Sunday, December 31

Goodbye 2006

For 'digital natives' (as Murdoch labelled us) the first half of the year was a continuing iPOD/iTUNES & MySpace fever, the back-half belonged, without question, to YouTube and Google. Skype became the third largest telco on the planet (behind China Tele, Vodaphone). But the biggest smiles are probably on the faces of, Bebo, Piczo and the many other new web businesses that had exponential growth outside the headlines.

We started Ventures in PIXELS this year and helped some hi-profile brands get their online businesses rocking, got our fledgling media company off the ground in Vietnam and brewed some excellent new business plans ready for '07 (watch this space).

Thanks to the team, our partners and clients for a fun and fruitful year.


In the year that was video online and the Long Tail, I'll leave the review of the year to the YouTube'rs (search for "2006 review" and find your own - from Schumacher to Zidane).

Wednesday, December 20

A Recipe for Homemade IPTV

My old and fast becoming obsolete Xbox just got a new lease of life. With the help of some far more technical friends, they converted it into an ass-kicking multimedia centre. The latest free software brings the old Xbox up-to date.

The latest headlines from the BBC (RSS) stream across the screen. It hooks up to my PC's hard-drive to play MP3s, Video's, Photo's, ShoutCast internet Radio. And emulators let it run almost every classic PC/Console game ever made with the click of a button.

The latest discovery on this (x)box is a catalogue of plugins for watching webTV and social media sites. Navigate and watch YouTube videos, line up your favourite music videos or watch TV stations from Beijing, Baghdad to Canada and Argentina. (The Burkina Faso (Africa) station isn't so good.)

It's easy to dismiss this stuff as 'geek-ism'. But if your in our business, you'll see it as the near future. This type of open platform is a threat to Sky, Cable and a $70 Billion TV advertising industry built on pumping what they want into your home. It gives the station or even the programme maker a way to go direct and bypass doing deals with a network, satellite or cable franchise. Most importantly, it gives you complete control over your home entertainment.

And the advertising within the station will be served by smart companies that can index and search the content, and serve the most appropriate ads around the programming. See Sky Signs Up Google


1 x Broadband Internet Connection
1 x XBOX
1 x TechMod Geek
1 x XBOX ModChip
1 x Open Source Dashboard
1 x DVR/PC Card [optional]

Take one old (circa 2001) Xbox, wire it into your home-router. Plugin a ModChip, to make it customisable, and simply download one of the many Open Source dashboards (XBMC, UnleashX, Evolution X). Juice it up with some of Farraday's finest and off you go.

Read "Disruption: IPTV control or freedom"


Wednesday, December 6

Sony, sorry, Wii are converted

I alway’s remember that Sony ad. The one with the zombie-eyed kids talking about defeating army’s, aliens, tanks and warlords…then revealing the distinct thumbprints from the PS2 controller. It summed up a generation of gamers, delving into a dark world of gaming.

I met with a friend at IGN today and he let me take the PS3 and Wii for a spin. The PS3 has awesome HD quality, smooth graphics – every blade, flame and crash can be seen in vivid detail. It’s a leap up from previous consoles, although perhaps on par with the top-end of PC gaming.

The Wii, well, from the moment you pick up the controller you’ve suddenly lost interest in graphics. You’ve got to get to grips with a new “racket”! Swinging in front of the screen, learning to perfect your technique and try not to wack your mate in the head at the same time. It is a revolution in gaming, in exercise and entertainment.

Wii is going to create a whole new audience of gamers. Not in the dingy world of World of Warcraft, Medal of Honour, but in the bouncy, surreal fantasy land that is Nintendo. Me. I’d have both…but I can put off the PS3 as it’s just an improvement on what I’ve already got. And I’ve been making those type of upgrades since the Spectrum 48k.

The Wii…it’s completely new and fun. It’s the must have gadget of 2007. So I have to have one now.

If I can find one. Any ideas?
Hope those Japanese chaps drop by.

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