Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Mobuzz Does News in Spanish

Interesting to see a news site for mobiles has appeared in Spain. Following on from the success of Mobuzz lifestyle news, they're trying out news coverage or rather news compliation taken from other sources and illustrated with graphics.

Frankly, I don't think a news format works for such a small but creative organisation. You can't do serious news digest just once a day and the presenter must keep her hands still unless she's also going to do the show in sign-language for the deaf.

Formatwise, however, they can teach a lot to the struggling public broadcasters in Spain, still operating in the last century. May be it is just a stick to prod them.

Gartner Hype Cycle 2007

Gartner Hype Cycle 2007
Originally uploaded by marketingfacts
So where would you put digital radio and DVB-H on this graph? Above idea management? Next to SOA? Next to each other or spread far apart? I find the hype cycle that Gartner makes each year to be a useful reality check for us all. Marketingfacts and frankwatching.com have done good analysis of the trends, although only in Dutch.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Commercial US radio fading?

Inside Radio and several other sources have been pointing to US analysts being rather down on the prospects for the commercial radio market in 2008.

Bear Stearns analyst Victor Miller projects radio will have another "challenging" year as revenues hold flat with "many forces on either side of the scale." Miller says "One of the biggest positives for local radio in 2008 is that there will likely be fewer negatives." On the plus side are more political dollars and increasing web revenues, but many US radio have really played down their web development so far. A number of companies say they're reallocating dollars from radio operations to their new media effort because, says one CBS Radio manager, "That's where we think the growth is going to be."

Webcast from Kigali

I'll be curious to watch some of the sessions once the opening ceremony in Kigali is out of the way. It starts at 07 hrs UTC, 8 am in the Netherlands.

The GSM Association has already announced that the mobile industry plans to invest more than $50 billion in sub-Saharan Africa over the next five years to provide more than 90% of the population with mobile coverage. The investment will be used to extend the reach of GSM mobile networks, enhanced with GPRS, EDGE and HSPA technologies, to provide a rich suite of mobile multimedia services, including Internet access.

Since sub-Saharan governments began liberalising their telecommunication sectors at the turn of the millennium, the GSMA estimates that the mobile industry has invested $35 billion, providing more than 500 million people (67% of the population) in sub-Saharan Africa with mobile coverage.

MTN, Orange, Vodacom and Zain subsidiary Celtel are among the mobile operators planning to invest heavily in the expansion and enhancement of their networks. “We have the passion and dedication to provide Africa with a world class infrastructure,” said MTN Group President and CEO Phuthuma Nhleko. “We are proud to be a leading investor in Africa, bringing world-class services to our customers on the continent through our Celtel subsidiary,” added Dr. Saad Al Barrak, CEO of the Zain Group, while Alan Knott-Craig, CEO of Vodacom Group, said: “We are proud of our investment in Africa, and we will continue to focus on our customers and the development of products and services that benefit them.”

There are more than 150 million mobile subscribers in sub-Saharan Africa today. However, a further 350 million people have mobile coverage and are not yet directly connected. As well as extending coverage, the mobile industry is focused on using its economies of scale to connect these people. As the number of users grows, so too will economic prosperity. The GSMA estimates that an increase of 10 percentage points in mobile penetration can increase the annual growth rate of GDP by up to 1.2 percentage points.

In order to create the conditions that will maximise the benefit of this new investment, the GSMA calls on governments across sub-Saharan Africa to become enablers of business, and not gatekeepers that control and hamper it. In particular, African governments need to ensure that sufficient spectrum is available to enable the hundreds of millions of Africans, who live beyond the reach of today’s fixed networks, to gain access to cost-effective broadband services.

The GSMA believes the World Radiocommunication Conference, currently meeting in Geneva, needs to reserve the 750MHz to 862MHz spectrum band for mobile broadband services in Europe, Middle East and Africa. In this spectrum band, radio waves can travel significant distances and provide better in-building signals, helping operators to achieve more extensive and cost-effective mobile broadband coverage, particularly in rural areas. These bands aren't empty, they are being used for TV.

That view naturally puts them directly in conflict with the broadcast community. "In many European countries, digital terrestrial TV in these bands has already become a major success based on the availability of free-to-air TV services" says Lieven Vermaele, EBU Technical Director. "However, this success story could be jeopardised by the introduction of mobile phone services in broadcasting frequency bands."

