The Halting Point

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

The 7 forms of lightsaber combat...or...Help, I have no life.

Wikipedia has a very, very *ahem* VERY in-depth writeup on the various forms of lightsaber combat, which any true Star Wars nerd should be familiar with. Aside from covering basic stances, it also has several sections detailing other lightsaber techniques, maneuvers as well as training techniques. Very interesting read. I have to say though that it scares me to think how many hours of research went into this.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Chilling video interview with Iraq veteran who killed children.

This is the saddest, most sobering video I have seen about the war in Iraq to date. A Ranger who was recently discharged for injuries talks about the atrocities he was ordered to commit by our government. He talks about how if someone they were interrogating wasn't giving them the answers they wanted, they'd shoot his youngest son in the head. He talks about how he was ordered to kill women and children pleading for their lives.

I'm wondering, at what point will our government turn the guns on those of us who are against the war at home?

After you've watched the interview, please support the members of IVAW by visiting the IVAW site and supporting them in any way you can. This war MUST end.

Final Fantasy: Burger Time

To Seth Green and the other creators of Robot Chicken...thank you.

Monday, May 22, 2006

If you have Morgellons Disease, read this.

After the fantastic story fellow ad geek Steve Hall wrote on Ad Rants about my "investigative report" into the whole Morgellons Disease being a viral campaign for "A Scanner Darkly" thing, both his site and mine received posts from people claiming to actually have Morgellons Disease.

Now...aside from the fact that one of the comments on Steve's site seems a little fishy and the same comment is posted twice by two different people....I have to say that I think people overreacted a little bit and need to reread what I initially wrote. I specifically say that I believe it is possible that this is an existing disease that was so obscure and had such mystery around it was "hijacked" for purposes of this viral campaign.

By that I mean that they possibly added some new speculation and links to "studies". I in no way meant to imply that the disease is fictional, nor did I intend to anger anybody who is diagnosed with it. All I'm saying is that I think your disease was hijacked for marketing purposes.

Of course...who knows, maybe the people who are leaving comments are actually working for an agency....I mean, its kind of random that SEVERAL sufferers the disease all posted on Ad Rants, most within a 5 minute time span between 1:10 and 1:15 this morning. Not to mention the fact that two of the comments are the same comment but posted by different people.

And as I mentioned in the comments on the Ad Rants story, I think it might be worthwhile to see what the referral links for those IP addresses are for those who posted claiming to have the disease. I'm willing to guess that they're all from the same subnet. I mean, which is more likely....that several people with this rare and mysterious disease all suddenly post at the same time on Ad Rants....an extremely popular website amongst the very companies who do this sort of viral marketing for a living....or that someone in the industry read the story, and thought "Oh crap! If word gets out about this I'm fired! Better try to draw attention away from it...."

Anyway, again, not meaning to piss off people who actually have this disease. Having any disease sucks and my heart goes out to you. But there is a large chance this is part of a viral campaign, so I need to look at every possible angle, as we all know that there are some marketers who aren't below hijacking a disease for a marketing campaign.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Morgellons Disease....Viral marketing for A Scanner Darkly movie?



In a recent Slashdot story concerning Morgellons Disease it has been suggested that the recent buzz about Morgellons Disease has all been part of a viral marketing ploy for the upcoming movie A Scanner Darkly which is based on the Phillip K. Dick book by the same name.




The Wikipedia entry linked above cites the evidence for this as follows:
  • The website claims that a "national news broadcast" will occur in June or July. The release date for the film is July 7.

  • Morgellons.org and Morgellonusa.com (currently down) are both registered by a proxy company and contain no contact info.

  • The first Morgellon's article on Wikipedia was created in February as a link to one of the above websites.
By far the biggest piece of damning evidence though is what is uncovered by the Slashdot post mentioned above that contains an excert from the opening chapter of the original Phillip K. Dick novel, A Scanner Darkly.

Even though initial research did not uncover which ad agency or PR firm is working with Warner Bros. on this, I'd have to say when you connect the dots this makes a lot of sense. Something similar was done before King Kong was released which amounted to a lot of popular internet news sites carrying stories about giant apes right before the movie was released. There didn't seem to be much evidence of this but it was fairly obvious to most readers of these sites that it was one big viral campaign, since while the stories were real, having that many published in such a short amount of time during that particular time is just too many coincidences.

