Friday, December 30, 2005

Current TV: Think Outside, Get Inside the Box | DV - Features takes a look at Current TV, the "experiment" in user generated television content happening in the U.S. Of course, being the slant is a little more along the technical (not necessarily a bad thing) than the merits or flaws of the system. Still, a good read to get a handle on the basics of the channel without the noise being generated about it on the blogosphere. As someone from a country without the actual channel, but with a distinct interest in the concept, I found it an interesting feature.

As always, DV requires registration but it's well worth it.

My one gripe at this point (again, without having seen the channel) seems to be around the ongoing notion that content only receives legitimacy when it's broadcast on the magic box.

"The rest—a percentage that Current TV wants to grow—is viewer-created content, aka VC². Some of these videos are polished; some are raw. Some are funny, some are heartbreaking, and some may have no appeal to you at all. But they represent identifiable, individual points of view, and they were all, in a reverse-Survivor strategy, voted onto the island by an online peer-review process on Current TV's Web site."

I guess it's just the nature of the times we live in that the majority still views TV that way. That said, I LOVE (with a burning passion) their determination to teach the language of video production to the people, creating a whole new generation of storytellers with the vocabulary to create wonderful content, and possibly push the medium in ways we've not seen before.

Hey, look at that! I just added to the noise in the blogosphere! But then, as I've said before, the editorial team here like to do their bit for Sturgeon's Revelation.

The Winning Ticket - Google Video

Via the always excellent Lost Remote.

So what happens when you mix an old-skool prank with TiVo and a hidden video camera?

The Winning Ticket - Google Video
[WARNING - VERY Strong language alert]

You know, a cruel practical joke seems like a rather apt metaphor to end the year.

Oh, who am I kidding? If I could I'd get Sean and Colin to pull this one on Richard in a heartbeat.

Thursday, December 29, 2005

The Ultimate Showdown of Ultimate Destiny

And the moment I saw it I immediately thought of Steve and his excellent Bad-ass party.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Video crooks come in from the cold |

Well, it seems that 2006 will finally bring Australian copyright laws into the 20th Century. Care to try for the 21st?

"The Federal Government will next year legalise the video recording of television shows for personal use, and the transfer of songs from CDs to MP3 players, in a bid to overturn a ban which has made criminals of much of the population.

Attorney-General Philip Ruddock has flagged tidying up copyright laws by adding fair-use loopholes that will clear the way for private citizens to copy the content without breaking the law."

"We should have copyright laws that are more targeted at the real problem," Mr Ruddock said.

"We should not treat everyday Australians who want to use technology to enjoy copyright material they have obtained legally as infringers where this does not cause harm to our copyright industries."

"In Canada, where similar laws have been introduced, a fee was levied on blank CD and iPod unit sales to compensate copyright owners with up to an extra $32 being placed on the store price of individual machines.

Mr Ruddock's spokeswoman said a similar system had been discussed for Australia, but was unlikely to be introduced."

Bets are now open as to which company complains first about their intellectual property being sold out by the government. My money's on Sony BMG.

More on this to come, you can count on it.

Lost Remote: Stuff I got seriously wrong in 2005

Steve Safran, Managing Editor of U.S. TV and media blog "Lost Remote", takes a look back at some of his less insightful comments from this year.

"BIGGEST MISTAKE OF THE YEAR: The video iPod. In my six years at LR, I don't think I've made as bad a prediction as guessing it would be a minor blip. It was a nuclear explosion. What I didn't count on was the near-immediate adoption of the format by the major networks. When the original iPod was launched, there was no iTunes Music Store at all. Figuring that hardware needs killer content, I decided the video iPod was an incremental step for Apple. After all - how many music videos were you going to buy? How many podcasts did you want to watch? Turns out - a lot."

Well at least he wasn't one of the bloggers that got the video iPod release completely wrong. Now that would just be embarrassing.

Rocketboom | Reruns!

For those of you yet to get into Rocketboom, Andrew and Amanda are taking a week off between Christmas and New Year's. In their regular place they're running the "best of...", starting with their first episode and showing highlights from the year. On Thursday night they'll tally the votes and proclaim Rocketboom's favourite episode.

Vote early, vote often.

Rocketboom December 26

You can figure out the rest from there. I trust you. - Dogbert's Tech Support

Most days Dilbert's kind of disappointing. But every now and then Scott Adams nails it.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Kerry Packer dies - An interesting way to end an interesting media year

And as always happens in the blogosphere when someone of social stature shuffles on, you get an instant response filled with the loathers, the deluded and the occasional suck-up.

