Archive for the ‘Link Log’ Category

Some Ideas For Successful Podcasting

Monday, October 1st, 2018

If there’s one thing many people agree on, it’s that podcasts are not an easy way of earning income (although is there truthfully any easy way online?).  John Corcoran’s look at some of your options is a good place both for new ‘casters and old hands. One of them stood out for me:

Jared Easley, co-founder with Dan Franks of the podcasting conference Podcast Movement, suggests new podcasters use Patreon to generate revenue for their show, which allows a podcaster to accept contributions from listeners. While the strategy may not yield huge dollars, Easley says that “crowdfunding is a form of a litmus test for the podcast host. If a podcast host is having trouble getting support through crowdfunding, it is usually an indicator that they need to continue growing their audience and/or that the show is not resonating with the listeners overall.

Having started using Patreon for the Eurovision Song Contest podcast at ESC Insight last December, I’d be very interested to hear how a Patreon works with a brand new show – one of the Insight advantages was the existing community we had that was ready to support us.

More at Medium. Given there are 22 strategies you should be able to find a lot of good ideas in here.

Musical Time Capsules

Monday, February 26th, 2018

What happens when you try to power up and look at the contents of your seventeen year old iPod? James Bareham fights Firewire cables, antiquity, and Thunderbolt dongles to find out. And the results? not just a bit of digital archaeology but a look back into the mind of his younger self:

Though my Apple music devices changed over time, growing slimmer and more powerful with every iteration, much of the music on them remained the same. Seventeen years is a long time in both the worlds of music and technology, but not everything dates in the same way. Though today I am listening to a lot of new music from the likes of Adele, Alabama Shakes, Kaki King, Lana Del Ray, Philip Glass, Michael Kiwanuka, Chvrches, and Gary Clark Jr., looking back through the playlists on my first and oldest iPod I was struck by the fact that some of the music from 2001 and 2002 seemed far more dated than some of the ‘70s, ‘80s, and ‘90s.

As I mentioned earlier, most of the music and the artists from that period are still in my playlists: Abba is as vibrant and fun as the day it was written (#notatallsorrysojustdealwithit); Rush may have retired from playing live and recording new material, but I am still listening to their enormous back catalog; Radiohead continue to make angst the most powerfully powerful creative force in the universe; Oasis and Blur (both of whom are surprisingly missing from my iPod, but I was definitely listening to them back in 2002) are a link to my London past; and David Bowie’s final album Blackstar proved that the world is a less interesting place since his untimely death in January 2016.

The Verge.

Starting an obsession with the Rubik’s Cube, from Quartz

Saturday, February 24th, 2018

Always nice to see someone go a little bit deeper into the world of Cube’ing. It;s more than Rubik, but Quartz’s Weekend Obsession post is a good starting piece:

The breakout story of this year’s Super Bowl—for some—wasn’t which quarterback had the best hands, or which call was the most controversial, but who could solve a Rubik’s Cube the fastest.

Was it back-up Eagles wide receiver and special team standout Mack Hollins? Or Patriots starting guard Joe Thuney?

This charming diversion was proof of something we probably didn’t actually need to justify: Nearly 40 years after its invention, the world’s most confounding cube of colors is still going strong.

Read the full piece here.

Talking about the iPhone and why we’re still saying it wrong (according to Apple)

Wednesday, September 20th, 2017

Apple’s legendary response to the issues with the iPhone 4 antenna was “you’re holding it wrong” (before it started to sell suitable bumper cases). As the iPhone X (iPhone Ten?) takes to the stage, it’s worth reminding yourself of Apple’s attempt to define everything about the iPhone. Here’s Phil Schiller after taking  to Twitter in 2016 to explain that we were saying it wrong as well:

Weighing in on a discussion of how to talk about two or more Apple devices, Phil Schiller said that it’s not a question that needs asking – because nobody should be referring to Apple devices in the plural anyway.

“One need never pluralise Apple product names,” he wrote on Twitter. “Ex[ample]: Mr Evans used two iPad Pro devices.”

…The strange rule joins other proscriptions from Apple, which also include the fact that the company tends never to use the word “the” in relation to its products. In Apple’s results this week, for instance, Tim Cook described how the company was seeing very high customer satisfaction rate “for iPhone 6s and 6s Plus”.

