Thursday, August 31, 2006

Nokia Buys Mapping Company

One of the problems broadcasters have is knowing where a photo was taken and, as some broadcasters have found to their cost, there are people willing to fake photos to get them on the TV. So interesting to see that Nokia has acquired Gate5, a German rival to the Tom Tom company, with the idea that future phones will have some navigation services inside them. Will photos you take have the option of getting a geo-tag? Nokia already have the Canadian company of Loud-eye to help them in competing with Apple with music downloads to mobile phones. Things are getting interesting. Of course, these services will take off when they get to the mid-prices phones, though that cannot be far off. Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Chumby by the bedside?

More wifi devices are appearing alongside the wifi radio in the kitchen. Is chumby the next generation clock radio? Posted by Picasa

Monday, August 28, 2006

Awfully Nice Recipes

Highly recommend this site with truly awful commercial "cookery" books from the 1930's thru to late 1960's. I remember seeing some of this stuff as a small child when we lived for a year in Wisconsin. Good job we don't have a memory for pain - or taste. Posted by Picasa

Big Sign, Big Ambition

This station will be one to watch, giving people practical training in broadcasting to communities Posted by Picasa

Cool FM....

  Actually, its an educational station in Porto Novo. Because there is no local industry for radio transmitters (most I have seen are made in Italy or the UK) they are built to operate in European climate. In Benin, where it is tropical all year round, if you don't put a domestic fan infront of the transmitter it will fry in no time. Posted by Picasa

Mike Barraclough notes that the British Pathe have now made 128 kbp/s versions of all their archive material available for free download. Interesting to see the olf stuff they have on BBC and Radio Netherlands
 Posted by Picasa

Capp FM, Cotonou

  The station with the transmitter in the loo. Great guys, don't get me wrong. Posted by Picasa

Radio's Lifeline for Change

  Forget TV, radio is the most powerful medium in this part of Northern Benin - in fact the whole of West Africa. Why? Because it uses LOCAL languages...this pioneering stations broadcasts in no less than 11 languages. Benin is clearly the successful media lab for West Africa. Posted by Picasa

My Favourite Transmitter Site

  This is my favourite shot of a local FM station in Cotonou, Benin. There's a UPS, plus a 500 watt transmitter all balanced above the loo. Posted by Picasa

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Community Radio - 90% community?

Just posted an article (click link on title above) on the corporate website, which updates previous thoughts on the vital role radio is playing in West Africa. Its going wrong in Congo now because the media commission has no power to stop hate broadcasts. Those second round of elections look like turning into living hell....

Saturday, August 26, 2006

The Lin-Lin Box

  Since some of you asked, the (Linux) box costs 350 Euro, then 9.95 a month. Posted by Picasa

Live Web

 Spent a pleasant couple of hours learning more about on-line computing from Keith Wallace, one of the partners behind Lin-Lin computing based in The Hague. Although many have tried in the past, the concept of the "network is the computer" hasn't taken off so far partly because of price. But many public organisations want to give members of the public cheap access to the web, make it simple for them, and at the same time concentrate their minds on doing work, not surfing the web for pictures (!). The box on the table has no hard-disk, the programs are on a 2GB flash disk inside the box on the table - and there's no noise because it has no fan. Great to see a genuine start-up with bags of good ideas. Posted by Picasa

Friday, August 25, 2006

Power Cell

  The gas and electricity have been off here for about 90 minutes...makes you realise how reliant you are on power to get anything done. I now have another cellphone in the house - built inside a gas/electricity meter from start-up energy company Oxxio. The device sends gas and electricity meter readings by cell-phone to a central headquarters. Big brother is watching me...but what can they learn from meter readings? Saves about 100 Euro a year on the energy bill this way. Posted by Picasa

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Here's the Cross-Media Gamble....

 Can these people helping to organise and sponsor Picnic 06 generate enough buzz to bring a couple of thousand people to Amsterdam at the end of September. It has been a big investment for the city. I am surprised that nearly all the speakers are going to be from the Anglophone world - as though they have a monopoly on innovation. Lots going on in France, Germany, Denmark and Spain too. My predictions -

Philip Rosedale and Marc Canter will have inspiring things to say.

I hope John de Mol will inspire local "heroes" to create their own creative, original production houses, rather than just make more of the same. Hopefully John will show that it pays to take risks - in the country with the largest number of insurance companies. This speech is pretty crucial to the whole event.

Dan Gillmor will disappoint. Heard him speak a couple of times in the US and was uninspired. His blog is fine, he's fine on panels, just not a keynoter in my experience.

I sincerely hope that the organisers of the Cross Media Week will learn from the past mistakes with Creative Capital in that the foreign speakers must relate to the Dutch/European situation and not just wax lyrical about what they're up to in the US. Do any of the US companies think about do serious development work in Amsterdam? I think not (yet). The climate for entrepreneurs is improving in the Netherlands, but its a long way behind the neighbours. The key will be local heroes that others aspire to work for. Posted by Picasa

Off to the Gasworks....

  This has holder is no longer active. You can actually go inside it. Its part of the former gas works in Amsterdam West that has been converted in what they term a "cultural" park. A month from now it will be the site of what's called Picnic '06. Organised by the city of Amsterdam, it is supposed to stimulate the IT/content sectors. Tonight is a "pre-launch" party at the Westergasfabriek. Posted by Picasa

More Flattering Shot

  The brick buildings alongside the gas holder have also been converted and are now home to some creative companies, building websites and designing cultural exhibitions. Posted by Picasa

Monday, August 21, 2006

Back Home - Back in Business

  Boy there has been some rain here while I've been away. Garden looks great though. But since I am doing a lot of video montaging at the moment, at least there is no sweltering heat in the office. Suits me fine... Posted by Picasa

Sunday, August 20, 2006

No ATM Machine in Schiphol

  Mastercard needs to have a word with Google about their ATM finder. Simply useless. No ATMS in Amsterdam airport? Ja! Posted by Picasa

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Smells great...

  The bakeries here in Lefkada are fantastic. Best way to get breakfast. Best time too...bread dries out fast in this climate. Posted by Picasa

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Friday, August 11, 2006