Tag Archives: iPod

Esther Dyson rocks

Here’s why.

MX01~Always-Make-New-Mistakes-Esther-Dyson-Posters.jpgWe toddled along to an ‘Advertising 2.0′ conference last week. Esther was on a panel discussing the presentations. We thought that Esther makes a lot of sense. An early investor in Google, Flickr and del.icio.us, we think that Ms Dyson — like in the song — knows where it’s at.

She made a couple of excellent points last night. One: if we pay more than lip-service to the thought that users are now in control then we should really face up to the conclusion that pushing ads onto them ain’t gonna work no more. Obvious you would have thought. Not given that the prior presentation had been all about online advertising models that presumed attention as a given. No mention of ad-blocking, RSS-ad filtering and — oh yes — search

Esther talked a bit about the potentially interesting models being developed in the States by companies such as Root Markets, who are basically bribing consumers for their attention. Not a bad idea when you consider the success of crowd-sourcing and gold markets [as discussed in previous posts]. People love to share an opinion. Hell, we’re overjoyed when someone leaves us positive feedback on our Amazon seller account: imagine trapping that will-to-be-liked for your brand.

Second point: advertising is having a good product. The iPod and very-possibly-any day-now the Wii are bearing this out. Have a good product and your consumers will do the selling for you.

Ms Dyson. We salute you.

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I think therefore iPod

*This* has pretty much already happened.

ipod_overthrow.jpgThe Simpsons envisages a future (now?) where iPods take over humanity. Via Plasticbag.

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Henry Jenkins: On Convergence Culture

Henry Jenkins’ new book tells the story of emergent participatory media. He kindly granted BigShinyThing an exclusive email interview.

For a while now, we’ve been paying great attention to the writings of Henry Jenkins, Director of the Comparative Media Studies graduate program at MIT.

Over the last few years, he’s argued that the participatory creation led by fans and gamers heralds a transformation in creative media. His new book, Convergence Culture: Where Old and New Media Collide ties together many of the threads of his research, and was recently published to rave reviews from all sides.

While impatiently waiting for our copy to arrive, we caught up with Jenkins via email to get our readers the lowdown on his persuasive arguments about fan culture, collaborative production, and the social networking site backlash.

BST: We’re still waiting for your book to turn up in the mail! Can you tell us a little about its premise?

JENKINS: We live in an age where every story, image, brand, relationship will play itself out across the broadest possible array of media channels. This convergence is shaped top-down by decisions made in corporate boardrooms by companies wishing to tap their cross-media ownership and bottom-up by decisions made in teen’s bedrooms as they want to consume the media they want where they want it and when they want it.

Consumers are gaining a new power as they learn to operate within the knowledge cultures emerging within a networked society and as they learn to share media they’ve produced with each other.

Right now, they are acquiring and mastering these skills through their play with popular culture, but soon they will be applying them towards other powerful institutions. And Stuff.

You are a fan of fans, and argue that fans have long been ahead of the convergence curve, with their understanding that the ‘text’ of the stories they care about is open to engagement, involvement, transformation. Now a much wider community is participating in cultural creation. Is there an essential difference between fan-created content and other content contributions from the ‘former audience’?

Fans have been and are likely to continue to be the shock troops in this transformation of our culture — highly motivated, passionately committed, and socially networked. They are early adopters of new technologies and willing to experiment with new relationships to culture. (We might also throw into this category other highly motivated groups such as bloggers and gamers.)

There are signs that fan culture practices and products are spreading throughout the culture. Recent statistics from the Pew Center of Internet and American Life found that more than half of teens online produce some form of media and many of them shared what they produced by others. They are part of the participatory culture I am describing. So are people who join discussion forms or sign up for RSS feeds to get more information about their favorite band or television program.

