Friday, May 30, 2008

Oh ooo someone's going to get sued.

So the deal is this;

Revision3 - content distributor using bit torrent to deliver licensed peer 2 peer content (eg their own or their partners content) eg. the good guys doing perfectly legal things.

Media Defender- anti p2p pirating company hired by the studios. They have massive server/internet pipes they use to do bad things to bad people to screw up illegal p2p sharing.

Last weekend (memorial day 3 day weekend) - revision3 find their servers being hammered- major problems, major alarm bells going off, normally wouldn't be noticed as long weekend but some staff were being alert.

Turns out Media Defender (who didn't answer their phones /emails all weekend while this was happening) had turned their 'big guns' onto Revision3's perfectly legal bit torrent streams.

They didn't hide their tracks well and revision3 worked out who it was behind this DOS attack and are now contemplating their legal options.

Great full length description here if you wanted it.

Needless to say if you walk around with a big gun, you need to be careful how and when you use it. If it goes off and hits someone accidentally then you are still liable for this and although manslaughter isn't on the table Media Defender are certainly going to be footing some pretty major lawyers bill in addition to politicians/prosecutors looking at their whole mode of operation.

Wont change the way pirates and pirate chasers are perceived but will make for some interesting legal precedent.


Thursday, May 29, 2008

Real world have a virtual piece of property

Interesting proposal – visit a real world location with your mobile phone in order to get a virtual piece of property;

“Nike pushes exclusive Mobagetown content via QR scan codes that users entered in-store.”

Thought some of you might find this an interesting concept and might even be able to implement something into your own businesses.

Interesting to know if anyone else is doing something similar?
eg. visit a real world Ikea store in order to get a 'virtual' piece of Ikea furniture added to your The SIMs virtual property, or visit Hard Rock Cafe in order to get a HRC virtual jacket for your Second Life avatar.

BTW if you've never heard of Mobagetown check out

Wednesday, May 28, 2008


The Australian dollar will exceed parity with the US dollar by the end of the year: "The Australian dollar will rise 8 percent to $1.04 by year-end as the nation's central bank increases the benchmark interest rate twice more in 2008, according to Australia & New Zealand Banking Group Ltd. The forecast revision makes Australia's third-biggest lender the most bullish on the currency among the 39 banks and research firms surveyed by Bloomberg News. The Melbourne-based bank had previously predicted Australia's dollar, known as the Aussie, would buy 90 U.S. cents by the end of December."

Oh No.... we're going backwards living here in the USA, time to move back to Australia earning fat aussie $'s to pay off our NY mortgage :)


Rent Stabilisation

Good article about rent stabilisation in New York;

Trust me - it's ludicrous, even we've come across people in rest stabilisation who don't need it. As a landlord I'd be appalled if this happened to me.


Tuesday, May 27, 2008

MySpace woos developers in search of apps

How do you say... too little too late;

You have to wonder why content owners even think that 'walled gardens' would ever work.... kind of reminds me about some US mobile carriers who restrit applications on their handsets; sure your customer hasn't left you yet, they will though and getting an 'ex' customer back is way harder than winning them the first time.

Just ask how many Facebook users are excited about moving back to I said, too little too late.


Patent Absurdity Again

Patent absurdity again

Apple files patent for "solar cells on portable devices"

When are people in the USA going to wake up and understand that awarding these ridiculously obvious patents is stifling development in the USA.

Even the most basic concepts are being patented and used as a tax to prevent competition.

There is nothing innovative or novel about the concept of making a solar cell 'mobile', and sure they are going to hide the actual patent in some mumbo jumbo about process or specific design but when someone else decides it would be a basic step to add a solar cell to their product the Apple lawyers will be shafting them 'bluntly'.

The USA Patent Office is broken.


Saturday, May 24, 2008

Ding, dong, Akimbo's dead

Not that I believe half the stuff I read on Valleywag but was sad to hear the news that may be finally dead.(lol - just checked there is still some akimbo project documentation on a hidden page on the website if you know how to find it).

After some minor involvement with this company years ago, which involved much personal frustration on my part when i was affected by some of the decisions they made.

Trust me there is a book in the writing regarding this one, you dont get to be "Product of the Year" and spiral to your death without some major management FUBAR.

I've got my own thoughts but for now I'm waiting for the paperback edition from someone closer to the action.


Friday, May 23, 2008

Friday Tunes - Hilltop Hoods

Something a little different this week for 'Friday Tunes' check out this video.

