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Some interesting articles I found on the internet

What next for Blu-Ray?

…Blu-ray must be marketed, merchandised and—most importantly—priced for what it is, not for what the industry might wish it were.

What it is, is a fancy DVD player for those who want to get the most out of their HDTV sets.

Popjustice on the collapse of Zavvi:

You can complain about Zavvi as much as you like – and we have done – but its disappearance from high streets is terrible for music. With Woolworths also going, it means that supermarkets will overnight become even more powerful not just at dictating what music people buy but also – this is the important bit – which artists record labels sign and what music they produce.

Broadstuff: Will user-generated media drown itself?

Essentially, what user generated content does is to take the workload from the editor, and puts it on the end user in the form of a lower signal to noise ratio that reqires the user to do the filtering and editing. There is a limit to how much time people can spend doing this, however. Attention time has a hard stop.

The Guardian: internet age ratings, oh dear oh dear oh dear:

people won’t even do that for browser compatibility, which arguably has more effect on the accessibility of their sites, so they’re not going to do it for one country’s desire for “appropriateness”.

The London Review of Books on gaming as an art form:

The trouble with these games – the majority of them – isn’t that they are maladapted to the real world, it’s that they’re all too well adapted. The people who play them move from an education, much of it spent in front of a computer screen, full of competitive, repetitive, quantifiable, measured progress towards goals determined by others, to a work life, much of it spent in front of a computer screen, full of competitive, repetitive, quantifiable, measured progress towards goals determined by others, and for recreation sit in front of a computer screen and play games full of competitive, repetitive, quantifiable, measured progress towards goals determined by others. Most video games aren’t nearly irresponsible enough.

And a superbly opinionated presentation on the problem with ARGs (Alternate Reality Games).

If I see another broadcaster or, well, anyone, proclaim that the future of entertainment is something like Lonelygirl or KateModern or some other tv show on the web, I’ll kill a broadcaster, thus in the long run doing something concrete to deal with my rage.

15 replies on “Some interesting articles I found on the internet”

On the subject of Blu-Ray… I’ve bought a huge bloody great flat-screen TV now — I forget just how big, 42″ I think — and I still don’t see any problem with DVD. Seems like a nice high resolution to me. I simply never get that “Need to upgrade this technology” feeling with DVD. I’m just hoping Blu-Ray will force the price of DVDs down even further.

Bloody stupid brand name, too.

Re browser compatibility, I know some designers who simply refuse to code IE workarounds and will put disclaimers on the site instead stating that it is not viewable in IE6. With my latest project I’m tempted to join in.

Rather intrigued by the email I got from .net stating that the latest issue is embargoed until 2 January due to a juicy exclusive!

Yeah, haven’t done any Web design in ages, but resolved quite some time ago to put in an “IE may display this weirdly and it ain’t my fault” message on the next one. What convinced me was the way that IE7 doesn’t even support the workarounds that people were forced to invent for IE6. That’s just contemptuous.

>>I’ve bought a huge bloody great flat-screen TV now — I forget just how big, 42″ I think — and I still don’t see any problem with DVD

That’s probably because your idea of big and other people’s doesn’t match.

Other than with games (since you tend to sit right in front of the screen, so you do see a difference since you’re only a foot or two away), I don’t reckon that any HDTV stuff is worth it below 50″ in an average size living room. I’ve tried comparing 720p with 576i pictures and, unless i’m about 18″ or less from the screen on a 42″ TV, the difference is neglible. Also if you’ve got a modern HDMI compliant DVD player, it is probably already upscaling to HDTV resolutions which, although there is no more picture detail, does get rid of a lot of noise. Generally, on a 32″ HDTV most people would not be able to tell the difference between a Blu-ray, HD-DVD or upscaled DVD.

People with 50″ or larger TVs definitely isn’t the market Blu-Ray are trying to sell to. I suppose we’ll shortly see loads of extras on Blu-Ray releases that aren’t on their DVD equivalents — same technique as they used to sell CD to people who saw no quality-based reason to switch from vinyl.

