Archive for June, 2009

- windows is everywhere -
Image by RoOobie via Flickr

Here’s a funny one. In what could be perceived as a desperate move to convince people to use IE8 (Internet Explorer 8) over other, clearly superior browsers, Microsoft is offering $10,000 to one lucky Australian web user.

The $10,000 prize is hidden somewhere on the web, and the only way it can be found is by using IE8, and following @tengrand_IE8 for updates as to where it might be stashed.

According to The Register, the TenGrandIsBuriedHere competition it’s clearly an attempt to fight Mozilla Firefox, which isn’t hard to believe. Why they just don’t design something as user-friendly as their competitors’ browsers is another question.

For the record, I’m using Firefox. But only because Chrome, as slick as it is, just aint ready for the road yet.

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video editing makes me cry
Image by Rakka via Flickr

I recently complained that one of the finest newspapers in the English-speaking world, despite being a leader in new technological developments, from embracing Comment is Free’s UGC element, to providing APIs, cannot sort its video offering out.

Admittedly, this all comes down to monetisation and having enough qualified staff around to do the job. But just watch this clip on the Iranian elections. The editing is so poor, you’d have to fail a high-school media student if they had the audacity to submit it. The journalism, the insight, the voiceover and the shots are all fine. We can ignore the fact that full-screen videos on the Guardian are still not available (full-screen videos on the Guardian might never be available at this rate), but this is clearly an example of ‘journalists’ having too much work on their plate.¬† Five or six times in the clip, there are flash frames where one edit starts, and another bit finishes, just as a new part of the roughcut supplied by Reuters appears. And you can tell it’s Reuters, as I’m pretty sure the branding that comes at the start of their wires’ roughcuts flashes up for a frame or two on several occasions.

One day, I envisage a place on the web where the journalism will be as good as the production value. I guess until content is properly monetised, getting their will be quite challenging.

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No skateboarding dogs
Image by charmingman via Flickr

If ¬†content is king, then this skateboarding dog is his own gonads, if you’ll excuse my use of the colloquial.

Let it never be said (and I have done it myself), that there are quality newspapers and low-quality newspapers. Because when it comes to online offerings, what editor, in an age where traffic means advertisers and advertisers mean keeping the damn operation going, could possibly resist a rather porky bulldog getting up a fair bit of speed on a skateboard. Not whoever is in charge of the Guardian Unlimited site today. That’s right, a broadsheet newspaper goes online, and features a serious soft news offering – dogs on skateboards. This is news in 2009. And it is online news in particular – because as much as we talk about ‘media convergence’, you can rest assured that neither Newsnight or Channel Four News – who folks at the Guardian would contest the high-brow superiority of – will have a skateboarding dog on the box tonight (fingers crossed).*

The Guardian’s video offerings might be a bit dodgy in technological, as well as editorial terms (when held up against the Telegraph’s more professional, less web 1.0 offering, the ITN-supplied Telegraph TV.) But does the Telegraph have a skateboarding dog today? No, it does not. They would be well advised to call Reuters and get that damn footage fast. Content is king. ¬†Animals on wheels are even better.

*In a case of newspapers setting the agenda, and of me eating my words, Channel Four News featured the skateboarding dog a day afterwards. Jesus.

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