The music is "Hilltop Hoods - Nosebleed Section" an aussie rap group who had some reasonable success (btw in case you are wondering the sample is from a Melanie Safka track).

How insane are these bike stunts - i dont know how Australian bmx riders (lol do they even call it that?) are rated globaly but to me those tricks look pretty sweet.


Thursday, May 22, 2008

Cant we all agree on a phone number system

Ok I'm just going to come out and say it and hopefully enough people will forward this post to their friends that it will start a global movement.

Phone numbers use dashes "-"
IP addresses use dots "."

The correct way to type a number is "+1-212-203-4357"

NOT!!!!!! "212.203.4357"

"."'s are for ip addresses and to show you went to school and know where to put a full stop in your punctuation occasionally. They are not for phone numbers.

One pet peeve down, only 1,238 to go.


Tuesday, May 20, 2008


Check out

It's a super simple online whiteboard application with a twist, click to register if you want to, otherwise just hit guest - name your workspace and share this url with a friend.

It's as easy as that.

Now here are some of the cool parts -

Want to draw some lines, no probs, want to drag and drop a 'shape' somewhere onto the screen, it's easy as (including resizing etc).

Want to work on some text together, no probs - open either a sticky note or a regular text box and you can edit together real time.

Lets say you need to review an image or diagram, no probs in the bottom right is an upload function so you can drop an image from your my documents folder onto the workspace and get comments from your colleagues real time.

For me the best function is co-browsing, you know when you want to show someone a series of web pages and you need to read out the urls as you move from page to page and it's frustrating as heck - yep we've all been there.

With Twiddla get them to log into your 'workspace' then you can use the web page browse button in the top left to browse to a web site, once it has resolved all of the 'tools' (lines, shapes etc) are fully functional.

Want to show your team which elements in a web page you would like to copy from - go right ahead, want to browse to a site and highlight some key pieces of text, easy as.

Sounds pretty cool so far right - ok now for the best bit.

Top Right - No not the text chat- thats too old school. Go and hit the audio button and grab a headset/mic.

Yep you got it - built into an iframe is a voice java applet that Tim Panton built (check out for more of his voice enabled widgets).

So you are co-browsing and stuff with people instead of placing a call to them or trying to hook up an audio conference service - just click the audio chat application and you are all able to talk to each other while browsing the site.

BTW this java applet is only 168kb. Think of it as a session less skype application without the executable, it's pretty amazing.

This is a perfect example of voice enabling websites, where voice isn't the key 'technology' like it is with jajah or ribbit, but a minor supporting function. Intelligently voice enabling websites is the next step in website evolution.

I wont tell you what Tim said the first time I suggested that all user generated content sites should have a Mexuar java applet attached to them......lets just say I'm glad to see that he has come around......"checks in the mail right Tim"?

Either way I'm glad to see more people are using cool tools like Asterisk to voice enable web content, whether you are working on a document in Twiddla, or showing a friend the latest 'cool site', being able to use voice is a basic tennant of communication.

The fact that this is now easily implementable is just the next step in a voice enhanced world.


Monday, May 19, 2008

Duane Reade Robo-call

For those of you reading this internationally - quick explanation Duane Reade is a chemist (or pharmacy as they call them here), they tend to a be a bit on the mega size (lol - it's Jodie says this is probably the major thing she will miss about the USA when we go home - they have massive alternatives with pretty much every product line at 'supermarket' pricing).

Anyway the reason for this post is - to say yet again, I love technology (lol have i said that enough yet?).

So I'm working in my office this morning and I get a call and there is that ominous 1-2 second dead air pause which means...predictive dialer sales call, but then an automated voice comes on saying "hi from Duane Reade, we're just calling to let you know that one of your prescriptions is about to run out this week and if you head down to your local store at X & Z, that they will be able to fill this for you today - thanks and have a nice day etc etc".

So yeh I know the technology to make database lookups, include the variables for these lookups into a text to speech call and then personalise the information with your local address etc etc are really basic, but how freaking far have we come since Bell said those first words "come here - I want to see you Watson".

Yeh I know this technology can be used for bad (sales calls, unwanted info calls etc) and really nefarious bad (phishing calls using dtmf capture) but when it is something useful like this - way cool.

If you run a business or you think you have some type of business process that can benefit from voice mashups then check out which has some really cheap technology to get you started, especially the tool set.

If you run a business and don't have a clue what linux even is then no probs - check out which are one of the leaders in the USA for voice mashups.

Either way, welcome to a voice enhanced world.


