Sunday, 29 May 2011

Content contained or delivered

Copyright and the internet

There is an ongoing battle today:

In the past the content industry's aim was to capture value by putting it in containers. TV, Cinemas, Records, Tapes, CDs. These industries are based on creating scarcity, using copyrights held in commercial distributor hands, and exploiting that content's value. Often with very small payment to the creator or artist, but huge profits for themselves.

Today's industry focuses on providing the flow of content. By delivery at live shows, on the internet by purchasing and by streaming media. It opens up the content, and allows it to be delivered directly from creator to audience, cutting out the middle man. There is a downside to the digitisation of content in this way, and that is the infringement of copyright and illegal distribution. But this is another matter...

Let battle ensue

This has naturally caused huge tensions as the old industries try to protect their business model. Even governments have listened to them and got involved. Which is exactly the opposite of what we need them to do, they must grasp and fully support people's desires and the internet as a free, open delivery channel.

Friday, 27 May 2011

Presenting with TV or Projector

I have worked out how to make presentations in four ways using Apple stuff.

iPad to TV

Screen shot 2011-05-27 at 13.12.55.png

The iPad Photo app can use Airplay to stream photos/slides to the Apple TV.

There is some work involved to get the slides from Keynote on the Mac to the iPad or Apple TV:

- by exporting from Keynote to iPhoto, then syncing using iTunes via USB to the iPad,

- or by exporting the slides as JPEG (or PNG) files to a folder on your MacBook, then syncing them to the iPad Camera Roll using the wireless sync program PhotoSync,

A local network can be created by a MiFi, the iPhone or a MacBook to link the system together. What would be very good is if an iPhone with Personal Hotspot enabled could Airplay photos directly to the Apple TV, without the need for a separate WiFi network, but it cannot (Apple BIG upgrade needed).

As far as I can see it is no use transferring the Keynote presentation itself, using Mobile Me iDisk, to Keynote app on the iPad, as this cannot use Airplay nor save as images to the Photo app!!! (A BIG upgrade request to Apple)

MacBook to TV

Screen shot 2011-05-27 at 13.12.45.png

Keynote on the MacBook cannot directly use Airplay (A BIG upgrade request to Apple). So the slides must be exported to iPhoto, and iTunes started. Then the slides can be found in the Photo album on the Apple TV and the Apple TV remote can be used to present them.

A network can be created by a MiFi, an iPhone or simply by the MacBook itself to link the system together.

MacBook to Projector

Screen shot 2011-05-27 at 13.12.39.png

This is pretty simple, the projector will most likely have a VGA input, so a Mini DVI to VGA adaptor must be used to connect it to the MacBook. Then the slides can be shown from Keynote and use the MacBook remote to present.

MacBook to Projector, iPad remote

Screen shot 2011-05-27 at 13.12.29.png

A variation on the previous setup is to Create a Network on the MacBook, join it with the iPad then use the Keynote Remote app to present to show.

You can use an iPhone in place of the iPad.

In touch with the facts, TV & iPad

A TV and an iPad

What we need is a way to provide background or factual information while watching a TV program. The idea is simple

- a TV only is no use by itself, no facts, just discussions and opinions

- a TV that accesses the internet on screen is no use (only one screen, TV is a shared experience, no one wants to watch someone else browsing the web)

- So we need two screens, the TV (Communal) and the iPad (Individual)

- The content must be synchronised (the web/iPad content can be updated as the program proceeds)


The TV could be released from Advertising Interference, this could be shown on the iPad, maybe tailored to the individuals profile...

The web/IPad interface allows more factual and persuasive data to be presented, and the charts and tables can persist after the TV program has moved on, for user thinking time...


Web comment is possible, maybe relayed live to the studio and presenter.

Separate twitter-like streams are also possible.

Restating the copyright case

Its expression, not property.

People carry on the wrong thinking that copyright protects property, which can then be stolen. It does not. And the efforts of groups like the recording companies are wrong to moan and complain about loss of sales and loss of property.

