Archive for the ‘What is being rolled out’ Category

This and the fact that the iPad is choc-full of some of the most restrictive DRM ever to hit a consumer product. Defective by Design calls the iPad “a computer that will never belong to its owner.”

They’re sending this to Apple: “Mr. Jobs, DRM will give Apple and their corporate partners the power to disable features, block competing products (especially free software) censor news, and even delete books, videos, or news stories from users’ computers without notice– using the device’s “always on” network connection. This past year, we have seen how human rights and democracy protestors can have the technology they use turned against them.

By making a computer where every application is under total, centralized control, Apple is endangering freedom to increase profits. Apple can say they will not abuse this power, but their record of App Store rejections and removals gives us no reason to trust them. The iPad’s unprecedented use of DRM to control all capabilities of a general purpose computer is a dangerous step backward for computing and for media distribution. We demand that Apple remove all DRM from its devices.”

Article by  The Pirate's Dilemma

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By Alistair Fairweather

Of all tech companies Apple Inc is the champion of playing hard-to-get. For 18 months it has had geeks and journalists salivating over rumours of another revolutionary product.

Finally, on January 5 the Wall Street Journal broke the (sort of) official news – Apple will be revealing a “multimedia tablet device” in January, and may begin shipping as early March.

Before you get too excited, that’s tablet as in Ten Commandments, not as in Panado. Essentially it’s a touch screen device around 11 inches (28cm) across which is rumoured to be named the iSlate. Imagine an iPhone or iPod touch, but with four times the screen area and you’re pretty close to Apple’s new device.

So why would Apple want to launch a giant iPod? Their seminal application strategy has made its small-form devices (iPhone and iPod touch) incredibly versatile and useful. But no one would willingly edit an entire document on an iPhone, or watch a whole movie on an iPod touch.

That’s where the iSlate comes in – it’s an entire laptop squashed into something the size and weight of a laptop screen. And because of the touch screen there is no need for peripherals like a mouse or keyboard – you do everything with the device itself.

But to think of it in those terms is to miss the potential game-changing genius that made the iPhone such a huge hit. The revolutionary thing about the iPhone interface is that it’s “gestural” – it understands what you want to do by the gestures you use. Swipe both fingers across the screen and it slides to the next image in a slideshow.

Tap your finger on an area and it “activates” (like a link being clicked). Stretch your fingers across the screen to zoom in and pinch them back to zoom out. When people first experienced this it was like something out of a sci-fi movie – Minority Report had come to life. Now imagine what Apple’s engineers will do with four times more screen area to play with. One thing is certain – the iSlate won’t simply be the iPhone interface blown up to scale.

Market-defining interfaces have long been Apple’s trademark, and the iSlate should be no exception. No one is watching the launch of the iSlate more keenly than magazine and newspaper publishers. Tablet devices may prove their saviour, allowing them to reach their readers cheaper and quicker while still providing all the visual appeal of their paper editions.

Reading on a laptop is clumsy, but flipping virtual pages on the iSlate will be as close to a “real” magazine as you can currently get. Of course this model is predicated on the iSlate having built-in internet capabilities (in order to seamlessly deliver new editions) but that looks to be a near certainty.

There’s a lot of debate around the pricing of the device. Apple’s cheapest laptop retails at $1 000 and the iSlate will probably cost the same amount, at least at first. Which begs the question – who would buy a tablet when you can get a laptop for the same amount?

Then again we said the same thing about the iPhone when it launched with a $600 price tag – and Apple have sold over 40 million of them. Will the iSlate live up to the hype? Or will it, like the MacBook Air, be one of Apple’s rare missteps?

On January 6 Hewlett Packard and Microsoft announced their collaboration on their own tablet, which should be on sale around the middle of 2010. The touch screen revolution clearly in full swing, so if Apple don’t succeed someone else will.

– News24

Augmented reality (AR) is a view of a physical real-world environment whose elements are merged with  virtual computer-generated imagery . AR, originally coined in 1990 by Thomas Caudell, is conventionally in real-time and in semantic context with environmental elements, like for example sports scores on TV during a match. With the help of advanced AR technology (e.g. adding computer vision and object recognition) the information about the surrounding real world of the user becomes interactive and digitally usable. This post will explore the applications and possibilities of such a (AR) reality.

Augmented Reality

The internet is now going to be smeared all over everything, everywhere you go information  is turned inside out and in the very near future it’ll be worse.  Augmented Reality is in some ways just another version of the web; a web applied, through novel interfaces.