I wouldn't be surprised if their plan for building awareness of this Morgellons Disease goes as follows:

  • Step 1: Find some obscure idea that has a relation to the movie and has been researched by and baffled scientists in the past.

  • Step 2: Create websites for this idea using anonymous registrars.

  • Step 3: Generate buzz by seeding press releases of the story on popular internet news sites.

  • Step 4: Get story picked up by TV stations as a result of PR contacts and network interest from the internet popularity.

  • Step 5: Release movie July 7th of this year.

  • Step 6: ?????

  • Step 7: PROFIT!!!

If anybody knows what agency could be behind this, please drop me a line in the comments section and I will post an update crediting you.

If this does indeed turn out to be a viral campaign for the release of the movie, then more power to them because I have to say it was one of the stealthier campaigns done. Of course part of the fun behind viral marketing is what I am coining "The Discovery Phase".

The Discovery Phase is the part of the viral campaign where the viral hook used has built up so much steam that people are actively trying to learn all they can about it. This leads to a discovery of the true nature of the viral campaign. While there is a potential for negative response to this, as long as it is done in a good natured, ethical way then the response tends to be positive, and can generate a surge of interest in what the viral campaign is promoting.

This is largely due to increased web traffic to the website of what is being promoted. While the internet is not the only placed people will seek information (many will ask their peers), it is the most likely and provides the best opportunities for capitalizing on the response of the surge generated by the viral campaign.

||Edit||
Since being written up on Ad Rants both the Ad Rants site and mine have received several comments from people claiming to suffer from this disease. While I am slightly skeptical about the people posting those comments due to some red flags that were raised...I am sorry if I had offended anybody all the same. I have written a response to those who commented claiming to have the disease, and since many of you are jumping directly to this story from another site, you can find the direct link to my response here.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

DJ/VJ creates system for generating visuals from scratching!

Using an optical mouse and some creative programming, Valerio Spoletini has created a unique visuals generator that uses input from several variables of how music is being played. Be sure to check out the two videos of him performing to see this thing in action!

Personally, what I'm dying for is a drum machine that makes drum & bass beats based on the rhythms of your fingers tapping. Of course I'd rely on software to turn it into something listenable.

Monday, May 15, 2006

PoTD: The man with a bicycle helmet for a head.

I have the newest Batman villain....Bicycle Helmet Head Man! This guy scares the crap out of me but his head is such an interesting shape...looks like it was sculpted almost.
Perhaps he has a symbiotic relationship with a bicycle helmet whereby it protects his head in exchange for nutrients?

This image is from a Chicago talent agency called Stewart Talent.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Hey Chicago, stop staring at my tits!

Its official! Chicago is the most perverted city according to recently released Google Trends.Honestly, while cool from a "gee-wiz" perspective this new Google Tool is more novelty than substance. Ok.....we can tell how many searches come from a place.....and based off those searches we can make assumptions. However wild they may be.

So if you take a look at the searches they tested this with:

    balls, dick, cock, penis, vagina, g-spot, boobs, breasts, tits, facials, blowjobs, naked women, sex, anal sex, oral sex, nude pictures, porn, child porn, masturbation, masturbation tips, orgasm, orgy, girl next door, suck, lesbian, fetish, slut, whore, Jenna Jameson, Tiffany Towers, Brianna Banks, John Holmes, Peter North, Devon Michaels, Mandy Michaels, murder, kill, rape, and torture methods…

you see that you can't honestly make an assumption about some of these search terms since many of them could be someone searching for anything not necessarily perverted.....balls....murder....kill....torture methods...

But then you see search terms like Jenna Jameson, Briana Banks, masturbation tips, g-spot and facial.

All I know is I'm not entirely surprised. Yay us.

Fake Testimonials? Is this for real?

I have to admit that I find it quite odd that people who can be so devious in scamming people out of money online can be so fooled as to think the target audience for this service would fall for this.

But it was incredibly ridiculous so I thought I'd share it. And don't worry, that isn't a referral link. Whats funny though is how much they try to fluff up the wording of the Affiliates Section of their website. Its almost like they want people to think this is serious!