Just try those rules out on other functional objects you have. It’s perfect! And since that declaration we’ve all bowed to Apple’s will. Oh…

Harry Dean Stanton, 1926-2017

Friday, September 15th, 2017

Cool Hand Luke, Kelly’s Heroes, Dillinger, The Godfather Part II, Alien, Escape from New York, Christine, Paris, Texas, Repo Man, Pretty in Pink, The Last Temptation of Christ, Wild at Heart, The Straight Story, The Green Mile, Alpha Dog, Inland Empire… the list goes on. Harry Dean Stanton died in nearly every film he starred in, and I loved him for it. Even though it now has to be in the past tense.

Where Finland goes, iPhone follows

Wednesday, September 13th, 2017

How are you going to reach your apps on the new iPhone X with no home button? Gestures!

Getting back to Home, as well as accessing App Grid and Top Menu rely on Edge Swipes. Perform an Edge Swipe by placing your finger at the very edge of the screen and moving it towards the center of the screen.
Edge Swipe from top brings up the Top Menu.

Oh sorry, that’s not the innovative first in iOS 11 and the iPhone X, that’s Sailfish OS and the Jolla handset from 2013. Still, a nice bit of innovation to not be ‘exactly’ the same on show at Cupertino yesterday.

The start of another Eurovision season means a new podcast

Monday, September 11th, 2017

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Imagine if the only football you watched was the FA Cup Final in May? If the only baseball game of interest was the World Series. If the only American Football match was the Superbowl. And imagine the delight if you found out that there was a season’s worth of action…

Well, it’s time for the Eurovision Song Contest season to start. Sure, everyone will tune in on Saturday May 12th for the Grand Final, but there’s a world of music before that point. IT;s one I follow with the team at ESC Insight, and the first podcast of the season is now online.

Its going to run fortnightly for a few weeks, so don’t worry about being overwhelmed, but it’s a great place to jump on board this year’s fun.

You can follow the ESC Insight podcast through its RSS feed, or subscribe in iTunes.

Hollywood Is Ready To Blame Rotten Tomatoes For Everything

Saturday, September 9th, 2017

Most people have a good idea how good or bad the summer blockbuster movie season was, and I think most people could agree that the quality was not as high as earlier years. For every ‘Baby Driver‘ there was a ‘Baywatch‘ or ‘King Arthur‘. The big game of Hollywood has always been to not be apportioned blame when the music stops.

So the industry has decided to blame Rotten Tomatoes. Brooke Barnes reports on the scapegoating in the New York Times; from how it averages review scores, how it decides Fresh or Rotten, and how it looks outside the handful of traditional old-school white male reviewers in a handful of national titles:

Some filmmakers complain bitterly that Rotten Tomatoes casts too wide a critical net. The site says it works with some 3,000 critics worldwide, including bloggers and YouTube-based pundits. But should reviewers from Screen Junkies and Punch Drunk Critics really be treated as the equals of those from The Los Angeles Times and The New Yorker?

Should they be treated as equals by Rotten Tomatoes? Yes.

Should their views be treated as equal by the public? Probably not, and they probably never have, but now there are more than a handful ofvoices to choose from. Movie fans will grow to love the reviewers they love, understand their quirks and hates, and will be able to decide accordingly. The ability of one person to influence or be influenced is diminished. Once more the internet is subverting the ‘one voice to many listeners’ to ‘many voices for many listeners’ as everyone finds their own tribe.

Attacked by Rotten Tomatoes.

Thriller’s Missing Millions

Friday, September 8th, 2017

It’s accepted that Michael Jackson’s ‘Thriller’ sold over one hundred million copies. But do the numbers add up? A fascinating look at sampling, rounding up, sales tracking, and hype from Bill Wyman at The New Yorker.

Did Jackson sell a billion records, or even seven hundred and fifty million? Sure, “Thriller” sold a lot of copies, but Jackson recorded infrequently, and his later albums sold nowhere near what “Thriller” did. We know from SoundScan figures that Jackson was selling, on average, roughly a million albums a year in the nineteen-nineties and the aughts in the U.S.—and that includes greatest-hits albums, like the four-million-selling “Number Ones.” That’s not nothing, but it’s not the sort of thing that adds up to a billion records over time.

Did Thriller Really Sell A Hundred Million Copies.

Good night and good luck, Walt Mossberg

Friday, May 26th, 2017

Walt Mossberg’s final weekly column. He started out in 1991 with “computers are just too hard to use”, and ends with the dangers of ambient computing and its power resting in a few companies:

…if we are really going to turn over our homes, our cars, our health and more to private tech companies, on a scale never imagined, we need much, much stronger standards for security and privacy than now exist. Especially in the U.S., it’s time to stop dancing around the privacy and security issues and pass real, binding laws.

