Tuesday, 20 November 2007

Wiki Videoville - Musicvideo-arama!

A friend of mine at work sent me this and at first i wasn't sure what to make of it, a cursory glance left me thinking too many links and not enough 'stuff'. However on my return i dug deeper, to find a brilliant source of video content. As it's a Wiki site, it's open source allows any budding (or indeed 'budded) film maker to display their work together with a generous amount of contact info, website links etc.

Videoville lets you browse the library by a host of different meta data tags, including the obvious 'Director', 'Artist' and 'Video' but also 'Genres', 'Stylists' and even 'Cliches'. Within minutes i'd watched 2 great clips and followed a link to a cool website for up and coming directors in Brooklyn.... I'm not sure why, i don't live in Brooklyn, but it was easy so why not.

The video/sound quality is excellent (so far) and if it doesn't contain a clip, it will send you to the required site. Slightly odd is that the Quicktimes i found seem to be locked even with QT Pro, but yet the site gives info on how to capture them with freeware, not sure how that sits with some of the people involved, but i guess it'll happen anyway, so may as well make it good quality. There are some dead links, leading you to a list of a Bands songs, with no other info, but thats a small criticism.

All in all, very cool indeed. Go, try it, now.

iPod File Share is back, ding ding round 3!

Apple are not going to be happy, I on the other hand, plus millions of frustrated iPod users will be if this works like it says it does. It's called the miShare (someone needs to tell people that if you invent a product that works with Apple, the small case first letter thingy is not mandatory) and as the image shows, allows the harmonious connection of 2 iPods, enabling the users to swap tunes, as well as video, pics etc.

Engadget didn't have much info on the company behind it, but we do know that "The unit is actually running a lightweight Linux installation and is using open source tools to access the iPod as a mass storage device and open up the database files" Cool.

File selection is done by playlists, although how that works with Pics I'm not sure. Now all i need is the ability to get back in my computer.

Paul Rand's Free Advice

My dutch counter parts have discovered this great video of an interview with Graphic Designer Paul Rand, thats been jazzed up with some groovy animation. It's a great piece of video and worth watching, advice nuggets such as 'Don't try to be original, just try to be good' should be a mantra for any creative business.

Flickr Book anyone?

I can't believe someone hasn't come up with this before.

You know the kind of person I'm talking about. They carry their mobile phone around in their hand, finger poised, quivering over the 'record' button, ready for any moment of hilarity that may come around the corner. I've come a cropper thanks to these Mobile-Michael Moore wannabes (mental note to stop doing 'air drums' when i'm drunk) and now it's only a matter of time before I'm able to watch myself in good Victorian Vision in the form of a Flick Book.

Silent Flicks offers the service of turning any video file into a flickbook, which is such an annoyingly simple idea (export as Targa, print, done), but good on em, especially as its probaby run out of some nerdy students bedroom.

They will also make a flickbook from your photos if you wish, and will except a range of graphics files. Someone should create an Ap for Facebook that lets you push photos from your album, that'd be cool or even via Flickr.....

Tuesday, 30 October 2007

Dark Knight's viral campaign picks up a gear

The oddly named website, whysoserious.com has been the home of Warner Brothers Batman; Dark Knight's viral campaign. So far it has included fake campaign posters for one of the characters (District Attorney Harvey Dent aka 'Two Face') which was later deface by graffti, allegedly by The Joker, as well as a Jack O'Lantern Pumpkin with a Batsmile cut out of it, slowly rotting. Some of the site has required interaction, but not quite to the extent that it does now.

The site has instigated a treasure hunt that appears to take in 21 cities across the US. By clicking on the small cuttings (pic 2) you are asked to solve a clue, which requires the user to physically go and hunt the answer down, which is in the form of a letter it would seem. The letters i assume will spell out some Joker based nugget of info.

It's not rocket science, but i like the way in which it needs people from all over the States to get involved and move away from their computer to help solve the riddle. WB started their viral campaign quite some time ago, so anticipation is high and growing, thanks to this kind of thinking.


"Up, up in the air, like my beautiful advertising campaign......" It's not quite got the same ring to it, but Ad Air claim to have taken OOH (Out Of Home) advertising one step further by pasting enormous ground posters onto fields that are adjacent to airport runways. The advertisements are approximately 3 times the size of a standard football pitch (about 315x210m) so big then, and as everyone knows, once you've had to turn off your iPod you're pretty much dedicated to trying to spot where your Nan lives out of the window, so all in all, quite a nifty idea. Not cheap though, as the first spot that was launched in Dubai went for a tasty £80,000..... Check out Reuters report (PS: Watch out for the guys suit collars.... )

Augmented Sculpture... (or Tron Cubes as i like to call them)

Pablo Valbuena, an artist based in Madrid (i think) has constructed a sculpture that explores space, time and the relationship between the two.... apparently. All i can really say is to watch the video, it's quite hypnotic. I'm not bright enough to discuss whether it does what he thinks it does, but from a design/aesthetic point of view, i think it's wondefull. Check out his sight here, for more info.

