Jan
27
2009
0

BSOD

BSOD = Blue Sign of Death

Written by brettg in: Technology |
Jan
13
2009
0

Will the SNR (Signal to Noise Ratio) be up or down this year?

22-10-08_1938Seth Godin made me think (he tends to do that) about the scope of marketing opportunities this year. In his happy new year message he said,

While the rest of your world huddles and holds back, here’s a golden chance to use cheap media, available attention and great talent to make something that matters.

Here in Australia, many international companies have already pulled up stumps and headed home to weather the storm. That means that there is less marketing, less noise, less pulling at the same amount of attention.

Many new opportunities will be created for Australian businesses with a lower SNR. With a high price of US dollars, this could be a boom time for you and your business.

Written by brettg in: Business,Web Marketing | Tags: , ,
Jan
11
2009
1

Blu Ray is late to the party, the party has moved to the internet…

IMG_3323 Mike Harvey of the UK’s Times Online ran an article today with the headline, "Time is running out for Blu Ray format."

Harvey reported on the buzz at the CES in Las Vegas, and there apparently wasn’t much buzz for Blu Ray.

Many commenters on the article supposed that owning a physical disc is feels much better than downloading content. Others pointed to the impressive high definition quality of Blu Ray pictures as the saviour of the format.

I agree with Harvey however that time is running out for Blu Ray. One commenter pointed out that VHS won the VHS v Betamax war on the back of the US porn industry. Likewise, DVD also "got a leg up" from said industry adoption. If that’s an indicator of future market trends, then online is obviously where we’re headed.

I recently put together a Internet connected Windows Media Center and started to explore all of the content opportunities that exist online. The Media Center is hooked up to our plasma TV of course, and it serves as our main source of TV, DVD and Video content.

To summarise what I found about the content available online in brief:

  • Bitorrent is an extremely viable alternative for downloading "’on demand" TV and Movie content – Main drawback, it is illegal.
  • Apple iTunes offers high quality movie downloads and they can be played through Windows Media Center with a plugin – Main drawback – It’s still expensive (Iwould think that the absence of DVD packaging, distribution and transport should reduce the cost by at least $10).
  • Bigpond Movies and Apple iTunes offer 24 hour DRM based high quality movie rentals by download – Main drawback – Drawbacks, limited and late selection (i.e. Blockbuster gets them first).

Prior to owning a Windows Media Center, I had Foxtel and often watched movies through Foxtel Box Office.

We found that downloaded content in all of these formats was more than acceptable. Blu Ray aficionados would say, "But the quality is nowhere near as good as Blu Ray." But to us, it just doesn’t matter. We watch a movie to enjoy a story, not to count pixels. We usually don’t watch them more than once.

The choice of format will be determined by the WIIFM (What’s In It For Me?) factor. And really, even though we have a big HD TV, it doesn’t bother me that the movie has some compression, lower quality sound or a few less pixels. To me, both formats offer a great experience. What matters to me is convenience and cost.

Format choice = Convenience / Price

For me, the convenience of downloading a movie – even if it takes 5 hours to do it – is worth more than going to the movie store. 9 years ago downloading music was a similar experience, but today it’s a no brainer! Today, the huge majority of music consumption is done online (not necessarily sales of). Imagine how stupid it would be to introduce new mass market physical Audio CD format now…

One commenter from England nailed Blu Ray’s missed opportunity:

If Sony/Tosh had learnt anything from the vhs/ beta wars it should have been , let’s not do that again . It left a nasty taste in the mouth for everyone
They should have got together on HD and come to the market with similar technology and realistic prices .
They have lost 3 good years business

Nick Dixon, Sutton Coldfield, England

Sony not only lost 3 years, they lost 3 years of economic boom time. They also lost a 3 year lead on developing technologies.

In the last 3 years, bittorrent technology has developed to the point where it could be used to kill off Blu Ray. iTunes has commenced the delivery of high quality movie content via the Internet. Other services like Bigpond Movies have also started offering downloads.

Sure, broadband access in many places might need to do a bit of catch up, but movie downloads are now well and truly happening and they will only get better. Consumer demand for faster broadband is increasing and it will be fulfilled.

Ultimately, like the Audio CD, the Digital Video Disc and Blu Ray is now doomed to the sidelines. People will still buy physical discs, but they will never be ubiquitous like Records, Audio Tapes, CDs and DVDs once were.

The market will remian fragmented and it’s unlikely that there will ever be a dominant content format for movies ever again.

Written by brettg in: Vista Media Center | Tags: , , ,
Jan
03
2009
0

Victorian Cops need new approach to road toll

speed-tvc1 Victoria recorded it’s lowest road toll ever this year. 303 deaths on the roads, down from 331 last year – nearly a 10% drop. I think that this actually deserves some praise, don’t you?

Absolutely not says Victoria’s Assistant Police Commissioner Ken Lay. According to him we should be ashamed of ourselves.

"Despite our high visibility enforcement campaign, the educational campaign by TAC, the legislative changes by the government and the improvements to our roads we are still reliant on the public playing their part and changing their behaviour." Source: SMH

So in other words… it’s all your fault you bloody idiots!

Does Mr Lay realise who was driving the millions of cars on the road in Victoria this year?

Clearly, to gain a 10% reduction in the road toll, something has happened that involves the general public. They deserve credit for it. Instead what they get is more and more condemnation from the stupid shortsighted media tactics of the Victorian Police. The standard line used in most media interviews is:

"The public aren’t getting the message."

I can’t recall a single interview where a police spokesman on roads has ever praised drivers for the progress they have made and the significant attitude changes that have occurred. Instead, we continually hear stupid negative statements from people like Lay using the official line.

This official line has the same effect as the TAC’s current ad campaign. It criminalises and alienates everyone. According to the current TAC ad’s closing line, "We will catch you before someone gets hurt."

What is the real agenda behind this negativity?

Some would say that it is to justify the continuing campaign for speed cameras and the like. To me, speed cameras don’t seem to be about simply revenue raising. It seems to me like speed cameras and police agendas are more like a tool of psychological repression.

Why do I make this bold statement? I’m not trying to invoke conspiracy theory.

Surely everything that we know about human nature tells us that guilt and shame are extremely poor motivators. If you really want people to change their attitudes and behaviour it is far more effective to get them onside and involved.

Instead, we are constantly reminded that the police are out to get you. It fosters suspicion and distrust of the police. We should be being reminded that the police are there to help.

So is it just large scale incompetence that keeps perpetuating the "not getting the message" line? Or is it a more sinister agenda?


Interestingly the entire improvement in the road toll this year came from rural roads as represented by these TAC figures.

  • 166 Melbourne – 5 Year Average 161
  • 137 Rural – 5 Year Average 170, down from 174 last year.

Nearly 30% of deaths involve alcohol (clearly the biggest factor in road deaths, not speed as claimed).

You are far more likely to be seriously injured on a Melbourne road than a rural one.

Link: TAC road statistics

Written by brettg in: Transport | Tags: , , ,

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