Sunday, December 24, 2006

Merry Christmas part II

For that really peaceful festive feeling - check out the classis Cartman version of Oh Holy Night...

Now, over and out!

Friday, December 22, 2006

Weird stuff

Seasons greetings all around. Prompt? Quite.

For the festive season, for when you are slightly bored with "taking it easy" and "kicking back and relaxing", but it's not yet late enough for you to say "ok I'm off!" and head down to the pub - here's a couple of odd things.

First of all, the moving thingees. Look at the dot in the middle, move your head backwards and forwards (and by all mean, use a webcam to broadcast it all over :).

Secondly, a pretty funny clip. Helps if you know Swedish, though.

Thirdly, on a slightly more serious note - for every aspiring writer, a really good forum to get a feedback on your stuff. And I mean, every aspiring writer has been saying for the last 3-4 months that "oh, it'll be good to take some time off 'round Christmas and really get some writing done". We ... eh, I mean, THEY never do, however :) The forum is created (I think) and supported by Orson Scott Card, so there's quite a level of professionalism involved as well.

Right, Merry Xmas!

Monday, December 18, 2006

One more IPTV-venture for the road...

Heard about The Venice Project? It's a funky little peer-to-peer IPTV venture, or, as they themselves describe it:

"We are in the process of launching a secure P2P streaming technology that allows content owners to bring TV-quality video and ease of use to a TV-sized audience mixed with all the wonders of the Internet. All content on The Venice platform is provided by content owners directly, and it's all protected with the highest standard of encryption and we are working within the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) framework to ensure that it complies with appropriate content protection and ownership regulations."

Now, one interesting thing - apart from the fact that P2P-IPTV is a nifty idea in itself - is that this project is rumoured to be the new project for the guys behind Skype. That would make some people sit up and take notice, I'm quite sure.

Anyone interested in betatesting The Venice Project, feel free to sign up - I just might do it myself, for the fun of it :)

Friday, December 15, 2006

There's money to be made online!

This year, the download industry (the LEGAL part of the download industry) with regards to TV shows, movies etc, is worth close to 300 million US dollars. Now, a report from Strategy Analytics, a research firm, predicts that the business will be worth 1,5 billion dollars next year, and continue to grow to 5,9 billion US$ by the year 2010.

This sounds like a lot of money, no? It sure does.

But.. at the same time, we could all do well to remember that these kind of reports a decade ago stated that "interactive television will account commercial activities amounting to billions and billions of dollars", while others stated that "the growth in the IT-industry is just going to continue and continue"... well, the interactive television industry is not quite there yet, and the IT industry had a severe blip around the millenium.

Point is - don't believe everything you read ;)

Believe this though - no research firm, no industry guru, no one in the business knows for sure what the television industry will look like in five years time.

Myself? I believe that the changeover to new forms and ways of watching television will go much slower than people think, or hope for. I believe that in five years time there will be a small minority watching television via portable devices, while for the most part the audience will watch television in their living rooms, just like back in the 50s. I also believe that content is the most important factor, and that less energy and resources should be spent on developing and offer to people gadgets and trinkets they don't want or need, and more should be spent on doing great television shows.

My two cents, as always.

* * *

On another note - Depeche Modes "Suffer Well" is simply great. And the video rocks too. I really like Martin Gore in a brides dress :)

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Yeah, it's that time again..

...time for CHRISTMAS PARTIES, as it happens.

Our first is tonight at work, which I do not envisage will cause much of a crisis or even any minor scandals. Our second is next week, and then just about anything can happen.

However, if you are of the female gender, reading this, and is wondering how to properly prepare for a christmas party at work, look no further than the excellent advice given by the kind Australians. I especially love the "question" no 4 - "I love to drink campaign"?? :)

Right - party on!

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Sex really really sells

A word of advice to anyone going into the media business, especially the new forms of media like interactive television or mobile television - if you want quick cash and a rocket ride to fame and fortune, go for sex. Don't try to do anything noble or challenging like making interactive edutainment formats for kids or better the world in any way. Just go for sex.

I would presume, for instance, that Playboy TV:s new series "Happy Nude Girls", premiering in the US in mid-January, will be a success. If you look at what people are searching for on Google, the major part has something to do with sex. And for successful stories from the mobile television world, look no further than prize-winning effort "Czech My Tits", where short clips downloadable to your mobile phone shows how Czech girls show their bosoms for 20 euros.