Thursday, 18 October 2007

My-Skype anyone?

Not quite breaking news, as I've meant to write this for about a week, but Skype and MySpace are about to combine their services. This November, MySpace (owned by News Corporation) will add Skype (owned by Ebay) to their instant-messenger software, allowing users to text chat with each other. The most recent version of the software will also allow MySpacer's to make free Internet phone calls to anyone on the Skype network.

It sounds like the perfect fit, Skype is really popular with an estimated 220 million users (majority outside of the US) and there is an overlap with 6.7% using both Aps. However MySpace allows a certain amount of anonymity, as well as providing a sense of security (it's on-line, not face to face), so will people be so keen to take that one step closer to their on-line family?

Whatever happens, it's good news for Ebay as they announced only recently that they think they may have paid $1 Billion dollars over the odds for Skype..... oops.

WOW+Second Life=Blue Mars

I'm no good at sums (that's 'Math' for our stateside readers), however i imagine there have been a few people trying to figure what result you'd get if you put World of Warcraft and Second Life together in a blender.... Well maybe the answer is Blue Mars. No, it's not a limited edition chocolate bar, it's a soon to be released a virtual world, that hopes to combine the on-line games aspect with Second Lifes community/social bonding.

It's made by a company called Avatar Reality (based in Honolulu, nice) who have based the game on a 'Terraformed Mars' enabling folk to live out the sci-fi dreams, meet some aliens and generally play at being the Jetsons. Technically, it's being aimed at the high end PC users who have quad core processors and nuclear powered graphics cards, so no logging in at work then. Theres currently no mention of user generated content and apparently it will have a basic narrative too, so it sounds little more WOW.

Time will tell though, but i think the idea of (virtually) living in the future, which is richly rendered to look like Half-Life, will be very popular, plus the fact that you have to have high end equipment, is going to appeal to the geeks who pride themselves on being that little bit more nerdy than everybody else. An elite virtual world, where only the uber-tech's live? Sounds like a not too distant future if you ask me.....

There will be a preview of Blue Mars at E for ALL in LA over the next couple of days, check the website for further news.

I CAN'T STAND YOU.... now join my group.

I'm quite mild mannered and normally reserve my distaste for people, for drunken conversations and slightly overzealous slide tackles on a Sunday afternoon, but now, thanks to some devlish Germans, i can generate a Hatebook account and tell the world about my my least favourite folk.

With features including 'Why I'm better than You' and 'Hate Albums', together with other features not included on Facebook such as a geographical locator, courtesy of Google Earth, so you can track down the people you really despise.

One thing to remember before you jump on board and start your vitriolic rants, is that its not private, anyone can see your posts, so a pseudonym may be a good idea....

Friday, 12 October 2007

Adobe takes on Apples iMovie

Adobe, in all their wonderfulness, have released a light version of Adobe Premier, which is basically what iMovie used to be before Apple decided to take out all the good stuff. It's PC only, which is a slight shame, however Adobe have admitted that Apples own reduced version of Final Cut put them off. However if its popular, I'm sure a MAC version will not be far away. I'm going to write and see if i can get a beta version to test, so i'll keep you posted. Check out a full review over at PC World

The zombies are coming, the zombies are coming!

The best thing about viral marketing is that if done correctly, the bloggers and their Internet buddies will do the PR for you. Just look at the way that JJ Abrams new film has gone global, before its even been given a proper name. It's currently known as '1-18-08' or 'Clovefield' and has the Internet buzzing with rumours thanks to a cleverly shot trailer followed swiftly by a small website, ripe for analysis by the Internet hordes.

John Frank Rosenblum, executive producer of Alive, is hoping for a bit more than some decent PR, he's after a whole TV series and channel to distribute it too. Epic Level Entertainment decided to avoid the costly business of making a multi million dollar pilot only to see the series canceled before the theme tune kicks in. They shot 3 small viral videos and set up a number of websites, such as Falcon Rock Command and Science Cannot Save You, that helped increase the buzz amongst sci-fi/zombie nuts.

It's the perfect way of presenting your concept or brand by generating a buzz first with your target audience. It's already got people talking on forums, as they explore the videos for clues about the storyline etc. The main website Falcon Rock Command is releasing a full video preview next week, which apparently will answer a lot of questions, but until then, check out their 2nd viral below.

I hope it gets picked up by a network, but if it doesn't i wonder if it would work as a strictly web only series, with enough support behind it i can't see why not.

