Friday, 30 November 2007


For a long time, so many conglomerates, and their brothers, have been looking at us with mistrust, spreading the word, whether they knew so through research or - more probably - not, that we were tapping into their much-needed, hard-earned revenue from their reasonably priced product. Video, television and, more so, music have all been part of this media misinformation-followed-by-adaptation dance for a while now.

Yet, slowly but surely, the industry has come to understand, to swallow the pill that filesharing is actually more to their benefit than not. So, other than the fact that they should appear as somehow going out of their way to maintain the status quo - especially if they're called Fox or CBS or whoever else is giving the WGA writers grief right now - they're trying to come up with ways to dip into the new media cash-pot tambien.

So, on the music front, we already had the labels doing a fair amount of their PR through myspace, but now that Radiohead are going about their own thing, with In Rainbows, one cannot say what will follow; no need for labels, no need for RIAA and the likes, no need for stupid amounts of cash to be paid by us if we don't have to? If we can download the new album over the 'net and pay as much as we want to - or don't - and be sure that our money goes straight to the pockets of Thom and his gang, we'll sleep better at night knowing that our cash is not lost paying intermediaries, now, won't we?

Then, the media nouveaux offer new ways for 'the product' to be distributed. With Jack and Meg White going the white way and releasing Icky Thump on USB flash drives, USB is officially the way to B now. Who needs those old... how-ya-call-em... See Dees, when you can have all your music on a hard drive, no, an mp3 player? Many of you that [are among the three that] read this must know that I called it, by transferring all my music, in the year 2000, when I left from Greece's Athens to Scotland's Edinburgh, watching what was previously my hundreds of CDs drive away in my friend RiverWind's car, and hence having nothing but a portable hard drive to carry on the plane with me.

So, where does TV follow suit, with youtube and Google Video being out there and staring at it threateningly? After my Distribution and Exhibition course yesterday morning, I spent some time talking to this coursemate of mine who is, reportedly, doing his thesis on something regarding how television will follow the music industry in weaving through the new media instead of fighting it, all to make money instead of losing money. And then I came back to find this 'ere article among my RSS feeds, which pretty much says that Comedy Central, always there to incorporate the new in useful and creative ways, is not only happy to share The Daily Show with Jon Stewart with us (sic) online, but will now be doing the same with all the backlogs of South Park.

Therefore, I honourably stipulate that time passes and the world thereby evolves, and that we won't remain stagnant and stuck in the past. I can sincerely guarantee you that, I know it to be true (since I can see the future so clearly, through the past and all) - while there's really not much I enjoy more than seeing it happen.

Wednesday, 21 November 2007

Taking Fun And Games Back From Kids

Kids' stuff is pretty much what video games are seen as. But many of them are not fit for your 10-year-old, with 'sex and violence' often being their major selling point [*'Major Sellingpoint' HIMYM in-joke reference salute here*]. And I'm not just talking Devil May Cry or Need for Speed here, as popular as they may be; there are far more 'adult' examples out there than that.

However, the ex First Lady, now Presidential Candidate, Hillary Clinton is kind of heading - along with 3 other 'key lawmakers' - the fight to 'review the robustness, reliability and repeatability' of the games rating process. Which, although I would normally be against, having previously spoken against the classification of any form of entertainment, I have now come to understand, pretty much.

I spent a week at my gran's house during the summer, where my cousin, who was also there, was busy playing God of War II on his PS2. Him being not much older than 16 years old then (he's 17-and-a-couple-of-weeks as I write this), I found it borderline offensive that he would enjoy the game that much - and not only because I think it's a disgusting game that I wouldn't want anyone related to me playing, mind you. Especially after the disgusting release party that was a big thing on worldwide web2 news just shortly before that.

Hmmm, I sound old, don't I? Wanting a strict ratings process, tut tut tut. Still, the more I think about it, the more it makes sense, as it would make things easier for games if the more 'questionable content' ones weren't this easy for kids to get their hands on. I'm still dreadfully against prohibiting any game altogether, but I do support shops checking the age of buyers and whatnot.

At this point in time, shops generally tend to sell any game to pretty much anyone, no matter how old they may be. Which naturally leads to mothers seeing what their kids play and freaking out, asking for the game to be banned in general and maybe even burnt in the fiery depths of over-protective motherhood. Which, I expect, wouldn't be the case if they just saw their manly, rugged husband playing the same game.

Once again, games suffer from their novelty. You see, nobody would call for movies to be banned any more, in the Western world. Not really. They've passed the one hundred year mark of being out there, and have been through their own reception ups and downs, only eventually reaching the point where most people understand that there are different flicks for different people.

Games, however, still have a long way to go. Any game can be played by anyone, and a child, for whose innocent and malleable mind Disney games would perhaps be more suitable, can end up playing God of War. Which, the way I see it, is wrong, branding the whole gaming industry as evil, when there are games out there that can be used as valuable teaching resources or whathaveyou.

Therefore, I call for games to be treated more responsibly, so that we do, eventually, end up being understood by... mothers. Uh-huuh. Because once we all 'get it', not having video games being 'for kids' by default - as games in general would be expected to be - and 'for adults' only provisionally, VGs may avoid being branded as dangerous.

Saturday, 17 November 2007

Lost In Time, Found On Web!

I've been following this guy's art for a while now, on Gizmodo. He makes working steampunk gadgets of all sorts and I've been drooling over their artistic and geeky value for obvious reasons (mainly the fact that steampunk is sooo cool) over the last few months .

The thing is, his name wasn't known on Gizmodo, not until now. The Wall Street Journal Digital Network, however, found the guy who makes these awesome pieces of awesomeness, just like they'd find the latest in stock quotes. His name is Richard E. Nagy - couldn't get it to sound more fictional if he tried, which he may even have done, now that I think about it - and he is better known online as Datamancer.

I shall now embed this video from YouTube, which I found interesting for more than the mere fact that he shows us how he makes his stuff (with a laptop as a case-study). He actually makes you feel, not only the culture, but the pure artisan honour of making such pieces.