The Price of Property, Fools Gold (Manchester)

price of property screengrab by you.

So if you missed it, the Price of Property on Channel4 (ep3 of 4) was all about Manchester. It had everything in it from the new place Urbansplash was advertising to me a few weeks back to the megabucks deansgate tower (all of 5mins walk from where I live). But what was most interesting was the woman who paid for 7 flats without looking at them in person. Yes its tragic, but the flats which they filmed her going into were the the Danube flats. Yes my block of flats. She's has the bigger balcony that myself but everything is exactly the same. More pictures here.

Generally the documentary series is interesting and worth catching if you can. Its certainly made me think more twice about buying a flat in Manchester at this current moment. I might even be better moving out and into a another set of flats. Rental pricing is going down and that means those penthouse appartments are even more affordable.

Comments [Comments]
Trackbacks [0]

XBMC media centre, what every large TV was made to display

I did do a session about the XBMC media centre and Boxee at BarCampLondon5, but unfortunately I picked 10am on Sunday morning which was too early really. So I had a grand total of about 5 people listening. Anyway, one of the things I remember talking about at the session was the attention to ui detail xbmc always had. Its almost unlike any other open source project I know of, the technical and  interface attentions have been equally catered for. Last night (4am) before the talk but of course after playing werewolf. I got Boxee working and I installed the mediastream skin in XBMC. I was amazed… Then I saw it on the 50inch Plasma during my talk and WOW! And that was over a analogue VGA connection on a cloned screen. So when I finally got home a hour ago, I tried it on my dedicated XBMC and Boxee machine over HDMI using the correct rez.

All I can say is, this is what my LCD has been waiting for. Corner to corner smooth but uncluttered ui to play all my media on.

I have got to give a huge shout to not only to the mediastream guys who are uk based but also Vinci, Focus, Aeon and of course Project Mayhem (Germany I think)

Here's some screenshots from Vinci as a appetiser. I can't wait to start playing with the scripts and remote controls now.

Comments [Comments]
Trackbacks [0]

Further evidence of lock in…

Yammer logo

Tristan Ferne found this the other day,

CEO David Sacks says there are now 10,000 networks and 50,000 users just one week in. Yammer’s business model is to let people use the service for free, spreading it throughout the enterprise. When and if a company wants to take administrative control over the account, Yammer charges $1/user/month. Administrators can set access controls, such as IP controls and SSL.

The company already allows interaction with the service via the site, an AIR client, iPhone, Blackberry, IM, SMS and email. This evening they’ve also launched an API to allow third party developers to build Yammer into their applications.

Maybe it might start at one dollar a month but who knows what it might turn into, because by then your enterprise social network is in there hands. I have no idea why we're not running to faster. Maybe because it will actually require someone to set it up, keep it running and administrate it?

Comments [Comments]
Trackbacks [0]

Whats the unique selling point for non-geeks to buy the Gphone?

HTC create the most advanced mobile devices in the world I would say. And i'm not the only one who would say this either thankfully. They've made Windows Mobile actually attractive and affordable enough. So if you replaced Windows Mobile with almost anything else and you will get one hell of a Geek phone. So great, a phone which the geeks and developers always wanted, but what's going to be the unique selling point for non-geeks? This is the question I pose to the Google's Mike Jennings at Google Developer Day last week.

His answer “Software” was less that satisfactory. I mean you got two phones which look exactly like, they do the same stuff, are priced about the same only one has windows on it and the other google. As a non-geek user which one which you pick? Seriously, which one? Google are going about this all too geek like. Yes developers and geeks will buy the Gphones but unless they put a bundle of goodies on the phone which you can't get anywhere else, there going to lose out. I mean simply putting Google maps, Gmail and Google Search on the device isn't going to cut it. My Windows mobile currently has all that plus thanks to the OpenGL drivers written by the community (no thanks to HTC for that) equalivent OpenGL support. Maybe a few years back when Windows Mobile weren't so open you could make the point that the Gphone software arguement would hold up. But recently I've seen everything including the dialer, mail client and gui replaced if required. For example PointUI's Home. It replaces most of windows mobile user interface with a custom one. I did show Mike Jennings the interface and he was very suprised how customised my windows mobile phone was. So I expect most of the apps which get built on the Gphone will be build on Windows Mobile too and vice-versa.

So what is the unique selling point going to be? I'm starting to think Google are happy with it just being a project thats on going – just an alternative. Never really going to be number one, but then again won't cost much to keep going. A bit like Chrome?

Comments [Comments]
Trackbacks [0]

Sending data into the Cloud, but what about getting it back?

So I've been thinking a lot about cloud computing recently and wanted to share a couple of interesting uses of sensor to cloud to visualisation application.

While at BarCampBrighton3, Tom Morris showed me Rescue Time. I originally poopoo'ed it because Miles had showed me about a year ago something exactly the same but it only worked on OSX. But after a little research, I had found the community driven Linux version and was up and running shortly afterwards. My main reason for doing this was to track what I'm doing for work and myself. So I'm now generating tons of data and have to find ways to filter/transform it automaticlly into our BBC time tracking system. Of course I wouldn't have signed up if there wasn't plans to allow you to take your data away later. There's already widgets which are useful but a API is being planned along with other developer tools.

