Media Technology

Biffo on broadcasting

I think I’m a reasonably good writer, and as an occasional mouthpiece on the radio I’m ok at that too. But my two telly experiences have been unmitigated disasters – have you seen Broadcast News? The sweaty bloke? Multiply it by ten and you’ve got me – and when I’m without a script, I’m lost.

The ever reliable Mr Biffo, a man whose writing is ten thousand times funnier than mine, nails it:

When I was writing about videogames for a living I frequently got dragged into TV or radio studios to say something loosely interesting on the topic of games, but I’m sure I always disappointed. I think my Digitiser persona led people to believe that I had a form of Tourette’s, where I spent my life shouting “Moc-moc-a-moc”, and going off on surreal tangents about Mr T’s bins. In reality, when I have a microphone shoved under my nose I’m just a bit dull, mainly because I’m trying very hard not to swear.

…there is a gulf of difference between being able to write to a reasonable degree, and being able to stand in front of a camera and not look like you’re going to be sick.

That, incidentally, is why I blog rather than podcast: I’ve got a reasonably good voice and I’m reasonably good at the delivery, but I wouldn’t be able to do it off the cuff – I’d have to script it. And if I’m going to script it, why not just publish the script and be done with it, instead of reading it out and trying not to swear?

Media Technology

.net’s got a brand new look


The new issue of .net is dubbed the “redesign issue”, partly because the issue’s main focus this month is on redesigning sites, and partly because the magazine itself’s had a revamp. I finally got to see the finished product yesterday and I really like it: the design’s grown up without being dull, and the magazine itself feels more focused – the redesign involves more than just a new look; it also means new sections, new writers and a team of editorial advisors who work at the sharp end of web design and development. But most importantly of all, the cover’s printed on really nice paper.

Hell in a handcart Media Uncategorised

“A guy who can take buttholes, midgets, and fried fish, and make a love story”

This is a fantastic bit of journalism: David Foster Wallace goes to the Adult Video Awards. It’s a very long piece that’s hilarious and depressing in pretty much equal measure:

Alex Dane is now telling Harold Hecuba about a stray dog she found and has decided to keep. She is excited as she describes the dog and for a moment seems about fourteen; the impression lasts only a second or two and is heartbreaking. One of the B-girls, meanwhile, is explaining that she has just gotten a pair of cutting-edge breast implants that she can actually adjust the size of by adding or draining fluid via small valves under her armpits, and then—perhaps mistaking your correspondents’ expressions for ones of disbelief—she raises her arms to display the valves. There really are what appear to be valves.

[Via MetaFilter]

Media Technology

Recommendations wanted

Never mind blogging about blogging: I’m so hardcore that I’m blogging about writing about blogging. And if it works, I might write about it and then blog about the writing about the blogging about the writing about the blogging.
Er… anyway. I’m doing a feature about great British blogs, and I thought I’d ask your good selves whether you’ve become addicted to any good ‘uns. I’ve already got politics, personal and sci/tech/web stuff covered (although if you know of something that’s utterly, blindingly brilliant then by all means let me know) but I’d be interested in any lifestyle/entertainment blogs you like.

As you’d expect, I can’t plug friends’ sites, or my own. Bah.

Media Music

Fake Plastic Trios

There’s a nice wee article in today’s Guardian about Hope Against Hope, a band on Myspace that was offered a gig by Alan “I signed Oasis, me” McGee:

The difference is that Hope Against Hope are a scam, a spoof indie band “with no talent whatsoever” invented by Q magazine in order to prove that the Rupert Murdoch-owned site is now just another cog in the older industry phenomenon of hype.

Hell in a handcart Media Technology

Fascinating and disturbing

The camera never lies, but here’s yet more proof that what appears in print often bears little or no relation to what was actually photographed. Brian Dilg is insanely talented, but his description of a Ralph Lauren job involving a child model has made me utterly depressed:

This is a good example of some very tricky retouching for a very picky client – Polo Ralph Lauren. In addition to making the clothes fit better, they decided they wanted the blouse to be short sleeved. I ended up photographing an adult woman’s arms and compositing them in, as well as extending the background considerably. I was very proud of how I made the lean, muscular adult’s arms plump to to match the girl’s body type, but Polo asked to have them made skinny, just as anorexic as adult models.

Via Metafilter


On the radio

If you’re in the Edinburgh area (or bored in front of a PC) I’ll be on Talk 107 this afternoon (2.15pm, ish) to blather on about DVD piracy, copy protection and that sort of thing.

Media Uncategorised

Don’t put jokes in your first draft…

…if you’re sending a document into the wider world, or Sod’s Law dictates that you’ll forget to take it out. Just ask Greenpeace:

We present it here exactly as it was written, capital letters and all: “In the twenty years since the Chernobyl tragedy, the world’s worst nuclear accident, there have been nearly [FILL IN ALARMIST AND ARMAGEDDONIST FACTOID HERE].”

Had Greenpeace been hacked by a nuke-loving Bush fan? Or was this proof of Greenpeace fear-mongering?

The aghast Greenpeace spokesman who issued the memo, Steve Smith, said a colleague was making a joke by inserting the language in a draft that was then mistakenly released.

Media Technology

Future’s launching two heavyweight sites

So says Rob Mead, and he knows things. They’re not live yet – the launch is scheduled for the Autumn – but TechDaily and TechTested sound really interesting. Me, I don’t know anything about them, but I do know some of the people beavering away on the sites in the background. Judging by their track record (and attitude to this internet malarkey) I’m quite excited by this news.

No doubt any jobs going will be advertised on Futurenet…

Media Technology

Apple can’t decide what constitutes “legitimate journalism”

Interesting court verdict in the US:

a California appeals court decided against Apple today in the company’s bid to force bloggers to turn over sources who leaked information about the Apple product codenamed “Asteroid”… the appeals court roundly rejected [Apple’s] notions as contrary to California’s reporter’s shield law and the state Constitution, effectively stating that it wasn’t Apple’s place to decide what constitutes “legitimate journalism,” and that Apple could have investigated the leak of trade secrets themselves without drawing the websites into the mix.