Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Like being there

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  • bob daktari,

    phew glad I grabbed a copy too... no way was my connection going to cope with steaming the entire show

    it was well special

    auckland • Since Dec 2006 • 540 posts Report Reply

  • LIISA,

    NZ on Screen really is leading the way in showing how a lot of uniquely NZ, publicly-funded media content could be made freely available to the public. It would be an amazing thing if (for example) NZoA could support the continuation of this good work across other outlets. yay NZoScreen peeps, you rock.

    Also, envious-as of Jose. What a rock'n show.

    Wellie • Since May 2008 • 46 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to LIISA,

    It would be an amazing thing if (for example) NZoA could support the continuation of this good work across other outlets.

    I’m pretty sure I’m not breaching any confidences in saying that working with other public agencies to deliver media is what we LOVE to do.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22763 posts Report Reply

  • Ken Sparks,

    NZ on Screen is an excellent resource that could probably do with a bit more promotion (I was talking to a well known TV producer the other day who didn't even know it existed...)
    Thanks for that taste of LCD Soundsystem et al - I reckon they were one of the highlights at this years BDO.

    Cox’s Creek • Since Apr 2011 • 60 posts Report Reply

  • Gareth Ward,

    I kinda wish that the Daft Punk rumour had materialised such that Daft Punk actually were Playing at My House. Either way I didn't catch the show as I was away for the weekend and not inclined to stream 3.5 hours of video over a 3G network...

    Airplay/AppleTV are interesting in that they're somewhat contrasting approaches to stuff-from-the-Internet-onto-your-TV. The former treats the TV as a dumb screen and sends stuff to it from proper Internet devices, while the latter attempts to make the TV an Internet device unto itself. Given the recent dev path of AppleTV I wouldn't be that surprised to see the device discontinued and AirPlay licensed directly into TV sets themselves

    Auckland, NZ • Since Mar 2007 • 1727 posts Report Reply

  • TracyMac,

    No thanks, I won't buy anything Apple-branded. Often way over-hyped for the actual feature set. I don't deny the design is often fabulous, but design is not everything (although it obviously helps raise the bar of how the technology is used).

    I don't know why more people aren't up in arms about the "milk you to you drop" approach that Apple have of drip-feeding sexy technology. There was no technical reason for the first iPad not to have USB or SD or HDMI slots, cameras of a reasonable resolution, etc etc right from the outset. But no, you buy the first device, and in a year or so, upgrade to the next with one or two new features, ad infinitum. This is not the same as technology being released with new features as they become available in general.

    If it's HTML-5 that has this functionality, then surely it's available to any class of device/media player with the right hooks? (I'm not going to delve into what "Airplay" does right now at work). But Apple have a habit of branding up common technologies in a certain way - for example, an Airport is not a better router, despite what many people seem to believe. Why should you have to jailbreak a device to enable a simple feature, such as playing the media content you want to?

    Certainly with you on the functionality this seems to give, but let's please make use of open or ubiquitous standards (I've given up on MP3) without the proprietary branding exercise. If your device doesn't have the "play and go" standard (or whatever the technology ends up being labelled as generically) available, then obviously the consumers can lobby for that, no matter what kind of device they own.

    Canberra, West Island • Since Nov 2006 • 701 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz,

    How is this different to watching a live concert on telly?

    (I know we don't get many of those, but the BBC used to do one every week in the olden days).

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 5550 posts Report Reply

  • MikeE,

    Boilerrom.tv does it quite well for the london underground bass music scene (in terms of live streams of club nights rather than concerts)... I'm looking at doing a similar thing here in Auckland for 'live" gigs.. just via ustream.tv /Adobe Flash Media Live Encoder and a Hi Def camera / audio signal out of mixer.. will be interesting if I can get it to work in a club environment or not.

    Kingsland • Since Nov 2006 • 138 posts Report Reply

  • Matt Crawford,

    What's the point of Apple TV? I'm just trying to get my (windows-based) brain around it. Is it just a networked media player linked to a subscription service? Ever get frustrated at the lack of capability playing the higher definition video? What do you output the audio to? What the hell do you do when you want to run an actual desktop on your tv - say to get a browser up?

    I'm at the other end of the spectrum - everything runs from my PC, including the telly (via hdmi) and the stereo (via two channel usb dac).

    I love the idea of streaming concerts and would happily pony up the cash. But the proviso is it'd have to be a quality experience, and I guess the biggest issue is bitrate. I'm not sure that 320p youtube example is something I'd be prepared to pay for, but were it 720p yeah sure.

    I am still impressed at how good everything looks when upscaled - a good h.264 mkv file of only 700mb looks better than original DVD disks played on my old stand-alone machine. I think that this is a sign of a paradigm shift - we no longer own television sets, we just own big computer monitors.

