Rob Bevan

PlayTime: Playing with Pictures

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A few weeks on, I’m finally getting around to uploading my slides from my PlayTime presentation, Playing with Pictures (it’s a 20MB+ PDF file, exported from Keynote). I was intending to annotate these so that they’d make more sense to someone who weren’t at my session, but I’m not sure when, if ever, I’ll do this. This gist of it however was this: Photo manipulation has always had a bit of a bad name, and even today we’re still worried that adding, removing or modifying parts of a photographic image detract from photography’s perceived ability to show us the truth.

Naming things

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Bruce Sterling is doing the rounds in London at the moment: I caught him on Monday at a New Statesman event upstairs at the Grouse and Claret. Bruce gave a highly entertaining ‘cyberpunk exegesis’ of a bewildering array of contemporary issues and ideas: the UK’s surveillance culture, Web 2.0, Climate Change and of course the Internet of Things to name just a few. Good ‘names’ for things seem more important than ever now: Bruce mentioned that Tim O’Reilly – who coined the term Web 2.

Raccoon: Apache on S60

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Nokia Research recently announced the Apache webserver had been ported to run on S60 phones (see my earlier post). The plan had been to “bring a full-fledged webserver to S60 and to make a webserver running on a mobile phone accessible from the Internet using any web browser”. Now the client binary is available for download and you can sign up for an account on Nokia’s gateway and try this for yourself.

Yuri’s Night: World Space Party April 12th

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45 Years ago today, on April 12th 1961, Yuri Gagarin became the first human to go into space. On the same day, 25 years ago, John Young and Robert Crippen flew the first Space Shuttle flight to orbit. Today we celebrate!

Al Gore on Climate Change

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I was invited today by one of my clients – The Climate Group – to watch Al Gore give his presentation on Climate Change at the bfi London IMAX Cinema. Gore’s presentation is pretty well covered elsewhere, so I’m not even going to try and summarise it here (it was too dark to take notes and besides I’m a lousy note-taker anyway). Suffice to say for someone who has a reputation for being boring, he’s both funny and extremely passionate about our need to find a common moral purpose to deal with this “planetary emergency”. rolls out private saving feature (in beta)

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From This is a big step for, but one that I hope will make it more useful. Because is all about sharing and we don’t want to discourage that, we will be watching how this feature impacts the community and will also be experimenting a bit with the UI over the next few weeks.

The Eagle Has Landed on my iPod

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About the only good thing to result from the theft of my bag just before Christmas was replacing my ageing original 1G iPod with a sleek new black 5G video iPod (whoever thought that glossy white ‘iBook’ look was a good idea?). Actually that’s not strictly true: I’ve effectively ‘upgraded’ many of my closest and most familiar possessions at the cost of many hours cancelling credit cards, talking to insurers and replacing missing Christmas gifts.

The Future of Web Apps

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Like most of the UK’s web development community I was at the Carson Workshops Future of Web Apps summit a couple of weeks ago. A couple of highlights for me were Tom Coates’ wonderfully lucid and entertaining synthesis of all things Web 2.0 (see also Jeremy Zawodny’s annotations of Tom’s slides) and David Heinemeier Hansson’s Ruby on Rails ‘sermon’. Although I’ve been working with Rails intermittently for at least eighteen months I’ve never seen David speak and it had never really occurred to me before just how Scandinavian Rails is: minimal, beautifully designed and good for the soul.

Live Winter Olympics FilmLoop photocast

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These images from today’s 4x10km Men’s relay. (FilmLoop is a free photo broadcasting (“photocasting”) network that presents pictures in a “Loop” player on your desktop.)

For Your Consideration

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The Orange British Academy Film Awards take place tonight. For the record, here’s the complete list of screeners dispatched to BAFTA members this year. Considering we were all sent Cinea players even before last year’s awards – and how quickly unencrypted movies started appearing on the web this year – it’s curious that only about 20% of DVDs were encrypted (using Cinea’s S-VIEW Award Consideration Screener Program). Mind you, from the point of view of the studios, encryption can obviously backfire, as those co-ordinating Munich’s BAFTA campaign discovered when 5000 totally unplayable discs were shipped out, a story that even made the front page of The Guardian. Munich is the only movie Oscar-nominated for best picture not also on the BAFTA shortlist.

Best of the bunch for me was Fernando Meirelles’ The Constant Gardener, (conversely the only BAFTA-nominated movie not also up for best picture in the US) a near-perfect exercise in direction, performance and cinematography and hyperlink movies Syriana (good) and Crash (better). Joaquin Phoenix and Reese Witherspoon were both outstanding in Johnny Cash biopic Walk the Line, as was Felicity Huffman’s extraordinary woman-plays-man-becoming-woman performance in Transamerica (but sadly overlooked by BAFTA) and you can’t fail to enjoy Piers Brosnan’s trashing of his Bond history in The Matador.

Shame not to see Cronenberg’s A History of Violence in the running for more than adapted screenplay (although William Hurt is Oscar-nominated for his supporting role) or the hilarious A Cock & Bull Story, the endlessly prolific Michael Winterbottom’s attempt to film Tristam Shandy and a role call of current British comedy stars. Deservedly ignored in the UK though was Woody Allen’s Match Point (see Lloyd Shepherd’s post on why we Brits think this movie is ‘lamentable’).

Merkitys: context-aware S60 image uploader

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Like Shozu, new S60 app Merkitys (Finnish for ‘Meaning’) allows easy upload of images from your phone to Flickr (or your own server). Merkitys however also automatically adds ‘context’, which includes location (i.e. GSM location information: Mobile Country Code, Mobile Network Code, Location Area Code and Cell ID, but also GPS data if you also have a supported receiver) as well as the usual user-defined description and tags etc., and – curiously – the addresses of all bluetooth devices in the vicinity.