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Gadget Geeks: Starts Monday the 16th of January, 8pm, Sky1 HD

By on Dec 22, 2011 in Blog, General, Technology, TV | 2 comments

A long time ago I started telling people that I was going to be on a new technology show for Sky1. I had no proof of this, and really everyone was very sweet and took me at my word. Now, finally there’s actually some evidence that I’ve been involved in making a TV show, in the form of a trailer. The show will start on the 16th of January at 8pm on Sky1 HD.  For information about the show, visit my Gadget Geeks...

Product placement is dreadful

By on Dec 5, 2011 in Blog, Rant, TV | 3 comments

Sometimes I hear people say “I don’t see the problem with product placement”. The argument most often given, is that by placing products into a show, we give it a sense of realism that it wouldn’t otherwise have had. In soaps, for example, it’s claimed that the characters asking for a “pint of beer” is unrealistic, because everyone asks for a brand. Well, ignoring the fact that you can’t place beer in a TV show, because of the OFCOM rules, why does it detract from the drama. If someone asking for a beer, rather than a Carlsberg, is distracting you from the show, then there is a wide problem. Either your attention span is too short, or the show isn’t engaging you. But what people don’t realise is that that, when you allow product placement, what you open yourself up to, is this:   In that clip, an advert for a car...

The Top Gear theme tune Jeremy Clarkson banned

By on Nov 11, 2011 in Blog, General, TV | 11 comments

Several years ago, I worked on Top Gear. I was responsible for the website, and each week I’d go to the studio to take photos and watch the recording. It was one of the best jobs I’ve ever done. Looking through some old files recently, I unearthed a version of the Top Gear theme tune that was mixed when the show got a refresh. This was around the time they moved to a new studio (a different hangar on the same airfield) and got Top Gear Dog, who was another feature that didn’t last very long. Fans of Top Gear will note that the opening titles are similar to the ones that are currently attached to the show. But the main difference is the music. Have a watch (and listen). From what I was told at the time, Jeremy was not a fan. One of the production team told me that he exclaimed that it would make them (the presenters) look like idiots. He might have used more fruity...

Spotify, now with 97% extra idiocy

By on Sep 27, 2011 in Blog, Rant, Technology, x | 8 comments

From today, to sign up to Spotify, you’ll need to have a Facebook account. This is one of the most idiotic decisions ever made by a company. And that’s not just my opinion, that’s an actual fact. When Spotify launched, the press lauded it as a game changer. I know, because I was one of the members of the press who so lauded it. At the time, Spotify offered something incredible. A free music service, which was both legal, and a pleasure to use. Now though, the Swedish streaming outfit seems to have, in TV parlance, jumped the fucking shark. And Facebook, well, I’m barely even surprised by the shit those idiots pull these days. It’s just one attempt to defile your privacy after the next with them. Most impressive, though, is there seeming brilliance at selling it as a positive thing. They’re the new Apple with comments like “we want this process...

Don’t cross-post to social networks

By on Sep 21, 2011 in Blog, Technology | 1 comment

My old buddy Nate Lanxon recently wrote a post for his Wired blog about posting multiple comments to various social networks.In this article, he references a person called “Ian” who he says “shared his considerable dissatisfaction” on the subject of posting the same content to potentially three different networks at the same time. I’ll give you three guesses who “Ian” was, but you’re only going to need one.At the time, I meant to write a post of my own, explaining why I think its important that these sites are treated separately, but I didn’t have time. Now, I note, that Facebook and Twitter are working together to make sharing content in this way easier. So I think it IS time for me to write what I think. The fact is, Facebook, Twitter and Google+ are very different sites. And I believe that posting the same content to both is both...

NatWest’s ‘other way’ is rubbish

By on Sep 19, 2011 in Blog | 7 comments

I’ve been a NatWest customer since I last had to boycott a bank. In around 1999 I left Abbey National because they refused to allow me to access my money without the rigmarole of using a stupid red pass book. I could, however, show them photo ID and remove all my money. So I did, and took it all to NatWest. I’ve been a very happy personal banker with NatWest for many years and have never had a major problem. No more though, because tomorrow I’m going to close every single one of my NatWest bank accounts, move my savings out, cancel my credit card and when my mortgage comes up for renewal in January, move that to another bank too. I’m doing this because NatWest has failed spectacularly to provide me with a business account. I should explain more though, because this could affect other potential customers. Firstly, NatWest splits its business banking in to two...

Blocking Newzbin is utterly stupid

By on Jul 28, 2011 in Blog | 1 comment

Today’s judgement forcing BT to block access to Newzbin is the most ridiculous such decision yet. First of all, Newzbin doesn’t host files. This is actually a more relevant distinction that it is with torrents. That’s because all of the files that the .nzb point to have been posted by someone else on a public news server. Then, the news servers of the world replicate that information for anyone to access. Secondly, I don’t see why anyone in their right mind would use Newzbin. It isn’t free, which makes it a pain. People who object to paying for TV, movies and must would surely object to paying for a service that points them at readily available files? From my experience (I’ve tried all of these systems at some stage, out of my geek urge to understand) and Newsgroups are by far the most difficult for normal users to get to grips with. It’s not...

What can banning a film achieve in the Internet age?

By on Jun 16, 2011 in Blog | 0 comments

A few weeks ago, the BBFC refused to give a certificate (warning, link contains graphic description of the film and why it was refused certification) to the second Human Centipede movie. This doesn’t happen very often, especially in this day and age Now, I don’t understand why anyone would want to watch shit like that. But I’m not pro-censorship on the whole, and I find it hard to believe that banning a film does any good. Quite the opposite in fact. The film industry learned — along, I assumed, with the BBFC — that banning movies doesn’t really work in the ’80s, with the video nasties debacle. People that want to see them can usually manage it, via imports or bootleg copies from overseas friends. With Europe on our doorstep, if a film is banned here, it’s likely to be available 45 minutes away by ferry or Eurostar....