Do I like it? Sex - yes. The über-sexualisation of the media - no. Guess that's why I'll stick to them hard-earned cash to be made in the edutainment industry...

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

What next in the content website-business?

Reports today say that content giants NBC and CBS are in talks about creating a content website to rival YouTube, as an ad-funded effort. At the same time, YouTube are preparing to cough up a lot of money to be able to offer Fox's content on YouTube. Not to mention the countless other, smaller video content websites to be found on the Wild Wild Web.

What we have is a supply that probably will outdistance demand significantly in the near future. There just isn't people enough on this Earth, at least not people with enough time on their hands to be able to look at all the content that is and soon will be available. But Darwinism is a nice thing - most will fail and fall, and at the end we'll have three or four gigantic services with enough content to keep the entire Earths population glued to the screen for their entire lifetimes.

Which sort of gives me the creeps. I just read that the average US teenager spends 72 hours per week on watching media. I can't help but think that should those teenagers spend those hours socializing, talking to people, go out camping, do sports, write novels, fight global warming, help an ant over a tree trunk, whatever... And the world would, perhaps, be a better place.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Liverpool and the lure of the Orient

...or Middle East, to be more precise.

I've been an ardent Liverpool fan since their heydays in the early and mid-80s, when just about anything was possible and giants (well, nearly at least) like John Barnes, Ian Rush and Peter Beardsley roamed the pitch at Anfield.

Since then, my happiest moment football-wise has by far been the magic night in Istanbul in May 2005 when Liverpool overcame a 3-0 deficit in half time to squeeze the win from AC Milan and grab the European Cup Trophy for the 5th time. Truly magic stuff, that was.

Now? Now magic is way out the window, and business has crawled in from the dark. Now the club is being courted by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum. Or, rather, the club is being pimped rather vigourusly to said Sheikh, who is zipping open his wallet and other open-zippable things as we speak, getting ready for some action.

Not that I mind! I mean, for the right kind of money I'd be happy to sell all I hold dear. Wouldn't you? What's pride and honor in these days? Just words with a best-before date that ran out some 20 years ago. To be able to compete with Chel$ki, Arsenal and ManU "the club needs this money". Well... perhaps it would then be better not to compete.

But at least the Sheikh might have some nice impact on how the club is run. I mean, this is the guy who was recently sued for holding 30.000 (!) boys in captive to use as camel racing jockeys. He might have a positive influence on a number of guys in the Liverpool squad, with his slav.. eh, man-managment skills.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Viva La France!

In their neverending struggle for world supremacy (a battle they'd never admit they lost about 100 years ago), the French have rolled into the media world as well. Enter France 24, a multi-million euro effort on the part of the French government to take the fight to CNN, BBC, Al-Jazeera and just about anything that is media and not French.

"There's more to news than the anglo-saxon version", is sort of the motto. Well, expect lots of "...after the French invented fire and the wheel, we also, in our spare time, smote our enemies and perfected the art of making wine".. :)

Have a look at France 24!

Monday, December 04, 2006

Oh ye of little faith

...myself included, of course.

Medical science. Is there such a thing? Sometimes it feels more like medical best-guess. Or medical ok-we've-tried-this-and-it-didn't-work-so-let's-try-this-and-see-what-happens.

Case 1 - my foot has been bothering me for some time. Floorball (sähly in Finnish) was the thing that did my ankle in. Doctors called it a fracture, a pull, an infection, just about everything, and gave me medicine for just about everything too.

Took a couple of years before a physio looked at it, saw that a bone was slightly out of joint and a muscle was way too tight, keeping the bone in that position. He promptly gave me physiotherapy and a set of excersises. Voila - no more pain.

Case 2 - which is the case that leads to this small muttering - our son, last weeked at the hospital, with asthma. More medication, this and that, give medicine with inhaler, not with oxygen - nono, hang on, give with oxygen and not inhaler - nono, wait, inhaler, take away that oxygen mask. Let's try him on this medicine! Yeah! Come back in a month, and we'll see how he feels.

Now, I know this is the way things are done. And that there are next to no other way of doing it - trial and error. But I just wish there was some way for me to start trusting the medical sciences again. As things now stand, with lots of other cases I won't mention here, I find myself having a bit of a hard time finding that trust.

