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forenoon filings

shiny, oh so shiny

flickr shot of the month #7: april 2006

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

A great shot this. After a recent experiment, I've realised how difficult it is to photograph animals!

This shot is called Doggy In The Window ( Bunny Lust ) and was taken by DSP.

e3 previews the online battleground

Wednesday, May 10, 2006
After observing the success of the Apple's iTunes service and the proof that given the right price many consumers are willing to buy into an online entertainment service, it should come as no surprise that the big three gaming companies are all positioning themselves to make their next three consoles centred around the online experience.

Nintendo, as in previous years (cf. optical storage) has decided to join the online battleground quite late - although when we say join, we mean actively promote a service, as opposed to releasing the necessary add-ons and letting us figure the rest out! But one thing that Apple's iTunes Music service unexpectedly awoke content providers to was the fact that the majority of users do not necessarily want to pay for complete or epic downloads. The $0.99/79p download allows (or even it could be argued) actively encourages bite sized consumption. Nintendo appears to be aiming for that same level of use with its announcement that classic (and - more importantly - shorter) games will be made available to download from their own and SEGA's and NEC's respective libraries.

If the price and organisation is executed correctly, this could easily give Microsoft a strong level of competition. After reading accounts of the Microsoft E3 event, it has shown how much the Live service has grown from strength to strength. Many people were rather sceptical, and prematurely critical of Microsoft for adopting a centrally controlled online environment. The Live Arcade has clearly struck a chord with many users who do not have the money, or more importantly the time to invest in many full length games. One area of Live to watch is its rebirth as a pseudo online independent publisher (following on from Steam).

flickr shot of the month #6: march 2006

Friday, April 28, 2006

Who would have thought that such a simple to find subject would get march's shot of the month.

I particularrly like the effect of the light and the way it changes the different shades of blue.

This shot entitled Clouds and was taken by mbettik (yes, I know I'm a month late...)

a lot has changed...

... since we last posted an article of length on this page.

Instead of trying to catch up and re-summarise what is already old news (who wants to hear about Boot Camp again?) - semi-regular posting shall be resumed forthwith.

a slight hiatus...

Saturday, April 08, 2006
... but regular posting will resume in the next couple of days.

A combination of travel, moving house and migrating data to a new hard drive has rather side tracked article composition lately!

retro gaming set to receive a boost on revolution

Friday, March 24, 2006
New hits of the GDC keynote from Nintendo boss Satoru Iwata.

It has been an open fact that the next console from the big N, will be supporting a download service for classic S/NES games, but what has taken many people by surprise is the announcement that many titles from SEGA's and NEC's back catalogue will be included as well!

When the new controller for this console was revealed, it was remarked in the press how much of a change had come over Nintendo's approach to market - seeing as it had not really adapted well to the changing tastes in the West.

With this recent announcement, it seems that in terms of delivery, Nintendo are making some bold and very calculated moves.

The longevity of the traditional retail delivery models may well be numbered (especially we can see the success of such ventures as Steam); if the various territories' infrastructures are capable, then online delivery of mini and classic games could well be a large part of the market.

It has previously been commented on how the current trend for 2 disc, 40 hour epics would surely peak - and as with XBox Live Arcade, the signs are showing that there is a demand for this.

looking at the viability of mass online storage

Monday, March 13, 2006
It was interesting to read the "accidentally" leaked reports of Google's plans for getting into the online storage market. Such a move does seem particularly well timed, as the average available DSL speeds increase.

But this development does go some way to show the relative lethargy that has been afflicting Apple's own equivalent – .Mac – for some time.

It is fair to say that GMail may have given .Mac a necessary scare (and in doing so, quadrupled the available storage from 250MB to 1GB to subscribers); but new innovations and advances in the way to use and access your own information online continues to be gradual.

One problem that is often remarked in relation to .Mac however, is the fact that it is not always made patently clear that its many enhancements that are designed for some applications on OS X are unlocked on subscribing (something that iWeb seems to be particularly guilty of). It is widely agreed that the online backup feature is one of the most valuable features – and no doubt OS X could absorb a slight rise in its retail price to have .Mac integrated as standard?

But Apple needs to ask themselves what is the goal of this service. Is it just an add-on to OS X, or will online storage, backup and publishing be a real and viable storage alternative?

Many users now use their computer systems in multiple locations, and being able to get at your documents at all times is becoming more necessary (the upturn in the sales of USB pen drives in recent years surely isn’t an accident?).

news for the web 2.0 age

Friday, March 10, 2006
A lot of column inches (or should that be pixels?) have been devoted to the growth of Web 2.0 - but two sites in particular have caught my eye recently.

