Not for Vegetarians

Everyone has been talking about this, so I guess I should too. I tried to resist but it is impossible to ignore.

More information is available via Kottke. When it’s cold outside, people are using sausages on their touchscreens so they don’t have to take their gloves off. I find the whole idea kinda gross and would much rather use something like the Etip Gloves.

That seems like a much more elegant solution to me, but thinking outside the box should always be encouraged. Even if it does involve sausages.

It Doesn’t Work Like That Anymore

The first episode of 2010 has a brand new look, and covers a wide range of topics that have caught my eye over the past week month.

It Doesn’t Work Like That Anymore

From the Apple iPad, to the Amazon Kindle and everything in between, MFC gets a fresh look for 2010. Topics in this show also include how to keep wiki sites in business, and what would happen if you printed Twitter.

Length: 10:53

Transcript

Hello, good day and welcome. This is Media. Future. Change. Episode 6. I’m mixing things up for our first episode of 2010. Yes, I know it’s February and I didn’t do a show yet this year. Hush. Instead of the Audio/Text/Video format of old, I’m going to count down ten stories that have caught my eye this week, er… month. Let’s waste no time talking about it, though, and get right on with the good stuff.

Read more…

How to Report the News

This video was brought to our attention by Stu Maschwitz on Twitter, and it is really just amazing. I’m not a huge fan of Charlie Brooker in terms of watchability, but he does seem to have life (and in particular the news) sussed out:

What are the chances that news teams might sit up and take notice of how formulaic they are? Not high, I’d imagine. Perhaps there is something to the fact that you know what to expect from a news item that makes it easy to digest. Or easier to ignore.

Selective Reading

I’m currently listening to some old episodes of Net@Night, one of the TWiT stable of podcasts, and Leo Laporte was talking about feed readers. The episode is about a year old now, and even back then he was discussing the fact that everyone gets their news from Twitter, they choose a few key sites to visit every now and then, and that having a news reader is just too much information.

In fact, one particular line of thinking he had made me stop in my tracks. People wanted to have all the information, they wanted to collect everything, but now they’re starting to realise they just can’t do it.

That’s me! I want everything! I collect everything! That’s why I’m listening to episodes that are a year old.

So, Leo says he’s not really using a feed reader anymore, and simply because Leo said it, that means I shouldn’t be either. But I’m not sure I’m ready to give it up.

In our Sidepodcast community, a couple of people have recently said that they no longer check the news, they rely on what is being linked to within the comments. This is all well and good, and very flattering to the community, but if we all stopped doing that, there would be no links in the comments at all. Someone has to be going through all the feeds, don’t they?

The conversation on N@N slid over to podcasting, with Leo and Amber suggesting that downloads are always going to be an option but in this day and age, for someone throwing so much information at their listeners (and Leo should know about that!) the best option is to do live streaming. That way people can dip in and out at their own leisure, see what’s happening, and if they’re interested in it.

The important news will always come to the surface, it cycles round, a little like watching your Twitter stream. One of your friends is bound to tweet that big breaking news story eventually.

I just can’t reconcile this in my head. I know I don’t have enough time to consume everything I want, but I’m not ready to give up control yet.

Beware Where You Film

A news item I have been catching up with on Buzz Out Loud recently has me a little bit stunned.

In Chicago, a young woman was at a birthday party where they rented out an entire cinema for the duration of a screening of New Moon. She was filming some video of the party-goers and managed to get about three minutes of the film on camera as well.

This is odd to me because I can’t imagine the cinema letting a camera get in the screening in the first place, but still, perhaps just a short word to say: “Please don’t film here.”

Nope. The cinema called the police, who detained her for two days, and she was faced with charges of copyright infringement that could have resulted in up to three years in prison.

Thankfully, the charges were dropped, but what kind of fear is the movie industry instilling that this is the reaction to an incidental filming. It’s so clear she wasn’t trying to pirate the movie, even the director of the film came to her defence.

More details available here. Madness.

Movie Clips are Paramount

Ooh, at last, something from the movie industry that is both progressive and good! Presumably in an attempt to both halt the many unauthorised film clips available, and perhaps monetise it along the way, Paramount have opened up a site that allows you to select a clip from a movie, and purchase the licence to it.

