— blending the mix

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December, 2007 Monthly archive

So it was Steve Clayton in his review of the phone, who got me thinking seriously about the LG Viewty. I had seen the ads and was in the market for a new phone anyway. But the N95 seemed the obvious choice.

I like taking pics wherever I go but don’t want to take along a second camera – no matter how small it may be, but battery life on the N95 is almost as bad as my previous N80.

Shortly after leaving a comment on the LG blog, Ryan got in touch and I was sent my review sample of the Viewty. I have had the phone for a couple of weeks now to make sure I am totally ok with all aspects of it and am, on the whole, totally delighted with it.

I am going to go through a few areas where I have used the phone the most but would, on the whole, totally recommend this phone.

Touch Screen

Something that never occurred to me is just how many subtle changes you need to make to a touch screen OS to ensure features cannot be activated by the same finger swipe you use to move through the menu (i.e. that you don’t go into a contact’s details when you are trying to slide through the contact list).

"Conventional" phones have scroll wheels or joysticks to guide you through menu’s with different buttons to activate your choice. The danger with the touch screen OS is that you would have to add several different click/authentications to arrive at an action, but with the Viewty this is barely noticeable. When it is, you are actually thankful that you have to "press" again to activate your choice of action and importantly it is not a chore. Because your finger is already on the screen this additional "press" to activate the feature is second nature. As such the Touch screen OS works beautifully.

I have three criticisms though:

1) The screen can be easily scratched and the protector sticker gets incredibly dirty very quickly. The protector also numbs the sensitivity of the screen too, seemingly making the screen react much slower to actions.

2) There is a slide bar on the side of any appropriate menus (as you would on a computer screen), but it is so narrow it is nigh-on impossible to use.

3) It can sometimes feel like sliding your finger through glue. It is not as sensitive as I would prefer.

Operating System

I have always favoured the Sony Ericsson interface and have become very familiar with the Symbian OS on the N80, but I had never used the LG OS ever before. In little time at all, I felt very comfortable using the phone and was able to add both Opera browser and Google Mail applications quickly and easliy find my pictures, movies and music in a flash.

The addition of the home page feature is a great one it is a shortcuts page on the home screen) although i would like to personalise this to enable instant access to applications other than the default ones.

As OS’s go, it isn’t my favourite, but it massively more intuitive than when I first got a Symbian OS phone a coupe of years ago.

One oddity though, I saved Opera and Gmail to my Applications folder (accessed from the shortcut on the home page) but the same files take an "age" to find in the conventional menu system.

Could do with a little more work but otherwise very accessible and easy to use.

Browser

Internet and email on the move is a biggie for me. I am a frequent user of Jaiku and Twitter, Facebook, the usual news and sport sites and Gmail. The Viewty handles all of them perfectly.

As a benchmark, laslxdkdlddls"AwOpera on the N80 was awesome. Zoom and navigation were a breeze, but the screen size didn’t really allow the best view of pages. Only with the final public launch did it allow ladnscaping of the page.

The Viewty browser handles this perfectly, and also allows a handy conventional-style keyboard. One thing I haven’t mentioned yet is the  toggle dial surrounding the camera lens. This allows for the scrolling through menus but also camera zoom and screen zoom when in browser mode. And what a cool feature it is.

At this stage in mobile web, the Viewty does as good a job as I have yet seen of taking conventional web sites and making them visible on a smaller screen (although the Viewty’s screen is much bigger than most anyway!).

Camera

Without doubt this is the best camera I have used on a mobile phone. 5MP, awesome ISO 800 rating, a semi-press auto-focus and set-up features, toggle switch for camera/video and playback the Viewty has a host of features you would normally find on a conventional portable camera.

Whilst not up to normal portable camera standards (low light seems to be its only weakness but is still far better than the N95 from what I have seen) it blows everything else out of the water. The on-screen in-shot options are very simple to use making the camera a delight to use.

My only niggles are a) the lens does seem to get smudged very easily (but no worse than any other), but that because the lens is so good, it does pick up those smudges in the image and b) the camera takes a little long to load when you press to activate it. Big deal!

Phone (can’t forget that bit!)

You know what, it isn’t great. The speaker isn’t that good but more than good enough for me. Oh, and it is so easy to use!

Summary

With no favours to LG whatsoever, this phone is a beauty. The touch screen is everything I had hoped it would be (i.e. as good as the iphones I have played with) and the OS, whilst still not as familiar to me as other phones I have had, works very well with the touch screen.

For what I need from my phones (in order of preference):

1) Phone – perfectly decent.

2) Camera – simply the best on a phone bar none.

3) Internet browser – quick, easy and the best mobile browser bar none.

… the LG Viewty does everything the iPhone does but so much better. It makes the iPhone look like a Skoda dressed up as a Ferrari. Looks good on the outside, but the mechanics are shambolic.

Bravo LG.