Interference problems can easily arise when a number of services are deployed in the same frequency bands. Interference to analogue TV services typically appears as obtrusive patterns on the picture, while interference to digital TV services has much more radical effects, resulting in a complete blank screen. This would be unacceptable to consumers.

A recent study of the European Conference of Postal and Telecommunications Administrations (CEPT), which represents 48 EU countries, highlighted the problem of potential interference between mobile phones and TV services. CEPT suggests that further technical studies are necessary in this area and therefore allocations to the mobile service in relevant parts of the band 470 – 862 MHz should be considered only at the next World Radiocommunication Conference in 2011. The EBU strongly endorses CEPT's position. "We urge ITU to wait and study the options before making any decision on band sharing," says Lieven Vermaele, "in 2011 the picture will be much clearer."

But since digital terrestrial TV has only be trialed in a limited number of countries in Africa, the mobile guys may well have their way. But the GSMA says there are other challenges too.

“The world’s governments have an opportunity to narrow the digital divide between those who enjoy high-speed access to multimedia services today and the many people who can’t yet be economically served by broadband networks,” said Tom Phillips, Chief Government & Regulatory Affairs Officer of the GSMA. “It is important that the world’s governments set aside this spectrum in a harmonised way, enabling handset makers to achieve economies of scale, thereby reducing the cost of access devices for consumers.”

African Governments also need to address other barriers to the uptake of mobile communications, such as high consumer taxes. Mobile specific taxes are levied in Ghana, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia; if these were lowered or removed, government tax receipts would actually increase as more people will connect and use mobile services, boosting Value Added Tax receipts and stimulating wider economic activity. High license fees and other regulatory bottlenecks, such as international gateway monopolies, constrain the competitiveness of African business.

Connect Africa Summit Opens

The ‘Connect Africa’ Summit opens today in Kigali, Rwanda and runs for a couple of days, under the auspices of the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) and the Global Alliance for ICT and Development (GAID).

Among the key concerns of Connect Africa are that Internet services needed for business, government and consumer applications continue to be either very expensive or not available due to limited broadband network infrastructure; and that rural connectivity and access remain inadequate as does the availability of locally relevant content, applications and services.

This paper, by Collaboration on International ICT Policy for East and Southern Africa (CIPESA), outlines some of the issues that need to be addressed for the vision of boosting connectivity in Africa to be realised.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Non Whining Flight

The Flight Attendant - Watch more free videos

Recording of a flight attendant on a flight to Chicago who adds all kinds of extras to the standard take-off annoucement. Because it is quite amusing, I think people might actually remember it better than the standard one. Bet he probably gets in to trouble though.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Creative Plans at the Sardine Factory in Bergen

Many old factories in the world have been converted into creative centres. In Amsterdam it is the gasworks, in Rotterdam an old coal-fired power station has attracted a lot of the creative types. In Stockholm it was a former brewery and in Bergen it turns out to be the old sardine factory. It seems to be home to a number of great organisations, including the Nordic Media Festival taking place in May 2008. Had a great chat with Anngun Dybsland and Jørgen Flint in their restaurant with one of the best views on the planet - especially in the summer.

Narrowcasting in Bergen

Formed in 1908, Brann Bergen football club is one of the oldest, but also more recently one of the more successful clubs in Norway. Tonight I'm privlidged to see a game between Bergen and Hamburg as part of the UEFA league and from a VIP position as well. The stadium is interesting because it is an example of successful narrowcasting by mixing digital signage and video. Clubs are able to enhance the experience of the match - as well as generating a new and lucrative form of advertising income. So the ads you see along the field are produced with a VIZRT graphics engines and then split across the screens in such a way that they behave as one long one. Great atmosphere at the game - lots of families - tons of singing even though the final score was disappointing; 0-1 for Hamburg.

Strange Registered Trademark

Saw this on a drainpipe at the back of TV2's building in Bergen. What caught my eye is that someone thinks they can trademark it. Oh yea?

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Joke at the market

The harbour of Bergen has a great selection of freshly caught fish - the salmon is particularly heavenly and they vacuum pack it for you so it won't be confiscated from your handluggage. Went down for an early morning walk and saw this strange site. A guy in a diving suit fishing what looked like prawns out of a car. Turns out it was a sort of publicity stunt by a guy called Tommy Vaagen who is well-known in the area for pranks.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Back up to Bergen

Funny. They tell me the weather in Bergen, Norway's second city, is rather rainy most of the time. But every time I have been there it has been glorious sunshine. Heading there again today. Luckily, Amsterdam has a direct connection. The strangest part is the ludicrous ticket pricing. Two APEX tickets are MUCH cheaper than the open return.

Monday, October 22, 2007

NBC Divorces from Youtube

Looks like all the content from NBC has been pulled from Youtube, including the funny "Bill the Promo Guy" material made especially for Youtube about a year ago. It is as though they never existed. And NBC has decided to launch a new video site called Hulu around Halloween. Great name that - means "backside" in South-East Asia and "please stop that" in Swahili. Thanks to Techcrunch for the research.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Expats in Amsterdam

I have been to several of the annual "expat" fairs held in the former stock exchange in Amsterdam. This year the fair seemed to be a little quieter than previous years (perhaps it was the nice weather) or that the number of English-speaking immigrants-contract workers into Holland is dropping. But Expatica, the organisers, said their numbers for subscribers are infact going up, with around 20,000 regular readers of their expat website. The main hall is full of people who will transport your stuff, find a house for you, or help you with the nightmare that is called the Dutch tax system. I sensed the general level of complaints from expats is on the rise, a feeling that a lot less of official information is available in English (or not updated). A volunteer group called Access also provides follow-up after the move to the Netherlands, at the point at which the removal guys or the estate agent feel they have finished the job. That's often the point that many expats feel extremely lonely, especially if they have not mastered enough of the Dutch language.

It is my opinion that Rotterdam and Den Haag are doing a much better job of helping expats than Amsterdam. There was an "I Amsterdam" sign in the hall yesterday, but no welcome stand or message from the mayor's office that you find in cities like Bonn or Oslo. Some stands were clearly trying to recruit foreign-language personnell. A lady on the Tom-Tom stand said they have 140+ positions open at their HQ in Amsterdam. A little further down the hall was a rather prominent stand from Alcoholics Anonymous. Don't get me wrong, I am sure they do great work. But the anonymous bit was a misnomer in this case. Also missing was a stand from the only English language radio show in Amsterdam, the English Breakfast. But luckily, these guys are getting more and more airtime on the radio here and via the web.

Media Professional Website Launches

I have been gradually building the website which describes the "making of" a new media lab in Porto Novo, Benin. Located in the western part of the capital city, the new website explains how we managed to build a complete FM radio station in under a day towards the end of July 2007. The idea is that the "lessons learned" will be translated into local languages so that station managers are able to profit from our experiences. It costs around 25,000 Euro to build a community station of this type. If you want more range, then prices quickly climb to 40,000 Euro. The local versions of what we did will be distributed on USB memory sticks which are rapidly replacing CD's for transporting audio files around the country. ADSL is due in Porto Novo in January 2008, but it is still relatively expensive.

Google goes dark

black google
Originally uploaded by Mr. G.K.
Mr G.K grabbed the shot of Google going dark. You only saw it if you accessed Google in the Bay area. It is part of Google's contribution to the www.Lightsoutsf.org project where many public buildings (and the GG Bridge) went dark for a couple of hours to draw attention to global energy consumption. In fact, on many CRT screens, I think a dark background actually consumes more energy than a white one, but the point is taken.

Why does Meeker bother?

The video of the Mary Meeker presentation has been posted although if I were her, I would pull out of Web 2.0 altogether. Either the organisers give her the time to pick out the salient points or just post the URL so you can download the data (in which case what is in it for Morgan Stanley). It is a perfect example of Powerpoint hell and how not to organise a presentation.

Web 2.0 Disaster

The old Palace Hotel in downtown San Francisco seems to be the home of very strange Internet conferences these days. It is more a collection of performances in the ballrooms, and great conversations outside in the corridors. I gave up on Supernova in 2005, also held in the Palace, because it got stuck in a format with the same gang of performers on stage. The quality of the conversations in the corridor were much better - but didn't justify the trip half way across the world.