The site is registered to a company called: Domains by Proxy, Inc. which lets you register a domain name anonymously. Wow....real surprised they used that...

Too bad, I was about to make a witty remark about what kind of stereotype their name and address conjured up. In any event, whoever made this site is a fucking moron. I don't say that because I feel that this kind of crap doesn't belong on the net...because I don't care either way honestly...I say that because if you go through the trouble of using Domans by Proxy for your scamming activities, don't you think you might want to put a little thought into actually coming up with a halfway decent scam?! Why not sell Jesus Crackers® as "Your one true chance at salvation, getting there one bite at a time."™Least people might consider it for the novelty value.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Your monkey wants a cold one.

A recent study just confirmed that, guess what? Monkeys love getting hammered just as much as you do! The study revealed some other interesting similarities, such as monkeys who drink until they puke, monkeys who drink too much and pass out, and the fact that monkeys who live alone drink more than monkeys who live together.

How cute...monkeys can be closet alchoholics too!

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Plasma Pong. Best. Pong. Ever.

If you have a PC, click this direct download link and download Plasma Pong. By the time you have finished reading my review, it will have finished downloading and be ready to play within a minute or so. You will thank me later.

Play the regular game until you feel you have mastered the arcane complexities of what is essentially Pong on Shrooms and then play the Sandbox mode and you will be evilly amused.

Steve Taylor has taken pong, and placed the paddles in the realm of real-time fluid dynamics. You can alter these settings to adjust how the fluid environment the game takes place in reacts to movement in the fluid. This directly affects gameplay in the regular Pong mode but the Sandbox mode offers different tools that affect the plasma fluid environment in different ways. Your "brushes" are on the bottom row of the screen. The top row consists of different viewing methods that transform the screen using real scientific visualizations that are awesome to watch.

To play:
Move the paddle like in pong.
Left-mouse button: shoots plasma out of the paddle
Right-mouse button: draws in the plasma and ball to the paddle, then release to use a shockwave that will send the ball to the opponent.

What did I think?
  • Graphics: Top notch for what this game is trying to be, which is another insanely creative pong knock-off. They're very mesmerizing and the Sandbox mode friggin hypnotized me.

  • Sound: Decent music for a tiny free game like this. Nothing special, but it was enjoyable for the game. I liked how it sped up when things were getting intense.

  • Gameplay: Its pong...honestly. For me the main game didn't pose much of a challenge to me once I got down the system of "catching" the ball and firing it back effectively. The Sandbox mode on the otherhand was amazing and could have easily hooked me for a solid hour of just tinkering around with the fluid world. Awesome work in terms of bringing this to reality as a visualization of something that tends to be fairly boring and numbers-oriented.

  • Overall: Sucks if you don't have a Mac because it is PC only. If you have a PC and did not listen to me at the beginning when I told you to download the game, you should smack yourself and click this link here for the direct download. I'm nice enough not to make you scroll back up to the top.

    Sunday, May 07, 2006

    New E3 Spore Video....RELEASE THE DAMN GAME ALREADY!

    Below is the new E3 Spore promo that contains footage to be used in tv commercials during E3 that was captured by someone and placed the net. You can see the original video featuring Spore gameplay in this post I posted about back in March. Also, you can grab a cool Flash game from there that, while not affiliated with Spore, is very similar to what Spore's first level is supposedly like and its an amazingly fun game.

    But anyway, back to the video....so this time its not Will Wright himself taking you through it, so there is no interesting commentary explaining why the stuff he's showing us is so cool from a feature perspective....like how the game is pretty much procedurally generated.

    Did one creature smack the others ass with a whip partway through? I like how even when you have a spaceship and are pretty much an omnipotent space-faring, planet-creating race, if you go to an enemy planet and they have good technology, they can and WILL beat you like a red-headed stepchild.

    Wednesday, May 03, 2006

    Super Soaker Oozinator...ready for its money shot.

    Either this is one of the most genius viral spots of late or some Creative Director has never seen a porno. How any client could approve this is beyond me, but I'm glad they did. My heart goes out to the children they used for this spot as they will have to deal with being made fun of for this for the rest of their lives. Unless they are going into gay porn, in which case it could be an excellent piece to put on their reel.

    Thank you Ad Rants for both making and ruining my day, simultaneously. BTW, make sure you check the Amazon/Toys 'R' Us listing for it after you watch it and read the comments....I almost wet myself.

