Posts by Paul Brislen

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  • Southerly: Now I Am Permitted,

    I'm voluntarily having my house pulled apart around me and find it incredibly stressful. I can only imagine what having it done involuntarily and overseen by bureaucratic nutters would do to your heads...

    That you haven't all bought torches and pitchforks and stormed parliament is a testament to your strength of character. Or to the lack of pitchforks.

    Either way, well done.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 181 posts Report Reply

  • Notes & Queries: In The Face of Global…,

    I took my kids to something a few months ago and they wanted to play on the outdoor bouncy castles. We wandered over and discovered a giant inflatable slide - The Titanic Of Bouncy Slides (or similar) which depicted that grand vessel sliding beneath the waves in a not-very-realistic manner.

    I was startled by it, but nobody else seemed at all concerned. It was, after all, just an inflatable slide. Never mind the scores of people who died on the ship itself.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 181 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Key Questions, in reply to ChrisW,

    I thank you kindly. My code-fu is well, let's face it, non-existent.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 181 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Key Questions,

    oh, that's a pig's ear. Apologies.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 181 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Key Questions,

    I'm not sure whether it's a response to too much sugar or some kind of early morning/daylight savings issue deep inside my brain, but can I just recommend Matthew Hooton's piece in the NBR: [url|]

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 181 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Done like a dinner,

    The Alpine fault may preclude a data centre in that particular corner of the world but the model still holds. We have cheap power, it's mostly green, we're remote, our land is cheap and our political system is stable. We have the capability but two technical issues stand in our way: lack of choice in international capacity (not capacity itself mind you) and latency.

    International capacity is the chicken and egg issue - if we had a data centre we would export data therefore another fibre link to the world would be a no-brainer. But we can't get that fibre link without increasing the need for capacity. This kind of issue can be broken but only by a government I would suggest.

    The second problem is trickier - latency. It's a long way to the world from here and in internet time, latency means that first few seconds spent watching the hourglass/bouncy ball/icon of your choice is a killer.

    However, latency only really impacts on real-time applications (such as games and voice/video calling) and doesn't matter a jot when it comes to file locker apps like Dropbox or even Mega.

    With HTML5 (sorry) comes multi-threaded downloads (again, sorry about that). Instead of connecting to a server, opening one connection and downloading the whole thing on one stream, HTML5 allows the server to deliver multiple threads of data to the customer. By the time they've watched/stored the first chunk, the rest is past the point of worrying about latency and on its way.

    Unfortunately we have no vision for ICT beyond "yeah, we'd better have a policy" and that means even though we have an industry that could rival dairy farming in terms of input to GDP, we'll never take advantage of it because computers and the internet are just for geeks.

    rant over.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 181 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: My Food Bag: is it any good?, in reply to Robyn Gallagher,

    They were more personalities – radio hosts, fashionistas and socialites.

    hopefully that looks more quote like than my previous attempt.

    I struck this on a certain PR gig I did. Marketing set up a “launch” and invited thought leaders, celebrities, fashionistas and the like. They spent a lot of money getting them along, gave them devices and things to play with and … it all disappeared into the ether. Not one of them had any interest in talking about the kit at all.

    This also is a risk for such strategies, that and having an angry PR fellow shout at you for wasting an opportunity on fluffy bunnies.

    EDIT: many edits for the dumb

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 181 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: My Food Bag: is it any good?, in reply to Russell Brown,

    That's the place! The Swan and Dolphin... really quite hideous. Surreal from memory (mostly blacked out now).

    It was always entirely up to us as reporters to find a good story. There was never any pressure on me to come back with something friendly about the company who paid - quite the opposite. I suspect several editors (myself included when it was my turn) took great delight in finding serious dirt on a company that had shelled out in that respect.

    One particularly awful trip included flying halfway round the planet for an announcement about a major contract that, it turned out, hadn't actually been signed. We all (roughly 400 journos from around the world) sat in the auditorium and asked awkward questions of the CEO about the deal he couldn't announce and his recently woeful quarterly figures. He resigned not long after.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 181 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: My Food Bag: is it any good?, in reply to Dylan Reeve,

    And that does tend to imply that some sort of editorial influence may have been exerted or that your opinions may be coloured. I think it’s better without that to be honest. Assuming that the person in question has integrity.

    Oh I disagree. It’s worse to hide that. If Publication A gets sent to LA biz class, wined and dined and given access to a CEO on an exclusive basis then that needs to be disclaimed and all too often is not.

    I got treated exceptionally well on almost all my trips overseas and that certainly coloured my view of the things that went on. I felt uncomfortable enough accepting these things with the disclaimer – if I’d hidden that from readers then I’d have had no choice but to turn down the trips and so miss out on the good bits (the access to people who don’t generally front up to Kiwi IT journos) as well as the buttering up.

    The audience needs to know if you’ve been influenced – I trust them to make up their minds as to whether or not they can trust my copy.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 181 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: My Food Bag: is it any good?,

    The whole question of paying (or giving something away free in return for a review etc) is not new and something journalists have juggled over the years in many guises.

    As an IT reporter I got to travel all over the world to numerous events. Generally speaking these were described as junkets and I can hear your heart bleeding from here at the deprivation of having to go to Sydney, Stockholm or Disney World (actually that last one was particularly strange) in order to attend some event or other.

    But the serious side to it is simple – they (the vendors) buy your time but don’t buy your copy. They can’t decide what you should/should not write and often times are unimpressed with the results of their spend.

    I remember one colleague being flown to some event in Beijing, I think, only to file one story based on an interview given on the last day with an analyst who completely refuted the company’s statements on productivity gains – that was the story of the conference.

    If they’re paying directly and have editorial control over the content of the tweets/posts/whatever then it’s an ad. If it’s an offer of a trial unit/device/product/service/whatever with limited or no control over the final copy then it’s not.

    As a note – we used to ensure we put a “Brislen travelled to Fantasy Land courtesy of Giant Conglomerate Corporation” disclaimers on every such story – that’s should go without saying but not all newspapers or TV networks are so up front about it.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 181 posts Report Reply

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