Recent posts in my Sony Category

July 5, 2011

“Information Architects: The Secret librarians of the internet” talk at LIKE26

Last week I spoke at the 26th meeting of LIKE, the London Information and Knowledge Exchange. With the title “Information Architects: The Secret librarians of the internet”, the talk was based on both “Come as you are” and “Tags are magic!”, giving an overview of how I became an Information Architect, and some detail on how we tag up our content for the Guardian website.

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June 16, 2011

“Come as you are” - Part 3: The Sony years

Part three of “Come as you are” looks at some of the things that I learned about about being an IA/UX practitioner whilst working for Sony in Austria - including treating internal systems with as much care as you focus on end users, and why sometimes UX cannot rescue a flawed product.

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October 31, 2008

Almost getting my hands on a Sony Reader e-book experience

I got my first chance to play with Sony's Reader at Waterstones in Kensington on Tuesday. Well, I didn't really get a good feel for it, as it was firmly bolted to some point-of-sale material for security reasons. I thought the screen was very readable, but, like a few reviews I've seen. I found the page-flip to be a bit laggy. Mind you, I've been mostly using the Internet at 32kbps for the last two years, so you'd think I'd...
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February 4, 2008

Sony finally ready to disconnect music store

Sony have just announced the final steps towards the closure of the Sony CONNECT Music Store that I worked on when I was with Sony NetServices in Austria. They are taking a two-step approach. The whole service will cease on March 31st 2008, but before that, on March 1st, the online component - - will be closed. That always, in my view, should have been the unique advantage the Sony service had. Unlike the iTunes music store, which required...
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September 5, 2007

Sony closes the door on the European CONNECT store

With an irony that even Alanis Morissette couldn't mistake for being unlucky, just as I've written a lengthy blog series about the closure of one music store where I used to work, another music store that I used to do work for has announced it is shutting down - Sony Connect Europe. The circumstances are a little different - one went bankrupt, the other is a strategic pull-out from a market area where Sony was simply unable to compete with...
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August 20, 2007

My Sony and BBC Wikipedia editing shame

There has been quite a fuss this week about edits made to Wikipedia from within the BBC. Changing George Walker Bush to George Wanker Bush using a BBC IP address is pretty damn stupid, but writing an article accusing other organisations of manipulating Wikipedia in a bad way, without first checking whether you had your own IP address related skeletons in the closet was even sillier. The story feeds wonderfully into the paranoia of those who believe the BBC is...
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April 20, 2007

The Rhino Hi-Fives reinvent the 'Greatest Hits EP' for the digital era

When I was writing last week about the relaunch of the Sony Connect music download store in Europe, I mentioned a promotion for "Rhino Hi-Fives", and I wanted to look at the content of that promotion in a little more detail, and examine the way it represents a reaction to some changes in the consumption of music. The Rhino Hi-Fives are a series of five-track downloads from a particular artist. Rhino Hi-Fives are the first ever product line created exclusively...
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April 13, 2007

Sony Connect music download store relaunches in Europe - part two

Yesterday I was writing about the new design of Sony's European 'Connect' music download store. Before Christmas I worked on the information architecture and wireframes for the relaunch of the service. As ever, during the course of a web site launch some compromises have to be made between design and implementation, and there are some areas of the new version of the site which I don't think are yet working to their optimum, or quite as they were designed. Some...
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April 12, 2007

Sony Connect relaunches with improved information architecture for browsing

One of the projects I worked on before Christmas at Sony NetServices in Austria was the information architecture and wireframes for a redesign of Sony's European music download service - Sony Connect. The service allows users to buy music for upload onto their digital Sony Walkman devices. This is handled by Sony's SonicStage music management software, and the Connect store acts as a web interface into the service over the internet, and then as an embedded store when you are...
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April 4, 2007

Vodafone relaunches their web music store in the UK

Whilst working at Sony over the last 6 months I haven't really been able to write about it very much on currybetdotnet - in stark contrast to the way I used to blog the absolute minutiae of working at the BBC. This was mostly due to the fact that the part of Sony I was working in, Sony NetServices, acts as a service provider for other parts of the Sony empire and other large European brands like Vodafone and I...
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March 14, 2007

Slacker equivalent already on the market in Europe - meet Sony and Vodafone's Radio DJ

There has been a bit of a buzz around the announcement of a service called Slacker in the USA, which will be a device which plays personalised radio stations to the user on the go. Matt Marshall at VentureBeat even touted it as a potential "iPod killer". As I read through the promised feature-set, I started to get a little nagging voice in my head, saying "Hang on, isn'" Because for the last few months I've been working on...
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January 15, 2007

