All 11 entries tagged Digital

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February 24, 2009

Thoughts on Singapore

What a great place Singapore is – really interesting city and buzzing with potential.

I’ve been here for a conference and whilst that was interesting (more later) just wandering around Singapore has been fascinating.

1. It is an incredibly connected and mobile city. Everyone is using their phone and interacting using mobile.

2. THere is something of an energy about the people here that is refreshing after doom and gloom at home. Sure, there’s a lot of doom and gloom here to, but things are still positive and you get the feeling that there is a mood of waiting for the up-turn – ready…steady….go – they will be out of the blocks far more quickly than we will

3. The appetite for education is massive – it’s a society hungry for knowledge and ideas

4. The cultural mix is amazing

5. Stuff just works – it’s clean and to time and nothing feels crowded though we are on a densely populated little island.

6. Panglish is the way to go.

I have also learned a few important lessons.

1. Business cards are crucial here – I didn’t bring any. Oops. There is an etiquette to handing out cards and muggins here bolloxed all that right. As if to drive home the point the conference organiser gave me a business card holder as a thankyou for chairing. Right, so I am a muppet – I get it!

2. I don’t think we send enough administrators out here. We should organise a little world tour for key people to get a sense of how these places operate and what excites our potential students, staff and partners here and in other areas. Don’t think you can substitute in territory experience for insights into how we think about international strategy. This should not be the reserve of the International Office. Considering how globalised future students will be we need to understand this much much more.

I shall leave Singapore with lots of positive thoughts. Hope the news at home doesn’t drag us down too quickly!

Plus – loads of good networking and a conviction we need to arm students with video cameras – it’s the way forward.


August 28, 2008

BBC numbers on the Olympics online

Writing about web page http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/bbcinternet/2008/08/olympics_on_all_platforms.html

Ok – I’m a few days late with this but a first birthday kind of takes over…

I’ve been wondering about the BBC traffic for online video over the period of the Olympics – I know there are more important things to worry about but I was working on the assumption that this would be one of those tipping point events in the history of online video in the UK. I was pleased then at this post from the BBC on how they’d done up to the 22nd August:

In Athens, we served about 2.5m video plays for the entire event. For the Beijing Olympics so far, we have served nearly 40m sport video streams via the web – and the games are not over yet, with a few big events still to come.

We have at times been serving nearly 200,000 concurrent streams including live video and video on-demand. Individual clips have regularly reached over 500,000. Over 6.5m hours of Olympics watched so far. Up to 5.5m Olympics videos watched each day, averaging just under 3m.

And this is just on the Sport site on the web – not to mention BBC iPlayer, interactive TV and mobile platforms.

Those numbers are pretty impressive, no doubt helped by the number of people watching at work! Having said that live connections alone don’t account for the volume so this probably reinforces the shift to TV when I want it / catch up TV – i.e. I’ll manage my viewing so I can better organise my time. Plus of course the fact that we are all asleep when things kick off in China!

I’d be very very interested to see a comparison to the viewer figure stats for the normal broadcast service.


July 30, 2008

Google car – arse

Damn – walking along the Science Park road I got passed by the Google Maps street view car – at least I wasn’t scratching my arse or picking my nose at the time – just talking on the phone.

Anyway, in a petty act of revenge here is MY photo of them photographing me photographing them photographing me and so on…
Google street view car


June 03, 2008

iTunes U lands in Europe (and australia)

Writing about web page http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/education/7431918.stm

Hmm. After many years of promises iTune U has landed in Europe – UCL, OU and Trinity are the lead institutions.

Now, this has been in the offing for a loooooongg time so it’s nice to see it finally happen. Excitement ensues!


May 30, 2008

Academic Fakery

Writing about web page http://chronicle.com/free/2008/05/3028n.htm

Interesting article in The Chronicle about instances of academics photoshopping images to falsify research outputs.

Andrew Keen’s argument about Digital Amateurism is a good one to debate in this context. His call for cultural and educational institutions to stand up and be counted in the face of erosion by hoards of amateurs is undermined by this sort of thing and rather hands the initiative away.

Credibility and authority is the cornerstone of our ability to be heard – protecting that is crucial.


May 20, 2008

Gilberto Gil on digital culture

Writing about web page http://joi.ito.com/weblog/2008/05/19/gilberto-gils-t.html

Joi Ito points to a really interesting speech from Brazilian cultural minister Gilberto Gil (yes, that Gilberto Gil – how cool is that) on the impact of digital tech on culture and the potential for transformation.

