Friday, September 28, 2007

One Final Thing Before I Go...

The new GetUp! viral ad parodying the government's climate change campaign. It's being pushed to hit $250K to get it on the teev for the AFL GF this Saturday.

While I understand that television is where the people are, especially during a grand final (it's always been understood that TV's greatest strength in an on-demand media world is live sport), I'm a little disappointed that more emphasis isn't being placed in its online presence. I suppose that the main audience this ad is targeted at are traditionally television watchers, so it makes sense.

At least they've listened to previous advice and made the video player able to be embedded.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

This blog is on hiaitus

Between fatherhood and ongoing work changes there's just no time to give this blog the updating it needs. For the time being consider this a deadzone. I may resurrect it in the future, but until then feel free to check the archives.

No one visits anyway so I doubt there's going to be much of a furore, a whimper, even a peep.


Tuesday, September 11, 2007

The rundown on the newest Flash player

Tinic Uro from Adobe runs through some of the new features of the newly released Flash Player Beta.

Let's put together some thought up scenarios I would imagine are important:
  • You created a pod cast for iTunes and happily distribute over this channel. Now you want to add value to it and easily make it accessible over the web without special plug-ins, reaching an audience which does not have QuickTime installed. Well, this new feature will allow you to do this. You can take your existing podcast in .m4a format and present it on any web page through the Flash Player. Add more value by adding interactivity and branding if you want to. The possibilities are endless.

  • Your media company has made or is about to make a significant investment into web video or video archiving. You are wondering what format you should choose. Video for Flash reaches everyone now, but the format is not an 'industry standard' so you have the fear that content you will create will become obsolete and unsupported at some point. Flash Player 9 Update 3 comes to the rescue: MPEG-4 is an extremely well documented ISO standard and completely vendor independent. And by using the Flash Player now you get instant gratification for viewers.

  • You want to get best the possible quality out of your video and do not want to be tied to a particular encoding solution. You also like open source software to do all of the work you need to do to encode video. A combination of libfaad, x264 and MP4Box which are all licensed under the GPL will do exactly that, albeit with little usability and requiring lots of expertise. But it will now play just fine through the most distributed run time in the world, the Adobe Flash Player.

You go away for a few weeks and crazy things happen.

Friday, August 10, 2007

It's a Boy!

It's a boy!

Alexander Ronald King, born 9lb at 20:30, 09 August. Mother, son and father all doing well.

[Pics deleted - It's a weird paternal instinct I get when I realise people are googling these pictures.]

Friday, July 13, 2007

Mission Stencil Story

I had intended to break radio silence with a long post on all the shit's that's been happening over the last few weeks, but I had to link to this for later reference.

The mission stencil story is an interactive, choose-your-own-adventure story that takes place on the sidewalks of the Mission district in San Francisco. It is told in a new medium of storytelling that uses spraypainted stencils connected to each other by arrows. The streetscape is used as sort of an illustration to accompany each piece of text.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Burst Culture |

I hate jumping on this stuff so long after everyone else, but it's a post worth pointing to.

"I’d like you to ignore, for a while, anything that smacks of Web 3.0, or even Web 2.0, or any of the other dumb ideas that distract from production of actual content on the web. Instead, consider these simple things:

* The hurdle to credible publishing on the web, now, is the nine dollars it costs to buy a domain name from GoDaddy, which can be mapped on to a free Tumblr or Blogger space...

* Bursts aren’t contentless, nor do they denote the end of Attention Span. If attention span was dead, JK Rowling wouldn’t be selling paperbacks thick enough to choke a pig, and Neal Stephenson wouldn’t be making a living off books the size of the first bedsit I lived in."

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Own Story 2 - Expert warns users to beware Vista upgrade

Here it is. My second story for Newswriting, this time as a video/TV item. There's nothing amazing or innovative in all this. It's just a standard TV style which is definitely one I'm used to.

Thanks to Harry for putting up with me shooting video of his computer in his bedroom, Ray Shaw for taking time to guide an inexperienced student through the interview when most people aren't even interested to talk if it's not going to be published and mother-in-law Kay for letting me know about the story in the first place.


Expert warns users to beware Vista upgrade

Computer users have been warned to think twice before upgrading to Microsoft’s latest operating system, Windows Vista.

While the computer giant has been working hard to convince users to make the switch, one expert says there’s no major benefit in doing so.



Intro: Computer users have been warned to think twice before upgrading to Microsoft’s latest operating system, Windows Vista.

While the computer giant has been working hard to convince users to make the switch, one expert says there’s no major benefit in doing so.

Voice: Harry Vogler was happy when told his recently purchased Media Centre computer was eligible for a free upgrade to the newly released Vista operating system.

However his happiness turned to frustration when what should have been a simple operation caused his computer system to stop working.

The unexpected fault left Mr Vogler with no way to recover his computer’s contents.