The same venue was used for Web 2.0 last week and some of the presentations were posted on Blip-TV. I am so glad I didn't add to my carbon footprint by flying across 9 time zones to sit in a ballroom and watch one of the world's worst interviewers. Just watch John Battelle "interviewing" Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook. John is so busy showing off to the audience he's not getting the best out of his interviewees at all. You feel sorry for people sitting in the interviewee's chair, even when you shouldn't be. It is such a bad interviewing technique I am using it in class to show people how NOT to do an conversation on stage.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Connecting Africa & Media

I have been reading a fascinating site put up by Fibre for Africa which alerted me to the ‘Connect Africa’ Summit which will take place in Kigali, Rwanda on October 29-30 2007, under the auspices of the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) and the Global Alliance for ICT and Development (GAID). The ITU has labelled the Summit a ‘Marshall Plan for ICT infrastructure development in Africa’ (not sure the Marshall Plan is such a good term for it myself, too many political overtones) Whatever they call it, the conference underlines the recognition by the Connect Africa initiative of the critical importance of developing ICT infrastructure to enable Africa to join the Information Society.

Among the key concerns of Connect Africa are that Internet services needed for business, government and consumer applications continue to be either very expensive or not available due to limited broadband network infrastructure; and that rural connectivity and access remain inadequate as does the availability of locally relevant content, applications and services.

This paper outlines some of the issues that need to be addressed for the vision of boosting connectivity in Africa to be realised. They correctly point out that extra bandwidth into the region would allow many countries to do more of the outsourced work from other continents that is currently going to Asia. Also, radio stations could make much more use of each other's material if they had better Internet access between African countries. In Europe, we assume that just because countries are next to each other that they are communicating. But in Africa (and in much of Europe come to think of it), it is just not true.

Fibre for Africa is an interesting site. I just wish they would upgrade the logo to show an energy saving bulb....I see them all over West Africa in my travels, more frequently than in Northern Europe.

Lighthouse Update

Al Quaglieri in Albany NY has noted that Russian national station Radio Mayak (meaning lighthouse I believe) has mixed a bit of the old into the new. One of the jingles for the station mixes the old interval signal familiar to most foreign listeners (for most of the last century) into their new set. Not sure it works, but then I guess the older listeners must have complained that if it wasn't broken, please don't fix it. Perhaps when they finally get used to the new theme, they'll drop the old one. Al's posted a copy of the tune here for a few weeks. I also see that Russian radio didn't manage to book the website www.mayak.ru in time.

Daily Show Archive Opens

I got quite a few private e-mails either agreeing or taking me to task about a comment I made back in September about VOA and the Daily Show (which we see in Europe on the web or in an edited form at rather odd hours on CNN International).

Now it seems Comedy Central has opened up the entire archive of the Daily Show on line for gratis, using either a time line (if you remember the show date) or a tag search. The NY Times media blog reports that 13,000 videos have gone on line with the spinoff show "The Colbert Report" due to go up soon. Still maintain more English speakers outside the US get a clearer understanding of US politics by watching the comedy than hearing the news from US government networks. It is funny, memorable - and now much easier to access.

The only other thing they need to do is to put the collection in context with today. Compare today's show with a year ago, 5 years ago, or here's all the shows about a specific theme. Yes, that is possible as a "pull" search. But archives get used more if certain collections are also "pushed" to the public.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Education, Students, and the real world

Great video from Kansas about the challenges facing students today. Its facing some larger corporations too....the employees have to go home to use the fun, creative tools. I also like the TED talk by Sir Ken Robinson about how schools are killing creativity.

BBC Commercializes some international websites

Hang on, haven't they done this already? Today's announcement confirms that BBC will set up bbc.com as its international, advertiser funded website, in the same way as it has set up BBC World TV. They claim 40 million unique users a month, mostly to news. I hear world service RADIO in English announcing a whole range of websites. www.BBCWorldservice.com takes you to a non-commercial site, which presumably will become commercial in the future. Then we hear some WS programmes talk about www.bbcnews.com, which I guess will also go commercial. Sites like www.beeb.com, www.bbcamerica.com. and BBC Prime have been commercial for years.

