FOWA: Some evening fun with Diggnation

After a number of interesting panels in the day, it was time for beers and Diggnation.

Think of being 10 years old and looking up to your biggest, most favourite music star. Now imagine the excitement if you were told you’d get to meet them. That’s how I felt yesterday.

Vero & Alex @ Diggnation live in London

I filmed a good part of the live Diggnation show (which I’ll put online tonight), but then the guys bravely took on the mobs of 16 year olds and joined the Carsonified party at the Excel pub. Once the crowds went home, only a few people were left. But surprise, while Kevin buggered off to the hotel, Alex and the Totally Rad Show guys stayed for some drinks! Having a chat with them, they’re just as lovely as I’d hoped.

If this kind of event and show format is the future of TV, I’m going to feel right at home.

Apple TV, Diggnation and chicken stories

A few weeks ago, we bought an Apple TV. For those who aren’t familiar with it but have used a recent Mac, just picture it as Front Row on steroids. And on your TV.

Apple TV

The first logical thing to do was to put as much music as possible on its weighty 160GB hard drive, so that we could listen to it without worrying about having a laptop nearby to control the music being piped out by an Airport Express into the lounge stereo. While that was good, it became about 10 times better once we added our own pictures instead of the handful of default flower pictures Apple sticks on the Apple TV!

Every time we listen to music in the lounge now, we’re treated to a medley of pictures going back as far as ten years. “Who on earth is that?” “Was my hair seriously that bad?” “Wow, she was drunk at that wedding…” It’s a laugh really. As long as there are no cheeky snapshots of me in only my underwear, post-sunburn on holiday, trying to take a tank top off while causing myself the least amount of pain possible. *grumbles*

But in the past few days, we’ve discovered a whole new side to the Apple TV. Video podcasts. I’m not new to podcasts at all, or videocasts. But watching them on a normal tv instead of the corner of your computer while you’re working brings them to life.

My video podcast diet recently has mostly consisted of:

  • Diggnation episodes: The format is two guys sitting on a sofa (Kevin Rose and Alex Albrecht), some beers, two laptops, a bunch of ranty stories. Somehow, it should suck. Yet, it’s oddly entertaining.
  • Some Ctrl+Alt+Chicken which can be described as non-cooks cooking, drinking and generally risking food poisoning. Or more succintly, as something resembling a TV trainwreck. But I still like it.
  • Some surreal TikiBar TV: Still can’t figure out who’s making money and how out of this show. It’s plain weird.
  • All topped off with a few eps of the Merlin Show which hasn’t had me as riveted to the TV as I had hoped. I’ll give it another chance though.

You can download any of these via iTunes. And you can feel free to recommend any of your own favourite video, or audio-only, podcasts!

iMovie '08: What the bleep!?

Having just read David Pogue’s review of iMovie ’08, I think it’s safe to say it doesn’t appeal to me and I won’t be rushing out to get a copy. Going from a somewhat buggy but generally nicely featured video editing application to what sounds like a painfully basic piece of software doesn’t strike me as such a great idea.

IMovie ’08, on the other hand, has been totally misnamed. It’s not iMovie at all. In fact, it’s nothing like its predecessor and contains none of the same code or design. It’s designed for an utterly different task, and a lot of people are screaming bloody murder.

The new iMovie was, as Apple admits, designed primarily for throwing together movies quickly. It lets you scan through a clip to see what’s in it, isolate the good parts, and rapidly drop them into a sequence.

But iMovie 6 was just as good at those tasks; you could scrub through, chop and drag its clips just as easily. Meanwhile, iMovie ’08 is incapable of the more sophisticated editing that the old iMovie made so enjoyable. The old iMovie offered the essential tools of professional programs like Final Cut Pro without the cost or complexity.

The new iMovie, for example, is probably the only video-editing program on the market with no timeline—no horizontal, scrolling strip that displays your clips laid end to end, with their lengths representing their durations. You have no indication of how many minutes into your movie you are.

What more can I say? Other than “Bollocks to that, I’m sticking to the old one!”

For the love of Nokia

The ever annoying default Nokia ringtone has inspired a song.

How long until the iPhone marimba ringtone gets the same reaction?

Just can't wait for the iPhone…

I’m still highly undecided on whether the iPhone’s soft keypad having no feel to it or half my makeup transferring onto my screen will be enough to drive me nuts. but I guess it’ll be a long time before I get a real go on one, but I’m looking forward to the Americans’ feedback. Very very curious…

Joost: Party's over, we're pulling the plug

Everyone’s having kittens over getting an invite to Joost these days, with it being one of the most coveted invite-only beta of the moment, and apparently the greatest thing since caramel popcorn.

Joost Beta logo

I’ve had an invite for a few weeks now, and expectations were very high when I first joined. I was less than overwhelmed by it when I first tried it, mostly due to Pipex throttling any P2P connections on suspicion of being illegal activity. Of course, I keep promising myself I’ll go give it another spin very soon from another location, so I may have a more interesting review at a later date.

I found Last100’s comment very interesting on the fact that three hours a month is all some users would get out of Joost:

With an ever greater amount of video being consumed online, many Internet users are in for a shock. There’s a dirty little secret in the broadband industry: Internet Service Providers (ISPs) don’t have the capacity to deliver the bandwidth that they claim to offer. One way ISPs attempt to conceal this problem is to place a cap of say 1GB per-month per user, something which is common in the UK for many of the lower-cost broadband packages on the market. Considering that a mere three hours viewing of Joost (the new online video service from the founders of Skype — see our review) would all but use up this monthly allowance, it’s clear that lots of Internet users aren’t invited to the party.

We all knows ISPs are cheapskates and the fineprint surrounding “unlimited bandwidth” offers always includes a fair use clause and the most frustrating right to throttle connections. Clearly, it appears that the way ISPs define “fair use” differs from my definition or yours.

As far as I’m concerned, fair use should not allow my ISP deciding whether or not the P2P activity occurring on my connection is necessarily illegal filesharing. Joost uses P2P technology to enable faster download speeds and decentralised sharing, but ISPs like Pipex take all the fun out of it.

So the Web 2.0 party is here, but the bouncers have decided not being let me in because I might be dodgy. Looks like I might need to fire that bouncer…

[Via Vecosys]