Harry Vogler: I didn’t back it up like I should have. It’s half my own fault. I should have backed up but I didn’t expect there to be such a catastrophic failure and in the process I lost pretty much everything.

Voice: Mr Vogler’s experience doesn’t come as a surprise to Brisbane IT expert Ray Shaw who found similar problems during his own Vista upgrade testing. He says XP Media Centre was never designed as a premium product.

Ray Shaw: To get Media Centre in Vista you have to buy the Home Premium version, and it works pretty well. But try and put that on a system that ran XP Media Centre and it won’t work. I don’t know why.

Voice: He agrees with Microsoft’s claims that Vista has better and more relevant Internet security than XP, but says most users shouldn’t upgrade operating systems during the life of their PC.

Ray Shaw: It’s the old story. It it ain’t broke don’t fix it.

Voice: Microsoft wouldn’t comment on Ray Shaw’s findings but said it was genuinely pleased with sales of the operating system which had sold 20 million copies worldwide in its first month.

The company has made several online tools available on its website for those considering an upgrade.

Even with this assistance Harry Vogler has some advice for those considering making the switch.

Harry Vogler: Back up everything and do a clean install. It’s the only way you’ll get everything working properly.

Voice: The first major Vista update, Service Pack 1, is expected to be released at the end of this year.



Comments, as always, are welcome (but not expected).

Friday, May 18, 2007

Links what to finish the week with!

My new favourite web series.

On, Rupert Murdoch weighs into the modern media debate.

"Traditional companies are feeling threatened. I say, bring on the changes."

Chris Anderson with an interesting thought.

"Web 2.0 is such a phenomena because we're underused elsewhere. Bored at work, bored at home. We've got spare cycles and they're finally finding an outlet. Tap that and you've tapped an energy source that rivals anything in human history. Solitaire Players of the World Unite!"

Warren Ellis with a haunting piece on the deserted sections of Second Life.

"The wind whistles through the brick canyons of Welles City. You strain to pick up more sounds, but there’s nothing. Ten-storey buildings with no one in them. An empty church. Apartment blocks, one after the other, with no sign of life. It reminds you of 1980s documentaries about the neutron bomb, that would kill all organic life but leave all the buildings standing. Streets with no people.

"Lots of people have had lots to say about the recent hype surrounding Second Life, but very few have addressed the basic experience of the world — that you’re incredibly alone there. You can spend eighty percent of your time walking through immense, labyrinthine castles that no one lives in. Visit a seemingly endless string of shops with no customers."

And finally a bunch of articles from the ever thought-provoking Lost Remote.

How to Write for the Web

"FOR YEARS web producers have handled the tedious process of converting TV scripts for the web. But today the demand for more timely and comprehensive online coverage has led many newsrooms to assign TV staff to write for the web. Even with the growing popularity of online video, written stories still attract the vast majority of traffic."

Build a niche video site and take back online video

“You would think the one place video could win online would be in video.” I usually don’t quote myself, but it’s a line I use in my talks and I wanted to repurpose it here. And why not? There is a way to use your archives to start making money online. So far the TV stations have ignored it. And that’s one reason why the local TV stations have lost vast amounts of money, both real and in opportunity. There’s one more chance, and once again it requires one simple act: let video be video."

The disconnect between consumers and major media

"John Jurgensen, Digital entertainment reporter, Wall Street Journal: It’s important to note that “yesterday’s consumer” is still with us. That puts people like Jim (Sexton, SVP Interactive Brands, Scripps Networks) in a pretty tough position. People are gravitating to a sense of ownership to sites and services because they got there early or found a niche. If they feel they own it they put time into it, they write reviews – it’s a real passion for some people. Any way you can tap into that aspect of ownership by recognizing those people by rewarding or honoring those people – that’s important."

SMEast 2007: Your action items

"I loved the example from Mariana Danilovic, the VP of Business Development at MediaZone. She talked about how MediaZone helped take the traditional Wimbledon coverage and turn it into a multichannel event. How do you “long tail” Wimbledon? “We’re (putting) professionally-produced media onto broadband media that wasn’t available before,” said Danilovic. “We’re putting up the world feed of Wimbledon – nine simultaneous video feeds, longform video highlights, archival footage, (and) player interviews – lots of new ways to get information you don’t get on television.” Locals probably aren’t covering the Wimbledons of the world, but they do cover local events - marathons and such - and they use a ton of resources for the TV product. Putting a few of those resources into multicasting would do worlds of good."

Second journalism assignment due Saturday. Hope to have it up by the end of the weekend.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Two thought provoking articles

First up, let's step back to David Foster Wallace and his comments on television.

"TV is not vulgar and prurient and dumb because the people who compose the audience are vulgar and dumb. Television is the way it is simply because people tend to be extremely similar in their vulgar and prurient and dumb interests and wildly different in their refined and aesthetic and noble interests."