As writers like Will Wright and Raph Koster have suggested, there is a pyramid of participation. Not everyone will want to spend massive amounts of time generating new content — some will simply want to engage with content others have produced. Not everyone will write fan stories — some may share critical responses with the authors. Not everyone will want to spoil reality television programs — some will simply enjoy the new relationships to the program the spoiler community helps to create for them. But the expansion of this participatory culture changes the context in which media content gets produced and distributed and thus it impacts all of us one way or another. Given this, I would imagine fans may still enjoy a privileged status in participatory culture but more and more people will benefit from the once invisible cultural work of fans.

As you define it, is ‘convergence’ an historical event, which has already occurred, an epoch (like the Renaissance), during which we are living, or something experiential, which is happening to different groups of people at differing times, in different ways?

That’s an interesting question. In some ways, each of these would be accurate.

In the book, I challenge those who think of convergence as a technological process and feel that we are a long way from integrating our communications technologies. I suggest we are already living in a convergence culture if we take advantage of the many kludged together ways that content travels across media platforms right now.

But I also see convergence as an ongoing process — not an endpoint — so it doesn’t make sense to read it as a historical event that has already occured, even if some aspects of the change have been building over an extended period of time at this point. I do think convergence is going to define our relationship to media for an extended period of time forward so it is in some ways an epoch.

But I also think the transitional nature of the present moment, as well as the uneven distribution of media technologies, means that we are not all living in convergence culture in the same ways or the same degrees. If it is an epoch, then, it is one that is just beginning and the long term consequences of these shifts are going to play themselves out for years and years to come.

The ‘Renaissance Man’ was a new creature, in that ‘his’ identity was open to invention, construction, reassembly, interrogation. What defines the ‘Convergence Person’, if such a person exists as a type? Who exemplifies this, and why?

The Renaissance Man was someone who sought to contain within their own individual intellect as much as possible of what anyone on the planet at that time knew.

Today, with the explosion of information we are all experiencing, it is simply not humanly possible to know everything. Most of us alive today know more about a broader range of topics than most of the people living in the Renaissance but we know a much smaller portion of what could be known that the idealized vision of the Renaissance Man suggests.

This is where Pierre Levy’s notion of Collective Intelligence enters the picture. Today, we see knowledge as dispersed across social networks. Everybody knows something, nobody knows everything, and what is known by any member is accessible to the group on demand. The Convergence Person thus knows how to tap that network to get the knowledge they need and knows how to make meaningful contributions back to the group in return. The Renaissance Man was a creature of hierarchy and expertise; the Convergence Person is a creature of adhocracy and pooled information.

Do you feel that converged culture offers specific opportunities to — or imposes particular obligations on — the ‘official’ creators of fictional worlds (open-endedness, unresolved story arcs etc)?

In the book, I offer two terms to refer to the aesthetic goals of convergence culture.

First, works seek to be cultural attractors. If consumption is now social and communal, then certain works will attract together people of similar interests so that they can begin to pool knowledge together. To do that, they often must tap existing cultural references in the way that Lost or The Matrix or Harry Potter can be said to do.

Second, works seek to be cultural activators. They give audiences something to do — some activity, some roles and goals, some meaningful form of participation. This can be literally the case in terms of the mechanisms of participation that surround reality television or computer games. Or it can simply be the show embeds lots of secrets and thus opens itself up to a prolonged process of decryption, as seems to be the case of Lost. There are plenty of shows that achieve the first, far fewer which achieve the second.

Once you’ve designed a cultural attractor and activator, the next step out would be to provide raw materials which fans then want to recombine in new ways and thus generate new forms of cultural expression. And the final step in this process may be to find ways to monitor and amplify the creative energies of these fan communities to sustain popular interest in your program.

To achieve the first two, you need the skills and creativity of professional creators. To achieve the second two, you have to create a context where grassroots creativity is respected rather than shut down.

Lost would seem to be a show which does very well by the first two criteria: a decade ago, Lost would be a cult show like Twin Peaks was in its time. Now, it is one of the highest rated shows on American television despite the fact that, as Steven Johnson has pointed out, it is also one of the most intellectually demanding shows on American television (or more precisely because it is so demanding.) It is designed in a way to generate constant secrets which we want to uncover and thus providing fuel for the participation of large scale knowledge communities. The map which was flashed across the screen for a split second in a single episode is, as Jason Mittell has noted, emblematic of that new relationship with the consumer.

