Friday, April 29, 2005

Interactive TV... from your mobile phone? - Poynter Online

Monique Van Dusseldorp on journalism site Poynter Online writes about how video phones are being used to create interactive, or "Participation TV" in Italy. In much the same way that I mentioned yesterday the San Francisco Radio Station taking on an all-Podcast format, audience members with video phones are invited to join in.

On Telecom Italia's broadband portal, Rosso Alice, the community channel making use of this gained a quick following. The channel includes a 24-hour video chat community, with local heroes broadcasting their own shows, but also offers eight hours of live television per day. In the programs, those with a video phone or webcam can interact with the TV hosts, sing songs, tell jokes, provide cinema reviews, etc. The caller's video image is visible on screen, next to or behind the hosts, who sit in a Flash-produced digital studio.

How long before news media will call in the help of video-phone users as well?

The search for an effective means of interactivity continues...

Poynter Online - E-Media Tidbits

I'm off work next week to get some time away, but when I get back I'll hopefully be attending a seminar run by AFTRS on Interactive TV. I'll be interested to see what's said at that. More details at that time.

The Darth Side: Memoirs of a Monster

I've been linking to a few Star Wars related sites of late, as the big date approaches, but this one has to be the best of the lot.

"The Darth Side: Memoirs of a Monster" is a weblog written by, who else but, Darth Vader, Lord of the Sith. The weblog thus far is set around the events leading up to and including "The Empire Strikes Back" and chronicles Darth's thoughts, dreams and fears as he chases the terrorist Rebel Alliance across the galaxy.

"Do you ever have one of those days where you find yourself asking, "Hey, I know I'm bad, but what did I do to deserve this?"

Have I mentioned before that I am surrounded by idiots? Let me cut to chase and just tell you up front: the rebels got away. All of them. General Veers, bless his heart, must have destroyed two dozen armed speeders and an entire line of infantry -- but those were just ants. We failed to take Mothma, Organa, Rieekan, Skywalker or even the traiterous fish Ackbar.

You might be thinking some fruit would come of our ensnaring the Millennium Falcon as it fled Hoth. You would be a damned fool optimist. My elite squadron of StarDestroyers proved itself utterly incapable of a securing a single unescorted freighter travelling less than the speed of light.

I mean, come on."


"It was not a rebel trap. It was a mining colony. A non-unionized, untaxed mining colony catering to the underworld: Hutts and primitives, scoundrels and libertarians. The administrator of the facility was a quaking fool in expensive fabrics, introduced as Lando Calrissian.

I took one look at his satin shirt and disco hair and I knew he was a weak specimen, and would prove easy to bend to my will. He tried to smile while he bartered for his life, and I picked through his jellied mind at my leisure. His smile faltered. "Lord Vader, with all respect, what is it you want from us?"

"I don't know," I told him, rising from my chair. "But you will soon find out."

I have a feeling this man Calrissian has a role to play yet."

It's well written, highly creative and enjoys a touch of cross-genre humour, such as the post " And Me, With A Pain In All The Diodes Down My Left Side." Best of all, the comments by its readers, the majority of whom have maintained the narrative, are a joy to read. Take a look.

The Darth Side: Memoirs of a Monster

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Podcasting Killed the Radio Star

You know, the editorial team here at King Leonard - The Weblog are always up for mass acceptance of last year's bleeding edge technology. So it makes us chuckle to see that a radio station in San Francisco is doing away with boring, overpaid D.J.'s and collecting Podcasts from the general public for transmission over the airwaves and on their website.

"I'm excited," said Infinity Broadcasting CEO Joel Hollander. "We're creating a new way to let a lot of people participate personally in radio -- sharing their feelings on music, news, politics, whatever matters to them.

"I also think this is going to be a really interesting way to develop new talent," he added.

So how long until a community television station somewhere in Boise, Idaho puts together a show made up of vlog submission? Or make their content available as BitTorrent files?

It's happening. Little by little.

Wired News: Podcasting Killed the Radio Star

How Star Wars Changed the World -

More wacky Star Wars fun.

This time, it's a Flash driven timeline of who, what, when and how things developed into and from the various elements of the Star Wars saga. It's interesting to see who owes their careers to this little group of films.