Monday, 8 October 2007

Toyota goes all WOW

I imagine a lot of agencies have been scratching their heads about how best to target the 8 million users in World of Warcraft. Now I'm not sure that your average WOW user will be the same kind of person to go and buy a Toyota 4x4 but kudos, for doing something a bit different, even it is a watered down version of the famous Leroy Jenkins clip.... Check out Toyota's effort below

Now here comes Leroy.....

Tuesday, 2 October 2007

The IT Crowd - Anti Piracy Ad

Not really related to anything, i just think it's hilarious....

Dove Onslaught

Ogilvy's follow up to the award winning 'Evolution' was presented by Steve Hayden, vice chairman of Dove agency Ogilvy & Mather Worldwide, during an Advertising Week conference on so-called "Passionistas" (new research sponsored by Yahoo and MediaVest about the empowered consumers who spread information online.... like me). Evolution is a pretty hard act to follow and 'Onslaught' is probably not as clever as it thinks it is, flashing up images of hot girls and uncomfortable pics of plastic surgery, reminds me a little of film scenes where people are 'reprogrammed'. However, it does make a good point very well, you can't argue with that.

Monday, 1 October 2007

Steam Punk offices

The very talented guys over at Because We Can were asked to design the entire office interior for a games company called Three Rings, who look like they all wish they worked for Captain Nemo. All the desks and features were tailor made and the employees were able to design their own work stations. It might not be to everyone's tastes, but i love the almost toy like aspect to it and it suits the company down to the ground. They also make a flat-pack couch, although how comfy it is I'm not sure.

Check out all the photos here

Wednesday, 26 September 2007

Drive-by Light Show

Watch out, the University of Applied Sciences in Berlin, sounds like a the kind of place I'd hate, too much Math(s) and hard thought. However, a chap called Katrin Klimat and his pals have come up with something far more funky. The only description i can come up with is 'drive-by light graffiti' which doesn't do it justice at all. For automotive companies and the like, it would be a killer advertising ap, plus it made me feel a little like i was in Tron.... I'm beginning to show my age i think.

Check out the video below, if i can find any more info on it, I'll keep you posted. I also found this fantastic image of Light Graffiti too. More pics over at colourlovers.com.

Flat Pack Boom Box

This i love. It's a cardboard Boom Box for your iPod, it comes flat packed, and after 5 mins of folding and glueing, you too can stroll down the 'sidewalk' throwing out some heavy beats, 'Why Don't You' would be proud.

Also available for the more religious of us, is a faux leather Bible case, protecting your iPods screen not only from scratches but the devils music too, i'm sure.

Check out www.suck.uk.com for more of the same.

Tuesday, 18 September 2007

Like an iPhone would you? That'll be £1000 please.

According to Times-online, Apple fans had better start saving up if they fancy an iPhone when it's released on Nov 9th this year. The UK price will be a not so tasty £269, £69 more expensive than it is in the states (hands up who's surprised), this plus the fact that you'll have to sign up for an 18 month contract at a minimum of £35, adding up to a hefty total of £899 (£1,259 if you go for the top tariff).

At first glance that's pricey, I'm already cheesed off at constantly being charged more than the yanks, (more to the point, we moan about it and then we pay it anyway....arrrgh), Apple seem to think we're made of cash, their Apple TV is nearly twice the price per download. However, if you consider that you HAVE to pay a monthly tariff, and that you'd pay £100 for a 8 gig Nano, the combined price isn't quite so crazy, even if it is an expensive outlay.

The phone wont be available in 16 gig mode, just the 8 for us jolly old Brits and it wont have 3G either, plus, after the recent price drop in the states (by nearly $200) will the UK consumer be so keen to jump on the iPhone bandwagon?

Mirror mirror on the wall....

You may or may not have read a recent blog of mine about Aleph's interactive mirror display, made up from car wing mirrors. Well Daniel Rozin has gone one better and made interactive mirrors and displays from anything he can lay his hands on, including rubbish .

'As an interactive artist Rozin creates installations and sculptures that have the unique ability to change and respond to the presence and point of view of the viewer. In many cases the viewer becomes the contents of the piece and in others the viewer is invited to take an active role in the creation of the piece. Even though computers are often used in Rozin's work, they are seldom visible.'

One of Daniels mirrors is made from a collection of discs, each disc has a radial gradient of black and white on it. The display recognises what is in front of it via a digital camera, mapping each pixel of the image onto an individual disc. The discs rotate independently to recreate the dark/light parts of the image, by rotating accordingly. Check out the vid...

Tuesday, 11 September 2007

Apple customers non plussed at being ripped off...

Engadget have had a poll running on peoples reactions to Apple reducing the iPhones price by $200 so soon after it's initial release. Bizarrely enough, the ratio of OK vs annoyed is only 48/52, which i find staggering, considering that the most negative comments are coming from people who don't actually own the phone... WEIRD!

I'm not sure how Apple get away with this, what is it that they do, that makes their customers love them so? Maybe i should buy an iPod to find out.

Any thoughts out there...?

How d’ya like them Apples?

Apple Keynote September 2007

With almost 110 million iPods sold to date, September 5th 2007 marked Steve Jobs unveiling of a new/ revamped iPod range said to be the best ever. Well they were always going to better their predecessors but to what degree?

Hold up folks, before we get to that, Jobs wants to talk about ringtones for the iPhone. Oh no, Apple’s gone all Jamster. I can’t stand them at the best of times and certainly don’t want to pay an extra 50p on top of the 79p I just shelled out for a track. Not only that but surely the whole concept of buying ringtones is not only established but perhaps more crucially soon to be redundant as many people have turned to creating their own.

With the shuffle having no more than a lick of paint the first in the new range to be announced is the new iPod video or ‘Classic’ as it is now called. This variation on the established video iPod boasts up to an impressive 160GB capacity but not the widescreen display many were hoping for. Fear not for the unveiling of the ‘Touch’ with 1/10th of the Classics storage. Yes ladies and gents that’s 16 GB enabling you to store, well, I suppose a fair bit of your music collection and maybe a couple of episodes of Family Guy. I think they said something about a Safari web browser, Wi-Fi and a nice widescreen display but all I heard was 16 GBs. Looking to replace my 3 year old player I was logically hoping to better not only its looks, but storage too. In short it could prove to be a revolutionary new product but not in its current state.

As for the collaboration between Starbucks and Apple; I’ve already got access to iTunes music store as part of my Wi-Fi enabled iPod Touch, so why then do I need a Starbucks logo to point me in the direction of that McCartney number they have on a loop each and every time I pop in for a chai tea latte? It’s for that very reason I’m listening to my iPod in the first place.

Arguably most tempting of the range is the revised nano which now incorporates video on its dazzling 2 inch screen, an intuitive cover flow interface and according to the Keynote more storage? Long story short, it doesn't, which is a shame.

The presentation concluded with a $200 decrease in the price of the iPhone. Surely this is all good for the consumer, no? Well you try telling that to the million odd people who already shelled out for one in the first two months of sale. Well, funnily enough this is exactly what Steve Jobs has tried to address on the apple website by offering a $100 credit voucher to existing iPhone customers. Albeit a nice gesture it’s one they shouldn't have had to make. Still, did I mention you can get ringtones for these things now?!

M Fowler

Multi Finger Touch Screen

I like touch screens and not just because they make me feel like I'm in Minority Report. I think that by bypassing a keyboard or remote, the user is far more involved and for technophobes such as my mum, it lets them get to grips with entertainment and services that they may have previously stayed away from.

This new one made by a company called NEXTRAX is multi-finger touch communication tool, meaning it recognises more than one place of contact, allowing for more advanced options and menus etc. As you can see in the film, it's fairly intuitive and allows for a great amount of info to be accessed with ease. The version being used below is a history programme, allowing users to explore an interactive Inuyama Castle. The most interesting part is being able to explore a particular area and overlay current satellite maps over the top to see how it has altered.

Friday, 7 September 2007

Shrink My Tunes - Lets make things small!

So the new iPod Touch is amazing and touchy and oooh look it's got a big screen, so i can view all my media.... oh wait, i can't cos it's already full.

Apples new POD on the block may look the business and if smearing your grubby fingers all over the same screen that you actually want to watch, floats your boat, I'm sure you'll be joining numerous Apple fans in spending hundreds of your hard earned pounds on another beautifully designed, but essentially flawed piece of kit (read our review of Steve Jobs latest Keynote here).

However, thanks to 'Shrink My Tunes' you can now fit twice as much music (doesn't work on video yet) on to your MP3 player, without apparently any drastic loss in quality. They claim to use 'content sensitive heuristic algorithms' developed by NASA apparently to reduce the file size of your favourite track. The software is small at 2MB and is currently PC only, and offers little in the realms of options with regards to your file encoding, but it seems like a good place to start.

The offer of halving the space taken up on your MP3 player is too good to pass up, unless of course your music ends up sounding like it was recorded in you mums bathroom. According to Wired, it has varying results, and the claim to reduce 5MB songs to 1.5MB only really applies to people willing to listen to 'internet radio quality' music. However, when reduced by 50% the quality was fairly acceptable. Hear for yourself over at Wired, where they've uploaded a couple of trial clips.

Will this make the new iPod Touch a bigger success? I doubt it, i think it'll have more impact on the new improved iPod Nano, which i liked the look off a lot and am much more inclined to purchase.....

