Tuesday, June 2, 2009


Anyway, just a quick post here, to anyone who has heed to pay, that this blog will be kept up for the foreseeable future. But I've also copied everything over to my other blog, http://insertthepotatohere.wordpress.com/

Also, any new posts on the subject will also be there, under the Digital Media category.

Anyone who read all those posts below may of gotten the impression that I think there's too much shit on the Internet, and that shit is hard to find. Which is why I do this.

And also, I'm lazy. To post here, I have to sign out of my main gmail.


Sunday, April 26, 2009

Looking into Jay Walker's claims.

1Mb downloaded is one piece of coal burned. The veracity of this I'm not sure about. And of course, it's a rather far reaching claim to make, and when you take into account renewable and nuclear energy, how many computers, routers and servers are behind your download, who knows how many energy stations across the world contribute to the 1Mb coal fund. And how big is this piece? Unlike at home, coal is ground down into dust before it's burnt in power stations, and also, I've been searching but can't find out how much energy is given off per weight of coal burnt.

But, lets ignore all that, take it as truth, and imagine that its your local power station up the road that is burning this lump. How much have I contributed? How many polar bears are stranded on ice melts due to by new found obsession with Charlie Brooker's Screenwipe?
Lets try and see if I can prove this without an army of Trinity research students.

Well, yesterday after some surfing, blogging, couple of episodes of shows on YouTube, Video Tutorials, image downloads for projects, instant messaging.... I could go on. But about 1200 Mb's.
And what does that mean? It means about 6 of his bags of coal. Which would keep me warm for the Winter, easily. But lets look into this further.

Just how much does this little guy cost?

It been a while since I last lifted coal (we're farmers, turf all the way), but I'd put that bag at 25 to 30kg. Quite possibly more, but we'll say 25. I'm just on this website, where I can get a 50kg bag (your usual sized bag when we used to get coal. His looks about half that size so that goes at least someway to corroborating my figures) of coal for £15.60 sterling, which is about €17.28. So we'll say an even €8 for that bag he's holding. At 200Mb per bag,, and if both are figures are someway correct, that's 200 lumps of coal in that bag, €0.04 a lump, and hence, Mb of coal. So, hypothetically, where I to somehow create my own Internet that's what it would cost me. Of course, power stations and the Internet don't work like that, but for the purpose of this, lets say they do.

How much are being charged for this broadband we're using now? Well, according to here, when we go over our download limit, (which is part of whichever package you decided on with whichever company, the figures are something like this:

UTV Broadband - €0.0126 per Mb over usage limit
Imagine Broadband - charge €0.035 per Mb over usage limit
BT - charge €0.03 per Mb over usage limit
Perlico - charge €0.03 per Mb over usage limit
3 Ireland - charge €0.05 per Mb over usage limit
O2 Mobile Broadband- charge €0.0201 per Mb over usage limit
Vodafone Mobile Broadband - charge €0.02 per Mb over usage limit
Eircom - charge €0.01 per Mb over usage limit
Eircom Satellite - charge €0.15 - €0.20 per Mb over usage limit

Ignoring the satellites, those figures are pretty close to my 4 cent a Mb.

So, what does that mean? Scientifically, statistically? Nothing. My figures have been gotten through loose research and guesswork. His figures, I can't find any sources for, only forum posts giving out arguments for and against using roughly the same Google search methods are me.
A useless exercise? No, defiantly not. It proves that his figures might not be wildly off the mark, and it helps me prove a more important point.

It also does prove just how easy it is to come up with this figures. He or I could easily of gotten our figures from anywhere. I just referenced a random coal distribution website from England for God's sake. He's showing us lumps of coal in plastic bags with no figures. I haven't taken into account shipping, the Dollar, coal efficiency. He doesn't mention where this coal is being burnt.

You can't just make throwaway remarks like that these days. Like I said, whether he's telling the truth, what he believes is the truth or just lying, is moot. Lets see some figures for this argument, and then we can decide for ourselves. Jay Walker needs to be using much more precise language before talking to a public that is more then willing to panic over issues that bear even the slightest relation to global warming. A word like 'piece' just doesn't cut it.

Favourite Designer

Right. Still blogging. Too late perhaps? I'm not sure, but I do admit to enjoying this somewhat so what the hell. And I've been told that over the course of this, I was supposed to blog about a favorite designer, and how much coal I'm burning as I throw these words out over the world. And what do you know, I'm 2 short of the required 27 posts.