How Star Wars Changed the World

Life After Darth - talks to George Lucas

Wired 13.05: Life After Darth

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Mobiles and Politics

Because an American obviously can't be a good representative of the mobile telecommunications industry if they didn't support the current administration in the last election.

Time magazine is reporting that
"At least four of the two dozen or so U.S. delegates selected for the (Inter-American Telecommunication Commission) meeting, sources tell TIME, have been bumped by the White House because they supported John Kerry's 2004 campaign.

The White House admits as much: "We wanted people who would represent the Administration positively, and--call us nutty--it seemed like those who wanted to kick this Administration out of town last November would have some difficulty doing that," says White House spokesman Trent Duffy."

It's really sad when an administration takes themselves far more seriously than the government and people they represent, but hey, what should we expect? Any Kerry Supporters On The Line? -- May. 02, 2005

N.A.B. pics!!!

No, it's not the National Australia Bank. It's the National Association of Broadcasters and their annual fun fare of all things video and broadcast once again held in sunny Las Vegas. Adam from was there with camera in tow to take lots of fun pictures.

April 18

April 20

Monday, April 25, 2005

Michael Leunig - Lest we forget the ultimate price of warfare

Thanks to Patrick for the heads up on this piece.

As mentioned previously, April 25 marks ANZAC day, a day of memorial in Australia for those that died in war. At this time, in this world, with Australian soldiers in action in Iraq, Cartoonist Michael Leunig writes this opinion piece on ANZAC day. It may be hard to read in places, and it will definitely invoke strong emotions in some, but it needs to be said.

I agree with what he has to say about the contribution made by non-military heroes to this country, but I can't entirely condemn those that have fought. World War 1 was a different time and fought for different reasons. Evidence shows that most of the young volunteers weren't going anywhere to fight. They just wanted to get out of their backwater existences and see the world. They would have had very little understanding of what war really was until they were surrounded by it.

World War 2, the discussions have been made over the years that it really could be considered a justifiable war. The consequences of allowing Nazi Germany to run riot across the earth doesn't bear thinking about. The actions that took place can't be justified, but perhaps the outcome can be.

Vietnam was unconscionable, but by the end they had to threaten prison to get people to go there.

That said, I agree that there should be some appreciation of those that chose not to fight, not as a cowardly or rebellious thing, but rather those that chose peace over war. I know that I couldn't bring myself to willingly shoot and kill another person, or at least to make a concerted decision to go somewhere and do it. I'd defend to my last breath, or even an attacker's last breath, to defend my home and my family, but I would never go elsewhere to attack them.

Anyway, read and think. It's definitely worth consideration at a time when our troops are overseas, once again, at war.

Lest we forget the ultimate price of warfare - Opinion -

Edit 26/04/05 - Actually, I can't find any reason to justify war or the actions of those that actively seek it out.

Sunday, April 24, 2005

A few random thoughts

So, do you think Joh held out as long as he did to get his own news slot, away from the Pope and the Bali Heroin Mules? if there's one thing that man loved, it was his own spotlight.

Beyond that, you'd have to say that his final timing was the biggest pair of forks for "the Chooks" he could possibly have come up with. His death announced at 10 past 6 on a Saturday? 10's news finished just as he passed, and Channels 7 and 9 would have been like Keystone Cops on speed trying to get the word out before the other one.

I'm so glad I don't work on the hill anymore. Nights like that are the reason why I gave it away.

Tomorrow's ANZAC day. I know that a lot of my colleagues have issues with the whole thing, particularly regarding the glorification of war and the army in a time when we're fighting a useless and illegal war, however I can't help but imagine what it would have been like, 17 or 18, before dawn, heading to a foreign shore in boats knowing that the people on that shore were just as ready to kill you as you were to kill them. I had one of those moments of reality the other day while driving. I felt scared shitless just for a moment.

I'm not sure which I find scarier; an enemy that wants to kill me, or knowing that I was about to have to kill someone else to survive.

Does narrative need a climax? I've read a few things lately that makes me wonder whether it isn't just a metaphor for the male sexual urge. If that is so, what does it say about the standard Horror genre, with its continuing cycle of tension and release, tension and release; the ultimate in feminine sexual metaphor (especially with all that blood) or just the male sexual urge expanded beyond its capabilities?