Tuesday, 4 September 2007

Rubbish companies beware, Plebble is here...

It's our first news breaker here at Fishtank, thanks to a tip off from one of our new readers, Plebble has been set up by Will and James Patterson, as a true 'e-mocracy' allowing anyone to log on and rate any company that they've had the displeasure (or joy) of using. It's ideal for both parties, as companies now have a source by which they see what average people really think of their customer service (watch out Barclays/Metronet...).

Will Paterson, Plebble’s co-founder, said:

“Consumer dissatisfaction is a big problem in the UK today – not just for consumers but for businesses too. By enabling consumers to share information, Plebble.com helps them find the best service out there while at the same time helping businesses give consumers what they want".

It's a great idea, a little like Metacritic, which reviews anything under the sun and takes an average, you too can see the top (and bottom) 10 companies and see their score. It's super new, so get over to Plebble and get rating, the more people who get involved the better and more accurate their figures will be.

Download their press release here: PDF

Monday, 3 September 2007

What the hell is Pecha Kucha?

Glad you asked actually. Pecha Kucha is the brainchild of Astrid Klein and Mark Dytham and was designed as a way getting more young designers together to share their ideas, as well as getting a few more visitors to their multimedia event in Japan called SuperDeluxe.

The concept is simple, to prevent people from wittering on in their presentations, Pecha Kucha states that the persons Power Point, must only last for 6min's and 40secs and consist of 20 images only. It means people have to be a lot more imaginative, concise and it keeps interest levels up too. Pecha Kucha (which is Japanese for the sound of chatter aparently) has become globally popular, with special events regularly hosted in over 80 different cities.

Some fans are claiming it as a new art form or poetry, with a beat-the-clock competitive edge thrown in for good measure. Personally, i like the idea of forcing people to be more creative, and treating the presentation as part of their work as opposed to a necessary evil.

Wednesday, 29 August 2007

Photo Globe - MY IDEA FIRST!!

I have the sketches to prove it, but this is awfully similar to an idea i had for a 'Travel Client' of ours at work. These guys have used 'NextWindow Human Touch' which is, as far i can find out, is similar software to the Microsoft Surface table that was announced recently, only that it's not multi touch. I love the idea of browsing a globe and being able to see photos/videos straight away from the destination on a map, it's a great mash-up of Google Earth and YouTube, no doubt you could chuck in some Flickr albums too.

It looks a little rough around the edges, but i like the concept (not just cos it's mine...)

Zygote - Spherical fun for everyone

An interaction design agency called Tangible have designed the Zygote, a large 1.5m ball that floats and changes colour depending on the physical interaction within the enviroment. Punching, kicking and throwing it, will make the LED's change colour. It would be great to have them reactive to sound too, but until then, check out the video below. Skip to 2mins in to see the Zygotes being used at a gig.

Check out http://www.tangibleinteraction.com

Tuesday, 28 August 2007

Cubism on the Wii anyone?

I like to think of myself as fairly with it, i play video games (when my girlfriend is out) and can handle as many zombies as you throw at me, but i think I'd struggle to play Echochrome. Echochrome is a videogame based on M C Eschers work, which is a fantastic idea, although i have trouble looking at his work normally, so the idea of chasing bad guys around 'Relativity' (see pic) is enough to give me a migraine.

Looking at the trailer though has intrigued me, its as if Escher made the 80's classic 'Chucky Egg'... whilst drunk. It looks like it
could take some practice, but i love the idea of using Art as a basis for Video games, surely it's only a matter of time before we get the 'Scream' version of Resident evil or perhaps even 'Mario's adventures in the Interpretation of Colour'..... OK, maybe not.

Check out the clip below or go to http://www.gametrailers.com/player/22295.html for more of the same.

Tuesday, 21 August 2007

ADOBE goes Hi-Def in a FLASH

It's been in the pipeline for a while, and some people said it was inevitable, but ADOBE has announced it's integration of the H.264 video codec in it's Flash player and encoder. H.264 has been around for a couple of years, most commonly known as the base codec from which Quicktime 7 (and the more recent MP4's) are based. It's a cracking watch, as anyone who watches Apples trailers will know, as it allows for 480, 720p and 1080i encoding, the same basic quality as HD-DVD and Blu-Ray.

The Flash player sits on 98% of computers, which would have something to do with the amount of video websites utilising the software, such as YouTube and Dailymotion. It's a big step in the right direction in bringing TV quality video to the small screen on-line, and will further provoke broadcasters to consider the web along with TV/Film at the same time, instead of as a second thought.

The Hi-Def codec will be made available as part of their upgrade to Flash Video 9 this autumn.