Google SOC 2008

This year bigger and better than ever Google Summer Of Code 2008 (Google SOC) has 1125 student contributors and 175 Free and Open Source projects.

There are some suprising ommisions in the list below....?

But apart from that some great ideas - check out the ideas link next to each of the companies/projects to see what their code monkeys will be working on this summer and also check out the where they will be posting regular details and updates.

This is definately one of the cooler 'concepts' to ever come out of Google.


Mentoring Organizations Participating in Google Summer of Code 2008
AbiSource (ideas)
Adium (ideas)
The Apache Software Foundation (ideas)
ArgoUML (ideas) (ideas)
Audacity (ideas)
Battle for Wesnoth (ideas)
BBC Research (ideas)
Blender Foundation (ideas)
BlueZ (ideas)
Boost C++ (ideas)
BRL-CAD (ideas)
BZFlag (ideas)
Cairo (ideas)
Center for the Study of Complex Systems, Univ. of Michigan (ideas)
ChristmasFuture (ideas)
CLAM (at Universitat Pompeu Fabra) (ideas)
Codehaus (ideas)
Comprehensive C Archive Network (CCAN) (ideas)
Computer Systems Research Group, Vrije Universiteit (MINIX) (ideas)
Coppermine Photo Gallery (ideas)
coresystems GmbH (ideas)
Creative Commons (ideas)
Crystal Space (ideas)
Debian (ideas)
Dirac Schrodinger (ideas)
Django (ideas)
Dojo Foundation (ideas)
The DragonFly BSD Project (ideas)
Drupal (ideas)
The Eclipse Foundation (ideas)
The Electronic Frontier Foundation (ideas)
The Enlightenment Project (ideas)
ES operating system (ideas)
Etherboot Project (ideas)
eXist (ideas)
The Fedora Project & (ideas)
FFmpeg (ideas)
The Free Software Initiative of Japan (ideas)
The FreeBSD Project (ideas)
Freenet Project Inc (ideas)
Gallery (ideas)
GCC (ideas)
The gEDA Project (ideas)
Geeklog (ideas)
GenMAPP (ideas)
Gentoo (ideas)
GIMP - GNU Image Manipulation Program (ideas)
Git Development Community (ideas)
The Globus Alliance (ideas)
GNOME (ideas)
GNU Hurd (ideas)
GNU Project (ideas)
Gnumeric (ideas)
GNUstep (ideas)
GStreamer (ideas)
Haiku (ideas) (ideas)
hugin/panotools (ideas)
Hypertriton, Inc. (ideas)
Ingres (ideas)
Inkscape (ideas)
International Components for Unicode (ideas)
Internet Archive (ideas)
Internet2 (ideas)
Jato (ideas)
The Java PathFinder Team (ideas)
Jikes RVM (ideas)
K-3D (ideas)
KDE (ideas)
Linden Lab (Second Life) (ideas)
The Linux Foundation (ideas)
LispNYC (ideas)
LLVM Compiler Infrastructure (ideas)
MacPorts (ideas)
Mercurial (a project of the Software Freedom Conservancy) (ideas)
MetaBrainz Foundation Inc. (ideas)
Mixxx (ideas)
MoinMoin Wiki Project (ideas)
Mono Project (ideas)
Moodle (ideas)
The Mozilla Project (ideas)
MySQL (ideas)
Natural User Interface Group (ideas)
NCSA - The National Center for Supercomputing Applications at the University of Illinois (ideas)
NESCent - National Evolutionary Synthesis Center (ideas)
The NetBSD Project (ideas)
NetSurf (ideas)
Neuros Technology (ideas)
Nmap Security Scanner (ideas)
The ns-3 Project (ideas)
OAR (ideas)
OGRE (ideas)
Ohio Supercomputer Center (ideas)
Ohloh Corporation (ideas)
OLAT, University of Zurich (ideas)
OMII-UK (ideas)
One Laptop per Child (ideas)
Open Security Foundation (OSVDB) (ideas)
Open Source Applications Foundation (ideas)
Open Source Matters (ideas)
Open64 (ideas)
OpenAFS (ideas)
OpenChange (a project of the Software Freedom Conservancy) (ideas)
OpenICC (ideas)
OpenInkpot (ideas)
OpenMoko Inc. (ideas)
OpenMRS (ideas)
OpenNMS (ideas)
OpenQA (ideas)
OpenStreetMap (ideas)
openSUSE (ideas)
Oregon State University Open Source Lab (OSU OSL) (ideas)
OSCAR (ideas)
OSGeo - Open Source Geospatial Foundation (ideas)
OSSIM: Open Source Security Information Management (ideas)
Pardus project (ideas)
Pentaho (ideas)
The Perl Foundation (ideas)
PHP (ideas)
Pidgin (ideas), Ltd. (ideas)
Plazi Verein (ideas)
Plone Foundation (ideas)
Portland State University (ideas)
PostgreSQL project (ideas)
PostNuke Application Framework (ideas)
Project Hackystat (ideas)
Ptolemy Project, University of California, Berkeley (ideas)
Python Software Foundation (ideas)
R Foundation for Statistical Computing (ideas)
Rockbox (ideas)
RTEMS Project (ideas)
Ruby Central (ideas)
Sahana (ideas)
Sakai Foundation and IMS Global Learning Consortium (ideas)
Samba (ideas)
SCons next-generation build system (ideas)
Scribus Team (ideas)
ScummVM (ideas)
Simple DirectMedia Layer (ideas)
Singularity Institute for Artificial Intelligence (ideas)
SIP Communicator (ideas)
The Software Freedom Conservancy (ideas)
The Squeak Project (ideas)
Subclipse (ideas)
Subversion (ideas)
Swarm Development Group (SDG) (ideas)
SWIG (ideas)
The SYSLINUX Project (ideas)
Tcl/Tk Community (ideas)
TeX Users Group (ideas)
Thousand Parsec (ideas)
Translate Toolkit & Pootle (ideas)
TurboGears (ideas)
Tux4Kids (ideas)
Umit (ideas)
VideoLAN (ideas)
Vim (ideas)
The WebKit Open Source Project (ideas)
Wikimedia Foundation (ideas)
The Wine Project (ideas)
WinLibre (ideas)
WordPress (ideas)
WorldForge (ideas)
wxPython (ideas)
wxWidgets (ideas)
The X.Org Foundation (ideas)
XBMC (ideas) Foundation (ideas)
XMMS2 - X(cross)platform Music Multiplexing System (ideas)
XMPP Standards Foundation (ideas)
XWiki (ideas)
Zope Foundation, Inc (ideas)
Zumastor (ideas)

