Archive for the ‘Culture’ Category


30 Nov 2007 3 comments


Pablo Picasso did it, there is a group on flickr dedicated to it, and now WiReD is running an article all about a group dedicated to it.

Fabulous concept and given the results what they are managing to produce is somewhat original as a contemporary version.

Categories: Art, Culture, Flickr


8 Nov 2007 Leave a comment

If God had meant us to fly he’d given us wings…

Categories: Culture, Entertainment, Vids

More ill-conceived ideas of our time

6 Aug 2007 Leave a comment

The BBC iPlayer.

I signed up. I received my ID a day later. The website looked good. I was excited. I could watch BBC TV at home, catch up on the last seven days. Fabulous.

The first problem. What is there to actually watch? After going through all the programs available, I could only find one thing to watch. Being an ex-pat, it has been a long time since I was able to watch something on UK TV, the list of TV shows meant nothing to me. A few factual, documentary style episodes did look appealing, but most lasted an hour and I wanted instant gratification.

The second problem. Being an ex-pat.

You can only watch TV shows from the last seven days if a). You are currently connecting in UK and b). Ideally have a TV license. Requirement B can be overcome quite easily, one way or the other. Point A raises the following questions:

  • If you are tech-savvy enough to go through the registration process, download and install the player, go through the second registration process and get to the point of actually wanting to download a show, the chances are that you already have a recording device at home. If there is something you want to watch you’d have set up the device to record.
  • If you have a device to record then you can watch it anytime, maybe in a year or two when there is enough time.
  • If you are in the UK and really want to watch TV on my laptop, then you would probably have a digital tuner for the machine. With one of these things it is possible to record the show directly on to the laptop and watch any time that is convenient.
  • If you were still living in the UK, but went on holidays (or even worked) outside of the UK, then even though you are a resident, have a TV license, you can’t watch the show where you are because the BBC knows the computer is located outside the UK. Its part of their conditions.
  • The chances are that if you knew you would be away and really wanted to watch “The Weakest Link” then you would buy recording device or you’d have Sky+.

The likely audience who will want to jump on to such things are either residents of the UK who are desperate to watch TV shows from the past seven days on their computers, or ex-pats, like me who seem to have this idealized vision that BBC TV is still the best since we haven’t actually watch any British TV for at least the last five years. Except we can’t. And that’s the strange thing, the audience is likely to fall into one of these categories and half can’t watch it. Most ex-pats would be willing to pay the license fee to watch BBC TV wherever they are.

At the end of the day we are probably being spared the torment of finally realizing that those “good old days” of BBC TV are best left as happy, deluded memories. Of the shows available, the good documentaries will be available on BBC World, the comedy will come to DVD and the rest are best left unwatched (or downloaded from other sources). How long will it be before the service is part of the digital Freeview boxes for the next generation of domestic viewing, or as a downloads to the mobile phone. Then the whole of idea of watching on the computer will becomes somewhat pointless. Except for us ex-pats who just don’t care how much it costs because we really would like to watch something different.

Then the next problem is forseeing ISPs trying to extort money to cover distribution costs. I am not sure about this argument since the BBC is utilising a distribution system that already exists and the same argument can be applied to any popular website/service. If people are already paying for a distribution service they expect to be able to use this service as they like. If they need more bandwidth they pay for it. I am still not convinced that distribution of content using the internet, within the UK, is the right way to go. Using current broadcast systems can be leveraged for this purpose.

Categories: Culture, Entertainment, Opinion

16th C Sputnik

3 Aug 2007 Leave a comment

Time to save a unique painting at the San Pietro Montalcino Tuscany.

SputnikStructured vertically, the Holy Eucharist is placed in the geometric centre surrounded by four great doctors of the Church. On the right, Saint Ambrose, Bishop of Milan, and Saint Augustus, theologian and Bishop of Ippona. On the left, Saint Girolamo, dressed in red with the lion at his side, and Saint Gregory Magno shown with the symbol of the Holy Spirit, the dove, whispering in his ear, signifying divine inspiration as he writes.

Categories: Art, Culture

What to do before you die

25 Jun 2007 Leave a comment

The Guardian’s recent feature is starting to list the 1000 films to see before you die. So this falls into the category of all those other “lists” of things to do before you die. The chances are, however, that the stress of trying to do all these things before you die will get to you first. So lets start a list of the things you need to do before you die – I just did a quick search for these things:


Alternatively, the Sydney Morning Herald ran this article covering the 10 things not to do before you die:

Categories: Culture, Entertainment