January 2005

Ashley Norris’s article in the Guardian about the potential merger of NTL and Telewest in the UK and their plans to offer video on demand has Toby Hack head of OMDtvi enthusiastically suggesting “This is the start of the next phase in the evolution of TV: viewer choice TV.” Excuse the pun, but that’s a media hack’s interpretation by any standards.

Far from being the killer app for cable companies, it’s the attempt to fulfill an empty promise that broadband, RSS and BitTorrent have been filling for the last year or more. Media centre PCs (or a shiny new Mac mini) are becoming a piece of the living room set-up and the rise of personal media services via broadband, BitTorrent and RSS feeds have all but made video on demand from cable companies obsolete. Why bother subscribing when you can download High-Def streams (which is what they’ll broadcast anyway) for free (nearly).

Norris suggest this at the end of the article, but the cable guys just don’t want to hear it:

“The cable companies, with their huge bandwidth, could be in a strong position to offer IP video on demand services. ‘Of course we are considering video on demand via IP,’ says Telewest spokesman John Moorwood. ‘But for now the key is video on demand via TV, and probably will be for some time to come.'”

They should just concentrate on selling their bandwidth and make deals for IP-based content that make it cheap and easier than stealing it. It sounds to me like the cable guys are still running to catch up with their train that has already been the station, sadly unaware that they’re about to be mown down by the one piling in behind them.

Misunderstanding mobile phone cameras

by Andy Polaine on January 25, 2005

Simon Castle’s rant against mobile phone cameras in today’s Sydney Morning Herald completely misunderstands new technologies and confirms his Luddite status he so quickly denies. The privacy issues he raises may be real, but they have nothing to do with mobile phones.

There are plenty of higher resolution digital cameras smaller than phones and posting photos on the Internet has been easy for years. The idea that manufacturer’s be forced to make the camera flash is absurd, how difficult is it for someone to put a piece of tape over the flash?

Blogs and moblogs represent a new wave of personal media creation, but they’re no more invasive than the press pack getting stuck into a media victim. Does giving a photographer press credentials allow them the right to invade someone’s privacy?

Like it or not, our technological world is becoming more playful. Humans like to play (witness the iPod) even if we’ve been brainwashed into believing adult life should be serious. Those “toys” Castle dismisses are the future of a connected culture, like it or not. Trying to legislate against their use is more likely to curb human rights than save them. The next thing we’ll hear is that mobiles should be banned because protesters use them.

Understanding VORN and the work of Jon Harris

January 23, 2005

The article I wrote about Jonathan Harris is out in Desktop now. Go buy it! Harris was the creator of the brilliant 10×10 site, which gives a snapshot of current images and words in the news across the web. He also created a similar work called Understanding Vorn. I noticed a lot of activity on […]

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Screaming Fans – New iMacs and Apple’s tech support

January 17, 2005

My friend Toby (check out his audio work, it’s great) recently bought a new iMac for his audio work (he and his wife are expecting a baby so he couldn’t splash out on a tower) . The problem is, it’s pretty processor intensive and it makes the fan whine, which isn’t great if you’re working […]

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Apple’s Tipping Point

January 15, 2005

Paul Nixon has created a great bit of information design describing Apple’s product development/market strategy. The Mac mini and iPod Shuffle in the sweet spot of the mass market. The “Halo Effect” is something well used in the fashion industry. High fashion nonsense filtering down into mainstream styles. Companies like Armani make far more money […]

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Bastardstone’s – Waterstone’s employee sacked for blogging

January 11, 2005

So, Waterstone’s bookshop have just fired Joe Gordon, an employee of eleven years, due to his blog. Pretty stupid move and another example of a company/brand (blah!) in need of reading the Hughtrain. Okay, it is perhaps a bit dumb to publicly insult your place of work, but really, unless Waterstone’s have a case for […]

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Where and how to donate to Tsunami victims

January 4, 2005

Anders Jacobsen has laid down the challenge that he’ll give $1 per trackback to his post of all the aid agencies. Seems like a good idea to me. So here are the details: International aid organizations: Australian Red Cross UNICEF (United Nations Children’s Fund) United Nations’ World Food Programme Medecins Sans Frontieres / Doctors without […]

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The raging BitTorrent

January 3, 2005

There’s a good story on BitTorrents over at Wired at the moment by from Clive Thomson based on an interview with Bram Cohen, BitTorrent’s creator. Thomson writes a few entertaining anecdotes about the entertainment industry’s lack of understanding of the area and makes a similar point to my previous post about Apple and the idea […]

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Tsunamis shatter celeb holidays

January 1, 2005

Following up from the previous post about Channel Ten’s reporting, CNN get a bit of Tsunami entertainment news out with their Tsunamis shatter celebrity holidays story. Tragic. This quote from skier Ingemar Stenmark is particularly profound: “The water from the first wave disappeared, but then it came back with terrifying speed” Thanks to Matthew Linderman […]

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