Friday, December 01, 2006

And the lion shalt sleep with the lamb

Going legitimate is the latest fad amongst people and companies in the P2P-business. Just look at the news in today, about the (slightly infamous) BitTorrent - having readily made themselves synonymous with the downloading and P2P-sharing of hundreds of terabytes of copyrighted material, they've now started their U-turn towards working with the industry full time.

From BitTorrents point of view they've never done anything but work with the industry, of course. But ask anyone who's anyone in said industry - especially some months ago - what they thought about BitTorrent and phrases like "the big Satan" and "evil piratism killing the industry" would probably be the first ones to come out.

Now, however, things are-a-changing. BitTorrent are closing deals with nearly all major content providers, offering stuff from 20th Century Fox, Warner Bros, Paramount, MTV Networks etc etc.

As I see it iTunes and all the other download-content-services will have to look out. There are millions and millions of users using BitTorrent as their preferred means to download content - and with starting to offer a legitimate way of getting this content, I think quite a few will, at least, try the service out. With the technical reliability of torrents, this might be a fairly attractive alternative. Only thing is getting the people to pay their 99 cents for that episode of Jericho, which they can get from The Pirate Bay for free.

Interesting, it will be.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Just have to add this

Let me introduce George Galloway, MP in the UK, master of rhetorics and all round entertaining guy. He also happens to be spot on in many of his comments - look at him tear apart a host on Rupert Murdoch-owned Sky News. Good man!

He was also accused of benefitting illegally from the oil-for-food-programme in Iraq in the 90s - check these links, 1 2 3 4 5, if you have some time to spare (it's in 5 parts in chronological order, about 9-10 mins each), for a highly entertaining defence speech, or rather attack on the Bush regime, as he totally flattens senator Coleman, chairman of the hearing that Galloway appears before in the US.

Maybe I don't agree 100% with the man, but still, he speaks some truths. Wonder when he'll end up with a cup of tea filled with Polonium 210?

It's them little things...

Put aside all thoughts of Mobile television, of tv shows filled with user-generated content, of hype words like "360 commissioning" and stuff like that.

Just think - "mobile phone". Yep, that's right. It's the portable thingee that lets you stay in touch with the rest of the world quite easily (as long as the battery hasn't run out).

Now - operator O2 in the UK have just launched a pretty nifty little thing. It's called My Bluebook, is totally free, and lets the user load up images and text messages to a server for storage and for possible sharing with other people. The upload happens via SMS.

In the future, O2 is planning to include Outlook-synchronization, videoclips, address book backups etc.

In my opinion, this is neat. The worst thing that can happen to your average citizen today - if not counting serious disease or major accident - is that the phone dies or gets nicked. All of a sudden you have no numbers, no contacts, no archived SMS:s, no pictures... it'll take you days and days just to get your new phone on track.

So, the prize for the "Sensible Solution of the Week" goes, hands down, to O2. Congrats!

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Everyone's a star... right?

This just in: YouTube is set to announce the launch of their mobile service later today. They're cooperating with Verizon Wireless, bringing the power of YouTube (over 100 million videoclipdownloads per day (!)) to everyones mobile phones.

At the same time, O2 in the UK has launched a similar service, LookAtMe, while the operator 3 has similar services through their Kink Kommunity and SeeMeTV.

My two cents?

I think there will be an uphill struggle for these services. This mostly due to a) pricing of data transfers (a clip on YouTube, even though it would be downsized for mobile, would still be several Mbs. At a cost of some euros per 10 Mbs, for instance, you don't watch many clips before your monthly allowance is at an end) and b) quality of the downloads (it's just no fun watching a funny videoclip if you can't see what's happening in it, y'know?).

What is needed is affordable prices and made-for-mobile content. Made-for-mobile is not the same as made-with-mobile, mind you.

Even so, this all has the possibility to change the landscape of "regular" television to some extent. Already reality television has made a huge impact on how people see tv - we like looking at each other and ourselves as much or more than we like watching people in dramas or sitcoms - and with more and more user generated content, this becomes more and more accentuated.

Everyone can have their 15 megabytes of fame. What will hopefully happen is that more talent will come to the fore, through channels previously unused. Less and less do people have to "pay their dues" in the tv industry to "get their chance" and make a name for themselves.

