How long can Apple’s reputation stay untarnished?

In one hand Apple get away with almost blue or should it be white wash murder?

Apple has scored a victory in front of the advertising watchdog, with a ruling that it is free to claim its iPhone applications store is superior to a rival service offered by Google.

The Advertising Standards Authority rejected complaints from fans of Google's G1 smartphone that a TV ad for Apple's App Store was misleading.

“Yep, there's an app for just about anything,” a voiceover in the advert said. “Only on the iPhone.”

But in the other hand they weave their new inglorious oppression upon their fans and audience. I certainly couldn't live with it and choose not to.

As has been widely reported at this point, we are very sorry to announce that Apple removed our VoiceCentral app from the App Store. This happened suddenly, swiftly and with virtually no advance notice from Apple.

Repeated emails yesterday to Apple have still been ignored at this point. We did receive a voicemail at our main office from the same Richard who called our competitor. Unfortunately it wasn’t until today that we were able to connect for our “conversation”. The word conversation really doesn’t cover it because what transpired was not informative by design and felt like theater of the absurd.

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The impossible wall of trance mix

I have no idea what happened in the first 2 mixes. Honestly the mixes were dead on, I was playing it loud out of my amp and if it was that off trust me I would have heard it. Anyway, rather that try and fix it, I've left it in because the whole set is a excellent one. There seems to be a bug with the pacemaker or something because after those two mixes everything pans out perfect. Anyway let the mix do the talking, just remember to skip the first two mixes.

  1. Big Sky (agnelli & nelson remix) – John O'Callaghan feat Audrey Gallagher
  2. So High (Martin Roth remix) – Starchaser feat LO FI Sugar
  3. Language (Santiago Nino Dub Tech Mix) – Hammer and Bennett
  4. Into Something – Richard Durand
  5. Beautiful Thing (photon project remix) – Andain
  6. Grooveline (matt darey) – Blockster
  7. Shadow World – Thomas Bronzwaer
  8. Smack – Simon Patterson
  9. Certitude – Thomas Bronzwaer
  10. 1999 (gouryella mix) – Binary Finary
  11. Beauty hides in the deep (John o'collaghan remix) – The Doppler effect
  12. Ultra Curve – Cosmic Gate
  13. Rewire (Avenger remix) – Robert Nickson & Daniel Kandi
  14. Resound – Thomas Bronzwaer
  15. Intution (Martin Roth remix) – Marninx Pres Ecco
  16. As the Amazon Rush Comes (Carl B remix) – Motorcycle vs Midway
  17. Eventuality – 8 Wonders
  18. Walk the edge (Alex M.O.R.P.H b2b Woody van Eyden mix) – Alex M.O.R.P.H
  19. Born Slippy (Richard Durand Remix) – Underworld
  20. The Pride in your eyes (Martin Roth mix) – Tillmann Uhrmacher

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What is going on with Calendaring?

I've been quite public about the fact that I'm not very happy with the calendaring of geek events in the UK generally. pretty much won over eventful in the UK although I thought Eventful was technically better. But the problem is upcoming doesn't really cut it enough, it feels like Yahoo are keeping it around but not really doing much development on it. Then you got the silo of meetup coming back in some quarters and even worst recently Facebook events. Its just a bloody mess and nothing seems to work with each other.

So where's the aggregator to rule them all? Well there isn't one as such, which is fair enough but it would be great to have some place for certain types. See the problem with upcoming right now is its full of stuff which doesn't interest me at all. Now there is a niffty feature of being able to see events your friends events there going to. Of course theres a ical feed which is great. There are also groups in upcoming but who really uses those?

