Wednesday, December 4th, 2013
I know it’s the artistic choice, but anyone with a passing knowledge of Stanley Kubrick’s “Dr Strangelove: Or How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Love The Bomb” will know that The War Room set was decked out in green baize so it resembled a poker table, even though it wouldn’t show up in the black and white prints. Looks like AirBNB went for the best picture possible, rather than accuracy, when they decked out their board room in the style of the Ken Adams set.
I think there’s a pun somewhere in that mix about the AirBNB service…
Tuesday, December 3rd, 2013
I don’t really care at this point – the only thing the Finnish smartphone start-up should be focused on is delivering my Jolla before Christmas Day! Then they can talk about rolling OS updates, new hardware shells, and forward looking strategy.
Monday, December 2nd, 2013
Not quite a new M. Ward / Zooey Deschanel album for Christmas, but a Capital Studio ‘sessions‘ EP keeps the 60s infused sound ticking over.
On the back of updates, frustration, micro-transactions, and DRM, friend of the parish Jason Evangelo hits Ebay, grabs some old gaming systems, and launches ‘Retro Retreat‘:
So, here we are. The Retro Retreat. A chronicle of the joys and discoveries to come, and probably an account of lessons learned and dollars lost along the way. Will this card-carrying and outspoken member of the PC Master Race let his membership lapse? I can’t say just yet, but something has undoubtedly changed, and maybe this blog will lead me to the answers.
One for the bookmarks. I wonder if I should send him an N-Gage…
If Amazon can get the US PR machine worked up over drones, then the British have the answer. Owl Post. Waterstones explains more about their new service they hope to have in the future…
Q. Isn’t this just what they did in Harry Potter?
A: Yes, this is exactly what they did in Harry Potter. You’re asking that as if this is a bad thing.
Q: Isn’t this how Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds began?
A: The Birds is fiction, this is the real world. Everything will be fine.
Q: But aren’t you worried about the owls developing intelligence and using the knowledge of our home addresses to enact some sort of sky-based revenge? Enslaving us all to deliver their internet orders to their nests?
A: No, the laws of robotics means that this can never happen. The owls will be incapable of harming a human.
Q: But owls aren’t robots, they’re birds.
A: That’s the end of the questions, thank you.
Smart thinking on leveraging another social media campaign for your own company.
Saturday, November 30th, 2013
Starting at 6pm tonight in the UK (7pm Central Europe, and 8pm local time in Ukraine) is the Junior Eurovision Song Contest 2013. For once I won’t be in the Press Centre, or directly in front of the stage. Tonight, I’ll be with Luke Fisher in the Commentary Booth for the European Broadcasting Union.
The Eurovision Song Contests have had free and official streams for many years, but until now they have been the pictures and the stage audio only – the traditional commentators role has not been part of the EBU’s stream. That’s changed for this Song Contest. My good friend Luke Fisher (currently managing the JuniorEurovision.tv website) will be taking the lead commentator role, while I’ll be on the analysis and statistics side of things. Anyone who’s heard me talk about presenting Eurovision as less of a variety show and more as a marquee sporting event will probably recognise this set up – Yes, I’m going to be the John Madden / Colour Commentator for Eurovision!
Providing the international commentary from the organisers does lead to a few interesting bullet points in the remit, but the one that will be most noticeable is to remain impartial and to not influence the Contest, something that Terry Wogan and Graham Norton never really worried about. So if you’re expecting snark, you might need to look elsewhere (can I suggest @ewan and @escinsight).
This also means the traditional ‘Hello Internet‘ is going to need to be an Easter Egg somewhere in the commentary, but I’ll just add that to some of the traditional calls that fans expect…
The Junior Eurovision Song Contest 2013 will be broadcast online at 1900 CET on junioreurovision.tv. Fans in Edinburgh and The Lothians can listen on 98.8 Castle FM.
Thursday, November 21st, 2013
This year’s Junior Eurovision Song Contest takes place at 6pm (UK time) November 30th at the National Place of Arts “Ukraina” in Kyiv, and for the first time since 2005 it will be broadcast in the UK. No Eurovision show airing in the UK would be complete without a commentary team, so I am very excited to tell you that I will be one of the UK’s Eurovision Commentators.
Joining me will be Luke Fisher, who many of you will have heard on our Alternative Commentaries over the last few years. I guess we won’t be doing an alternative commentary this year.
So, the broadcast. None of the UK broadcasters who are members of the EBU were ready to enter Junior Eurovision this year, which meant that the rights were available to EBU and non-EBU members. Naturally EBU members had first refusal, then other stations and channels could be considered. As I’m already working with Castle FM for the Edinburgh Nights chat show, so it was a small step to consider bringing Junior Eurovision back to the UK through local radio.
Discussions happened… (and let’s leave it at that) …and skipping to the end, Castle FM will be broadcasting Junior Eurovision live to Edinburgh and The Lothians on November 30th, with one team in the Leith studios and a remote team in Ukraine providing the audio.
This is going to be fun! Challenging and exciting, for sure, but fun!