With this in mind, it's interesting then to see where people go when they are unleashed from the restraints of mass broadcast.

"Of the top 10 podcasts, 7 are from public radio, PBS, CNN, or in one case - an instructional podcast in learning Spanish. And in the audiobooks section, you don’t find the kind of entertainment Hollywood thinks we want. 14 of the top 15 audiobooks are non-fiction. People want to hear about Einstein. They want to hear from the Dalai Lama and George Tenet. They’re interested in the teachings of Abraham and in Stephen Colbert."

Maybe there's hope for us all yet.

Second, in light of the Virginia Tech massacre how do we define a journalist? The camera-phone footage shot by student Jamal Albarghouti has been designated journalism, and there's even been comments that Seung-Hui Cho, the shooter, should be considered a journalist for creating his own content to be sent on to NBC.

But surely such activity is less that of journalist and more that of a documentary maker. Or, in Cho's case, a Public Relations officer creating a press release package. I think it does both journalists and those who just happen to be in the right place at the right time to capture an event a great disservice to lump everyone under the same title.

I am constantly the first to spring to the defence of untrained journalists and those who look to perform the act of journalism outside the sphere of a reconised media outlet, but I can't resolve a role as observer or documenter with the analysis and contextualisation required for what I define as journalism.

"Jamal, a Palestinian, says it was his exposure to professional journalism while living in the West Bank, that gave him the courage to record the terrifying events of April 16th 2007. It’s interesting that he has such pragmatic view of his role while others hold him up as the future model of TV News."

"i’m not a journalist, i just did this. i was there and i took the video. Traditional media was important, seeing how professionals worked allowed me to do what i did. i would’ve never thought of doing that at Virginia Tech."
-Jamal Albarghouti

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Oz in 30 seconds - The UGC Political Ad

With an election coming up it kind of makes sense to take our current love of all things UGC and work it for a good cause.

"This is a chance to show us your Australia by making a 30 second political ad, which we will air on national prime time television during the lead up to the federal election."

Nice idea. I'm looking forward to seeing what comes out of it.

GetUp | Oz in 30 seconds

[Edit] Just noticed something I'm finding a little incongruous with the supposed (God, I hate myself for saying this) "2.0" vibe of the project. If you're going to put a Flash video promo on the front page of your site, at least make it embeddable so it can be shared around. Hmm, dropped the ball.

My First News Story

What follows is my first story researched and written for my Newswriting subject. It's not perfect, but it's mine.

And as my tutor mentions, it's my intellectual property, so I can do whatever I want with it. Including posting it here.


Busway compensation deal not so sweet.

Frustrated shopkeepers in Coorparoo could be forced to wait up to 10 months to receive compensation for being forced out of their locations due to the planned Eastern Busway.

The current draft Concept Design and Infrastructure Management Plan would see the historic Myer building, which includes the Coorparoo Mall, torn down to make way for a bus stop and dual-purpose development.

The State Government is scheduled to review the plan in June with a final decision not due for several months.

Business owners in the mall were originally told compensation to move to new locations would be made available between July and September this year, but have now been told they may have to wait until February 2008.

Paula Cleg, owner of the Party and Confectionary Shop at the Coorparoo Mall, is concerned that as a result of a downturn in trade some businesses in the area may not survive that long.

“It’s completely like a ghost town now,” said Ms Kleg. “There’s just no one coming into the area.

The centre’s major tenant, Harvey Norman, left the site several months ago.

Ms Kleg is currently working six days a week at the Coorparoo business, and spends Sundays selling confectionary at local markets to supplement income from the shop.

The State Transport Minister’s office refused to comment, however Councillor for the East Brisbane Ward Catherine Bermingham believes the project will be a great benefit to the local area.

“Some of the local residents were concerned at first and now they see the benefits of it,” said Councillor Bermingham.

“They now see there’s an opportunity for a mixed use site which means their property will be worth more money.

“We’ve only really had maybe a half a dozen negatives about the bus tunnel.”

Paula Kleg welcomes the future benefits to the local community however she wants the state and local governments to realise the dilemma currently facing business owners.

“I think the government needs to come in here and have a look and have a bit of care for the shops that are here right now,” she said.

The Eastern Busway project is scheduled to commence in 2008.


Associated Links

Translink: Eastern Busway

Proposed Coorparoo Junction Station Concept Plan

Coorparoo Junction Before & After Artist's Impression

Coorparoo Mall location - Google Maps

Mall History - Australian Heritage Database


As a side issue, I should note that the local Councillor, Catherine Bermingham, is a pretty good person. I didn't intend for her comments to make the alternative view to this story, however apparently it's the Transport Minister's policy not to speak to university students. Unfortunately I wasn't told this in time to get an alternate view, and I didn't feel it was ethical to play the ABC card which means her comments had to play that role. A pity, but it doesn't make the underlying story any less valid as far as I'm concerned.