    Wellington • Since Dec 2006 • 58 posts Report Reply

  • Heather Gaye,

    How is this different to watching a live concert on telly?

    Umm… you couldn’t watch this show live on the telly?

    I saw Duran Duran’s live streamed AmEx show (directed by David Lynch!) the other day. I’ve never loved Vodafone so much – it wasn’t that many years ago the internet connection I could afford wouldn’t have tolerated the bandwidth or the data volume.

    No thanks, I won’t buy anything Apple-branded. Often way over-hyped for the actual feature set.

    I totally thought they were overhyped until I tried one. Even after I became an Apple convert, I thought the iPad was a ridiculous concept, until I tried one. Granted, I’m not the person that queues for every new hardware launch, so perhaps I’m not so much the target of your critique – if my computer works, then I’ll use it until it doesn’t. My phone is the cheapest Nokia on the market.

    Yes, there are still myriad problems and annoyances with Apple products, probably as many as non-Apple products, but there’s still something about them that draws you in. Design isn’t everything, but it sure counts for a lot when it’s aimed at usability, and paired with the kind of tech gains they’re constantly introducing, & an accessible unix-based OS. The jailbreaking thing’s a sticking point, but it seems to have created an entire industry in its own right, now it’s been declared legal (ref: Cydia).

    (DISCLAIMER) Sent from my MacBook Air. This is the single most exquisite piece of technology that I’ve ever owned, ever (glad I waited for the second generation though).

    Morningside • Since Nov 2006 • 533 posts Report Reply

  • HORansome, in reply to TracyMac,

    There was no technical reason for the first iPad not to have USB or SD or HDMI slots, cameras of a reasonable resolution, etc etc right from the outset.

    That's wrong for two reasons. There may well have been technical reasons for those features being omitted, given that Apple wanted to make a tablet which was as small and slim as they could engineer it to be. Just because the technology is there doesn't mean you have to put it into a device; you add features based upon what you want the product to do rather than add everything and then try to make it work.

    The second reason is, of course, price; you can add features galore and those features, aside from the engineering cost of developing the unit, also increase the cost of the unit.

    Tāmaki Makaurau • Since Sep 2008 • 441 posts Report Reply

  • Jimmy D,

    BOXEE! Free for your laptop, or cheap to buy as an appliance. Free from the shackles of Apple! (check out the comparison between Apple TV and Boxee at boxee.net)

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 16 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Matt Crawford,

    I love the idea of streaming concerts and would happily pony up the cash. But the proviso is it’d have to be a quality experience, and I guess the biggest issue is bitrate. I’m not sure that 320p youtube example is something I’d be prepared to pay for, but were it 720p yeah sure.

    There's actually quite a lot of 720p video on YouTube these days, and even 480p generally looks pretty good on the TV. I can't recall the specs for the Arcade Fire show, but it was very, very good. I don't really get why YouTube don't do more live streaming -- they have the network for it.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22763 posts Report Reply

  • Geoff Lealand,

    NZ on Screen is an excellent resource that could probably do with a bit more promotion

    Well, I guess that is the job for Russell and myself (we are both NZ On Screen Trustees). I am particularly interested in encouraging teachers to make NZOS a core resource in teaching, so I welcome any suggestions or ideas.

    A bloody great concert! I wonder if this a growing trend in music, seeing that big live venues is withering somewhat. We have had the Grassroots Festival* cancel with nary a whimper of complaint, and the fundraiser in Auckland for Chch do the same. Too much choice and too little money around, maybe?

    * I was tempted to go just to see The Felice Brothers but what has happened to their scheduled King’s Arms event?

    Screen & Media Studies, U… • Since Oct 2007 • 2547 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to HORansome,

    There was no technical reason for the first iPad not to have USB or SD or HDMI slots, cameras of a reasonable resolution, etc etc right from the outset.

    That’s wrong for two reasons. There may well have been technical reasons for those features being omitted, given that Apple wanted to make a tablet which was as small and slim as they could engineer it to be. Just because the technology is there doesn’t mean you have to put it into a device; you add features based upon what you want the product to do rather than add everything and then try to make it work.

    Apparently they user-tested cameras and people didn't like the world looking up their nostrils. I suspect the demand for cameras expressed since -- and the maturing of Facetime -- led them to add them for the iPad 2.

    And yeah, the iPad doesn't have a number of things, but I suspect we'd be surprised at the extent to which it's a work in progress. A few developers seem to have worked out ways of using the USB camera adaptor. But it's not meant to be a laptop with all the usual ports, and the design, insofar as it shapes the form factor, is a very big part of the picture.

    I find that the people who've bought iPads and been disappointed are people whose production machines are laptops. OTOH, I use mine every day.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22763 posts Report Reply

  • Gareth Ward, in reply to Rich of Observationz,

    How is this different to watching a live concert on telly?

