Which Icon?

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Hello! It’s been a while.

I’ve had a busy few weeks at work as well as online, mostly behind the scenes stuff, such as building a website for a client, a load of little tweaks and optimisations to my online ecosystem (more on that soon), and switching web hosts three times in the past four weeks. Ouch!

Meanwhile, people have begun asking for more icons for the Subscription Options addon pack, mainly Instagram. I thought I’d put it to the vote in time for the next release, so please,  take a look and let me know your preferred version in the comments.[/vc_column_text][vc_row_inner][vc_column_inner width=”1/3″][vc_column_text]

Logo One

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Logo Two

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Logo Three

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Oops, Forgot To Blog…

Er, yeah, sorry about that… Here’s what I’ve been up to instead though!

  • Sharing loads of great links on Twitter – Trunkly has all of these
  • Trying out Google+ to see where the value lies (hmm…)
  • Looking for a place to live with Sarah  (any suggestions?)
  • Playing with my new Kindle (I’m reading Neuromancer)
  • Eating & drinking at some awesome places / seeing friends etc
  • Reconfiguring all my Google Reader feeds (more on this soon)
  • Watching movies: X-Men [8], Tree of Life [8] and Bridesmaids [9]
  • Testing Subscription Options v0.8 (v. cool gradient shit)
  • Reading The Authority by Warren Ellis, which is amazing
  • Listening to some brand new music, c/o Spotify
  • Working my balls off and all that…

Meanwhile, Brand Republic goes and published The BR 200 which is a list of “the best advertising, marketing, media, PR and digital blogs.” They stuck me in at #153, which is cool! Thing is, I haven’t blogged that much, have I? I’ll sort that out, sorry.

The BR 200 (OPML Feed)
BR 200 (OPML)

Meanwhile, as a mark of respect to the others on the BR 200, and to any remaining readers out there, I’ve compiled an OPML list of all the blogs on that list, which you can import into your RSS reader of choice.

There ya go, people! Enjoy all those proper bloggers. Hehe.

13 Tools to Promote Divergent Thinking

New ideas can come from anywhere, but are often hardest to find when you’re actually looking for them. However, I believe it’s possible to jumpstart your brain, even under pressure, by applying yourself to a bit of divergent thinking:

Divergent thinking typically occurs in a spontaneous, free-flowing manner, such that many ideas are generated in an emergent cognitive fashion. Many possible solutions are explored in a short amount of time, and unexpected connections are drawn. After the process of divergent thinking has been completed, ideas and information are organized and structured using convergent thinking.

Wikipedia

So to help anyone out there who may be stuck for ideas, here’s my list of divergent thought helpers:

  1. Stumbleupon – highly recommended: tell it your interests and hit ‘stumble’ to be sent to a random site
  2. Buzzfeed – hit the randomize button in the top right corner (occasionally NSFW) to see something usually quite cool
  3. Mystery Seeker – type something in the search box and receive a set of google results for a totally different subject
  4. The Wiki Game – start in one place on wikipedia, and try to end up in another, while seeing loads of content on the way
  5. We Heart It – inspiring and high-quality imagery, often captioned, and with decent search functionality
  6. We Feel Fine – an emotional search tool, potentially good for scanning & visualising need states
  7. Popurls – see the freshest stories from a range of great online sources, with customisation options
  8. Newsmap – a visualisation of the latest news, powered by google (quite old but potentially interesting)
  9. Thesaurus.net – high quality thesaurus dictionary: search synonyms, antonyms, rhymes, quotes and idioms
  10. Visual Thesaurus – see the associated meanings between concepts – worth paying for
  11. Bing Visual Search – search the web visually in an intuitive, exploratory way
  12. oSkope – discover images, videos and products related to a search query
  13. TouchGraph SEO – see the links between topics and websites

Finally, and it may take more time for ideas to emerge this way, but TED really is an amazing resource for this kind of thing. I recently attended TEDxObserver, after which my head was swimming with ideas.

Can you suggest any of your own?

Blog Badges For Everyone!

Following this blog’s recent rise in popularity (thanks Howard Rheingold!) I’ve got a taste for the big time, and I’m turning to you, dear readers, to help me knock it up a notch. Don’t worry, it’s all completely consensual.

