Tag Archives: dvd

Hacking together my digital artifacts with a wifi picture frame

My Wifi UPnP digital picture frame

For a long time now

I’ve been thinking about the problem of digital artifacts in a physical world. I remember clearly, a fantastic conversation I had with the amazing Jas Dhaliwal about this exact subject when he was up in Manchester recently.

He was looking through my book collection and DVD collection and we got talking about how most of the books on my shelf I’ve never actual read through. Not because I don’t read but because of my dyslexia and I far prefer to read digital books. Which begs the question, what am I doing with a ton of interesting books? Why don’t I just get rid of them and buy the digital equivalents?

Well two reasons…

  1. Physical artefacts are much easier to lend to people and much more likely to be taken seriously by friends currently.
  2. Physical artefacts are easier, cheaper and better suited for display.  And I want to display who I am through my choices of the media I buy (rightly or wrongly*)
* Now you could have a massive debate about should you be defined by the things you own or what but… frankly this isn’t the time do that.
As Jas said in the latest techgrumps, its all about the digital artefacts representing you… And with that all in mind, I bought a wifi enabled picture frame for a very good price at my local Currys outlet store.
I bought one before but it was crap because it couldn’t connect to anything on my local network, just remote services. However this one does have the advantage of Universal Plug n Play, which raises it above most of the wifi enabled picture frames.
I complained on the same techgrumps podcast that I couldn’t get anything to talk to it but I finally used Ushare and bingo everything started working. So right now, I got the plan to either,
  1. Install Ushare on my xbmc box so I can share movie fan art and titles from XBMC
  2. Setup a rsync between my xbmc box and my server (already running uShare)
  3. Move the xbmc database to my server which has the benefit of a shared library system.
  4. Investigate the built in xbmc UPnP server
Either way, it looks like I’ll be keeping the photo frame strictly for the purpose of replacing my digital film collection with something an analogue artefact. This is also where a large scale eink display would be ideal.
I’ll post something along these lines on the XBMC forums to see what people think. Maybe they might even be able to help, the recent fan art stuff certainly will help too

Paramount goes with no DRM bittorrent distribution

I’ve been meaning to blog this for a while but

In a little over two months time, the long-awaited horror movie The Tunnel will receive its world premiere. Rather than a traditional theatrical release, the movie – which is set in abandoned real-life tunnels under Sydney, Australia – will make its debut online for free with BitTorrent. Simultaneously it will be released on physical DVD, to be distributed by Hollywood giant Paramount Pictures.

I almost fell off my chair when I heard the news that Paramount will be releasing the Tunnel for free on bit torrent with no DRM of any kind!

No matter what the film is like, Paramount and the guys behind the tunnel have basically won. A film which would have gone straight to DVD somewhere in a junk bin somewhere could just have been elevated to the most downloaded movie of May (maybe).

Someone in Paramount must have done the maths…

The movie budget was $135000 and to be honest any film will easily eat that for a worldwide publicity. On top of that, its a small risk. The copyright owners (the team who created the film keep the copyright and are licensing it to Paramount) have created something which looks like a cross between Blair witch project and Creep so its got limited mainstream appeal. In actual fact, it would have made more sense of films like FAQ: about time travel would have blown away everything else if they had choose to do release in the same way. I also wonder if the process can be popular enough to get stuff back into the cinemas? Bit like my experience of Donnie Darko.

Paramount gets a Kudos +1 from me…

The end of optical media? Goodbye Blu-ray…

Ben metcalfe has a blog post about Apple’s move to remove all optical drives from there new range of laptops.

You can install an operating system from any external drive – it doesn’t have to be a DVD, it can be a USB disk, external hard drive or even an SD card. But you do need some kind of external disk, in case you can’t boot into the laptop, leaving the OS as the only piece of software that needs to be delivered via physical medium.

You can already download iLife and iWorks via the internet and license them online. And with the announcement of the App Store for Mac, Apple is clearly signaling the end of physical distribution of software.

Tell the truth although I quite like the idea of optical drives, I’ve lived without them for years. I had a Toshiba tablet PC back when I was in university/college and it had no optical drive but lots of flash media slots. I guess now the Mac supports SD its a lot easier to imagine the ability to remove optical drives.

So in one mind, I’m thinking great but something also comes to mind, and ben’s on the money with this.

Finally, if you subscribe to the Steve Jobs way of consuming media, the CD and DVD also dead there too. All the music, tv and films you could ever want are available for download via iTunes – be it to your Mac, iPhone or AppleTV.

Even if you consume your media independently, the Amazon MP3 store, music-on-demand services such Pandora and the continued widespread use of p2p all support the end of the physical distribution of media. NetFlix (probably anticipating this) are about to release a streaming-only service very soon too.

If you subscribe to the Steve Jobs way of thinking. Well I don’t but I’m interesting in the battle between online media and optical drives. Steve Jobs has always seemed to hate Blu-ray and I’m wondering if this strategy will shift to the desktop machines too? I’m sure control over all entertainment media is in Steve Jobs master plan somewhere?

Done the impossible – Firefly/Serenity Documentary

Done the impossible DVD

Adam Baldwin hosts the telling of this vivid Browncoat story that features interviews with Joss Whedon, creator of Firefly and Serenity, the cast, crew, and most importantly the fans themselves.

The story chronicles the rise, fall, and rebirth of the cult TV show “Firefly” as told from the perspective of the fans who helped save it. In this documentary, fans of the movie and TV series explain what inspired them to become passionate about Firefly, to help save Firefly, attend shindigs, participate in message boards, donate to charities, and become Serenity extras. They talk about the many ways that Firefly has affected their lives. Cast and crew also share humorous and insightful experiences with the fans.

Did I mention you can also download the documentary off torrent sites legally. Its been released under a creative commons licence so download and watch it to your hearts content. Cleverly there using it as a promotional tool for the actual DVD, and honestly I've bought the firefly DVD already and am planning to get Serentiy on DVD. I'll certainly get this on DVD too. If this goes towards a 2nd film or season then great. Oh I couldn't help post up this part which came in the info file.

[Why Release a “Free” version]

Great question, two answers.

1. We philosophically agree with the concepts of Creative Commons. In our opinion, the modern state of copyright is counter productive to creativity and free culture. It puts unnatural restraints on “fair use”, hinders the creative process and has fundamentally destroyed an entire industry before it was even born. Just think of the amazing products, enhancements, embellishments and re-mixes to creative works that could be built with today's technology and talents. But because modern copyrights are so restrictive, nobody dares do anything that *might* infringe on somebody's oh so holy copyright. Thus, we have chosen to not go down that road with our documentary. Enjoy it, share it, re-mix it all you like, just be sure to follow the license below. But remember, producing this documentary was not cheap, so please support the creators of the documentary and it's soundtrack by purchasing the full DVD and soundtrack at:

http://www.DoneTheImpossible.com

(or just send us some money via PayPal: jeremy@neish.com, we won't mind…)

2. This release is a preemptive strike. Somebody would have released our documentary via P2P (bittorrent, etc) anyway. By releasing it ourselves, we at least have control over the quality and exact content. Basically the documentary becomes a marketing tool for the full DVD with all of it's extensive special feature described above.

If you purchased our DVD and are feeling a bit slighted by this “free” release, we understand. But remember, somebody else would have released it anyway, so why not us? And remember your DVD contains much more than this P2P release of the documentary.

The P2P release of Done the Impossible was originally released on LegalTorrents.com, please respect copyrights, even if you don't fully agree with the current implementation.

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