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Google QR encoder - the hidden functionality

I was bored today, so by trial and error I put together the following documentation located at for hidden 2D encoding functionality of the Google QR Chart api. Feel free to post if you have any suggestions/alternative functionality I missed.


Google QR encoder API
The Google QR encoder API located here has been out for a few weeks now, I originally posted about it here

The chart API is a fantastic application where any browser will return an image dependant on the url entered, originally designed for charts/graphs etc but in this instance you can enable the return of a 2D barcode in the form of a QR image.

btw in case you are wondering - I use a Cingular 8525 (otherwise known as the HTC Tytyn) - and my QR
reader of choice is the Quickmark reader - available for free download at

I kept waiting for Google to provide some documentation ( which they haven't for whatever reasons :) or extend the capability as until then it’s really just a neat trick.

So I was sitting around today looking for a project to do....... through trial and error let me provide you some
documentation about the hidden extended functionality available on the Google QR Encoder API.

URL is the 'documented function'

Send Email

XXXX Send Email with subject ?? cant seem to get this to work but seems like it should so feel free to post if you work out how to do it.

Dial From QR

Dial from QR 2 or more numbers separated by a "comma , " (comma cant do 2 sms though),12122034357,1917456321 

SMS to number
SMS to number with message

MeCard functionality - this is the area I think the Google API really lets you down. Vcard is far more effective/useful and has more 'spaces' for information. Google have also left out certain fields for the MeCard standard.

(if you want to see the differences between MeCard and Vcard check out the samples on the Quickmark encoding site),Collins;ADR:smith%20st,new%20york;TEL:9172073420;;;NOTE:this%20is%20a%20test


You can have 2 phone numbers for a contact just need a tel leading and a comma in between.,Collins;ADR:smith%20st,new%20york;TEL:9172073420,TEL:3332073420;;;NOTE:this%20is%20a%20test

And last but not least - Text Only :)

Hope you found this of interest feel free to post comments or even better more hidden functionality you find.


Friday, May 16, 2008

Analysis: appeals court unlikely to fix software patent mess

Subject title says it all :) - this aint going anywhere soon (apart from hosting applications/IP being held in european incorporations - which is quite funny as it's never a strategy that 99% of americans I talk to don't think about).


WEBsite TOS = Criminal Law?

Interesting developments in this case.