How AR works

Emerging AR applications use two basic approaches:

In one, users hold up a specially coded sheet (which they can print) in front of a webcam or video camera and computer monitor.

Digital encoding is translated and displayed in a moving, 3D holographic form that can be rotated and otherwise manipulated.

The second, and perhaps hotter, way uses an iPhone 3GS, Google Android or similar new smart device to view the physical environment, say a city street or subway station.

Multiple layers of information are then overlaid on the phone’s screen, providing specific information about everything from available real estate, nearby bars and restaurants – even the identity and background of passersby.

augmented reality

Current uses of AR

1. Magazine cover/tech explainer: Popular Science and GE

Last month, PopSci and partner GE claimed to publish the first interactive 3D cover magazine cover. Three windmills pop off the page, build themselves and start twirling.

2. Interactive card and Website: Topps

Every kid’s dream – favorite stars come to life right on the card! Collector giant Topps does just that, using AR on select Topps 2009 baseball cards. Stars pitch, field and bat in 3D – like a mini video game on your desk.

3. e-tail: Zugara

For all its convenience, online clothes shopping frustrates in one key area: seeing how merchandise looks being worn. Similarly, online merchants fret about low browser/buyer ratios.

Enter online retailer Zugara, whose “Webcam Social Shopper” app lets users select clothes, print a special ”marker” app and “hold” up articles of clothing up in front of themselves as it tracks their movements.

I found a website that has 35 AR examples. I think these examples which I have given can be used in SA, especially since the 2010 FIFA World Cup will be held here.

Future uses

In the near future marketers may consider using AR to promote a new product via an interactive, web-based AR application. In the medical field AR may assist in complex tasks such as surgery.

For example, labels can be displayed on parts of a system to clarify operating instructions for a mechanic who is performing maintenance on the system.  A doctor could observe the fetus inside the mother’s womb. This is to be characterised as Mixed reality.

In the architecture industry AR can augment be employed to virtually resurrect destroyed historic buildings as well as simulate planned construction projects.

With AR, users can rebuild ruins, buildings, or even landscapes as they previously existed. Combined with a wireless network, the amount of data displayed is limitless.

The effectiveness of navigation devices and enhance for the purpose of maintaining industrial plants for a variety of applications. These types of devices can also be useful for airplane pilots, too.

AR can be applied to military and emergency services as wearable systems to provide information such as instructions, maps, enemy locations, and fire cells. In the fields of hydrology, ecology, and geology, AR can be used to display an interactive analysis of terrain characteristics.

Game Changer

AR Game Changer

Game Changer

In centuries past, the ability to conjure moving, talking 3D objects and people in thin air was exactly the sort of showboating sure to get you named court magician.

Now AR allows you to conjure similar dazzling and useful results, with decidedly less risk.

The notion of layering digital images and sounds is like creating a physical world in a new computer-enhanced experience.

All of this is a complete game changer for any industry, 3D technology will capitalise on everything. What future holds is unknown but extremely exciting… keep your eyes and ears open for things happening in the new media era.  This is futureye  signing out.

Post updated and corrected on the 9th of Nov 2009

bliptvBreaking new media news this week, Blip.tv has unveiled innovative partnerships that will possibly shake the new media scene.

For the past year Blip.tv has been quite silent because they have been developing a massive integration deal with hosting platforms such as YouTube, Vimeo and many other sites.

The integrations will be for syndication, advertising and perhaps much more. News is that this deal will offer producers to syndicate videos directly to sites.

This is a financial breakthrough for Blip.tv, seeing that we’re in a recession. They can now also sell ads on the videos. The way they do it is that they embed ads into the shows and split the revenue with revenue share. Now this maybe a possible business model for both video and advertising companies.

BlipTVs Mike Hudack

BlipTVs Mike Hudack

Blip.tv’s CEO Mike Hudack said at the press conference that Blip.tv was designed “to make independent Web shows sustainable”.

It will run its own hosting platform and simultaneously let members upload to many other platforms. This allows for optional advertising programmes that split 50-50 with show creators revenue earned.

There are more speculations that Blip.tv will also be integrating with Roku quite soon. Roku, is a device that converts web videos to television sets. This connects directly to live streaming which audiences from all over can see. If they ever want to embed the coding, they can do so and it can go directly to their blog.

