Getty, the world’s largest photo service, is now free

March 10, 2014 by  
Filed under News, Pictures, Technology

Wow. Need an image for your blog/site? Getty, the world’s largest photo service, is now ‘free’. For embeds, anyway. http://buff.ly/1h5nqe7

Like this!

Or this!

Get your thinking hats on – each of these images would normally cost $65.

Knight Ridder’s concept iPad app – bridging the paper-digital divide. In 1994.

April 26, 2011 by  
Filed under Apps, Media, Technology

Check out this video, showcasing the Knight Ridder Information Design Lab’s concept tablet news device. With personalised news feeds, articles read aloud and even voice command recognition, it sounds like it could be a news application being developed for the iPad right now.

Only this is 1994.

Imagine where digital news distribution could be by now if, in 1994, Knight Ridder had been able to build that “bridge of familiarity to get us from the ink on paper product into the digital world”.

Maybe a media company could have come up with a user experience like Flipboard a decade ago, or been innovative enough to create a new communication platform like Twitter, instead of constantly being left behind or playing catch up. Suffice to say, the industry would pretty well know by now what works and what doesn’t.

Instead, the merits of all manner of form and function in the digital news process are still being discussed, tested, failed miserably and, if we’re lucky, refined until successful.

Roger Fidler, director of the Knight Ridder Information Design Lab, says in the video:

“This is one of the most exciting places to be in the newspaper industry today. This is where I think we’re going to play a role in changing history.”

Maybe an idea before its time, but one that really could have changed the history of digital news if it had succeeded.

I wonder where Roger Fidler ended up. (UPDATE: Roger Fidler is Program Director for Digital Publishing at RJI, the Reynolds Journalism Institute)

and from Wikipedia:
“Knight Ridder had a long history of innovation in technology. It was the first newspaper publisher to experiment with videotex when it launched its Viewtron system in 1982.”

UPDATE: This was on Mashable in August 2009!
Thanks to @garykemble for the heads up.
And in an interview that same year, Roger Fidler said the tablet concept was never built because screens were too heavy and required too much power. See the May 2009 Bloomberg interview with Roger Fidler here: http://bloom.bg/iiMio0

News.me app launched

April 22, 2011 by  
Filed under Mobile, Technology

For all of us tragics who went to the blank news.me website all those months ago and signed up for an email alert, well today’s the day! News.me for iPad has launched. They’re saying all you need is an iPad and a Twitter account, but you don’t even need an iPad…

For those without an iPad, you can get the same stream ‘digest’ via email.

I’m yet to get beyond opening the app and authorising my Twitter account (it’s Good Friday!), but the recommended/featured users for me to follow were very digital news media centric. That’s great if the app has picked up on my area of interest already, based on my bio and who I follow.

I imagine it’s more than a glorified Twitter stream. It should be! You can get that through Flipboard, Zite, and numerous other great apps without paying a $1.19 per week subscription ($0.99 in US).

Read the full email from news.me below:

20110422-103603.jpg

News.me for iPad launched today! It’s available in the App Store for download: http://on.news.me/app-download.

News.me is a different kind of social news experience that shows you not just
what your friends are sharing on Twitter, but also what they are reading—a great opportunity to read over the proverbial shoulders of close friends and mega-interesting writers and thinkers alike. All you need is an iPad and a Twitter account to get started!

If you don’t have an iPad, you can still use News.me – just sign up to receive a daily email digest of the most interesting news flowing through your Twitter stream: http://www.news.me/email

Want to read more about News.me, how it started and who’s behind it?
http://www.borthwick.com/weblog/2011/02/21/news-me/

Thanks and let us know what you think!

Team News.me

twitter.com/newsdotme
feedback@news.me

Australia drops in World Economic Forum Tech Study

April 14, 2011 by  
Filed under Technology

In the World Economic Forum’s Global Information Technology Report 2010-2011: Transformations 2.0, Australia ranks 17th in the Network Readiness Index, with New Zealand right behind at 18.

That’s a drop of one place for Australia, which was ranked 16th in the 2009-2010 report.

via World Economic Forum Tech Study Shows U.S. Lagging – NYTimes.com.

For the second consecutive year, the United States finished fifth in the study’s comparison of 138 countries that make up 98.8 percent of the world’s total gross domestic product. Sweden was first, followed by Singapore, Finland and Switzerland.

These rankings, for 2010, are based on an index of 71 economic and social indicators, as diverse as new patents, mobile phone subscriptions and availability of venture capital.

So amongst the 71 economic and social indicators that combined rank Australia at 17, what are we best at?

