Friday, September 29, 2006

Ze Frank is manipulating our lizard brains | This Old Network

Nice to know I wasn't the only one who was noticing this. Also nice to have some theory to back it up.

Internet 2020

Sure, there'll be scientific research posts on the bottom of the ocean in 2020, but what of our beloved intuhweb?

Pew Internet did a quick survey (of course, when I say "quick survey" I mean "extended analytical research") of industry heavyweights to see what the concensus was on where we were headed over the next decade and a half, and this is what they came up with.

The Future of the Internet II - PDF version

or the web site version...

Pew Internet: Future of the Internet

or the video version (courtesy of PBS News Hour with Jim Lehrer)...

Survey Finds Benefits, Hurdles in the Internet

“Fear of enslavement by our creations is an old fear, and a literary tritism. But I fear something worse and much more likely – that sometime after 2020 our machines will become intelligent, evolve rapidly, and end up treating us as pets. We can at least take comfort that there is one worse fate – becoming food – that mercifully is highly unlikely.”
Paul Saffo, forecaster and director of The Institute for the Future

Thursday, September 28, 2006

"Internet provides no news diversity": ACCC. | ABC News Online

Oh well, if Graeme Samuel says so it must be true.

Talking here and now about media reforms that will probably be dogging us for the next 50 years. Lack of understanding of what's happening out there. Short-sightedness relating to where this technology will lead.

Yep, sounds like a government department.

"The ACCC would have a role in ruling on takeovers and Mr Samuel has told the inquiry he does not consider the Internet to be an extra source of news, just another way of delivering existing material.

"We think the Internet is simply a distribution channel," he said."

Sounds like someone who has yet to step beyond the bookmarks that came default with IE.

O'Reilly Radar | Bionic Software

Bookmarking now so I don't have to later.

TV vs DVD's. What does this figure mean?

Just a glitch, or something worth looking further into?

"The movie Finding Nemo is the biggest selling DVD of all time in Australia. Nevertheless, when Channel Seven showed it at 6.30 last night, 1.3 million people tuned in."

We understand that TV's not dead, and likely will never drop completely off the perch (despite the naysayers), but it makes for an interesting thought. Logic dictates that, even if you want to treat Sunday evening as the family get-together time, you'd put on the DVD to avoid the commercials. But perhaps we're overlooking something here. Perhaps people, for certain events, enjoy the scheduled nature of television because it's a reminder that they're taking part in a mass event, that they're not alone, sitting insulated in their living room, but rather belong to a community, even if that's a community of television watchers.

More thinking required.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

ZeFrank - the Highlights so far...

With the "The Show with Zefrank" experiment now officially halfway through it's time to revisit the episodes from the start and catalogue my favourites so far.

17/03/06 - Episode 1
Right from number 1 we get the "Sports Racers" theme song.

20/03/06 - Episode 2 The first use of "...thinking so you don't have to."

27/03/06 The episodes start to take their current shape, and the gauntlet is thrown down to Rocketboom.

30/03/06 The day before Ze's birthday. Mmmm, depressing.

03/04/06 "You can't throw, I can't catch so let's just roll the ball..."

06/04/06 The introduction of Ze's Power Move!!!

07/04/06 Dirty Space News! The introduction of Ze's infantile humour. In my opinion he starts to loosen up a lot after this episode.

18/04/06 "We remain engaged in a global war!" Rocketboom shot 2, Sex Ed.

20/04/06 Ze's tired, the League of Awesomeness, thoughts on, AT&T.

27/04/06 "Those Brooklyn Stairs" (Are the new viewers gone yet?), Rocketboom shot 3, seamless integration of advertising.

28/04/06 Ze's cranky, the Rocketboom "Poop Poop" joust.

05/05/06 Anti-Intellectualism, MySpace.

08/05/06 A trip to Austria, the paper internet, "Hi I'm Ze, what's something I like that's gay?"

09/05/06 Simple German Phrases, a walk in Austria.

10/05/06 Barcelona, Airport signs.

"How do you work this thing?", "How do you spank a giant baby?"

15/05/06 "Hindsight is 20/20".

16/05/06 Talking to the League of Awesomeness, the Earth Sandwich.

22/05/06 Ze sings the explanation on how to work the "King of the Comments", earth sandwich part 2.

24/05/06 "Why does everything have to change?"

31/05/06 Brainstorming!

06/06/06 I think I'm an adult, political parties, MySpace, wanker 2.0.

