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.