Technically this means anyone who has registered a false name on a website - if in the TOS this is explicitly not allowed you are now facing minimum jail time under federal criminal law.

"By way of example, Granick notes that some terms-of-use contracts prohibit users from making negative comments about the company. "If you write on a blog something disparaging about that company, are you in violation of criminal law?"
Other contracts have prohibited visitors to a website from linking to that site.

Yeh it sucks what happened but introducing precedents like this is just bad law.


Asterisk 3rd Party Ecosystem

A few weeks ago I posted an open letter to the Asterisk community.

Well if you have any interest at all in Asterisk development or open source software here is the audio of that conference call.

Turns out to have been a concept a lot of people were interested in, probably a long way from actually coming off but the outcome of the call was that yes a 3rd party ecosystem for Asterisk software was something the community wanted and yes they were happy with the concepts put forward.


Thursday, May 15, 2008

NoCleanFeed for Australian Internet

This was just sent to me by a friend of mine in Australia and I thought it a worthy enough cause to post it unedited on my blog here.

It's unfortunate that the labour party is still pushing the internet filtering technology, it will end up a huge waste of tax payers money and ultimately fail.

I sent an email to my federal member previously pointing out this and other issues, and he forwarded it to the good senator. I got back a load of political rhetoric in reply which never answered or addressed anything I pointed out.

The EFF Australia has setup a website with even more information on how this will be a waste of money, and what further implications on this will mean.

Everyone should be made aware of the bigger picture and how all the money will be wasted to appease a handful of Family First senators, and Family First's agenda for the country is quite scary so why the Labour party is pandering to them is anyone's guess.
Best regards,
Duane - Global Communication for the 21st Century - Think globally, network locally - Telecommunications Freedom - Enterprise Two Factor Authentication

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Where do they find the time

Wow Clay Shirky - what a freaking genius. I love what he is postulating here.

This video is insanely good – critical viewing for everyone on this list – stop what you are doing and spend the next 10 mins watching this video your work output today will be higher for the experience.

I dont want to spoil the punchline but 10,000 wikipedia projects a year....sounds like a good start to me.


Oh Boxbe - Why so silly Boxbe?

You know what it's like on Christmas, you rush down open your presents all excited, do silly things with them until you read the instructions properly....etc etc

This is what i felt like a few weeks ago when I found out about

So as some of you know I run my own personal exchange server at home (lol remote oma + mobile synch + perpetual archiving etc...don't know why more people don't do that).

For a while I've wanted a true challenge-response spam solution - basically what this means is that you have an 'approved' whitelist of all your email addresses and anyone not on the list is sent a reply email asking for them to click on a link to approve or complete a 'captcha' so that it's a real person.

Now I know exactly what I want.... it's a Sendio ICE box appliance.

It's a single 1RU linux appliance with browser configuration that does everything I need however for only 2's way overkill and their cheapest license module is for 50 people so around $5000 - which for 50 people is reasonable - for 2 people....little bit of an overkill.

I've often wondered why some type of sender address verification in software hasn't been available for exchange (or even better just for SBS 2003).

There is TDMA (, but this is written in python and not as user friendly as i would like.

It seems like a pretty simple application/process to code against but as far as I know the only option is for a 3rd party SAAS solution which again is never sold in single person licenses :)

So a few weeks ago I came across Boxbe, an outlook plugin that does exactly what I wanted, from outlook it sends a challenge response to any emails not in my whitelist and holds all 'unapproved' emails in a isolation folder while either the sender 'completes a captcha' or I approve it manually.

It even had some really cool features like I could customise what the captcha looked like and what my reply said.

It did have some weird parts relating to it's business model (eg marketing companies would pay a charity donation fee to send me email) - my thoughts around this was hey if you can stop all spam and only charge $20 for the plugin you would have the world beating a path to your door.

There were some other issues around the 'enrollment process' - which I put down to 'clarity in the wording' on their part but also rushing without reading the instructions on my part.

For the last few weeks been working great - I needed to check my 'boxbe isolation' folder on a regular basis but that's only because I subscribe to so many mailing lists etc but once they were approved they went through fine.

The cool part was no more spam. It was heaven, I couldn't have asked for more (maybe for the application to be installed at an exchange level so it worked even when Outlook was switched off - lol my mobile phone inbox went nuts when both my laptop and desktop were switched off - because there was nothing preventing the spam from coming through - yes it would clean it up once I turned on outlook at either my desktop or laptop but was still a problem

So humming along, telling all my friends what a great service it was.....Until this week.