16/06/06 The show that got pulled off the site. Man, he's so wasted. Or tired. Yeah, that's it he's just tired.

21/06/06 Institutional recourse, dealing with Delta airlines, re-enactment for speculative illustration only.

23/06/06 Fabuloso Friday, Fabuloso Chess, a brief history of the comments.

26/06/06 Monday Gloomies

30/06/06 The "I Knows Me Some Ugly Myspace Competition".

05/07/06 Explaining metaphors, July 4th explained for foreigners, the history of the Hot Dog.

11/07/06 Brain Crack, "Where the fuck do ideas come from?"
I came in just before this episode, and this was the first one that really made me take notice that something special was going on here, that this wasn't your average "idiot with a camera".

12/07/06 Mushrooms, hallucinogens, challenging default symbolic architectures.

14/07/06 "I Knows Me Some Ugly", reinventing the concept of "good taste and bad taste".
This one really changed my idea of where I was coming from with media creation and what was happening in the mediascape around me.

19/07/06 Israel, Lebanon, Hezbollah, and Bush says shit!
Without doubt my favourite episode.

24/07/06 Just a fun episode. Cell phones, NASA, Hooker robots.

27/07/06 YouTube gets sued, how it all relates to copyright. Take note, because...

28/07/06 The copyright debate gets "a little more complicated than that," experts, and how to learn.

04/08/06 "In Case You Missed It" day, SugarTits cereal, the ORG, taking a shot at Tax Reform.

08/08/06 100th episode, white facial hair, Ze reminisces...
As someone with more white hairs than I care to acknowledge, and a horrendously geeky background, I relate so much.

10/08/06 Ze explains terrorism, in the wake of the failed British airline attack.

14/08/06 Baseball as allegory - Hilarious.

15/08/06 Check in on your New Years Resolutions, Army Theme Park, the Chess resignation.

17/08/06 The 10 Stages of the Illness Communication Exaggeration Curve.

24/08/06 The call for Sports Racer intros, Ze explains L.A.

Compression of information, the understanding of noise to signal, surrounded by dirty glass.
Another thought changer that made me reconsider my own position on "signal to noise" in consumer-created content.

29/08/06 Jon-Benet, John Carr, Branding (not hot metal burned into flesh).

Senator Ted Stevens and the Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act of 2006.

07/09/06 Ze breaks early and talks about where he was on 9/11 2001.

08/09/06 Ride The Fire Eagle Danger Day, sophistication of al-Qaeda recordings, foreign detention centres.


14/09/06 "I guess I'd call it Intellectual Comedy."

18/09/06 The birth of "Happy Week", and "Dress Up Your Vacuum".

19/09/06 The birth of the "Ray Remixes", being selfish by making others happy.

And that puts us at halfway.

Anyway, I realise that I'm the only person that comes by here, unless it's to look for my link to the WoW-LotR mashup via Google Images, but in the end I really put these up so I can find them again quickly and easily down the track.

However, should Ze happen to notice this post via Technorati, Icerocket, or whatever, I just want to say thanks. Really. Just thanks. You can figure out what for. Now fire up and see what you can come up with for the home stretch!

Monday, September 25, 2006

Opals take out world championship | ABC Sport

What a great thing to wake up Sunday morning and hear this news.

A pity we didn't get the chance to play the U.S., but a World Championship's a World Championship. Congratulations ladies, you make your nation proud.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Spore - Google Video

A great display of a new direction in games... or at least a bunch ol old directions all bundled together to create something new.

In particular I find it interesting to hear Will Wright say that "I didn't want to make players feel like Luke Skywalker or Frodo Baggins. I wanted them to be like George Lucas or J.R.R. Tolkien..."

More recently I've been thinking of story as really a side effect or a property of interesting experiences, not a prerequisite... I think we use story as a filtering process on our experience. They emphasise the causality of a situation... and we (game designers) don't necessarily have that level of control from our side, but the player does. The player's there having the experience happening to them. Also stories are very useful for portability, you know, communication. It's a way for us to take an experience that we've had, some other place, some other point in time, convey it to somebody else, and it's also in some sense a compression and abstraction where we can get general lessons that we might apply to other situations. Even though the stories don't exactly match, we can abstract up the story to schema learning.

Making sense of the YouTube debate.

The debate rages on...

Once you've read the linked articles, and the thoughts of Terry, check out the comments for even more opinion.

