Analogue Days

I was asked by BBC Technology to help with their Tech Know segment about making a wax cylinder.

And if you ever wondered what would happen if you put together cockney grindcore band “The Men That Would Not Be Blamed For Nothing“, genius sound recordist Adrian Tuddenham from Poppy Records and of course BBC Tech’s Jason Palmer and multiskilled producer Andrew Webb

… you end up with around 4 minutes of enjoyable mayhem.

From BBC's Tech Know series

RSS Readers/ Can’t see the link? Watch the video by clicking here.

The Wax Cylinder is how audio was recorded before iPods, before MP3s, before CDs and even before Vinyl.

What does the future hold for audiophiles? Do you think the new cloud-based music model will be the next big thing? I’d love your thoughts on the future of audio consumption…

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Why do we Blog?

A two-fold post for you this time:

Part 1: More about the Blogging feature on BBC Click

Part 2: Why do we Blog?

Part 1.

This week was busy – the latest episode of Click Bits -the little 3 minute tech newscast – is now online… Click on the pic if you want to watch it.

(RSS Readers/can’t click on the pic to view? link here: Http://bit.ly/clickbits006 )

    …and my blogging piece on BBC Click is on this week’s show.

    Ah, the "Hello World" post - do you remember yours?

    Thank you very much Judith Lewis Mike Robinson , Marko Saric, Clare English and Andy Bargery for their cameos.   They each gave me about 20 seconds’ worth of blog tips on video, which I integrated into the piece.

    I took a few 3 second shots of some blogs at the beginning of the package

    They are listed here:

    Below are a few more blogs I’ve enjoyed reading in recent times:

    You’ll be able to read the whole transcript of the blogging feature here.

    • _

    part 2.

    Making the segment got me to thinking about when I first started blogging, so I went back and read my “Hello World” post i.e. the first post I ever wrote, which was about 90 posts ago.

    (If you absolutely have to, you can read it here. <cringe>)

    Then I wondered: What makes us blog? What drives us to leave a mark of our mundane existence on the internet? Who do we imagine writing to when we’re typing?

    So, of course, I came up with a thoroughly empirical theory.

    As a human, I normally spend a lot of time thinking, but my mouth blurts any given thought out after little (if any) moderation from my addled, overworked, overclocked brain.  I’m assuming that other humans experience this too.*

    If that is the case (and if we have the desire to do so) then writing could give us the freedom and time to craft a sentence, play with the words, and get a sense of perspective we can rarely access “in the moment”. We can proof-read our thoughts in type, then adjust that thought until it “makes sense” – to us, the authors, as much as any reader. This crafting of ideas into concrete might even result in learning something about ourselves we didn’t know until we saw it on the page.  Or of course, it could be nothing of the sort. We could just want to post pictures of cats because we love cat pictures.

    Incidentally, the above paragraph took 35 minutes to write, and included moving the sentences around, working out what I wanted to say – then making it sound nice to read in my head. I’m now doubting whether or not it’s a self-indulgent paragraph of pointlessness, and now I’m thinking it’s dinner time soon, and I should probably turn the computer off and deal with this later.

    Indeed, none of the above musings touch on the obvious love of story that permeates our very existence – mythology, fairy tales and even documentaries – but that is most definitely another post all on its own.

    So,  please leave your comments: Bloggers, Why do you blog? Readers, what do you read?  I’d be honoured if you left your thoughts below.

    *to paraphrase the great Douglas Adams, and probably a few others, the worst assumptions are the ones you don’t know you’re making.

    More ClickBits

    They say work expands to fit the time available – and in this case, the 3 minute tech round up on the BBC’s website takes the better part of a day to make.

    This post is really to chronicle the 3rd and 4th episodes so I can remember where I put them on the internet…  Click on the picture to get re-directed to the BBC’s site.

    Clickbits Episode 4  – can’t see the link? click here: http://bit.ly/clickbits004

    The really bonkers one to do was Episode 3 which I pushed down from Las Vegas during an evening where every other technology person there was also trying to send video.   Once the video was sent back to the UK,  Zoe and Gary put the pictures together on the other end.

    It was very strange sending down raw material and seeing a put-together programme emerge at the end of it.

    Clickbits Episode 3  – can’t see the link? click here: http://bit.ly/clickbits003

    These links were filmed next to the Intel touch-wall, which was a giant interactive cube pulling pictures down from flickr. It was being run on what looked like a normal laptop – which surprised me – the graphics card in there must have been rather tasty.

    If you want to see some pictures from CES 2010 , pop over to my flickr site here for a look round some of the weird and wonderful gadgets on display here.

    Click Bits!

    2 minutes of fame :-)

    Pilot show Click Bits - Episode 2!

    (RSS/Can’t see the link? here you go: http://bit.ly/clickbits002 )

    This is what I’ve been up to the last month, as well as doing quite a bit for bbc click recently… including working with the marvellous Maggie Philbin on our futurology piece. She’s done such a brilliant post here about our visit to Kingswood Warren that I don’t need to add anything…

    OK, I will add that we both turned up on the ShiftRunStop podcast last week.