I was digging around my deleted emails folder for an email - (it's a whole other story but since I installed windows desktop search I dont often need to manually look for emails, 'Windows Desktop Search' check it out it's a great application). I just couldn't remember the terms of the email I was looking for but I knew when it was sent to me so I'm looking through my deleted emails folder only to find lines and lines of spam email.

It was huge how much was back there. I couldn't work out what was going on.

Read the email below for a summary.

-----Original Message-----
From: Dean Collins
Reply-To: Dean Collins
Date: Wed, 7 May 2008 14:20:55 -0400
Subject: question about moving 'blocked' emails to deleted folder
Hi I've asked this question before but I haven't had an answer yet.
I only just noticed that Boxbe is moving the 'blocked' emails into my deleted mail folder.
This is a problem as I store all my deleted emails in an archive.
Is this normal that boxbe moves the blocked email to the deleted emails folder whereas outlook junk mail deletes the mail from my folder entirely when I right click "clear my junk mail folder"
Can you please email me an answer to this, as this is critical.
Dean Collins

Hi Dean,
Yes, you are correct. Currently, the way Boxbe for Outlook works is that any incoming email from sender addresses and domains on your Blocked List will be scanned and moved to Deleted Items. The messages will not be automatically deleted.
If you are suggesting that Boxbe for Outlook scan for any blocked addresses (senders and domains), then delete the email from your Outlook folders completely and not moved into the Deleted Items, similar to the Outlook Junk Mail functionality, please let us know and this feature request will be passed along to the Dev Engineering team.
Thank you for your feedback.
Boxbe Support
------------------- the couple of hundred emails being 'blocked' each day were actually just being moved to my deleted emails folder. Which is fine for residential home users who dont keep any emails but for everyone else that archives all their're now storing spam for 4 years or whatever your retention policy is.

Hmm sorry Boxbe - it was short and sweet but you aren't ready for the real world yet. (i'd also offer advice about moving to a license fee rather than this per message fee /donation tangent you are on - if your product works the world will be beating a path to you and your mousetrap).

For everyone else that received my Boxbe invitations that have signed up, sorry - if it works for you stick with it but I'm out of here.


Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Thomas Howe video from Ecomm 2008

Interesting discussion about commoditization of voice from Thomas Howe the king of voice api's

If you liked this you might like to check out - the entire series
If you work in this space check out the agenda for 2009 for some history on ecomm you should check out this post.


The 80's - what were we thinking!!

Long story why but I was recently looking for The Matthew Wilder song "Break My Stride" (which apparently never had a clip made for it - so you are stuck with the Solid Gold tv footage).

I came across this footage of the Matthew Wilder - "Kid's American" video which has 'High Glam' 80's clothing to the max.

Makes me cringe now thinking hmmm yep I owned a don jackson jacket and wore it more than once with a tshirt and loafers - WTF were we thinking???

Lol and I have an ex who, while she didn't drive a caddy like in the video and was Maltese pretty much has been seen in public wearing an outfit like the girl in that video.

Also makes me wonder are we going to look back in 10 years on the curent 'gangster rap' look are we also going to wonder - WTF :)


Monday, May 12, 2008

Online Ad Spend and Dinosaurs wearing frocks

This is a post in 2 parts - both generated by the same article

The upfront is here — because we smell the smoke of number-crunching laptops.
Merrill Lynch says this
upfront may be all up in flames — with the chance that revenues could dip as much as 14% for the broadcast networks, to $7.73 billion, and cable down as much as 3%, to $7.45 billion.
Start pointing your fingers for what’s to blame: the recession; the writers strike; and/or dramatically lower ratings.
Here’s the
good news, according to some media buyers: Should the traditional TV market tank, you can be sure that the money isn’t going to digital. Carat’s Andy Donchin says when marketers pull back, they stick whatever money they have left in what they think works best — and that’s still TV.

There is more to the article so click through to the URL but that gives you a good enough idea about the basis of the article.

OK so here are my points - ONLINE IS HERE TO STAY, - DEAL WITH IT.

It's funny how some people just still aren't getting it, advertising industry execs are still running around thinking that 'online ad spend' is a blip at the moment and yes all the 'kids' are talking about it but that basically they think they know better and it will all fizzle out to nothing eventually.

So yes while online ad spend may be cheaper today (as far as effective cpm), but because of the two way nature of online eventually you will have far better analytics about who saw your Dodge commercial, where they were located when they saw it (in what transport medium as well maybe? (video-text-mobile?) and did they react to the 'call to action' in a far more visible way than broadcast tv.