But, as tectonic shifts like this occur in technology, oligopolies get shaken up.
And, if ambient technology is to become as integrated into our lives as previous technological revolutions like wood joists, steel beams and engine blocks, we need to subject it to the digital equivalent of enforceable building codes and auto safety standards. Nothing less will do. And health? The current medical device standards will have to be even tougher, while still allowing for innovation.

The tech industry, which has long styled itself as a disruptor, will need to work hand in hand with government to craft these policies. And that might be a bigger challenge than developing the technology in the first place.

Now it’s up to the rest of us to chart that journey.

When storage becomes as cheap as chips

Friday, May 19th, 2017

If you’re looking for signs that there’s another revolution on the way, then the price of storage is an interesting figure. In the last twelve months the cost of one gigabyte of data has dropped from a dollar to fifteen cents, according to interviews conducted by Robert Scoble:

Another guy who is still stealth told me his company will build something like a shoebox with eight petabytes of solid state memory. When I worked at Microsoft it took a semi trailer stuffed with hard drives to get to six petabytes.

The times they are a changin’

Microsoft Bob, the spiritual great-grandfather of Siri?

Tuesday, March 28th, 2017

The Guardian’s Ben Beaumont-Thomas talks to the team inside Microsoft who developed Comic Sans, and while the big takeaway is that the font was inspired by ‘The Dark Knight Returns’ is this little gem to rewrite history:

My job was to match products to fonts, sort of like a marriage broker. Comic Sans was designed for Microsoft Bob, which in many ways was a precursor to Cortana or Siri – for people who had problems with computers.

Presumably the Office Paperclip heralded Alexa?

A familiar podcasting voice from MWC

Monday, February 27th, 2017

For those following MWC remotely (or need something to listen to on the hike to the Barcelona gatherings), Rafe Blandford is part of the DigitasLBi UK team who are bringing (hopefully) daily shows now MWC is under way. Start of with the preview that aired over the weekend – listen on Soundcloud – and check there tomorrow for more! 

I thought M*A*S*H answered the laughter-track question in the Eighties?

Friday, February 24th, 2017

Apart from the curious fact that Lucille Ball’s mother is the ‘Wilhelm Scream’ of chuckles on US TV’s canned laughter track, it still surprises me that the debate about whether a laughter track is a good idea continues to this day in America. Anthony Crupi on AdAge is the latest voice:

There’s actually very little research to justify the practice. The last comprehensive study to suggest that a laugh track could precipitate genuine peals of merriment was published in 1974, or a good three years before DeDe Ball chortled her last. A far more recent inquiry into the matter arrived at a different conclusion; a 2011 study of British and Norwegian subjects found that contemporary viewers have all but built up an immunity to laugh tracks, characterizing them as “cheesy” and “manipulative.”

I think there’s much less debate about this in the United Kingdom, and that’s down to BBC 2 airing M*A*S*H in the eighties. As far as I can remember, it was a fixture at 9pm every Wednesday. Someone was smart enough to decide that the audience didn’t need to be told when to laugh and the BBC leaned on Fox to strike new prints with clean audio for the UK audience.

Except one week. One week there was a technical hiccup and it aired in the laughter-fuelled American format. With no Twitter to channel the anger, the only outlet was the weekly ‘Points of View’ show that aired at 8.50pm every Wednesday on BBC 1. That week there was nothing but indignation…

The BBC never aired M*A*S*H with a laughter track again.

Tracking Your Phone’s Tube Journey

Monday, February 20th, 2017

During November and December last year, Transport For London used the London Underground’s Wi-fi network to track the hashes of MAC numbers as they moved through the system. Although tracking the start and end points of a journey is relatively easy, how a large volume of people move between stations has been harder to understand.

Perhaps the number one reason to do the trial was to better understand the journeys that people actually make on the Tube. At the moment, TfL can tell what station you started and ended your journey at based on your Oyster card – but it can’t tell how you got between two locations. [In the example] you can see how popular different routes between Liverpool Street and Victoria are.

So if you travel via Oxford Circus, you do the same as 44% of other people. If you lazily sit on the circle line you do the same as 26% of people making the same journey. And if you change twice – once at Holborn, then again at Green Park, then congratulations, you’re a psychopath.

Big data wins again, and no doubt ‘better adverts’ is the trade off for being anonymously tracked.