So firstly, a favourite designer. Hard to say, there are many. And a lot of fields I'm interested in: Web, animation, gaming, and while overlooked in our course, online journalism is a part of digital media in my opinion at least.
But, to pick one, I'll go back to a post I was going to do a month or so back, about actual designers in the workplace, there views on digital media, Avant Garde, etc, etc. I sent about 10 to 15 emails to various designers, with poor results. About a 2 thirds no answers and a third a "can't anwer your questions now, I'm fighting cancer" (or something).
But, I did get one reply, and to be honest, was more then pleased with it, as he has worked on some big name products and also, I mentioned him in a previous blog post about film titles.


He's essentially a directer of main titles for films and Television (Iron Man, 6 Feet Under, Rock N Rolla for example), and since learning about him after seeing the Kiss Kiss Bank Bank title sequnece, I have to say I enjoy his work immensely, and from that and a few assignments I've done this year, have been getting into Motion Graphics more and more.

So, here I'll just post some of his work and some of his answers.

Q. The name of the class that this assignment is part of is calledAvant Garde in Digital Media. Do you as a person try to be Avant Garde in as many ways as possible, or do you take a more contemporary approach?
A. Experimentation should always be part of the process. Sometimes there is only enough time for something that is popular, but we always try to stay sharp and evolve. But you have to be realistic and listen to what your client wants.

Q. When coming up with something new, or trying to be particularly original, what starts this process? Would you, for example, come up with it in the initial design stages, or perhaps, when your quite a bit of the way into the process of creating something, think of a new and interesting idea and try it out?
A. I always stay grounded to win a presentation. I solve the design problem first. Once that is accomplished I then start to find ways to make it as fresh as possible.

Q. How often would you find yourself creating/designing something that could be called avant garde just for the sake of it, as opposed to sticking to contemporary norms?
A. I would call that experimental work. I have done a few of those in the past when I need something to do, but lately I have been just trying to find opportunities in what I am making to infuse those kind of things.


The Invasion

The Sopranos

Monday, April 13, 2009

Bloggers being treated like Journalists: Mixed results

Two stories today, related in the broad scheme of things (The only way I look at things).

Firstly, we have a story from The Telegraph about how Goldman Sachs is trying his hardest to get a blog shut down.
Well, I say they're trying to do it, but its one of those lovable banks, so in truth, they're getting some lawyer lackeys to do it for them. The blog in question? http://www.goldmansachs666.com/

So, what's this got to do with my course? Well, everything. Information over the Internet is starting to be taken seriously, and by association, blogs are being taken seriously. The owner of the above blog has already been take to court over a website, and has since started to become savvy about what he can and can't say.

"Since I went through this with Lennar, I've had advice from some of the best intellectual property lawyers, and I know exactly what I can and can't do. We're not going to back down from this," he promises.

So, what was previously looked over (or perhaps just never noticed) in the past, may well end up being libelous, with a day in court if you're not in the know about what you can and can not say.

Pictured: My understanding of liable laws

Of course, when enforced correctly, this is a good thing. After all, liable and slander laws are there for very good reasons. Television and print media aren't allowed to spread lies and half-truths (no matter what The Sun thinks), so it wouldn't be right if this didn't apply to the Internet and other media. But differences apply, and should be considered by courts. For example, it will be much easier to bully a small blog then a multinational news firm. And it is relatively easy to start a new blog, not so much CNN.

On the other end of the scale, we have a rather heart breaking story; The news that a blogger, Omidreza Mirsayaf in Iran, who was imprisoned for airing his views on his Internet blog, died in prison recently. A simple blog, which started broadly but developed into an attack on Iran politics ended up being the death of him.
Of course, this is par for the rather crazier then the craziest golf course that is Iran. Similar views vented over print media would have the same results. But it adds to the argument that the world is taking notice of bloggers. But the world is still full of a lot of stupid people taking things too far.

Omidreza Mirsayaf said himself: 'I wish I actually did something real to insult the regime since I ended up in prison anyway.'

So, bloggers are now being treated like adults. The level of trouble that lands you in depends on your address.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Answer: No. No they can't.

Goddamn it, France. Making me waste my time on a now immediately redundant blog. France, seemingly in direct answer to the blog directly below this, have not held their nerve, and have rejected the 3 strike law. While the Parliament had in voted in favor of the law, the law was rejected by the National Assembly yesterday. So, back to the drawing board lads.