I have nothing to say on the life and death of Australia's richest man. I'm sure the days leading up to New Year's will be filled with retrospectives, analyses and tearful recollections such that anything I say here will just sound poorly researched and self-serving. My interest now is what happens to PBL. The problem is, I really don't think there will be too big a change from the current direction. James Packer, the obvious heir-apparant, has been the face of PBL for the last five or so years as Kerry Packer moved further into the background so you have to question any likelihood of change. You can be pretty sure that any big moves early next year will have been as a result of decisions made under Kerry's watch. Anyway, let's see what the new year holds. Just don't hold your breath for anything mind-bogglingly different (unless James gets himself stuck into another "One.Tel" debacle),

To the Packers, commiserations on the loss of a father and husband.

To the Australian media, 2006 suddenly picked up a small twist to kick off the year.

More Future-gazing - Top 10 tech trends for 2006 |

Let's look back on this in a year's time and see how they went. | 12/25/2005 | Top 10 tech trends for 2006

Friday, December 23, 2005

2006: The Unbundled Awakening | Donata Communications

Terry Heaton offers up his latest thoughts in his ongoing series "TV News in a Postmodern World". This episode takes a look at where he thinks the media is headed next year. While some of what he has to say is overtly U.S. based (as expected) there are elements that I found particularly interesting.

"Despite the fears and anger of many television news employees, the VJ model of newsgathering will spread to more stations in the U.S. during 2006."

This is still a little way away here, but give it time. Newspapers have already started sending out VJ's and TV crews have been shrinking for a while. Career that most needs to be concerned for 2006?: News Editor.

"Online video will be where much of the action is in 2006. ABC and Apple began the explosion this year by offering unbundled programs via download to Video iPods, and the results have been significant. So much so that the other networks, studios and even outside players have jumped on the bandwagon. Rocketboom, the quirky slice of life offered daily by Andrew Michael Baron and the increasingly glamorous Amanda Congden struck a deal with TiVo that makes their vlog available to TiVo users — just like any other television program. This is the final insult to the broadcasting industry — that two young people from New York with a great idea and little resources can compete with their expensive programming. It's only the beginning."

Anyone that's been through this site knows how much I love Rocketboom. While it's true they've copped a bit of a pasting from the more hardcore elements of the vlogging community (who consider Mr Baron's and Ms Congdon's contribution to not entirely follow the spirit of the vlogging ethos) I love what they've done and how they've done it. To the cast and crew of Rocketboom I would offer you my best wishes and a warning to keep an eye on falling into "Wayne's World Syndrome" as the money starts to trickle in. The show's what it is because you made it so. You don't need any media consultants to tell you how to "fix" it (and I can already smell them circling).

While we're on the subject of downloadable content, here's a thought. ABC, NBC and the like have been able to offer incredible shows for nominal download fees to show on the iPod. This will come to affect Australia, not as much as some proselytise, but more than others seem to think. Even if these shows don't make it to the Australian version of iTunes, it's not that difficult to get them through the U.S. site. What do you need, a U.S. credit card? As I mention further down, the internet kind of assists people to find others to help. Once that's in place, the idea of holding onto a show for three months before you start playing it (Series 2 of Lost anyone? Channel 7, I'm looking in your direction...) kind of loses its logic. So what do you do as an Australian television channel? Put out your own content for download on iTunes. Really? Blue Heelers? McLeod's Daughters? We've let our industry get to the point where the real money-spinners are American, and we don't have the rights to charge for them! With less money coming in through traditional TV advertising, how do you plug the local production holes? And with less money coming in comes less money for buying local content. Local content that the ABA says you have to have. Another serve of Funniest Home Videos anyone?

"...citizens media...will continue to be the driving disruptive force confronting all media in 2006. Whether it's blogs competing for political dollars or vlogs competing for eyeballs, citizens media is here to stay... The single most important piece of advice I can give to any media entity in 2006 is to get involved in the local citizens media community."

I'm agreeing with Terry on this one. It's something I keep coming back to but don't believe I've mentioned here. For the last ten to fifteen years we've been told that the internet is this huge, international phenomenon, where a customer in Timbuktu can buy a swiss watch from a store in Brisbane, or a Danish retiree can discuss his love of Smurfs with a Chinese paraplegic. And while this ability to find and create new communities to overlay our physical communities (Foucault's Heterotopia) has been of great importance to the growth of the internet, there seems to be more and more awareness of the power the internet can hold in the local, physical community. In an Australian TV mediascape that seems to be based around shrinking local participation and content (Channel 10's weekend news, Channel 7 doing various city's news out of their Melbourne Broadcast centre) the need for local voices, local citizen voices, has never been greater. Moreover, the ability to reach those people has never been easier.

