Media City UK? Its not about the buildings

Media City UK

The current state of Media City UK? Well its coming along very quickly and nicely. I had planned to take some photos myself but the day I went down there it was wet and not very nice. Obviously the buildings are nice, but its the change of culture which I'm doing my bit to change which interests me more. Unfortunately this is shared by everyone.

Ariel with TimB on the cover

Take the recent issue of Ariel (BBC's internal newspaper) Tim-Berners Lee on the front cover with a question will internet kill tv? First up should this even be a question at all? Secondly the article says goto page 7? and you get a little bit more and nothing much else. Greatly disappointing! I stand by the notion of broadcast being dead or at least on its last legs. How a public broadcaster can move beyond its broadcasting roots interests me and I think the result of that culture change could happen in Media City.

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The review of Marina Abramović

Eun-hye Hwang

So I spent most of the day at Marina Abramović presents which was part of the Manchester’s International Festival. And I can say it was an impressive day. I won’t go into much detail just incase Marina does decided to run the event again using the same artist.

So they were right, its challenging. for example at one point I was attempting to clean someones teeth with a toothbrush and at another point a naked lady shuffled up to me and stared me in the face from about half a meter away. Marina introduces the whole experience in a room full of people for the first hour. She runs a series of exercises to calm your breathing and get you use to understanding long duration art. One of those exercises is drinking a small cup of water but over a period of 10mins.
There’s also a period of staring a strangers face for up to 5mins.

After spending a hour with Marina your ready to make your own way through the rest of the experiences.

There were about 12 different artists performing through the day, some of my favourite included Nico Vascellari‘s songs which involved banging tin and rocks together in a basement with a additional sound track coming from the 2nd floor. Eunhye Hwang did some very interesting things with radios and the public. If you wait long enough, you will see Jelly and Radio, I’ll say no more. Nikhil Chopra spent hours drawing over the walls and floor using charcoal, according to others over time he sketched many pictures, which here would later scribled over it.

Really wrorth going and I’m glad I went along


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Marina Abramović Presents…

Following the iconoclastic Il Tempo del Postino in 2007, MIF returns to the crossroads of visual art and performance, inviting world-renowned artist Marina Abramović to curate an epic group show featuring some of the most innovative live artists working today.

For this groundbreaking event, the Whitworth has emptied every gallery space in order to create room for this unique work to develop and breathe. The show will begin with an hour-long performance initiation with Marina Abramović, leading up to a series of extraordinary encounters between artists and audience. Quite unlike anything staged before in the UK, this will be a provocative and visceral experience.

Everyone seems to be talking about this event/performance/experience, and I have the pleasure of going tomorrow. The Telegraph said it was shocking and bizarre and someone else told me they heard Mark Lawson had reviewed it on Radio 4 just recently. I’m starting to wonder if its so intense? And what is in store for me tomorrow? If all goes well I should try and get tickets for the Adam Curtis mixed media documentary, it felt like a kiss.

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A ton of new mixes are now available

While my blog was down, I was also on the train a lot. That means I had plenty of long journeys to create mixes using my pacemaker. I have uploaded 4 which I was pleased about.
In the Park during daylight mix – was recorded while I was lying in a central Manchester Park during the hot spell of weather we recently had. Its quite up beat and rocks along with some good memorable tunes. All the way into space mix was recorded during the same hot weather but on a recent journey back from somewhere in London to my hotel in West London late at night. I remember walking most of the journey because I wanted to keep the mix going for quite a while. And at 2hours long you can get a feel for how long that walk was. Sunbeams at dusk mix was recorded on the circle line tube. Its quite short, but so was the journey. It was meant to be very uplifting and I had planned to create a mix for a dj competition that I had seen online, but I know I can do so much better so I created Sheffield sizzles in the late night mix which now on reflection is maybe too dark for a dj mixing contest. I tell a slight lie because actually I created a mix called London Sizzles in the late night but wasn't happy with a couple of the tunes and so went about recreating the mix again but with those tune changes. The sheffield mix has the right tunes but isn't mixed as well as the London one. So I really need to work on that.