Friday, April 27, 2007

10 Things You Can Do With Mixed Media RSS | Marshall Kirkpatrick

Let's just step past the rather inane definition of "Media RSS";

My definition of a mixed media RSS feed is this: it's a feed created for the delivery of video, photos, audio files and other media items all together by RSS.

and consider the implications;

Today, we're the only company that provides a way for you publish a channel of mixed media content (video, photos, audio and more) that's subscribable by RSS and can be displayed in an embeddable player.

There's some great possibilities that we're looking at here.


Via Steve Bryant's Reel Pop, who lays down the background of the story and production.

"The story: Vigilantes in a failed Pacific Rim state search for the indestructible but hidden remains of Krai, a superbeing who can manipulate DNA and, hopefully, return order to the ruined port city of Lhek."

Worth watching on the official site with better res and bit rate...

...but for now here's the YouTube version.

Just a beautiful piece of animation. I'm looking forward to the possibility of a heap more in the future from this franchise.

When things just fall in your lap.

A great topic to put to the Federal Opposition Leader should he drop by for the Newswriting Press conference assignment in a couple of weeks time. Isn't it great when this sort of stuff, which is right up your alley, just pops up at the right time?

Via Joshua Gans' excellent Core Economics blog.

A great piece of investigative journalism by the Canberra Times' Peter Martin. On his blog no less.

"The Labor Party's boast that its national broadband network will expand the Australian economy by as much as $30 billion a year is based on an obscure and dated report that fails to substantiate the claim.

"The Department of Communications cited the Accenture study in its Broadband Blueprint prepared launched last year by its Minister Helen Coonan. The department, too, had been unable to locate a copy until late last week when, after repeated requests from The Canberra Times, it found one on a disc in a box that contained the records of its 2003 Broadband Advisory Group inquiry."

Sometimes I love the fact that the country is being run by people who are no smarter than I am. At other times it scares the shit out of me.

And the follow up piece in today's SMH where opposition communications spokeman Senator Conroy responds.

"Senator Conroy yesterday insisted the economic benefits remained 'in the billions of dollars'. He defended Labor's use of the $30 billion figure by pointing out the Government had used it first. 'The accuracy of this number has been good enough for the Government to frequently cite the number itself, most recently in its much hyped broadband blueprint,' he said.

The Minister for Communications, Helen Coonan, quoted the figure in a speech last August, but yesterday she said of Labor's broadband plan: 'Australians deserve better than a hastily cobbled together piece of flawed economics which delivers nothing more than an empty promise.'"

Scary. Both sides acting like children.

"He said it was worth lots of money and he was wrong."

"But she said it first!"

"I'm gonna tell mum on you."

Corp-pocalypse - Chapter 2

For what it's worth, I do think some of the comments are a little panic-stricken and overblown creating a Media Watch level of ignorance of the medium. Still, rampant, illogical panic is still a sign of the end times.

Friday, April 20, 2007

What a week!

I'm not even gong to touch the practical upshot of the Virginia Shootings. Enough people doing that already.

Instead, the video player announcements at NAB!

(Wow! That's an overblown hyperlink!!)

On to the RTNDA address at NAB, starring a host of online luminaries. Comments and video follow.

From Steve Bryant at Reel Pop, the question of our time - do we still need a laugh track?

And to finish off the week, a story that I found quite pressing on my view of the world.

"When President Bush ordered troops to Iraq, he probably never imagined that he would be ultimately be responsible for what very well could be the very first D&D convention/game day ever held in a war zone. Ziggurat Con, being held June 9 from 1200 to 2100 hours at Camp Adder/Tallil Airbase, is open to all allied military personnel and civilian contractors in Iraq."

I always felt that one of the things D&D/RPG players were undergoing when they played was a sense of wish fulfillment, i.e. a chance to imagine themselves in dangerous and exotic locations performing feats of daring do for noble causes.

What the hell do a bunch of soldiers in Iraq fighting in the War on Terror need any more of that for? A rethink is in order.

(BTW, try and tear your eyes away from that damned LJ avatar on the top right of the page. Where you been all our lives, boy? Who woulda thunk of it?)

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Quote of the week

"Brings a whole new meaning to 'logging on'."

My brother-in-law's response to Google's April Fools day prank, Google TiSP.

On leave this week so no reading for me. I intend to shut down and take it easy before the big push on the lead up to the birth of the cub. If I don't get to rest now I probably never will, so you're on your own.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

NIN Year Zero album - Listen to it now

Via (who has apparently given his holy blessing by saying "fuck me, that’s actually pretty good").

Not enough that Nine Inch Nails are marketing their new album with a kick-ass ARG, you can listen to the tracks online at the official site. All that's required is a mail address to sign up.

I wish I'd found this earlier today because I have to head to Uni now.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

MSNBC explains Iraq using Flash!