So, what will this mean for the future of online piracy? Well, it pays to shop around for your info, and according to France24, it will be revised and put to the assembly again. The main reason for the rejection was due to a clause that required banned users to still pay their Internet fees. Which, to me at least, makes sense. After all, you don't continue to pay rent after you're evicted.
But once this is amended, it seems likely that it will be passed. And then, well, an end to piracy? Not completely. Like always, the smarter people will just get smarter, hide themselves away in the proxy forests deep within the Invisible Surfing valley. Like most things, it will be the non-elite who get caught.

For me, my previous fears (for them or for us? not sure yet) was that they wouldn't enforce it. Or at best, enforce it poorly. But now, after all this hoo-ha, will they-won't they, kind of to-ing and fro-ing, eventually the people who are in favour of this law will realise it was the bestv thing they could of hoped for. Yes, its delaying things, but you can't buy this kind of publicity. If it had just been passed like any other normal law, fine, it'd work out alright. You'd have a few early prosecutions maybe, then things might die down. Pirating might lessen, but would by no means be eliminated. The government will no doubt move on to what they see as more important things (naked charactachures of the head of government anyone?) But now, when it eventually is passed, after all this talk and preamble, they will have to act on it. Hard and fast. Anything less would make them look incredibly stupid and cowardly.

Well, maybe not that stupid.

And if it works? Well, the Internet might change very quickly. The Internet we see now has been forced to existence due to rise of piracy and copyright infringement (iTunes might never of started had we not been robbing music, production companies now have their own YouTube channels because we were watching it on JohnnyJoeSoap86534's channel anyway). While I won't sit here and predict the Internet will be set back 5 years, I will say that there could be another major rethink of some companies business models because of this.

And the real result of this? The end product for the everyman? My summary?
All this bickering over torrents is just more time not being spent on inventing ways to upload movies directly into my brain or helping me do the dishes from my bedroom. Honestly, all this talk of the wonder of the next incarnation of the web or where the Internet is going next is redundant since the abiding memory of the last 10 years of the Internet was companies/governments/Metallica trying to stop us downloading Big Momma's House 2. And, by the sounds of things, it could be all we end up doing for the next 10 years.

Time better spent: Inventing Hover Cars

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Can France hold it's nerve this time?

I was going to wait till tomorrow for my next post (things to be doing don't you know), I just came across this on Digg.

According to France24.com:

French lawmakers on Thursday adopted the most contested provision of a tough new anti-piracy bill that would punish illegal downloaders by cutting off their Internet access.

I've blogged about this before, but now it seems like its definitely coming in. In layman's terms, it will work like the infamous American law, '3 strikes and your out,' where any Internet user caught downloaded content illegally more then twice will have their connections terminated for a period between one month and a year.

While I admit that punishments for this offense are needed (though I believe they already exist, just need to be enforced. Theft is theft.), this punishment, while seemingly sensical in these times, in the coming years, will be much harder to enforce. As we move closer towards the 'Internet of Things', and the lines between what is Internet access and what is television, advertising, your washing machine, become more blurred, this law will be seen to be increasingly harsh. And then of course, there are the technical concerns, for instance, for households with multiple users, wireless networks, etc
.You can take our porn and music, but please France, not our web-enabled fridge with food serving suggestions.

Its an interesting route to take. We'll just have to wait and see how well or unwell the first wave of offenders are dealt with.

South Park: TV's Longest Week

This was emailed to me a while back in the Creative Cow magazine. It's a very interesting look into the creation of South Park.
I had always wondered how the story lines on the show are so up-to-the-minute, but had heard that it only takes a week to make it. While I believed that, until this article I had never realized that in that week is also all the writing, re-writing, voice recording, re-recording due to storyline changes etc. It really is quite amazing what a small studio can do.
According to this, the whole work flow is based around the writing, so that changes can happen constantly, and after years of the experience, the animators and artists are confident (and talented enough) to be able to cope with this.

New ideas from Matt and Trey are constantly coming in, and the process of tightening and refining each scene goes on until the very last minute. “Basically every time Trey walks away from the Avid, we have another version of the show,”

I'll refrain from regurgitating the whole article, as its already well-written here and well worth taking 5 minutes out for the read. A very interesting insight in what it might be like to work in one of the more unique animation studios going today.

On a side note, I'd also recommend the Creative Cow website, for tutorials, guides, articles and forums, all related the creative field and the kind of computer applications we use every day. The pod casts for instance are in depth and helpful, and most importantly, free (suck on that, Lynda). Special mention goes to the forums. Any question I've ever posted has been replied to quickly, with none of the condescending, annoyed attitude I've noticed with some other forums.

Lastly I found this out courtesy of Iolo's blog, but just in case, surely everyone knows by now that South Park is now available to watch guilt free from South Park Studios?