[Edit] And because it's amazing how these things pop up when you least expect to see them, an interesting piece on how YouTube is beating what were once industry leaders such as MTV.

Playpen » Blog Archive » MTV vs YouTube

I hadn't seen the OK Go clip from the MTV Music Awards, and it's great! However, the point is well made; MTV used to be the ones that launched this sort of act. Now performers are getting their name known on YouTube and MTV are following. Read the article, you'll see what they mean.

Opals blitz Brazil, advance to final!

While we're standing around, talking hoops, let's hear it for our Women's National team, the Opals, making it to the Grand Final of the World Championships against... well, let's face it, realistically it's going to be against the Yanks unless they collapse against Russia in the Semi's.

Australia playing better than it ever has, U.S.A. in a rebuilding phase trying to maintain their perfect record. Now THAT will be a cracker of a game. Bring on Sunday morning!

Congratulations ladies! You've already done yourselves and your country proud. Everything from here is gravy.

[Update] Shows what I know...

Now this will be interesting.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Greater than the sum of its parts | Tom Coates

How social networking sites work.

and, quite handily, Marnie Webb's notes on the presentation.

Congrats to the Singapore Slingers, NBL

Congratulations are in order to the newest expansion team to the National League on winning their inaugural match. While I'm at it, congrats to the league for getting this international movement up and running. Let's hope it's the start of something very successful for all concerned.

NBL | Slingers start with win

Now we just have to hope the Bullets can get it together in a way they never quite managed last year. Here's hoping.

Country Ball for 2006 - Who'll come a waltzing Matilda with me? | Street Swags

The Street Swags Country Ball is on again this year. Head along and support a very worthy cause, or feel free to donate whatever you can. Jean and Tim Madden do a great job running this incredibly worthwhile cause to help the local homeless, and from reports of last year this promises to be an absolute hootinanny!

(Hope you don't mind me leeching your image guys.)

Last year they had Bullshit Bingo! No word yet on whether the cow will return for this year.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

It all changed: a breakdown by industry and how to win | Lost Remote TV Blog

A nice rundown from Steve Safran of Lost Remote as he looks to the future by outlining the "logical scenario based upon the current and developing technologies, along with some common sense."

American in specifics, but some of the overarching themes that shine through are entirely relevant for Australian media producers, in particular the call to embrace hyper-localisation, building a conversation with your audience and beginning to leverage the lower cost of production to create your own, locally-relevant content.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

You know what I said in my previous post...

...about me being happy with the media reforms? Well, I have to admit I'm not too keen on all of them and I get the feeling I'll be even less happy as the government refuses to expend "political capital" getting them through in their initial form.

"In a perfect world, nobody would be excluded from anything. But that's not the way of the media world. Everyone is excluded from offering commercial free-to-air TV except the three incumbents. This is the last big pocket of protectionism in our economy and the Howard Government is not of a mind to remove it, at least until the move to digital is completed between 2012 and 2014, give or take a few years."

Of course, I've stated before that I don't believe that the future of media is TV, only smaller. If you don't package on-demand with mobility then it's just not enough to warrant the inevitable subscription cost.

"That will mean the status quo on ownership is maintained until after digital conversion. And by then we'll have full-time digital streaming of any kind of programming on demand via the internet, a technology that promises to render content regulation and the protection of licence holders irrelevant."

...and that doesn't take into account the lengthening of the Long Tail, the next generation of YouTubes, the inexorable approach of internet video on your teev, the "almost-dead-before-it-began" video podcast, and the "it's-only-a-matter-of-time-before-someone-finally-does-it" mobile media player with wi-fi connectivity, all likely well within the next 6 years.

Viva la Revolution!

Some thoughts on the 50th birthday of Television in Australia

Interesting, but by no means surprising, that we have a situation where the television industry feels it should get together and let us know how long they've been around in this country. I understand the important and relevant role that TV has played in the cultural, economic and social development of Australia over this time, but I find it all a little self-congratulatory that the industry feels compelled to not only get together and slap each other on the back, but to then tell us all how lucky we are to have had them there to guide us.

Or am I just being bitter because I wasn't invited?