From the article where I learned of such things:

Paramount will initially restrict use to business customers — advertising agencies, mobile carriers, foreign broadcasters — that want to license pieces of films for commercial use. The plan is to ultimately open the site to consumers. People wanting to embed a specific scene from “The Godfather” on their blog could go to ParamountClips.com and buy it.

The service reflects a renewed effort in Hollywood to create fresh content from existing libraries, much as ring tones became a blockbuster offering for the music industry. Movie and television studios, suffering from a steep drop in DVD sales, are hopeful that serving up clips can become a business in itself while also stoking demand for the films in their entirety.

The article also points out that pricing is unknown at the moment, and whilst it might be more expensive for business use, it could follow the ringtone model and be under a dollar for personal use. I suppose it would depend on the movie, the length of clip, and which licence you require.

There’s also a video on the site itself – although ParamountClips.com seems to redirect to another site called Inscene.com. It appears to be one and the same thing. The video doesn’t give much more information, except a small preview of how you can select the clips from the movie. It looks like fun, I can’t wait to try it out.

It’s Down to the User to be Sensible

I have returned with another episode of Media. Future. Change, catching up with some of the news from the past few weeks. Google have been dominating things recently, with lofty goals and tons of new products, but there’s plenty more to discuss in this episode.

It’s Down to the User to be Sensible

Coming up today we’ll discuss how you can celebrate New Year at home, why Switzerland isn’t a fan of Google, and when video viewers are switching off.

Length: 09:10

Links:

Feedback, suggestions, stories and ideas for future shows are always welcomed in the comments. This is the bare bones of the project and there is much more to come.

From Twitter to USA Today

Mashable has a brief article about a new advert taken out in the USA Today newspaper from chewing gum company Trident. Supposedly the tweets were discovered naturally, rather than the writers being sponsored to talk about the gum, and everybody was consulted to make sure they approved being included in the ad itself.

A bizarre concept of micro-blogging turning back into print media.

The Christmas Number One

For a long time, the Christmas Number One single in the UK has been rubbish. I don’t remember the last time there was a decent song at the top, but then again, there haven’t really been an enormous amount of worthy festive songs released recently anyway.

For the past few years, the Yuletide number has been dominated by the Simon Cowell sponsored X Factor winner, and that’s usual a cover version of a song that has nothing to do with snow or santa or anything.

Completely frustrated by this, some music consumers decided the best way to rise up against the might of the Cowell would be to bring back an old song that is equally unrelated to Christmas but has a much more antiestablishmentarianism theme to it. Rage Against the Machine’s Killing in the Name.

Now, I know there are debates about whether the song was the right choice, whether the campaign was worth it, that Cowell would win either way.

I don’t know the music industry well enough to know or care about those details, and I haven’t heard either song.

What I know is that the Facebook campaign, set up by just two people but participated in by hundreds of thousands, was unbelievably successful. The social media activism involved in the race to the Christmas number one was unprecedented and surprisingly successful.

Rage Against the Machine won the battle, with the added bonus of being the first ever download-only Christmas chart topper, and a whopping record number of download sales in one week only.

Those petition-style Facebook groups aren’t always a waste of time, then?

Celebrating the iPlayer and More

The BBC released some statistics to coincide with the iPlayer’s second birthday ahead of the festive season. Some facts:

  • Average of 5 million unique users a week
  • iPlayer on mobiles peaks on weekday nights between 7pm and midnight
  • The top streaming series for the year (Top Gear) generated more than 1.5 million streams, whilst the top radio was just 183,000.
  • Supposedly Mac users prefer comedies, while PC users prefer dramas.

Just after these numbers were released, the BBC Trust provisionally approved plans for the Beeb to get involved with the Project Canvas initiative.

There was a previous project called Kangaroo which was thrown out for being anti-competitive, but Canvas is more open to other broadcasters and will be a joint effort from all the main UK companies – ITV, BBC, Channel 4 and Five.

There is a lot more information available about Project Canvas and about the BBC’s involvement.

Watch this space!