But BBC World Service radio in English still falls under a UK grant in aid, right? So how will they handle the cross-promotion issues? Currently, Click, a tech show on BBC World TV cannot cross-promote its sister radio programme Digital Planet, because one is commercially funded, the other is grant-in-aid. There still seems to be a strange dividing line between radio and TV, when international radio is not really a threat to the commercial market place. By the way, public sites carrying commercials isn't new in The Netherlands - happens all the time (see http://www.omroep.nl)

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

EBU Audio Contributions Document

In the near future, if you're planning to buy some equipment to feed audio back to a radio or TV station, you might want to ask the manufacturer of that equipment if it is ACIP compliant. ISDN lines are disappearing in some countries (as soon as 2010 in some places) and so broadcasters are starting to use IP over broadband technology to get the audio back to the studio. Its obviously important that the equipment at both ends is compatible even if it is of a different make (just as your mobile phone works no matter who made the handset). I note that a group with the EBU Technical department has now published an interesting document in the hope that manufacturers will work on interoperability standards even if they are competitors in the marketplace. There is a publicly accessible website that's gone up as well.

So why is this important? For the punter in the field trying to do a decent reporting job, it's going to vital that this project moves from a well thought-out proposal into practice. Even if you're non-technical, if manufacturers get the message from reporters that compatability is important, that may help the development team squeeze the required cash out of the upper management.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Internet for Remote Places

At IBC 2007, I bumped into a French company called Alden that were marketing a steerable satellite dish for people in Eastern and Southern Europe who live too far away from an ADSL hub. It is a satellite TV and satellite Internet combination. The initital outlay of around 3500 Euro involves the purchase of a self-aligning dish and 100 days of Internet access (any 100 days within a year, no limit of the day during the day). For people who are never going to get connected to cable and/or ADSL, a rather neat solution.

Digital Korea

I don't often mention books here, but this an exception. I just bought a booked called Digital Korea by Finnish author and consultant Tomi Ahonen. He lives in Hong Kong, although I saw him in Amsterdam during one of his tours through Europe. He stood quietly at the back of the former Odeon cinema where Mobile Monday was being held. He had the task of grabbing the audience back from the bar since he was the second speaker that day and the first half had been "so-so", good ideas but poorly presented.

It didn't take Tomi long to ignite the crowd and get them all back in their seats (200+) and spellbound. Why? Because he confirmed a lot of what we suspected about the digital revolution. But he put them in a great context and simplified the "jargon". His thoughts are building on a paper he published a few years back showing how the mobile phone has emerged as the 7th Mass Media. "It is as different from the internet (6th Mass Media) as TV (5th) is from radio (4th). Trying to force concepts from the internet, TV, or other previous media will produce disappointing audience experience on mobile. But understanding the unique power of mobile as
the 7th Mass Media will deliver radical new concepts and new winners on this, the newest mass media."

His latest book called Digital Korea and examines why South Korea has forged ahead with connectivity that people in Europe can only dream of. It is a country where 100 Mbit/s speeds are already sold and gigabit speeds already coming; where every phone sold is a cameraphone; where three out of every four mobile subscriptions is a 3G connection; where cars and PCs and mobile phones now ship with in-built digital TVs; where 42% of the population maintain a blogsite and four out of ten have created an avatar of themselves.

What is different about Tomi is his ability to share information - encouraging people to take part in the ForumOxford not only to share his notes, but also contribute to the conversation. He radiates enthusiasm and is happy to share ideas. At last a group of people looking at the social impact of mobile as well as what that means for the technology. CNN ran a feature on his this past Sunday. Here's the link which seems to work at the moment.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

A good word for Jim

Good voice acting is actually very difficult. There are few with the natural "pipes" that don't sound forced. I was really fortunate to work with Jim Cutler back in my days presenting Media Network for Radio Netherlands Worldwide. Jim is still very active on stations around the world and definitely in the same league as the other voice actors shown below.

Why? Because he's able to read a text in about 50 different ways. In fact that makes him better than many of the movie trailer guys, who sound great for about a minute, but they can't narrate a documentary because everything they do is "forte", there's little or no dynamic in their voices. Jim, on the other hand, makes even your own driving licence sound interesting!

Which reminds me, I must montage a great interview I did with Jim back in 2005 about his love of astronomy.

Mr In a World - Hal Douglas

In fact, I believe that voice-over legend Hal Douglas is usually refered to in the producion biz as "Mr In a World". He is based in New York and is perhaps the most recognisable voice in the (English speaking) cinema. This is the only trailer where I have actually seen him. It was made a few years back to promote Jerry Seinfeld's film, The Comedian. Wonder why they call him Jack rather than Hal? Perhaps to separate fact from fiction. More details in the Wikipedia entry.

