Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Think about it

Off for a short vacation with the family in just a couple of hours, going skiing.

Which is nice.

Just stumbled upon this web page though, and it's just too disturbing not to give it a little bit of added publicity. It's about the aftermath of the Chernobyl catastrophy, and it shows a world where nothing has been the same since 1986, where infants are still born with terrible diseases and disfigurations, where some areas must be closed off for a further 900 (!) years due to contamination... and this is just one place. How many nuclear reactors are there in the world? How much waste is being put into the ground, do slowly decompose for 100.000 years? How on earth can we be this bloody stupid? It didn't work when we were seven years old and told to clean up our room, to just push all the toys under the bed and try to forget about them - how can we expect it to work now??

I'm feeling a little bit upset at the moment. If we could just take, for instance, 1% of the money being shoveled at the disaster that is the current situation in Iraq, and instead use it to try to develop new and environmentally sound ways of generating energy, we could close down most nuclear power plants within five years. SO WHY CAN'T IT BE DONE??!!

Hmrpf. Let's all get together and do something, ok? I'm tired of NOT doing something.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Quite funny

for a different take on the Microsoft vs Mac eternal struggle, look no further than this. Pretty neat :)

Friday, February 23, 2007

The biggest, the best, better (?) than the rest

Who should be afraid of the big bad wolf? Just about anyone, I guess. Analyst firm ZenithOptimedia (what a name! :P) just released a report on the biggest media owners on the planet. Not surprisingly, most are from the US, with Time Warner heading the list (a measly 29 billion $ in revenues). Leading the chase are News Corporation (16,7$ bln), General Electric (who are the parent company of NBC Universal) (14,6$bln), CBS Corporation (13,3$ bln) and Walt Disney Company (13,2$ bln). Google are on the list in a 13th place, Yahoo has squeezed into a 15th place.

Now, these wolves are big, but are they bad? Not per say, but more by default, methinks. See, with all this money floating around, and with the inate hunger of commercial companies to expand and devour (and not necessarily in that order) more and more take-overs will be accomplished in the coming years. The nightmare would be the crisp autumn day in 2019 when Time Warner NBC finally merges with NewsCorpDisneyCBS to form the ONLY media company on Earth. By jove, it will become boring pretty quickly.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

If you're gonna watch mobile TV - watch it on this

Having familiarized myself with the earlier, pretty bulky and unwieldy, versions of gadgets supporting DVB-H (that's Digital Video Broadcast-Handheld, a standard for mobile broadcasting advocated by the DVB project, Nokia, Siemens etc, and in competition with DMB, the Korean version, MediaFLO etc) this next gadget to be out on the market feels like a trip back to sanity. Nokias N77, a new phone in the N-series, is for once a phone that doesn't try to look like anything but a phone. It has still got DVB-H compatibility, though, which means that you can watch mobile television on it.

It's got a 2,4" screen with 320x240 pixels resolution and up to 16 million colors, so it perfectly possible to actually watch something on it as well :) And weighing in at 114g, you can lug it around anywhere.

So, one of those for me as well, thank you. Out Q2 2007, reportedly. For reviews of said phone, please go here or here, to start with.

IPTV World Forum - preview

Well, it's gearing up for one of the specialized IPTV events of the year, the annual IPTV World Forum, to be held at the Olympia in London on the 5-7th of March. Anyone who is interested in IPTV for one reason or another (for my part I couldn't care less about the technologies involved - all I want is working IPTV to everyone on this planet, as it would make my job as a developer of interactive television shows so much simpler. Or, rather, not simpler, but offer a lot more opportunities...)

With over 5,000 visitors and 200 exhibitors, there should be something for everyone at the Forum. Highlights, as far as I'm concerned, are panel discussion such as "Making the most of on-demand and iTV" and "Revenue generators and killer applications". Some of the keynotes might also be worth listening in on - but as for the exhibitors, there is almost exclusively technological companies with set-top-boxes, middleware etc. Content for IPTV is nowhere (on the other hand, MIPTV is coming up in mid-April).

But what would really get me personally going would be some showcases of the possibilities that IPTV can offer, especially when thinking about developing tv formats, as the possibilities for interaction etc are much greater with a broadband connection connection the viewer to the broadcaster. Some of that, please!

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Joost - why not?

Well, Joost is looking good. The project formerly known as The Venice Project (as written about on this blog in mid-December) is generating quite a stir on the IPTV-market.

See, Joost is a Very Good Thing [tm] for PC owners (and Macs as well). It uses the P2P-principles of Bittorrent, for example, to give IPTV to the world. All you need is a 500 Kb/s line and you would have perfect broadcast quality - which is just fabulous. For a pretty good review of the possibilities, the pros and the cons, read this story from The Register. Also revealed today are new content deals for Joost, enabling them to offer content from Paramount Pictures, MTV etc.