Why do we bother with the Internet if we're not using it to do something with the real world? I mean the tangible world, the place we call home. Without that root in the real, we're just moving electrons.

Then again, maybe all those electronic butterfly wings can have some effect. But if it did, would it just be a virtual Hurricane?

One of my lecturers last year started her series of lectures with the question "What's New about New Media?" and I have to agree. Most of the stuff we see on the Internet, now moving to an IPod, Laptop or Mobile Phone near you just uses old methods of communication and rebundles them with a few links or a smaller screen size.

For God's sakes people, if you're going to create content for something new, can't we make the most of the interactivity it gives us? Time shifting is not a valid reason. Portability is definitely not a valid reason.

I know, it's kind of hypocritical of me of all people to be saying this, given that my work, to this point, seems to involve re-purposing television, radio and print content for New Media delivery. That's why I'm so excited about the plans we have coming up. And also a bit scared. Pushing the envelope on what's already been done is never an easy thing.

A slight aside from the last. Would it be fair to say that the ultimate display of exactly what sort of narrative possibilities New Media technologies can bring us is the Massive Multiplayer Online Game? Quite apart from experiences of Tele-Presence, or virtual realty, the opportunity to create your own stories in an open and endless environment strikes me as the ultimate narrative possibility; a scenario where authors create worlds and the people in them create the characters and the stories.

Lets take it further. What, then, from a narrative point of view, is the difference between these and our old fashioned table top role playing game? Same idea, just no ongoing monthly fee. No screen, that's true, but what can be more real than the world in your own imagination?

Which kind of brings me back to a previous point. If we're not doing this to make change to the real world, why bother? Does this mean I've just argued myself out of getting back into roleplaying and into volunteering for a local homeless shelter? At least table top is face to face.

Is personal entertainment a valid excuse? Am I taking myself far too seriously? Do these questions really mean anything?

All I know is that tomorrow's a public holiday and I have to work; a present from prior Trade Unions to give up public holidays for more annual leave. I would hardly call myself a hardened Capitalist, but sometimes I really hate Unions, and not for that pathetic reason I just gave.

But it's getting late, I have to get into work tomorrow and Firefox has just finished downloading version 1.03 so I had better get this rambling finished so I can install it.


Thursday, April 21, 2005

Douglas Rushkoff - Reality as Subversion

I love reading Rushkoff's stuff. Here's why.

"And so we fight for our rights or even just our freedom to do what we want to in the media space. To keep our Bittorrents flowing and our alternative media blogs rolling. We know the power of image creation, and want to retain our ability to make the images that stimulate, hypnotize, and program our world.

That's why the powers that be are so committed to retaking their control over the image factory. Whether it's American Idol recasting its stacked deck talent show as some sort of SMS-enabled democracy, or Project Echelon monitoring all our keystrokes so that truly subversive material can be cut off at the source, we're witnessing first hand the dismemberment of our new body politic. Just as the forces of business turned the original Internet into a strip mall, they are now bribing the most popular bloggers with ad-based revenues and creating watered down simulations of online autonomy...."

"I'm thinking we should let them win. Surrender the unreal realities to the bad guys. If they want broadcast television, mainstream newspapers, or even the web, let 'em have it. They've conjured up an alternative universe that has very little true connection to what's really going on here. And the market-based, competitive, reality-as-propaganda dream has swallowed them up. They are the victims of their own illusions. We don't have to be.

We can take charge of the real reality they left behind; I mean the world we're actually living in. The yards and streets and fingers and tongues. Let's build bike lanes and barbecues, after school programs and AIDS care networks, places to play music and playgrounds for kids. They're so busy monitoring the airwaves for signs of treason against the market or state that they've lost track of what's happening between real people. Turn off your cell phone and speak to that guy sitting next to you on the bus. That's about the most subversive thing you could do...."

Here here. Close to home or around the other side of the world, what's the point of having this access to media if we're not doing something real with it?

:: Douglas Rushkoff - Reality as Subversion ::

Validating the Virtual Market


After all this time complaining that the buying and selling of virtual goods in Massive Multi-player Online games was illegal, immoral and destructive for gameplay, Sony Online Entertainment has announced that it is launching "Station Exchange," an auction site that allows players to spend real world money on game world items and characters. Initially, the service will be restricted to the Everquest II game, with Sony promising separate servers for those that wish to play in a game without pre-bought characters.