Read the rest of this entry »
Winamp to become null software on December 21st. Goodbye old friend, although you are now lurking in my C:/ and rarely called into action you never let the world down. Enjoy Silicon Heaven.
Tuesday, November 19th, 2013
One of the interesting quirks of my trip to San Francsico last week was I spent the time using an iPhone 5S in anger, as opposed to my regular Windows Phone device. How it compared will be an article on All About Windows Phone in the next day or two, but if you’re looking for a standalone smartphone review for the regular consumer, head over to my write-up on Forbes:
Cards on the table, this is not going to be a forensic review of the iPhone 5S. Seven weeks ago it reached the hands of the public, and since then Apple has struggled to keep their latest flagship smartphone in stock. It’s hard to disagree with those sort of sales numbers, and after spending two weeks with the iPhone 5S I haven’t found any reason to even try. The iPhone 5S is the best all-round smartphone on the market right now.
Yes, that’s a statement that’s going to raise a lot of eyebrows (and I can imagine the comments are already being mentally composed). There is a lot of choice in the smartphone market right now, and there is no right answer to the question of ‘which is the best phone to buy.’ Every handset and every operating system is a collection of compromises, and the iPhone is compromised in a different way to an Android, Windows Phone, or BlackBerry handset.
You can read the full review of the iPhone 5S over on Forbes.
Monday, November 18th, 2013
My friend Monty (Cheif Exec at London Friend) talks about Section 28 on the tenth anniversary of the legislation’s repeal:
Today marks the 10th anniversary of the repeal of the infamous Section 28, the pernicious piece of UK legislation that blighted the lives of lesbian, gay and bisexual people for almost two decades. The clause – a late insertion into the Local Government Bill – prohibited local authorities from ‘promoting’ homosexuality and prevented maintained schools from teaching on the ‘acceptability of homosexuality as a pretended family relationship’.
The clause was introduced on the back of right wing concerns that by funding support groups and services for lesbian, gay and bisexual people local authorities were somehow ‘promoting’ being LGB to influential young people. London Friend had already caused a fuss by being the beneficiary of such funding from Islington Council – the first ever gay-run group to receive such support.
It’s gone now, but the impact it had on the lives of many should never be forgotten.
Sunday, November 17th, 2013
I wonder how the team behind Bejeweled at PopCap feel about this?
Saturday, November 16th, 2013
As we get some distance past the critical dates, more and more stories of the design of the technology that has changed the world are coming out. Now it’s the turn of Leander Kahney to look at the iPad:
One incentive to move forward was the appearance of netbooks, a category of small, inexpensive, low-powered laptops that launched in 2007. They quickly started to eat into laptop sales and, by 2009, netbooks accounted for 20 percent of the laptop market. But Apple never seriously considered making one. “Netbooks aren’t better than anything,” Steve Jobs said at the time. “They’re just cheap laptops.”2 Nonetheless, the subject came up several times in executive meetings.
During one such high-level executive meeting in 2008, Jony proposed that the tablets in his lab could be Apple’s answer to the netbook. Jony suggested that a tablet was basically an inexpensive laptop without the keyboard. The idea appealed to Jobs, and Jony was given the go-ahead to transform the prototypes into a real product.
Sunday, November 10th, 2013
As wearables continue to be the big tech trend going into 2014, I’ve taken a look at Sony’s third version of a smartwatch, the snappily titled Sony SmartWatch 2:
I actually found it really useful when writing, Because the email is flashed up on the screen I could simply tilt the wrist and decide if that email needed to be dealt with immediately, or if I could mentally defer it and keep writing, with almost no break in my typing. It’s also a discreet option when in meetings or in situations where you wouldn’t feel right going to your smartphone.
The smart thing about this smartwatch is that it was designed with a rigid idea of the function it would fulfil. Couple that with very little feature creep on the product, and Sony has a product that works incredibly well in the role they have defined for it. While some companies struggle to build a watch that will do everything, only talk to their own hardware, or try to do far too much with not enough battery power and watch that looks like a prop from a 1970′s British dystopian space opera, Sony’s minimalism and iteration has resulted in a product that works in the real world.
Read the full review over on Forbes.
Sunday, November 3rd, 2013
ArsTechnica highlights the hack on the Samsung Galaxy Gear watch so that it breaks out of the ‘walled function garden’ that Samsung placed it in, and allow it to almost any Android app. As wearables becomes the new technology battleground, the battle between ‘companion’ and ‘standalone’ will continue… just as the old one-box or two-box challenge dogged the PDA/mobile field at the turn of the century.
Chris Kerr at Pocket Gamer:
What usually happens is, I pour a good few hours into each game – if it’s particularly good, that is – before swiftly putting it out of its misery and searching for my next victim. The fact that the App Store has so much choice – a preposterously large amount of games to sift through and discover, in fact – means that I’m never content to find a game that I enjoy and devote a substantial amount of time to it.Instead I’ll always be in search of that next hidden gem, the next game that will enthrall me at first, before quickly losing out to my unquenchable desire for a new fling, and being cast aside – if that sounds like the equivalent of having a one night stand with an app, that’s because it is.
So… how do developers address this issue?