Tag Archives: extremestatsnerdiness


What did Europe do to annoy Adobe? (And how can we fix it?)

Good news everyone! Adobe just made Creative Cloud the official replacement for Creative Suite, with all their new developments now exclusively going into their rental apps which, to be fair, are quite affordable compared with buying outright (at commercial rates, at least). And while I’m still trying to work out if I’m in any way whelmed by the new features (we’re mostly talking workflow tweaks and fixes for retina displays, as far as I can tell so far), at least the price is staying the same.

But about that price… It’s $49.99 (=£32.17 at today’s exchange rates) per month for the complete package in the US (best rate, assuming an annual commitment). In the UK, at £46.88 a month, that’s a 46% premium. Why?

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How much for an iPhone 5?

How much for an iPhone 5?

I put this together to compare the cost of buying an iPhone 5 on contract with the major UK networks with the cost of getting an unlocked iPhone 5 from Apple and adding an equivalent SIM-only pay monthly service. (Note, I didn’t look at Pay As You Go, but 12 month contract SIM-only deals which seem to be the best value. Most of these are quoting special 12 month discounts, but as you can shop around for a new one after 12 months, I went ahead and assumed you could get the same price for a second year – you can always go somewhere else with an unlocked phone!)

Thanks to PC Pro who posted all the prices in a nice clear table first…

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Eurovision party cards

Every year at Eurovision we get together with a mixture fellow song contest geeks and bemused neighbours and friends who just like eating and drinking.

This year it was my turn to organise the sweepstake, so everyone has some sort of vested interest in every country, and I made these cards. I think they were meant to be like passports to start with, then I realised I wanted useful extras like facts about the artists (taken from the incredibly patchy biogs on the official Eurovision site). And I’ve made them to print on a home inkjet printer, without too much ink, so they don’t look much like passports in the end.

Feel free to rip them off! (Print pages 1-13, then do page 14 on the back of each one, cut and fold…)

More proof that Microsoft no longer get it


For reasons you don’t want me to go into, I have to make a Venn diagram. Is Excel going to be any help?

According to Microsoft, yes! It’s easy to create overlapping circles and make them into pretty colours. The video tutorial is voiced by someone who sounds extremely proud of this, and finishes with a chipper “THAT’S how I want my Venn diagram to look!”

Except it’s extremely useless. I don’t know if anyone at Microsoft stopped to consider that Venn diagrams are supposed to mean something, not just look harmonious with your document theme.

For one thing, I need to crunch numbers and get areas and overlaps which are proportional to my data – none of that is mentioned. 

It’s not too surprising, given that the example Venn diagram is set up to show all the overlaps between birds and mammals (errr… there isn’t any) and… I’m sorry, I can’t even imagine an invertebrate amphibian mammal bird reptile even if one had ever existed. Which it didn’t.

Microsoft were the company which re-thought the world, brought the cleverest, most useful tools, and made billions in the process. When did it all become about style over function (**cough** Vista)? And if Microsoft no longer get it, who does?

X Factor week 7 review

Matt - smoking, a bit of “I’m a serious artist, me”, cleverly produced, but maybe a bit too different from what he’s done so far. Loving the “wake em up” key change near the end – not a trick the Beatles felt the need for, but we’ve learned so much since then, haven’t we? Not exactly bottom two material (unless everyone else is Amazing) but not his biggest week either.

Cher - really smart choice which I think will broaden her fanbase. Hope she’s not overshadowed by some memorable ridiculousness from the judges – Louis on his own planet, and everyone else arguing about stairs.

One Direction - definitely another standout week for them, nicely arranged, and hippy chick crowd invasions are sadly underused these days. Safe as.

Rebecca - nice, but is she trying to be Mary? She didn’t do it that well. Why was she wearing some of my old pen tops as earrings? Still, it was engaging and original, hopefully solid enough.

Mary - “and tonight I will be Shirley Bassey.” And she was! I like her now. Next week Goldfinger please.

Paije - great song for him, and what a difference a gospel choir makes (where did they come from?!). I thought they were going to keep doing key changes until his voice broke, which it kind of did at the end. Still, best Paije week yet. Hmm – and I had him down as a definite before bottom two before that…

Wagner - what’s worse than hearing Wagner murder a Beatles song? Hearing him murder three Beatles songs? With total random nonsense from the dancers, this is beyond pop, it’s a surreal drug-fueled art rant against reason itself. Heaven help us, lots will want Simon’s universe to end.

Katie - history tells us haircuts = death on these shows, but she’s singing really well, like the Sunday Night Katie we’ve come to know so well. I’m conflicted. Dannii nailed it when she asked “who is the real you?”

It’s really hard to make predictions without a bit of method this week, so I’m going to try a guesstimate formula…
SUPPORT = fan support + everyone else’s support
                = (fanbase size x how well they pleased the fans) + (non-fanbase size x how well they won them over)

Here’s how I’m rating each act out of 10 for pleasing fans:
Matt: 7 (bit of a break from his normal style)
Cher: 8 (pretty solid, but lacking a bit of uniqueness)
One Direction: 9 (really good)
Rebecca: 7 (trying hard, but a bit stressed)
Mary: 9 (very solid)
Paije: 9 (they will feel excited, I think)
Wagner: 8 (they love him almost whatever, but this was cheesemongous)
Katie: 6 (good voice, but a totally new look appears desperate and alienating)

And here’s how I’m rating them out of 10 for winning over new fans:
Matt: 7 (people are seeing a different side of him)
Cher: 8 (different and good enough to turn heads and change minds)
One Direction: 6 (also good, but not revolutionary)
Rebecca: 4 (not amazing or groundbreaking)
Mary: 6 (very good, but not massively out of keeping with expectations)
Paije: 6 (good enough to reach out a bit, not amazing)
Wagner: 1 (if you don’t love him already, he won’t convince you now)
Katie: 7 (very appealing performance, but it’s just quite difficult for her to win against very negative perceptions)

Now I’ve guessed the fanbase size from the average of the last three weeks of iTunes ratings share, and the “non-fanbase” as 100 – fanbase size.

For my formula, fan support = fanbase size x fan rating
Other support = non-fanbase size x win over rating x 0.1 (in my experience of marketing, it’s ten times harder to make an impression on people leading to action if you don’t already have a working relationship)

This produces numbers which kind of look sensible to me – of course, if you disagree, you can change the figures and make your own predictions… but to me it looks like this:

It’s a shocker! This suggests the bottom two will be Paije and Wagner
Paije because his fanbase is fairly small and he’s not doing quite enough to win new people over
Wagner because although his fans love him, no-one else will, and we’ve reached the time when that will limit him

Katie comes out third from bottom in my estimates, so I’ll be with everyone else not being too surprised if she takes her usual spot, but I’ll stick my neck out and say Wagner will be this week’s “shock” exit…

We’ll check the new iTunes ratings tomorrow to see if they agree.