    Not having to negotiate broadcast rights, timeslots, licensing etc etc with every TV station in the world I suspect. One deal, with YouTube and blam, anyone with teh interwebs can watch it.

    And re Apple holding back features to force upgrades - I know this is the standard meme but I'm not sure I buy it. If it IS true then their competitors are even more hopeless than I thought - a company can really be releasing products lacking must-have, readily-available feature sets and still monster the competition?

    I think some tech-focussed folks overestimate either the average user desire for some of these things or the fact that Apple obsessively require UI perfection if it's to include them. To address the things you raise:
    - USB: The iPad doesn't work on a file structure whose contents you access - it works from the app, which in turn manages it's own files. It's painful (for example if I want to reply to an email from a customer and attach a couple of files for their reference I can't) and needs to get worked out, but it is how it operates so access to external file structures simply wouldn't help most people.
    - SD: Similar argument to above, unless you're talking about in a "load photos from a camera" sense - but why? These are flash storage driven with limited storage so why bulk transfer photos to them? Not what it's about
    - HDMI: Personally I really can't understand plugging some long cable from a tablet device into a TV - the "dongle" they've released to do that strikes me as absurd - so again I fail to see the must-have, constant use case for it.
    - Cameras: Even now the cameras on there are limited because Apple (and I) think taking photos or video with a tablet is absurd. They've added the ones they have to run video calling but their version of it wasn't even in the market when iPad 1 was released.

    Apple have an approach that says keep it super simple, only put something in if it is seamless and control the user experience to keep it simple and seamless. For a lot of tech heads that's understandably frustrating and I don't blame them for not buying - but for a huge percentage of people that's what they're after. There's definitely a business model side to that as well and it's made them insanely rich but I really don't think it's about consciously holding back features only because you want to encourage upgrades 12 or 24 months down the track.

    And yep, I've unwittingly become a locked in Apple guy - started with an iBook about 7 or 8 years ago and now run an Apple laptop, phone, wireless router (Airport may not be a better router but as the heart of wireless music distribution for my stereo setup it's amazing!) and tablet. That's solely because I enjoy the ID, the "ecosystem" works nicely together and I've never come across something I wanted to do that I couldn't (or, at least, something I could do on another platform but not on OSX/iOS). And while they tightly control apps that can be loaded natively to their devices, they run very open standards when it comes to deploying web apps to the device.

    Apple don't make the most technical function-rich stuff, they don't play at the cheap end of a market (tablets excluded), they enforce strict control over all aspects of the UI (be it third party or their own) and they've created a long-tail locked-in content distribution model that makes them uber rich. But for a lot of people that's just fine.

    Auckland, NZ • Since Mar 2007 • 1727 posts Report Reply

  • SteveH, in reply to TracyMac,

    I don’t deny the design is often fabulous, but design is not everything

    It’s not everything but IMHO it is the most important thing. And there are very few companies that understand that. Apple is not successful because they’ve brainwashed the masses into buying their stuff. They are successful because good design makes their products nicer to use, less frustrating (even with limited functionality).

    There was no technical reason for the first iPad not to have USB or SD or HDMI slots, cameras of a reasonable resolution, etc etc right from the outset.

    The first-to-market advantage in tech is huge, almost insurmountable in fact (provided your product is good enough). So it’s more important to Apple that they get a good enough (feature-wise) product out than to add all the bells and whistles. There are plenty of people who wait for the second version of Apple products because it’s well known that they operate this way. Other companies try to put in every feature they can but let quality or usability suffer. That way doesn’t work – look at how poorly all the other tablets have done.

    On those specific things you mentioned, the only one I really think they should have done in the original iPad was a front facing camera. USB sounds like a good idea, but having a USB port implies that most USB stuff will work – keyboards, mice, webcams, cameras, storage, etc. That’s a lot of driver development. Limited USB support and SD is available via the camera connect kit so people who really want it can get it. Same with HDMI – there’s a dongle available. I don’t think the dongles sell all that well and that indicates that Apple made the right call on how important those features are.

    Since Sep 2009 • 444 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Matt Crawford,

    What’s the point of Apple TV? I’m just trying to get my (windows-based) brain around it. Is it just a networked media player linked to a subscription service?

    Its major utility to me is as a YouTube player for TV. It helps to use your account and subscribe to the channels you might want to watch -- you can enter text, but given that the remote is tiny and has three buttons (and there's a lot to be said in favour of that) it's a bit of a pain.

    Ever get frustrated at the lack of capability playing the higher definition video?

    I can hire/buy and play 720p movies, which is good enough. And, er, better than TiVo ...

    What do you output the audio to? What the hell do you do when you want to run an actual desktop on your tv – say to get a browser up?

    HDMI. It's not a computer -- it's not priced like one and it's only 10cm across. For NZOS, Vimeo et al, I just use my iPad and hit the AirPlay button when I want to watch a video.