The report lists Australia as number one in the world on just one measure, “Internet and telephony competition”.

And our worst ranking? Of the 138 countries, our worst ranking is 115, for “Business monthly phone subscription (PPP $).

Full report here:
World Economic Forum’s Global Information Technology Report 2010-2011: Transformations 2.0

Australian internet traffic doubles in two years, up 37 times over 8 years

April 30, 2009 by  
Filed under Online, Technology

As part of the ABS Internet Survey released the other week, it’s interesting to see total data downloaded in Australia has more than doubled in two years.
Out of the two posts I was writing from that survey this post was to be the more substantive.
The first post was NBN to roll out 100mbps – so why are 16 per cent of Australians still on dialup?.

Instead, I’ve just come back to it and will post it as dot points.
Read more

NBN to roll out 100mbps – so why are 16 per cent of Australians still on dialup?

April 15, 2009 by  
Filed under News, Online, Technology

fibre optic
Image by Twilight Jones via Flickr

Last week the Australian Bureau of Statistics released their Internet Activity Survey for the December quarter of 2008.

According to the ABS release, their highlight was that wireless broadband subscription across Australia has tripled in just one year, from 481,000 in December 07 to 1.46 million in December 08, which is great.

Looking into the numbers, that massive jump in wireless broadband takeup represents 979,000 new subscribers, more than the entire country’s overall growth of 891,000 internet subscribers in the 12 month period (7.1 to 7.99 million). If the numbers don’t seem to add up it’s because 576,000 subscribers finally ditched their dialup connections. But dialup’s decline actually slowed compared to the previous 12 month period, to December 2007, when 862,000 subscribers left their dialup provider. That drop took dialup connections from 2.75 to 1.88 million, compared to the current period to December 08, where dialup subscribers dropped to just 1.31 million.

What I found unbelievable was to be reminded, in the week that the government rejected all bids for the National Broadband Network (NBN) to go it alone on the internet superhighway to heaven, is that so many Australians are still on dialup. Of the almost 8 million (7.996m) internet subscribers in Australia as at 31 December, 2008, 1.3 million of those are still on a dialup connection. That’s 16% of the country. If dialup is still the price gouge I remember it being 13 years ago, that’s a large proportion of the Australian online community who are overpaying for a vastly inferior product.

Apart from the people don’t have a choice, for reasons like rural or remote areas, I’d be very interested to see some breakdown on who still subscribes to dialup and why. Is there anyone who chooses dialup? Despite having highspeed broadband as a matter of course, I know one person who had to convince his parents recently it wasn’t worth holding on to their dialup subscription “just in case” old contacts still had the email address that was tied to it.

Do you know anyone still on dialup, and do you think they have a good reason to be? Apart from absolute necessity, I don’t see how it could be justified, and part of the NBN rollout should be reducing that 16 per cent significantly.

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An experiment in Mobile Journalism or MoJo

March 26, 2009 by  
Filed under Broadcast, Media, Mobile, Technology, Videos

Reuter's Got Mojo (that's mobile journalism)
Image by inju via Flickr

In January I experimented with a little mobile journalism, or MoJo, on a small story. Using Qik on a Dopod mobile phone, I live streamed video from the scene of a unit fire on Brisbane’s south side.

This was by no means an experiment in mobile journalism that even basically covered how MoJo could be done, it was simply a spur of the moment decision to give it a go. These are my thoughts on the process.

Read more

uTag – gaming the link economy

September 24, 2008 by  
Filed under Online, Other blogs, SMO, Technology

uTag logoI’ve been using a URL shortening service on my site called uTag since it was launched a few weeks ago.

UPDATE: I have removed the uTag script that automatically changed my URLs. And for brevity, the technical issues with uTag that I address in this post are:

  1. If the ad banner is left open after visiting a site, the user continues surfing to other websites, and later closes the ad banner, the browser will automatically refresh to the page first visited by following the uTag link.
  2. In the same vein, once the ad banner is closed, using the Back button will simply reload the banner frame, rather than going back to the linking site.
  3. A uTag Death Loop exists, whereby a uTag link to another uTag enabled site will result in an increasing number of ad banners stacked on top of each other. Read below for how this happens.

Put simply, uTag is a monetisation strategy for linking. Several sites already provide link shortening services which have become popular chiefly amongst Twitter users, who need a short link because their posts have a 140 character limit. Examples are bit.ly, is.gd, tinyurl.com, to name just a few. The difference with uT.ag is that it aims to pay people for providing those outbound links. Read more

iPhone Australia released on Vodafone

May 6, 2008 by  
Filed under Media, Mobile, News, Technology

iPhoneHow’s this for awesome? I am of course buying into the hype that is everything Apple, particularly the iPhone, which is yet to be released in Australia.