When that happens, expect online cpms to give one way broadcast tv ad spend a run for your money.

OK so that to one side - here is the second part.

Dont you think it's weird that a 'blogger' for TV Watch is still so set in the past. Here is a new tech commentator talking up 'fallback' positions on a new age 'medium'.

I dont know how many TV commercials you have watched since you woke up this morning but sitting at my office desk working today catching up on emails and websites I saw far more 'online' pre-roll video commercials than I did during the 10 minutes I was eating breakfast with the news on this morning.

Yes I'm not the norm, but your kids are (and so is any 'information' worker probably 5-10 years younger than you), for them online IS the norm.

And until they invent the fountain of youth for Betty Sue, middle aged house wife, afternoon soap fan etc - she will die off eventually (though she'll still be target audience number 1 for Liberty Mutual Insurance policies for a long time so if you are in this space in the broadcast biz - your golden for a long time to come).

So in summary - Yes you can write about how broadcast is still a gazillion dollar business and yes you can write about the upfronts being down slightly this year.....but don't act like a dinosaur wearing a 'new frock' on your blog by saying that those upfront funds definitely aren't going down because of online.


Sunday, May 11, 2008

Survivor Jury Advice

So here is some quick advice to anyone reading this who thinks that one day they might actually be on the "Survivor Jury".

If you get Outwitted Outplayed and Outlasted by someone.....suck it up and take it on the chin.

What a bunch of cry baby losers, boo hoo you duped me and I'm sitting here on the 'stupid' side. Yes you may get to choose who deserves the money (btw good choice with Parvati) but dont embarras yourself on international tv whining about how someone duped you.

All said and done, great season - cant wait for Survivor Gabon.


Treadmill Kittens

I'm not a huge YouTube watcher - but this was posted on this morning and is a major huge crackup.

Yes you couldn't watch this for hours and hours but for 2 mins it's the funniest thing out nielsen...this is where your points are going.


Thursday, May 08, 2008

Facebook in trouble?

Is it just me or is Facebook having real issues serving up content?

Have they finally found the limits of .php?

I've been noticing real issues in the page delivery times of page refreshes (and that was before they implemented their useless text chat application - what a waste of space).

You think with the $240 million microsoft gave them for 1.6% of the company they could spring for some more servers.


Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Lou Reed

One of the cool things about living in New York is getting to see 'local' bands. You dont get any more local than Lou Reed.

Basically about 3 months ago I was buying some tickets to a tiny little band you would never have heard of and stumbled across that Lou Reed was playing in the same venue, apparently he played a gig in this same venue (The Highline Bar) last year as well (of course the gig was sold out a few days later after going on sale).

So on Monday night we got to rock up and standing room only but cool as only about 500 people. Only problem was we were about 5 rows from the front and was LOUD!! (to the point where it was too loud for some songs).

The most amazing song that he sung was called "Power of the Heart" which was a song I'd never heard of before, about asking his wife to marry him, amazing 'restraint' in the volume and pacing of the song, if I can find it released anywhere might even replace Perfect Day as my favourite song of his.

I'd love to see him do more of a blues or acoustic only set in a lounge bar setup.

Ps. came across some other links if you are interested;

Also this isn't the exact concert we went to but NPR recorded another one of his concerts that is available to listen to here - it does have Power Of The Heart about 1/2 of the way through the gig.;m=90219917

Monday, May 05, 2008

An Open Letter To The Asterisk Community

The email below was posted to the ast-user mailing list this morning. If you have an interest in Voip or in developing applications for the asterisk community please join us on this call next Friday on the 9th of May.


Hi Randy,

As discussed on Friday the 9th of May I would like to host this weeks Voip Users Conference Call.

The purpose of this call is to discuss the community’s feelings about an Asterisk 3rd party developed commercial software sales licensing platform.

The plan is that some form of documented published schema be implemented that will allow for 3rd party software developers to sell their software applications using a common licensing model similar to the way G729 licenses are sold by Digium.

Basically this discussion came about for a 3rd party ecosystem question a few weeks ago when Cory Andrews from VoIP supply was on the Voip-Users conference call.I asked the question - how much of VoIP Supply revenue is product hardware versus applications - he said we don’t sell any services such as ITSP hosted Asterisk so I replied that wasn't what I was thinking of and gave the example of Snap Dialer which is a low cost (I paid $20 for it) application which allows me to dial names from Outlook.