So whats the solution? Well I'm betting my time on Calagator. Calagator comes after much research into aggregators of events. It works well for Portland and its community, and thats the big difference. Its not just a calendar with events, its built around a community so it accepts many sources of input (iCalendar, hCalendar, Upcoming, and MeetUp) and displays the events in a logical way for many users and thats a lot different that just a calendar on a webpage. We've not quite got it working yet, but its coming soon. In the meantime the Hodge has created wheres the geeks? Its a good start but he and others seem to be building the whole thing from scratch which is interesting. I certainly wouldn't do it that way myself but I can't code for strawberries. It would make more sense to build on top of something like calagator me thinks but hey what do I know. At least wheresthegeeks is actually up and running, so go check it out.

Finally some future stuff to check out. What on earth is Jon Udell doing with his Elmcity project? I kind of get how it works but I'm missing the whole picture or something. So in his own words Elmcity is…

Q: What is the elmcity project?

A: It’s a web-based service that:

  • Collects online calendar events for geographic communities

  • Merges information from many sources: Eventful, Upcoming, and iCalendar feeds published by popular calendar programs

  • Creates network effects using iCalendar (ICS) feeds, in the same way that blogging and microblogging systems create network effects using RSS, Atom, and Twitter feeds.

  • Does not store events in a centralized database, but rather operates as a hub that merges streams of events and republishes the merged result in a variety of formats.

  • Is managed by one or more curators in a community, on behalf of everyone in the community.

  • Runs on, and demonstrates the capabilities of, Microsoft’s Azure platform.

So ok its very clever but the full extent of whats possible is certainly of interest to me. Talking of taking in the full extent of new developments, its worth checking out the IT Conversation podcast about a need for a XML representation for iCalendar. If ical goes XML, geez I'd be a lot happier.

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Interesting developments in the xbmc space

There was a interesting post from some of the XBMC developers recently. It was a tip of the hat to some secret things they have been working towards.

So Webkit integration is pretty obvious, like Boxee's cloning Mozilla into there later builds. Having a browser built in means access to a lot more the web's resources including things which are trapped inside a Flash container. The DirectX port will just be a version which takes advantage of Windows APIs for display. Makes sense seeing how there is already a Mac only port called Plex which takes advantage of that hardware. Its also worth noting Plex already has Webkit build in. The ARM port is something I wouldn't have imagined, but it makes a lot of sense. There's a lot of ARM based systems out there including smartphones and other electronic devices outside of the usual circles. This also means you could make a really cheap XBMC box with basic functionality. I assume PVR intergration will pick up the effort which was spotty in the past. There has been support for TIVO and a couple other boxes in the past but no real long term effort. The video library redesign is also a welcomed change, don't get me wrong its good but it can be much better and there's talk about mixing it with some kind of supplemental tool to control the media better. I had considered writing a XSL to generate a list of what movies I own and there ratings, etc via conduit sync manager.

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Prezi, my thoughts

Everyone is loving Prezi, people are totally raving about it. But I have serious problems with the technology behind Prezi.

As far as I can tell Prezi generates a huge flash file which is bad enough but on top of that is it seems to suck everything into it and nothing much seems to come out. So for example it can injest pdf file, images, text, movies, etc. But can you export to a presentation file which people can take away? Can you export to a printable for format? Can you export to a movie? It doesn't seem very clear from any of the information I have seen. In actual fact you can only export to a format which requires another Prezi player, to play it back! The business model is also worth mentioning, 119 dollars a month for version which includes offline editing but not much else. All the payment grades are tied to there online storage too, which is very expensive for what you get. For example how would you pay for 2gig of storage? Certainly no where up from 30 dollars, which still assumes the offline editor is worth 90 dollars. From a Data Portability angle this is like the spawn of satan surely? And I'm sure from a open source and free software angle, this has got to have Tim Oreilly and Richard Stallman in chills at night? Lastly, what on earth are TED thinking sponsoring this stuff?

I have been thinking maybe some enterprising group of people could take the SVG specification and build a tool which generates these exact same presentations. So first up you can use scripts on every element including the viewpoint attribute. There seems to be a load of things you can do with the Canvas coordinate system. SVG 1.1 has the ability to embed certain multimedia but SVG Foreign Object could be used to place a browser or a complete video within a SVG.

