Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Russia Today seeking viewers in Kingston

Richard Sambrook spotted this taxi in London a few weeks back. In Russia itself, BBC Russian service is off the air. Wonder if locals know what it is...and how they can receive it?

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Schiphol Slowdown - Grab & Curse?

Schiphol is getting less of a nice airport for the business traveller. The prices of parking at Amsterdam's international airport have gone up again, and although Privium parking has been increased, you pay a premium for being able to park close to the terminal. But what really annoys me is the increased arrogance of the concession stands, especially catering on the second floor of the D-wing. In order to keep staff to a minimum, they have to make the coffee and ring the till. There is no real incentive to speed up when there is a queue and you can be assured that when you want to catch a flight, there will be three people in front of you that want to pay with a credit-card or in Danish Kroner. The queues get longer and's crazy. These are not diamonds - it's just coffee. Keep off the tea - you queue for 10 minutes for a paper cup full of hot water and your choice of some tea-bag. The Dutch don't do milk in the tea and never resort to "coffee-milk", its like wartime evaporated milk - great for puddings, just plain HORRIBLE in tea.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Laughing in a Foreign Language

Seen at Paddington underground station. Wish I could go sometime. Great title

Bonn in Oxford

Bonn in Oxford
Originally uploaded by Jonathan Marks
Wonder if Deutsche Welle, the German external broadcaster, has anything to do with this? Bonn Sq is apparently coming soon to the centre of Oxford. UPDATE: No, it seems that Bonn and Oxford have been twinned as cities long before DW existed (and of course it has only recently moved from Koeln to Bonn- see comments

Thursday, April 24, 2008

America's Duplicate Diplomacy

Apart from quite clear duplication with some of the Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty services with Voice of America, it would seem there are more parts of the US public diplomacy machine that want to get into the act of communicating America's story to the world. What is this for goodness sake? Podcasts, Video, arts, science....Madness...

Transformers and Shortwave

Originally uploaded by Jonathan Marks
Picked up a Blu Ray version of Transformers - mainly to test the special effects on a plasma screen and a new sound system. I get the impression one of the screen writers must be a shortwave radio enthusiast - at one point they are using Morse code when regular communications fail and what look like 27 MHz walkie-talkies to communicate. Brilliant film - soundtrack too.

Originally uploaded by Jonathan Marks

what indeed?

Originally uploaded by Jonathan Marks
Shortwave is clearly past tense in this film!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

NAB Figures Decline

Official NAB2008 attendance figures going into last week’s event were down from 2007. According to the broadcast trade association, 105,250 people registered to attend NAB2008. A total of 111,028 people attended last year’s convention. They recorded 28,310 international attendees at NAB2008, setting an all-time record for the convention. A total of 1296 members of the media also attended this year’s event.

Noticeably absent from the South Hall of the Las Vegas Convention Center were Avid Technology and Apple, as were the massive crowds, which during the past couple of conventions spilled out of the Apple booth causing serious congestion in the main aisle. People I spoke to (gave it a miss myself this year) said the radio hall was rather like a museum, mainly codec and microphone manufacturers. "It was full of the past, and not very confident about the long-term future. HD-Radio in its current form isn't taking off despite publicity".

I wonder whether NAB will eventually go the way of Comdex, or simply split up into smaller regional shows.

Monday, April 21, 2008

What were they thinking? Crashes

Nice series of crashes to liven up a Monday morning. This is one of the videos I use before I start presenting at conferences - I need some video and sound to test the equipment.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Microsoft Table Interface

See more media videos at CollegeHumor
Actually, the interface looks rather cool in a TV studio, but I don't see it in the living room for a while.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

ForumOxford Mobile Meeting -April 18th 2008

This meeting is happening and has developed into a fascinating one-day session. Hope to meet some readers there.

Monday, April 14, 2008

NBC Tech Support

This is old, but still funny. Saw it live when it aired, now bumped in to it on YouTube.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

BBC News Revamp

Seems the BBC is rolling out a £550,000 rebranding exercise that will result in Saturn-style spheres parading across television screens at home and abroad and colour-coded opening titles for news bulletins in England, Scotland and Wales.

The move is part of the broadcaster’s biggest attempt yet to repackage its core output. As part of the changes, News 24, its rolling news channel, is being renamed BBC News. The corporation will rebrand BBC World, their international news channel, as BBC World News. Viewers will be able to judge the new look for themselves on April 21.