As of this summer, the Lost Team has pushed this one step further by creating an alternate reality game that will generate new opportunities for participation and socialization around the series. There has been some suggestion that the Lost writers also monitor online communities and reshape the story in response to their speculations.

There has so far been fewer signs of audiences recreating Lost or creating the next generation of Lost on their own. This may be because the series is so demanding and people are still so unsettled in their expectations about what is actually going on there. In that regard, Lost may generate more new culture once it is finished than it has so far. This was certainly the case with Twin Peaks which only really started to inspire fan fiction once it was off the air. It is spectacular though to recognize that Wrapped in Plastic, a fanzine produced when the show was first aired, is still being produced and read — and if anything, it has more subscribers now, a decade plus later, than when the series was first broadcast. This is a classic illustration of the ways that fans can help extend the shelf life of media products.

With the advent of weightless digital media, we’ve anticipated some global crossover hit from somewhere other than the ‘first world’, but so far, it’s not happened — music in particular seems to exist in tight local (spatial or cultural) ghettos of genre. Any thoughts on what it would take for a truly converged global music culture and if/when it will happen?

I think you are measuring success by the old standards — looking for mega-hits — whereas the greatest impact of globalization in media content so far comes on the other end of Chris Anderson’s long tail. Global media in the West remains niche media.

Indeed, you can argue that it is the most vivid example of the potential of niche media for market success. Music is, as you note above, in general, defined right now by ever more precise niches or “ghettos of genre” to use your term. While music can be a shared resource within subcultural communities, there is very little music we listen to as a culture at large.

The Nichification of music is suggested by something like MySpace which emerged initially as a vehicle for helping people to find music that they liked by tapping their social networks. The massification of music might be suggested by something like American Idol — which has self consciously sought to generate music that will appeal across a broad demographic (though in reality, the best Idols have turned out to be second run performers on the show who then get pulled into specialized niches once they depart it.)

Right now, I see people consuming more and more media from other parts of the world — global fusion music, anime and manga, Bollywood films, Latin America soaps, Nigerian horror films, etc. but in fairly localized communities of interests. We are seeing this culture brought into the western market by a mixture of Otaku (fans) and Desi (immigrants): fans seek out difference where-ever they can find it in the world; immigrants seek to maintain ties back to the mother country which they left. Both contribute to a cultural landscape where global media is more readily available. And the results can take off dramatically.

Do you think that the diversification of modes of media consumption (iPod, PVR/DVR, home cinema, mobile phone) makes for a fundamental challenge to creators of ‘content’? If so, what’s the challenge, and where do you see this challenge leading?

Ok — there are two potential challenges — one a dead-end, the other a new possibility for gifted entertainers.

The dead end is the idea of developing content that simply gets reconfigured easily across all of those platforms. This is an idea that’s been kicking around for a while and this practice shows little to no appreciation of the aesthetic and social dimensions of those various media.

The result will be something like the pan and scan prints of films which have been reconfigured to fit our television screens as opposed to the letterboxed prints that reflect a recognition of the aesthetic practices that shaped the original product and seek a meaningful compromise as it is moved into the new medium.

To create media content that is mechanically reconfigured across all of those platforms is to produce content that really exploits the potentials of none of those media. We’ve seen this in cinema where the expressive uses of cinemascope found in the 1950s when films were designed for the big screen have given way to the pretty limited use of the frame edges that characterize current filmmaking practice. However big the screen looks in the theatre, the significant action has to play out within the boxed window which will be visible on the television screen.

There will of course be some content that moves easily from platform to platform but in general, I think one has to develop strategies appropriate for each space. We are already seeing that there are television series that do spectacularly well on video iPod that are not ratings champs on broadcast and other shows, sitcoms, dramatically under-perform in these new contexts.

