Thursday, June 26, 2008

The scope of this blog varies over time. If you think about wifi as normal then the content and use becomes the most interesting aspect. Another blog concentrates on Animation, so this blog will cover other forms of media sometimes.

Couple of things happening. Exeter TV has not reached a new level where resources are available ahead of Respect weekend and Sidmouth Folk Week, the two events when copyright and permission forms issues create the minimum restrictions. Something may still happen but it seems to me that there is no difference to last year even though much evidence exists of what is possible. Maybe the way ahead is just to link to what turns up, mostly done without much planning or asking for permission. This is ok but production standards are unlikely to improve.

The other thing shows me what a difference broadband can make to culture and politics. I have written stories about the UK for OhmyNews International (OMNI)and a couple of years agao they invited to visit Seoul for a conference on citizen journalism. The Korean language OhmyNews is accepted as a significant part of Korean media. They have had broadband for ages, light years at Web speed. The next conference is today or tomorrow. I am confused as they put times as if I was in the USA. Stream (Thursday 26th 6:00 P.M. PST 9:00P.M. EST)

The theme is around the candle light protests at the government agreements on beef imports with the USA. The claim seems to be that the events show a new level of democracy through Web media. I do not understand the full background but this could be true.

Some of the issues are described in a blog by Danny Kim.

The scale of what is happening also comes over through Tom Walsh in the Detroit Free Press -

Web hysteria a danger to Korean deal

More than 100,000 people, many of them teenagers in school uniforms, clogged the streets of Seoul in massive candlelight protests against U.S. beef imports last week -- and 1.2 million viewers tuned in to a live Webcast of the scene on OhmyTV. It was a different reality unfolding that threatens to roil not only U.S.-Korean trade relations but the world of global diplomacy as we know it.


OhmyTV, the Web casting crew of OhmyNews, a pioneering South Korean online newspaper, began filming and airing the candlelight rallies in Seoul, which began after Lee lifted the beef ban. As the size of nightly rallies grew, so did the audience for Webcasts.

The result: a little-used OhmyTV media server logged a record 1.2 million unique visitors in one spurt on June 1, according to OhmyNews. That drove the network cost of the media server to $80,000 a week, more than 27 times normal, said OhmyNews finance director Bang Ki-kwan.

OhmyNews, which provides the service for free, revealed its plight to its readers, 34,000 of whom made donations -- via mobile phones, credit cards or bank transfers -- totaling $130,000 in a 10-day period.

The implications of this are mind-boggling. South Korean high school and college kids, passionately spouting gibberish yet covered live by citizen media that's funded on the fly by viewer donations, have hijacked U.S.-Korea trade diplomacy and rendered Korea's president nearly impotent.

Apologies to Tom Walsh for copying so much of his material and then I am going to take issue as well. Describing the "college kids" as "spouting gibbersih" is not really going to help the spread of understanding. It is rather like the Western Morning News editorial claiming that in the USA, local TV is "trash".

But anyway I am going off my main topic. Can you imagine £70,000 being donated in the UK over ten days to cover server costs for a free online TV service? Not easy at the moment. Video technology is available fairly cheap, but there is no business model.

My guess is that there are further shocks to come in the world of TV. What to do about it? Well, summer is here so I expect some of us will visit Sidmouth, sample the real ales and continue the discussion.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Somehow this week seems to mark a change in what is possible. As if the time spent looking at wifi in Exeter has reached a new stage. Not because much has happened in Exeter but just because things change around us anyway. Let us face it, Exeter City Council still has a policy not to host anything Flash on the official website or allow staff to access Flash on screens at work. So the possible connection of wifi and media during festivals is still a bit obscure.

But in the UK, mobile phone companies now support web access and this is becoming better known. Today, Victor Keegan writes about his own experience and he seems happy enough to pay a monthly fee and avoid the crazy charges of all the cafes and hotels who have failed to regard web access as a free offer, like a newspaper. By the way, on a visit to a part of Exeter University thought to have wifi, I noticed that the only person checking email was using a Vodaphone connection. So my impression is that the experiments around Alt-C a few years ago have not made a lot of difference to Exeter but something has happened in the UK.

The most alarming aspect of what Victor Keegan writes is some possible bad news for Life Bytes and other places where web access is sold by the hour to include a device.
Just before dealing with the ridiculous charges for leaving the UK and visiting the continent, Keegan writes-

I was about to become a dongler to avoid having to go to the tourist office in France every day on our holidays to check emails etc at £3 an hour.

Well, is £3 an hour unreasonable for web access? It happens to be the rate charged at Life Bytes, on Sidwell Street opposite the Odeon. Personally I do not see how they could charge much less and continue to exist. Radical rethink may be timely on what internet access resources are about. My own experience on a visit to Koln and Brussels was that one euro for twenty minutes was enough to catch up on email and this was for a full keyboard and large screen. Gmail and Blogger both worked ok. So I did not carry any devices. Downloading photos for editing online might have taken longer and got into the hourly rate as an issue but I decided not to bother.

More on the blog about reading the Guardian.