And I keep telling myself that, but I still haven't moved...

"But the remarkable thing about these enormous changes in our business and our culture is the opportunities that exist for all of us. More people will lose their jobs in the industry next year, and some will be forced to learn new skills and think for themselves in a different way. It will be the best thing that ever happened for them.

There's little about change that we can control except the way we react to it. We can fight it or accept it; it's really that simple. Those who accept it will find a fascinating world awaits their skills and abilities. For those who continue to cling to old beliefs and old ways of doing things, it won't be pretty."

As someone who jumped ship early, I can only say "here here"!

I have to say, between my work and my university this has to have been one of, if not the most intellectually satisfying year of my life. And so I find myself going in to a new year, two more subjects left to finish up the degree, lots of production promises from the job (I don't think I can call it a "new job" now that I've been here a year can I?) and ideas running through my head on what to do with all this. Let's hope 2006 is a year where I take what I've learnt and finally do something about it.

I'm gone until Tuesday. To those that celebrate it, enjoy Christmas. To those that don't, have a good weekend. No mention of New Year yet because I'm at work all week in a production downtime. Expect something.

I'm thinking a nice "Year-in-Archived-File-Vision" piece is in the cards...

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Nothing of Note

I don't seem to have anything to say of late, which I find a little disturbing. Actually, that's not entirely true. It's not that I haven't had ideas. Honest, I have. Follow ups on previous posts, comments on issues regarding Sydney, and the things that bug me about driving, but unfortunately I'm finding that bringing them to fruition to form an intelligent and logical argument is more effort than I'm willing to expend at this time of year.

Perhaps this malaise will disappear in the new year. We'll see.

By the way, new Tiki Bar TV episode. That'll lift the spirits.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

HammerFest '05 |

My boy Grinner Hester, editor extraordinaire, continues his series of "Show Me Your Mods." I'll let Grinner set it up.

IN a nutshell, we have a character on lxforums with over 6k posts. He knows every in and out of every car you can imagine and always has some comedy or wisdom in his words. After thousands of posts, somone asked him to post a pic of his LX car. These are magnums, chargers and 300s. He mentioned he didn't have one and was trying to save up for a down payment for one. Someone chimmed in and offered a donation towards a down payment for him, then someone else did and over about 6 months time, the forums members came up with over 4 grand for him to put toward the car of his dreams. People travelled from all over the nation to meet in Nashville to watch him pick it up. It was a fun, heart-warming experience. This is what custom cars are about for me.. a comradery made between people of all walks of life bringing them together under an umbrella of a common intrest. It's an awesome thing and I hope I captured some of it in this piece.

HammerFest '05

People using the internet to do something good in the real world. That's what it's all about.

Some thoughts on "jadelr's notebook" as a companion piece to "Chasing Windmills"

Matthew Clayfield from Esoteric Rabbit points us in the direction of "jadelr's notebook", the companion blog to the excellent web drama "Chasing Windmills".

Chasing Windmills' sister blog, jadelr's notebook, is excellent as well, an up-to-the-minute, behind-the-scenes videoblog comprised of outtakes, posts about production methods, and shout-outs to supporters. The notebook is essentially Chasing Windmills' special features disc—the windmill chaser's official companion.

As I mention in the comments to his post, I've visited jadelr's blog once or twice but never really got into it as a "behind-the-scenes" additional material resource. I think this is because my natural instinct is to watch the story, without external influence, through to the end before going back and watching or reading external content. Due to the nature of Chasing Windmills as an ongoing serial style drama, this means waiting a while. My comment there was that while an author may create content with a view towards a particular method of access and integration by the audience as a whole, the individual has the ability to use the elements as they see fit. Really, the point of the Video on Demand lifestyle. Power to the people, the individual as consumer and creator, that sort of thing. It's just that in a world where digital distribution allows all manner of additional content to be produced to help sell a product to the audience (giving them a "richer experience") I found it interesting that when I really thought about it I discovered I wasn't really interested in that sort of stuff during the run of the show.

Then again, maybe that's because I'm getting old. A product of the previous generation of media consumers.

By the way, so long as I have you here, I'd just like to follow up on an article I posted a link to yesterday.

The more I think about it, the more I dislike the use of the term "Hive Mind" to describe what's happening with social networking, particularly the concepts of folksonomies and tagging. I find the term evokes images of mindless automatons, all performing the will of a greater authority by following others without question (yes, for the protection of the society I will concede). The beauty of tagging is that while it does work towards concensus, it allows for great individuality as well. Community subsets, subcultures, even individuals can create connections between items with meanings that are known only to them. While I agree wholeheartedly that tagging has problems when it comes to effectively searching for specific content, the ability to refer to things on your own terms, and discover others who think similarly, is a wonderous thing.

