One of the hardest things for a technology company to do is give a gadget a sense of humanity. It‚Äôs possible to show a new cellphone in a social setting, for instance, or have coloured silhouettes dancing across the screen, but when it comes to demonstrating what the gadget itself can do, one usually has to get technical.
Intel is in a harder spot than most, as it makes the chips that power computers and tablets. Having an Intel chip is a badge of honour for many computer manufacturers, yet that perceived quality can only be maintained if Intel itself does some clever marketing to set it apart from the competition. There was another mission here: while consumers know that many desktop computers and laptops have Intel chips, many didn‚Äôt know that they could be found inside tablets, too.
Last month, Intel launched Intelligent Sounds, a short film that fits the bill. Using tablets powered by Intel chips, it has created its own universe, where machines create music.
It‚Äôs a clever enough idea, featuring a tablet-powered robot conductor called Felix, who then brings his orchestra members, all of whom are Asus Fonepad tablets running Intel Atom processors, to life. We might be used to seeing us use tablets creatively‚ÄĒbut we haven‚Äôt seen tablets themselves be the creators.
The soundtrack was the work of Flume, the award-winning beat-maker, producer and DJ, also known as Harley Streten. Flume, based in Sydney, composed the music especially for the commercial.
Flume is accustomed to using technology to craft his own music, using mobiles to record inspiration, making him a perfect partner for Intel, says the company. The production itself was the work of the Monkeys and Finch, which spent 2,000 developer hours and brought together the 60 tablets.
Virgin Atlantic has begun showing its new uniforms, designed by Vivienne Westwood. Wearer trials began earlier today at airports, Clubhouses and on board Virgin Atlantic aircraft.
The company says 180 staff, including crew, pilots, ground staff, Clubhouse employees and Virgin Holidays staff will trial the uniform over the next few months, ahead of the full launch in 2014.
Virgin Atlantic’s existing uniforms are already highly regarded in the industry. Luke Miles, head of design for the airline, says they are ‘some of the most envied’. Change, therefore, is not something the airline takes lightly.
With Vivienne Westwood designing, the uniforms are expected to remain eye-catching. ‘It’s a challenging design brief but means so much to our staff and customers so we have to make sure we get it right. We’re confident our Vivienne Westwood designs will continue to turn heads in the airport and in the sky,’ says Miles.
Sustainability and original design were priorities for Dame Vivienne Westwood and Virgin Atlantic’s Sir Richard Branson and marks the beginning of a long-term, innovative collaboration.
The designs must also work in different climates, from New York in the winter to St Lucia in the summer.
The trials will ensure the uniforms are comfortable and practical, and allows the airline to gauge staff reaction. Assessment areas are, say the airline, ‘fit, comfort, breathability, ease of movement, creasing before and after the shift, look and feel of the uniform after laundering and how the uniform handles marks and stains.’
Constant wear-and-tear means that fabrics must be durable, and the colour and finish must be retained over time. Vivienne Westwood has chosen fabric with nano-technology that meets these aims: that regardless of the work done, the uniforms remain pristine.
All items are developed with Closed Loop Recycling, where worn clothing is turned back into fibres that can be woven into new fabrics.
Many uniform items use recycled materials, especially recycled polyester yarn made from used plastic bottles.
Ties and scarves are quick-release for health and safety reasons. Shoes are also part of the consideration: crew walk an average of seven miles on each flight. The shoes must be SATRA- (Shoe and Allied Trade Research Association) tested and approved, and feature a non-slip sole. Male shoes have laces but are designed to be slip-on in case of a slide evacuation.
Following any exercise in rebranding, the airline has to ensure things work internally before a proper launch that involves an external audience.
Once the feedback from trial staff is gathered and any changes made, the new uniforms will rolled out to all 7,500 staff globally.
A Pinterest board is open to the public to examine, at pinterest.com/VirginAtlantic/New-Red-Threads/, while public feedback is welcome on Twitter, hashtag #newredthreads.