But where does this leave YouTube?

youtubeIt’s been well-documented that our dear friend YouTube has had a serious profit problem…Therefore they have been trying to get all sorts of tricks in order to generate revenue, they’ve experimented with brand sponsorship, user-generated homepage ads and brand placement advertising but alas, it was in vain.

However, their attempt of announcing a beta trial test with FreeWheel, a company that specializes in online video advertising, has saved them.

This venture will give them, from a content generator perspective, the freedom to choose the ideal ad format and platform – making monetization easier.

Will it truly save our dear friend YouTube? I think their partnership with Blip.tv is not a bad deal, their website has so much more than YouTube.

Blip.tv gets more points than YouTube

Not only is Blip.tv a thousand times cooler, it beats YouTube by far with these small adjusts which news organisations can use effectively to market their multimedia products. I gathered the top five points which I like about Blip.tv.

* Youtube lets you upload videos only in standard formats like the Windows AVI, MOV or the MPEG format. Blip.tv practically supports all video formats including the popular Flash Video (flv) format.

*Youtube imposes a 10 minute or 100 MB restriction on files sizes but blip.tv has no such limitation.

*Blip.tv, allows you to download videos. They also allow you download videos in the original format with the same quality – just right click the video link and choose save as.

*Blip.tv provides detailed stats about your videos including how visitors found your video, what format they preferred and where did they watch it.

*Finally videos uploaded on Youtube are automatically compressed and resized to the 320×240 format. Blip.tv maintains the original quality of the video and they do not resize the video clips. They encourage content owners to upload different formats of the same video suitable for downloading, watching on the internet or on cellphones.

Blip.tv definitely scores more points because it generates automatic feed enclosures for you RSS feeds. And wait, there is one more fact, one can upload videos to blip.tv via FTP.

Go, give it a shot. I dare you. This is just a testament of what is in store in the new media scene.

Corrections

Updated 3rd August 2009:

After writing this post I realised that I missed the point completely. In fact, Youtube’s teaming with Freewheel has far more significant implications in terms of future strategies for monetisation and targeting of online video
advertising.

The truth is Blip.tv is not competition to Youtube, nor would I think it aspires to be. Like other online video channels (Hulu, Justin.tv, Brightcove, Vimeo) each attempts to provide its own unique service – generally as free or paid for video host with add-ons.

Youtube is the ‘mass’ platform. Blip.tv is a quasi-professional platform for producers who want to produce their serialised content or online shows. Youtube  also has a section for independent producer shows (and now also movies and commercially produced series). But this is only one of the things Youtube does.

I made  judgement calls about services which I have never personally used. For this I apologies profusely and apologies for getting my facts wrong.

Don’t you hate it when you watching a very interesting tv show and an ad comes up? Ignoring adverts is no longer an option,  it’s about to get a lot tougher with the development of billboards and advertising posters that use Bluetooth to beam video ads directly to passing cellphones.

bluecasting

As people walk in malls go past the billiards/posters they will receive a message on their phone asking them if they wish to accept an MMS advert. If they do, they can  either receive movies, animations, music or still images further promoting the advertised product. This is called bluecasting or blue magic.

Nokia has taken bluecasting to another level, they have created posters fitted with Bluetooth technology that allows people to download maps of the local areas that have highlighted cool shops, bars, galleries and restaurants. They partnered with Superfuture, an internet-based urban city guide, where users can download maps highlighting interesting places worth exploring in that area.

annoyed consumer

Blue Magic opportunity

In India there are some temples which offer ringtones, wallpapers of gods and some other content using bluecasting. They have capitalised on bluecasting for religious purposes.

Imagine if other South African media houses or  advertising organisations, have looked at this model of advertising or spreading information for their industries.

This could open such great opportunities for customised advertising. For instance if one is in a certain place and Bluecasting can customised ads according to the place you’re in.

Customised advertising via Bluecasting can target those in a particular place and advertise restaurants, bookshops, movie houses, school plays etc.

Blue Magic Dangers

The danger with bluecasting is that downloads can be corrupted and exploited to inherent vulnerabilities in particular hardware, causing it to crash.

Another danger is how companies  can persuade users to accept the adverts once the novelty has worn off? This may be quite possible as people get over trends quite quickly. However, I think this can be avoided via good marketing strategies.

Content needs to exclusive or valuable to consumers, content also needs to actively persuade consumers to consume it, for example get vouchers for certain shops.