Getting Sony's SonicStage for Christmas

Whilst it wasn't traditional link bait in the sense of trying to get something onto the front page of Digg, when my good friend Frankie recently wrote about his experience of using Sony's SonicStage software, he must have known that I wouldn't be able to resist responding. First off I must say I thought Frankie gave a very honest account of using and installing the software. He was using the CD supplied with the player to install it, so I...
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January 10, 2007

Sony loses DRM court case in France over the Sony Connect store

There has been a dribble of coverage recently that Sony has lost a court case in France over the inclusion of DRM restrictions with content downloaded from the Sony Connect store. The verdict was apparently delivered on December 15th, but only just seems to be making news following an announcement by the group taking the action, the Union Federale des Consommateurs - Que Choisir. Sony themselves have so far declined to comment as far as I can tell. The case...
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January 7, 2007

The new UK digital singles chart tries to avoid the old hype

Today marks a significant milestone in the history of the British singles chart, as when on Sunday afternoon the BBC counts down the Top 40 it will be the first time that downloads and physical singles will be competing on an equal footing. For me it is a bit like coming full circle, as it means that one of my projects, the Sony Connect digital music store, is now a proper "chart return store", just like the record shop in...
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December 19, 2006

Sony launches new Christmas promotional pages on the Connect store

Whilst most of the focus in the musical digital download world last week was on whether iTunes sales had risen by 84% or dipped by 65%, Sony quietly slipped out an incremental update to the European Connect music store. It is the first public release by Sony based on some of my wireframe work. Most of the updated features go on behind the scenes and - hopefully - won't be noticed by the users. The most prominent new feature though...
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December 4, 2006

Right to reply, but no right to network privacy with Newscounter

Over the last couple of weeks I've been looking at a site called "Newscounter", which takes articles from the press in the UK, and allows users to vote on which stories they would most like to hear the other side of, hopefully giving individuals and organisations a right to reply which they so seldom get in the mainstream press. The site is still under development, but seems at the moment to me to be missing a couple of key features....
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November 21, 2006

Christmas arrives at Connect

Of course one consequence of working with a digital music site these days is that I am partially responsible for the Xmas music sales frenzy, and I noticed that Christmas arrived today on the UK version of Sony's Connect store, with one of the main promo items on the homepage being "Merry Christmas from Stateside". At least I could console myself with the fact that this offering featuring Jimmy McGriff, Amos Milburn, Lou Rawls, Charles Brown and Baby Washington is...
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November 13, 2006

Sony launches a new version of the Connect store in Europe

Last week Sony launched a new version of their European online download music store - Sony Connect. It is the first deployment of a project since I joined the company, although I didn't have anything to do with it up until the very end, when I was involved in some last minute user experience snagging. I understand that a common misconception amongst users is that they think a Sony music store will only have available tracks from Sony Music. This...
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October 26, 2006

Are corporations always wrong to engage with the "grey" market?

Sony's engagement with the "grey" market surrounding their games hardware has been in the news a lot over the last couple of weeks. First there was the anouncement that the corporation was intending to do everything possible to keeps the PS3 games console out of Europe until the official launch scheduled for March 2007. Then there were the revelations by the Lik-Sang website that Sony staff in Europe had previously purchased "grey" market Sony products from them. Sony's official line...
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September 19, 2006

New job with Sony in Austria

I'm very excited to be able to write that after my appearance at this weekend's AUKML conference in Edinburgh I shall be flying straight from Scotland to Austria. There I shall be joining Sony NetServices on a temporary basis as a Usability Consultant within their user experience team. The position is based just ouside of Salzburg, birthplace of not just Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, but Herbert von Karajan and Christian Doppler as well. Apparently some musical or other was filmed there...
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October 13, 2004

OpenMG Pre-Ripped for PC

I do, of course, see the irony that just slightly shy of two years after posting this, I ended up working for Sony NetServices in Austria on digital music projects. Needless to say the views reflected in this archive post from October 2004 do not reflect the views of Sony, nor do they reflect my views whilst working on Sony's products and services. Yesterday I foolishly purchased the newly-reformed Duran Duran CD. I know, I know, but I am...
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July 29, 2004

Murder by Playstation?

I haven't read the story (the print is very small in this picture), but from the strapline I assume it isn't about someone being bludgeoned to death with the blunt instrument of a Playstation console. ....but don't even get me started on their new gimmick of recycling links that were going round the internet like wildfire a few months ago as front page promoted "features". Sheeesh....
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