You could imagine a specially made tool which worked like Prezi but wouldn't need to be propitery and locked in. They could even create and sell a player and editor backed with its online space, so the business model isn't totally shattered. Even if a rival tried to create the same, OpenPrezi as I'm coining it would be first to the market and have a wealth of knowledge of what works and what doesn't. Even a track record might go down well. So in my mind, there's no way I will be using Prezi till its a lot more open. I'm sure even I could with a bit of time construct something using the SVG methods I mentioned. I'm not questioning the method or even the concept, it actually reminds me of mood boards. Its the implementation which winds me up.

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BarCampManchester2 ????

There has been some talk about BarCampManchester2 on the geekup mailing list and other corners of the internet. So I got a email from a couple of people who will remain name less for now because I've not asked if they want there names on this post and I wrote a long winded email back. This is the email with a few bits cut out for obvious reasons.

Ok so from my point of view, I'll just lay it out so you guys know where I'm coming from.

Right so I'm looking into a Manchester Barcamp. I had *************** almost sorted but they wouldn't go for the overnight part (more about this soon).

I also secured the *********** conference centre but its going to cost about 3-5k to run it. On the up side the venue is perfect, allows for overnight, can handle almost 300 people if needed, has a late running bar and is 5mins from Piccadilly station and Oxford Road.

I mentioned to the London BarCamp guys about the venue and we are considering a special BarCampGB using this venue, but its unlikely this year.

I'm also in the process of talking to the ************** who have hosted ************** in the past. I will meet them and we will discuss the details.

BBC hosting a barcamp, yes that could be possible/actually too easy but I'm talking to BBC Workforce about doing a overnight event one day soon. I don't really want to derail that if possible because I feel its important that we set things up for Media City. Beebcamp3 is also going ahead for sometime this year.

I also had leads for overnight venues in Huddersfield and Newcastle.

Right so after all that, the overnight thing. And don't take any of this the wrong way, I'm just telling you whats on my mind.

The North West has been deprived of a full barcamp and because of that, people are saying they love the one or two day events. Fine, but it would be a crying/terrible shame if for the next few years it carried on that way simply because its very difficult securing a venue for a overnight. And it won't get any easier. So I'm not going to lecture you guys on the overnight thing, because that would be disrespectful of everything you guys have done and tried. And I really do think you guys have done a great job.

Alistair who did BarCampNorthEast, worked hard and got a great venue in a art centre. It wasn't perfect but actually for the 35 people who stayed it was a good barcamp. If there was more people, it would have been fantastic. Its also worth noting Alistair and that duck of his, secured the overnight venue by himself, they also almost secured a 2nd overnight venue next to Newcastle train station this year. Alistair has proven it can be done. Reason why not many people turn up is another problem which is off topic.

If we/me/who ever can pull one off, that would be fantastic. Manchester deserves a overnight barcamp in my mind. Its special, something totally different. The experience is very different, just ask Dom. It also attracts more people and gets more attention. Not everyone likes them but not having one worries me. To be slightly frank, 2 day events are getting very common. I'd rather give up my spare time for a overnight that 2 day. One thing I've learned since I've been here is the north has a great bunch of communities and there really strong. Look at whats happened with TEDxNorth! While London is still trying to sort out the venue and stuff, the north has clubbed together and straighten out dates, venues and promoted each other in the way that it should be (thanks Herb). There's some great people who we all know and honestly if we all tackle the problem of the overnight venue, we actually will do it.

So from my point of view, I'm honestly happy with you guys going ahead, hell I can even put you in contact ************************* about a venue. My calendar is pretty full with stuff like TEDx, Beebcamp and other stuff but I can easily help with a 2 day barcamp. I also don't want people to think I'm being selfish holding out for a overnight barcamp. But I'd like to echo I think Manchester deserves a overnight barcamp, people may disagree but thats fine, I encourage them to run a barcamp in there own vision.