Generally my computer has a little sensor (application in this case) which it uses to work out what application your using and for how long. The real number crunching is then done in the crowd along with the other stacks of data from you and other users. The data is then turned into information which in much more digestable. Don't get me wrong this isn't new, much talked about Fitbit does the exactly the same thing. The little sensor will track how much activity you have been up to while walking, running, working out or even sleeping. This is then sync'ed with a computer and made sense of in the cloud. I think the Nike+iPod thing also does roughly the same but also like Fitbit, I wonder how much of the data will be available to reuse, share and takeaway?

Your creating the data and although they are doing the analysis and processing, is it really a fair swap? I mean once they have the data its entirely possible for them to find trends across multiple users and offer advertising, discounts, etc to those users. So revenue shouldn't be a problem. But if these guys were to make the data available again, you could just imagine the kind of services and applications 3rd parties will make. Something I was alerted to a while back was the amount of services which are offered off the back of Basecamp's API and Data.

Cloud/Utility computing is powerful and with good portability and interoperability it can work to form a good ecosystem for both the user and the provider. Unfortunately this is all being over looked or considered at a much later stage. No wonder people are very edgy about cloud computing.

Comments [Comments]
Trackbacks [0]

Death to the ipod : Remixing for the participatory generation

At long last I've uploaded my Pacemaker presentation which a few people have seen at BarCampLeeds2 and BarCampBrighton3. I keep meaning to add more to the presentation, but I just find it easier if people simply just get up and have a go for 5mins. Enjoy…

Comments [Comments]
Trackbacks [0]

XBMC (the ultimate media experience) now on all platforms!

Hot off the internet's… Xbox Media Centre is now available for Linux, Mac and Windows platforms. Amazingly, there's even a ISO image which means people can try XBMC from a CD or USB drive without installing it. I'm so excited, that I'm attempting to download the binaries over my HSDPA connection on the train, as I pass through Rugby going to Manchester.

Mark III by XBMC Media Center.

For everyone's never tried out XBMC, please give it a spin. You will be shocked how well everything just works and its still in Beta. I have always been a fan of XBMC and to tell the truth I can't imagine not using anything else… Right enough said, download it and try it out for yourself.

Comments [Comments]
Trackbacks [0]

P2P Next (live end to end peer2peer streaming)


John and George are better at explaining P2P-Next that myself, but I got this working the other day over my mobile phone's 3G/HSDPA connection and I was very impressed. Seriously its amazing and you can try it out for yourself on the trial.

p2p-next looks like anything else on display at IBC until you understand what it's doing. live p2p video streaming based on the tribler infrastructure. a potential solution to iplayer success…
great project involving BBC's george wright and the EBU amongst others. of course not just video can use this. nice work

Comments [Comments]
Trackbacks [0]

Yammer – Microblogging for enterprise?

BBC Yammer

I'm not feeling Someone suggested it, set it up and now everyones joining on it. Why Yammer over others I don't know. Don't get me wrong its a good idea, Twitter for enterprise but there's some things I'm not so sure about.

First one is the mobile access. Yes there's a iphone client (yawn!) but sms access is restricted to a few American carriers, so realisticlly after the Twitter announcement, yammer are not likely to offer SMS access to the UK. Which means our communication tool for the BBC is crippled. If Yammer were clever they would offer packages which companies pay for, so at least there's the opportunity for SMS/Text.

Second, does Yammer support the open micro-blogging standard? It certainly doesn't look like it. This is bad news, specially seeing how we now have about 70 BBC people using it now. I'm sure tomorrow it will double again.

Third, I did look through the Yammer terms and conditions which seemed ok-ish from a portability and licensing point of view. They have ATOM/RSS feeds for most things but where's the API people? Come on, this is becoming un-acceptable already.

Forth and last for now. What about Not only is it enterprise friendly, strictly supports the open microblogging standard and is moving to pure XMPP but it also federates with other services. I was trying to explain federation to someone the other day and they pointed out it works like usenet, email and irc (which bodes well, I think). Anyway, the next thing makes me sure Yammer isn't the right path is Twhirl's new support for There's something about the strict tight line between internal and external, which is interesting. At least with, its possible to blend the line in a organised way, but I want to know why I can't use my OpenID and why I can't import BBC people off my friends list elsewhere.

Oh I just noticed James has also blogged about the same thing but he has a totally different view point.

Comments [Comments]
Trackbacks [0]

A couple of interesting features found recently

exaile's last.FM dynamic feature

This little feature, submits the current song to and uses its unique database to recommend which tunes to play next. Its simple, effective and I've not seen anything like it anywhere else till itunes 8 introduced the genius feature.

interesting evolution feature

This took me by surprise, I was sending a email and mentioning a attachment from a previous email but Evolution decided to ask me the above question. I got to say it was well received although it was wrong.

Comments [Comments]
Trackbacks [0]

Sharing critical documentaries

Saw this on Rocketboom today (yes I still watch it). Its a guy who gives away copies of documentaries like Sicko on DVD in a Subway station in New York. It seems like all the films he's copying and giving away are rights cleared (except maybe Sicko). Anyway I thought it was a great way to educate and enlighten people. Also get people talking and debating. He describes at the end how people will stand around and start talking to each other about the films and there meaning.

Without going into much detail, one of the elements for the ARG a few of us are still working on, includes the mass distribution of information in a public area. This might be a really good solution.

Comments [Comments]
Trackbacks [0]