The problem is that some people seem to think that the only way to make money is through greater protectionism and treating content as property that needs an artificial scarcity. The whole point is that this is simply not true. It's a fundamental assumption these companies are making that is false.

Delusional debates

We actually see this all the time in debates and it's immensely frustrating. When people talk about why copyright is not that important, and that there are all sorts of other ways to make money, they always hit back with the "but it costs money to make this stuff!" Those who suck off the teat of the old system are so fundamentally wedded to the idea that you must have copyright to make money that they entirely miss the fact that we are talking about ways to make money. Their brains simply default to "no copyright = no money," and thus, to them the argument "but these things cost money to make" makes sense. But that's only true if they don't hear what we say, and don't realize that we are talking about ways to make money -- just without relying on copyright to do so. Copyright protects artistic expression, it should not be used to create artificial 'property' title or product scarcity and thus sales for profit.

NFC, Google has invented nothing

The Google NFC system is little more than a smartcard with an NFC interface in a phone . Smartcard chips with NFC capability have existed for a number of years. There are already thousands of chip and pin NFC enabled cards issued in Europe (Visa Paywave, etc...), which carry cash for small purchases, so who needs this in a phone?

This 'development' brings little to the party.

As far as security is concerned contactless cards use the same standard (EVM) system as Europe's smartcards use, nothing new.

Google has invented little or nothing, but is just exploiting commercial advertising/coupon opportunities. It should be ignored until their is global agreement on implementation among all financial institutions. Developments like this have to be spearheaded by Visa, Mastercard, etc, not by Google.

Thursday, 26 May 2011

Small truths for the BBC

Bad Flash

I just want to say to auntie BBC that I don't go to your web sites.

I do all my browsing on an iPad, and as long as you use the old fashioned, non standard, closed Flash technology and not the web open standard HTML5, I will not go to any of your sites.

Even the iPlayer for iPad, using HTML5/MPEG4 video, performs very poorly.

I do not see

- why you promote web pages that millions of users cannot view

- why, like everyone else, you cannot provide an HTML5/MPEG4 compatible alternative

... and why you cannot, or do not, explain your stick-in-the-mud attitude and adherence to proprietary Flash technology.

No information linking

And another thing, often I hear on the radio that more information can be found on so-and-so web page. But when I make the effort to go there I often find no links or references. Your channels are poorly cross referenced and need to be brought together. (See my other post about TV and the web on iPad).

Tuesday, 24 May 2011

The internet is free

There is no difference between gossip in the pub and Twitter on the internet.

Read that again, and again.

Newspapers have editors who can chose what to publish, Twitter does not. It is just a way of delivering globally. ISPs also are just relays of public comments, not editors, and cannot be expected in any way to filter deliveries. (Just the same as they cannot be used to police rights issues).

Remember , "Don't blame the messanger".

All the hot air by MPs, parliament, press, judges is a stupidity and only goes to show they don't understand freedom. Time to completely redesign our outdated privacy and libel laws. If I say something that materially damages you, then sue me, otherwise shut up. You probably deserve what is being said about you.

The internet is free is a starting point.

Wednesday, 18 May 2011

Encourage NOT discourage the Internet

I am reproducing an edited version of a discussion I found after browsing the Boing-Boing web site, and with which I fully agree. So take note:

The Internet is the place where we meet, speak, create, educate ourselves and organise. However, as we are at a turning point in early web history, it could either become a prime tool for improving our societies, knowledge and culture, or a totalitarian tool of surveillance and control.

After 15 years of fighting the sharing of culture in the name of an obsolete copyright regime, governments of the World are uniting to control and censor the Internet. The black-out of the Egyptian Net, the US government's reaction to Wikileaks, the adoption of website blocking mechanisms in Europe, or the plans for 'Internet kill switches' are all major threats on our freedom of expression and communication. These threats come from corporations and politicians, unsettled by the advent of the Internet.

The Internet allows us to express our opinions universally. The Internet unites us and makes us strong. It is a space in which the common civilisation of our diverse planet meets. Our imaginations, through all kinds of media we create and publish, help us protect our rights and a free Internet.