Vodafone announced today they have signed a deal to sell the iPhone in ten of its global markets, including Australia, ‘later this year’.

Tuesday 6 May 2008

Vodafone to offer Apple’s iPhone in ten markets

Vodafone today announced it has signed an agreement with Apple to sell the iPhone in ten of its markets around the globe. Later this year, Vodafone customers in Australia, the Czech Republic, Egypt, Greece, Italy, India, Portugal, New Zealand, South Africa and Turkey will be able to purchase the iPhone for use on the Vodafone network.

You have plenty of other multi-purpose phones – smart phone, PDA phone, Pocket PC phone – all of which do lots of good things. Is the iPhone the best? How does it rate against the others?

The mobile world is advancing towards that mythical ‘all-in-one’ device that can not only effectively meet the demand for multimedia use of phone, video, audio, image and web, but also realistically meet the needs of those publishing content on the go.

It’s a mobile revolution. The Nokia N95 can’t be bad if it’s the mobile platform of choice for the Reuters Mojo team, so does the iPhone live up to the hype?

Australian media organisations on Twitter

March 12, 2008 by  
Filed under Media, Online, Social Networking, Technology

In a rush to get this post out, I buried it in another article, Email Old News to Gen C.
It reappears now because it needed to be republished in its own right as a review of Twitter usage in Australian media and politics.

———-

In Australia, very few news organisations use Twitter. As full disclosure, before I continue, I work at The Courier Mail, a News Limited paper.

An informal audit of a selection of Australian media and their Twitter presence

Fairfax Digital logoFairfax masthead sites

ABC News - logoABC News

News Digital Media - News Limited logoNews Limited masthead sites

I am assuming the unused Twitter accounts above belong to these publications, but it’s entirely possible someone could simply be ‘squatting’ on the Twitter user names.
Twitter logoI set up Twitter accounts for all of The Courier Mail’s news sections in early October last year, making our newspaper one of the only two news outlets in Australia using Twitter (that I have found), and definitely one of the largest media contributors to Twitter by number of content categories, but not necessarily volume of content.

The Courier Mail’s current crop of 20 Twitter user accounts are providing free SMS/IM updates on topics ranging from sports, to business, to breaking news, all with tinyurl links to the original story content. I’m now trying to find time to play around with a Facebook page for The Courier Mail, although I rarely have any spare hours at home to spend doing that.

During the process of setting up these Twitter accounts, I did a search to see if other Australian news outlets were already using Twitter.

Of News Limited mastheads, apart from The Courier Mail, none of the other existing News Ltd Twitter users have posted.
Of Fairfax mastheads, only The Age has a single feed, last updated in May 2007.
The ABC has two feeds – one of which I follow to receive local news alerts on my mobile phone.

A search for “news” in Twitter yields a large number of results. Here are just a few (listed as their Twitter user name) that may be of interest – financialtimes, npr news, cbcnews, wired, ITN_NEWS, BBC, SkyNewsBusiness, indianews, SkyNews, and CNETNews.

In the UK, the BBC and Sky have a larger selection of Twitter updates that can be followed.


The 2007 federal election was approaching when I was working on the Courier Mail Twitter accounts so, having already written a story about politics and social networking, I had a look at what political parties had on Twitter.

At the time the results were:
Greens: http://twitter.com/Greens
Three updates in total, all on August 2, 2007, that are worth mentioning.

The Greens have established a twitter and are testing it.
04:11 PM August 02, 2007
Do you receive my Greens twitter?
04:26 PM August 02, 2007
Hrrrmmm, if I was 14 I’d know exactly what would happen
06:39 PM August 02, 2007

Liberal (both spoofs)
http://twitter.com/johnhoward
http://twitter.com/johnhowardfacts
Labor: none
Democrats: none
Nationals: none

In 2008, however, the Greens seem to have got their act together with a Twitter page feeding from the Greens Blog website.
https://twitter.com/greensblog

I also didn’t find this during the election last year , but https://twitter.com/kevinrudd is another spoof Twitter account.

The possibilities of Twitter as a quick and easy mass distribution method would be well utilised by politicians.

Qtrax launches free and legal music downloads

January 29, 2008 by  
Filed under News, Online, Podcasts, Technology

Qtrax logoQtrax, a new online music service, has made 25 million songs available for free and legal download.

Qtrax requires a software download, much like the iTunes store, to browse, play and download the songs. The service is said to be supported by limited advertising around the Qtrax player window.

