Friday, December 31, 2004

Happy New Year!

Just posting the obligatory best wishes for the year-to-be. Here's hoping 2005 is as good as, if not better, than the year I've just had, and infinitely better than the way 2004 has ended for the world.


Thursday, December 30, 2004

Tsunami animation

From the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission, a gif animation of how the tsunami derived from the earthquake and how it spread across the Indian Ocean.

I've read a few comments on various sites about Burma, a country known for its repressive and dictatorial military regime. By their accounts they have only been lightly hit, although whether that's the truth or just an excuse to keep foreign eyes off them is anyone's guess. It's interesting to see that the most intense force of the waves was where you would expect; Indonesia, Thailand and Sri Lanka. It's also interesting to see the strength of the waves that missed that area completely and eventually struck East Africa.

A technological response to the tsunami disaster.

Courtesy of Red Herring

The Red Herring Technology website has an article about the public use of blogs and other mobile technology to submit and disperse information after the disaster.

The South-East Asia Earthquake and Tsunami” blog had 10 contributors (from Mumbai to New Jersey), 12,109 page views, and 29 posts - mainly information from disaster relief crews - within 12 hours of being set up on Monday. Wikipedia’s “Tsunami” entry quickly incorporated this newest example, and a comprehensive entry titled “2004 Indian Ocean earthquake” sprang up as a collaborative historical record of the event. By Monday, Google News had more than 3,000 international news stories clumped into a tsunami-coverage list.

On Sunday, the day of the disaster, 13 of the top 40 links picked up by BlogPulse addressed the “tidal wave disaster,” reported Intelliseek’s Sue MacDonald. “Up to that point, I hadn’t seen any blogs from that part of that world up, but when places like Instapundit linked to their blogs, we caught that,” she said.

In particular it indicates that in the future these sort of technologies may help warn people of impending natural disasters and prevent deaths, rather than just reporting after the fact.

Information wave - Today’s real-time disaster relief may be tomorrow’s real-time rescue effort.

Wednesday, December 29, 2004

Tsunami - SMS blog from Sri Lanka

The devastation is just incredible. I thought it was impossible for a few waves to create so much damage, but once again I've been shown to be incorrect in my assumptions. As part of my job I have access to a lot of video footage, much of it that doesn't get shown. While it's fair to say that you've no doubt seen the "best bits" on your TV, it's the extended story of people with cameras that is just fascinating and somewhat scary.

An interesting upshot of all this is a collaborative weblog, ChiensSansFrontiers, another member of the Blogger family. One of the members of this weblog has been SMS'ing reports from on the ground in Sri Lanka, one of the hardest hit areas. Given the lack of available reporting is some areas it's good to see someone with inside knowledge of the area able to get around and gather knowledge with an almost instantaneous ability to get it published.

I'm standing on the Galle road in Aluthgama and looking at 5 ton trawlers tossed onto the road. Scary shit.
Found 5 of my friends, 2 dead. Of the 5, 4 are back in Colombo. The last one is stranded because of a broken bridge. Broken his leg. But he's alive. Made...
----- He got swept away but swam ashore. Said he's been burying people all day. Just dragging them off the beach and digging holes with his hands. Go..
----- with gear to get him tommorrow morning. He sounded disturbed. Guess grave digging does that to you.

[11 buses carrying passengers missing. An estimated 2.5 million people displaced.]
[Government agent and LTTE working together in jaffna. Health supplies are grossly inadequate. Disease needs to be prevented. Water is contaminated by dead bodie]..
[..bodies says tamil national alliance parliamentarian gajan ponnambalam.]

Stay away from the Galle road.
Continous looting and violence reproted in Moratuwa.

UNICEF airlifting goods to Jaffna in a few hours. But they're handing it over to the government offices there, and not distributing it themselves. Bad idea, says I. It might never get to the people who need it. (5.38 am)

Priorities as of this morning - Disposing of bodies, healthcare for survivors, clean drinking water. But all you people doing aid work, keep sending all the food and clothes too. (5.44 am)

Leaving Anuradhapura now. Heading onto LTTE areas now. Losing signal in about an hour. (6.06 am)

Lanka official figures - over 21,000 dead in Sri Lanka. (6.49 am)

7100 bodies buried in 4 graves in the South. 7600 alone buried in a single grave in Sammanthurai in the Amparai district, Eastern Province. (6.54 am)

The government continues to claim it is 'taking steps' to provide relief. But nothing is getting to the people who need it. It is the people who are taking food, water, medicines and clothes who are are making a difference. So those of you doing it, keep at it! It's helping more than you will ever know. (7.15 am)

Losing network signal in a few minutes. Don't know time of return. Will message. Keep the good work going. Change the world. (7.17 am)

Last message from the Omantai checkpoint. There are unconfirmed reports of the LTTE 'taking over' relief convoys to their areas. (7.56 am)

The LTTE has been taking the aid and claiming to distribute. No news beyond that. (8.06 am)

ABC News - Sri Lanka buries its dead in mass graves
ABC News - Concerns raised over speed of tsunami aid

Sunday, December 26, 2004

New RSS feed - We Make Money Not Art

I've posted stuff from this site already, but I love the stuff they're reporting on so much I figure they deserve a feed.