A great Flash presentation that combines video and interactivity to explain the background to what's going on in Iraq right now. A perfect vehicle to give context to a place that we only get a minute a night about on the evening news.

This is what internet video content should be.

Only problem I can think of is that you can't embed the player elsewhere. It's locked into the MSNBC site which does, I think, limit its effectiveness. Other than that, absolutely sterling work.

Supermarket 2.0 |

Teh Funny - 2.0

Via Boing Boing

Friday, March 30, 2007

What We Call The News - JibJab

Heh heh. Teh funny.

Wednesday 4th is Media Revolution day!

Let's see if it marks a flurry of takeovers and conglomerations, or, more likely, nothing much at all.

[EDIT] It seems I'm alone in my statement.

The changes are expected to spark a rash of takeovers in the media landscape but Senator Coonan says that is not a bad thing.

"There will be, I think, some consolidation but I don't think it's going to be at the expense of diversity because the media landscape has simply moved on," she said.

Well I guess she's right there.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

The future of mobile content - Wall Street Journal

Via Lost Remote

Nice to see not only the content of this story, but the quality of a non-traditional video maker producing interesting and well produced content that fits the medium.

Pay phone murder mystery | WMMNA

Great ARG concept.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

BBC offshoot sets local TV abuzz | The Australian

GoogTube v Viacom? Yeah, put that on hold for the moment. This is the one I'm finding really interesting this morning.

"The ABC is an obvious candidate to outsource some of its broadcasting services to Red Bee, which began life as the production arm of the BBC and last week got its foot in the door of Australian public broadcasting by being named as SBS's preferred supplier of key production and digital media management services."

"(Chris) Howe, Red Bee's director of emerging technologies, says the goal when planning the London centre was "designing technological architecture and working systems that would be future-proof".

"And I think we managed to do it. It is not restricted to any single technology or any single platform, and it was put together right from the start as a multi-client facility."

That means it can make content available to any platform, from traditional TV to mobile phones or broadband internet services, and it can churn out services for any number of competing broadcasters."

I got a heads up a while back from some of my colleagues in Tech Services who are getting a little antsy about what might happen. Problem is, it affects me as well should scuttlebutt come to fruition.

Nothing can be done at the moment. Play it as it comes.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Why Sam McKinnon should be MVP.

Ellen and I went to game 1 of the NBL Grand Final series on Friday night. What a spectacular game, full of drama, controversy and emotion. For the team to come back from that deficit and win it in the last minute to keep the streak alive in the middle of that huge crowd was great to be part of.

One thing I noticed during the game has cemented in my mind just how good a player Sam McKinnon is this year and why he has to be considered the standout league MVP.

In my opinion McKinnon didn't have a good game at all. In fact I think he kind of sucked; I got to see the Bullets play against Adelaide a few weeks before and without doubt there was little comparison between the two performances. He didn't seem to be in the offense as much, he was missing shots, he just didn't seem to be clicking. So you can imagine my surprise when I checked McKinnon's stats after the game.

18 points on 8-15 shooting, including 2 huge free throws at the end to put the team ahead, 12 rebounds, including 5 offensive, 8 assists and 2 blocked shots. His quarter by quarter goes 4,4,4,6. Consistency with a capital C that put him just short of a triple-double in one of the biggest games of the year AND (as I said) HE DIDN'T HAVE THAT GOOD A GAME!!

Heaven help Melbourne when he has the inevitable blinder in this series.

Game 2 tonight! Go Bullets.

NBL > Mackinnon claims MVP
They got it right.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

So much to say

And yet I don't have time to say anything.

You know I finally read Chris Anderson's "The Long Tail" last weekend? So much I wanted to say as I went, but nothing. Not a peep. Nothing on the baby, nothing on ideas I've had, not even anything on our new location at Channel 10 or an intriguing rumour I heard at an all staff BBQ Thursday night.

Too bad. No time. Bat on.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

I'm going to be a dad!

Breaking radio silence of the last week to make this little announcement.

Ellen is pregnant. 14 weeks and counting.

Baby is due 7 August.

No, we don't know if it's a girl or a boy, nor do we intend to find out until the big moment.

I am frickin' stoked.

And terrified.

But mainly overjoyed.

More later.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Coming to you from Sydney

My colleagues in Sydney are hosting us while things get shifted up the hill. I find myself responding to a last minute call to come down to cover the team with tech/production support over the weekend. That leaves a small enclave of us sitting in an empty office (these guys are Mon-Fri only it seems) publishing bulletins and quaffing beverages.

Heh heh we're in ur base drinking ur tea!!1!

Hmm, doesn't have quite the same ring does it?

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Final Transmission from Toowong

This is it! Our last night of production out of the Toowong Broadband studio. The updates are done, the equipment's being shut down and I'm busy mirroring our Unity partition so we can get back up and running as soon as possible once things are laced up in the new facility up the hill.

