Warriors: Five Pints 14 2

Technology

The New Scientist tells us about research into Social Networks which knows when censors delete online posts:

The system was able to spot, with 85 per cent accuracy, when censorship was taking place on a wide scale. Upon detecting the resulting change in network shape, the system could be programmed to send an alert to activists or protesters, say, to warn them that the authorities were tampering with their posts.

More of this sort of thing.


People

Christine Buckley, one of the first willing to speak out about institutional abuse in Ireland recently died.

As a teenager, she tried to smuggle a letter to newspapers exposing cruelty at the orphanage but she was found out.

Her punishment was a beating by a "sadistic" nun that left her needing 100 stitches in her leg.

Vale Christine Buckley, a great woman of Ireland.


The Media

In light of more recent stories, easily broken using data alone about Australia’s shameful concentration camp on Manus Island in PNG, Andrew Elder’s piece from January on the lack of journalistic initiative on Nauru is particularly damning:

Australia detained thousands of asylum-seekers on Nauru from 2001 to 2008, and again since 2012. It had been an Australian dependency for decades: politically that ended in 1968 but economically it has never not been the case. The country has a matrilineal social system. The most popular sport on the island is Australian Rules football. Why there wasn’t at least one, just one Australian reporter, stationed there during that time, is an indictment of the initiative of Australia’s media.


Football

I loved this intriguing dissection of Steven Gerrard by Ken Earlys :

Some of those Manchester United players were better than Gerrard in some aspects…None could match Gerrard’s all-around ability, his combination of skill, athleticism, and big-game impact. Scoring goals is the most difficult thing in football. Gerrard has scored 183 for club and country, more than Giggs (181), Scholes (169) or Beckham (146).

He’s the only player to score in the final of the FA Cup, League Cup, Uefa Cup, and Champions League. He’s collected more individual Player of the Year awards than all of the Class of ’92 put together.

I’m unapologetically a Liverpool and Steven Gerrard fan, but I’d trade all those successes of his in just to see a League winners medal around his neck.

It’s time.


Entertainment

Recently the Ad hoc podcast geeked out on Blade Runner.

Yes, my first time was pan and scan on VHS too.

Highly recommended for some excellent insights, not just on the movie, but on Ridley Scott’s creative process and the technology of the time.

Cars 3: The Fast and the Furious

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With the upcoming release of The Fast and Furious 6, I was thinking that any "movie franchise" that gets beyond a fourth sequel really needs to be ended – with prejudice. As an alternative, perhaps Pixar could pick up the Fast and the Furious and then diversify the ailing Cars franchise into something a little more adult.

Cars 3: The Fast and the Furious ticks all the boxes surely?

Product Managers, know your limits for the benefit of your customers.

A product or a service is as much how you sell and support it as what you build. User Experience, costs and benefits aren’t some add on for someone else to look into on the side, they are a core part of the consideration for anything you do.
I used to think it was odd that people in Digital industries called themselves Producers when really they were just Product Managers for web based services. But now I realise – if you consider the role of a producer across many creative industries and more – that’s just what we do.
Large organisations have a myriad of Producers who ensure that different types of products and services are conceived, created, sold and managed by bringing the right groups of people with other skill-sets together to help all that happen.
The problem, however, is that many of those producers are often expected to perform all those roles rather than just ensure the people who do it best are available to do so.
While many of the best Software Product Managers and CEO’s in the computer industry were once Programmers, they may not always have been the best person for that role in their organisation. Those we do remember were probably great producers, understanding their own limitations and  making sure they had the right team in place to perform the roles where they knew they were limited. Thus ensuring the best products were built for their customers.
George Lucas might know how to produce, write and direct, but his best work was when he had others write and direct his films for him.

“Opening Weekend”

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The Opening Weekend was always the method of measuring consumer excitement for Hollywood Movies. Indeed if you search opening weekend even today you’ll note the focus on blockbusters.

We keep getting told that consumer preferences are changing, a tipping point approaches, but the search results remain the same.

This week the term opening weekend was used by a number of media organisations to describe Apple’s initial sales of the iPhone 5. Couple that usage with the long expected mass-market adoption of alternative methods of consuming entertainment, and I wonder how long before search results for that term change to look more like this?