We-Make-Money-Not-Art is a blog written by Belgian New Media Consultant RĂ©gine Debatty, dedicated to looking at how New Media is being used here and now. Some of it is really inspiring stuff. Check it out.


If I didn't know it before, it's been confirmed just how much my wife Ellen loves me! I scored the Star Wars Original Trilogy box set and a copy of Star Wars Monopoly. I mean, how cool is that! Only in this game is it possible for Obi-Wan Kenobi and Darth Vader to share a jail cell, for a Tuskan Raider to earn rent on Coruscant and for a couple of spaceports to be built on Dagobah; one at Yoda's cave and the other on the swamp. Not to mention the fact that every time Ellen landed on Hoth she kept singing "Echo Base, far away in time. Echo Base, far away in time..." Priceless stuff.

Other items from the family included a desk organiser and stationery set to help fill out my new desk (courtesy of my recently acquired job), and some cash to be used for various purposes. Given the above-mentioned job I already have permission to scout for a Digital Set-top Box so we can keep an eye on the product I'll be creating. If it's affordable, I may even be able to swing for one with a built in hard drive recorder.

Best of all, I got to fire of a bit of holiday video courtesy of the new camera. I might edit up a bit and post it for my brother and sister-in-law over in London.

Hope your Christmas was a good one.

Friday, December 24, 2004

A very Merry, etc.

To anyone that stumbles across this site, have a wonderful Christmas and a joyous New Year. I have to admit that for me and mine 2004 will be hard to top, but anything's possible. Party hard, party long, but be around to see what 2005 brings; don't wind up as part of a "Road Toll" wrap on the local news.

If your culture is not one that follows the Christmas tradition, then accept this greeting in a spirit of international fraternity, rather than Yuletide bonhomie.

"A Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night..."

Like to chat during your meal?


I love this idea so much.

You may remember me mentioning my last assignment whereby we were required to create a piece of technology that "facilitated communication among large scale social networks" using mapping technology ("large scale" being defined as two or more). Well this seems like it could have been thought up out of that brief.

Communication Grill Chang-tei, by Japanese artists Kou Sueda and Kouji Ishii, is an electric cooker controlled by a chat software for making Yakiniku (Japanese-style barbecue).

The conversation exchanged on a network powers the electric heater. In order to roast meat, you have to continue carrying out a chat with the person that shares your table. Once you stop chatting, the fire of the electric heater goes out. But beware, if the conversation gets too lively, the meat could burn.


We Make Money Not Art Communication Grill Chang-tei

Thursday, December 23, 2004

Actually, this guy deserves his $3m.

Coke to pay worker $3m after shooting ABC News

Apparantly this guy was shot, several times, during a botched hold up while he was refilling a vending machine. Coke was found liable because the guy had come back to work after being convinced that he'd never have to fill those particular vending machines. He'd been a victim of an attack at the same site two years earlier.

"In September the court found that Coca Cola Amatil was liable for injuries suffered in the second attack, including a pierced lung and a tongue half blown off by a bullet.
Justice Robert Hulme has ordered the group to pay damages of $2.89 million to the victim, including $100,000 to his wife and son who witnessed the shooting."

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

NORAD ready for Santa trek | CNET

It's good to see someone's keeping an eye on the old bugger.

NORAD ready for Santa trek CNET

Message from the future | MIS Magazine

Via SmartMobs.

If you thought nanorobots, skycars and holographic images were the stuff of science fiction, think again. This intriguing article by Helene Zampetakis runs through some of the technologies that are being developed right now and will impact us in the next five to 20 years.

MIS Magazine - Message from the future

Wireless goes lighter-than-air?

What's a cheaper way of blanketing cities with wireless receivers than sticking them in orbit? Simple - fill a bag with enough helium to lift 1.4 tonnes of communication equipment and sit them 20km above the surface of the earth. It's a lot easier and cheaper than sticking them on a rocket and a lot more convenient to maintain. | Not quite out of this world

The problem I see at first glance, maintaining satellites is a money spinner. It's one of the ways space agencies are able to maintain funds. If that goes by the wayside, where does it leave space exploration? Then again, maybe it will be the kick they need to start exploring space properly instead of just piddling around in Earth orbit.

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Homemade IPod ad "Goes Viral"

Enough wallowing in my career success. It's time to get back to blogging.

Wired News has an article about an interesting homemade ad that an IPod enthusiast, school teacher George Masters, has created. Using a mix of Adobe products (Photoshop, Illustrator, After Effects), Cinema 4D and a few plugins for After Effects by Swedish plugin manufacturer "Trapcode," the clip page has reached almost 50 000 hits and is being spread through email.