I know there's been a lot of problems with this site, not just the most recent one that's finally forced us to move, but I'm going to miss this place terribly. This was where I really started my career in TV, and no matter where I worked and how long it was between shifts, when I walked in it always felt like I was coming home.

Goodbye ABC Toowong.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Gotta Whole Lotta Links!

Been busy. Here's what's attracted my attention during the brief moments I've been able to lift my head above water.

First, some articles on news and Internet video.

"This is just the beginning of the local push. But surprisingly, local television is standing flat-footed while key local niches and their corresponding revenue pools are captured by the pure plays. In a few cases, stations are cutting content-for-revenue deals, but this is only a partial, case-by-case solution. In the next 2 to 4 years, if local TV doesn’t aggressively launch innovative new products into key local niches, its interactive revenue will plateau at a shockingly small share. So small, it will only scratch the surface in offsetting the decline in television ad revenue."

"Chatting with colleagues about "hyperlocal" journalism as the future of newspapers, I finally came up with the right metaphor for a phenomenon we all experience: that our interest in a subject is in inverse proportion to its distance (geographic, emotional or otherwise) from us.

For instance, the news that my daughter got a scraped knee on the playground today means more to me than a car bombing in Kandahar."

Nothing particularly new in Chris Anderson's idea, but the comments are worth a read.

"Station CEO Kevin Page says that making segments available on YouTube is easier and faster than burning DVDs of segments that viewers call to request copies of. It also allows viewers to subscribe and receive notices whenever a new segment is available. Page reportedly hopes to sell ads at the end of the segments in the future - we’ll see how that goes over."

Some guys at work had this idea last year that we should be putting all our news items on Google Video. I still think it's worth putting the files somewhere under your control, but I completely agree with the idea of making the video shareable.

Onto other topics...

Every year these guys ask the world's top thinkers to answer a question of relevance. This year, in a world that seems to be falling apart, they asked these people what they were optimistic about for the future.

While conventional wisdom tells us that things are bad and getting worse, scientists and the science-minded among us see good news in the coming years. That's the bottom line of an outburst of high-powered optimism gathered from the world-class scientists and thinkers who frequent the pages of Edge, in an ongoing conversation among third culture thinkers."

So long as we're in a thinking mood,

"My definition of an 'intellectual' also requires explanation. To me an intellectual in this context is an expert generalist -- a polymath or jack-of-all-trades who sees and understands the Big Picture both past, present and future. While I value and respect the work of specialists, they can be frustratingly out of touch with other disciplines and some of the more broader applications of science, technology and philosophy. Given the obvious truism that nobody can know everything, there is still great value in having individuals understand a diverse set of key principles."

Continuing his future thinking informal series on his LJ.

"Arphid ink. Or, rather RFID ink - Radio Frequency ID ink. Its existence was announced at the start of the week. Through some arcane method, information is encoded into a substance that acts as a RFID sounder and uses fine mammal hairs as its antennae...
Sooner or later, someone's going to get hold of RFID ink, and figure out how to encode it, and tattoo it on to themselves. They're going to walk around with complete knowledge of where and how often we get pinged for RFID tags -- and their tats will send a message back to those systems.

Silly-season newspaper story for 2012: anti-shoplifting systems at major stores will find their report documents filling up with the broadcasted phrase FUCK YOU.


Because IPTables is Fun!

"My neighbours are stealing my wireless internet access. I could encrypt it or alternately I could have fun.
I'm starting here by splitting the network into two parts, the trusted half and the untrusted half. The trusted half has one netblock, the untrusted a different netblock. We use the DHCP server to identify mac addresses to give out the relevant addresses...
we set iptables to forward everything to a transparent squid proxy running on port 80 on the machine.
That machine runs squid with a trivial redirector that downloads images, uses mogrify to turn them upside down and serves them out of it's local webserver."

Now that's clever.

Want to know where you fit into the political spectrum? Why not try the...

According to the table, I sit somewhere on the border between libertarian and liberal. Sounds about right.

And while we're discussing "Thinking So You Don't Have To...", here's what Ze Frank's likely to be doing after "The Show" completes its season this March.

"So Mr. Frank has decided since then to focus on feature films for his first foray into the mainstream. But don’t worry, netizens! He swears he’ll never ditch the Web."

My guess of "Internet Cult Guru" is a little off I suppose.

Now it's time for some fun. First up, because I love remix trailers so much, here's Casino Royale... starring Tom Hanks.

God as you've never seen him before.

Another comic to add to the list.

Every day it's the same picture. Only the text changes.

Onto the lists! First up, Maxim magazine's list of

Not sure I agree with all the clips they show, but there's some damn fine ass-kicking moments.