This month's Wired includes a brief interview with the founder of Digg - a primarily technology news site, which relies on user input to vote on favourite stories. This has the effect of democratising the space given to front page stories. While the site is laid out in an easy to read way, spending a few minutes navigating your way through it's various categories really impresses on you the sheer amount of information being pumped through this site (try watching the Digg Spy for any length of time). It would be good to see more filtering or tracking tools provided.

More recently launched for public use is the collaborative news site Newsvine. At a glance it looks and acts like a conventional news site, but closer examination shows that registered users are given the ability to post comments, write articles and seed links - all on equal footing with 'real news'. Once again, community voting pushes the most read/respected articles to the front page.

After a week or two's evaluation period one of these two sites will be given permanent residence in Forenoon Filings' bookmark bar!

flickr shot of the month #5: february 2006

Friday, March 03, 2006

This month's selection is the first black & white selection so far.

A good balaning between the sky and mountains. I struggle with taking black & white shots, so I'm always interested to see how people can take original black & white shots (I'm deliberately not including various desaturation techniques in Photoshop!)

This shot entitled Black Mesa Panorama was taken by J Michael Sullivan.

calling 'time' on distortion

These rumour mills are really starting to get out of hand.

Apple’s latest press event came and went, and there has been a wide expression of dismay because the announced products did not live up to the hype. Well, this is an odd assertion to make, because apart from the original press release that went out to selected journalists, all of the associated hype that surrounded this event came from half-baked stories and distorted hearsays that get transmitted so quickly on the many Apple fan sites (I’ve lost track of how many video iPod mock-ups and media centre concepts I’ve seen).

It is admirable that Apple do manage to maintain a semblance of confidentiality in an age where we have gotten so used to advance briefings and press leaks – long may it continue, but a lot of people seem to be getting rather caught up in this hysteria (there really is no other way to put it).

if ms designed ipods...

Tuesday, February 28, 2006
We don't usually cover virals, but this video has been doing the rounds at a fair rate recently.

An amusing parody of Microsoft's packaging house style.

how to increase public wi-fi use

Recent press reports here in the UK have been lamenting the fact that although we have had wireless technologies for many years, the public use of it is still slow in its growth.

Although commercial wireless networks have become more widespread in larger cities - it is often the case that the price of using this a deterrent for extended use. To combat this, and to attract more use of Wi-Fi - it should be the case that public libraries could be used as hotspots. Many libraries have been suffering drops in use since the dawn of the internet - a problem that many have tried to stave off with ventures such as DVD/CD rentals and other media schemes. But to return to this proposal, the library seems to be the ideal venue for lower-cost internet access - without the headache of hardware and software maintenance. The greater number of people that there will be back in the libraries will surely have a knock-on effect on the other services that they provide.

(As an aside recent article on Boing Boing has articulated something that has often been a suspicion of late - that charging laptops in public Wi-Fi hotspots is something that is becoming more and more trying).

february round-up

Monday, February 27, 2006
This method of summing up recent news seems to be more common here these days, but time has been a rarer commodity during this past month.

Top stories that have caught our attention (in no particular order):

- Finally, there is a way to browse and access your del.icio.us bookmarks from your Mac. I have always found del.icio.us to be rather one sided affair - not to detract from its excellent uploading and sharing features - but sharing and using boomarks while away from you home system has proved to be tricky up until now (The del.icio.us bookmark listing unfortunately does not emulate your native bookmark organisation). This new app called Delibar now offers a new menulet which will draw down all of your accounts' bookmarks for browsing and editing. Caveats on the site warn of its pre-stable release state, so we'll watch this app for some time before installing.

- Mac users have had a tendency to be rather smug when it came to system security. However, to effectively secure your system, you really need to understand the basic security concepts that underpin your OS - this isn't a Mac issue - rather, it's a general computing issue. Most importantly for laptops and notebooks, don't let them get out of your physical control. In the event that this does happen, then you would need to ensure (beforehand, of course) that they are setup in such a way that thieves are given a rough ride if they try to sift through your system. A great starter tutorial is right here.

- Essential reading for any web-site administrtator or designer. Don't make pages that scream!

- A very popular meme that is being spread at the moment concerns the remixing of various Tube and Metro maps from around the world. It started with the world famous London Underground map - that is until TfL decided to issue a cease and desist. This seems to have started something, as lots of city maps have been given the same treatment: Amsterdam, Toronto, Vienna, Washington DC to name a few. Boing Boing is chronicling them.

- Looks like iTunes may have some competition soon - in the form of Songbird. Although there are differing opinions on its feature-set, one thing the designers of this application have realised, is that in this current era of digital music, customers of rival services are being locked into exclusive and non-compatible business models - an anomaly that is only punishing the consumer at the end of the day.

- While we admire the resourcefulness of reverse engineering comments into your iWeb published pages, it does leave Forenoon Filings wondering how such a glaringly standard weblogging feature could have been left out of a retail web publishing program (A similar point could be made for iCal). Let's see what v2.0 will bring...

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