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Andy Kirkpatrick – “PsychoVertical” February 4, 2007

Posted by mark in : Climbing, Personal, Review , add a comment

Just back from a very entertaining evening at Andy Kirkpatrick’s PsychoVertical show. Several hundred Bristol climbers (and others) in St George’s concert hall, and a 2 hour stream of experiences and laughs. The only ‘gag’ I remember was early on, and due to acoustics and delivery speed, I can’t be sure it’s what he said! :

Climbing’s a bit like masturbation. It’s great when it’s you doing it, but not to hear someone else talk about it for 2 hours.

Anyway, very amusing; and I left with a powerful craving for pizza!

Gowers Review December 6, 2006

Posted by mark in : DRM, Music, Review , add a comment

The Gowers Review of Intellectual Property, commissioned by the UK government, published its final report today.

So far I’ve only read the ORG summary, and comments from Lawrence Lessig. The recommendations seem surprisingly sensible, given that recent media coverage of it was ‘music industry’ lobbying to extend copyright (for existing works).

Tom Coates has some initial comments that include DRM and orphaned works, but his preview from yesterday is more interesting :

People in favour of copyright extension argue that it’s necessary to give artists income into their pensionable years, but for the most part artists very rarely make any money at all from recordings that record companies refuse to distribute.

Read the ORG summary.

Review – Songbird 0.2 “Test Flight” September 30, 2006

Posted by mark in : General, Music, Review , 3comments

Songbird seems to have improved a lot since the v0.1 media player that I tried last year. It supports video and plays my FLAC music files (though doesn’t display the ‘ID3‘ info), and the memory use seems a bit more under control. More comment when v0.2 launches properly

I’d like a management tool with ratings and smart playlists, but no DRM (and I used J River Media Center, not iTunes, before I switched from MP3 to FLAC). I’ll have Squeezeboxes, so if it worked with Slimserver : great

Songbird’s networked features look interesting, but I had an app for Odeo (like iPodder) that collected podcasts for my server, so I need to view the screencast again, to see what it could really add for me

Review – “Everyware” September 11, 2006

Posted by mark in : Review, Ubicomp , add a comment

Dan Lockton [Found via Tom Coates] reviews Adam Greenfield’s recent book “Everyware: The dawning age of ubiquitous computing“, on his blog (or as Dan says, “discusses some of the ideas”), and more succinctly on Amazon UK, and concludes :

Overall, this is a most impressive book which clearly leads the reader through the implications of ubiquitous computing, and the issues surrounding its development and deployment in a very logical style…. Greenfield’s book is an excellent primer on the subject which ought to be on every designer’s bookshelf

I bought the book, based on a brief review by Jeffrey Zeldman, who said :

Adam Greenfield has written one of the most provocative books in years. If the right people read it, (Everyware) may do for the coming, computerless computing interface what Don Norman’s “The Design of Everyday Things” did for design generally

Adam himself said, prior to publication :

Some of what you’ll find inside is a discussion of what we mean when we say “ubiquitous computing”…; whether it’s truly an immediate concern or a “hundred-year problem”; what different sorts of everyware might emerge in differing cultures; and, of course, an extended exploration of the social and ethical implications of this most insinuative of technologies.

Everyware is pitched to the smart generalist, as opposed to people with a technical background….

Review – “Out of Control” August 23, 2006

Posted by mark in : General, Review , add a comment

Interesting for me, this : A very positive review of Kevin Kelly’s 1994 book by Chris Anderson (author of “The Long Tail“, which I’ve just finished)

Out of Control” has sat part-read on my shelf since shortly after it came out, despite being referenced more recently in books I’ve enjoyed a lot (including “Smart Mobs” and “Emergence“)

I probably ordered the book because I was interested in General Magic and intelligent agents, but didn’t find it directly helpful. Time to try again, anyway