Conclusion? This is a pretty darn good development of the home computer, helping to turn it into the media center of the home in a much better fashion than, for instance, Microsofts attempts. But - for television to be good and for television to be something that people want to watch, it's just not good enough with a technologically perfect system. We need good television programs as well. Let's hope the Joost-people remember this.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Mobile television - hot or not?

First off, let's examine what we've got:

- hundreds of companies putting untold millions of dollars into mobile television projects
- operators and industry players putting their name on the line, convinced that mobile television is THE next big thing
- researches, each one more optimistic than the next one, promising us millions and billions of mobile tv subscribers within the next few years
- a well placed medium - the mobile phone - which most people in the world have today (albeit not all yet up to the standard demanded for mobile television)

Secondly, let's see what we HAVEN'T got:

- viable content for mobile television, at least not to any substantial degree
- viable research - since the research mentioned above are predictions and guesswork for the most part, I honestly do not put much faith in it
- any consensus regarding the standards for mobile television - at the moment we've got DVB-H, DMB, MediaFLO etc etc etc - it's the VHS/Betamax all over again, but a lot bigger.

William Cooper, editor of InformITV put it quite nicely the other day, when he concluded that "...many of [mobile televisions] proponents appear to have little enthusiasm for, or even understanding of, the television medium...It is still unclear how much people will be prepared to pay to see traditional television on their mobile phones, with so many alternatives competing for their attention. Understanding the user is the key to providing a successful product or service."

My two cents? It's going to get messy before it sorts itself out :) ... this spring everyone is going to be raving on about mobile television, and perhaps still during autumn 2007. By early 2008, when predictions have proven themselves WAY too optimistic, many players will withdraw or cut down on the spending, and THAT may be the time when people with good mobile content can come out and play. Until everyone jumps on the next bandwagon, that is...

Monday, February 19, 2007

When I grow up

...I'm going to be a tv-chef. Or do something like this guy, the Human Beatbox-in-da-kitchen. He's quite good actually - might be something for Strömsö to have on the show :)

Friday, February 16, 2007


In the US, there have been a coverage of households with television exceeding 95% sine 1970. The 98% mark was breached in 1981, and at the moment 111,400,000 of the 113,410,000 households that the US holds ( :P ) are equipped with a television.

For some reason, I'm a lot more interested in the 2,010,000 households that DON'T have a television. I can't believe that they are excentrics sitting out in the Nevada desert fiddling with their own toenails? Or SUPER-geeks who already have built their own satellite-IPTV-receivers out of an old Commodore 64?

If anyone had any statistics when it comes to households WITHOUT television, please let me know :)

In the meanwhile, here's a picture from my window where I work. The small dots out on the ice are people who are pilk-fishing (dunno the correct English word..) on the frozen sea. Must give it a go myself as well :)

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

An alternative

For those slightly fed up with YouTube and the increasing amount of garbage being touted by mega-businesses from all over on said site (or just the insane amount of crap videos posted by anyone else), there are quite a few alternatives. The one I like the most at the moment is Live Leak, which is a lil' bit like YouTube (well, quite a lot actually :) but it concentrates on leaked stuff from news sources and the like. Lots of unshown material from Iraq and Afghanistan, lots of other stuff as well. The Beta version is up and running now, go have a look!

Monday, February 12, 2007

My gawd

Can't believe I've missed this one on JuuTjuube. For 9-something minutes of ribcracking laughter, look no further.

Mobile industry + the next big thing = mobile tv

Well, if anyone still had any doubts about television - and all sorts of entertainment media - coming to mobile phones just about NOW, all they would have to do is take a quick look at the worlds largest mobile industry summit, starting today. The 3GSM World Congress in Barcelona is more like a television industry congress at times, especially looking at who is talking about what and why. To grab some of the headlines, as examples:

- Mobile Entertainment Summit - How mobile is changing TV forever
- Entertainment Summit - Clash of Cultures: Who wins when entertainment and communications converge?
- How mobile can be the next great information and entertainment channel
- Technology Symposium - Mobile TV

and so on...

Fair enough, lots of talk is of course about what is generating the revenue at the moment - which to a large extent seems to be made up of the developing markets - but mobile entertainment and mobile television is sexxxxxy, and everyone wants in on it.

As a pretty nice way to kick things off, it was today announced that the Sundance Film Festival is contributing with five made-for-mobile short films, which have been made as a part of the Sundance Film Festival Global Short Film Project. Amongst the directors are people like Justin Lin (Better Luck Tomorrow, The Fast and The Furious: Tokyo Drift) and Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris (Little Miss Sunshine).

Here's hoping they'll put them on the web when the congress is finished!

To sum it all up - mobile tv, in one way or another, is on its way. There's no escape, nowhere to run to, nowhere to hide. Let's just, for the sake of all that's holy, hope that as much time and money is spent on making good content for them mobiles as there is for hosting congresses about mobile tv and sorting out the technical mumbo-jumbo.

