All entries for February 2008

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.


Digital Media session – some follow ups

The presentations at the Digital Media skills sessions seem to have gone down well, at least from the audience feedback I have had so far. As a presenter I choose never to judge myself in these matters.

Anyway, one of the outputs from the session was that some people wanted further information about various things and to continue the discussion around digital media and specifically the opportunities at Warwick.

As such I will endevour to start publishing some items of interest here for your perusal, consideration and discussion.

This should break down into a few clear areas:

1) the tools and technologies at Warwick
2) techniques and good practice (hopefully with some examples)
3) broader commentry and reporting of stats and trends as and when my addled brain can make sense of them (and considering I’ve been up at 4am for the last 7 days, don’t expect too much of that…)

I hope that some of the other people involved in video and audio production will be able to join in these posts – I will be inviting guest contributors (you know who you are!).

I can’t promise that this will be anything like regular but we can do our best…


February 11, 2008

Sharia and English law

Writing about web page http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/newsandevents/audio/

I had a very interesting discussion with Professor Shaheen Ali this morning on the current debate around the place of ‘Islamic Law’ within the UK legal framework following Dr Rowan Willams’ comments.

The podcast is a bit longer than normal, but probably worthwhile as Shaheen has some really interesting opinions on the current debate as well as giving some really useful contexts for considering the issues.


Itch scratched

Follow-up to New bike itch from Contemplating the Frame

Thanks to the Treasury I am now proud owner of one of these:

I bought the slightly cheaper version with Tiagra gears and simpler wheels but it’s still a good bike. At least if the components get trashed through lots of commuting and cruddy weather it won’t be too miuch trouble to replace them.

Obviously heavier than the Trek SLR I also own, but it’s pacy enough on the roads even with the bigger tyres. It’s quite a bit slower up a lengthy climb but not so that it becomes a slog.

Where it scores serious points is off road – it goes like stink. I took it for a bedding in ride up the Stratford Greenway and it’s really really quick both on the track and grass. It eats up the distance very easily and is a joy to ride – comfortable, responsive and tough enough to take some punishment. It was easier to turn onto the grass most of the time than wait for people to move out of the way and it handled the change of surfaces well.

I do need to fit it with some mud guards as the ones I use on the Trek won’t fit it thanks to the brakes. I also need to add a rack for commuting.

One small apology is needed to the owners of Toby – a small dog that decided to have a disagreement with me as I scooted past. Toby decided to have a snap at my heels so I accelerated away and Toby followed – for about 400m. Toby’s owners were left well behind and I hope weren’t too distressed. Considering the alternative strategy for dealing with yappy snappy dogs tends to be a well aimed kick to the offending mutt it was probably for the best.


February 07, 2008

The worst idea in football (ever)

Writing about web page http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/eng_prem/7232390.stm

No, really, has the Premier League lost its collective mind?


iPod Touch impressions

So, I recently got my hands on an iPod touch and have spent a bit of time trying out various things, and to be honest it ’s quickly become very useful.

First up it has to be said that the interface is lovely and the screen is pretty awesome – especially for video.

Where it has been of most immediate value is in email. As long as I have a wireless connection I can pick up email, which is very handy. A blackberry seems rather dull in comparison.

More interesting is the way you can integrate it with web based apps to do useful things. The best example so far has been to use docs.google to store papers and other documents so that rather than cart stuff around I have a whole archive of papers available where I can get a connection . When Google add edit and create functions it will be even better.

I am writing this on it now – which goes to show how well it works with Warwick’s web systems. I’ve also edited sitebuilder pages using it. The keyboard works well, but bluetooth could make this even easier.

The absence of a flash player remains a major headache, but so far so useful.


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