童年回憶咖哩香

童年回憶咖哩香

午飯本來想到Piccolo Pizzeria, 怎知道沒開門,便與朋友來到旁邊的國際咖哩館。國際咖哩館是灣仔的老字號咖哩店,見証著這區多年來的變遷。朋友說小時候常來這咖哩館,從前的店舖比現在的大得多。老闆笑說加了幾萬元租,沒法子不縮小店舖。揭開那八十年代的深啡色仿皮餐牌,就是兒時與媽媽上西餐廳的那種厚實的餐牌,首先看到的,是各式各樣的咖哩菜式。不是普通的紅青黃咖哩,單單是雞類,便有荷蘭雞、鬼雞、隊長雞、東印雞、吉舞雞、黑雞、古馬雞等,真的是學無止境(笑)。其中一位朋友不嗜辣,但小辣的咖哩還是一樣的香。飯後閒聊,老闆忽然走過來提醒我們是時候上班了。這種小店的人情味,比咖哩來得更窩心。

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Create your own “Touching Stories”

Was doing research for an upcoming presentation when I came across this innovative iPad PR campaign.

Touching Stories is an iPad app developed by Santa Monica-based production company Tool of North America. It includes a series of four interactive live action films that uses the capabilities of the iPad. Viewers can touch, move, shake or turn the screen to control the outcome of each story. They may even poke any annoying characters that appears on the screen.

In some way, you can see Touching Stories as a hybrid video game, but what is significant is, it make use of the interactivity of the iPad to expand the ways a film director tell a story, also it showcases the possibility iPad brings to other consumer experiences.

The apps is unconventional, but its PR campaign is even more than that. Trust, the PR agency of Tool, developed a website called www.haveyoubeenshortlisted.com which show a collage of 500 leading advertising influencers and their social media footprints on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn to promote the “Touching Stories” iPad films during the Cannes Lions.

During the festival, the PR team tracked down the pre-selected winners in Cannes and surprised them with a free iPad preloaded with the app. The whole process was captured in video and still and posted on the campaign site. The app received major buzz at Cannes and raised the question among the industry of what implications it bears for storytelling and entertainment.

Watch the video on Contagious to know more.

CNNIC: Online transactions booming

The China Internet Network Information Center (CNNIC) has just released its latest report on Internet development in China (Report in Chinese). I am just here to share some key findings:

  • Internet users in China as of Jun 2010: 420 million (+32% from Dec 2009), broadband users: 364 million (+5%), mobile Internet users: 277 million (+19%)
  • Internet penetration rate: 31.8%, up 2.9% from Dec 2009
  • Instant messaging, search engine and online music are the top three applications among mobile Internet users
  • Entertainment remains the key purpose of Internet usage for Chinese users
  • Usage rate of social media grows by 19.6%
  • Business transactions become more common among Internet users. Online payment (+36.2%), online shopping (+31.4%) and online banking (+29.9%) have the highest growth rate compared to 6 months ago

Industry analysts expected the pilot plan for China’s telecommunication, Internet and television networks integration will further drive up the Internet usage rate among general households.

The report echoes the forecast by the  Chinese Academy of Social Sciences in May 2010, that Chinese consumer spend on online shopping will grow to 500 billion yuan by end of 2010, accounting for over three percent of all retail sales. In 2008, it was only one percent of total retail sales.

Online payment channels in ChinaTaobao, Alipay or Tenpay are the leading online shopping or payment sites in China. According to iResearch 2010 Q1 data, Alipay and Tenpay are the market leaders which handle more than 70% of all electronic payments in China.

Eighty percent of all online shopping in China is done on Taobao. Among all online shoppers, Shanghai users top the list with online spending of 17.62 billion yuan during 2009 to 2010, according to Taobao’s data. Following closely on the list Shenzhen, Hangzhou, Guangzhou, Nanjing, Suzhou, Tianjin, Wenzhou and Ningbo. Online shopping in midwest regions is also growing quick, 8 out of 10 cities with the fastest growth are from midwest region.

However, whether this growth can be continued will highly depend on the government measures. The recent implementation of “real name system” for shopping sites by the State Administration for Industry & Commerce (SAIC) will certainly have some impact on the future development of online transactions.

Relaxing of GFW? You wish…

The Chinese Academy of Social Sciences has just published the first ever “Blue Book on Social Media”, an annual report on new media developments in Mainland China including SNS, blogs, online video sites, mobile TV and digital newspapers.

It seems like Facebook or Twitter would remain blocked for some time in Mainland China as the report states that these SNS are posing spy risks or privacy leaks for gathering Chinese netizens’ personal information and selling off to third parties without full consent of users. (But isn’t it the same case for Kaixin or Renren?)

Yet the Blue Book acknowledges that social media is going mainstream and has become particularly important in reporting breaking news, taking the example of the Beijing Olympics as well as the NPC and CPPCC meetings in 2009.

According to the CNNIC Jan 2010 figures, 45.8% (176 million) of Internet users in Mainland China uses social media networks. With the increase in popularity of SNS, more brands and businesses are making headway to social networking sites like Kaixin, Renren or Sina microblog. The booming number of viral marketing promotions and the potential threats of privacy leaks have somehow frightened CASS. In the report, it raised doubts on whether the operation of the SNS sector is well regulated.

Though CASS has not stated any regulation recommendation for SNS businesses in China, as a mouthpiece of the Chinese government (CASS is a government-funded research organization), the report can be seen as a warning sign to social media businesses to better behave themselves and align their operation to government mandates.

So I guess it will be a long time before Mainland users can access Facebook or Twitter without the blessings of a VPN.

New in iOS 4 – Contact Linking

I start to feel that playing around the iOS 4is like treasure hunt.

Apart from all the fantastic features highlighted by Steve Jobs in his WWDC 2010 Keynote Address (QuickTime movie) and April 2010 Special Event (QuickTime movie), I just find that they have added a contact linking function in the address book.

The new feature allows you to group different entries from your address book together. That means you can group multiple contacts from the same company, or members of a family together to create a bundled entry.

Same logic as folders of apps, this one is folders for contacts.