Continuing with the lists,

"There is a scene in Alfonso Cuaron's Children of Men when Theo, the selfish and well-soused anti-hero, enters his cousin's luxurious London aerie and is greeted by two growling dogs -- Cerberus, anyone? -- guarding Michaelangelo's David, the left leg of which is held together by a bone-like steel joist. Theo then sits down to lunch beneath Picaso's Guernica and afterwards takes in the window view, which includes a massive reproduction of the cover of Pink Floyd's Animals.

It is a disturbing scene cluttered with art-turned-tchotchke. And When Theo asks his cousin, amid all this gratuitous opulence, how he lives without hope for the future, his cousin replies "The truth is, I just don't think about it."

Below, in top ten order -- but not including Children of Men (we practice a year's moratorium on adding anything to a movie top ten list) -- are Reel Pop's favorite dystopian films."

Includes GoogTube clips.

Getting close now.

Looking at the Original Trilogy in light of the Prequels.

"If we accept all the Star Wars films as the same canon, then a lot that happens in the original films has to be reinterpreted in the light of the prequels. As we now know, the rebel Alliance was founded by Yoda, Obi-Wan Kenobi and Bail Organa. What can readily be deduced is that their first recruit, who soon became their top field agent, was R2-D2.

Consider: at the end of RotS, Bail Organan orders 3PO's memory wiped but not R2's. He wouldn't make the distinction casually. Both droids know that Yoda and Obi-Wan are alive and are plotting sedition with the Senator from Alderaan. They know that Amidala survived long enough to have twins and could easily deduce where they went. However, R2 must make an impassioned speech to the effect that he is far more use to them with his mind intact: he has observed Palpatine and Anakin at close quarters for many years, knows much that is useful and is one of the galaxy's top experts at hacking into other people's systems. Also he can lie through his teeth with a straight face. Organa, in immediate need of espionage resources, agrees."

A wonderful High Dynamic Range image of the Tokyo Cityscape on Flickr.

Click on the image for access to the full picture.

And finally, everything I have wanted to say about this stupidity involving the supposed "horror and outcry" over the BDO's request to patrons to keep the Australian flag at home this weekend.

"I have many fond memories of my various Big Days Out: sooky Goths stomping around in the heat as their make-up melts in the lead up to Nine Inch Nails; disgusting sauce-covered Dagwood Dogs and loads of Hare Krishna nosh falling off pitifully inadequate environmentally-friendly plates; Frenzal Rhomb's gleeful destruction of comedy effigies of politicians; singing The Darkness' I Believe In A Thing Called Love with Andrew G in a brief moment of televisual infamy; and, of course, the music.

You'll note that not one of those happy reminiscences included "Being given a spray by brick-headed tools insisting I 'kiss the flag!' or face the consequences."

This is not about being "ashamed" of Our Flag, as so many quick-to-froth nationalists will wail. It is about admitting the connection between the flag and its use as a symbol of hate/anger/patriotism/whatever by a very ugly, but unfortunately very real, portion of our population. Commentators may call them "troublemakers"; pollies call them "un-Australian"; I call them "dickheads"."

And on that note I head back into my shell, preparing for the big move out of Toowong. Doubt I'll have any more to say for a short while.


Friday, January 12, 2007

New York Times Media Critic as Media Innovator | Beet.TV

Ignore the article, watch the video. In particular, listen to David Carr (and ignore Andy Plesser who feels a need to answer his own questions and sounds too much like Wallace Shawn to be taken seriously as a host - yes, I am aware of the irony in my condemnation given my agreement on what Carr says) (See Update). Now here's a guy who knows where things are headed and has already jumped on board to steer the train.

"If you look at TMZ, which does gossip, you've got text, you've got headlines and you've got embedded video. That's what people are becoming used to, is within that frame all forms of media expressed, each carrying bits of information that they consume at the same time."

"Consumer video works on the algorithm of the wisdom of the crowd; the crowd pushes up that which the like, so they like funny, they like lewd, somebody that does a lengthy exegesis on the Holocaust on video is probably not going to do all that great."

So internet video panders to the dumb? Not necessarily. Chris Anderson points to this quote by David Foster Wallace.

"TV is not vulgar and prurient and dumb because the people who compose the audience are vulgar and dumb. Television is the way it is simply because people tend to be extremely similar in their vulgar and prurient and dumb interests and wildly different in their refined and aesthetic and noble interests."

TV, YouTube, the quote stands equally.

[Update] Apologies should be made to Andy Plesser. I do enjoy his style of interview, and particularly his subjects. My comments were made while I was in a particularly foul mood.

William S. Burroughs Cut-Up Films

The 1960's avant-garde precursor to what's now mainstream. Thanks, Uncle Bill.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Video Survival Guide for Journalists

Some great advice from Chuck Fadely for journos trying to get into video. Explains some of the basic rules that cameramen have developed for decades, and even takes the time to explain why. Best of all is this line.

"SOUND is the most important thing in video."

Amen, brother!

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

So little time, so many links...

And still no hard and fast decision I can hold onto as to where we're going now. Work has been stressful, frustrating and damned annoying. Things do seem to be heading somewhere, so maybe things are due for an improvement.