I've been checking out some the video blogs from djs and came across Dj SOS whos a female drum & bass dj. And it got me thinking I should do more live mixes on internet radio like I use to, I'm not sure video would work as well however, although you could get to see the weird and wonder locations I dj from. Certainly beats Dj Sos's party garage.

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Running Android on HTC phones

Android on Touch HD

So I'm getting more and more fed up with Windows Mobile as a operating system for my mobile phones, and finally the idea of this closed marketplace tipped me over the top. So I tried to first install Android on my HTC Touch HD and then later on my HTC Diamond. Sad to none of them have worked enough to give me a complete android operating system but I did want to point out where to go if you wanted to try it yourself. There's a lot of fluff out there and so it can be difficult to find exactly how to do it correctly.

So if you have a Orange HTC Touch HD aka HTC Blackstone you want to follow this guide to installing Android 1.0.

  1. Disable the PIN from wince
  2. Unzip to your SD card (it should create a directory named tmp):

  3. Unplug your phone from the USB or configure it to use “Activesync” and not “Disk Drive”.
  4. Softreset or reboot (switch off and on) your phone
  5. Run haret.exe on your phone (under /tmp/boot)

If you have a Orange Touch Diamond or HTC Raphael or O2 XDA you want to follow this link.

  1. Download this file diam-20081229.tar.gz Mirror
  2. You also need a copy of Haret.exe.
  3. Unpack diam-20081229.tar.gz to your computer (e.g. your dekstop).
  4. Create a folder on your Diamond's Internal Storage named 'tmp' and put the three files from the 'imgs' folder from the zip, along with the three files in the root of the zip (initrd…gz, default.txt and zImage) and the 'haret-0.5.2' executable into that folder
  5. Start haret from your Diamond.
  6. When nothing is happening ond screen anymore type '/' (without the quotes) and press enter.
  7. Android should now boot!

Best thing about these procedures is that if it works it doesn't screw up Windows Mobile so you can still use it after a soft restart. So you might as well try it and see what happens.

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Microsoft, the word your looking for is differentiating

TechCrunch has a post about the launch date of the Windows Mobile store and all the mistakes Microsoft are making.

Microsoft is stepping into this game ridiculously late. While there are already an estimated 20,000 applications for the Windows Mobile platform out there. Marketplace will only be available to WinMo 6.5 users next Fall and to 6.0 and 6.1 users by the end of this year. Microsoft is essentially acknowledging Apple got it right with its App Store years ago and is only now trying to follow in its footsteps.

n the meantime, Google has already gone live with the Android Market, while RIM has its App World for BlackBerry, Palm has introduced its App Catalog store and Nokia recently took the wraps off its Ovi Store. Heck, even handset maker LG beat Microsoft by launching its own application store with about 1,400 apps for Windows Mobile-powered phones just yesterday.

I wonder if by the time Microsoft finally gets around to pushing Marketplace for Mobile live, people are going to have a problem looking at it as a differentiating product rather than as a late catch-up play by Redmond.

Like I mentioned ages at Microsoft's Mix09, they should not have simply copied Apple. Even the revenue share is the same! They really had the chance to do something different but oh no, we need to play it safe. They should have taken advantage of the open nature of Windows mobile phones. Bluetooth sharing could have been huge for adhoc transfering of apps. But oh no play it safe. Well I'm this close to switching over to Android now.

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XHTML 2 Working Group Expected to Stop Work End of 2009, W3C to Increase Resources on HTML 5

Ok I'm not going weight into this because I think its personally all going to sort its self out with a hybrid mix of xhtml 2.0 and html 5.0. Gareth Rushgrove has written much more about the issue and I agree with him too. The fear and misunderstanding around this whole thing is scary. If people actually read the FAQ's they might also get it.

Does W3C plan for the XML serialization of HTML to support XML namespaces?

Yes. The HTML 5 specification says in section 9.1 “The syntax for
using HTML with XML, whether in XHTML documents or embedded in other
XML documents, is defined in the XML and Namespaces in XML

However, see the question below for the relationship between
XML namespaces and decentralized extensibility.

What are W3C's plans for RDFa?

RDFa is a specification for attributes to express structured data in
any markup language. W3C published RDFa as a Recommendation in October
2008, and deployment continues to grow.

