July 30, 2004
A Legend Returns
Tim Bloody Pope!!!!!
He of all those classic Talk Talk and Cure videos.
He from the days when videos were about having *lots* of ideas rather than one or two and lots of postproduction budget.
I'm excited about this, can you tell?
July 28, 2004
What Goes Around, Comes Around...
In the last few weeks I've come across a few rather strange echoes from the early 80s. The biggest was discovering that a whole bunch of the Manchester Ocean-centric Spectrum, Atari and Commodore programmers are now doing very nicely making Java games for phones. It makes sense really - limited graphics, squidgy user interface, tiny memory footprint, maximum gameplay.
And then I see this, in an article on (freesub) Brand Republic:
LONDON – Television advertising could be set to disappear in some arenas thanks to a new technology, dubbed the Intelligent Content Engine and unveiled today by inventor Peter Vogel in Sydney, which removes TV ads from digital set-top boxes and PVRs
Peter Vogel. In Sydney. Hmmm.
That'll be the 'Fairlight CMI' inventor then.
(For those not aware of this legendary beast, it was the first digital sampler commercially available. Almost prohibitively expensive. 8-bit sampling. An astronomical 128K of sample memory. And the tool on which classic albums by Art Of Noise, Frankie, Peter Gabriel, Kate Bush, Duran Duran and many many more were made.)
What have the Scissor Sisters started?
The new video from the lovely camp folks of Alcazar contains either terrifying insane musical madness or utter genius at the point where the bridge becomes the chorus.
And my little erstwhile prog-rock head doesn't know which.
(Apologies to the alcazar people for the deep link - it didn't work as-is in mozilla)
On copyright across the pond
Leaving aside that they're using Elvis as the posterboy for the campaign, and unless they know something we don't, he's pretty dead ("How can we take away his copyright until the National Inquirer have accepted his death", maybe?) are they suggesting that it's unfair that artists should be disinherited before they even die? How many recording artists own the rights to their records? Hardly any.
July 26, 2004
Un mot au les...er...wise.
Okay, okay, so as people might have worked out things are scary busy here. Child is now in nursery, wife is back at work - both heroically - and I've been up to my neck in cack while trying to work out how to survive now I need to get up at 5:45am.
But enough of this. On to the reason for this post.
As I believe I've said before, on of the things I was most looking forward to from the iTunes music store was the 'language learning' section. I've recently been learning a drop of written Chinese for a site I'm building - so I'm not cutting and pasting content completely blindly - and it's made me remember how much I loved the languages I could speak (and largely think in). I resolved to Get Back On Track.
As I had a trip to Germany coming up (in the week herself returns to work - classic timing) it seemed sensible to go for a refresher in that to start off with. A quick trot around iTunes store and "Learn in your car German" seemed to be the one most suited to a heavily commuiting businessperson. A few attempts to get iTunes to take the bloody £7.99 later and I have it - and this is where the problems really start.
I have one long two-and-a-half-hour mp3 file. No chapter breaks, nothing.
It's like the very worst days of when web content was print blindly repurposed. Absolutely no thought appears to have gone into how this would work in its medium whatsoever.
I lose the persistent random access nature of cassettes, where pressing 'eject' means my position is held.
I lose the chapter and index nature of CDs.
And after the deafening "audible.com" promo at the beginning, the audio is encoded at such a low level that I can barely hear it when I'm on the tube.
(There's also the editorial problem that it's just a huge vocabularly list - the Pimsleur Mandarin CDs I've got out of the library do a much better job of getting you to *learn* the language.)
Anyway, what a waste of the potential of new technology. Caveat emptor - from here on in I buy physical media instead. And they say the mp3 market wouldn't drive CD sales...
July 17, 2004
Mebi it's because I'm a londoner
So, NTL, is it a megabit line or a mebibit line?
July 12, 2004
God Bless The Odeon
So, it's not in any way ironic that, on a day when even a laggard like me has decided to ditch the security-hole-filled IE and start using Mozilla at work, news breaks that Those Lovely People at The Odeon have made Matthew Somerville take his accessible version of their site down.
So, pretty much overnight, most of the people who browse at work and listen to what their IT guy says will be seeing a link-free Odeon homepage that looks like this:
Mr Somerville, I think it's time to start asking for Big Cash to put your version back again....
PS: Very busy. Much to tell, but doo damn little time.