The alternative is what I am calling transmedia storytelling or more broadly transmedia entertainment. This is a system where each medium makes a distinct contribution to the media franchise, each is left to do what it does best, and the reader is able to expand on their experience of a favorite story by pulling together bits and pieces of information from various sources.

I discuss this in the book in terms of The Matrix where the films, animation, games, and comics each made unique and integral contributions to the whole. This is similar to the “media mix” culture that has emerged in Japan, for example. I believe that transmedia storytelling represents the most compelling way to use convergence to expand the canvas on which our most creative entertainers work.

We are convinced that the current proliferation of hardware and software is but a moment ie netflix, PVRs, chargeable film downloads, before content moves entirely online (reaches convergence). However, the media industry at large appears to be in denial about this — do you agree?

I am much more interested in predicting where our culture is going than predicting where technology is going. My hunch is that we are going to see a variety of delivery mechanisms for the foreseeable future and indeed, that there will be no steady state of media convergence, no fully integrated technological infrastructure.

We are seeing that divergence as demonstrated by specialized devices is part of the process by which convergence operates. I don’t happen to like the idea of my cell phone as a media appliance, for example, and I find that I prefer to watch dvds on a portable dvd player rather than my laptop. These are probably idiosyncratic choices but then, the point is that every consumer wants their own unique mix of media appliances because they like certain affordances each offers in specific contexts.

My hunch is that as soon as some media functions get integrated, someone else will offer a new appliance that seperates them out again for consumers who want a different relationship to media content. This goes back to what I say about convergence being a process rather than an endpoint. We are going to see ever more complicated configurations of media, ever more complex integrations of media content, but we may never reach a technological steady state.

This doesn’t mean that all of the stop gap measures you are referring to above are here to stay. They will only last if they are seen by consumers as serving necessary functions or if they serve a clear niche in the new media infrastructure.

Nobody I suspect imagines the video iPod say is the best possible way to watch television. It simply came along at the right moment to provide an infrastructure to support television content on demand. And we will see a better solution emerge. We are already seeing Netflix and other services experiment with new ways to get movies into the hands of consumers besides mailing dvds. On the other hand, there are signs that people still want to buy books even where they can download the content for free on the web.

danah boyd and yourself seem to have become (reluctantly) the most visible defenders of young people’s rights to explore and create identity using emergent media. We remember when ‘learning-though-doing’ with technology and media was at the core of education, but it seems that the young people growing up now have to reclaim reedoms that have somehow subsequently been lost without a fight — any thoughts on what went wrong with the relationship between children and tools/media, and what we grownups can do to help them maintain and/or win back their right to play (with technology, identity, etc)?

In a way, each generation of young people across history have had to fight their own battles for expressive freedom and for the right to play with technology and identity. Young people have always been on the cutting edge of media change as they search for ways to escape the surveillance of their parents and define their own space in the world. They gravitate towards the new and the shiny and they are willing to put in the time to adopt it to their needs and interests.

Parents are often spooked by their relationship to these technologies that were not part of the culture of their own childhoods. They don’t know how to protect their children as they go into that space — and this is part of the point.

All it takes is one shocking tragedy — something like the Columbine shooting — to turn their ignorance into fear and then it takes the mixture of moral reformers, sensationalistic media, and opportunistic politicians to turn their fear into a moral panic which results in laws and regulations that try to put the genie back in the bottle again. It can take a generation to reverse those constraints — more particularly, it takes the generation which came of age with those technologies to take on adult roles as parents, teachers, lawyers, and citizens. Then, we see a reversal of course which allows us to adopt a more normalized attitude towards those technologies and practices.

With Columbine and video games, we were lucky that few of the laws passed in that phase of moral panic withstood judicial review. With MySpace, we are apt to be less lucky because if DOPA passes, it will be a law that is going to be hard to challenge in courts. Technically it isn’t censorship. Schools are not prohibited for allowing youth to access MySpace. They simply lose federal funding if they do so. And the Federal government can make any stipulation it wants on how it distributes its funds.

The result is going to be a law which we will actively have to repel once the generation that has grown up using social network software becomes adults. This is going to be a huge step back for participatory culture and a big step back for those of us who want to see Web 2.0 applications used more fully in the classroom. What is shocking is that it is occuring with so little real public discussion because the mainstream media has done everything it can to scare people about MySpace and has little interest in reporting the truth about this story.

That said, I think there was a fatal mistake in the discourse about youth and digital media in the 1990s. It became all about the digital divide which got defined in terms of access to technologies. This wasn’t true of [Seymour] Papert and a few others but it became the mantra. “Let’s build a bridge to the 21st century. Let’s wire our classroom.” Well, we wired the classroom — now what? We now face the participation gap — the gap between those who have unlimited access to new media outside of school (and more importantly, the skills and experiences they enable) and those who have limited bandwidth, limited access, on filtered computers. We dealt with the technological challenges but not the social and cultural challenges. And we have been held hostage by a culture war discourse that has been very effective at transforming adult ignorance into fear and backlash against those forms of cultural experience teens have found for themselves in the online world.

I am very involved right now in developing the case for a very different form of media education — one which grows out of a desire to enable kids to become more active participants in the participatory culture I describe in my book.

That’s where Convergence Culture ends — with the call for new media literacies — and that’s where my new book begins. We are going to be releasing a white paper later this fall that paves the way for a whole range of pedagogical activities designed to help teachers and parents better appreciate the value of gaming, social networking, fan fiction writing, and all of the other things the most digitally adept kids are doing now.

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Corporate Hacking

Once upon a time, Corporations and hacking culture were anathema. Now Nike and iPod are hacking each others products officially.

Expect to see more of this type of thing as everyone gets Really Excited about User Generated Content, social networking and hacking — in other words, all the stuff that geeks have been since the dawning of this thing called the Internet.

The Guardian today reports on how Nike and Apple have collaborated to produce a pair of running shoes that uses your iPod to tell you how far you have run and how many calories you have burned:

To some, it is the long overdue synthesis of two of the world’s most fashionable and recognisable brands, a perfect marriage of design, athleticism and entertainment. To others, it’s a posh pedometer that you put in your expensive sneakers.

The Nike+ system, which has taken 18 months to develop, uses a tiny transmitter fitted in the trainers to send information back to the music player with every step. Runners can find out how they are doing by hitting the centre button on their iPod Nano and listening to a spoken update of their progress. Should the hi-tech pavement-pounders start to flag, they can give themselves a quick boost by calling up a pre-chosen “power song” for that all-important motivational lift.

The sensor kit will cost £25 and will be available in the UK from July 13. The first training shoe it can be fitted into, the new Air Zoom Moire, will go on sale at the same time priced at £65. Six more styles will follow.

Speaking at yesterday’s launch in New York, Apple’s CEO, Steve Jobs, said:

I think we’ve come up with something that’s really wonderful.

We’ve just scratched the surface because over time we can do even more sophisticated things.

Like to see more hacks? Check out the Wikipedia article for the ‘true’ meaning of the term.

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Nano Feature

Apple to launch full-length movie download feature onto the Nano any day now?

According to analysts at American Technology Research (ATR), Apple has announced a special event next Tuesday promising “fun new products”, which they have interpreted as full length film downloads. ATR has said in a research note to clients that it sees a “greater than 50% chance” that Apple will launch a movie download service on Tuesday, with the increasingly media-centric computer company having just reached 1 billion downloads via iTunes. The three year old service is now on track to reach the 1.5 billion milestone by the end of the year.

Apple is attempting to drive the video on demand market by offering firstly music video content followed by the world’s first legal TV download service last year.

Story via MediaTel.

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Content Owners Lobby to Outlaw Innovation. Really.

Draft US legislation would prohibit consumers’ access to emergent media technologies.

Digital Rights lobbyists the EFF have unearthed a catchy new euphemism: ‘ customary historic use’, a powerful little timebomb of a clause in draft US legislation, which is designed to outlaw any future nasty surprises (nasty to the established media order, that is) like PVRs or MP3 players before they even leave the drawingboard. A post on the EFF’s blog elaborates:

You say you want the power to time-shift and space-shift TV and radio? You say you want tomorrow’s innovators to invent new TV and radio gizmos you haven’t thought of yet, the same way the pioneers behind the VCR, TiVo, and the iPod did?

Well, that’s not what the entertainment industry has in mind. According to them, here’s all tomorrow’s innovators should be allowed to offer you:

“customary historic use of broadcast content by consumers to the extent such use is consistent with applicable law.”

Had that been the law in 1970, there would never have been a VCR. Had it been the law in 1990, no TiVo. In 2000, no iPod.

Fair use has always been a forward-looking doctrine. It was meant to leave room for new uses, not merely “customary historic uses.” Sony was entitled to build the VCR first, and resolve the fair use questions in court later. This arrangement has worked well for all involved — consumers, media moguls, and high technology companies.

Now the RIAA and MPAA want to betray that legacy by passing laws that will regulate new technologies in advance and freeze fair use forever. If it wasn’t a “customary historic use,” federal regulators will be empowered to ban the feature, prohibiting innovators from offering it. If the feature is banned, courts will never have an opportunity to pass on whether the activity is a fair use.

Voila, fair use is frozen in time. We’ll continue to have devices that ape the VCRs and cassette decks of the past, but new gizmos will have to be submitted to the FCC for approval, where MPAA and RIAA lobbyists can kill it in the crib.

They’re only getting my hand-built, custom-designed audiophile music library when they prise the remote from my cold dead hand.

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Our Predictions for 2006

It’s the time of the year for punditry… and lists. So forgive us if for a moment we get all trendspottery and suggest a few things we think we’ll see next year.

  1. As iPod sales start to slow down, we’re betting on a fierce brand-extension war between Apple and the other online music brands. Competitors have already started to emerge — see MTV’s tie up with Microsoft, Urge.
  2. In the same sector, we tip Napster to learn from Google and Yahoo’s mapping successes, and to offer a programming interface (API) for subscribers, so people can build their own software systems using Napster content — expect customised jukeboxes, recommendation systems and music-based games to flourish online. The benefit to Napster? Kudos to the brand which accrue from others’ innovations, a wider audience, and increased advertising opportunities.
  3. We’re waiting for a Friday night TV show which features real-time ‘stupid shit’, news and interviews contributed live via 3G mobiles by amateur viewer/reporters out and about around the UK and worldwide — the trash culture flipside of OhMyNews. Expect flash celebrity for a few contributors to follow, and a big spike in phone sales.
  4. Still on TV, we expect at least one channel to broadcast experimental blocks of ‘ad-free’ prime time programming to test the waters of post-interruptive-advertising television — probably initially sponsored by a major car brand.
  5. Flyposting will be banned in London as Ken sides with the Government on a ‘respect‘ agenda.
  6. Sophisticated services offered via Skype will be the surprise eCommerce success story of the year, with third-party developers exploiting the ubiquitous telephony provider’s APIs to provide simple, effective voice access to information, retail and search services in exactly the way that screen-based systems thus far haven’t, for the mobile multitudes.
  7. Namecheck BST when territorial disputes over mining rights in polar regions recently exposed by global warning become a major news story, and a source of growing international tension.
  8. And a big ‘we told you so’ if Interpol reveals that an unlikely counterfeiting alliance of criminals and ‘just because we could’ hackers has adopted open source development methodologies to make undetectable fakes of a major currency, which subsequently has to be completely withdrawn from circulation, redesigned and reissued.
  9. Long odds but not impossible: Sony’s launch of non-Sony-branded hardware or media, in an attempt at a fresh start after the horrors of 2005.
  10. We will be saddened but not surprised if a PC virus takes out one of the emergency services for at least a day.
  11. 3G. Finally. Yes we’re surprised too.
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Bill Gates May Profit from iPod Success

Apple may be forced to pay Microsoft royalties for every iPod it sells.

Apparently, Microsoft has beaten Apple in the race to file a crucial patent on technology used in the portable music players. Although Apple introduced in the iPod in November 2001, it did not file a provisional patent application until July 2002 and a full application was filed only in October that year. In the meantime, Microsoft submitted an application in May 2002 to patent some key elements of music players, including song menu software.

There are a number of portable music players on the market but the iPod dominates, accounting for three out of every four portable music players sold in the US and contributing almost one third of Apple’s total sales. Piper Jaffray, the US analysts, predicts that Apple will sell 25 million iPods this year, bringing the total sold in the four years since launch to 35 million.

News of the dispute over the patent emerged – surprise surprise – on a blog, Appleinsider, which has run spoilers on Apple products in the past. It could lead to Apple having to pay a licence fee for the technology of up to $10 per machine.

A spokesperson said Apple would continue to try and get its patent recognised and could take the case to the patent office’s appeals board. The company said in a statement, “Apple invented and publicly released the iPod interface before the Micosoft application was filed.”

Micrsoft is also taking on Google in the courts. Microsoft launched a lawsuit against the search engine last month, accusing it of poaching a top executive to head a new research laboratory in China.

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Apple to Launch vPod?

The wires are alive with rumours that Apple is about to launch a video-capable version of its iPod music player.

If it happens, movies will become another portable entertainment medium. It could also speed the growth of vlogging – possibly the ugliest moniker of the year.

“It’s absolutely possible to create a video podcast,” says Derrick Oien, president of the Association of Music Podcasters. If Apple came out with a video iPod, “you chould see a big boom in video blogging.”

On July 18th a Wall Street Journal article reported that Apple was in talks with music labels and other companies to license music videos for the new ‘vPod’ (my guess). According to the article, Apple claimed it would be announcing the device by September. Then, on August 2nd, the blog Macrumors noticed that the trademark for Apple’s iPod had been changed on June 18th, so that it now read, “portable and handheld digital electronic devices for recording, organizing, transmitting, manipulating, and reviewing text, data, audio, image and video files.”

Eric Hellweg points out in Technology Review, “If Apple does launch a video iPod in the near future (a company spokesperson declined to comment on the trademark change or the possibility of a video iPod), it would arrive into a far different world than did the first audio iPod in 2001. Since then, the concept of participatory media has exploded, most notably in the form of blogs, wikis (user-modifiable websites), and podcasts, in which an individual can create and disseminate his or her own ‘show’ over the Internet. (The term ‘podcast’ is itself derived from the iPod, despite having no connection to it — a telling tribute to the Apple product.)”

The vlogging community (ouch) is making positive noises. Jay Dedman hosts around 600 videoblogs on his site, AntisnotTV.com and says that number would explode if Apple releases a video iPod. “Audio is boring. It’s boring to make a radio show,”Dedman says, “The reason [videoblogging] is not that hot yet is because we don’t have a device to shift the video on to. If Apple does it, it will be pretty big.”

On August 9, the online music activist group Downhill Battle will launch its “Participatory Culture” player and website, which will make it easier to distribute video and audio content on the Internet. One of its directors, Nicholas Reville, says that a video iPod “can only have a really strong, positive effect…It would bring a level of credibility– the same thing Apple brought to MP3 players and audio podcasting.”

The support and established behaviour for podcasting is already there. When Apple announced its support for audio podcasting in June and began listing the mostly amateur radio segments within its iTunes Music Store, podcasting saw its biggest boost to date. Just two days after podcasts were made available, more than one million people subscribed.

Story and quotes courtesy of Technology Review.

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iPod obsession no 2

the subverted iPod ad

ipod iraq.jpgLos Angeles-based Forkscrew Graphics appropriate the iPod ad campaign to produce a series of posters entitled ‘iRaq’. These replace the silhouettes of youths dancing with the also familiar/iconic silhouettes of Iraqi prisoners being tortured.

See more here

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