May 20

The genie’s not getting back in its bottle

have an extremely interesting article about downloading TV programmes. It references Battlestar Galactica, which aired in the UK 3 months before the US. The programme had been captured and loaded up on the web within a few hours of being broadcast, where many US-based viewers would download. According to the rhetoric from the entertainment industry, this should have damaged the US viewing figures? Not at all:

While you might assume the SciFi Channel saw a significant drop-off in viewership as a result of this piracy, it appears to have had the reverse effect: the series is so good that the few tens of thousands of people who watched downloaded versions told their friends to tune in on January 14th, and see for themselves.

The BBC may have been subject to a similar effect after the first episode of Doctor Who got leaked; the first screening drew far higher figures than was expected.

But media companies continue to try and clamp down on this, tying things up with DRM and lawsuits. Control is the aim, with content only allowed to be experienced in the way the controllers want it to be – offical channels, this edit, this way only of seeing or hearing. No creativity allowed here, at least not by anyone who does not attmept to joint he club. So the crackdown on filesharing sites, or on the technology that allows the files to spread. It’s an arms race…and the entertainment companies are not sure of a victory.

The BBC have 2 stories about how the genie is still out, roaming out of its bottle and never looking like it will go back in. The first is of a predictable example – The Revenge of the Sith has and is available on the internet for download. It appears that this is a leak from Lucasfilm, not a copy taken from a screening.

The second is less predictable – the pirated streaming of football games. There’s a strange situation (to me anyway) of football matches not been shown live on TV on a Saturday afternoon, because it may harm attendence figures. So they are recorded and shown later. But they are often shown live abroad. Some enterprising fans capture the overseas feed and stream it live across the web for people to watch – and charge for the priveledge. The FA and Premier League have been shutting down sites that offer the stream but are now talkign about lawsuits. I think they’re missing a trick – people are willing to pay for this, so why not join in and offer it? But then again they would be guaranteed the £1.5bn in revenue from broadcasting rights.

As Mindjack suggestes, there’s no going back – we need to work witht he technology and not against it.

Update: I write that, and then I find this from Wired – the ‘personalisation’ of DVDs. So, you buy a DVD, you get fingerprinted at the store and an RFID tag is updated, and then going forward only you can unlock the content via a player which accepts the same kind of identification. So no lending it out to friends, so watching ti anywhere else except on a player that reads the tag, no inheriting you fathers wnormous collection of DVDs inthe futur – once you’re gone, no-one else can touch them!

May 19

Evil site

Got sent a work avoidance site today from Lee – The Gematriculator. Using the infallible methods of the Gematria, it looks at words and calulates how good or evil they are. This site comes in at 53% evil; me, however – I’m all of 96% evil!

May 19

Musical chairs

There’s a planned announcement about the re-organisation tomorrow at work, covering the level above me, including the person my role reports into. Three people, including my current boss, have warned me that what I will hear may not be to my liking and to think about my reaction. Which means, in all likelihood, that my new team lead could be someone I once said to whom I would not report. Things could get interesting.

May 18

Google Adsense

I see that Google have now released an Adsense for Feeds. That raises an interesting question for me, after saying that I would rather pay the licence fee for the BBC prgramming than see ads inthe programmes/radio/website. So would I have the same positionwit ads in RSS feeds? I’m not sure. It’s certainly easier to gloss over the ads in the feeds that I read. Doc Searls feed has no content so I switch to the site to read the blog; Slashdot has ads but they are in a different font, layout so I now just skip over them. Will this change as more feeds add ads? They’ll become more intrusive…and we’ll get ways to bypass them.

May 18

Today’s Meme

You know it’s a meme when you see it in 2 unrelated blogs in a row (pixeldiva and Sorority Geek). The musical baton meme is asking about music – the volume of music on computer, last CD bought, song playig right now, sngs you listen to a lot and people to whom you wish to pass the meme.

May 18

Geek Dinner – the movie

I signed up to go this Geek Dinner taking place in London in June, as organised by Scoble, Hugh and Lloyd. I’ve watched the numbers grow and the limits increase 3 times, with the total committed now approaching 100 people. That’s a lot of people for a dinner where one of the drivers for people to go is to meet people they know/read only online. So what can be done to share the experience?

Following in Channel 9’s footsteps, I suggest it gets videoed…let’s get a vote about who should star and then get them filmed, in a nice, low-key manner throughout the night in various conversations (can you do low key with a camera?). A good edit later, you have Geek Dinner – the Movie.

I’d offer to do this, but run into 2 key difficulties – no camera and no capability to edit anything, so I may not be the perfect choice for this 😉

May 18

Zeitgeist

I’ve been playing around with the Flickr Daily Zeitgeist (as in adding it to the right column), but for the time being I’m going to leave it off the menu, as it can be quite slow, however cool it may be.

Posted in fun
May 17

IBM corporate blogging

Great to see that IBM have formalised what I see as a very sensible Code of Conduct for all its employee bloggers. Now to start the discussions internally to see if we can move beyond the current ‘do not mention the company at all’ policy we have here.

