Brian Micklethwait's Blog

In which I continue to seek part time employment as the ruler of the world.

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Category archive: Advertising

Thursday July 20 2017

I like her:

Harmanpreet Kaur lives and swears by her idol Virender Sehwag’s mantra of ‘see ball, hit ball.’ She represents the new-age India women’s cricketer, part of a generation that has been at the center of ad campaigns, endorsements and central contracts. She’s a path-breaker too, having become the first India cricketer - male or female - to sign a Big Bash League contract with Sydney Thunder in Australia. The deal came about on the back of an impressive showing during India’s tour of Australia in January 2016, where she made a 31-ball 46 to script India’s highest-ever T20 chase. In June 2017, she became the first Indian to sign with Surrey Stars in ECB’s Kia Super League.

And I liked her before I got to the bit about her joining Surrey.

Harmanpreet Kaur will be attracting a lot more attention from now on, because today she scored 171 not out off 115 balls against Australia.  See ball hit ball indeed.  Whether India’s 281-4 will be enough to get them to the final of the ladies World Cup remains, at the time of this posting, to be seen.

Already in the final are England, featuring Natalie Sciver (pronounced “Sivver"), scorer of two centuries in the tournament already, also of Surrey, and an early adopter of a new batting shot now named after her, the Natmeg.

LATER: The Australian chase began disastrously, and although from three down onwards they never stopped swinging they fell just a bit short, losing by 36.

BBC:

It’s been a thrilling tournament - and with a sold-out Lord’s final to come on Sunday, it’s no exaggeration to say that with the interest from the Indian market, we will be looking at the biggest game in the history of women’s cricket.

For me, the moment when women’s cricket stopped being ridiculous was when they stopped wearing skirts.  Skirts and pads was not a good look.

Wednesday July 19 2017

The internet has worked out that I am interested in the Samsung S24F356 Full HD 24” LED computer screen, and is bombarding me with adverts for it:

image

Click on that to learn more.

Sunday July 16 2017

I loved the latest cars when I was a kid, and I still love the latest cars when I was a kid.  I loved theose cars then and I love them still, more and more, as both they and I get older.

Cars like this:

image

Which I photoed late in the afternoon yesterday.  I often visit Lower Marsh late in the afternoon on a Saturday, and once again, the above classic car made realise that yesterday was the third Saturday of this month, the day when the classic cars gather in Lower Marsh, from midday until middle-to-late afternoon.  By the time I was there, this and one other car were the only ones still lingering.  Memo to self, get there at 12 noon next time around.

So if I type in all the third Saturdays of the month for the next few months, helpfully listed here, maybe, on one of these dates, I’ll get there in time to see the real show, instead of just the odd late leaver.

August 19th
September 16th
October 21st
November 18th
December 16th

As I say, there was one other classic car hanging around in Lower Marsh when I got there.

This:

image

The point here being that while this Morris Minor Van is an amazingly well preserved classic vehicle, Pimlico Pumbers is an impeccably modern enterprise.

Like I say, they don’t use this van to do plumbing call outs.  It would appear to be a piece of artistic sponsorship:

We also have an unregistered 1966 Morris Minor LCV with only 67 miles on the clock. We purchased it in 1995 in primer paint and have since restored this classic model to its former glory and it now sports Pimlico’s blue and white livery. We have never taken it on the road to ensure that it stays in its original condition. Ted Connolly, Editor of Classic Van and Pick-up Magazine described this van as a museum piece.

But given that this vehicle does show up at classic car gatherings, I’m guessing this is a pretty good piece of business.

Wednesday July 12 2017

Everything involving computers is easy if you know how to do it and you do it often.  Everything involving computers is hard, if you only want to do it very occasionally, and if you don’t know (or don’t remember (which comes to the same thing)) how to do it.  Words like “intuitive” and “user friendly” are thrown about a lot when people like me say things like this, but they are bullshit.  It’s either very easy, or nearly impossible.  “User friendly” just means being presented with an incomprehensible lump of informational overload, in prettier letters and prettier colours and more prettily designed.