Those of you using Chrome, and I understand some of you using Firefox, were unable to access this website because of Google misidentifying it as distributing malware.
As those who know this publication realize, Lucire would never do that and that readers should ignore such warnings.
What I can tell you is that on Saturday morning, New Zealand time, we were hacked. Hackers put code in to our ad server and, curiously, the code has Google’s name all over it. I haven’t had confirmation of this, but it could be Google Adsense code. I’ve posted the code at this page and you can view it in a screen shot here. That code linked to another site that they hacked, which did distribute malware unknowingly.
We found this, and deleted all the injected code as soon as possible‚ÄĒin our case, this took place within hours. We did this manually, literally going through every ad entry on our server. After a few more hours, our web experts had deleted every change the hackers made to our advertising server back-end, and locked it down. And, rightly, Google cleared our ad server of any problems.
Strangely, however, Google refused to clear any site that used our ad server, even though none of them were distributing any malware, or linked to any site distributing malware. Google labelled all of them ‘attack sites’. This is, of course, highly damaging to our reputation. For days, Google continued to misidentify clean code linking to a clean ad server as malicious. The great irony is that a lot of this clean code links to Google’s own Doubleclick banners.
It’s sad to say, but this is typical of our experience of Google. Once I helped a friend get his blog back but instead of the 48 hours Google promised, it took six months of a lot of arguing and the intervention of Blogger’s product manager. We’ve uncovered privacy blunders with its advertising network on behalf of netizens. If you were an Iphone user who opted out of Safari’s tracking, Google found a way around it, so we know it has some really strange ideas of what constitutes malware (if they engage in it, it’s OK). Their detection systems should be better, and people expect them to be excellent because it’s a multi-million-dollar firm. Unfortunately, this experience reminds us that they aren’t perfect, and somewhat hypocritical‚ÄĒand that honest folks can get hurt sometimes.
We even went to Google Plus to tell readers, but we discovered today that that status vanished from people’s feeds and from our Google Plus page (though we can still see it). It appears that you aren’t allowed to criticize Google on Google Plus.
I wouldn’t be publishing a statement about this if I didn’t have my facts straight. Today, out of frustration, I went to a forum dealing with badware, called Badware Busters. An expert in the area, Dr Anirban Banerjee, told me that Google can make these mistakes. Even though you have done everything and cleaned up your sites, Google can keep identifying a clean site as malicious. He suggests we remove all our ad server code from our websites for a few days, get the all-clear, and then put things back to normal. We followed that advice today, and I hope that the block will be lifted shortly. [PS.: After a manual review, StopBadware.org cleared Lucire after this post was originally published.]
Or, as I said on my blog today: ‘there may be a drunk driver swerving left and right at the wheel of the Google truck, so it‚Äôs your job to make sure that you build a nice road in front for them, rather than insist that they clean up their act and stay on the road.’
We apologize to readers for any inconvenience, especially if you were put off by the false warnings. Rest assured that apart from a brief moment on Saturday morning, this site is secure and your surfing would not have resulted in any harm to your computers. We surf it, too, and we see the same version of the site as you do, so we want things to work properly. We might not be as big as Google, but we do have good systems, and our readers’ best interests at heart.‚ÄĒJack Yan, Publisher
You can follow a bit more about this saga as it unfolded on Jack Yan’s blog.
Updated March 28, 2013 at 10.56 a.m. GMT with The Delivery film and other highlights
James Bond star Daniel Craig has helped launch the Range Rover Sport in New York City with a drive through Manhattan, revealing the car to a celebrity audience that included former American football player Michael Strahan, Yasmin Le Bon, Zara Phillips, MBE, and Jade Jagger, at Skylight at Moynihan Station on 8th Avenue.
The drive is part of a short film called The Delivery, broadcast live by Land Rover at www.newrangeroversport.com. The Delivery was directed by Jonathan P. B. Taylor, who most recently worked on A Good Day to Die Hard. It followed the journey of the new Range Rover Sport from Solihull to Manhattan, before it was driven by Craig over Manhattan Bridge to Moynihan Station.
Craig drove the earlier Range Rover Sport in his second Bond film, Quantum of Solace, but was also attracted to working with the company because of its connection to the charity SAFE, of which he is a patron. Among other things, SAFE uses mobile street theatre and community programmes to help effect social change in third-world countries.
Jaguar Land Rover says it chose New York for the launch as it sells more units in the US than in any other global market. New York is the car’s best selling city.
The new Sport is no longer based on a Discovery, but has a new platform based around the company’s aluminium architecture, lightweight suspension design and chassis technologies. It was developed alongside the latest Range Rover but JLR claims that 75 per cent of the Sport’s parts are unique to it.
It can be specified with occasional seating for sixth and seventh passengers, again appealing to the US market. The power seats can be folded to leave a flat floor.
The new V6 diesel is 420 kg lighter than the outgoing model, while carbon dioxide emissions have been reduced to 194 g/km.
The exterior design is more muscular and purposeful than the Range Rover presented last year, and some might say it is better balanced. It is positioned between the Range Rover and the smaller Evoque.
It is 62 mm longer than the outgoing Sport, but the wheelbase has been increased by 178 mm‚ÄĒthe overhangs have been shortened to give it more muscular proportions compared to the previous model. At 4,850 mm, it is shorter than other seven-seater SUVs and E-segment saloons, says the company. The drag co-efficient has dropped to 0,34.
Connectivity includes Stolen Vehicle Tracking and a high-bandwidth wifi hotspot can be installed. An optional head-up display is available. Other features include lane departure warning, automatic high-beam assist, and a Wade Sensing feature that provides information on depth when driving through water.
Land Rover said it had set out to create the most capable Range Rover ever, one which would be agile on-road, but unbeaten by its rivals off-road.
In a release, Land Rover Global Brand Director John Edwards noted, ‘We‚Äôve taken ride, handling and agility to another level for Land Rover to deliver a truly rewarding, sporting drive, together with unmatched luxury, capability and versatility.
‚ÄėBuilding on the success of the recently launched flagship Range Rover, the new Range Rover Sport also employs a vast array of new technologies which help to transform its performance, refinement and all round capabilities.’
Again recognizing its client√®le, the wheel sizes range from 19 through to 21 inches.
Suspension is fully independent, with double wishbones at front and multi-link at the rear. Wheel travel is 260 mm at the front and 272 mm at the rear; ground clearance has been increased to 278 mm. Land Rover’s Terrain Response 2 system selects the most suitable terrain program.
A hybrid diesel with 169 g/km carbon dioxide emissions will follow, but at launch, the Sport has a supercharged five-litre V8 developing 510 PS, and a three-litre diesel developing 292 PS. Three- and 4¬∑4-litre diesels will be added in 2014.
Above, from top Michael Strahan. Yasmin Le Bon. Daniel Craig and SAFE’s Nick Reding. Jade Jagger. Zara Phillips, MBE. Sienna Guillory and Jamie Chung. Thierry Henry. Below More shots of the new Range Rover Sport.
In another fashion‚Äďmusic tie-up, Adidas Neo, the German company’s sub-brand targeted at teenagers, secured the services of Justin Bieber for its spring‚Äďsummer 2013 campaign last October. The campaign has now been released with a digital look book.
The look book is available at adidas.com/neoliveyourstyle, featuring Bieber alongside Neo teens in 12 short interactive films.
Bieber drums in one of the 12 short videos, while most feature teenagers living with their Neo clothing. The company has come up with various hashtags for the videos, including #liveyourstyle for the main collection, and #nailit, #dreamit, #styleit and others for the individual scenarios.
Cleverly, by clicking on the person in the video, the look book brings up each item they are wearing, and a link to Adidas’s online shop.
The items can be shared socially on Facebook and Twitter. Adidas Neo, meanwhile, can check out the brand at these two social networks, and at Instagram and Tumblr.
The song in the videos, written exclusively for Neo by British artist Femme, can be downloaded via the site.