Clip download page - Quicktime required.

The interesting thing for me has to do with the "evangelical" nature of the creation of this ad. Mr Masters is obviously a big fan of the IPod, so much so that he felt compelled to spend 160 hours creating the ad. In doing so he has marketed a product, not because he's being paid to do it, but because he just loves it. It's an interesting phenomenon that's only become possible with the advent of new technologies and cheap image software. There's no way anyone could have done something like this ten years ago.

Wired News :: Home-Brew IPod Ad Opens Eyes

Memes In The Wild - Viral marketing
Interview: Ed Robinson, Maria Silva - The Viral Factory

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

At last the big news - I GOT THE JOB!!!

After 10 years of working in video and television, 8 of which have been with the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, I have this day been offered a position with ABC New Media and Digital Services as a Technical Support and Content Producer. I'll be responsible for providing support for and producing the ABC's broadband video News content, as well as gearing up for the introduction of the ABC's second digital channel.

After all these years of working Freelance and Casual it's an incredible relief. Thanks to all those that have supported and encouraged me through the years. I'll have more on what's happening as I get into it.

ABC News Online
Article on ABC Onlne
Media Release: ABC to launch Second Digital Channel

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

New RSS feed

As a precursor to official news that I hope to post here in the next few days, I've integrated a RSS feed from ABC Online News.

I've also integrated a feed from "," a site that looks at new tech gadgets.

It's "Karate Kid" - the Musical!?!

I'd heard Bill Simmons and his trusty minion, "the Intern" talk about the impending production of "Karate Kid - the Musical" and now it looks like it's finally opened. However, if it's straight theatre you're after you're in the wrong place, in more ways than one!

ESPN Page 2 - "Bonzai Daniel-San!"

Sunday, December 05, 2004

Criminals are not only a "Cowardly and superstitious lot," they're also pretty stupid.

It's a few days old, but I only just came upon it. I've heard of the urban legend about the camera, the toothbrushes and burglars, but this is ridiculous. Robber leaves behind a mobile phone containing his picture

Saturday, December 04, 2004

Radio Heads Mobile

Russel Buckley of the Mobile Technology Weblog writes that in his opinion the obvious partner for the mobile phone is not television and video, but rather radio. It's a thought worth pursuing; when you're mobile you have less ability to concentrate on pictures, whereas radio can be appreciated and absorbed while participating in almost any activity. However, while it's true that the technology allows the user to go beyond listening to a standard radio station and instead get more personalised radio broadcasts, I have to wonder if there is the commercial interest in radio over video. Then again, maybe we're all so hell-bent on putting pictures on our phones and PDA's we're looking past the obvious.

TheFeature :: Radio Heads Mobile


The concept sounds interesting. Now I just need to get a decent enough internet connection.

The basic idea is simple; create a profile, choose three artists you like, then the system picks and plays tracks based around not only the artists you've chosen, but also similar artists based on the preferences of others with similar tastes. It's an enthralling concept and one I'm a little disappointed I'm not able to really get into at the moment. If anyone is using Last FM I'd be interested in hearing comments.

Last.FM - Personalised online radio station

Friday, December 03, 2004

"Cost Effective Sports Coverage"

From the lovely people at

Occasionally people ask about what's the best way to shoot sports with just a single cam. Well, whether single DV cam to be edited later or multi cam coverage, live switched and streamed on the internet, Rev. John Jackman and Bruce A. Johnson have written an interesting article on the subject.

Access requires registration to, but it's definitely worth it if you're interested in video.

article - Cost Effective Sports Coverage

Thursday, December 02, 2004

Hi-Def DVD saga continues!

Thanks to Mitch for the heads up.

Just when you thought Blu-ray was going to get squashed by Toshiba's HD DVD, Sony announces it has a partner, German company Singulus, to mass produce the disks. The part I find particularly interesting is this.

Sony said in September that its next-generation PlayStation game console would support Blu-ray technology, considered an important announcement because PlayStation 2 played a large role in spreading the use of the current DVD.

C|Net News - Blu-ray moves toward mass production

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

Anim8tor, free 3D animation software

Courtesy of Harold Heims' Plug-in site newsletter.

Anim8tor is a free 3D application currently at v0.9. It can create some interesting stuff in the hands of an experienced user.

So if you're interested in getting a handle on 3D but don't want to spend the money, you may as well start here.

Anim8tor main page

Return of the King Extended Edition

If the phone is too much, there's always the final installment in the Lord Of The Rings trilogy. The official website has just put up a trailer for the DVD, released this month, just in time for Christmas. I know that in the week following Christmas, before New Years, Ellen and I intend to sit down on a sweltering Summer day and watch all three Extended Editions back to back. With this one that pushes the total running time out to 11 hours 20 minutes. That's going to be some movie marathon!

View the Trailer here!