Why are computer things hard?  It is because computers can do so many things.  This means that whenever you are trying to persuade your particular computer to do something in particular, that it doesn’t usually do, you have to thread your way through a multi-page questionnaire, in the course of which you tell it: no, I don’t what that, or that, or that.  I want this.  And at any point in this Q&A obstacle course, you may find yourself confronted by a page of things to pick from none of which seem to have anything to do with what you are trying to tell the damn computer to do.

In the Army, I believe, they used to (and perhaps still do) call this: dumb insolence.  Dumb insolence is the offence of taking every word in the orders you have been given with extreme literalness and just waiting, dumbly insolent, to be given different orders, and meanwhile carrying on with what you had been dumbly and insolently doing, even though you know (because of the shouting) that this is not what is really wanted.  You shout at the computer to just use a bit of common sense.  I want this, you moronic machine.  Nothing.  Just the same old screen, and if you click on any of it, you get another page of irrelevance, or perhaps the right page but the exact same dilemma.  None of it seems to have anything to do with what you want it to do.

The fact that the more computers can do, the more there need to be people around who know how to tell the computers to do whatever very particular thing is actually required, rather than all the other things that the computer is now capable of doing, bodes extremely well for the employability of humans in the months and years and decades to come.  But meanwhile, if you happen not to know how to get the computer to do what you want, you can only hope and pray that at some future moment, the answer will drop into your lap.  Someone will tell you.  Your computer will suddenly, out of the blue, volunteer something relevant.  Or, it has been so volunteering all along, but because of all the other garbage it was also volunteering, you didn’t notice, but then, miraculously, you do notice, and bingo.

What brought all this on?  Well, my computer recently had some attention from the Guru and also some upgrades, and in among all this the computer changed its way of opening photos, which for me is a big deal.  I open a lot of photos from my archives, in fact I do this every time I am doing a quota photo posting, which is a lot, and when I do this I am usually in a hurry.  So, just when I really don’t need my computer to be misbehaving, it has been misbehaving.  The problem has been that instead of using “Windows Photo Viewer” to show me a photo that I click on, it instead decided to use something called “Photos”.  Quite different and lacking one crucial ability, which is the ability to take me from a photo up on my screen in “Photos” to the directory the photo is in.  “Windows Photo Viewer” can do this.  “Photos” can’t, or not in any way I know how to make it do that isn’t immensely complicated, every time.

How to correct this?  For about a week I couldn’t.  The internet, as so often, was no help at all.  It said that this was easy if blah blah, but if blah blah blah bah, then contriving the answer I wanted was really difficult and involved blah blah blah blah blahdy blah blah blahdy blah.  If you get my meaning.  (Which turned out not only to be incomprehensible, but also wrong.  See next paragraph.)

And then, the answer dropped into my lap.  I saw a page I didn’t recall seeing, with a question that I hadn’t noticed before.  I was allowed the option of opening a photo “with” a different programme.  But then crucially, I was also presented, in a way that I either hadn’t been shown before or that I hadn’t noticed before, with the option to put a tick in a box saying: always open the photo with this progranne that you have just chosen to switch to.  Problem solved.  My computer now opens photos, just as it always did, with Windows Photo Viewer, unless otherwise instructed.  Which I now know how to do, but will soon forget.  Which won’t matter.

The idea that computers are getting steadily more “smart” is a half truth.  Yes, they can do steadily more and more with each passing year.  But the more they know how to do, the stupider they get at actually doing it for you.

And oh look.  Just before posting the above, I was checking out an SD card that I used in my camera today, having forgotten to put my regular SD card back in it.  And this irregular SD card turned out to have a bunch of photos on it that I took in the summer of 2014, in France.  And it turns out that the French also have something that sounds to me a lot like Dumb Insolence, although I think it’s more like “polite rudeness” than that in your face deadpan British sneer.  You decide:

image

Whatever the exact translation, I bet this “douce insolence” is how French personal computers behave, when you a trying to make them do something new, and they just won’t be told.