    3D Holographic Ads. The new pop-ups of reality.

    Looks like our future is about to be ruined and the company to thank for it is ProVision who have what I have to say is one of the coolest pieces of ad tech I've seen in a while. 3D holographic ads. I'm sure you're all very familiar with the Star Wars scene where Leia is projected by R2-D2 onto the table...well yeah, its like that, except it will be saying "Help me Obi-Wan Kenobi; you're my only hope....This SOS brought to you by McDonalds."

    I tried to find a video link to embed but had no luck so unfortunately you will have to click on the image below or this link to view the Flash video on the company website. I'm still debating whether those are actual live shots or if the video was doctored for presentation purposes...but it does seem like it must be real since they are partnered with some pretty big companies such as Viacom and 3M among others.
    3D Casino Ad3D Coke Ad

    So yes, this is pretty cool, unfortunately the same people who thought pop-up ads weren't intrusive and well worth whatever backlash they drew are the same people who will be demanding that their agencies jump all over this new tech. And yes, there are plenty of cool uses for this, but you can guarantee that this will tech will saturate the market so badly if it takes off that people will begin automatically ignoring it in record time. Unless of course marketers resort to scare tactics like the Jaws ad in Back To The Future II...but they'd never do that....

    Tuesday, May 02, 2006

    Teddy bear gun...only from Japan.

    The Mainichi is carrying a story about a Japanese paint company called Sunamiya who apparently are targeting wedding goers who, instead of tossing flowers, toss teddy bears at their weddings.

    Well...where's the fun in just tossing a stuffed bear into the air? No, the Japanese recognize the lameness of this, and so have created the ULTIMATE SUPER MEGA TEDDY BEAR CANNON!!!10101011!

    This cannon launches the teddy bear cartridge at high velocity into the crowd, thrilling the wedding attendees and disabling ninjas all with the pull of a trigger. Looks like it will go on sale later this month.

    Whilst doing a Google search for them I discovered that apparently the company also offers some Jewish products as well...Shalom Jew-san! Be sure to check out the other sections of their website as they are filled with typical crazy Japanese humor. God I love the Japanese.

    "Shaving adds an extra inch" & other truthful advertising!

    Thanks to Ad Rants for letting me know that Philips finally had the balls (no pun intended) to give consumers what they really want. A razor to trim their nut hairs! Not only that, but they are also targeting current non-shavers who may not be aware that one of the awesome side-effects of keeping a well-groomed man zone is that you gain the illusion of an extra inch or so to your police baton once all that hair is out of the way. I gotta give them respect for this campaign for telling it like it is and not trying to be insidious about it. But I'm honestly not that awed by a personal grooming company once again trying to play up an entirely superficial angle. Not quite as amusingly lame as Axe, but close.

    But I have to say, this definitely got me thinking...what if more advertisers were truthful? Maybe we'd see some more interesting, politically incorrect headlines...

  • Weight Watchers - "Because men don't like fatties and you'll never get laid with those thunder thighs, you huge bitch."

  • Altoids - "That rumor you heard about Altoids making blowjobs feel better may or may not be true...but we bet you're willing to buy some to find out."

  • Ritalin - "If you can convince your parents to put you on Ritalin you can make $$$ selling them to all your pill snorting friends at your white, upperclass suburban highschool!"

  • Taco Bell - "Because when its 3 A.M. and you're stumbling around hungry and drunk, you won't think about all the fun you'll have on the toilet the next morning."

  • Jack Daniels - "If you don't drink us, you will look like a girl. You don't want to look like a girl do you?"

  • World of Warcraft - "Chinese gold farmers ruin the game for you, but they're also more profitable than you because they buy a new copy of the game each time we ban them. Do you really think we'll get rid of them? Where's our $15 bitch?!"

  • Apple - "If you buy Apple, hot art chicks will pretend they like you to use your Mac, but your Emo-loving ass still won't get any."
  • Monday, May 01, 2006

    PoTD: The Devil Inside

    I was leafing through this illustration and design book at the office and came across this sweet image you see to the left (click it for the full size image). This is a wonderful piece by Nenad Jakesevic. Unfortunately I was unable to find this print on his website.