He said they didn’t sell any applications like this at all but would consider selling them if this was an opportunity presented to him.I then talked about some of the consulting I did for and how they have built an entire ecosystem of third party applications all built by other people apart from but utilizing the documented API's and application security /licensing etc.

My comments were that although Asterisk should always remain a free open source application that developers need to eat and pay rent as well.If there was some common marketplace that developers could sell small - low cost third party applications to the Asterisk community that Digium had some type of overview/management control over who listed etc that this would deliver a stream of revenue that would encourage further application development.

The question I then posed to the group was if anyone knew how Digium managed the sale and licensing of the G729 codes.And if this was an open published standard that could it be used as the basis for the Asterisk ecosystem license model.

Now I know it's not perfect and can be hacked but everything can be hacked. The idea is to build apps cheap enough that it's not worth the effort of hacking. If anyone has some alternative suggestions on how apps should be licensed we’d like to hear them this Friday.

I know there were discussions in the early days of the Mexuar launch about how they could license a single channel of the Mexuar Corraleta application rather than the entire server license for $2000. The issue always came down to how we could license it to 1/ a single channel license. 2/ tied to a single machine and not transferable (currently the Mexuar license is hard coded in the application to the servers IP address).

I know for me personally although I have donated to numerous bounty requests (I even tried to get one developed for video conferencing a few years ago that was around the $10,000 range) I haven’t seen the ongoing continual development that would benefit the Asterisk community.

I personally would be more than happy to pay for ‘the next generation of FOP’, it was a great application when launched but there is a lot more it could be offering.

I’d also like to implement a far smarter ‘user dashboard’ similar to what Druid are developing.

Now I no longer work for Mexuar and don’t have access to it anymore I’d also like to pay for a single channel Mexuar license rather than using ‘lesser quality’ experiences by other solutions.

Drawing on my own now defunct project – is the Asterisk user community now ready for centrally provided services such as the ‘off-deck processing’ like the Tellme Speech Recognition Service .
As demonstrated by Amazon EC2 / S3 web services I’m a huge fan of cloud computing off-deck processing, Should these style services also be able to take advantage of an Asterisk 3rd party ecosystem licensing model.

So the suggested topics to cover this Friday (9th of May at 12pm est usa) is this;

1/ Should commercial software applications like SNAP Dialer even be encouraged for the Asterisk community – or is this the slippery slope?

2/ Should this license schema model be centrally managed by Digium – what are the alternatives?

3/ Is a centrally managed approval process like i-tunes appropriate for the Asterisk user community or should it just be a ‘published document schema’ but all sales are handled by each individual company (separate sales is my preference but it should be at least discussed).

4/ Is the G729 model an appropriate solution (my understanding is it is tied to NIC addresses) – are there alternatives that should be considered instead, what are the limitations of NIC licensing over server IP address etc, how does this affect client applications running on ‘client’ machines. Hopefully someone from Digium will join us on the call to explain how the G729 license system works.

5/ What type of applications would you like to see licensed via this 3rd party ecosystem model.

6/ What do we do from here? Is this something Digium should be developing internally and present to the Asterisk community as a ‘suggested working model’?
Is this something that can be developed by the community and presented to Digium for their approval and adoption?
Who on this call wants to be involved and what do you want to do from here?
Please understand that I’m interested in initiating these discussions just as an Asterisk user. Neither I nor Cognation Pty Ltd have any commercial interests in 1/ running this ecosystem 2/ consulting to or making any commercial benefit in driving this project forward. It’s really come about as I as an Asterisk end user would like to see more funds being made available for Asterisk application developers so we can continue to build the greatest voip technology in the world and while it’s pretty cool now I feel that ongoing application development isn’t occurring as fast as it should be.

This call will begin at 12pm est usa time – for those of you who have not dialed in before the details are below.

Talkshoe Web page details:

PSTN: (724) 444-7444 Call ID: 22622
SIP: exten => 1234, 1,Dial(SIP/...@, 60, D(22622# ${MY_PIN} #) ) If you have no PIN use 1# instead. (remove any spaces in the line above)

IRC: Follow chatter or ask questions on IRC on #voip-users-conference

For those of you who have never participated before make this your chance to get involved, download the talkshoe chat application in advance or even better go and listen to some of the previous 80 calls archived in mp3 format here

Dean Collins

P.S. Angenda slide deck is embedded here:


Turns out to have been a concept a lot of people were interested in, probably a long way from actually coming off but the outcome of the call was that yes a 3rd party ecosystem for Asterisk software was something the community wanted and yes they were happy with the concepts put forward.

here is the audio of that conference call.