January 31, 2007


Good overview of why Joshua Schachter's del.icio.us is so interesting and so relevent to what is going on right now. There's no point in being part of an online community if it's not valuable to you...

Technology Review: TR35

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Microsoft Vista - massive disappointment?

Will 2007 be the year of one step forward, two steps back? After the resurgence in awareness of environmental issues it would appear that one of the most influential companies in the world is about to sweep the issues under the carpet once again.

I haven't verified all the information in this Green Party blurb but the monopolistic behavior attributed to Microsoft in this article sounds like business as usual and incredibly destructive. No matter how many billions Bill gives to charity this is really going to stink. As the article points out, this is really just pandering to the ignorance rife in the media sector about DRM. I doubt very much that hardware "lock down" will prove much of an obstacle to hackers. On the day before it is launched, Microsoft Vista sounds like it is already obsolete and set to become a right pain in the planet.

Green Party - Real Progress

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January 14, 2007

C64 MODs in the news

A lively discussion on Slashdot about whether it's fair or not to copy and remix music. Maybe the world is getting ready for an open rights repository after all.

>>Tell me about it. And just last week I noticed that one Slashdotter >>supported the Democrats but another Slashdotter supported the >>Republicans. And the week before that I saw two Slashdotters >>who disagreed over climate change. It's as if Slashdotters have >>started having differences of opinion all of a sudden. I'm sure >>that's never happened before. About a year ago we all said and >>thought exactly the same things.

From the mouths of babes... {;-)

Slashdot | Did Producer Timbaland Steal From the Demoscene?

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January 13, 2007

Why didn't I think of that?

Over drinks the other night, the conversation turned to "why didn't I think of that?", that sinking feeling in your gut when confronted with a work of sheer brilliance, and often sheer simplicity, that you feel you could have come up with yourself in a parallel universe.

In the absence of any definitive reference site to such things (and yes, just about every permutation of this phrase has been registered as a domain), dynamo London was formed to showcase OTHER people's stuff.

Why didn't I do that? on Pixelsumo documents a recent event held at the Globe Theatre.

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January 11, 2007

Petition against software patents

Tony Blair's e-petition site has a new one called for the repeal of software patents. The petition system is an experiment in two-way communication with government.

Currently there are more signatories for the software patent petition then there were for the PM to "resign immediately" but less than the number of signatories who want him to "stand on his head and juggle ice-cream"...

We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to make software patents clearly unenforcible.

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January 08, 2007

ShapeShifter TV

The Guardian reports today on a Finnish TV show, Accidental Lovers, that uses NM2's ShapeShifter TV system which provides an SMS interface to an interactive TV drama. It's interesting to see that "repeat showing" is touted as a key benefit in much the same way as BDE's proposition for animated interactive drama worked, or rather didn't work, in the mid-90s. Are NM2 re-inventing the flat-tyre or are audiences genuinely interested in this stuff? Time will tell.

Looking forward to experience this new attempt at combining non-linear narratives with TV but I suspect that this format may, once again, prove to be more fun for the creators than the intended audience. It is incredibly stimulating to design an interactive storytelling system around a particular narrative. Those like me who have been beavering away at this for years do it for a reason. But without the hands-on creative experience, do you care? It remains to be seen whether limited control is any better than no control when it comes to drama.

My hunch is that such a system lives or dies on how successfully it woos the audience into believing it is in control. There's an art to that, well understood by game studios, and less so by linear programme-makers. At the same time, my money is on giving audiences REAL control over a narrative. They have it anyhow.

The idea of creating extra content up front to increase the appeal of a show really does seem to be a flawed assumption. Once you unleash audience expectations that they can have real input into a fictional drama, any set of pre-fab options lives up to the hype. Hence the appeal of YouTube and Big Brother - for all the rules, they aren't closed systems... if Ken Russell wants to pick up and leave the show to escape from Jade Goody he can... and that's paradigm-shifting!

Want to see a happy ending? Just text while you watch | The Guardian | Guardian Unlimited

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