The Triplets of Belleville and the Madness of le Tour

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Watching the peloton in le Tour de France climb the beastly mountains of the Rhone-Alps out of Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne in Savoy last week, I was reminded by my wife of a fabulous movie.

I couldn’t remember the name of the movie, but Jason helped me with that.

If watching crazy cyclists going up 11 degree mountainsides wasn’t going to put anyone off cycling for life, then this clip from the Triplets of Belleville might.

What a movie, I need to add that to the wishlist to watch again.

The unexpected wonder of reading the greatest bedtime book ever told to the kids

Each time I finished The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings as child and young adult, people would question me why I kept reading the books again and again. One of the things I said to them was the wonder I gained from discovering new ways of thinking of the characters, the prose and the story. And, despite the 10 or 20 times I previously read The Hobbit, as I read 2-3 pages most nights to the girls at the moment, my memory is again delighting in finding new things and recalling parts of the story I had forgotten.

I’ve always believed it’s best to have read any book before you see a big screen treatment, so once I saw the teaser trailer for Peter Jackson’s upcoming movie, I was inspired to read it to them as a bedtime story, before they had their ideas about the characters and the story corrupted by the movie. It had been initially told as a bedtime story by Professor Tolkien to his children, and as a huge fan, I like to think it has always been an ambition of mine to introduce mine to it the same way.

They are moving away from having young childrens books read to them so being introduced to new, interesting and imaginative ideas like those in The Hobbit have to be a good thing. They are also discovering concepts of how fear can be balanced with longing and light with darkness. So much so that my initial fears they would have nightmares after the run-ins with the Trolls in the wood and the Great Goblin in the Misty Mountains have, to date, completely unfounded.

gollum.jpg

And so tonight they met Gollum, who despite Dad’s best efforts to sound cringeworthy and horrible, drew the loudest and longest giggles to date. No pre-conceived notions, no biases to be confirmed, just Mr. Tolkien’s prose brought to life by me.

Praps Andy Serkis and Peter Jackson have more insight than some give them credit for. Praps It likes riddles, praps it does, does it?

I’m keeping the progress of my reading, almost daily, over at my Goodreads profile – a great resource for reminding yourself of the books you have read and would love to read as well as discovering new works and authors. Come and join me, and share your own story about this wonderful piece of fiction.

The best movies of the 80’s sounds like a week in heaven

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Following some idle banter on twitter this morning, I went searching for some Turkey’s to align with the abysmal “Footloose“. Thankfully IMDB instead presented me with a selection of 50 of the best Movies from the 1980’s.

The next time I’ve a spare weekend, I’ll have to watch the 14 I haven’t seen. And some time later enjoy a week of all fifty in chronological order.

For the record, my favourite Movie on the list is probably Once upon a time in America, but there are many others which come close.

Let’s not start on the ones which I don’t believe belong on the list.

Which ones do you like best/worst?

I want my Torchwood now

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In the UK apparently they have to wait a WHOLE SIX DAYS to see their fix of the next installment of Torchwood.

As I was saying at Digital Citizens tonight: diddums.

I mean FFS, you aren’t entitled to any of this, unless you pay for it. Do you think these Actors and Production companies give their time for free?

Get over yourself, if you want to be the ~5% of the population who torrents – go ahead. If the delay is six bloody days, join me in waiting to see it in broadcast quality without compromising your minuscule download limits.

Heroes are the soundtrack to my life

If you follow my high volume twitter feed, you’ll note I quote lyrics from songs on a regular basis – whether that is standalone or part of the the blaster.fm integration with last.fm.

When I tweeted the lyrics of a David Bowie song tonight, a friend responded and that made me think at length about my relationship with music, books and movies. All of which I consume in spades and intricate quite a bit more than many may realise into my life. But not at all in the same way as so many others I know seem to. Continue reading

In Love with Linotype

Updated preview for Linotype: The Film

Once you get ink and type metal in your blood it never comes out

I studied just as these beasts were going out of fashion. I still have a lot of ink, and a little hot metal in my blood. But as another line went:

How does Linotype fit in with new Technology?

It Doesn’t

Even while I agree with that sentiment, I was still a little sad listening to some of the testimonials from the guys who ran the Linotypes.