Voiceover Artist in the Kitchen

Don LaFontaine also stars in this more recent commercial for Geico Insurance. Nicely done.

Five VoiceOver Artists and a Limo

This clip is old, made originally for the 26th Annual Hollywood Reporter Key Awards. Ssomeone appears to have cleaned up the audio on the version out on Youtube. I still don't understand why the company that made it for the Hollywood Reporter Awards ceremony doesn't put a "studio quality" version of it on line. It proves that voices you hear on the radio never look like the way you imagined.

The five are Don LaFontaine, John Leader, Nick Tate, Mark Elliot, and Al Chalk. Actually, there are 6 if you count Hal Douglas who "phones in" to the sketch.

Kats Cast

Get past the intro of the Kats Cast to see excellent camera work at the Uitmarkt in Amsterdam and what "Mike" (Versteeg) is up to with a Vidblaster Pro. The price of this software is amazingly low - just under 78 Euro. Certainly made for love, not the money. No commercial connection with these guys...just admire what they have done.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Breaking Language Barriers

I remember that around 2003 the NGO oneworld.tv developed a tool to allow vloggers and other contributors to their site to add subtitles to videos. They may still offer it, but that part of the site is only for members. In the meantime dotSUB has come along with some really easy to use software allowing you to subtitle a video into any language you like. It still has to be subtitled by a human, but the way to do this is straight-forward. You do have to speak both languages of course - and have some skills in subbing down the text to fit the screen. But, looking at the experiments they have been doing over at Rocketboom look impressive. Mobuzz should play around with it too.

Friday, October 12, 2007

John Cleese on Radio and Creativity

Some excellent podcasts by John Cleese have been published, taped at Commercial Radio Australia in Sydney last year. His speech has been serialized into four parts, here, here, here and here, Most of the references to radio are in the first two episodes (including some great radio commercials from the 60's, 70's) and in the last episode after the comments about hotels. He complains about the cost of doing things in TV because people don't want to take risks and it is run by marketing people not people who are passionate about content. Very true.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Onion Interactive

Viewer Voices: Where We Respond To The Opinions Of Our Uninformed Viewers

Brilliant parodies again, it about sums up the lack of real conversations on the major news networks. It always seems as if the anchor has never heard of these systems - and certainly never uses them. The Onion is the master in Useless Generated Content - and the production values of these parodies is superb. I wonder who does their graphics?

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Mobuzz TV Spain

I must confess that Mobuzz TV has got a lot better recently, mainly thanks to the new presenter Olivia. I guess most people watch direct or via subscription. The Youtube figures are kinda small.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

TNT-Post - The last ten years?

Postal strike in the UK? We should be so lucky. I tried to post a letter yesterday at a small post-office in the village. The lady said she was no longer allowed to sell individual stamps, unless the value of the package was over Euro 1.13. You can buy a book of stamps - minimum is 5. The argument was "you can't buy tissues individually, so that now applies to stamps".

Added to the fact that TNT-Post seems to put letterboxes in the most stupid locations (usually places where you cannot wait, let alone park), I realise that if they ever went bust, I wouldn't really care. Parcels come with much better courier services than TNT (who can tell when they will deliver - TNT never knows where the hell a package is). All the general post delivers these days to my place is junk mail and bills. If the banks finally get their act together with electronic billing, then snail mail can go the way of the telegram....quietly fading away.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Ipod Touch and N-77

Nokia has finally started shipping its N77 DVB-H enabled device in its homeland of Finland, the company has announced today. I saw prototypes of the device in Barcelona at the 3GSM World Congress, but it seemed that YLE, the Finnish broadcaster had delayed the roll-out of DVB-H for some reason. Some sets will also be on their way to India (Doordashan is providing content) and Vietnam , two other countries where DVB-H is gaining friends. Nokia predicts the mobile TV market will reach between 5 and 10 million handsets globally by the end of 2008 and around 20 million handsets by the end of 2009. ~ The jury is still out over which technology will be widely adopted by operators to drive mobile television.

I must confess, I have been impressed with the quality of video on the i-Pod touch using wifi to connect to the Internet. Of course, the range of content is limited because only quicktime is supported, but what is there is superb. Downloaded the TED videos. I wonder if Apple will go for DVB-H as a broadcast platform for content?