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Movie reviews and the Fall

I should do movie reviews but I watch so many, that my blog would be full of them. I'm actually thinking about setting up a microblog or something like it for my film reviews. I did use the hash tag film while twittering them but it seems twitter doesn't save past a certain point in the past. Anyway, Miss Geeky did a proper review and I totally agree with her final thought.

The Fall is a beautiful movie that deserves to be watched on a screen as large as possible. Even though the story isn’t completely up to scratch, the gorgeous visuals are well worth sitting down for an hour of two.

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Long form video on the rise

Dave sent me this link a little while ago. Its about monetising long form video. What I found interested was the conclusion at narrowcasting.

We're heading to narrowcasting, even if a few topics – sports, financial reporting, and big news – still will command big audiences.

The future market for the traditional boob tube boils down to this: 1) the technically backward, 2) the institutionalized (in prison, in hospitals, in nursing homes), 3) three year olds and younger who don't yet have the cognitive skills to manage a remote.

As I've been saying to broadcast and cable for years now: Change or die.

There was also a range of interesting quotes collected from the web which I think are worth reposting.

Last year, the top 25 shows on averaged under five minutes. This year, the number is up to 14 minutes, roughly THREE TIMES longer – an increase accomplished in just 12 months!

Internet video is mainstream now with about 150 million viewers in the US alone (about half the population) and the average viewer is watching 97 videos per month. Pretty amazing when you consider just five years ago, the typical Internet use was watching zero videos per month.

“People are getting more comfortable, for better or worse, bringing a computer to bed with them.” – Dina Kaplan, co-founder of Blip.TV

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Five Eras of the social web

I caught this on the social today. Jeremiah Owyang talking about the Five eras of the social web. I missed this first time around but interesting to read about now.

Running List of the Five Eras of The Social Web
For details on this report, access the high level blog post, or if you’re a client, access the full report on the Forrester site.

Era of Social Relationships (started 1995, matured in 2003-2007)
This era is mature.

  • AOL, 1995
  • eCircles, 2001
  • MySpace, Facebook, Twitter

Era of Social Functionality (started 2007, matures in 2010-2012)
These are prelimnary examples, but are not examples of maturity, as we’ve not seen true useful utilities to improve business.

Era of Social Colonization (started 2009, matures in 2011)
These are prelimnary examples, but are not examples of maturity when your entire digital experience is social.

Era of Social Context (starts in 2010, matures in 2012)

This era is certainly not in maturity, but we can see some early examples of demographic scraping.

  • There are no current examples

Era of Social Commerce (starts in 2011, matures in 2013)
These are prelimnary examples, such as Techcrunch’s crunchpad, but it’s not a true example of a crowd created, spec’d product.

  • There are no current examples

For the Social Commerce era, you could also place but more importantly everything the VRM (vendor relationship management) guys have been working on for a while. Also got to say social commerce starts to make sense of that reverse relationship of VRM.

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TEDx North

TEDx North has gone live, and if your playing catch up its a combination of 5 different TEDx (x being independently run) events.

Each event will have excellent live speakers and previous TEDtalks. They promise to bring you a taste of TED without the huge cost and long waiting list.

I’m happy to say the BBC’s famous Studio 7 will also host TEDxManchester on the 2nd October. We have room for 100’s of people, so it should be one of the biggest events and a great end to the series of collaborative events. We've teamed up with FutureEverything and

There are upcoming TEDx's in the south, midlands, scotland and of course the rest of the world too.

Unlike others I don't have a real relationship with TED, I actually experienced Pop!Tech before TED because they would put there shows on IT for anyone to download and listen to. Then Pop!Tech started streaming there conference to the world. I remember getting it working on my XBMC xbox at one point. Pop!tech never felt as elitist as TED and Thinking Digital was doing great things for the UK but none of them were of them quite moved into the exciting decentralised mode of barcamp. I had noticed a small break away conference called BIL which I had considered putting on in the UK, because it was more fitting with the barcamp philosophy. But Herb Kim asked me if I'd like to run TEDxManchester pretty soon after the recent Thinking Digital. So after a look into TEDx, I agreed and the rest is history as they say.