Microsoft have meanwhile been busying themselves with Silverlight, a Hi-Def video codec based around Windows Media 9 called VC-1 and they've already got numerous websites signed up such as MLB.com.

Thanks to NY Times and CNET.

Wednesday, 15 August 2007

BBC iPlayer Review

The BBC iPlayer has been available for beta test for a couple of weeks, so i signed up and last Thursday was granted access to the their new toy. The software installed without any complications, which is always a fine start, although you do need an up to date copy of Active X. Clicking on the shortcut, opens up the iPlayer library, which lets you check out your downloaded files as well as the progress of any new progs you've ordered. It's pretty simple and gives you all details you'd want about your selected prog, i.e Name (duh) file size, length and guidance rating just in case you've ordered a particularly racy episode of Strictly Dance Factor X or whatever it's called.

The first thing i realised was that you can't browse the BBC library via the ap on your PC, you have to have to be logged in to the iPlayer page on their website, which, coincidentally, is a different log in to the one you have selected to join the iPlayer service..... Arrrgh Faff!

Once you're logged in, you're reminded ( a little late in the day frankly) that you need to be running Windows XP, on Internet Explorer and have an up to date vsn of Windows Media Player. After i'd switched over from Firefox (does anyone else feel like IE7 is the equivalent of your dad trying to be cool?) i made a
beeline for the A-Z search option, you can also browse via categories and a 'last 7 days' option too.

Finding your desired entertainment is pretty easy, but i'd like more info about each episode, i.e name, original broadcast date etc as all the thumbnails are the same, which isn't great. After you've trawled through all the episodes of 'Honey we're killing our Kids' to find the one you want, you hit download, more often than not it will ask you to log in again.... Grrrr.

The file appears in your library instantly, where you can keep an eye on the status of your download. All 3 files i ordered, arrived very quickly, although i think i have my works Internet connection to thank for that. The progs are organised under the series name etc, and the library shows you your files lifespan (between 24/28 days it seems) amongst other facts.

Clicking on the play button, brings up a slightly excessive 'Click to Confirm' warning, which is plain odd. The player is simple but effective, and allows full screen viewing which is OK, considering file size etc. Other options include being able to play it in WMP. Navigating through your episode though is awful and could do with a more accurate point and click method or some chapter points maybe.

If you have a dig around the other preferences, you can choose to alter where your files are stored, alter your proxy settings and parents can activate a PIN service which is nice, and would be essential i should imagine if this was an ITV service considering the amount of dross that's on normally. The files are Windows Media 9, and are a native dimension of 672x384 but i'm sure they vary and seem to be about 150MB for a 30min TV programme. I have yet been able to crack them, but i'll keep you posted.

Frankly, the iPlayer does exactly what it says on the tin, but I'm glad it's only a beta vsn. The browsing is a little clunky and the excessive double username and password is slightly prohibitive to the average user. I was impressed with the download and quality of the progs, and it's interesting to see so many little features stolen from bit torrent, within their library facility (you'll know them when you see them). What i would really like though is the ability to subscribe to a series, similar to Sky Plus, with perhaps the ability to move the files onto a portable player, then again, maybe not, the last thing i need is to be sat next to someone watching Eastenders on the Tube, my commute is bad enough already.

Click on the pics, for bigger vsns.

Tuesday, 7 August 2007

Interactive Mirror Display by Aleph

If you've ever sat and wondered what it would be like to look into the eye of a fly, I'm fairly sure that this visual display would come pretty close. It's called Aleph and has been built by two rather clever bods based in Sweden. It's made up of a large collection of motorised mirrors that angle individually, based on whatever is in front of the array. The really snazzy thing is that the movement and visual recognition is automatic. I think the video explains the concept far better than i can.

There's something extremely relaxing about watching the dance of the mirrors, and as the website suggests, this display on a really large scale would be very cool indeed.

Monday, 6 August 2007

Bespoke Digital Advertising courtesy of Costa Rica

David W. Kenny, the chairman and chief executive of Digitas, the advertising agency in Boston is claiming that "It is only a matter of time until nearly all advertisements around the world are digital." Now, forgive me, i'm not a multi million dollar exec, but i'd kind of come to that assumption a while ago, maybe David's PA wants to nip out and grab him a copy of Wired and new iPod, quickly get him up to speed....

Mr kenny is claiming he's revolutionising the entire Publicis worldwide conglomerate, which contains agencies like Saatchi & Saatchi and Leo Burnett. The plan (and here's where things get clever) is to use cheaper off shore agencies to produce thousands of versions of various ad's and by crunching (a lot of) data will be able to select which spots to show, whenever a person logs onto a media network, be it the net, TV or their mobile.