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Aha...Silent Ipod Touch

Tried to connect my TuneTalk stereo microphone to the iPod Touch, but although it makes great recordings on 5th generation iPods, it doesn't like the iPod Touch. So no live recordings on the new device for the time being

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Sangean Wifi Radio

Sangean is a Taiwanese company that has been a leader in "world" receivers, taking over from Sony and Grundig when they exited from that part of the radio market. They seem to be wandering down the wifi path now, making sets like this one under their own WFR-20 brand, or in the UK through Roberts as the WM-201. Roberts quote a retail price of 199.99 pounds. I note that this radio can either be used wirelessly, or you can put an ethernet cable in the back and plug it into the back of an ADSL modem. I can think of some applications where that's going to be very useful. Sangean tell me that their DRM prototype receiver, the DRM-40 has apparently been put on hold. No delivery dates are available and the set has disappeared from the Sangean website.

Friday, October 05, 2007

Not quite

Testing a HD satellite receiver at long last...I set it up months ago to watch the BBC HD transmissions, but never really explored some of the other functionality. And, by accident, hit the subtitles on BBC 1. Pre-recorded programmes are obviously transcribed by hand. But live shows like news are subtitled using "intelligent" software that tries to do speech to text conversion on the fly. For the most part, it is pretty good. They drop credits from pieces (Bob Taylor, BBC News in Thailand) so as to keep up with the items. But there are some odd mistakes which I couldn't put down to bad annunciation by the presenter. The machine made "music" into "muse sick" during the piece about the woman in the USA who's been fined for pirating music. And penalize was turned into "peep liez". Made the news even more entertaining than it already is today - what with the resignations over the Queen video report.

II I Amsterdam sign

Discovered why there were three 'I's infront of the word Amsterdam at the Gasworks Picnic festival last week. Mistake? No deliberate. Its a campaign which draws attention to stutter's week which started here today. There's a website and a public campaign to make people talk about stuttering. Mystery solved.

Completely Blocked in China

It would seem my comments on this, and other blogs, about firewalls in China and some problems I see ahead for the Olympic Games in 2008 (the really hot weather) have meant that all the websites I operate cannot be accessed from inside China. So, I'm firewalled but surviving! At least those Chinese censors are consistent.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Where others fear to tread.....

Great to meet Mark Eylers again after many years. If you need a radio station built - plus a new management team in place, then Mark just gets on with it. He's one of a handful of people who have built community radio (and TV) stations in difficult places - like Congo, Kenya, Liberia, and Burundi. Based in Soest, to the South East of Amsterdam, Mark is brimming with practical experience about what is right (and sometimes wrong) with community media projects. Its clear that many NGO's underestimate the time needed for a radio station to make an impact. It is more than just dumping equipment and hoping a local engineer will figure it out. Unless the management is in place, and trained, the station is off the air as soon as the foreigners leave. Mark runs a company called Bestworx, still going strong after more than 10 years of travelling across Africa.

Today's the Day

Free Burma!

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Google Anniversary Logos

Strange. I thought Google were keeping an archive of their holiday logos. But it seems to have stopped. At least the Sputnik special logo isn't there. Perhaps regional offices come up with their own creations. As usual, here today, gone tomorrow.

Nigeria or Niger?

In The Know: Situation In Nigeria Seems Pretty Complex
One of the Onion parodies on news discussion programmes. So true....

Ultimate Video Countdown

Brilliant. Someone worked very hard to make this countdown from 100, in movie clips. As well as the film institute, they must work in the broadcast business, trying to make trailers!

Monday, October 01, 2007

Time Warp Monday

BBC Radio networks in the UK are celebrating 40 years as the rebranded Radio 1, 2, 3, and 4. Its been a low-key affair, but actually quite pleasant mix of discussion and look-back programmes. One of the most interesting though is a 2 hour "as-broadcast" replay of a Kenny Everett programme that he made when re-joining the BBC in 1981. What is wierd is the junction half way through, when Kenny crosses to the newsroom and they give (of course) the latest news about the current disturbances in Burma. Kenny also gives a couple of weather forecasts which also seem as though they (could) be live - thunderstorms and rain. If ever there is a curious example of a bridge spanning 25 and 40 years, it is this programme. Although Kenny did quite a bit of TV, I think he was his funniest on the wacky wireless. Must have taken him hours to record the skits - whereas today multitracking is simply on even the cheapest pieces of audio editing software.