Interestingly Gil firmly believes that this is inherently a political issue rather than solely cultural.

we have not only to humanize, but also politicize these technologies, which means thoroughly discuss them and make them available to society and every citizen. Regulations should be there to insure freedom and open access to knowledge, not just for “business as usual” purposes.

It is an interesting perspective. The challenge is clearly set in a cultural/arts/community context but there obvious implications for the social contract between Universities and the communities that sustain them.


March 13, 2008

Channel 4 support for Public Service Broadcasting

Writing about web page http://www.channel4.com/about4/fullreport.html

Interesting report from Channel 4 outlining the future for the channel, especially the announcement of a £50m fund for Public Service broadcasting.

Focussed very much on digital media the initiative will seek to bring together creatives, public organisations and Channel 4 to push forward the development of this content. The money will support content creation but also aggregation of existing content.

What’s nice to see is this statement:

We will challenge many of the broadcaster-centric approaches to commissioning and distributing content that exist within the industry. We will explore different funding and business models. And we will have further opportunities to place the needs, expectations and feedback of audiences at the heart of the projects we invest in, which in turn will create insights that will be relevant for the whole of our output

Which for me is a challenge to public sector organisations to explore how we relate to traditional broadcasters and how we might start to more directly involve ourselves in content production for these channels.


March 12, 2008

YouTube API

Writing about web page http://www.youtube.com/blog?entry=yFlR6EEySg8

Interesting post on the YouTube blog – especially the bit:

The University of California, Berkeley is bringing free educational content to the world, enhancing their open source lecture capture and delivery system to publish videos automatically into YouTube.

There is a big move in the US to basically open up all sorts of material to the public – an Open Source Education to some extent.

I’m not sure whether the same appetite exists in Europe. Whilst we are very elearning friendly I am not clear of the extent to which the HE community is comfortable with, or even aware of, the idea that we should make public as much as possible of the University experience.


March 07, 2008

Oh ho ho – iplayer hits the iPod Touch

Writing about web page http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/bbcinternet/2008/03/bbc_iplayer_on_iphone_behind_t.html

Hey Hey!

The BBC today launched the iPlayer for the iPod Touch and iPhone.

Joy oh joy oh joy.

Looks and sounds awesome (in my immediate opinion – I remain to be proven wrong in the coming days).

What’s most interesting is the associated blog post where Anthony Rose describes the transcoding process whereby all the lovely BBc programmes make it to the iPlayer for download or streaming.

Those input files are encoded at over 50Mbps which makes them huge – around 25GB per hour of incoming video. With eight BBC TV channels plus 18 regional news broadcasts, that means we need to deal with up to 24 simultaneous incoming programmes, for a peak data rate of over a gigabit per second of incoming video.

It sounds like this is scratching the surface of a pretty impressive process.


February 25, 2008

Stats, stats and more stats – part 1

Ian Rowley and Kevin Johnson presented a range of stats and ‘facts’ about digital media at the Skills Session on the 19th. Following a request for some of the data – here is the first stat.

1. Pace of change:

- 40 years for 50m to own a radio
- 16 years for 50m to own a PC
- 5 years for 50m to be on the internet
- UK consumers spend an average of 50 hours a week on the phone, surfing the internet, watching TV or listening to the radio (Ofcom).

Whilst this may surprise some people I don’t know how much of an eye-opener this stat is. Does this just apply to the web? How many years did it take for 50 million vaccuum cleaners to be sold as opposed to 50m Dyson’s?

What is interesting though is the rate at which services are emerging and gaining mass audiences. YouTube took about 18 months to go from nothing to global phenomenon and serious player. Google has garnered a market position in a fraction of the time it took Microsoft to do so.

What we have not seen, at least in the last 3-4 years (don’t remind me of the last bubble burst, gah! The scars still run deep…), is the flip side of this – rapid growth can be matched by rapid collapse. Facebook skirted with this when they launched their first major attempt at monetising their membership with social ads. Indeed, Facebook has just had it’s first DROP in monthly usage. Whilst wailing and gnashing of teeth may be premature, it’s a useful reminder that today’s technological success story can easily be tomorrow’s 8-track.

However, not to undermine myself too much one can see that we have moved on from the situation 5 years ago where investment in online video/audio could be seen as a risky venture to one where the infrastructure positively demands its consideration. I guess the story in the stat above is not what the hardware is but the impact it has in terms of the availability of tools. After all – having a radio does not make you a radio producer. Having a PC with a broadband connection does.

I suppose its the difference between being sold a vaccuum cleaner and being sold a CAD package and all the bits you need to make a customised dust-kicking suction monster. With go faster stripes.


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