The BBC revamp is aimed at unifying its news output – across television, radio and the internet - with a consistent, recognisable look. It aims to connect regional, national and international news programmes through a common brand.

There will be new opening titles for shows on the main channels, such as the BBC1 10 O’Clock News. Instead of a red globe on a black background, audiences will see a globe surrounded by pulsating rings, reminiscent of the planet Saturn, set against a white backdrop.

Regional news bulletins will follow a similar format but will have splashes of blue in the opening titles in Scotland, green in Wales and white in news programmes across England, such as Look North and Midlands Today.

The 10 O’Clock and One O’Clock News programmes will share a new “crisp and modern” studio with the BBC’s rolling news channel – placing presenters such as Huw Edwards and Fiona Bruce behind a more formal oval-shaped desk.

The £550,000 cost of the BBC’s latest revamp of its news output is a bargain compared with previous rebranding exercises. In 2006, the broadcaster spent £1.2m on eight short clips based around a circle theme to link shows on BBC1. A clip featuring a surfer was shot on location in Mexico, while another so-called “ident” of fishermen piecing together a giant moon was filmed in Croatia.

The clips replaced a series of BBC1 idents from 2002 featuring Bollywood dancers and tangoing couples which cost £700,000.

Last year, BBC2 splashed out another £700,000 on 14 promotional clips lasting less than four minutes in total.

The idents featured the number 2 in a variety of settings to show the channel as a “window on the world”. Three were shot in South Africa because film-makers said they needed sunny weather.

Extracts above were taken from this Sunday Times article.

There is a great site with an overview of all the previous BBC idents. I really hope they don't go back to the old rings (above) which reminded me of Nazi SS insignia (see below). And I wonder how this latest move to "BBC World News" will affect the feature programmes currently on BBC World. Will they have to be more of a "news" magazine feel? BBC World has been taken off the cable system here in this part of the Netherlands. They couldn't agree on payments apparently.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

More C5 clips

Seems there are more unmistakeably German spin offs popping up on You-tube. There's an interview with Klaus


and who could forget Ursula. Could have been written by the Top Gear script writers.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Symantec Downsizes

I see that Symantec Corp, has recently laid off an undisclosed number of workers around the globe, a company spokeswoman said today.

"As part of our ongoing focus on managing operational expenses, Symantec has recently implemented some restructuring measures, including a reduction in force," said company spokeswoman Yunsun Wee to Reuters. "We're not releasing information on the size or the scope."

Symantec, which has about 17,000 employees, had laid off some 570 workers in its fiscal third quarter, which ended Dec 31, according to its most-recent quarterly filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission. The company has yet to provide financial data for its fiscal fourth quarter.

I got the impression that Norton Internet Security packages were getting slower and slower - and I got fed up with the forced upgrade every two years. A lot of bloatware which I finally dumped when the subscription ran out. Now using Kaspersky which seems to buzz along fine - in the background. What a relief!

Flytunes Flies

Been playing with Flytunes free software, which puts a selection of about 200 radio stations onto an iPod Touch or Iphone. FlyTunes Inc. was originally founded in 2006 as BroadClip Inc and changed its name in January 2008. The company has offices in Livermore, California and Lancaster Pennslyvania. Curiously, stations have to sign up NOT to be included in the system. You need your device to connect to the web via wifi, at least on the iPod Touch.

In addition to the FlyTunes mobile content network, FlyTunes provides its patent-pending Hurricane streamcasting infrastructure to online broadcasters worldwide.

Saturday, April 05, 2008

Easter in Holland

Easter in Holland
Originally uploaded by Jonathan Marks
If you see what I mean....

Easter in Holland

Easter in Holland
Originally uploaded by Jonathan Marks
Just looking through a sequence of photos I made at Easter this year. The weather in the garden changed from spring...back into winter within the space of 20 minutes

Thursday, April 03, 2008

No Cannes Do

I decided to give MIP-MILIA a miss this year. It's a sea of content buyers, most of whom have little feel for quality - it's simply a question of buying in tons of stuff for your struggling TV network at the lowest possible price. If you're on the content creation side, stay away from MIP, you'll leave totally disallusioned. Compared to other venues in Europe, Cannes is defintely pricing itself out of the market and the TV industry has nothing to celebrate at the moment - what with the US writers strike and falling audiences. I think we seeing the slow death of many giant media exhibitions and conferences, especially as it is so difficult to measure effectiveness. The standard of keynote speeches in Cannes, at least, has really gone down, so it is less and less relevant.