For more info take a look at this web site:

Wednesday, 11 May 2011

Skype and IM bellyache

Well blow me down, what a pain, Microsoft has purchased Skype.

First let me say that I cannot for the life of me see how they can get a return on the massive $7B they have spent. Sykpe has a very small income, nowhere near a reasonable 5-8% return on investment that as a minimum you might expect. Several others have owned it and found out this miserable truth. Better to buy some oil shares?

Too many systems

Second there is the world-wide problem of seemingly dozens of messaging systems that are incompatible with one another. I am not an expert, but the least I know is that iChat does not talk to Messenger, that Facetime does not talk to anyone... That Blackberry messenger does not talk to anyone either... for me, mobile phones and SMS are the only way I can be sure I can contact my friends.

Please, please...

...someone bring out a single, world, internet messaging standard. I don't care who, though I would prefer it was Apple as their interfaces are always much better, but I might accept Microsoft even if everyone else would get on the bandwagon.

A final please...

1 Microsoft, go in the direction to develop Skype as a world standard. You will have to open up its algorithms so others can view/create the video feeds, but it should be done. We might even pay for it then.

2 Or Apple, publish Facetime specs as you promised and bully the world into implementing them. But you will have to integrate iChat, text messaging as well.

3 Could someone please try to integrate the telecom SMS system into the whole as well.

4 The rest of you hopefuls, get off the bandwagon.

I don't really care for rights or costs, I just want one program that allows me to text, phone and video with anyone. Standards, gentlemen, standards.

Monday, 9 May 2011

Sucking out money

We are facing a tough financial time. One of the trends which receives very little attention, because it is better to hide it, is the widespread sucking of money out of people, society and our lives. Just to play with the money in gambling style casino financial structures.

Let's look for examples.

Mortgages: the lending of huge amounts of money to people who cannot afford, in reality, to pay it back. They are trapped. We call it "getting on the property ladder" as though it was a good thing. but its not, its a trap. Banks lone you a bunch of money, in reality this means they own your house, you rent it for the cost of the loan. If you default they take the house. All looks good if the housing prices keep rising - boom - you think you are onto a good thing, some even think they are saving for old age, but when prices start falling you can owe the bank back much more than the house is now worth in the market. You are stuck. You take all the risk of this asset devaluing, but have no ownership of it. The bank still demands full payment back of the loan, but takes no hit due to the fall in its asset value. Its pure deception.

Credit cards: at huge APR rates anywhere up to 30%!!!, where people are offered cards with little or no regard as to whether they are able to manage the responsibility or sustain repayments. They are bombarded in every supermarket and high street store to sign up for a card, giving them inducements to spend money they don't have, and this is seen as 'good business'. Its pure immorality.

Pensions: no one doubts that pensions have collapsed and are increasingly becoming worth much less than expected when we stated paying for them. Government pensions, based on the possible flawed idea of pay now to meet today's liabilities, instead of building up resilient finds to offer inflation proof old age pensions, is just one example. Insurance companies make money, but some of that is because of inflation devaluing their eventual liabilities. They keep the money they gain, they don't share it back to the insured. Its pure greed.

And on we go with lots of financial so-called 'products' that we are sold. ISA's, leveraged buyouts, hedge funds, to a certain extent shares. All carefully designed to suck money out of our lives leaving us with the need to work, work, work just to stay with our heads above water, rather than for the pleasure and happiness work should offer. Its slavery.

Then there is the student fees issue. This is disgusting. We are burdening our children with debt even before they have any chance of starting out in life. Image you are a student, you get a good degree at a reasonable university, and it has cost you £25000 + living expenses. You have this debt. Now go to a building society or a bank and ask for a mortgage, "How much debt do you currently have?", they will ask and for sure they will take into account your loss of income due to the repayments you have to make. So you will have greater difficulty in getting loans, credit and mortgages. That's a noose round every students neck. It starts them off in life with debt. And it is wrong. It is, what is worse, our own elected government that is inflicting this debt on the children. This is wrong, economically and morally.