May 17

MPAA makes movies

The Motion Picture Association of America are releasing shorts into cinemas to try and educate people about the ‘evils’ of piracy, in showing the impact such activity may have on the everyday people who work on such movies, instead of the multi-million pound earning studios. But r4nt.com is listing three spoofs of these, illustrating the impact on 3 alterative film workers – zombies, script doctors and fluffers. I find the last particularly funny – especially as I was not aware this job existed. You learn something new everyday! (via BoingBoing)

Posted in fun
May 16

Uncertainty continues

Great. I’ve not had a job for the last few weeks, or rather, I should say, the whole company has been re-organising, it’s finally got to our section and since the middle of April everyone has been in limbo in that all roles are being opened up and you have to re-apply for your job. The uncertainty was supposed to close down last week at the end of the consultation period, but not yet it seems. Just came into work to see a bulletin that for the level above me it is complete and they can now go put names into the roles. For my level and all there others, the unions and employee groups have requested another 2 weeks. Oh well….

May 15

Podshows revisited

I received a comment today regarding an older post I made about www.podshows.com. Now, this isn’t Adam Curry’s podshow.com, but a UK based site providing shows by well-known DJs for payment and for free.

Phyllis commented about the commercialisation of ‘casting, whatever the flavour, especially when combined with the government’s agreement that the licence fee may be replaced with a PC fee, perhaps when the current licence agreement stops in 2017. One thing she says is:

I’ve heard it proposed that, as more and more material is going to be delivered via the internet, the licence fee might be replaced with an internet charge. Does this statement mean that this is a move in a direction which would INCLUDE a charge for radio as well as TV? Radio is currently free and do not want to see charges levied via the back door.

I think a saturation point is going to be reached about charging for entertainment. We already pay to receive every TV channel except those on freeview, on top of paying for books, films and music.

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Paying for entertainment is not new, and it’s not going to go away. Although we don’t need a TV Licence to listen to Radio, it still funds the BBC stations, as well as funding the 6 BBC freeview channels. For satellite and cable we pay twice, once for the service and again through all the commercials. Even the multitude of free entertainment on the net I pay for – around 4 times the licence fee in connection fees.

But I do hold a different view. I would far rather pay a single licence fee and receive commercial free entertainment than get things “free” and be subject to advertising every 10 minutes. The BBC continue to fulfil their remit towards public broadcasting; such things like the recent announcment of BBC backstage are definitely great ways to use content. When I do watch commercial channels, I watch via Tivo, so if watching “live”, i tend to watch 10-15 minutes behind and forward through the ads. Often, only ads I see are those that are commented on via the web.

If they do charge a PC fee instead of TV fee, then it would not bother me too much (as long as instead rather that as well). However, I understand Phyllis; point – at the moment you do not pay to receive radio. But I do not see all radio being delivered via the internet – anologue is stillthere, digital broadcastng is growing, it’s available over freeview. And although you may not pay a licence for having a radio, if you have a TV, or buy or use anything that has a marketing budget you’re still paying for the service

May 15

Store Wars Geeks

Go take a look at Store Wars, from the Organic Trade Organisation. A short parody (or should that be piss-take) of Star Wars with all the characters played by puppet vegetables, so we have Obi Wan Cannoli, a cucumber as Cuke Skywalker, Lord Tader and, my personal favourite, Chewbroccoli. There does appear to be a purpose to this (sort of) in trying to advise people the advantages of organic food, but just ignore the message adn enjoy the fun! I’m not a fan of flash websites when they are trying to provide information, but for this kind of fun, it’s pretty useful.

May 15

Anglosphere Blogger Bash

Last night I went to a Bloggers Bash run by Adriana and Perry, some of the people behind The Big Blog Company and Samizdata. A great night that went on well into the morning. There were lots of new people to meet for me, unfortunately many of whom I only got their first names and never got to working out URLS! (although many do contribute to the previous two blogs.) such as Tom, Brian, Scott, David, Jessica etc etc, But I did work out Elena’s. There were guests from the US, Stephen Green from Vodkapundit and Megan from Asymetrical Information. I’ve posted a picture on Flickr, waiting for the Martinis to be poured.

May 14

Feed overload

It’s taken me a week to finally get through all the blog feeds that had built up from my holiday…but finally done. Hooray. All I have to do now is wait another 5 minutes and there’ll be more there.

May 14

Geotagging

More fun stuff with Flickrand GoogleMaps. Dan Catt on geobloggers is providing an interface place Flickr place images on Google maps, using appropriate tags, along with lattitude nad longitude. And to save the effort of trying to work out the lat/long and then adding the tags yourself to Flickr, Steeve has written a GreaseMonkey Script, the wonderful Firefox extension, to automate adding the tags.

May 14

Buying kettles

Looks like I may have o go and buy me a new kettle. I may only need a new power cord, but not sure if I can but one on its own. Never having bought a kettle, I’m not sure what to look for. The one I own was a present when I left for university 17 years ago. It’s had a good life.

May 11

Airplane Announcements

On my recent plane trips, tbere were a couple of nice comments made by the stewards/hosts (or whatever I’m supposed to call them); one by accident, one on purpose.

On the way out, the announcer made an unfortunate anatomical mixup. Instead of asking us to tighten our seatbelts over out hips, we were supposed to contort ourselves and fasten them over our lips.

On the way back, the announcer was French, with a pronounced accent. In the regular plea to get the plane to actually listen to the safety announcement, he’d developed a tactic. “listen carefully, I shall say this only once”. The British onboard laughed… the rest of the plane looked at hte British and wondered what they were on, never having being subject to the cultural phenomenom that was ‘Allo ‘Allo