Recipe for success? Rack up a great 3-4 minute video, using equipment worth 400€, put it up on YouTube and get 100.000 downloads per day. Then just wait for the phone to call.

Hmm, now where did I put that webcam...

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Photos with a mobile phone part II

Ok, mobile phones are not the greatest photographic equipment on earth. The new Nokias are, however, starting to look pretty darn good.

But, if you're like me, stuck with a two year old phone with 1,3 Mpix and no lens protection, you just have to make do with what you've got. And sometimes them photos trn out pretty nice after all. Here, for instance, a picture from my hometown Vasa, a partly-cloudy morning when we were going fishing...

On the other hand, the digital zoom-capabilities of the phone-camera are mostly theoretical, as there is no way you can see what you've taken a picture of, after you've taken the picture with zoom. Without it though, it's nigh impossible to see across distances anyhow - like this, the Brazil vs Ghana game at this summers World Cup, played in front of 65.000 spectators in Dortmund (yours truly included)

My point? Gotta get me one of them new Nokias... :)

A small step for man, a HUGE step for IPTV

So, here goes - the long-awaited roll-out of British Telecoms (BTs) IPTV-service, scheduled to roll out next Monday. The service has been somewhat delayed, with the first roll-out planned for summer 2006, a schedule that later became the slightly more ambigous "sometime this autumn", which now has been confirmed for Monday December 4th.

The triple-play service will reportedly be slightly down-scale, with broadband access, over-ip-telephone calls and some channels and tv content available on demand.
It'll be available first only to BT broadband subscriber, it'll run on a Philips hybrid set-top-box running on Microsoft software.

Now, this is all new territory for BT. But in the market for IPTV, it's quite a big step - one of the biggest players so far to really start up this seriously, with a plan for the future. During spring 2007, if nothing's gone wrong, expect BT to feature heavily at, for instance, MIPTV, racking up content and distribution deals. The success or failure for BTs Vision-service will be closely monitored by the other players globally - not only "does it work", but also more importantly "are people interested", "will people pay for it" etc.

My two cents? I think we'll see Vision gaining momentum, providing the technology - soft- AND hardware - is up to it. In a years time, they'll have a million subscribers, offering a bundle of live tv channels and lots more on demand. And a jolly time will be had by all.

Except Sky then, of course ;)

Monday, November 27, 2006

Photography with a mobilecam? It IS possible

Part one of my recently (like 2½ minutes ago) launched quest to prove that it IS possible to get some nice photos even though you're using you old, beat up mobile phone camera with only 1,3 Mpix resolution - here's a photo from Bore Place in Kent, UK, where we spent a week in October 2005 developing a show of ours... Pretty nice, huh?

En bild säger mer än 1000 ord

Feast your eyes on some really really nice photos - it's time for the "Digitala Camera Magazine Photo of the Year Award 2006" - and all the contestants are here...

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Det bästa ordet?

Vilket är det bästa ordet på svenska? Jag har en viss förkärlek för "balja", mest på grund av hur snyggt det rullar i munnen... å andra sidan är "sörpla" riktigt riktigt jobbigt...

Impressive animation

I liked the first Animation vs Animator-animation, but this one is even better. Two thumbs up.

Strix in the US

A quick sweep of todays news from the TV industry gives reason to say a big, heartfelt "congrats!" to Swedish production company Strix - no mean feat to break into the US television market.

And, if you haven't got anything to do in early March next year, happen to have a fair amount of cash laying around and are interested in the new forms of TV distribution, why not go to London? Would be really interesting to see and hear what the major players think of the future of the IPTV market... Seeing as we have over 1 billion tv households in the world at the moment, and forecasts for IPTV are looking at 25 million IPTV households in some years time... well, that's still only 2,5% of the total tv market.

What I'm trying to say is that we have new technologies popping up right and left, and everyone going crazy about them. But for the forseable future, the traditional forms of distributing television are still the ones who rule.

So let's all just chill a bit, right? :)

Wednesday, November 22, 2006


Already a classic - ALWAYS delete the "latest downloaded"-thingee on your computer, especially if Danish Television is coming to interview you.

Another really good'un - our own Marcus Grönholm explaining what really happened to co-pilot Timo Rautiainen. Take it away, Marcus... :)

Nice little camels

A really beautiful picture. The photographers other works are pretty nice too.

Wish I had some pictures like this in my portfolio.