The HTML Working Group has not yet incorporated RDFa into their
drafts of HTML 5. Whether and how to include RDFa into HTML 5 is an
open question on which we expect further discussion from the
community (see also the question on decentralized extensibility).

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Bypass Windows & Linux Passwords via hak.5

I love hak.5, its the perfect example of niche content. Every episode has something new and interesting in it for someone like myself. The ESXi virtualisation stuff has been pretty good, and the WPA hacking (i mean) self-evaluating almost got me writing. But what killed me was Kon-boot. I looked it up on and found this.

Kon-Boot is an prototype piece of software which allows to change contents of a Linux kernel (and now Windows kernel also!!!) on the fly (while booting).

In the current compilation state it allows to log into a Linux system as ’root’ user without typing the correct password or to elevate privileges from current user to root. For Windows systems it allows to enter any password protected profile without any knowledge of the password.

It was mainly created for Ubuntu, later the author has made a few add-ons to cover some other Linux distributions.

Entire Kon-Boot was written in pure x86 assembly, using old grandpa-geezer TASM 4.0.

How do you stop this happening? Add a BIOS password and Encrypt your hard drive. But look out, the cold boot hack is becoming actually possible for the seasoned IT professional. Shocking stuff, well done to the hak.5 guys for covering this stuff well.

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Filmriot: Where the adverts are worth watching

I watch a lot of the Revision3 programmes such as Diggnation, Tekzilla, Scam School and of course my old favourite Hak.5. But I've also been getting into some of there newer programmes too. Co-op, Diggreel, ROFL and finally Filmriot.

Filmriot is a strange one, it shows budding film makers how to do some of those film effects you've seen around. Everything from doing decent head gunshots to shooting dusk shots in bright sunshine. A lot of the stuff is done outside the computer using clever camera tricks and I'm sure most of it is learned on a film makers course within the first few months, but its actually very well put together and looks great in HD.

But what gets me is the inline adverts within the show. I think the Co-op guys started the trend of adverts which match in with the style of the show but these guys at Film Riot have taken it to another level. The adverts are actually worth watching just to see what the guys have done this time around. It may have taken them a while to do it and they may recycle them a few times but it certainly beats the standard adverts. I'm not saying this is the future of advertising or anything, just interesting. I posted the another one here.

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Tomboy notes, be afraid evernote

Snowy showing Tomboy notes

I can't even remember when this was mentioned. It might have been at BarCampSheffield or a event before that. But the news that someone was working on a web front end/web application for tomboy notes totally shook my world.

Snowy is a online service that syncs with Tomboy notes to allow complete access to your notes online. Its uses Django to create a REST API for Tomboy notes, so other applications beyond Snowy can take advantage of your notes too. This means you can easily create a web app for your mobile phone or other devices. Hell, you could consume your notes into yahoo pipes or other mashup tools. Unfortunately its still early days for Snowy and so isn't all there quite yet. However its GNU's Affero General Public License (AGPL) and built to take advantage of developments like HTML5. So you can imagine how easy it would be to build this into google wave and many other clients. Being AGPL also means it will take a similar route to software like la.conica. I expect there will be services which will host snowy for you such as Canonical's Ubuntu One service (lets not go there now about it) and Apple's dot mac. But you can also host it yourself too, which may work better if your worried about privacy or want to share between a small group of people.

I had no idea Tomboy Notes was available on Windows and Mac too. I had only come across it when I switched to Ubuntu. I also had no idea that there was already a Firefox addon for tomboynotes but I had heard of the Tomboy Android app (which might have been the thing which got me looking a little deeper into snowy). I like Evernote, it works but I'm frankly pissed off with the evernote attitude to the Linux platform. They refuse to create a application because theres not a big enough market, but they create a windows mobile version? They also seem to be about the shiny shiny, I mean a palm pre version but not a symbian or android version? I also expect the Windows mobile version will be dropped soon as version 3 is rolled out. Anyway, I'm also getting frankly fed up of the single nature of it too. You can't share notes and its engineered that way, its part of the evernote philosophy (till a few days ago). I just think although I like evernote, somewhere along the line my relationship with there service is going to get even more broken that it is now. Its bad enough having to run Evernote through Wine or Prism, neither work well and theres no way its just a app which you can leave open.