The individual mind as part of greater society and culture. Individual thoughts, experiences, backgrounds, thought processes, all working together, explicitly or not, to create something larger. It's a wonderful concept to me.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Lifehack Your Books | The Glass is Too Big

Who says hypertextual and social networking techniques are only valid in a digital environment?

"The first taboo I think everyone should just plain get over is the taboo of writing in books. I write in most of my books. Notes about the content, things the content reminds me of, etc. When you just plain write in the margins, inside the cover, etc. there's no way the notes for that content will get lost. They'll forever be attached to the text they refer to."

Even better, the very tongue-in-cheek response from Wired boss Bruce Sterling.

'The first taboo I think everyone should just plain get over is the taboo of writing in books. I write in most of my books. (((It's the PRIMROSE PATH TO HELL!! ))) Notes about the content, things the content reminds me of, etc. When you just plain write in the margins, inside the cover, etc. there's no way the notes for that content will get lost. They'll forever be attached to the text they refer to. (((He's creating the NAPSTER OF PAPER! All is lost!)))

And to finish it up, a pretty good run through the pros and cons of folksonomies.

"The advantages to top-down hierarchical taxonomies for library collections are without question. For cataloging the Web, however, they just aren’t feasible. The new, “voice of the people” approach of folksonomies emerges at a time when attitudes about information organization and retrieval are shifting and the technology is developing to support them. The opportunities for learning about user behavior as well as the implications for improving and/or complementing existing taxonomies that these systems can provide are of no small import. We are on the cusp of an exciting new stage of Web growth in which the users provide both meaning and a means of finding through tagging."

Given where my mind is currently taking my upcoming Shadowrun game, this is good stuff to have in the back of my head.

Wired News: I Dance, Therefore I Am

Hmmm, what an interesting article.

Read it. You'll see what I mean.

Monday, December 12, 2005

I am an Australian...

...and today I am ashamed.

I don't know what else to say. I'm shocked. Ashamed. Saddened. Not because of this one incident, vile and abhorrent as it is, but because we've let our country come to this.

Then again, maybe this needed to come out. It's only by bringing the darker and filthier elements of our society into the light that we can target them.

Rocketboom gets the Tivo Treatment

Let's celebrate!

Regular visitors to King Leonard - The Weblog will know that the editorial team are huge fans of daily vlog Rocketboom, the quirky news show out of NYC by Andrew Baron and Amanda Congdon. Hats off to them and their crew on getting TiVo, the "I wanna watch it now!" kings of video content, to put them on subscription. Between that and a recent New York Times article the only way is up for these guys.

Congrats to the team! You are an inspiration to a generation of media producers.

Friday, December 09, 2005

How It Should Have Ended - alternate endings to favourite movies

Via Articulate, the ABC Arts and Entertainment blog.

While I'm linking to cool videos, here's a couple of interesting animations that try and "re-edit" the final scenes of some of the most iconic films of the last twenty years, such as "The Blair Witch Project", "Se7en", "Braveheart", "Star Wars", "Saving Private Ryan" and "The Matrix: Revolutions". Very clever stuff.

Includes low res WMV's and higher quality Torrent files.

Coming soon, "The Lord of the Rings".

Yahoo Combines Australian Business With Seven Network |

This kind of came out of the blue. I am a little disappointed at my old freelance employer for, in a way, wimping out, but then I guess it makes sense for traditional television companies not to try and reinvent themselves, but rather team up with those that have the know how. Yahoo's been pushing more and more into media this year, moving up from its origins as a search engine (sound like another booming online company who shall remain Google?) so it makes sense. It's just got us a little shocked is all.

The question now is, how will 9 counter? This sounds a little more dedicated than ninemsn, or their previous deals with Optus and Telstra for content.

Another trailer remix | A Christmas Gory

Via Boing Boing.

Not the funniest or cleverest of these we've seen, but still cute. And, just in time for the holidays!

Side note - I've never seen this movie. I guess it must be a U.S. thing...

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Australian bloggers muzzled | SMH

Well Australia, you voted for it, you deal with it.

No I'm not talking about the rather vapid series of Australian Idol or Big Brother from this year. I'm talking about something a little more important. As a result of the government's end of year legislation grab (17 bills in a fortnight? Of course the government's not abusing its majority) we now find ourselves stuck with the "Anti-Terror" laws, including the contentious Sedition provisions.

"How does that affect me?" I hear you ask. Well, lots of ways, but speaking particularly close to home...