For some reason, that was on the front window of a shop, called “Agatha”, in the Rue Gustave Thomas de Closmadeuc, in the town of Vannes, on the south coast of Brittany. A perfume perhaps?

Thursday June 01 2017

Should a tube map look like this, which shows the real places and distances of everything, but is confusing, especially if you are looking at the middle …

image

… ?

Or like this, which is the usual way you see tube maps, all designed, with inner suburban distances shortened, to make everything more clear, especially in the crowded middle …

image

… ?

Answer, do the map as a .gif and show both, morphing into each other.

Now that TV screens for advertising are becoming ubiquitous at tube stations, seemingly costing hardly any more than paper of the same size (changed by hand from time to time), why not have TV screens at tube stations with .gifs like this on show?  Maybe you could have buttons on them, so individual viewers could switch from one to the other in their own time?  Would this cause arguments between rival viewers?  Revised suggestion: Have three displays on one screen: on the left, real distances; .gif in the middle; “designed” on the right.

Tuesday May 23 2017

Yesterday was predicted to be a good photoing day, so I photoed.  A lot.  But I was too tired yesterday evening to think much about what to show you from earlier in the day, and am tired now.  But here is one photo I took yesterday, on Westminster Bridge:

image

I don’t know whether this guy was happy, or merely surviving.  At least some of the former, I hope.

There were quite a few of these tricycle people-transporters parked in a row on Westminster Bridge.  I have not seen such vehicles in this place before.

That shadow, bottom left, is me.

If you fancy following up on this advert, the bad news is: it happened five years ago.  Is someone being ironic?

Friday May 19 2017

Recently, inspired by those Barcelona Graphics, I had another trawl through all the photos I took in 2005 when I visited Barcelona.

And guess what, here are a few of the photos I took, of photoers:

imageimageimageimageimageimageimage
imageimageimageimageimageimageimage
imageimageimageimageimageimageimage
imageimageimageimageimageimageimage

Part of why I did this posting is that I just like how a square of squares looks, and I wanted to do another such posting, regardless of what the photos were of.

But now that I’ve done this particular square of squares, I am struck by how interested I was, even then, in taking photos of photoers that hid their faces.  I think this preoccupation was sharpened by me being on the Continent, and fearing that photoing people’s actual faces and putting them on my blog might break some kind of Euro-law.  They make more of a fuss about privacy over there, don’t they?  Such was then, and still is, my impression.  And now, of course, I apply the same attitude over here, because: face recognition software.

Also, note in particular photo 2.3, where you can see further evidence of Barcelona’s eagerness to advertise itself with its Big Things.

The light in Barcelona was great, and lots of my photos there came out really well.  Which is why I had so many photos of photoers, and of everything else I photoed with any enthusiasm.

Most of the cameras to be seen here are now historical relics, replaced by mobile phones.  Phones with cameras arrived (and oh look another square of squares (this time 5x5)) in 2006.  This was 2005.

Saturday May 13 2017

I can’t remember how I came across the blog Sleepless in Barcelona.  But I did, and was intrigued that, like London, it seems that Barcelona likes to advertise itself with an assemblage of its most recognisable buildings:

image

I visited Barcelona in 2005 (I got the date from this posting), and I remember thinking then that, like London, Barcelona was an obvious candidate for this sort of graphic promotion.  Like London, it used to have an upper limit to the height of its buildings - caused by religiously motivated legal restrictions, perhaps?  But now, whatever those height limitations were, they had been overcome or set aside, and the occasional bigger building was sprouting up, in the new “recognisable”, “iconic” style.  Gaudi’s Sagrada Familia used to dominate the city in splendid isolation, the way St Paul’s Cathedral used to dominate the City of London, but for a while now, other, secular Big Things have being permitted.

More Barcelona graphic assemblages here, and in lots of other www spots too, if google images ("Barcelona skyline") is anything to go by.