Luckily, I've had opportunity to discover a few fun links worth reading over the last week, so I'm taking the chance to get these up now.


First up, Clay Shirky has his say on why HDTV is not the Internet killer Mark Cuban seems to think it is. Hang around at the end to read the comments, including a rebuttal from Cuban himself.

"Cuban doesn’t understand that television has been cut in half. The idea that there should be a formal link between the tele- part and the vision part has ended. Now, and from now on, the form of a video can be handled separately from it’s method of delivery. And since they can be handled separately, they will be, because users prefer it that way.

But Cuban goes further. He doesn’t just believe that, other things being equal, quality will win; he believes quality is so important to consumers that they will accept enormous inconvenience to get that higher-quality playback. When Cuban’s list of advantages of HDTV includes an inability to watch your own video on it (“the complexity of moving HDTV streams around the home and to the HDTV”), you have to wonder what he thinks a disadvantage would look like."


Steve Safran from Lost Remote takes a look at what news organisations should be looking at in 2007.

"Now then, repeat after me: “I resolve to…”

etc, etc... A good read for anyone in the news industry, not to mention some of my colleagues given the likelihood of us all being stuck together in the same room from now on.


Business Week Online has a nice slideshow run through of the movers and shakers in web video in 2006. On offer, Ze Frank, LonelyGirl15, Amanda Congdon, Ask A Ninja, OK Go, Alive in Baghdad and U.S. Presidential hopeful Senator John Edwards. I have to admit, I'm a little surprised ManiacTV got in over Diet Coke and Mentos, Galacticast or French Maid TV.


Up next, a trio of interesting articles by Steve Bryant from ReelPop.

"To say more: Saddam's execution is, in a way, the third act in a postmodern story of hyper-visualization. The story began with an exploding skyscraper on national television, an event which some philosophers called the most significant symbolic act since the crucification of Christ."

"For the last year or so, videoblogs have been refreshing departures from the over-produced pap of professional media. And those amateur production values have left an indelible mark on the way we make content.

But the more often I watch videoblogs these days, the more often I'm struck by how everybody acts the same. Switching from a three camera setup and a boom mike to a webcam and backlighting doesn't necessarily make something more real. Sometimes, it just shifts the manner of artifice."

"For example, take local news. Local news has suffered from declining viewers for years... The reason? Probably a combination of lifestyle changes (longer work hours, etc) combined with a growth in news options: It's easier for me to read local news on the Web, for example, and see national stories on other programs. In other words, the mandate for local news is shrinking because the stations provide little value that can't be found elsewhere. Hence the exhortation by folks like Steve Safran and Jeff Jarvis that local news needs to go hyperlocal."


Next, David Lynch's interview in Wired.

"Wired: How do you feel taking your work onto the internet years ago has changed you as a filmmaker?

Lynch: Well, it's huge, because I like to conduct experiments.... And because of the internet I've learned about AfterEffects, Flash animation and discovered and fallen in love with digital video. So I just think that going onto the web was so good for me. It's just sort of starting, but it's a beautiful world.... I always like random access, and I like the idea that one thing relates to another. And this is part of the internet: It's so huge, that it is really an unbounded world. And I think that if we keep our thinking caps strapped on, we could find something beautiful out there in the ether."


Warren Ellis is back on his LJ after shutting it down because some nitwit sent him unsolicited fiction. He's been posting a few ideas about our modern "science fiction world."

"Me, I'm a science fiction writer. I stick facts together to come up with fiction. Over the last five or six years, people have been experimenting with implanting arphids into their bodies. So, me, I'm sitting here thinking about Boogle. Biological Google, taking soundings off the arphids stuck to my internal organs at the desktop in the morning, checking out my liver function and assessing my lung capacity. So I can sit in the pub and smoke more cigarettes and think some more about all this."


Douglas Rushkoff introduces us to a new term.

"There's a relatively new phenomenon occurring online these days - an illusion of populist group hostilitiy I've come to call "Sock Mobs," after the "sock puppets" people use to feign multiple identities in online conversations. It works like this:"


Today's episode of The Show, "Melancholy", grabbed my attention even more than some of the others of late...

not to mention the accompanying article from the NY Times (req. Reg.)


For a little fun, here's the early frontrunner for T-Shirt of the year.


And to finish up, here's a timelapse vid from "Dale" from the Wrigley Forums who did this "year in three minutes" production. Definitely worth hanging around to the end for something I wasn't expecting.

Best of all for Dale, the video made it into a TV ad for Dunkin Donuts after being seen on YouTube. Payment ensued. Congrats.


Back to work. This facility isn't going to move by itself. If I can swing permission I'll try and grab hold of a little outtake we shot yesterday while I was dressed up "Sith Lord style" pulling down power cables from the lighting grid. Then again, probably not.