    It's an iOS device -- an appliance, basically. The future strategy seems likely to be an App Store (with games!) but presumably they aren't ready for that yet.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22763 posts Report Reply

  • Matt Crawford, in reply to Russell Brown,

    It’s not a computer – it’s not priced like one and it’s only 10cm across. For NZOS, Vimeo et al, I just use my iPad and hit the AirPlay button when I want to watch a video.

    It’s an iOS device – an appliance, basically.

    Elegant and cheap: Apple's new direction? Heh.

    It’s all pretty hungry on the data isn’t it, especially for the better quality stuff. Ten gig doesn’t go as far as it did in 2001, that’s for sure.

    Wellington • Since Dec 2006 • 58 posts Report Reply

  • Gareth Ward, in reply to Matt Crawford,

    Elegant and cheap: Apple's new direction?

    Given the scale they're getting, plus the additional revenue stream that app stores represent, this is quite possible, at least in their consumer devices. Apple are rumoured to be purchasing $8BILLION worth of LCD screens and memory from Samsung, and it's this purchasing ability that seems to be the main reason why they can offer a tablet device so much cheaper than their competitors.

    Auckland, NZ • Since Mar 2007 • 1727 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to TracyMac,

    If it’s HTML-5 that has this functionality, then surely it’s available to any class of device/media player with the right hooks? (I’m not going to delve into what “Airplay” does right now at work).

    AirPlay is a proprietary protocol, but it seems that PulseAudio in Linux can already use AirPlay devices:

    The AirPlay protocol was reverse-engineered by Jon Lech Johansen in 2004[6]. It uses UDP for streaming and is based on RTSP[7]. The streams are encrypted with AES[6].

    ----

    But Apple have a habit of branding up common technologies in a certain way – for example, an Airport is not a better router, despite what many people seem to believe.

    Apple got a name on the protocol because they were the first company to ship it in personal computers (“WiFi” hadn’t been coined then). I was actually at the Macworld Expo where they debuted it – Steve picked up an iBook playing a streaming video and walked across the stage with it, video still streaming. It took a moment to register what he’d done.

    But nah, I don’t use AirPort routers. Although … we now have a house full of Cat6 and I’m looking to get some media hub action going.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22763 posts Report Reply

  • Aidan,

    Also, $170 is the kind of price where I’ll consider jailbreaking my puck, if it’s easy and there are good reasons to do so. Anyone got the good word on that?

    I guess http://www.appletvhacks.net/ is your friend.

    Looks like there are untethered hacks now. I'd be taking a peep at plex and it's media server, but if you're in the iTunes ecosystem I guess there wouldn't be much point for you.

    Canberra, Australia • Since Feb 2007 • 154 posts Report Reply

  • Dan Slevin, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Russell, if you have an iPad you really should be using that as your ATV remote.

    I use the iPhone and can play music all night long without even turning the television on.

    Makes entering text much easier, too.

    Wellington, NZ • Since Mar 2007 • 95 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Aidan,

    Looks like there are untethered hacks now. I’d be taking a peep at plex and it’s media server, but if you’re in the iTunes ecosystem I guess there wouldn’t be much point for you.

    I'm not, really. The only iTunes content I watch much at all is video podcasts, which the Apple TV handles well enough.

    OTOH, I've tried other media servers -- Vuze and the open-source PS3 one -- and they weren't great enough over WiFi to beat walking around with a flash drive.

    But ... the Cat 6 cabling that was supposed to be done in December with the rest of the house was finally finished last week. I think I need someone to tell me what to do now.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22763 posts Report Reply

  • HORansome, in reply to Russell Brown,

    I find that the people who've bought iPads and been disappointed are people whose production machines are laptops. OTOH, I use mine every day.

    I'm a laptop user who uses a desktop sporadically at home (for example, right now I'm using the laptop whilst seated at the desk when my desktop is located) and I'm finding that the iPad is beginning to replace my laptop use (it helps that I've been using an iPod Touch for checking e-mails and my RSS feeds for a while now); it's just nicer to use with a great feeling of feedback.

    Anyway, today I tried the iPad out on my friend and thesis supervisor, Jon. Jon is totally blind and is still using Mac OS 8 on an old PowerPC Mac because OS X's version of Voiceover, the screen reading software Apple touts, isn't particularly user-friendly for him (it seems designed for the legally blind who have some degree of sight as opposed to people who have no eyes whatsoever). I had heard that Voiceover for iOS was better and it is; Jon had much more success navigating the iPad and launching software than we ever had trying Voiceover on OS X.

    Now, I don't know what the user experience on Android tablets is in this regard, but I was impressed (moreso) with how easily it just worked on the iPad. Does anyone know about how such things with respect to other portable devices?

    Tāmaki Makaurau • Since Sep 2008 • 441 posts Report Reply

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