Friday, January 29, 2010

So, the iPad, eh? Well, it remains to be seen how well it does in the market but I think it's a start. Hell, rumours about what will actually be included when it is released to the public, or at least in a future iteration are already eclipsing the details that were announced.

It may not be the world-changing tool that they were hoping for, but I think it stands a chance. That is especially true if more media providers that used to produce magazines and newspapers choose to pursue this type of platform to invigorate and more effectively capture the market that they have lost to the web. If they sit back and leave their websites as is, change will roll over them. I feel like they're best chance is to design content suited to the go anywhere, always-connected tools like the iPad. That, and their own applications will be much more like having a subscription than visiting their website in the infinite internet. If that happens, then the iPad may just be the game-changer Apple was looking for.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Tablets, pads and paper

In a little less than an hour Apple will begin an announcement that is likely to include a few new things, but one has gotten plenty more press than the rest.

It is widely believed that the announcement will include a tablet-style computer (imagine an iPod Touch or iPhone that has miraculously grown). In and of itself, it might be interesting but is just another computer (albeit one that looks different from the ones you're used to). Where the excitement comes is what has been developed to encourage it's use.

The iPod had iTunes to make it easy to (legally) get plenty of music to carry around with you. The iPhone (and iPod Touch) had the "App Store", part of the iTunes store dedicated to programs that would run on the iPhone/iPod Touch to turn it into all range of products (from GPS tool to dog whistle).

Rumour has it that the latest introduction from Apple will use the existing App Store. This ensures over 100,000 programs would be available for it at launch. But to me, 100,000 programs designed for something else aren't nearly as good or interesting as a few designed specifically for the new system. I like gadgets, and Apple gadgets doubly-so, but if this is just a large-scale iPhone then I can do without. I'm interested to see what they have in place to make people say "I need to have that." Rumour again has it that Apple has been in discussion with publishers who, in turn, are designing new approaches to their newspapers, magazines and books for publication electronically. This is where it gets exciting for me and where it's likely to influence the way we all consume media.

We're used to having access to huge quantities of information from "trusted sources" through the web. Some of these same sources have experimented with requiring subscriptions (and some are planning to return to that model) to allow you access to their online resources. Many others have offered the information for free and relied on advertising revenue to support their efforts. I get the feeling like this new system will provide a new avenue for publishers to monetize their product and whether you buy Apple's Tablet/Pad/Slate, you will see the online environment change as a result of its introduction.

While I expect this will all eat into the sales of hard copy media (just as iTunes did for music), I think that publishers have already dealt with that reality as the web became so pervasive. This may just be their way back if it provides a more effective way of monetizing their product than the ad-supported model that many have been relying on.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

More video. In this case the winner of a Nikon-sponsored 140-second short film contest.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

OK Go is a band with a great history of quirky and entertaining videos (at least if you're me). Their popularity as a band has been catapulted by the viral success of their videos and their record company is now trying to more tightly control the message. The result could be more press and more interest because of the conflict, more videos watched, more songs,albums and ads sold (since you can be sure ad sales are part of the music company reality when so much is available online. It could also be a negative in all or some of these areas. In any case, I thought I'd do exactly what the record music company doesn't want me to do and embed the video on my little blog.

OK Go - This Too Shall Pass from OK Go on Vimeo.

Other videos and further on the conflict can be found here.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Ahhhh, tradition

I may have previously mentioned a little trick that I use for my homepage where it is set to bring up a random Wikipedia page each time I open a new window. (If you don't know this little trick, and want to see what I mean, set your homepage as:

Anyway, I learned about the Eton Wall Game today thanks to this little trick.

The Eton Wall Game has some aspects of rugby to it, but the description is such that I couldn't help but wonder whether it was all made-up. Not in the way that everything is made-up, but rather all a lie to catch gullible North Americans out. Despite having Oppidians, a calx, a bully and players trying to score a shy, this would appear to be a real (if somewhat... unique) game.

It is helpful though to remember the numerous times that I've tried to describe baseball to someone who has never seen a game in their life and how "off-the-wall" it sounds. Did I mention the Eton Wall Game includes an old brick wall? Well, it does. In any case, it seems that as humans we develop an understanding with those with whom we have shared experience. Our shared experiences are part of what form our cultural context. Though we all have a shared humanity, the multitude of human experiences ensure that we are bound to find many people in our lives who do not share our frame of reference. That means that we will grow accustomed to many things in our lives (ie. which direction traffic [or even pedestrians] travel on, sports and accepted ways to interact with others) but we're best not to be complacent as there are many more people in the world with a different wealth of experience than there are those that share our perspective.

And so I come back to the wall game. Here a game that most regularly ends in a 0-0 draw with lots of raw elbows (you'll have to read about it to understand) makes perfect sense and plays on the traditions and shared experiences of many. I just so happens that I'm not one of that group. But ask me the rules of baseball and I've got you covered. That is, as long as you don't ask me about the balk rule. I never did get the hang of that.
I have been reminded that (few) people actually do keep up with my blog. A thousand apologies for not holding up my end of your online procrastination bargain. I should be preparing for work so don't expect this to be my shining return to long, well thought-out posts. Instead, this is proof of life. I am here, and I am wondering whether I will have the interest to muse on issues that seem too unwieldy for Facebook or Twitter, or whether I'll fade away again.

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Visual Art, Music and Parkour

I found this video on, a site that I just learned about today. Plenty of good stuff there, by the looks of it. I really have been letting this blog rot of late. I'd apologize, but at this point, I don't think there's anyone to read the apology. Microblogging via twitter and facebook has seemed to supplant my rants. Maybe that'll change.

parkour motion reel from saggyarmpit on Vimeo.