    Here are some behind-the-scenes pics of the birthing of ClickBits.

    My bag with script in - and an impressive amount of useless stuff

    – yes I did eat that twirl. And I didn’t bother taking pics of the usual tv stuff including filming pieces to camera, script wrangling and finding pictures to fit. Unless you want me to next time?

    Also the madness of only having a finite amount of time to do an infinite amount of work is the sort of thing is familiar to techies everywhere. Editors, I’m thinking of YOU when I type this.

    tape of episode 1 ! yes, tape! Click on this if you want to see episode 1, but episode 2 is better 🙂 Click on the top pic for that.

    The grown-up edit suite was double booked for our first episode, but it didn’t stop us – we squeezed into a small office and crowded around a desk and computer meant for 1 person.  Final Cut Pro, in case you were wondering. And yes, we ate a LOT of choccy in  a room so cramped all our knees were touching.

    on its way into the BBC system?

    This was our 2nd attempt to ingest 3 mins of video into the BBC, we were thwarted by technology many times! It’s always worse when a BIG machine borks – I always (illogically, irrationally and incorrectly) expect computers with 4 screens to be, I don’t know, cleverer.

    Ingest point

    Humans 3, Machines 2

    Finally, the wondrous Zoe (who is producing this with me and is the illustrious @zsk on twitter) came across this hidden terminal and executed some kind of Harry Potter spell that meant the machines had to obey her – and they did.

    As I’m off to CES Las Vegas 2010 next week, Zoe and I will be attempting to make the 3rd Click bits episode a few thousand miles apart… we’ll be using yousendit and psychic powers to make that work, but if anyone can do it, it will be the 2 most stubborn people at the Beeb – us!

    CES 2009 – battery! Nooooo

    How incredibly ridiculous, I left 1/2 of my UK/US adaptor in the hotel, which means I’m on the clock with a minor uploading drama!  So the video might or might not make it up there, with 32 minutes remaining, it’s anyone’s game.

    Highlights so far have been a proliferation of newer, greener display technologies (hold tight for OLED on the vid) and an emphasis on mobile content consuming, including a projector that’s been built into a phone.

    In fact, the phone-projector from Samsung (using DLP technology) was the gadget I featured for BBC Click during filming last night, that’s going to be broadcast on BBC World, and perhaps even on the internet site too, which is very exciting.

    RSS Readers / Can’t see the link? Click here

    Today I’ll go to my appointments on the show floor armed with my (fully charged!) camcorder, and later I’ll meet with the rest of the BBC Click team.

    …and tonight I might be attending the Sony Online Poker party which last year had Fire-Eaters and Acrobats as well as many different food stations.

    Below are a few piccies from Flickr uploaded earlier:

    in front of 150" panasonic tv by LJRich

    In front of 150" TV!

    phone projector showing kung fu panda by LJRich

    Samsung Mini Projector - up to 50" screen size

    phone with built in projector by LJRich

    bottom phone is also a projector - to be featured on BBC Click

    See you soon!

    Nicole Cooke, Gold Medallist, shows me her medal!

    … it’s heavy for its size, like a good bit of electronics.

    Here’s a video of what happened when I met Nicole Cooke, the person who brought back the first gold medal for the UK in the Beijing 2008 Olympics.  She won the Cycling Road Race.

    (Rss readers / can’t see the link? click here )

    I turned up at an out-of-the-way studio, and fought my way through rails of incredibly fashionable sportswear accompanied by pumping loud music, gigantic umbrella flash reflectors, and lots of people.  This was a photoshoot for Nike’s Here I Am campaign featuring women in sport,   

    Nicole was refreshingly down-to-earth about her impressive win, and when I asked where she kept her Gold Medal, she replied that when she wasn’t carrying it around for worky things like this, it was in a pouch at home – she only gets it out when people want to see it!  She talks about her training regime in the video, which sounds (unsurprisingly) punishing; obviously she looks great on it – I must admit being inspired to get in shape and eat less chocolate as a result of meeting her and the other ladies. 

    Note: This video was meant to be released ages ago, however, a funeral, the flu and then all this new stuff at the BBC kind of got in the way.  Thank goodness for the xmas break, which meant I could finally get to work on these projects!  There’s one more vid post coming up before CES 2009, which couldn’t be more different from this video, it involves a sweary heavy metal band being interviewed in the back of a van.

    And next week, I’ll be blogging from Las Vegas with all the latest gadgets from the Consumer Electronics Show.

     For those of you who missed me on the BBC’s Working Lunch programme:

    LJ and Declan on BBC2 Working Lunch

    LJ and Declan on BBC2 Working Lunch - click pic to view the vid (if it's still there)

    (RSS Readers / can’t use the link? Click here  )
    Here’s a still shot from my performance on BBC2, where I manage to squeeze 2 puns into under 2 seconds.
    I’m not proud of that.  (OK, OK, I am…)