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cheers Steve

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UK Windows Live Hotmail Product Manager Jo Wickremasinghe (god, I hope I got that right!) presented some of Microsoft’s latest developments regarding the addressing of spam and suggested what we as email marketing professionals can do ensure deliverability for our clients to Windows Live Hotmail (WLH) inboxes.

In short, Jo’s seminar was by far and away the most interesting (especially given the 60% market share WLH has!) so I have broken it down into smaller chunks.

Windows Live Hotmail:

  • Hotmail is now 10 years old and has 11.9 million customers making it the largest web-based email service in the world.
  • It accounts for 58% of all web-based email activity.
  • WLH handles 5billion messages DAILY of which >80% comes form unknown sources (not necessarily spam, but otherwise unidentified sources like COMPANY YOU who may not have authenticated yourself with WLH).
  • WLH handles 300 million active email inboxes
  • >1million new IP’s identified daily
  • <10% these IP’s are from recognised sources

WLH is strictly focusing on protecting the consumer – be aware. If you are not meeting their requirements, you WILL end up in the "bin".

Industry Lowlights:

  • Spam + Fishing attacks are up 40% since 2006 (of which 80% is from bots).
  • PDF, mp3 and image-based spam increased 30% since 2006.
  • "Pump+Dump" stock-market spam actually affecting share prices and providing indirect financial rewards for spammer.
  • Spammers are becoming increasingly sophisticated (and are great direct marketers).
  • Big brands and governments are being hit hard.

Industry Highlights:

  • Online travel activity has increased by 21% since 2006.
  • Banking, despite phishing attacks, has enjoyed 27% growth.
  • Increasing collaboration between ESP’s and legal organisations seeing more spammer being prosecuted. There have been 400+ legal actions since 2003.
  • Reported online fraud has actually reduced by 10.6% compared to 2006.
  • The reporting of fraudulent emails has also fallen by 50% since 2006 as a result of improved spam filters.

More later…

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Unfortunately, due to work issues I am not going to be able to make the Widgety Goodness event tomorrow and I am gutted.

Not just because I cannot make it but because I got the £199 ticket for FREE from the Facebook Group.

If anybody would like my free ticket, please send me an email at paul (dot) fabretti @ gmail (dot) com and I will try and be as quick as I can (although Emmeline tells me that she will handle the transfer).

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I attended Inbox-Outbox this year to keep track of everything that was happening in the world of email marketing. Short of giving you a full run-down of everything that was said, I have put down some of my thoughts and most interesting observations.

After the unfortunate collapsing into deliriousness of conference keynote speaker Sara Radicati, the first session started earlier than expected with Dave Evans, Senior Compliance Partner of the ICO. Dave’s session covered Developments in Data Protection and Email Legislation. So here goes…

According to the ICO, the protection of our personal details is now the British Public’s 2nd most important worry.

What are your current biggest worries?

  2006 2007
Crime 93 94
Protection of Personal Details 83 92
NHS 90 91
Equal Rights 85 89
National Security 82 89
Education 81 88

Table 1: British Public’s most prominent concerns2006 vs 2007

So who would have thought that the protection of personal details remained so important, yet people willingly give this sort of stuff out willy-nilly on social network sites?!

What concerns the same people most about their personal details?

Passing to unknown organisations 94
Not keeping information secure 94
Unwanted marketing messages 87
Inaccurate information 87
Request too much information 88
Holding data for too long 84

Table 2: British Public’s most serious data protection concerns

So what are the main reasons for these concerns – why do marketers get it wrong?

  • Out of date consents – people have changed their preferences
  • Old lists – just simply old data doing the same old rounds
  • Failing to act on opt-outs
  • Un-related sells. Horoscope subscribers being sold insurance does NOT work

And what are the implications?

  • Watchdog effect – press and tv always eager to pounce on a good story
  • Increased customer caution – registration with TPS and MPS are at all-time highs
  • The gap between "spam" and marketing messages is narrowing
  • People will simply bin what they consider to be spam

Tips on how to get it right:

  • Don’t surprise people
  • Be open about your intentions
  • Don’t lead people to think you are hiding something
  • Make complaining and unsubscribing easy – better to have an uninterested person drop out than waste your time.

Interesting : Of the 100k complaints, the ICO receive each year, 33% are regarding email.

So what are the new developments?

A revised EU framework of:

  • Enforcement
  • Security
  • Breach notification (forced disclosure to authorities and public of security breaches)

Bluetooth Legislation:

  • Currently, there is currently no legislation in place governing the use of bluetooth (opportunity or a disaster waiting to happen??)

Social Networks:

  • Current legislation covers most Social Networks, although US-based Facebook (whose approach to privacy and data capture is very different to most other networks) is meeting with the ICO to ensure that all UK data protection and privacy issues are addressed.
  • A precedent has been set though with eBay.co.uk considering itself to be governed under UK law.
  • Dave has promised to keep me updated with all these changes to ensure we, as an agency are working within the (new) guidelines.
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