Players are often cheated by shady traders who don't deliver as promised or who rescind payment after getting an item. As a result, SOE claims its customer service staff is constantly bogged down with angry players who have been defrauded.

"Sony has finally dropped the other shoe," said Dan Hunter, a professor at the Wharton School of Business and an expert in virtual economies. "Finally, we understand what their reluctance (has been). It's not that the gameplay has been affected by (virtual goods trafficking), but rather, their objection has been that they can't monetize it."

One company that SOE's move may not be good for is IGE, the world's-largest seller of MMO virtual goods. That's because IGE -- which sells items bought both from players looking for a little cash for their extra weapons as well as from "farmers," hourly employees whose sole job is to earn weapons, currency and other items in MMOs like EverQuest II -- is likely to see SOE undercut its business.

But IGE founder Brock Pierce said he welcomed the advent of Station Exchange.

"I'm pleased to hear of SOE's announcement," Pierce said. It "provides further validation of the secondary market for MMO virtual assets."

The whole "Money for Nothing" thing is nothing new. It's just new that a company has actually taken this approach. Not surprising, given the possibilities for big bucks to be made brokering auctions for Flaming Swords, but definitely new.

John Tynes: Grand Theft Influence - One player's experience at the whole buying stuff in a game thing.

Many Hands Project: Money For Nothin' - Some good links to articles on the subject.

Wired News: Sony Gets Real on Virtual Goods

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Looking at the U.S. mobile market.

Oh, O.K. One more.

It seems to be an interesting morning for content, despite the election of a new pope (One colleague has already dubbed the former Cardinal Ratzinger "Pope Eggs"), the ongoing drama with a few drug mules in Bali and the iminent death of Queensland's longest serving and most infamous state Premier.

Despite that, the world goes on. Mike Masnick over at "The Feature" writes about traditional telco's and their lack of desire to really embrace the new opportunities Mobile Technology is bringing in favour of traditional cash cows.

In particular he references Verizon CEO Ivan Seidenberg's recent comments. One particular part stands out for me.

The statement that is really turning heads... was his angry statements concerning what subscribers expect from their mobile phones: "Why in the world would you think your (cell) phone would work in your house? The customer has come to expect so much. They want it to work in the elevator; they want it to work in the basement." Of course, you could easily place a good part of the blame for those expectations on Verizon's own co-owned subsidiary, Verizon Wireless, whose entire advertising campaign is based on the idea that subscribers should expect to use their handsets anywhere and everywhere.

I'm always up for a healthy slice of irony, even at this time of the morning.

I realise that the Australian market is nothing like the U.S. situation, however it begs the question about our own Telstra and the expectation of what they have planned for the future, especially in light of the government's push for full privatisation.

As always, feel free to comment.

TheFeature :: Seidenberg Shows That Cash Cows Die Hard

And then, as if to vex me, Telstra announces a Third Quarter profit based primarily on broadband, mobile and advertising earnings. Sometimes you just can't win.
Telstra's Third Quarter sales up 6.5%

This ain't your momma's handbag...

I wasn't going to post any more today, but then I saw this.

Yes, the handle is what you think it is.


Turntable Furniture : Gizmodo

This one's for my homes, Patrick who has just unpacked his brand spankin' new turntables. When I spoke to him last night on MSN he was moving R's junk out of the living room trying to make some space to set his new rig up on an amalagam of amps, speaker boxes and milk crates.

Well, have no fear Patrick old buddy! If you thought putting out the dosh for buying the decks was expensive, just wait until you see the furniture to go with.

Economy of Scales: Turntable Furniture : Gizmodo

Blu-Ray / HD DVD - Two tribes seek a peaceful resolution?

Via Engadget

Both proposals currently on the table attempt to define an entirely new, hybrid format made up from elements of the Blu-Ray and HD-DVD systems. In addition, both proposals try to include additional capabilities that would give proponents of the existing camps reasons to move to the new format.

Maybe our DVD future doesn't have to be 21st Century remake of VHS vs Betamax. Then again, after some of the stuff that's been said over the last year I wouldn't hold my breath. - Two proposals seek to avert next-gen DVD format war

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Ever wondered what those car bombings look like? - blog city diner

I think the caption on this site says it all really.

blog city diner: Ever wondered what those car bombings look like?