You’ve seen those ads on other people’s sites. The little squares with the ‘Best Hosting Ever!’ and the ‘I can haz LOLcats t-shirt?’ messages in them? Well I promise to never ever run those on here…

However, I do recognise that they are a valid form of advertising, linkbacks and branding. Hell, they are an important part of Web Culture! Which is why I kindly ask that if you’ve enjoyed any of my posts lately, you’ve used my WordPress plugin, or you’ve got an empty ad slot you’d like filling, please help yourself to one of these tasty Blog Badges and spread the love:

The Plain Ol’ Badge:

Digital CortexHelp spread the word with this moody ‘statement’ badge. Just black and white, baby. Emo-friendly.

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The Brain Coral Badge:

Digital CortexYour chance to own a piece of natural beauty, with this tasty chunk of purple brain coral. It’s nature’s cranium!

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The Rotating Badge:

Digital CortexBore easily? Try this! It rotates through my fave colours every time you hit the refresh button.

The Subscription Options Plugin

My aim is to make my views on Digital Media, Branding and Emergent Technologies as accessible as possible not only to industry types, but to the blog-scouring early-adopting masses. My ongoing series on Augmented Reality has been relatively successful in boosting both the visitation and the subscribership of this blog.

Aside from the content I’ve written this month (May 2009 has been my most prolific since this blog’s inception) I have also started an SEO and social media strategy to extend the reach of the content I write here. I’ll share details later…

Anyway, the key element I want to tell you about in this post is my third strategy to make Digital Cortex portable to readers. I’ve started to provide readers with a range of subscription options, since the most common way for readers to subscribe to any blog and its content are through RSS, Email or Twitter. That’s when I came up with my brand new WordPress plugin.

I realised that my subscription solution might be useful to others also looking to grow their subscribership, so I created this:

The Subscription Options Plugin

This is how your subscriptions could look if you use my plugin.

I’ve turned my HTML code into a PHP-based plugin for all WordPress users that has the exact effect I aimed to achieve – to look good on a page, and for blog readers to easily grasp what each icon stood for.

Once installed it can be placed in any widget-ready area, allowing users to link to their various subscription options with ease.

PLEASE CLICK HERE FOR FULL PLUGIN DETAILS

SoundCloud

SoundCloud do clever things with music.

SoundCloud: The Tour from SoundCloud on Vimeo.

I found them by accident when searching for remixes of ‘I Can See’, a great song from Jazzanova’s new album – listen to it with Spotify on this link.

Anyway, over at SoundCloud they’ve hosted a remix competition that lets users easily upload their mixes and have them judged by Jazzanova themselves, who had this to say:

“Since so many astonshingly good remixes had been submitted, it was no easy task for us to come to a final decision,” says Jazzanova’s Jürgen von Knoblauch . “We discussed the matter over and over again and finally agreed on three winners who had very different approaches and represented the stylistic variety of all submitted remixes. However, we had to draw the lucky winner of Ableton’s software package and Soundcloud’s premium membership. Once again, we would like to thank all the remixers/producers who participated in our remix contest and submitted their excellent works.”

What’s cool about the contest is it gets users engaged with SoundCloud for one great reason, but entices users to explore their other options (as in my case) such as their free website widgets: a dropbox for users to submit any track to the site owner; a player that shows the track’s waveform and allows users to annotate it at points along it’s timeline. These raise the profile of the service across the social web and drive traffic back to their homepage.

With this competition, SoundCloud and Jazzanova are in perfect symbiosis – both benefit from being associated with the other. I’m very interested in researching their company further, as there has to be elements that larger advertisers can participate in.

The effect on Jazzanova’s album sales will be hard to measure, but I’d love to hear from anyone involved on side-effects/uplift in consideration or other brand metrics.

Soft Drink Generator

canCheck it out, I just made a Digital Cortex drink at says-it on their new image generator.
It’s a six step process to make one of these, and there’s hundreds of fonts/styles/options to play with along the way:

1. Choose Text Options
2. Choose Can Background Options
3. Choose Emblem Options
4. Choose Tagline Options
5. Choose Other Options
6. Generate!

This might be really useful when pitching to FMCG brands, or any other brand who might fancy a line in soft drinks. Zero creative costs.

Imagine : the T-Mobile Magentaberry Lite, or the IKEA Swedish Rutabaga Cola.
Well, I think it’s a good idea – you can even send off for fridge magnets as leave-behinds.

Try it for yourself here.