This is why I think I should just convert to Tomboy notes now and dump evernote. The client is on almost every machine I use, its seemless on the gnome desktop. Theres already API, good syncing and the ability to get linking data versions of the notes. More and more applications are intergrating with tomboynotes. For example Gnome-Do searches and allows me to write notes super fast, Conduit can sync notes and Gwibber now allows you to save messages out to Tomboy. I have seen all types of addons for tomboynotes including the ability to even blog from Tomboynotes (which if it works, will solve one of my long running problems with linux). If I could get Evolution to work with Tomboy, I'll be dancing around the room.

So the long and short of it is that the alternative to evernote via tomboynotes is certainly possible. Some would say, well your missing lots of things evernote does but I'm sure you can either write a plugin for it or even provide a online service for it.

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Those flats in New Islington

Urbansplash's Chips and Islington Wharf

So when I wrote the entry about the flats, it was late and I didn't go into much detail about the flats themselves. Its hard to because for example islington wharf doesn't yet have the floor plans up yet and its worth noting that theres 20 different types of styled apartments. Chips I do have the floor plans for but again theres many different types. A couple of friends did comment on Facebook about the entry which I noticed in Gwibber.

Rachel Clarke –

I'm quite liking the quirkiness of Chips, at least from those 2 sites which don't give a lot away.

Sheila Thomson –

Both buildings look amazing! Am green with envy /images/emoticons/happy.gif As Rachel says, there's very little info to go on here though, so based purely on architectural style, I'd say Chips.

So from memory here's the deal

Islington Wharf

Islington Wharf – The flats I was looking at have two bedrooms and two bathrooms. The view is looking north towards the Manchester City ground and the rest of Ancoats (its 25k extra for the same looking south into Manchester Central). From memory the 2nd bedroom is slightly bigger that what I have now for a 2nd bedroom, so it holds a double bed and wardrobe and not a lot more. The 1st bedroom is the same as what I have now. The living room is open plan and includes the kitchen which has everything including dishwasher, fridge freezer, etc. There's no balcony space but there is a huge communal grass covered area bigger that the size of a couple basketball courts. On top of that there is a large decking area, for when the grass is wet or you want to do a bbq or something. Its on the 2nd floor above the carpark, so its residents only. The carpark is secure and comes with the flat, I think theres even bike parking space, so I could rent out my space to someone else. The windows on the living room are huge and I can choose between a 2nd floor and 9th floor apartment. Of course it has two lifts and only about 6 flats per floor. Each floor has sound proofing between the floors and the general build quality is very good. Generally this is a great flat with some good views and a standard formation.


Chips – There is only one flat I'm really considering to buy and its on the 4th floor. Two bedrooms and one bathroom, on the east side of the Chips building. I can see the City ground again from the living room. This flat has a thin balcony which you can stand on but not much else. Like Islington Wharf there is a communal outdoor area and its on the back of chips. Its about quite large but no where near the size of the space in Islington Wharf. There is a carpark but its going to cost extra or you can park on the wasteland for free which is outside chips right now. Chips looks pretty impressive and its super styled inside too. Pink and Black walls with bear stone work ceilings. Inside the apts its white but theres elements of bright colours. For example the kitchen covers are cherry red and the sliding door for the 2nd bedroom is Green. Yes you heard me right, sliding door. Its a odd layout too, like a ring with a bedroom off one end. If like me your not using the 2nd bedroom as a bedroom, you can pull the door back and make the living room much larger. and to be honest it needs extending because the space is small. The bedrooms are smaller that islington wharf again but rooms do have those great european windows which open 2 ways and there huge. The general build quality isn't as good as the other one and you don't get a washing machine or dishwasher but you do get a quirky layout and a bit of cupboard space in one of the most known developments in Manchester.

So a couple of other things. Urbansplash the maker of Chips are well known for quirky designs and to be fair there not for everyone. So the resale value maybe very different. I also heard from someone that Urban Splash's development in Sheffield had fallen through and that the company might be experiencing a few problems. Islington Wharf is sometimes refered to as the fishbowl because you can see directly in and theres no curtains/blinds when you buy the flat. So which one would you choose if you were in my position?

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