Archive for July, 2008

Go on costomer, make a sandwish, originally uploaded by Gorgon1.

The decline of Inglish at the BBC


BBC Sport’s Olympics movie

Posted: July 24, 2008 in BBC
Tags: ,

Just played BBC Sport’s OlympicsMonkey movie which was put together by Gorillaz creators Damon Albarn and Jamie Hewitt.

The best thing about it?

When the music stops.

Can newspapers survive the online onslaught? I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve been asked this question and my answer’s always the same: there will be casualties along the way but they will adapt and they will survive though with nothing like the circulation or the margins they currently enjoy.

Jeff Jarvis has a challenge posted on Hubdub that a daily US paper with a circulation of 50,000+ will fold this year –  nearly two-thirds of respondents believe one will.

Technological change doesn’t always lay waste to everything that went before. The superhighway that was the UK canal system was devastated by the arrival of the railways, and the railways themselves were massively pruned by the Beeching cuts as road became the dominant system.

The canals are still with us, reinvented for leisure use, having been key arteries that fed the industrial revolution and their own downfall. And railways have been revived in the face of stiff competition from the car and air travel.

Herein lies hope for the newspaper industry, maybe more niche and different from today but still with us for the foreseeable future.

Just as music buffs hunt down vinyl versions of their favourite sounds might we see newshounds of the future sniffing out specialist shops to consume content on paper?

After all, there’s nothing quite like a freshly ironed Times to start the day.

Google gets into speech to text

Posted: July 21, 2008 in Internet
Tags: ,

Maybe it’s raised conciousness on my part, but voice-to-text applications seem to be gathering pace.  Google is the latest player, offering searchable election video on YouTube’s politicians channels.

The speech recognition software locates keywords entered into a search box and then shows where they crop up on the video’s elapsed time bar.

It means that rather than having to listen to an entire speech, it’s possible to jump straight to the bit you’re interested in.

The software isn’t perfect and context is important but it’s a big time-saver that will unlock key parts of content  that may, in turn, whet the appetite for deeper engagement with the message.

Had a team in from Adobe to demo FlashCast, a mobile technology that allows “engaging, branded mobile experiences across handsets and platforms”.

They showed work they’ve been doing with Telenor in Sweden in which they’ve created a hub where channels (brands) are aggregated and monetized.
I may be missing something, but it felt fundamentally flawed; do we really want to replace the walled gardens of telcom companies with an ad-funded mobile EPG?

That said, the aggregation framework looked promising, a navigation bundle that operated in a similar fashion to the way you can browse album covers on a iPod.

But far better to let users populate the channel lists with their own chosen favourites and, in my case at least, without the ads.

Spent a fascinating day at the Met Office in Exeter and saw an excellent presentation from Wayne Elliott on the work they are doing around anticipatory care.

Weather has a major impact on all kinds of health issuesand the thinking goes that if they can produce better, more accurate, forecasts at an earlier stage, they can play a big part in curbing illness and even deaths.

France’s summer heatwave in 2003 killed nearly 15,000 people, many of them elderly, and put severe strain on health resources. Better forecasting and improved planning and prevention strategies could, potentially, have saved many lives.

One example cited here in the UK concerned the respiratory disease COPD and involved Finnish firm Medixine: