Thursday, 23 April 2009

30,186 Apples a day

30,186 is how many iPods Apple sells every day of every week, 11m of them in a year. And they have contributed rather largely to the Cupertino-based company posting impressive revenue results, especially give the global financial Götterdämmerung that's currently going on.

Profits are $1.21bn, up 15% on last year on quarterly revenues of over $8bn. As for the iPhone, it managed to shift 3.7m units round the world, generating $2.2bn while it did so.

All very impressive, and even more so when you realise that Mac sales are down 3% but that the company has actually managed to increase its profit margins over the past three years - partly due to its ability to leverage its sheer size in the Flash memory purchasing market. Writing this on one of their lovely but infernally expensive machines, I'm not surprised.

Wednesday, 22 April 2009

NAB = Numbers Almost Bad

Well the first figures are in and seem to bear up the anecdotal evidence from the showfloor that the show is definitely quieter than before. Final figures are yet to be released (massaged did someone say at the back? - cynic!) but so far seem to be around 20,000 down at a shade over 80,000. Interestingly though, overseas visitors have only fallen by about 4000 to 23,000 or thereabouts.

Monitoring the news coming out of Vegas though it's been a quiet show for products as well as visitors, with little in the way of incandescent announcements to set the world on fire. Some post stuff, some 3D stuff, some camera stuff...the theme of the show seems to be encouraging greater efficiencies out of existing tech and greater interoperability between it all. Less a Great Leap Forward and more of a What Do We Do With What We've Already Got, Eh? - and probably no bad thing because of that. Every industry needs a fallow year while it catches its breath now and then.

And IBC is already coming out fighting. Here's part of a statement the Amsterdam show released this morning, with Mike Crimp answering the questions:

How are plans for IBC2009?

Exhibition bookings for IBC2009 are still very strong. Currently we are about 10% down on the final space requirement for last year, which at this time is very good. My view is that we will have an excellent show, filling the RAI Centre, and perhaps the space available to us in the new Elicium building. Sony is the only major company at IBC2008 which has not signed up for this year.

Does that mean IBC2009 will be a smaller exhibition than last year?

We are a little smaller because many exhibitors have trimmed their stand space a little, and we fully understand why they need to do this.

Sadly, we are seeing some cancellations from companies who are struggling in the market, but these are being replaced by fresh applications. Last month we were able to allocate stands to 25 new companies, who were waiting for space in the right areas for them. It may be hard to believe but I promise it is true: new bookings are still outrunning cancellations for IBC2009. Sustainability is the keyword.

Monday, 20 April 2009

Not strictly relevant

Which is why I've posted this story from New Scientist about a map generated to illustrate temporal distances from major cities worldwide on the personal site and not here. Still interesting enough to go have a look though IMHO...More here.

Where is everywhere?

Interesting one via New Scientist: a map which shows how far away everywhere is from everywhere else temporally:

"The maps are based on a model which calculated how long it would take to travel to the nearest city of 50,000 or more people by land or water. The model combines information on terrain and access to road, rail and river networks (see the maps). It also considers how factors such as altitude, steepness of terrain and hold-ups like border crossings slow travel.

Plotted onto a map, the results throw up surprises. First, less than 10 per cent of the world's land is more than 48 hours of ground-based travel from the nearest city. What's more, many areas considered remote and inaccessible are not as far from civilisation as you might think. In the Amazon, for example, extensive river networks and an increasing number of roads mean that only 20 per cent of the land is more than two days from a city - around the same proportion as Canada's Quebec province."

More here.

Wednesday, 15 April 2009

NAB = Not Actually Bothered

Okay, so that's a slight exaggeration I admit. Part of me would love to be in Vegas for this year's show, especially to sit in on all the 3D cinema stuff that's going to be talked about out there. It is though a long and expensive way to go, as a lot of other people seem to be deciding, so I'll follow it remotely from the comfort of my own sun-kissed part of Rutland.*

In the meantime, plenty to be getting on with, including a feature for Broadcast on newsrooms which looks at how the physical layout of the places has changed with the advent of new technologies. Should be interesting...Now, if only all the people I need to talk to aren't in Vegas at the moment...

*Only slight sarcasm there...

Scottish Falsetto Sock Puppet Theatre

Dr Who's Planet of the Dead episode as redone by The Scottish Falsetto Sock Puppet Theatre. Really rather brilliant.

YouTube - Planet Of The Dead - Scottish Falsetto Sock Puppet Theatre

Tuesday, 14 April 2009

The name's Snell. Just Snell...

Pro-Bel and Snell & Wilcox have decided to move forward into the brave new broadcast future together under the name Snell. So much so simple, but the enjoyment comes from the press release accompanying said announcement, which is an entertaining masterpiece of corporate cobblers.

"At the same time the Snell name and new branding position for the company introduces the ambitious, passionate and customer-focused agenda that will define our activities in the future.”


Thursday, 9 April 2009

Kermode & Mayo - not for long?

Looks like Simon Mayo has declined a move up to Salford when 5Live relocates and, as a result, the best hour of radio in existence is under threat.

Still, a good interview with the Good Doctor K. Prize quote: "God's role in the world? Oh, come on. I'm just a guy who likes The Exorcist."

Drawn to the devil: 5 Live's horror-loving film reviewer Mark Kermode talks to Mark Lawson | Film | The Guardian

More Dwarfism

Writing about Red Dwarf: Back to Earth again. Just had to do a primer for people who've never heard of it (which includes most of the US apparently. Inevitably they tried a US version full of quite bewilderingly attractive people, but the pilot never screened). Anyway, it was difficult to do without using the word 'Smeghead' once or going into the wonders of Mr Flibble. but 'twas done all the same. Now looking in a bit more detail at the vfx work. I'd post a pic, but I'd be shot if I did and then large men called Len would come round and shoot you too for having seen it. Maybe after Easter...

Now, smoke me a kipper, I'll be back by breakfast.

UPDATE: Seen the first ep and the vfx work is, indeed, rather splendid.

Sunday, 5 April 2009

That April Fool release in full

BBP! Introduces VFX For All

1 April 2009 – Film goers and game players will soon have a whole new way of looking at the world thanks to radical new realtime VFX sunglasses technology being introduced by Biff Bang Pow!, a new knowledge-based, satisfaction-oriented start-up based in Peterborough.

The glasses, dubbed Eye Candy, work by overlaying realtime special effects sequences over real life events. Wearers can thus add explosions to everyday events such as making a cup of tea, dinosaur rampages to mundane tasks such as popping out for lunch, or even complete alien visitations to something as simple as taking the dog for a walk.

And while it perhaps sounds gimmicky, according to company founder Tiberius J Kirk, it addresses a serious psychological need in today's Web 2.0/Film 3.0/Reality 1.0 world.

“Research is finding that people who immerse themselves in violent gaming or Hollywood blockbusters for any length of time experience profound sensory deprivation and a psychological disconnect when they decouple themselves from their media ingest and return to what we refer to as the 'normal world',” he says. “We call this Sensory Grieving. By wearing Eye Candy, however, they can augment reality, and the default setting is that the glasses 'dial down' the vfx augmentation over a couple of days. For example, explosions become smaller, dinosaurs turn from raptors to vegetarians, and aliens come in peace rather than wanting to take over the world and enslave humanity as a food source. After a couple of days, when they have been parachuted back to the so-called 'normal world' with a soft landing, they can then remove the glasses and get on with their lives without experiencing any residual trauma.”

The glasses, which also feature ear buds for realtime soundtrack delivery, are powered by sept-core processors and the latest generation Graphics Processing Units, which, along with batteries, are carried along in a separate backpack. Glasses and backpack send and receive data via Bluetooth, and a handbag model for fashion-concious female wearers is also in development.

Interest in the glasses is widespread and not just confined to the entertainment community. “We have even had calls from religious groups who want to be able to use the technology to pixellate out body parts so that their members can walk along beaches without fear of seeing something sinful,” says Kirk.

The Eye Candy glasses will go on sale this Summer. Pricing to be announced.

Friday, 3 April 2009

Vegas here we come?

That's the first of the NAB previews finished. It'll be interesting to see how many actually go out to Vegas this year. Numbers were down last year already - albeit by a mere few thousand - and, of course, the economy has driven a long way off a very tall cliff since then.

One aspect of all this a few people have commented on is that it could herald the growth of the local show. Broadcast Video Expo was quite a lively little event back in February, and the feeling is that smaller, local shows with associated lower travel costs, could be the way forward in straitened times.

27,000 overseas visitors went out to NAB last year. Bets on it being under 20,000 this year?

Thursday, 2 April 2009

Sony projector success

Quite a big story from the States: the AMC cinema chain has just ordered a rather large amount of Sony 4K projectors for its theatres and is paying $315m for the privilege.

Important because a) it brings Sony almost level with TI (5000 projectors as opposed to TI's installed base of 5500) and b) it gives 4k production a real boost. There will probably be a c) and a d) too - perhaps time to try and line up an interview with someone there...

Sony to Install Digital Projectors in AMC Theaters -

Wednesday, 1 April 2009

Mid-Week Humping

After a few diverse shenanigans involving a dog that went through rather than over a fence while chasing a small deer and subsequent visits to the vet, back in the work groove. An NAB preview is taking most of the waking hours, with a couple of press releases zipping in for urgent attention along the way.