if the savagely murdered bodies of two ancient “bog men” are anything to go by. One shows the first known example of Iron Age hair gel, experts say. The other wore manicured nails and stood 6 feet 6 inches tall.

Disappointingly, you have to look elsewhere to find out what kind of hair gel. I personally like Slick from Body Shop, but it might not have been available then, namely between about 400 BC and 200 BC. Another piece from National Geographic, suitably titled ‘Iron Age “Bog Man” Used Imported Hair Gel’ details the product he was using:

The man’s hair contains a substance made from vegetable oil mixed with resin from pine trees found in Spain and southwest France. The man might have used the product, researchers say, to make himself appear taller.

Sounds like my friend John.

Revenge Of The Popup

TechDirt points to a new service that beats PopUp blockers. The Popstitial, according to marketing company webadvantage, “doesn’t defeat pop blockers, it instead determines whether a popup blocker is being used. If so, Popstitial then serves up a full-page advertisement that can either be a separate ad or the same style as the missed pop-up/pop-under”. In other words, it will work out whether you’ve tried to block the popup, and punish you with a popup you can’t block. As TechDirt points out, “The reason people install pop-up blockers is because they don’t want to be bothered with these intrusive ads.”

Sadly, this is just another salvo in the war between people who want to pump ads at you, and people who don’t want to have ads pumped to them. But, on closer inspection, it’s also a somewhat alarming escalation. The Popstitial is developed by the FPBA Group, a “California rich media company” (read ad software company). FPBA happens to stand for  “Full Page Banner Ad”, which was a product the company was touting in mid 2001 as “the killer app that the online advertising companies need in order to take this industry to the next level.” The FPBA, it went on

is a full-page advertisement that is displayed on the primary browser session in between page loads. It does not launch a new pop-up session and does not interfere with the main browsing session. The ad is loaded to the users computer after downloading of the main session page, and is cached prior to its being launched when the user transfers out of the main session page. This allows a seamless delivery of web-page — advertisement — web-page progression. The advertisement is not cluttered by surrounding web-page content, and is timed to appear when the consumer has nothing else to focus upon, so that the full attention of the consumer is focused on the advertisement. A multimedia version of the ad, incorporating audio and video flash components is also available where the ads play like a short commercial in a rich media environment.

In English, the FPBA would load in the background as you viewed a webpage, and then appear on your screen when you tried to go somewhere else. The idea is that you’re not looking at a specific web page so it will get your ‘full attention’. I have to confess I never saw any instances of this outside the pornographic world (according to my friend John) so, and I’m guessing here, the FPBA was not the killer app the company thought it would be.

So perhaps the Popstitial (I hate the name already) may do the trick. It’s certainly intrusive enough: According to Internet marketing mag iMedia Connection, Popstitial is a bit more sleazy (my words, not theirs) than simply replacing a pop-up which is blocked by a pop-up blocker. It will notice if a user closes a pop-up window ‘before actively viewing an ad’ and launch “a full-page advertisement to replace the lost pop-up impression. This insures advertisers’ messages are getting across to the intended target audience seamlessly.” These ads could be Flash, video, animated gifs, or static images; they are “fully trackable, geo-targeted, day-parted, and frequency capped” (OK I don’t know what that means but it sounds scary.)

In shorthand: if you don’t view the popup before closing it, or try to block it, you’ll get blasted with a Full Page Banner Ad. Call it Revenge of the Popup.

This is partly testimony to the success of popup blockers. iMedia quote the CEO of FBPA Group as saying that “Many sites, both large and small, have told us that at least 25 percent of all users have some sort of pop-up blocker activated.” Which is impressive. Expect the popup war to grind on.