The Digitas/Publicis partnership, hopes to harvest a bucket load of metadata about peoples viewing history and habits, and to be honest it sounds like a simple enough idea, why use one ad when 4000 individualy tailored ones will do.

Check out: http://www.nytimes.com/pages/business/media/index.html For more info.

Thursday, 2 August 2007

Robbie Dingo's "Watch the Worlds"

I've seen various different Machinima, which tend to range from the 'OK' to the 'Should not of bothered'. I appreciate the technical difficulties of making a short from video games or in world footage, and as a regular user of Snapz i sympathise with anyone who creates anything over 10secs.

But Robbie Dingo has made something enormously impressive, not only with the film itself, but with its source material too. The film documents his recreation of Van Gogh's Starry Night, as a 3D village within Second Life, which is beautifully created on a temporary sim. It's fascinating to watch it grow and develop and a little Don Mclean never hurt anyone either.

For me though, it truly demonstrates what can be achieved in SL if you start thinking outside the box, uber-companies beware, there are folk out there producing stunning projects like this independent of media buyers, planners and 4 hour conference calls....

Check the film below or down load the hi-res vsn from here, it's worth the wait:

Wednesday, 1 August 2007

DeLorean is back, for the future!

I'm soooooo putting my name down on the waiting list, just have to save up a little. I wonder if they'll do a hover conversion model too......


Monday, 30 July 2007

Sky jump into bed with Sony

If i had this blog about a year ago, it would have been filled with many a moan about Sony's PSP and it's ever changing firmware. The main reason i invested in one was so i could watch my own movies etc on the go, but the Sony bigwigs soon got wind of this and released an essential software upgrade, which in turn mean't you could only watch Sony approved content..... Extremely annoying.

The available UMD's were and still are far too expensive, and i left the faff of hacking the firmware to my uber-geek friends, meaning my nice shiny black PSP has been gathering dust for a while, but hopefully not for much longer.

Sony Europe and Sky have announced plans to make a host of the most popular Sky content available for download for the PSP, ranging from Sky Sports highlights to episodes of Lost. Obviously, this being Sky, i'm positive there'll be a charge and you'll probably have to have Sky at home to access the content, but it could be a new dawn for the little black unit.

“The Joint Venture company, with equal Board level representation from Sky and Sony Computer Entertainment Europe will draw on the unrivalled entertainment aggregation expertise and technical leadership of SKY, and the handheld entertainment knowledge and brand power of PlayStation. The company will establish PSP and the new ground breaking video download service as the natural partners for those seeking the ultimate choice of portable entertainment content.”

Lets just hope that they make the most of it, as the 2.3 million UK PSP owners deserve more, and Sony should really be topping the portable media player market, instead of playing catch up.

Wii-ing in Second Life

As Nintendo continue to show the big boys of Sony and Microsoft how it's done, it would seem they have started to pick up some friends in high places, such as David E Stone over at MIT. He's a big fan of the Wii remote and see's it as "one of the most significant technology breakthroughs in the history of computer science." Stones big idea, is combining the innovative gryoscopic mouse with the interactive 3D space within Second Life to move away from playing virtual golf and create enviroments within second life to help replicate hands on training for anything from Surgery to Engineering.

It's a interesting idea, that i think could work, expecially if Linden Labs get involved from the get go. The ability to build and create all manner of shapes and tools via the Prims means the applications could be endless as well as the cost ramifications, with companies able to train multiple employees all at a once, in high risk jobs, in the safety of their office, or even their home, from anywhere around the globe.

Check out: http://www.wired.com/gadgets/miscellaneous/news/2007/07/wiimote

BBC Launch iPlayer... ish

So, i'm a little late to the party but i've signed up to test the Beta vsn of the BBC's iPLayer. I've heard good things about it, which considering the pitfalls of producing a decent MOD (Media on Demand) system, are good to hear. Watch this space for my POV and check out this link to sign up yourself.


Thursday, 26 July 2007

Diesel Catwalk Festooned with Fish...

Now, i'm not normally a big fan of fashion shows, i like wearing nice stuff, but i rarely see myself nipping down my local George at ASDA to pick up the latest bin liner/deer antler combo. Diesel however have outdown themselves with some very snazzy holograms of fish and the like that float freely amongst the models on the catwalk. It's for their Spring/Summer 08 show in Florence, and i like it.

Check out the vid below, theres a full 20min version on youtube if you fancy watching the whole show.

Tuesday, 17 July 2007

Big cheeses say so long to Second Life

It would appear that companies are boarding up their virtual windows and leaving their virtual towns in droves. People such as IBM and American Apparel have decided that the '8 million' on-line residents aren't shopping like they were supposed to. Probably because the '8 million on-line residents tag is a big fat lie.