Other software companies, such as ScanBuy in New York and Semacode in Ontario, have been experimenting with making posters interactive by having 3D bar codes printed on them. Their software allows a phone camera to scan the code and launch the phone’s browser at a particular e-commerce site – to buy concert tickets, for example.

Magic taking over television

Whatever content is downloaded onto the cellphone it can be bluetoothed to television sets where the image, video etc can seen on a large screen. This creates interactive TV (also referred to iTV) where information flows not only from broadcaster to viewer, but also back from viewer to broadcaster.

Lets now turn our sights to a similar wave of communication…widgets. This will soon take off, in fact Yahoo and Intel are ramping up their TV platform to enable access to weather, stocks and news information on the TV.

This proliferation of widgets could come at a cost, however this (along with bluecasting) if they merge can dramatically change how viewers live and take in advertising.

For example imagine if  TV widgets and devices/programs such as  Bluecaseting merged? Well you can probably get  interactive television that can allow:

  • T-commerce: You will be able to buy a pizza without dialling a phone.
  • Interactive Goodies: You will be able to pause live TV or record shows. You will be able to click on advertisements to “find out more”.
  • Families will be ordering gifts through their TV sets, choosing camera angles while watching their favourite sporting events and sending email to friends.

telegent_chat This is where the next generation of human beings is going to, inside this cycle of persuasion, observation, refinement, and new persuasion.

It may be pleasant for some and it can possibly be hellish too as such merges or advertising can be intrusive. But if you get annoyed, just switch off your bluetooth.

As for advertising companies new media tools ( such as bluecasting) can bring in a great deal of revenue.

Futureye signing out.

Post last updated and corrected on 12th August 2009.

Kindle DX has arrived, well it’s been in the market since 2007 but not everyone knows about it, especially South Africans.Kindle2b

I don’t do not yet own the Kindle however, Amazon.com states that this device is a slim e-book reader, thin as most magazines, includes a program which integrates newspaper content or books instantly, is lighter than paperbacks, and is portable like newspapers. It has a big display screen which displays digital newspapers, documents and textbooks.

From researching about this device it seems like is a groundbreaking step in increasing the popularity of eBooks.

It apparently boasts an electronic-paper display to mimic the look of real paper, wireless connectivity, more than 88,000 books, newspapers and magazines available for purchase, and the capability to email Word documents and pictures.

Kindle is  said to be environmentally friendly. It uses no paper and there is no need for recycling. You can just download content wirelessly anytime, anywhere, no distribution costs involved.

There’s a huge potential for the Kindle to be used in schools, replacing textbooks and library books, but at about R5000 per unit perhaps it should be more multi-functional. Perhaps an additional calculator, internet searching, texting, phone? This could be a good textbook opportunity for the academic market.

Future of print

imagesThe bonus of this device is that has a text-to-speech feature, Kindle can read every newspaper, magazine, blog, and book out loud to you. Amy Gahran from Poynter Online says that the text-to-speech function does a “surprisingly decent job of reading news content aloud”.

This device is good for people who have a preference for audio news because as people cook, or do the garden or even exercising can listen to the texts. (yet one may ask, how is different from ipod then?)

This nifty device can take text-to-speech service or tool can interact with text-based news and information content. But I wonder if it’ll work for foreign languages like South African languages such as Zulu, Xhosa and Sepedi (Northern Sotho), however I do think creators of text-based news content should start to take that into consideration. If Kindle can do all these things, how much is it? In the State its approximately $400 and apparently South Africans will pay R4 995 for it.

Blessing in disguise

The idea of the Kindle is a potential blessing for the print news industry.  However, US newspaper guru Alan Mutter says that the found absolution for what  he calls news media’s “original sin” is the fact that such a device will be giving content away.

Mutter further says that “at a time when newspapers are suffering from falling readerships and a depressed ad market, Kindle readers are signing up to pay for newspapers and magazines to be sent wirelessly to their e-book readers”.

Newspapers and magazine publishers are watching developments closely. As they face the biggest crisis in their history, they are hoping Amazon may have come up with a solution to getting people to pay for news again. But will this make people read more downloaded newspaper content than print publications?

The bigger question is will Kindle can help with the decline of newspaper’s circulations, crumbling ad revenue and declining readership?

decline of print circulation

Well, I don’t think this device will save the newspaper industry but it may win some new readers. And hopefully give some sort of solution or idea for the print industry. Amy Gahran does give some solutions on how news organisations can capitalise and benefit from this smart device.

Futureye signing out.

Post last updated and corrected 19th August 2009