Irony quotient for the day - "The sign at left reads 'Keep Your City Clean' in Arabic." - "The Crusaders": Christian evangelicals are plotting to remake America in their own image

Be afraid. Be very afraid.

It helps that Dominionists have a direct line to the White House: The Rev. Richard Land, top lobbyist for the 16-million-member Southern Baptist Convention, enjoys a weekly conference call with top Bush advisers including Karl Rove. "We've got the Holy Spirit's wind at our backs!" Land declares in an arm-waving, red-faced speech. He takes particular aim at the threat posed by John Lennon, denouncing "Imagine" as a "secular anthem" that envisions a future of "clone plantations, child sacrifice, legalized polygamy and hard-core porn."

The Dominionists are also stepping up efforts to turn public schools into forums for evangelism. In a landmark case, the Alliance Defense Fund is suing a California school district that threatened to dismiss a born-again teacher who was evangelizing fifth-graders. In the conference's opening ceremony, the Dominionists recite an oath they dream of hearing in every classroom: "I pledge allegiance to the Christian flag, and to the Savior for whose kingdom it stands. One Savior, crucified, risen and coming again, with life and liberty for all who believe."

Gary Cass, executive director of Reclaiming America... presents another small-town activist, Kevin McCoy, with a Salt and Light Award for leading a successful campaign to shut down an anti-bullying program in West Virginia schools. McCoy, a soft-spoken, prematurely gray postal worker, fought to end the program because it taught tolerance for gay people -- and thus, in his view, constituted a "thinly disguised effort to promote the homosexual agenda." The Crusaders

Ellen and I are becoming Home Owners!

I'm not sure how long this image will remain, but I post it here for now.

It's 4 bedroom in the heart of Greenslopes, immaculately kept and renovated, with a view of the city from the master bedroom. And the best bit is that we got it a lot cheaper than we could have ever expected, as the owners have bought elsewhere and were keen to move on.

Ellen and I signed off on the revised offer yesterday (after a serious Ellen-style legal negotiation with the Real Estate agent) and now we wait for the 5 day cooling off period, then the 45 day handover. That means we move in 2 June for one humdinger of a house warming party!

Moreover, the downstairs bedroom means I'll still be able to have my study area, even after we start having kids. I'll even be able to run games down there without fear of waking Ellen two floors above.

Things is good.

The colour is temporary. In six months the whole complex is due for a repaint, and if we jump on the Body Corporate there's no reason we can't have a serious say on what colour we feel is appropriate.

Huge Industry News of the Week - Adobe to acquire Macromedia!

It's too far after April 1 for this to be a prank. Besides, it's also mentioned on the home page, so the likelihood of a single prankster has dropped significantly.

The implications of what this could do for the industry are pretty huge. Of course, the big question is just which products (on either side) will go and which ones will stay.

Dreamweaver vs GoLive - You'd have to think Dreamweaver wins this one.

Fireworks vs Photoshop - Fireworks got a toehold, but there's no way it will push past Photoshop. Besides, there's a few nice features in Fireworks that will be nice to see implemented into Photoshop.

vs ... - Well that's the thing. Macromedia kind of squashed Adobe's efforts (LiveMotion) a few years back. Of course, with access to the industry's leading vector graphics internet software, what does this mean for Adobe's support of W3C's SVG standard?

So let's get down to brass tacks. What does this mean for video? Is Adobe moving away from really caring about Premiere and After Effects to take a more concerted stand in the print/design arenas as a few have feared? Or are we looking at the possibility of a halcyon age of seamless integration of video to the Web? Given some of Adobe's ideas on what amounts to seamless integration, I won't hold my breath.

All I can say is (which is fast becoming quite the maxim for this site) there are interesting days ahead.

Press Release - Adobe to acquire Macromedia

AFP Story via ABC Online

Monday, April 18, 2005

Breakdancing Transformers

A great piece of 3D animation starring everyone's favourite childhood transforming robots.

Requires Flash.

Breakdancing Transformers

Saturday, April 16, 2005

Remix the new nine inch nails single yourself...

