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Whedonesque - a community weblog about Joss Whedon
"One of these days you're going to wake up in a coma."
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October 02 2009

Press release for the Virtual Echo app. The Dollhouse desktop program came out last week.

Anyone still using it?

To be honest I don't get the appeal, based on this description and whatever it was I read about this before.
I don't get it either.
The URL in the press release doesn't work. Should go here.
It redirects to there automatically.
I tried it. It was amusing, for a while. But Eliza seems very unsure and awkward for most of the characters. I assume someone was shouting "Now do this!" at her from behind the camera.
There's no random setting to be surprised and when I thought of setting it up for every hour to act like a clock chime I found it wasn't very accurate.

Even the desktop animations from many years ago could also interact, they'd follow the mouse pointer or something, while Echo just does the same few things over and over, text message excepted.

I can see what they were thinking of, but doesn't really hit the spot.
Plus of course she only appeared on one monitor...
Weird. I just started looking around in the program files and there's a couple of Echo videos that I've never seen. Both have her "Teleporting" onto the screen standing there for a few seconds and then teleporting away, complete with glowy shimmering thing.

Any idea what those are for? They've never come up on the random appearances, where she always walks in from the right.

Looking at them I think they must be the images that appear when you do the thing with the card and the webcam, which I haven't done.

[ edited by zz9 on 2009-10-02 21:56 ]
What I would like to know is why have the app released last Friday if you're only getting round to publicising in the entertainment press today?
Apparently last week technically was the beta release to those who signed up for it months ago (even though the beta URL was accessible to anyone). Today was the official release of the finished product.

[ edited by The One True b!X on 2009-10-02 23:24 ]
I wasn't aware it was the beta version. Have to say that since Fox linked to the app from the main page of the offical Dollhouse site, people might have assumed it was the final version.
I wonder if Fox looked at the ratio of live viewers to online viewers and decided to funnel the majority of the marketing funds for Dollhouse to alternative promotion, like this, rather than promoting it on television. Maybe they figured this was a better way to appeal to "The Internets".
I get the feeling it's already getting a bit of a backlash.
Merc, if that were the case they would have, oh I don't know, maybe posted trailers and promos online, too. More likely they simply have no strategy.
Whatever the case the money for this will likely have come from the promotional budget. It's a shame. I know it's cool to see Echo wonder around your PC and all, but... you know. Play with the toys when you have the audience to justify it.
Once again our opponents (or frenemies, maybe?) don't seem to understand the difference between a tactic and a strategy, my friends.
Here's Blitz blogging about it where they mention "In its beta state, the AIR app has received exceptional praise from fans. An email blast announcing the marketing application graciously welcomed a 54% click-through rate to download."

Not sure where the "exceptional praise" is coming I'm guessing it's because the pretty high click-rate. Only problem with this application as a promotional tool is that it appeals to people who already fans of the show. Not sure if anyone new to the show is going to download and install an application like this.

That said, next Monday is Adobe's big conference Adobe MAX and this is likely going to be showcased as one of the examples of Adobe AIR. So perhaps FOX might pick up some new viewers from the Adobe designer and developer crowd.
Kinda boring use of AR, but they did run an ad during last night's episode.
looks like that old program some time ago, only it was with strippers :D

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