I'm tempted to agree with the article, in that the average 'Lifer' is more interested in alternative, risque experiences, that's the main reason people go there in the first place, who on earth is surprised that casinos, strip-clubs and porno places are the most popular form of entertainment? That and riding giant hamster balls apparently (thanks to Nissan). Second Life in a nutshell, is surely all about experiencing something different and interesting and for a while that was shopping, i guess....

It's time though for Ad/Media guys to step up, can they take the odd and peculiar (not forgetting the risque and down right weird) and make it work for mainstream markets or will their target audience be reduced to the more freakish of the virtual world?

Check out the LA Times @

C.A.L.M Stand Up To Stop Suicide - Ep2

As promised, here's part two of the CALM gig, from the Clapham Grand back on June 12th. Watch out for Steven Merchant putting Baddiel in his place at the end of the clip, the chap is a legend.


In Battle of Consoles, Nintendo Gains Allies

It seemed like it was only a matter of time, before the software backlash began. We all know how complicated the process is for programming PS3 software (i have a reliable source in a rather large developers, who laughs at the idea of testing PS3 titles, as they rarely run smoothly enough), so the combination of this together with the Wii success, has convinced some pretty big companies to re-asses their ouput.

Here's the NY Times take on the situation...

Inspired by the early success of the Wii, the companies that create and distribute games are beginning to shift resources and personnel toward building more Wii games, in some cases at the expense of the competing systems: the Playstation 3 from Sony and Xbox 360 from Microsoft.

he shift is closely watched because consumers tend to favor systems that have many compelling games. More resources diverted to the Wii would mean more games, and that would translate into more consumers buying Wii consoles later.

Jon Goldman, chairman and chief executive of Foundation 9 Entertainment, an independent game development company, said that he was hearing a growing call for Wii games from the publishers and distributors that finance the games that his firm creates. “Publishers are saying: Instead of spending $15 million or $20 million on one PS3 game, come back to me with five or six Wii pitches,” he said.

Nintendo said that titles would be coming from several major developers, like Activision and Ubisoft, that are making an enhanced commitment to the platform.

The shift does not represent any shunning of the Xbox or Sony consoles, but rather an elevation of the Wii’s status — one that was clear in many conversations with developers and publishers at E3, the video game industry’s annual trade show in Santa Monica, Calif.

It is early in the current console product cycle, given that these machines are intended to be on the market for more than five years. Industry analysts say they do not expect to declare a victor anytime soon. Nevertheless, the trend is clear: Nintendo is getting growing support from game developers.

This is a pretty big shot in the arm for Nintendo, although i don't doubt that they had confidence in their product from day one. I can't help but think though that Sony had better watch out, their relationship with developers is rumoured to be poor at best, and with other companies such as Capcom producing tiles such as Resident Evil 5 across all platforms now, they may have more of battle on their thanks to the plucky Wii.

Friday, 13 July 2007

Transformers Movie Soundtrack: Awful or just really bad?

Who's bright idea was this? Everything about the movie looks awesome (so far, i have yet to see it, one of the many drawbacks of living in the UK), I can forgive all the re-designing of the robots, (i don't care at all that Bumblebee is not a VW, seriously, he'd look flipping awful), but this theme tune..... Is unforgivable, it could have been so much better, actually me, playing it on the spoons would be better.

It starts off OK, ish, there are some guitars and i can nearly ignore the horrible voice over saying 'Transformers, robots in disguise' (Soundwave would not be happy) and then, just when you're nearly re-living your early years, some teen angsty little tyke decides to scream over it followed by what could only be the worst musical roll call, i've ever, EVER heard....

I have to stop before i burst something, have a listen and let me know your thoughts.

Transformers Movie Soundtrack

Thursday, 12 July 2007

C.A.L.M Stand Up To Stop Suicide - Ep1

3 Three weeks ago, i was involved in the 'Stand Up To Stop Suicide' comedy night at The Clapham Grand, in aid of the charity C.A.L.M (Campaign Against Living Miserably). It is a common misconception that when i mention this, people who know me and my extraordinary wit, assume i was on stage performing, which i suppose is half true, as i was on stage, just behind the curtain, sat at a table in the dark trying to make the slide show work...

Anyhoo, check out the highlights reel, i'll post the 2nd part soon, but in the mean time, go to www.thecalmzone.net
for more info.

....and so it begins.

So, It's only just occurred to me really, that a lot of people (well, a few) might actually read this, so i'd better make it snappy, entertaining and fulfilling with little or no spelling mistakes.

I'm a bit late to this whole blog thing, but i decided to try and create a hub for all things creative, be it Music, TV, Films, Graphics and a whole host of other techy things. I'm inviting some friends to write some posts, so hopefully it won't just be my random babble covering the next few pages.

Its very much a work in progress, so bare with me, it can (and will) get better....