It's only a matter of weeks before the new Nine Inch Nails album, "With Teeth," is released and being the keeno I am, I'm really looking forward to it. I've just popped by the official site and it seems that Trent Reznor has a little project he's decided to inject into the NIN internet community.

The recent single "The Hand That Feeds" has been released as a file to be used in Apple's Garageband program. This allows users to remix, enhance or even deconstruct the single. In the 70Mb download file is a readme file with this message from Reznor.

"Hello all-

For quite some time I've been interested in the idea of allowing you the ability to tinker around with my tracks - to create remixes, experiment, embellish or destroy what's there. I tried a few years ago to do this in shockwave with very limited results.

After spending some quality time sitting in hotel rooms on a press tour, it dawned on me that the technology now exists and is already in the hands of some of you. I got to work experimenting and came up with something I think you'll enjoy.

What I'm giving you in this file is the actual multi-track audio session for "the hand that feeds" in GarageBand format. This is the entire thing bounced over from the actual Pro Tools session we recorded it into. I imported and converted the tracks into AppleLoop format so the size would be reasonable and the tempo flexible.


You need a Macintosh and you need GarageBand 2.0. If you have a newer Mac, you already have the software. The more RAM you have the better. I did this on a PowerBook 1.67 w/ 2G RAM but it has been running on far less powerful systems.

Drag the file over to your hard disk and double click it. Hit the space bar. Listen. Change the tempo. Add new loops. Chop up the vocals. Turn me into a woman. Replay the guitar. Anything you'd like.

I gave this to my crew and band to test out and all work effectively stopped for a while - it's fun to mess around with. I've now heard a country version of the track as well as an abstract Latin interpretation (thanks, Leo).

There are some copyright issues involved, so read the notice that pops up. Giving this away is an experiment. I'm interested to see what comes of it, what issues are raised and what the results are.

Have fun-
Trent Reznor
April 15, 2005"

I have to admit, I'll be interested to see what copyright issues come out of this, particularly when some punk starts trying to hock a CD of remixes he's downloaded off the net. I'll also be interested to hear the backlash when all the Windows users out there start crying foul that they can't get involved because the file is for a Mac only program. No doubt some clever and lonely soul out there will figure some sort of conversion to a Pro Tools format or something similar.

What's also interesting is that fan sites have already started organising competitions for the remixes.

Let the games begin...

nine inch nails - Current News

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

BBC to allow Creative Licence on old content

Via Smartmobs

I had the chance to get along to a discussion on this back in February. Unfortunately I couldn't get along to it due to work constraints. The idea is great though. The BBC is planning to allow much of its archive content to be made available to British citizens via the Internet for non-commercial purposes, similar to the Creative Commons licence being explored in the U.S. The hope is that they will use it in creative endeavours and place these new creations back into the Online community.

Guardian Unlimited | Online | Creative licence

BBC Creative Archive site - Accessible from Wednesday 13/04/05

Some fundamental blog differences

It's struck me recently that I haven't been updating this site over the last few days. It's not that I haven't had things happen over the last week. On the contrary, I had planned all manner of posts about what I've done with my week, from an evening at Roma St ampitheatre watching GNT2's adaptation of Macbeth, to the 26 hour ordeal of the compression system upgrade at work. I've been wanting to sit down and write out some of my emerging theories on narrative, if only so that others can come along and shoot them down in flames.

I've even thought about just doing a whole "stream of consciousness" rant, which I guess is kind of what this is.

Unfortunately this just dosn't seems to be the right place for any of these things. The more I tour around Blogger the more I get the feeling that it seems to be the place where people write about things more than feelings.

In contrast, take a tour around LiveJournal some time. A few friends of mine are doing the LJ thing and the community that has sprung up around them is just incredible. My old bud Patrick recently made a trip to Melbourne which seemed to be full of non-stop social gatherings with people he'd met through LJ. Another friend of mine is appealing to LJ users that attend the same University as her to help push around her wheelchair while when convalesces after a bad accident. They are also being treated as a pseudo-bulleting board for people to post their future whereabouts for their friends ("I'll be at home tonight. Drop over and hang out,"). This is the sort of community I'd never expect to see around the Blogger sites.

I found myself making so many comments on various LJ sites that I've even created my own account so I no longer have to post anonymously. Sure it's adding to the blowout on the number of weblogs being created, but I don't think my addition will skew the figures too much.