The Mac version of the Qtrax music player software isn’t due for release until March 18.

via: Download 25 million songs for free – legally | Australian IT

UPDATE: Apparently Qtrax didn’t have the support they thought they did, so in fact have delayed their launch.

Hulu Beta Testing

December 31, 2007 by  
Filed under Broadcast, Media, Online, Social Networking, Technology, Videos

Hulu.com icon logoIn a largely speculative post last month, I wondered about the possibilities of Hulu, News Corp’s new online video venture.

Since then I’ve received my beta testing login details. With a great deal of excitement I went to Hulu.com to see what fantastic wonders would be presented to me.

None. If you’re in Australia, bad luck – it’s a case of look, but don’t touch.

For now, Hulu is a U.S. service only. That said, our intention is to make Hulu’s growing content lineup available worldwide. This requires clearing the rights for each show or film in each specific geography and will take time.

Being limited to North America because of distribution rights, international users are agonisingly teased by a long list of currently popular TV shows they can’t watch – Arrested Development, Family Guy, Scrubs, King of The Hill, My Name is Earl, The Office… the list goes on, and unless you have a beta login to Hulu (get on the waiting list) none of those links will get you anywhere.

With a login, choosing any episode from one of those shows takes you to the video player screen, right to the excited point of ‘Loading Video’ before slapping you in the face – rejection.

Hulu.com screen grab - Unfortunately this video is not currently available in your country or region. We apologize for the inconvenience.
But I want to take advantage of the options alongside the video player – share, embed, watch it full screen! Hopefully it’s not too long before something is up and running for Australia.

In a desperate attempt to see the video player in action, I tried some older shows in the hope they were no longer affected by distribution rights. Thankfully, even Doogie Howser episodes (Breaking Up is Hard to Doogie) from 1989 were unavailable.

ABC Now

In a continuing push to break new ground in digital media, ABC (Australia) has released ABC Now, a desktop media player for select ABC digital content.

The potential of this application is huge. When I read the description of what it would do, I couldn’t wait to try it. Unfortunately the interface isn’t entirely user-friendly at the moment, but it’s in beta, so expect something great to come.

For what is obviously planned for this media player the ABC is again demonstrating why Australians go to them for original online audio and video content – because they try to make it easily accessible.

Often they succeed in the attempt, and that’s why their podcasts and vodcasts have enjoyed such popularity. ABC digital content has succeeded because it is available. If there’s not much to choose from, people move on. The ABC’s integration online of text, audio and video content is impressive, to say the least.

If you haven’t seen it, check out an example of their in-page video player on this story.

Mobile Journalism Toolkit

December 22, 2007 by  
Filed under Journalists, Media, Online, Technology

Reuters Mobile Journalism MOJO

Incredibly simple, but effective.

The Reuters mojo (Mobile Journalism) team has been field-testing the exclusive use of a Nokia N95 mobile phone for filing picture, video, and text content.

Tests have been conducted all over the world, and while the phone’s video quality isn’t great, it’s certainly a lot closer to the perfect mobile journalist than anyone else has effectively come.

See their mojo site, but the toolkit consists of the N95 phone, a collapsable keyboard with phone bracket, mini tripod for video use of phone, directional microphone and a solar charging mobile power source for the phone.

The solar power source is probably not necessary for your average city journo, but as their description says, the solar charger came in handy in Senegal. Fair enough.

Despite the 5MP still camera on the N95, I don’t think its video quality is equal to what you could expect from a comparable still camera. I’ve seen some excellent video taken on a lower-end consumer point-and-shoot digital camera (a $300 Canon Powershot SD800 IS)

Hulu – the News tube

Earlier this year it was announced that News Corporation was developing a YouTube killer.  It was to be their own video serving site that was going to deliver full-length TV shows in a partnership with NBC, rather than the perceived notion (misguided I think) of the worthless fare served up on YouTube.

The News Ltd paper I work for (full disclosure) went so far as to declare in March 2007 that “YouTube’s dominance of online video content is about to end”.

Hulu.com is the outworking of that effort and is now in beta, and it’s looking pretty good.

Something very few news sites are doing today is incorporating social networking opportunities into their structure.  Even less are incorporating social networking into their video content – which remains for the most part clunky and unappealing.

Hopefully Hulu will change that for News Ltd/Corp.  This aspect of the current beta player is promising.

The “embed” function allows you to set in and out points, so you can embed just a selected chunk of a video clip on your blog.

I really hope this technology gets rolled out to all News Ltd/Corp sites, because it will exponentially enhance video content accessibility.

A review of Hulu at LostRemote.

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