Here is another such piece of graphic promotion, this time more colourful:

image

Just as with London, and with quite a lot of other cities, two of the key breakthrough modern Big Things were telecoms towers.  Montjuïc Communications Tower and the Torre de Collserola.  Both are to be seen on the left side of the above graphic.  I remember noticing both of those very dramatic buildings when I was there, but I also vaguely remember failing to photo them at all successfully.  My camera didn’t have anything like the zoom that my current one does.

Maybe I should pay Barcelona another visit.

Telecoms towers have a typically rather unacknowledged place in the history of modern architecture.  Dating as many of them do from the concrete monstrosity era, they proved, with their popularity and their popularity in particular with picture postcard sellers, that the public vastly preferred amusingly shaped buildings to the usual concrete monstrosities of the boringly rectangular sort.  This caused the Big Thing style to erupt quite a bit earlier than it might otherwise have done.

Barcelona Big Things (and Barcelona Big Thing graphics)
Incorporating the little orange light in the design
Another Capital Golf car
Cat proximity awareness
An Underground sermon
To Tottenham (6): The Spurs Shop
You wait for years and then two come along at once
Skull Shaver
Merry Christmas from the Pilot Store (and from me)
To Tottenham (2): Seven Sisters?
Packaging that is too good
Somebody needs to invent electronically changeable paint
What indeed?
Droneverts
The art of taxi advertising
Van – grey but very interesting
Cruise plays along
What does Thames “RIB” Experience mean?
Cats don’t smile
Photoing Tate Modern from the Oval and the Oval from Tate Modern
Deliveroo V sign
When welfare means lavatories
Another fine day at the Oval (1): Vans
Ghostbusters sculpture advert at Waterloo Station
London looking like Dubai
Temporary Oxford Street
WWWhite Van
Horizontal French signs
White vans are becoming very informative
Pizza Express bus
A rubbish lorry posting
South Bank Superheroes
Recent taxis with adverts photos
Barcelona owl
Michael Jennings on Uber (and the Uber logo ruckus)
Out and about with GD1 (8): Non-human creature vans
Big Ben bigger
Black Cat white van
Vans that need to look the part
White vans in Kentish Town
A busy day and a collection of Big Things
A Japanese torpedo bomber that could use some zoom
A Big Thing and a Much Bigger Thing – on a not-black cab
Big Things on Boris Bikes
Big Things having orgasms
Wrap artistry
Wicked Campers: Are they now going respectable?
Borats!
Anonymous guys taking (and making) pictures in Trafalgar Square
White Vans are looking more and more like websites
On going ahead with a posting anyway even if I don’t have all the photos to hand that I would like
Cameras seeing red
For CAR’S read CARS
Fantasy Vauxhall Bridge with lots of glass
A Morris Minor advertising a ping pong night club
Hire Intelligence White Van
Another The Wires! Building in Japan (plus more Dezeenery)
Corbyn – and an advert bus
Taxis with adverts
A day in BMdotcom heaven (3): Adverts
Some quota reflected cranes and a quota white van
Weird wide angle lens effect
Shiny little car
A big Black Cab advert picture for a Samizdata posting
White van reflexology
Sorry!  No Photo’s!
Upshot
Interesting vehicles
Zorb football
Pancake White Van
You can tell that drones have arrived because now they are being turned into a sport
Two Lady covers
Real Photographer - shame about the adverts
Strange London buses
Another horizontal advert for an only slightly more expensive drone
First test against NZ – first day
Adverts for small and cheap drones
A photographer and an advert
A forgotten war
Along the river towards Battersea
Big 4
White Vin Van
White Van
Big cat advert
January newspaper pages
Views from Waterloo Bridge
Proof that there are a lot of French people in Britain just now
A photographer from the I Just Like It directory
A French film poster advertising a British film
In the City with Gus
Scary bunny
Big cat advertises guide dogs
Bond car