This weblog isn't going anywhere, but I just felt like commenting on something that has struck me as a fundamental difference between two formats of what is supposed to be the same technology. Well I found it interesting. Even if it's not.

Saturday, April 09, 2005

Digital Audio - The Arcane Mystery Explained!

Ever wanted to know how that damn digital audio works but were afraid to ask? Jay Rose runs through the basics of what all those pesky digital bits do, which might just help you when it comes time to buy new equipment, or even calibrate the stuff you've already got.

I know I say this every time, but DV articles require registration. It's definitely worth the time and effort to get access to these great articles.

"Audio Solutions: Little Bits" by Jay Rose -

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

BBC NEWS - Brain chip reads man's thoughts

I almost let this one get by without mentioning it. What started with limbs is now heading into the brain. Lead me to my nearest chop-shop for my wired reflexes and cyber upgrade Mr GM.

BBC NEWS | Health | Brain chip reads man's thoughts

Wired News: No Teeth in Toothing Craze

Because, as my lecturer from last year will attest, I love a good web based hoax...
Wired News: No Teeth in Toothing Craze

Music! The cashcow of a nation...

Yesterday ran this article by Thurston Moore from Sonic Youth about the power of the Mix Tape, especially in the current world of MP3's, IPods and Playlists.

Hot on the heels, comes a great piece by everybody's favourite NBA fund contributer and digital media flagbearer Mark Cuban about a great idea to start selling individual tracks in MP3 or proprietary form through music kiosks direct to players rather than through shops.

At the same time, Robert Capps from Wired also wrote this article about where music's future distribution lies.

Great reading all round. However, while I'm fond of the idea (fond enough to start envisioning me walking around town with a mobile cart with terrabytes of music selling tracks and albums through USB ports and Bluetooth to joggers through the park) I have to admit to being a fan of the album. I can remember scoffing at people when they talked longingly about being able to hold onto an LP (or as one guy put it, being able to roll a spliff on one) and enjoy the cover art and lyrics sheets. Now I find myself thinking fondly on having a CD, complete with lyric booklet and associated artwork. I realise that making music only about the music again may seem to be pure, but perhaps it's a little too Puritan.

That said, you can't halt progress. Bring on the Revolution! Or as Rushkoff would say, the Renaissance.

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Yahoo! News - China blocks Internet comments on the pope

A while back I posted a comment on the Chinese Government's disallowing network access to non-students in Universities, and before that made mention of our government's ignoring of human rights in trade talks with China so I guess it's pretty open where my thoughts lie on this.

However, I find this just disturbing.

Courtesy AFP/Yahoo News via Smartmobs.

China's web portals have blocked prayers, blessings and other comment on the death of Pope John Paul II from being posted on the Internet, officials said.

An official with confirmed the company had censored the comments, using sophisticated technology to allow only the writer to see his or her own comments.

"Religious issues are special. We are afraid of problems arising," said a Sohu official.

"It's not that they are taken off, it just means whoever issued the statement, only they can see it. Other people cannot see it," the official told AFP.

An official at the Beijing police department's Internet management office denied knowledge of the censorship, but defended China's practice of censoring the Internet.

"Based on the regulations from above, harmful information needs to be dealt with," the official said. But he insisted: "China has religious freedom."

The bit I really find repugnant?

In contrast, during US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice's visit to China last month, the websites allowed an uncensored onslaught of racist, sexist, and highly offensive remarks about her to be posted.

I have no love for Ms Rice or the rest of the Bush Admistration, however this draws a very uncomfortable line when it comes to China and the issue of free speech.

Yahoo! News - China blocks Internet comments on the pope

Monday, April 04, 2005

"Google Gulp" - Google's April Fool Joke

This is just too funny to describe. Go and check it out.

Google Gulp

Are women capable of torture? - Doonesbury

Posted with love...

[Edit - January 2006] For some reason I keep getting someone, I think from Germany, who keeps checking this image out through Google. While I'm all for getting people along to bump up the visitor numbers, from now on if you want to see the cartoon you can go to the original source linked to below.

[Edit - February 2006] After a bit of checking it seems some of these people are coming here using the search terms "Women Torture". To those people I say, from the bottom of my heart, Fuck you you sick pieces of shit. Get your kicks somewhere else.