The result is HUGE personal debt, probably much worse than the public debt we have - but then politicians can say, "that debt is up to you, you got yourself into it, you should have known what you were doing..." But its a trap, its sucking real value out of our lives, and needs urgent moral and legislative attention. People have to be educated, informed and plainly just protected and helped.

PFI: the government too is in the trap. Their use of the secretive PFI way of financing projects, which end up costing many times the actual cost due to repayments of interest or rent to the actual builders, is widespread. It is seen, or was seen by New Labour, as a way to both butter up to the financial markets and as a way to spread social services without first asking the fundamental question, can society afford this?


Frankly the problem is simple: money has all got in the wrong hands. Hands that only see it as stuff to be 'invested' or 'gambled' to make more, mainly for themselves. Ordinary people are severely worse off, trapped in debt and heading for poverty.

But surely money is created by the state we all vote for. What is the Bank of England for if not to print, circulate and value our money so that it is a reasonable way to exchange goods and services. The very purpose of money is being undermined. Money, which started off as something rare like gold and trended to paper and later to electronic bits in machines, has been totally undermined.

Who let it get this far? How can we reverse the trend and get our real value money back?

Tuesday, 3 May 2011

He's right, we need to decide

In the Guardian today George Monbiot starts a fundamental argument about climate change that we need to debate widely. It is a debate that is needed to formulate the very future of our world.

His article rambles a bit but the key points I see are:

1 We need to state our belief systems (who we are, who we want to be, how to evolve to get there...)

2 It is not enough to just discuss the technology changes needed (PPM CO2, Cost/MWhr, relative plus and minuses of oil/gas/wind/tide/solar...) and the struggle to map a road forward.

For example, some want us to 'abandon nuclear power', too dangerous they say. But to replace it with what? Nuclear provides steady day and night clean power when consumed as electricity. Any replacement would just increase our generation of GHGs, either through the use of fossil fuels or the generation of GHGs during the manufacture of the very things needed to make our electricity. It would also need a vast change to our infrastructure - the way in which we distribute our power.

For example, 'cut our energy use', by better insulation of our houses, better fuel consumption of our cars and trucks, proper accounting of the energy costs of manufacturing, distribution and consumption. But if we just manage to set and meet a target by say 2030, but we let our economy be based on every increasing growth, then we will face the same problems in 2050, 2070, etc. So we have to look at having a steady state economy and find a way to have human levelling and progress within that. A huge idealistic task.

And there is also the conflict of interests. Decarbonising needs an increase in infrastructure (power lines, car charging points...) put in place by government and big corporations, but people want to defend the landscape and they resist state interference and big business. These are fundamental things at odds with each other. That is why we have to define what we want to be.

We cannot keep on following the path of a global race to the bottom, the destruction of pensions, welfare, public services, stable employment which is now rampant. Giving less security, more fear, and pushing us to selfishly grasp everything we can.

We need to take a long hard look at energy, how we make it, how we use it, both for consumption and during manufacture and delivery of goods and services. We have to realise that energy is FINITE, not infinite, and chose not to wreck the planet in our quest to get just more and more believing that this is needed for human progress.

Ask yourself, is it?

Whichever way, its murder

So the rampaging Americans have invaded Pakistan and murdered a Osama bin Laden.

Most of us would agree we could have debated his beliefs and ideas, but condemned his methods and tactics in trying to impose them on the world. He stinks of hate and has corrupted thousands of others who do not have his intellectual capacity to understand how wrong he was.

But it was murder. Not war.

I am a pacifist, I believe that any problem can be dealt with by debate, discussion and properly constituted courts of law. In this case every effort should have been made to bring the man to the International Court in the Hague - but oh, I forgot, the USA does not recognise this court. The USA still believes in "Dead or Alive" justice with no trial.

That is wrong, and its about time we put more effort into trying to change their views. And effort into combating terrorist ideas and propaganda. And effort into bringing more despots to justice in the world's courts.