Confirming my String prejudices
Oxo Tower with bus advertising The Expendables III
The Not-V2 at London Bridge Station
I see cats
The London Look
Hao Ruan and LYCS Architecture are now world famous
Red arrow?
Guardian online is a group blog that trolls its own readers
Premier League soccer news
Amusing cats versus important people
Classic Feline Friday quote from Tim Berners-Lee
The Met swoops on the Adams Family
Camel
Photoing the A380 from above – from the ground
Westminster Tube photos
Guangbiao Chen’s incredible business card
Fat bastard!
Dezeen continues to delight
The Times of May 24th 1940
Quota photo of a bucket of plastic crocodiles in an otherwise deserted shop window in Oxford Street
The Alex Singleton blog
Savoy cat
Stairs Thing outside St Paul’s
Google Nexus 4 photos
Wedding photography (2): Signs
Remembering a warmer day
The Qur’an is not science – science cannot be ignored
Cleaning lady for hire
It got my attention
Latest C4 logo sculpture
Photographers at Eros and Art in the tube
Ancient and modern (but mostly ancient) cars in Regent Street yesterday
More NFL Fan Rally pictures from last Saturday
The Wheel reflected in a cheeseburger advert
Meaning in sport
Even the Goodyear Blimp is now obsessed with safety
More signs of the times
If you can’t beat them hire them
Another sign of the times
Old school advertising has its uses
Female cows in TV advert shock
And then give up and stay fat
Transport redirect
From pop to purrfume
Trust drunk and disorderly
Adverts on taxis and cars
Rockets are a great improvement on balloons
Advertising aimed entirely at me
Zaltzman on Clarke
Links to this and that
Tiny Cardboard Box People Appear All Over Singapore
Expendable movie news
Exploitation?
I never knew Marmite came in tanker lorries
Does Google now rule the world of computing?
SAY NO TO GOVERNMENT MOTORS
Blur
I EAT RUBBISH!
Under a hundred copies
Was it Sweeney?  And what else were they trying to suppress?
Slumponomics
Me and Michael Jennings talk tech trends
Model T parts flatvert
Laptop for emails
Minimum Wage flatvert at Guido’s and Iain Dale’s
Indy Flatverts and a Guido Q&A
Thinking thin at the top
More sign photos
Instapundit turns into Idiot Toys
Two Samizdata comments on the sinking of Brown and on the sinking of the Daily Telegraph
Register for your free pack and five £1-off-coupons
Multipurpose internet-connected rabbit
The Fixed Quantity of Advertising fallacy and the menace of targetted advertising
Acton
Even crazier crisps!
You don’t wait for it – you go looking for it
Random links
If it’s not Art it can be rather fun
Lump art and dinner in sky
Mockery
Ken Livingstone was beaten by the billboards!
Big head and big something else
Two adverts in the tube
Daddy-o
Cisco – fuck off and die
Here they stand
Classic car thinness
Travis Perkins of Pimlico Road are not good at delivering timber
At Bethnal Green railway station
Obama a loser?
Antoine Clarke on the US Primaries – either Obama will beat McCain or McCain will beat Clinton
Dot matrix printing in the sky
Billion Monkey Maria Sharapova lookalikes!!!
Engadget suffers from intermittent giant text disease
When the penny drops
Hear ye hear ye
It’s the decline of old-school advertising that’s really hurting old-school journalism
Smelling the smoke in the Microsoft machine
Revised logo
Real Photographers worship the Logo
Writhing
Irrelevant heart attack adverts
London tricyclists are getting strong
A spring in their step
Dame Edna and Borats in Piccadilly Circus!
A basic part of the domestic cat’s heritage
Micklethwait’s Four Star Theory of the Internet
Screw you Dove – good on you Ruth Kelly – the right to avoid gay adoption
Male cows do not have udders
Spreading the word for free
More ways to use the best pictures
Antoine Clarke and I don’t talk about elections
Grassy car with blog
Interruptive relief?
Dnalgne no emoc! - Billion Monkey snaps mental Maradona!
Young People models for Old People
Billion Monkeys photo themselves to make you visit Malta!
The Million Dollar Homepage
Dye hard
Cillit Bang made-up twat
Ouch!
Blowing Smoke all over old school advertising