Friday, April 01, 2005

The People's Network - Drew Turney

via Smartmobs

An interesting article on the rise of mobile communications and community of the new "mob." Originally published in the December 2004 edition of Internet dot au, the author interviewed people such as author Howard Rheingold.

"The story was devised, interviews conducted and research compiled over mobile and fixed-line phone, email, posts to online forums & email mailing lists and SMS – with respondents in Sydney, Perth, the United States, Berlin, Amsterdam and St Petersburg."


"But just like it was during the early days of the telephone, telegraph and printing press, only one thing will promote the next social revolution people like Howard Rheingold believe is coming. People are people; new gadgets will not make us better people (as terrorists the world over have shown), and making us politically inclined will take more than a smart phone.

But those who are active or aware – not just of political issues but the power of information in the palm of your hand - will drive the future of communications. “If you’re addicted to email,” Rheingold says, “wait until you find out you can check it on the train, waiting in line at the bank or sitting in the airport waiting for your flight.”

Of course, then there’s the possibility that eye contact with strangers will be a thing of the past as everyone walks around staring at their mobile…"

As a way of socialising modern communications technology I'm getting kind of enamoured by the concept of flash mobs, a semi-organised event where a group of disparate people come together at a pre-organised time and place, perform an action, then move on.

"Tempest Waters, who works as a consultant in the packaging industry and describes herself as a child of the sixties, seemed bemused when I asked her what the appeal was. 'Goodness! What doesn’t appeal?' says Waters, who ‘flashes’ every two or three weeks.

'We laugh for whole city blocks after an event. One woman burst into applause as we left. Another [mobber] said it was the most empowering thing she’s ever done. One of our regulars is in her late 50's and claims it’s the best exercise she gets all week. Also, a benefit we hadn’t expected is that we’ve all made friends doing this, people with whom you have nothing in common except for mobbing.' "

Regular visitors to this site will know about Mobile Clubbing, where people arrive at a pre-determined location, such as a train station, with their own personal music playback equipment (Walkman, IPod, etc) and just dance.

If you feel the need for gratuitous and pointless social gathering, let me know. I'm keen to get some Brisbane Flash Mob action happening (even if it is a little "2003" by now).

The People's Network - Drew Turney

Alias Motion Builder 6 Personal Learning edition

The idea of the Personal Learning editions is an interesting one. I guess in a way it's like getting someone hooked on methadone, then telling them that for a few extra dollars they can graduate up to the real stuff. Hmm, possibly not the best analogy, but I think I've made my point.

The people that brought you the Personal Learning edition of their wonderful 3D modelling application, Maya, now brings you a similar version of their character creation software, Motion Builder.

If you want to make a start in 3D animation, or you have a digital film that you want visualised, you could find a lot worse places to start than here.

Alias Motion Builder 6 Personal Learning edition

The Man Who Shot Sin City - Wired

Anyone that knows me knows I'm a big fan of maverick filmmaker Robert Rodriguez creator of the film El Mariachi. Shot for a budget of $7000, collected through a month of being a paid lab rat, the film was picked up Columbia studios and distributed around the world. As Rodriguez said in his book Rebel Without A Crew, he couldn't believe that the Columbia logo at the start of the distributed print had cost more to produce than the move it preceded.

Over the years Rodriguez has had a few hit and miss films (Desperado, From Dusk 'til Dawn, The Faculty, Spy Kids, Once Upon A Time In Mexico) but no one can deny that when he wants to get something done, he just goes and does it. The money he made from his Spy Kids trilogy helped him to set up his own studio in his home town of Austin Texas, complete with Hi-Def Digital cameras, green screen sound stage, Discreet visual efffects system, Avid editing setup, etc.

With this independent spirit and a backyard full of gear, he convinced legendary comic book artist Frank Miller to come on board with his plan to make a film adaptation of Miller's Sin City series, a work previously considered to be "un-filmable" by Miller himself.

The Wired article is an interesting example of where digital film making's come and what it promises for the future. For that matter, if you have an interest in Digital Cinema, take a look at this article from a few days ago about Mark Cuban and his push for a fully digital film making process, starting at the distribution and display end.

Wired 13.04: The Man Who Shot Sin City