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App stores are not the future, the web has won

I have already given the Windows Mobile App Store the thumbs down and put the boot into the Apple App store. So its clear I believe there a fad and other factors will take over very soon.

What's reassuring is that Google also see the problems with App stores and in this interview with found via Jyri, they describe the problem. Boiled down to a sentence, the web is the platform.

Apple customers may have downloaded 1.5bn applications from its AppStore in the past year for their iPhones and iPod touches, but the service does not represent the future for the mobile industry, according to Google.

Vic Gundotra, Google Engineering vice president and developer evangelist, (pictured centre) told the Mobilebeat conference in San Francisco on Thursday that the web had won and users of mobile phones would get their information and entertainment from browsers in future.

“We believe the web has won and over the next several years, the browser, for economic reasons almost, will become the platform that matters and certainly that’s where Google is investing.”

Mr Gundotra won some support from the rest of the panel. Michael Abbott, head of application software for Palm, said advances in the browser being introduced through HTML5 standards meant that web applications could tap features of particular phones such as their accelerometers.

Once again I need to give some credit to Chris Messina for waking me up to the fact that the web has won. Google and Palm have also put out products and services which operate on this fact. And today at a presentation from Aza Ruskin, I quized him about Ubiquity and the notion of browser vs the OS. I didn't push hard or even mention Google Chrome OS but he came back to me with a lot of interesting thoughts about barriers around personal content rather that a barrier between online and offline content. Would have liked to have explored but it was clear that Aza Ruskin was also talking like the web had won.

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In a world of abundance

Matt Mason gave pretty much the same talk at Thinking Digital and I've been wanting to link or post the video ever since. I love that classic quote, Pirates are the most innovate people.

Here's the main takeaway headlines from Matt's talk,

  1. If you want to beat pirates, copy them.
  2. Good business is the best art.
  3. Don't let legal ruin a good remix without talking to marketing first.
  4. Abudance is better that advertising
  5. Some good experiences will always be scarce.
  6. In an economy based on abundance, your business model needs to be a virtuous circle.

And I'd like to add I just paid for a digital download of Matt's book The Pirates Dilemma. I bought it for about 3 pounds which seems fair to me. About the same price as a expensive coffee or decent sandwich at lunch time. As Matt, Cory and Tim Oreilly has put it before, The problem isn’t piracy, it’s obscurity. Well hopefully the video and this blog post might have helped Matt become less obscure.

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Persona Editor: Outlines+Xpointer

Marc Canter gets a lot of flack and I can't understand why. In the talk above he presents his vision for Persona Editor, something he's been working on for the last 5 years. While he talks about it I'm thinking its a outline with static data or dynamic data. The dynamic data is actually like a xpath or better still a xpointer to a node or collection of nodes. So for example Marc uses a example where he aggregates 3 of his blogs into one outline which he calls all his blogs. Where it gets confusing is once you create these outlines, they can feed and inform other structures such as widgets, dashboards, pages, etc which are static. But it can also inform dynamic structures such as open social and apis which allow writes (aka 2way api).

So in the blog example, you could define the blogs and then write them into something like Facebook or Blogger. The identity stuff is even more mind blowing and as the Q&A's point out there are some seriously scary privacy concerns to be worked out. So as a summary its a really good idea and I do wish someone would create it. I'm actually thinking Xpointer could actually really make this whole thing work too. It strikes me as something I could/would use and it would help me bring together abstract pieces of data around the web and locally. If it does what I'm thinking correctly, I could wire up Tomboy notes with Persona Editor and make it inform a Basecamp whiteboard or the same in reverse. Now that would be powerful.

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