The Ride Electronic
THE SMARTPHONE IS EVERYWHERE. ON the commute to work, I get cut off or otherwise threatened in a vehicular manner on a regular basis by people using their handheld devices in ways California law no longer allows and common decency has been against from the beginning. Heck, the last (only) time I was in India, there were dudes piloting animal-drawn carts and riders with their families motoring along on Bajaj 150cc motorcycles talking on the phone, texting, checking e-mail, etc..
We here at CW are not trying to add to this problem but we (heart) new technology and all the fun and interesting things that can be accomplished with the mobile device.
Witness the square code on the page here. It’s a riff on the CW road test icon but with a new, ahem, twist that makes it a 2D code. It’s similar to a barcode but packs more information.
And you don’t need a laser scanner at the corner market to get the message. In the case of Cycle World, the message is actually a link to video, accessed by scanning that code with your smartphone. The first step is to point your device’s browser to http://get tag.mobi. Microsoft’s Tag Reader site will give your handheld a sniff and offer the appropriate app. Once it’s loaded, fire it up and the camera should turn on. Then, point the lens at the code and as soon as the reader gets the look it wants, it automatically snaps a shot and, bingo (should the electronic planets align and you have cell coverage or WiFi access), video should start playing full screen. If you don’t have a smartphone, don’t fret, just follow the web links we provide alongside the codes. Several stories in this issue have been treated in this way, the most significant of which is “Ten Best Bikes of 2010.”
Significant because for the first time in the 34-year history of Ten Best, we debuted the winners digitally, both on www.cycleworld.com and on our iPhone app. This is big for us on a number of levels. Foremost is the seriousness with which we are approaching the digital world. By the time you read this, the new and fully redesigned www. cycleworld.com should be in full swing. You'll find a real-time blog for breaking news, the same strong feature-oriented content you’ve come to expect— first looks, first rides, comparison tests, interviews—plus more trips into the archives for cool stories from the past. The look is much cleaner, navigation is greatly simplified and functionality massively improved. As it always is on the web, improvements will be ongoing, with big plans to make the Buyer’s Guide an even better comparison-shopping and research tool than it already is. On the quick-hit social side, our Facebook page has grown considerably and is a great hub for conversation about the latest goings on in motorcycling. From racing updates (spoiler alerts as necessary!) to product news to future bikes and even the occasional spy shot, it’s a place where we can interact directly with enthusiasts to get feedback, share some of the good stuff that might not find a place in the magazine or on the website and generally have a good time.
An additional word on our content: We won’t run press releases verbatim like other websites. We will offer breaking news, but with more thought, better insight and higher quality. And there will be more video. Our YouTube channel is getting updated regularly with everything from dyno runs to the full-on all-singing, all-dancing multicomponent videos that accompanied our MasterBike story from the June issue. And if you haven’t seen Associate Editor Mark Cernicky’s quirky video on riding the McLean Monowheel, go to www.youtube. com/cycleworldmaga zine and have a look. At last count it had 1.3 million views!
So, in the same way that we are making the enthusiast’s interaction with all things two wheels a richer experience in the magazine by adding 2D codes to get more information and added dimension to our print stories, more of the web stuff will get similar dynamic content. All of which will translate exceptionally well into the CW iPad app in development.
The iPad and eReaders like it are perhaps the most exciting of all the digital developments. It’s going to give us one place to put the exceptional words, photos, video and other graphics you’ve come to expect from us into one easily portable, incredibly powerful and highly entertaining information tool. We hope to bring motorcycle lovers closer than ever to the sights and sounds of their passion.
It’s all part of our overall plan to expand the Cycle World universe to deliver what motorcycle enthusiasts want wherever they are and whenever they want it.
For now, we hope you enjoy the fun stuff behind those 2D codes. All we’re asking is, scan responsibly...
Scan this icon with your smartphone to see INSTANT VIDEO of Cycle World in action!
ONLINE: cycleworld.com/action Get your free tag reader at: http://gettag.mobi