Heather, Squander Two: I’ve also developed a ‘sod it’ attitude to IE6 – be it bundled as Dell or BTYahoo Internet or whatever – I spent god knows how long producing workarounds so that things would display in IE6 as well as Firefox and Safari and then to not have them work in IE7 was somewhat annoying. Add on to that clients who want a slightly different shade of purple, but can’t tell which “until they see it” and aren’t going to listen to any of this nonsense about colour calibration on different monitors or what the font will look like when it’s not in a .psd mock-up and it’s enough to make me go back to genetic engineering (the job applications are in the post).

OT but – nice article in .net, as always.

It brings to mind my recent observation of a workplace which was wallpapered in posters with warnings that “we do not tolerate abuse and aggression against our staff” and which ironically had the most blatantly abusive and aggressive staff I had encountered in years. The way they were acting like petty thugs towards quiet, polite, and innocent customers, who were left standing there stunned at the way they were being treated, was disgusting. It’s the abuser playing the victim, letting the world know that they reserve the right to dish it out, but not to take it, and that they’ll ring the police if you dare to call them on their game.

@heather:
> nice article in .net, as always.

Why, thank you. What am I blabbing about this month? Is it the fitness club/lawyers one? There’s a bit of a gap between writing ’em and them hitting print so I lose track…

> and which ironically had the most blatantly abusive and aggressive staff I had encountered in years.

I’ve noticed that too. Naturally I’d never condone abusing staff, but the signs do tend to appear in places where you’re treated like absolute shite – jobcentres, airports, transport in general, government offices, ikea… for every drunken arse abusing people for no good reason there’s someone at the end of their tether from dealing with a kafkaesque organisation who thinks that having a few scummy customers mean they should operate on the assumption that every customer is scum.

@mupwangle:
> I don’t reckon that any HDTV stuff is worth it below 50″ in an average size living room.

I’d agree. You’re right about HD video recording: i’ve defaulted to 720 because I genuinely can’t see any difference between it and 1080, plus I get more room on my camcorder memory cards. That’s partly the problem with Blu-Ray: my telly simply isn’t big enough for there to be any substantive difference between a plain old DVD (never mind upscaling) and Blu-Ray. It’s hardly moving from VHS to DVD.

@Squander two:
> I suppose we’ll shortly see loads of extras on Blu-Ray releases that aren’t on their DVD equivalents

I’m sure you’re right, but does anybody other than film buffs watch movie extras? I did when I used to review DVDs for work, but since then I don’t think I’ve watched a single one.

I do think with Blu-Ray it comes down to price versus what you get. And what you get is a fractional improvement on DVD, so the price should be fractionally higher. Supermarkets etc have created a situation where DVD is £12ish, £15 for a really big title. Blu-ray at nearly double that is just daft.

> I simply never get that “Need to upgrade this technology” feeling with DVD.

Me too. DVD – particularly with an upscaling player – is good enough. To me Blu-Ray sits in the same camp as Super Audio CD: impressive technically, but I’ve no interest in paying any more for it.

@In Actual Fact:
> I’ve also developed a ’sod it’ attitude to IE6

From a punter point of view, all I care about is that I can access a site – I hate browser sniffers much more than I hate layout issues. IE7’s been out long enough for a “sod IE6” attitude to be perfectly reasonable, I think.

Gary: astroturfing.

ScotRail comes to mind. God knows the staff do put up with some abuse, but one of the main things I love about self-employment is not having to play the idiotic game of “How many Scotrail staff does it take to manually inspect a ticket while giving you a shovelfull of attitude in the space of one hour” twice a day.

> does anybody other than film buffs watch movie extras?

I do. I don’t know whether I qualify as a film buff. Yeah, I suppose I probably am. Albeit one who doesn’t watch many films any more.

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