It's interesting that the industry feels it needs to do this, but then it's always been based on a limited number of participants that have lived and died by their ability to market themselves and their product. It's what it does, it doesn't know any better. I guess this is one of the main differences between the old media and the new media. TV, radio, newspapers are all based on a limited number of people creating personalities for us to respond to and embrace so they can sell us stuff. Where is new media's Bruce Gyngell, wandering through the wires to proclaim the medium open? Could you imagine that? Tim Berners-Lee posting a YouTube article welcoming us to "teh interweb". Most of the Internet's "celebrities" are not presenters, but rather the fathers and mothers of its creation and I'm not seeing anyone celebrating the birthday of Logie Baird. The Web's an international phenomenon, predominantly American, so I guess we need ZeFrank to mark the official opening (and apologising, Great Prophet Zarquon style, for being a little late) so we can celebrate it 50 years from now.

What a great idea. I deserve a raise.

Interesting to see how the reforms play out through Parliament today. I can't see Barnaby's gripe. As I've already mentioned I like the reforms, but then I live in a city.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

New RSS link in the Sidebar

Because I think this stuff is interesting, I've added an updated RSS link to Gary Hayes' media blog "Personalize Media" in the left sidebar. Gary's one of the most experienced and savvy people in this industry at the moment and we're just lucky that he's decided to make his home in Australia so we can milk his knowledge for all its worth.

Anyway, I realise that 9 out of 10 people visiting this site never actually make it to the front page, but rather get here via Google Images trying to track down the Lord of the Rings WoW mashup, but sometimes it's nice to pretend I run a real blog.

Monday, September 11, 2006

How bad TV made us better | The Sydney Morning Herald Blogs

David Dale from the SMH shares his thoughts on the highs and lows of television as we approach the 50th birthday of TV in Australia.

The worst that TV showed us
Arrogance. Billions in profits have encouraged the networks to take their audience for granted. They think they can be deceptive, unreliable, arbitrary and insulting, because the viewers have nowhere else to go...

The best that TV showed us
Homicide. It wouldn't work today as crime drama or as token Australian content. But in 1966, when it won its timeslot for the first time against a US drama (The Fugitive), the critic Harry Robinson noted a cultural tipping point: "Australians may at last be willing to consider their own people with their own ways worth watching. Till now, as any showman will tell you, Australians have preferred to watch anybody but their own kind, no matter what the quality. Perhaps we have grown up enough to give ourselves a fair go..."

I think he's hit the nail on the head with every one of his "worst" category. He wouldn't be far off with his "best" list either.

If anything I'd put a caveat on the Simpsons (which should have been put to rest many seasons ago), and perhaps add "Australian Story" to "Four Corners".

Online Spin » Can a TV Show Teach Us About Marketing?

I'm not a fan of the whole PR/Marketing thing, but this is a good article on how the TV show "Lost" is creating its own brand and generating its own community beyond the scope of the television set through the use of a cross media game.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

lonelygirl15 vs traditional media

Man, that's almost too good a title to just leave sitting there like that, but that's exactly what I'm going to do. No explanation, opinion or comment, I'm just linking to this short piece by Jeff Jarvis so I can find it again later.

[Edit] Some more links to Lonelygirl15 stuff at PBS' Media Shift.

[Edit part deux] Dagnabbit. I should have known this whole thing would come to a head while I was away for the weekend. The whole thing is revealed, through Internet investigation, to be a production created by a small company whose purpose is to create an era of interactive storytelling where the line between “fan” and “star” has been removed, and dedicated fans like yourselves are paid for their efforts.

Initial response tends to indicate the punters are not happy.

Pheh, viewers. You just can't please them.

More drama at the ABC | The Australian

Amanda Meade's media diary for this week mentions a few issues, but the one that's grabbed my attention sits tucked at the bottom of the page. I'd almost given up reading about appointments at The Bulletin and who's going to write for Vogue when this popped up.

Aunty's news crunch

THE ABC's state news directors have been told that their department overspent last year by $1 million. As a result some states face staff cuts, and travel budgets and phone calls will have to be trimmed. Managers were told the recent federal budget gave the ABC more money but tied it to other projects and departments, namely drama. Staff were also told the ABC can no longer afford annual pay rises and some states will lose some positions. A job in TV news recently advertised in Media was axed 10 days after the applications closed.

I just want to put this here because I fear it's going to be even bigger down the track.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

ZeFrank Speaks at TED

I love the Ze, I think that much is fair to say. One day I'm going to get around to posting links to my favourite episodes of "the Show" (if only because the site has no appreciable search system) but for now I link to this so I can find it later.

On discovering the secret to website popularity:
"Dance like an idiot and don't sell anything."

Never before have truer words been spoken.