"Many local bloggers are unaware that they may be liable for everything they write on their sites, not to mention all of the colourful comments made by contributors.

Our new sedition laws will make this worse.

Blogs fall under the same defamation and other laws that regulate all media organisations in the country.

While US bloggers are protected by a freedom of speech clause in the US Bill of Rights, new sedition laws passed by Australian authorities may make life even tougher for bloggers."

What happens when you mix an expanding world of popular voice and opinion with legislation designed to squash dissenting points of view? Let's watch and find out as the new year unfolds.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Adobe Completes Acquisition of Macromedia | Adobe Press Room

This is just the prelim stuff. The fun kicks off when Adobe figures out ways to really integrate the two product lines beyond just sticking the Creative Suite and Studio 8 into one big box.

I mean really, Photoshop AND Fireworks? Each using proprietary formats? Overkill?

Uni results - two subjects to go!!!

Final results for KIN810 - Information Architecture have been released. Despite my initial fears I find myself walking away with a very respectable 6, meaning an ongoing GPA of 6.667. Not bad for a guy who hates coding as much as I do. All in all an enjoyable subject in its way. It was just a pity the Post-grad students got stuck with the undergrads.

It's also a pity that the marking for these subjects are based on some application of a secondary training rather than what gets taught in lectures. Hopefully this is one of the things that the new Comm Design restructure will address.

Next year I'm stepping away from the warm and enveloping bosom of Communication Design to step into the harsh, cold world of IT and Journalism. The IT subject, Systems & Networks, is a means of getting a little more practical knowledge with the physical side of my job. Another subject I "should" do rather than one I really want to do. Similarly, the journalism subject, Newswriting, is a means of getting my head around where my colleagues are coming from (sitting in an office surrounded by journos. Know your enemy!). It's also a means of getting me back into writing, and maybe it will help with my blog posts as well. We'll see.

Finally, just wanted to give a huge congrats to my lecturer for this last semester, Simon Perkins, who is heading to the U.K. to pick up a job, kind of similar to the one he's leaving, just with less practical code writing and more academic theory and application. If anyone would be perfect for it it's him. I felt all semester that he was being held back trying to teach us all PHP. The real interest for me was what he was trying to teach us in the lectures; information management, information structures, the interesting stuff.

All the best Simon. Go forth and flourish.

Emergency Naptime Procedures Implelented - Serenity in a nutshell

Thanks to Steve D for the heads up on this one.

The Hand Puppet Movie Theatre Presents


For those that want the highly edited version.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

TheFeature :: It's All About The Archives!!!

Just discovered that all those articles I've posted here in the past from Mobile Technology website "The Feature" can still be accessed, even though the site (owned by Nokia) is no longer running. The comments have been tossed away, but the info's still worth a read.

That is all.

Google: Ten Golden Rules |

In the ongoing effort to use this blog as a poor man's, here's a link to an interesting article on Googles business rules. Interesting stuff. I just wish I owned a business big enough to even contemplate having to use them.

Monday, December 05, 2005

Tiki Bar TV - More funky podcast action!

It's happening!

That is to say, it was already happening and I've only just caught up.

As a prelude, I already know what I want for my birthday (forget Christmas. That's already sorted). A new wardrobe!

A Rocketboom T-Shirt,

and now a Tiki Bar TV T-Shirt!

For those who have yet to enjoy the pleasures of the Tiki Bar, get on along and have a drink! Dr Tiki has just the prescription for you.

I will buy a T-Shirt and wear it proudly! Especially if I know that the money is going to buy some more microphones (only flaw so far).

The other podcast/vlog I'm slowly coming around to is Help My Patients, a daily "reality" show where a fictional psychiatrist records his fictional patients' therapy sessions then opens up the comments section for people to give advice.

I have to say, I'm finding all this stuff inspiring! Time to get off the pot and make some ideas I've been having start to happen.

Friday, December 02, 2005 | Just Like Christmas

I love it when Warren Ellis comes out with this sort of stuff. Inspired. And just in time for Christmas too!

“What did you expect? Guy with a big beard breaks into your house at night to leave suspicious packages. Only a matter of time before he crashed that sleigh into an office block..."

As always with Ellis' stuff, not for the easily offended or those with a conservative political bent.

Chasing Windmills - O.K. guys, you got my attention

Anyone remember how the other day I said that the stories in Minnesota-based web series Chasing Windmills didn't appeal to me? You do? Well, all that changed over the last few days and has peaked with today's episode.

Congratulations guys, you got me hooked. See you again tomorrow.

Chasing Windmills | Bath

By the way, as a side technical note take a look at the address where the files are stored. Nice way to save on streaming and storage costs.