Friday, February 09, 2007

No waves? Make waves!

This just has to be one of the best ways to surf. I can see it happening in Metviken as soon as the ice breaks :)

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And for some of the bloody weirdest commercials around, check this blog. "It's just like, it's just like... a mini mall! Oh yeah!"

Can anyone say no to Virgin?

Well, the moment they start offering something alike to their Virgin Media, freshly relaunched in the UK, in my surrounding, I'll be there to snap it up in a second.

Although I myself is into the content-side of the television and interactive business, trying my damndest to come up with new and entertaining (and preferrably attractive and revenue-enhancing) ideas, I cannot but think that my life would be made a little bit easier by, for instance, Virgin Media. Ok, so you pay some, but you do get some as well... Pay £40 a month (that's the four-service VIP package Virgin Media offers, you can go for 2 services or 3 also, £20 and £30 respectively) and you'll end up with "a HD-enabled PVR, 10Mbps broadband, unlimited UK landline calls, and a mobile phone with 500 minutes of mobile airtime per month, 1,000 texts a month and £60 airtime."

One other offering in connection to the above is called Virgin Central, "a hybrid linear/on-demand channel offering up content from Buena Vista International Television and Alliance Atlantis, among other providers." Set to launch in a couple of weeks time, it just might be something to keep an eye on as well.

Any downsides? Nah, apparently not, as long as them £40 don't bother you. Customer support should apparently be up to scratch nowadays, and everything should be rosy and sunny. Go Virgin, go!

...and after that spot of unabashed promotion, for which I'll receive not one cent, a look at some other stuff, more in the television field:

- CBS in the US are launching a "mobile store" and two ad-funded WAP (does that still exist?) sites for sports and news. Perhaps not that impressive.
- Telefónica in Spain, however, are working on a pilot to deliver iTV, radio and music to mobile handhelds. They've elected to use Alcatel-Lucent's "Unlimited Mobile TV" solution for the techie stuff.
- and Endemol is still the king when it comes to game shows and such - two more have been commissioned by ITV1 in the UK, called "For the Rest of Your Lives" (from the brains behind "Deal or No Deal") and "Golden Balls" (nothing to do with Beckham, apparently)

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Nostalgia in pictures

Dunno if there's much to be nostalgic about when it comes to the old Soviet Union, but there's something profoundly sad and timeless about these old Soviet bus stops, as photographed and documented by Christopher Herwig. It seems like the smallest building in the country - the bus stop - was the only one where creativity and artistic freedom was given free rein, creating the most wondrous creations all over the land.

Have a look, have a sigh, and give small thanks that these remind of old days, not current.

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Hehhheh, for those not faint of heart, but in need of some new underwear - check this out. Marvellous stuff. My favourite - SacFree [tm], hands down. Top of the wish list :)

Friday, February 02, 2007

Mobile market and IPTV

Analysts are always pretty keen on analyzing things, I've noticed. For the most part many of the reports published can be ignored, or at least put in the read-at-some-point-if-there-is-absolutely-NOTHING-else-to-do heap.

A couple of reports this week seem quite interesting, though. First of all, Informa have released a report regarding the mobile market and the high probability that mobile operators will be missing out on the opportunity to get their share of the enormous amount of revenue to be made in that market over the coming years.

The report states that mobile operators should NOT try to be something that they are not - meaning that they should stick to what they know, offering mobile coverage to their customers and billing them for it. To get into the content part of mobile media, the best thing is to form alliances with companies providing such content - not to start developing and offering such content themselves.

Pretty straightforward advice, right? I'd be following it, were I a mobile operator :)

Another report, from Strategy Analytics, states that IPTV will reach 80 million subscribers by the year 2011. This does not contradict earlier reports, but the interesting thing is that this report suggests that more than half of the IPTV subscribers will actually not pay anything for their IPTV. Instead, most will be bundled up in triple-play subscriptions offered by the telcoms, including broadband, VoIP and IPTV all in one package.

Now there's an interesting situation - where will the money to make IPTV programming come from then?

Thursday, February 01, 2007


Heh, cannot but chuckle a bit at the Boston bomb scare caused by Turner Broadcasting Inc. and their "guerilla marketing campaign" for the new show "Aqua Teen Hunger Force". Seems like the campaign went a little bit too much guerilla, prompting frightened authorities to basically shut down the whole of Boston to deal with the "mysterious packages with electronic light boards" placed all around town.

Now, if this would've been something planned and executed by some proper terrorists, as a scare, that would've been something. Or by some anti-governmental action group, or the like. But Turner Broadcasting Inc.? Hehh, I imagine some people (like David R. Levy, president of Entertainment Sales and Marketing) in the marketing department are getting a pretty stern talking to right now..