The new F1 advertising model?

To bring Formula 1 sponsorship to the masses, why don’t they adopt a lottery-style approach?

They invite small companies to buy £100 "lottery" tickets,each with the chance of winning the rights to their logo appearing downthe side of the Brawn GP car when it whizzes around the Malaysian trackthis weekend.

5,000 tickets later and we have £500,000 in revenueand a lucky winner whose logo will be blazened upon TV screens theworld over.

Maybe that’s the advertising model for the cash-strapped sport that it has become.

Just a thought.

Agadon’t: the importance of intonation

On speaking about his band’s re-release of Agadoo to mark the single’s 25th anniversary, Black Lace singer Dene Michael was quoted by BBC News as saying:

"With all the doom and gloom in the world, this is just what we need."

I think this should have read:

"With all the doom and gloom in the world, this is just what we need."

Subtle but important distinction.

(Post categorised as music for want of a more suitable alternative.)

Finger trouble

The middle finger on my left hand has recently lost some of its powers. For some reason unbeknown to me, its ability to support weight laterally has almost entirely disappeared; seemingly overnight.

You’d have thought that the affliction would have realised itself in many different ways. But it seems that taking weight laterally on the middle finger of one’s non-dominant hand is a characteristic of only one event in life: carrying a cup of tea.

So I can carry a cup with my right hand, but if I carry one with my left hand, gradually, the support provided by my middle finger wanes, to the point where I simply have to put the cup down. Probably quite amusing to onlookers, but hugely frustrating for me. Think I need to find a different finger arrangement for tea carrying, or else only carry one cup at a time.

Maybe I’m getting old.

This and next: difference of opinion

OK. So it seems that response has finally tailed off on my this week or next week quiz. The 22nd and most recent responder submitted their response a second before 09:23 this morning.

And what an interesting set of results we have. Only two of the ten questions yielded unanimity. On any given Monday, it seems This Thursday will never result in confusion, nor will Next Monday.

The phrase most likely to cause confusion is Next Sunday when used on a Monday. 55% of responders believe it to mean the next Sunday to occur; 45% believe it to mean the one after that. And arranging a meeting This Monday on a Monday will also likely get people turning up on the wrong day. 64% think the meeting is scheduled a week from today, 36% thinking it’s happening today.

For completeness, below are the rest of the results.

Best be careful next time you use this and next in relation to dates. It’s more confusing than you might think. The quiz is still open, btw, if you’re interested in submitting your views.

Embedded Google Forms. Lovely

Hm. I’m liking the survey possibilities that embedded forms from Google Docs can offer, as demonstrated in my previous post on the use of this and next. (Survey results from that one will be published when the response levels die down from their current heady heights.) Will be doing more of this, I think, albeit shorter surveys, to gain people’s views on stuff.

Shame the surveys don’t appear embedded in Google Reader though. You’d’ve thought, given that the word Google appears in both.

This week or next?

I’ve written before about how people use the words this and next when referring to weeks. And the ensuing confusion. I’d love it if you could complete the ten questions below to figure out whether people are consistent in their views, or whether confusion reigns.

This was prompted by my friend Alan, reading from Austria a reader’s letter on the very subject in yesterday’s Telegraph.

Thanks for your time. (One submission each, please.)

T-Mobile twunts double the price to make life easier

On Monday, I received the following text message from T-Mobile, my network provider.

From 1 May we’re introducing a flat rate of 40p a min to call some numbers beginning with 08. For details of how this affects you go online to

(The URL wasn’t a hyperlink. I’ve made it so in this post. Just for you. Aren’t I nice?)

On visiting the URL, I was informed that the reason for the change was as follows.

Previously, call rates to these numbers varied between price plans and by 08 numbers. Customers tell us that they are confused by the cost of calls outside their core price plan charges. By standardising these rates and applying consistency across the pay monthly price plans, we are making it easier for customers to understand what they’re being charged for calls to these numbers.

On calling T-Mobile this evening, I was informed that under my current price plan, all calls to the affected numbers are currently charged at 19.5p.

So in a nutshell, T-Mobile are offering to more than double a flat fee for me to make it easier for me to understand what I’m being charged.

Thanks, but no thanks. I’ve changed price plan and now such calls are included in my minutes. But many won’t, and will be stung by the price hike.

GMail Labs features I use and like

I thought I’d put this post together for two reasons. One to highlight the GMail Labs features that I know and love to those GMail users who may not be aware of their work. And, perhaps more importantly, to make non-GMail users aware of the poetry that is Google Mail, and its ability to manage beautifully all your mail without you having a care in the world.

For those not in the know, Labs are essentially GMail extensions that can be enabled (or not) from the Settings link at the top right corner of the GMail screen. So, here goes.

Stuff I love

Stuff I like

Stuff I see the point of, but don’t use

If you don’t have your own domain, then start using GMail and route everything to it. Seamless. If you have your own domain, then use Google Apps. You’ll never look back!

Confusion to follow

Here’s a quick addendum to my previous post explaning the confusion of toggles such as Mute and Unmute. I think the BlackBerry Storm has taken a step forward with its choice of Mute and Mute Off. Altough I’m not sure why. Mute Off could equally be read as a noun as opposed to a verb. Maybe the fact that it’s made up of two words signifies more of an undoing action.

The issue surrounds the abbreviation of the English language to the point at which verbs and nouns become indistinguishable.

The same is true in Twitter. A user’s page includes text showing X following and Y followers. Only by looking at the Y followers piece can I get my head around the fact that the X refers to the number of people that the person is following, as opposed to the number following that person.

It’s a dull subject, but from a user experience perspective, Twitter needs to sort it out, either graphically or editorially.

Sweet tea bags

I came up with another idea that could make my millions this morning: tea-and-sugar bags. As well as encasing a generous portion of tea leaves within the square, round or pyramidal bag, PG Tips, Tetley or one of their tea-making brethren would include a single spoonful of sugar.

The target market for the product would be labourers and office workers, essentially those without the luxury of a lovely ornamental sugar jar next to their kettle.

In homage to the branding of delayed-TV stations, the respective tea brands would simply add +1 to their names to signify boxes containing the sweetening spoonful. +2 could be considered as an additional, sweeter product, but I’d stay stop there, for the sake of the nation’s teeth and an overburdened dental profession. And to prevent a third of supermarket shelf space being dedicated to tea.

Anyone for a cup of Tetley+1?

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